AMALGAM INSIGHTS ISSUES “VENDOR SMARTLIST” OF SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS THAT HELP BUILD BETTER LEADERSHIP BRAINS

BOSTON, September 11, 2018 — A new report from industry analyst firm Amalgam Insights cites nine leaders in software solutions designed to effectively train the hard skills, people skills, and situational awareness of leadership.

The Vendor SmartList™, authored by Amalgam Insights Research Fellow Todd Maddox, Ph.D., takes on added significance given the increasing number of news reports about inappropriate conduct by corporate leaders or the lack of trained behavioral skills among a company’s employees.
“Companies must continuously educate their workers, top to bottom, about the ‘what,’ ‘how,’ and ‘feel’ of effective leadership by leveraging brain science to ensure that their behavior doesn’t land them in trouble,” Maddox says. “The companies in our report have succeeded in mapping these systems to the leadership processes needed in today’s business environment.”

Maddox lists nine companies as leaders, with comments about each company’s strength:
• CrossKnowledge: “Path to Performance uses digital solutions that can combine with facilitator training and a dedicated dashboard to provide effective leadership training paths.”
• Development Dimensions International: “DDI uses a broad range of online and offline solutions, tools for practice and simulation, and ‘what if’ scenarios to train leadership skills that meet tomorrow’s business challenges.”
• Fuse Universal: “(Its) use of science and analytics help clients build content that reflects their company DNA, vision and brand.”
• Grovo: “Its use of microlearning content and training programs that power modern learning and improve business outcomes.”
• Learning Technologies Group: “Its broad portfolio of providers, combined with its emphasis on rich scenario-based training and the importance of business outcomes.”
• Rehearsal: “The use of video role-play training that helps leaders improve their people skills through practice, coaching and collaboration.”
• Skillsoft: “Its combination of content and delivery tools that effectively train hard skills, people skills and situational awareness in leadership.”
• TalentQuest: “The use of personality and behavioral science to empower leaders to better manage, coach and develop their people.”
• Valamis: “Its use of technology and data science to build a system for each client that delivers learning aligned with the client’s business goals.”

Maddox cautions, however, that companies deploying any of the systems listed above, or others, must be prepared to do so on an ongoing basis. “One-off training does not work,” he notes.

The report is available for download at https://amalgaminsights.com/product/vendor-smartlist-2018s-best-leadership-training.

“Walking a Mile in My Shoes” With Skillsoft’s Leadership Development Program: A Market Milestone

In a recently published Market Milestone, Todd Maddox, Ph.D., Learning Scientist and Research Fellow for Amalgam Insights, evaluated Skillsoft’s Leadership Development Program (SLDP) from a learning science perspective. This involves evaluating the content, and the learning design and delivery. Amalgam’s overall evaluation is that SLDP content is highly effective. The content is engaging and well-constructed with a nice mix of high-level commentary from subject matter experts, dramatic and pragmatic storytelling from a consistent cast of characters faced with real-world problems, and a mentor to guide the leader-in-training through the process. Each course is approximately one hour in length and is comprised of short 5 – 10 minute video segments built with single concept micro-learning in mind.

From a learning design and delivery standpoint, the offering is also highly effective. Brief, targeted, 5 to 10 minute content is well-suited to the working memory and attentional resources available to the learner. Each course begins with a brief reflective question that primes the cognitive system in preparation for the subsequent learning and activates existing knowledge, thus providing a rich context for learning. The Program is grounded in a storytelling, scenario-based training approach with a common set of characters and a “mentor” who guides the training. This effectively recruits the cognitive skills learning system in the brain while simultaneously activating emotion and motivation centers in the brain. This draws the learner into the situation and they begin to see themselves as part of the story. This “walk a mile in my shoes” experience increases information retention and primes the learner for experiential behavior change.

For more information, read the full Market Milestone on the Skillsoft website.

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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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On April 11th – 13th, Amalgam Insights attended

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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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Effective training is critical in all business sectors. In 2017, over $360 billion was spent on training worldwide, with over $160 billion spent in the U.S. alone. Given the ever-changing nature of the corporate landscape, as new technologies are introduced (e.g., AI) or upgraded (e.g., constant software upgrades), and as new challenges arise (e.g., sexual harassment in the workplace) corporate training must evolve to meet the growing need.
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