Grovo is thrilled to announce that beginning this summer, we will join Capital One’s $150 million campaign to empower Americans to succeed in the modern economy. Sponsored by Capital One’s Investing for Good program, the Future Edge initiative will use Grovo’s expertise in digital learning to educate over 5,000 low-to-middle income individuals in the skills integral to the digitally-driven workplace.
Posted in Company Updates
Conventional wisdom since the dawn of the digital age has held that coding is an essential skill that far too few people have. For a long time, there wasn’t an executive or thought leader in tech who didn’t take the chance to bemoan the lack of coding in the labor force. “Our policy at Facebook is literally to hire as many talented engineers as we can find,” Mark Zuckerberg famously said in 2013. “There just aren’t enough people who are trained and have these skills today.” He put his money where his mouth was, joining Bill Gates to back the nonprofit Code.org. As much as a platform for learning to code, that website is a gathering place for public figures to extol its benefits. Few positions in the political and social spheres enjoy such broad support as the necessity of large-scale coding education.
This week, Google announced that it plans to initiate a training program in Europe that will teach “crucial digital skills” to one million people by 2016. They wrote that post with 310 days left in the year, so that means that Google will train about 3,226 Europeans per day during 2015. Since the time they posted the announcement on Tuesday, nearly 9,700 Europeans have been trained in digital skills by Google. Congratulations everybody! Or, as they say in the common language of Europe: Congratulations everybody!
In his op-ed this Monday, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman made the case for why the U.S. skills gap was not only not real, but an artifice constructed by political/social/economic elites to obscure the real causes of economic inequality: themselves. In a meandering argument, Krugman touched on a few points nominally relating to the skills gap, but which have much more to do with inequality stemming from seismic technological change. In doing so, he mistook for an elitist boogeyman what we at Grovo believe is a real problem, and a symptom itself of the inequality that Krugman would like to fix.
Posted in Current Events
Do you have startup fever? Are you bursting with a million-dollar idea that you would expend your dying breath—or more importantly, your last cent—to see make it to market? Even if you’re already running a business that’s ready to expand with an infusion of cash, you may need to acquaint yourself with the realities of attracting capital from a VC.
Some of the knowledge it takes to go from inspiration to exit is hard won; the rest of it is obtainable by watching Grovo’s learning track, “Create Value and Attract Capital.” In our sit-down with Mike Edelhart (CEO of the Tomorrow Project, original editor of PC Magazine, and author of 22 books) the Silicon Valley legend shares insights on everything from creating excitement to managing financing terms.
Posted in Pro Tip
An often overlooked corner of the higher-education world had a moment in the national spotlight this month, as political pundits descended in full, seagull-like strength on President Obama’s proposal to “reduce the cost of community college to zero.” The editorial takes were strong and varied, with some in support and some opposed, but nearly all seemed to subscribe to the same fallacy about community college.
Posted in Education
It is my pleasure to announce that Grovo has closed $15 million in Series B funding from our existing investors: Accel Partners, Costanoa Venture Capital, Greg Waldorf, and SoftTech VC. Our investors have been with us since since 2012 and have provided invaluable support and wisdom throughout our growth. I am also pleased to welcome Sameer Gandhi of Accel Partners onto Grovo’s Board of Directors.
This financing comes amid a period of phenomenal growth here at Grovo. Since the beginning of 2014, our revenue has grown exponentially, we’ve earned world-class clients, and our team has nearly quintupled (5x!) in size. Grovo’s platform, video content, and account management teams are helping more and more companies reclaim lost productivity every day. Internally, our office is electric—we’re a ferocious, fun team that achieves big results while working everyday to earn our title as the best place to work in New York City tech.
The Series B financing enables us at Grovo to maximize human performance more effectively and for more clients than ever before. In 2015, we are committed to building the best learning tool on the market by investing heavily in our engineering, product and content teams. Clients are already experiencing performance and security upgrades and wider content coverage. That said, we intend to continue leading the educational technology industry in R&D, and I couldn’t be more excited about the way we’re reimagining corporate training and tools to achieve unthinkable results.
To Grovo’s current clients and stakeholders, thank you for your continued support, commitment and mentorship. I could not be more proud of the organization that you’ve helped us create. As we continue to scale our company and our vision in 2015 and beyond, I’m confident that the best is yet to come.
Most businesses are places where employees report to work. They clock in, complete tasks, and escape at the end of the day.
No one wants to work at those places.
Your company isn’t like that. It’s a destination where exceptional people are eager to put their talents to use. Your employees, investors, and managers are excited every day. The company’s purpose is clear, and its conviction is strong.
It’s not magic: you’ve answered your company’s “why” question:
Holistic training is a method that prepares learners to succeed in real performance situations. By weaving together training content from multiple angles and in multiple formats, holistic training gives learners an immersive understanding of a topic. This leads to long-lasting gains in performance and learners who are capable of achieving a desired outcome through multiple approaches.
At the center of holistic training is the concept of performance. A “performance” is any outcome or result that’s achieved by an individual or a team, whether it’s giving a speech, hitting a sales number, or golfing a hole-in-one.
The goal of any good training program is to improve performance. Too often, though, performance gains are followed by quick declines. The reason is that most training does not truly prepare learners because it inadequately considers the realistic contexts in which a performance takes place.
Every performance situation takes place inside a reality within which it feels a certain way to perform. This is simply to say that performing in a real situation is different from practicing it in theory. For example, giving a speech in front of a large audience is different from practicing it in your bedroom. When you give the speech, there are many things that you feel during it that you wouldn’t necessarily encounter in rehearsal. In order to achieve a reliably good speech performance, you need to prepare in more areas than just knowing what to say. Will you be able to project your voice and convey the emotion of the subject? Will you be able to stand tall onstage? Will you handle stage fright? What kind of presentation equipment will you be physically interacting with? All of these and more contribute to the performance.
Holistic learning solves for this by distilling the realistic experience of the live performance into four distinct contexts in which you can design training: the Mission, Intellectual, Psychosocial, and Physical elements of performance. The goal of this training method is to get you performance-ready in each of these contexts:
Mission is your reason for doing the performance. It’s what you need to believe in order to execute it well. If you were performance-ready to give your speech in this context, you’ve probably committed yourself to delivering a persuasive and compelling speech. You’re motivated to perform because you believe in your need to do so.
Intellectual is the how-to or step-by-step knowledge of how to perform. In the speech example, this might be memorizing what the content of the speech will be.
Psychosocial encompasses how you and others will mentally, emotionally, and socially relate to the performance. You need to feel and express things yourself and be aware of — and ideally affect — how others feel about it.
Physical is what your body must do in order to perform optimally. To be in a state of performance-readiness in this context for your speech, you need to practice your stage presence and vocal projection, in addition to practicing with whatever equipment you’ll use to give the speech (like a clicker or a podium microphone).
Each of these contexts has further sub-contexts that allow the instructional designer to approach training in each context as comprehensively as possible. For example, the Intellectual context has five sub-contexts: metacognition (or how to learn how to learn), conceptual, how-to, best practices, and “in-practice.”
We facilitate holistic training in a few ways. First of all, our content library contains 5,000 video micro lessons built according to our proprietary microlearning methodology. These lessons are short and focused enough to make holistic learning possible. Our platform makes it easy to create, deliver, and track training, including allowing you to upload your own content and blend it with our library. Use our platform to set up instructor-led training (ILT) or “set and forget” training with our platform.
Best of all, Grovo’s account management team—the best in the industry—will dedicate a team to your organization to help you design a holistic program. This includes chunking up your content into bite-sized segments that can be delivered via the holistic method, or creating microcontent from scratch.
Here is an example of a sample learning track of micro lessons for how to “Using Email to Your Advantage.” These would be used to train a learner in the Intellectual context of the topic:
1) “Decide Whether to Use Email” (metacognition)
2) “What is an Audience?” (conceptual)
3) “How Do I Write an Email?” (how-to)
4) “Writing Emails That Get Read” (best practices)
5) “Best Email Subject Lines” (in-practice)
By recreating a realistic context of the performance in training, holistic learning simulates immersion, thus preparing learners to excel reliably and permanently.
The best part of the holistic method is that it grooms everyone into elite performers, rather than just working for elite learners. By simulating immersion training in a scalable way, every type of learner can improve their performance.
Posted in Holistic Learning
Late last year, American Airlines and JetBlue announced that they were partnering with Coursera to make educational videos available to passengers in-flight. For now the content looks to be primarily long-form MOOC courses, but the initiative is promising for all e-learning. If air travelers take to the idea of convenient, in-seat education, the nature of traveling could change radically.
“I just flew back from the East Coast yesterday, and the video playing was Dolphin Tale 2 or some video like that,” Coursera exec Julia Stiglitz told Inc. magazine in December. “What a great time to be able to learn something when you actually do have time and you can watch videos and learn something new.”
Posted in Current Events
Many professions require their employees to undergo some type of continuing education. Teachers, who are among the most visible groups of workers to be required to undergo continual training, call it “professional development.” Ostensibly, it seems wise to require employees to continually update their work knowledge. As a learning company, we couldn’t agree more.
The problem with professional development, then, is not with continuing education itself, but with the sentiments we associate with it. Namely, that the idea of “continuing education” promotes a system that regards it as a mere addendum onto an already “complete” education. This is a rapidly obsoleting notion that the digital economy will upend.
Posted in Professional Development
Digital marketing is among the most rapidly-evolving industries in our economy. Few others have made the kind of transition that marketing is currently undergoing: from being an artistic and aesthetic-based industry to a veritable tech sector.
The core goals of marketing have not changed since the first Greek merchants hired criers to promote their incoming shipments throughout the ancient agora, nor since John Wanamaker invented modern advertising in 1874. Now as then, marketers seek to create and engage the market for a product by positioning it well and putting the right value proposition in front of the right potential consumer.
Posted in Digital Skills Gap
The debate over the existence of the skills gap in the modern workforce is a war of anecdotal evidence and age-old grievances on both sides. Some contend that the skills gap is a myth perpetuated by a business community that has abdicated its responsibility to invest in its employees. This side of the debate contends that students have always been unprepared to immediately contribute in their professional lives, but that companies once understood this and invested in training rather than complain about deficient skills while refusing to raise wages.
What a 2014 it was for us here at the nerve center of Grovo HQ. In between microing all of your lessons and narrowing all your skills gaps, we’ve squeezed in a lot of fun here at Grovo. It was an eventful year for everyone, and indisputably the biggest to-date in the company’s history. Along the way, we had fun, bonded, and grew as a staff of people. Here are a few cultural highlights from 2014.
As a cloud-based service with a growing user base, Grovo takes our users’ experiences, and especially their security, extremely seriously. Over the past week, we’ve rolled out a number of security and service upgrades that will make Grovo a safer and more responsive product.