How to automate elearning project operations to save time and money

What Do We Mean By eLearning Automation?

Commonly, automation stands for minimizing or eliminating human interaction in a process.

With the development of technologies, automation had an impact on every industry. We take many automated processes as a usual thing. For example, you sign-up for any software online and immediately receive welcome Email with your name included, after making a purchase the receipt is instantly sent to us. It’s a basic example of an automation process that includes email marketing and payments, but there is more in online learning.

The most common implementations of automation are quizzes generation, answers check, providing a student with immediate feedback and instantly showing results without human interaction.

The future of elearning automation is behind artificial intelligence (AI), where the learning process will be personalized to each user and the system will adapt to students performance. We have talked about it among elearning trends for 2019.

How to improve your elearning platform through automation

Authoring automation

Automation helps more effectively format and distribute content to users. For example, before starting a course, a student can take a quiz for the system to understand what areas the student is familiar with. The platform can then tweak the course modules according to the learner’s level of knowledge. Such an approach increases engagement and helps learner stay interested and move through the course quickly. Moreover, LMS can generate quizzes and exams from your assessments and create a unique learning path for each student.

If talking about corporate training, automation can save time for managers and HR departments in the way that employees are automatically enrolled into the right training modules for them.

Automated notifications and feedback

You can automate announcements of new courses and modules as they are published to save yourself time on manual sending and students benefit in staying up to date. Educators can automatically be notified with who and when have passed or failed test and immediately sent their results.

In addition, learner satisfaction surveys can be held automatically and generate reports for you.

Create a personalized learning experience

Automation of some elearning processes don’t just save time and money, it can completely transform the learner experience and make it more personalized. We have seen personalization in work on YouTube and ecommerce industry, it’s time to start implementing it in elearning.

For example, the learner fails a quiz. After that the system is triggered to send an email with some additional materials covering the topics, a student has failed on. Moreover, a user of your elearning platform can be enrolled to an additional course according to his final exam results. Students will have their own learning paths and can learn on their own pace.

Customer service and support

Modern technologies allow automating even such human tasks as support and Q&A. You can save yourself a lot of time and reduce the number of employees by creating rich FAQ page or even whole help center with search function as we have done for one of your clients.

In addition, chatbots can better customer satisfaction with an instant answer to questions.

Automated Report Delivery

It is possible to create automated report delivery and moreover, in different formats. For example, you would like to have a monthly report of your course performance in PDF format and Excel table with financial reports. In addition, they can be automatically sent to your inbox each month.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Your platform’s integration with CRM can bring your business to the next level and we are not talking about just managing your customers. By monitoring learner performance and discovering patterns, CRM can bring valuable process automation.

For instance, some of your students abandoned learning on some module, CRM can detect that and send an email to users for encouraging them to continue the course.

Customer relationship management allows to control the stages, students are on and interact with them with relevant information. This also provides students with personalized experience.

Bottom line

Elearning automation can save you time, money and create a personalized experience for your users. As a result, the performance of your course or training should increase and the learners get better results as the system optimizes for their own pace and level of knowledge.

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What does education mean to you? #EducationDay

Inspired by the tweets I’ve been reading today, and from Sheila MacNeill’s post of the same title, here is something that education and learning means to me. As with everything these days, we have the hashtag #EducationDay to use.

It must be said, or rather I must say it, that without the Internet then I would be as learned as I am. Before I became connected and before I used the Internet for collaboration I read books for pleasure, I never read a newspaper (sometimes watched news on TV), and I rarely read ‘business’ or non-fiction books (beyond an occasional biography). Becoming a Learning Technologist in 2007 opened my eyes to the power of the Internet for learning. Yes, I’d used and worked with the Internet in so much as being a web designer and working with geographically isolated communities of practice using the Internet to pull together for professional and special interest goals. But I’d not considered the Internet for online learning. Yes, perhaps I was behind the curve in this, but I’ve caught up … !

I have benefited from using the Internet to learn from others, to work with others, to collaborate and share with others. The Internet has enabled me to do things previously unknown to me and take my personal and professional development in areas and directions I know I would not have gone without it. Connections made with both individuals and institutions have taught me more than I can realistically comprehend or voice. Opportunities to find, share, connect, collaborate, curate, communicate, etc. through browsing and following online has brought me to you, and you to me.

For me, in short, my #EducationDay is a reflection on 25+ years of Internet use, where it has taken me and why. The link to the #EducationDay above (and here again) says “education is a human right, a public good and a public responsibility.” Yes. This. Oh yes, this. If only everyone had this chance. Which is one reason why I am trying to do a little to feed back to the learning community with me tweets, my blog posts or LinkedIn updates, and my interest and involvement a a trustee in Learn Appeal, the learning charity.

Image source: CadaverTeeth (CC BY-NC-ND-2.0)

Long road to ruin

I’ve borrowed the title for this post from Messers Grohl, Mendel, Smear, Hawkins and Shiflett … more commonly known as Foo Fighters.

Why? Well, over the 2018 festive break I’ve read more than a few reflective pieces from those in my extended network about the direction and increasingly intrusive nature of technology in our lives, and this song title leapt to mind. The ‘long road to ruin’ here is how we are ‘letting’ tech companies access and control our lives.

This control may not be actual control, however the trend for app-enabled and ‘smart’ devices like watches, fitness trackers, toothbrushes, weighing scales, light bulbs, door locks, etc. certainly is trending towards this. Whilst we are paying for the devices, sometimes with contactless payment, we are handing over the data of what we do with these devices (personal, location, health, etc.) to an organisation we know nothing about. Nor do we know what they’ll do with that data. Or who they’ll share/sell it to?

From the data we create and hand over one of these purchased devices to the data we create on free services like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc, we have the illusion that we are in control, using features such as how private we keep our account, opting in or out of different settings, yet we don’t have the control we think we have. Amazon is using our browsing and purchasing habits to tailor itself to what it’s algorithms think we’ll want next. Not to mention what we ask Alexa or what we watch or listen to through your Prime membership. Whilst you can link accounts between these services, and the cross-analytics you generate there, you think you’re being clever by not doing it and preventing that kind of access/data control over you, it turns out it doesn’t matter anyway, these organisations are sharing your data/control anyway.

I now have too many devices in the home that have the ability to listen. With only one device actively set up to do this (Amazon Echo) the others all have microphones that could, if hacked or otherwise taken control of, listen without me wanting or knowing it. I hear you cry ‘if you’re that paranoid, don’t have them!’ which I’ll agree with, but I’m also a sucker for making my life easier, or access to information or family or news or games or a good deal on Lego easier. I have chosen to enable these devices and have chosen to bring them into my life. But what they do, that’s the device itself and the organisation that ends up collecting the data I create, with that data still troubles me.

Apart from these devices that collect data on what I do, where I do it, who I’m with, there are also devices and organisations that know more about me than probably I do. Devices with fingerprint or facial recognition. Companies that use voice recognition or voice-stress analysis in an attempt to root out hacking in an attempt to keep us safe, even from ourselves.

So, why a ‘long road to ruin’? Unless we have a full and very frank understanding of this data we create and precisely what is being done with it, by and with whom, then I believe we are all in for a very hard lesson to learn when it comes to light exactly what we’ve allowed to happen in the name of simplifying our lives – “we are entering the post-privacy age.”

Image source: Alan Levine (CC BY 2.0)

Learning Thursday #2: Project-Based Learning

Earlier this month, I started the Learning Thursday blog series, which features a new learning and development article every other week that has a unique perspective.  I’ll also post some discussion points for those who would like to reflect on the article.  If you’d like to participate, please follow me here on the Adobe eLearning blog and comment on this week’s article:

Krajcik, J., & Blumenfeld, P. (2006). Project-based learning. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences (pp. 317–334). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Google Scholar

(The Google Scholar link will take you to a free PDF of the article.)

Introductory Paragraph: Any teacher or parent can tell you that many students are bored in school. But many of them tend to assume that boredom is not a problem with the best students, and that if students tried harder or learned better they wouldn’t be bored. In the 1980s and 1990s, education researchers increasingly realized that when students are bored and unengaged, they are less likely to learn (Blumenfeld et al., 1991). Studies of student experience found that almost all students are bored in school, even the ones who score well on standardized tests (Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde, & Whalen, 1993). By about 1990, it became obvious to education researchers that the problem wasn’t the fault of the students; there was something wrong with the structure of schooling. If we could find a way to engage students in their learning, to restructure the classroom so that students would be motivated to learn, that would be a dramatic change.

After reading the article, please add a comment with your thoughts on one (or all) of these questions:

  1. Can you give an example of a project-based learning experience you’ve had?
  2. What is one topic you would like to deliver using a project-based learning approach?
  3. How can learning technology be used to support project-based learning?

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Learning Thursday #1: Mobile Technologies in Education

We’re almost to the new year, so I figure I’ll start a new blog post series.    I’m going to put out a new learning and development article every other week that has a unique perspective.  I’ll also post some discussion points for those who would like to reflect on the article.  If you’d like to participate, please follow me here on the Adobe eLearning blog and comment on our first article:

Vavoula, G., Sharples, M., Lonsdale, P., Rudman, P., & Meek, J. (2007). Learning bridges: Mobile technologies in education. Educational Technology, 47(3), 33–37. Google Scholar

(The Google Scholar link will take you to JSTOR, where you can read this article for free.)

Abstract: MyArtSpace is a service for children to spread their learning between schools and museums using mobile phones linked to a personal Web space. Using MyArtSpace as an example, the authors discuss the possibilities for mobile technology to form bridges between formal and informal learning. They also offer guidelines for designing such bridges.

Please add a comment with your thoughts on one (or both) of these questions:

  1. Have you seen a learning experience in the corporate world that is similar to the MyArtSpace experience discussed in the article?
  2. Can you think of an environment other than a museum where this sort of learning experience would be effective?

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Free Webinar: Successfully Implement Your Learning Management System (LMS)

I’m doing a free virtual session on November 29 for anyone implementing a new learning management system! Content is based on my book LMS Success. Come join our awesome, always energetic audience.

Register here: https://elearningindustry.com/webinars/successfully-implement-your-learning-management-system-lms

Here is the session description:

Congratulations! You’ve selected the perfect Learning Management System. Now what? Join Katrina Marie Baker in this 60-minute webinar for a lively discussion and some amusing war stories from past implementations.

Our agenda will cover how to:

  • Complete your implementation so smoothly that executive leadership is in awe of your project management skills.
  • Avoid common pitfalls that cause your implementation to stretch out longer than originally expected.
  • Work effectively with your LMS vendor to determine a timeline, set expectations, and get everything done on time.
  • Assemble an administrator team that is excited, knowledgeable, and well organized.

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Free Webinar: Trends In Training And Learning Management

On November 21, I’m doing a virtual session covering the biggest trends in training and learning management! Just in time for the new year. The audience is always super involved, which keeps things entertaining.

Register here: https://elearningindustry.com/webinars/training-trends-and-learning-management?utm_source=presenter&utm_campaign=adobe_webinar_nov21

Here is the session description:

Join Adobe’s Senior Learning Evangelist Katrina Marie Baker for this lively conversation about the latest trends in training & development. Based on recent studies and research, the session will explore what people are doing in organizations around the world, and how organizations can achieve great results with modern learning programs.

Katrina Marie Baker will discuss the:

  • Impetus behind creating and developing virtual universities
  • Growing demand to encourage learner immersion and ongoing engagement
  • Rise of mobile learning
  • Role of skill-based learning in business training
  • Use of gamification for learner engagement and motivation
  • Ongoing expectations of learners for video
  • Proving the value of your learning program through more relevant reporting

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Recommended Reading Summary: A Chapter from “How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School”

I recently posted some recommended reading that relates to a virtual class I recently taught on gamification.  (Here is the recording.)

This is my own summary of the first chapter on the list.  I highly recommend the entire book, which is available for free from the National Academies Press.  It was written in 2000 but it contains some great foundational information.

Chapter 1: “Learning: From Speculation to Science,” from How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School, by Bransford, Brown, and Cocking.

The current methods we use to deliver learning have been shaped by research within the field of education, as well as related fields.  In recent decades, teachers and researchers have discovered approaches that assist the learner in understanding and retaining new information.  Learning professionals now design curricula from a perspective that is more focused on the learner’s needs.  Research related to child development, cognitive psychology, and neuroscience has molded the current approach to early education, and has influenced how emerging technology is incorporated into the learning experience.

In the past, there was less focus on the teaching of critical thinking skills, as well as the abilities to express concepts persuasively, and solve problems requiring complex thought.  Learning experiences were focused on developing basic literacy in fields such as reading and mathematics.  Today, humanity’s knowledge is increasing at a faster rate due to globalization and rapid development of technology.  It is still important that learners develop fundamental understanding of certain subjects, but that is not enough.  Learners must be taught to self-sustain, meaning they must learn on their own by asking meaningful questions.  Using new teaching methods will help instructors connect with those who were once considered “difficult” students.  New teaching methods will also provide a deeper knowledge of complex subjects to the majority of learners.

There has been extensive research regarding how to teach traditional subjects, such as writing skills, with a non-traditional approach.  These research efforts date back to the nineteenth century and have influenced a new school of behaviorism, which in turn led to changes in how psychological research is performed.

Learning is now thought of as a process to form connections between stimuli and responses.  For instance, hunger may drive an animal or person to learn the tasks or skills necessary to relieve hunger.  Even if complex trial and error is required to learn a skill, we will perform whatever process is necessary, as long as the reward we seek is desirable enough to warrant the effort.

Cognitive science approaches the study of learning in a multi-disciplinary fashion, incorporating research from many fields and using many tools and methodologies to further research.  Qualitative research methods complement and expand earlier experimental research efforts.  An important objective within this research is to better understand what it means to understand a topic.  Traditionally, the learner’s ability to memorize is assessed in order to determine competency.  While knowledge is necessary in order to solve problems, facts must be connected to each other in order for the learner to draw conclusions.  An organized framework of concepts and ideas will give the learner the context necessary to solve problems and establish long-term retention.

Our prior knowledge, skills, beliefs, and concepts influence how we organize and interpret new information.  We exist in an environment that consists of competing stimuli, and we must choose which stimuli to focus on based on what has been important or meaningful to us in the past.  Therefore, it’s important that our foundational knowledge be accurate.  Incomplete and inaccurate thinking needs to be challenged and corrected early so that the learner doesn’t build upon which is essentially a weak foundation of knowledge.  For example, it’s common to believe our personal experience of physical or biological phenomena represents a complete and correct knowledge of that phenomena, when in fact we need more information in order to understand what we’ve experienced.

It’s important that learners have some control over their learning process so they have the opportunity to gauge their own understanding of the topics being taught.  The ability to self-assess and reflect on areas of improvement leads to metacognition, which is the ability of a person to predict their own performance on various tasks and monitor current levels of mastery and understanding.  Learning can be reinforced through internal dialog, meaning a learner may choose to compare new information with old information, explain information to themselves, and look for areas where they fail to comprehend what has been taught.  Teaching a learner how to monitor their own learning is therefore a worthwhile investment in the building of deep knowledge.  An active learner is more able to transfer skills to new problems and challenges.

The difference between a novice and an expert within a subject matter is the depth of knowledge commanded by the expert.  Depth of knowledge allows a person to recognize patterns, relationships, and discrepancies that a less experienced or knowledgeable person might miss.  An expert has a better conceptual framework, and is able to better analyze what information they need to draw forward in their memory to solve a problem.  Understanding what information is relevant to a problem is key, because it allows a person to focus only on the information they need at that moment.  This makes the problem less complex.

In order to build understanding within a subject, a teacher may provide in-depth understanding of a few specific topics, rather than giving a superficial overview of many topics.  This allows learners to better digest defining concepts.  Assessments must reinforce this model by providing instructors with an understanding of the learner’s thought processes and testing in-depth, rather than superficial, knowledge.

Learners should be encouraged to reflect on what has been learned before going on to additional topics in order to support metacognition.  Teachers should be encouraged to consider the many tools and methodologies available to present new information, and select what is best for the learner and topic.  Building a community of learners who work together and accept failure will allow individuals to take risks and challenge themselves in the classroom.  There is no one “right” way to design a classroom environment – but there are ways that are more effective than others depending on the learner’s culture and expectations, and how competence is defined.

 

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Captivate 2019 – All the Ways to Get it

Here are the links in the video:
https://helpx.adobe.com/x-productkb/policy-pricing/upgrade-policy-product-announcement.html
https://helpx.adobe.com/contact/support.html

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MICRO-LEARNING AND RETAIL INDUSTRY

Change is constant, and it certainly holds true for today’s retail industries that continues to bolster at a brisk pace. This, in turn, results in the need for employees to constantly upskill, adapt and evolve. Employees must keep up with the current trend to deliver in their roles. The contemporary retail workspace is characterized by relatively young employees who are restless, overwhelmed and distracted. They are busy meeting stringent deadlines and constantly trying to keep up with their ever-changing roles and responsibilities. With this being said, the question that pops up is that where is the “time” to learn and upskill? How can the employee learning experience be improved in such an environment of implacable stress?

For retail sector, it is not only the compliance and product training that is required. Being in this sector and succeeding in it requires training in an array of soft skills such as communication, selling techniques, ensuring customer satisfaction, etc. Along with this, several technical skills are also essential, such as financial knowledge for handling cash in stores and keeping sale records, carrying out various store operations etc. Even a slight mistake in any of these areas can lead to huge losses.

Skill development in retail industry is challenging and the key challenge is rapidly changing product offerings and delivering the need to offer “Just-in-time” learning to the employees. Now, enters microlearning. Microlearning doesn’t necessarily refer to breaking down classroom training manuals into short nugget-sized modules. It offers the learners focused and practical information to help them achieve a specific and actionable objective.

So, how can small-nugget sized practical information help the retail employees? Let’s have a look at a few microlearning strategies.

Interactive Videos

People love seeing, interacting and experiencing things. We are more likely to be drawn to something interactive than to something static.

As the sales force is always on the move in retain industry it will be difficult for them to sit on a desktop and to log into company LMS and to complete a module, instead, the company can develop interactive videos. Also, the retail industry has a lot of physical tasks to be performed on the floor which can be converted into simple interactive videos. This hand-holds the employees through various scenarios they might face on the job

Using cheat sheets

Cheat sheets can be used for employees to immediately access the data before performing an operation. For example, a factory engineer can use the cheat sheet to recall the standard operating procedures to start the machine. Likewise, checklists can be used by the engineer to check the safety precautions before operating the machine.

Stories matter

People retain information better if they if you have an emotional connection with the thing being learned. Create small and simple stories or situations learners can relate to. This helps with retaining the knowledge but also with understanding it better. Be careful not to overcomplicate things, it’s easy to get carried away with small details and forget what the learning objectives were supposed to be in the first place. For example, explaining certain scenarios information security or sharing of passwords, this is one of the best-known methods.

Learning cards

Creating exciting, yet informative, eLearning experiences for learners can be a challenging feat even for the most knowledgeable and experienced eLearning professionals. Learning cards have been the go-to tools for educators, as they help to prevent cognitive overload and make the learning experience enjoyable.

In the retail industry, delivering training content for workplace safety in digestible and specific nuggets can help them act fast in case of an emergency. Also, job-aids in the form of learning cards can be provided to improve knowledge retention.

Final Word

40% of retail employees say that they do not have time for traditional Learning and Development programs. Microlearning thus provides segments of short information that can be provided as the main training courses with better accessibility for the employees to improve their skills while taking up as little of their time as possible. In the modern fast-paced, tech-centric world utilizing microlearning enables effective, distraction-free retention of content using smaller segments.

Microlearning and mobile devices are like bread and butter—they just belong together.

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