Tag Archives: elearning

Successful E-Learning – A Roadmap

Successful E-Learning – A Roadmap

Successful E-Learning – A Roadmap

Successful E-Learning – A Roadmap

As we become increasingly dependent on our technology, it only makes sense that it teach us as well. Elearnings as a whole are very attractive, as they offer an inexpensive alternative to classroom training. However, their effectiveness is often debated in the educational software community, as not all eLearnings are made with the same attention to detail. When evaluating the effectiveness of eLearnings it is vital that we keep in mind exactly what we are trying to accomplish; then craft exceedingly mindful learning experiences to ensure the highest possible return on our investment.

When building eLearnings it is necessary to consult people who teach and record their methodologies in making sure a message maintains its pertinence over time. Understanding the foundation of what makes the instructional design so effective, can go a long way in transitioning some of your organizational learnings over to a digital medium. The benefit of starting from a long time instruction-led situation is that these same instructors know your target demographic, what works for them, and what seems to get swept under the rug. Allowing an invaluable insight in developing content that may not just be convenient via technology, but possibly even more effective if properly educated.

Learning Styles

With new media comes challenges. One of the first challenges that presents itself is truly understanding your users learning styles. People learn in different ways, and in an eLearning, the human element is removed causing the need for content to be taught in a variety ways in one sitting. Imagine undergoing a narrative where the topic of interest was only defined by its dictionary definition over and over again. Then, by comparison, that same definition is described in detail, portrayed with a depiction and a layer of organizational relevance is also applied. The meaning of this one term is now obtainable via most learning types; if not just written in a way that is indeed more impactful to your learning base.

Professional Drive

But you cannot just stop there. Learning types only go so far, whereas a comprehension of adult learners and how people need to be catered towards in order to optimize learning, will go a long way in determining the effectiveness of what you are developing. Intrinsically, eLearnings are perfectly suited towards adults and their drive towards learning on their own accord. ELearnings offer the flexibility to start a training whenever a student would like, as well as awards the opportunity to pace the information in which one is digesting. Beyond that, in the organizational environment, effective learnings must be applicable to daily life and reflect experiences that could be faced every day on the job. Also, please try not to make them boring. Try not to overdo it, but do not be afraid to use splashes of color, integrated music, modern conversational language/dialogue, humorous components, and narrative. These touches will only increase the drive to accomplish the entirety of the learning exercise, as well as aid in

Interactive

I like to refer to this as the Sesame Street Rule. When creating eLearnings it is best to keep into consideration the engagement of the users throughout the whole process. In educational youth broadcasting series, this can be achieved through a “call” process. This call process is most recognizable in situations where a character will stare directly at the camera and say, “Today, the letter of the day is “L”, can you think of any words that begin with this letter?” Though, this may not work in the same manner in the adult world; by including elements that require the learner to choose a proper pathway or answer, or even an element to make the user click on a certain portion of the content to continue the learning, will further aid in course completion, and the users’ ability to continue their brain activity throughout the entire process.

Adaptability

In order to take advantage of the full flexibility of eLearnings, you will need to make them available in a variety of different offerings. Build them out completely, adhering with the offerings of your LMS. If your users are on the go, eLearnings must be made accessible for mobile platforms. If there is an opportunity to aid the teachings with text, then, by all means, include it as an option. Elearnings as a package can be one of your greatest allies in the world of professional development. Make sure that you explore the full extent of their possibilities in the environment in which they are being developed.

In conclusion, eLearnings possess an outstanding potential for your organization for growth. If executed properly, a great eLearning can not only improve your workforce, but it can allow for more flexibility in learning, free from time constraints and with the addition with various forms of technology. If used properly and in conjunction with Instructor-led training, eLearnings could very well mark the difference between your employees’ abilities and that of your competition. Please join me as I continue to explore the requirements of this field, as well as the potential of this marketplace.

Guideline For Finding Your Organization’s Ideal LMS

Guideline For Finding Your Organization's Ideal LMS

Have your cake and eat it too, a guideline for finding your organization's ideal LMS.

A post written by Meghayu Advaryu

Want to deploy and maintain the e-learnings that you have spent so much time and effort to develop? Do you want to be able to create quality actionable e-learnings? Then you’re in the market for a Learning Management System (LMS). LMS’s are an essential tool for all e-learning professionals.

Choosing a Learning Management System is no easy task. To do so, one must identify the needs of their organization and which features are necessary. If you are the one doing the evaluation of those needs, we recommend creating a team and discussing individual needs on a per department basis to ensure the best possible fit. Confused about which LMS to choose for your project?  Then take a deep breath and exhale a sigh of relief! Allow us to offer you some helpful tips that will surely point you in the right direction for selecting the perfect LMS for your project.

 

Determine your objectives in advance

Be sure to methodically ask yourself this set of questions before choosing an LMS: What are your development objectives?  What skill sets are required?  What sort of content are the learners expecting? Answering these questions will help you shape the correct direction for your organization to meet all of its learning and development needs. Most importantly keep the need of the audience in mind throughout the selection process. To accomplish this all you need to do is perform a little internal research. An analysis through an in-depth survey accompanied by a few short one-on-one interviews with the projected user base and decision makers within the organization can aid tremendously. In this search for information, it is vital to focus on the objectives you want to achieve by the e-learning courses or training. Outside of these answers, there is one more thing that you will definitely need to know. Any guesses?  How about, will it work within your pre-existent learning environment? Always check the technical specifications available for a new LMS and its ability to address the goals of your learner needs.

 

Make a list of key features you need

There is a veritable ocean full of features to choose from. In order to not get “lost at sea,” you must pick the features your organization needs. It might be quite difficult to choose the most pertinent features available because there are so many features; narrowing the list down can cause a hell of a lot of confusion. Identifying features you need is the most important step in choosing an LMS, as it will allow you to shortlist the solutions that will create the most effective e-learning course for your audience. Let’s look at an example for better understanding. If you are catering to learners who are busy on-the-go professionals then opting for an LMS that supports mobile is ideal.

 

 

Consider the technical limitations

When you choose a new LMS you need to know how the new learning system will be integrated with your current software. Will there be issues to integrate divergent systems or different types of systems? Other than different software, it is very important to know how your learners will access the content. Will a majority of the content be viewed via mobile? Tablet? Or PC? How well does the new LMS support these platforms? Do your research, if your learners are tech savvy and accustomed to utilizing these features or are constantly attached to their mobile devices, these environments will need to be accommodated. This factor will determine nature of e-learning activities as well as the level of multimedia integration.

 

Get feedback

Ask your instructors and facilitators their honest feedback about your current training strategy. Ask them if they think there are new features they wish to investigate or if there are any new tools or materials they may find beneficial to ease their jobs and make training more pertinent to your employees. The purpose of this feedback is that they are the ones who help learners take full advantage of the overall organizational strategy. The cherry on top of the cake will be if they know their ideas and opinions are valued entering into a new LMS environment, they will feel more invested in the selected system.

 

Consider future project scopes

As an organization, it is imperative to forecast for the future of your operations. So why not lend the same consideration towards your LMS? Your system might be wonderful today, but what about tomorrow? Be sure to obtain a clear sense of how your Learning Management System will adapt to current as well as upcoming needs during live demos and trial runs. Ideally, you want to choose an LMS that is going to offer you the features and functionality you need now and in the future. Knowing that your system is easy to maintain and update over time, can save you a lot of heartache as the demands of your department shift.

 

Observe a demo

In modern business, we are afforded the ability to check and double check before selecting a product or service. Almost all LMS vendors will provide a demo or trial period for testing their product before your purchase. Do not hesitate to ask for a live demonstration or trial period that will allow you to see your potential LMS in action. Demos are very beneficial as you will be able to see which features are really worth your time and which are unnecessary or cumbersome in their environment. A trial will help you measure many factors like flexibility, customization, growth and usability! An LMS is one of the most significant investments in terms of potential outcome for your company, so it's always wise to have a test drive!

 

These tips will surely aid in your quest for the perfect LMS; one that is right for your learning and development and creating an ideal user experience.

 

Elearning vs Classroom Training – Let’s Understand Their Pros and Cons

Elearning vs Classroom TrainingElearning is the new and inexpensive alternative to classroom training, which is becoming more popular and preferred method among organizations.

However, the debate on the effectiveness of eLearning compared to classroom training is often a subject of interest among learning and training professionals. Some prefer the real-time interaction with an instructor while others like the flexibility brought by eLearning. Both eLearning and classroom training methods share common attributes, however, eLearning is proving to be a more cost-effective and flexible method for organizations.

Let’s understand the pros and cons of both eLearning and classroom training:

Learning Context:

One of the main differences between eLearning and classroom training is that classroom training allows learners to actively interact, engage with instructors and other fellow learners. The instructor can move the learners around, group them in different ways in order to provide the most effective learning experience. In an eLearning environment, learners mostly work in isolation and are required to be self- driven. Virtual classroom training, video training, and other similar elements are being used to bring the human element in the world of eLearning, however, it still may not bring the feel and the benefits of being with a live instructor in the same room.

Cost Difference:

Another major difference is the cost effectiveness of eLearning and classroom training. It is estimated that organizations save about 50% to 70% on training when they introduce eLearning over instructor-led training due to reduced travel costs and non-requirement of logistics. Classroom training requires the presence of an instructor each and every time the course is supposed to be delivered, whereas once eLearning is developed, it can be used multiple times without any additional cost.

Availability and Flexibility:

Elearning can be accessible to the employees 24/7. Employees across the globe can take an eLearning course at their own pace, preferred time and even place. On the other side, classroom training is only available at a fixed time and day. One instructor can manage only one location and a limited number of employees at one point of time.

Reporting and Monitoring:

This is one aspect where eLearning easily surpasses the benefits of classroom training. The tracking of learners’ progress in a classroom training setting is usually done manually and often gives inaccurate results. On the other hand, eLearning courses are mostly delivered on the Learning Management Systems (LMS), which allows tracking and monitoring of learners’ progress, usage, and other parameters automatically in an efficient manner.

Content and Delivery Consistency:

Each instructor comes with his/her own style of training and content delivery and hence consistency can be a concern with classroom content. With eLearning, the course content and delivery is exactly the same each time. With eLearning, you can ensure standardized process and consistency in the delivery of content, which is difficult to attain in classroom training even if the same instructor delivers the training at different locations and with different groups.

Gamification vs Game-Based eLearning: Do You know the Difference?

Gamification vs game-based learning

Gamification is fast emerging as an effective and exciting technique to engage with learners in the corporate training world. However, the term gamification is often mixed up with another term known as game-based learning.  A lot of industry professionals use these terms interchangeably without realizing how different they are in terms of their meanings and functions.

Gamification is not a game and does not imply that learners will be playing video games and learn through it. Gamification is the technique of using game elements and mechanics in the learning environment. Let’s take a very simple example to understand how it exactly engages the learning audience. Most car racing games start with a beginner level and unless you earn a particular number of points, you do not get to see the game features and functions available at an expert or champion level. The moment you reach to an expert level, your profile gets an “Expert level” badge and a whole new set of elite cars, game functions, etc. are unlocked for you. You love to see the expert badge on your profile, as it gives you a feeling of accomplishment and pushes you to be more competitive.

 Now, let’s imagine getting a five-star badge when you complete a particular eLearning course in the first attempt. The learning course remains the same, but the five-star badge adds fun, excitement, motivation, and competitiveness to an otherwise usual eLearning course. In addition, you just got to know that anyone who has more than three five-star badges in a particular training program will be eligible for a special acknowledgment certificate from the training department. When these elements are added to the learning environment, it is known as gamified learning. Game elements such as achievement badges, leaderboards, point systems, level progressions, etc. are incorporated to attract learners and keep them motivated in their own learning process.

Studies reflect that gamified learning are very effective in increasing the levels of interaction and motivation in learning and ultimately leads to an increase in recall and retention.

On the other side, game-based learning is a type of gameplay that has set learning outcomes. In a game-based eLearning strategy, the content is designed to fit into the confines of the game. There can be a story based game or a character led game where the characters and stories are inspired by the real user’s personality, situation and training requirement.

Also, it is much easier and less expensive to introduce gamification in learning than to create game-based learning. Another major difference is that while gamification can be applied to most learning needs, it is quite complex to create game-based learning for requirements such as compliance training, risk management training, etc.

Both gamification and game-based learning are very popular trends in the current corporate learning environment and they both offer a completely new perspective on learning methods and tools. However, it is important for organizations to know the distinction between them to be able to select the best approach that fits their learning requirements and budget.

Online Learning Trends That You Can’t Ignore

 

Online Learning Trends

Rapid advances in technology and modern workforce needs are transforming the way, workforce learning & training is delivered and training courses are created. Today’s tech-savvy, social and mobile learners are no longer interested in traditional classroom training and demand learning techniques that blends best with their current working style and outlook.

Let us look at top online learning trends that organization must incorporate in their learning programs.

Mobile learning

Mobile Learning enables you to present smaller sized, interactive online learning to your employees without restricting them to a particular time or a place. Employees with busy schedules or the ones who are always on-move have the luxury to access training resources at any time, from any place. Smaller sized content also enables them to absorb and retain the training courses in a better way. According to a survey by eMarketer, 59.3 percent of the U.S. population used a smartphone in 2015 and a total of 1.42 billion smartphones were sold worldwide. Almost two-thirds of Americans are predicted to own a smartphone by 2017, more than a threefold increase since 2010.  It is also estimated that the mobile learning industry alone will grow to over $37 billion by 2020.

Creative and Digestible Learning Modules

Extensive training courses and lengthy durations don’t comply with learners’ short attention span as well as their availability and often disconnects them from the entire learning process. Creative content is required to enable new and refreshed learning experience to employees. A report by the Rapid Learning institute emphasized that the majority of learners prefer short- e-learning courses, something that their organization is still trying to focus. Usage of videos, podcasts, micro-blogs, diagrams, images, questions, and quizzes not only helps in increasing the participation and completion rate of training courses but also engages the learners in a better way.  For example, people are more attentive to an image over a large block of text as it is easier to understand and digest the information presented in a visual manner.  Organizations can also introduce real life examples or real life scenarios for problem solving, encouraging employees’ to think and reflect their learning right away.

Data Analytics

Analytics tools help an organization to know about their learners and how they are digesting the information. One can evaluate training effectiveness, learner’s preferences, and usage patterns through analysis and visualizing software, Tin Can and other analytics tools. Such insights help organizations to create their training courses in a personalized and targeted way. One can evaluate the reasons behind a highly effective training course and vice versa and use such findings to create future training strategies and content. Data analytics also enable organizations to provide customized training programs to a group or a set of employees, who might be showing similar learning behavior or patterns.

Gamification

Who does not like to play games? Entertainment Software Association states that 155 million Americans regularly play video games and the average game player is 35 years old. This is why gamification in e-Learning is fast emerging as an effective technique to engage learners. Through gamification, you can include games or activities that allow learners to compete with other learners, overcome hurdles, and earn points, badges or rewards for their efforts. It increases their engagement during a learning program and also brings a sense of accomplishment or reward, encouraging employees to do better.  Companies who are already using gamification based learning programs have reported high levels of success.  In a research study by PEW Research, 53% of respondents stated – by 2020 gamification will be widely adopted by most industries, the communications scene, and most of all education.

While online learning will continue to evolve and change, organizations looking for long -term success must focus on these trends. There will be a constant focus on new and innovative ways to connect with learners through social, informal and creative methods transforming the way learning is delivered and perceived.

Debunking Misconceptions about Video Learning

There are more than bilv learning picturelion users (almost one-third of all people on the Internet) on YouTube, who spend extensive hours watching YouTube videos for entertainment as well as for education on a daily basis. Videos have become fully integrated into our lives and studies show that the average viewer retains 95% of a message when they watch it, as opposed to a mere 10% retention rate when they are reading it. This is why organizations are trying to integrate video learning in to their training and development practices. Video provides a unique and exciting medium to reach and engage with learning audiences that no other medium can provide. However, organizations often struggle to evaluate this new medium properly and a lot of them have refrained themselves from using video learning because of the misconceptions around it.

Through this blog, we will try to clarify some of the most common misconceptions around video learning:

Video is Expensive: The cost of producing a video has gone down drastically over the recent years. There are plenty of low-cost tools, software available that organizations can use themselves for video creation without involving an external agency or experts. Short-video editing tools like Vine, iMovie are very easy to use and they are either free or have a very affordable pricing model. One can even find video making application on mobile devices for creating a short and engaging video. Organizations have already been using videos for onboarding, product training and with the availability of new tools and techniques, they can also use it in their formal training programs without worrying about the cost.

Too Much Bandwidth Consumption: Bandwidth consumption is another major concern for organizations when it comes to video learning. However, in reality average broadband connection speed at most organizations is much higher than that required to stream a typical high resolution video. In fact, Learning Management Systems (LMS) are using technology to ensure the video content delivery and performance is mapped with real-time available bandwidth. You can also compress the videos, so that users can easily download them, even with a slow Internet connection. As an organization, you can easily assess your internet and bandwidth requirements for video learning and in most cases you will already have an appropriate infrastructure, which is overlooked easily.

Engagement with Learners’ is limited: While video learning can be slightly passive, learners’ engagement is highly dependent on the duration of the video course and the way in which the content has been presented. It is advisable to make short and compelling videos, where learners are not expected to learn too much at a single time. Videos create an exciting and fun learning experience for learners and a good video will be more engaging for learners than a typical instructor-led session. You can add humor, background music, real life examples or even display learners’ present situation and challenges through a character and similar creative elements are a sure way to make an engaging video. Even if you are using a YouTube or any other external video, you can always add your own twist with the help of video editing software and make it more relevant and appealing for your target audience.

The Power of E-learning

E-Learning has seen an accelerated growth in the last decade, and the growth will continue to take place for the foreseeable future. An increasing number of individuals, corporations, and educational institutions are turning to e-Learning as they recognize its effectiveness and convenience.

Let us show you some interesting facts and statistics that we have gathered from various research reports and findings.

The power of E learning

 

Why Content Can Make it Almost All the Way to the Learner – and Hit a Brick Wall


Let’s go back in time. Way back to the 1950’s and 60’s…. a simpler time. A time when the technology of media was basic and everything worked pretty much the same way. If you wanted to watch a television program your choices were three channels and one TV (yes, cathode ray tube) in the living room with an on/off switch and a rabbit ear antenna on the top.

Back then television was the new media; the hot cutting edge technology. And like any new technology how it worked was a mystery to the viewers. And when it didn’t work (which was often) – well that was a mystery too. But the technology was so basic that there were only two things the viewer could do to fix the TV when it didn’t work. The first thing to do was adjust that annoying rabbit ear antenna. And if that didn’t work, the next thing to do was to smack the top of the TV with your fist. 🙂

Fast forward.

Technology is a little more complex today. Viewers have myriad choices of what to watch and how to watch it – Youtube, streaming video, Skype, even old fashioned DVDs. They select from Laptop computers, cell phones, and I-pads to watch their selections. The options are literally unlimited.

And your course content is part of this large, rich mix. Somehow, through all of these choices and variables your content has to find its mark – your viewer.

In the first two installments of this series, we described the delivery of courses as working like a garden hose. The spigot gets the water started, the hose moves the water from point “A” to point “B”, and the nozzle sprays it on your lawn. Your course also has a start, middle, and end point and an interruption anywhere along the line can stop it in its tracks.

The three SCORM Content components are; where the content is stored (server), how it moves to the viewer (Internet or Intranet), and how it is viewed by the learner (computer or other device).

It may not be obvious that something is wrong when the course stream is interrupted at the beginning with the servers. But when a course doesn’t work on the viewer’s end, there can be only one obvious conclusion – no show!

But, as we have seen, there are so many technology variables at the viewer’s end that simply smacking the computer (or whatever) on the top is unlikely to solve the problem. But the show must go on. So we must take a thorough look at the show stoppers confronting our viewers so we can correct the problem. Here are the most common things that can stop SCORM Content cold at the viewer’s end:

  • If the viewer is sitting at the end of an Internet or Intranet pipeline fast enough to deliver the content, it is still important that the device he is using has the memory and processing “horsepower” needed to run it. Help Desk personnel are a good resource if you are unsure whether or not the viewer’s hardware is capable of running the content. But be aware that sometimes the learner uses more than one device. For example, he may begin the course at home and resume it on another computer in his office.
  • There are many popular brands of Internet browsers easily available. Many learners are in the habit of using more than one. For example a learner may use the Company required browser at the office and a different browser at home. Browser security settings can vary from one to another and may be the reason why a course will run for one learner but not for another.
  • Internet Security is indeed our friend, but it can be a perplexing one at times. The most common place a user comes across it is their pop-up blocker. Most users are comfortable with how to use them. But, if a learner has not been on any new websites for some time, it may have been a while since it last popped up. So, when he launches a new course, he may not notice the blocker.
  • And lastly – never under estimate the importance of learner experience and capability. Your learners are experiencing a constant barrage of new and rapidly evolving technologies. For those new to the experience, even launching a simple text only course can present a challenge. And even your seasoned veterans are challenged to keep up with constantly changing situations. The courses, devices, and technologies they used last week may very well change by next week.


So, the key to making sure your learners actually get to view the course is to understand what might possibly be blocking them. That way when it happens, you’ll recognize it. And you’ll be able to help them out.