Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top 5 key learning trends in 2016


May every great new day

Bring you sweet surprises–A happiness buffet.

Happy New Year to you,

And when the new year’s done,

May the next year be even better,

Full of pleasure, joy and fun

As we are all geared up on the New Year’s Eve today to bid farewell to the year 2015 and welcome the New Year—2016, we all hope that the next year will be full of pleasure, joy, and fun. The year 2015 was the most exciting year and especially for learning professionals as it saw a lot of advancements. There were a lot of interesting developments that had happened during this year in the field of learning, such as micro learning and gamification. So, let us have a look at the key learning trends to watch out for in the year 2016.

Automation in learning will hold the key
Many experts believe that that the year 2016 will see the rise of automation in learning and it will be become a key aspect in the content development and processing. In a most likely scenario, next year will see utilization of increasing number of automation tools to develop new courses and learning content. This will help the organizations to save both money and time invested on conventional processes. The learning professionals will develop various courseware components such as quizzes and assignments using various automation tools that are able to effectively scan the course content and determine its most critical aspects that must be tested.

Rise of videos and gamification
With the rise of smartphones and other technological advancements, video-based learning is flourishing and will continue to rise in the year 2016 as well. According to Google, 98% of 18-24 year-olds reported watching video content on smartphones on a typical day and professionals are 2x more likely to be focused while watching video on their smartphones. Video is fast becoming a preferred medium for learning with 91% of smartphone users turning to their devices for ideas while completing a task. Furthermore, 67% of professionals believe that they can find a YouTube video for anything they want to learn. Video-based learning will also offer a great way of tracking progress. Gamification is another major trend that is bound to flourish in the year 2016. Today, it is a key trend that most of the people are still waiting to explore, in particular, on the learning scene. Experts believe that using game mechanics to non-gaming contexts brings amazing outcomes, most importantly, in motivating users to attain their goals.

Social learning is on the rise
Social learning will continue to be another powerful tool to engage the learners and shall produce great results as the learners catch on faster to information when socializing. It will be allow them to share their knowledge and experiences with others. More and more organizations are now using social media tools for easy and fast communication. Learners can ask questions, share their concerns and give advice to others on course modules or team projects, therefore creating a community of practice.

Everything will be on cloud
Cloud is already on rise in every sector, and it will also continue to grow in the field of learning. According to the eLearning market trends and forecast report, it has been predicted that the use of cloud-based authoring tools and learning platforms will grow by 9% in the US – each year counting from 2013.   

Personalized learning
Learning will going to be more personalized in the year 2016 with focus of learning will be more learner-centric and the courses will be more focused to address the needs preferences and requirements of individuals rather than groups. It is more about experience so Learners will have greater control over their learning experience, from setting the pace of instruction and choosing their own learning paths. Learning will be a much more enjoyable experience with custom options that are tailored for each individual learner, which will lead to higher engagement rates and of course better results.

It is very likely that 2016 will see a drastic change in the field of learning and we are bound to see a change in our approach to instruction, knowledge management and learning methodologies. These may not be the exhaustive list so please feel free to add your own predictions for the following year.

Wishing you all a very happy & a prosperous new year!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Intolerance is rising: Is this really true?



“Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding” --- Mahatma Gandhi
Last few days, we have seen and heard about the word, Intolerance and this has been particularly because of the statement from one of the finest actors, Aamir Khan. In one of the award ceremonies, Aamir had said, “When I chat with Kiran at home, she says ‘Should we move out of India?’ That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make. She fears for her child. She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers every day.”

He also said, “That does indicate that there is this sense of growing disquiet, there is growing despondency apart from alarm. You feel why this is happening, you feel low. That sense does exist in me.”
He specifically mentioned that there is growing intolerance in the nation. Before we proceed further, let us first understand the meaning of this word. Intolerance refers to unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one’s own.

So, are we really tolerant? Are we willing to accept views and beliefs posed by others? And, the answer is, Yes, we are very tolerant people. We have been really tolerant since 1947 or 1984 or 2002 or 2008. Since so many years, there have been so many instances of riots but we have been really tolerant to even talk about it. So, why the talk about intolerance now? Kiran Kher, BJP MO from Punjab very rightly pointed out in the lok sabha yesterday that India had been tolerating misrule and corruption for 65 years under the regime of the grand old party. She also strongly reacted against the intellectuals who gave away the awards and slammed them while asking them that where were they when the Sikhs were being massacred in 1984 or when Kashmiri pundits were been thrown out of their own state that is Kashmir. She mentioned, “Intolerance is rising they say in comparison to what and when because you say something that intolerance is rising in reference to what; when we would be more tolerant than we are now.” She asked, “Do we have a reference pint in recent history?” She also stated that that incidents that occurred in Dadri and rationalists are regrettable and should not happen anywhere in a civilized society but stray incidents have been happening all over India for many years.  Well, Kiran is very right in her own sense and I would also like to ask all the writers who have protested over the so called growing intolerance that where was their conscience in all these years when so many things that should have shaken their conscience any why they didn’t wake up then. Is it that we were very tolerant then and suddenly our conscience have risen and have become intolerant?
So, coming back to what Aamir Khan and other people in the film fraternity mentioned about the growing intolerance, I would definitely agree that intolerance is rising and it has been rising many many years and we as common public have been really tolerant and patient enough. A soldier who is guarding our border against the enemies is also very tolerant. A widow of a soldier who had been killed in an encounter with the terrorist has also been tolerant and patient because if there were not tolerant then we wouldn’t have been living safely in our homes and watching the debate on growing intolerance. So, let us finish this debate on intolerance and tolerance and let us all work collaboratively to make this place a better place to live in so that our future generation would not have deal with another debate in the future about growing intolerance.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Life is a biggest teacher!



“Life is like a great teacher …. she will repeat the lesson until you learn”, Ricky Martin

On Teacher’s Day today, I would like to thank all my teachers in school, college, etc. to provide me the knowledge and wisdom and make me what I am today. It is only because of them today to be what I am today. Today, I also would like to thank my parents who have me by biggest teachers on this earth and I would specially like to mention my father. I know he would have been really proud today as I have always considered my role model. 

In addition, I would like to thank my friends who have also been my biggest teachers because as it has been quoted, “A friend can be a good teacher too”. I would also like to thank my son who have been teacher too. Yes, my son because sometimes children can teach you what even the expert teachers can’t do it. And, finally, I would like to thank this life and most importantly, “God” to being my biggest teacher. As, indeed, life is the biggest teacher because you get to learn various lessons in every phase of life. Wherever you go or whatsoever you do, there is no better teacher than life. Whether you fail or succeed, it will be an experience for you and will remain with you forever. 

As Bruce lee have rightly said, “Life itself is your teacher and you are in a state of constant learning”. Most of the greatest learning that happens in our life is when we either fail to do something or when we succeed in a task or an assignment. In addition, life is the only teacher who tests you first and then gives you a lesson—that will remain with you throughout until you breadth your last. Experts believe that life is a biggest school, God is the best teacher, problem is the best assignment, and failure is the best revision. Life is full of experiences, and those can be either good or bad or they can be also enjoyable or painful. Let’s say you fail in a certain task, it will be values more as it will give you experience to make you stronger and give a chance to give you learning so that you do not repeat your mistakes. It is even believed that bad experiences are actually a face of God as they come especially to teach you a lesson but it is absolutely up to you how you perceive it. Life is a teacher that gives you an opportunity to learn so that you can do more better later.

Friday, September 04, 2015

5 tips on using social media in a responsible manner

Few weeks back, a post got viral on Facebook where a woman posted a picture of man and accused him of eve teasing. There was a lot of hue and cry in the social media, where everyone was posting their comments or tweeting their reaction and were trying to defame the man. No one for once tried to think if the post that was posted by the woman was indeed true. They just followed their own instinct and even gave a judgement, and few even called the man as a “pervert”. And, then we come to know from the same social media that woman was indeed lying. So, was it really necessary? Who are we to provide a judgement? There is a court of law to decide whether the man is a culprit and no one is bigger the law. So, who has given us the right to defame anyone even if he / she may have committed a shameful crime? This gives me a point to think that whether we are using social media in a responsible and sensible manner. So, what do we do? Do we just comment on any post that we see on Facebook or tweet about anything? Isn’t it really necessary to think before we start to comment on Facebook or tweeting on twitter?
Here are some tips on how we can be sensible enough while using social media:

  1. Be attentive while responding in social media: We often receive links or posts from several people who have shared without actually reading them. More often, people comment on posts after they have only scanned them. One of the greatest gift that we give anyone is our attention on social media. We should always ensure to respond thoughtfully to any comment on a post or a tweet to indeed make a difference.
  2. Be active and not reactive: “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” If you are a science student then you should indeed remember this Newton’s third law of motion. But, this doesn’t hold true for social media. It is indeed important to be active on social media but it is not necessary to react to each and every comment or a tweet. We should always think before responding to any update on social media. We must first think before joining the crowd to react on any post or a tweet. We must ask ourselves that whether is it really true or is it necessary or is it indeed kind enough. Before you react on social media, always ask yourself that if it indeed is helpful and will not harm anyone. 
  3. Recognize your purpose: It is very important to be mindful before you start to post anything on social media or tweet anything. We must ask ourselves that whether I will be seen or will be need to be validated. In addition, we also must ask ourselves that whether we post anything is constructive enough or is it destructive. Doug Firebaugh of SocialMediaBlogster.com has identified seven psychological needs we may be looking to meet while using social media: acknowledgment, attention, approval, appreciation, acclaim, assurance, and inclusion. 
  4. Follow the “Let it go!” syndrome: As a good citizen, it is good to voice your opinion on social media but it is not always necessary to react to each and every post or tweet on twitter. Rather, we should follow the “Let it go” syndrome though it may seem unkind to disregard any update on social media but you must follow you own instincts. 
  5. Finally, have fun with social media: Social media have become an important part of our daily life and it has also become a platform to communicate and collaborate with various people. It has given an opportunity to be social so we must use social media to stay connected in order to build relationships.
So, while it is utmost necessary to voice your opinion but it is also important to be responsible while using social media. However, at the same time, have fun and enjoy the time over social media as this is a wonderful gift that we have today. 

Social media today has taken the online world by storm so we just need to be a little mindful while using social media.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Top 5 qualities of a team leader

“So, you are now a team lead. You must be excited. Isn’t it?”, asked Sam who was a mentor.
“Yeah! I am on top of the world. Can’t you see?” he replied sarcastically
Sam looked at him in suspicion and then asked again, “You don’t sound too good. Tell me, what happened?”
“Well, Sam, Though I have been promoted as a team lead in my team and I should be happy but somewhere I feel I am not doing right”, he replied
Sam then said, “As a team lead, you need to get the best from yourself and others as well. At a technical level, you may be very good but you need few skills to master the role of a team leader”.
 “Hmmm.” He replied (sounding confused)
Same sensed his confusion and then replied again, “Ok, let me ask you a question. To begin with, are you clear about the ultimate goal? If not, then you must find out or decide what the goal is as that is first skill of a team leader
“Yes, Definitely. I am clear of what our goal is”, he replied with confidence.
“That’s good. So, you know what the goal is and that will give you some direction.” Sam replied giving a thumbs up signal. “As a team leader, you must be leading the team somewhere. If you do not know what your goal is then it becomes utmost necessary to find out what it is and decide what the purpose of the team. In addition, you also need to ensure that everything you do in the team is governed by that purpose”, Sam replied again.
“Ok. So, that is it”, he replied.
“No, that’s not all. This is just a beginning. As a team leader, you then need to communicate clearly with your team. Communication plays a very important role for a team lead as you always work surrounded by other people and it also requires you to gain cooperative assistance to achieve the goals.” Sam replied.
“Incase, I am unable to communicate well then is there a scope of improving my communication skills?”, he asked.
“Yes, indeed there is. If you are unable to communicate well with your team then you will not be able to achieve your goal. As a team lead, you need to improve upon various aspects in order to improve you communication skills to gain cooperative assistance such as language usage, appearance, listening skills, memory skills, and ability to write clearly” Sam replied.
“It is not necessary that you need to master all of these but even if you improve 2-3 of them then you would notice an improvement in your leadership skills. However, if you are able master all of them then you can conquer the whole world”, Sam replied again with smile on his face.
“Hmm. Sounds good”, he replied.
“So, now you know what the goal is and you are able to communicate well. What do you think your next task will be? “, Sam asked.
“Plan, ofcourse. Isn’t it?” he inquired with confidence.
“Yes, you are absolutely correct”, Sam replied. “A plan is the method by the virtue of which you will achieve the goal that you have set for your team. As a team lead, it is very necessary for you to come up with a plan to organize the resources in a manner where we get maximum progress, in the minimum time, money and effort.  But, that is not an easy task to do and requires deep thought process”. Sam replied again.
“Hmm. Ok. So, let me just summarize what you just mentioned above. First, we set a goal or purpose of the team, secondly, we communicate clearly about the goal to the team, and then thirdly, we create a plan”, he replied.
“You nailed it right”, Sam said and then gave pat on his back.
“But, Sam, what do we do if we find some people in the team who disagrees with the plan or anything we have created or does not comply with it”, he asked.
“So, here, you have a conflict”, Sam replied to him. “As a team leader, you always need to be prepared of such situation as you will always have to deal with difficult people who do not agree with you and who do not do things that you want them to do. You need to be very careful while handling such people in the team, and you need a way to handle them, “Sam replied again.
“But, how do we do this?”, he asked.
“Well, let us understand the ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ of how you should handle such people”, Sam replied. “First, the Don’ts: As a team lead, you must not get angry, or verbally aggressive, or even upset of any situation. Now, the dos: you must be respectful at all times with your team members, and offer corrective actions. In addition, it is also necessary that you make reference of the facts instead of any feelings”, Sam replied. “Do not ever let your feelings come in your way when you try to deal with the difficult people”, Sam said while pointing a finger. “Remember, you must keep that person on your side as you do not want to divide the team into several parts or create any warring camps. Also, remember, it is always necessary to maintain a professional environment when working with the team”, Sam said.
“So, as a team leader, I need to play my cards in a logical manner and not get emotional at all. Correct”, he asked.
“Absolutely! You are bang on”, Sam replied.
“But, with all the conflict and other pressures, it becomes really difficult to motivate ourselves and may also have a draining effect on our mind”, he said.
Sam replied, “Yes, you are right. But, you will need to manage your emotions and then self-manage your emotional state. Remember, you must need to control the contents of your mind as you feel whatever you think about. As a team leader, you must control and direct your thoughts in your mind away from the disastrous or bad future, failures in the past, or any success that happened in the past. You must focus your mind on the goals, plan, and how best you can help your team members in order for them to help you. And, most importantly, you must focus your mind on how great the future will be for you and your family”.
“Hmm. So all this will keep me motivated and enthusiastic, and will also make me and my family happy. Isn’t it?”, he replied.
“Indeed!”, Sam sighed.
“But, how do we motivate our team?”, he asked.
Sam replied, “Lets say you have clear goals and able to communicate well with the team. Also, you have a strong plan, are able to manage difficult team members, and feel strong and motivated. So, just look around you. Can you see the similar thing happening to others also?
“Hmm. Yes”, he replied.
Sam then asked him, “Then, you filter the same skills to others, and ask yourself that have the team members become more goal focused, communicative, and organized”.
“Oh, Sounds so simple, isn’t it?”, he sighed with a relief. “So, let me just summarize what we just discussed so far. As a team leader, I would:
  1. Set and define goals for the team
  2. Communicate well with the team members
  3. Create a strong plan
  4. Manage the difficult team members
  5. Controlling and directing my thoughts, and focusing my mind on the task in hand.
  6. Stay focused and motivated myself and then only can inspire and keep others motivated
That’s it, right!”
“Yes, you nailed it, right”, Sam replied with a smile. Now, I know you can become an effective team leader.