Making the most on Mobile-based Learning

A survey conducted by Inkling, a digital learning platform for front line employees. Although 500 retail and restaurant organizations participated, their responses still reflect marketplaces outside those industries, says Jeff Carr, CEO of Inkling.

“Paper-based training is still somewhat common despite the demand and availability of mobile [training],” he says. “Customer-facing employees don’t receive enough ongoing training and lack direct access to reference materials and training guides. That’s not a shock, but in 2019, you’d think a store, restaurant or office would have figured these things out and it [mobile learning] would be a little bit more commonplace.”

The survey suggest that

  • Outdated training and communications tools are hindering effectiveness for customer-facing staff.
  • Most would prefer for online / mobile based training.
  • Most believe that mobile devices are not being maximized and employees still lack the right tools to quickly address customer queries.
  • According to Inkling’s research, employees dislike corporate learning management systems because they typically are not interactive or streamlined, Carr says, adding that workers prefer micro learning to traditional workshops because it enables them to access small bites of information on mobile devices while completing tasks or projects.

1. Versatility and Interactivity

Transitioning to mobile-based learning poses several HR challenges concerning when this type of learning is appropriate, identifying specific content to deliver and to whom, assessing how much mobile learning should be offered, and determining where and how that content is delivered, says Ron Zamir, CEO at AllenComm, a global professional-services firm that focuses on training.

In the near future, mobile leaning will be less content heavy and more social-interaction heavy. It will be more about interactivity and sharing information between employees versus devices that receive content.

2. Focus on Content

Historically, the training market has been slow to adopt new approaches or formats, which develops game-based training and communication software for mobile devices.

The obstacle will be supply not meeting demand, “The lack of quality content is going to be a huge obstacle,” which means that some clients are currently frustrated and asking for products that haven’t been developed yet.

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Practicing Learning Agility

Here are practices that can help you improve your learning agility:

Pursue your personal interest and satisfy your own curiosity

You never know what knowledge may become relevant to your current job or to future opportunities.

Build an intellectually diverse network

Include individuals who will bring different approaches to the challenges you face.

When you face a challenge, don’t jump on your 1st solution.

Force yourself to develop several approaches and to seek multiple opinions on them. Just like one of my teacher used to say, in order to be creative, always try to do better than your 1st solution. Think like there’s no box rather than thinking outside the box since it implies there’s still a box.

Dampen your natural defensiveness

Resist the urge to respond to feedback immediately taking time instead to carefully assess divergent advice.

Accept that internal resistance and mistakes are natural

Learn by analyzing the source of the resistance and understanding why you made the mistake.

Search for lessons in both successful and unsuccessful outcomes

Ask if other approaches might have been better and whether what worked well today will work well in the future.

Quick Guide on How to Build Expertise in New Field

Spend time to improve yourself in term of your technical expertise, and know how, on top of that, work on your manners and character as well.

Better pay, more joy, or even pre-requisite to promotion?

Whatever the reason might be for building expertise in a new field, the question is how to get there.

And these following steps could serve as a quick guide on how to develop your expertise in new fields.

(1) Identify the best exemplars

Get a mentor or a role model. The one who is really good at what you want to do.

So in order to locate such personnel, ask yourself this questions.

  • Who is really good at what you want to do?
  • Which experts are held in high regard by their peers and immediate supervisors?
  • Whom do you want to emulate?

(2) Assess the gap between you and them

This requires a rather brutal self-assessment.

Ask yourself how much work will this change require and are you ready to take it on?

And if the gap are fairly small, that should give you warranted confidence. But if it’s large, take a deep breath and consider whether you have the courage and resolve to handle such burden at the moment.

(3) Study on your own

Especially when the knowledge gap between you and the experts in the field is large, try to figure out what you can do on your own to begin to close it.

Self-study, talking to knowledgeable colleagues and even online courses will help tremendously.

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(4) Persuade experts to share

Most of us like to talk, especially on the matter which we are an expert on. So, trust me, many will be pleased to share their expertise, especially if you’ve done your homework first and actually have some foundational knowledge.

And as per 47 law of power suggest, don’t try to shine brighter than your master (teacher) for the master might resist to help you in fear of his or her own position. So, some might resist to share for a host of possible reason, from lack of time to fear that you’re after their job. So, remember, don’t try to outshine your ‘master’.

You can strengthen your case by focusing on how helping you will benefit them. Look at it as a case of mutual relationship rather than just a stepping stone. For example, you could take over some routine tasks that are tiresome to them, but new to you. If the experts are in your own organization, management may reward any investment they make in developing talent.

Emphasize that the time commitment can be minimal and you’ll find small time slots in which to query them.

(5) Learn to Pull Knowledge

You need to keep an open eye for opportunities to learn and avid to absorb. Since you can’t expect experts just to tell you their most critical know-how in bullet points.

Plus, it is impossible because what they know what they know in context, insulting even if it were that easy to impart since if it’s easy, it wont worth much, and frustrating if you tried to do so. Everything have its context.

Instead use the 2 most powerful questions in eliciting knowledge

  1. Why?
  2. Can you give me some example?

(6) Observe experts in action

Now, concentrated observation is often more effective than interviews since it shows you how they think and act in real time. Ask to join in on crucial meetings, accompany them to conferences and customer visits, follow them as they solve problems.

This is far from a passive process which you’ll need to constantly ask yourself:

Why did he / she do that?

what was the effect?

Would I have done it differently?

Afterwards, informally insist for a debrief, even if it’s just during a walk to the parking lot.

Check what you observed against the experts intention and see if you can “teach it back” by explaining the steps taken and the reasons for them.

(7) Seek mini-experiences

Identify opportunities to experience in some limited fashion, the environments, situations or roles that have made the experts so valuable to the organization.

(8) Add visible value as soon as possible

They would expects to see some evidence that all this work is paying off. A simple log of what you’ve done and learned shows efforts and progress. My was to record my reading and learning notes in my website.

Do what most practical to you.

In summary

Spend time to improve yourself in term of your technical expertise, and know how, on top of that, work on your manners and character as well.

Learning for worldly gain

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, ‘Whoever acquires knowledge by which the pleasure of Allah (should be) sought, but he only acquires it for the purpose of worldly gain, he will not smell the fragrance of Paradise on the Day of Resurrection.’

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَنْ تَعَلَّمَ عِلْمًا مِمَّا يُبْتَغَى بِهِ وَجْهُ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لَا يَتَعَلَّمُهُ إِلَّا لِيُصِيبَ بِهِ عَرَضًا مِنْ الدُّنْيَا لَمْ يَجِدْ عَرْفَ الْجَنَّةِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يَعْنِي رِيحَهَا

Abu Hurairah narrated:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, ‘Whoever acquires knowledge by which the pleasure of Allah (should be) sought, but he only acquires it for the purpose of worldly gain, he will not smell the fragrance of Paradise on the Day of Resurrection.’

Narrated in Sunan Ibn Majah, hadith no. 260
Grade: Hasan (sound)
Translation adapted from sunnah.com

Lessons:

  1. Learning is an obligation on every Muslim.
  2. Acquiring knowledge should be with the aim of seeking Allah’s pleasure.
  3. A person who learns merely for the sake of worldly gain, such as for rank and position, will not enter Paradise.

We should make sincere our intentions when learning, for the sake of pleasing Allah.

Be Bold and Ready to Take Risks

ever become too comfortable in your job – If you feel that you’re in an easy rut, strive to find and take on new challenges. Remember this basic truth: “The status quo is your enemy.”

– Take the risk or lose the chance –

In order for us to build a satisfying, successful career and move ahead in life, we must create promising opportunities for ourselves.

This however would requires developing impressive expertise and cultivating meaningful relationships and a huge continuous effort from us. And we must be bold and ready to take risks. 

So, lets set out to accomplish these steps:

  1. Develop a career plan – Adapt it as needed. Have an A plan, a B plan and a Z plan.  I have a plan, do you? And if my plan A doesn’t work, I still have plan B to plan Z.
  2. Never become too comfortable in your job – If you feel that you’re in an easy rut, strive to find and take on new challenges. Remember this basic truth: “The status quo is our enemy and complacency is never bliss.”
  3. When it comes to your work, think big – Don’t see your job as just a job. Elevate your thinking. Make your job your mission.
  4. Work with full intention – Make a conscious degree of focus one of your defining personal characteristics. Operate so that your opportunities bump up against your interests and skills.
  5. You’re not perfect – Don’t try to be flawless. Messing up occasionally is human and acceptable. But learning from your mistakes is one of the most effective paths to growing professionally.
  6. Build new skills in “sprints” – To master new skills, engage in intense, distraction-free work-study sessions or sprints. Schedule regular breaks for temporary decompression.
  7. Seek challenges – It’s the “hard stuff,” not the “easy stuff” that challenges you and enables you to build new capabilities and skills.  
  8. Seek constructive feedback – Honest, perceptive insights fuel our growth.
  9. Build the right habits – You are more likely to excel when you make your positive behaviors automatic or habitual. Solidify one good, new habit every month. Classic conditioning is a great tool for changing your habits. It calls for being consistent in practicing new behaviors. 
  10. Maintain a journal – Maintaining a journal gives you an opportunity to reflect daily on your life and to learn from your actions and behaviors. I used my blog as my journal, easy to update, and easy to access. And I also have a hard cover journal which I loved. Your preference is yours, but the essence is, you need one, you need a journal.
  11. Seek help from people you trust – You don’t have to do everything alone.  There’s a saying, “if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.”
  12. Promote diversity – Diversity promotes cross-pollination of new ideas. It encourages original thinking and breeds creativity.
  13. Give your team members a chance to shine – As a leader, you don’t always have to shine, but you should make sure that the other members of your team shine. Build on their skills and ideas. Give team members credit for their accomplishments.
  14. Don’t let fear of failure paralyze you –  Always default to action.
  15. Make small bets, but make them – Be cautious when you begin new initiatives. Small bets make more sense than big one. The more bets you make, the better chance you have that one will hit. 
  16. You can’t avoid uncertainty – Uncertainty is a basic condition of life.  Regard uncertainty as a possibility, not a problem.
  17. Persist – To come out on top, persist regardless of obstacles.
  18. Be your own entrepreneur – Think of your career as a start-up and of yourself as the entrepreneur planning and managing this start-up.
  19. Become the “best-connected person” – When it comes to networking, strive to be the best-connected person, not the “most-connected person.” Possessing a fat address book with many names means nothing if the people listed aren’t real allies who will collaborate and help you when necessary.
  20. Learn to build new skills – The best possible skill is the ability to develop new skills.  
  21. Believe that you can  improve – If you don’t believe that you can move beyond your current abilities, you won’t. Avoid self-defeating, self-fulfilling doubts.
  22. Practice – You can’t master any skill without extensive practice. Leverage the “power of ritual” to manage your practice sessions. Practice at the same time each day so practicing becomes habitual.
  23. Rest – You can’t practice, learn or work if you don’t get enough rest. Sleep at least eight hours a night and nap for 20 to 30 minutes during the day.
  24. Do the jobs you delegate – Monsieur Pitard, the top chef of the Hotel Majestic in Paris,  cooked one dish a week himself instead of delegating it his staff. Do some of the work you assign to others to keep your skills fresh. 
  25. Always ask – You can learn a lot from other people and advance your career in the process. Don’t hesitate to ask questions to build your knowledge.   
  26. Build social contracts – Management expert Peter Block developed the concept of social contracting. That’s when you agree up front with your partners or collaborators on how you and they will work together. Get them to answer these questions: “What do you want?” “Where might you need help?” “When you had a really good working relationship in the past, what happened?” “When things go wrong – as they inevitably will – how shall we manage that?”

“Start any new project or endeavor by saying to yourself, ‘I may not get the hang of this right away. I’m going to make mistakes, and that’s okay’.”

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The Motivation Spectrum

If people are already motivated, the question now is, how motivated are they? The answer lies in the 6 “motivational outlooks” on the spectrum of motivation.

These outlook do not form a continuum. At one moment, we might operate in one particular motivational outlook and later, we may operate with an entirely diferent one.

To illustrate how motivaional outlook work, consier them in light of a routine meeting where 6 different employees are each operating individually based on a different mode of motivation:

  1. Disinterest – This one hated the meeting and considered it as as waste of time.
  2. External – This one leverage the meeting to show off his power and status within the organization.
  3. Imposed – This one is forced by his or her superiors to attend the meeting. Their superiors might be angry if they missed the meeting.
  4. Aligned – This one loved attending meeting, and felt they might gain valueable knowledge from that meeting.
  5. Integrated – this one enjoyed the meeting because her life has a noble purpose, and the meeting focused on that purpose.
  6. Inherent – This one is gregarious, loves being around people and attends all meetings.

“Setting measurable goals and outcomes is important. Having a defined finish line in front of you can be positively compelling.”

The first 3 motivational outlook are in the suboptimal motivation category and they represent the low-quality motivation or motivational junk food.

People operating based on suboptimal motivational modes often say things like,

“I have to”

“I must”

“I should”

“I’m requied to”

“It’s necessary”

“Because it’s my duty.”

“Everyday, your employees’ appraisal of their workplace leaves them with or without a positive sense of well-being. Their well-being determines their intentions, and intentions are the greatest predictors of behavior.”

The remaining 3 motivational outlook are the optimal ones. They show the kind of motivation which we want, for ourselves, our employees and the people we care about.

They are motivational “health food”.

Outlook based on alignment, integration and inherent motivation generate high-quality energy, vitality and positive well-being which leads to a sustainable results. People with optimal motivation outlook often say,

“I get to”

“I have decided to”

“I am lucky to”

“I elect to”

“External Motivators”

Organization at times would turn to external motivators to influence their employees. These motivators include money, incentives or a bigger office or even bigger title which are tangable, or approval, status, shame or fear, which are intangible. These forces work directly against the important psychological requirements employees have for autonomy, relatedness and competence.

External motivators actually undermine motivation.

“The quality of our beliefs determines the quality of our leadership values. Our leadership values ultimately determine how we lead and the quality of the workplace we create.”

External motivators can take control over our employees, driving and compelling them to act in a certain way, thus robbing them of autonomy. And eventually, the employees will come to resent the loss of control.

A self-defeating inherent message accompanies any external motivator:

“If you do as I say, then you will be rewarded”

This ham-handed message can gain only temporary, “conditional support” from the employees.

“Not all beliefs are values, but all values are beliefs”

Optimal Motivation

For most organizations, motivation is what their employees can do for them. But this reverses crucial priorities.

The magic of motivation kick into overdrive when managers address what the can do for their employees.

Answering that question fulfills one o the basic rules of motivation:

“When we focus on what we want for people, we are more likely to get the results we want from people.”

So, instead of trying to drive or control employees with carrots and sticks, or pigeon pellets, help promote thriving employees by meeting their crucial autonomy, relatedness an competence psychological needs, which are their “basic desire to thrive.”

Organizations need to move beyond a strict focus on corporate priorities which usually centered around “results, performance and productivity.”

“Great leadership takes great practice. When it comes to motivation, leadership practice includes being a role model.”

And when companies focuses on autonomy, relatedness and competence, they and their people will stand to benefit. Organizations that focus on ARC develop sel-governing workforce who believe in accountability. Such companies promote strong personal relationships, which motivate examplary “citizenship behaviors” among employees. This emphasis on competence and professional development helps create and sustain learning organizations.

Therefore, organization should help their employees to understand why they are motivated. Adopting a motivational strateg based on ARC values which ensures that our employees have an optimal motivational outlook. And when leaders model this attitude, it can become a defining characteristic of our organization, a win-win-win for employees, manager and the company.

And hence, a much holistic working culture.

The ‘Motivation Dilemma”

Managers face a motivation dilemma. Their organizations insiste that they to motivate their subordinate to work hard to meet the corporate goals. Unfortunately, since no one can motivate another person which is an impossible task to do.

That’s the dilemma.

Executives and managers who want to understand motivation should and must understand the “appraisal process”.

Employees appraise things according to what important to them and their priorities might differ from that of their managers and corporate leaders.

So, the factors which motivate employees may not align with what we want them to be motivated toward accomplishing. The goals that drive their motivation may not be akin to the objectives which we want to encourage.

“It is a mistake to think that people are not motivated. They are simply longing for the needs they cannot name.”

For example,

In 2002, the Boston Red Sox wanted to lure Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane to come work for them. And they offered him then what would have been the largest GM salary in baseball. They were shocked when he turned it down. But Beane appraised the offer against what mattered to him – “his family and the love of baseball.”

“The real story of motivating is that people are learners who long to grow, enjoy their work, be productive, make positive contributions and build lasting relationships.”

And in case of Beane, he never cared about money, so the Red Sox’s huge salary offer meant little to him. They couldn’t motivate him because he was already motivated, but in different way than the Red Sox wanted.

This is always the proble when we try to motivate people. They already are motivated but sometimes in ways we may not like.

However, we want our employees’ individual motivations to align with our organization’s goal. But now we understand that trying to leverage “motivational forces” to compel people to do as we want won’t work.

So, how can we align their goals and the company’s goals?

“It is time to stop beating our people with carrots-and-sticks and embrace different, more effective leadership strategies.”

First, understand that our employees are learners, they want to do well, they want to make solid contributions and they want their organization’s executives to think well of them. They also want to have “autonomy, relatedness and competence ” or ARC, which is the essential psychological needs.

“Rewards may help people initiate new and healthy behaviors, but they fail miserably in helping people maintain their progress or sustain results.”

Instead of offering contests or prizes, encourage your employees by enabling them to gain autonomy. That’s the secret to motivation.

Offer independence and relate to them as human beings. Help them to grow professionally and personally. Don’t worry about what they can do for you, but rather worry about what you can do for them.

In that environment, your employees will become more motivated to perform better.

When you offer autonomy, related to them and encourage their competence, and they will respond.

That’s simple human nature.