Posts Tagged ‘e-learning’

Open Letter To E-Learning/ Training Pros

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Open Letter To E-Learning/ Training Pros

So the other day I was conducting a live demo of the eLeaP LMS tool and got a question that made me sit up and take notice. Many of us in the e-learning space throw out buzz words and ‘cool’ phrases which while useful in certain settings, are a total distraction in others.

Terminology like SCORM, LMS, mobile learning, synchronous versus asynchronous, API, Single Signon, Gamification and many others might be make for super geeky conversation among the elites but are totally unhelpful when one is trying to assist a new customer or potential customer navigate the treacherous waters of vendor research, selection and implementation.

So what can be done?

  1. All of us need to use simple straight-forward descriptors of our goals, needs, features and requirements. Believe me, trying to appear knowledgeable in front of your colleagues by using buzz words which are incorrect only exposes one’s hubris.
  2. Spell it out. My best demonstrations or phone meetings are conducted when the client sends in a list of questions, requirements, features or just goals. This way we can go step by step covering what is important to that customer. With systems like eLeaP, you can pretty much get everything you need done, but I don’t want to bore you with a detail treatise about the minimum time setup for lessons if that is not something you particularly care about.
  3. Don’t just tell; show … I like to be able to take a potential customer through a simulation of actual needs and goals. If the idea is to create a training program with different multimedia presentations and which might also involve completing an assessment as well as submitting a feedback form and conclude with a discussion around pertinent issues, then guess what? I will actually try to show the client how all this will come together by doing a live demonstration. We go through questions and answers and if time permits, even letting the client try their hands on a few activities – all from the comfort of their offices.
  4. Trust the customer to know what do to do after all what is the worst that can happen? ‘Break’ something? Mistakenly delete a file? It can be recovered. My personal philosophy is to have the customers take the system for a test drive. If they have a particular presentation that they want to get uploaded to see how it will work, we go ahead and take care of that – no charge, no questions asked. Why you ask? Because we at eLeaP believe ultimately, we are judged by how well we treat our customers. We believe respecting customers and performing little acts of kindness here and there, well it just might brighten someone’s busy day. Heck they might even come out looking pretty smart to their colleagues for finding and implementing a system like eLeaP.

If you have questions (any question) on business training or e-learning, call us 877-624-7226. We actually like talking to people.

And to my colleagues in the e-learning space, a little humility goes a long way. Let’s remember we are in the learning industry – not the ‘show-off’ industry.

Sincerely,

Don Weobong

President, Telania | eLeaP | Azimio

E-learning: What’s Coming in 2011

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

The domain of e-learning, virtual classrooms and remote training has advanced more than anyone could have imagined, just over the past decade. Remember the first experiments in “e-learning”? The very first remote training courses were little more than text on a screen that could be accessed from an FTP site or an intranet, offering the benefit of a remotely-accessed text, but not much more than that.

Today, e-learning has taken a whole new direction, creating a virtual environment that can be the functional equivalent of a live classroom, complete with multimedia, interactive environments, classroom forums, student tracking, and even electronic quizzes and tests. It is possible to provide just about any type of corporate training through an e-learning environment. In the academic world, if you’re ambitious, you can get an entire fully legitimate college degree online without ever setting foot inside a classroom. What’s next? Let’s take a look at what we can expect in the coming years in the world of online learning.

  1. More learning on-the-go. Ever since Apple came out with their SDK, there has been an explosion of mobile apps, and today everybody’s a wannabe mobile app developer. The ease with which mobile apps are developed means there are not only more apps, there is more demand for them—and mobile learning will be no exception. The smartphone is becoming more like a second computer, and people who are constantly out of the office will rely more on these devices to keep up to date through on-demand mobile training.
  2. E-learning gives businesses a closer connection to their remote workers. Remote working, teleworking, telecommuting an outsourcing are here to stay, and companies are relying on it more and more as the telecommunications and collaboration technologies that make it happen continue to mature. It is often speculated however, that remote workers are at a disadvantage when it comes to keeping up with office policies and new procedures, and as a result, are also at a disadvantage for upward mobility. Remote e-learning will take on a greater role in closing this gap, bringing remote workers into a level of parity with in-house staff.
  3. E-learning won’t diminish despite shrinking corporate budgets. It will however, continue to change. Rather than large, all-encompassing, hours-long training courses, companies will focus more on shorter, modular learning units that can be delivered on-demand.
  4. More employees will benefit from the e-learning model. In the past, corporate training was often geared towards certain sub-sections of staff, especially middle management and sales. The ease with which e-learning can be deployed (not to mention the low cost) will bring more employees into the e-learning fold—resulting in a better educated staff and better employee retention.
  5. E-learning facilitates outsourcing. The outsourcing trend, long ago acknowledged as an inevitability—as well as key to a modern corporation’s fiscal success—will get a boost from e-learning. Third-party service providers will take greater advantage of their partnerships with their clients, to take advantage of remote, modular learning units that are provided. This will give the outsourcing agency’s employees an opportunity to better understand their customers’ product lines and special requirements, and as a result, the lines between the outsourcing agency and the client will become a little less rigid.

What are the key challenges preventing e-learning success?

Monday, April 26th, 2010

What prevents success in the creation and implementation of an e-learning system?  While there are numerous obstacles preventing the success of any endeavor, the e-learning systems, because they are relatively new and somewhat unknown, certainly create their share of pitfalls, and then some.  Obstacles can often be found in every aspect of e-learning…from content development through delivery to effectiveness.

Let’s examine the issue, then, as a body of mistakes:

  1. Wrong approach to content development:  Although desired outcomes are the same for traditional training and e-learning, instructional design methods often fail to account for this. In simple terms, to be effective, e-learning must find new ways to involve the student in the learning process. The material will be ineffective if delivered simply as a textbook. It must become totally interactive so that we can replace (to some extent) the classroom instructor with increased student involvement. This means relying more heavily on exercises, quizzes, simulations and assignments than we would in a traditional environment; we need to duplicate to the extent possible the “see, do” method of training, allowing the student an opportunity to practice the new learning. And we need to do this frequently throughout the course.
  2. Wrong authoring tools: The tools you use to create e-learning must align with your training objectives. Authoring tools enable instructors or designers to build courses and supporting materials such as quizzes and simulations. Consider: Do you really want to propose training your current instructors in the use of Captivate? How about Flash?Remember, too, that today virtually all software packages that are used to create
    e-learning courseware require licensing. A relatively simple program that converts PowerPoint to a SCORM compliant Flash package, such as Articulate Presenter, can cost upward of $1,400. And that’s  per seat!  This feature is built into the eLeaP system and is free.

Authoring programs that are platform specific (e.g., Windows XP) will require maintenance in order to keep them current with new technology. This, of course, is generally not free; unless, that is, you are using a hosted e-learning platform that is essentially “rented” (such as eLeaP), and includes upgrades and maintenance. Programs such as these are often known today as Software as a Service, or SAAS (and sometimes simply SAS).

However, there are going to be occasions where you may require specialized training tools, for example if you are training students in the use of a particular software package. In this case, you can use programs such as Captivate or Camtasia that simulate the actual working environment and allow users to develop skills without affecting “live” data. If you lack the resources in house for doing this, a third party contractor might be a good choice. Or even better, if you are using a system such as eLeaP, you can find specific expertise through its customization capabilities.

  1. Wrong system employed for training: The systems you use for courseware development, delivery, learning management and assessment must integrate with one another. Think of them as tools. But remember, to a hammer, everything is a nail.


You must, therefore, choose a Learning Management System with the flexibility to host a variety of courseware types…from interactive simulations to Flash video to real-time problem solving. For example, have a look at eLeaP’s Learning Management System (www.eleapsoftware.com). It has the flexibility to host virtually any type of courseware that is SCORM compliant. A lack of this flexibility will severely limit the materials that can be delivered to the student.

You must also consider the system’s ease of use. As with the eLeaP system, students must be able to gain easy access and find an intuitive interface that requires little or no training. The system must work on virtually all platforms using any standard web browser. It must operate flawlessly so that, from the learners’ perspective, the fact that the content is being delivered electronically is secondary to the learning process.

  1. Wrong level of investment: There are many systems available today that require virtually no startup funding and that can be deployed in practically no time at all, e.g., the eLeaP LCMS. Why, then, would you want to consider a system that costs upward of $250,000 to start and requires a significant amount of resources to implement?  After all, these are not full-blown ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems that must integrate all organizational functions.

Avoid the heavy sales pitch that uses the scare tactics of systems integration capabilities. Generally speaking, a simple Application Programming Interface (API) can be developed at minimal cost to integrate any LMS into the organization’s Learning and Development recording system. Also keep in mind that many of these complex Learning Management Systems  require a good deal of expensive, specialized technical support and training just to create courseware that is compatible with the delivery system. Again, the fact is that systems such as eLeaP require no programming or startup costs at all, deployment support is free, implementation and online training is free and 24/7 customer support is free.

To download free valuable e-learning white papers, go to http://www.eleapsoftware.com/free-training-resources/. Contact eLeaP LMS & Training software for e-learning and business training questions.