Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Steps to Choose Successful Learning Management System Vendors

With growing training needs, corporate organizations now need a system of training delivery that delivers learning and tracks it on a continual basis. Modern LMSs not only deliver learner, but manage the entire training process of an organization – including assigning e-courses, management of classroom training or blended learning, populating regular custom reports as well as assessing learners. Thus, when choosing a Learning Management System Vendor, we need to keep some important points in mind – to get the maximum ROI and deliver impactful learning.

  • Learning Management System Vendor should provide a system that helps the learners find pertinent learning material quickly and efficiently. If the structure and navigation of the LMS is complicated, the Learning Management System Vendor may need to make necessary changes to suit the audiences. It is important to make sure that the LMS has features that support learning objectives. Extra functionalities make a LMS difficult to navigate and the complexity scares most learners.
  • Learning Management System Vendor should make sure that the Learning Management System is able to comply and get integrated with existing systems. When Learning Management System Vendor successfully integrates the learning platform with HRMS and other software it is easier to track learners and align their learning with other activities in the organization.
  • Learning Management System Vendor should also provide ‘on demand’ learning for the learners in an organization. L&D managers can generate collated reports of learner’s comments and suggestion. This can be shared with the Learning Management System Vendor, who can keep aligning the content as per their needs.
  • Learning Management System Vendor should also provide a LMS that is mobile-compatible to aid the needs of the modern learner who spends a considerable time on mobile devices. This increases the accessibility of the learner and also aligns it as per the just-in-time needs of the learner. With the mobile access of LMS, the learner accesses content not only when he ‘has to’ but when he ‘needs to’.
  • The Learning Management System Vendor should also provide ample choice and variety in terms of available e-content. They should also make sure that support is provided to new learners – especially in the initial days of LMS usage. This support can be made available through a phone hotline, live chat or even a dedicated email account. Learners can post their queries and doubts and the vendor should make sure that these are answered within a stipulated amount of time.
By following these points it is possible to invest wisely with a Learning Management System Vendor to ensure impactful learning as well as learner satisfaction. The true benefit of training can thus be permeated to the entire organization. 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

E-Learning Content Localization is the Best Way to Reach non-English Learners

Since the last decade, the popularity of e-learning has been growing across the corporate sector, touching all industries and audiences alike. With the investments directed towards e-learning, companies are also reaping positive ROI in terms of reaching out to their global employees and ensuring same standards of learning across the organization. However, there are some considerations that must be taken into account when creating e-learning content for a global audience and the biggest consideration is that of e-learning content localization.

E-learning content localization is the process of creating content keeping in mind the different local and cultural preferences of the intended audience. It may include Translation of written or spoken text. But it is not just that. E-learning content localization is much more than just changing the language so that the learners can read up the e-course. In addition to the change in language, e-learning content localization includes suitable changes in graphics, iconography, font, use of color, tone and so on.

Here are some tips for effective e-learning content localization:

  • For effective localization it is important to understand the learning behavior, preferences and needs of the target audience. While the diverse audience may have many different preferences, there has to be a common learning objective. This needs to be identified before the course development in the source language.
  • Cultural biases towards icons, figures or colors needs to be kept in mind. Local experts can attend to language translations and bring in the right cultural flavor to the text. This makes sure that the e-content is as per the cultural preferences of the audience. 
  • When e-course is developed, e-learning content localization experts should make sure that the text is concise and crisp. It is important to avoid alliterations and descriptive passages that will confuse the local translators. The use of slang or jargon should also be avoided to make the content free of culture-specific references.
  • Audio accompaniment is often an integral part of most e-learning courses. The localized audio should be in sync with the accompanying text, graphics or animations. If using human-voice for voice-overs, choose a suitable mix of gender and ethnicity keeping the target audience in mind. Here too, choosing local voice-over artistes is the best option to bring in the right cultural flavor in the audio.
  • Remember that cultural bias towards graphics and icons are the strongest. It is a good idea to create graphics with common tools like Photoshop, which allow ‘layering’ that keeps imbedded texts separate in source-files (.psd format). This allows changes to be made in the text, while the image can be left the same.
  • Many modern organizations which have a regular and continual need to localize their trainings often prefer to outsource the process of content creation as well as localization to an e-learning company which has all required services. Not only does it centralize the process, the training content is prepared keeping the needs of localization in mind.
E-learning content localization is a necessary process for most organizations that have global audiences. Instead of creating separate training content for different groups, e-learning content localization is the better option as it saves time and costs.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

M-Learning is the Best Technology for People who want to Learn – anytime, anywhere

M-Learning or mobile-based learning has emerged as the new technology for learning in the modern era. Keeping par with the growing availability of mobile devices, they are being utilized as devices that offer much more than just calling facility. Modern learners are realizing the power of knowledge and thus want to learn anytime and anywhere. This explains the growing popularity of mLearning in India as well as in the global market.

In addition, modern technologies are also making sure that m-Learning development is more streamlined, standardized as well as budget-friendly. Thus m-Learning is the most preferred way of learning for the modern learners -

·         Modern learners can access learning content on mobile devices very easily and do not have to be trained, especially for the mobile delivery. This creates a shorter learning curve as the content can be developed and made available in a continuous flow – as per the needs of the learners.

·         Developers are also realizing that mobile learning is not the same as e-Learning in a different format. So, creating content which is just compatible to the mobile platform is not enough. The content developed for mobile learning should be as per the strengths and limitations of the platform. It is difficult to read long documents on the smaller mobile screen. So, smaller learning nuggets work best for the mobile platform – with minimum text but other media inclusions like graphics, audio and video.

·         A lot of variety of mobile content is being created to cater to the different needs and preferences of the modern learners. M-Learning can be created to include a lot of interactivity – including audio and video-based learning, which can be utilized very well on the mobile platform. For learners too, it is easier to assimilate compared to plain text-based learning courses. 

·         With time and evolving technologies, mobile learning technology is also fast changing to create and deliver impactful learning. Mobile learning content does not have to be created separately. HTML5 is being progressively used to create mobile learning content for multi-device delivery. The content is suited for multiple devices and has the same viewing experience as well. In addition, web-responsive technology can also be utilized to create mobile learning content that aligns itself as per the specifications of the viewing device.

Mobile learning is now an established way of training in the corporate sector – more so because new-age learners are more open to the idea of learning. With growing interest in the area and newer technology, m-Learning is certainly the future of learning.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Benefits and Advantages of Online Learning Courses

In the new-age workplace, knowledge is a great asset. Thus training and learning is a continuous process in the corporate world. Learning and Development managers have to explore effective ways of learning, and online learning courses are fast becoming the perfect route for new-age learning. Catering to the varied learning needs, online learning courses open a world of possibilities where learners can access learning as per their schedules – anytime and anywhere.

Keeping in mind the needs of the organization and the learner, variety of online learning courses can be developed for an organization. With the right blend of learning strategy and technology, the new age learning space can benefit a lot from online learning courses.

Some benefits of online learning courses:

  • In the existing climate of financial turmoil, costs and budgets are of serious concern to most organizations – big or small. Developing online learning courses can bring huge returns for an organization – in terms of moneys as well as impactful learning. Arranging for a training session brings with it a lot of expenditure: travel, stay, equipment etc. Online learning courses reach employees across all locations, and this mode of learning does not necessitate travel.

  • An organization also makes a lot of time savings from online learning courses. Planning for trainings can be tedious as the availability of learners as well as trainers needs to be kept in mind. Often, unnecessary delays occur due to incompatibility of various schedules. With online learning courses, time spent on arranging for training can be fruitfully spent on other pressing matters -- freeing most managers to handle their teams better.

  • Online learning courses can also be created swiftly and delivered with ease. Existing trainings or content can be creatively converted into online learning courses and delivered across technology-aided learning platforms. Trainers can also be involved to provide a blend of e-learning and traditional classroom training. Modules can also be updated as and when the content requires upgrading or the learner needs change.

  • Evaluation: A key ingredient to learning is the evaluation. e-Learning ensures that effectiveness of a course is open to evaluation by the organization. Learning management systems (LMS) and other assessment engines can give regular updates of the learner’s progress through the course, the problem areas, or even raise flags if the learner is slacking! This is a useful tool at the hands of a manager or the HR team. Knowing the skills and knowledge acquired by a learner helps to ascertain their capabilities and further helps them in assigning responsibilities.

  • Learning can be a tedious process for many learners. But most learners endure a training session because it is necessary or mandatory. With online learning courses, learning content can be made more interesting and impactful. Text heavy or instructional courses can be lightened by graphics, audio-visuals or even interactive sessions -- which involve a learner -- as opposed to just providing pertinent information. This generates a heightened interest in the course content as a whole – all leading to the culmination of effective learning.
The benefits of online learning are now being utilized by organizations across the world. With developing technology and newer learning strategies, online learning is growing and so are its many advantages and benefits.