6 Tips To Use Blended Learning For Onboarding

Why And How To Use Blended Learning For Onboarding: 6 Tips For eLearning Professionals

Do you know what is the average tenure of an employee in the U.S.? According to Forbes, only 1.5 years. That means that, unless you do something about it, your new hires are more likely to leave your company within the first and a half years of employment. Employee onboarding, when done right, ensures that not only the support you offer your newly recruited talents sets the tone for their successful integration in the organization, but also that they remain a great fit for a long, long time. The onboarding process is vital for every organization, and a blended learning solution can help you incorporate the perfect mix of different training types in order to achieve onboarding success. Here are only a few benefits of using blended learning for onboarding:

  • It is a great method to introduce your company’s strategy, brand, culture, and vision.
  • It personalizes the onboarding process.
  • It ensures that your newly hired employees feel welcome and supported.
  • It increases employee engagement through a variety of training methods.
  • It improves your new employees’ digital skills before they start working.
  • It encourages collaboration by enabling team building.
  • It offers your new employees the ability to immediately make an impact on your company’s productivity and success, as it allows them to practice what they are learning.

There is no question that blended learning for onboarding is a great solution to ensure that your new workforce is successful. But how can you make certain that you are following the right blended learning method? Let us have a look at 6 useful tips you may want to have in mind before you begin developing your blended learning formula for your onboarding training program.

6 Tips To Use Blended Learning For Onboarding

Following are 6 tips that will make sure that using blended learning for onboarding will take your onboarding training program beyond a simple orientation process.

  1. Start right away.
    Consider not waiting for your new employees’ first day at work to start the onboarding process. Provide them with an online welcome package including the onboarding schedule, contact information of their mentor or training coach, photos and descriptions of their future colleagues, answers to FAQs, and documented objectives and expectations. This way, you will make sure that when they enter their new office for the first time they will be better prepared for their onboarding experience.
  2. Use your face-to-face and online training accordingly.
    Onboarding is about both making your new employees feel welcome and providing them with the necessary information to make sure they will be efficient for your organization. A great onboarding experience balances your organizations’ needs and the needs of new hires for belonging and being valued. Face-to-face training makes the process more personal, whereas online training is ideal for providing relevant information to get employees involved. Depending on the number of employees you are recruiting, and the time and budget available, create an alternate schedule for face-to-face and virtual classroom training to focus on both empathy and efficiency.
  3. Take advantage of blended learning to accommodate different learning needs.
    Different employees learn in different ways, and blended learning is one of the most effective methods to ensure that everyone’s learning needs are being met. Use a mix of eLearning videos, audio elements, online scenarios, face-to-face seminars, eLearning games, and virtual activities to accommodate your entire audience’s needs. Provide a variety of learning methods and tools and make sure that all of your new employees are enabled to learn effectively everything they need to learn in order to become an integral part of your organization, as quickly as possible.
  4. Involve your current staff in both online and offline activities.
    Belonging is an essential need of new hires; hence it is of utmost importance that you help them integrate into the organizational community. Encourage your current employees to get in contact with the newly hired workforce and help them start working towards the company’s goals immediately by sharing necessary information, useful tips, and personal insights. Follow a social learning approach to help new employees build their network and involve your current staff in the designing process. Organize both offline activities and online discussions among people who already work in the organization and newcomers to encourage experience sharing and building strong interpersonal relationships within the company. This way you will both accommodate your newly hired staff’s sense of belonging and make your current staff feel that they actively contribute to your organization’s success.
  5. Make onboarding training an ongoing process.
    Consider spreading your onboarding training program over weeks or even months; onboarding should be an ongoing procedure rather than an one-off event. To make sure that you encourage a sense of growth in both job performance and work related behaviors you need to extend support over a long period of time. Have in mind that it usually takes time for people to settle in, so organizing a series of both online and offline onboarding activities for longer than only a few days will significantly increase your new employees’ engagement and motivation levels.
  6. Ask for feedback upon completion of the onboarding process.
    Upon completing onboarding, consider asking your new employees for feedback. Ask them to complete anonymous surveys and participate in focus groups in order for you to ensure both that the onboarding experience actually helped them understand what they need to do to contribute to the organization’s success and made them feel welcome and valued. You can also ask from your new hires’ supervisors to give you feedback about the onboarding experience. This way you will be able to collect invaluable data from both sides about the effectiveness of your blended learning approach, address any issues or concerns, and make the necessary revisions and improvements for your next onboarding blended learning program.

Now that you know how to use blended learning for onboarding, you may be interested in learning more about orientation training. Read the article 8 Tips To Create A Successful Employee Online Training Orientation Program and find out how to create an employee online training orientation program that creates a solid foundation for a successful, long-term working relationship between your company and your newly hired staff.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Minimize The Impact Of Global Holidays On Your Localization

How To Minimize The Impact Of Global Holidays On Your Localization 

In the world of developing content for diverse audiences, it never fails that international holidays effect your best laid localization plans. Holidays vary greatly from country to country and rarely align in a convenient manner when it comes to your localization projects and getting things done.

Resources can become scarce or non-existent for days or weeks at a time. This includes translators as well as voice talent and engineers. If you aren’t aware of what may be happening in other parts of the world, you may get caught up in holiday celebrations that you didn’t even know existed. Whether your resources are located abroad or in the US, you are likely to be affected by these international holidays. Many cultures still celebrate them here.

When looking at your overall project scopes for 2016, now is a good time to research how holidays may affect your timelines. It’s never too early to plan ahead.

Here are a couple of good resources to identify these bumps that may be ahead in your path:

Once you’ve identified the conflicts, you can adjust your start dates for localization to better accommodate these gaps. This will ensure you can complete your projects on time and with a bit less stress.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

5 Proven Ways To Engage Employees In Your Virtual Classroom

How To Engage Employees In Your Virtual Classroom 

Why is it so important for your organization to have engaged employees? Simply because employee engagement ensures that your staff not only is committed to your company’s vision, goals, and values, but is also motivated to contribute to its success. The same goes for engagement in corporate training: The more engaged your employees are in online training, the more they get inspired to implement what they are learning into their professional lives. So, how can you engage your employees? In this article, I'll share 5 proven tactics to engage employees in your virtual classroom and make sure that they are fully committed to achieving their goals by acting in the best interest of your organization.

  1. Keep the online training material relevant.
    This is a no-brainer; if your employees feel that their online training program isn’t about them, it is very unlikely that they will be interested in it. More often than not, employees tune out during their online training because the eLearning content is so generic that tends to be irrelevant. If you want your workforce not to fall asleep in your virtual classroom, you need to make sure that whatever is being taught is relevant to individual employees’ needs, problems, and concerns. This is why you should consider learning some things about your corporate audience before starting developing your online training material: Who are they? What are their ages, their professional and educational backgrounds? What do they expect to gain from their online training? What are their current skills and what skills they need to develop in order to do their jobs more efficiently? The more information you have about your corporate audience, the more successful you will be in creating effective online training material and the more interested your employees will be in learning what you have to offer them.
  2. Create rewarding online training activities.
    Recognition not only encourages positive behavior, but also promotes higher levels of performance and engagement. A way to make good use of this mechanism is to create a series of online training activities that focus on rewarding good performance: When you let your employees know that their contribution to the company’s success is recognized by rewarding them for their achievements, they automatically feel more important to the organization and their engagement increases significantly. Both rewards and recognition work as motivators that engage employees, whether they are Baby Boomers, members of the Generation X, or Millennials; show them they can make a difference during their online training, and they will want to prove you right on a daily basis, after they have completed it.
  3. Encourage collaboration and teamwork. 
    First of all, online training activities that involve being part of a team are much more fun and interesting than doing solo training activities. Furthermore, teamwork promotes a culture of trust and openness among employees, factors that enhance their engagement levels; so encouraging your trainees to collaborate to achieve online training goals and outcomes will greatly increase their interest in company's success and thus create more favorable conditions for their active participation. Consider introducing collaborative online training activities that develop the ability to work effectively with others toward common goals, promote knowledge sharing, and encourage creating solutions that benefit everyone involved. Collaboration is fundamental to boosting employee engagement, as employees view trust in their work environment as a top factor in job satisfaction. Create an online training environment that fosters online collaboration and effective teamwork, and your employees will feel more connected and more willing to support your company’s objectives.
  4. Make sure that online training is interactive.
    Interactivity is absolutely crucial for a virtual classroom; nobody wants to sit through an endless lecture. Encouraging your employees to actively participate in their online training will not only keep them interested, but also provide them with ways to put what they are learning to use. Consider including Q&A sessions that allow your workforce to ask questions and share their concerns, role playing online activities that offer opportunities for sales and customer service online training, skill practicing activities, professional development, eLearning games, online exercises, etc.
  5. Support the BYOD movement.
    The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy has been a proven method to increase employee engagement, among other BYOD benefits. Encouraging your workforce to use their own mobile devices, whether smartphones, tablets, or wearable gadgets, during online training will keep them tuned in, as they will work on an environment they are comfortable with and thus remain focused on what they are learning. BYOD makes your employees feel that your company is an attractive employer who adopts easily to the modern learners’ needs, as it is not only convenient, but also increases employee performance, productivity, and satisfaction. Take advantage of BYOD by using it in your virtual classroom and engage your staff by giving them what they want.

Now that you know how to engage employees in your virtual classroom, you may be interested in learning how to enhance your employees’ motivation and increase their beliefs in their own capabilities to perform work tasks successfully. Read the article Positive Reinforcement In Online Training: What eLearning Professionals Should Know to discover 4 benefits of using positive reinforcement in online training and 5 tips on how to use it more effectively to achieve the best possible results.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Why Users Love Advanced LMS Reporting In CourseMill LMS

Advanced LMS Reporting: Why You Should Choose CourseMill LMS By Trivantis 

As a manager, you’re probably used to getting reports via email from your company’s Learning Management System. But with CourseMill's advanced LMS reporting, managers can now create live links, straight from your desktop, to all your reports and dashboards. No need to wait for that email – you can check stats at any time.

This is done with Live Excel, a real-time interactive reporting feature. You can create shortcut icons on your desktop to this report; all you need is an internet connection, and you can get straight to your data with one click.

I think what they’ve done by integrating the Advanced Reports into CourseMill is really a stroke of genius”, says user David Lukasik, Chief Technical and Chief Learning Officer at PSI. “The legacy systems we’ve used in the past, the reporting has been a little bit clunky. What Advanced Reports is, fundamentally [Trivantis] leapt light years ahead and fully integrated a business intelligence system.

The ability to create live desktop shortcuts to your reporting dashboard allows reporters to access the information they want without having to log into CourseMill, making it much easier to quickly get information. With advanced LMS reporting you can track completion status, student interaction with specific questions in a course, transcripts, and more.

Advanced Reports allows you literally to reach to any field inside your database, you can hide fields, you can take data and manipulate it, you can put in custom fields to do calculations on information, and ultimately take a 30 column report and skinny it down to the 5 columns you want to show,” says Lukasik.

In addition, you can easily customize your reports and charts with drag and drop functionality. Lukasik notes that he finds looking at text-based reports to be difficult for a lot of people. However, with CourseMill's advanced LMS reporting “you can take those reports and convert them directly into dashboards, pie charts, line charts, column charts, and more. This makes the presentation of data so much easier for people to comprehend,” he says. Now users have “incredible controls and ability to put reports out in a much easier to consume format.

Advanced Reports provided a very quick ROI for Lukasik’s company and the amount of compliance increased by about 50 percent in a short period of time. In addition, he estimates that the new advanced reporting capabilities will save him about 20 hours a month. “It’s like someone came along and gave me a business intelligence system and I’m really happy about that,” says Lukasik.

And if the data is showing that you need to take your training program to the mobile level? CourseMill® Mobile is the perfect tool to deploy and manage your mLearning program. It synchs easily with CourseMill and tracks learner progress online OR offline. Plus, you can set your security worries to rest – CourseMill Mobile exceeds all known security requirements in the industry (over-the-air, in-the-cloud, single sign-on security and double encryption), so your learners can safely use their own preferred devices.

Sign up for a free 30-day trial of CourseMill today.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Choosing eLearning Supplier: 5 Factors To Consider

5 Factors To Consider Factors When Choosing eLearning Supplier 

Here are 5 important factors you need to consider during the process of choosing eLearning supplier:

  1. Think of provider’s size and industry experience. 
    • Ask the supplier for references. The right provider should be experienced enough in increasing its clients’ employees’ productivity and engagement.
    • Large eLearning providers seem more reliable. Such suppliers have all the opportunities to make courses on numerous business topics delivered by different lecturers. So, if you want to train various types of workers, a large provider is a perfect solution.
    • A small supplier usually demonstrates individual attitude towards customers. A team with just a few members is faster in performing tasks. They usually specialize in certain areas of business training. When you have to train your workforce, let’s say, in terms of sexual harassment prevention, small providers fit better.
  2. Choose a technically advanced supplier.
    Today eLearning is able to provide you with not only ordinary lectures to watch with a laptop – but also with the real educational experience.

    • Training and Development (T&D)  specialists should have the opportunity to quickly find the right courses among a large variety of materials available in online library and develop a personal program for each member of the office team. The 24/7 access to employees’ statistics is necessary to evaluate the learning effectiveness and provide recommendations for further education.
    • Employees should have the opportunity to learn with any gadgets. That’s especially important for those who can’t access computers and Internet on the job (for example, blue-collar workers). For such employees eLearning must be easy to access with devices like tablets, laptops, and smartphones.
    • No doubt, the supplier’s support service should be responsible for solving technical problems as fast as possible.
  3. Find an eLearning supplier for both educational content and Learning Management System (LMS).
    When establishing eLearning, try not to divide it into content and the system it goes well with.

    • If you find one supplier for both courses and Learning Management System, you can make sure your courses work with the learning system without any errors and problems.
    • Conducting the whole eLearning process is much more effective when you communicate with one supplier rather than with numerous teams. The provider gets a thorough understanding of what you and your employees really require from training.
  4. Consider high-quality courses. 
    • Make sure the supplier’s courses are interactive and engaging, with a high level of gamification. Education becomes more effective if employees have the right tasks and tests after each course. Business simulations allow employees to see the real outcomes of the choice they make right away.
    • Consider the speakers’ profiles. What about their professional background? Do they seem famous experts in their subject? Notice that the best professionals usually either work at large successful companies or teach at well-known universities.
    • What is also important is the courses’ availability in SCORM that allows you to use them with most Learning Management Systems without any additional costs.
  5. Pay attention to an easy-to-use interface.
    Nobody would like to learn with a badly-managed educational system and too complicated interface.

    • Employees consider an interface user-friendly when it’s easy to access the course, find recommendations for further learning after passing tests, and add courses to a wish list and calendar. That makes employees feel a personal approach.
    • For HR specialists an easy-to-use Learning Management System interface means a system easily connected with other HRM systems. That allows to test workers and find needed courses in just a few clicks. Moreover, Training and Development specialists should be able to have an instant access to statistics and the reports on employees’ results.

You probably still find it rather complicated to choose the right eLearning supplier. A good thing is that today most eLearning providers offer a trial period. Eduson provides a free 14 day demo: Try all the possible features and experience the quality of courses first hand!

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Learning Offline: 6 Tips To Create Printer-Friendly eLearning Courses

Learning Offline: How To Create Printer-Friendly eLearning Course

We may live in a tech-centric world where information is constantly at our fingertips. However, there are times when our learners simply don’t have access to the internet, but still need access to knowledge. This is why it may be worthwhile to make your eLearning course printer-friendly and viewable offline. Though your offline learners may not receive the full benefits of eLearning scenarios and eLearning presentations, they can still get the info they need and study the main topics of the eLearning content until they can get connected again.

  1. Create a downloadable PDF version of the eLearning course.
    This is one of the most effective ways to make your eLearning course accessible offline, especially if you would like your online learners to be able to jot down notes or work through most of the eLearning course without internet access. In many cases, PDF-based eLearning courses do require online assessments and surveys, however. Otherwise, you would have to request that all of your online learners mail or scan in their assessments so that you could manually grade them, which can take a significant amount of time. Ideally, PDF versions of the eLearning course should include only the eLearning course concepts, rather than online learning activities and exercises. This gives you the chance to still integrate more immersive elements, such as branching scenarios and video presentations, which can drastically improve knowledge comprehension and retention.
  2. Do NOT rely solely on color.
    Color
    can be a powerful eLearning tool. However, online learners who are printing certain pages of the eLearning course may not appreciate the fact that they’ll use up a significant amount of color ink. This is why it is important to rely not only on color to covey meaning; for example, you should avoid using color to depict relationships between related concepts. Draw lines, instead, or arrows to contrast and compare ideas or terms. Colorful images also fall into this category. If your images are only compelling enough if they are in color, then you may want to leave them out of the PDF version of your eLearning course.
  3. Choose font types and sizes carefully.
    This rule also applies to eLearning courses that are not necessarily printer-friendly. You should also be aware of the size and legibility of your font types. For example, an elegant font may be in-line with your brand image, but learners may become frustrated if it is difficult to read. Arial, Helvetica, and Times New Roman are good choices for printer-friendly eLearning courses, as they are easy to read and look great on the printed page. You should also make sure that the font size is large enough to read, but no so large that it wastes valuable page space. An 18pt font size might be legible, but it also reduces the amount of words that you can place on a single page.
  4. Provide clear instructions for accessing the eLearning course offline.
    Many online learners are already familiar with how to access your eLearning course. However, accessing the eLearning materials offline may be more challenging, especially if your eLearning course centers on interactive online activities and internet-based resources. Thus, it is essential to provide your eLearning audience with clear and concise instructions on how to participate when they are offline. Be very specific about how they can download any printable materials, as well as what they will still need to complete online. For example, you might remind them that they must complete an online assessment at the end of each eLearning unit or participate in an eLearning activity after every online lesson. This helps to avoid any confusion later on and makes them more likely to engage in the process, as they know exactly what is going on and what to expect.
  5. Include hyperlinks for supplemental online resources.
    If your learners opt to access the eLearning course offline, but do not want to print out the eLearning content, you may want to include hyperlinks that redirect them to resources they can access later on. For example, they can click on a hyperlink in the document to access a downloaded page on their computer. If you are taking this approach, however, you may still want to provide them with a list of resources that they can use to expand their comprehension, such as books, articles, or sites that delve into the subject matter.
  6. Create pop-out windows for key ideas and topics.
    Integrate pop-out windows into your eLearning course design, instead of making your online learners print out the entire eLearning course or a variety of different screen captures. You don’t need a pop-out for every piece of eLearning content. Simply focus on the key takeaways of the online lesson that they may need to reference at a later time. You can also create pop-up windows for supplemental documents  your online learners need to retain. Online learners can simply left-click on the window and choose the print option to quickly and conveniently print the necessary pages.

A printer-friendly eLearning course can give every member of your audience the chance to expand their knowledge and build their skills. Even those who may not have access to the internet can still participate in the engaging and entertaining eLearning experience that you’ve created.

No matter what your learning objectives might be or what your audience needs to take away from the eLearning course, creating eLearning experiences that are memorable is the number one priority. In the article, How To Create eLearning Experiences That Stick, you will find some invaluable tips that can help you create eLearning experiences that stick.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Stress-Free Responsive eLearning: 3 Examples Of Responsive eLearning Built With Elucidat

3 Examples Of Stress-Free Responsive eLearning 

Here are 3 great examples of how to create stress-free, interactive responsive eLearning with Elucidat:

1. Open University: To Lie Or Not To Lie?

Open University’s To Lie Or Not To Lie lets learners analyze their own moral compasses by placing them in non linear scenarios that vary from the Lewinsky affair to the Bloodgate scandal.

openu-responsive-elearning

Why we like it: 

  • Interactive, engaging, and entertaining.
  • Good use of touch-screen capabilities to enhance usability.
  • Great use of relevant images and videos –rather then text– to explain ideas and concepts.

Visit eLearning: Open University: To Lie Or Not To Lie?

2. Marshall ACM: Be Smart, Be Safe.

A brilliant personal safety project for Barnado's from Marshall ACM – the leading eLearning consultancy for online diversity and safeguarding training.

marshallacm-responsive-elearning

Why we like it: 

  • Clickable regions makes it easy to browse on mobile devices.
  • Menu enables seamless navigation between different pieces of content.
  • Good use of HTML5 technology to ensure multimedia content is optimized for mobile and tablet devices.

Visit eLearning: Marshall ACM: Be Smart, Be Safe

3. Delphi: Counterperson “Fuel” Training.

An engaging, mobile friendly course for Delphi –a global supplier of vehicle technology– created by Elucidat’s US partner, Learning Evolution.

delphi-responsive-elearning

Why we like it:

  • Good example of a responsive eLearning template – Delphi can reuse this theme to build multiple modules quickly (learn more about Elucidat themes).
  • Simple learning design allows the user to control how much – or how little – they want to learn.
  • Built with HTML5; ensures the video and audio files are mobile friendly.

Visit eLearning: Delphi: Counterperson “Fuel” Training

Why Companies, Training Providers And Publishers Use Elucidat To Create Responsive eLearning 

  1. Faster to create.
    Author once and deliver beautiful looking content to all devices. Use Elucidat’s responsive slider to quickly test and customize how your eLearning looks on mobile and tablet screens.
  2. Faster to publish.
    Quickly publish courses online or export to an LMS with one click (supports SCORM, Tin Can (xAPI) & MOOC).
  3. Faster to maintain.
    Rapid release technology makes it easy to quickly update one version of your eLearning and see the changes delivered to instantly to your course.

Interested in learning more? Take Elucidat’s 80 second video tour or sign up for a free 14-day trial.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

At The Heart Of An Educator

The Educator And The World Of Learning

As the light of a new day on Earth began to seep through the blinds, he looked up at the ceiling and started to ponder the human world, and how it had got to be so shitty. Was it simply steely Chaos Theory exposing the fractal mathematical properties of accumulated and proliferating human greed, or was this the work of an evil entity feasting on human suffering, shattered-dreams, and freedom?

Hey, chill out, the day’s just starting,” he said to himself. “It’s simple, in life, some fail, and some succeed. You know, it’s survival of the fittest. Just try to struggle through. It’s really not that bad. Anyway, most people are too busy worrying about who hasn’t liked them on Facebook to notice. They don’t really care about that kind of stuff. So stop being so negative”, he said back to himself.

But deep down, he knew none of that was true. He knew that for most, life was a slaughter house of unfairness and disappointment. He knew that Newtonian law of human action and reaction in an evil system might one day have its indiscriminate way too.

At which point, he got out of bed, grabbed his mobile, and on his way to the kitchen, he tried, as usual, to imagine what the news might be that day. He’d grown sick of the corporatist wars, the displacement of peoples, the rape of cultures, the slaughter of the innocent, the growing poverty, the barbaric loss of human potential, and most of all, he had grown sick of the lies. Democracy had ensured that the right questions would never be asked. Democracy had ensured that there would be Mickey-Mouse-money, deep-state-puppeteers, freedom-loving-bombs and oil-dependent-BTU-calories. Democracy had also ensured that the political world would mostly be a pantomime of bought-off, smooth-talking, smart-moving, narcissism-belching, and smile-guiling politicians.

At that moment, he felt the time for his morning dump was fast approaching. He sat down on the cold toilet seat and wondered where the hero was. He wondered where the man or woman of substance was. He wondered where the incorruptible, fearless, and human-loving problem-solver was. And as he grabbed another wet wipe, he declared fervently that one great mind could change a lot, that one great mind could change the world, that one great mind could unleash a transcendental human.

He then strangely scoffed at himself as he washed his hands. And as he got ready for work, he said to himself, “I’m not trying to suggest that what you just said about that one-great-mind-thingy in the toilet was idealistic drivel, or a Lord-of-the-Rings-pastiche for that matter. Please don’t think that for a moment. But you really need to mention the role of the educator vis-à-vis the commercialization of education, and student indebtedness”. That day, however, he wasn’t feeling sad, angry, frustrated, or helpless, he actually felt powerfully optimistic. He understood big changes were coming to the world, and he understood big changes were coming to the world of education too. He hoped in this new world creative mental skills would trump hollow social skills. He hoped in this new world of cataclysmic upheaval, real, honest, and loving people would turn things around too.

Thereupon, he left home, got into his car, and drove to work. As he weaved his car around arrogantly-irresponsible mobile-multitasking drivers, he started supposing what might lie at the heart of an educator, and then, he started saying the following:

At the heart of the educator lies sadness and anger at the state of the world. At the heart of the educator lies a violent love to undull the dulled and unglaze the glazed. At the heart of the educator lies an unseen hero of humanity in chains. At the heart of the educator lies a learner's bud that might flower, that might free, that might spread human love throughout eternity.

For him, there were no summative or formative packaged grades first. For him, there were no questionable factory-production-line can-do statements of supposed ability first. For him, there were no committee-idealized 21st century thinking skills first. The world needed real brawny crap-stirring brains. And for him, education meant nothing, pedagogy meant nothing, eLearning meant nothing without the heart of the educator. For him, designing the next forum discussion, the next recorded lecture, or the next course meant nothing without the heart of the educator. “And many media-pumped and tattoo-inclined students might agree with that too”, he thought.

Well that at-the-heart-of-the-educator-stuff was all very moving and noble”, he said to himself as he got out of his car and walked to his office. “But, really?”, he said to himself sarcastically. At that point, he walked up the stairs thinking he was sick of number-crunching publishing, and sick of trying to convince people he might have something important to say. It seemed, to him at least, that he would be nothing more than a grainy brushstroke on the heap of a crappy age. As he entered his office, he decided rather impulsively to say hello to the learning technologists in the adjacent office.

Hi everyone!”, he said.

Hi!”, they said back to him.

As he walked back out of the office, he paused momentarily, and said “It’s great working with you!

When he had gone, one learning technologist turned to another and said “That was weird”.

Maybe he’s trying to get us to record those Moodle training films in Camtasia again”, said the other learning technologist nervously.

No shitting way”, said another.

Maybe he’s just trying to be nice”, said yet another learning technologist as she munched into her delicious Greek cheese pastry.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Best E-Learning Posts of 2015

best e-learning posts 2015

2015 was another great year in an industry that’s still really hot. I hope you had a great year, too. Here’s a rundown of some of this year’s rapid elearning goodness.

Things You Need to Know

Before we review the best elearning posts for 2015, here are some important things related to this blog and the community.

Best E-Learning Posts for 2015

Here is a solid collection of blog posts for those getting started with elearning and who want to learn more.

best e-learning posts for instructional design

Best E-Learning Posts with Free Downloads

We all love free stuff so here’s a list of all the 2015 blog posts with free assets, applications, and templates.

best e-learning posts with free templates, free stock images, and free downloads

I’m excited about 2016 and hope you are, too. Have a great one!


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro


storyline-offer

There's a great offer to buy or upgrade to Storyline 2 before December 31. If you do, not only do you get some great elearning software, but you also get a number of free training webinars.


Free E-learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

Top 10 eLearning Activities You Can Employ To Build Strong Online Learning Communities

Online Learning Communities: Top 10 eLearning Activities You Can Employ 

Here’s a key quote coming from the brilliant Charles Darwin:

“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”

Indeed, collaboration can take you a long way; it’s the exchange and sharing of ideas that empowers and leads to success. Online collaboration fosters an environment of trust; it helps your audience feel more comfortable in the online learning environment and thus more motivated to actively participate in your eLearning courses. If done right, online collaboration can also boost your learners’ engagement, as it can help align your audience’s expectations with your learning objectives and provide a way to ask questions and exchange feedback via online discussions.

To maintain effective online collaboration among your learners, make sure that:

  • You make clear that you want to know your audience.
  • You establish learning goals and objectives from the beginning.
  • You have a strong, that is, regular and visible, online presence.
  • You provide the netiquette for online discussions.
  • You offer immediate feedback by quickly responding to online questions and addressing your audience’s concerns.

In this article, I will share the top 10 eLearning activities that can help you build stronger online learning communities and ensure that all of your online learners, make the most out of their eLearning experience.

  1. “Let’s Get To Know Each Other”.
    One of the simplest yet very effective eLearning activities you can employ is an introductory online discussion at the beginning of the eLearning course. First, you must also introduce yourself. Then, ask your learners to post short introductions of themselves, such as their names, their ages, their job titles or what they’re studying, and most importantly, why they are taking this eLearning course. Encourage them to interact with each other by commenting on their virtual classmates' posts, asking questions, or expanding their own thoughts. This will help eliminate the anonymity of the virtual classroom, establish trust among your audience, and make a positive start.
  2. “Ice Breaking” 
    If you are following a blended learning approach, you can create an eLearning activity to “break the ice” before face-to-face classroom training takes place. Gathering the trainees online before a traditional classroom training seminar will help accelerate the group’s ability to form, and thus perform more effectively the tasks they need to complete throughout their seminar. Furthermore, this will save both you and your learners time, as by the time they meet for their classroom training they will have already established relationships by having already introduced themselves to each other, having exchanged thoughts and concerns, and, therefore, they will be ready to focus on the training material.
  3. Online Discussions Via Skype.
    Here, it's the medium that makes the difference: Using a popular software application such as Skype for online discussions will make your learners feel more comfortable and engage with your eLearning content faster and more effectively, as they will be asked to use a medium that they are already using in their everyday lives. The subject of the online discussion is not of great importance; you can ask of your learners to comment on a course-related interesting famous quote or require them to consider a course-related problem and find a solution. The important thing is to have them all interact with each other and exchange ideas.
  4. eLearning Games that promote team building.
    What is the best way to boost knowledge retention while encouraging goal achievement, online collaboration, and competitive spirit at the same time? That’s right; an eLearning game. Team player eLearning games make eLearning fun and interactive; they also allow your audience to put what they are learning to use, develop their problem solving skills, and make challenging decisions in a risk-free environment. Moreover, by participating in team player eLearning games your learners play together while they enhance their eLearning experience by building stronger bonds with their virtual classmates.
  5. “Reply To All” Emails. 
    Another very simple eLearning activity to encourage online discussions and collaboration: Sending out an email to the whole group by inviting all recipients to reply to all. The content of your initial email could be an icebreaker question, or a suggestion for improvement related to the eLearning course, or even a question asking for feedback about the latest eLearning activity or online module. "Reply to all" emails can be very engaging as eLearning activities, especially when adding a little dose of humor. Just make sure that you actively participate in the online discussion by commenting regularly on your learners’ replies and encouraging the shyest members of your audience to express themselves by sharing their thoughts.
  6. Evaluating eLearning Activities. 
    Ask of your learners to assess their virtual classmates’ progress and offer them constructive feedback. Create small teams of equally “strong”, or "weak” participants, respectively, and require them to make judgments: What were the most powerful points in their peers’ arguments and why? How could they be combined with their own arguments to build a stronger thesis? This will both encourage online collaboration and develop your learners’ critical thinking and evaluation skills.
  7. Branching Scenarios.  
    Branching scenarios are a great tool to offer learners the opportunity to access their knowledge base and also learn from their mistakes in a risk-free environment. Consider encouraging online collaboration by dividing your learners into small groups where each group takes a different path in the online scenario. Then, ask them to compare notes and see how their different decisions affected the outcomes of the online scenario. This way, you will help them develop their decision making abilities and see the results of their choices via meaningful team work.
  8. “Follow Up” Online Meetings.
    Between eLearning modules, you can arrange short online meetings with your learners to discuss what it has been learnt, offer eLearning feedback, and answer questions. This overview will not only give you the opportunity to see if your key points and messages have gotten across, but also keep your audience engaged; both with your eLearning content and each other.
  9. Transferring Discussions On Social Media. 
    Social media are by default the ultimate platforms for building online communities. Consider creating a Facebook group and transferring the online conversation there. You can require your learners to examine arguments, suggest new ways to apply their newly acquired knowledge, challenge assumptions, and share new ideas, perspectives, and solutions while connecting with each other. You can also ask them to share their insights on the topic on Twitter, via course-related hashtags. The odds are, they will be very happy to actively participate in any eLearning activity when they are on their favorite online places.
  10. Online Conferences. 
    In case of corporate eLearning, organizing an online conference can be a great way to build an online learning community: Interactive PowerPoint presentations, streaming eLearning videos, live chats that allow for networking, sharing of resources and information, they all become possible via a powerful online conference that may take place over several days or even several weeks, depending on your goals. This eLearning activity can be especially useful for boosting engagement among distributed workforce, as it reinforces your company’s internal social network, wherever they are.

Now that you know the top 10 online learning activities to promote social learning and build strong online learning communities, you may be interested in learning how to use one of the greatest online social platforms, LinkedIn, for your benefit as an eLearning professional. Read the article 10 Netiquette Tips For Online Discussions to discover 10 invaluable tips for participating in online discussions, so that you will be able to make the most of your eLearning experience.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.