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.

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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!

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For Profit – External Training

External_Training_ProfitWe all have heard about ‘For Profit’ education and the key concept of this type of training is to have enough revenue to not only use the public funds to finance all of the business operations, but also maximize profit for the business.  For profit education spans multiple domains, from educational institutions delivering K-12 education to higher level school education, professional training institute to corporate level career education. In this article we are going to focus on the later domain where we are going to talk about the key components of ‘for-profit’ corporate level professional and career education.

Most of the corporate organizations have either centralized education services departments with the name XYZ University or XYZ Global Education Services and their main objective is to deliver training not just for internal employees for enablement and compliance but to train their customers and partners as well and collect revenue from it and hence the name ‘External’ or ‘For Profit’ training. Business objective of these departments is to maximize the training revenue by training their customers and partners (Better trained and informed customers is the most satisfied customer) which in turn results in selling more products (and training). In order to succeed in their business objective, these departments need solid infrastructure in terms of tools and technologies and that is where very robust, flexible, start of the art, easy to use and configurable learning platforms play a huge role. We are going to talk about the key components of such platform to make external training business successful.

What are the key components which are required to make external training successful? Let us look at the key features which pretty much apply to most of the businesses these days.

Easy to use User Interface: Any application or tool which is customer or end-user facing needs to be truly exceptional when it comes to serving the needs of the customers. It needs to be simple, intuitive and to be able to deliver desired results in no-time and with minimal number of clicks. Not just it needs to be user action oriented, but it also has to be intelligent and personalized to be able to recommend and prescribe trainings.

Configurability: This is another key area where most of the platform vendors are focusing on these days. Gone are the days where the applications were customized inside the firewall by the development teams. These days many of the platforms are available on cloud and as SaaS service. The configurability of the platforms is key to be able to successfully launch the tools and easily adapt within the target audience community. Plus the cost of ownership also stays low.

Training Delivery Methods: The platform needs to be able to offer standard training delivery modes of Instructor-Led, Online/Self-Paced, virtual Instructor-Led, etc.

Bundling and Packaging Ability: Complex businesses and use cases often demand complex and flexible offering structures. If the platform offers capability to construct flexible training offerings, it gives huge advantage to the business and gives ability to meet complex business demands. Any course or content can be packaged or bundled with various paths and/or rules with flexible pricing models, meeting demands of multiple use cases in various countries.

Multiple Payment Methods and Credit Card Integration: Since we are talking about the commercial business, training platforms need to be able to offer flexibility in payment methods and integration with all popular payment platforms.

Discounting and Promotions: Every commercial business also demands multiple options for delivering promotions and discounting models. It could be X% (or X amount) off certain group of trainings in certain period OR Y% (or Y amount) discount to certain audience group or market segment. It could also be promotion on new training products for certain period.

Training Units or Virtual Currency: Many times big training businesses when dealing with other big customers want to sell training retainers (similar to gift card kind of model), hence creating a training delivery pipeline which can be realized in upcoming period, typically valid for 1-2 years. Education business may sell set of training units equivalent to dollar amount which customer can use for purchasing training services as and when needed.

Subscription Models: Some businesses operate on all-you-can-eat buffet kind of model for their training business. They sell yearly subscriptions to their customers for the set of training offerings they have and then it is upto customers how they take advantage of the subscription service they have bought.

Mobile and Connected Training (on the go): Past few years have seen the trend of making training available on the mobile device. This is very helpful for the sales kind of people who can access training anytime and anywhere as they travel to their customer sites. With advancement in mobile platforms such as tablets and smartphones, this has become much easier. Learning platform which easily integrate and deliver seamless experience across devices, but still keeping the user connected to the content (along with their progress) are hot these days.

Social platform Integrations: For the learning platforms which are able to deliver the training, but are not providing social platform interface are missing big time on user engagement and informal learning experience. User’s today demand that they should be able to collaborate with their peers and industry experts. This is becoming one of the selection criteria for the learning platform vendors.

Managing delivery operations: Among all the features listed here, this is one of the key features of the learning platform. To run any business, you need to be able to manage and administer your operations. Starting from creating the content, listing out classes for enrollment, management of resources to deliver the classes and content, administering the learner experience pre and post classes, etc. is part of operations and there needs to be solid administrative foundation part of the platform to support running the business.

P&L Analysis with reporting: Finally, when you run the business, wouldn’t you like to analyze the total cost and revenue to see if the business you are investing in and how you are running it is resulting in profit or loss. Commercial learning platforms need to be able to provide reports and analytics for the operations team to give needed business visibility. Also businesses demand that it should also be integrated with corporate reporting systems for the same purpose.

 

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.

New Features Timeline – 2014

 

look-back-2014

2014 is behind us and it was an year in which we continued our platform growth. EduBrite LMS grew by direct feedback from very engaged customers. We kept our eyes and ears open to see and listen to their genuine needs rather than what some experts may be saying. Let’s look at our important milestones in 2014.

Read more – https://www.edubrite.com/oltpublish/theme-lms/cms.do?view=year2014

 

 

Mobile learning – Why and how

Well, if I have to simply put it, I would say that more and more people are using mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones and prefer access to easy and just-in-time (JIT) learning. Hence it makes logical sense for the learning organization to provide learning on mobile devices (m-learning).

How would you define mobile learning (m-learning) though? Mobile learning is actually any kind of learning intervention which could be carried out by use of mobile device and using wireless technology. And to create that intervention and support the learning through mobile devices it is very important to have the right adaptable learning content available on the mobile devices. There are several factors which make it a compelling case for delivering learning content and applications on mobile devices. A recent 2011 e-Learning Guild survey reports that about 70% of respondents are using their personal mobile devices for business applications. That means they are using their devices for browsing web, connecting to social networks, playing games and learning. Also there has been a significant increase in the number of employees who travel and work from outside their base offices and just-in-time information can help them overcome many challenges. Mobile learning provides convenience and flexibility to access information at any time and any place. It helps employees make use of their downtime, be it at a hotel, airport or while waiting for a client meeting to start. Not just corporate employees, mobile learning is a great avenue for anyone who needs to access any kind of information at any place and time.

The goal of mobile Learning should be to enhance the learning experience while providing learning content to learners. If delivered in right manner it can be an excellent tool for anything and everything learner would need, be it a streaming online content or on-the-job training materials or real-life simulation scenarios. Companies can also push out updates, offer reference materials via wikis and blogs, and provides collaboration through social networking, coaching or mentoring.

Mobile learning is not just repackaging of existing e-learning content and making it available through mobile devices. There are various challenges associated to the application and content delivery when it comes to mobile devices. The biggest challenge is availability of varying platforms and formats with no formal standardization to ensure the automatic adoption of apps or content on these devices. Also issues around content bandwidth, its security and integration with corporate systems such as LMS, LCMS and other systems create barriers in rapid deployment and adoption by organizations.

There are various organizations including learning content providers, application software providers, LMS systems providers who are doing great work in this area to enable and support mobile learning. These organizations are using some straightforward and simple but effective approaches which are helping them to be somewhat successful in overcoming many of the barriers.

One of the approaches many successful organizations are taking is to target their learning environment and/or content to specific mobile devices and not trying to support every possible device available. They have selected specific devices based on accessibility for their audience and of course popularity and adaptability to help them focus and support on key devices. Another key strategy is to focus on high performance just-in-time content and not design and create long full-fledged courses. Keeping the application designs for mobile tools simple and intuitive is another important strategy to enable mobile adoption. Users always like to use the experience which is simple and straightforward, has required functionality and eliminates any type of complexity. This type of interface on mobile tools provides easy and efficient access to the learning.

Some organizations while focusing on specific devices try to take advantage of inherent features of device itself to provide easy accessibility and interactivity. For example: Apple products such iPad and iPhone have lot of inbuilt features to make content interactive. Some organizations are also trying to provide collaborative learning environment by integrating the learning environment with social networking applications. These are all great techniques and strategies which are helping organizations to integrate the learning with the social and informal learning culture most of us have become part of and also keeping it interactive and fun.

Of course industry has long way to go, but there are some great and promising technological enhancements happening in the area of mobile learning which is for sure going to change the shape of it.

Author: Praveen Khurana
Praveen Khurana is a learning technology specialist in learning management and human capital systems. He has 16+ years of experience in this industry and has consulted with and has implemented learning, talent and knowledge management systems for many fortune 500 companies.

EduBrite’s Mobile App for iPad

And we finally got the mail from iTunes Store – “Your app status is Processing for App Store” and within 10 minutes another one came – “Your app status is Ready for Sale“.  It was one of eureka moment for all of us at EduBrite.

In the past one month or so, we went thru couple of cycles from Submission to “In review” to “App Submission Feedback” mails (and Feedback means Rejected). It is a long agonizing wait after submission, you just wait for 8 days or so for your app’s turn, and hope to get green light. And each feedback although small causes full repeat of the cycle… at times you wonder, would it take longer to get approval than what it took to develop….

Those of you who have gone through iOS app approval process, know what this is all about! Now after few days, and finally getting approval, it doesn’t look that bad, after all we had just couple of soft rejections nothing major, for a reasonably complex app which does quite a lot of useful stuff.

So now, we finally have first version of our Mobile App for iPad in app store!!!  With this, we has now added yet another integration besides Google Apps and Atlassian Confluence. As a platform, EduBrite’s APIs are rock solid, anyone can build their own app as well using our APIs.

Here is what you can do with this app:

  • First, download on your iPad and Launch
  • Next, if you know your company’s training url (if they are using EduBrite business edition) and your user id and password, just login using that info
  • Otherwise, you can use demo microsite we have made for folks who want to see the app in action. Just enter ipaddemo.edubrite.com in the microsite url and use Signup feature in the app to create your own user id (its all free)
  • Once you login, you can look at some preview courses which show examples of different types of content in the courses – like streaming video, PDF, Powerpoint, Vimeo, YouTube and Quizzes
  • You can take notes while going thru the courses, enroll in any course session and complete it end to end to get your completion certificate. Try World Facts course which would not take more than 5 minutes to go end to end
  • These are pretty much the key functionality provided in the app besides tracking of activities, offline content viewing, email, print etc

If you like to read more, watch a demo video go to our website. Send us your feedback, as we have already started working on the next version (to be released in Dec) and would like to incorporate your feature requests. And if you are attending DevLearn 2012 starting from Oct 31, you can meet us in booth #624.

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Revolutionizing learning – Keeping generations engaged

When any learning solution is designed, we always focus on our end users and their exceptional experience. In the past, the end user focus for learning solutions has been around academic or corporate audiences, which were mostly adult users.

Learning landscape is changing dramatically and so is the definition of audiences. With new technologies and tools available these days, there is no age barrier when looking at your end consumers or target audience for learning. Companies like Apple and Amazon (Kindle) have not only revolutionized the tools and their ease of use, but have also added ‘WOW’ factor to these gadgets.  The ease of use, portability, mobility and visual appeal has made these tools and technologies preferred way for learning content consumption.

While PC makers are struggling with slumping sales, the sale of mobile devices and their adaptability is increasing exponentially every year. Technology leaders like Apple and Amazon brought tools like iPad and Kindle to the mainstream and the content providers were ready too. They met the consumer’s appetite with new applications and content ready to be consumed with these tools.  They came up with new sites, applications and tools for all generations to attract them and keep them engaged. Seeing the adaptability of these tools and consumers ongoing hunger for more and more applications, lot many new content providers have come into market too. A new industry has developed focusing on the applications meeting various needs of consumers and how to attract and engage them. Kids are using these apps on their laptops or iPads for math or science lessons, adults are using them for catching with the news or networking and senior citizens may be for leisure reading or travelling across the world sitting on their couch.

Learning content providers are also trying to keep up with technology trends and consumers demands. Now a days, there is content available for every device out there in the market. Content creators and supporters are working hard to create relevant, useful and easy to consume learning for their consumers.  Not only traditional learning content providers have evolved with changing times, but the other providers and manufacturers have entered in the race too. These days you can get traditional family games like Hasbro’s scrabble and Mattel’s hot wheels on iPad for younger kids, Shazam and Pandora radio for teens and text to speech or speech to text kind of apps for the elder generation.

Besides the personalized learning, learning platform providers are looking for consistent, continuous and seamless experience for their audiences across platforms and devices. For example: User starting a module on a smartphone and pick up where he has left off on his laptop or ipad when he gets home. Not just the platform vendors, but the content providers need to be able to build and support content as well which is adaptive and seamless. Vendors like element, Liqvid are good examples. Then there are other vendors who are somewhere in between and enable content providers and developers to develop mobile content which is easy to use and engage with. Hot Lava mobile by Kenexa is a great example of the mobile content development tool.

There is an ocean of new developments in tools, content and applications which is revolutionizing learning and scope for new opportunities is tremendous. The key is to maintain focus on keeping your audiences engaged and excited.

Author: Praveen Khurana

Praveen Khurana is a learning technology specialist and specializes in learning management and human capital systems. He has 12+ years of experience in this industry and has consulted with and has implemented LMS and LCMS systems for many fortune 500 companies.

Photo by Brad Flickinger

How Tablets Will Revolutionize Education?

How Tablets Will Revolutionize eLearning

Hand an iPad to a two-year-old, and within seconds, she’ll figure out how to turn it on. Unlocking it might take her a try or two, but show her how, and she’ll get it. In just a few minutes, she’ll be able to swipe with more precision than many adults, and she’ll master the full range of gestures faster than you can imagine – even if you’re watching her in action.

The intuitive nature of most touchscreens – and of the iPad specifically – make tablets a natural choice for education markets. They’ve already stormed the special education world, replacing outdated, clunky devices with streamlined, cool apps. And more high schools, colleges, and business are beginning to integrate tablets into their educational bag of tricks. So what are some of the ways tablets will help revolutionize education?

  1. Enhanced textbooks. Tablets bring text to life, with images, video, audio, and real-time interaction. In fact, the term “textbook” is probably a bit of a misnomer — today’s tablets sport apps designed from the ground up for innovative online learning platforms.
  2. Concentrated learning. Unlike laptops, most tablets force you to focus on one thing at a time. Studies have shown that multitasking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and forcing students to pay attention to the topic and hand may lead to a real revolution in education – and learning.
  3. Lower costs. Skyrocketing costs have put higher education out of reach of the masses. Tablets may help change that by eliminating the market for costly new versions of hardcover textbooks and obscure materials. Content subscriptions will enable users to access the materials they need when they need them – and update them as necessary.
  4. Immersion learning. The connectivity of a tablet combined with its small form factor means that when a student is at home reading information, he can supplement it with discussions, demonstrations, Q&A sessions, and more – essentially creating an extended classroom experience within a text.

The future of education is being written on small screens. What do you think? What will tablets bring to the table?

Image by Michaela.

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