Free eBook: SharePoint Workflows And Version Control For Learning Managers

The free eBook SharePoint Workflows And Version Control For Learning Managers highlights some of the challenges that Learning and Development (L&D) managers experience, and the value that SharePoint’s built-in workflows and versioning facilities offer in the face of those challenges.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

4 Ways To Extend SharePoint Workflows And Version Control

SharePoint’s workflows and version control capabilities help learning managers address many critical L&D challenges. To get even more value from these features, all you need to do is integrate SharePoint with a powerful Learning Management System.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Using SharePoint For Social Learning

Results from a recent survey show that companies are unhappy with their current Learning Management System and rank social learning as a top priority. Exploring new technologies is high on the list, but savvy Learning and Development managers will look no further than their current SharePoint deployment to spice up their training programs. So, why use SharePoint for social learning initiatives?

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Why Salesforce LMS Integration Could Be The Future Of Your Learning Management System

Salesforce LMS Integration Explained

An LMS on its own is something that can keep staff better informed, ensure that channel partners and customers are up-to-date with the latest product information and guarantee that all employees have taken the latest compliance tests. This, at least, is a very simple explanation of what an LMS can do for you and is what a basic, non-customized learning management system, such as Moodle, performs. However it is integrations with popular software and applications that truly give your LMS legs and unlock its true power. Integrations give your LMS the ability to work alongside and support programs and systems that your company uses on a daily basis and that, on the face of it, have nothing to do with training. Salesforce claims to be the world’s most popular CRM, so it is important that something as fundamental to a company’s success - training - to be closely linked with it.

Paradiso LMS

Quite aside from simply managing and delivering training for educational establishments and businesses, Paradiso LMS, the learning management system from Paradiso Solutions, has a number of features that make it quite a lot more than just an LMS. It has a built in authoring tool, Paradiso Composer, for creating courses from scratch. It has various social learning features that bear more resemblance to Facebook than to classic eLearning. Most importantly from an instructor’s point of view is that you can run highly detailed reports and track your learners’ progress with ease. Salesforce LMS integration gives Paradiso LMS a huge boost by consolidating key aspects of your CRM and LMS in one place, where they are easily accessible.

Why Salesforce CRM

Salesforce is the planet’s premier CRM system and is used by thousands of companies, with millions of active users. Although split into various business units, Salesforce still has the largest market share of any CRM with a capitalization of $50bn. It invests heavily in philanthropy and especially marketing, having not reported a GAAP profit since it was founded in 1999. Salesforce has been recognized as the world’s most innovative company five times and is one of America’s most commercially successful cloud-based organizations. In short, it’s something that many, many different companies across the world use in some capacity and it makes perfect sense to integrate both training and customer relationship management.

As previously explained integrations are what gives your LMS the edge it needs to really carve out its own place in your company. The tools and apps that you use everyday to coordinate, design, implement, share, collaborate, schedule or record tasks and information can indeed work with your LMS in such a way that they help streamline the company, foster growth and reduce operating costs. After all, training your employees and ensuring that everyone is on the same page and has the information they need to do their job right is one of the most important facets of a sustainable business.

Paradiso LMS has been designed to work seamlessly with the programs that you use everyday, in such a way as to complement how they help your business. Part of this is our integration with Salesforce, which consolidates the power of both your CRM and LMS and streamlines the experience, giving you access to your training, learner records and data from the Salesforce dashboard, as well as instant access to over 5000 courses from the Paradiso Course Library.

Features Of Salesforce LMS Integration

Paradiso Solutions Salesforce LMS integration includes Single Sign On (SSO), so you need only one set of login credentials to access both platforms and there is no need to switch between the two. Training is embedded within the Salesforce platform and all you have to do to access it is click on the training tab on the dashboard. This tab also lets you view learner records and data and run custom reports and analytics, drawing on data from both your LMS and Salesforce. From the dashboard you can launch and assign courses, view eLearning material and use social tools.

One difficult side of maintaining so many different systems - HRIS, LMS, CRM etc. - is that employee, partner or customer information sometimes gets out of sync if these systems are not coordinated. Our Salesforce LMS integration automatically synchronizes this information whenever a new individual is added to the CRM or a registered user completes a course or milestone in the LMS. This way you can be sure that the most up-to-date information is always where it needs to be, and that hugely important information such as compliance is passed on to your CRM.

Collaboration Is Key

A big part of all new learning management systems is social learning and group collaboration, as it is now accepted that learner engagement and knowledge retention are strengthened through working together, and learning continues even in social environments away from the classroom. Paradiso LMS Salesforce integration works alongside Salesforce Communities, Chatter and Partner Portal, bringing the social aspects of your CRM to your LMS.

Paradiso Solutions Salesforce LMS integration is a complete solution for your company. Paradiso works with you to help you decide which features suit your needs, and how we can best combine the powers of Salesforce and Paradiso LMS for the benefit of your company.

By setting up these two platforms to work together you are streamlining two integral parts of your business, which can in turn have an effect on revenue. Your LMS takes on a host of new and exciting features and becomes an even more valued cog in the overall system. This adds a great deal of value and acts as a safeguard for the future of your learning management system within the company.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Leveraging The Power Of SharePoint LMS Integration

The Power Of SharePoint LMS Integration

Microsoft SharePoint is Microsoft’s tool for company-wide collaboration and is fast on its way to being one of the most popular cloud-based collaboration tools available. Close to 80% of Fortune 500 companies use some form of SharePoint, and brings in well over $2 billion annually for Microsoft. Microsoft SharePoint is a powerful tool for content management, social networking and even workflow management, and in its latest releases has introduced a number of features that directly relate to training, like social features such as collaboration and discussion forums.

The benefits of Microsoft SharePoint, and by extension SharePoint LMS integration, for an organization are many, as are the reasons for its success. Collaboration has been proved again and again to increase employee engagement and retention of knowledge, not to mention the creativity that working with your teammates towards a common goal can breed. Microsoft SharePoint works with Microsoft Office 365 (although the two aren’t bundled together), and for this reason it is immediately accessible on an intuitive level for most people who have ever used a PC. If you know your way around Microsoft Office, then you can right away begin to collaborate, share and create.

In recent updates of SharePoint the focus has been shifted towards creating a social environment in which employees feel relaxed and comfortable, and have the necessary tools to hand to encourage collaboration and productivity. This social dimension of an LMS is a relatively recent thing, but has gained much traction in the world of eLearning over recent years. With advances in eLearning technology such as Tin Can api and a wealth of systems that incorporate it, social and informal learning are playing an increasingly bigger part in learning management systems.

Ask any head of training and they would probably tell you that the biggest problem they face is learner engagement. eLearning courses that stick to the traditional methods of instructor-led classroom-based training are simply not yielding the same results as those that incorporate more social and informal elements.

We can learn anywhere. We learn from reading an informative, relevant article, or watching a stimulating video. Most importantly we learn from interacting with others, from sharing information and encouraging creativity. It is at this crossroads that the worlds of the learning management system and collaboration software such as SharePoint meet. This fertile ground of mutual learning and cooperation can be expanded through many of the features available in SharePoint and any top LMS, but together they have the potential to magnify it significantly.

Independently SharePoint is a powerful tool for encouraging collaboration, but it was not designed to be an LMS, and so lacks many of the features - specially designed for this purpose - that make an LMS the best option for training your workforce or partners. Likewise an LMS is designed with training in mind and the social aspect, although becoming more and more prevalent with learning management systems, has some way to go to reach what SharePoint offers. This is why developers are seeking to integrate SharePoint with an LMS further to leverage the best features of both. If you as an organization are as serious as you should be about training and developing the skills of your workforce, then an LMS is a must. SharePoint on its own just doesn’t have the same functionalities as an LMS in terms of training.

6 Advantages an LMS has over SharePoint for training

Below are some advantages an LMS has over SharePoint for training:

  1. Performance Tracking and Management
    The ability of the instructors or talent managers to track progress and achievements through their learning is hugely important. It helps build a picture of the learner and provides instructors with data needed to determine future learning paths. Compliance is also a big factor.
  2. Learning Paths
    With an LMS you can set customized learning paths for individuals or groups. This gives direction and helps the employee or partner to achieve their potential through the provision of relevant training.
  3. Reporting
    While SharePoint does have the option to send out quizzes to users to gather feedback, there is no custom report function allowing you to mine critical information about progress and the effectiveness of your training.
  4. SCORM Compliance
    Without the aid of a plugin or LMS customization, SharePoint cannot produce the SCORM-compliant material needed for industry standard eLearning courses.
  5. Dynamic eLearning Content
    As the main function of SharePoint is not to provide eLearning content, some key features are missing that can truly help boost learner engagement. Some of these are awarding certifications, gamification and blended learning.
  6. eCommerce                                                                                                                                                                                  Integration with LMS eCommerce enables you to easily sell any course content you create online, letting you boost revenue through sales.

So the next logical step is Microsoft SharePoint LMS integration to get the best out of both platforms. Single Sign On shows that there is a seamless transition between SharePoint and your learning management system - once logged into one platform you don’t need any extra login details for the other. From the SharePoint dashboard there will be a tab for your training, and from there you can view and assign courses, create and run custom reports on eLearning data and work collaboratively with other e-learners, among many other perks.

With SharePoint LMS integration you can also work on raw eLearning content - such as documents, videos and images - in SharePoint and import it to the LMS to to finalize as SCORM-compliant. Assignment content in SharePoint can be linked with the LMS, meaning that when it is altered at all in SharePoint then these modifications are reflected in the LMS.

Overall the benefits are plain in favor Microsoft SharePoint LMS integration. The social aspects of both, SharePoint’s accessibility and intuitive ease of use and the performance management and custom learning capabilities of the LMS together form a powerful package. By smartly playing to the strengths of both platforms you will foster an environment in which collaboration, creativity and engagement play vital roles in both the development of your workforce or partners, and the performance of your company.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

4 Steps To Workplace Zen With SharePoint

Workplace Zen With SharePoint

There seems to be a dichotomy in the training world, a love hate relationship if you will. On the one hand, we’ve seen a massive upswing in mobile training and BYOD where working anytime, anywhere is encouraged. While convenience and productivity is paramount to this trend, it also begs the question ‘when should work, stay at work’ and work-life balance take priority. A recent Huffington Post article even goes so far to claim that 2015 is the year to simplify the workplace and demonstrates how ‘mindfulness’ is becoming all the rage in corporate America.

Complex business processes, such as employee training, play a big factor is workplace stress. And, as we all know, this can have a profound effect on employee productivity, engagement and morale.

Given the current crisis with employee retention and talent management, it is wise to evaluate current processes and identify ways to simplify in order to equip employees to do their job better.

The average worker uses on average five different systems at work. Different login information, passwords and interfaces to remember — this in itself can raise anybody’s blood pressure.

Utilizing business software, like SharePoint, to its fullest extent is the first step in creating a Zen-like workspace. For instance, because SharePoint is directly tied to active directory, staff can easily log in using the same information they use every morning to access their computer. And, because it’s designed much like other Microsoft Office products, users can easily navigate the system.

Here are additional ways to use SharePoint in order to streamline learning processes for optimal efficiency:

  1. Reduce email clutter with SharePoint workflows.
    One of the top complaints of workers is being inundated with too many emails. What can be considered a time waster is easily solved within SharePoint. For example, creating a typical elearning course might take multiple people and multiple versions to finally get to a finalized product. The back and forth gets confusing and not only causes too many emails but also allows the possibility of errors happening. Consider implementing SharePoint workflows to streamline and automate content creation. Your original document stays in the same system and everything including running the process, checking, tracking, reminding and forwarding is all done by the workflow, automatically.
  2. Replace unproductive meeting with SharePoint team sites
    We’ve all had hectic days of back-to-back meetings only to return to our desk to begin work and then realize the day is gone. Getting this under control is a critical priority for businesses because they know that the less time people spend answering emails, attending meetings and dialing-in, the more productive and focused they are throughout the day. Team sites in SharePoint are a great way to reduce physical time in meetings but still offer a collaborative experience. A SharePoint site offers specific kinds of tools and workspaces that you can use to communicate with team members, track projects, coordinate deadlines, and collaboratively create and edit documents.
  3. Simplify processes with SharePoint portals and content management
    Ease of use will prevail when it comes to simplifying training. So, it’s also imperative to rethink how things are done.More often than not, learners will naturally forget some of the training provided to them. So, it’s imperative that there is a consistent place that they know they can find the information they need. That is where SharePoint portals come into play. An example where it would make sense is with employee onboarding. Once the initial orientation happens, new staff need to know where to go to find new employee information, policies and procedures, and the latest company news. Advanced search capabilities in SharePoint make it even easier to find the right information.
  4. Prioritize and delegate work with SharePoint task lists and calendar
    Sometimes the hardest part of any job is learning to delegate. There are a variety of excuses from not having time to train someone else to subscribing to the idea of ‘if you want something done right you have to do it yourself.’ Regardless, life won’t get any easier in the office if you don’t train yourself to delegate. Giving up control is sometimes difficult but SharePoint task lists can be a trainer’s best friend. Let’s keep with the previous example of creating a training course. You’ve already created a team site to help alleviate unnecessary meetings and now it’s time to delegate tasks. You can assign any team member with a task and it will automatically fill in on the project timeline as well as sync with Outlook calendar. At any point, you can check to see what the status is on a task as well and/or update when it’s due. To take it a step further, SharePoint tasks also sync with Microsoft Project so you can easily see if you’re on task to meet your desired deadlines – worry-free.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Can SharePoint As An LMS Really Work?

SharePoint As An LMS

There is no question that Learning Management Systems are not going anywhere. In fact, the industry has grown by leaps and bounds and is expected to take in revenues exceeding $2.5 billion this year. Companies reap the many benefits of an LMS from hosting a centralized learning environment to organized compliance procedures, collaboration, employee retention and cost savings to name a few. Microsoft SharePoint hosts a plethora of features that perform much like an LMS such as document sharing, calendaring, discussions, intranet-esque page design and of course, tight permissions for users. So, it begs the question, can a SharePoint LMS offer a better, all-inclusive experience?

Statistics show that Microsoft SharePoint is one of the fastest growing applications in the company’s history and continues to surge. In fact, 78 percent of Fortune 500 companies are using the application. Many training managers are beginning to ask the obvious…wouldn’t it make sense to save money and utilize my company’s investment while taking advantage of all the LMS rich features that are available at my disposal?

Let’s begin with the areas that SharePoint as an LMS excels at and are available right out-of-the-box. A short feature list but by no means all-inclusive.

  • Collaborative Content Management.
    SharePoint reigns supreme for content management. Having both content management and an LMS connected makes uploading training material that much easier. Version control and approval workflows also ensure a better-managed compliance system.
  • Training Project Management.
    Team sites allow project management to flow seamlessly with task lists, reminders, calendar and social collaboration. Sync Microsoft SharePoint with Microsoft Project for even more efficiency.
  • Folder and content level permissions.
    Get as granular as you need by setting permissions that allow the right people access to specific training content.
  • Social Collaboration.
    SharePoint’s social features make collaboration a snap with the addition of blogs, communities, Wikis, RSS feeds, gamification and discussion boards.
  • Single sign-on and active directory sync.
    Never again will learners have to remember another username and password. SharePoint automatically syncs with an organization’s active directory and other systems.
  • Training requirements and feedback.
    Utilizing surveys can help identify what is good and not so good about a training program.

As you can see, SharePoint does in fact present many effective solutions for LMS functionality. However, it has its limitations and this is where it gets a little confusing for those in the market for an LMS.

In the next few paragraphs, we’ll explain LMS features of SharePoint that can work with a little customization as well as areas that only a separate Learning Management System can accommodate.

SharePoint and Customizations

  • Testing.
    SharePoint offers basic capabilities to create a quiz using lists. However, for more detail, a program like InfoPath or SharePoint Designer can create custom tests.
  • List view.
    SharePoint allows a user to perform basic list view customization, like filtering, changing the sort order, and showing or hiding columns. To get a little more customized, SharePoint Designer can perform this same level of customization and in addition, change the layout of the list, apply conditional formatting to the list, connect the list view to others lists, and much more.
  • SQL Server Reporting Services.
    Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Reporting Services integrates with SharePoint and is a server-based reporting platform that provides a full range of ready-to-use tools and services to help create, deploy, and manage reports for your organization, as well as programming features that enable the ability to extend and customize reporting functionality.
  • Custom Code.
    Custom code can be used for course administration requirements.

SharePoint and LMS

When it’s all said and done, there will still be crucial LMS features that SharePoint just doesn’t provide for. Adding in an LMS built for SharePoint will close the functionality gaps even further while also offering a lucrative total cost of ownership. Here are a few feature deficiencies of SharePoint and where adding an LMS can accommodate:

  • SCORM / AICC / Tin Can compliance.
  • Instructor-led training management.
    Enrollment requests, wait lists, multiple days training management.
  • Compliance training management.
    CEU tracking, digital signature, recurring events.
  • Training tracking and reporting.
    User and team transcripts, custom reports.
  • Customized learning.
    Learning that is targeted by title, department or personal learning objectives.
  • Managing learning trajectories.
    Course prerequisites, combined courses that consist of several learning activities.
  • SCORM tests.
    Question-level reporting, embed multimedia in questions, various answer types.
  • Auto reminders and notifications.
  • Managing webinars from within SharePoint.

SharePoint is about giving you and the people you work with a better way to get things done together. This multifunctional tool can help keep your entire organization in sync, make processes and people more productive, deliver more engaging and effective customer experiences, assist in achieving legal and regulatory compliance and balance IT and business needs. All of these features make it a prime tool for use as an LMS.

So, to answer the much anticipated question…can a SharePoint LMS offer a better, all-inclusive experience? Yes and no. There is no denying that SharePoint features out-of-the-box are quite impressive and for those looking for very basic training characteristics…yes, it can work satisfactorily. However, depending on business needs and goals that are little more complex, it is safe to say that SharePoint will need customization and/or a separate LMS in order function as a full, all-inclusive training experience.

What is your experience with using SharePoint as an LMS? Please leave a comment below.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.