Tag Archives: LMS

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.  

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.

 

LMS Branding - Beyond the Logo

LMS Branding – Beyond the Logo

LMS Branding - Beyond the Logo

LMS Branding – Beyond the Logo

As a new marketing person, I have a unique opportunity to engage our users, potential clients, and cohorts in the industry. With this outlook, I have undertaken the task of trying to make the Gyrus name more entrenched in your everyday life. How does someone do that? Simple, by structuring and solely acting upon a living brand strategy. Currently, I’m undergoing the rebranding effort, you may notice little things here and there (including flashier images, more or fewer sales conscience verbiage in our writings, cooler product features, and more flawless logo integration). But there is so much more to this branding exercise. To Gyrus, not only do we want to provide you with the coolest and slickest option on the market, but it is also important for our product to feel like it is part of your living and breathing brand. Here’s how an LMS can accomplish that, beyond just the inclusion of your logo.

Colors

When you think of the largest brands in the world, you often subconsciously think of their logo or even their brand colors and how you associate with them. When you think of brands like Coca-Cola or Walmart, there is a clearly defined color palette that tends to circle around in your brain. The goal of an LMS is to ultimately serve your learning base with the best possible learning environment. A sub-goal of this functionality is to make the LMS as a whole feel like an everyday necessity that is part of the core offering of the organization. To do so, it may be important for your organization to stamp your brand colors on any portal that your internal employees, external clients, or stakeholders may get their hands on. If your brand colors are blue and green, it would be a little off-putting to see your logo on a portal that was only red or orange. What is your organizational requirement when it comes to this level of color in branding?

Fonts

As a company, we have started thinking about this. To some people, the font used in correspondence is the most important aspect of brand communication. Should I serif or not? When should I? Is it ever appropriate to use Comic Sans MS? To others, they may just be satisfied with whatever output their word kicks out as a default. If you’re the latter of those options, you’ll be surprised to learn that a growing trend in organizations, is to mandate font types across all branded communications. If your organization is constantly using Helvetica or Calibri, then an email comes across using Times New Roman or Arial, you would be sure to take notice as something would feel a little bit off in the manner in which things were being relayed to you. The same thing could potentially go in an LMS environment, could this feature be interesting to you as a prospective user?

Pictures

A picture is worth a thousand words. The picture might be worth a few more if it is a celebrity endorsing your product. Your organization has paid for these images, and as a result, you want to use them. At Gyrus, we are looking at creative ways to further your brand reach within your LMS without hindering the quality and speed of your system as a whole. Whether it be the inclusion of images in conventional locations or on output there are definitely visible methods of further relaying brand reach and make the environment friendlier to your usage base.

Organizational Language

How does your organization refer to learning objects? Are eLearnings really just “online stuff you need to know”? Are your employees really just “Dudes and Dudettes”? Are nachos really just crunchy triangles with toppings on them? Your LMS should reflect your brand language and how you refer to well, stuff. At Gyrus, we believe this has been an important aspect of your brand message for a long time, and will continue to allow you the flexibility to make our product sound like it is part your offering.  

These are not the only components of potential branding capabilities of an LMS. Please continue to join me as I further investigate brand strategy in this unique marketplace.    

Surprisingly Cool Things You Can Do with an LMS

Surprisingly Cool Things You Can Do with an LMS

Surprisingly Cool Things You Can Do with an LMS

Not all Learning Management Systems are created equally. In fact, you would be hard pressed to identify matching features across the entirety of the industry. So instead of "Surprisingly Cool Things You Can Do with an LMS" this article may be more aptly titled, "Things You Did Not Know GyrusAim Could Do for You". However, it is best to gaze upon this list with the intent to evaluate your current LMS, as it too may have some of these capabilities hidden within its standard operating features.

Resource Management

The number one item on our cool stuff list is Resource Management. Having the cooperative capabilities to schedule an instructor on a localized calendar has unmeasurable benefits. Scheduling that same instructor, the classroom, the projector he/she is using, a laser pointer and a shared laptop… priceless. One of the smarter features of an intuitive LMS is being able to fully manage all aspects of the learnings; this includes considerations for conflict management and making sure administrators are not double or triple booking training resources within their organization. This practice also aids in the ability to reschedule due to unforeseen circumstances, as well as to track user metrics within the allotted scheduled times.  

Custom APIs

The second cool thing we find that is typically overlooked is the ability to develop custom APIs. What is an API? According to Beal (2016), an “Application program interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. An API specifies how software components should interact.” If your organization has developers on board with some time to spare, and you as a training organizer has requirements for interactivity between common programs, an API could be developed to ease inoperability between software components. This could be as simple as integration with your HRIS to as foreign as merging the capabilities of two separate Learning Management Systems.  

Assessment Creation Tool

You are definitely reading that correctly. The ability to generate content directly into the LMS not only exists but is being highlighted on this blog post. Gone are the ways of the past and the need to call your LMS provider every time you need a new bit of content development. If your organization demands an immediate change, an external time component in unnecessary, and the inevitable reception of a bill to reflect that proposed demand can be completely averted. In today’s marketplace organizations need to be able to address their own needs, without cost prohibitive circumstances surrounding their LMS.

Granular Control

When we say granular control at Gyrus Systems, we mean granular control. With 258 permissions currently available in GyrusAim and the ability to define new user roles within the program with just a click of the mouse. Undoubtedly other LMS providers also share at least a portion of these restrictions. Administrators are often unaware of what they are capable of divulging to their users within these settings. Perhaps, there is a view that would add exponential user value or one that would allow for a subroutine to be performed by another role in your department, making your work life infinitely easier.

Title 21 CFR Part 11

Unless it is an organizational requirement, you may not be aware of its availability. At Gyrus, we pride ourselves in being 21 CFR Part 11 compliant. If you are asking yourself what is 21 CFR Part 11, it is defined as, “Title 21 CFR Part 11 is the part of Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations that establishes the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations on electronic records and electronic signatures (ERES). Part 11, as it is commonly called, defines the criteria under which electronic records and electronic signatures are considered to be trustworthy, reliable and equivalent to paper records (Title 21 CFR Part 11 Section 11.1 (a))”  [Wikipedia]  GyrusAim has developed a feature for supporting compliance with Title 21 CFR Part 11. Though your LMS may not support this particular requirement for electronic signatures, there may be an alternative compliance component that can be utilized for security purposes within your current environment.

Thus concludes this segment of Surprisingly Cool Things You Can Do with an LMS. Please continue to join me as I investigate the LMS landscape and offer helpful tips whenever they may arise.  

 

References

Beal, Vangie. "What Is API – Application Program Interface? Webopedia Definition". Webopedia.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 14 June 2016.

"Title 21 CFR Part 11". Wikipedia. N.p., 2016. Web. 14 June 2016.

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. 

LMS, learning management system, gyrus systems, gyrus, mobile, ease of use, interface, replacement, optimal learning environment,

Four Reasons to Replace Your Outdated LMS

Four Reasons to Replace Your Outdated LMS

 LMS, learning management system, gyrus systems, gyrus, mobile, ease of use, interface, replacement, optimal learning environment, integration, intuitive design, reporting, analytics

A Learning Management System (LMS) provides a strategic solution for planning, delivering, managing, and reporting on various learning/training events and activities within an organization. Organizations across industries depend on learning management systems for handling their day to day training activities, compliance training, eLearning, etc. Due to the importance of LMS, it may go without saying that an outdated or poorly featured system can hinder an entire organizational learning process.​

LMS' User Interface Is Non-Intuitive:

Are your users frustrated with the way their LMS interacts with them? Does your administrator need to refer to the systems training guide multiple times in order to perform or complete a simple task? No one likes to use cumbersome systems or websites; if these processes are too time intensive, they may never be fully completed (or at least completed with an abundance of shortcuts). If your LMS falls into the situation where users struggle to use the system, it may lead to clutter, inability to search for necessary courses or vast mistakes in content placement. It is important for your LMS to have a simple and viable interface so that users are able to complete their tasks with ease.

LMS Lacks Integration with Other Systems:

Most companies already have an HRIS (Human Resource Information System) or an HRMS (Human Resource Management System), if your LMS cannot integrate with them, your system could be riddled with issues such as information discrepancies, dual data entry, or incomplete user records.  LMS integration with HRIS is crucial for succession planning and promotion; having immediate employee information regarding skills, job, and training, current and automatically synced to the system can lead to a better functioning organization.

LMS is Non-Compatible with Mobile:

An LMS built only for desktop computers is a big no-no, especially in an era where it seems every person is glued to their smartphone. In fact, In the US, 91% of the population is connected to fast 3G/4G via smartphone, not capitalizing on that would be a mistake. Your users should have the ability to access their LMS from mobile devices, which will give them the flexibility to interact with their LMS on the go, and further the reach of your organization’s educational content. Mobile LMS is the most convenient method to reach busy professionals and keep them engaged in their learning process today.

LMS is Missing Valuable Reporting and Analytics:

Can your LMS tell you how many users completed a particular certification exam on their first attempt? Does it provide simple/understandable metrics to inform how your organization is progressing to achieve its talent development and compliance goals? The best part of using an LMS from an administrative perspective is access to real insights and analytics of your organization’s complete learning programs and processes. An LMS without robust reporting and analytics capabilities can be a complete disaster for your organization.

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.

Are You Attending ATD 2016?

atd2016-logo-374x176

Gyrus Systems Team is all set for ATD 2016!

We are eagerly looking forward to Association for Talent Development (ATD) 2016 International Conference & Exposition taking place on May 22-25 in Denver, Colorado. Our team will be present at booth #1129 to talk to you about your learning and training challenges and explain how our LMS – GyrusAim can help you overcome these.

You can connect with us in following ways:

Schedule a Live Demo:  Don’t miss a chance to get a live demo of GyrusAim from our team of experts. You will get to see the latest version of our award-winning LMS-GyrusAim. Make your appointment ASAP by sending an email to sales@Gyrus.com using the subject line “ATD 2016″. Out team will be all set and prepared beforehand to show you the demo at your preferred time and day.

Request for a Demo at the Booth Itself: We will be more than happy to accommodate your request if you have not been able to get your demo slot pre-booked.  Just visit us at booth #1129 and talk to our team about your training requirements and challenges.  We will show you what exactly GyrusAim can do for you.  

Drop Your Card at the Booth: We understand some of you might not be present on all four days and you may not manage everything you intend to do due to time constraints. Do not worry. If you are interested in hearing more from us or schedule a demo for a later date, just drop your card at the booth. Our team will get in touch with you right after the event ends.

You can also connect with us on our social media channels. Give us a mention on Twitter @GyrusSystems with #ATD2016 and we will connect with you right away.

21 CFR Part 11 FDA Compliance: What Your LMS should provide?

21 CFR Part 11 FDA Compliance- Electronic Record Electronic Signature

Organizations are finding new, faster ways to deliver real-time training, e-learning and are leaving behind instructor-led training practices. Learning Management Systems (LMS) are the key to deliver unified, effective and controlled training programs.

For food, pharmaceutical and clinical companies, LMS can also achieve 21 CFR Part 11 compliance. 21 CFR Part 11 establishes the standard by which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers electronic signatures, records, and handwritten signatures executed to electronic records to be trustworthy, reliable, and generally equivalent to paper records and handwritten signatures executed on paper.

These organizations face significant risks if found non-compliant. They may receive a Form 483(A list of observations made during the inspection that is communicated at the conclusion of the inspection), a Warning Letter, or even a consent decree impacting their time-to market, productions, brand reputation, etc.

Finding a LMS provider with basic features and capabilities is an easy task as long as you know your training requirements. However, selecting a provider that understands the FDA criteria for electronic records authenticity requires an in-depth study of provider’s capability and expertise.

Let’s look at some key features that you must avail through your LMS provider to ensure you are 21 CFR Part 11 compliant:

Data Access and User Authentication Process: A LMS should provide a robust user authentication through strong username and passwords, automatic password expiry and verified password recovery process. User accounts should not be shared, and one user id should apply to only one person. For Single Sign On (SSO) process API authentication should be enabled. It is important that the LMS provides a robust data access structure to control a user’s access and functions based on various parameters.  See if they have access control checks and form validations to ensure only valid data entry and the user is authorized to perform the action. The system should also ensure that only authorized individuals can electronically sign a record or alter a record.

Audit Trail Access: You need to evaluate how much manual work versus customized reports is available when you are looking for a particular data. For Example, if the audit trail is for a particular training course applicable to a particular location, can you filter the results easily? Also, find out what kinds of data points are required to be audited for each fields and whether there are workarounds if certain data points are not present.

Report Generation for Inspection: The LMS should have ability to generate accurate and complete copies of repots both in printable and electronic format for review and inspection purposes. See if these report can be customized based on particular search parameters. Quick and easy to access report allows organizations to be inspection-ready more effectively; it also allows them to appropriately limit the data you present to the FDA during an audit. The organizations also need to check if reports are configurable to ensure that they meet their future reporting requirements.

It is extremely important that organizations partner with a LMS vendor that have prior experience working with regulated companies. A right LMS helps pharmaceuticals and clinical organizations to automate and manage their training initiatives while conforming to regulatory requirements, including 21 CFR Part 11.

Buying a LMS? Acronyms You Must Know (Part 2)

LMS acronyms

In our last blog “Buying a LMS? Acronyms You Must Know (Part 1), we explained 15 acronyms related to Learning and Development Industry and we continue to explain the next set of acronyms through this blog.

EHRI -Enterprise Human Resources Integration: US federal government’s human resource system that gets integrated with any federally deployed LMS.

FISMA – Federal Information Security Management Act: An United States legislation comprehensive framework to protect government information, operations and assets in software systems including LMS.

HCM -Human Capital Management: An old term for talent management.

HRIS – Human Resource Information System: A software system that manages multiple human resource functions such as hiring, payroll, tracking employees’ attendance, etc.

HRMS- Human Resource Management System: A combination of systems and processes that connects human resource management and information technology through HR software.

ILT- Instructor Led Training: Any kind of training that occurs in a training room and can involve one or more instructors. Training is generally delivered through lectures, presentations, demonstrations, discussions, etc.

L&D -Learning & Development: A department in an organization that usually owns and manages learning requirements, learning software for employees.

LCMS- Learning Content Management System: A Software providing multi-user environment where authors, trainers, instructional designers, etc. can create, edit, store, reuse, manage, and deliver e-learning content.

LMS – Learning Management System: is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of e-learning courses or training programs.

LRS- Learning Record Store: A data store system that stores learning records necessary for using the Experience API (xAPI) also known as the "Tin Can API.

MOC -Maintenance of Certification: A mandated annual certification or training course that professionals in certain fields must take to keep an active practicing license.

SaaS (LMS) – Software as a Service:  Learning Management Systems that only exists in the cloud where IT infrastructure requirement is minimal or not required at all.

SCORM Sharable Content Reference Model: is a set of technical standards for e-learning software products. It helps in determining how online learning content and LMS communicate with each other.

SSO -Single Sign On: A user authentication process that permits a user to enter one name and password in order to access multiple applications. For example, if an employee is logged in to a company’s computer network, he/she can also access their account in the LMS without another manual logging.

Tin Can: The experience API (XAPI) is a new communication standard allowing for the tracking of all types of learning experiences in the LMS.

Vilt – Virtual Instructor Led Training: refers to a training that is delivered in a virtual environment, or when instructor and learner are in separate locations.

Six Tips to Help You Select the Right Learning Management System

Editor's Note: This blog was originally published in KM World in April 2016, and has been reproduced here with permission.

In the digital world, one can turn to a blog, Wikipedia, social media platforms, online knowledge forums, videos, etc. and get informed on just anything. The information available is abundant. You might think if there is a concrete need of a Learning Management System (LMS) versus letting the employees find and learn on their own. 

The second way sounds simple but unless you have just started your business or have a very small workforce, it is not going to be an effective method in the long run. Right from analyzing the skills required, sourcing the right learning material, checking its authenticity, easy access, to measurement and tracking, etc. will be a problem if you just let your employees learn on their own. Using a LMS is the only way through which, you can provide a systematic and centralized learning process for your employees. And, the first and most critical aspect of selecting a LMS is evaluating your own requirements and objectives.

Evaluate Your Need and Requirement: It is important to evaluate points such as total number of users expected, operations structure, learning and training objectives, current IT infrastructure and its limitations, system management, etc. Get as clear and specific as you can. For example, some of your workforce might be working at the client’s office and can’t access anything outside of the client system. How will the LMS work for them? You also must assess the present learning methodology or LMS from all perspectives in order to select the most effective LMS. Think whether the LMS will be used more for classroom training or e-learning and accordingly decide the kind of LMS that you require.

Assess LMS’ Features and Usability: There are multiple Learning Management Systems in the market, each providing a unique set of features and usability. While it is great to have a large number of features, it is more important to understand its usability for end-users. Don’t get fooled by a product demo where they claim to have maximum features. Some of it might not be useful to you at all but will make the system more complex and provide an unfriendly interface. The LMS should have a streamlined interface and work flow for the administrators as well for it to run successfully. Multiple features also tend to increase the maintenance costs. Your selection should be on the basis of key features and usability that you require rather than the features that they provide.

Focus on Scalability and Value: Think from a larger perspective when trying to find an ROI on your LMS. Imagine choosing a vendor for a particular department only to find the requirement to extend it to another department few months later but, only if the present LMS could have allowed you to add more users.  With the changing work environment and compliance requirement, your LMS should scale to meet the needs of larger and varied workforce as well as evolving training requirements.

Understand the LMS’s Support and Security: Your LMS will contain a lot of sensitive data and it is very important to have a robust and secured LMS. Analyze the security settings and keep your IT team in sync to help you identify the right security structure for your organizations’ need. For example, the LMS should provide settings in a way that one set of training or reading material can only be accessed by one level of employees in the legal department and not by anyone else. Also, evaluate the support that the LMS vendor is willing to provide. Will it come as a part of package or only in the deployment phase? Can your end-users contact them directly? 

Know Company’s History and Stability: LMS vendor landscape has seen a major consolidation in the past and is still an ongoing trend. In such scenarios, it is very vital to understand vendor’s history, their future outlook and stability factors. Everything right from your SLA’s, to support, product upgrades, pricing is going to be affected if your current vendor gets bought or merged by another company. You also need to analyze their product upgrades structure and how it gets aligned to the changing training needs. Research suggests that lack of products upgrades and inadequate vendor’s support were two major reasons for 66% of users to look for a new vendor in 2015.

Ask for a Trial Version: A trial version would provide you a real feel in to the interface, features and usability. You may also ask for a sandbox installation where you can explore the top LMS vendors that you have selected. Let a small team of end-users and administrators try it out and give you feedback. You can compare the feedback from all set of users for different products and see which one gets the maximum marks and do a better cost analysis too.

While these tips are most important when selecting the right LMS for your organization.  A bit of research and evaluation on vendor’s clientele, services, customer references can be few additional items to keep in mind.

 

Gyrus Systems Opens India Sales Office

New Sales office Opens in India to Strengthen Commitment to Local Market and Customers

Richmond, VA · November 20, 2015. Gyrus Systems, a leader in the Learning Management Systems (LMS) industry, proudly announced the official opening of its new India office in Surat, Gujarat to enhance its presence in the fastest growing global market and to strengthen its commitment to better serve India-based customers and the industry.

Given the importance of the India market, the India-based Gyrus Systems team will focus on providing Sales, Marketing and Support to all Indian customers.

President and CEO of Gyrus Systems, Viren Kapadia said:  “Having a sales office and team located in India strengthens Gyrus Systems’ position in the world market and allows us to have the flexibility of growing with our customers and partners as we continue to provide Learning Management Systems (LMSs) in this fast changing and competitive space.”

About Gyrus

Gyrus Systems is the one-stop solution for the efficient management of any size training program.  Since 1987, 450+ companies worldwide have used Gyrus Systems’ products to improve training effectiveness, organization efficiency, and to attain greater success within their respective industries. The company is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia.  For more information, please visit http://www.gyrus.com/.

Why Buy a Learning Management System (LMS)?

 

small (larger)

 

 

Last week I reviewed the benefits of an LMS.   In today’s article I focus a little more on the larger picture by noting several important reasons why buying an LMS is strategically important.

 

  1. To gain market share over competitors who only meet minimum work standards by using the LMS to train your employees to meet high quality standards.
  2. To decrease costs of safety compliance in an environment of ever increasing non-compliance penalties as shown here, here, here, here, and here.  Training your workforce to comply with OSHA regulations ultimately increases safety which reduces accidents and thus reduces penalties.
  3. To save management time by instantly producing detailed reports and analysis showing current and historical training activity.
  4. To schedule initial and follow-up courses based on employee’s training history, role, and other variables.
  5. To easily manage employee training requirement by simplifying the dynamic workforce environment caused by turnover and organizational changes.
  6. To enable global, cross-functional, and cross-enterprise teams by providing goal alignment and visibility of team effectiveness to senior management.
  7. To create new revenue streams and improve customer loyalty by providing education to customers through the LMS.
  8. To reduce employee turnover by increasing job satisfaction and safety by enabling access to training anywhere, anytime.  In today’s connected world, enabling users to review multimedia training at home, or even on the shopfloor is achievable.

 

In summary, an LMS leverages today’s technology to increase profits and company competitiveness in an increasingly complex business environment.

How can an LMS Help an Organization?

 

10-16-15 small (larger)

Earlier this week I was asked by an acquaintance what I did for a living, and the conversation naturally transitioned to what a Learning Management System (LMS) was and how it could help his company.  The last several articles here at Gyrus.com have focused on specific LMS features, this one will review general benefits.  User roles are important in LMSs, so the benefits are categorized according to several commonly used roles.

 

Student Role (same as Associate, Employee, or Customer)

  • Skill-centric philosophy – Not all LMSs are skill-centric, however it is a powerful method of managing training that links skills to jobs, organizations, certifications, & people and the required training for those skills.  The benefit is that the focus is student development by skills, not just training.  Skills allow people to succeed at their job, not training.
  • Individual Development Plan (IDP) – It may have different names in each LMS, however it’s a single screen that shows all required skills with links to launch eLearning and enroll into instructor-led classes.  It is a central location for students to manage their development.
  • Skill Gap Analysis / Compliance– A result of skill-centricity, this feature shows a student the skills they must acquire for their department, job, or required certifications.  Students can then easily locate and enroll in training required for those skills.  Furthermore, students can determine the skill requirements for other departments, jobs, or certifications for career-planning purposes.
  • Course Catalog – Central location for all training that students can review to check whether other eLearning or instructor-led training classes are relevant to their development, even if the training is not specifically tied to their job, organization, etc.
  • Knowledge assessment (test) to determine whether student learning was effective.
  • Records availability – Students can easily access their complete training history with just a few mouse-clicks.
  • Remote capability – All of the above is available for the student out of the office, either from their home computer or mobile device.

 

Manager / Instructor

  • A single place for management of employee training activity such as enrollments, approvals, progress, and skill gap analysis.
  • Consolidated data for producing management reports and analysis.
  • Evaluation capabilities to determine quality of training, instructors, and locations so they can be improved if necessary.
  • On-the-job (OJT) training by managers using exhibited assessments to enhance real-time and personal education with instantaneous feedback.
  • Automatic electronic communication to students regarding status of training (enrolled, completed, waiting for approval) and other related activities.
  • Employee development through the use of required and optional skills easily assigned and reviewed by managers.
  • Ability to provide more interesting content like videos and other forms to improve the learning experience.

 

Training Administrator

  • Elimination of duplicated effort.  That is, a record (like a skill) can be created once and then used throughout the system by associating it to different organizations, jobs, certifications, and people.  It can be edited or updated with additional information without the need to completely replicate it.
  • Reports and analytics using vast amounts of historical training information used to improve the workforce development business processes.
  • Simplified procedures for managing, updating, and just working with the data.
  • Creation of safety or other compliance requirements, and assignment of the skills necessary for students to achieve them, improving overall corporate compliance.
  • Reduce overall training costs by enabling remote learning via eLearning and managing virtual classrooms where instructors and students are not in the same location.
  • All of the above working together synergistically to accomplish total workforce development throughout the company.

The Importance of Customer Service for Learning Management System (LMS) Admins

Gyrus Systems Benjamin 2In May I blogged about the concept of “Fast, Good, and Cheap: Pick Two” and how it applies to product development, essentially: A development project can’t include all three qualities. Today I’ll explore how customer service is similarly affected by price & quality and leverage the quote, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” by Ben Franklin to demonstrate the issue. (Seems like price versus quality concerns have existed for a long time!)

Like “Fast, Good, and Cheap: Pick Two,” Franklin’s quote drives home the relationship between price and quality, that is, when an overly cheap product is marketed, quality suffers because the vendor must cut costs somewhere.

An easy cost-cutting strategy is to skimp on customer support since product features can still be demonstrated; the assumption being that sales won’t suffer. Also, it’s challenging to demonstrate customer support so vendors may only provide anecdotal information, if it’s discussed at all.

Based upon my experience with customers that have changed to the Gyrus Systems GyrusAim LMS from alternatives, customer support is extremely important where quality is not optional, it’s required. Service problems described by customers that had used inadequate support departments range from never getting hold of a live person to being forwarded to a call-center where the service rep “helps” by reading from a list of FAQs because they don’t understand the product.

Customers experiencing these problems truly understand “the bitterness of poor quality.” The “sweetness of low price” is long forgotten because the lack of support creates stalled training programs and untrained learners, not successful end results when using an LMS.

At Gyrus Systems quality customer support is a priority: We want long term customer relationships, not a quick sale. We invest in the personnel and develop the processes required to deliver top-notch assistance. For example, we don’t rely on a voicemail barrier when customers call. Instead, we answer the phone. The person that answers is not at a call-center either, it is a Gyrus Systems employee that’s deeply involved in product development or support.  The end result is customers speak with a resource that understands the product. In fact, all of our employees know our customers by their first name.   

Not all customers need help, however when they do, the responsive and dedicated Gyrus Support Team is available so our clients will not experience the bitterness of poor quality support.  Ben Franklin would be proud.

Is a Lack of Necessary Workforce Skills Dragging Your Company Down?

Workforce skills management is important in the workplace. There’s no argument there. It’s so important that we at Gyrus Systems even created an entirely new LMS (GyrusAIM) based around this concept of workforce skills management. The training you provide is about much more than simply providing courses, it’s about the skills those courses are developing in your workforce.

Your organization can take a huge hit without the necessary skills-management. If your employees don’t have the necessary skills to succeed, it’s only a matter of time before your company will fall behind too. Are your employees getting the “refreshers” they need? Are they meeting the requirements for your specific industry? It’s important to ask these questions—and ask them often—to make sure that your employees aren’t getting stale or rusty.

That’s where our LMS, GyrusAIM, comes into the picture.

It’s not merely good enough to train your employees—you need to train them for the right skills, for the right job, at the right time. Sounds like a lot to keep up with, right? This is the meaning of skill-centric software such as ours.

An LMS should make your life easier, it says it in the name—it’s a learning management system because it should be helping you manage learning in your workplace. A great LMS, such as GyrusAIM, makes it easier for you by notifying you of expired certifications, what courses have been completed and those that have not, and other metrics or repots.

eLearning is used every day in many universities, so there should be no question that is can be just as valuable in a workplace setting (we’re taught for years that learning never stops, right?). Don’t let unskilled workers be to blame for your company’s slow (or for some, abrupt) failure.

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.