Monday, 25 March 2013

So, how do you ensure the quality of your courseware?

I have just read two articles on Forbes: The new rules of Leadership, Megham Biro ( and Leadership, Technology and Talent Management Predictions for 2013, Josh Bersin ( My thanks to both for triggering the following thoughts:

It would seem that in 2013 leaders will see greater success from using the collective knowledge of the workforce and encouraging individual development than we will get by forcing style and techniques upon employees in order to establish a corporate identity. In the race to win market share we would do better if we encourage continuous learning; become learning organisations*.  I have to agree.  I am all for the concept of ‘pulled learning’, which is continuous and becomes a way of working life; as against ‘pushed training’, which can only be a short interlude in the day to day turmoil of work.

If we do not continuously improve, we will be left behind.

But as Bersin says, this will mean changes – most especially to Learning and Development (L&D) who may no longer be able to develop learning in one location, using a Subject Matter Expert and then transmit it globally to all ‘trainees’.  It will become impossible (if it hasn’t already) to produce training quickly enough to keep pace with knowledge development or the needs of the business**.  L&D will need to create learning paths for the curious to follow (in addition to training interludes), relying to a great extent on the contributions from employees for content (peer to peer learning).  This means that they will need to become curators of knowledge, ensuring that it is easily available and that the quality is sufficient to allow employees to efficiently learn from the stored knowledge at the point and place of need (Just in Time learning).

This is why the idea of assuring the quality of Learning Objects (or parts of learning) such as Courseware will become vital.  How else will the new-style L&D be sure that accessed information is to the point, focussed, easy to learn from, relevant, accessible and therefore effective?  Using external assessment and guidance will be a major contributor to overcoming the dangers of introspection and self-congratulation as we set up the future of learning and performance improvement in our companies. 

This is what epprobate is all about, with reviewers who not only assess courseware against an internationally developed quality grid to ensure effective learning, but also provide the mentor’s touch, acting as a sounding board as new learning develops.  This is guiding not constricting, consulting not dictating.  Not only that, but epprobate is an international QA system utilising expertise from across the world to provide a label that proves quality, both for the company and for the learner***.

* I wonder if this means that shareholders will start to judge the future potential of a company against the criteria of a Learning Organisation? J

** Both Biro and Bersin make the point that managers should get out there and actually see what is happening (management by wandering about) “there’s no substitute for getting out into your organisation and seeing how things actually work” (Biro).

*** At the moment epprobate are looking for a couple of enterprising organisations to offer some courseware for a FREE review.  (Although there will be some time involved from the courseware provider for background info.) This is on a first-come, first-served basis for two (maximum) courseware providers.
Contact me through my website  to start the ball rolling!  

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