Free eBook: How To Boost Training With LMS & Virtual Training Labs

Even though LMS and TMS sound similar there are some significant differences between the two of them. A TMS has the same features and additionally puts more emphasis on workflow and capacity for automated communications. But it's the integration with Virtual Training Labs that creates a real efficient exchange of information. This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

The First Ten Learning Thursday Articles!

Last December, I began publishing Learning Thursday articles every other week. The series covers both learning technology and general training topics. Past articles are listed below.

Please comment if you have topic ideas, and follow me if you’d like to be notified of future posts.

  1. Mobile Technologies in Education
  2. Project-Based Learning
  3. Use Virtual Reality (VR) to Try on Makeup
  4. Is Constructivism an Effective Approach to Instructional Design?
  5. Overcome Your Blended Learning Phobia
  6. Track Classroom Attendance Using a Scan Gun
  7. How Do You Encourage Innovation in Your L&D Team?
  8. Plan a Consistent Training Program
  9. Immersive Learning Experiences in Real Life
  10. The Many Acronyms of Learning Technology

Connect with the author on Twitter or LinkedIn.

The post The First Ten Learning Thursday Articles! appeared first on eLearning.

Demo of Adobe Captivate Prime’s New Social Learning & Compliance Features

Adobe Captivate Prime just released some great new social learning and compliance features!  You may have seen Dr. Allen Partridge’s recent post that breaks down some of the great new items you can explore.

Allen and I also presented a 60 minute demo today, hosted by Training Magazine Network.  (Click the link to watch the recording.)  We spent twenty minutes discussing how to deploy social learning and user generated content effectively.  And then Allen provided a step by step demonstration of the new features.

If you’d like some quick two minute videos on the new features, you can find them on the YouTube channel.

Check it out!  And please comment below if you have questions or suggestions.

Try Adobe’s learning management system, Captivate Prime, for free.  Connect with the author on Twitter or LinkedIn, and follow me on Adobe’s eLearning blog.

The post Demo of Adobe Captivate Prime’s New Social Learning & Compliance Features appeared first on eLearning.

Give Learners a Voice by Incorporating Social Learning

If you’re a fan of Adobe Captivate Prime, you may be aware of the new social learning features that were just released.  My favorite new feature has to be the discussion boards, which allow groups of learners to share web based and user generated content easily.  You can find out more in the below video.  (Videos on the other new features can be found here.)

Social learning is an important developing aspect of the learning technology industry.  So much of what we learn comes from informal interactions with the people we know, whether we’re interacting in person or through social media.

Sometimes we as learning professionals don’t need to have “the answer” for the learner.  Sometimes we instead help learners connect with people who can support their learning experience.  Here are some ways we can do that:

  • Create communities of practice that either meet in person or virtually
  • Create a mentorship program and provide a framework for mentors and mentees to collaborate effectively
  • Ensure self-paced and e-learning courses have at least one collaborative component where learners interact through a discussion board, virtual session, or classroom session.  See this article on blended learning.
  • Find ways to actively involve the learner.  Allow learners to share their knowledge and problem solve through project based learning.  Incorporate elements of constructivism into learning experiences.

Learning technology is making it easier to manage a global classroom and provide the social connection we all crave.  What are some ways you’ve used technology to connect learners?  Please share in the comments section.

Try Adobe’s learning management system, Captivate Prime, for free.  Connect with the author on Twitter or LinkedIn, and follow me on Adobe’s eLearning blog.

The post Give Learners a Voice by Incorporating Social Learning appeared first on eLearning.

Learning Thursday #10 – The Many Acronyms of Learning Technology

Learning Thursday is a blog series that features a new L&D article every other week along with discussion points.  Read and then share your own ideas by commenting below!  Check out the last Learning Thursday here.

Have you ever noticed how many acronyms there are in the learning and development industry?

You’d think we were NASA.  Every instructional design model, every teaching method, and every new flavor of learning technology has an acronym.  Why?

In two words: Marketing strategy.

Take learning technology vendors for example.  Many acronyms are used to delineate different types of learning systems, when in fact the functionality across the categories is similar.  For reference, here are some of the more prominent learning system categories.  Feel free to comment other types below this article:

It’s not easy to define which system features or traits belong in which category.  It can be difficult to tell whether a specific platform is principally a learning management system (LMS), or a learning content management system (LCMS), or something else entirely.  An LMS can easily have learning record store (LRS) features, and vice versa.  Adobe Captivate Prime is an example of “hybrid” learning technology that straddles more than one category.

Here’s a video where I discuss similarities and differences between an LMS, LCMS, and LRS:

You might ask, if there’s so much overlap between system types, why don’t we just let go of these acronyms and refer to everything as a learning technology platform?  Because there’s the need for vendors to market their platforms.  And part of marketing is differentiation – making one product seem in some way better, more innovative, or more learner centric.  Making one type of learning technology seem more desirable than another.

I was talking recently with McLean & Company, contributing to their annual learning technology report that will come out this summer.  One of their questions was, “Are learning management systems going away?”  My response was that, in time, the term learning management system may indeed be replaced with something else.  But the inherent functionality we associate with an LMS – the course catalog, reporting capabilities, and much more – are necessary for many organizations and will continue to exist.

The fact of the matter is, it doesn’t matter which type of system a vendor provides, or what they call it.  What matters is whether their platform does what your organization needs, whether it’s user friendly, and whether the future of the platform is aligned to your organization’s goals.

If you are in the process of selecting a learning technology platform, look past the marketing verbiage and evaluate each platform for what it truly is.

Feel free to comment and share your opinions.

Try Adobe’s learning management system, Captivate Prime, for free.  Connect with the author on Twitter or LinkedIn, and follow me on Adobe’s eLearning blog.

The post Learning Thursday #10 – The Many Acronyms of Learning Technology appeared first on eLearning.

Upcoming Webinar: “Five Must-Haves in an LMS to Get Mobile Learning Right”

Join us! On April 24, ATD Orange County hosts a virtual session of my class, “Five Must-Haves in an LMS to Get Mobile Learning Right.” It’s open to the public in exchange for a small donation to ATD. Click here for details.

The slideshare and session description are below. This webinar is inspired by Adobe’s white paper by the same name. Check out page three for useful L&D studies and resources.

Got Mobile? Our corporate learners are on the go constantly, which means we need to make training opportunities accessible from a wide range of locations. Fortunately, learning technology enables us to reach employees no matter where they work or travel.

Join Katrina Marie Baker to explore five ways a Learning Management System (LMS) can enable mobile learning. We will discuss how to:

  • Make just in time training content available to on-site and remote employees
  • Use QR codes to efficiently track classroom and on the floor/on the job learning
  • Enable travelers and sales representatives to access resources when wifi isn’t available
  • Format content so it displays responsively on mobile devices (links to supplemental resources will be provided)
  • Incorporate mobile learning into an employee’s overall blended learning experience

We look forward to seeing you!

The post Upcoming Webinar: “Five Must-Haves in an LMS to Get Mobile Learning Right” appeared first on eLearning.

Learning Thursday #6: Track Classroom Attendance Using a Scan Gun (Includes Video)

Learning Thursday is a blog series that features a new L&D article every other week along with discussion points.  Read and then share your own ideas by commenting below!  Check out the last Learning Thursday here.  The week’s discussion question is: What is your best time saving tip for those new to learning management system administration?  Please comment below.

Important note: If you would like to distribute or republish the ideas or content below, contact me to obtain written permission. This content is taken from a copyrighted book.

Yes, entering training data into your learning management system can be made incredibly easy. And it will cost you less than forty dollars! The idea has been published in both editions of LMS Success and has been used by several of my clients. It predates the QR code feature available in some learning technology platforms, which I’ll also touch on.

Before we get into barcodes though, let’s just acknowledge the popularity of QR codes in the corporate training space. Many instructors add QR codes to their presentations so learners can access supplemental resources on their mobile devices. Some learning technology platforms provide QR codes that a learner can scan to receive credit for completing a course. For example, Adobe Captivate Prime allows learners to mark attendance of classroom sessions using their mobile devices and the Captivate Prime mobile app.

Having learners scan a QR code is probably the most efficient way of marking course completion because the learner is able to do it themselves. However, some companies don’t allow employees to use mobile devices for work purposes. Some employees aren’t allowed to have mobile devices on premise for security reasons. And sometimes you may not want to rely on learners to mark their own classroom attendance.

Several of my clients and employers have faced these situations. So a few years ago, I created a different solution.

Here’s how it works. Let’s say there is a classroom full of learners who have just finished a session. The instructor uses a scan gun to scan learners’ badges into an LMS import spreadsheet, which is later uploaded into the learning management system to update learners’ transcripts. Each learner’s badge contains a barcode that corresponds to their LMS user ID.

You could also create a “barcode cheat sheet” of your learners’ user IDs. That way, you can scan the sheet any time you are entering course completion data. Scanning the barcodes ensures your data is accurate because there’s no chance of mistyping the numbers. And it saves you from manually typing every learner’s user ID into the LMS, or into an import spreadsheet, in order to track attendance.  Every time you scan an ID rather than typing it, you save a couple of seconds. If you work for a large organization with lots of classes and instructors, this idea can save thousands of hours per year. I’m speaking from my own experience.

One final note… you will need a barcode font in order to generate barcodes. I use Code 128 (you can download it here) but you can use any barcode font that works with your scan gun. Also, please note that many scan guns aren’t capable of scanning a type 2D code. A QR code is a type 2D code, so if you are trying to scan QR codes, check the product description before making your purchase. (Here is an example of a scan gun that can read QR codes.)

If you are buying a bunch of scan guns for your organization, I would recommend calling the manufacturer to negotiate a bulk purchase because it has saved me a lot of money in the past. Also, think before purchasing the warranty as it is often more cost effective to simply buy more units.

What is your best time saving tip for those new to learning management system administration?  Please comment below!

Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.  My books are available on Amazon: LMS Success, The LMS Selection Checklist, and Corporate Training Tips & Tricks. The LMS books come with a collection of supplemental resources and a private discussion forum to ask questions.

The post Learning Thursday #6: Track Classroom Attendance Using a Scan Gun (Includes Video) appeared first on eLearning.

Recommended Reading Summary: A Chapter of “Emerging Technologies for the Classroom”

In October, I posted some recommended reading that complemented one of my classes on gamification.  I’ve since started writing chapter summaries (here is the last article) so people can “preview” some of the great books out there and hopefully end up reading them!

Below is this month’s chapter summary.  Google Scholar features most of the chapter for free.  For the full text, here’s a Springer Link, which is free with subscription, or you can purchase the chapter or book.

Chapter 9: “Like, Comment, Share: Collaboration and Civic Engagement Within Social Network Sites,” by Greenhow and Lee, in Emerging Technologies for the Classroom: A Learning Sciences Perspective.

Social media and social networking sites allow individuals and groups to collaborate and learn together.  Social media has a different impact on the learning experience, compared to technology that is often utilized in the learning environment.  Students often use technology in the classroom for independent study or for research purposes.  Social media on the other hand supports research while also encouraging a learning process that is rich with peer to peer interaction.  Teaching and learning practices benefit from the collective knowledge that social technology provides.

Social media practices can facilitate new forms of collaborative knowledge construction.  It encourages civic engagement in broader communities of practice.  And social media can encourage an environment of trust, where individuals share information about themselves and their interests.  Establishing a level of trust within a social group can make the learning process more effective.  And cultivating a professional network can lead to opportunities above and beyond the learning experience.

A social networking site (SNS) is a web-enabled service through which individuals can maintain existing ties and develop new social ties with people outside their network.  Other examples of social media include media-sharing services like YouTube and Flickr, collaborative knowledge development through wikis, and creative works like blogs and microblogging.

There are opportunities to use social networking in both formal and informal learning settings – meaning social networking can be used regardless of whether learning objectives are determined for an experience.  Cultural and technological trends have sharply increased the amount of interest in social media, and access to technology is increasing as well.  Social network sites can bridge the gap between the formal learning environment of the classroom, and informal environments like afterschool programs or communities of practice.  They can also help instructors better understand the interests and backgrounds of their students, making it easier for them to cater to the students as individuals.

Social media can facilitate learning experiences through debate, allowing students to compare their opinions against those of a broader community.  It can also allow students more direct access to communities outside of their familiarity, such as people in other countries or industries.  This access can provide students with context and a better understanding of how the information they are learning applies to the world as a whole.

Students can use social media sites they are familiar with outside of school – Twitter and Facebook for example – to discuss what they are learning and gather information.  Using familiar social media tools may allow students a greater level of comfort during the learning process.  Instructors can also use specialized applications, such as learning management systems, to provide a more structured environment.  Instructors can use students’ activity feeds to monitor levels of engagement and adjust the curriculum accordingly.

The use of social media and social networking sites to facilitate learning aligns with the constructivism approach to learning design.  Students, teachers, and other parties take a flexible role within the social media space, often acting as mentors and mentees within the same setting.  All participants are encouraged to express interests and creativity, and collaborate to reach a collective goal.

Social media supports the exploration of realistic, complex problems because learning is taking place in the real world.  Learners can provide feedback through multiple channels and post questions or comments whenever they feel the need.  Research can be self driven and may incorporate multiple social media platforms if the learning environment allows it.

Using social media to facilitate a learning process comes with obstacles that educators should address in order to ensure the learning experience is successful.  It’s important that social media be applied with intention and vision, if it is meant to facilitate specific learning objectives.  Administrative vision and planning are critical.

Also critical is addressing online privacy and security concerns that relate to student usage.  Students may need to be taught how to responsibly and ethically use social media platforms.  The school culture must be accepting of collaboration and group activities in order for social media usage to be effective.  The evaluative environment in particular should emphasize digital literacies and competencies that align with the use of social media.

Instructors may choose to overcome challenges by partnering with library media specialists who have a greater familiarity with technology integration and information technologies.  It may also be beneficial to involve youth workers and other adults who can assist in extending instruction into the community.  Instructors may need to persuade school administrators to change policies involving social media – or instructors may choose to have students only use technologies outside of school hours.

Instructors may find it useful to prove the effectiveness of social media by collecting data related to learner engagement and the effect on desired outcomes.  Results can be shared with administrators and other parties in order to generate discussion about how a school’s policies and educational approaches should evolve to accommodate changes in technology.

If you need a learning technology platform that encourages social learning, check out Adobe Captivate Prime, which you can try for free.

The post Recommended Reading Summary: A Chapter of “Emerging Technologies for the Classroom” appeared first on eLearning.

Learning Thursday #5: Overcome Your Blended Learning Phobia

Learning Thursday is a blog series that features a new L&D article every other week along with discussion points.  Read and then share your own ideas by commenting below!  Check out the last Learning Thursday here.

I wrote this week’s article for InSync Training’s “50 Modern Blended Learning Blogs” series.  The discussion questions are: What is the biggest hurdle you’ve faced when implementing blended learning?  How did you rise to the challenge?


Blended learning programs can be a beautiful thing. Need to cover a global workforce? Use virtual classrooms to engage learners everywhere. Can’t get employees to leave their desks? Bring learning opportunities to their desks in the form of short videos, quick reference guides, and fun simulations. Mix learning content together to create interactive training programs.

But wait, you say, it’s not that easy. My organization has expectations. 

Your organization may expect learning to take place in person. In their opinion, if there isn’t a person in front of the classroom, teaching with an apple on their desk, it’s not “real” training. Sometimes the perception comes from your learners – other times it’s from your leaders. Either way, it will take time to change your organization’s collective mindset.

You may ask, “Why would you go to the trouble of moving to blended learning?” Because it helps the learner retain the training. It helps you serve your workforce efficiently. And, it helps your organization reach an increasingly tech savvy employee base that expects learning to be as easy to access as Google.

Become the training equivalent of Google. Give your learners options, and they will take advantage of those options.

Start small. If you encounter resistance from the top, don’t start there. Start at the bottom, with one little group of learners.

Converting your learning program is a major change. Resistance to change is driven by fear – often fear of failure, or fear of the unknown. To ensure your organization accepts blended learning, address both fears up front by trying out your program ideas on a small group of learners. Get their feedback and incorporate it into the program. If a course element isn’t effective according to your learners, ask why. Refine instead of removing. Tweak instead of making sweeping changes.

Know that one round of revisions will not be enough. Like any training product, a blended learning campaign is a work in progress.

What happens if something doesn’t work? You take it out. You try something else. Don’t give up.

Like any part of training, blended learning programs require a willingness to add, delete, and refine. Edit before you roll your program. Collect feedback from learners. Refine more.

Is your current program delivered entirely in the classroom? Look for ways to replace small pieces of classroom content with videos, documents, or simulations. In the beginning, spend as little as possible. Use free or affordable content until you build up your organization’s confidence in blended learning.

Other ways to replace small pieces of classroom content include:

  1. Start with the obvious, the easy, and the accessible. How much do YouTube videos cost? Nothing. Add them to your classroom experiences to give the learner variety. Are there quick reference guides or internal communications you can repurpose into learning? Into the LMS they go. Free compliance training from government agencies make perfect, ready-made material.
  2. Look for the little victories. Include activities where learners do research online or do scavenger hunts around the office, before returning to class to share their findings. Rather than accomplishing it all in the classroom, find ways to deliver content in other ways, before and after class. Look for ways to cut material out of classroom training and replace with other resources.
  3. Add mentoring elements to your learning program. Look for existing resources in your organization – supervisors, SMEs, and experienced employees, especially those seeking a promotion. Look for topics in your program that can be reinforced through coaching and one-on-one interactions. Reward those who teach others by making mentoring a line item on job performance reviews.

Sometimes it isn’t the organization as a whole that fears blended learning. It’s the trainers themselves.

“You’re getting rid of my job!” they scream. “Classroom training is what the learners want!” (If all your organization has ever delivered is classroom training… how would learners know that’s what they prefer over everything else?)

It’s natural to fear change. Blended learning necessitates a change in the trainers’ role. Those who only know classroom training will be required to learn new skills, such as e-learning development, LMS administration, and technical editing. Those on your team who see change as exciting will dance. Those who fear technology will hide. But change is real and necessary. Change happens regardless of whether we ask for it. And the change to blended learning is spreading across the entire learning and development industry.

Duncan Welder IV, Director of Client Services for RISC, Inc., shared a personal experience in Corporate Training Tips & Tricks. It is a great example of the new role of the learning professional in this modern approach:

When I was in grad school, we had to complete a group class project.  (This was for instructional video if that places an age on me.)  We produced a recruiting film for the High School for the Human Sciences, a new magnet school for people with an interest in health care professions.  Again, it was student developed and overseen by a professor, but it rendered a final piece for the school that would have normally been a capital expense if it was something they could have done at all.  It’s not a bad idea to reach out to an educational or instructional technology program nearby and see if they can assist.”

Building the acceptance of change starts with your own team. Introduce your team to blended learning elements, and give them time to embrace it. Give them time to become good at it. Remember that trainers are learners too, and they have to be given time to adapt to new responsibilities. Give them time not just to become competent, but confident. Enthusiastic even. Get the buy-in of your immediate team, and let their love of blended learning motivate change in your organization.

What is the biggest hurdle you’ve faced when implementing blended learning?  How did you rise to the challenge?  Comment below.

Try Adobe’s learning management system, Captivate Prime, for free.  Assembling a blended learning catalog has never been easier!

Connect with the author on Twitter or LinkedIn

The post Learning Thursday #5: Overcome Your Blended Learning Phobia appeared first on eLearning.

Moving on up

A few of my recent blog posts have started with a lyric from a track I’ve listened to on the radio or on my iPod. This is no different. This morning it’s the turn of the 1993 hit ‘Moving on up’ by M People.

‘Cause I’m movin’ on up, you’re movin’ on out
Movin’ on up, nothin’ can stop me
Movin’ on up, you’re movin’ on out
Time to break free, nothin’ can stop me, yeah

While I’m sure the original message of the track has nothing to do with my work, January or the winter blues, it did make me think back to the last 31 days of January. For me it’s about a tough (and very long) January moving on, a new (and cold) February arriving and being able to put some things behind me and concentrate on some new, invigorating work to come.

Here are a few thoughts and articles I’ve read and/or talked about:

  • Foldable phones … will these have the same hype afforded to curved TVs, and eventually be seen for what they are: technologically advanced, but actually pretty useless?
  • I started following and reading articles by Melissa Milloway on LinkedIn, in her series ‘This Side Up’. Her latest one is a list of seven resources she finds useful when looking at and thinking about eLearning.
  • Details of the Senior CMALT (#SCMALT) scheme was released in January, which is of direct interest to me in my new role(s) … it is “aimed at more experienced professionals and those whose role includes management/leadership or research focus.”
  • I had a couple of days intensive workshops with colleagues from a partner institution at the Australian Deakin University, working on our joint fully-online PG Cert in Entrepreneurship. Wonderful to meet face-to-face and spend time with people who so far have only been on webinars, skype calls or emails. While working and collaborating remotely together can be very productive and useful (see below), nothing beats being in the same room!
  • The topic of remote working, working from home, or ‘location independent working (LIW)’ keeps coming up again and again. The recent bad weather (by the UKs standards) has meant the need to be flexible in whether myself or colleagues can get to work, so we need to carefully consider how we’ll continue to work and collaborate when not in the same room.
  • This from Australia, posted to the WonkHE website, discusses the themes and benefits (or pitfalls?) of microcredentials“The world of education is changing and changing fast. The era of the microcredential is upon us and now governments and regulators have to scramble to catch up. But as far as I can see, it’s good news for consumers who will not be hidebound to a particular institution or qualification and will be able to mix and match courses to suit their interests, budgets and emerging careers.”
  • I thought about meetings, and whether they’re always necessary or useful. What are your thoughts?
  • Is there a correlation between learning design and student wellbeing?
  • Reading Lorna Campbell’s post learning to love your blog, which led me to revisit an old idea, and . …
  • A new idea for a series of blog posts, maybe one a month or maybe even more regular. More soon as I flesh out the ideas …
  • My last highlight is this, posted by Jane Hart, about three smart things top performers do to stand out at work.

How was your January?

Image source: Roel Wijnants (CC BY-NC-2.0)