Thursday, December 28, 2006

How to effectively train an ID

  • Determine the recruitment objectives.
  • Identify the required and desired candidate profile.
  • Determine the required personal attributes of the candidates (I place weightage on willingness to learn and share).
Design and Develop

Components of the training (or induction) program:
    1. Corporate orientation: Corporate values, vision, goals, structure, teams, market and competitors.
    2. Organization orientation: Various teams within the organization that the employee will work in (for example, project management, quality, engineering services, learning strategy, visual strategy), organizational structure, values, vision, goals, structure, market and competitors of the organization. #1 and #2 could be merged for smaller companies.
    3. Team orientation: Reporting structure, team interaction, roles and responsibilities and expectations.
    4. Project orientation: Customer orientation, introduction and usage of tools (content management system, authoring tools, time tracking, bug tracking, graphical editing tools), templates (scripting templates) and common mistakes.
    5. ID specific: Scripting workshop covering best practices, styleguide, classroom exercise and an intensive assignment to be completed individually (in consultation with peers, if required). The assignments are evaluated with the entire team as a group. Additionally, a workshop that covers tools and techniques to scope individual course component can also be conducted.
    6. Values and Ethics: Acceptable behaviors, conflict management and values that define the team.
The above components can be accommodated in a timeframe of approximately two weeks (10 working days). For lesser duration, I reduce the number of components or the depth of the topics. However, in any combination, I ensure #6 is accommodated since I consider it to be the most important.

  • The topics are allocated to different experts within the organization.
  • Dates are identified. Times for training are determined with an objective to create an interesting mix of topics. Presenter availability is factored into this mix.
  • Once the employees are ready to join the team, the point of contact welcomes them, provides an overview of the training plan and distributes a copy of the schedule. This point of contact is available to the employees for any questions during the training period.
  • The employees are made responsible for completing the entire program in the stipulated timeframe. They are required to handle minor changes to the training plan by themselves. For example, if there is a last minute unavailability of a presenter, the employees need to schedule the session with the presenter for the next available slot.
  • Collect feedback from the employee either formally using a feedback form or informally, say, over a cup of coffee.
  • Update the training program with the inputs received.
NOTE: This post is created on request from an anonymous reader (see comments for Seat Time for an Elearning Course). You probably know of smarter ways to train an ID, it would be great if you could share them here.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Seat Time for an Elearning Course

This post is in response to a request from elearningtyro. I hope you find it useful.

What is seat time?
Seat time is variously described as:

* Amount to time a learner spends to read through each page within the course (Does that include all the related tools and supplementary document? Does the learner need to read every glossary term? What if the learner already knows the terms?)
* Amount of time taken by a learner to click every link within the course (What if the learner clicks the link but does not read it? )
* Amount of time a learner takes to complete the course

How is it calculated?
One of the ways I know (If you know any other, please feel free to leave a comment):
A sample from the target audience is selected to complete the course. The time taken by each is recorded. Seat time is the percentile time that approximately 80 percent of the learners take to complete the course.

When was it used?
In early elearning days, seat time was taken as a metric to charge the clients. However, there were some issues in using this approach. For one, different learners have different learning speeds. Additionally, complex interactions take longer to produce and need more resources even though it takes lesser time to read or review these sections. For example, simulations or game-based learning. Finally, usage of multimedia for example, sound, video animation make elearning more expensive to produce. As a result, today most elearning companies charge their clients on the effort taken to develop the course or curriculum rather than the seat time. Different companies have different methods and standards to calculate this effort.

Related link

Friday, December 08, 2006

Success story: Former employee profiled on CNBC Young Turks

While watching Young Turks on CNBC, I found a profile particularly fascinating-

Ayyappa Nagubandi, 28, started his professional life as a security guard. He joined Satyam Computers as a receptionist but soon discovered his talent for web design. He was provided opportunities within Satyam to grow as a web designer. By the time he left the cafter six years, he was a team lead and had supported clients in the US, Singapore and Europe. He left Satyam to launch his own company, TrulyIntelligent Technologies. NowPos Online Services (shortened form of Now Possible), the company’s first subsidiary, offers free voicemail over the Internet, aimed at users in developing countries with connectivity but little literacy. Tens of thousands of users in countries like Vietnam, China, and South Korea have already registered for the NowPos service ( NowPos was rated by Frost and Sullivan as one of the top 20 Broadband Innovations in Asia Pacific.

Ayyappa Nagubandi’s journey from being an office boy (correction based on inputs from Ayyappa. See comment.) and a receptionist to being a founder of an organization with cutting edge technology is motivating. However, what impressed me more was Satyam’s culture of encouraging talent and providing growth opportunities for all associates across the board.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What I will remember most about 2006?

Youtube, Second Life, Mozilla Firefox, Google Calendar, Google Spreadsheet, Yahoo! Audibles,
Yahoo! Answers, Internet connection on cell phones, Internet content on cell phones, proliferation of webinars and webcasts and strategies used to accommodate geographically distributed audience, mySpace, Flickr...realizing that the world is indeed smaller than ever.

Professional growth

Innovative learning solutions blending traditional classroom, elearning, webcasts, coaching and mentoring, competency development for a large (450+) technical workforce, facilitating training sessions, PMP preparation and exam.

Besides the profession
European holiday, swimming, interior design, blogging, Internet games.

Monday, December 04, 2006

PMI Visits My Organization

A couple of months back, a member from the PMI organization visited my office campus. His goal was to collect inputs and feedback on PMP certification from various organizations across India. In Bangalore, he visited only one other organization besides my own.

Apparently, India has the fastest growing PMP certified population. I also found out that my organization has the largest number of PMPs any organization has in the world.

Among other things, the one input that cropped up repeatedly was that despite being PMP certified, many professionals were unable to manage projects successfully. I felt PMP certification should include an interview round for those who qualify the written test to ensure quality.

It was an interesting discussion since it included employees of different levels who brought out varying perspectives. I am curious to know when and what changes will finally be rolled out in India by PMI.