Tag Archives: learning management system

How to Persuade your Boss to Invest in an LMS

How to Persuade your Boss to Invest in an LMS

How to Persuade your Boss to Invest in an LMS

How to Persuade your Boss to Invest in an LMS

Your learning program has been managing itself for years, or at least that’s what your boss thinks. But you know the dark secret that is lurking barely below the surface. You spend a ridiculous amount of time organizing and determining methods of learning dispersal among personnel within your organization. You are so swamped with the follow-up work that your other responsibilities are more and more stressful. So, with your business growing and your sanity going further and further by the wayside, how do you convince your boss that there is a better way? We are here to help. Like in most buyer scenarios, the best way to relay the importance of the investment is in a fiscally responsible manner. With a clear roadmap on effectively moving your organization to the finish line.

A Learning Management System Means…

More Time

Let’s face it. Learning programs are resource intensive. In order to properly organize a blended learning environment without a learning management system, a great deal of time needs to be dedicated. The great thing about an LMS is that the bulk of the work is done up front. All the employees are loaded into the system, and new ones can be auto-imported via a connection with your HRIS. This means that once you have gotten past the implementation your program will basically run itself, giving you time for implementing new courses, analyzing the effectiveness of the programs you have in place, and thinking up methods to improve organizational learning as a whole. The cost of the learning management system aside, an LMS is basically like hiring a full-time planner for your learning program. The organization of an LMS also frees up time for your instructors, allowing them to deliver learnings on a more impactful scale and the tools to verify session availability in reference to other teachings within the organization. Further alleviating redundancy and scheduling conflicts.  

A Verifiable Educated Workforce

Sure, your staff is undergoing your training, and it seems to be working. But, wouldn’t you like to be able to show your boss directly how effective it is? These reports are just a click away! See who has taken what course, how well those individuals have done within those courses and areas in which your employees will need to improve to positively benefit the business.  No more excuses. Everything is laid out in front of you learners. Your personnel will be able to call upon their learnings whenever they need, as well as relaunch past training to obtain a stronger understanding of portrayed concepts. Employees can also observe gaps they need to overcome in order to obtain the greatest benefit from their personal training and development.  

A Structured Delivery Method

All of your learnings via one portal. Imagine scheduling instructor-led training from the same location that you provide your employees a running stream of e-Learnings. How are you ensuring that your employees are taking the courses now? How are you reminding them to finish coursework that is outstanding? Are you even sure that everyone is taking all your learning offerings? With an LMS, you can automate your reminder system, you can look at untaken curriculum all from one screen and quickly identify holes in the curriculum. A learning management system is a tool you need to overcome issues you are currently experiencing within your learning program.

Better Compliance Practice

An LMS provides the resources for appropriate audit trails. We all know that non-compliance with industry regulations costs serious money. So why not ensure your output is in accordance with the demands of the strict regulations that are imposed on your learning and development program? When it comes time to produce documentation on the number of compliance certifications various departments have undergone, you should not have to scramble for the information. Safeguard your learning program with an adaptable LMS today.  

Growth of Savings

Increased productivity from your HR personnel and general users within the system. As well as better quality control of the learnings you are providing. No more troublesome fines and penalties stemming from the inability to report safety learnings in a timely and verifiable manner. Reduce the lost time in redundant training sessions and validate the effectiveness of the programs your learning program undergoes. You may find that learnings which you have spent a good deal of money creating are less beneficial than an in-house offering that has been going around the office place for years.  

You shouldn’t have to do this all on your own, call your Gyrus Systems representative today. We’ll gladly make the business case for why your organization should opt into an LMS today. Save time, be more productive and reap the benefits of a greater learning environment. We can help you evaluate shortcomings in your current training environment, and clearly outline the savings you will enjoy from effectively implementing a Learning Management System. Be sure to join us as we further investigate the LMS marketplace and make suggestions from time to time for making your professional life easier.

Why we need Learning Management Systems

Why we need Learning Management Systems

Why we need Learning Management Systems

Why We Need Learning Management Systems

Have you found yourself fighting your way through the learning and development market without a guide? Blindfolded, and marching straight into certain and immediate danger? All the content in the world cannot save you from the harsh reality that an LMS is designed to mitigate. As to not shroud this document with bias, I have taken the liberty of pulling the dictionary.com definition of a Learning Management System, which appears below:

noun

  1. A software application used to organize and distribute e-learning materials, assignments, and assessments; track and calculate grades; and facilitate communication among students and teachers.

Abbreviation: LMS.

 

Get Organized

That definition alone should help you get on the right track in relation to what your organization needs. However, we’ll take this time to outline the systems and their importance, in a manner that represents something more than simply what it is. We will start with the following scenario, “I have all of these learnings from a content provider, but… Using them is getting more and more difficult based on our growing staff. What do I do?” At first you may be able to gather a captive audience to abide by the growing wishes of your organization, but eventually you will most likely hit a road block. Perhaps you are even a very developed company that has somehow managed to integrate education solutions into your corporate culture. Be that as it may, nothing can compare to a well-established LMS in regards to the immediate impact of organizing learnings within your environment. Imagine a world where your marketing department has to take eLearnings that teach them about quality design practices, branding strategies, and how to type blog posts that could actually engage users. When at the same exact time, the same system could also be used by your Research and Development team to learn production best practices, lab safety etiquette, and how to explain product features to that same marketing department! Well, I am merely typing that such a world exists, and just by reading this blog, you are a step closer to understanding how to relay the importance of an LMS to people on your staff who believe your one off elearnings and office calendar trainings are more than enough to meet your company needs.

Analytics and Metrics

A Learning Management System does something that your boss has been asking you to do, ever since you had the bright idea to begin training your employees. It answers the age old question that has been tossed around board rooms since the beginning of time. That question being, “does this initiative actually work?” You may learn that a training you have been giving for years has been confusing your employees so much, that they’re taking the wrong information in the field. You may receive employee feedback stating that a certain training seminar is entirely too long and is impacting work output on a consistent basis. Another possibility is a course you were considering eliminating, could perhaps be a shining star that has done such a wonderful job training your employees, that a majority of your staff use the course materials as a reference book on a consistent basis. No more guessing at the effectiveness of content, receive live feedback about the quality of your organization’s learnings. Then take those learnings and track and implement across the entirety of an organization. See what employees are taking which courses when. Find out which courses your employees are avoiding, and utilize a built in notification system to alert them of truancy. In an LMS system, the world is unbounded; quite literally. So much so that if you are part of a large organization with international representation, there are even translation tools and modules at your disposal to create a more impactful training and development program.

Be sure to go back to your boss’s ultimate question. This program indeed works, and now, I can find ways to make it work better. An LMS allows you to calculate return on investment, evaluate how the system is working and adjust learning measures to match organizational needs. But it doesn’t just stop there, it can help you identify issues that are plaguing your workforce, instill positive behaviors, and influence the perception your HR department. Taking a novel concept in which people are social learning and spinning it to include all the possible resources at the organization’s disposal; all while making you look like a modern day superhero.

Certifications

Besides organization and justifiable analytics, you gain something else immensely important. Accountability, gone are the ways of the inexperienced employee, trainings are just a few clicks away, and certifications can go a long way in establishing a credible employee base. E-Learnings and trainings, can prove compliance and bolster the work rate of the individuals within your department. It can also ward off potential negligence claims and protect you from an external audit on the abilities of your people.

Ease of Use

No more, timely, one at a time onboarding, with duplicate and incorrect information in a spreadsheet. Import all your HRIS data into one system, merge all of your SCORM learnings into one easy to use and actionable list, define the parameters of learnings based solely on the department you want them to be defined to. LMSs can do that!

Resource Management

“We book everything in our company calendar. We don’t need that.” All of this can be done in a single platform, you can track the learning from the time it’s scheduled, to the people who participate, to the certifications they were able to achieve. In a blended learning environment, resource management is the key to truly getting your learning and development efforts on track.  

Learning management systems are the key your organization may be lacking. There is no better resource in existence, in order for a workforce to capitalize on learning objectives. With all the advancements in learning technology, it only seems fitting that you are aware of a product not only capable of handling new applications, but has been designed with the future in mind all along. Thanks for reading and please join me as I continue my expedition into the heart of the Learning Management Systems industry.

References

"learning management system". Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 3 Aug. 2016. <Dictionary.comhttp://www.dictionary.com/browse/learning-management-system>.

How to successfully implement your LMS

How To Successfully Implement Your LMS.

How to successfully implement your LMS

How to successfully implement your LMS.

Your organization has always wanted a Learning Management System. They previously opted for a system that just did not fit your organization’s needs, or they have never had an LMS and you have produced a few eLearnings here and there, but nothing has ever been regulated. You find the deeper you delve into training the messier it is becoming. At this point, you are desperate for some sanity, so you begin the daunting task of begging the higher-ups to award you a system that could very well change your life in this position. Time goes by and your desperate pleas are finally answered and you are awarded the green light. You are then tasked with finding the perfect LMS for your organization. After assembling a team and discussing all the things required in this new system, spending weeks combing through written materials and vetting vendor demos, then conducting final interviews, the wait is over. You have finally selected GyrusAim as the Learning Management System to carry out all of your corporation’s learning exercises. This is all well and good, and we are ecstatic to have you on board; but you may be thinking, “What do I do next?”

Organize an LMS team

Often times, these are the same people that helped you establish the system requirements in the first place. In this iteration of meetings you are identifying stakeholders and assigning project roles. Collect everyone together who will be providing courses on this new system and determine what they truly need. This team should consist of members from HR (Training department if you have one), IT and Management, to ensure the best possible outcome.

Determine what you want the LMS to do for you

You may feel like you accomplished most of this in your search for the right LMS. However, you have learned of new capabilities and new requirements after talking with the team, and you have suggested these new learnings very rapidly to a Gyrus representative. We are here to help, if you need aid in integrating a separate product or developing an API, we’re here for you, and will instruct you on appropriate measures during your administration training session.

Learn the LMS like the back of your hand

At Gyrus, as well as in most LMS organizations, we provide in-depth training for our administrators. You do not have to undertake this brand new product without full understanding. We’ll train you on the ins and outs, how to structure interoperability between your other resources, and how to go-live as quickly and effectively as possible. We also are here for you throughout the entire process, if something comes up and you have an immediate question, contact us and we will provide you with an answer. The more you know of the systems capabilities, the more you will be able to get out of the system and the more ROI you will be able to obtain.

Convert previous materials to SCORM packages for integration

Be sure to include all of your supplemental materials, not just the eLearnings. We want you to be able to get the most out of your LMS experience from day 1. This is a process you can either do yourself through a content authoring tool, or Gyrus can do this for you for an additional charge. The sooner the content is organized, the sooner you will be able to go live and begin to realize the full potential of your investment.

Load all of these completed materials into a test environment, then conduct rounds of testing

Now that you have all of these materials at the ready, it is time to place them in a testing environment. In this configuration, you will find the first instances of your imported employees, clients, and co-workers. Make sure access is granted to all of the members of the LMS team, as this will allow you to have many eyes on the system for verifying the user and record imports, validity of file types, and functionality of previous revisions of eLearnings. You can also optimize bulk email strategy, and assign privileges to users, who may be able to both train and be trained. It is vital to determine the correctness of this information as it will be the backbone to system functionality going forward.

Start producing new content

Once, your new LMS is showing verified data that you have approved. Your LMS provider will migrate you to a live environment. You can breathe a sigh of relief as your hard work has finally paid off, and you have the LMS of your dreams. Be sure to continue your relation with the vendors, write them holiday cards, and contact them whenever a question pops up. At this point, we recommend implementing the new training exercises you have been discussing for months and scheduling away, as your program will take off like it has never done before.  

Six Things I Learned From Our Visitors Part II

Six Things I learned From Our Visitors Part II

Six Things I Learned From Our Visitors Part II

How to overcome challenges experienced by LMS users from ATD 2016

In my previous post “Six Things I Learned From Our Visitors” I delved shortly into the gloomy cloud of sadness that engulfs the perception of the entire LMS industry. In particular, I highlighted six statements of Industry professionals and paraphrased what that meant to problems they experienced with their LMS providers. Now is the time when I should mention that the users surveyed were not Gyrus Systems Users and that the easiest resolution would be to explore our most recent release of GyrusAim. But I digress, this post will explore manners in which people in these sorts of environments could make their lives a little easier.

Six Things I Learned From Our Visitors Part IIBelow are the issues portrayed and mitigation techniques:

 

Difficult to Formulate Content:

In less user-friendly systems it is important to design content with the implementation in mind. Focus on how the system parameters push you to corners, and bend the needs of the organization to fit the limitations of that system. Be careful not to lose sight of what is important and be vigilant in the pursuit of good content. Content is the most important resource for the development of individuals within your organization. Good content can be the difference between driving sales at your typical yearly rate and exceeding stakeholder expectations. 

Defining Course Requirements:

Before attempting to conquer individual course requirements, be sure to have a clear perspective on what those may be before attempting to merge into your system. Good housekeeping will go a long way into mitigating some of the heartburn experienced in system use. Some find it best to draft ideas on a good old fashioned notepad and enjoy going through the process of identifying the skills that need to be met, how to reinforce them, and who would best benefit from inclusion in a proposed course.
 

Limited and Tedious Reporting:

For this particular area, I struggled to find a practice that could best benefit the user. In LMS environments with poor reporting functionalities, there is no immediate bandage. However, it is possible to find the common denominator in what is required and what is being reported. There is always the workaround of internal auditing and pushing content to a more instructor-led training environment, by doing this you can introduce a human element capable of finding the missing pieces in departmental reporting generated from an outdated LMS.

Complex System Implementation:

There are companies that exist just to do this portion of an LMS migration; so it should go without saying, you are not alone. However, you can help this process by taking a deep dive into what you are attempting to enter into your LMS. Be sure to take a look at both transferrable content and the human resource component. Verify the output of your previous system is updated and free of duplicate entries, past employees, or expired content which may hinder future organizational development.

Poor Search Functionality:

Think of yourself as a meta-keyword guru. Though the system you are using may be difficult to use, this may be overcome with good maintenance practices at the entry level. Optimize the words you use to describe the course, in order to optimize the results you get from searching for that course. Do not be afraid to use google as a resource, look specifically for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques and if need be, resort to the ultimate reference of a thesaurus.

Managing My Users and Importing New Enrollees Is a Job in Itself:

Though in many environments this cannot be helped, it is best to develop a repeatable process for entry. Refer back to the advice for complex system implementation, as a data clean-up can prevent you from having to deal with the oppressive LMS environment which is becoming some time intensive.

Though all these methods may be suboptimal, there is something to be said about good process formation and cleanliness of the data entry. As a personal disclaimer, I tried my best not to make this into a sales piece. However, if these scenarios reflect experiences garnered in your current LMS environment, it may be wise to explore the potential of a new system as soon as possible/ schedule a demonstration of GyrusAim today. 

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.

Individual Development Plans (IDP) Are Here To Stay

Organizations are made up of individuals working towards a common goal.

Individuals within an organization may share common goals, but chances are, they have goals of their own.

That’s were individual development plans come in.

An individual development plan (IDP) can help employees:

  • Improve skills
  • Gain new experiences
  • Learn about emerging trends and technology
  • Explore unique training and development opportunities
  • Identify resources to keep their career fresh and exciting

An IDP which is a feature of the new Gyrus LMS, GyrusAim. can help employees:

  • Create a list of knowledge, skills, or abilities (KSAs) that they would like to acquire or improve
  • Correspond activities for each KSA to help develop in the areas listed  above
  • Identify specific resources for each activity (i.e.: classes, a mentor, a developmental assignment, etc.)

It is very simple…  employees that can create IDPs are happier and more productive than employees who don’t.

If you are interested in having a happy, motivated workforce, give your people the tools they need to create their own IDP. An LMS like GyrusAim can help.

To learn more about IDPs visit:

http://learning.hhs.gov/career/idps.html

So you’re ready to select Learning Management System

So, you’re convinced it’s finally time to select a real Learning Management System. What was the straw that broke the camel’s back? Was it the latest mandate to develop standardized learning programs company wide? Or is it this year’s directive to incorporate succession planning, career development and pay more attention to employees outside the United States?

Maybe your company is much smaller than the corporate giants with an international presence and it’s just about getting everyone who has a hand in employee development on the same page? Duplicate Excel spreadsheets, new elearning initiatives, redundant training development, managing no-shows, empty seats, training schedules via multiple emails, compiling reports that take hours only to be asked to recreate similar reports at management’s whim each month?

Where do you begin to research vendors and understand the scope of implementing an LMS? How long should the implementation take? Does IT need to be involved up front or should you narrow down your search before putting in a request? What type of services do vendors offer? How much or how little can you do yourself?

These and many, many other questions are fair game for anyone taking the LMS plunge. From the vendor perspective, we want to help you through the research and evaluation process and we want to help set the right expectations. Ultimately, it’s your success that makes us a success.

There are several free resources available for LMS researchers. I recommend this free digital ebook, 339 Tips on LMS/LCMS Implementations, published by the eLearning Guild. Implementing a Learning Management System with the right expectations can make all the difference in your success. Armed with the right tools, you can make a difference in establishing an effective workforce development program.

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.