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Top Education Trends and How Companies Can Embrace Them

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The pandemic has brought different kinds of challenges to various industries. Most thrive by keeping up with trends and reinventing systems to adapt to the changing needs. This is true for the education sector. One of the most interesting educational trends today is the Genius Hour, which focuses on achieving results through an unconventional process. The education trends that will be discussed here are those that use certain instruments or methodologies. Let’s take a look at them and see how they can be observed and applied to organizations and to individual work.

Trend 1: Mobile learning

Mobile learning or m-learning can be seen as an evolution of e-learning (electronic learning) where any of its three components can be mobile at one time or all at the same time: the learner, the gadget used, and the learning itself. A few of the best uses of m-learning in education and training are just-in-time learning, where one can pick out a mobile device at any moment learning is needed; mobility of the learner, such that one can learn from a cafe or any place of choice; and mobility of learning, an example of which is learning about the things that one can see along the way by making use of mobile technology lenses, such as the Google Lens.

On the other hand, organizations have the concept of the mobile workforce. It refers to IBM employees being connected through different mobile technologies, like laptop computers, smartphones, and other mobile devices, and not bound by a central physical location. An international study posted that a mobile workforce had a 67 percent increase in productivity, 53 percent increase in employee engagement, and 43 percent revenue growth. Supporting this finding is The Economist Intelligence Unit’s study on Mobility, performance, and engagement, where one of its key findings is “workers who say their employers use mobile technology well are typically more productive, creative, satisfied, and loyal.”

Different types of mobility can be observed from the mobile working experience of employers using mobile technology. One that can be inferred is working with mobile devices and apps while at work, which was reported by the study’s respondents to have increased their productivity by collaborating effectively (33% in Japanese respondents compared to 21% globally) and led to quick and easy access to information (53% in Australia and New Zealand compared to 42% globally).

Another kind of mobility is the ability to work from any location at any time. This was chosen by the participants from the countries surveyed (Australia, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, UAE, US) as the most important productivity driver. The UK respondents, on the other hand, point out that the ability to access information easily is their most important productivity driver, the second being the ability to work from any location at any time.

Mobile working, whether merely using mobile devices at work, making oneself mobile while working, or working from a choice of place and time, can be viewed in parallel with the fifth industrial revolution’s (IR 5.0) personalization. As IR 5.0 is described by many as achieving personalization by means of higher product customization, so as working can be personalized through the benefits of mobility at and of work.

How to effectively implement mobile work

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s study mentions that the “employers using mobile technology well” have the practice of offering technical support for employee-owned mobile devices for technical issues affecting work. Another good advice it mentions is to make sure people have the right technology and use it in the right working environment; it can be inferred that this refers to mobile gadgets and applications used for work. Another recommendation that can be useful is strategizing for employee adoption and considering how to provide tools that employees need to succeed.

Trends 2 and 3: Gamification; Nanolearning and microlearning

Gamification in the education and training sector has been heard even in previous years as an effective strategy for 21st-century learners. In organizations, The KPI Institute (TKI) teaches it as one of the approaches in changing the organizational culture. In some of the certification programs offered by the TKI, such as the Certified OKR Professional, gamification is a part of a module taught.

In this Performance Magazine article about gamification, three steps are mentioned as key to its implementation: (1) adapting to the organization’s needs, objectives, and culture; (2) rewarding and having benefits provided to motivate employees; (3) engaging employees in a system that they can use to solve problems within the organization.

Nanolearning is a smaller version of microlearning, but in the education and training field, both of which are related to chucking information so that learners obtain optimal learning within 2-5 minutes for nanolearning and 6-10 minutes for microlearning.

Small bits of learning can be inferred to be highly effective since experts have found that in the year 2000, the average attention span of people was 12 seconds, and by 2015, this fell to 8.25 seconds.

From an individual motivation perspective, this finding can be relevant to chunking tasks into smaller pieces as necessary. Another thing learned from the in-house training organized by The KPI Institute about time management is that chunking tasks not only makes them more manageable, but it also gives a sense of accomplishment for every time tasks are completed. Hence, it can increase one’s motivation to work.

Trend 4: A student’s well-being as a growing mental health challenge

This last trend is about bringing the challenge to a spotlight rather than highlighting a practice. As per observation, the pandemic has forced most educational institutions worldwide to resort to distance learning, whether temporary or eventually leading to hybrid delivery (online and on-site). The same can be said to the workforce, where more people and organizations shifted to remote work. In the training statistics of The KPI Institute alone, the years 2020 and 2021 had a total of 84% and 99% live online training delivery, accounting for a 30% increase in the total training delivered online throughout 2008-2021. The result of the shift to the online environment can be feelings of isolation and the disadvantage of less social interaction and connection.

How to cope with the challenge

In the field of education, the result of mental health challenges is dropping out (Boston University as cited by Bandalaria, 2021). This is avoided through predicting, with the help of machine learning, and intervening early. In the workplace setting, the same prediction can be done through the help of the # Employee Engagement Index. In April 2021’s TKI KPI of the month, the concept is further discussed in an infographic, and practical do’s and don’ts are advised.

Further, this mental health at work article may also shed some light to cope with the challenge from an organizational and individual perspective.

The three other trends mentioned above as a part of improving employee well-being can also be a part of the solution to address the growing mental health challenge.

In conclusion, adopting these trends from the education field to a workplace setup requires proper alignment of organizational or professional mission, vision, and goals, down to the people’s needs and preferences. Though the trends mentioned here highlight the good impact, careful consideration and further review must still be done prior to implementation. Random literature (for example, Accenture’s article states that people are working an extra 2.8 hours a day at remote work setup to achieve the same level of productivity in-office) may suggest that not all trends will fit a person’s or organization’s work needs.

Want A Thriving Business? Focus On Emotional Intelligence

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Emotional intelligence can improves business results often by order of magnitude. Today, the leader’s mood plays an important role in this dynamic. New research has shown that leaders should redefine what they do first and best.

The human mind proves that leaders’ moods could affect the feelings of those around them. The reason for that lies in what scientists call the open-loop nature of the mind`s limbic gadget, which relies upon outside assets to control itself and serves as our emotional center. However, the closed-loop gadget is self-regulating, and our mood usually depends on our connections with different humans. The open-loop limbic gadget is a triumphing layout in evolution. It allows humans to come to one another’s emotional rescue; for example, permitting a mom to appease her crying infant.

Resonant Leaders Inspire People

Resonating means being in harmony or in sync with those around you. Mary Tuk engages with the people around her, those who report to her and others. She tells them not only what is important to them in their lives and work but also to their personal and professional vision. She listens to them because she cares. Employees sense this and respond accordingly. This creates an environment of open dialogue, mutual respect, and trust. 

Personal and shared visions have a long history in management and organizational practice but only recently have they begun to systematically build empirical knowledge about the role of individuals and shared visions, teams, or organizations when developing personal or shared visions. Positive Emotional Attractors (PEA) and Negative Emotional Attractors (NEA) are two major states that are strange attractors, each characterized by three dimensions. These are (1) positive emotional awakening and negative emotional awakening; (2) endocrine excitement of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, and (3) neurological activation of standard mode networks and task-positive networks.

Building a compassionate relationship in a shared vision is difficult even in the simplest times. But in a highly competitive industry like banks, this is a big challenge. Imagine trying to excite people in the future by working on performance, energy updates, and sustainability when the world around you seems to be collapsing. Emotional and social intelligence skills show that in many countries around the world, they predict the effectiveness of leadership, management, and professional activities. They can be called emotional intelligence (EI) and social intelligence (SI) behavioral levels.

To be an effective leader, manager, or expert, a person should properly understand and handle his or her emotions based on each person or situation and interact effectively with others. One needs to understand the emotional signals of others . These competencies occur in three clusters: (1) Cognitive intelligence (CI) competencies, such as systems thinking and pattern recognition; (2) Emotional intelligence index (EI) abilities, such as adaptability, emotional self-control, emotional self-awareness, positive attitude, and achievement orientation; and (3) Social intelligence (SI) abilities, such as empathy, organizational awareness, inspirational leadership, influence, coaching and mentoring, conflict management, and teamwork. Other competencies are like threshold competencies, and that means they have to be defensive.

Emotional intelligence at work

Emotions can also be a valuable tool in the workplace. Through learning to read and influence the emotions and reactions of others, emotional intelligence can be rewarded in your organization. Here’s how that can happen:

Make sure leaders practice the right actions. If the leader does well, you can see it in the team.

Allow colleagues to distinguish between emotions and personality. Try this exercise: The manager puts a huge calendar on the wall, and the team members mark the calendar with emojis that show their feelings. Encouraging employees to say “I feel frustrated” rather than “I’m frustrated” can increase their emotional awareness.

Make employees feel valued. When employees have a say, they feel more connected. Talk frequently with your employees to find out what they think of changes and projects so they can talk and hear. If they tell you they are angry, frustrated, or worried, make it okay. Also, say thank you and show people that you are grateful.

Make feedback routine and factual. Give and receive negative and positive feedback. It helps everyone become a better employee. It’s a good idea to start with a question, “How are you? What are you thinking?” If you give negative feedback, don’t do it personally. Also, please accept feedback from the team. “What would you change if you were in my position?” Remember to control your reaction to what you hear. If you don’t like it, think about why and pause before answering.

Make assertion training accessible to all employees. Explosive anger, resentment, and frustration result from disgusting emotions. For many, it is difficult to express themselves properly. Teaching employees when and how to deal with difficult situations can help people avoid emotional relapses.

Facilitate stress management. Be aware of your employees’ increasing workload, deadlines, and stresses. Provide support if possible. Implement stress-relieving strategies and training to reduce emotional ups and downs.

Parents Need Recharging Too: Why Self-care is Important in Parenting

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People need to take the time to do self-care, including parents. As much as parents need to take care of their children on top of other responsibilities, they also have to make time to do self-care to sustain their psychological and physical wellbeing. This would include participating in leisurely activities, exercising, healthy eating, and taking time to seek and maintain a social support system.

Parents and self-care

There are many studies that point to how practicing self-care can have a positive effect on a person’s health as well as life quality, satisfaction, and overall well-being. That is because engaging in self-care can significantly reduce stress, depressive symptoms, anxiety, and burnout. As such, it is important for people, more so parents, to allow some time to do a self-care routine.

Parents constantly lead a busy life of taking care of the family on top of household chores, work, and other duties. The daily hassle as a parent makes it seem impossible to have time for oneself. It is easy for parents to push away the need to do self-care because they think they have limited time, money, and social support. Thoughts such as having no time to relax because of tasks that need to be done or being too busy for anything else become an excuse for parents to put self-care on the back burner and forget about it.

Neglecting self-care for years will negatively affect the parents’ and children’s life. Parents who overlook their needs for self-care may be more vulnerable to feelings of stress, burnout, and depression. Those conditions will make it harder for parents to provide appropriate care for their children and family and manage other personal responsibilities. In fact, parents with less self-care and emotional dysregulation can negatively affect their children in terms of their mental health, psychological adjustment, and lifestyle.

Tips for practicing self-care

Parents need to take some time and space within their daily routine for self-care. Parents can implement self-care activities anytime and anywhere as long as they are doing it intentionally and consistently. Allocating even 5-10 minutes each day for self-care activities would definitely help parents decompress, whether it is done in the morning, while the children are asleep, or after dinner. 

For self-care activities to have an impact on any parent’s life, the activities need to occur repeatedly to become a positive habit. Making these activities obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying can help practicing self-care becomes a feasible activity to do daily. It is also important to schedule when you want to do your self-care activities and inform your coparent, children, or other family members to let them know of it. Here are four components of self-care that parents can keep in mind to develop a healthy routine:

  1. Psychological

    Relating to personal growth like learning and thinking, this is helpful for self-understanding and problem-solving. Self-care activities that can psychologically help you include journal writing, self-reflecting, and doing a digital detox. You can also spend time reading books or watching movies with your partner. You can also learn a new skill, like painting, knitting, or gardening with your children to help you recover from your duties as a parent.

  2. Physical

    This pertains to activities that can improve physical health, such as exercising, eating healthy food, and getting enough sleep. You can also spend time having a relaxing massage, taking a short walk with your children, spending intimate moments with your partner, or even going camping with family might help you recharge and refresh your energy.

  3. Spiritual

    It is important to seek a purpose and meaning in life. As such, you can do activities that can help such as meditation, yoga, and praying with family. Having a gratitude journal and writing about the three things you are thankful for throughout the day will help; you may even share it with your coparent and children to open up the communication on being grateful towards one another.

  4. Support

    This involves doing activities that foster a positive relationship with others. You can have something as simple as having a romantic date night with your partner, scheduling time to talk with friends or family, or participating in volunteering activities with your communities. Joining an online support group to connect with other parents to share your struggles and accomplishments as a parent will also help you gain new tips in parenting and remind you that you are not alone.

Parents need to try several types of self-care activities to identify what works best for them. Parenting requires a lot of energy and patience, so it is important to recharge by having some alone time with yourself or with your coparent.  This way, you can regain your energies in a healthy way while performing your duties as a parent and recognizing your individuality. 

Work From Bedroom: How to Set Up an Effective Bedroom Workspace

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With the pandemic still affecting many parts of the world, work and school continue to be conducted predominantly from home. A 2020 report showed that 56% of employees worldwide began to work remotely as physical offices shut down due to COVID-19. Even though companies are gradually opening their offices in 2021, the hybrid way of working will most likely remain as the world transitions towards a post-pandemic era.

p>However, a dedicated home office is a luxury not everyone can have, especially those accustomed to conventional ways of working. The lack of space for a comfortable separate work area can be a hassle, especially when sharing and managing the area with other family members. There is also the disturbance from the surrounding area that can interfere with one’s ability to focus on any task. 

Reimagining the bedroom for work

This condition drives employees to be creative with the choice of workspace to maintain performance. According to a 2021 report, 24% of American employees surveyed chose to work outdoors, while 21% preferred to work in the closet. One more popular solution is to set up a workspace in the bedroom to gain more privacy and have fewer distractions from other areas that have more activity in terms of regular household chores. Despite the benefits, working from the bedroom–especially in bed–has several side effects.

The internal concept of the bedroom as a place to rest may lead you to become unproductive as the distinction between work and personal time becomes blurred. When working from the bed, you might find difficulty in falling asleep because your brain gradually associates it with a place of work. In addition, the constant radiation of blue light from computer screens and other electronic devices will also disrupt one’s sleep duration, cycle, and overall quality of sleep

With all these facts, you might be wondering if working from the bedroom may not be such a good choice after all. In reality, it can still be a viable choice if certain adjustments are made. Below are some tips on how you can effectively set and organize your bedroom workspace.

  1. Separate the work and sleep area

    Maintaining a clear boundary between your focus and relaxation zones is crucial for you to productively work from your bedroom. To do so, consider using a room divider. Among the many options are curtains, wood-slatted partitions, upholstered screens, frosted glass walls, and pegboards. If you are tight on budget and wish to repurpose some of the furniture you already have, consider optimizing your bookshelf or a drawer as a divider.

    Using curtains is also a good idea for a small and medium-sized room to install on the ceiling or walls. After you finish work for the day, close the curtain to mark the day as complete. After which, you can enjoy unwinding in your relaxation area without getting distracted by the sight of your workspace.

    When setting up the desk, make sure to place it away from the bed. You can place it either on the opposite end of the room or facing it away from the bed. This will help you to stay focused and productive instead of wanting to lay down on the cozy mattress every 5 minutes. You may also opt for a folding desk that you can easily close after work.

  2. Pay attention to the ergonomics of your workspace

    Having a dedicated space to work at home is a privilege not everyone can afford. Oftentimes, working from the bed is the only option available as you only need a desk tray you can fold away easily and not a full desk to support your laptop. The problem with working from the bed is that it is not good for your physical and psychological health.

    It is very important to change your posture from time to time and support various parts of your body, which sitting on the bed cannot provide. Therefore, make sure to sit on an upright chair as much as possible while you are working. Investing in an ergonomic chair would be a great idea. Otherwise, you can repurpose a dining chair by adding a pillow or a cushion to help you feel comfortable sitting on it for a long duration.

    Preventing neck and back pain while working can be done in several ways. If you are using a computer with a separated screen and keyboard, try to place the screen at eye level or higher than the keyboard. This adjustment will reduce the tension around your neck and back area and help sustain a good posture.

  3. Set the ambiance with lighting to boost productivity

    Ideally, you are encouraged to set up your workspace in close proximity to a window. Having a naturally, well-lit workspace is preferable because it can improve performance by providing necessary lighting for your visual tasks. Several studies also indicate that people who work in an environment with natural light and open windows experienced an increase in attention and alertness.

    Nevertheless, it might be a hassle for people living in a dense area where houses are practically pressed against each other, allowing little to no natural light inside. An example would be living in a condominium in the middle of a bustling and polluted city which disables people from having their windows open. In addition, taller buildings may also potentially be blocking sunlight to seep into the room. Therefore, how to make sure you still receive adequate lighting?

    The alternative is to use a desk lamp with adjustable lighting so you can control the light according to your preferences and needs. A LED lamp can be a good option since it allows more light to be focused on actual working areas and direct it towards the area where it is most required. There are also available options that allow you to control the color and intensity of a LED lamp via Bluetooth on your phone.

  4. Make sure your desk is clutter-free

    Research has shown that the resulting turmoil from a cluttered and untidy environment can interfere with our ability to concentrate. Your brain’s ability to digest information can also be limited if there is clutter as it can disrupt your attention span. Hence, it is important to keep your workspace clean and organized to be more productive and retain your focus on your tasks.

    One alternative to free up space on your desk is to maximize your walls by setting up vertical shelves. Here, you can store work-related books and paper holders for when you need to check them out. Decorating your shelves with pictures, small table plants, or awards you have received would be a great option, too.

    Consider using storage spaces such as containers with compartments to organize stationery, writing materials, and other necessary items accordingly so it will be easy to store and find items you need for work.  Documents can be stored in a filing tray, magazine holder, or a similar type of filing organizer; each section can be creatively marked using different colors of files and labels. Immediately declutter broken items and those you no longer need to free some space; that way, you will not get stressed out from keeping the excess of junk in your room.

  5. Decorate your workspace

    Add a touch of your personality to your work area. Putting up some wall art and ornaments will help enhance the aesthetic of your space. Mix and match colors and objects that represent you as a person to make the environment more vibrant. This way, you can both hone your creativity and feel more inspired while working from your bedroom.

    Experiment with different patterns in your decor. Pick a few of your favorite prints and textures and mix them together to complement your furniture, curtain, and walls. Usually, it is suggested that these patterns should stay within the same color palette for a harmonious look. Nevertheless, exploring your taste and creativity is highly recommended.

    To spark a calming atmosphere, consider adding indoor plants to your workspace set up. Be it a potted plant on the desk or a hanging one on the wall, feel free to adjust according to the availability of your space. If you are worried about not being able to take care of a plant, artificial greenery might be the best choice.

In conclusion, the key to creating an effective work environment in your bedroom is balancing your professional and personal needs. Identifying what works best for you and what does not is a wise start to visualize what your workspace is going to look like. Remember that your health and productivity are among the main aspects that you need to consider when rearranging your room. Last but not least, allow your creativity to flow.

How to Deal with Grief in Everyday Life

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Have you ever felt empty due to sudden loss? If that has ever happened to you, you may have been experiencing grief. The grief that you experience can come not only from someone’s passing but also from a range of losses such as heartbreak from a romantic relationship, the resignation of close colleagues, and even loss of financial stability. The grief might come with mixed emotions; you might feel thankful but jealous, powerful but lonely, or sad but grateful. These changes will plunge your life into an emotional roller-coaster, however, even though those painful changes, there are chances to grow. 

The difficulty of dealing with grief

One of the reasons why grief is such a complicated emotion is because people are trained to achieve things in life. During childhood, people often strive for their parents’ approval. As they enter school, studying hard becomes a motivation to receive recognition. In their formative years, teenagers try to be physically appealing to gain acceptance. 

This pattern goes on until adulthood. People have gained so much knowledge on how to gain certain things but are left helpless in the face of loss. Lack of knowledge about how to cope with grief also affects how people respond to others who are grieving, which leads to the second reason. 

Society has not been able to give suitable feedback to grief. Grief is not only an emotional experience; it can also negatively affect a person’s physical health. As an attempt to overcome this, society tends to focus on pushing the unpleasantness away quickly by suggesting you get busy or simply forget about it. Of course, it is not that easy to push grief away since a human’s brain and body are made to think and feel. 

To push the grief away is like pushing a part of yourself away. Therefore, rather than denying and letting it be released in an unhealthy way, one would need to manage grief by creating an emotionally safe space to be released adaptively. However, this condition might be difficult to realize due to the need for efficiency, which leads us to the last reason.

In modern times, productivity and efficiency are highly valued. However, you might have less time paying attention to yourself and have a harder time healing adaptively from grief. This may lead to difficulty in sleeping, poor appetite, overthinking, and even procrastination, all of which is akin to adding salt to an existing wound caused by grief. 

As such, it is important to realize that grief is a beautiful emotion that can help you gain wisdom and personal growth if you can overcome it adaptively. Even if it is not easy, there are ways to go through the process of grief in a meaningful way while still being able to go on with daily life.

  1. Be honest with yourself

    It might be difficult to be honest with yourself during the beginning of grief since it might bring more sadness and pain, but the more you realize and embrace it, the more effectively you can deal with it. One way to go about it is to write your thoughts down in the journal. Since this is a personal journal, you do not have to think of the aesthetic of your handwriting, grammar, or how it might sound to others. It is a free, private, and personal safe space for your grief.

  2. Say “Yes” to the feeling

    After being honest with your grief, you might find it easier to repress or push away the discomfort it gives you than to accept and be in that moment. However, only in embracing your grief will you learn to be grounded and aware of how your body is reacting towards grief such as feeling your heart beat faster or your shortness of breath.

    When this happens, try to sit comfortably and breathe from your stomach slowly and gently. To do this, expand your belly out as you inhale and slowly exhale. Slow breathing is one of the ways you can soothe yourself and create a sense of safety and relaxation while dealing with grief.

  3. Be proactive

    When a person gets physically injured, they would be proactive in their recovery by attending to it immediately or even going to the doctor in the case of a severe injury. Similarly, people should also be proactive in tending to their emotional needs, especially in times of grief.

    Ask yourself what you really need to feel better and make that as the guide for healing. However, make sure that the steps you take are sustainable and will not bring harm to yourself or others. In addition, you might consider reducing some stressful activities for the sake of recovery. Be compassionate to yourself and be creative in finding what feels good to you.

  4. Practice self-care

    Your energy gets drained physically and emotionally during the grieving process, so it is important to practice self-care; taking care of your body will help in the healing process. Several ways to take care of your physical health include practicing proper hygiene, getting proper sleep, doing exercises or activities, and eating a nutritious meal. Taking care of your emotional health can involve expressing yourself through creative means, meditating, doing hobbies that you like, and talking with people that you trust.

  5. Reach out

    Do not hesitate to ask for help especially when your pain is too much to handle. Ask yourself who are the people that you can trust, reach out to, and comfort you in difficult times. It might be a family member, romantic partner, friend, work colleague, spiritual leader, or mental health professional. To maximize your healing process, you might consider reorganizing deadlines and tasks with your work supervisor. Find the middle-ground for you and your supervisor’s needs, so that you can healthily process your grief while not having to worry about work.

Even if grief may not be a pleasurable experience in life, it can help you become more adaptable, see your capacity to love in yourself, appreciate happy moments, and discover the meaning of life. Rather than taking large, extravagant moves, tiny, appropriate, and actionable choices can help you bounce back from painful grief.

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