A few weeks ago, Blackboard was proud to host its first Federal Series Event, featuring speakers from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ HR Academy, the Federal Aviation Administration, and The Graduate School. The event provided attendees the opportunity to network with others in the federal training space and provided new insights into best practices in blended and distance learning.
During a presentation from The Graduate School, Dr. Sharon Fratta-Hill presented several tools and strategies she has leveraged in blended learning environments. I learned quite a bit during her presentation, including these best practices for engaging distance learning:
1. Sharing audio and video isn’t enough. Even though multimedia content is a great way to grab learners’ interest, they will learn more from media content when given the opportunity to collaborate with their peers. To foster interaction, encourage students to leave constructive thoughts and questions on multimedia content to spark discussion and dialogue.
As I have discussed in a recent post, Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel is pushing for government IT initiatives that “enable the delivery of digital information and services anytime, anywhere, on any device, safely and securely-throughout the Federal workforce and to the American public.” This digital government movement seeks to develop a more open and agile government IT system, and is driven by the coming of age of cloud computing.
But can military and defense agencies be a part of this movement to the cloud? And if so, how can they reap the benefits of cloud computing while mitigating risks?
Pros and Cons of the Federal Cloud
Listing the benefits of cloud computing is easy: not only can the cloud help large agencies save on IT infrastructure costs, but it also allows for “on-demand” access to computing power from any location. Though all agencies need to be aware of the costs of the cloud, these benefits alone make it an easy choice for many within government.
When it comes to the military and defense community, however, there are several key factors to consider that make moving to the cloud more of a risk:
- Security and privacy: In defense IT, data location and access is of critical importance, and different data exist at different levels of sensitivity and importance. As a result, defense and military outlets may be wary of moving their classified data and mission-critical computer power off-site.
Though Blackboard is most often recognized as a provider of classroom learning solutions, did you know that we also offer educational institutions the tools they need for financial services? Through solutions such as BlackboardPay, career colleges and universities can streamline services from financial aid to payroll – all of which help to improve the student experience on and off campus.
Especially for institutions where a significant portion of students rely upon financial aid, BlackboardPay can effectively simplify the process of distributing ANY funds on a secure, user-friendly platform. At professional universities, where adult learners oftentimes balance multiple financial commitments and working life, streamlining these processes ensures that students can easily manage their critical financial information on campus.
BlackboardPay gives your students and staff immediate access to their funds without having to wait for paper checks. When compared to other financial aid distribution products, BlackboardPay protects students by eliminating overdraft exposure, PIN debit fees, and even fees for checks that are lost, stolen, or damaged. Additionally, this service eliminates many overdraft and check cashing fees, and makes it easier than ever for students and staff to access their funds at over 43,000 ATMs worldwide.
We recently had the opportunity to interview Mark Hunter, the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price. Hunter is a sales expert who helps teams increase their sales profitability and has valuable insights into the role that training can play in driving sales.
Below are his responses to some of our questions on sales training technology and best practices:
Question 1: What role do you see sales training playing in delivering better outcomes for sales teams?
It’s huge because the role of the sales manager has shifted. Sales managers are now doing everything but working with people. Sales training helps build confidence by being able to show the salesperson what “best practice behavior” really is. Sales training, when done right, allows the salesperson to test for themselves the skills they need to exhibit on a regular basis.
We all know that metrics matter in sales. It is critical that sales teams leverage data to increase the conversion rate on leads, shorten the amount of time it takes to win a sales, and boost the value of those wins. When it comes to training, sales teams must continue this culture of “looking at the numbers” to both capitalize on successes and to find areas for improvement.
In the social enterprise, where sales training and implementation is enhanced by increased social collaboration, metrics still matter. I recently read a great article on the Radian6 blog entitled “10 Key Sales Metrics to Track,” which highlights ways sales teams can quantify the value of their strategies in the social enterprise.
Here are five of the metrics discussed the article that best apply social sales teams: