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Learning Strategies
Learning needs to be learned

Learning to learn: Get rid of learning types, come up with learning strategies!

The best learning strategies for a successful school period

Learning has to be learned! We learn all the time, throughout our lives. Sometimes learning happens by itself when it is about content that interests you. Other topics, however, are more difficult. Pupils and students in particular are faced with the challenge of learning what is on the agenda - this is not difficult with their favourite course, but even more so with other subjects. The right approach can help you to learn properly.

 

We are not talking about the classification according to learning types, which used to be popular to promote learning progress, but is no longer up-to-date. We are talking about strategies that help to learn learning. Learning strategies are methods that help to better process and consolidate knowledge. In our latest infographic, we have summarised which methods are available and how they can make the future learning outcome of students a complete success.

 

imc Infographic Learning strategies

Infographik of the Month: Learning Strategies

Download and further information

The info graphic you can download for free as PDF.

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Contact person

I have been working in the Marketing & Communication Team at imc since March 2019.

Communication, creative content and social media are my passion. "KISS - Keep it short and simple" is my credo.

 

To explain complex content in an understandable way and thus make the topic of e-Learning accessible to everyone is an exciting challenge every day.

 

Privately I love to read, play poker and travel a lot.

I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions.

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Nadine Kreutz
Communication Manager
Corporate Learning and Events, Team Switzerland
move!
Learning Together, Sharing the Moment

In-House Events and Corporate Learning: A Winning Combination?

Rethinking our in-house events in the age of hybrid work

Corporate learning and fun events don’t go together, right? Wrong! They absolutely do, because learning with and from one another is the most natural way of acquiring new knowledge. Add a little entertainment to the mix, and you’re learning without even knowing it. 

 

With the adoption of our hybrid work model, it was time to think up new ways of making our events truly global and bringing teams together across national borders. The new event formats had to be interactive, entertaining and capable of being held physically, remotely or in hybrid form. We wanted new paradigms that would allow us to get together for shared occasions, unconstrained by national borders. Mission accomplished! We succeeded in creating new events that are huge fun and allow us to learn without feeling like we’re learning. 

 

What follows is a round-up of our favourites – formats that enhance our learning culture while being immensely entertaining. 

Corporate Learning and Events, separator image wall

The imc Learning Festival: From Spanish courses to learning with GIFs

One format we’re especially proud of is our hybrid Learning Festival. Our employees set the programme themselves – in much the same way as a BarCamp. Anyone can give a presentation on a favourite topic, and the attendees are free to pick and choose which sessions to join. Streamed and moderated from our headquarters, the individual sessions run on Microsoft Teams so that employees from across various locations can get together, share ideas and learn from one another. The point is that the members of a team don’t necessarily all have to be physically at the same location in order to meet up. The flexibility provided by the hybrid work model means employees are free to decide whether they want to organize a get-together at a particular location or hold the event in entirely virtual form.  

Corporate Learning and Events, Learning Festival

While a colleague hosted an innovative session on 'Learning with GIFs', Senior business consultant Natalia Gonzalez, offered an interactive online Spanish session that yielded valuable cultural insights, not to mention a few handy Spanish phrases that employees can use on their next holiday abroad. “I love being able to share a little about my Mexican culture, and it was great to see how interested my colleagues were in learning something about other cultures – and how much fun they had doing it”, she says. “I’m already really looking forward to the next Learning Festival.” 

 

This new format is all about sharing knowledge and learning together. It sheds light on new possibilities for informal, festival-style learning.  

Corporate Learning and Events, Senior Business Consultant natalia Gonzalez

Breakfast, lunch or after-work party? Social learning with a new twist

Living and discussing diversity and inclusion in our company is the right thing to do and is extremely important. A few years ago, we started running various special events to mark Diversity Day and raise awareness of these important issues. This year, the organising team went a step further and came up with something extra-special for our Diversity & Inclusion Week. In an event themed ‘imc goes around the world’, each of our offices organised its own unique style of local get-together. 

 

In Freiburg, for example, the team organised a belated traditional ‘May Day hike’, while the London office held a shared breakfast. “Each team member brought along a culinary specialty typical of their national cuisine”, says Ramona Lennerhed, a senior consultant in our London office. “During the meal, each person provided a little background about the dish they had brought along. It was a wonderful opportunity to broaden our understanding of cultural differences and learn about the different personal experiences of our colleagues.”

Corporate Learning and Events, Team London

Our colleagues in Switzerland organized a physical gathering, too, opting for a team lunch. The team in Sibiu, meanwhile, gathered for a shared evening meal, enjoying great food and great company late into the night.  

 

At imc headquarters in Saarbrücken, the crew organised an after-work party, where everyone was invited to bring along culinary delights from different countries. “Even though I’m not actually based in Saarbrücken, I felt right at home and enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with colleagues I wouldn’t normally see in person. And to top it all off, we had all this amazing food. I’d definitely be up for a repeat performance”, says Franziska Filser, an instructional designer from our Freiburg office who happened to be in Saarbrücken at the time. 

Corporate Learning and Events, Office
Corporate Learning and Events, Office

This week of special events was a resounding success, as Julia Heib, an event manager and a member of the organising team, confirms: “The feedback from everyone has been overwhelmingly positive, and it was very obvious during the week that everybody around the globe was getting into the spirit of these events, despite the hybrid model. Every year, more and more colleagues are getting excited about and looking forward to imc’s Diversity & Inclusion programme.” 

 

Our week of special events was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the cultural identities of our people – as a by-product of getting together and having fun. Eating together is, after all, one of the most fundamentally unifying of human experiences.  

Learning Days: The perfect mix of upskilling and teambuilding

Here’s another prime example of how corporate learning can be integrated into a team event: the Learning Days run by our marketing and newsroom team in Saarbrücken. Themed ‘YouLearn’, the Learning Days are where the members of the team undertake professional development on a self-selected topic and then share their learnings with the whole team. This sharing takes place in a fun, informal setting, both during a shared office lunch and at after-work drinks.As well as professional development on self-selected topics, our Learning Days are a welcome opportunity to get the whole team together at the office”, says Kerstin Steffen, Director Brand Strategy. It’s all about learning together and spending time together. 

imc move! communication and collaboration standards

Short and sweet: Our espresso sessions

We also have something for all those of us who prefer virtual events: our imcINSPIRE sessions, aka ‘espresso webinars’. These brief morning sessions offer a daily infusion of new ideas on a whole range of topics, all served up by top-notch speakers. So far, we’ve raised a cup to all kinds of topics – everything from diversity and health management to teambuilding. And like a good espresso, these sessions provide a big hit for minimal input. They are another great example of packaging knowledge transfer in an inspiring event format to create a fun shared learning experience. 

Mission accomplished: Teambuilding and learning in one

So, what’s the verdict? In short: fun, entertaining events and corporate learning are not mutually exclusive. Quite the contrary, in fact. Our mission was to find event formats that enable us to learn with and from one another in a way that is rich in entertainment. Learning should not feel like learning, and we believe our new event formats deliver on this. Even so, we will continue to try out and test various formats, to see which ones we should take further, and what improvements are required. Exciting times! Where will our journey take us next?  

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Contact person

I' ve been working as a permanent member of the imc Marketing & Communication Team since 2021. The mix of creative content creation, social media and online marketing activities excites me the most about my job.

 

My goal is to inspire people with creative and innovative content and to make the imc brand more tangible.

 

My passion besides my job? Travelling a lot and discovering the world. I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions at [email protected]!

Doreen Hartmann imc
Doreen Hartmann
Junior Marketing and Communication Manager
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Job Slot
Interview with a Software Architect

What Connect Four and Software Architecture Have in Common

I’ve interviewed quite a number of imc colleagues about what exactly their job involves. I’ve put myself in the shoes of software developers, taken a peek behind the scenes in product management, and quizzed colleagues from marketing.

 

But I’ve never encountered anything as complex as what my colleague Eric Andre does for a living. Eric is a software architect, responsible for the imc Learning Management System (LMS). In our interview, he told me what Connect Four and his job have in common, how he trained as a software architect, and what the distinction between happiness and joy has to do with his work.

Eric Andre, Software Architect at imc Learning

Eric Andre

Job | Software Architect

Working in | Saarbruecken, Germany

Worked at imc since | 2021

Super power | Transfering knowledge to new situations

Favourite food | Pizza 

Job Slot office life, seperator

Hi Eric, thanks for making time for us today! I suspect your job description will be pretty meaningless to most laypeople. How would you describe your job to your grandparents?

Hi Nadine, the pleasure’s all mine. I would describe my job to my grandparents simply by saying that my boss gives me a whole lot of brightly coloured Lego bricks which I then put together to make something resembling a house.

Well, that actually sounds pretty simple. Can you explain it a bit further?

To understand what a software architect does, you first need to understand the function of architecture in software. Architecture refers to the fundamental way in which an entire system is organized – the basic framework. It specifies both the individual components that make up the system and the relationships, or dependencies, that exist between them.

 

Hence building a house is an apt metaphor. When you’re planning a house, there are certain things you must specify clearly at the outset. You can leave room for future additions, obviously, but if, for example, you want to be able to add another level at some point, you’ll need to allow for that when planning the foundations.

 

Software is similar in that sense. On the one hand, it must be flexible and open to change rather than static and ossified. But on the other, certain limits and properties must be maintained in the system at all times.

Connect Four is also a good metaphor. Here, architecture is like the blue grid of the game: it provides a structure within which the individual tokens are flexibly arranged and re-arranged. But it only works if the grid is designed to support this.

Job Slot, Connect Four

So, in other words, you have to plan something that doesn’t even exist yet?

Yes, that’s part of it. But I also have to make decisions very early on as to what might be important later on. That’s always a bit like gazing into a crystal ball. But with software architecture, it’s also like a house: if everything is working properly, you don’t give it a second thought. If it’s well planned, there won’t be any problems up front.

 

But planning doesn’t end with the initial build. It’s an ongoing process. It costs time and money, with no immediately obvious benefits. But if you don’t plan, and you just keep on building, then sooner or later things can get really expensive. There’s a great quote from Brian Foote that sums it up beautifully: “If you think good architecture is expensive, try bad architecture!”

Sounds like rather a lot of brainwork. What does your average working day look like?

I usually get up fairly early, sometime between six and seven, and go running for an hour. Then I have a coffee, preferably outside in the garden. That’s when I start thinking about my day. I have a not to-do list, and every day I jot down what I want to achieve and how I intend to go about it. In doing so, I always have our roadmap in the back of my mind.

 

Most mornings, work starts with our team meeting, with me generally pacing back and forth. I prefer to work standing up anyway, and I’m always moving around because I always have a lot to think through, and movement helps me order my thoughts.

 

In the late afternoon, I often go for an hour’s walk or do some gardening, after which I go back to my (standing) desk. My working day ends once I’ve done everything I set out to do that day. This flexibility and the freedom to switch between periods of high intensity and relaxation is very important to me.

So a large part of your work consists of planning. How do you know when a plan is finished and the architecture is ready for implementation? And what happens next?

Good software architecture demands an incredible amount of time and effort. And even then, sometimes you just have to accept that what you’ve come up with won’t work, and that you have to tear it up and start again. Only when I’ve thought everything through in the minutest detail and looked at it again and again from every angle do I know that I have given it enough thought.

 

That’s when the real work begins and I start defining processes and process flows, document requirements, and talk to my team, the developers and other teams. That might sound simple, but believe me, there are a lot of people and departments involved. The Executive Board, too, needs to sign off because the architecture affects the entire system.

imc Job Slot seperator job and career

How does one actually become a software architect?

Not through any classic apprenticeship or any one course of study. There are usually various certificates and modules involved. In most cases, including mine, you end up in this role at some point after starting out in software development. Software developers progress through various stages from junior to senior, at which point career paths branch off in various directions and you’re referred to as an individual contributor.

 

If you want to continue along the hands-on technical career path, you can work your way up to fellow engineer. Alternatively, if you prefer a management role, your career and further development options range from engineering manager all the way up to CTO. Or you can go into software architecture. The journey probably varies from company to company and industry to industry. But ultimately you progress from being a software developer to being an architect who must learn to delegate some of their previous responsibilities as a developer.

These days, there are various kinds of software architect, and each has a different focus. For example, there are enterprise architects, who are responsible for verifying that the organisation’s IT strategy is aligned with its mission. It’s their job to analyse both business properties and the external environment and to define all business needs.

 

Then there are solution architects, whose task is to evaluate all business needs and develop solutions in the form of products or services. They are the interface between business analysts and IT experts.

 

And finally, there are domain – or technical – architects, who mostly work as part of a team and tend to specialize in one particular technology. They can also work as technical project managers. These software architects work collaboratively to ensure the overall system has the flexibility, scalability and security required in order to meet business needs.

Job Slot, directions

And what is your specialism?

I tend to see myself as a solution architect who doubles as a domain architect from time to time. The distinction is somewhat fluid, which is due to our organisational structure. My specialism is in platform architecture. I distribute systems and ensure their interoperability, and I’m passionate about service orchestration and choreography within distributed and reactive service-oriented architectures.

What key skills does your job require?

Adaptability, the ability to transfer and apply knowledge to new areas, and analytical skills. I need to be able to familiarise myself with new subject areas and problems very quickly and transfer my existing knowledge to new situations.

 

For instance, I’m not the best developer by any stretch of the imagination, but I know enough to be able to understand problems and quickly get a handle on the issues involved. Good communication skills are also very important, as I deal with a wide range of stakeholders.

In what respects does imc differ from other employers?

I used to work at a large US corporation, and things were done very differently there in several respects. For example, decision-making processes are much shorter there, and people are more inclined just to give something a try. Here in Germany, there’s generally a lot more discussion and planning before something gets implemented.

 

I’m very happy with the overall situation here at imc. The people here are very open and honest. That came across right from the outset, during my job interview and the onboarding process. But I also like the way people deal with one another. And then there are all those in-house events and knowledge-transfer opportunities.

 

I also really like our approach to design here – it’s all so cohesive. Plus, I like the painstaking attention to detail here, and the fact that people notice when you go the extra mile. It’s not all strait-laced and serious either – people know how to have a bit of a laugh without being puerile. I suppose it’s a little like working for a start-up, albeit one with more structure.

 

Also, in my role, I’m able to work with a very wide range of information and levers, and imc always gives me really good support in that regard.

breaker job slot about me

Now let's go on with some random, personal questions. If you could have your time again, would you still choose to work as a software architect?

Yes, in a heartbeat. I love the challenge – it gives me great joy. And I believe that if you do something that gives you joy, then that’s the key to happiness. If something fills you with joy, you cannot help but be happy.

Please complete the following phrase: For me, digitalisation means...

...that you can’t make a bad analogue process better simply by digitalising it.

What do your colleagues value most about you?

They value my willingness to help and my openness, and also my direct manner. At least, I hope they do!

Do you have any role models, professionally or personally?

Professionally, several. At a personal, human level, the actor Keanu Reeves springs to mind. Despite his immense success, he remains grounded, uses public transport and stands up for others. I find that truly remarkable. Amid all the rapid changes of our modern world, it shows that there are still immutable principles and values that we all share, or at least should share.

 

 

Indeed! And that wraps things up nicely. Thank you for your time, Eric. Here’s wishing you continued joy in your work!

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Would you like to know more about imc as an employer? Then take a look at our career section, maybe there is a suitable position for you.

We are also always happy to receive unsolicited applications!

imc Job Slot: Unique people. Random questions.

Random questions, regularly new faces and jobs – that's the job slot of imc.

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Contact person

I have been working in the Marketing & Communication Team at imc since March 2019.

Communication, creating unique content and social media are my passion.

 

"One can not not communicate" - Paul Watzlawik.

To explain complex content in an understandable way and thus make the topic of e-Learning accessible to everyone is an exciting challenge every day.

 

Privately I love to read, play poker and travel a lot.

I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions.

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Nadine Kreutz
Communication Manager
Diversity and Inclusion Header
Diversity & Inclusion at imc

Diversity & Inclusion Isn’t Just for Diversity Week and Pride Month

Diversity is here to stay: imc expands its D&I programme

This year, International Diversity and Inclusion Day fell on Saturday, 21 May. Aware that it would be difficult to reach out to our team on a Saturday, we simply declared the entire week leading up to that date Diversity Week.

 

Our Diversity crew organised a wealth of engaging sessions and initiatives to make our D&I programme accessible to all employees at all our sites and generally raise awareness of this important issue.

 

To make sure there is something for everyone, the programme is divided into three key elements: EmpowHER, a programme to connect and empower women at imc; the Cultural Diversity programme; and our latest initiative, Diversity of Interests.

3 Pillars D&I Programme

The three pillars of the D&I movement at imc

„Be better, do better and live better together”

To get imc Diversity Week off to a strong start, the D&I team brought in a high-profile external speaker: Stephen Dorsey. Stephen Dorsey is an author who recently published a book titled Black & White: An Intimate Multicultural Perspective on White Advantage and the Paths to Change. During the week’s opening session, he provided a thought-provoking perspective on racism and prejudice.

 

Stephen joined our global video meeting at 2:30 a.m. (Canadian time) and, wide awake and none the worse for the early hour, gave a deeply moving personal account of his childhood and upbringing in Canada. Warm, open, and engaging, he provided food for so much more than just thought, his words striking a chord with many of our employees and setting up our Diversity Week perfectly.

Diversity Week 2022

Kenneth Littlepage and Julia Heib hosting the session

Show us what you love

Diversity Week also featured our most recent diversity initiative. Called Diversity of Interests, its purpose is to celebrate the diverse qualities, knowledge, interests and talents of our people, focusing on personal interests outside of work, such as volunteer work, social engagement, club memberships and unusual hobbies.

 

For this part of the programme, we invited six people from our own workforce to present short, five-minute nuggets on the things they love. Kenneth Littlepage, one of our project managers, got the ball rolling with an account of his other life as a livestream football commentator for the Saarland Hurricanes. Our colleague Selasie Smith, a business consultant, spoke about her experiences of volunteering in the UK and about her own project, The Gentlemen’s Network. Nicolae Purcar, Director of imc in Romania, shared his passion for trail running, and Elke Zastrau, Head of HR at imc, talked about her membership of International Inner Wheel. Tyson Priddle, Director Digital Learning, Australia, spoke about his hockey club, Altona HC, and Oksana Buhay, one of our business consultants and a native Ukrainian, outlined her contribution to a Ukraine humanitarian aid programme in Stuttgart.

 

The aim of the initiative is to create a platform where people can share ideas and even find collaborators, kindred spirits and supporters for projects that go beyond their day-to-day working life. The idea is that the initiative will give rise to further initiatives or talent pools which then feed into employees’ day-to-day work or specific imc projects – a win-win all round.

diversity, kids playing hockey

imc around the world: People who eat together stay together

Yay! We can finally meet up in person again! That’s certainly what our organisers were thinking when they initiated after-work potluck dinners at virtually all imc locations worldwide to round off Diversity Week. Everyone was invited to bring a dish inspired by their national cuisine or most recent trip abroad. It had to be something that had a story attached or some special emotional significance. The idea was very well supported. See for yourself:

But wait, there’s more!

This year will also see the return of a project dear to the heart of our EmpowerHER team: the InspireHER tandem programme. InspireHER is where 20 imc women meet in pairs over an eight-week period to share experiences, ideas and tips, and foster personal growth through mutual reflection and feedback. This year, the emphasis will again be on personal growth and networking, with each pair free to focus on topics of their own choosing. The programme of events will close in July with the emotional feedback session.

imc Diversity and Inclusion Inspire HER Programme

InspireHER, the tandem programme for women at imc

The imc Diversity & Inclusion crew has every reason to be pleased with this year’s programme. The Executive Board’s Sven R. Becker is also very pleased:

“Once again, the feedback from the imc family on our Diversity & Inclusion programme has been very positive. It’s a wonderful testament to what a grassroots movement can lead to. This is a bottom-up initiative, something our staff created entirely on their own, so I have absolutely no doubt they will achieve their goal of making diversity and inclusion part of our company’s DNA and integrating it into our corporate culture.”

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Diversity in e-learning is clearly growing in importance. So, in this article, we have put together a summary of key recommendations for companies seeking to incorporate diversity into their learning experience.

CONTACT

Contact

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communications Manager
Hero image self directed learning
LMS Hot Topics
Self-Directed Learning Like Netflix

The Netflix Factor in Self-Directed Learning

How self-directed learning can be used in companies, what it adds, and where its limitations lie

seperator image remote control

Few things are exercising the minds of today’s L&D managers more than the question of how to give employees greater flexibility in their learning. This is part of a trend in many companies away from formal and towards informal learning. And from informal learning, it’s just a hop, skip and a jump to self-directed learning.

 

Self-directed learning, in a nutshell, is about giving employees the flexibility to decide for themselves what, when, where and how they learn. That sounds simple, but it actually requires a great deal of conceptual design work and careful technical implementation, not to mention trust in one’s employees. But it’s worth it because, planned properly and implemented strategically, self-directed learning can be a valuable complement to classic top-down learning.

 

This key fact is not lost on Mercedes-Benz Group AG’s Michael Temme and imc Learning's Marion Sander-Feld, who are currently working on ways of integrating new self-directed learning components and functions directly into the imc learning management system (LMS). In this article, we explain the benefits of self-directed learning, what its limitations are, and what Netflix has to do with it.

The question is not how much someone has learned, but how much they retain
Michael Temme
Manager Innovation Projects
Mercedes-Benz Global Training

The case for self-directed learning

Given the current skills shortage, employee upskilling and professional development are matters of top priority for all companies, regardless of size. Automotive giant Mercedes-Benz Group AG is a case in point. Its approach to employee learning is guided by five key questions: what, who, where, how and when.

Mercedes is also looking closely at how face-to-face training can be translated into online learning. This requires new approaches because it is not possible to take analogue training digital without careful modifications and workarounds. Anything short of this will serve only to turn employees off.

Michael Temme, Mercedes-Benz Group AG

Michael Temme, who manages innovation projects at Mercedes-Benz Global Training, is an expert on this. He has no doubt that for a training course to be effective, learners need to be able to see and understand how it is relevant to their work.

 

“We need to face the fact that what matters is not how much an employee learns, but how much they retain”, he says. “We know that learning content is more memorable if learners are able to apply their learnings immediately and are free to select the learning method that works best for them. People have to be able to decide for themselves what, when and how they learn. That’s why we use self-directed learning methods.”

No obvious benefit = no lasting learning

According to Temme, one of the major challenges with self-directed learning is that it requires both different skills and different (digital) systems from those required in conventional learning. For example, when trainers are in the same room as all the course participants, they can ask whether everyone has understood the material and, if necessary, can provide additional details or explanations.

This learning-reinforcing element is a lot more difficult to create in digital settings. To make up for this, Mercedes is employing a number of approaches, including the use of sharing and learning-specific networking (social collaboration) in the LMS.

 

Self-directed learning also requires employers to place a great deal of trust in their employees, in return for which the employees need to be extremely self-organized and highly self-motivated. The point is that employees will only feel motivated to learn in the first place if they can see that what they are learning is relevant and will benefit them in their day-to-day work.

Just as importantly, they will only retain what they have learned if they are able to apply and reinforce it in their day-to-day work very soon afterwards, as Ebbinghaus’s Forgetting Curve shows.

INFO

The Forgetting Curve produced by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus shows that after 20 minutes, you will recall only 60% of a text you have learned. The loss of retention continues over time, so that after 60 minutes, you will recall only 45% of what you learned, and after 24 hours only about 34%. Long-term, you will retain only about 15% of the text you learned.

Paradox: More courses, poorer learning outcomes

Temme also notes that the vast amounts of digital learning content generated during the pandemic resulted in many learners feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of courses and unable to tell which ones were actually relevant for them. In other words, offering more courses does not necessarily lead to greater initial learning or long-term retention.

 

For this reason, Temme increasingly favours problem-based learning over classic ‘ready-made’ learning content. Learners engaging with a real-life problem or question can, by using the right social collaboration tools, for example, quickly and easily work their way towards a real-life solution with support from other learners and/or from experts.

By using social collaboration in this way and by learning in the moment of need, learners retain their learning for much longer. They progress from inert knowledge to understanding and, by applying that understanding immediately, they achieve specific competencies.

Netflix-style learning with channels

This leads into an important new feature that imc AG is currently developing for its LMS, the imc Learning Suite, in partnership with Mercedes: channels. The idea of channels is to make learning as easy as watching Netflix or YouTube: learners simply select topics they find interesting or that are relevant to their needs and are then presented with matching content recommendations.

 

It doesn’t matter what a topic’s form or scope is. The learner is shown everything that matches the topic: everything from short learning nuggets to in-depth explanatory videos to learner-made tutorials. The main focus, however, is on learning nuggets that are readily consumed as part of independent research and can be created without too much investment of time and effort on the part of experts.

 

These short learning units offer the added benefit that they can be quickly consumed in the moment of need and on the job, which leads to improved internalisation and retention of knowledge. Consequently, the learning outcomes are superior to those achieved in situations where employees first learn and then try to recall the knowledge months later when they need to put it into practice.

Channels in the LMS

Users receive notifications whenever new content is added to the topics to which they have subscribed. Marion Sander-Feld, Head of Product Management for imc Learning Suite, explains: “Channels are topic-based containers. They are represented on screen by tiles and can contain various didactic learning nuggets, such as videos, links or PDFs. The scope is not limited to highly professional and expensive-to-produce training courses.

This is intentional, because we also want the channels to provide content that can be produced quickly in order to meet urgent learning needs. In providing this new feature, we also want to enhance the learning experience because making it faster and more intuitive to navigate the LMS and find the desired content significantly improves learning outcomes.”

 

By expanding the learning offering beyond the usual highly polished web-based training sessions and enabling all users to post their own learning content, channels will make learning a more bottom-up and accessible experience for all. This addition of user-generated content, which all subject experts will be able to create with ease, will help to reduce knowledge loss.

Limitations of self-directed learning

So far, so good. But as is so often the case, self-directed learning is not necessarily the one and only solution that’s needed. There will always be content that employees are loath to engage with – courses on data protection, compliance or IT security, for example.

 

These are extremely important topics that require not just learning, but genuine internalisation, so it’s best not to leave that entirely to voluntary self-selection. But even with compulsory training like this, the managers responsible should still apply the problem-based strategies of self-directed learning.

 

Thus, if the topic is cyber security, the content should present concrete examples and real-life problem scenarios that show employees how they can help prevent cyberattacks. And if this approach works with less-than-popular courses, it is sure to be a major success when it comes to self-selected content. Because learning should be like watching Netflix: child’s play.

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Contact person

I have been working in the Marketing & Communication Team at imc since March 2019.

Communication, creative content and social media are my passion. "KISS - Keep it short and simple" is my credo.

 

To explain complex content in an understandable way and thus make the topic of e-Learning accessible to everyone is an exciting challenge every day.

 

Privately I love to read, play poker and travel a lot.

I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions.

Photo of Nadine Kreutz
Nadine Kreutz
Communication Manager
imc brand training
Brand Training:
Understanding a Brand Means Experiencing It

The Power of Emotionally Intelligent Brand Training

How brand training can enhance employee brand loyalty

It takes a lot to build a strong brand. You need fresh and appealing brand visuals, a corporate design that’s modern and to the point, and an identity that’s bold and a little out of the ordinary. And, not least, you need employees who are engaged and totally on board.

 

Your employees influence your brand, both directly and indirectly, and help shape its external impact across all touchpoints, from initial customer contact to the actual product. Ideally, you want each and every employee to be a multiplier, positively representing your brand in dealings with friends and relatives, when out at a restaurant or at a party and, most importantly, on social media.

 

This all sounds nice, but how to achieve it? The answer is brand training. Many of our customers have been asking us about it, so we’ve decided to take a closer look, using ourselves as guinea pigs. In this article, we describe our own new brand training course, the rules we followed in devising it, and why we believe it is a worthwhile investment.

imc brand training welcome

Rule #1: Brand Engagement + Education = Brandification

When it comes to the values behind a company’s brand, the first step is for everyone in the company to get back to the basics. What are the brand’s origins? What are the principles that underpin it? What is the company’s purpose? By learning about these things, learners become aware that everyone in the company can play a part in realizing the values and goals of their brand. And because brands change over time, the learning needs to be ongoing.

 

imc is no exception. We have changed a lot over the years – and will continue to do so. As well as relaunching our brand, we want to achieve greater momentum on issues like new work, diversity and inclusion, and our own transformation. Consequently, the objective of our new brand training course is to communicate this culture shift and the underlying values in a way that is readily accessible so that we can instil in our employees a strong emotional attachment to our brand.

 

Learning objectives set out the areas and levels where change is to happen (understanding, thinking, action, etc), so it is important to define them right at the start of the brand training process.

imc brand training welcome tablet

imc Brand Training

Rule #2: Genuine attachment transforms initial attraction into a full-blown relationship

A company’s fundamental values and culture are reflected in virtually everything it does and therefore need to be understood and actively supported by its employees. New hires, in particular, must be able to rapidly internalise what their new employer’s brand means and stands for. They applied for the job out of an initial attraction to the brand, and it is now up to the company to build that attraction into a genuine relationship.

 

A successful onboarding journey is vital to this because onboarding is the first step towards brand loyalty. For this reason, companies should proactively offer onboarding experiences that are consistent with and support their brand promises.

 

That’s why the completed brand training course at imc was specifically developed for our new onboarding journey and designed to fit into our onboarding storytelling. It also works as a stand-alone training course for established imc employees.

imc brand training

imc Brand Training

To ensure that new employees find it easy to get started and engage with our brand training, we have made it an integral part of our onboarding process. We have also incorporated it into our learning management system (LMS). To reach as many learners as possible, brand training must be easy to engage with, not take up too much time, and be accessible from any location and device.

Rule #3: Turn likes into love with emotional branding

Emotional branding is very powerful. It’s the art of connecting with people by tapping into their feelings. But how do you translate this emotional aspect into online training? One very effective approach is to use elements of branding that have high recognition – such as logos, brand visuals or mascots. You can generate very strong emotional appeal by incorporating these elements into storytelling as a way of communicating your brand message.

 

We (almost) always follow our own advice, so we chose storytelling for our own brand training course. The narrator is our mascot, Max.

storytelling icon

Storytelling:

Storytelling is a communication method that uses narratives to convey information. It is widely used in knowledge management, child and adult education, journalism, psychotherapy, marketing, PR and advertising.

Max looks a little like a ghost and emerges from the dot on the “i” of imc. He starts out very pale but gradually takes on more colour as the learner progresses through the course and learns more about the imc brand.

imc mascot max

imc Mascot Max

Max features in every module of the imc brand training course. For example, in one module, he reads from a book telling the story of the company’s founder, Professor August-Wilhelm Scheer. As the course progresses, the mascot pops up to provide background on various points or quizzes the learner on content they have just covered.

Rule #4: The right implementation is everything

In our case, the right tool for creating the brand training course was Articulate Rise. It allowed the team to get involved and help shape the course right from the outset. The necessary expertise in didactics and form was provided by our inhouse instructional designer Oliver Steinhilber. “Brand training courses are very much in demand from our customers at the moment,” he says. “Everyone’s looking at learning on topics like onboarding, change and new work, and the people responsible for it in HR, marketing and internal communications want to make sure their learning content is authentic and has emotional appeal.”

authoring tools imc Express and content studio

The Right Tool:

To be sure you’re using the right tool for creating your training course, it’s best to talk to an instructional designer first. Articulate Rise is a sophisticated software application that has a reasonably steep learning curve. For less experienced users, authoring tools like imc Express provide a quicker and easier way of getting started on generating content.

Why invest in emotionally intelligent brand training?

Simple: because brand training content with emotional appeal makes it easier for employees to identify with the brand. This sense of identification improves employee motivation and therefore has a direct effect on their day-to-day work. By using brand training content that has emotional appeal, a company can also create brand ambassadors from among its own ranks – employees who will champion the company brand to both internal and external audiences.

 

Deep understanding of shared company values and genuine buy-in to the company culture lead to better communication and collaboration, as imc Director of Brand Strategy Kerstin Steffen explains: “Brand training is effective if afterwards everyone feels confident they have chosen the right employer, and all learners feel positive and excited. Effective brand training turns employees into role models who are happy to be ambassadors for the company spirit and brand message.”

Photo of Kerstin Steffen
Everyone should finish the course understanding what makes us who we are here at imc and what values we identify with – as well as what kind of cooperation and collaboration we embody and expect.
Kerstin Steffen
Director Brand Strategy
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I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communications Manager
imc Infographic Serious Games
Serious Games
How successful games are in the classroom

Serious games and gamification as learning boosters

Data, facts, figures: This is how successful games are in the classroom

When looking at digital games in learning contexts, one quickly stumbles upon the term "serious games". This refers to games that not only serve as entertainment, but also have another, "serious" purpose - namely, that something is to be learned. Knowledge or skills are thus imparted through playful actions. They are suitable both live in the classroom and for the preparation and follow-up of learning units.

 

Active and explorative learning is used increasingly in schools, as it enhances motivation and the joy of learning. But not all teachers have recognised the potential of serious games and gamification. After all, the use of digital games or gamification elements in the classroom can certainly be seen as a learning booster.

 

To draw attention to the potential of gamification and serious games in the teaching context, we embarked on a search for a few facts. In our latest infographic, we have compiled survey results that show whether gamified learning is perceived as an effective method and how students in particular rate their learning success.

 

imc Infographic Serious Games

Infographik of the Month: Serious games and gamification as learning boosters  

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Contact person

I have been working in the Marketing & Communication Team at imc since March 2019.

Communication, creative content and social media are my passion. "KISS - Keep it short and simple" is my credo.

 

To explain complex content in an understandable way and thus make the topic of e-Learning accessible to everyone is an exciting challenge every day.

 

Privately I love to read, play poker and travel a lot.

I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions.

Photo of Nadine Kreutz
Nadine Kreutz
Communication Manager
Mental Health imc
move!
Improving the Wellbeing of Our Employees

New initiatives for (Mental) Health and Happiness at imc

Because if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything

The Roman poet Juvenal had it right with “mens sana in corpore sano", a proverb commonly translated as “a healthy mind in a healthy body”. In other words: our mental wellbeing and physical health are closely intertwined. And these days, both are sorely tested as we strive to reconcile the chaos and competing demands of our professional and personal lives. Increasingly, stress and overload seem to be baked in, and our health is the poorer for it.

 

Here at imc, we believe this needs to change. As part of our transition to hybrid working, we decided we wanted to offer support to all employees when they need it. We wanted to tilt the overall balance more towards health.

 

So, what tools did we come across in our mission to improve the health of our employees? And what other offerings did we choose in order to further enhance employee wellbeing and satisfaction? Read on and find out in this, our latest move! article.

move article_Onboarding imc

“Everything alright?” Why the wellbeing of our employees is so important

Whether it’s hectic schedules, demanding work commitments, or social crises, there are many sources of stress and strain in our personal and professional lives. And everyone responds differently. While some of us cope with – or even thrive on – these demands, others can feel overwhelmed.

 

“Not that it took a pandemic for us to know that the wellbeing of our employees is very important to us, but now, with the introduction of our hybrid work model, everyone has the ability to structure their working day around their personal needs and commitment,”’ says HR manager Jennifer Wilhelm. “The aim of this newly won flexibility is to help improve work-life balance and reduce stress levels.”

 

But we’re not content to stop just there. We want to take it a step further and offer a range of health benefits that actively promote job satisfaction, motivation, and mental health here at imc. In doing this, what we want is for our employees to enjoy working at imc and be able to achieve their potential, both professionally and personally, without it costing them their wellbeing.

Supporting mental health within the company

Promoting health is an important part of the imc culture and is something the company’s Executive Board takes very seriously, as board member Dr. Wolfram Jost explains: “For all of us here, the last few years have posed new challenges for our health generally, and in many cases, for our mental health in particular. We want to do all we can to support our imc family, so we decided to add voiio and My7Steps to our package of employee benefits.”

Der Vorstand der imc AG
We want to do all we can to support our imc family, so we decided to add voiio and My7Steps to our package of employee benefits.
Dr. Wolfram Jost
Member of the Board
imc AG

My7Steps is for anyone who needs short-term support for difficult life situations or personal crises. It puts people in need of help in touch with qualified psychological counsellors.

 

The second platform, voiio, gives employees access to online support for all life situations and phases. Its comprehensive offering deals with self-care, pregnancy and childbirth, relationships, jobs, caring for family members, finance, and much more, so people looking for help are sure to find what they need.

 

That all sounds good in theory, but what do imc’s employees think of these offerings, and are they even using them? We asked around, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

 

Zrinka Prša, a junior software developer at imc, had this to say about her initial experience of the courses offered by voiio: “When I found out about it, I was particularly taken with the mindfulness courses. Most of them are held early in the morning or later in the evening, which is great because they don’t take up much time, and I can try them before or after work. I can use them for an early-morning energy boost to start my day feeling focused, and at the end of the day I can use them to de-stress and unwind.”

Mental Health imc

Communications manager Nadine Kreutz is also a voiio fan. She uses it to help build a little physical movement into her day. “Like a lot of people, probably, I don’t get as much exercise as I should, particularly exercise for strengthening and mobilising my back. And I have zero interest in pre-recorded workouts of the kind found on YouTube, etc. So, I jumped at the chance to sign up for a few online back exercise programs on voiio, where the trainers model the exercises live and can even provide personal feedback on your technique, if you want. The sessions are only 15 minutes long, so you can easily fit them into your routine, whether you’re in the office or at home.”

Photo of Nadine Kreutz
The sessions are only 15 minutes long, so you can easily fit them into your routine, whether you’re in the office or at home.
Nadine Kreutz
Communication Manager
imc AG

imc employees as champions of improved health and wellbeing

The increasing focus on mental health at imc is also due in no small measure to the efforts of our employees themselves. Within our organisation, there has sprung up a small grassroots movement of individuals who are proactively championing and re-imagining health and wellbeing and helping to develop creative new approaches. Learning strategy consultant Katharina Kunz, for example, offers regular mini yoga sessions that have been very well received by her colleagues.

 

“I think we sometimes forget how beneficial a few minutes of calm breathing and conscious movement can be when we are feeling stressed and unfocused”, Katharina says. “That’s why I offer my Focus&Flow sessions. They don’t require any equipment, and they provide regular opportunities for fellow imc employees to consciously take time out to work on their health. And, of course, yoga is more fun in a group.”

Mental Health imc

The importance of mental health and work-life balance has also been highlighted in team-specific sessions. Product marketing manager Carlotta Pudelek welcomes this development. “I’m very pleased to see that imc is discussing this subject so openly and encouraging employees in need to accept help. In work contexts in particular, many people are reluctant to talk about mental health. And yet issues with mental health are so common, and talking about them in the open can be such a big help to those affected.”

 

All these initiatives are supported by our brand ambassador programme, where members are invited to get involved and promote employee health in the new “imc Care” pillar.

Mental Health imc

Watch this space: Health Weeks

Because health is paramount at imc, we want to go further than these two offerings and proactively raise awareness of (mental) health. We don’t want to give too much away just yet, but it’s safe to say there will be an imc Health Week featuring various special formats dedicated to health and wellbeing.

The line-up includes everything from keynote addresses to sports sessions, to information resources featuring all manner of practical tips, so there’s plenty for all of us to look forward to. We sincerely hope everyone will get on board with this and invest in their long-term wellbeing.

 

And on that note: take care of yourselves and stay healthy!

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Contact person

I' ve been working as a permanent member of the imc Marketing & Communication Team since 2021. The mix of creative content creation, social media and online marketing activities excites me the most about my job.

 

My goal is to inspire people with creative and innovative content and to make the imc brand more tangible.

 

My passion besides my job? Travelling a lot and discovering the world. I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions at [email protected]!

Doreen Hartmann imc
Doreen Hartmann
Junior Marketing and Communication Manager
diversity in e-learning
Diversity Has to Be Learned
Diversity in e-learning content

Corporate Learning is a Window into Your Organisation’s D&I Soul

Three golden rules for companies seeking to put diversity on their training agenda

Let’s say a company comes to us for help with incorporating diversity and inclusion (D&I) into the learning experience of its employees. Up until fairly recently, the first question we would ask would be, are you looking for training content that appeals to a diverse target audience, or training content that deals with the subject of diversity?

 

But things have changed over the past couple of years, as Philipp Schossau, Senior Instructional Designer here at imc, explains: “Making training courses diverse in terms of both content and visual appearance is now a standard requirement, irrespective of the subject matter. Diversity training, on the other hand, has its own special requirements – most notably a clear stance on the part of the client.”

 

Diversity in e-learning is clearly growing in importance. So, in this article, we have put together a summary of key recommendations for companies seeking to incorporate diversity into their learning experience.

diversity, colors, festival

All a matter of perspective? Tips for implementing diversity in training content

Prospective employees want to be able to see what a company’s position on D&I is, and how the company is championing the D&I cause. So, whatever the subject matter, company training courses should be diverse and gender-neutral in design. Here are three golden rules for making training courses diverse and inclusive:

Culturally diverse characters:

Whenever human personas or mentors feature in a training course they should reflect a certain degree of cultural diversity. If there are not enough personas to demonstrate sufficient diversity, then it is possible to use fictional characters – avatars – that have no particular cultural background.

imc Biz Quiz

Diverse gender identities:

Needless to say, learning content should aim to reflect and include all gender identities. It’s not enough to merely employ terms like “male”, “female”, and “gender-diverse”. The aim, rather, should also be to break down conventional gender roles and gender stereotypes. Our learning experts therefore always endeavour to keep their design concepts free of these outdated roles and clichés.

diversity, avatar

INFO:

We’re currently working on a diversity avatar creator. Before taking part in a training course, each user will be able to build an avatar that looks however they want it to, regardless of cultural background or gender role.

Gender-neutral language:

This often depends on the requirements articulated by the company in question. However, we strongly recommend the consistent use of inclusive language across all training content.

in German you can use "*" to create gender-neutral language

imc express bot with level up icons

GOOD TO KNOW

Authoring tools like imc Express automatically offer a range of output options and simplify the process of creating diverse and inclusive training content. With imcExpress, this process is controlled in the background via AI.

Attitude is a prerequisite for special diversity trainings

The role that D&I management plays in a company is rooted in the corporate culture. This has a direct impact on a company's learning culture. Those who want to implement special diversity and inclusion training into the learning experience of their employees must have a clear stance on it. For this reason, companies should always be clear about the goal of a training before designing the content.

To sensitise the learning audience to diversity issues and communicate facts about D&I, we recommend scenario-based learning. Scenario-based learning uses real-life examples and situations. The closer the learning scenarios are to real-life situations, the more relatable the taught (behaviour) rules will be for the learners. Sensitisation can be further improved by using diverse personas to make learners aware of different or new perspectives.

Ready when you are

Things are changing, and organisations are already taking steps to make their training courses more diverse and to raise awareness of D&I. But many companies are still holding back for fear of doing something wrong. That’s why it’s critical to support D&I with effective corporate communication and drive genuine cultural change. In other words, when it comes to D&I, companies need to be bold and have courage of their convictions.

long way to go, goal in sight

“The more global the company, the more likely that it’s already sensitised to diversity issues and will take the initiative and articulate diversity requirements for our projects,” said imc project management officer Kenneth Littlepage, Project Management Officer Business Consulting at imc in a previous interview on D&I. “Locally focused companies, on the other hand, tend not to be so sensitised, so it’s up to us to ask questions.”

 

However a company might choose to approach it, diversity is a topic that’s here to stay, especially for today’s younger generation. Warm fuzzy words in the corporate vision statement are all well and good, but they won’t carry much weight if the company is a monoculture of white men in suits or hides behind disclaimers to the effect that “the use of he and his is solely for ease of reading and refers to all genders equally”. If you want diverse people in your company, you actually have to make them feel included.

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Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communications Manager
Infopgraphic Gamification in Schools
Gamification
Elements from the field of games and their use in the classroom

Games and fun in the classroom thanks to gamification

How gamification opens up new possibilities for imparting knowledge in the classroom

Games in the classroom? No longer a rarity! By this, of course, we do not mean that video games should be played in the classroom. We are talking about game elements that come from the field of video and computer games as well as from classic board and card games. This may sound bizarre at first, but it certainly has an added educational value.

 

Gamification elements create a learning environment in which students develop and gain positive learning experiences. This not only increases concentration in learning, but also motivation and joy. More and more teachers are therefore using game elements in their teaching.

 

We have taken an overview and summarised what these elements are and how they can be used appropriately.

 

We have summarised the most important information on the topic of gamification in the classroom in an infographic, which is also available for download free of charge.

 

We have summarised the most important information on the subject of gamification in an infographic, which is also available for free download.

Infographic Gamification

Infographik of the Month: Fun and games in the classroom thanks to gamification 

Download and further information

The info graphic you can download for free as PDF.

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Contact person

I have been working in the Marketing & Communication Team at imc since March 2019.

Communication, creative content and social media are my passion. "KISS - Keep it short and simple" is my credo.

 

To explain complex content in an understandable way and thus make the topic of e-Learning accessible to everyone is an exciting challenge every day.

 

Privately I love to read, play poker and travel a lot.

I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions.

Photo of Nadine Kreutz
Nadine Kreutz
Communication Manager