Getting that E-learning Course to Work When SCORM isn’t the Problem

If you’re reading this then we probably have something in common…we both know what SCORM is for. But just in case this term is new to you, let’s get start by getting that definition out of the way.

SCORM is an e-learning standard. It is the reason you can get your e-learning course from one vendor and still launch and track it from the  to be integrated with one another – to “talk” to each other.

That makes SCORM very important.

 It’s great when everything is working right. Students are successfully launching, consuming and completing courses and all of that activity is correctly recorded in the LMS . But it’s not so great when something goes wrong. And, sometimes the reason is because there is a problem with the SCORM set up. When your SCORM package isn’t tracking right, your vendors can help you test the SCORM to see if there is a problem. But what if there isn’t.

What if SCORM isn’t the problem?

You’re not out of luck. There are several other things you can check out. These things also play a key role in making your content work right. Let’s review some of the more common culprits which can give you a SCORM content headache.

  • Videos require a player (often “Flash”) to run. Over time, the player on your computer may have become outdated. Make sure yours is up to date.
  • The computer itself may be causing the difficulty. The easiest way to check this is to try launching the course from another computer.
  • The availability of bandwidth can never be ignored. Remember that this is a moving target. The speed with which your course is delivered to you is “subject to change”. These changes can be as simple as the time of day, moving to a different location, or other web applications “stealing” your bandwidth.
  • The course itself is a big factor. There are many variables affecting how a course will (or will not) run for you. Some contain video – others do not. Some are a very large electronic file – others are smaller. Some are SCORM version 1.2, others are SCORM 2004 or AICC. These and other factors can make a big difference on whether or not the course will run for you.


It can be frustrating when a course content stubbornly refuses to work as expected. Not being sure what to check can only add to the frustration. Try these basic “tests” to run down the problem. Even if it turns out to be something else, at least you can quickly eliminate these “usual suspects” and move more swiftly to the correct resolution.

e-Learning Best Practice: How to Make Sure Your System Works

e-Learning Best Practices, and why they can fail from the very start . . .

There are a lot of things that need to go right for your web based content to be successful. Some of them are easy to see. Like when a learner launches a course and the video refuses to play. Others are harder to see. Like when the internet connection that learner is using gets bogged down and the course never shows up.

Of all of the things that need to go right (or can go wrong), it may seem like some of them are more critical than others, but this is not the case. Like the weakest link of a chain, you can get 90% of your content system right….and lose out in the end. And to the learner the cause of the failure doesn’t matter. Regardless of the cause, the end result is still the same. A frustrated learner. To the learner, only one thing matters. When she launches the course it either works or it does not.

If it does not work, well then….Game over.

To get a handle on what can go right or wrong, think of your  as an ordinary garden hose. On one end is a spigot which is delivering water to the input side of the hose. Then there is the hose itself which transports the water all the way along its fifty foot length. And finally there is the nozzle, or output side which delivers the water on target. One part starts the water, one transfers it, and one delivers it. Every part plays an essential role in achieving but a single outcome; delivering life giving water to your garden.

Choke off the water supply, drill holes in the hose, or use a rusty old nozzle and you’ve got a problem. No water. And, from the standpoint of the Gardner it doesn’t matter why no water is coming out. It only matters that nothing is happening. The only thing that will make it right is when you see that constant stream of cool clear water.

In web based training, your job is to keep the WBT streaming; to ensure the learner gets her WBT course.

Start – Transfer – Deliver

And if she doesn’t get it, to quickly find which part is the problem and fix it. And the only way to do that is to move heaven and earth to ensure that each part of your WBT eco-system is functioning as needed to get the job done.

So let’s break it down into its parts and go over what you can do to build and maintain a bullet proof infrastructure.

Keeping with the water hose analogy, let’s begin with the spigot side where the flow of water begins. This content start point is the course itself and the computer server environment that hosts it.

The course itself can be created in any quality content authoring tool capable of publishing SCORM and/or AICC compliant content. But there are a few key things to look for and test to make certain the course works.

First is the file size of the course itself. This is the number you see when you look (in Windows Explorer for example) at the zip file after you have published your course. The size of your course is going to affect everything downstream because it tells you just how much “water” you are trying to pipe down the hose! In fact, most LMS’s have a maximum file restrictor built in. If the file size of your zip file is 200 megabytes and your LMS has a restriction at 150 megabytes…well as you can see, plans will have to be made.

Second is the type of video or audio files used in the course. If your course has animation, movies, or audio, it is important to know what was used to create it. Is, for example, your animation produced in Flash or Shockwave? This can make a big difference if your learners don’t have the right software installed to view the course or if the LMS is set to accept the other kind of file.

Third is the server environment hosting your courses. You want to be sure you have the horsepower and set up you need. Speak frankly with your network administrator about your content needs. Discuss how many courses you will have, their file size, and the kinds of audio/video files they will contain. Go over how they will be backed up and how often they will be updated or replaced. Plan for how many learners will be consuming the courses, how many concurrently, and where, when, and at what time of day they will consume them.

A successful SCORM/AICC experience starts at the beginning. With the courses themselves and how they are hosted on a server to be available for your learners. Just like a clogged or broken water spigot, if the course doesn’t get a good start, all of the fixes made “downstream” will do little good. Be certain to carefully plan and execute this first essential component of a successful WBT Content system.

Next time: “The Hose”, getting e-learning from A to B!

Benefits of Skills-Centric Learning Management Systems (LMS)

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS
Employees benefit by a skills management system because they’re provided with:
• A better understanding of quality proficiency related to their jobs
• A clear view of what skills and skill gaps they currently have
• A learning and development plan that takes into account their job-based skills requirements
• A record of their learning and development achievements
• Recognition of their skills and opportunities to use them in other assignments in the organization

MANAGEMENT BENEFITS
Through skills management, managers are presented with:
• A clear picture of the skill requirements of their employees
• An understanding of their employees’ skills strengths and weaknesses
• An informed basis for career development planning discussions
• Ability to develop prescriptive learning and development plans
• A facility to identify subject matter experts for assignment-based work

EXECUTIVE BENEFITS
Executives need to know that their organization has the skills to fulfill business strategy. A well-implemented skill and learning management system provides:
• A view of the capability of the organization
• Proof that the organization is meeting regulatory requirements
• Learning and development plans that are aligned with business strategy

Public Safety Training: How Well Do You Train for Emergencies?

As we all know, natural disasters, terrorism threats and other public emergencies cannot be predicted. Therefore, it’s important that individuals in the public safety industry are well trained and prepared to respond to just about any occurrence. Poor training in the public safety industry could result in a slow response to incidents, and could even affect someone’s life.

A learning management system (LMS) can make the process of delivering information to several responders easier and quicker. An LMS can not only help responders receive the pertinent information on the situation, but also helps them determine what tools and resources are needed to respond.

GyrusAim is a web-based, enterprise learning management system that provides a centralized system for training, managing, accessing, refreshing and sharing real-time, authoritative information regarding the location, credentials and status of assets. It also addresses police, fire, urban search and rescue and 911 tracking for Public Safety Training.

GyrusAim’s automated scheduled, registration and performance assessments make it easy to use and quick to update, so you have more time to respond to the situations at hand. The software also manages qualifications, certifications and expirations while allowing administrators to manage resources/equipment, records/transcripts and competency as a whole.

 

The Benefits of a LMS For Government Organizations

While T&D is important for all industries, there is a lot of emphasis placed on T&D  in government organizations. In current times it is absolutely critical for government agencies and organizations to respond quickly to constant challenges and to be trained and competent in order to face them. Training of federal, state and local employees can be easily managed through a learning management system. With the right amount of user learning functions and capabilities, adopting this software can provide a high return on investment (or ROI) and overall workplace development.

A learning management product is perfect for any government organization because it reduces costs and time for a T&D initiative, leading to increased productivity. It also helps organizations remain compliant. Your organization is constantly growing, so you’ll want to choose software that is scalable and can grow with you. The ideal vendor for government agencies will understand the regulatory and compliance needs of government agencies, and especially focus on compliance, safety, security, and T&D. It’s also important that reporting is available within the learning management system to help you track progress and history in an organized manner without paper or spreadsheets.

Since training is so important in the government industry, organizations should make wise decisions on which learning management system and vendor they choose. For example, Gyrus Systems is a government approved vendor and their GyrusAim product can be integrated with OPM’s Enterprise Human Resource Integration system (EHRI). The GyrusAim software can also create, store, manage, and transmit SF-182 requests and is compliant with Section 508 of the United States Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Safety and security are critical factors of government agencies, which is why GyrusAim is a very secure platform for data, and customers also have the option to self-host their software. Because GyrusAim is a web-based software, it can be accessed by learners from anywhere at their convenience, and can be translated into over 25 languages. Our federal, state, and local government clients are guaranteed the lowest rate available.

Our government clients expect nothing but the best and we strive to deliver that. We understand the difficulties in dealing with the proceedings that go along with acquiring a vendor and maintaining a relationship with that vendor, therefore we are proud to be a General Services Administration (GSA) vendor. We have over a dozen government clients and are familiar with their individual needs. Our learning management system also caters to non-GSA government clients and we are prepared to offer you a learning management system that is customizable to your needs and goals.

 

 

 

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