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Archive for January, 2012

Michigan Announces Plans to Host Digital Learning Day

LANSING – The Michigan Department of Education, in partnership with the Alliance for Excellent Education, Monday announced its participation as a state host in the first-ever Digital Learning Day campaign and kick off to Michigan’s “Year of the Digital Learner.”

This national campaign is designed to celebrate innovative teaching and highlight practices that make elearning more personalized and engaging for students, exploring how digital learning can provide all students with the opportunities they deserve — to build the skills needed to succeed in college, a career, and life.

“In Michigan, the first state to require students to successfully complete an online course or learning experience, digital or online learning provides a powerful alternative for students who have a need for greater flexibility with their education due to individual learning styles, employment commitments and comfort with traditional school environments,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan said. “There is a significant potential to expand the use of online learning as a practical strategy to help students stay in school and graduate. We’re excited to be kicking off the Year of the Digital Learner on Feb. 1.”

Through this work and by hosting a Digital Learning Day on Feb. 1, Michigan strives to build momentum for a wave of innovation that changes policies, shifts attitudes, and supports wide-scale adoption of these promising instructional practices.

Digital Learning Day will be the start of a year of digital learning activities to be designated as 2012 Year of the Digital Learner.

“Digital Learning Day is more than just a day,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “It is about building a digital learning movement that provides teachers with better tools to truly provide a quality education for every child.  Simply layering on technology alone will not move the education needle very much.  Effective technology combined with great teachers and engaged students have the potential to transform the world of learning.”

As the host of Digital Learning Day, Michigan will highlight a school that is using innovation to make a difference for students. Michigan also will continue to reach out and share resources that support the goals of and participation in Digital Learning Day and 2012 Year of the Digital Learner.

A press conference will be held at East Lansing Public Schools’ Donley Elementary School, 2961 Lake Lansing Road, East Lansing, at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

All education stakeholders — parents; teachers; students; librarians; administrators; policymakers; and school, district, and business leaders — are encouraged to sign up now. Participants will have access to targeted toolkits outlining ideas and ways to plan their Digital Learning Day celebration, as well as updates, informational videos, webinars, and other resources.

No matter the approach, no matter the grade level, no matter the subject or geographic location, no matter a teacher’s specific comfort with using technology, this campaign will challenge education professionals and policymakers at all levels to start a conversation, improve a lesson, and/or create a plan.

To learn more about how to be a part of this groundbreaking event, sign up at You can also “like” Digital Learning Day on Facebook at and follow the discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #DLDday.

Watch the official announcements of Digital Learning Day at For more information on Michigan events, go to

This article was originally posted at


Top Education Next Articles of 2011!

Which Ed Next articles were most popular in 2011? What follows is a countdown of our top 20 articles, measured by page views.

Several of the articles take readers inside classrooms to see how some much-vaunted policies and innovations (e.g. differentiated instructionblended learning) are working in practice. Several other top articles look at howthe performance of U.S. students compares to that of students in other countries. Quite a few relate to teachereffectiveness and compensation. Only two of the top twenty articles focus on technology and learning.

Which Ed Next authors penned the most articles in our top 20 list? Eric Hanushek leads the pack with 4, followed closely by Ludger Woessman with 3 articles. Paul Peterson, Mike PetrilliJune Kronholz, and Michael Podgursky all wrote 2 articles in the top 20.

While most of the articles on our list were published in 2011, some are oldies that generated new interest this year (including two articles from our archives about teacher pensions and other benefits).

Here are the top 20 articles for 2011:

20. “Gender Gap: Are boys being shortchanged in K-12 schooling?”
by Richard Whitmire and Susan McGee Bailey
In this forum, two experts consider whether, after years of concern that girls were being shortchanged in male-dominated schools, boys are now the ones in peril.

19. “Merit Pay International: Countries with performance pay for teachers score higher on PISA tests,”
by Ludger Woessman
This study finds that student achievement is significantly higher in countries that make use of teacher performance pay than in countries that do not use it.

18. “The Turnaround Fallacy: Stop trying to fix failing schools. Close them and start fresh,”
by Andy Smarick
This article reviews the evidence on school turnaround efforts and concludes that they are not the solution for the nation’s failing schools.

17. “Academic Value of Non-Academics: The case for keeping extracurriculars,”
by June Kronholz
This article looks at links between student involvement in afterschool activities and academic achievement.

16. “An Effective Teacher in Every Classroom: A lofty goal, but how to do it?
by Kati Haycock and Eric Hanushek
In this forum, two experts debate the best ways to identify effective teachers and to increase the number of effective teachers in high-poverty schools and communities.

15. “Teacher Retirement Benefits: Even in economically tough times, costs are higher than ever,”
by Robert Costrell and Michael Podgursky
This study documents the growing gap between high employer pension costs for public school teachers and lower employer pension costs for private sector managers and professionals.

14. “Are U.S. Students Ready to Compete? The latest on each state’s international standing,”
by Paul Peterson, Ludger Woessman, Eric Hanushek, and Carlos Xabel Lastra-Anadon
This study found that U.S. students rank 32nd among industrialized nations in proficiency in math and 17th in reading.

13. “Fringe Benefits: There is more to teacher compensation than a teacher’s salary,”
by Michael Podgursky
This article examines the ways in which simple comparisons between teacher salaries and salaries of other kinds of workers can be misleading.

12. “Challenging the Gifted: Nuclear chemistry and Sartre draw the best and brightest to Reno,”
by June Kronholz
This feature story takes readers inside the Davidson Academy, a public school in Nevada for highly-gifted students.

11. “Sage on the Stage: Is lecturing really all that bad?”
by Guido Schwerdt and Amelie Wupperman
This study finds that students score higher on standardized tests in math and science when their teachers spend more class time on lecture-style presentations and less time on group problem-solving activities.

10. “When the Best is Mediocre: Developed countries far outperform our most affluent suburbs,”
by Jay Greene and Josh McGee
The first-ever comparison of math performance in virtually every school district in the United States finds that even the most elite suburban school districts produce results that are mediocre when compared to those of international peers.

9. “The Flipped Classroom: Online instruction at home frees class time for learning,”
by Bill Tucker
This article traces the development of “flipped instruction,” in which students view video-taped lessons or access online material at home and then use class time to work through problems and engage in collaborative learning with their teachers.

8. “Valuing Teachers: How much is a good teacher worth?”
by Eric Hanushek
This analysis considers the economic impact of replacing ineffective teachers with effective ones, and estimates the gains to U.S. gross domestic product that would result from boosting academic performance.

7. “Time for School? When the snow falls, test scores also drop,”
by Dave Marcotte and Benjamin Hansen
This article examines the evidence that expanding instructional time is as effective as other commonly discussed educational interventions intended to boost learning

6. “Creating a Corps of Change Agents: What explains the success of Teach for America?”
by Monica Higgins, Wendy Robison, Jennie Weiner, and Frederick Hess
This study examined the work histories of people leading entrepreneurial organizations in education and found that Teach for America alumni were heavily overrepresented.

5. “Teaching Math to the Talented: Which countries—and states—are producing high-achieving students?
by Eric Hanushek, Paul Peterson, and Ludger Woessman
This study compares the percentage of U.S. students with advanced skills in math to percentages of similarly high achievers in other countries, and finds that 30 of the 56 other countries participating in PISA have more students scoring at an advanced level.

4. “All Together Now: Educating high and low achievers in the same classroom,”
by Mike Petrilli
This feature shows how one school is making differentiated instruction work–challenging every child while avoiding segregating classrooms.

3. “All A-Twitter about Education: Improving our schools in 140 characters or less,”
by Mike Petrilli
This article looked at the role Twitter was playing in education policy debates and ranked the top 25 education policy/media tweeters and the top 25 educator tweeters based on their Klout scores.

2. “Future Schools: Blending face-to-face and online learning,”
by Jonathan Schorr and Deborah McGriff
This feature, an early article on blended learning, profiled several charter schools using the hybrid approach.

1. “Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness: Can classroom observations identify practices that raise achievement?
by Tom Kane, Amy Wooten, John Tyler, and Eric Taylor
This study of Cincinnati’s teacher evaluation system finds that the teachers who receive high ratings from trained evaluators who observe them are also more effective at promoting gains in student test scores.

Congratulations to all of our authors, and stay tuned — next Friday we’ll post the top 20 blog entries from 2011.

-Education Next

A Classroom with Difference: A Whole New World of Learning!

The article talks about flipped classroom, flipped model, flipped learning model. It is of help for those who want to learn about what is elearning, online learning, and flipped learning, etc all about.

Learning in the flipped classroom is something that happens if the learner and / or teacher go against the traditional chalk and talk method, a mind-numbing methodology that has been inflicted for generations on unsuspecting students.

The flipped model has been much talked about in learning circles. Such circles have now come to include and accept ‘learners’ as active participants in the learning process. It essentially depends on using the new technologies to make learning interactive and interesting through the endlessly experiment media. The model seeks to provide a self-paced learning experience to the learner, in effect a ‘tailored’ one so that the learner may delve deeper into topics. The subjects / topics are of interest to him/her or spend more time on a particularly difficult one. Sounds amazing! Some may even rue the fact that they were born much earlier and being unable to take advantage of this newer system sweeping across the learning community.

Why, there may come a time when schools are no longer necessary and the learner “thinks’ his PC or tablet or some other gadget ‘on’ and chooses his / her learning for the time. No school buildings, no principal, no teachers and the least of all no punishments or social ostracism! The resultant tax savings may be channeled to other pressing needs or even subsidizing the studies of a ‘needy’ learner.

One may be forgiven for thinking that all this is fine for affluent societies, what about the millions who are in that part of the world where the required stuff is not available? Remember there was limited internet before the 1990s and yet societies have developed!

Some doubters still question this flipped learning model but these are in an increasing minority (their fear stems from having to relearn or come down from their pedestal of the ‘omniscient’ one).

About emPower

emPower  is a leading provider of comprehensive Healthcare Compliance Solutions through Learning Management System (LMS). Its mission is to provide innovative security solutions to enable compliance with applicable laws and regulations and maximize business performance. empower provides range of courses to manage compliance required by regulatory bodies such as OSHA, HIPAA, Joint commission and Red Flag Rule etc. Apart from this emPower also offers custom demos and tutorials for your website, business process management and software implementation.

Its Learning Management system (LMS) allows students to retrieve all the courses 24/7/365 by accessing the portal. emPower e-learning training program is an interactive mode of learning that guides students to progress at their own pace.

For additional information, please visit

Media Contact (emPower)
Jason Gaya

12806 Townepark Way
Louisville, KY 40243-2311
Ph: 502 -400-9374

Workplace Performance Services: more than just Training

In his recent post, Informal Learning , 95% solution, Harold Jarche provides the reason why many workplace learning professionals can only think about “informal learning” and “social learning” in terms of how they can manage them within a blended training solution – rather than simply support them,  as they happen, naturally and continuously, in the workflow.

“Since the latter half of the 20th century, we have gone through a period where training departments have been directed to control organizational learning. It was part of the Taylorist, industrial model that also compartmentalized work and ensured that only managers were allowed to make decisions. In this context, only training professionals were allowed to talk about learning.”

But to be fair, it is not just Training Departments that think like this, there are still many people in other parts of the business that believe that “learning” has to be “organised” or  “packaged up” (in the form of “training”) to be seen as a valid solution to a problem.

So the issue seems to be twofold:

(1)  that LEARNING (in whatever form) is seen as something that has to be designed and managed, to order to be valid, and

(2)  that the Learning & Development department’s purpose is only seen as the provider of these “organised learning solutions” (ie training), where success is measured in terms of test scores and course completions.

Undoubtedly some L&D departments are very happy with just organising learning solutions (aka providing Training Services), whilst others prefer to be seen as the part of the business that helps workers do their job – or do them better.  And there’s quite a difference between these two activities. The first focuses on designing, managing and measuring LEARNING. The second focuses on supporting and improving PERFORMANCE, where “learning” is seen as the means to the end – not the end goal. But more than this, it also recognises that “organised learning solutions” are just ONE way of solving a business or job performance problem, and there are many other approaches.

The persistent adherence to training solutions (courses and workshops, etc) to address performance problem has been shown to be ineffective in many studies. For example Robert Terry, writing in the Financial Times, Accountability needed for workplace training, in December 2011 says:

“Companies’ spending on training and development accounts for hundreds of billion pounds globally each year. But every year, according to successive empirical studies, only 5 to 20 per cent of what is learnt finds its way back into the workplace. While this failure to transfer and apply new learning in the workplace has long attracted academic interest, practitioners have been slow to change their ways. Despite the imperative that things cannot be managed without being measured, training has been getting off lightly. Surely a training industry that delivers less than 20 per cent cannot be fit for purpose?”

In all likelihood, there was probably nothing instructionally wrong with the courses/training in question; it was more likely to be the case that they were the WRONG solutions for the problems they were intended to solve.

What is more, as training solutions are frequently being seen as costly and time-consuming, and mean taking valuable time away from the job,  we are seeing the increasing use of personal devices (iPhones, iPads, etc) as well as public social media tools by individuals and teams to (bypass L&D ) and solve their own performance problems – much more quickly and easily – in the workflow. In the summer of 2011 I wrote a series of Smart Worker postings showing how workers are doing this, and I also commented that by analysing how teams are now addressing their own learning and performance needs, this gives us a good idea how we can better support and improve performance in the workplace for others.

Often people take “performance support” to refer to the production of job aids, BUT (again) that is just one way that this can be done, there are plenty more possibilities. For example, it might involve supporting and encouraging individuals and teams to :

  • use the Social Web effectively, safely and responsibly to locate useful external informational and instructional resources, as well as to keep up to date with what is happening in their industry or profession
  • build a trusted Personal Knowledge Network (PKN) of (internal and external) colleagues who they can call upon for advice and support
  • set up and sustain an internal community of practice – to improve knowledge sharing within their team
  • co-create and share content within their team – to support one another’s learning and performance

So in terms of my own clients who come to me for help, rather than automatically assuming some form of training is the solution to their problem, I work with the relevant individuals and teams concerned to understand the root cause of their (learning/performance) problem, to identify the most appropriate way it can be solved that suits their working pattern and practices. It might well be that they need some form of organised training solution, but it is usually much more likely that their problem can be solved in a way that enhances their existing work practices –  in the workflow.  In which case, I then work with the same individuals and teams involved to put the solution in place. Part of this process also considers how they will measure the success of this new activity, and this is usually framed in terms of productivity or performance improvements.

As for identifying what the most appropriate solution to a performance problem is, there is no single methodology for doing this – as Harold says about supporting informal learning at work:

It requires tools, processes and methodologies from a variety of disciplines. There are methods from knowledge management, organizational development and human performance technology, for example, that are quite useful in supporting informal learning. The modern workplace is a complex adaptive system. There is no single approach that can be used all the time.”

But one thing has become clear to me, to be successful, it is not about using traditional “command and control” approaches (that are  employed in most training solutions to try and force people to learn), but it is much more about encouraging people to engage in these new activities to support one another as they (learn) to do their jobs – in many cases helping them to “connect and collaborate”. And this, of course is a key feature of building and supporting the collaborative culture of a social business.

Obviously, some L&D departments (and workplace learning professionals) will want to remain focused on providing Training Services for their organisations and be quite happy for other business functions to provide performance support services to help their people work smarter.  Other L&D departments have already expanded their services to fulfil all these activities, and more are beginning to do so too.

Although one step might well be rebadging the department as a Workplace Performance Services Department in order to send out the right message to the rest of the organisation, it will take more than just a name change to be successful. Since the new department will be offering a range of new services (I’ve only mentioned a couple of them here), this will require new roles, new practices and new skills.

This article was originally posted at

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