Maximize the Effectiveness of ELearning with These 5 Strategies

You can improve the effectiveness of eLearning in your agency by applying the right strategies.
You can improve the effectiveness of eLearning in your agency by applying the right strategies.

Have you implemented an eLearning program in your agency but aren’t seeing the results you expected?

We understand how frustrating that can be.

You probably see all the obvious advantages eLearning offers your agency – low cost, easy to use, available on-demand, etc. – yet you still struggle with optimizing the program’s usage and adoption.

Why?

Because implementing a program alone isn’t enough.

You have to work with your employees and managers to set forth the right plans, policies, and procedures to improve the effectiveness of eLearning in your agency.

In today’s post, we’ll help you do just that.

We’ll give you 5 tips for making your eLearning program effective both for learning and productivity.

By the end, you’ll be armed with proven strategies for building a long-lasting eLearning program that delivers the results you’re looking for.

5 Tips to Improve the Effectiveness of ELearning

Create Individual Development Plan Goals

Individual development plan goals are part of a formal agreement between the employer and the employee regarding how the employee will grow within your organization.

These goals establish the expected results that your employees will accomplish over a set period of time.

One of your employees’ major goals should be the development of their skills and knowledge.

Once identified, you can help your employees put together a concrete learning plan that will teach them the information and abilities they require to reach their goals.

WIthout clear learning goals, your employees may jump from one resource to the next, educating themselves haphazardly, and never making any real progress.

That’s where managers come in to help employees align their skill gaps with the necessary courses and resources for achieving their objectives.

Use Microlearning

While long-form learning is critical for educating your employees about big and important subjects, microlearning is useful for most other subjects – and makes learning more productive.

According to Bersin by Deloitte’s infographic Meet the Modern Learner, The average employee only has time to devote 1% of their work week to professional development. That means only 24 minutes a week or 4.8 minutes a day can be allotted for training in a normal 40-hour work week.

Microlearning maximizes your employees’ retention by delivering bite-sized concepts in an easy-to-consume format – enhancing the effectiveness of eLearning.

Also, microlearning makes it easy for you to organize training within the context of the work your employees actually do.

For example, if one of your employees needs to brush up on microsoft network security, they can watch a short video and get back to work in a few minutes. The same is true if they need to read a short white paper or flip to a certain chapter in a book.

Giving your employees microlearning resources they can access and consume quickly will make your eLearning program more effective and engaging.

Increase Employee Engagement

According to Wikipedia, an engaged employee is a person who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and who takes positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interests.

Engaged employees work harder without being asked. They stay late because they genuinely want to perform well for their department and agency. They don’t complain about playing catch-up on work because their coworker was out sick – they gladly shoulder the load.

The engaged employee is the person who lives and breathes your agency’s mission because they’ve made it their own.

By increasing employee engagement in your agency, you’ll make it more likely that your employees will take your eLearning initiative seriously, contribute to enhancing the program, and work hard to achieve their goals.

Cultivate a Culture of Continuous Learning

A culture of continuous learning means that all of your employees are teaching themselves and helping each other be better, achieve more, and advance their careers.

This type of culture will encourage your employees to optimize the effectiveness of your eLearning program and maximize their results.

Also, continuous learning is key for well-executed Government succession planning by making it easier for leadership and institutional knowledge to be passed on and absorbed by the employees filling the vacant positions within your agency.

Here are a few ways to create a culture of continuous learning:

  1. Establish policies for ongoing training, supportive management, specific office hours dedicated to learning, etc.
  2. Tell your employees about your goals to create a continuous learning culture and encourage them to adopt the values and principles of ongoing education.
  3. Turn your managers into coaches and teach them how to help your employees solve problems, motivate themselves, and stay focused.
  4. Align each employee’s goals with the goals of your organization to stay on track and work together for a common purpose.

Find a Platform that Delivers Everything Your Employees Need

If you don’t want to commit to the hassle of designing your own courses, the best thing you can do is find an eLearning platform that delivers the information you need.

There are plenty of eLearning platforms available, but very few that cater specifically to Government agencies.

Even fewer that provide a wide enough breadth of courses for every one of your employees to choose from.

If you want a platform that puts their Government customers first and will tailor an eLearning program to your organizational requirements…

We can help.

Maximize the Effectiveness of Your ELearning Program

With courses for every level of employee, from leadership training to technical IT exam preparation, Our eLearning platform will allow each of your employees to advance their skills and upgrade their knowledge at their own pace and in their own time.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

Schedule Free Consultation

 

How to Create a Culture of Continuous Learning in Your Agency

A culture of continuous learning will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your agency
A culture of continuous learning will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your agency

How do you get the best out of your employees?

By creating a culture of continuous learning.

Your employees are the most valuable asset in your organization, and by giving them the tools and opportunity to sharpen their skills and knowledge, you’ll help your agency perform at its peak potential.

The private sector is already using this strategy to empower their companies.

Corporate spending on learning rose to 10% in 2015 according to Global Human Capital Trends 2016. These companies realized that they could maximize the efficiency of their businesses by giving their employees the ability to learn what they needed when they needed.

The same can happen in your agency.

We’ll show you what a culture of continuous learning is and how to cultivate one in your organization for smarter, better, and more dedicated employees.

What is a Continuous Learning Culture?

For individuals, continuous learning is the process of keeping up with ever-changing trends, insights, and tools for better performance and higher achievements in your job.

For organizations or agencies, continuous learning is the process of empowering and encouraging your employees to upgrade their skills and knowledge at their own pace while helping their fellow employees do the same.

A culture of continuous learning means that all of your team members are teaching themselves and helping each other be better, achieve more, and advance their careers.

The benefits of a continuous learning culture are that your employees may offer ideas that you never considered before, or implement strategies and tactics that you didn’t know existed.

Your agency will gain a considerable advantage over other departments because your employees will become more mature, confident, and intelligent as a result of continuous learning.

Also, continuous learning is key for well-executed Government succession planning by making it easier for leadership and institutional knowledge to be passed on and absorbed by the employees filling the vacant positions within your agency.

So, how do you create a continuous learning culture?

5 Ways to Create a Culture of Continuous Learning

There are plenty of things you can do to make learning a large part of your agency. We’ll give you 5 ways to create a continuous learning environment in your organization today.

Define Your Goals

Before you implement a training program for your employees, you need to know why you’re implementing a program in the first place.

  • What’s your goal for your agency?
  • What do you hope to achieve?
  • How do you hope to improve?
  • How much money are you willing to spend?

Create a broad vision for your organization that keeps you and your employees on track, while at the same time allowing your employees to follow their own path to personal and professional development.

Provide training for new tools, software, and work methods, along with training that matches your employees’ individual goals.

Which brings us to the next tip for creating a culture of continuous learning…

Define Your Employees’ Individual Goals

Individual development plan goals are especially important for continuous learning.

Without them, it’s difficult for individuals to stay on track, and it’s hard for you to hold your employees accountable.

When your employees know what they’re learning and why they’re learning it, they’re more likely to finish their education and apply what they’ve learned.

But beyond the “why” of their learning plan, you should help them create an action list so that they implement the things they’re learning effectively.

Get Your Employees Onboard

A shift in your agency culture is only possible if everyone is onboard. The first thing you have to do to implement a culture of continuous learning is to tell your employees what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

You need to get all your employees to adopt similar values and principles, the same as you would when trying to increase employee engagement, for example.

Make learning a top priority, and consider revising your mission statement or internal agency slogan or “Values” to include continuous learning as a core tenet of how you run your organization.

You and the rest of your managers should lead by example and demonstrate your own commitment to continuous learning while helping your employees improve their continuous learning plans.

But you should be much more than just a manager…

Turn Your Managers into Coaches

A culture of continuous learning is dependent on managers and employees being open and honest with one another about learning goals, challenges, and achievements.

You should discuss those 3 things with your employees on a regular basis.

Like a coach, you need to be in their corner, ready and willing to help them solve problems and overcome obstacles when necessary.

Regular check-ins can provide the “push” that employees need to succeed. It also lets them know that you genuinely care about them and what they’re doing to better themselves.

Plus, by regularly checking in, you can course correct employees who may be studying or focusing on the wrong things, or help employees shift their priorities to be more productive.

The most important thing you can do as a manager/coach is to give them ample resources for continuous learning.

Give Your Employees Learning Resources

A continuous learning culture relies on constant access to learning resources.

Some of your employees will prefer long-form, formal training, while others will prefer microlearning that’s self-directed.

Sometimes, instructor-led training (ILT) is unavoidable and necessary.

But most of the time, all your employees need is access to relevant information for their specific job roles and goals.

The ease of access and cost of ELearning makes online education the most budget-friendly and employee-friendly option for all types of learners.

With the right ELearning platform, you employees can watch videos, read books, and listen to audio recordings on-demand.

It allows them to learn at their own pace, on their own time, when they’re ready to learn – as opposed to being forced to learn alongside everyone else in a group training session.

But where will you find a central database of resources that cover everything from IT exam preparation to project management and conflict resolution?

Right here at Enterprise Training Solutions.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

Schedule Free Consultation

How to Increase Employee Engagement: 7 Successful Strategies

You can increase employee engagement with the right ideas and strategies
You can increase employee engagement with the right ideas and strategies

Do you want a happier, more committed and hardworking staff?

Then you need to increase employee engagement.

Unfortunately, employee engagement is scarce, both in the U.S. and around the world.

Gallup has been tracking employee engagement in the U.S. since 2000, and today, only 32% of employees are “engaged” in their workplace.

The number of engaged employees is even worse globally. Only 13% of employees around the world are considered “engaged,” according to another report from Gallup.

This means that most of the people in your agency aren’t committed to your mission, aren’t enthusiastic about the work they do, and aren’t motivated to participate in improving your workplace beyond the bare minimum work requirements.

But what is “employee engagement?” What motivates employees to become engaged? How can you increase employee engagement?

We’ll answer all these questions by giving you practical tips on creating an environment, setting policies, and working with your team for optimal employee engagement.

What is Employee Engagement?

Before you can increase employee engagement, you have to know what engagement means.

The Wikipedia definition of an engaged employee is:

A person who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and who takes positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interests.

An employee who is emotionally invested in your agency and its goals can be considered “engaged.”

The most important part of Wikipedia’s definition of employee engagement is “action to further the organization’s reputation and interests.”

Engaged employees work harder without being asked. They stay late because they genuinely want to perform well for their department and agency. They don’t complain about playing catch-up on work because their coworker was out sick – they gladly shoulder the load.

Engaged employees are the best employees. But what drives employees to become engaged and invested in their organization?

What Motivates Engaged Employees?

Money engages employees to show up for work and do their jobs…

But money doesn’t help employees live up to the definition of “employee engagement.”

Instead of speculating on what does create employee engagement, we can go straight to the inventor of the term employee engagement, William A. Kahn.

In his seminal paper, “Psychological Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at Work,” Kahn recognized 3 major factors that influence how much of themselves an employee is willing to give to their workplace.

Here are the 3 factors:

  1. Psychological meaningfulness
  2. Psychological safety
  3. Availability

Psychological meaningfulness refers to employees feeling like what they do at work has purpose – that through their efforts they made a meaningful difference.

Psychological safety refers to employees feeling valued, trusted, accepted, respected, and safe within their work environment.

Availability refers to employees feeling secure and self-confident in their workplace relationships and in their ability and competency in performing their jobs.

This is all heavy-duty psychological stuff.

But it’s not all that difficult to foster these mental and emotional states in your employees.

You just need to know what to do.

Employee Engagement Ideas

We’ll show you how to effectively increase employee engagement and make your staff feel safe, confident, and important by offering a few ideas for you to test in your workplace.

Distribute Surveys and Apply the Answers

If you want to know how to increase employee engagement, you need to know what your employees currently think about you and your organization.

If you want to know what they think about your organization, ask them.

A good way to ask them (and get honest answers) is to distribute surveys and questionnaires.

But the survey shouldn’t include multiple choice or yes/no questions.

You should ask open-ended questions that allow your employees to fully express themselves, comment on real issues, and suggest original ideas for improvement and innovation.

Then, hold a meeting, formal or informal, and discuss the answers to the questions.

Afterward, implement any workplace changes you decided were necessary. Implementing ideas your employees suggested is one major way you can foster “psychological meaningfulness.”

Give Constant Feedback

Employee surveys are a good way to understand how your employees think and feel.

When it comes to their work performance, however, you’ll probably know more than they do about how well they’re doing at their jobs.

And you need to tell them if they’re doing a good or bad job right when you spot good or bad behavior. Don’t wait for annual reviews if you want real-time improvement.

The funny thing about giving feedback is that employees desperately want it and managers absolutely hate it, according to research conducted by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman.

All the more reason to “eat that frog” right away, instead of allowing employees to continue developing bad habits or toiling diligently without being given the pat on the back they deserve.

Let your employees know that you’ll be giving regular, daily feedback, and that you’re doing it because you genuinely want everyone, including yourself, to improve within the agency.

Allow Your Employees to Offer Their Opinions and Ideas

While surveys are great for allowing employees to express themselves formally, you should also encourage them to offer their opinions and ideas to you regularly.

One, because this fosters their “psychological safety” and “availability.”

Two, because they may have great ideas you would’ve missed if you hadn’t encouraged them to speak up.

Develop an open-door policy to foster a safe, inclusive environment for open communication.

Throw Employee Parties

What’s better than giving your employees a pat on the back?

Throwing them a party.

Picnics, catered lunches, and team building afternoons can infuse your workplace with life, laughter, and loyalty.

Encourage fun at your workplace in general, and keep the mood light and friendly. Your employees will be happier, more productive, and of course, more engaged.

Encourage Health and Wellness

Researchers from the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO), Brigham Young University, and the Center for Health Research at Healthways found that healthy eating habits result in more productive employees.

The study was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Here are the results for the organizations who implemented wellness programs:

  • Absenteeism was 27% less in healthy-eating employees as compared to those who didn’t eat healthy and exercise.
  • Employees who ate healthy throughout the day were 25% more likely to have higher job performance.
  • Employees who ate 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables on four or more days in the past week were 20% more likely to have higher job performance.
  • And employees who exercised for 30 or more minutes on 3 or more days a week were 15% more likely to have higher job performance.

If you want to reap the productivity benefits of healthy living in your agency, then offer healthy snack foods in the office, promote exercise, and/or implement a wellness program.

Rally Your Employees Around Your Agency’s Mission

Your employees want to feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves (psychological meaningfulness).

How do you inspire such a feeling?

Well, as Simon Sinek would say, by rallying your organization around your big “why.”

Your mission statement, your agency’s culture, your belief in what you’re accomplishing in the world should be understood and loved by everyone in your organization.

Find that, and your employees will find meaning.

Teach the Way Your Employees Like to Learn

Your employees don’t all learn in the same way.

You shouldn’t treat them as if they do.

Creating learning alternatives, finding a happy medium between microlearning vs. long-form learning, and considering the cost of eLearning can help you create individual development plan goals that cultivate the skills, knowledge, and attributes your employees need to succeed and grow within your agency.

Encouraging them to upgrade their skills and providing the resources they need to improve in their work will tell them you’re working for their best interests – which will certainly increase employee engagement.

If you want to give your employees the freedom to learn at their own pace without breaking your budget, we can help.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

Schedule Free Consultation

8 Cybersecurity Tips Your Employees Need to Know

Every Government agency needs to teach their employees basic cybersecurity tips
Every Government agency needs to teach their employees basic cybersecurity tips

Your Government agency is in danger.

Sam Kim, the Chief Information Officer of Clark County, told Government Technology that “Local Governments are attractive targets [for cybercriminals]…regardless of how big or small you are, you need to be vigilant.”

These remarks underscore the necessity of actionable cybersecurity tips, advice, and knowledge that so many agencies lack.

But it’s not you – IT professionals – that are lacking in this knowledge.

It’s everyone else.

The end user is the most dangerous IT security liability in your agency.

The IBM Security Services 2014 Cyber Security Intelligence Index report found an incredible and disturbing trend:

Of nearly 1,000 clients in 133 countries, over 95% of all cybersecurity incidents involved “human error” as a contributing factor.

According to the report, “The most commonly recorded form of human errors include system misconfiguration, poor patch management, use of default usernames and passwords or easy-to-guess passwords, lost laptops or mobile devices, and disclosure of regulated information via use of an incorrect email address.”

With Cybersecurity Awareness Month beginning in 2 days, it’s the perfect time to help your co-workers brush up on their IT security knowledge.

8 Cybersecurity Tips for Protecting Your Agency

Here are 8 cybersecurity tips that you can use to help the end users in your agency recommit to cybersecurity best practices.

We’ve also included a few ideas on how you can educate your employees on these tips to help you create a basic program for educating, training, and encouraging everyone in your agency to play a proactive role in protecting your organization from cyberattackers.

Create Strong Passwords

This is an essential cybersecurity tip for people who don’t quite understand the nuances of IT security and the risks of an easy-to-hack password.

Let them know that one of the most powerful security organizations in the world, the Department of Homeland Security, specifically suggests these tips:

  • Never use your name, or the names of your kids or pets, or any other easily findable information about yourself
  • Don’t use common passwords
  • Break up your passwords with marks and symbols like @, !, #, 1, 9, etc.
  • Always use a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters

You should also consider implementing a “password change policy” that mandates a routine password change every 45-90 days, with an explicit rule against using the same password over and over again but with a different number or character at the end (we’re sure you’re well aware of THAT guy).

Lock up All Your Devices Whenever You Leave Them

When your employees leave to take a lunch break, go to the bathroom, or go home at the end of the day, you need to make sure they always remember to lock their computer, tablet, phone, or other device that stores sensitive information.

The few minutes it takes for them to grab a snack or smoke a cigarette is just enough time a malicious insider needs to steal valuable data.

There are 2 things you can do to get your employees in the habit of locking their machines:

You can play the “Donuts Game” and/or you can encourage “Goating.”

Both are humorous, fun, and effective ways to get everyone involved in identifying bad security practices.

Be Aware of Phishing Emails

This is an essential and easily forgotten cybersecurity tip:

Be hypervigilant regarding your email and links in your email – you might be getting “phished.”

You have to repeat this over and over and over again to people who don’t live and breathe cybersecurity.

Educate your employees about phishing and tell them that it’s one of the most common email scams out there.

Let them know how it works:

  • The “phisher” poses as a legitimate business, agency, or person and sends you a spoofed message.
  • The message is usually urgent, and the sender will almost always ask you to click on a link to resolve the issue.
  • Once you click on the link, it will either install malware on your device or send you to a spoofed website that steals the information you input into it.

And let them know how to avoid being phished:

  • Double-check the sender to verify it’s an email address you recognize.
  • Look for blatant and consistent spelling errors in the body of the email (this is a hallmark of both spam and phishing emails).
  • Contact the sender directly, either in person or by phone, to verify that they actually sent you an email.

Install an Antivirus

We know some IT security experts don’t use antivirus, while others argue that antivirus is still important.

One thing we can all agree on is that the end user absolutely needs an antivirus because they’re far more likely to engage in riskier behavior than you are.

The 2017 Government Internet Security Threat Report offered a staggering statistic that you could pass on to your employees:

The number of detections of ransomware increased by 36% from 340,000 in 2015 to 463,000 in 2016.

Bottom line:

Don’t allow your employees to work on their machines without the antivirus running, and make sure it’s set to update automatically.

Use a VPN

Setup and strongly encourage the use of a VPN.

Let your employees know how critical a VPN is to their security and safety, especially when accessing data remotely.

Enforce a policy that simply states “every employee must access the company’s network using their VPN.”

Enforce Strict Access Privileges

Your staff should only have access to information that they need to access in order to perform their job functions.

Any access beyond that point puts your agency at risk.

Financial data, other employees’ data, official information, etc. should only be accessed by particular team members and managers.

Use access control on your organization’s intranet, on commonly used software, and on any other work-related programs.

Develop a Disaster Recovery Plan

A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a set of procedures and resources to control the fallout of an unexpected attack, accident, or disaster.

A good DRP eliminates guesswork and enhances your team’s response effectiveness during an emergency.

To develop a solid plan, make sure to:

  • Take inventory of all your hardware, software, devices, and data
  • Ensure everything is consistently being backed up
  • Ensure you have the appropriate hardware and software required to perform a backup if needed
  • Assign a project manager to oversee the creation and maintenance of your DRP
  • Test your plan regularly to ensure it can appropriately respond to unexpected threats
  • Get your whole team involved in creating and executing your DRP

Provide On-Going Cyber Security Training to Your Staff

Use our cybersecurity tips to begin engaging your employees in an ongoing effort to protect your agency from cyberattackers.

Attempt to cultivate a cybersecurity awareness culture amongst all of your employees. Make it so that it’s not just October when everyone starts practicing good online behavior – they take cybersecurity seriously all year-round

If you want to secure your agency against serious threats, then get serious about training and educating your staff about the importance of cybersecurity.

Of course, only IT professionals need IT exam preparation tips to prepare for certification tests to upgrade their skills and knowledge

But your employees could benefit from formal courses in order to help defend your agency from serious threats.

Now, it’s true that it’s not easy to find good IT security training materials and instructors. And it’s also not easy getting your employees to learn – what with some people preferring microlearning, while others preferring long-form learning.

But the effectiveness and cost of eLearning changes all of this.

Now, you and your non-IT staff can continually educate yourselves and stay up-to-date with the latest threats and threat prevention tools and procedures.

Where can you find all this information?

Right here at Enterprise Training Solutions.

Cybersecurity Tips On-Demand

With videos, ebooks, and courses on topics ranging from phishing to malware to ransomware, we give you access to all the knowledge you need to improve your current security posture and prepare for any future threats.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

Schedule Free Consultation

 

How to Become DoD 8140 Compliant and Boost Your IT Career

To get a job in information assurance you’ll need to be DoD 8140 compliant.
To get a job in information assurance you’ll need to be DoD 8140 compliant.

Are you an IT professional trying to work for the Department of Defense (DoD) or other Government agency?

Then you’ll need to be officially certified. And you’ll need to know about the recent changes in regulations.

The newest directive to be released from Washington is Department of Defense Directive 8140, also known as DoDD 8140 or DoD 8140.

Its purpose is to update and expand the established policies and responsibilities managing the DoD cyberspace workforce which were introduced in the 2005 manual on information assurance (IA), DoD 8570.

DoD 8140 is pretty much the most important document to understand if you want to get a job or keep your job in IA with the Government.

We’ll show you exactly what DoD 8140 and DoD 8570 are, what they mean, what you need to know about the changes, and how to confidently move forward and succeed in your career.

What is DoD 8140 and DoD 8570?

DoD 8570 was created in 2005 to prevent the influx of unqualified and inexperienced professionals from performing highly technical and challenging information assurance jobs within Government agencies.

It laid out the requirements for all IA professionals hoping to competently perform their respective roles.

But, since the technology used to access and interface with DoD networks has dramatically changed since 2005 – with the introduction of smartphones, cloud, and wireless – the Government needed a new framework.

DoD 8140 was designed to replace DoD 8570 and is an essential step toward the better organization and clearer delineation of job functions and tasks.

Essentially, DoD 8140 provides the newest guidelines and builds upon the established policies of DoD 8570.

What Does DoD 8140 Mean for Your IT Career?

The DoD 8570 Manual gave all personnel 4 years to become compliant with the required commercial certifications, such as CompTIA Security+, CompTIA Network+, etc.

Under the new rules of DoD 8140, all personnel are required to become compliant within 6 months of employment.

That means you better know what certifications you need and how you’re going to study for them before you even get a job.

But there won’t be a DoD 8140 manual until 2018 or later…

How Can You Become DoD 8140 (DoD 8570) Compliant?

The only way to become DoD 8140 compliant is by adhering to the updated standards of the DoD 8570 Manual.

Thankfully, this is pretty straightforward.

Here’s a summary of the workforce qualifications for DoD 8570 and DoD 8140:

dod 8140 summary of workforce qualification requirements

Here are the DoD approved baseline certifications:

dod 8140 baseline certifications

If you want to obtain any of these IA baseline certifications, you’ll have to follow a few specific steps:

  1. Contact your Information Assurance Manager (IAM) and follow your Component’s procedures to identify your position, level, and certification requirements.
  2. Obtain training for the IA certification you want to complete.
  3. Request a certification voucher from your IAM.
  4. Once you pass your certification, register it in the Defense Workforce Certification Application (DWCA).
  5. Notify your IA manager once you’ve completed your training and received your certification.

Steps 1, 3, 4, and 5 are clear-cut and rely on you going through the appropriate IASE channels.

But step 2 requires a little extra effort on your part.

You have to find high-quality training that gives you the IT exam preparation materials you need to obtain an IA baseline certification.

Without it, there’s no way to meet the 6-month certification requirement, and there’s no way to move forward in your career.

If you want proven training materials for nearly all of the IA baseline certifications and beyond, we can help.

Become DoD 8140 Compliant and Accelerate Your IT Career

From CompTIA A+ to Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), we have all the course materials, study guides, ebooks, and video courses you need to learn at your own pace, on your own time. We cover nearly all of the baseline IA certifications, and our staff is ready and willing to help you find the information you need to succeed today, and into the future.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

Schedule Free Consultation

 

6 Proven IT Exam Preparation Tips That Will Help You Pass the Test

With the right tips, IT exam preparation can be fun and easy.
With the right tips, IT exam preparation can be fun and easy.

To receive a career-making IT certification, you’ll need some proven IT exam preparation strategies.

Many professionals today still treat exams like they did in college:

  • Read (or skim) the book and study materials once
  • Pull an all-nighter
  • Take the exam

You’re going to be sorely disappointed when you apply this strategy and fail.

Instead of doing what rarely works, why not try a few strategies that almost always work?

We’ve compiled 6 tips for effective IT exam preparation. If you apply them to your studies, you’ll be much more likely to pass the exam, get your certification, and move forward in your career.

6 IT Exam Preparation Tips

Create a Study Plan

There is a well-documented technique for remembering information over the long-term.

It’s called the spacing effect, and it’s critical for IT exam preparation.

If you know when you’ll be taking your exam, you can break down your course materials to determine how much you need to study each day, and when you can review that information a few more times before the exam date.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Create an outline
  • Mark relevant pages of books you’re studying
  • Mark times on videos you’re watching
  • Gather all your class materials
  • Create flash cards
  • Create a timeline
  • And forget about cramming

Stick to your study plan, and you’ll be much more likely to retain most of the information you learn, as opposed to your last-minute, late-night friends who will forget what they were studying by the morning of the exam.

Sleep Well

Speaking of late nights, it’s best to avoid all-nighters and inefficient sleep patterns altogether.

Students who regularly pull all-nighters end up with lower GPAs according to a St. Lawrence University study.

You’re better off studying regularly and sleeping well then cramming and not sleeping at all.

Use Memory Techniques

There are a wide variety of memory techniques to help in your IT exam preparation.

Mnemonic devices like acronyms are particularly powerful.

Acronyms abbreviate a set of words down to the first initial of each word.

It works like this:

  • Choose a term, concept, or rule that you’re studying
  • Create an acronym using the first letter of each word
  • Memorize the acronym or make up a silly phrase for it

For example, the order of operations in math – parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction – can be memorized using the acronym “PEMDAS.” or can be expanded into:

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.

Form a Study Group

A study group leverages the knowledge and skills of other people to improve everyone’s IT exam preparation strategies.

Here are a few ways to make a study group useful:

  • Do all of the studying together
  • Quiz each other every session
  • Take practice exams together and discuss the answers afterward
  • Set time limits for your study sessions
  • Set goals to focus on during study sessions
  • Use a quiet space that won’t be distracting, but try to study in different rooms for maximum results

Stay Physically Healthy

Multiple studies confirm that regular exercise, especially cardio, significantly improves the problem-solving and memory functions of your brain.

Eating foods that are good for your brain before and during a test is an easy way to prepare for a tough IT exam as well.

Making sure to take regular study breaks is also important. Your brain needs time to process the information you’re learning. Take a day off every once in awhile and do something fun and leisurely.

Use Practice Exams

While the rest of the IT exam preparation tips we’ve given you will be helpful to some, they’re not helpful to all.

One of the few proven tools for excelling on exam day is taking a practice exam, according to a study from Henry L. Roediger.

Practice exams give you a taste of what to expect when you sit down to take your real exam.

It helps you work through your anxiety, pace yourself, time yourself, and find out how much information you can recall from your studies.

If you’re trying to pass the gold standard of IT exams, CompTIA, then it’s imperative that you take practice exams.

But where can you find good practice exams?

Sure, there are plenty of practice questions all over the internet, but there are very few practice IT exams that will actually mimic CompTIA or something similar.

If you want train your brain to be ready for exam day, and take advantage of one of the most powerful study techniques, then we can help.

Enterprise Training Makes IT Exam Preparation Easy

If you want to take your IT career to the next level and need effective practice exams to do it, then we’ve got you covered.

We offer a wide variety of certification training and exam prep materials from industry leading vendors, including Project Management Institute, Microsoft, CompTIA, Cisco, Amazon, TOGAF, Six Sigma, ITIL, IIBA and more.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training – explore our complete list of certification curricula today!Learn More

Women Leaders in Government: Why It Matters and How to Achieve It

Women leaders in Government are critical for helping agencies meet their full potential
Women leaders in Government are critical for helping agencies meet their full potential

According to a Pew Research Center survey on women and leadership, most Americans believe women possess the same key leadership traits as men such as intelligence and capacity for innovation. In fact, some people think women are superior to men in areas of compassion and organization.

Despite this, only 15.4% of chief administrative officers are women, according to the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).

If we want to increase the gender parity index and work towards a fair footing for women leaders in Government, then we need to do everything we can to make it more likely women will pursue managerial positions in their local state and county.

Before we can look at how to get more women in office, let’s look at why they’re so beneficial to have in there at all.

What are the Benefits of Women Leaders in Government?

According to a study conducted by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman for the Harvard Business Review, women outperformed men in 15 out of the 16 categories they studied.

This study surveyed 7,280 leaders across some of the most successful and progressive organizations in the world both public and private, government and commercial, domestic and international.

The data confirmed that women are certainly better than men in the categories they’re typically known to excel within, such as “building relationships” and “developing others.”

But surprisingly, women were also rated higher in stereotypically male dominated attributes, such as “taking initiative” and “driving for results.”

Here’s a list of the other categories women excelled in:

  • Practices Self-Development
  • Displays High Integrity and Honesty
  • Inspires and Motivates Others
  • Collaboration and Teamwork
  • Establishes Stretch Goals
  • Champions Change
  • Solves Problems and Analyzes Issues
  • Communicates Powerfully and Prolifically
  • Connects the Group to the Outside World
  • Innovates
  • Technical or Professional Expertise

The only category in which men scored marginally higher was “developed strategic perspective.”

This study clearly demonstrates that women are necessary and essential for a high-functioning Government agency.

Which leaves us with one question…

How Do You Get More Women Leaders in Government?

We’ve seen huge strides in getting women to run and be elected into top Governmental roles as shown in the unprecedented Decade of Women.

But how do we get women involved on the state and local level?

Here are 2 ways to make it happen:

Mentorship Programs

Without a doubt, a strong local Government mentorship program for women is one of the best ways to foster leadership traits and increase women leaders in Government.

Patricia Martel, the city manager of Daly City in California, told Governing Magazine that “One of the most critical things is having a role model…You can’t be who you can’t see.”

A great example of a strong mentoring program for women is the Women’s Leadership Mentoring Program (WLMP) in San Antonio, Texas.

It offers ambitious young women a year-long mentorship with a female city executive and is built upon strategic requirements, offerings, and expectations that enhance the mentoring relationship and leadership development for all participants.

The more cities offering these types of programs, the more we’ll see women leaders in Government.

Women Leadership Programs

Programs that teach young women the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be a strong manager are needed to increase the confidence of women who are interested in becoming a leader in Government.

Evidence shows that women are less self-assured than men, according to the Atlantic in their article titled, “The Confidence Gap.”

Some organizations are taking a bold step to empower young women with valuable managerial skills, such as our New to Management training.

From what to expect, to directing others, difficult conversations, motivating a team, and effective interpersonal skills, our management training materials include video lessons, knowledge checks, and other course materials to help men and women alike improve their management and leadership skills.

This kind of focused, hands-on training will go a long way in developing the talent needed for future agency managers and leaders.

How Can You Become a Woman Leader in Government Today?

If you already work within a Government agency, you can be part of the growing movement for female leadership.

If you want to become the head of your agency, you’re going to need to dedicate yourself to lifelong learning and skill building.

This doesn’t mean you have to go back to school or spend enormous amounts of money on high-priced instructors.

All you need is the right training program to quickly foster the skills required to become a leader in your sector.

Want to know how?

Invest in your education through one of our Government eLearning courses.

ELearning Helps to Quickly Develop Women Leaders in Government

We have over 6,000 online Government training programs designed to help you sharpen your knowledge, learn new skills, and become a stronger leader. You can learn from any device, anywhere. From effective communication to project management, you can fast-track your ability to become the manager or the head of your agency.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by starting your free 10-day trial today!

Start Free Trial

How the Low Cost of eLearning Can Save Your Agency in the Age of Trump

The low cost of elearning has helped organizations worldwide save money while learning faster
The low cost of eLearning has helped organizations worldwide save money while learning faster

After Trump initiated his hiring freeze on January 23rd, it was clear he was serious about trimming down agencies in Government.

On April 12th, Mick Mulvaney sent out a memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies requiring them to reduce their workforce and maximize employee productivity.

By now, you’re probably trying to figure out how to create a competent and cost-effective plan to meet the memorandum’s stringent requirements.

If you’ve performed any type of succession planning, you know that you need to train your existing employees to handle the tasks of your retirement-aged staff.

Unfortunately, you might not have enough money to pay for instructor-led training (ILT), or, at the very least, you’re going to need to supplement ILT with something more cost-effective.

Well, an alternative to ILT does exist that allows you to save time and money, and allows your participants to learn faster.

It’s called eLearning, and it’s a booming industry.

According to Global Market Insights, the eLearning market size was valued at $165 billion in 2015 and is likely to grow at 5% from 2016 to 2023, topping $240 billion.

The public and private sector have been quick to adopt eLearning for a variety of reasons that can benefit your agency.

First up in benefits: how much money you can be saving by switching from ILT to eLearning.

The (Low) Cost of eLearning

Caterpillar University (CU) created a helpful model for calculating the total cost of eLearning as compared to ILT and their results demonstrate why eLearning is the preferred training and development vehicle for agencies with heavy budget cuts.

CU found that the cost of eLearning was almost always much less than ILT, regardless of the participant size.

For example, if you were training a group of 100 people for just 1 hour, eLearning was over 40% less expensive than ILT ($9,500 vs. $17, 062).

When they modeled much larger group sizes and longer programs, the cost of eLearning is even more pronounced with savings as high as 78%.

If you need to train your employees without overspending, eLearning is your best option.

But the financial cost of eLearning isn’t the only benefit…

The Educational Cost of elearning

ILT is definitely the preferred form of learning when you have to train your employees in advanced skills and complex subjects.

But not all skills and subjects require in-depth, long-form training sessions.

For simple topics, broad concepts, and straightforward skills, eLearning can provide all the content required to train your employees quickly and efficiently.

If you have created individual development plan goals for your employees, eLearning can accelerate their professional development by allowing them to learn at their own pace without the pressure of group training sessions.

Ultimately, the cost of eLearning is not only measured in dollars, but in the value it provides to your employees.

The Benefits of an eLearning Program

Flexible Training Design

When operating on tight budget constraints, you need to be able to deliver the education your employees require at the cost your budget demands.

ELearning programs can be deployed as prepackaged courses–ready to teach a specific subject–or you can design a course yourself using an eLearning format, which will make course creation much easier.

Multi-Device Learning

Today’s learner needs to access knowledge wherever they are, on any device. Not only on computers at work or at home, but on tablets while commuting, or on their phones at lunch.

The cost of eLearning is dramatically reduced because of the increasingly low-cost of high-quality technology which makes it easier to deploy learning programs and train employees.

Microlearning

Instead of slogging through hours or days worth of training, microlearning delivers the most important information in bite-sized lessons for a more effective and more enjoyable learning experience.

In fact, one study found that microlearning resulted in 20% higher information retention than long-form learning.

Is the Cost of eLearning Worth It?

To answer that question, consider what eLearning provides:

  • Faster training for employees
  • Lower cost than ILT
  • Easier to deploy on any device, anywhere

That certainly makes it seem worth it to us.

If it seems worth it to you, then it’s time to find a proven eLearning company who specializes in Government training and development.

And guess what?

You just found one.

Let’s Jump Start Your eLearning Program Today

We have over 6,000 online training programs designed specifically for Government agencies and employees to refine their skills, upgrade their knowledge, and perform their jobs better. You get 24/7 access to all of our courses and they can be viewed on all devices. Best of all, we understand that budgets are decreasing, which is why every Government agency we’ve worked with has benefited immensely from our affordable eLearning programs.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

Schedule Free Consultation

5 Individual Development Plan Goals for Improved Employee Success

Individual development plan goals will improve your employee's productivity and strengthen your organization
Individual development plan goals will improve your employee’s productivity and strengthen your organization

Many Government agencies don’t have individual development plan goals for each of their employees, which is a shame because an IDP is one of the most effective ways to retain employees and motivate them to give their best efforts.

In fact, according to research firm Edenred, 68% of workers say training and development are the most important workplace policy.

This means that the majority of employees are craving dedicated, meaningful, and effective individual development in order to succeed within your organization.

Unfortunately, it’s becoming harder to hire the right people to fill vacant positions, which should make you put employee retention and development at the top of your priority list.

RandstadUSA conducted a study on workplace trends and found that 75% of companies agree it takes more time this year than last year to find the right talent to fill positions. Today, the average time to hire a non-executive candidate is more than two months.

If you already have the right people in your organization, your job now is to give them the tools they need to consistently improve their skills and grow their knowledge.

This is where an IDP comes into play.

To help you give your employees everything they need to succeed, we’re going to define an IDP and then layout the 5 most important individual development plan goals your employees should be focused on.

What Is an Individual Development Plan?

Simply put, an individual development plan is a formal agreement between the employer and the employee regarding how the employee will grow within your organization, and what goals they will accomplish over a set period of time.

Once set, individual development plan goals can be used by managers to measure the performance of every employee. Since all employees come with different skills and knowledge, it’s important to analyze their productive output on an individual basis.

Clear, tangible goals allow you to assess where your employees are in their current abilities and then use this assessment to keep them accountable for their professional development.

Ultimately, an individual development plan is used to draw out leadership capabilities from within all of your employees—creating a strong, competent, and highly motivated workforce.

What Are the 5 Most Important Individual Development Plan Goals?

Create an Individual Development Plan for Yourself and Your Organization’s Objectives

You should begin your individual development plan by identifying the objectives of your organization, and the skill sets you require in your employees to accomplish those objectives.

This provides a clear picture of the needs of your organization, which will make it easier to identify the employees who are ready and willing to meet those needs.

Also, if you’re going to help your employees write an IDP, you should first write one for yourself.

And, make sure you actually sit down with each of your employees to help them develop their IDP—don’t just give them a sheet to fill out on their own.

Write down a Big Reason Why an IDP Is Being Created

An IDP is useless without a compelling reason for creating it.

Each of your employees should know exactly why you’re creating an IDP together, and what they think it will help them achieve.

Common reasons would be:

  • They’re currently struggling and want to improve in their job
  • They want to move up in your organization and prepare themselves for the new role
  • They’re comfortable in their position but feel like they could be doing even better

Nailing down a reason for the IDP will help you and your employees stay focused on the core objective as you work through the rest of these steps.

Make a List of Core Strengths and Weaknesses

This exercise is what helps you and your employees evaluate where they’re at currently in their development, what roles and responsibilities they are best suited to pursue within your organization, and what requires the most attention right away.

They should work to master their strengths and mitigate their weaknesses.

Identify What Needs to Be Learned and What Skills Need to Be Developed

There are 3 main categories you should focus on:

  • Skills
  • Knowledge
  • Attributes

If they’re moving to a new position, what skills do they need to learn? What knowledge do they need to possess?

If they’re trying to improve in their current role, what skills are lacking? What are their knowledge gaps?

In regards to their attributes, what personality traits should be developed? What type of leadership characteristics should they embody?

Overall, identify specifically what is required to learn, know, and possess to reach their individual development plan goals.

Identify the Actions Required to Achieve the Learning Objectives

This is where the rubber meets the road with IDP’s. Here’s a list of what you need to do to make their IDP actionable:

  • Identify the 1, 2, and 3-year goals of your employees
  • Create milestones for them to hit in their developmental journey
  • Create specific dates for every milestone and goal so you both know when they’re supposed to achieve their objectives
  • And finally, identify how they’re going to actually develop their abilities:
  • Take on a challenging new assignment
  • Receive coaching or mentoring
  • Take an online course

How Do You Implement Individual Development Plan Goals?

Sign the IDP with your employee to make it a formal contract binding both of you to the goals set forth. Allow your employees to take on new challenges like you identified. Plan to meet with them regularly to discuss their progress. And make sure they’re checking off the items on their list as they go.

After a period of time implementing the plan, have a meeting with each of your employees to discuss their successes and failures, and ways to adjust their plan for accelerated performance. Be an open confidant for their continued success.

Also, make sure that you, too, are always developing and improving upon your processes, and learning how to facilitate a better IDP.

Ready to Take Your Individual Development Plan Goals to the Next Level?

Our online courses can give your employees the technical, job oriented skills they desire, along with the interpersonal, leadership skills they require to reach their goals and serve your organization. Plus, we have multiple resources to help you create the best IDP possible for the best results.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

Schedule Free Consultation

How to Use Microlearning to Increase Productivity in Your Agency

Microlearning offers quick, easy to understand lessons for maximum comprehension
Microlearning offers quick, easy to understand lessons for maximum comprehension

Microlearning has been revolutionizing employee training and development in the corporate world, but is it applicable to Government agencies?

With increasing budget cuts, Government agencies have to maximize their returns on every dollar they spend.

Long-form training–where participants sit in a conference room for hours, learn from a hefty manual, and then take a test–can be costly and time-consuming.

Microlearning, on the other hand, can be consumed virtually anywhere, is delivered quickly, and the results are impressive.

A study from the Dresden University of Technology in Germany found that microlearning resulted in 20% higher information retention than long-form learning.

This means less time, money, and resources spent on retraining employees in your agency.

But, microlearning may not be the end all be all of learning and development that some companies would like you to believe.

To help you understand the proper role of microlearning in your agency, we’ll define microlearning, compare it to long-form learning, and discuss some of its benefits and drawbacks.

What is Microlearning?

Microlearning is characterized by short, focused modules that help the learner understand one topic or idea at a time.

Modules are usually 3-5 minutes long (or shorter), and they incorporate video, audio, and written material for a full-sensory learning experience.

Microlearning can be deployed on any device which makes it ideal for busy learners and educators who want to be able to quickly learn and apply what they’ve learned immediately.

What’s the Difference Between Microlearning and Long-Form Learning

Traditional learning typically involves an instructor who decides how participants will be learning (text vs. audio vs. video vs. a mixture of all 3).

Participants usually go through the training only once, and training lasts for a few hours or a few days.

Microlearning, on the other hand, guarantees a variety of learning tools will be available to participants so that they can “drive” their own learning experience, and use only the tools that help them individually learn better.

Microlearning modules allow participants to learn at their own pace, and to break information into manageable chunks that are easier to remember long-term.

Traditional, long-form learning is very formal in its tone and setting–you arrive at one location, go through the whole training in the same place and in the same way, and then test your knowledge.

Microlearning is flexible enough to allow you to learn formally–like in a conference room with an instructor–or informally, like while riding the bus or on your lunch break.

Microlearning modules are designed to be consumed whenever you need to learn or relearn a topic or idea.

What are the Benefits of Microlearning?

Spaced Repetition

The most commonly cited benefit to Microlearning is how helpful it is in counteracting the famous “forgetting curve”, which hypothesizes that you will lose most of your acquired knowledge if you don’t attempt to retain it.

Because Microlearning modules are so short, they’re easy to consume again and again over time to solidify the knowledge in your memory.

Wide-Range of Applications

Microlearning modules can be used for teaching one-off ideas, for quick reference, or as part of a series of other microlearning programs.

Effective Outcomes

Microlearning will help you remember more of any given subject–especially if it’s complicated–because it breaks information down into bite-sized pieces that center around one big idea, allowing you to focus without distraction, and put your newfound knowledge into practice immediately.

Learner-Centered

Every individual has different capacities and preferences for learning.

Microlearning gives you the flexibility to design lesson plans and training sessions that will maximize the educational experience for each individual employee.

Plus, since some employees don’t have the time nor the interest in sitting through a long-form training session–especially if it’s filled with ancillary or discretionary content– you can deliver the essentials of the session in a compartmentalized, easy-to-consume format.

What are the Drawbacks of Microlearning?

Can’t Create Experts

If you really want to master a subject and become an expert, you’ll have to dive much deeper into your subject matter for much longer.

Concepts, definitions, and explanations can all be understood with microlearning, but complex topics, advanced skills, and in-depth knowledge require long-form learning.

More Planning Ahead of Time

If you’re tasked with creating a microlearning program, you’re going to have to wade through all the material you want to teach, identify the most essential parts of the course, and then break those down into easy to consume modules.

A microlearning program may not provide a complete picture of the subject matter because it usually covers only one aspect of a topic or idea.

Also, if the program creator misses a crucial bit of information when developing the course, they could make the learning experience feel disjointed or fragmented.

How Should Microlearning be Used?

Microlearning is best used as part of a hybrid learning program that also includes long-form learning and hands-on training. It is an ideal performance support tool, since it can be delivered anywhere, on any device, at the exact time an employee needs to learn or relearn a subject.

It’s not useful for complex topics, but it can be used as a spaced repetition tool that reinforces complex ideas by delivering a shortened version of them over time.

It’s also ideal for busy employees who travel often and only need to keep up-to-date with the latest training and development requirements.

At the end of the day, you need to decide what’s best for each individual employee based on their current level of skill and knowledge in order to provide them with the learning that suits them best.

Need a Microlearning Program For Your Agency?

We have over 6,000 online training programs designed specifically for Government agencies and employees to refine their skills, upgrade their knowledge, and perform their jobs better. You get 24/7 access to all of our courses and they can be viewed on all devices. Every Government agency we’ve worked with has benefited from our elearning courses.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

Schedule Free Consultation