Dragon Naturally Speaking e-Learning - Training

Thursday, February 21, 2013

MacMillan to train 500 staff with m-learning courses

MacMillan Cancer Support is using 23 mobile learning courses from Video Arts to provide leadership and soft skills training for its 500 staff.

The m-learning courses, which can be used on Apple, Android and Blackberry devices, cover subjects such as teamwork, time management, appraisals, managing change, coaching, interviewing, and managing stress and assertiveness. The Video Arts m-learning app is the gateway to the courses and is available through Learn Zone, MacMillan's virtual learning environment which also contains education and support resources, advice and guidance, e-learning courses and professional development tools.

Lesley Maguire, Macmillan's learning technology manager, said: "Smartphones and tablet computers are everywhere now and most people are comfortable in using them for a variety of applications.

"M-learning takes advantage of this technology and enables people to learn whenever and wherever they want. The mobile courses will benefit our staff and they'll add value to the quality of the service that our professionals provide to cancer sufferers."

The Video Arts mobile learning courses bring key learning points to life using 'bite-sized' video clips, featuring faces such as Hugh Laurie, Dawn French, Jamie Oliver and James Nesbitt. Each course includes around 30 minutes of training video clips but learners can dip in and out for just-in-time learning. The short training video clips include 'wrong-way, right-way' scenarios that demonstrate different skills, behaviours and techniques. These are supported by practical tips. Designed specifically for mobile devices and for on-the-move learning, the courses can be used as standalone learning resources or to reinforce the messages from classroom training or e-learning.

"The Video Arts m-learning courses are easy and convenient to use, extremely well produced and their use of humour makes the learning engaging, memorable and fun," McGuire added.

"You can work through each section in a couple of minutes, tick it off and move onto the next one. They provide condensed, effective learning points that can be put into practice immediately and the fact that you can even use them while sitting on a bus or train makes them even more compelling."

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Businesses snap up government funding for apprenticeships

Government funding to help businesses take on apprentices has led to the creation of at least 18,900 new apprenticeships in England in the last year.

That's according to provisional data released by the National Apprenticeship Service which covers the nine month period since the apprenticeship grant for employers of 16-to 24 year-olds (AGE 16 to 24) was launched in February 2012.

The data reveals that there 6,800 apprenticeship starts, for which a payment was made through the initiative, with a further 12,100 in the pipeline between February and October 2012.

The figures also indicate encouraging signs for 16- to 18 year-olds looking for apprenticeships. Around two-thirds of the grants awarded were to recruit an apprentice under 19. With regards to level, 14,200 grants were given to fund Intermediate Level Apprenticeships and 4,500 for Advanced Level Apprenticeships.

AGE 16 to 24 was introduced last year to help small and medium sized businesses with less than 1000 employees take on an apprentice and secure the skills they need to grow. The £1,500 grant is available to employers who have never employed an apprentice before, or have not done so in last 12 months.  Initially only on offer during the 2012/13 financial year, it was announced last month that the funding has been extended until at least 31st December 2013.

David Way, chief executive of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: "We are delighted AGE 16 to 24 has been so well received by businesses and that, as a result, it has created a wide range of new opportunities for young people. It is particularly encouraging to see that a substantial number of the grants have gone towards creating Apprenticeships for 16-18 year olds. This has been a key focus."

"Apprenticeships can deliver the skills that businesses need to grow and I would therefore encourage more organisations to explore the funding available and find out how they can benefit from introducing an apprentice into their workforce."

The National Apprenticeship Service hopes AGE 16 to 24 will encourage more employers to consider recruiting through Apprenticeships, which now cover more than 250 skills and industries across 1,400 job roles and three Apprenticeship levels.

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Roffey Park: Art of management is being lost

Basic management skills such as dealing with underperforming staff are not up to scratch, according to a new report by leadership institute Roffey Park.

The annual Management Agenda report, a survey of nearly 1,500 managers, finds leadership development is the number one strategy organisations are adopting for the future - ahead of other strategies for growth such as developing new products and services, implementing new technology, or even improving employee engagement.

Meanwhile, basic management skills such as dealing with underperforming staff and managing change are not up to scratch, according to the report. And while the research finds the challenge of reacting to the economic downturn has eased for many organisations, living with austerity is proving more difficult for managers, who need to implement efficiency savings and change whilst maintaining staff morale.

Now in its 16th year, the report reveals that two-fifths of managers (40 per cent) report that underperformance is not tackled at all well in their organisation. Shockingly, a high percentage of managers say redundancies are still handled adequately.

Speaking about the findings, Michael Jenkins, chief executive of Roffey Park, said: "Leadership must get the right balance. Whilst leaders need to develop and communicate a clear strategy and vision, they also need to support implementation and the day-to-day management skills of the managers beneath them."

As in previous years, the report finds board directors much more secure in their jobs and confident about finding work elsewhere than managers beneath them, whereas 58 percent of board directors said they were secure in their jobs, the same was true for just 38 percent of junior managers.

"With the financial crisis and recent corporate scandals around bonuses and tax, it's leaders at the very top who've been in the firing line. Now, as focus must shift from responding to the crisis to steering a more stable course through austerity, we're seeing managers further down the line struggling to cope with basic issues such as implementing change and dealing with underperforming staff," Jenkins concluded.

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Focus on impact measures to build a business focused learning function

At the Learning eXchange, Learning Technologies and Skills exhibition visitors had the opportunity to converse with conference speaker Simon Brown, head of learning transformation at Lloyds Banking Group. The attendees discussed what it takes to build a business focused learning function. Brown summarised his conference session about the two year transformation, including reduction and refocusing of the L&D staff, achieving significant reduction in spending, massive reduction in suppliers and improvements in the utilisation of e-learning and other technology.

The eXchange conversation around leadership and building credibility prompted Brown to explain that it's "taken two years [to transform the learning function] and will take another year or two to get the business impact the leaders want. We needed to get our house in order and costs right. We're starting to get the hard metrics now and over the next year we need to prove the value learning has provided. This will provide the credibility of what we're doing".

Focusing on some of the challenges of the transformed learning team at Lloyds, Brown confirmed that there's a "shared accountability with the business" which led to "challenges on occasion of asking subject matter experts to train, while balancing the knowledge that   we've significantly reduced the size of L&D function".  

This lead to a question from a visitor about whether there was still a role for L&D. Brown said, "yes, there's a volume of activity that we have to do; technical, regulatory, operations, and that will always be there, it's a critical mass that needs to be done formally. Coming to the higher value bit, someone needs to ensure, and be able to demonstrate, how L&D interventions add value and tie into the business. That might not be a traditional role, but it's definitely needed in the future".

Was there any opposition in the L&D team? "We've changed the roles and structure in the L&D department; people have had to change with it. We've got a very strong team now and we are continuing to grow and develop. Having a very good team with the right approach will start to flow through and be visible to the business. The role has changed to be more consultative with stronger partnering. Some people have got it and role model that behaviour, others are building the required capabilities and we are making sure we provide the necessary development opportunities".

A visitor continued the debate to ask about attributes needed in the future. Brown said: "Demonstrate an understanding of the business area. Talk in a business language and translate that in to a learning solution. We need to understand the cost of and when to use different interventions. Another skill is relationships with external providers and partners; we need to partner between the supplier and the business, with learning sitting in the middle".

He talked about the "importance of taking stakeholders with you over the journey" and that this was "not to be underestimated". Finishing the eXchange by reflecting on the personal challenge, Brown talked about the "importance of staying true to the vision for learning, and being prepared for the inevitable issues that will arise along the way when undertaking a major change at pace".

Simon Brown took part in the Learning and Skills eXchange run by TJ and our partner Towards Maturity. You can view other learning eXchnage blogs here: http://www.towardsmaturity.org/article/2013/02/01/summary-lt13uk-exchanges-towards-maturity/

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Online learning company acquires video training group

Online learning company lynda.com has announced the acquisition of online video training business video2brain, a group specialising in German, French, Spanish and English language courses.

The acquisition was announced less than a month after the news of the company's $103 million growth equity investment that positioned it for expanded opportunities in technology, content and international expansion.

Eric Robison, president of lynda.com, is excited about the opportunities the acquisition presents.

"This acquisition is an investment in our future as we see a huge growth opportunity in new and emerging markets that demand multi-lingual educational content," Robison said.

"We have long envisioned the company providing content in multiple languages. The two options were to organically grow that capability from scratch, or find a company aligned with our culture and business model. What video2brain has built in 11 years is impressive and we are fortunate to welcome their employees, members, partners and authors to lynda.com."

Now a branded division of lynda.com with a team of more than 60 people, video2brain provides an extensive multi-lingual library of 1,700 video courses covering many of the same categories as lynda.com. Based in Graz, Austria, the video2brain brand has more than 400,000 subscribers who purchase access to the library either through individual and multi-user subscriptions or through DVD and single-course downloads.

"Having video2brain become part of lynda.com creates a powerful fulfilment of some of our company's most strategic goals," said Lynda Weinman, co-founder and executive chairwoman of lynda.com.

"We welcome the video2brain staff into our family and I am confident in our ability to create an impact on education-and on people's lives- with more reach, momentum and relevance than ever before."

Gerhard Koren, founder of video2brain, added: "Since I founded the company, our mission and passion has been to create a great worldwide learning experience.

"By becoming a part of the lynda.com family, we can bring to bear what's great about both companies so that our shared vision of online education is closer to being realised."

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Search on for apprentice team of the year

More than 90 teams and 800 apprentices have entered the contest to be crowned the apprentice team of the year in the Brathay Apprentice Challenge.

Supported by the National Apprenticeship Service, the Brathay Apprentice Challenge will test non-technical work skills and the personal attributes of competing apprentices.

The teams, each with nine apprentices, come from businesses, training providers and colleges across England and across a variety of different sectors from HR companies and local authorities through to high street store chains and engineering firms.

After two months of competition activity, consisting of school visits, media interviews, social media work and community projects, the finalists will be announced in early April.

The top two teams from each of the four regions (Central, London and South East, Northern and Southern) will then complete further fundraising and awareness raising activity, culminating in an adventure challenge at Brathay Trust's Windermere headquarters from 10th to 12th June 2013.

Godfrey Owen, chief executive of organisers, Brathay Trust, said: "This year's challenge is shaping up to be a tough competition that will see apprentices given the opportunity to strengthen on both a personal and professional level. We are looking forward to welcoming the finalists from across England to Brathay in June."

Jaine Bolton, chief operating officer at the National Apprenticeship Service, said: "This competition gives apprentices the opportunity to shine and be recognised for the great contribution they offer to their employers.  We also know that the skills they gain from this competition will stay with them for the whole of their working life and lead them to grow professionally."

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Hemsley Fraser: Don’t underestimate courage required to lead teams

Organisations shouldn't underestimate the courage that team leaders need in order to confront real issues that could undermine the performance of their teams.

That's according to learning specialist Hemsley Fraser - and the company has created a guide to support team leaders and L&D practitioners in dealing with these difficult situations.

Hemsley Fraser has cited several reasons why team leaders may choose to avoid a direct confrontation with members of their team. They may be embarrassed that an issue is occurring on their turf; they may be concerned about whether they have the skills and confidence to tackle it effectively; they may not want the hassle of pursuing a grievance against an individual or the headache of trying to dismantle a clique; they may be worried about the fallout if they open a can of worms or they may vainly hope that the issue will somehow blow over or resolve itself.

Murray Furlong, head of UK learning solutions at Hemsley Fraser, said: "Very often cliques, who are sometimes friends outside of work, may exclude others in the team or treat them disparagingly. There may be in-jokes; ridicule, backstabbing, personal and derogatory comments or a blame culture may exist. Team leaders may be aware of these problems but if their team is meeting its targets, they may choose to sweep any problems under the carpet, rather than confront them head on.

"The easy option is to call in HR or to ask L&D for a teambuilding intervention. This may well result in some level of short-term improvement. But addressing the symptoms of a team performance issue, not the root cause, will never fully resolve the problem."

According to Hemsley Fraser, the single most important quality that makes a difference in this type of situation is courage.

"It takes a brave and skilled manager to surface veiled issues in a team, to confront behaviour and to navigate their way through all of the tricky conversations that can ensue.

"Organisations don't fully appreciate the courage that team leaders need but they really should acknowledge this if they want to achieve high performance. What if every team leader had issues of unproductive behaviour in their team that they didn't feel comfortable addressing? How much improvement could be gained across an entire organisation if these issues were resolved?

"Cliques are often disparaged in organisations as examples of silo-based thinking. However, it's almost a primal instinct for people to gravitate towards others who share their interests or point of view. Things can become unproductive if a clique becomes a gang or a mini fiefdom. But if you can accept that a clique has formed because those people are drawn together very naturally, you might be able to turn a potential negative into a positive. Instead of seeing cliques as detractors from the team's ability to perform, look for what's good about them and what they can bring to the team," he concluded.

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British workforce feels undervalued, research reveals

Nearly half of British workers do not feel appreciated at work, new research has revealed.

A survey of more than 2,000 workers by office experts Avery Rewards found that people do not receive the proper credit for their work.

Astonishingly, one in four respondents disclosed that they have never received a thank you from their boss. Interestingly, 47 per cent they were actually paid a fair wage, but felt that their superiors failed to effectively manage them and show enough appreciation.

Introducing the findings, George Corbett of Avery Rewards, said: "Most people put a lot of effort into the work they do each day and take a lot of pride in what they do, but it seems many don't receive the thanks they' d like."

"There's always a difference between what you're expected to do and going the extra mile, and a simple thank you at the right moment can really have an impact on workplace morale.

"In a tough economic climate workers are being squeezed more than ever before to ensure they perform so it's important to feel appreciated."

A third of participants have said they have stop expecting any form of appreciation, while those who do receive a show of gratitude are not always convinced that it's sincere.

When feeling underappreciated, employees' first reaction was to start caring less about their work and put in a lot less effort. A further fifth of people will start refreshing their C.V. to get them through.

Overall, just a third of people find their job rewarding, and one in four people have to treat themselves at least once a week in order to cheer themselves up from work.

Corbett added: "Sometimes it's easy to feel a little taken for granted and in those times it's important to keep a level head and focus on rewarding ourselves when we deserve it and need to unwind away from the office."

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QA wins second social media learning award

Learning solutions provider QA picked up the Gold Award for Social Media Learning Programme of the Year at the Learning Awards last week.

The event hosted by the Learning Performance Institute recognised the impressive results which QA's own internal social learning programme - Sales 365 - is delivering. It is the programme's second gold award win in the last three months having already won at the eLearning Awards for 'best use of social media for learning' back in November.

"The win is testament to the real results the programme is generating," said Stuart Martin, QA's group sales director.

"The Sales 365 platform was launched last year and was quickly embraced by the QA sales team. It is now used by 90 per cent of our sales force every week to help improve team product knowledge, but also to encourage peer-to-peer learning and collaboration. I am very happy with the successful roll out of this project and the improvement it has delivered to date. We are already seeing the impact that the platform is having on bottom line, and look forward to seeing this continue over the next few years."

QA's head of virtual learning, Ron Edwards has been building online communities since 1997 and has learned a lot along the way in terms of how to successfully design, launch, support and continuously evolve them.

Describing the Sales 365 project, he said: "We knew we had one chance to get it right. It had to deliver valuable content, enable the sales team to share knowledge and ask questions of each other, but at the same time it should allow the management team to be able to assign and suggest learning content, communicate key messages, improve service quality and remove the barriers of managing a geographically dispersed sales team.

"The results the platform is generating along with the industry's recognition shows that we really have accomplished this. The programme has made learning at QA fun, engaging and easy to contribute to."

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New law to revise people’s attitudes towards mental illness at work

A new piece of legislation set to be passed will alter people's attitudes towards mental illness at work.

That was the view of Jane Crosby, solicitor at law firm Hart Brown, who believes the new Mental Health Discrimination Bill is a "step forward" in changing how society views mental illness.

The aim of the Bill is to reduce the stigma and negative perceptions associated with mental illness. It would repeal legislative provisions that can prevent people with mental health conditions from serving as Members of Parliament, members of the devolved legislatures, jurors, or company directors.

Crosby said: "This piece of legislation is an important step forward in changing how society views mental illness and the resulting prejudices which it can sometimes bring for an individual.

"Protection for employees can already be found under the Equality Act which makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person in the workplace who has a clinically recognised mental illness. This Bill however goes further into three other areas of public life.  It removes the automatic requirement for MPs to relinquish their seats if they are sectioned under the Mental Health Act for more than six months; it allows jurors to be considered for jury service if they have suffered a mental illness; and finally it amends the Companies Act which previously required a director to resign from a company by reason of their mental health.

"Extensive studies have been carried out by organisations which highlight that there is still a stigma to mental illness and a perception that people are unable to recover from mental health conditions.

"While this Bill will only remove the barriers in three areas of society, it should help to reduce discriminatory behaviours by breaking down the suggestion that people with mental health problems are unable to function in public office and also will allow people to seek professional help without fear of jeopardising their future.

"Businesses will now have to consider more carefully the treatment of directors who suffer from mental health issues in the future and ensure that any formal written contracts comply with the new Act.

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Professors win ‘must-read’ management article of the year

A study on how to build a successful business while maintaining employee wellbeing has been voted as the 'must read' article of the year by UK managers.

Authored by a duo of academics from Coventry and Lancashire Universities, the winning article scooped top prize in the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) Management Articles of the Year competition.

Improving the Quality of Working Life: positive steps for senior management teams, by Professors Les Worrall and Cary Cooper, identifies a cycle of decline whereby the UK's organisational change epidemic has led to increased workplace stress, lower motivation and lower productivity. With 82 per cent of change programmes driven by cost-cutting, it also highlights the increasing prevalence of management styles likely to depress employee engagement. One of the solutions proposed is to improve the quality of line manager relationships, ensuring line managers are seen to be pro-active and involve the worker in setting reasonable, deliverable objectives.

Ann Francke, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, said: "UK universities produce some of the best management thinking on the planet - but that thinking doesn't always make it into the 'real world' .

"This article offers brilliant bite-sized insights that will help managers deal with some of the priorities facing them in 2013, be it managing change programmes and restructuring, building employee engagement and wellbeing, or managing remote teams."

The CMI competition aims to bridge the gap between management research and practising managers working within UK organisations by directing time-poor managers to the five articles from the past year their peers believe will help them and their organisations most. It also enables academics to show the impact their research is having and enables them to gain valuable feedback from the practitioners the research is meant to benefit.

Speaking after the victory, Professor Cary Cooper, co-author of the winning article, said: "I'm really pleased to win the CMI Management Article of the Year, and what is particularly exciting for Les and I is that a large number of managers felt that improving the quality of working life was a worthy topic that makes a difference to the bottom line of UK Plc.

"It's really encouraging that managers see this issue as being every bit as important to their roles as the decisions they might take in areas such as strategy, outsourcing or financial accounting."

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E-learning expenditure set to grow, study finds

IBIS Capital Limited, a specialist investment bank focused on the Media sector, has produced a 101 page report on the e-learning sector - with market information and analysis from Learning Light, a consultancy with an in-depth knowledge and experience of the e-Learning marketplace and how to use e-Learning materials effectively.

Entitled, the 'Global e-Learning Investment Review', the report examines, among other things:

• Education trends and technology innovation

• An analysis of the industry's structure (Content, Management Systems and Distribution)

• Valuation metrics along with a review of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity

• An overview of investor and strategic interest in the sector

Among its conclusions are:

• Global education expenditure market is projected to grow at 7.4 per cent until 2017

• E-learning expenditure is projected to grow at 23.0 per cent pa to $255.5bn from 2012 to 2017. Some eight per cent of this will be in the corporate market

• The global language learning market is set to grow at 20.0 per cent pa to $247.5bn in 2017, with English language learning growing at 25.0 per cent pa

• The penetration of mobile devices is significantly increasing the number of access points to e-learning

• Corporate investment in the workforce to enhance their skills provides an on-going vested interest to retain and develop employee skills still further

• In Europe, companies in Spain and the UK lead the way in their use of e-learning (with 56 per cent and 53 per cent respectively of learners using it):

• However, Germany leads on its use of serious games and mobile learning, with German learner penetration rates of 21 per cent and 15 per cent respectively

• The world market for Serious Gaming & Gamification is forecast to grow from $2.0bn in 2012 to $7.4bn in 2015

• Despite being the largest single market in Europe, the number of UK e-learning software development companies has fallen by 11 per cent pa for the last two years, in part due to consolidation within the industry

• Corporate training companies have seen the strongest valuation improvement in the last 18 months. The Corporate Training market is a $200bn industry, of which $26bn is e-learning. E-learning in this sector is expected to grow to some $32bn by 2015

The report sets out IBIS Capital's 'Lessons for the Future' for would-be investors in this sector. These include:

• The rise in peer-to-peer platforms will result in large amounts of educational content becoming freely available. Business models will focus on delivering chargeable premium bespoke and ancillary services.

• Learning will become increasingly personalised with e-learning harnessing big data analytics to provide interactive learning that is tailored to the meet the individual's learning patterns and aptitude

• With the rise of mobile and tablet penetration, students will increasingly access content 'anytime, anywhere'. The classroom will become the arena for face-to-face tutoring of individual requirements and open discussion.

• The need to improve skills, meet regulatory requirements and manage training costs will result in e-learning becoming part of the fabric of virtually every business.

• As the range of e-learning offerings expand, the need for qualifications and standards to be recognised will become increasingly important. The accreditation will become unified over time and educational brands will reduce to a small number of global players.

• The education process will continue throughout an individual's life. Individuals will maintain a live log of their learning experiences from the time they start their studies and then on through their working lives.

The report also sets out 47 significant Education M&A transactions, where 75 per cent of these have been in the e-learning sector over the past two years, amounting to some $3.8bn by transaction value.

David Patterson, director of Learning Light, said: "While any company that wants to acquire companies in this sector - or which wants to be acquired - will be anxious to read this IBIS report, Learning Light would stress the need for taking expert professional consultancy advice when performing such tasks as 'due diligence' in the run-up to any further deals."

The IBIS Capital report, 'Global e-Learning Investment Review', is available, from Learning Light's website, http://www.learninglight.com/e-learning-market-research 

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Older workers need career support, London Assembly is told

People over the age of 50 have loads of skills that aren't being utitlised to full effect, the London Assembly has heard.

At a meeting this week to discuss the effectiveness of careers guidance in the capital, members of the Assembly's Economy Committee heard London's over 50s are facing a tough time in the job market - yet support and guidance aimed at getting them back to work has been "decimated".

A leading specialist in employment for people over 50 years spoke of new research, which revealed the over fifties accounted for over 60 per cent of public sector redundancies. He said the proportion of older people not in employment was enormous and the numbers that are long-term unemployed are growing.

He told the Committee that programmes aimed specifically at older people, previously run by London Councils, had stopped and there was a definite need for specialist support for the over fifties to help them find new opportunities.  He said jobs in customer services, sales, health and social care and training were particularly suited to the skills and experience of older people.

Andrew Dismore AM, chairman of the London Assembly Economy Committee, said: "It's a difficult time for anyone looking for a job, but we heard that London's over fifties are really having a tough time of it.  The capital stands to benefit from their vast knowledge and many years of experience, but this does not appear to be happening at the moment.

"A comprehensive career guidance service in London should help guide our jobseekers, whatever their age, and go some way to addressing unemployment and skills gaps.  We must make sure people are receiving high quality and relevant advice."

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

“There’s no real new technology, just new contexts”

Steve Wheeler, speaking with Learning Technologies visitors at the Learning eXchange, focused on new technology to support learning.

The Associate Professor of Learning Technology at Plymouth University initially surprised visitors when he said there is "no real new technology; hybrids are emerging that bring you new contexts". Wheeler continued to speak about non-touch interfaces "called gestural technology that we know can be used for games and simulation for new environments; it's how to apply them to enhance and enrich learning."

One eXchange visitor asked: "How do we cope with the level of technical disparity?" Wheeler explained digital divides, the "have and have not, which is socio-economic; the will and will not, which is attitude; and the can and cannot, which is skill. There are digital residents and visitors. How you decide to use technology is not an age related concept."

The conversation moved on to what being a social business means. Wheeler bought together business and technology concepts to say that: "Ethical and social business go together well. Social Media can be leveraged to do things better, to do things that they should be doing, such as give away some of their content and ideas. Unity gave away games developer packs. It increased the user base but they still owned and profited from the means of distribution. It's still hierarchical, but now more social." Wheeler continued to talk about this on a more personal level, saying: "I give away my content for free under Creative Commons Licensing. My research and ideas are amplified."

Another delegate asked: "we have a group of people being weaned on new technology, how can I engage them in the workplace when they get to me?" Wheeler spoke of the concept in general when he said that people now have "different expectations; get over it." The debate was furthered with a visitor commenting that "teachers have to learn the technology and the change of mind-set."

Wheeler separated the conversation from the focus of new technology by saying "some of us have always been giving homework and projects. Flip the roles; student becomes the teacher, the teacher becomes the student. I want to learn from you [students]. Learn stuff on your own, then come back and teach it as you will damn well have to know your stuff. True flipping the classroom is that you are going to learn but I'm not going to teach. I'm going to create the environment for you to take risks and learn from that."

The subject of L&D teams and change was brought up in regards to how to get learning professionals over that technology line who are holding back. This was a recurrent theme in the conversation and Wheeler talked about Roger's Innovation Curve. "Target who you think will adopt the new technology; the instructors, opinion leaders, prominent people. Seek them out first," he concluded.

Professor Wheeler took part in the Learning and Skills eXchange run by TJ and our partner Towards Maturity.

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Is reflection the key to effective learning?

The learning technologies section of the Olympia Exhibition offered ample evidence of a new confidence towards technology-enabled learning. There were plenty of ideas, innovative products and fresh exhibitors. My guess is that such growth reflects a recognition that end-users are now more comfortable with sophisticated technology - more and more of us have smart phones.

One of the more interesting ideas was the subject of a TJ exchange discussion: Hans Dirkzwager of BT Learning Solutions addressed the question "is reflection the key to effective learning and, if so how do we facilitate?" Little time was wasted on the first half of the topic - everybody agreed that reflection was critical for learners in the knowledge economy.  

What generated real interest was Hans' descriptions of the applications that his organisation is developing to provide new frameworks for reflection. One, for example, encourages people to reflect on their emotional mood at different times and offers them the opportunity to share this information with others in the workplace. Another encourages surgeons to capture information on communication problems that they encounter in challenging situations.  

This research project receives EC funding support and is developed by the BT team. It is at the pilot stage. Will it work and will it make an impact? It is very difficult to second guess the extent to which users will embrace new technology. However, the potential is considerable and this area of technology-enabled tools to encourage reflection and self-awareness is one to watch.

Hans is a managing consultant at BT Learning Solutions and his main interest is around how technology enhanced learning can facilitate change and bring business results. Hans took part in the Learning and Skills eXchange run by TJ and our partner Towards Maturity.

You can view other learning eXchnage blogs here:http://www.towardsmaturity.org/article/2013/02/01/summary-lt13uk-exchanges-towards-maturity/

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Designers need to consider visual aesthetic, e-learning specialist claims

People looking to create online materials need to consider the visual aesthetic, a leading e-learning designer has claimed.

That was according to Tom Kuhlmann, host of the Rapid E-Learning blog, who was discussing the what, when and how of interactivity with an audience in London recently.

Hosted by Omniplex, an official certified Articulate partner and an Articulate Centre of Excellence, as a service to its clients and customers, the event gave Kuhlmann, who's particularly associated with the Articulate suite of rapid authoring products, an opportunity to outline his personal philosophy with regard to building online learning materials. He began considering 'interactivity' by posing three questions:

• What content needs to be in the 'course'?

• What's the right 'look and feel' for the course?

• What does the learner have to do?

"Once you start to consider the learner, you start to get involved in interactivity," he said and suggested that people interact with online learning materials for only three reasons: in order to navigate; collect information, and make decisions.

"Get to know how to use the authoring tools you're using - otherwise you'll create a clunky course which will only generate negative feedback."

The specialist said that in addition to creating content that's relevant to the user, designers should also consider the visual aesthetic.

He said: "A good looking course isn't necessarily a great course but it won't get the user's attention if it doesn't look good. I'd rather have a good looking bad course than a bad looking bad course!

"Give the learners control of the learning. Give them a map - to enable them to see where they're going. Let them choose how to learn - allowing those who need more and those who need less information to find the course helpful.

"Give the users a reason to explore the course and collect the information they need. It's the 'push versus pull' argument: let the users decide how they get the information they need."

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Trade association launch initiative to improve staff skills

A national trade association supporting agricultural dealers across the UK has launched its first university accredited management development programme.

The British Agricultural and Garden Machinery Association (BAGMA) has joined forces with Coventry University and its corporate development and education arm Acua Limited to offer the innovative programme to its members.

BAGMA, which is the national trade association for agricultural, ground care and garden machinery dealers in the UK and is a specialist division of the British Independent Retailers Association (bira), has worked with Acua to design a programme which will help equip members with the leadership skills needed to sustain and drive their businesses forward.

Over the next nine months members from agricultural businesses across the UK will work towards an award, certificate or diploma in management and leadership accredited by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

The programmes will be made up of workshops and units which encompass dealer service and performance management, leadership, financial control and marketing, and will be held at Coventry University and BAGMA's head office in Banbury, Oxfordshire.

Adam Wyatt, technical and training development manager at BAGMA, said the launch of the programme was a result of a need identified by members to upskill their workforces.

"We represent around 650 members and we identified that many of them had people in management positions, or have been earmarked as managers in years to come, that have had very little or no leadership and management training before," he said.

"Over the last 12 months we've been working hard with Acua and Coventry University to develop flexible programmes which meet the different needs of our wide range of members.

"There has been significant interest in what we've been working on and we're delighted to have launched the first cohort and will be making a big push to open up the opportunity to further members during the course of the year."

Among the first to sign up to the programme is Elliot Prior, of Devon-based agricultural machinery dealership Masons Kings. The 21-year-old said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for me to get an insight into management.

"At the moment I'm a project administrator but over time will be progressing up the ranks in the family business. This is my first step into management training and I'm already really enjoying it and looking forward to getting my teeth into the programme."

Jeannine Mortlock, managing director of Acua Limited, said the programme presents BAGMA members with a unique opportunity.

"Like many industries the British agricultural sector continues to face many tough challenges and we are pleased to be working with BAGMA to deliver a programme which meets professional development and university standards and is tailored to its members," she said.

"BAGMA has long shown a commitment to offer a wide range of industry related training courses to its members, and the CMI accredited programme takes this learning to the next level.

"This programme is unique in that people can do the modules that suit them and their business, from one module to all 12, meaning the experience is unique to the individual and their business, allowing them to focus on their business and its needs."

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Initiative launched to help young people on the road to success

Training providers have teamed up with employers to increase the quality and success rate of application for apprenticeship vacancies.

Thousands of young people are being given the chance to receive extra support where they might have otherwise struggled.

To kick start the new 'bootcamps' initiative, 16 providers have successfully bid for funding from the Apprenticeship Application Support Fund which is being managed by the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) on behalf of the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS).  

NAS originally granted  £450,000 towards the Fund, with the Skills Funding Agency later increasing its size to £700,000 after being impressed by the response to the bidding competition and in particular the focus of many bids seeking to improve access to apprenticeships for under-represented groups, such as learners with disabilities. A significant number of the successful bids specifically address this focus.

Graham Hoyle, AELP chief executive, said: "In the current ultra-competitive youth employment market, Apprenticeships are seen as a valuable commodity by both young people and employers alike, yet often the application process itself can be the major stumbling block. The new support is offering innovative ways of addressing this common pitfall to ensure that more young people can develop their vocational talents in Apprenticeship-based employment."

Examples of the new support include:

? CITB ConstructionSkills in partnership with The Prince's Trust looking to find more young people from under-represented groups who want to secure an apprenticeship in the building services industry

? South Leicestershire College leading a regional consortium, including the East Midlands Ambulance Service, to recruit more young people into the local health and social care services

? YMCA Training working with Remploy to engage learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities and young people who are socially disadvantaged, e.g. those living in YMCA supported accommodation

David Way, chief executive, National Apprenticeship Service, said: "We know that some young people need a helping hand when applying for an Apprenticeship. These successful bidders will bring fresh energy and creativity to help young people prepare their application; and impress potential employers. We look forward to thousands of young people benefiting from this new initiative, helping to put them on the road to success."

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CMI: NHS management failings are catastrophic

The NHS has come in for heavy criticism after the Francis Inquiry Report revealed the depth of the "catastrophic" management failings.

The study published this week confirmed that poor management standards and senior management failings led to the unnecessary deaths of hundreds at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust.

Petra Wilton, director of strategy and external affairs at The Chartered Management Institute, said a blame culture emerged within the NHS due to separation between the senior management teams and pleaded for immediate action to be taken.

"The Francis Inquiry Report has today exposed the depth of the catastrophic management failings at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust. It is clear that poor management standards and senior management failings led to hundreds of unnecessary patient deaths," she said.

"It has highlighted that bad management, when it comes to the NHS, really can cost lives. Urgent action is needed to ensure those working in management positions across the health service have the skills and training needed to bring about the necessary improvements in patient care.

"It's clear from the report that there was a dangerous separation between the senior management teams and those providing frontline care, which created a blame culture within the hospital with staff feeling under-valued, unsupported and in fear of reprisals if issues were brought to light."

Wilton stressed the need for an improvement in professional management standards and believes an emphasis on training and support can help to address this situation.

"There is a huge need to encourage staff to be more open and there has to be a sense of accountability at all levels to stop such inexcusable mistakes being made again. Whilst more regular and wider monitoring is welcomed by many, it is also essential that managers have the training and support needed to meet the standards expected.  Independent inspections can play a key role in raising standards, but it is critical that the need to meet targets does not continue to cloud core objectives such as staff wellbeing and patient care.

"It is vital that the report recognises the importance of building skills and performance against professional management standards and ensures that all staff, whether clinicians or managers, are encouraged to get qualified and recognised for their management skills," she concluded.

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Learning specialist recognised for “innovation” and “influence”

Learning specialist Hemsley Fraser has been ranked as one of the world's top 20 providers of leadership training for the fourth consecutive year.

The list, compiled by learning portal TrainingIndsury.com, reviews companies that provide leadership training services and conducts its annual assessment of the main suppliers, to determine those best suited to deliver world-class leadership development interventions.

Hemsley Fraser is one of only two companies with a head office in the UK to make the Top 20. The others are all located in the United States. TrainingIndustry.com says that because of the diversity of services included in leadership training programmes, it makes no attempt to rank the 'Top 20' companies. 

Ken Taylor, chief operating officer of TrainingIndustry.com, said: "With an exceptional pool of companies to choose from this year, the '2013 Top 20' represents those offering the most innovative leadership training solutions. Hemsley Fraser demonstrated excellence in industry recognition, innovation, breadth of programmes, influence within the industry and range of audiences served."

Doug Harward, chief executive officer of TrainingIndustry.com, said: "The companies selected this year are committed to providing thought leadership and innovative contributions to the leadership training industry. The 'Top 20' list should help buyers of leadership training make informed decisions when searching for the right training partner."

Todd Turner, chief executive officer of Hemsley Fraser, said: "We're delighted to be recognised for the fourth year running as one of the world's leading providers of leadership training. This recognition acknowledges our reputation in the industry, the strength of our client base, our recent contract awards and our geographic reach."

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Training and development demanded for third sector

There is a distinct lack of staff in the voluntary sector benefitting from on-the-job training, new statistics released today has found.

The study unveiled today by the Skills - Third Sector in partnership with the Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC) and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has revealed that employees who reported receiving training during working hours has fallen by nearly a quarter in the last 12 months. Additionally, the number of employees who reported receiving training in the four weeks leading up to the survey has fallen by 11,000 (8.2 per cent).

In response, Skills - Third Sector is calling on employers to prioritise investment in staff training and development as a key strategy to help succeed in difficult circumstances. The findings come as part of an ongoing study conducted into voluntary sector workforce trends.

Dame Mary Marsh is currently leading a review into leadership and skills in the voluntary sector, following her appointment by Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society, last October. The review is examining how effectively existing support is meeting the requirements of the sector, and voluntary sector organisations, and organisations working with them, are being actively encouraged to share ideas and experiences, and ask questions.

The research found that the number of paid employees in the voluntary sector increased by approximately 18,000 over July- to September 2012 - the latest period for which data is available via the quarterly Labour Force Survey (LFS) - and by 69,000 over the 12 months previously. However, the latest LFS findings also reveal more insecure forms of employment in the sector, with higher levels of part-time work and lower levels of permanent employment than in other sectors.

Keith Mogford, chief executive of Skills - Third Sector, said: "The sector's overall workforce growth should not happen at the expense of long term investment in skilled people. If our sector is going to attract and retain talented people who will enable it to continue to deliver vital services to the communities we serve, it must demonstrate how it is investing intelligently in planned career pathways and the development of its staff in order to continue to meet the needs of service users."

Interestingly, employees remain more likely to work on a part-time basis in the voluntary sector (37.4 per cent of the workforce) than in either the public or the private sector, with the numbers doing so because they could not find a full-time. The proportion of voluntary sector employees employed on a permanent basis (87.6 per cent of the workforce) is also lower than in either the private sector or the public sector (94.3 per cent and 92 per cent respectively).

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, added: "Investing in staff development can seem like a luxury when time and money are tight, but it's crucial to keep staff engaged and deliver the best services, and it needn't be expensive. Taking online courses, joining networks, doing job swaps, and allowing staff time for volunteering can all help develop skills and bring new ideas to an organisation."

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ATL: Statistics don’t match the hype

The Government has been urged to work more closely with businesses to provide the training and job experience that young people need.

Figures released last week showed that 520,600 people had started an apprenticeship in 2011-12, a record number and the first time that more than half a million people had started an apprenticeship in one year, however, not everyone is impressed by these stats.

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of The Association of Teachers & Lecturers, believes that the figures represent retraining on the job rather than "real apprenticeship programmes".

"The statistics don't match the hype. It is worrying that there are fewer 19-year-olds enrolling and completing apprenticeships, and we are worried that the increase in apprenticeships among the over 19s is due to retraining on the job, rather than being on a real apprenticeship programme," she said.

"With youth unemployment at nearly a million, the Government must work more closely with businesses to provide the training and job experience that young unemployed people so desperately need.

"We would also question whether there has been progress in attracting more people from black and minority ethnic (BME) communities into apprenticeship schemes. Given the disproportionately higher BME youth unemployment rates, much more emphasis needs to be placed on ensuring that the benefits of an apprenticeship are available to a wider range of candidates."

In response to the criticism from the ATL, a business spokesman from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, said work is underway to improving the overall quality of apprenticeships.

"While we too are concerned by the decrease in 16- to 18 starts, we have rightly focused on raising standards on improving the quality of apprenticeships. This inevitably may mean that some people will find it more difficult or take longer to complete their apprenticeship. But if this results in better-skilled apprentices, benefitting themselves, their employers and the economy, this can only be a good thing. It is also important to note that apprenticeships shouldn't be seen just as a route to employment. They are about upskilling.

"One of our priorities is to increase diversity within apprenticeships. The National Apprenticeship Service commissioned a series of Diversity in Apprenticeship Pilots to identify ways to attract more people from under-represented groups into apprenticeships. A final evaluation of the pilots was published in September and work is underway to implement the findings."

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Campaign launched to address skill gaps and aid learners

The Hospitality Guild is working with People 1st to launch a campaign that will showcase development opportunities in the hospitality industry and address skills gaps.

The Act NOW! campaign is designed to benefit colleges and providers through a range of methods and to raise employers' and learners' awareness of the opportunities apprenticeships offer. Ultimately, the campaign wants to help 20,000 people gain a career in hospitality.

Suzy Jackson, executive director of the Hospitality Guild, said that the campaign was designed to raise awareness about the benefits of undertaking an apprenticeship in the hospitality industry and promote the paths learners can take.

"With more than 2.5m people unemployed throughout the UK, the hospitality industry is in a fantastic position to be able to help move people into work, especially through apprenticeships - and at the same time address its current skills gaps.

"Colleges and providers play an important role in helping make sure that happens and ensuring that staff have the skills employers need.

"We've developed a series of five simple steps that colleges and providers can take to make sure that they are meeting the industries needs every step of the way.

"We wanted to create a campaign so that people knew exactly what they were being asked to do when we say Act NOW!"

The five steps the campaign promotes are based around:

1. Delivering pre-employment programmes for the hospitality industry

2. Registering learners on the industry's career website, UKSP, to help them move into paid work

3. Voluntarily registering learners on the ACE database within their first 10 weeks of an apprenticeship

4. Measuring themselves through accreditation systems and course kitemarking

5. Sign up as a good provider on UKSP.co.uk 

Jackson said that a number of colleges and providers had already taken these steps to help meet the target of 20,000 job opportunities.

"We've been doing a lot of work to promote things like pre-employment training and accreditation to a wide range of colleges and providers, and we've already seen employers like Bartlett Mitchell committed to interviewing people who have been through the pre-employment training programme, Employment 1st.

"We want colleges and providers to join us to Act NOW! on apprenticeships and pre-employment training, as there are a huge number of benefits -for the colleges and providers themselves, but also for businesses and for learners."

Taking part in the campaign will help colleges demonstrate their commitment to providing industry with the skilled workers it needs - and help meet requirements to provide work outcomes for learners.

Apprenticeships give learners the chance to earn an income while they are learning and gain a nationally recognised qualification, which helps to promote loyalty and increase staff retention.

Businesses are also proven to benefit from employing an apprentice, especially in areas such as productivity and gaining staff members that are trained to their standards.

"With pre-employment programmes and apprenticeships offering these kinds of benefits, taking part in the Act NOW! campaign is a great way to go," Jackson concluded.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Relationships are top for feel good factor at work, survey reveals

Getting on well with the people you work with is the most fulfilling part of a job, according to a survey published by Samaritans and Simplyhealth.

A poll of more than 1,400 workers has shown that 42 per cent of workers felt that positive relationships helped them to feel good at work, compared with a mere 14 per cent for hitting their targets.

Findings revealed that workers found having a good work / life balance was the second (40 per cent) most common reason for feeling good at work followed by receiving praise (26 per cent) and earning the trust (16 per cent) of their boss.

The release of the survey coincides with Feel Good Friday (1 February), Samaritans' annual fundraising day. Sponsored by healthcare provider Simplyhealth for the second consecutive year, the day aims to get companies to take part in 'feel good' themed fundraisers, in return for a donation to Samaritans, the helpline charity for people struggling to cope.

Rachel Kirby Rider, Samaritans' director for fundraising and communications, said: "Samaritans understands how interacting with people is really important and so it is interesting to see that having positive relationships  tops the poll of making people feel good at work.  Our survey results demonstrate how looking out for each other's wellbeing and having a good work / life balance is essential.

"Feel Good Friday is the perfect opportunity to take a little time out to have fun with your colleagues whilst raising vital funds to help Samaritans answer more calls from people going through a tough time."

Mark Day, spokesperson for Simplyhealth, added: "Positive working relationships and feeling good while at work are really important when looking at overall employee health and wellbeing. Organisations with healthy, happy employees can find they see improvements in productivity and results.

"This is the second year that we have been involved in Feel Good Friday. The day is all about doing something fun and that makes you feel good.  This year comedy is the main focus and we hope that everyone gets involved by organising their own event, to help to raise money for a great cause."

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Mindset around training changing, Deputy Mayor claims

We're moving into a mindset when people are willing to retrain rather than have a job for life.

That was the view of Kit Malthouse AM, Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise, who was speaking at the Economy Committee meeting in London this week.

Malthouse believes that older workers are more willing to update their skills nowadays, but criticised the "structural problem" that exists within the training and education system.

"We've moved away from the old Japanese model of having a job for life. We're moving to a new mindset when people are willing to retrain, sometimes at a later age - either at the company or externally," he said.

"Still, there's more that can be done. There's been a structural problem within our training and education system for a while now. We' ve allowed the people who are going through the system to decide what they want to do rather than employers taking centre stage and highlighting the skills that they are looking for. The constant complaint I hear is that I can't find what I need, which is why we're so big on the apprenticeship system and why we set such a high target.

"The employer defines what they need and they then set the apprentice up on a provisional basis - the individual then receives the training so by the end of the year they can join the company and do the job on a full-time basis.

"Interestingly though, foreign investors love coming to London because of the high density of graduates available so it's not all doom and gloom."

The assembly also discussed the issue of what skills were necessary to help people who had been made redundant get back into work.

Paul Fisher, district manager for East London Jobcentre Plus, stressed the importance of advice and informing the individual of all the options open to them.

"The key to this is to have working partnerships with key bodies so that we can pull a key response which can be tailored to each situation," he said.

"We have a dedicated support fund to help people with training and skills and help them get back into work after being made redundant. We normally go into the person's workplace before the redundancies are made and inform them of the opportunities they have. We want to help people move from one job to another seamlessly."

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ILM adds greater flexibility to the delivery of key qualification

The Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) has created a flexible study option on its Level 3 Leadership and Management qualification by incorporating e-learning courses from Video Arts.

Aimed at new first-line and aspiring managers, ILM's Level 3 Award and Certificate in Leadership and Management allows centres to tailor-make their learner's qualification by choosing from a wide range of optional units, covering management skills such as team building, finance and project management. Typically a minimum of two units are required to achieve the award.

The Video Arts e-learning courses have been included as a study option on four units: Understanding change in the workplace; Achieving objectives through time management; Introduction to leadership and Motivating to perform in the workplace. ILM has developed supplementary lesson plans and teaching resources to ensure the e-learning courses meet the content requirements of the units.

John Castledine, director of qualifications and learning solutions at ILM, said: "This is a significant area of development for us and we have carefully integrated these innovative e-learning resources to help trainers deliver high impact management training. The Video Arts e-learning courses are engaging, practical and memorable."

The four Video Arts e-learning courses are: Jamie's school dinners: managing change; Jamie's kitchen: 15 lessons on leadership; Performance review: every manager's nightmare and 30 ways to make more time. Each course provides two hours of content in bite-sized chunks, featuring video clips to reinforce the learning and interactive questions and exercises to retain interest and build understanding.

Martin Addison, CEO of Video Arts, said: "ILM is the UK's leading provider of leadership and management qualifications, so it's a strong endorsement for us that they have chosen our e-learning courses. This also means that any organisation that currently uses these particular e-learning courses can now offer its staff the option of gaining an established management qualification, with little additional implementation effort."

ILM has previously approved 21 Video Arts e-learning courses as being suitable study tools for its management qualifications. It will monitor the success of this pilot initiative and may consider offering more e-learning courses as curriculum options on other qualifications.

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Safeguard your confidential data by implementing HIPAA Privacy Rule’s De-Identification Standard

A legislative act passed in year 1996, called HIPAA or in other words the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act affected the health care administration. For years, we have researched upon the safety rule along with three types of security safeguards based mainly on technical and physical grounds.

Amongst the above mentioned three safety points, we delved at the administrative safeguards and its obligatory as well as addressable implementation specifications. In this article, we will examine the main key factors pertaining to the technical and physical safeguards of the security rule. The motive of this article is to simplify and state the main concepts of HIPAA Privacy Rule’s De-Identification Standard.

Physical Safeguards

Physical safeguard rule laid by the HIPAA Privacy Rule’s De-Identification Standarddeals with the strategies and procedures required to be implemented in order to control physical admission to systems or devices containing health information and facilities covering electronic records.

It is therefore mandatory to take maximum care when beginning and removing hardware and software that deals with secured Health Information (PHI) from the network. Utmost care must be taken in disposing off any equipment which is on the edge of retirement, so that PHI contained within such systems is not compromised.

Health data stored in the equipment must be controlled and monitored carefully.Access to the hardware and software must be operated by proper trained and authenticated individuals.Make sure that workstations must be situated away from high traffic areas to avoid direct view of the monitor screens to the public.The main person taking the services of contractors and agents must assure that the contractors and agents are professionally trained and are aware of their duties and responsibilities.

Technical Safeguards

Technical security measures deals with factors that require to be executed when transmitting health information electronically over open networks in order to ensure that health information do not go into wrong hands.

Responsible entity must follow a strict procedure to make sure information integrity which includes digital signature, check sum, message confirmation.Execute right methods to confirm that the entity entitle to access the electronic records is the one it claims to be. There are some signs to confirm the same that includes card systems, password systems, giving a return call, and hand showing signsDrafting and maintaining all policies implemented and practices followed for HIPAA Privacy Rule’s De-Identification Standard that needs to be presented as and when required by the compliance auditors.

Implementation Specifications

We cannot ignore with the healthcare compliance, as it becomes essential to safeguard Protected Health Information.

It is required to employ a system that will take utmost care of the health information, for this our heath care providers like doctors, hospitals and health plans must be given a unique identifier. At present most of them are using either tax-id numbers or employer identification number.

The security and privacy rules have laid down certain provisions to assure that the personal records of people is not misused, secured and kept confidential, any person failing to follow the rule will be fined up to $250,000 and possible jail time for severe enough violations by HIPAA. HIPAA rule was indeed designed and created to ease the massive process of health care administration.

emPower is a leading provider of comprehensive Healthcare Compliance Solutions through Learning Management System (LMS). Its mission is to provide innovative security solutions to enable compliance with applicable laws and regulations and maximize business performance. empower provides range of courses to manage compliance required by regulatory bodies such as O.SHA, HIPAA, Joint commission and Red Flag Rule etc. Apart from this emPower also offers custom demos and tutorials for your website, business process management and software implementation.

Its Learning Management system (LMS) allows students to retrieve all the courses 24/7/365 by accessing the portal. emPower e-learning training program is an interactive mode of learning that guides students to progress at their own pace.

For additional information, please visit http://www.empowerbpo.com.

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On-the-job training proving popular with employers, research claims

Training on the job is proving to be popular with many as businesses are increasingly valuing those that have vocational qualifications.

That's according to an online survey of 1,000 decision makers in small and medium-sized businesses, which reveals that that 86 per cent of companies agree that having staff with vocational qualifications leads to better business performance, up from 81 per cent in 2010. Furthermore, more than three quarters (77 per cent) concurred that this led to better staff retention.

The findings show encouraging signs that further education is being taken seriously be employers this year. Despite this, there is still work to do in encouraging employers to offer FE qualifications to their staff. The most common reason given by employers for not offering vocational qualifications was a perception that employees do not want them; something that perhaps needs to be investigated further in workplaces.

Among those with FE qualifications, more than a quarter (27.5 per cent) has gained them through work-based learning and a further 70 per cent of employers with FE qualifications believe that this has positively impacted on their current career.

The proportion of employers benefiting from FE varies by sector, with more than two thirds in the health and beauty sector (71 per cent) having an FE qualification. The figures are similar for the financial sector at 64.3 per cent.

Reviewing the findings, Graham Hoyle, chief executive of the Association for Employment and Learning Providers, said: "It is really encouraging that businesses are beginning to understand the value of further education. 

"The challenge is to ensure that more companies understand that there are apprenticeships and further education courses available across a wide range of business sectors in both manufacturing and services. 

"It is important to know too that further education isn't just for young people; businesses can use the wide range of opportunities available through FE to improve the skills of all their employees and evidence shows that this can produce an excellent return on investment." 

The cross-sector group set up to promote further education has recommended that employers make further use of the tools on offer to maximise engagement with further education, whether in their recruitment or in their staff training programmes.

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Partnership to address UK skills challenges

The Financial Skills Partnership and Skills for Justice have joined forces to tackle the current skills challenges in the UK.

The development will provide a stronger, more cohesive offer to employers and individuals which will help employers shape and develop a skilled workforce to meet current and future challenges. The public, as the end user of all financial and legal services, will benefit from the enhanced undertaking. It is here that the merger will add real value.

Alan Woods continues as CEO of Skills for Justice and group CEO of JSSC within which FSP will operate. Liz Field will remain as CEO of FSP and also become executive lead for legal services. The group of companies will retain bases in Sheffield and London along with its existing operations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Woods said: "We are very happy indeed to be announcing this merger. For both the financial and legal sectors, it is a win-win situation, with the potential for all employers to become more competitive through visionary, progressive skills strategies.

"There is no doubt in my mind that, by tapping into these obvious synergies, the newly merged organisation will be far greater than the sum of its parts. It will be able to pool its know-how, have greater resources and be more effective in raising investment. The merger will enable it to develop even better products and services which will benefit small, medium and large employers across both sectors."

The merger will build on work already underway such as the introduction of Apprenticeships which will provide a new vocational pathway into professional services. It will also expand the FSP online careers portal to encompass careers in legal services, which has seen the emergence of higher apprenticeship development in recent months.

Trevor Matthews, chairman of FSP, said: "We are keen to simplify the skills system and to encourage employers to take greater ownership of the skills agenda. This merger will allow both sectors to forge ahead with a joint vision for employer-driven vocation-based training which will help both sectors develop the skills they need to rise to the challenges of an increasingly competitive future."

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Online toolkit makes leadership development available to all

A new online initiative is making materials for leadership and management development professionals freely available for the first time.

Learning solutions provider GoodPractice is launching its online toolkit to support learning, training and HR professionals who focus on developing the talent and skills of leaders and managers. It contains hundreds of resources which can be accessed via the Internet anytime and anywhere.

After 10 years of working in leadership and management, and with a continuing programme of research to support its efforts, GoodPractice has created learning materials that tackle the most pressing situations likely to be faced in organisations today. Its latest Learning Trends Index revealed leadership development professionals are regularly challenged by issues such as understanding how leaders learn, maximising budgets, and demonstrating the value of their solutions - these are all covered in the toolkit.

It is an initiative that enables those in leadership and management development to tap into an on-demand, informal hub of expertise where they can access information, share their experiences and highlight best practice.

The subject areas are covered by a wide variety of resources. This ensures practical usage of the materials to suit a manager's working habits. Mobile apps and performance support references provide just-in-time help when it's needed. Other materials include research, whitepapers and case studies, teamed with more formal materials to such as training needs analysis and workshop tools, questionnaires, training templates and role play scenarios.

Peter Casebow, CEO of GoodPractice, said: "We understand that it's the actions of leaders and managers that can make all the difference to the success of an organisation. We also understand that it's the learning professionals who are responsible for developing successful leaders and managers. And this initiative is all about helping them achieve that."

He added: "All of our materials are created thanks to their input, so this is our way of saying thank you and paying it forward.  By making it open to everyone, we're aiming to share their valuable input and ultimately help to develop great leaders and managers both now and for the future."

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Scheme set up to aid adult learning

A new initiative to help adults improve their maths skills has been launched with more than 20 organisations coming together for the project.

From now until the end of March, a key partnership of national organisations will support a wide range of activities to raise awareness of the importance of maths as well as tackle some of the challenges in this area. These include:

Developing and promoting maths apps for adults;Training 8,000 Maths Champions to support other adults;Piloting an online numeracy assessment tool;Developing a series of MOOCs (massive open online courses);Producing resources and training for parents, carers and early-years workers;Improving the quality of teaching and learning; andEngaging and enthusing people about the power, enjoyment, and importance of maths.

Speaking about the initiative, Carol Taylor, NIACE director for development and research, said: "One of the seven recommendations from the NIACE- led Inquiry into Numeracy in 2011 was that adults should be able to learn maths in a way that's more relevant to their everyday lives. The Government's Review of English and Maths last year found that far too many adults struggle with maths and many of them find certain maths tasks - from budgeting, to getting the best deal - challenging. As such, a new approach is needed to help adults improve their maths skills. Maths is for all of us; this is why we're taking action on adult maths."

"One of the big problems is that many adults don't think that maths is a part of their everyday lives. People see maths as something very intelligent people 'do', not an essential set of skills for work, family, health and throughout life. We want to engage people through showing how everyone uses maths every day of their lives, that it can be exciting and fun, and that it is not something to be scared of."

Another partner of this initiative is unionlearn; their Union development manager, Judith Swift, said: "Unionlearn is really excited to be a part of the Maths4us initiative. We understand the negative impact that a lack of confidence with numbers has on people's lives.  We do also know that many adults are better at maths than they think - we are dealing with numbers all the time and it's when we hit a problem that confidence goes. 

"We believe that this initiative can bring about a positive change in culture and enable thousands of adults and their families and communities to take more control of their lives through a 'Can Do' attitude to maths. We are aiming to equip our army of union learning reps with the tools and confidence to make a big difference."

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Staff given progress opportunity through company accreditation

Rising stars at House of Fraser can now achieve a university qualification by successfully completing the department store group' s management trainee programme.

House of Fraser's programme for aspiring sales managers has been accredited with a Diploma in Professional Development through Acua Limited, the corporate development subsidiary of Coventry University.

The accreditation was awarded as part of House of Fraser undertaking a review of its management trainee programme with support from people development specialists Acua Limited.

The revised programme is structured into four business-focused modules designed to equip sales advisors with the skills, knowledge and experience to become successful managers.

The modules are completed over a 12-month period of store placements with on-going assignments to consolidate the learning and achieve the Diploma. Twenty-four sales advisors based at 16 stores nationwide are the first to undertake the newly-accredited programme. 

Robin Stirzaker, learning & development manager at House of Fraser, said that as well as enabling trainees to gain an internationally-recognised qualification, the accreditation allowed for structured evaluation to encourage reflection and implementation of the work-based learning.

"The feedback and results have been extremely encouraging with new ideas being generated to improve business," he said.

"The aim is for the trainees to have secured managerial roles upon completion of the programme and within the first six months, six have already been promoted to sales managers which is a fantastic achievement.

"One of the main considerations in reviewing our management trainee programme was to increase the number of internal appointments.

"We want to have sales managers that we have grown internally through a development programme that reflects our core values and who are going to be highly successful in driving our business further forward."

Peter Gross, executive director at House of Fraser, said: "The programme helps grow our own talent internally, developing commercially minded and customer focussed managers of the future. 

"The Diploma allows them to articulate how they have applied their learning in practice, and more importantly the results they have achieved."

Vicki Nee, client engagement manager at Acua Limited, added: "House of Fraser recognise that success starts with people and we are delighted to be helping to develop its sales managers of the future to support the growth of the business.

"The assignments towards the Diploma encourage the trainees to reflect on their learning and how they will apply it as managers in the workplace to achieve results."

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

AELP welcomes recommendation of best practice adoption

The Association of Employment and Learning Providers has welcomed the recommendation from the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) that lead providers should refer to the sector's Common Accord and follow best practice on contracting out skills training to other providers.

AELP also supports the inclusion of new rules on subcontracting in the SFA's funding rules for 2013-14 which require greater transparency and encourage more accountability on how public money is being spent on training.

Jointly developed by AELP and the Association of Colleges (AoC) under a sector-led approach, the Common Accord for supply chain management will require its provider signatories to commit supply chains to making sure that the learner receives the maximum benefit from the arrangement.  Providers will also agree to be guided by the principles given in the LSIS publication "Supply Chain Management - a good practice guide for the post-16 skills sector".

The Accord and the good practice guide tackle two major concerns that have arisen in the sector over the last 18 months in relation to supply chain delivery of SFA-funded skills training: the identification of some instances of inadequate due diligence being undertaken by lead providers on subcontractors and whether a lead provider's management fee has always reflected the actual costs of services being provided to the subcontractor.

The guide also addresses not just how a partnership arrangement should ideally be set up but how the ongoing relationship should be effectively managed, including a two-way flow of sharing advice and best practice between the respective partners.

The SFA is backing the sector's proposals by inserting in its funding rules for 2013-14 a requirement for all lead providers to publish on their websites from August 2013 an 'upfront' fees and costs policy.  Providers must also publish the amount of funding retained by the lead in respect of each subcontracting relationship alongside the SFA funding received by each lead for provision delivered by subcontractors.

Graham Hoyle, AELP chief executive, said: "I am confident that the Common Accord and the good practice guide will to help providers and colleges minimise the risk within supply chains, ensuring that they offer high-quality provision for employers and learners.

"AELP and AoC have worked closely to promote our sector's willingness to share good practice and our ability to continue to learn from each other.  If the good practice exemplified in the guide is embedded in supply chains throughout the post-16 learning and skills sector, then the government and its agencies can be confident that they are getting good value from the public purse." 

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Partnership to lead to responsive design online courses

Learning content specialist Video Arts has partnered with e-learning company Netex to create online courses which will work across devices such as tablets and smartphones.

Covering subjects such as management skills, communication, teamwork, customer service, quality and continuous improvement, the new courses will combine Video Arts soft skills video and e-learning content with Netex's fresh approach to online learning design.

"By delivering high quality content through mobile devices, these new courses will enable organisations to provide engaging, affordable and effective training that is compatible with people's busy lifestyles," said Mike Byrne, UK country manager for Netex.

"Video Arts is an established global brand and it's very exciting to work with them to create content that will play on any device, from desktops to mobile phones. Our responsive design templates mean the content will modify to suit the optimal display settings for each device."

The new courses will be compatible with Microsoft, iOS, Android and Blackberry devices and customers will be able to brand and tailor the content to their needs. The content will be SCORM-compliant, so it can be scheduled and managed via a mobile-learning platform. TinCan functionality will also be available.

Martin Addison, CEO of Video Arts, said: "Netex is an experienced and internationally-recognised e-learning provider with great technological capability. We're delighted to be partnering with them to offer exceptional e-learning course content with an optimal viewing experience across a wide range of devices.

"This new series of courses fits perfectly with our core proposition to provide engaging learning that's accessible anytime and anywhere."

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Learning company re-brands following acquisition

Software group Advanced Business Solutions has announced that recent acquisition, Serco Learning, has been re-branded to Advanced Learning, aligning the company to the Advanced brand.

Advanced acquired Serco Learning - the number two supplier of management information systems to the UK education market - on 10 December 2012 for a total cash consideration of £7.25m.

The company now sits as a business unit within Advanced Business Solutions (Public Sector & Enterprise Division), strengthening the division's foothold in the education and local government sectors.

The re-brand of Serco Learning to Advanced Learning provides alignment with the rest of the Advanced business while retaining an important part of the company's identity.

Dean Dickinson, managing director of Advanced Business Solutions, (Public Sector & Enterprise Division), said:  "We have 2,000 educational institutions worldwide that use Advanced Learning's technologies and so it is important that we don't lose sight of the company's success to date. "With the backing of a much larger software specialist, the Advanced Learning business is ideally positioned to go from strength-to-strength, ensuring it remains in a dominant market position."

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Businesses urged to go back to basics

Business leaders have called for the UK to adopt a back to basics approach to management as an entrepreneur scooped top prize at the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) Management Book of the Year competition.

Richard Newton, author of 'The Management Book: How to manage your team to deliver outstanding results', was recognised at the event this week.

The competition, which is run in association with the British Library and sponsored by Henley Business School, is judged by a panel of business leaders including Sir Anthony Cleaver, former chief executive and chairman of IBM. He praised the author's book.

"Last year the Oxford University Press chose the word 'omnishambles' - a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged - as their word of 2012; suggesting something has gone seriously wrong with the UK's management skills.

"It is now 43 years since I first became a manager but I can still remember the anxiety of constantly encountering new situations. In this economic environment, managers need to be more skilled than ever before. We can no longer afford the luxury of learning on the job and Richard's book provides the perfect guide for anyone, regardless of seniority or experience, to consider the essential people management skills required to become a successful leader.

"It is the kind of book that I wish I had had access to when I was starting my career - it would certainly have saved me a lot of time and trouble!"

Commenting on his success, winning author Richard Newton, said: "In my experience, most management failures occur when the basics are not done well. Likewise, even a good strategy is unlikely to be implemented effectively if managers do not have the straightforward skills to lead their team. Trends and fads in management may change, but what remains is the fundamental importance of good management."

The Management Book also won the Practical Manager category at the award ceremony held this week at the British Library Conference Centre. Focusing on the people side of management, it identifies that there are still a great many businesses where managers, even at a senior level, do not know the best way to manage and get the most out of their staff.  It is the eighth book from author Richard Newton, who has more than 25 years' experience in line management and consultancy across a range of sectors.

Ann Francke, chief executive of CMI, said: "We know what a minefield it can be for managers to choose a management book that will help them in their careers, when there is such an array of choice out there. We created the Management Book of the Year competition to help people identify the very best in management writing from the thousands of books available."

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AELP chief urges proper guidance on vocational options

At least one teacher from every secondary school should undertake work experience with an apprenticeship provider and become the apprenticeship champion for their school.

That was the view of Graham Hoyle, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, who was responding to a report released today by the education select committee on career advice in schools.

The report highlights the dangers of lack of access to students on career advice and Hoyle believes guidance is needed on all vocational training routes.

"Young people talk about the value of work related learning which the government has decided is no longer a statutory obligation for schools and AELP is in strong agreement with the MPs that the obligation should be restored through the statutory guidance," he said.

"AELP proposed to DfE several years ago its preparedness, through its training provider members, to engage with every secondary school in the country and present to every secondary teacher at one of their regular inset training days. The presentation would cover a generic description of the apprenticeship system and benefits and be delivered where possible by a combination of apprentices who have previously attended that school, their current employers and the organising training provider.  It would also signpost the school, and its pupils, to the full range of apprenticeship opportunities in the area.

"We also believe that at least one teacher from every secondary school should undertake work experience with an apprenticeship provider and become the apprenticeship champion for their school.

"The recommendation that schools should be required to publish an annual careers plan which shows evidence of impartial advice being made available would appear to be a good way of starting to tackle the issue.

He added: "We support a widening of the National Careers Service's remit to cover young people as well as adults, which would put it on the same footing as the services in Scotland and Wales. AELP also backs the Committee's recommendation that the National Apprenticeship Service should be given access to all schools without waiting to be invited." 

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