Monthly Archives: January 2014

10 reasons why mlearning is vital to SME’s

It is imperative that SME's utilise moble learning to improve the bottom line

It is imperative that SME’s utilise mobile learning to improve the bottom line

Why Online and Mobile Learning is Essential for Small Businesses

article by Diane Shawe M.Ed

The world of online learning is changing the way training can be delivered very rapidly. There is no doubt that mobile learning is hot and for good reason. If it is done right, it can produce great results for small businesses by decreasing costs and improving performance. Understanding mLearning’s value helps businesses make the best decisions about when and why to use it. Here are some compelling reasons.

What most people, employers, entrepreneurs and even some educational institutions do not have in today’s current environment is time the necessary resources and the infrastructure they need to support and achieve their learning objectives

“Continued Professional Training is imperative for SME’s if they are to compete from the bottom line up, & become sustainable business.  It is not a luxury expenditure but a vital investment as we see more and more Global Small Businesses evolving around the world”  says Diane Shawe M.Ed

There are a variety of Mobile Devices to choose from that can be used for Mobile Learning. Some of the more popular ones include: Samsung Galaxy range, Blackberry, Notebook, Palm Pilot, Apple iPhone, Tablets, Apple iPad, Apple iPod Touch, and many other up and coming tablets and notebooks.

So let us take a look at 10 reasons why mLearning is a better approach for training staff within the SME sector…

1.      Decreased training costs.   With mLearning, each time the course is accessed your return on investment improves because you are dividing the fixed production costs by number of uses. You also have savings through decreased travel, reduced material, and hopefully improved (and more efficient) performance.

2.      Less material costs.  Let’s say you have to train how to arrange equipment in a sterile environment like an operating room.  If you had to use the real environment, it would be costly.  Even setting up a virtual environment has material costs and labour.  By creating the environment online and letting the learner practice, you never have to worry about the costs associated with set up, use, and clean up.  There is also the vast savings on BYOD

Information management courses with avptglobak

Information management courses with avptglobal

3. Increased productivity.  Because mLearning is not bound by geography or time, you can control how it impacts on production by training people during down times.  In addition, with the current economy, you’re asking people to do more with less.  So mLearning is a great way to give them the tools and skills needed to enhance their performance.

4. Getting the message across.   mLearning allows businesses create a standardised process and consistency in the delivery of content.  It also compresses delivery time.

5. Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning: Live learning events require that those who participate align their schedules to the training calendar.  mLearning eliminates this because the course can be accessed anytime, anywhere.  Great for businesses and learners!

6. Giving the freedom to fail.  Real learning requires some failure.  But no one likes to fail in a classroom full of other people.  mLearning lets you fail without fear.  This encourages exploration and testing of ideas.  With the right feedback you create a great learning environment.  Worst case, you can always start over.  Something you can’t always do in class.

7. Learning and Retaining.  The combination of multimedia and instructional design can produce a very rich learning experience that is repeatable.  Throw in some good practice activities with feedback and you have a learning environment that’s going to help your learners retain the course content which will produce results.

8. Student Centred learning.  Look out the window at a car park. My guess is that you’ll see a dozen or more different cars. They all do the same thing, yet we have personal opinions about what we want to drive; the same for learning.  Learners want control.  mLearning allows you to offer control to the learners in a way that classroom learning doesn’t.

9. Learning Management: mLearning includes all sort of online technologies. It incorporates some of the tools that allow collaboration and conversation and can capture organisational knowledge that is available for future learners.

10. The Sharing Economy.  The foundation of a learning community is built on sharing what you know with others.  This is where incorporating a forum with the LMS (Learning Management System) adds value to business mLearning. Depending on how the course is structured, you can encourage sharing of resources and insight gained from the course.

In addition to all these advantages, mLearning is really good for the environment. An Open University’s study found that producing and providing distance learning courses consumes an average of 90% less energy and produces 85% fewer CO2 emissions per student than conventional face to face courses.

One of the challenges with making mLearning effective is how you manage the courses and access to resources. If you’re using a learning management system you might consider how that impacts the learning. MLearning is cost effective and can produce great results.  It’s all a matter of how you use it. Have at look at our online learning system, mLearning and the eLearning future. Go to:

“The only thing worse than training people and having them leave, is not training them and having them stay”

“The only thing worse than training people and having them leave, is not training them and having them stay”

10 reasons why negotiation is not the same as bargaining

Planning your negotiation stanceNegotiating is less about confrontation and aggression than it is about flexibility and innovative thinking.

Where as bargaining can lead to lots of problems which may not result in a win-win outcome.

article by Diane Shawe M.ED  AVPT Ltd

Although people often think that negotiating is the same as bargaining, it is not. Negotiating is a process, and bargaining is one stage of that process. There are three other stages of negotiating, and even those are tempered by timing, intuition, and flexibility to the process.  We are going to set out some of the real nuggets you should put in place to establish a firm ground for all considerations.

(Adapted from Shell, Richard: Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People, Penguin, 1999)

(Adapted from Shell, Richard: Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People, Penguin, 1999)

1. Do your Research

When doing research and preparing for negotiations, there are three important considerations:

  • Collecting facts
  • Knowing priorities
  • Knowing principles

The facts that you collect are all the direct and indirect information that you will need to back you up during negotiations. With access to information today, it is a much simpler task than ever to accumulate all kinds of data and statistics. For example, if you are preparing to purchase a vehicle or a house, plenty of information is available, such as comparable properties and prices. If you are preparing to negotiate a raise, or are negotiating salary increases at work, then comparable wage statistics, the history of the organisation and its mission and values, previous experiences in the collective bargaining process, and strategic plans are all important concepts to understand.

2. Focus on your priority

Knowing priorities means having a good understanding of what you want from the negotiation. You also need to know what the other party wants. Understanding your principles, both as a negotiator and as an individual, will help you to form and present a case that is compelling and believable.

Understanding the principles of the other party can also be very helpful to you. A little more research can help you to understand what the organization’s beliefs are, how they have approached previous negotiations, what terms seem to be more important to them than others, and what terms they could be willing to be flexible with.

3. Identifying Your Walk Away Position (WAP)

When you establish your priorities, make sure you have a clear understanding of your Walk Away Position (WAP). What is the least that you will accept (or the highest price that you are willing to pay)? Establish your WAP value in your mind and keep it clearly available so that you do not get caught up in the heat of negotiating, either ending up with something you never wanted, or turning down a deal that was better than your WAP. If you are negotiating on someone else’s behalf, make sure that you know their WAP so that you do not make any mistakes in negotiating for them.

4. Identifying Your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA)

In addition to your WAP, you also need a Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) in your plan. Sometimes an issue can be settled before the bargaining phase begins if it meets your criteria as a BATNA. For example, if you are planning to purchase a home – which is often a very emotional decision – and the realtor comes to you with an offer that you can live with, and you get the home you want without having to participate in any heavy bargaining or entering into a price war, then you may have reached your BATNA. Not all negotiations have to be bargained; sometimes, when you negotiate, you can lose the opportunity to get what might have been a BATNA if you had not been after such a bargain.

5. Working Within the Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA)

1 AVPT Student Recruitment drop in Advert no dateThe Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA) is an area of overlap where the desired outcomes of both parties reside, and where both parties can live with the outcome. Once you reach a ZOPA, the finer details need to be worked out within the scope of what both parties have already found is potentially working for them. For example, if your business forecasting allows for a 2% salary increase each year for the next three years, and similar companies in your industry are offering the same, and the union is asking for 7% over four years, then you may be within the ZOPA.

In general, there are three possible outcomes to a negotiation.

  • Lose-Lose
  • Win-Lose
  • Win-Win

6. Getting Everyone’s Perspective

Gathering perspective is something that can take place throughout the negotiation process. It begins in the research phase, where the negotiator considers the needs of the members of an organization in conjunction with the strategic vision and mission of the negotiation. This does not mean that everyone will get what they want in an agreement; rather, it means that all points of view are considered. There is no point in entering negotiations and reaching an agreement that ignores a section of stakeholders or breaks the law.

Gathering perspective can be a considerable undertaking, depending on the size and scope of the operation. This is one area where outside resources can be utilized (an outside firm conducting employee satisfaction surveys, for example).

7. Developing a Sustainable Agreement?

In this age of complex life and work arrangements, a sustainable agreement can be said to reflect the reality of the business. An agreement cannot be a rigid reflection of ineffective negotiations; rather, it must reflect the reality of business and economic cycles, industries, and real issues that people face. It must also reflect the multiple aspects of the stakeholders who both provide input, and are affected by the results. An agreement also cannot focus on one aspect of the business when the business impacts other industries, cultures, or linguistic groups.

In developing a sustainable agreement, the partners must ensure that, first of all, the organizations that they negotiate on behalf of are interested in having an agreement. Partners must also ensure that negotiating organizations will enforce and take part in the terms of that agreement. If the agreement cannot stand on its own, and the parties who sign it refuse to use it, then the paper it is printed on is useless.

A sustainable agreement really does incorporate feedback from all stakeholders. Although we will never always agree with other people, and although we can write an agreement much more quickly than we can negotiate the terms of one, an agreement is just that, an agreement.

8. Resolving Power Struggles

Negotiating has a lot to do with power. You may find yourself drawn into a compelling conversation that becomes a struggle for power between you and your counterpart. You will have to remind yourself that the negotiation is a process and what your priorities are. The outcome is not personal, and you needn’t get drawn into a power struggle. If you notice that the tone of conversation changes and a power struggle is taking place, one very fast way to disarm it is to take responsibility for it.

You can try a statement like the following:

“Do you mind if we pause for a few moments? I can feel myself taking your last few statements personally and I can feel my heels digging in. Please accept my apologies. Do you mind if we take a short break, and then we can go over this point again once I have had a chance to clear my mind. Perhaps we can try to approach it from a different angle?”

You do not have to mention that you feel the conversation becoming a power struggle. Simply acknowledge the change in tone within the meeting, and then take a moment to collect yourself and regain composure as you move forward. In most cases, the break you put into the conversation may be enough for your partner to also review their approach and consider an alternative.

9. Detach yourself from the outcome

The outcome of this negotiation is not about you personally. If your side wins or loses, you do not become a winner or loser. Very few negotiations actually involve life or death issues. Keep your feet squarely on the ground by realizing that, as a negotiator, your job is to lead people through a process, not to win. Try to think of it in terms of four potential outcomes.

  1. The two of you do not reach an agreement, and the negotiation ends.
  2. Your counterpart will agree to your terms.
  3. You will agree to your counterpart’s terms.
  4. The two of you will compromise on some point in between your positions, perhaps closer to your terms and perhaps not.

In some situations, you have the potential to reach the agreement that you wanted. In other outcomes, both parties may leave unsatisfied. Sometimes not reaching an agreement is the best outcome. (You walk away from a deal with your bank account or integrity intact.) At other times, it is the worst arrangement. (Now, how will you get someone out to fix the service elevator by Friday?)

10. Know your Role and Value

Creating and claiming value are at the heart of the negotiating process. Creating value means that we can develop effective and creative solutions that meet the needs of everyone involved in the negotiation. In negotiation terms, this is commonly known as “expanding the pie.” Claiming value refers to the size of the piece of the pie we receive as a result of negotiation. Many negotiators can do a good job at either creating or claiming value, but not both. Master negotiators do an excellent job of striking this balance by having a good understanding of the interests of both parties, and by identifying common ground, rather than simply aiming for a target and not allowing for any flexibility.

When you are negotiating, check your personal baggage at the door. Think of the things that might be on your mind as you prepare for negotiations.



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How to Increase the Impact of Training Using Storytelling

One of the most important tasks of a top trainer is to keep the delegates engaged

One of the most important tasks of a top trainer is to keep the delegates engaged

article by Diane Shawe M.Ed.


One of the most important tasks of a top trainer is to keep the delegates engaged. The more delegates are immersed in a training course, the more likely that they will learn. There have been many great ways to do this as listed below:


A game is an exercise that normally has a set of rules and an element of competition. Games also normally include some element of reward or pay off. Although traditional games include competing against some one or another team, they are also many non-competitive games available.


Icebreakers are normally used as an exercise to introduce group members to one another, infuse some energy into the beginning of a workshop, and to lead into the topic material.


An energizer is a brief pick-me-up designed to invigorate a group if energy in the room is waning, or to bring them back together following a break. Energizers may be a short version of any game or icebreaker, or a brief set of stretches. They are completed within approximately two to five minutes.


A simulation is used to train future operators when the equipment that they will use is either very expensive or dangerous. Simulations are designed to be as realistic as possible so that participants can learn from the situation without worrying about damage or financial cost.

Brain teasers

Brain teasers are puzzles to keep participants busy or to highlight key points. Brain teasers have the flexibility for a creative trainer to create their own rules to fit a particular session. They can include perception exercises, joining the dots, or drawing activities.

Role Plays

Role-playing is a helpful way to gauge how participants are learning material or how they react to certain situations. They are very useful way to practice new skills in a non-threatening environment.

Case Studies

Case studies are stories normally extracted from a participant’s workplace or industry. It may also be a simulated scenario. They may be studied by individuals/groups and then analyzed to demonstrate particular training points or to stimulate discussion. A great way to do this is to tell powerful stories. Stories capture people’s imagination and help them to visualise a concept.  In this introduction brochure you will learn why storytelling matters and how to make great stories to enhance your training.

But do Stories Matter?

Consider a typical day. How many stories do you hear? Stories seem to be everywhere. TV is full of stories from soap operas to sitcoms to various drama series. Even news is primarily told as one story after another. Massive number of fiction and movies are consumed every single day.  Now, analyse yourself to see when you are most susceptible to persuasion.

You will see that it is when you have been told a really good story. The story can be about anything; but it is usually a story that sells you an idea or a product.

Consider famous public speakers. What is it about their speeches that make them stand out? It is always the story they tell us in their speeches and the way they deliver it that moves us. They make the story emotional, even somewhat personal. Their stories give us hope and promise us a better future. Their stories make us forget about the past or our everyday problems. Their stories give us energy and motivate us to follow up with an idea. There is always a protagonist that you can connect with emotionally.

You feel their pain and joy. While the story is told, you are curious to know how it ends. You cannot wait until it reaches its climax. You want to know what the protagonist decides when he is suddenly forced to make a choice. While you are fully engaged with the story, the real message is then given to you, directly or indirectly. You understand the message through the story and you feel that you have a first-hand experience of the issue.  The real power of stories is that they can be remembered very easily and be retold to others. This is in fact largely the main way that cultural memes pass through generations.

What Can Storytelling Do for Teaching?

When it comes to training, you have two critical aims; to teach a new skill and to increase the likelihood that this new skill is retained long after the course.  Stories can serve both needs. The story itself can be used to explain a particular concept or illustrate the benefits of following a particular attitude in a vivid way. It is also easier to remember the story which can reinforce the learning after the course. People can tell the story to others and thereby spread your training without your direct involvement.

The story can then spread by word of mouth and if it is good enough it may go viral. If it was your original story it can do wonders for your reputation as a trainer. Many people will want to know more about you and hear more stories. This is because people are addicted to good stories. We cannot get enough of it. If we discover that someone is a good storyteller and his stories work for us, we want to hear every story he has to say. We become somewhat addicted to his stories.  As a public performer who provides training courses and aspires to become more popular and better known, you cannot underestimate the power of storytelling.   read more by downloading our free booklet from here

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