Press releases

Interview with Charles Jennings, Co-founder 70:20:10 Institute (UK)

On January 30, 2018, Charles Jennings, co-founder of the 70:20:10 institute, will hold his Keynote “Exploiting Learning in the Workplace: informal learning and the 70:20:10 model” at LEARNTEC 2018. In the following interview he explains why high performers mostly learn from their own work and experiences and, in a second step, from colleagues, communities and family. He appeals to managers and HR professionals to focus on performance support.

Charles Jennings, Co-founder 70:20:10 Institute (UK)

Could you please explain your 70:20:10 concept?

The numbers represent three different, but often overlapping, ways to learn: The ‘70’ represents learning form working which includes experience, practice, and reflection. The ‘20’ represents learning from and with others – for instance, colleagues, the boss, high performers, members of communities, your partners and children. The ‘10’ is formal learning including courses, e-learning, reading books, etc. The model is a framework for re-focusing Learning & Development activity closer to business and organizational objectives.

Charles – why do you think that informal learning is more important than formal learning?

The evidence suggests that we learn more from working and from colleagues in the workplace than from formal training. Professor Andries de Grip, for example, published a review in June 2015 titled ‘The importance of informal learning at work’. He suggests that 98 percent of the time spent for learning is informal. And the closer your learning is to the point-of-use the more likely it will be effective.

Which topics are suitable for informal/formal learning?

I haven’t found one single topic that is not suitable. Because all learning is contextual, 70:20:10 provides a way to focus on performance in context. If, for example, you look at the top musicians, designers, architects – almost all of them started with formal learning, but getting qualifications alone will not produce high performance and creativity. During my time as Chief Learning Officer at Reuter, not once did I recruit a candidate based on their qualification alone.

Can’t we all learn more in a concentrated, focused way in a quiet environment with formal material we can study step by step?

This is true sometimes. When we have some focused time, without distractions, to concentrate on new ideas and information it helps. But if you take the world of medicine, for instance, studies show that greater experience and practice leads to less complications, less rework and lower mortality. Learning that occurs in the daily flow of work has a significant effect.

But when I want to learn a foreign language, there is no way I can avoid structured grammar and vocabulary training.

When we start out learning a new language it certainly helps to understand grammatical structures and some vocabulary, but we should not assume that passing tests will produce good linguists. Let’s not confuse short-term memory retention with learning. To get their university degree, language students learn how to cram information into their heads to pass the exams. But what is left after three or six months? Without continuous practice and application, we will forget most of what has been ‘learned’.

Which learning concepts do you find when you visit companies?

Many companies still base their Learning & Development planning around what I call ‘the course mindset’ – where everything is packaged into courses, programs and curricula. They give very little attention to informal learning. When I speak to HR and learning professionals they often tell me their job is designing, developing and delivering content and courses. But we know that high performance is dependent not only on knowledge and skills, but also on factors such as having the right work environment and tools. Some companies are doing a great job moving into the emerging knowledge era, but most e-learning is far too content-heavy. Even with the learning nuggets and micro-learning, it is still content-centric, based on information and ‘knowledge transfer’.

What’s wrong with the term “knowledge transfer”?

We don’t really transfer knowledge. You can help others build up their own knowledge, but it’s not a bucket you can pass on. There are two challenging elements: terminology and the issue of tacit knowledge. Much of the knowledge of high performers is tacit or implicit. This knowledge can’t be ‘captured and packaged’. They continually make decisions based on an ever-changing environment. We need to move our thinking and practices away from ‘knowledge transfer’ and focus on supporting people in their daily workflow. This means a shift from ‘courses to resources’.

How should workplaces be structured and designed to support effective learning?

You do not necessarily need a physical change of the buildings or workspaces. However, you do need to work on the culture about learning in the organization. One thing is start learning from errors and mistakes. As an example, the aviation industry is far safer than the medical industry, because it has a culture of learning from errors. When pilots make mistakes, they report them. Pilots are legally protected from being fired if they self-report mistakes. Airlines then circulate lists of errors and lessons learned, so that others can benefit.

How can learning processes be integrated into business processes without disturbing the work?

For instance, by identifying people who are exemplary performers and understanding what they do. Then creating job aids to help others do the same. Performance support tools and practices are important. I have witnessed situations where, despite 12-week training programs, people couldn’t perform when they tried to do the work, and they needed at least another year to reach full proficiency. When we introduced screen-based performance support tools, their performance increased by 20 percent immediately.

Are HR managers familiar with your method?

A few HR managers are, but I’m sorry to say many HR professionals don’t have any great understanding of how learning and high performance happens. That’s not their core capability. Like many managers, they often find it difficult to separate ‘learning’ from ‘schooling’ – and see ‘learning’ as something you must go to class for. HR professionals and managers are often blind to the many opportunities for learning and developing in the workplace.

Managers, and some SMEs, say they cannot afford to support learning in the workplace. What do you tell them?

They can’t afford NOT to do it. The amount of money wasted on formal training, leadership and management development is huge. McKinsey and Company found one of the main reasons for the failure of most leadership development programs was lack of context. These programs are costly, too. In my experience, now with more than 200 organizations, there has not been one where using the 70:20:10 approach was more expensive.

Do you incorporate social networks? And to which of the 70:20:10 would they belong?

Yes. Social networks are very important – especially for knowledge workers. The better people are connected, the better they are likely to perform. We learn from others all the time as part of our daily work. Research has shown that the top 20 percent of managers by performance are likely to have stronger and more diverse networks than their less-well performing colleagues.

With informal learning – do employees gain more influence on what and how they learn?

Yes, they certainly do. However, there are limitations. What independent learners need to learn will be determined by the work they need to undertake. So, their manager will have influence on what they learn and often how they learn it. Manager understanding, and guidance, is important in most informal learning.

Are they willing and competent enough to take learning into their own hands?

Yes. We need to remember that working people are adults. One of the problems is that many L&D and HR professionals see them as ‘learners’ – meaning ‘students’ and almost ‘children’. Most adults are capable and competent enough to know which capabilities they need.

Charles – thank you very much for this interesting interview.

Credit press photo - Duntroon Consultants

Education drives Digitisation

Digitisation continues to accelerate and is causing profound transformations in all areas of life. Fields of activity and job descriptions are changing rapidly. Digital education plays a major role here as a driver of digitisation. Once again from 30 January to 1 February, 2018, LEARNTEC – the leading trade fair for digital education in schools, universities and vocational training – will be a platform for current trends and future developments in digital education. More than 7,500 specialised visitors are expected to attend the three-day fair.

Press conference: LEARNTEC 2018

“Learning with digital media is relevant nowadays in all areas of education. Digital education has become a growth market that gives LEARNTEC progressively greater dynamism with each passing year”, says Britta Wirtz, Managing Director of Karlsruher Messe- und Kongress GmbH. “For the first time, LEARNTEC will occupy two halls and thus make available more exhibition area than ever before at the trade fair. I am very pleased about this because we are eager to comprehensively present the full spectrum of offers in this industry.”

At LEARNTEC 2018, more than 280 exhibitors from 13 countries present the latest applications and programmes for learning with IT. Nearly all of the biggest providers of e-learning in Germany will be represented at the upcoming LEARNTEC. Alongside hardware and software, the fair will also present concepts and services: for example, visitors can see learning-management systems (LMS), learning portals, authoring tools, virtual classrooms and learning programmes, as well as solutions for talent management, performance support, online academies and providers of VR and 3D learning worlds.

Enlarged start-up area with its own action stage

LEARNTEC also offers optimal surroundings for the next generation in this industry. Thanks to its strong success in past years, the startup area will be further enlarged at LEARNTEC 2018. A total of more than 20 young businesses will present themselves here. After a successful premiere at last year’s event, the Start-Up Pitch will now take place on its own action stage. The participants will be the companies that are exhibiting in the start-up area. They will compete with one another in various categories: each company will have a few minutes to present its innovative concepts to the audience and the jury, which includes representatives from the areas of start-up, schools, universities and vocational education. The startup pitch is supported by Hightech.Unternehmer.Netzwerk CyberForum and Deutscher Gründerverband.

Lifelong learning in the focal point

Digitisation does not yet play a role in daily life in schools. This is one of the findings of the recent study of Bertelsmann Stiftung of the status of digitised learning in Germany’s secondary schools from the viewpoint of the participants. Although school directors and teachers basically welcome the new technologies, their pedagogically meaningful implementation is impeded by a lack of concepts, continuing education and infrastructure. For the fifth time, LEARNTEC turns its attention to the school of the future, for which it offers the school@LEARNTEC thematic area. In an open learning landscape with the character of a workshop and conceived in cooperation with the Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart and other partners, experts show, for example, how a smartphone can be used as a mobile physics laboratory. The fair’s visitors experience why learning ateliers can free up resources for individualised learning and how teachers can train themselves with (rather than for) medial utilisation. The findings of the Bertelsmann Foundation’s study will also be presented. For the third time, the university@LEARNTEC thematic area will host leading experts in digital university-level teaching, who will give exciting lectures and participate in roundtable discussions which show how the implementation of digital media can succeed in collegiate praxis.

A high-quality convention with internationally sought presenters

“Education drives digitisation” is the motto of the convention of the 26th LEARNTEC. Among other topics, the convention will explore self-organised and informal learning, VR and 3D learning worlds, digital leadership, modern learning, big data, learning analytics, adaptive learning and performance support. The convention’s participants can experience, for example, how to cope with the speedy increase in the volume of knowledge and information, and how data can be sensibly utilised for learning. Experts show how we learn in the era of Industry 4.0, how digital games function as a learning medium of the 21st century, and how learning contents can be flexibly adapted and individually modified for users, their current situations and tasks.

Relevant for everyone from newcomers to e-learning experts, the convention’s programme offers concentrated and practical knowledge for all target groups. A total of more than 120 presenters will share their expertise with the audience in lectures and workshops at LEARNTEC. Open-space sessions, collaborative brain writing and open roundtable discussions encourage sharing between presenters and participants.

The highlights of the convention are the keynote by Charles Jennings, Co-Founder, 70:20:10 Institute (UK), about the theme of “Exploiting Learning in the Workplace: informal learning and the 70:20:10 model”, and the keynote by Jane Massy, Founder, Director and CEO, abdi Ltd. (UK), about “Better Evaluation in Technology Enhanced Learning”. Other highlights of the convention are the keynote by Dr. Henning Beck, neuroscientist and German champion in the “Science Slam”, whose presentation is entitled “Lernst du noch oder verstehst du schon – Der Weg des Wissens zu den Nervenzellen (Are you still learning or have you already understood – knowledge’s pathway to the nerve cells)”, as well as a podium discussion of “Der Digitalisierungs-Marathon – noch am Start oder Ziel in Sicht? (The digitisation marathon – still at the starting line or is the finish line already in sight?)” with Martin Schallbruch (Deputy Director, Digital Society Institute, European School of Management and Technology), Dr. Eberhard Niggemann (Director of the Weidmüller Akademie) and Annika-Kristin Härtel (Manager HR Learning & Development at Telefónica).

LEARNTEC is the most important platform for digital learning in Europe

The 25th LEARNTEC, which took place at the Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre from 24 to 26 January, was larger than ever. With over 7,500 international professional visitors and convention participants from more than 25 countries, the organizer’s high expectations were fulfilled (2016: 7,250 visitors).

With over 7,500 international professional visitors and congress participants from more than 25 countries, the organizer’s high expectations were fulfilled (2016: 7,250 visitors).

“The growing importance of digital education is also evident in the stimulating atmosphere that prevailed at the fair and that was echoed in social media”, said Britta Wirtz, CEO of Karlsruher Messe- und Kongress GmbH. “Newcomers and longstanding experts alike gained valuable new information at the exhibitors’ stands, in forums and at the convention. One in three visitors spent two or more days at the fair. Sixty-three percent of the visitors were at LEARNTEC for the first time. Nearly half of the attendees came because the fair was recommended to them by colleagues or business associates.

A total of 257 exhibitors (2016: 233), approximately 20 percent of whom came to Karlsruhe from foreign countries, presented themselves at LEARNTEC 2017. A large percentage of the exhibitors have already registered for LEARNTEC 2018 and some of these early registrants have booked larger areas for their stands. Furthermore, new exhibitors were also acquired onsite. Thanks to this excellent progress, the organizers will open a second hall for the fair next year.

A high-quality convention with internationally renowned experts

The three-day convention was a great success. “Significant growth in the number of participants at the convention shows us that we chose themes which move the industry”, said Sünne Eichler and Prof. Dr. Peter A. Henning, both of whom are members of LEARNTEC’s convention committee. The visitors were particularly impressed by the keynote, which was presented by Elliott Masie, a future researcher from the USA. Other highlights were a live hacking session about the theme of “Max Schmitt – He Knows Not What He Does” by IT-security expert Marco di Filippo and a podium discussion about the future of digital education, which took place in the context of the opening.

Important e-learning prizes conferred

LEARNTEC commends outstanding achievements by e-learning providers and developers with the conferrals of the eLearningCHECK, the bsoco awards and the delina. For the fifth time, Bitkom awarded the delina, the innovation prize for digital education, for which more than 100 candidates had submitted their ideas. This year’s delina prizewinners are DHBW Ravensburg, imsimity GmbH and TriCAT GmbH. “Directly targeting the next generation in this industry, the delina highlights new trends in the field of digital education, promotes innovative concepts and helps to make those bright ideas more visible”, says Stefanie Brzoska, project manager Bitkom e.V. “LEARNTEC offers us the optimal context for the awards ceremony.” As a leading industry association, Bitkom has contributed its expertise to LEARNTEC for many years and also presents itself with a joint stand.

LEARNTEC promotes the next generation in the industry

Fifteen young companies presented themselves and their innovative concepts in the start-up area. straightlabs GmbH Co. KG, which numbered among these start-ups, was very satisfied with its participation: “LEARNTEC is the first trade fair that we visited as a new company and we’re very enthusiastic”, said Prof. Dr. Peter F. J. Niermann, managing director at straightlabs GmbH Co. KG, which provides virtual training worlds. “We shall surely return next year, but with a stand of our own”, he added. LEARNTEC also organized an unprecedented start-up pitch this year in collaboration with the Karlsruhe-based CyberForum Hightech.Business.Network. Fifteen companies, which presented themselves in the start-up area, participated in the pitch.

LEARNTEC convinced its exhibitors

Veteran exhibitors such as imc AG praised LEARNTEC’s evolution: “We have exhibited at this fair almost from its earliest beginning and we have long accompanied its outstanding development”, said Christian Wachter, chairman of the board of imc AG. “LEARNTEC has continually improved, especially in recent years. The fair’s concept with numerous special formats is appropriate and the visitors really appreciate it.” Frieder Tempel, chairman of the board of Know How! AG, says: “LEARNTEC is the most important specialized trade fair for us. We’ve participated in this fair for many years already. We conducted many discussions with longstanding clients and also with new leads this year.”

New exhibitors were likewise very satisfied with the fair. “We’re here for the first time and we were able to conduct many high-quality discussions. Already on the first day, numerous decision-makers from big corporations visited our stand”, said Joerg Michel, CEO of KIDS interactive GmbH, which provides interactive media for learning and playing.

“We very consciously decided in favour of LEARNTEC this year. Digitization in schools is really gaining momentum and LEARNTEC is the ideal platform for us to contact decision-makers such as school directors and institutions that finance schools”, said Philipp Anders, marketing service manager at PHYWE Systeme GmbH & Co. KG, which provides digital learning media.

The next LEARNTEC will take place from 30 January to 1 February 2018 at the Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre, where it will occupy Hall 1 and Hall 2 for the first time.

Interview with futurist, analyst und speaker Elliott Masie

On Tuesday, 24 January 2017, Elliott Masie will be holding a keynote on Learning Trends, Shifts & Disrupters at LEARNTEC 2017. According to his visionary ideas, we will soon be connected with the right support people from all over the world instead of the limited number of colleagues around us. In an interview he explains how intelligent machines will know the individual knowledge needs of each person and offer them individual content out of thousands of documents.

futurist, analyst und speaker Elliott Masie

Elliott – what is your vision of learning in 2030? Will we all be wearing 3D glasses moving in entirely virtual learning environments?

Well, first of all I would like to state that with the fast changing technology we cannot predict anything further than the next two years. What I can state is that learning will be exciting and quite different from today.

Could you please be more specific?

In the future we will be dealing with more knowledge in cloud. There will be a fundamental change in the way knowledge is acquired and shared. Knowledge will be everywhere. Employees can ask a question – verbally if they want – and the answer will be exactly tailored to their needs.

Is this what you mean by “learning personalization”?

Yes. For instance, you have a professional training for marketing managers. A beginner will need much more basic information than a marketing expert who has been in the job for 30 years or has a PHD. That’s a well-known fact. But the interesting new aspect is the knowledge source: Instead of having only two or three articles on the topic the trainees now have access to ten thousands of articles and graphics. Machine intelligence will give you and me different answers, because we differ a lot in what we need, how we learn,and what we know and don’t know. So you will no longer spend hours searching for the right answer, but the information offered to you is shaped by information the machine has over you. So everyone has a different access to the knowledge they need.

That sounds very time-consuming and expensive.

On the contrary. Thanks to simulation the usage of material can be significantly reduced. Now we have the ability to try things before we do them. Let me give you an example: You have an expensive electric car, a Tesla. You notice that two tires do not have enough air. You drive up to the garage, you take the air pump and open the valve, but then you have to figure out how much air you have to add. Should you put in a little more than the manual says, because you carry heavy luggage? Is the low pressure a result of the cold weather? Instead of trying and failing on your way to success, you can use simulation. With your hands in the air or touching a screen the system tells me exactly how to fill the exact amount of air into the tires. Simulation will be everywhere.

But where does the knowledge come from?

From people. We will be more connected to people who we trust. When you work for an insurance company, for example, and you have a complicated process to do, you need a reliable, trustworthy support person. Normally you turn around in your chair and ask your colleague for help. But he may not be able to answer your question. Now you just push a button and a person from Africa or Asia pops up on your screen. This person is familiar with your problem and can help you immediately.

… if the person is online.

That’s a question of organization. We can find the time for social exchange. Of course it’s a matter of give and take. For example, I take an hour a week to reply to requests from others. I want to help them, because the next day I may need help from the network. This kind of cooperation won’t feel techy, it will be a world where knowledge, support and simulation are ubiquitous.

But so far it’s only a vision. How can Virtual and Augmented Reality support today’s learning?

Right now, VR and AR are fun toys that work very well in the gaming world. 20 percent of these products are interesting, but I am not so sure about their effectiveness in learning. Besides the “wow” effect – will it help the majority of learners? New technologies take three to six years from experiment to useful application. Skype, for instance, has been around for many years, and only now it is being used for distance learning, e-healthcare, etc. In the Philippines, millions of adults who work far away from home are skyping with their children every night to help them with their homework. Who would have thought that skype would become a global distance learning tool?

Does technology available today provide all we need to gather knowledge and skills? If not, which elements are still missing?

Design is missing, we had television for decades before Spielberg presented something like ET. We have to experience more, try things, break the rules. There are people who would like to build courses on Pokémon GO. But it is just not possible. We don’t even know what it could do for learning. It will not take 20 or 30 years, but definitely more than a few months.

In the last few years there has been a lot of brain research telling us how learning works. Does today’s technology correspond to the results, i.e. are the tools capable of stimulating our hippocampus?

We are now understanding there are cognitive indicators how somebody is learning; now we have to do research which of these indicators can be used by individuals and organizations. I can’t wait to wear a watch that looks at my brain and gives me feedback. It would tell me, that at my age of 66 I should not write articles after 5 pm, because my performance drops significantly after that time. I would like a “green-yellow-red” indicator on my performance level and an e-mail program that tells me not to send the message yet, because it’s not good enough. IBM is doing a lot of research on this cognitive technology. For me, cognitive means: Whenever I work there will be online help – no matter if it is a family, social, health, or leisure time topic.

Can you give me an example how personalized information works in leisure time?

For example, you go to a restaurant: At the entrance there is a face recognition, so my menu is different than the one of my neighbors, because it respects my interests and health aspects. In order to get these indicators, we will move to biometric recognition. That’s the simplest form of data protection.

But if I want to eat something different than usual?

Of course you can still decide yourself. The biometric identification only makes suggestions. You can switch to the standard menu any time.

Will technology be able to serve everyone their own menu of learning nuggets?

That depends on what you want to invest. Learning is a market place: If you want to learn for free, you will not have 1000 choices, but if you or your employer is willing to pay (money, energy, effort, time) you can have 1000 choices. It’s just like in a conference: When you have 1600 people and want to offer breakfast and lunch, you ideally offer a buffet. When 30 people have allergies and specific needs, you can easily handle that, but not for 1600. The same holds true for learning: You can build learning with few choices for the majority of learners. It is possible to offer an individual design for a small target group, but not for thousands of SAP workers worldwide.

Elliott, thank you very much for this interesting interview.