Tuesday, 30 June 2015
Thursday, 25 June 2015
The need for impactful e-Learning development is growing across the corporate sector. With more and more training budgets directed towards e-learning, companies are able to reach 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. Developers need to make sure that the content is as per the requirement of the audiences. E-learning content Localization comes in at this point – making e-content suitable for specific audiences as per their individualistic requirements.
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. However, this is not all. E-learning contentLocalization is much more than just changing the language so that the learners can read up the e-course. While saving time and money it also increases the reliability of e-Learning content, as just one sample of content needs to be verified – and then localized into different modules for a far-reaching global learning strategy.
- The first step to effective e-learning content localization is 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 the 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.
Tuesday, 9 June 2015
Technology has evolved rapidly over the past few years and so has the way we work. The workplace has changed scene from traditional desk spaces to a large and fluid area where people are connected to each other all the time through technology. Employees have moved on from desktop computers to laptops and now, tablets and smart-phones. India too has witnessed immense technological advances over the years – especially in the area of mobile usage. It now ranks 2nd in the world, only behind China, in the number of mobile devices in use across the country. As of February 2015, the number of mobile devices in use in India is 960,579,472 (Source: Wikipedia).
With the rapid increase in the use of mobile devices, mobile learning (mlearning) has also made a powerful contribution in the area of training – making it available as per the needs of the learner, anytime and anywhere. mLearning is suitable for a wide range of learners in different industries. mLearning in India can be very successful on account of the workforce becoming increasingly mobile. mLearning can provide short learning nuggets, audio or video-based learning and even performance support. Here are some ways that the mobile learning platform can be utilized:
- To enhance and support the learning imparted in class or through an e-course, course notes can be shared after an instructor-led session or once the learner completes an e-course. This reinforces the learning and increases its impact drastically. The learners can refer to these notes from time to time and refresh their learning, which then reflects on their performance as well. Similarly, checklists can also be prepared for courses or sessions which highlight the crux of the learning through tabulated pointers. Through the mobile devices, the learners can refer to these anytime and anywhere – especially during the course of actual work.
- Another performance support tool can be sent as practice assignments so that learners can practise newly acquired skills outside of the class as well. The assignments can also be sent after the learner completes the e-course. The added advantage is that the learner can read up an e-course on the mobile learning management system and then the same system provides practice assignments to develop the skills gained.
- Short audio recordings or podcasts can also be developed that provide performance support at the time of need. In-house podcasts can be developed by instructors or the learners themselves to encourage sharing and peer-learning.
- Similarly, videos can also be created to gain the instant appeal of all the learner groups. Videos are a great way of providing performance enhancement tools through mobile learning management system as it delivers just-in-time learning – which can be accessed as per the emerging needs of the learner. Videos can encapsulate concepts or topics in a way that appeals to the learners as it has minimal text and attractive graphics. It helps the learners gain quick knowledge quickly and apply it instantly onto the area of work. Organizations can encourage knowledge sharing by providing learners with simple devices with built-in cameras to record videos themselves and share it with the fellow learners.
- It is important to keep in mind that in mobile platforms the reading space is constricted. Also, the opportunity to read is when the learner is on the move. In this scenario, infographics can be utilized to convey information. Infographics can be easily created and easily disseminated among the learners providing encapsulated and tabulated knowledge in an attractive way. Infographics use graphics and minimal text to create visual representations of concepts, which works very well for the mobile platform. Also, infographics are image files that are compatible with all learner devices and learners do not have to download any other supporting programmes. They also take up very little hard-disk space and thus can be saved or stored in the device for further utilization as per the perceived need of the learners.
To help and support the learners to apply the learning on to their work, it is necessary to provide learning as per their needs – as and when they need it. The time is ripe to utilize the mobile platform for learning, and all countries -- including India -- can benefit from the vast opportunities that mobile learning provides.
Friday, 15 May 2015
Training and Learning is necessary for the corporate workplace as knowledge and skills of employees have to be continually revived. So, it is important for corporate employees to learn and get trained throughout their careers. With e-learning, training courses can be made readily available for the learners anytime and anywhere. This provides flexibility of learning and aligns it as per the needs of the learners. Learning Management Systems make learning available in an easily accessible manner as well as help in keeping track of the learners’ progress. Of late, Cloud LMSs have been put in place, which are helping organizations to reduce additional hardware or implementation costs to provide hassle-free learning.
- Cloud Learning Management System makes e-courseware available to learners in a seamless manner. With clean design and intuitive as well as logically structured UI, Cloud LMSs make sure that learners get used to the new learning system very fast. This increases the impact of learning, as the learning curve is reduced considerably. This also encourages learners to interact more with the LMS – find more content and other capabilities to increase the utility of the LMS.
- Most Cloud Learning Management Systems have built-in ‘search’ facility that help the learners find pertinent content within the course catalogue of the LMS. The utility of the Cloud LMS is further increased as learners can look for what they want and find it easily.
- Cloud LMSs have a lot of built-in flexibility that provides options for learners to have a personalized feel to the learning environment. The UI can be customized in terms of color, images or theme. Being on the Cloud, Managers or administrators can log on anytime and assign different groups with a different ‘look’ even when out of office or travelling.
- Cloud LMSs can also be accessed on mobile devices and the learners can log on with multiple devices as per their ease. Thus, they can choose to learn ‘on the go’ and utilize the e-content better, as and when it is most needed during the course of work.
- Even when the LMS does not reside on premise, the security concerns of the data is maintained thoroughly. Through appropriate measures like encryption and firewalls, the data residing in the LMS is kept safe.
- Implementing the Cloud Learning Management System, the amount of data residing on the system can be increased as per the growing needs of the client. No extra costs or infrastructure is needed – saving costs as well as time. This gives the clients complete freedom to upload as much content as they deem fit for their learners. The learners too are given more freedom to choose what they want to learn and when.
- The number of concurrent users on the Cloud LMS is also flexible. This is a boon for smaller organizations that often experience an increased number of learners who require quick and efficient training. The benefit of Cloud LMS is that with growing number the system does not slow down at all.
Monday, 27 April 2015
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
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 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
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.