a leader from around the world

20 07 2006

the headline caught my eye – elearning sector buzzing with activity.   it took me a few seconds to realize that it was from india’s moneycontrol.com and not a western source.  i found two things very interesting about this interview with vikas joshi, chairman and managing director of harbinger group.  harbinger was named to trainingoutsourcing.com’s list of top 20 specialized learning process providers. (note: you need a free membership at trainingoutsourcing.com to view the list.)

the first thing that struck me was that this seems to be pretty big news in india.  hearing the tone of mr. joshi’s comments would the indians are in the elearning business not as a second tier player.  rather they are gunning for world market leadership.  they are hungry and mobillizing!

second, while the following quote include a mangling of kirkpatrick’s name and a twisting of his theory, i found one bit to be quite insightful.  the quote

How do you think the success of e-learning should be measured?

Traditionallydropout or the completion rate has been the measurement tool. If thedrop out rate is close to zero one can measure people’s performance. AsKurk Patrick’s model suggests, one has to look at the following todetermine the success: 

a) Completion rate

b) ROI is an important factor

c) Impact on performance

(before you go giggle about the errors – quick – name, and spell, the full name of the person credited with founding the indian institutes of technology – arguably an equal to mit and oxford and the birthplace of india’s current scientific superiority.)  ok now that we have that silliness out of the way, let me point out mr. joshi’s comment that "if the dropout rate is close to zero one can measure people’s performance."  now it may just be me, but i’ve almost exclusively heard advocates of forgetting about dropout rates in favor of roi analyses or performance measures.  but mr. joshi is correct that unless dropout rates are significantly low, the validity of claiming a learning intervention had any impact on anything is non-existent. 

think about it.  if only 15 of 100 participants complete a learning intervention, but we want to know the impact the course had on the 100, you can see how quickly we’d be shown to be ineffectual in our effort.  if 100 people are targeted for an intervention designed to create the change needed to meet the company’s strategic goals, then we either better be retaining everyone one of those employees until the end of the program AND gaining the improvement required from nearly all  of them or we need to figure out a way to get a bigger pool of learners so that when everyone drops out we’re still left with 100 who have met our goals.

just like our colleagues in the supply chain, all of the slack is being removed from the chain of processes we work with to move the workforce forward.   you know the folks at harbinger group are examining the efficiencies of their processes.  as mr. joshi says,

one needs to understand the business processes for developing a world class product and solution for the industry.

he may not have kirkpatrick’s levels memorized correctly, but he seems to have an answer to winning the race to dominance in elearning dialed in!

(Oh, I almost forgot. The answer to the founder of IIT.  You may have known his last name – Nehru – but I bet there were few if any who knew or could spell his first name.  Jawaharlal Nehru was Prime Minister of India when he called for the formation of universities which would rival MIT.  The seven campuses of IIT are considered to be that today.)


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