Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Installed Versus Cloud based Learning Management System

For the modern workplace, Training and Learning are very important. Employees need to acquire newer skills and knowledge on a continuous basis to be effective and attain professional success. This is the reason why most of the organizations take the process of training with apt seriousness and implement the Learning Management Systems, or LMSs, to provide learners with the opportunity to learn as per their own needs and pace. The adoption of eLearning software does however, me with its own sets of needs and overheads. Organizations need to devote certain amount of time and finances to manage an learning management system. Even if the organization has a dedicated team to handle the change in management that comes along the implementation of an LMS, most find it difficult to ensure widespread adoption and user satisfaction.

Compared to the installed legacy LMSs, there are many benefits of implementing a Cloud learning management system, especially for the smaller organizations who do not have the necessary support staff to manage or maintain the learning management system. 

  • Smaller organizations have limited budgets and with cloud learning management system, you can make significant cost savings, especially at the initial investments level. Smaller organizations often do not have the necessary infrastructure or the in-house expertise to deploy and run an installed LMS. They do not have the freedom to carry heavy overheads in the ever changing market situation. For them the pay-as-you-go mode of a Cloud learning management system makes more sense, as it allows them to reap the benefits of training without incurring any overhead costs.

  • LMS have to be installed at each and every office premise of an organization. However, the technological infrastructure might not be appropriate across different offices, making it difficult to train the employees in remote locations, or those on the move. With Cloud learning management system, the learners can connect with the internet through the device of their choice, be it a desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. The learners also need internet connection, which is available even in remote locations. But if in any case the connection is inconsistent, the learners’ progress can be saved and the courses taken up from the section last read.

  • Integrating a Cloud learning management system is also simpler than an installed LMS, and can be done in a remote manner. This makes sure that LMS data is synched with data from other systems across the organization, especially with HR database that controls and maintains user access of the learning system. Learners can be assigned courses with ease and the administrators can chart their progress without logging in and out of different systems.
Cloud-based solutions are with gradual pace, being accepted by organizations across the world due to the scalability, flexibility, and cost savings it provides. It makes sense, as it is easy to deploy, implement, and maintain. Cloud learning management system provideshassle-free learning, as compared to install on premise LMS.

Monday, 26 September 2016

The Success Of Mobile Learning In Corporate Sector

Mobile Learning or mLearning has emerged as the platform for learning to new age corporate learners. Mobile devices are now easily available and affordable for all. In addition to e-courses, corporate organizations are making use of this ubiquitous platform to deliver learning to their learners – anytime and anywhere.

E-Learning developers are including mobile learning within their repertoire of e-learning services. Newer technologies are also ensuring that mlearning development is more streamlined, standardized as well as budget-friendly.

Success of m-learning in the corporate world has been due to several factors.
  • Users are getting accustomed to the mobile platform: Modern learners have a variety of online activities that include social networking, shopping and paying bills. They also watch a lot of videos and listen to music on their handheld devices. Accessing learning content on mobile devices thus comes naturally to them – especially if the content is aligned to suit the medium as discussed in the next section.
  • The development of mobile-friendly content: Creating mobile content is not just making e-content available on mobile devices. Just as converting classroom presentations into e-format does not deliver impactful e-learning, converting e-courses into mobile learning also does not reap results.  The content developed for mobile learning has to align itself to its strengths and keep its limitations in mind. Small bursts of learning work best for the mobile platform – with minimum text and prominent media inclusion like graphics, audio and video.
  • Creating mobile learning is not overly expensive: There are many ways of reducing mobile learning costs. Previously, separate modules of mobile learning and e-learning used to be developed to cater to the needs of the two platforms. But by using modern development technology like HTML5, content can be created for delivery across multiple devices – laptop, mobile or tablets. Also if you have existing e-content, a lot of material like graphics, videos, animations and audio can be reused when creating mlearning content – thus making cost and time savings.
  • Rapid authoring tools for Mobile Learning: By using rapid authoring tools, mobile learning content can be created quickly and within tight budgets. Many rapid authoring tools provide ready templates for mobile delivery of content. Media assets from e-courses can also be included in these templates to increase the visual appeal and interactivity.
  • mLearning can be interesting and interactive: Mobile learning is not always linear and unimaginative. Mobile platform supports a lot of interactivity – the most popular being audio and video. Learners can utilize these elements very well and find them easier to assimilate than boring text.  Other interactivities like quizzes and mobile games can also be built in to entice the learner and make learning fun. The level of interactivity depends on available technologies, the compatibilities of the learner devices and available budgets for mlearning development.
  • Uniform user experience: Mobile learning technology is fast evolving and now it is possible for all users to access mobile learning content on different devices but have the same superior viewing experience. Web responsive technology is being utilized to create mobile learning content that aligns itself as per the specifications of the viewing device. The user does not have to scroll or pan in/pan out unnecessarily to view the content. This ensures a uniform learning experience for all –irrespective of the viewing device. 
Mobile platform is still evolving and newer ways of mobile content creation as well as delivery are being explored. As a platform, it has found tremendous success in the corporate world and with the new wave of emerging mobile technologies this success is bound to scale new heights.

Monday, 29 August 2016

How To Make Your Learners Accept LMS

Different people have varied perceptions about the worth of e-learning software.  A learning portal becomes successful when learners utilize it with effectiveness.

To accomplish this, it is important to make the learners aware about the Learning Management System and the content to reap maximum advantages from the learning opportunity. If you want your learners to love your solutions, then you need to first market the Learning Management System among the learners.

Here are some strategies to sell your LMS solutions within the organization:

1)      Though a significant amount of budget is invested to implement learning management system and provide useful content to the learners, it is equally important to invest some bugs in training and educating the learners about its procedures, features, efficiency, the content it shares and the method to extract the learning material from the solutions. This training is suggested to be provided to both ‘the managers’, as well as, ‘the learners’. To encourage early adopters to train other less efficient mates on the technicalities is add on strategy to get maximum benefits of the LMS.
2)      A support resource should be there for the learners so that they can get quick assistance while accessing the learning management system. This would be more helpful during the early days. This resource could be from LMS provider side, or can be arranged within the organization. Learner can either call, or message or IM to list their problem and the support resource would be able to give the solution with minimum turnaround time.
3)      For your learners to accept the LMS, foremost thing is to sell the learning management system to the managers and departmental heads, because these are the leaders who can encourage their team members to accept this new mode of learning and solutions. If manager accepts the LMS, then entire team will accept it without much ado the learning management system.
4)      Learner dashboards are very successful in encouraging learners to utilize and score well, while learning from LMS. Dashboards display the scores of individual learners with the highest learning consumption, and the rewards netted by the learners. Our clients have seen incredible success in utilizing the dashboards to inspire their employees to learn more during the initial months after the LMS implementation.
5)      Use examples to explain different benefits of using learning management system to the learners. With the amplified flow of learning material, learners can decide upon their pace and refresh their learning anytime. This will increase the knowledge, and in turn, their work performance. Also, LMS will give fair analysis of learner scores and performance through unbiased reports and dashboards.

With the help of the aforementioned strategies, organizations can make the acceptance of LMS solutions easy for the learners and the management; this can make the experience of learning more effective and successful.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Asynchronous Learning - A Preferred Type Of E-learning by Learners And Organizations

Asynchronous learning is a student-centered eLearning technique in which online resources are used to take the course anytime and anywhere, at the preferred schedule. Another type of  eLearning, which is Synchronous learning, requires both instructor and learner to be online at the same time. Both of these solutions have their own benefits and drawbacks. However, Asynchronous learning is preferred by the learners, as well as the organizations.

Synchronous learning is beneficial for the learners who want to experience real-time class while studying online. But most of the learners prefer Asynchronous learning because it is more effective in the corporate scenario due to following reasons:

1)      Discussion Boards, Emails and Blogs: Asynchronous learning through LMS solutions allows more assessments, and unbiased learning. E-mail can be used as a tool for asking questions, sending reminders, information, updates, and assessments. This is one of the most preferred modes of communication between instructors and learners. Discussion boards are also used for sharing documents and links with the learners. A fair judgment can be made on the basis of responses given by learners on assessments, discussions, emails, etc.

2)      Instructional material including PPTs/Video’s/ Graphics/Podcasts: LMS solutions with responsive design allows the learners to use mobile devices, and access the virtual repositories like videos, PPTs, etc., to have an instant knowledge. So, Learners do not have to spend more time on screens and can study at their flexible time schedules.

3)      Customized Learning is possible: LMScan analyze the audience with regard to their roles and skills, and define learning path for them. Then, a suitable course can be assigned to each learner, based on their roles and skills. This is how customized learning can be imparted to the learners.

4)      Interactive: Asynchronous learning allows the learners to interact with their peers and instructor at any time from any location through emails, discussion boards, etc.

5)      Social Networking: Social networking is easy and possible because learning management systems can have built-in social networking programs through embedded HTML scripts. Most often used social networking programs are twitter, Facebook, wikis, Flickr, etc.

6)      Collaborative documents: Learners can edit each other’s work and collaborate with each other through collaborative documents. Learners enjoy this as they exchange thoughts and ideas with each other.

While choosing eLearning solutions, it is important to analyze the audience and then choose the most effective type of e-Learning. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of both, Synchronous and Asynchronous learning, can help you to determine which is more appropriate for your learning needs, but Asynchronous learning can certainly be more beneficial in developing engaging, memorable, and effective eLearning solution.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

How to Plan Your ELearning Program

E-Learning is becoming increasingly popular today. Almost 50% of the global fortune 500 companies are using eLearning for training and development of their workforce via custom eLearning, game based learning, simulation based learning etc. Even in institutions, schools and colleges the shift of learning is moving from traditional classroom to virtual learning. It is essential to create, design and develop eLearning courses that will help learners engage themselves and achieve their learning goals. 

Here are few strategies to create, design and develop effective, immersive and successful custom eLearning program:
  1. Know your audience: Before actually starting the eLearning designing process, it is important to know your audience. Your eLearning approach will differ as per your audience. For young online learners there will be a different approach while on the other hand if your audience is experienced, senior professionals then your methodology would be different.
  2. Content should be concise, clear and engaging: Content is the heart and soul of any eLearning course because content adds a lot of value to it. For custom eLearning it is necessary that content should be effective and relevant as per the needs of learners. It should include real time examples about the subject they are trained for.
  3. Accountability Standards: Instructors should be well trained to follow best practices and should be from a range of backgrounds to complement the course.
  4. A Good learning management system: To make eLearning course engaging and interactive, you need to keep up with the trends of new technologies. A good learning management system can give audience different learning methods to better understand the coursework. Learning management system can also help set a platform for bookkeeping issues such as assessments, quizzes, grades, homework etc.
In addition to these strategies, end results of the eLearning program should also be highlighted. What learners should learn, what certificate they will get on completion of the course and how they can implement the knowledge in their day to day work, improve their performance and achieve their goals. Although there is a lot of effort and cost included in designing an eLearning course, all of these strategies have the authority to produce meaningful and memorable eLearning experiences.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

How To Make Online Learning Courses Effective For Learners

In recent years, most of the companies prefer online learning for their organizational trainings. One may wonder the reason behind its growing popularity.
There are numerous reasons but the foremost is the fact that online learning courses give flexibility to learners to study and learn on “my time”. Though this flexibility might result in the deviation of learners from the learning process leading to poor performance, a key factor to the student success is “self-direction”.

Learners can become self-directed if they are motivated and have a sense of confidence. Here are few tips for online learners to make their online learning course more effective:
  1. Know what all to study: Modules or content is a critical resource of any training. You must know the modules you need to study in order to successfully complete your online learning course within a time frame. You also need to be organized. So it is important to have a list of assignments, assessments or discussions to be taken during the course in your calendar with their due dates so that you do not miss them. A great idea would be to review instructions of the assignments and discuss with your mentor for any constraints. In case you think you will not be able to complete any of the assignments as per the due date then inform your instructor about the same.
  2. Create a schedule: You must have a predictable schedule to allocate time for your online learning course. Pace yourself so that you don’t procrastinate. Plan a study time for each week allotting fixed number of hours.
  3. Connect with your fellow learners: Be a part of the learning community and be an active part of discussion forums – in addition to completing the e-course. Use social platforms to connect with your fellow learners. You can have discussions with them on assignments and share documents with each other. Enjoy learning by teaching others what you're learning.  You'll retain the most important topics. This helps learners to learn from each other during the discussions and build up relationships with fellow learners.
  4. Ask as many questions as possible: The more you ask, the more you will learn. Successful learners ask more questions during the classroom sessions which may follow, or any other platform of communication with the instructor. Be clear about your question, communicate it to the instructor properly and get clarification on all your doubts about the course concepts.
Organizations have an equal contribution to making online learning effective for their learners. Below are few tips for the organizations to increase the success rate of their learners:

  1. Organizations should clearly state its expectations for learners from the online learning course. This will create a sense of responsibility in learners and they will be able to perform better.
  2. Instructors should respond to student’s queries promptly. This will encourage them to ask more and more questions and make them understand the modules properly.
  3. There may be cases when learners do not know how to be self-directed.  Give them understanding on the resources that supports them in developing self-direction.
I conclude by saying that making online learning effective is a challenge for both learners and organizations. However, if both overcome these challenges by following these simple steps using the available resources appropriately, then online learning is a reward for both learners and instructors. Like Donna J. Abernathy says, "Online learning is not the next big thing; it is the now big thing.”

Monday, 11 April 2016

Creating Interactive E-Learning with Rapid Authoring Tools

To keep up with the increasing demands of the training and learning vertical, organizations often get bogged. Continuous e-Learning development as a process takes considerable effort and time. To save up on costs as well as time, developers now use Rapid authoring tools to develop custom e-learning solutions. As a trend, this has been for many years now. Most developers depend on popular e-learning authoring tools like Articulate Storyline and Lectora. These tools have evolved over the past few years to different types of e-learning platforms – including the mobile platform as well.
There are many benefits of using rapid authoring tools – for developers as well as users.

  • The biggest advantage of using rapid authoring tools is that you save time, effort and training budget. E-Learning solutions can be developed for multiple platforms and cross-platform functionalities work for all popular delivery devices – desktops, pc, smartphones and tablets. For users it provides the opportunity to access learning as per their convenience, anytime, anywhere. For developers, it saves a lot of time, effort and moneys. So, it’s a win-win for everyone!

  • The e-learning courses created with rapid authoring tools are ready for Web delivery. They can also be accessed on popular mobile browsers for learners who prefer to access learning on the go. Rapid authoring tools now also support HTML5 – to have greater interactivity and appeal for the learners

  • With rapid authoring tool, custom e-learning courses automatically fit as per the the screen size and resolutions of the user device. Navigation Buttons, Seek bar, Menu, Volume On/Off and other Shell features are supported with no additional changes or coding required.

  • E-courses developed with rapid authoring tools are also very lightweight. Thus they take up very little space and bandwidth at the learners’ device.

  • Many interactivities can be easily built in the courses, without any extra efforts. Existing material like content, images and graphics can be used as-is. The positions can be assigned and the courses are rendered accordingly – as per the specifications of the user device. The interactivities include simple ones like transitions, illustrations, scrolling panels and so on. Higher level interactivities like Drag and Drop, Surveys and Text/Data entry fields can also be created as per the needs of the client and users.

  • The courses can also be made downloadable so that the learners can take up courses when internet connectivity is not available or even take print outs to carry when needed.

  • The courses created with Rapid Authoring tools are compliant to industry standards - SCORM and AICC. This ensures that user progress can be easily tracked on the LMS where the e-courses reside.

  • Even if the user accesses the e-courses through multiple devices, the progress is tracked synchronously.  Thus the learner can access the course through multiple channels of delivery – online, offline or mobile. This does not affect the final progress report that is generated for each user

There are many other benefits of utilizing rapid authoring tools for e-learning development. With the entry of more tools with a wider array of features, this is fast becoming the chosen way for most developers to create impactful custom content for technology-aided delivery.