General Assembly started as a small project in the heart of NYC—we set out to build a community of entrepreneurs and creators in our city’s burgeoning ecosystem. I’m in awe of the evolution we’ve seen take place—in 5 years we’ve become a global organization, now equipping tens of thousands of students with the skills they need to succeed in the new economy.
At this time of great debate around the future of higher education and workforce development, our worldwide team has succeeded in creating and scaling a model solely focused on bridging education to employment. But we are even more ambitious about our future goals: To make a visible dent in the skills gap, clearly connecting education and employment to show an ROI positive model of higher education, and build our alumni community into one of the most powerful professional networks in the world.
Companies in all industries are wrestling with how to crack the code to win in the digital space. Typically, they focus their efforts on shifts in business strategy. They concentrate on enhancing marketing capability, creating new digital products and services, improving their social media efforts, and upgrading their IT expertise.
From our experience working with clients across various market segments, it is clear that far less attention is paid to the important shift in leadership behavior that is necessary to foster a culture of innovation and experimentation.
There are four key issues that senior executives need to address in order to retool their organizations for success in the digital space. They must implement practical strategies that proactively engage:
With all the buzzwords and stigmas tied to online learning, rolling out online education programs in large organizations can be overwhelming. Earlier this month, we brought together online learning professionals and our Enterprise partners at General Assembly’s HQ in NYC to discuss online learning experiences. Throughout the day, participants engaged in activities to identify opportunities for engaging employees in online learning and helping employees apply what they’ve learned.
Around a year ago, when I first joined General Assembly, the zeitgeist held that Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, were dying and that online education was doomed to fail. It was around this time that The New York Times cited a UPenn study that stated that only 4% of MOOC registrants complete their lessons and only half ever even view a single lesson.
So it was with a healthy dose of skepticism that I took on the role of Online Instructional Designer, tasked with building GA’s first online course: “The Essentials of Digital Marketing.” Over the next few months, the Essentials of Digital Marketing grew into an extremely successful and engaging learning platform, boasting a 71% engagement rate of students who complete lessons. To reach this point, my team engaged in a whirlwind of testing and discovery that uncovered a number of defining features for building effective online learning experiences.
If you’ve ever sat though a university lecture, you know that in less than forty-five minutes a professor will skim over tons of theories and concepts, jumping from idea to idea, leaving you in a state of bewilderment. Students are provided with the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and then left to their own devices to make sense of it. The problems continue in the business world, where jargon filled PowerPoints flood the boardroom. There must be a better way.
Developing and delivering training that will make a measurable impact requires a fresh approach. There’s no cookie-cutter formula, but here are 7+1 lessons to get you thinking.
Jessica Zhao is an Enterprise Account Manager at General Assembly charged with coordinating between the client and GA team to create a custom lesson for every program. Read more to discover what her job entails, and how these masterful programs come together.
Emily Witko is the Online Engagement Manager for General Assembly Enterprise. She executes engagement strategies for GA’s enterprise level training platform, “The Essentials of Digital Marketing.”
When it comes to online learning, one of the toughest challenges is ensuring that your employee base remains active and engaged in completing online lessons over extended periods of time. Engagement is one of the top metrics for illustrating the success of an online training program for obvious reasons — launching an online training solution that doesn’t get used by your employees is a significant waste of budget and may increase skepticism towards the effectiveness of future training solutions. So how can organizations provide online training that is both informative and engaging over time?