Monday, 27 April 2015

How LMS Software can help your Organization Succeed?

As e-learning is gaining popularity in corporate circles, organizations are making sure that they have the right platform to deliver the learning – effectively and seamlessly. But it is important to consider that implementing a LMS system across an organization is an investment and the best results are seen only if it is utilized well. Createdwith the right Learning Management System software, a LMS can streamline the entire training process of an organization. Modern Learning Management system software can make learning available as well as provide deep insights into the effectiveness of the learning across a varied group of learning organizations. Here are some key features that a Learning Management System software should have to deliver effective training.

  •  At the very basic level, a LMS manages learners, instructors, courses and available resources. In addition to this, most Learning Management Solutions of today have some basic features, which cover the rudimentary essentials for learning in an organization.  
    • Automated Reporting: Reports can be churned out, as per pre-designed formats and sent to relevant stakeholders. The whole process can be scheduled as per the requirements of the training managers.
    • Inbuilt assessments -- CYUs, quizzes or question banks.
    • Automated notification emails which inform the learner of upcoming training events and help them plan their respective schedules better.
    • Scheduling of all training events – Scheduling of e-learning courses and other training events like classroom sessions can be done automatically.
  • In addition, new-age Learning Management Systems also have enhanced features that can be utilized to for different organizational learning needs. These features are best-suited for organizations that are open to exploring newer modes training and believe that their trainees will benefit from them. Some of the enhanced features of new-age LMSs are:
    • Social learning: Learners can learn from each other and collaborate and learn together.
    • Mobile Learning: Learners can access courses through mobile devices – including smartphones and tablets. Their progress is synched automatically within the main system and the learner can thus take up learning from where he or she left it – even if they are accessing learning from multiple devices.
    • In-built video player: Access to instructional videos, 3D simulations or webinars within the confines of the LMS.
    • Automatic notification through SMS 
  • Flexibility: The structural architecture of a Learning Management System should be flexible enough to accommodate the changing needs of the organization.
    • With an increase in the number of learners, concurrent load on the LMS can increase and the structure should be robust enough to support that.
    • Learning material within the LMS also increases with time. The Learning Management Software should be able to support that.
    • LMS should also have the flexibility of add-on features, that can implemented as per the needs of the organization.

LMS softwareis evolving to provide a seamless yet interactive learning environment. It is best to choose the best-suited LMS that aligns to the needs of the organization as well as the audience profile.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Responsive Design is leading the way for a Multimedia Approach in E-Learning

With more and more mobile users, organizations are now opening up to the option of delivering content on the mobile platform as well. The concept of mobile learning or m-learning is not new but with a variety of different devices including the BlackBerry, iPhone, the iPad, Kindle and so on, it is difficult to design different versions as per screen resolutions and other device functionalities. Developments in the field of Web design and development, are now geared up to keep up with the varying resolutions and devices. With a Responsive Web design the design of web-based content responds appropriately to the user’s environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. The practice consists of a mix of flexible grids and layouts, images and an intelligent use of CSS media queries. The user is free to switch from one device to another but the content automatically switches to accommodate for resolution, image size and so on. Thus the content can be utilized for responsive learning as it automatically responds to the user’s preferences and viewing devices. This eliminates the need for a different design and development for different devices, cutting costs as well as development time.

To create e-learning content with responsive learning design, there are three main technical features to be considered:
·         Media queries and media query listeners: Media queries allow the web page to use different CSS style rules based on characteristics of the device the site is being displayed on, most commonly the width of the browser.
·         A flexible grid-based layout: The fluid grid concept calls for page element sizing to be in relative units like percentages or ems, rather than absolute units like pixels or points.
·         Flexible images and media: Through dynamic resizing or CSS, flexible images are sized in relative units – up to 100% – to prevent them from displaying outside their containing element. A full image is downloaded on a user’s device and then resized to fit the screen.

Responsive web design can be developed with HTML5. Thus mobile content can be created and displayed across all devices – PCs, tablets and mobile phones – and is compatible with different OSs as well. HTML supports responsive design features to create e-content that can be accessed across multiple devices, with equal ease and equally effective visual impact.

The benefits of RWD in e-Learning are many:

·         There is no longer the need to maintain multiple versions of content. One version caters to all devices, browsers, resolutions and layouts, including PCs, Macintosh computers, tablets, e-book readers, and mobile devices.

  • Any program or application update can be done simply by changing the base code, and it will be automatically updated for all devices. Not only does this save precious time and moneys but it also gives room to update the program or application as per the changing needs of the client.
  • RWD shuffles content, application layout, images, and font size to adjust according to the screen size of the users’ device. The user can navigate conveniently, without the need to scroll or pan-in or pan-out unnecessarily. User experience is thus smooth and easy – across all viewing devices.
  • With RWD, it is possible to include a lot of multimedia content into learning. Audio-visuals as well as graphical content is rendered as per the functionalities of the user device and this provides the learner with heightened visual experience – irrespective of device capabilities.
Responsive learning is now paving the way for learning to be not only accessible on multi-devices but making sure that it provides a heightened sensory impact as well.  With the use of more multimedia content, developers are now able to create content that the modern learner wants. With further advances, RWD will continue to bring impactful learning to users – anytime and anywhere.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Mobile Learning has become a Popular Method for Skill Development

In the area of corporate training, the benefits of mobile learning are many and most organizations are open to the idea of making their trainings available on the mobile platform. Since the learning-content is available for the learner at all times, mobile learning can be a strong platform for skill development. The endeavor is learner-driven and this makes sure that the learners are engaged with the content and can utilize it the most when they need it. In the last few years, mobile learning has made lot of progress and mobile learning management systems now make learning accessible to learners at all times. One of the early utilization of mobile learning for skill development was through the Text messages or SMS that cater to the immediate learning needs of learners. Here is an example of how mobile technology can be utilized to increase the language skills of tourists in a foreign land:

  • To begin with, Language Support Information booklets can be given at popular tourist spots like airports, hotels, popular restaurants, and so on.
  • The booklets can be informative -- providing basic introductory phrases that the learners can have handy for use.
  • In addition, the tourists can register their numbers on to a help service to receive SMS updates as per their requirement.
  • The updates are then sent to their mobiles on a regular basis.
  • Learners themselves could also request a translation of a particular phrase to or from the language and will receive an instant reply.
This model has many benefits and can be replicated for corporate training as well to deliver skill enhancement trainings.

  • The learning endeavor did not set out to achieve huge milestones in learning the language. The knowledge of the language was just enough for the tourist to feel comfortable in his new environment and be able to self-sustain.
  • These words were regularly sent out to the tourists, several times a day. By reading out the words several times a day, the learner would slowly become comfortable using them in practical scenarios.
  • On-demand requests from the learners were dealt with as well by searchable repository of words and phrases. When a learner makes a request to search a particular word/phrase, the word or phrase is directed to a database and the relevant translation is then sent back via SMS.
There are many benefits of this model:
  • This model was a start to the long way of learning a language. It provided elementary support that can help the learner communicate on a very basic level.
  • Text messages could be saved on the learner’s phone, which helped them to refresh as and when they needed to.
  • Reading the SMS was not tiresome as the length was kept very short for instant use and utilization.
Mobile technologies have many utilizations and it is a strong platform for delivery of skill enhancement trainings as well. The mobile learning platform is a powerful medium that gives out continuous support – and is therefore best utilized by the learners.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

LMS Provides Customized Learning for the Modern Workplace

Though training and learning have always been part of the workplace, the way that people learn has changed over the last decade or so. With the advent of computers into the workplace, technology-aided learning has truly made its foray into corporate training. Learning management systems have been developed to make sure that learners can access training and a seamless system is in place to track their progress. But that is not all that online learning management systems can do. A modern learning management system is equipped to handle a lot – from content delivery, creating student evaluations and assessments, building online digital repositories, providing a platform of collaborative learning and so on. More than anything, a successful learning management system provides learning as per the needs of the learner – it is customized and personalized as required. This is what makes it a successful learning platform in the corporate scenario.

  • Most modern learning management systems have simple and logical structure. This does not deter the learner to interact more with the system and try out all its features to utilize it to the hilt. The learners do not have to learn the workings of a new system in order to access the e-courses. In addition, many learning management systems also have built-in features that allow learners or managers to customize its looks as per their linking. For instance, within the organization, a team can customize the look of the UI with in-built skins that make the platform more appealing, it also builds the solidarity of learners within that group.
  • In addition, Learning Management Systems can be integrated with existing systems which ensures that managers or administrators can assign e-courses to them on a single database – most commonly the HRMS and the learner can access it from the existing system itself. No extra sign-in are required from the learners’ end. This also suits the managers as they can prepare a learning portfolio for their employee – customized as per their learning requirements.
  • The learner themselves too can browse the learning management system and choose e-courses for customized learning. The learning management systems becomes truly beneficial when it allows the learner to decide and get the choice of learning as well. Most modern LMSs thus have a search function and catalogues within the system where learners can look for reference material, quizzes, assignments, discussions or even audio-visuals on a particular subject.
  • In addition to customization, e-learning developers should keep in mind that most learners have short attention spans. Thus text heavy and lengthy e-courses are a bad idea as they are just conversions of written training material into electronic format. To be impactful, e-courses should be segregated into smaller modules of information that the learner can access as per requirement. This helps them to retain better and access the Learning Management System for a series of short learning sessions instead of lengthy ones where they are sure to lose interest.
Learning management systems are beneficial for organizations as well as learners for many reasons. But the structure and features of the learning management system should also be created with a learner-centric focus as they are the end users of the platform. With customized learning, learner engagement can be increased and so can be the overall success of the learning endeavor.

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.