Areas of Expertise

Intelligent support that is accessible just-in-time at the point of need.

In a short time, our world has changed dramatically. No longer is knowledge and information bound to printed volumes or even desktops. We now have the ability to create interactive elearning content and publish it on mobile devices, including iPhones, making it instantly available anytime, no matter where we are.

Gone also are the days of memorizing vast amounts of information for instant recall.  We now have instant access to vast libraries of information, far more than we could have ever hoped to memorize in a lifetime.  Mobile accessible eLearning 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.   But having all of this information at your fingertips can also be overwhelming. The real breakthrough is achieved when learners are able to find exactly the right information, when and where they need it.

In the late 80’s and 90’s Roger Shank, then Dean of Northwestern’s Institute for Learning Sciences, pioneered research into expert tutoring systems using artificial intelligence.  That evolved into “ask” systems that let users access relevant help by simply selecting the question that they want to have answered.  As a practical matter, these systems were never really “artificially intelligent.”  They relied upon developers and programmers to develop hard coded pathways that they believed would best serve the learner.

Fast forward a decade… Google and others have made huge strides toward anticipating which website we are searching for when we enter a request into their search engines and serving up the information most relevant to us.  This technology has given way to a new generation of “ask” systems.

The latest generation of performance support pioneered by the Blueline team, leverages these new “ask” system capabilities. Search responses, relevant links and associated content are determined using a gaming engine model (rules and probabilities) to predict and share the most relevant content for each user. The engine “learns” from previous users’ choices and the designer’s intended objectives.  So in this case, you could say that the learner’s experience evolves “intelligently” based on the succession of choices they make.

Pair this next generation of “ask” systems with mobile delivery and you have an unprecedented business tool.   Intelligent support that is accessible just-in-time at the point of need.

Would you like to explore potential strategies for putting these exciting new platforms to work in your organization? Blueline is here to help!

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.

Facilitating Business Transformation at a Fortune 50 Healthcare Company

After major changes at all levels had created fear and confusion throughout the business, our client’s leadership sought to find a way to align stakeholders through a common purpose and vision for the future.

They turned to Blueline to take them through the process of defining their future and prioritizing the actions that would be needed to achieve it.  But doing that well was only half of the daunting challenge that faced them.  After all that the organization had been through, finding a way to capture and tell the story of their journey in a fun and engaging way that inspired employees and clients to embrace the vision and take the actions prioritized by leadership, was just as important.

Our team set about to help them to transform their organization through a simple, yet incredibly effective, combination of planning and communications initiatives.

Capturing the essence of leadership’s efforts through a blueline drawing

In advance of a strategic planning meeting, a Blueline Partner collaborated with one of our Master Artists to begin to draft a table-sized blueline drawing that told the story of where they had been. We left significant amounts of white space on the visual so that there was room to capture their vision.

Sample Blueline Drawing…

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Subsequently, Blueline facilitated a one-day strategic planning session to guide our client’s efforts to define their vision for the future and to prioritize the steps that they needed to take to get there. The same Master Artist that drafted the initial blueline drawing also attended the one-day meeting. Throughout the meeting, he captured the process and the leadership team’s decisions. The final output was an engaging, table-size visual that members of the leadership team could use to engage others by retelling the story of “where they had been, where they are going, and how they planned to get there.”

Engaging stakeholders through the use of a telestration

We repurposed the drawing and memorialized the leadership team’s efforts through a 4 minute narrated video capture of the Master Artist creating the drawing, so that it could be used to define and promote the organization’s brand.  This required that we capture the story in the form of a script that mirrored the drawing.  The final deliverable was a professionally narrated video of the Artist rendering the drawing for the audience.  (Through the power of technology, the rendering takes place in about 1/60th the time it actually takes to recreate the drawing.)

Sample Blueline Telestration….

The client used the telestration and blueline drawing to kick-off their Future Vision initiative during their annual meeting.  The meeting opened with the telestration – which laid a foundation for a presentation by the leadership team.  Subsequently, three by five foot posters of the blueline drawing were hung throughout the meeting space so that participants could “re-experience” the journey with their leadership.

The outcomes are best summarized by the head of the organization who opined: “the successful outcomes of this initiative are an important lesson in embracing the types of innovation we want to support throughout the organization – through these efforts we got 80% of the way to our destination in 20% of the time it usually takes us.”

Is your organization facing a challenging transformation?  Contact the change management experts at Blueline today!

Newsflash: The Process Doesn’t Revolve around You

You would be surprised – or maybe you wouldn’t – by how many people in your organization don’t understand how the organization accomplishes its work.

To be honest, it used to surprise us. We would run learning programs on a topic, like say, financial acumen, and it would never fail: People in the accounting department would say things like, “huh, I guess I should know these details about the balance sheet but I don’t.” And that’s coming from the guys in Accounting.

It’s an organizational myopia that we now recognize as commonplace. In fact, we empathize. We all have a tendency to view the world from the point of view of our own work, our own desk.

Like Galileo, leadership often involves delivering the unwelcome message that you, the individual, are not the epicenter of your organization’s process.

Fortunately, we at Blueline Simulations fare much better than Galileo for being the bearer of this message. In fact, we’ve found that giving people a view of the big picture is quite liberating, and a key step in generating organizational transformation.

And we have found that the best way to give that big picture is with an actual picture.

Using metaphors and a balance of both quantitative and qualitative data, we render the complex processes and work flows of your organization with a compelling degree of engagement.

Click Image to View Larger Version

Equipped with an enterprise view via a Blueline Blueprint Learning Visual, our learners report that:

  • I have a better appreciation for where I fit in the process.
  • Now I understand why the work those guys do in department X is so important.
  • I appreciate the difficult decisions that the leaders have to make to manage the many moving parts of this process.
  • I see ways to make my work more efficient, more focused, more optimized to the organization’s desired output.

Find out how a Blueline learning map can equip your people with an enriched understanding of your organization’s key processes and workflows. Contact us today for a demonstration.