Mobile Decentralized Training and On-Demand Learning By: David Chandross, Ph.D., Ryerson University and ARC Business Solutions Inc

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IT professionals and managers face a constant dilemma much like that faced by a martial artist. In mixed martial arts, competitors have to continuously update their skill base to include boxing, grappling, wrestling and fitness in a divine mix. One thing that Maximo professionals and fighters share in common is the need to improve knowledge on demand, to master that knowledge, identify gaps in it, and reduce those gaps. Failure to do so can be catastrophic for the fighter or the organization.

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What can we do to reduce this gap between what we know and what we need to know? This is where “on-demand” training comes into play. The Maximo user will always arrive at some point after training where they identify this gap. The gap might be identified for them through performance parsing, such as gathering analytics, but even that is daunting for most users. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could track the use of training, identify gaps in knowledge, reduce those gaps within minutes and then ensure performance is on target? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do this without preliminary interactions, like requesting help on a user-by-user basis?

Decentralized training systems are based on using the mobile phone or other android device as a way of either providing training materials on demand, or facilitating personal support. Personal support is clumsy in many instances, you have two people on the phone, or worse, one person with a desktop full of documents before them. It’s all rather prehistoric, given what we can do now with something called “micro learning” and support training loops. Micro-learning means that if we need a Maximo solution for a training problem, the support expert can produce a short video of usually less than a minute, which provides the solution. This can be downloaded on demand or archived in an accessible “training application”.

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The key is that instead of the typical learning cycle:

Identify Objectives —> Train —>Evaluate

 

We replace it with a new one:

Identify Objectives —>Train—>Measure Gaps—>Generate New Content—>Deliver Content

 

This second model we will call “just in time” training, a model being used by many experts in simulation and medicine, yet still in its infancy. To summarize this change, we now continuously input our learner’s abilities into an ongoing, responsive training system. We do not come to the dinner party with a meal; instead, we come with the ingredients and cook at the host’s house! We produce new training materials on the fly as users come to us with needs.

What would this look like in the real world? Each Maximo user is provided with initial training and then downloads an application which they can use to contact support or access a library of archived training documents, the shorter the better! Remember, this is “on-demand” burst learning; we are going to have materials in a short, bursty format, like a one-minute video or a two-page PDF. This way, it will not force you to read entire chapters!

Further, trainers need to be capable of providing micro-learning solutions and how to “push” them onto the device. This produces a number of iterative training loops, and more importantly it creates a rapid response to all training needs. The mobile device links to Maximo archived training materials, opens up communications with support, permits support to produce training materials to rapidly deploy and analytics to ensure that the process is associated with a good outcome as rated by end users and managers. Managers can gather analytics on training from employees and identify gaps in knowledge and respond to these with training materials.

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Face it, traditional training is clumsy, ponderous and one-sided, and we simply produce content hoping that the learner will “get it”. Now, we can introduce new Maximo content and distribute it to over hundreds or thousands of users instantly, solve individual problems by archiving micro-learning materials and analyze effectiveness of training and user satisfaction, all through the mobile interface.

Like martial arts, the Maximo user now has to be agile, responsive and on a continuous journey of learning, what we might call “mastery”. Decentralized mobile training engages users in this journey and helps ensure that training is relevant, helpful and measurable in its outcomes. The mobile classroom is upon us and it is only a matter of selecting which of its delicious fruits we wish to sample!

 

David Chandross is a gamification and training professional working with ARC Business Solutions Inc. in Toronto, Ontario. He also engages in research and new program development in training at Ryerson University, where he holds the position of Outreach Coordinator for the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education. Dr. Chandross holds a Doctorate in higher education and a Master’s degree in neuroscience from the University of Toronto.

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