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3 reasons we need job answers, not just on demand learning

By the Feathercap team
5 minute read

Everyone in the workforce wants to accomplish more while requiring less reliance on others for help. Since March 2020, the new normal has stretched thin all those required to work on site or from home. Here are the three reasons we need to provide the right job answers now more than ever.  

1) Curiosity precedes learning.

Curiosity is always good. Psychologists tell us that curiosity not only leads to more engaged employees, regardless of cognitive ability but also drives knowledge attainment. It’s no surprise Google has done so well with everyone conditioned to getting immediate answers to their questions from any device. When it comes to our jobs, we all want to have the right answers immediately and at our disposal without having to ask a colleague or rummaging through silos of content. For consumers, a great example is how we’ve moved to efficiently order meals and groceries from Amazon Prime, Instacart or Uber Eats without setting foot in a store or restaurant and not having to ask any one directly what is fresh or recommended. We all want and need food after all, but we just want an easier way to get it and find it. Consumers have at their fingertips contextual reviews and ratings to answer any question about the quality, popularity of the food item in question. Is there a way to bring this self-reliance to all types of workers? 

2) We’ve known for a long time rapid interaction is better.

Back in 1984, Educational Psychologist Benjamin Bloom was ahead of his time and posed a challenge right in the title of his research. “The 2 Sigma Problem: The Search for Methods of Group Instruction as Effective as One-to-One Tutoring”. He proved that one-on-one tutoring could produce up to two standard deviations – 2 sigma – of improvement to students learning a given subject versus those in a classroom. That means if they got a grade of 70% or a “C” previously while in a classroom setting they would get better than 90% or an “A” after learning the same subject from a one-on-one coaching approach. Bloom defined a “classroom” as a group of learners all receiving the same training without as much back and forth interaction as a one-on-one tutor. This is suspiciously like our existing workplace on demand courses and job related content approach to on the job learning.  

Why are on demand content, courses, wikis or current help systems not enough? 

From Bloom’s perspective, the above approaches are static and generically built for an audience and on average only achieves 20% of the entire learner audience attaining highest achievement of presented material. In the modern day, this would translate to less competency and engagement. Contrast this with Bloom’s 2 sigma improvement through one-on-one tutoring, enabling 80% of the entire learner audience attaining that highest achievement. A one-on-one tutoring approach yields 60% more of the learners achieving mastery.

3) Interactions with learning content isn’t measured properly.

The other problem with existing learning courses and programs according to elearning pioneer Elliot Masie, is when it comes to measurement, the focus is on learning delivery instead of the learning impact.  So even if the course or content is spot on in terms of appealing and in sync to an audience’s goals, the current tracking approaches limit our understanding of attaining mastery. 

So the big question is, can we replicate one-on-one tutoring but without the tutors? That means reducing interactions with our colleagues and managers?

What Bloom didn’t know is how relevant his work would eventually be to all of us now. Tutors and one-on-one coaching are of course attractive but more of a luxury then ever. The cost of such experts is only growing, and hard to scale. But we are seeing emerging AI curation, tracking and search technologies to understand exactly which snippet or type of content would be best for any given audience member. Feathercap’s own predictive answer platform is a great example.  

This certainly doesn’t put an end to on demand courses, colleague and manager interaction, sales-support teams, generic wikis or classes but rather minimizes their sole use to achieve competency and engagement. Just like our above example of buying food online, it doesn’t mean the end of grocery stores or restaurants only that there are ways to make the process more efficient and easier. 

For more on how Feathercap provides the right answers matched to every team member, check us out: https://feathercap.net 

 Feel free to contact us for more information.

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