Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Is a dog ever too old to learn?

Sometime in the mid to late 1800’s, E.C. Brewer is credited with coming up with the phrase, “you can’t teach an old dog a new trick”. Whether or not there is truth in this depends on your definition of “old”. We have statutes and rules that determine when someone is too young to participate in or learn something. However, as a society we have never imposed age limits. Therefore, being too old is more often “self-determined”.

In our business, of providing learning resources, we see three types of customers; those that should learn the proper way to do things, those that need to learn new ways to do things, and those that simply want to learn how to do more things. Let me clarify a bit about each of these customer types.

The “Should Learns” generally incorporates those preparing to enter the workforce that should prepare themselves with competitive skills and abilities to help land the job and do the job properly. This group often consider themselves “experts” at computers as they have been using them for many years. However, studies have shown that most self-professed experts, on things like Microsoft Excel, know less than 15% of the functionality of the software programs they have been using. Would you want a surgeon working on you if he thought he was an expert, but could only perform efficiently with 15% of his tools? This is one of the reasons companies have increased their interview processes to include a skills assessment. They want to determine and verify the claims too often exaggerated on résumés regarding expertise and skills.

Next, consider the “Need to Learns”. They are those that are years into their career paths. In my experience, this group will conclude their need to learn something in one of two manners. Either they realize it themselves or they are told by someone else. When they realize it for themselves, it generally is the result of a struggle they currently face and desire to overcome it. Others will be approached by a manager or human resource person to improve a set of skills to become more productive at a task.

The “Want to Learns” is made up primarily of those that have reached specific career goals and no longer need to “sharpen their axe”. These are those that have a personal desire to continue the process of learning. They are often, but not always, the “old dogs”. They are interested in understanding and using new technology, processes and tools. For years they have turned to Adult Education classes at local colleges or to books on the topics. More recently they have flocked to audio tapes, videos and DVDs to learn from subject matter experts. With online learning subscription libraries, they are finding the best of both worlds. They get a similar experience to that with a mentor, coach or classroom without the need to travel or schedule specific time blocks. In addition, they get ahttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifccess to a large library of content without having to pay the premium costs associated with buying tuition to individual classes or purchasing many books.

In 2009, researchers at North Carolina State University released a study called “Moderators of and Mechanisms Underlying Stereotype Threat Effects on Older Adults’ Memory Performance”. The study concluded that you are only as old as you think you are. I too believe that age is relative and that “All dogs can learn new tricks”.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Filling the new gap for online training needs and benefits

LearnLocker's new online training subscription service has been live for just over two weeks.  At that time LearnLocker announced the Personal³ and Group³ memberships.  Since then the Group³ membership has garnered a lot of attention among small business owners. 

In a time when businesses of all sizes are either downsizing or under a hiring freeze, getting the most out of their employees is "mission critical".  More than ever, employees need to become experts at everything they do.  Now consider the fact that training budgets are usually the first thing to get cut when things get tight.  This poses a serious dilemma for employers with employees that need to improve their skills and productivity.

Employees know that you value them when you invest in them. 
The Group³ membership puts a unique spin on an old solution - eLearning.  After all, businesses of all sizes have been using eLearning as a viable resource for over 10 years.  The transition to eLearning started out slow but has accelerated recently.  Traditional classes, boot camps and even seminars, remain too cost prohibitive to those with varied needs.  Not to mention schedule and travel related issues.

In recent years, several online subscription services jumped into the space to fill the need to provide a library of various training courses under a monthly subscription fee.  While this was a big step in the right direction, it still falls short for those with more employees than dollars to use on these services.  Account sharing is strictly prohibited by all of the online services.  In fact it is the number two cause of account termination, after failure to pay.

Enter the Group³ membership from LearnLocker.  Each membership licensed by the employer comes with three manageable accounts (one subscriber account and two share accounts).  The two share accounts are the real secret here.  There is no additional cost for the two share accounts, they are included free.

For example, the owner of a small business with nine employees has at least three ways they can subscribe to LearnLocker to fill their need.  

Choice 1 - The Traditional Solution
Subscribe to 9 Group³ membership accounts and provide one to each employee.  Now the employee gets the training they need to become an expert with the tools they use everyday.  This choice is similar to all of the other subscription training services on the market today.  However, LearnLocker sets itself apart with the two share accounts.  The employee now has a benefit they can take home.  They can now provide the two share accounts to family or friends as part of their benefit.  Best of all, they can do it "legally" without sharing their login information and putting the company account at risk of usage violations.

Choice 2 - The Frugal Solution
Subscribe to 3 Group³ membership accounts and manage them within the business.  Since each account comes with one subscriber account and two share accounts, the employer can manage it so that all 9 employees get an account at 1/3 the cost of licensing an account for each of them.

Choice 3 - The Ultra Inexpensive Solution
Subscribe to 1 Group³ membership account and mange the two share accounts more actively.  Each share account can be granted and reclaimed an unlimited number of times by the subscriber.  Therefore, an employer can assign the subscriber account to one employee and make that person the account manager to co-ordinate assigning and reclaiming the share accounts amongst the remaining 8 employees.  Companies that license training on CDs and DVDs are already used to a similar situations requiring usage co-ordination.  This type of license is often referred to as a site, share or library license.  This solution requires the most involvement by the employer, but makes the same training available for 1/9 the cost of licensing an account for each of them.

So whether they are looking to provide their employees with a valuable new benefit or to fill a critical learning need for as little as possible, the Group³ membership from LearnLocker is a flexible fit.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

LearnLocker Announced in Times Square, New York City

This week, LearnLocker was announced.  It was featured on the Thomson Reuters Sign at 43rd Street and 7th Avenue in Times Square, New York City.
LearnLocker makes its debut.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Grand Opening Offer - Half Price Subscriptions for first 2000

For a limited time LearnLocker is cutting their subscription rate in half.  As a sort of Grand Opening offer, LearnLocker will let the first 2000 subscribers lock in at an extremely low rate.   Subscribe now.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

LearnLocker.com Goes Live

Today, LearnLocker officially launched the LearnLocker.com subscription library service. After 6 months of live beta testing, LearnLocker.com went live today, with the addition of its unique sharing accounts feature.