Learning Light’s eLearning Market Review 2014

Learning Light has recently released their 4th report on the state of the elearning market, with a focus on UK, rest of Europe and China. Learning Light Report This is a comprehensive report that includes detailed information on how elearning is evolving. It is good to see that after the economic devastation we have recently felt, the elearning industry is now growing again, I know that this is probably at the expense of the ‘face2face’ training industry, but this was inevitable as year on year technology advances are changing the way we function. The rapid growth of smartphone and tablet devices has driven the self-learning or BYOD approach, this indeed has probably been difficult to factor in to the overall adoption of technology in learning, however it is a significant factor for most corporate businesses – do they know what their people are accessing as learning resources? Maybe when Tin Can becomes a commonly used function of SCORM this will be easier to track and analyse.

The scope of elearning deliverables has dramatically increased, however it would be interesting to know what the performance and knowledge retention rates to these solutions are. The elearning industry has been guilty in the past of latching on to new technology enhancements without any real substance of learning behind it, and as Learning Light have quoted from Michael Allen of Allen Interactions – “Some elearning uses are effective – magnificently so. Others are not”. We certainly believe in the power of learning technology as a form of creating realistic learning approaches.

It is interesting to see that budgets are moving away from L&D departments, will this add a better or more complicated dimension to learning acquisition? Certainly if budgets are becoming more dynamic to learning needs that can only be a good thing – this will hopefully be the end of the statement ‘we need it now but we have no budget for it this year’!

Learning Light states that there are approximately 532 learning technology companies in the UK, and the market value has grown to £567M. You don’t need to be a mathematician to realise that this is a very challenging market to survive in especially if you are a small business. Yes companies have come and gone and recently there have been some significant mergers and acquisitions, but I cannot help feeling that this industry is missing a defined learning technology leading company (or a group of). For years the larger companies have been seen as the safer option to work with, while smaller or start-up companies have struggled to get a foot hold in the market. The danger here, is that while the smaller suppliers hold the innovation keys to the industry, in many cases this is passed by for the safer option.

There is a lot of detail in the Learning Light elearning report and it is an essential resource to view how the market is shaping up for the future. What I have covered in this article is only a small snapshot of the great work these guys have done. So do check it out on Learning Light’s website

Emotions Controlled

Some people would say that the word ‘Control’ could be interpreted as negative or aggressive. While this may be true, when we talk about emotional intelligence it becomes an incredibly important word, shutterstock_104106056especially around expressing emotions. After a difficult interaction we often think back and wonder whether if we had acted differently, changed the way we said something, or maybe even listened better, would the outcome have been different?

Difficult interactions can result in difficult outcomes. If a person expresses anger at you, gesturing and moving towards you in an angry manor, what would your natural reaction be? Do you confront, defend, or retreat? It is rare that we would attempt to apply a rationale to the situation, to try to understand ‘why is this person approaching me in this way?’ Emotional intelligence teaches us about awareness and control, and how to manage our emotions and the emotions of others.

I experienced the negative side of control on a recent business trip. At the airport check in on the return leg home I was told my bag was too heavy. Although slightly confused (as it was the same weight as travelling out), my thoughts were on getting home so I offered to pay for any excess weight to resolve any issues. Thinking this would be fairly straightforward I was surprised when this was not accepted and I was advised to remove items from my luggage until it was satisfactory.

This is the point where emotional intelligence of the staff at check in would have been beneficial!

Before I had the chance to properly consider and respond to what had been stated (which was a fair request), another managerial member of staff approached the desk and aggressively stated that my bag was not going on the flight unless I removed items from it. This person wouldn’t listen, wouldn’t allow me to speak and after talking at me, put their hand up to gesture “conversation over” and just walked away. While some people might believe that this is controlling the situation and is acceptable customer service, I did not. Not only did the interaction leave me feeling unhappy, but the personnel left at the desk were visibly tense and uncomfortable. (I should point out that I did remove the items from my bag to make the weight acceptable)!

Interactions like these are often put out of mind and filed away as a bad or negative experience. However, is there a long term effect? How do I view the airline after my customer experience?

I have a perception and attitude change towards the airline. The chances of me flying with this airline again are extremely remote as I do not desire to replicate the experience I had with them. There was no empathy from the manager. Empathy is critical to creating a positive customer experience from something potentially negative. How we approach and interact with people when providing a service is of the upmost importance. Emotional intelligence empowers us to deliver the best outcomes for the given situation.

Negative outcomes of an interaction can have a prolonged effect on an individual. When you overcome the surprise or shock of a negative encounter, you feel the necessity to discuss it and do something about it. From this particular experience, the check-in people did not know who I was, or whether I was important to their business or not. They didn’t consider the long term effect a negative customer experience could have on their roles or even their business. When we interact with others we should never assume anything, but instead focus on using our emotional intelligence to deliver a positive outcome, a ‘meeting of minds’, no matter who the person is.

Understanding how to use our emotions when we enter an interaction is paramount to a successful outcome. For every interaction I have, I reflect on the experience and evaluate if I applied my emotions intelligently: Was empathy displayed? Did I and the people involved in the interaction control and manage our emotions? How did I feel after the interaction? What is my perception of the people/business now?

Emotional intelligence has become a critical factor in the development of business and people performance, within challenging and aggressive industries it provides that competitive edge.

Welcome to Zephyr’s Blog

image_teamThe EmoteControl team (Zephyr and University of Bradford) discussing, planning and strategising the development of Emotional Intelligence within the learning technology world.  Our blog will take you through our journey to date, the importance of EI, our views of Emotion Detection, and all other aspects relating to Emotions and Emotional Intelligence.  Keep watching this space for more updates!