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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Are MOOCs good option for corporate learning?

MOOCThis question came up in recent discussion as I was interacting with one of my colleagues at work who is toying with an idea of designing and delivering training offerings based on concept of Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs. In case you are wondering, what exactly are MOOCs? These are free online courses offered by institutions with an unlimited capacity for learner registration. When these were introduced few years ago, MOOCs revolutionized the world of education as some people were of the opinion that these may eventually make the traditional institutions irrelevant and obsolete. Many large universities such as MIT and Harvard jumped on the ship to make MOOC’s available as one of their offerings.

The question we are trying to answer here is, if we are well aware of the benefits and challenges of MOOC’s and are these good option for corporate learning?

Let’s start with challenges related to MOOCs first. The biggest challenge seen with MOOCs is the continuous engagement and commitment towards completing MOOCs. Concept of MOOC is very inviting to students since it’s a free learning opportunity. As the cost of education is rising, more and more students are getting attracted towards MOOCs. At the same time, since it’s completely free with no accountability towards completing it, most of the students although registering for it, never actually complete it. Some even start the courses and then leave them in between. The universities surveyed for assessing completion rate on MOOCs reported that it is less than 10 percent.

As we all know, that measuring success of training programs using completion rate, is not the key measure, although it is used as one of the performance indicators. The key objective is to have training and learning stick to employees and result in actual learning and improvement of skills. The question is how to achieve that goal and if MOOCs are right tool for that? Are there approaches to make MOOCs appealing and engaging to employees to be able to use as a tool which actually contributes toward their development. Let’s look at ways to address this challenge and how MOOCs can contribute as one of the key components towards this goal.

One of the ways MOOCs can be made appealing is to move away from completion based approach which forces employees to complete the MOOCs and not really helping with creating interest and engagement. Instead educate and guide employees on skills they need to excel in their jobs and how MOOCs can benefit them. Let them use MOOCs to their advantage on how they want to pick and choose the MOOC content to meet their objective. MOOCs can also be made engaging and fun by integrating them in employee’s everyday schedule and making them available on their mobile devices. We know most of the employees are tied to their mobile devices and availability of MOOCs on their mobile experience could enhance the overall experience and provides better engagement.

Another strategy which has brought tremendous success is integrating MOOC’s experience with gamification approach and delivering better engaging experience, which can be accessed both on desktops and mobile devices. For instance – Use MOOC’s purely as learning vehicle and add assessments and certifications to it for employee’s to measure and demonstrate enhancement to their skillset. Vendors can issue certifications for every MOOC program completed, which can be tracked and measure. And we can do more; For every assessment/certification completed by an employee, reward them with badges which can be shared on social networking sites as well as internal employee sites encouraging competitiveness and engagement.

How about for-profit organizations? Can they use MOOCs for making money? Yes, it is possible. While MOOCs are free, the associated certifications which demonstrate attainment of certain skills can be paid. Organizations can use MOOCs to sell more certifications. MOOCs can be used to introduce and cross-sell/up-sell paid resources such as onsite classes, hands-on labs, etc. Some institutions also offer in-person version of some of the MOOCs courses which are paid.

The good news is that when MOOC’s are used as a critical component for overall package and strategy with needed structure around it, it can be successful and learning leaders such as CLO’s or L&D leaders can easily quantify the engagement and value delivered in terms of certifications and badges completed and skills enhanced. And for-profit organizations can also demonstrate monetary value MOOCs can bring to their business.

Author: Praveen Khurana (#PraveenKhurana)
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.

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.

Enabling Collaborative and Social Learning through Enterprise Social Network

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In my previous blog on collaborative and social learning, we discussed about the need for technology to evolve and be enabler to support the self-directed informal learning. Technology platforms such as social networks allow individuals to share their ideas, their innovations, get feedback, improve their products, collaborate and help foster new way of learning we call ‘social learning’. These collaborative networks allow anyone and everyone to share information and be a student, a mentor, a designer and publisher.

Taking the informal learning to next level are the Enterprise Social Networks, where employees collaborate with each other across all sorts of boundaries. There is no limitation of department, or business function or location. Employees can connect to the right people when they need it, can share information across teams or even organize around projects to be successful and go further, faster. This allows individuals to tap into their network and discover wealth of information which is not available via formal means, allowing them to make quick decisions and getting things done. With these benefits of social network at enterprise level, what if someone wants to give structure to the information as a content object or a course and share with their network? What if someone in the network has successfully deployed a product and there is need to transform that as an instructional video to help others? What if someone has shared information with the network and others have rated that individual as an expert and there is a need to capture that expertise level? What if the benefits of enterprise social network can be extended with an integration to learning management system allowing employees to insert the training content as a course making it part of their social DNA?

This allows enterprises to transform their social networks into learning communities. Employees can access and share the knowledge within the network they spend most of their time. It empowers subject matter experts to capture their knowledge into structure courses and share with their network without any need to worry about connecting or logging into another application or tool. Not only it allows blending the formal and informal approaches to learning, it also allows ability to track the completion of content and giving credits to individuals to view or access the information shared through these courses. Many social network and learning platform providers are taking step in this direction and are partnering to make this happen. One of the popular enterprise collaboration platform and social network is delivered by Yammer. Yammer is used by 85% of the fortune 500 companies and it provides growth platform for these organizations to listen to each other and adapt quickly. Edubrite is an LMS provider and they have an app for Yammer allowing anyone in Yammer network to start training and assessing their teams easily. This enables and extends the enterprise social networks to offer integrated LMS environment making it easy to transform the informal content into shareable courses and truly enabling collaborating and social learning. For more information on EduBrite Yammer Integration.

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.

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.

Popularity and adoption of Tin Can API

A new learning technology specification, Tin Can API is gaining lot of momentum. It is a new standard that allows for tracking, storage and sharing of learning experiences practically anywhere and from any device. It captures common people’s learning habits and interactions. We all learn with our communications and interactions with other people, content, systems etc. Our learning is not tied or limited to when and where. Similarly the Tin Can API has the ability to record everything by sending the signals about objects (noun) and their actions (verb) to a Learning Record Store (LRS) and storing the interactions in them.

The fundamental differences between SCORM and TinCan API are:

  • TinCan frees the content to live anywhere, and communicate with any LRS, whereas in SCORM the Package Manifest is managed by the LMS
  • TinCan uses REST based web service and JSON data to communicate with LRS, whereas in SCORM all communication with LMS is done using Javascript APIs
  • Tin Can focuses on Runtime data collection (tracking) and ignores content packaging, sequencing/navigation which were key parts in the SCORM specification

The Tin Can API can easily recognize, track and communicate a wide range of learning activities including Traditional Learning, Mobile Learning, Simulations, Virtual sessions, Gaming, Real-world performances, Social-learning interactions, Offline learning, Collaborative learning, etc. Tin Can API is next generation and evolution of SCORM which is considered to be simple and flexible and uses secure vocabulary. It captures all the activities that happen as part of learning experiences. It addresses almost all the limitations of the previous specifications and is considered to be very robust. It is very flexible and hence can support any type of statements, devices and workflows. Ability of LRSs to be able to store interactions locally and also share with other LRSs across devices, systems and organizations enable people to track and maintain their learning history forever. The Tin Can API opens up a world which can be shared across other tools. This enables our systems intelligence to know and understand likes and habits of each learner based on their past activities and provide relevant suggestions and provide complete solid learning experience to our audience. And their further interaction and capturing of those interactions and processing it improving on it make the experience better and better.

Tin Can API specification is not just at a concept, draft version 0.95 is already out and is getting developed at a fast track with a lot of interest in the elearning community. Some of the key areas where specification is not very clear are reporting and security/verification. Its not very clear as to how would an LRS validate the sanity of the tracking messages (or avoid man in the middle attack), spec doesn’t discusses it, which is a big concern. Similarly in the absence of standardized verbs and results (which was ther in 0.9 but removed in 0.95), the reporting in the COTS implementations of LMS would be quite basic, and majority of scenarios would need customized reporting.

While the hype and adoption for Tin Can API continues to grow, many e-learning technologists and analysts are watching this trend closely and somewhat cautiously. The concept looks very promising and is a great step for the learning industry in future direction, but at the same time some are bit cautious about the unforeseen challenges. The reason for it is that it has been almost 9-10 years when the SCORM 2004 specification was released, but still many organizations and LMS providers are using SCORM 1.2 (and some no standard at all). The adoption of new specifications by businesses and organizations is usually a slow process and when it comes from moving from one specification to another organizations usually like to upgrade/adopt to next version of current specification in use due to familiarity and comfort. Moving to something different (even though it may be nextgen specification) as Tin Can is usually challenging. It would take a while and some mix of successes and failures, before it is widely adopted. Which may be good thing as there would be lessons learned which would ultimately help in robustness of the Tin Can API specification.

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.

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