EduBrite 2016: A year in review

It was a great year for EduBrite. Many incredible things happened in 2016. Thanks for being part in this journey with us. 

We introduced Open Learning, a learner centric micro learning solution in 2016. EduBrite is one of the first one to offer this solution in the LMS industry. Open learning helps creating an engaging learning environment for your employees as well as external audience – customers, partners etc. You can setup a public facing Open Learning solution and leverage it to serve as a great tool for content marketing.

Users can create their own play list, follow, rate, comment. They can also social share the content with their peer group and claim mastery point in the subject area they are expert in. 

Open Learning is also a gateway for progressive learning. It directs users to register in course(s) to learn their topic of interest formally. So essentially you can offer an integrated experience to your learners.

In addition to Open Learning, we have added many new features, enhanced existing features, improved usability and added automation with key goals in mind to continue to improve the experience of our customers and their users. Here is a quick snapshot:

Gamification – You can create badges easily by uploading external images or use from the library. Enhanced leaderboard is available.
Instructor led training – New integration with Zoom.us. New functions e.g. download sign-in sheet, manually generate invoices, edit amount, add discount, take notes, easy options to mark attendance and awarding completion.
Collaboration – Forum now offers features such as forum priority, assigning, sub forums etc. to provide light weight task/issue tracking capabilities.
Custom properties – User defined custom properties now can be added at various places e.g.  Group, Course, Course Session, Program, Event, Course Member, Program Member and Event Participants. This allows you to extend the LMS objects in a very flexible ways to capture your business specific information. 
Authoring – Many enhancements are added in test and course throughout the year. 
New Role – A new role group coordinator is added to offer additional flexibility in decentralizing the access and management of training operations. 
Reporting – Enhanced many reports e.g. learners report, program report, question statistics report etc. Added a new transcript summary report.
Confluence Integration – In addition to many new macros e.g. customizing dashboard, reports, leaderboard etc. now you can auto sync users and groups.


We make it easy for you

We make your experience easy by offering our integration with Atlassian Confluence, Salesforce, Yammer, Google etc. This allows users to access EduBrite LMS right from the Apps where they spend most of their time. Additionally, we have integrated with many wonderful applications so that you use best of breed applications and provide a great experience to your learners.

final.jpg

We have a pretty exciting 2017 ahead of us! One of our primary focuses will be to offer an even more engaging learning experience, so we have planned for several enhancements in Open Learning and Gamification. We understand that you want to offer ubiquitous learning, so expect more developments in our native iOS App and our recently released Android App.

 

Thanks for an amazing 2016. Happy Learning in 2017!

Advertisements

Top Down & Bottom Up LMS implementation approaches for employee training

When it comes to LMS implementation in any organization for internal training, most common approach is top down. Top down approach is heavily based on maintaining controls at the top level and selectively giving some rights to lower levels in the training delivery hierarchy (which is generally same as org structure).

top-down

This approach requires lot of upfront planning, identifying stakeholders across the organization and resolving internal conflicts within different teams to create common ground for a centralized LMS. On many occasions, this whole process takes several months to a year before LMS can be fully rolled out to employees, thus resulting in huge upfront cost. Even after rollout, the top down control of rights creates an ongoing battle of control and sometime conflict of interest among different groups who needs to use the LMS. All these factors limit the adoption, and returns on the investment.

If we look deeper into why this happens so frequently, we find the biggest cause is a common issue with many LMS products; most of them are built with assumption of global role based controls. In most systems, only admin or instructor can do activities like course creation and setting up its delivery. These rights are not available for individual team or group level, resulting in big process bottlenecks. Course content has to be managed by a few selected people (L&D managers or Curriculum developers), for a very large number of teams. Team leads do not get the ability to quickly create their own training courses and deliver them to their teams. This also makes the job very tough for the L&D managers who typically are at the top of the Training Delivery hierarchy. They must find time to create & facilitate training courses and provision them for entire organization. This process takes too much time to plan and becomes difficult to execute. As a result, not all departments get equal attention and become indifferent to LMS or find their own (adhoc) solutions. A clear symptom of this effect we see is – existence of multiple LMS in the same organization, which is owned by different teams. Although this gives full control of the LMS these teams own, but as a whole the organization doesn’t get a clean & coordinated learning environment, and the cost becomes too high.

Top down approach has its merits in many kinds of training such as compliance, that requires full control, but there are several other kinds of training usage (especially informal) where it becomes a limiting factor.

EduBrite offers a clean solution to this problem by allowing possibility of a Bottom Up implementation strategy. We discussed this topic in our webinar last week, recording of which can be accessed here – http://bit.ly/1mSodHO

bottom-up1

Bottom up approach works by allowing everyone to create training content (courses) and managing its delivery. LMS implementation can be done at rapid speed with just a potential announcement of its availability and may be a “getting started” video, and allowing different team leads to start using it for their teams. No setup of org hierarchy / departments / roles etc. is needed. The team, who need the LMS most, can be the first to adopt, and lead the way for other teams to follow. Leaders or experts can join hands and create community groups (super groups) as well by merging or sharing resources from their own group and evolve onto a organically grown Group structure for training/learning activities.

bottom-up2

Regardless how large the overall organization is, team level implementation seems very simple and quick. L&D managers can still be overall admin for the system and can visualize the system usage, and other analytics about the adoption. They can even create a healthy competition among teams to make best use of the LMS. From the cost perspective also, you can get high return on investment by not buying a large number of seats for the LMS upfront; rather follow the scaling model based on the demand growth.

Since Bottom up approach is based on participation by teams, it becomes a more stable and likely more successful implementation, compared to top down model. If LMS permits (like EduBrite does) you can also have mixed implementation approach in the same system.

mixed

Key product features that allow implementation of bottom up strategy are –

  • Allows training content creation, ownership and provisioning rights to all users, so they can develop and deliver trainings for their teams
  • Allows Group level roles, sharing content across groups
  • Allows multiple group membership by the same user, so they can play different roles in different groups
  • Makes it easy to evolve the group hierarchy and allows possibility of multiple alternate hierarchies to co-exist in the same LMS
  • Allows re-use of training materials to create different variations or courses and programs by re-packaging it to make it suitable for different groups
  • Hierarchical group based permissions for administration, data visibility and reporting

Best implementation strategy heavily depends on the specific usage and may be different in each organization, but having familiarity with the options and availability of the right features in the LMS can give you full flexibility.

 

Mobile Learning – Bridging Generation Gaps

iPhone-iPad-EBHave you ever come across this generic question from the learning organizations or your business stakeholders, i.e. Can you support learning on mobile devices since that is the primary way we want the training to be delivered? What exactly is wrong with this question?

What is wrong here is not the desire to have learning available on mobile devices or focusing ‘just on the device’, but also the absence of the strategy on how to build and offer the training to blend multigenerational workforce. The learning needs to reconcile and shape up learning to meet various learning styles and taste.

Mobile learning needs to span and support multiple generations from digital immigrants (i.e. baby boomers) to digital natives (born in last 20-25 years). The effective way to bridge the gap and blend it effectively is to use mobile learning as supplementary training to meet just in time need and not as the primary training tool. Mobile programs need to be built to engage the workforce, to make it useful within the day to day work and effective in a way to create want for them instead of pushing it to the employees.

Using training as an ongoing support tool and accelerant helps pretty much all generations to meet their learning needs. For an employee who has gone through traditional training course can use it as post- training support to refer to concepts as they start applying the training in their work life. For the new generation, who is looking for just-in-time training content to either learn ‘How-to’ or ‘solve a specific problem’ can search and access the specific nugget of content on their mobile device accordingly. Sales organizations can build online games around competitive nature of the business and ask employees to solve a specific problem or excel in particular knowledge area for their success in the field and hence mastering those skills. This creates inherent want for the successful people to do better and the gaming aspect creates the engagement and interest.

The key for success is to keep the old concepts and fundamentals of L&D in the back burner and focus on new way of thinking about developing training programs. The content needs to be designed such that the training offered through mobile experience meets immediate needs, is of smaller size to make quick impact and integrates seamlessly in the workflow. When designing such training, focus on the design principles of keeping the user experience at the top, and building smaller bite size content and make it available ‘just-in-time’. This helps to meet needs of multiple generations and positions mobile learning as a tool which becomes necessary to get job done and hence automatically creates the motivation.

Author: Praveen Khurana

Praveen Khurana is a learning technology leader in learning management and human capital systems. He has 18+ years of experience in this industry and has consulted with and has implemented learning, talent and knowledge management systems for many fortune 500 companies.

Test Authoring and Delivery – EduBrite Education Webinar

In last week’s webinar, we discussed about test authoring and delivery. In this webinar covered various how quizzes/tests or surveys can be created using EduBrite’s WISYWIG test editor? Thanks to all participants who were able to join us. We discussed following items in detail:

  • Questions formats – Multiple choice, Fill in the blank, Yes/No, Essay, Grid Type etc.
  • Various Test properties including
    • Create question bank
    • Re-using questions from existing tests
    • Inserting images, audio, video
    • Inserting mathematical and Scientific symbols
    • Gradient scoring, negative marking
    • Adding passage, solution
    • Adding metadata at question or test level
    • Randomize questions, choices
    • Competency-based test, exams
    • Various UI options
    • Categorizing questions into sections
    • Limiting time based on sections
    • Essay evaluation
    • Random selection of questions from question bank
  • Test delivery : informal (Practice tests); Formal inside an exam, exam management. Quizzes inside the course were covered in previous course authoring and course delivery webinars.
  • Proctored Exam
  • Multi Source feedback (360 degree feedback)

Recording of the session is now available at Webinar Channel in EduBrite Support portal. We will announce next round of webinar soon. Stay tuned.

LMS Reporting – EduBrite Education Webinar

This week’s webinar covered LMS reporting topic. Thanks to all participants who were able to join us. We discussed following items:

  • Reporting menu
  • LMS usage reports – course sessions, usage metrics
  • Learners report
  • Assessment :  test attempts; test scores, question/survey stats
  • Lessons report
  • SCORM report
  • Statistical reports
  • Ecommerce : Payment transactions, coupon codes
  • E-mail notifications

Recording of the session is now available at Webinar Channel in EduBrite Support portal.

Our next webinar “Micro-site administration” is on Wednesday Sep 17 at 10 am pacific (UTC-7). In this webinar, we will cover:

  • Users Management : User Creation (individual, bulk), User roles, User assignment to group(s)
  • Groups Management : Group Creation, Type of Groups (open, by request, private, etc.), group roles, group settings, collaboration
  • Site administration : Configure features, security, user interface, metadata
  • Misc : E-mail settings, Coupon, Payment integration, UI high level

Register here for next webinar

Collaborative and Social Learning

2758777221_ddef7951cf_z In last few years the buzzwords like learning or training, e-Learning, collaboration, human capital management, talent management, etc. have become very popular when it comes to the new trends in learning industry. To the most part these terms are used interchangeably and may mean the same thing which various learning and development (L&D) vendors, corporate universities, private schools or educational institution have been using to attract their target audiences and to cash it on. This represents some form of structured formal learning which is in either classroom or virtual kind of setting or may be available online for self-learning. The objectives are same and that is to disseminate well-structured content to group of people which someone in higher authority (typically small group of intellectual elite; either by ranks or knowledge) decided that specific group of people should learn or master. In some cases the group of people may also have to go through some form of assessment to prove that they actually gained something from the experience. Well, did they really? How effective was that? May be they were able to memorize some portion of content, but do they know how to use or apply it in real world? Can the learners be productive and successful with new acquired knowledge? The fact is that the formal learning is the source of only 10-20% of learning of these days. The remaining 80-90% of learning today happens through informal or social and collaborative means.

As per Wikipedia, Collaborative learning is a situation in which two or more people learn or attempt to learn something together. Unlike individual learning, people engaged in collaborative learning capitalize on one another’s resources and skills (asking one another for information, evaluating one another’s ideas, monitoring one another’s work, etc.).  More specifically, collaborative learning is based on the model that knowledge can be created within a population where members actively interact by sharing experiences and take on asymmetry roles. Put differently, collaborative learning refers methodologies and environments in which learners engage in a common task where each individual depends on and is accountable to each other. These include both face-to-face conversations and computer discussions (online forums, chat rooms, etc.).

What do you think? Does it make sense? It certainly does. Learning actually is social assisted with collaborative environment. Think about how we have been learning really most of what we know in life; be it how to speak, how to eat, how to socialize, good manners, what to do or not to do, how to play certain sports, etc. etc. Did we learn all that in school or formal setting?  The clear answer is No. Most of that we learned from other people we interacted or collaborated with in our social circle – our parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, friends, coaches,  mentors, etc.  And similarly at work we learn in hallways, in break rooms, may be from our colleague in next cubicle, may be reaching out to help-desk when needed, through our mentors and basically working with people who know the stuff or can work with us to figure things out. That is the real effective way of learning and it helps us to learn, not only in fast manner but retain the knowledge for long as well, probably our lifetime. As part of collaborative learning process, we also learn how to apply the knowledge we have gained really effectively and be better individual. How cool is that? That is actually putting  social and collaborative learning in practice. And the best part is that it is personal, and self-driven.

Today’s generation is more aware of the need for collaborative and social learning than ever. If they do not get to learn things through formal means, they take matters in their own hands and go for self-directed learning. They Google stuff, go to social networking to ask questions, take help of discussion forums and other collaborative means to get what they need. They are more brand aware as well (i.e. Brand “You”) and constantly like to learn to improve their marketability. This encourages learners to reach out to others to share knowledge, to solve problems and get deeper understanding. It also teaches them how to look to others as a resource, collaborate as a team, test their theories and help out and contribute in social circle. That makes everyone today a learner, mentor, instructional designer and publisher (Well, I would say, this blog is one such example of that!).

If there is such a strong need for social and collaborative learning, how are the Learning Management System (LMS) or Talent Management System (TMS) vendor’s contributing in this space? We discussed about some of the key components of social and collaborative learning above. Let us translate that into what is needed from LMS vendors today to help support this initiative. Some of the key ingredients for successful collaboration and social learning would be content authoring features (ability to author content), content workflow for inception to publishing to storage and archiving (LCMS), social features for peer to peer networking, integration capabilities with other business applications in an organization, collaboration features (chat, discussion forums, Web Conferences, etc.), learner friendliness, application configurability to meet business environment and taste, customer and partner learning support with commerce, availability on mobile devices and also analytics features to be able to measure results against business objectives. Can vendors support all or most of it today?

Edubrite’s LMS platform provides host of services for successful collaborative and social learning experience.  It provides easy to use authoring capabilities within its LMS platform, discussion forums allow learners to discuss topics at group or specific course level, learners can collect feedback and opinions using polls feature, event management functionality allows for setting up meetings, exams or training sessions as needed, peer to peer networking and update capabilities helps in exchange of ideas, resource/document sharing amongst groups, Web Conferences integration for blended learning experience, etc. Additional details on Edubrite’s offering can be found by contacting team EduBrite.

Image by Gay Biddlecombe

Author: Praveen Khurana Praveen Khurana is a learning technology leader in learning management and human capital systems. He has 18+ years of experience in this industry and has consulted with and has implemented learning, talent and knowledge management systems for many fortune 500 companies.

Thinking about Learning Platform, Review your delivery needs

Trainings delivery methods can be as diverse as you can think of, such as self paced eLearning, instructor led (classroom/online), hands on experiments (online or offline), informal or combination of all. In this post let’s look at some common delivery characteristics you should consider when you look for a LMS. LMSs have different flavors and not all of them would be a good fit in all situations. This is second in the series, previous one discussed about Content aspects

Scheduling: Some training sessions are short like an instructor led online session for few hours and some are few days to months long which may be fully or partially self paced. Different capabilities are needed in LMS to make it good for both kinds of delivery. In professional trainings you might have some parts of the trainings done as seminar/webinar also. Does your LMS provide you flexibility to be used in all such scenarios? You should be able to setup the delivery, which could be for few hours, days or even weeks and months. Scheduling of individual items (like modules) should also be possible, especially in case of full or partial instructor led trainings. In case of self-paced delivery, system should allow you to setup number of days allowed in each step of the training, after which access to that step would get revoked.

Assessments: Multiple ways of assessments are needed depending on the kind of trainings you provide. Some examples are – embedded multiple-choice questions in the eLearning courses, giving online assignments (like a business plan writing), offline activity (like doing a presentation or experiment) or conducting formal exams. In some cases, you might find a printed questionnaire would be better suited to collect trainees responses which could be for assessment or survey. LMSs must be able meet these different kinds of assessment needs, otherwise an important aspect of trainings would have to be done outside of the LMS which will reduce its effectiveness.

Informal: To reduce the cost of managing scheduling of training programs, you might benefit more by making courses accessible to learners even without scheduling or assigning them. This is a kind of informal training practice, where teams (or training department) can create library of courses (just like a document library). There should be a way for learners to find and launch these courses and system should track and report the activities. This can be a powerful model to train your employees, customers and partners informally.

Access: Depending on who is getting trained, sometime you need to apply different access policies for the same course. E.g. its okay to given free access to the course for self-enrollment to employees, while your customers and partners may need to go thru online payment before they can enroll in the course. Depending on the kind of partner or customer, you might have different prices for the same course, and may also provide access to the course for different durations. You might also want to use the same course (or part of it) in instructor led programs where an instructor would utilize the course content. Check whether your LMS allows this flexibility or not. Any restriction or requiring you to make copies of course for different delivery situations would become a big overhead.

Learner’s Experience: Learners have very simplistic view about how they take online trainings. Ideally learners shouldn’t need any special training to use the LMS. Everything from learner’s perspective such as their enrolled and completed courses or catalog of available courses and events should be available to them on their dashboard. While going thru eLearning courses, learners should be able to easily navigate between the different content items in-place in the same context. On mobile devices, your training delivery should provide native experience with touch, swipe, zooming and panning just like any other app. Learners should be provided visual feedback about their progress and guided to advance in the course. Some other abilities such as pause and resume (even across multiple login sessions) auto bookmarking (to resume from where you left) and notes taking are quite important as well. For mobile delivery, think about whether you can make full or part of it available for offline access.

Download/Print/Email: Based on the kind of trainings, learners might be needed to download some parts of the course material – like an assignment, handout etc. Course creator should be able to allow selective download of certain items, and while viewing the course, learners should be provided visual clue about what is downloadable and what is not. Even in case of instructor led trainings, instructors might need to download/print some lessons to use in classrooms. Downloading should not compromise content security of the overall course.

Collaboration & Sharing: Having exposed to social platforms every day in personal or professional life, we all can see how essential it is to have collaboration among all participants in the trainings. Giving ability of discussion and sharing to the learners can enhance the learner’s experience and effectiveness of your trainings.

%d bloggers like this: