Why Corporate Learning Solutions Ignore Brain Science and Create Corporate Adoption Gaps

Cognitive and Behavior Systems of Learning

Key Stakeholders: Chief Learning Officers, Chief Human Resource Officers, Learning and Development Directors and Managers, Corporate Trainers, Content and Learning Product Managers

Key Takeaways:

  • Learning & Development (L&D) vendors offer a number of amazing technologies but minimal, if any, scientifically-validated best practices to guide clients on what to use when. This is an oversight and one that can be remedied by leveraging learning science—the marriage of psychology and brain science.
  • Even the vendors beginning to embrace brain science stop at the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and medial temporal lobe structures that have evolved for hard skills learning. This is unacceptable as vendors effectively ignore people (aka soft) skills and the emotional aspects of learning that are mediated by different brain regions with distinct processing characteristics.
  • To close the adoption gap in learning technologies, L&D vendors must start to embrace all systems of learning in the brain, and customers must demand better guidance and scientifically-validated best practices.
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AMALGAM INSIGHTS MEDIA ALERT: Starbucks is closing its stores. Is It Enough?

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For release 830am May 28, 2018

For more information:

Hyoun Park Steve Friedberg
Amalgam Insights MMI Communications
hyoun@amalgaminsights.com steve@amalgaminsights.com
415.754.9686 484.550.2900

AMALGAM INSIGHTS MEDIA ALERT:  Starbucks is closing its stores and doing awareness training for all of its employees this week.  Learning researcher asks, “Is it enough?”

WHAT:  Starbucks says it’s closing its 8,000 stores tomorrow, May 29, for what it calls “a conversation and learning session on race, bias and the building of a diverse welcoming company.”

Todd Maddox, Ph.D., an Amalgam Insights Learning Scientist/Research Fellow, applauds the company’s commitment to ongoing training, saying that approach may work, but warns that unless the training is continuous, Starbucks runs the risk of backsliding:

“My hope is that the company utilizes training content that focuses on true behavior change, as opposed to simply teaching people to identify inappropriate behavior. I also hope that Starbucks goes beyond training during the onboarding process, and incorporates it as a regular, ongoing part of employee training. The brain is hardwired to forget and requires refreshers to consolidate information in long-term memory.


“Just as sexual harassment prevention and many other people skills are about behavior, so is unconscious (racial) bias and all other aspects of appropriate interaction. People skills matter in all facets of society and corporate life. It is time to embrace the science of learning and work to address these shortcomings with effective training.”

 

WHO:  Todd Maddox, Ph.D. has more than 200 published articles, 10,000 citings, and $10 million in external research funding in his 25+ years researching the brain basis of behavior.  He’s been quoted in Forbes, CBS Radio, Training Journal, Chief Learning Officer, and other publications on topics such as the use of virtual reality in workplace sexual harassment avoidance training.

 

Todd’s available for comment on this or other topics; if you’d like to speak with him, please contact steve@amalgaminsights.com.

 

Revealing the Learning Science for Improving IT Onboarding

Key Stakeholders: IT Managers, IT Directors, Chief Information Officers, Chief Technology Officers, Chief Digital Officers, IT Governance Managers, and IT Project and Portfolio Managers. Top Takeaways: Information technology is innovating at an amazing pace. These technologies hold the promise of increased effectiveness, efficiency and profits. Unfortunately, the training tools developed to onboard users are often…

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The Adoption Gap in Learning & Development: How Learning Science Can Bridge the Divide


Key Stakeholders: Chief Learning Officers, Chief Human Resource Officers, Learning and Development Directors and Managers, Corporate Trainers, Content and Learning Product Managers

Key Takeaways: L&D vendors offer a vast array of innovative functionality and technology for their clients. Unfortunately, clients are overwhelmed by the breadth of offerings and desire guidance on what technology to use when, all in the interest of increasing adoption and the effectiveness of learning. An extensive body of learning science research exists that should be leveraged to provide clients with the much-needed guidance. This approach will reduce the existing adoption gap and improve the performance.

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Will Starbucks Make A $40 Million Training Mistake? The Psychology and Brain Science of Effective Racial Bias Prevention Training

(Editor’s Note: Todd Maddox, Ph.D. has over 200 published articles, 10,000 citings, and $10 million in external research funding in his 25+ years in cognitive psychology. Maddox is available for interviews on this topic at info@amalgaminsights.com)

By now, I am sure you have heard about the incident at a Starbucks in Philadelphia, where two black men were arrested for waiting for a third man inside the store without purchasing any items. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson issued an immediate apology calling the arrests “reprehensible.” He’s gone further, meeting with the two men in person and apologizing, as well as saying that all U.S. Starbucks will be closed on May 29 for racial-bias education for its employees.
Continue reading “Will Starbucks Make A $40 Million Training Mistake? The Psychology and Brain Science of Effective Racial Bias Prevention Training”

Why Learning And Development Efforts Misuse Gamification (One-Size-Does-Not-Fit-All)

Approach-Avoidance

Recommended Audience: Chief Learning Officers, Chief Human Resources Officers, Learning and Development directors and managers, Corporate Trainers, Enterprise Librarians and Content Managers, Instructional Designers, Corporate Communications, Product Managers with a Content or Learning focus.

Key Takeaway: L&D-based gamification is ignoring major swathes of personality and human motivation, which prevents most current business approaches of gamification from being effective.

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Why Enterprise Gamification is Broken (The Psychological Science of Motivation and Effort)

Motivation-Effort Relationship

Gamification entered the enterprise world in the mid-2000s. At the time, a number of startup companies (e.g., Bunchball, Gigya, Badgeville, Foursquare and SCVNGR, to name a few) entered the market with the promise of increased employee engagement through point, badge and similar compensation and incentivization schemes. These are collectively referred to as gamification. The underlying assumption was that people would complete tasks and goals more quickly and more accurately because the incentives were present.

These solutions targeted customer loyalty, sales enablement and some marketing initiatives, but the most successful applications were in sales. Despite raising significant capital, the majority of these companies folded because client’s internal adoption was low, and in many cases, these offering were no more effective than simply posting current sales results or sales metrics on the wall.

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The Brain Science that Drives Corporate “Training for Retention”

Iterative Targeted Retention

Companies Mentioned: Axonify, Degreed, EdCast, Fivel, Grovo, Pathgather, Percipio, and Qstream

A recent study by Deloitte suggests that the #1 problem facing companies revolves around employee engagement, turnover, and the corporate culture, with 87% of companies rating these as important imperatives, and 50% rating them as urgent. Learning may be the key, with companies utilizing effective Learning & Development (L&D) environments showing higher levels of engagement, reduced turnover, and positive corporate cultures.

The operative term here is “effective” L&D. Stale textbook and slide show training is obsolete and ineffective. Effective learning content is compelling and engaging, is available in multiple media (text, video, audio), and is available 24/7 on multiple platforms (mobile, tablet, laptop, desktop). Effective learning content is readily available in short bursts to address a specific question without disrupting the workflow, or as a series of short bursts for a deeper dive. Many Learning Management Systems (LMS) are embracing these properties and are showing improvements in initial learning and proficiency.

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The Brain Science of Effective Corporate Soft Skills Training

Cognitive and Behavior Systems of Learning

Companies Mentioned: Deloitte, Salesforce, SAP, Cornerstone, Saba, Skillsoft, Fivel, PageUp, PeopleFluent, Talentsoft, Oracle, SilkRoad, IBM, Lumesse, Litmos, D2L, LearnCore, and Lessonly

Soft skills are “people skills”, and they are extremely important in the commercial sector. They involve showing and feeling empathy, embracing diversity, and understanding that we all have biases that we need to be aware of and keep in check. They involve effective interpersonal interactions and real-time communication skills and are relevant at all corporate levels. Whether office staff who interface with clients, office managers who interface with employees and their superiors, or the C-suite who provide the leadership and vision for the company, effective soft skills matter. An individual with strong soft skills can be an effective collaborator, leader, and “good” citizen. They not only know “what” behaviors are appropriate and inappropriate, but they know “how” to generate those behaviors and do so in a highly effective manner.

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Differential Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Hard and Soft Skills Training


Key takeaway: Todd Maddox, Ph.D. uses his background in the psychological and brain science of learning to show how sleep deprivation affects employees’ working memory and executive attention. Both work and training environments should take sleep into consideration in developing high-performance and high-retention environments. Otherwise, sleep deprivation can ruin even the best-designed training environments.

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