The Math Behind The 5-Hour Rule: Why You Need To Learn 1 Hour Per Day Just To Stay Relevant – Michael Simmons


Three years ago, I coined the term The 5-Hour Rule after researching the most successful, busy people in the world and finding that they shared a pattern: They devoted at least 5 hours a week to deliberate learning. Since then, I’ve preached The 5-Hour Rule to more than 10 million readers. The reason I keep writing about it is two-fold..I believe it’s the single most critical practice we all can adopt to ensure our long-term career success, Almost no one takes this rule as seriously as they should…Recently, I’ve realized that The 5-Hour Rule is more than just a pattern. It’s more like a fundamental law in our current age of knowledge. And it’s backed up by basic math and a growing body of research……..

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How To Get People Fall in Love With eLearning: Theories – Juliette Denny


2 Learning Theories That Will Help You Get People To Fall In Love With eLearning

Want to get people to fall in love with eLearning? Let’s start by studying the theory of Bloom’s Taxonomy about the different levels of learning, as well as the user experience hierarchy of needs!

1. Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy explains that there are different levels of learning, from in-depth ‘creating’ learning tasks, down to more basic ‘knowledge’-based approaches.

Good Instructional Designers (clever clogs who write eLearning units) know that Bloom’s Taxonomy is the best way to create learning objectives that really get learners engaged with the material, working hard, and learning new concepts.

As you can see from the diagram, the lower levels represent basic Knowledge – retrieving or remembering previously learned material. Learning objectives at this level include defining key terms, listing steps in a process or repeating something heard or seen.

Learning objectives at the Comprehension level are based around processing new information. This requires learners to use the information they just learned to answer basic questions.

At the Application level, learners are asked to solve new problems by applying what they have learnt without having to be prompted to novel situations in the workplace.

Analysing involves distinguishing between facts and inferences; learning objectives involve separating concepts into component parts, e.g. “Gather information about the finance department’s problem and select the appropriate tool to solve it.”

Learning objectives at the Evaluation level involve making judgements about the value of ideas or materials, e.g. “From the three interview scenarios, select the best candidate to hire.”

Creating involves building a structure or pattern from diverse elements. It involves pulling parts together to solve a whole problem, with an emphasis on creating something new. E.g. “Taking into account what you have learnt about Sparky Electrics on the previous screens, devise an appropriate training programme.”

As you can see, the steps in Bloom’s Taxonomy really target different kinds of knowledge – from straightforward information retention all the way to creation of new processes through a deep understanding of what has been learnt.

A lot of eLearning focuses on the lower steps of learning – knowledge and comprehension. This means that the learner isn’t encouraged to get a very deep level of understanding, meaning they’re not as involved in their learning or as interested. Sure, being able to remember a fact is great, and getting the quiz questions right can boost your confidence. But how much more engaged and invested in your learning will you be if you can see how far you’ve come, from being taught the basics through to designing your own processes or solving problems by thinking up new solutions?

2. User Experience Hierarchy Of Needs

That’s one theory of learning that will help to get people loving their learning. The user experience hierarchy of needs is another. This pyramid explains that it’s not just what the learner is being taught that will affect their enjoyment of the learning; it’s also how they are taught.

Picture a 30-screen eLearning unit, each screen containing a few paragraphs of text, with 10 questions at the end to check what you’ve learnt.

Now imagine an eLearning unit containing the same information, but presented in a mixture of video, audio and bullet points, with practice scenarios, interactive learning, and different question formats, from multiple choice and drag-and-drop exercises to written answers and longer assignments.

Which do you think would be more enjoyable? Which would you be more likely to go back to and carry on with the next eLearning chapter or unit?

The user experience hierarchy of needs explains why we get more enjoyment from interactive eLearning units than we do from traditional, run-of-the-mill eLearning.

Bog-standard eLearning courses satisfy the first few levels of the pyramid. They modules are functional, straightforward, usually easy to use and hopefully reliable.

They are also convenient – you can login on your computer and start learning. But is it pleasurable? Does the experience of learning stick in your mind, over and above what you actually learn? Do you say to your colleagues, “I took the eLearning unit on fire safety yesterday. Each screen had a load of text on it and then I answered 10 questions. It was so much fun!”?

How about: “I took the eLearning unit on fire safety yesterday. The videos were great, and the drag and drop questions were cool. I even got extra points for getting 5 questions in a row correct, and a ‘Smokin’ hot!’ badge for completing the unit. You should try it!”

If learning is good, appropriate, applicable, and pleasurable, learners will fall in love with their learning once again. But what about the top of the hierarchy – how can learning be meaningful and have a personal significance?

Simply put, most learning isn’t especially meaningful, at least in the sense that we mean it here. Sure, learners can answer questions in relation to their personal experiences and apply their knowledge to their circumstances. But this isn’t the same as the learning having personal significance; it’s just their answers that are applicable to their work life.

Good eLearning, on the other hand, uses learners’ experiences directly and actually incorporates these thoughts and scenarios into the eLearning unit. The Discovery Method of learning – what we call our ground-breaking technique – gets learners inputting all sorts of information about their job directly into the learning, which is then referenced throughout the course.

For example, the eLearning could ask a user to input their name, job role, and company name. The unit is then made personally significant to the learner by referring back to these details.

The instruction in a standard eLearning unit may be: “Take time to reflect on this information and how it may relate to your current role.”

Whereas the instruction in a good eLearning unit might be: “[Timothy], take a moment and think about how this information on laws and ethics applies to you in your role as [Sales Manager] at [BlinkBox]. Write your thoughts in the text box on screen.”

The information Timothy provides is then compiled into a worksheet to be downloaded at the end of the eLearning unit, providing him with a ready-made plan of attack that he can begin to apply to his job immediately.

See the difference?

If you want to learn more about how you can get people to love their eLearning, download the free eBook Fall In Love With eLearning: How To Make Your Learners Love Their Online Learning!


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5 Changes Shaping The Future Of Learning Technology – Steve Lowenthal


What Changes Are Shaping The Future Of Learning Technology

A perfect storm of disruptors is leading us all into uncharted territory. Given this uncertainty, it’s not surprising that Ambient research [1] has forecast negative 14% growth for the US LMS market over the next 5 years.

The LMS Is DEAD Or Is It?

But don’t panic, it’s not that we’re heading back to the dark ages of Excel spreadsheets and manila folders. Rather, we’re entering an era of integrated best-of-breed technologies that in the best case will work together seamlessly to deliver personalized, just-in-time learning experiences.

If you aren’t already in the process, check the following 5 changes that will help you prepare for the future:

1. Compatibility With New Learning Technology

Over the past 5 years, new learning technology products are entering the market at a record pace. This includes social tools like Yammer, AR/VR solutions, gamification platforms, and more. These products are often “self-contained solutions” that control how the user experiences them, what data is collected, and how new experiences are created.

The positive is that we now have an expanded toolset to create the best learning experience based on the content, audience, and goals. The downside is that, in the worst-case scenario, learners are logging into multiple systems, learning paths are disjointed and cumbersome, and data is spread across multiple systems. The future organization needs a guide that supports the ability to combine these disparate technologies into a unified learning experience.

2. Data Is The New Currency Of L&D

The L&D market is quickly approaching a tipping point around data analysis. We’re moving from tracking consumption—e.g. how many people finished a course—to business intelligence or BI. BI refers to technologies, applications, and practices for the collection, integration, analysis, and presentation of business information. The purpose of Business Intelligence is to support better business decision making.

BI requires data that matters—data from an LMS, from work systems—e.g. a CRM, from social apps and from all of the new learning technologies mentioned above. The future organization needs the capability to integrate and analyze data from multiple systems and sources.

3. User Experience Is King

Content is king used to be a commonly heard phrase in our industry, but today User Experience has muscled its way to the top of the list. LMS is too often an inhibitor to the great User Experience. Historically, LMS was designed as an aggregator of learning resources with the main purpose being to gatekeep, assign, and track learning.

This outdated perspective too often is at odds with providing great experiences and outcomes. The future learning organization needs to create great User Experience—this means easy-to-use, available at the point of need, and connected to other resources and people.

4. Amazon And Google Have Changed Expectations

If I have a question, I google it and expect to get the best possible matches to my query. And that simple experience has changed expectations for every one of us. At the same time, we, as learning professionals, have matured in our thinking too.

We’ve moved from thinking of learning resources as a closed loop system—if we haven’t built or vetted it we don’t want you to see it—to a realization that there’s great content available from many sources. The future learning organization needs tools that facilitate the finding and sharing resources as well as social features for users to highlight the gems and call out the lemons.

5. Make It Personal

The final change driver is personalization. Making learning personal has 3 significant benefits:

  1. It reduces the time it takes to complete training and in turn that reduces the opportunity cost of spending time on unneeded learning.
  2. It increases the impact—spending the most time on the most important things that I have the largest knowledge gap produces a better result.
  3. Finally, it makes our learner happy by respecting their time.

Check out the Personalized Learning, by Filtered (full disclosure: they are a Kineo partner and have received investment from our parent company City & Guilds) to better understand the benefits of personalization and the AI that fuels it.

The future learning organization needs tools to help employees find the most relevant and impactful learning and to avoid unnecessary time spent learning what I already know.

As an industry, we’re at the precipice of a dramatic change. Best-in-class learning organizations will be more efficient, focus on things that have the greatest impact, and have more of their activity and investment be informed by data. Who’s ready to get started?

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What Are The Benefits of Blended Learning


Blended learning, which mixes traditional face-to-face education with technology, has become increasingly popular in educational institutions over the years. This style of learning provides a way for faculty to engage students through visuals and online interaction.

In fact, 77% of academic leaders claim that online education is either the same or superior to face-to-face education and can be executed for a fraction of the cost.

So, how can blended learning benefit faculty and students alike?

Benefits to faculty

Change can be difficult, especially for faculty who have taught using traditional methods for years. But, as blended learning becomes more commonplace in educational institutions, the benefits are becoming more obvious – making the adoption rate higher.

 1. Track and improve engagement 


Blended learning provides the opportunity to make a clear roadmap for students, such as what is expected of each student and requirements to reach the final goal — or grade —are. With blended learning, teachers can visualize and track each student’s progress. This process can make it easier to identify signs of a student struggling or educational strengths and act upon them accordingly.

For instance, educators can analyze metrics to see what programs and modules students are engaging with. By understanding where each student’s passion lies, it becomes easier to cater to and adjust to each student’s learning behaviors. If students are falling behind, it becomes easier for an instructor to identify the issue, and step in earlier.

Take the Commonwealth Connections Academy as an example. By pulling reports from their online learning platform instructors could analyze test scores, course activities and portfolio assignments. If a student is falling behind in a particular area, they are advised to attend a drop-in center which gives students extra face-to-face time with their instructor. Teachers and students agree that the center is a useful way to zero in on a student’s learning barriers and provide custom instruction for improvement. Sometimes the solutions are as simple as providing better organizational skills.

2. Enhance communication

Young people today are growing up with more technology than ever. We’ve already seen shifts in communication patterns, starting with millennials. Observing a generation who became saturated in the digital world can show how communication is evolving.

A study from LivePerson, found that in the US and the UK, about 75% of internet users surveyed said rather than communicating in person, they were more likely to communicate digitally via:

  • Email
  • Text message
  • Social media

The findings may be an indicator that blended learning, which has an emphasis on technology, reaches students better than traditional methods.

By catering to a student’s preferred method of communication, online forums can connect lecturers with students more effectively.

3. Enables edtech

 Enables edtech

By combining new technology like AR and VR with traditional education methods, students are getting a more inclusive learning experience.

A study by EdTechReview shows that AR and VR technology has mass appeal, too. Consumers value AR products 33% higher than non-AR offerings.

Google Expeditions and Titans of Space are two great examples of AR and VR in the classroom. Both provide virtual field trips like tours of the solar system to improve science lessons. These adventures are both engaging and valuable ways to teach.

The growth of edtech means that teaching online is becoming more effective and easier.

4. Personalization 

In the U.S. the student-to-teacher ratio has risen to nearly 30 students per teacher. With class sizes this large, it can be difficult to personalize lessons or understand the individual needs of each student.

Blended learning provides the opportunity to change this.

Student-centric, blended learning makes it easier to individualize learning modules based on competency. Students within one classroom can move at different paces, and teachers can see more easily, which students either express more interest in a particular area or show the need for extra attention in a particular subject.

5. Reduces cost 

Blended learning saves educators money in several ways. For instance:

  1. Repurposing content decreasing and money spent for course preparation.
  2. Virtual tutoring can help to eliminate employee and venue costs.

paper by the Fordham Institute found that national average for per-pupil costs for traditional learning in K-12 was about $10,000

Virtual schools costs were $5,500 to $7,100 per student, while blended learning costs started at $7,600. Rates could rise to around $10,200 per student depending on how much face-to-face education is emphasized in the plan.

By implementing blended learning strategically, an institution could reduce costs by nearly 50%.

Benefits to students

Faculty members aren’t the only ones to benefit from blended learning. Perhaps more importantly, students are given a more comprehensive educational experience that can boost retention and engagement.

1. Peer support 

Peer support

In Aspden and Helm’s study ‘Making the connection in a blended learning environment’, they found that online communication, through a blended learning environment, improved social aspects of students. Specifically, they stated that blended learning allowed students to make and maintain connections with other students, and their learning institution, even when off campus.

By offering online discussions in real time, or in an asynchronous model like discussion boards or chat rooms, open dialogue is always accessible. The consistency of conversation enables a 24/7, community-style support system which means continuous peer support.

2. Easy access and flexibility

By having resources online, students can access material with no constraints including schedule conflicts.

Online materials can be found on smartphones, tablets, and desktops which is technology we’re already using, daily. In fact, GlobalWebIndex found that on a typical day, internet users ages 18 to 34 spend 3 hours, 38 minutes surfing the web via their smartphones alone.

Additionally, many students in the United States fail to complete school. As many as 7% of high school students drop out before graduation. Worse still, nearly half of the students who start college don’t finish within six years.

One conclusion is that the majority of students who start college and don’t finish are part-time enrollments, which can suggest that students are juggling study with work and personal commitments. Because blended learning platforms are available at any time, it is convenient for those who are trying to complete schooling while taking on other responsibilities like working or parenting.

3. Enhanced retention 

Blended learning may have the ability to teach students more effectively than traditional face-to-face schooling.

The English department at Long Island University (LIU) Brooklyn is currently testing blended learning as a way to improve retention for their students.

To begin, LIU offered iPads for all its incoming students. The hope is that by incorporating technological components into their lessons, it will help change the way students think about their writing.

The data LIU has collected, though mostly qualitative, is starting to paint the picture that blended learning has a positive impact on retention. Other studies indicate that learning online can increase retention rates from between 25-60% compared to only 8-10% for face-to-face learning.

Students today prefer to have a variety of ways to learn. As digital natives, many young students are familiar with an online environment and actually prefer it. The varied formats of education also serve a purpose outside of student entertainment and satisfaction; it also may be a more effective way for students to learn, too.

Blended learning encourages self-learning, where students are forced to look for information online independently, rather than just sitting in a classroom setting and relying on a lecturer.

In the book  Blended learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher education, the authors argue that blended learning is effective because unlike the traditional lecture-based teaching model, blended learning opens classroom time to focus on more active and meaningful activities which can lead to improved effectiveness.

5. Boosts soft skills

Boosts soft skills

Soft skills or skills that are required in the workplace for professional success are naturally fostered in an online learning space.

Specifically, skills like relating well to others, time management, critical thinking and team cooperation are nurtured in a blended model.

A study published by Elsevier tested a group of calculus students to see how a blended learning model impacted soft skills. The conclusion of their study was that the ability to communicate via email or online improved participation. And that because students were actively discussing and vocalizing their understanding of concepts, blended learning helped build confidence and success. It was concluded that communication skills changed favorably with a blended learning course.

It’s clear that blended learning provides new ways for educators to engage and connect with students.

With falling enrollments and the challenge of the digital landscape putting pressure on systems, faculty and syllabus, introducing blended learning could help tap inot a new cohort of students and create a new revenue stream.

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