What is it that truly differentiates one candidate from another during the application process? Whether we are talking about the stage involving the vetting of resumes or the interview stage, certain qualities are increasingly taking center stage in the mind of recruiters. They are looking for such qualities in potential hires.
For job-seekers who want to remain a step ahead of the pack, it’s important to know what the most wanted skills are in today’s workplace.
Research on what HR experts believe are the most important skills indicates that we are moving away from a mind-set that potential employees should have the technical know-how and the right academic qualifications. Even though the latter is an inevitable prerequisite, the emphasis has shifted.
In today’s world, employers and recruiters have realized that it is much easier to train smart individuals how to perform the specifics of any role. This is as long as they have already acquired a much harder-to-teach skill set. This skill set comprises the likes of critical thinking, soft skills, and some basic competency in a few areas of expertise.
If you want to get the job of your dreams therefore, or excel in the career you are already following, have a look at the skills below, assess where you stand, and find a way to polish the areas you are not doing so well in.
COMMUNICATION SKILLS (LISTENING, SPEAKING AND WRITING)
Communication skills are perhaps the first set of skills that potential employers will notice. From the initial moment you get in touch with them, the employer will be scrutinizing the way you behave.
Be it the way you talk over the phone, the way you give them information on email, your resume and cover letter, or the way you carry yourself during the interview, they will be assessing whether you have polished communication skills.
Make sure that you proof read any form of written communication you send them, and take your time to listen to what they ask you (or read their instructions carefully), and answer in well-thought out, grammatically correct sentences. The way you communicate your thoughts should be impeccable, as this is the way they expect you to communicate with colleagues and clients alike throughout your tenure in their organization.
ANALYTICAL AND RESEARCH SKILLS
As much as you think a question/problem presented to you is a piece of cake, be very wary of giving a rushed answer. Take the time to analyze the situation, think of all possible scenarios, and if possible ask for some time to go and do some research to find out more.
Being analytical, but also having strong research skills, differentiates one employee from the other. It demonstrates your determination, your ability to assess different scenarios, and your commitment to be 100% sure before giving an answer to your employer. It could mean the difference between a badly thought out idea and something that may gain the company a huge profit!
An ability to manage multiple assignments at the same time, and being flexible enough to work under ever changing conditions, management, environment and rules is highly appreciated.
In today’s world, a job description is very fluid, and can change shape at any time. An employee that is willing to work under a multitude of changing circumstances is highly sought after.
Being able to adapt from one working environment to the next, or even from one type of assignment to another, is a big advantage. It demonstrates the individual’s commitment to the organization, and will influence their career progression.
“No man is an island”. So the saying goes. Increasingly in the workplace, we all have to work with others in order to complete a project.
Be it working in a team, or dealing with clients or suppliers, interpersonal abilities is a definite advantage and something employers always look for.
The ability to build relationships with those around you under any circumstances, and the ability to inspire them to do what needs to be done is essential.
ABILITY TO MAKE DECISIONS AND SOLVE PROBLEMS
Decision making and problem solving is another skill that is high in demand. The ability to identify complex problems and review related information in order to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions, can distinguish one employee from another. The ability to use critical thinking to rationalize a decision will set an individual apart.
ABILITY TO PLAN, ORGANIZE AND PRIORITIZE WORK
Simple as it may sound, an individual that can show that he/she has been able to plan and organize their work is very valuable. Pay special attention to the way you plan your tasks, and ensure you keep up with all the deadlines you are given.
An employee that can stick to assigned timelines and can provide pieces of information with ease and speed indicates that he/she remains on top of things and can always be expected to deliver the required task or information. Similarly, knowing which tasks to prioritize and which ones to leave for later is an important skill.
ABILITY TO WEAR MULTIPLE HATS
Theoretically, when someone is offered a job, there is a job description included in the contract. In reality however, employees are not expected to stick to only what is under their job description.
On the contrary, they are expected to get involved in other areas of the business, understand all the different steps, and offer help where necessary. At the end of the day, employers look for someone willing to try out different things, and wear multiple hats at the same time, deal with different projects and individuals, and provide more than one sole contribution at a time to the company.
The ability to manage people is a very powerful skill. Not only can you inspire individuals to do what is right, you can guide them along the way, and you can monitor their progress in every step. Being able to lead a group and manage these individuals in a way that does not impede their progress and insult their judgement is highly desirable in today’s workplace.
With Gen Y taking over the work place, and their strong desire to be left alone to do what they have to do, it is essential to have managers that know how to lead and manage their teams in a way that leaves all employees room to come up with their own ways of doing things. Exhibiting strong management/leadership skills is therefore a big advantage in today’s working world.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
Even though many may think that the bigger picture is more important than the tiny details, attention to detail is what will make someone stand out at what they do. Paying attention to detail may save the company a lot of hassle and possibly keep the distance from a catastrophic outcome.
Being self-confident exudes an aura that can convince those you work for (or with) that you know what you are doing. If you do not believe in yourself, your skills and abilities, then you cannot expect anyone else to believe in you. You need to be confident with yourself and ensure everyone sees you as someone that has the ability to pull through whatever situation comes your way.
Naturally, you need tools to help you develop your skills and with our business simulations you can work on 8 of the named above, by simply playing one business game. Don’t forget to check the whole list of our business games! Oh, and for those of you who already have the skills, don’t forget that challenging yourself is also necessary in order not to get rusty.
Everyone wants to have a fulfilling career. But what do you think you need to have it? While there are many possible answers, in my opinion there are at least two things you should have.
First, you should follow your heart. Following your heart means working on something that matters to you. It’s something that you do not because of money, but because of love and care. Second, you should live your fullest potential. It’s not enough just to do what matters to you. You should also grow your capacity to the fullest. I don’t know about you, but I feel deep satisfaction whenever I know that I’ve done my best.
The key to living your fullest potential is developing your skills. You can only live your fullest potential if you always develop your skills so that you can give better and better value over time.
Here are seven tips for developing your skills:
Curiosity is essential because it makes the process of developing skills much more enjoyable. If you are curious, you will naturally want to know more simply because it’s fun. You will go further and deeper than those who develop their skills because they must.
Here are some things you can do to build curiosity:
- Don’t say that something is boring
Saying that something is boring is killing curiosity since it closes door of possibilities.
- Make asking a habit
Often we take things for granted and accept them as they are. Don’t. Build the habit of digging deeper below the surface. Your tool to do that is questions.
- Make things fun
Don’t just look at the serious side of things. Look at their fun side too.
Develop your learning skill
Learning skill should be the first skill you develop because it greatly helps you develop other skills. An essential ingredient to have good learning skill is motivation. If you are motivated to learn about a subject, it will be much easier for you to learn it. Again, curiosity plays an important role here because a curious person is naturally motivated.
Be a versatilist
A versatilist is someone who can easily adapt to new situations and quickly develop the skills necessary to excel. Being a versatilist essentially means being a smart learner who knows what to learn and how to quickly learn it.
To know what to learn, a versatilist should anticipate the future. That way he will get a sense of what new skills will be in demand and prepare himself before most people do.
Find your role models
It will be easier for you to grow if you have concrete examples of what you want to be. That’s why it’s important to find your role models. Your role models give you a standard to achieve so that you know where and how far you should go in developing your skills. It will also motivate you since you know that someone has already achieved such high standard.
Find your mentors
While having role models is good, in many cases you can’t connect directly with them. But developing skills will be much easier if you work with those who have gone through it. That’s why you should find not just role models but also mentors. Ideally your mentors are also your role models but at least they are those who are more experienced than you. These people can teach you what to do and what not to do so that you don’t have to find them yourself the hard way. You can save a lot of time.
Finding mentors, of course, is not easy. Often you should give first before someone is willing to become your mentor. Try to be useful to them by helping them in whatever way you can. Give them a reason to invest their time in you.
Get feedback through real projects
The best way to develop your skills is through real projects. Why? Because real projects give you the much needed feedback to hone your skills. While many people prefer to wait until everything is well-prepared before working on real projects, you will learn faster by working on something real. You may face failures in the process but they are your stepping stones to success since they give you precious lessons.
Shorten your learning cycle
The speed of your skill development depends on the length of your learning cycle. The shorter your learning cycle, the faster you will develop your skills. Here are some ideas to shorten your learning cycle:
- Make quality effort
I already mentioned that you should work on real projects since they give you important feedback. But having feedback alone won’t help you much. You must have quality feedback. To have it, ensure that your effort is quality effort. Prepare yourself as good as you can (without being over prepared) before launching an initiative. This way the feedback you get will be of higher quality.
- Measure comprehensively
The feedback you get should also cover as many dimensions as possible. You can achieve it by measuring your performance comprehensively. The more metrics you measure, the better feedback you will get. Of course, the metrics should be chosen carefully so that you don’t waste your resources on measuring.
- Act upon the feedback
After getting the feedback, you should act diligently upon it. Learn as much as possible from the feedback to get the most possible points for improvements. Then choose the most potential ones and do your best to improve them before launching your next initiative.
These tips will help you develop your skills and make your career more fulfilling. Not only will you do what matters to you, but also you will get the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve done your best.
Oh, and don’t forget to check our business games! These are holistic and system approach based and will help you focus on your both business skills and management skills. And these skills will definitely be useful in life!
Have you been ever told to study for a test? However, have you ever been taught how to study? Here are the 6 strategies you should be aware of both as a teacher and a student.
Space out your studying over time
Far too many students wait until the night before a test to study for it. Similarly, teachers often wait until the day before a test to review. When enough students score well on the test, it appears they have learned the material. But a few weeks later, most of that information has vanished from students’ minds. For more durable learning, the studying has to take place in smaller chunks over time.
Teachers can help students apply this strategy by helping them create a studying calendar to plan out how they will review chunks of content, and by carving out small chunks of class time every day for review. In both cases, plan to include current concepts AND previously learned material. Many teachers know this as “spiraling.”
Practice bringing information to mind without the help of materials
Many people think of “studying” as simply re-reading notes, textbooks, or other materials. But having the information right in front of us doesn’t force us to retrieve it from memory; instead, it allows us to trick ourselves into thinking we know something. Recalling information without supporting materials helps us learn it much more effectively.
Put your class materials away, and then write out or maybe sketch or speak everything you know and try to be as thorough as possible, and then check your materials for accuracy. You’re bringing information to mind almost like you’re testing yourself; though it can be a practice test, it doesn’t have to be. You can just sort of go through and explain what you know, or teach a friend or a pet or even an inanimate object everything that you learned in school. By bringing that information to mind, you’re changing the way that information is stored so that it’s easier for you to get to later on.
Teach students how to do retrieval practice in class: Have them turn off their devices, put all their notes and books away, then ask them to write everything they know about a particular term or topic, or share their thoughts in a think-pair-share. When the practice is done, have students check their understanding by revisiting their materials and discussing misconceptions as a class. Once they learn how to do this in school, they can then apply it at home.
Explain and describe ideas with many details
This method asks students to go beyond simple recall of information and start making connections within the content. Students should ask themselves open-ended questions about the material, answer in as much detail as possible, then check the materials to make sure their understanding is correct.
Teachers can apply this strategy by having brief class discussions where these kinds of questions are explored and asking students to work elaboration into their own study plans.
Switch between ideas while you study
Common knowledge tells us that to learn a skill, we should practice it over and over again. While repetition is vital, research says we will actually learn that skill more effectively if we mix our practice of it with other skills. This is known as interleaving.
So if students are learning to calculate the area of a triangle, instead of having them do 20 problems with triangles, have them do one of a triangle, then one of a circle, then a triangle, then a square.
Yes, that is actually harder. So they’ll be getting more wrong, they’ll be making more errors, but they’ll also be learning something very important, which is how to choose a particular strategy for each problem, as opposed to just repeatedly doing the same thing.
When planning exercises for students, resist the temptation to have them repeat the exact same process multiple times in a row. Instead, have them do a few of the new process, then weave in other skills, so that the repetitive behavior is interrupted and students are forced to think more critically. Explain this strategy to students so they can apply interleaving to their own studying.
Use specific examples to understand abstract ideas
Most teachers already use this strategy in their own teaching; it’s a natural part of explaining a new concept. But what we don’t necessarily do is help students extend their understanding by coming up with examples of their own.
Combine words and visuals
When information is presented to us, it is often accompanied by some kind of visual: An image, a chart or graph, or a graphic organizer. When students are studying, they should make it a habit to pay attention to those visuals and link them to the text by explaining what they mean in their own words. Then, students can create their own visuals of the concepts they are learning. This process reinforces the concepts in the brain through two different paths, making it easier to retrieve later.
In class, regularly turn students’ attention to the visuals used in textbooks, on websites, and even in your own slideshow presentations. Have students describe the visuals to each other and make connections with what you’re learning. Then have students create their own visuals of the content to further reinforce it. Remind students to include diagramming, sketching, and creating graphic organizers when they study at home.
Making the Most of the Strategies
Two more pieces of advice on how to maximize these strategies for learning:
Combine them. These strategies don’t necessarily work in isolation. You can space out your retrieval practice, and when doing retrieval practice, try to recall concrete examples, elaborate, or sketch out a concept. When doing retrieval practice, you can interleave between different concepts.
Make them part of your class vocabulary. If you just use these strategies in your teaching, you’ll see improvement. But if you actually explain the research to students, teach them the terminology, and use that terminology when teaching—”Okay, we’re going to spend a few minutes on retrieval practice”—students will not only have a clearer understanding of why you’re doing what you do, but they may be more likely to carry those skills with them into future classes.
And don’t forget to add business simulations based games to your pack of learning experience. You can find the whole list here!
Let’s continue our rediscovery of efficiency of learning methods.
Low Efficiency Study Methods
Summarization, highlighting/underlining/marking, mnemonics, imagery use for text learning, and rereading all received low efficiency grade in the meta-study. The reason for their low utility grade differs; the studies into the methods show mixed results, it is not generalized, has narrow applications, and/or its efficiency is limited.
Highlighting, underlining, and marking materials (low)
Highlighting is one of the most popular methods for students in college. Although an extremely popular method of learning, highlighting ranked rather low on this study’s utility scale. This technique is popular because it is very easy to implement and require very little training. Most studies analyzed in the meta-analysis showed no noticeable improvement in test scores by highlighting over simply reading the information. Although highlighting, underlining, and marking materials is often paired with other methodologies of learning, the study evaluated highlighting on its own merit. Thus the reason that highlighting does score a higher utility score on this meta-analysis is because its effectiveness and applicability is limited to certain information and tasks.
Tips for highlighting: Although highlighting alone has shown to be no more effective than simply reading the material, the combination of highlighting with other methods in the study will prove to be effective in retaining information for testing. For instance, employing the use of highlighting with recall/self-testing can prove to be effective in internalizing the material.
Summarization is pretty self-explanatory; it is the process of summarizing a section of chapter you are trying to learn. In theory this method should work because it involves extracting the gist and higher-level meaning of learned text, which is important to understanding concepts.
Results from multiple studies seem to indicate that summarization helps with performance on generative measures (e.g. free recall or essays) but do not help when it comes to multiple-choice questions or other questions that do not require the student to produce information. Thus, it is better suited for tests that involved in the production of information rather than tests that rely on recognition of concepts.
Although some studies have shown promise in summarization, others failed to find benefit. Consider the study in 1986 by Wong, Wong, Perry, & Sawatsky. The study found that those who were tasked to summarize textbook passages about earthquakes performed no better (overall) than the control group when tested a week after. Also, the study concluded that students benefited from the technique when the questions required the application or analysis of knowledge, but summarization led to decreased performance when the questions required evaluation or analysis of knowledge.
Summarizing was found to be effective for those already adept at summarizing. The quality of the summary matters. Summaries that included more information and were linked to prior knowledge were shown to do better.
Thus, summarization is ranked low in this meta-analysis because the effectiveness of summarizing was not general; the nature of the material and the test matters quite a bit when it comes to how effective summarization is. The quality of the summary had a huge effect on the effectiveness of the summarization, from no effect to highly effective. Therefore, summarizing was found to be more beneficial than rereading, highlighting, and underlining.
Tips for summarization: If you are summarizing, it is important to get the core concepts and the overall concepts correct as it is the basis of your knowledge. Additionally, summarize using shorthand notations that you develop as it will allow you to summarize more of the material. Also, combine summarization with practice testing will allow you to really get down the material, without having a false sense of competence.
Rereading is another popular technique used by students. However being quite time consuming, it also turns out (and there is a scientific basis for it) it’s not that efficient.
Theoretically, rereading improves learning because it increases the total amount of information encoded, regardless of the kind or level of information contained within the text. However, when rereading was compared to other methods of learning, it did not fare well. Although rereading requires no training, the amount of time spent reading does not give a favorable return on investment. The meta-study showed that there is in fact a diminishing return on investment after the first rereading as students gain very little after the first rereading.
Tips for rereading: If you are going to reread, doing so by leaving a little bit of time (but not too much) between the initial reading and the rereading. In a study by Verkoeijen, Rikers, and Ozsoy in 2008, learners did best when they let 4 days pass between the initial rereading and the rereading. In between those 4 days, you can move on with the next topic, and reread after 4 days. So with this method, you are reading new material as well as rereading old material every day.
This ranked surprisingly low in the meta-study but I imagine the reason it is low is because it does require some training and can only be applied to specific types of tests/tasks that require memorization. For instance, it may not help as much when you are attempting to use this method to solving a linear algebra problem. The idea of a mnemonic device is to develop mental images and associations with a word or term. The study’s authors acknowledge that there is a tremendous amount of evidence that shows mental imagery is a powerful form of learning, positing that mental imagery is great for things such as
- learning new foreign vocabulary,
- medical terminology,
- definition of words,
- minerals and their attributes,
- scientific definitions.
However, the authors found that the method was lacking when it came less concrete ideas/words. The limited applicability of the method is the main reason for its low utility.
Tips for mnemonics: Don’t let the low utility grade fool you, keyword mnemonics is a very valuable learning tool for memorizing many ideas/words. In order to create more durable knowledge, the mental imagery needs to be more memorable, and needs to be revisited a few times in spaced intervals. It may also be a good idea to use a memory palace to store your imagery. For more information about using memory palaces, check out Josh Foer’s fascinating book Moonwalking With Einstein.
Imagery Use for Text Learning
This method is different from keyword mnemonics as this method forms a mental image of a whole sentence/concept, instead of a single keyword. However, the research suggests that the method is rather limited in nature. Like the keyword mnemonics method above, this method does require some training to do effectively. Studies of imagery use has only been limited to text that are rather easy to imagine, and not abstract concepts, such as topics that are more mathematical and scientific in nature. But even studies with image-friendly reading shows that the results are a mixed bag. Some studies show students benefited, while others did not.
Though there is evidence of benefit when imagery is used for just one sentence, a study of this method using long text found that imagery use in text learning had no noticeable benefit on high school students.
Overall imagery use for text learning receives a low utility score because of its variability in result, and the fact that it only works for short image-friendly text. Additionally, a large amount of training is required to use the method.
Imagery of text material tips: To make the most of imagery, make sure that the images are extremely memorable. It can help to draw out the concept on paper and then visually taking a picture with your head.
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Let’s continue our rediscovery of efficiency of learning methods.
Moderate Efficiency Study Methods
Elaborate interrogation, self-explanation, and interleaved practice received moderate utility assessments. They are rated as moderate because more research needs to be done in the efficacy of the methods, the efficacy was variable across tasks and topics, and/or some in-depth training was required. But the general consensus from the various research studied in the meta-analysis show that it works.
Elaborative Interrogation (Moderate)
Elaborative interrogation is the process of asking yourself why in an attempt to understand concepts. For instance, if you are learning about E=MC^2, a starting question you might ask yourself is “why does E equal MC^2?”. This method is extremely simple to use and require no training; however it does require some familiarity with the topic (and related topics) to be effective.
This method is particularly efficient with time as one study on self-paced learning showed that elaborative interrogation took 32 minutes (reading + elaborative interrogation) compared to 28 minutes for the reading-only group. This is particularly good news as reading is generally monotonous thus elaborative interrogation done during reading can enhance learning by taking away the monotony.
However, the thing is that elaborative interrogation is rather limited in its application; its application is limited to answering factual statements, such as the E=MC^2 statement above. When learning about a complex chain of relationships, such as digestive system.
Tips for elaborative interrogation: Elaborative interrogation can be very effective when done frequently. So as you are reading, be sure to check your understanding of the material by asking yourself questions every couple of paragraphs or so. Research suggests that the gains from this technique are diluted when elaborative interrogation is employed once every 1-2 pages. To make further use of this technique, use a notebook to write down the questions you are asking as well as the answers as you are reading along. This practice of writing down your questions/answers further commits the material to memory.
Self-explanation is a close relative of elaborative interrogation. This method involves the participant explaining and recording how one reaches an answer or conclusion. This is actually a popular method for solving abstract problems and similar to the requirement in many math classes to show your work. This was found to be more effective when done during the initial learning stage, instead of after learning. A strength of this learning strategy is that it can be applied to a whole variety of tasks and subjects.
However, studies show that this method does require some training and is one of the more time consuming methods of study. Additionally, there have not been too many studies that have tested long-term retention of the material learned through self-explanation; most studies administered testing minutes after the conclusion of the tasks.
Tips for self-explanation: When doing self-explanation, it helps to write out the questions that you want to ask yourself and then write down the answers. The process of writing the questions and answers down further commits the concepts to memory, and lets your brain organize the importance of the materials.
Interleaved practice (Moderate)
Interleaved practice is when the student studies the topic at hand but also blends the study with previous topics/concepts at the same time. For instance, if a student is learning the concept of polynomials this week in Algebra but learned about simplifying algebraic equations, and solving inequalities the previous couple of weeks, then interleaved practice means that the student should spend most of his time studying polynomials but also spend a fair amount of time simplifying algebraic equations and solving inequalities.
This method was talked about extensively in Barbara Oakley’s book A Mind for Numbers. She is a heavy proponent of interleaved practice and its cousin, spaced repetition. The studies show that this method has tremendous potential to improve learning and retention of science and mathematics in students. Additionally, interleaved practice helps in many other cognitive skills.
On the not-so-positive side, although studies on this method are sparse, a few of them show that the method may not work in some scenarios. However, this may be because of implementation, a lack of training, or because interleaved practice does not work across a broad range of subjects. The authors of the study acknowledged that there seems to be a lot of potential in this method, but there needs to be more research done before it is regarded as a high utility method.
Tips for interleaved practice: Interleaved practice is a must if you are doing math and science. The practice of going back through previous chapters and topics act as a much-needed refresher because much of math and science builds on previously studied material.
Interleaved practice also shows great promise for learning foreign languages also. Thus what you should do is mix in work from previous topics/chapters in with your current work when you are studying. This process of interleaving also solidifies your knowledge base as you gain a greater understanding of when to use certain methods and when not to.
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School is for learning. But ironically, one of the things that people don’t really learn to do well in school, is how to learn. We are taught rote memorization and told to absorb it for arbitrary tests without being taught how to effectively absorb the material. And it seems as the methods we were actually taught in school aren’t all that effective. In a meta-analysis (a study analyzing other studies) published several years ago, 10 of the most popular learning techniques were studied and their effectiveness were ranked. The methods were categorized as low, moderate, or high in terms of utility (effectiveness) in absorbing learned material. Highlighting/marking/underlining, summarizing, and rereading — all popular study methods taught in school — registered as low utility. But lets start with the most efficient ones.
High Efficiency Study Methods
Practice testing and distributed practice received a high utility assessment because they benefit learners of many age groups and abilities. And have been shown to boost academic performance across a multitude of testing conditions and testing materials. Additionally, high utility study methods do not require extensive training in relation to their gained benefits.
Practice testing (High)
This should come as no surprise—practice testing has been lauded by learning experts as one of the best ways to retain information. Practice testing has over 100 years of research to back up its effectiveness. Simply put, it works.
Practice testing doesn’t need to actually be an actual test and in a testing environment. Actually, you can test yourself anytime, anywhere, and with anything. You can test yourself in your head by asking yourself questions and answering them. Also, you can test yourself by using flash cards. You can test yourself by doing practice problems without the aid of notes or textbook material. And yes, you can test yourself by setting yourself up in a testing environment.
Two theories have been put forth as to why testing works:
- testing enhances retention by triggering elaborative retrieval processes by accessing your long-term memory and retrieving associated information and
- testing facilitates the encoding of more effective mediators via cues and targets.
Additionally, recent evidence suggests that practice testing also improves the ability of students to mentally organize their knowledge, and thereby increasing the speed and efficiency of the information retrieval process.
Practice testing is highly effective because it is reasonable with time demand, doesn’t take a whole lot to learn how to do, and works for all types of tasks and subjects.
Tips for practice testing: Studies show that immediate retesting without time between tests does very little good in increasing learning. Rather, practice testing should be done when enough time has elapsed between practice tests.
Distributed practice (High)
Distributed practice is the method of dividing your studies over time intervals rather than doing it in one large chunk. This is why cramming for tests does not work; studies have repeatedly shown that distributed practice is better for material retention and absorption.
The reason distributed practice works is because it gives the brain time to absorb the information by switching back and forth between focused and diffused mode of thinking. The evidence is pretty clear that spacing your studies is important to remembering what you learn.
A study in 1979 showed that students who distributed 6 study sessions with an interval of 30 days between each session did the best when a test was administered 30 days after the 6th session. The students who distributed their 6 sessions with 1 day between each session did slightly worse on the final test (also given 30 days after their 6th session), but did better than the first group in all the tests given prior to the final test. And the people who did not allow a day to lapse before restudying fared the worst. They did dramatically worse on the final test than the first two group.
Tips for distributed practice: Although it would be nice to let 30 days sit between each study session, you are not given such luxury in an academic environment; most classes span 3-4 months in length and have between two to four big tests during that time, along with weekly quizzes and homework. Thus, the best thing to do with a test for school is to use the 24 hour spacing interval to restudy your material. Within the first several days of learning, you should space out your learning between every 24 hours. After the first four review sessions (with 24 hours between each review), your review sessions can be further spaced out and less detailed. In fact, letting a month go by after the first four review sessions is completely fine.
Combine distributed practice and practice testing and your test scores should skyrocket. For the overwhelming majority of your academic endeavors, distributed practice combined with practice testing is enough to ace your exams and learn the material.
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All e-Learning projects are different. As such, the skill sets and unique talents for each e-Learning project vary greatly. While one course might require extensive knowledge of a particular Instructional Design Model, another may call for an in depth understanding of a particular e-Learning Authoring Tool. However, there is a set of specific skills that e-Learning professionals can acquire and fine tune in order to help any future project run smoothly.
Have a thirst for knowledge and opportunities to learn
First and foremost, e-Learning professionals must have a constant thirst for knowledge. They must acknowledge the fact that learning is an ongoing process, and have a deep passion for learning as a whole. Even though you are providing others with an experience through instruction, e-Learning course design, or content development. As an e-Learning professional you must regard yourself as a perpetual student who never stops learning new concepts, ideas, or skill sets.
Desire to understand how individuals learn and develop skill sets
Which delivery methods will allow the learner to best absorb the new knowledge and skills? Which model or theory will most effectively allow the learner to not only acquire the information, but retain and recall it for later use? Having a firm grasp on learning behaviors and how the brain actually absorbs information is a key skill if you are an e-Learning professional. This skill often involves a great deal of research and analysis. As such, you must also be able to effectively research and turn raw data into a winning strategy.
Creativity and ability to create quality content
Well crafted content is essential for any e-Learning deliverable, as is choosing the right media for that content. You will have to be able to engage the learners, immerse them in the e-Learning experience while making the experience as interactive as possible. The most effective way to achieve this is by utilizing your creativity to develop content and e-Learning courses that are informative, impactful, and cleverly written.
Communicate ideas and concepts effectively
An important part of any e-Learning development process is giving and receiving feedback. As an e-Learning professional, it’s essential to be able to not only offer constructive criticism, but to receive it as well. As a result, the fourth entry on our list of key e-Learning skills is communication skills. Offering feedback that allows learners to change behaviors or analyze different problem solving approaches enables them to get the most out of their experience. On the other hand, it’s also important to learn how to transform learners’ opinions and input into action by improving upon your strategies and making your deliverables even more effective.
Facilitate the learning process and convey core ideas
Do you know how to guide a learner through the learning/training process? Can you summarize key ideas and transform information into powerful presentations, learning materials, or virtual content? The ability to facilitate the learning process and to effectively convey core ideas is all-important in the e-Learning industry.
Critical thinking and creative problem solving
There are two primary reasons why it’s essential for an e-Learning professional to be an expert problem solver and an analytical thinker at the same time. Firstly, you are bound to face challenges while creating e-Learning deliverables. Probably, you will run into obstacles with the layout design or have difficulty converting the information into a powerful and well crafted e-Learning module. However, if you are a problem solver, then you can think outside that proverbial box and tackle any challenge that will inevitably appear. Secondly, it allows you to see new approaches to e-Learning. By thinking analytically, you can pinpoint innovative ways to deliver content or appeal to varied learning needs.
Be detail oriented yet see the big picture
Successful e-Learning courses and modules are those that are well written, well designed, and aesthetically pleasing. Therefore, e-Learning professionals must be highly organized and have a keen eye for detail. After all, it’s the details that make a world of difference in regards to layout, interactivity, and learner immersion. Being able to choose the right font color, the ideal graphic, and paying close attention to even the most minor detail is a key attribute of an e-Learning professional.
Know the importance of real world applications
Having a clear idea of how learners will utilize the information provided and designing your e-Learning courses with real world benefits in mind is all-important. A trademark of a great professional is the ability to tie real world applications into the e-Learning course content. Rather than just haphazardly integrating tidbits of information into a course, a successful professional will consider how each and every element will be useful to the learner long after the e-Learning course has been completed.
Provide the best possible learning experience
A successful e-Learning professional is one who is truly devoted to their profession, and is committed to providing learners with an experience that is unparalleled. Holding yourself to a higher standard when creating deliverables is essential, as is not settling for anything less than the best in regards to the e-Learning design, content, and multimedia that you are offering to your learners.
Knowledge of e-Learning tools and applications
The wonderful thing about being an e-Learning professional in this technological era, is that you have access to a variety of tools and media that can enhance the overall experience. However, in order to utilize these e-Learning technologies, you will have to have in depth knowledge of how these fit into the development process while knowing how to get the most benefit from them.
And a great example of a perfect tool for any business e-Learning course is a proper business simulation that can be customized to match the content of the course.
Every year brings new developments to the world of Learning and Development. However, there are some topics from 2017 that where very important in 2018, from personalized learning paths to game mechanics that make your online training courses more powerful and profound. Here are the top 10 L&D trends for 2018 that every e-Learning professional should know.
Personalized learning paths have been among the top L&D trends for years. This is due to the fact that “one-size-fits-all” online training courses seem to always fall short of expectations. Corporate learners need to be able to focus on their areas for improvement, instead of keeping pace with their peers. L&D personalization may come in the form of non-linear e-Learning course maps, individualized online training contracts, or self-directed online training activities. The key is to gauge the gaps with pre-assessments, and then give corporate learners the online training resources they require to bridge them.
2. Bite-Sized Support Resources
Corporate learners usually don’t have time to sit through a half-hour online training course. Especially when they’re in the middle of a task or trying to overcome a common challenge. This is why bite-sized support resources are essential in corporate L&D. Everyone gets the information they need to solve the problem and build their skills on the spot. Thus, organizations improve their online training ROI and employees are more satisfied in the workplace. Everybody wins!
3. Robust Reports And Analytics
LMS metrics, website stats, and other sources of Big Data give you the ability to continually improve your L&D strategy. You can track corporate learners’ performance in order to identify patterns and trends, as well as highlight individual strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, you have the power to intervene when necessary and offer the ideal supplemental online training resources. For this reason, it’s essential to look for a Learning Management System with robust reporting and analytics features.
4. Self-Paced Online Training
Corporate learners must be able to go at their own pace and focus on individual areas for improvement. Self-paced online training is one of the top L&D trends for 2018 and beyond because different employees require different online training resources. They need to train when it’s most convenient for them so that they can retain and recall the information. This involves setting their own schedule, developing targeted goals, and seeking out online training resources autonomously.
Badges, points, and leader-boards incentive the online training experience. Corporate learners who may lack the passion and drive to actively participate can use these tools as a springboard; at least, until their intrinsic motivation kicks in. Gamification also serves as a valuable feedback tool. For example, a corporate learner is unable to earn a badge or advance to the next level. This indicates that they need to improve in this area in order to achieve the desired outcome. There is one caveat to keep in mind, however. The rewards must justify the risk. Likewise, you have to find the incentives that spark motivation. For instance, leader-boards are beneficial for some but others might prefer less competitive game mechanics.
6. Responsive Design
Multi-platform friendly online training content gives corporate learners the power to access online training resources on any device; from laptops to the latest smartphones and tablets. As such, responsive design e-Learning authoring tools and Learning Management Systems are “all the rage” in L&D. These platforms allow e-Learning professionals to create a master version of the online training course with breakpoints. The system adjusts the layout based on the device. This gives every corporate learner the opportunity to navigate the online training course with ease and actively participate in the online training experience.
7. Collaborative Online Learning Cultures
Organizations are now striving to build e-Learning communities that foster personal development. As a result, collaborative online learning cultures are becoming the new norm. Employees are encouraged to work with their peers to solve everyday challenges and share their experiences. A by-product of this is informal and spontaneous learning experiences on a global scale. Everyone contributes to the community and has the ability to expand their own knowledge and skills.
8. Virtual And Augmented Reality
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality online training content is becoming more common every year. This is primarily due to the fact that it has so many applications in L&D, from immersive task-based online training simulations to more interactive serious games. Virtual and Augmented Reality have the power to transform online training experiences by putting corporate learners into the middle of the action. Thus, they are able to gain more real-world experience in a risk-free environment.
9. Online Mentor-ship Programs
Corporate learners have experience, knowledge, and skills to share. Online mentor-ship programs facilitate this exchange and give corporate learners more control over the online training process. You can make this collaboration even more effective by incorporating training contracts. As a result, corporate learners have the power to create personalized goals and set milestones.
10. Social Learning Experiences
A majority of your corporate learners already use social media, blogs, and online discussions. Therefore, they are a great addition to L&D initiatives. Corporate learners can use these social learning tools to interact with peers and gain valuable feedback. They also have the ability to share online training resources and create their own online training content, which improves comprehension. For example, create weekly blog posts to recap the subject matter and explore their own perspective, or participate in social media groups in order to discuss important topics and share tips.
These top 10 Learning and Development trends for 2018 give a good indication of where the e-Learning industry is heading. It’s all about personalization, ongoing support, and making the most of today’s cutting edge technologies, as well as giving your corporate learners the incentives and social interactions they need to actively engage.
And if you take a closer look, Simformer can provide solutions for all the points from 3 to 10. You can find:
- LMS, and socialization environment to create and provide courses to share knowledge and experiences.
- Simulated business environment that provides necessary learning environment, which can be accessed by each learner on their own pace.
- Assessment system which evaluates the performance of the learners and can be easily used both by L&D and HR professionals. And it also can be used as a helping hand by learners themselves.
- High level of customization, needed to create variety of courses and business games.
A holistic business approach is a relatively new concept that is increasingly being accepted by the business world. To be a business that uses holistic techniques, it means that the entire organization is considered in its processes and policies, as opposed to focusing only on its specific components. By using the holistic approach to running a business, you will make certain that your business is running at its full potential, as opposed to simply having strong areas and weak areas.
What are the components of a well-rounded, holistic approach to business?
Some of the key components are a broad-based working knowledge of business coupled with the ability to think critically and communicate effectively. This means possessing both business acumen and a sound general education foundation. I see four key qualities driving a holistic approach:
Competency: While employers expect employees to learn on the job, they also expect new employees to bring a certain level of competency and a solid foundation of knowledge so that their learning curve is short and steep. These days, employees must be proficient in many aspects of a business.
Productivity: Because business moves at such a fast pace and innovation is the norm, employees have to adapt quickly and be almost immediately productive. Developing solutions to new problems is an essential part of a well-rounded business approach.
Innovation: Employees are expected to come up with new answers to solve business dilemmas. The ability to find solutions to new problems tends to involve thinking out of the box. The key is to identify knowledge and expertise that reside in nontraditional sources and apply them to the business at hand.
Responsiveness: The true test of a professional is not the ability to respond to routine problems efficiently, but the ability to function effectively when the unexpected happens. Use of the well-rounded approach requires the ability to quickly grasp the pertinent dimensions of an unanticipated situation, assess its impact and implications and take action to maximize the benefits and minimize the damages.
Why is it essential for employees to take a holistic approach to business?
We live in an age of constant change, innovation and ‘right-sizing.’ Constant change is the driver of the multifaceted, holistic approach to business. An employee with a strong and varied business education has mastered this approach. These people are ideal candidates because they’re highly adaptable within the marketplace.
Ultimately, the goal of business education is to develop versatile decision-makers who will be better equipped to make quality decisions within a highly competitive environment. Because businesses are fast-paced, they are looking for individuals who will be able to hit the ground running. Companies are seeking to hire business graduates who are competent, productive, innovative, and able to anticipate and respond to crises.
How can professionals acquire a broad range of business knowledge and tools?
The answer is quite simple, along with theoretical knowledge and education business simulations are necessary, that focus on systematic approach on business. Thus, focusing not only on the elements of business (as a system), but also on the connections between those elements. A core necessity, is also a connection between theoretical materials and tasks received within the simulation. As well as a possibility to access a variety of different scenarios.
Grasha and Sheryl Reichmann developed the Grasha-Reichmann Learning Style Scales (GRLSS) in 1974 to determine college students’ styles of classroom participation. The Grasha-Reichmann model focuses on student attitudes toward learning, classroom activities, teachers, and peers rather than studying the relationships among methods, student style, and achievement.
Learning Styles Scales. Diagnostic and Suggested Preferences
Students who learn material In order to perform better than others in the class. They feel they must compete with other students in a course for the rewards that are offered. Preferences: become a group leader in discussions; teacher centered instructional procedures; singled out in class for doing a good job; like to dominate discussions; class activities where they can do better than others.
Typical of students who feel they can learn by sharing ideas and talents. They cooperate with teacher and peers and like to work with others. Preferences: lectures with class; discussions in small groups; small seminars; student-designed aspects of courses; group rather than individual projects.
Not enthusiastic about learning content and attending class. Do not participate with students and teachers in the classroom. They are uninterested and overwhelmed by what goes on in class. Preferences: generally turned off by most classroom activities; would prefer no tests; blanket grades where everyone gets a passing grade; does not like enthusiastic teachers.
Good citizens in class. They enjoy going to class and take responsibility for getting the most out of a course. Want to take part in as much of the course activity as possible. Preferences: lectures with discussion; opportunities to discuss material; class reading assignments; teachers who can analyze and synthesize information well.
Characteristic of students who show little intellectual curiosity and who learn only what is required. They view teacher and peers as sources of structure and support and look to authority figures for specific guidelines on what to do and how to do it. Preferences: outlines or notes on the board; clear deadlines and instructions for assignments; teacher centered classroom methods; as little ambiguity as possible in all aspects of course.
Students who like to think for themselves.They prefer to work on their own but will listen to the ideas of others in the classroom. Learn the content they feel is important and are confident in their learning abilities. Preferences: independent study; prefer to work alone; self paced instruction; assignments that give students a chance to think independently; projects that students can design; student-centered rather than a teacher-centered course designs.
Although originally designed to provide teachers with insight on how to approach instructional plans for college students, this methodology still provides important insights for any individual who is looking to know more about oneself.