eSimulations

Going Mobile: Learning’s New Holy Grail?

In a short time, our world has changed. We now have the ability to create interactive elearning content and publish it on mobile devices, including iPhones, using HTML5.  Within a few months I am absolutely confident that Blueline’s designers will be able to distribute our award-winning computer based elearning and esimulations via every mobile device imaginable.

But just because we can, does that mean we should? (That’s a great question that one of the characters posed in the movie Jurassic Park. You may remember what happened to them.)

Before I go any further, let’s define our terms. Learning delivered on your phone qualifies as mobile learning. Learning on your desktop computer is not mobile learning.

What about learning on your laptop or iPad? In terms of defining “mobile,” those are gray areas. Sure, I can take them all with me all the time, but I don’t.  I take my laptop on business trips.  I use my iPad when I am around the house. But not always.

However, I never – literally NEVER – am more than a few feet away from my iPhone. Any content that comes to me on my iPhone is, in the purest sense, mobile.

Mobile Data… or Mobile Learning

And here’s where I make my point: It’s easy to get caught up in the belief that all learning should now be developed for mobile.  That everything we create from now on should be developed in HTML5 or one of the myriad of publishing tools that promises to deliver everything that we create to our iPhones, iPads, BlackBerrys and Android devices.

But it’s just not true.  There, I said it.

But sift through the hype, and you’ll discover some important opportunities. Mobile Learning IS transformational.  It has already reshaped what and how we learn.  Gone are the days of memorizing vast amounts of information for instant recall.  I now have instant access to vast libraries of information, far more than I could have ever hoped to memorize in my lifetime.  The skills needed to effectively consume and apply that information are the real Holy Grail.

Mobile Learning makes it possible for us to access just about any knowledge we desire wherever we are, just when we need it.   In this way, it represents a tremendous breakthrough for reference and performance support. Which is where “true” mobile learning shines.

So what does that mean for designers and developers of training?  Your job just got harder on multiple levels. First, you have to tell the business leaders banging on your door that mobile learning doesn’t effectively eliminate ALL time away from the job dedicated to learning and development.  And second, you need to think through a multi-dimensional blended learning strategy that balances classroom, virtual classroom, online and mobile strategies to maximize impact on the business.

Well actually, that last part is really good news.  Because never before did you have so many awesome tools at your disposal to deliver value to your business partners.

And, if you have questions or want to brainstorm potential strategies for putting these exciting new platforms to work in your organization, Blueline is here to help!

Onboarding: This Is Not Your Father’s “First Day on the Job”: Blueline Simulations looks at the organizational phenomenon

Remember your first day on the job, on your first job, all those years ago?

I do. I remember awkward introductions. (“If you need anything at all…” “Hook ‘em horns!”)

I remember paperwork. SO much paperwork.

And I remember pulling up a chair in my undecorated closet-office and going straight to work.

And that was my “onboarding” experience, which, come to think of it, was a term that nobody used. Sure, I had enough human resiliency to eventually navigate my way through the organization.

But today’s organizational practitioners are arguing that launches like mine were a missed opportunity.

Today the “get them to work fast” ethic remains, but the process is tempered by a more nuanced, employee-focused conversation: What value does this job deliver to ME? How do these tasks connect to my sense of aspiration, my purpose, and my own unique value proposition? How does this role position me for the next step in my career? The days of “and here’s the supply closet” are long gone. Onboarding is itself a unique value proposition, an edge in a marketplace desperate to grab the top talent.

Okay, sure, you still need to tell the new employees the after-hours code to the elevator. But there are some more urgent dynamics at work here, because in a world where many dismiss company loyalty as a fossilized idea, some are nonetheless making a bold bid for engagement, enthusiasm, cultural fit, and an instant network that serves as a hedge against costly attrition.

This comprehensive reimagining of the new hire’s “first five days” (and “the first three months” and perhaps even “the first two years”) is a huge investment, but the idea is that it delivers big dividends down the road. In practice, this is indeed proving to be the case.

It is also proving to be a realm of real innovation in learning, with many organizations engineering rich, immersive, and original experiences all for the purpose of extending that new hire’s honeymoon into a solid, lasting relationship.

Blueline Simulations has worked with some of the world’s leading talent-driven organizations to deliver these onboarding experiences. Stay tuned for our next blog, and we’ll give you a peek at some of the breakthrough practices that some organizations are implementing to create high-performing, engaged, and – perhaps most tantalizingly – loyal and committed associates.

Celebrate Summer with a Leadership Development Webinar on Demand

through these immersive simulations!


Did you miss our Spring Webinars?
Watch them now.

Discover our complete set of leadership development experiences first hand through a series on 50-minute webinars hosted by Blueline’s Managing Partner and Director of Leadership Innovations. These experiences are designed to enhance any leadership curriculum, can be deployed face-to-face or virtually, and are potent enough to capture the imagination of your most discerning leaders.


Business Strategy Skills for High-Potential Leaders

Executive Challenge™

A one-to-two-day simulation in which competing teams must make a broad range of strategic and operational business decisions in a fast-changing marketplace.

Performance Coaching Skills for High-Potential Leaders

PeopleSIM™ Performance Coaching

These immersive eSimulations challenges experienced and high potential leaders to address performance gaps and establish expectations in a realistic setting – while receiving immediate and continuous feedback. Optional classroom and/or virtual classroom elements can be added to create a fully transformative experience.

Business & Financial Acumen & Decision Making Skills

Business Challenge™

A one-day simulation in which competing teams strive to grow their businesses effectively by making investment decisions, funding their strategies, and evaluating their results in terms of real-world financial metrics. Participants prepare for this classroom or virtual classroom experience by building their basic financial knowledge through the Fluent in Finance™ program.

Talent Management Skills for First & Second Level Leaders

Management Challenge™

In this one-day simulation teams of learners compete to deliver the highest return on human resources by identifying, motivating, coaching and developing talent.

Contact us today to schedule a private demonstration.

The Talent Management Specialists at Blueline Simulations Sweep the Brandon Hall Awards

The Talent Management Specialists at Blueline Simulations sweep the Brandon Hall Awards

Yesterday I enjoyed a little taste of what James Cameron must have felt the night that Titanic swept the Oscars. Ok, so this may sound overly dramatic, if you will forgive the pun. Billy Crystal wasn’t hosting, and there was no red carpet.

But in our industry there are few awards that matter as much as the Brandon Halls.  Now in its 17th year, the awards program announced yesterday the winners from 22 categories.  Entries were judged by a panel of independent senior judges, Brandon Hall Group Sr. Analysts and Executive Leadership based upon the following criteria: fit the need, design of the program, functionality, usability, innovation, and overall measurable benefits.

As Mike Cooke, Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group, Inc. put it: “This year’s winning entries were the best of the best. We are proud to recognize the award winners who have greatly improved the performance of their organization and have shown clear, measurable business results through these innovative programs.”

And in Blueline Simulation’s first year as a submitter, our client partners won five Gold Awards! 

You read that correctly: FIVE GOLD BRANDON HALL AWARDS!  Congratulations to Bank of America, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Verizon Wireless for being acknowledged as the “best of the best” by winning Gold Medals in the following categories:

  • Best Custom Content: The Verizon Wireless Retail Sales Simulator
  • Best Learning Game: The Verizon Wireless Retail Sales Simulator
  • Best Use of Virtual Worlds for Learning: Bank of America Teller Readiness Simulation and Assessment
  • Best Integration of Learning and Talent Management: Bank of America Teller Readiness Simulation and Assessment
  • Best Onboarding Program: Booz Allen Hamilton New Hire Onboarding Program

And here is the best part: while awards in and of themselves are nice, for us the bigger reward was the opportunity to work with three of the most talented and dedicated client teams with whom we have ever had the pleasure to partner.

So how does the team at Blueline plan to follow up on this tremendous showing? We’d like to create some best-in-class learning solutions with you! Give the Talent Management Specialists at Blueline Simulations a call and find out why our client partners have been rewarded with these and other awards from Bersin and ASTD in 2011.

PART II Is the notion of an artificially intelligent simulation dead?

(Or: Why you can be confident our simulations will never rise up to extinguish all of humanity.)

Last week, I posted my thoughts on the “failed promise” of artificial intelligence. (Did you miss it? Click here.)

Today’s pioneers in artificial intelligence are no longer chasing the dream of replicating the complex processes inherent in the human brain. Instead, according to Steven Levy, Senior Writer at Wired Magazine, they are using “machine learning, massive data sets, sophisticated sensors, and clever algorithms to master discrete tasks.” Steven cites examples that can be found everywhere: “The Google global machine uses AI to interpret cryptic human queries,” he writes.  “Credit card companies use it to track fraud. Netflix uses it to recommend movies to subscribers. And the financial system uses it to handle billions of trades (with only the occasional meltdown).”

Clearly, the power of AI has found a comfortable, unassuming role in many corners of our culture. So what should the new vision of A.I. in learning be? How can we leverage this important technology to build cost-effective training solutions, with reasonable development timeframes that create a unique experience for each learner?

At Blueline, we are taking a two-pronged approach.

First, we have been exploring solutions that leverage a gaming engine (with rules, probabilities and randomization dictating the occurrence of certain nodes), voice recognition and thousands of nodes that lead the learner to believe that the simulation they are interacting with is artificially intelligent. This allows us to provide an experience so robust that you could practice interactions for weeks with in a single simulation and never have the same interaction twice.

That’s just the beginning. We have partnered with a neurobiologist who has been doing breakthrough work to transform the public education market. His solution tailors the entire experience to the learner using complex algorithms to assess individual learning needs combined with affordable and easily implemented simulation techniques. His approach has created solutions that consistently demonstrate 300% improvements in retention over control groups. (No, that was not a typo. 300%. Let that sink in.)

Are these solutions TRON-like yet? Not even close. But they do allow us to help clients deliver effective individualized training, at a reasonable cost now.

Give us a call. We’ll show you more.

And, we promise our simulations will never, ever rise up against our clients in a bloody mechanical apocalypse.