Familiarity

Over the years and role changes I’ve used a variety of different VLEs. From Blackboard to FutureLearn, and from custom in-house developed VLE to customised large-scale MOOC platform. So, how important is familiarity when working, designing and developing on these platforms?

Firstly, are we talking about the familiarity I need to navigate the multitude of features and processes to get the course built and delivered? Or do we mean the familiarity the learner needs in order to have a smooth and tangible learning experience, whether they sit down and structure their learning or dip in as and when they can? Let’s try and deal with both.

Explain everything

  • For me: If you’re new to the platform it’s good to write notes to yourself as you do something new, work out how a feature works, etc. This is also a great resource for you or the rest of the team to open discussion around the how and why of particular approach to presenting a learning resource. Keep ideas, plans, design/colour schemes, times, asset library, etc. all in one place for easy reference. 
  • For the learner: Accept that the learner may not have read your carefully scripted course page or expensive course promo video and repeat it at the beginning of the course. The odds are that you put a lot of effort into that content so make sure it’s of use at the start of the course. It will need to be modified, you don’t need the marketing/promotional terminology here, so make sure it reads like the rest of the course (the ‘voice’ of the learning). Carry this approach to the whole course, not just the start: explain why you’ve included a video to watch and what the learner should think about while they watch it. Explain the structure of the course and what it means for their journey, and how the journey ends. And what happens after that. 

Structure and navigation

  • For me: A new platform will mean a lot of different, well, everything! Who hosts, manages or supports the platform? Who are they, where are they, when are they available? Make them your new BFF and ask for help as well as providing a fresh pair of eyes and offer feedback from your own experience on other platforms to see if you can provide efficiencies or development to improve. Always ask questions and always explain why, as well as showing them your results. 
  • For the learner: A consistent structure and navigation to the course will help the learner feel more comfortable and relaxed, therefore are more likely to retain the knowledge you’re presenting them with. As with the previous item, explain how the structure works, explain how to use the navigation, and above all keep the consistency of design that you’ve worked hard to develop. If you use colour of font size as a code of activity or resource identification, use it every time (you’ d be surprised how often I’ve seen inconsistencies, usually across courses rather than within the same course).

Example: FutureLearn navigation, Warwick’s ‘Leadership for healthcare improvement and innovation’.

Template

  • For me: Personally I hate templates or a forced way of working, but the method and structure they offer are hard to ignore. There’s a reason why templates work and that, as I mentioned previously, provides a consistency across courses, programmes, and team members. if you’re working in isolation, then the template probably doesn’t make sense to you as you already know what you’re doing. If you working a part of a larger team then the template provides the working structure you all need to adhere to to get that consistency I talked about.
  • For the learner: The template should not be something the learner ever really notices. The template is there to provide a consistent learning experience for the learner. If it works they wont notice it. If it fails they’ll complain of not understanding what they should be doing, or when, or how, or why. The template will provide familiarity and structure.

Text and images

  • For me: Nothing bores me more than a course full of pages and pages of text, no visual cue at all as to what’s happening. If nothing else a well placed image showing the general theme or topic helps bring the page to life. While some subjects are clearly more visual than others, there’s no excuse for not using some Creative Commons or licensed images, a YouTube video also explaining the subject, concept, interview with an expert, educator, practitioner, etc. While we try and accommodate as many styles of presenting learning materials, and those materials often reach us from the educator in text form, we would not be doing our job if we didn’t try and find a visual solution to break the text blocks up, even if it’s only a different way of presenting the text.
  • For the learner: if the learner wanted to read a textbook to gain the knowledge and qualification from the course, they’d that. Often what one learner likes is not what another likes. While one person can read book after book and retain the knowledge easily many cant, me being one of them. The inclusion of different sorts of activities helps, but so do different approaches to presenting the learning materials: image, charts, photos, infographics, video interviews, to-camera teaching presentations, video case studies, high-profile documentaries (check the ownership and originality if you’re using these from YouTube), etc. There’s always a way to bring something visual to the course.

Example: Documentary – DHL International Supply Chain, loaded to YouTube by DHL.

… now make an activity out of it, introduce some questions that the video can help with but requires the learner to go further afield to find answers and more resources for. Make the image or video part of the learning, not the learning itself.

Langauge

  • For me: If the whole team uses the term ‘page’ or ‘step’ to indicate a different element of a learning package, then be sure you all use that term. By using a variety of different terms to mean the same thing you will forever be translating instructions from one source to another for different things. Something will always get lost in the translation, mistakes will be made no matter how hard you try, and there will be more work down the line when you have to unravel the mess. Be sure the terms you use within the team are consistent (that word again) and appropriate. If you work with a new educator who’s used to different terms and ways of working then open the dialogue and work out what’s best – do they change to accommodate you and your team, or do you change your processes to accommodate them? Decide early on and stick to it! 
  • For the learner: No one wants to read a course that is heavy in jargon, acronyms, complicated academic terminology or badly presented materials. No one. Even if you’re writing for advanced Masters level students you should still use appropriate language, explain an acronym, and avoid jargon. You obviously don’t want to dumb the language down so it sounds like you’re being condescending to them, but there is a level that is acceptable. Find it, stick to it, and test it!

Familiarity in learning has always been about consistency – consistency in the approach to design and present the materials, consistency in language appropriate to the level of the course and the intended audience, consistency in quality of photos or images or videos, consistency in length of pages or steps. By being consistent in what you do and how you do it your course will also offer a consistency the learner will become accustomed to, which will bread familiarity and comfort with. From here it will be easier to follow the learning and complete the course.

Image source: Pete Birkinshaw (CC BY 2.0)

Articulate Storyline 360 – Publish as video – Review

In an eLearning course, the content is presented in chucks with page navigations and interactions. If you already have eLearning courses and you want to upload them to online course sites then it can be a challenge. There are many online course sites like Lynda, Skillshare, CreativeLive, Udemy, etc., that accepts video based content. To…

Die Siegerprojekte des eLearning AWARD 2018

Die eLearning Awards 2018, das sind, wenn ich richtig gezählt habe, 63 Kategorien und 63 Siegerprojekte, die von der Jury des eLearning Journals ausgezeichnet wurden. Über die Jury selbst und die Kriterien des Awards habe ich nichts gefunden, und die Kategorien sind alphabetisch geordnet. Mehr kann ich ihnen nicht ablesen.

Was findet man also? 63 kurze Fallbeschreibungen, nicht sehr lesefreundlich, aber man kann schnell die Liste der Unternehmen und ihrer Umsetzungspartner überfliegen und eintauchen, wo man halt hängenbleibt. Die Fallbeschreibungen decken ein breites Spektrum an Lösungen ab: Es reicht von den „Klassikern“, also LMS, WBTs und Assessments, bis zu aktuellen Stichworten wie „adaptiv“, „augmented“, „micro“, „gamification“ und „apps“. Zum Stöbern.
eLearning Journal, 2018

Why To Buy A Learning Management System

reasons-buy-learning-management-system

Is your online training program cost-effective and efficient? Or does it drain your resources? Learn 7 ways a Learning Management System can help.

Resources are at a premium in today’s economy. With corporate downsizing and budget cuts, it may be hard to justify buying a new Learning Management System. However, there are several reasons why buying a Learning Management System makes sense for organizations, large and small, even if you’re working with limited resources. Here are 7 notable Learning Management System benefits.

1. Savings On Time And Money

Most businesses incorporate training programs in one of two ways: A common method consists of in-house training staff, classroom infrastructure, and printed material. A second method involves a hired instructor to come onsite to conduct the class. The costs for this method include instructor fees, airfare, and accommodations. Both methods are costly.

When employees attend live presentations, production downtime lasts from one to two hours, depending on topic complexity. In the case of employee noncompliance, personnel must issue follow-up communication, schedule additional class time, and ensure attendance. By utilizing a Learning Management System, the allotted training budget no longer supports service fees and infrastructure. Production downtime is minimized and noncompliance is easier to track. Another cost benefit is seen in the in-house instructor. The time used by the instructor is reallocated for preparing updates to existing online training material or creating new online training material for further online training.

2. Training Adapted To Individual Needs

Training requirements fluctuate over time. Your company expands, you need to keep up with current regulations, or you identify gaps that must be addressed immediately. One of the Learning Management System benefits is that they can host onboarding online training, government rules/regulation, health and safety, and even multiple site consistency. With large companies, the new hire rate may call for monthly training. Plus, retained employees require yearly refresher training, which is sometimes governmentally controlled. These refresher courses are often provided monthly to accommodate individual hire anniversaries. Cost-efficiency declines when in-class training is conducted on such a frequent basis.

3. Flexibility Of Training

The individual employee gains complete flexibility of their schedule by utilizing a Learning Management System. With remote access abilities, the individual can get the training they need anywhere and at any time, using a variety of devices, such as iPhones, tablets, and computers. All of these options increase productivity giving employees autonomy in managing their own training schedules. There are two additional Learning Management System benefits regarding online training: First, the ability to stop and start the online training session. When the employee returns to the LMS platform, they will automatically return to the last screen they left the online training course at. This flexibility allows them to utilize small increments of downtime efficiently. Second, the ability to access the online training materials multiple times for continued reinforcement.

4. Compliance Metrics

When employees control their schedules, they are more likely to complete the online training. Therefore compliance statistics improve. Tracking LMS metrics is also simplified for training needed for specific laws, policies or regulations. Another measurement that can be tracked is the time each individual spends on the Learning Management System.

5. Track The Effectiveness Of Online Training Material

Once a large group has gone through online training, tracking assessment results through your Learning Management System can be a valuable source of information about the effectiveness of the online training course. Another good idea is to conduct a quick online survey through your LMS, asking direct feedback about the effectiveness of the online training course. For example, ask online learners to participate in a five-minute online survey to gain insight on what works and what doesn’t.

6. Talent Retention

With high turnover within the workforce, an efficient LMS can help retain top individuals. To accomplish this, create a broad base of online training materials, including company-specific knowledge for advancement, self-improvement of soft skills, scenario-based learning, and just-in-time online training. Soft skills are broken down into two categories: self-management and people skills. Examples of self-management skills are stress management, and problem-solving. People skills may include, teamwork, presentation skills, leadership, negotiation, and networking. By implementing online training courses to meet these skills, employees become better and more productive. Scenario-based learning is interactive, based on the responses given. Employees can adapt a better method to handle situations based on the feedback they receive from the online training simulation. When emergencies arise, there is no time to schedule and take in-house training to gain knowledge for that emergency. In this case, the employee may feel inadequate to handle unforeseen challenges.

7. Deploy Extended Enterprise Training

Learning Management Systems also allow you to deliver online training resources to external partners, such as remote sales teams and even consumers. As such, in-house employees aren’t the only ones who benefit from a flexible LMS platform. For example, franchisees are able to get all the online training resources they require to onboard new staff members and uphold company compliance. Likewise, customers have access to product demos and online training tutorials so that they can make better purchasing decisions, enhancing consumer loyalty and trust.

Two of the biggest Learning Management System benefits are time and money saved. Streamlining the online training process cuts down on both categories, so these resources are better utilized within the organization. Tracking LMS metrics becomes easier and more profitable. Employees benefit in multiple ways through an LMS, such as flexibility, talent retention endeavors, and multiple platform applications.

What Is A Learning Management System? LMS Basic Functions And Features You Must Know

Auswahl, Einführung und Pflege eines Learning Management Systems (LMS, Lernplattform) bestimmen immer noch den Alltag des Online-Lernens. Auch meinen. Von daher ist diese Handreichung von Christopher Pappas hilfreich. Und zwar nicht, weil sie Neuigkeiten oder Trends abbildet, sondern systematisch durch zentrale Frage- und Weichenstellungen führt. Im Einzelnen:

– What Is The Primary Function Of An LMS? …
– Who Can Benefit From An LMS? …
– LMS Deployment Options …
– LMS Customer Types …
– LMS Licensing Types …
– LMS Pricing Models …
– LMS Specification Support Types …
– Learning Management System Benefits …
– Top Features To Look For In Your New LMS: 1. Reports And Analytics, 2. Responsive Design, 3. Intuitive User Interface, 4. Support Services, 5. eLearning Assessment Tools, 6. Gamification Features, 7. Compliance And Certification Support, 8. Social Learning Support, 9. Localization
Christopher Pappas , eLearning Industry, 3. Dezember 2017

Choosing an LMS – it doesn’t have to be this hard

Quite probably, anyone who has spent any time at all researching online platforms for publishing their Cp content will have had the same two thoughts as me:

There really seems to be no end to the number of elearning system providers.

They all claim that they are the ultimate solution.

It is easy to get a little despondent when conducting research as to which Platform/LMS/LRS you want to use. Hours disappear as you wade through a seemingly never-ending ocean of similar looking websites all promising to solve your problems. Get excited about one then have your hopes crushed as you see the per-user pricing. Spend time reading reviews of another only to find out that it only uses its own course editor and nothing else. It is a vast, fractured landscape and the sheer amount of choices means that it is piratically impossible to compare like for like. Here’s a list of over 300 alone.

To save you time and heartache, I would strongly recommend deciding on only two criteria and keeping them at the forefront of your mind as you conduct a more focussed search, they are:

Your budget (both time and money)
Your must have features

Your must haves should be only that, the things that will prevent you from publishing your coursework if they are not present. With the sheer amount of different platforms available, they should have to fit in with your requirements rather than the other way round. Why should you have to use software you don’t really like just so they will accept your material?

Cp gives a pretty clear idea from the outset of what it is and isn’t capable of exporting. The main draw for a lot of people will be xAPI/SCORM support. Lack of this will immediately disqualify a good number of platforms (be careful, as I mentioned in another post, xAPI/SCORM support is a good excuse for providers to demand more money over their basic tier).

Your time budget should be just how much of it your are prepared to spend on the backend of the process. Typically ‘turn-key’ solutions are more expensive because you don’t have to do any site administration. The cheaper you go, the more you’ll have to do yourself. Support can quickly evaporate for the less well known products.

Get everything ready before you start any free trials. It is amazing how quickly the time will go if you get distracted with other projects. Having a defined list of features that you want to try will save time which might otherwise be spent idly clicking around a platform. Have a variety of Cp projects ready to upload, have test videos ready to embed. Make use of support both before and after, if you identify exactly what you must have, send this list to any platform which catches your eye and have them confirm for you if they can help or not.

Ultimately, it is unlikely that you’ll ever be completely sure that you’ve found the perfect solution. I personally spent far longer than I should have researching LMSs and in the end had to just accept that my final choice was simply the best combination of factors that I’d seen up to that point. I’d by no means compared every product available.

  • Identify your must-haves
  • Identify your budget
  • Set a deadline for making a decision
  • Accept that there will always be other platforms which may look like better options

Gareth

 

5 Hacks To Nail SCORM-Compliant Courses

All current trends in Learning and Development (L&D) indicate that traditional Learning Management Systems are nearing their end. How do you get around using an LMS and utilize the SCORM format in the most effective way? This article gives you 5 actionable tips on when and how to get the most out of SCORM.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Launch of awareness eLearning program by SHE Teams Hyderabad City Police

To increase the horizon of training activities carried out by SHE Teams, an e-learning course/ online training has been initiated jointly by Swift elearning Services and Hyderabad City Police – SHE Teams with the sole purpose to raise public awareness on women safety among the citizens especially women. By adopting the online mode of training…

State of the E-Learning Industry 2017

Wer mit E-Learning-Plattformen und -Tools zu tun hat, gerne auf dem neuesten Stand ist (deswegen auch regelmäßig auf den amerikanischen Markt schielt) und schließlich auch mit der saloppen Schreibe von Craig Weiss zurechtkommt, ist hier richtig. Hier die Kategorien, auf die der Experte in seinem Blog eingeht (irgendwo dazwischen finden sich auch nützliche Listen und Hinweise auf zukünftige, weitere Beiträge):

„Any who hah, the e-learning market is made up of various segments or as I prefer spaces.  Most folks are aware of

– Rapid content authoring tools (build courses – you build them)
– LMS and subsets, LP, SEP (Sales Enablement Platforms)
– 3rd party courseware providers (ex: Skillsoft, Wiley)
– Assessment tools including Online Testing Tools (even online proctoring) (ProProfs, ClassMarker, Questionmark)
– Learning Engagement Platforms (Degreed)
– Custom course/content shops (lots of them out there)
– Web conferencing tools (aka virtual learning classrooms, webinars)

But are you aware of these?

– Coaching and Mentoring tools (mobile is a key component)
– Knowledge Reinforcement tools (mobile is essential)
– Courseware marketplaces (OpenSesame, udemy, Coursera)
– Social learning tools (not the same as a Social Learning Platform)
– Video learning tools
– Learning Record Stores
– E-Learning tools – other  (not listed in any of the categories/spaces above)“

Craig Weiss, The Craig Weiss Blog, 11. Oktober 2017

Bildquelle: royalty free (Flickr)