All posts by QuoDeck

QuoDeck is a learning product that allows you to create and deploy games to train, assess and manage learners. So you can create interactive learning experiences that learners will engage with, not because they are forced to, but because they want to.

How to drive E-Learning Adoption?

So, you have deployed a state-of-the-art Learning Management System (LMS) with Machine Learning, AI and every other cutting-edge technology available. But the adoption rates amongst your audience is low, to begin with, and keeps falling as time moves on. Don’t worry, this is a common problem faced by all organizations as they deploy LMS and is easy to address.
People love challenges and competing against each other. Gamify your system to include Leaderboards, Badges, and Prizes for the top performers. Healthy competition will drive usage and learning within your audience.
Pick LMS which offers the feature of embedding learning modules within casual games. People have enough formal reading via emails, presentations, and documents. To expect them to then log into the LMS and go through PDFs and Videos is asking for a bit too much. Casual games are a very effective way to impart microlearning and deliver it through a medium that employees will love.
Content is King. No matter how advanced your LMS is, the quality and interactivity of content will drive adoption. The content must be presented in bite-sized portions through Videos, Animations and other interactive formats.
Close to 40% of the workforce is made up of millennials. To reach out to them, ensure the LMS and the content is mobile ready, across multiple OEMs and Operating Systems.
Employees learn more and faster from each other, rather than a centralized learning system. Ensure your LMS offers learners to communicate, exchange information and help each other during the course.

By  Venkataraman Ananthakrishnan, Head – Online and Global Business at QuoDeck
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Why engagement is a critical ingredient in successful sales training?

Building a performing sales team is the holy grail that all organizations chase – and it’s definitely not an easy task. But building lasting engagement is a critical ingredient that can separate a good sales training program from a bad one.

Sales is the lifeblood of most organizations, and a performing sales team is worth its weight in gold.

Building an effective sales training program is the holy grail that all sales trainers chase – and it’s definitely not an easy task. More often than not, what seems like an easy problem to solve, can be a multi-layered challenge within a changing business and technology environment.

It’s clear that there are no easy formulas that sales trainers can plug in to make their sales training programs effective. But it all starts with ensuring that sales people at least consume the learning. Without adoption, it is futile to worry about downstream metrics like effectiveness, retention and application.

Adoption has many layers, and is very similar to any modern marketing problem. If you think of learners as consumers or ‘app users’ in the modern mobile learning context, problems become a little more apparent.

Just like a consumer app faces uninstalls after an initial period of usage, most learning programs suffer because they focus on creating short-term engagement. A good onboarding course or a gamified learning program will create short-term engagement but will leave learners very little to come back to when they have finished consuming that piece of content.

Therefore, sales trainers typically see good initial usage of their programs, and very little engagement after that.

In a training context, even if this results in a good onboarding experience, it rarely results in ongoing consumption of sales training and communication, Therefore, after the initial onboarding program, when sales people are on the field and need to be trained on new product releases or to address problem areas, getting them back to the training app or platform is as big a problem as when you launch.

So, how can you keep them coming back again and again? Build engagement.

It may help to better understand the psyche of the modern learner to figure out how to create ongoing engagement. In the context of mobile learning, any training app is competing for mindshare with platforms such as Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. These are the apps that your users prefer to spend time on rather than consume learning. What is attractive about these apps, is that they serve up a constant stream of content for users to consume.

Learners will only flock to something which gives them equal engagement and freshness of content. Therefore, the chances of running a successful sales training program improve multi-fold by creating engagement and keeping up a high velocity of content. On average, putting out fresh content every day or alternate day is a good way to pique learner’s interest to see what you will come up next. If the overall quality of learning content you put out is interesting, you should see a upward trend in ongoing engagement levels among your users.

So, how does one do that without having to spent enormous amounts of money to create content? Here are a few tips.

Crowd source content

Most of the real wisdom on sales training comes from subject matter experts from within the organization. Leverage that by asking your internal subject matter experts to provide you with content that you can send out to your learners on a regular basis. A large kitty of content you can keep cycling through will ensure that your learners get to see something new every day or week. Use microlearning principles to nugget this content into bite-sized chunks and you can send out something every day. This will keep learners coming back for more. Ensure that your mobile app puts out push notifications so that learners know that fresh content is being populated every day.

Frequent quizzes and contests

Putting together an assessment is far easier than creating learning content from scratch. Create question banks that you can slice and dice into quick assessments. Create weekly contests and let learners visually see their performance through leader boards. The competitive element should naturally appeal to sales people. It does not matter if some questions are repeated from one quiz to the other. In fact, critical aspects or facts about your product should be repetitive to ensure retention, therefore, repeat those questions across multiple quizzes. These assessments can also help you identify gaps in knowledge and understanding.

Leverage social learning

Take a page out of the book of immensely successful social media such as Twitter and Facebook, and use social constructs to ensure content is always moving and fresh. Identify voices of authority among your sales team – for example, a veteran sales person respected by the team or an opinion leader. Ask them to put out micro-nuggets of content, such as an anecdote about their experience while selling. Ask them to post this content on the social learning section of your learning app. Drive engagement by boosting that post in the social network. This will encourage others to share more nuggets and drive repeat visits.

Use games and gaming

The planet spends around 30 billion hours a week playing games like Candy Crush and Angry Birds – this is natural behaviour. Play into this natural behaviour by giving them games to explore and play with. Having a ‘game arcade’ or library of games that they can try out just for ‘fun’ can be a great way to keep them coming back.

Quick authoring

This is the most obvious of them all. It is important to have your actual learning content out there, apart from the social and crowd-sourced aspects of this. Most learning platforms come with quick authoring and if yours doesn’t, you should find one. Quick authoring tools will allow you to create templatized micro-learning nuggets out of existing content. Ensuring that you have a constant pipeline of content being created will allow you to recycle over a period of time, once new learners enter the system.

Remember, learners should be treated more as app users, where the objective is to create engagement and pull, rather than use push methods to get them to consume learning. As soon as you see learning as a marketing problem, solutions start to appear more readily.

By Kamalika Bhattacharya, CEO & Co-Founder at QuoDeck

Can corporate E-Learning be Engaging?

The key thing to understand here is that corporate elearning is different from formal education in one key aspect. Learners in a corporate setting need to be attracted to every single item of content every single time. In this way, corporate learning needs to be thought of as a marketing problem similar to what video creators and movie makers face.

So how do they engage their audience that one can replicate for learning?

From our observation of successful instructional designers on the QuoDeck platform, we have found the following 3 techniques to be the most successful in engaging corporate learners:

  1. Nuggeting – No content exceeds 20 minutes at a time. Individual videos are less than 3 minutes each. These allow for quick consumption with low commitment hurdles for the learners and therefore tend to get higher trial rates.
  2. Micro Achievements – Using inline questions, small games, quizzes and feedback loops makes learners constantly feel good about themselves. These tend to drive spaced repetition of question-based learning and through instant gratification, keeps them coming back for more.
  3. Completion Motivation – Learning paths, serialized stories, branching and gamification techniques also seem to be very effective in keeping people engaged through the learning and drive higher completion rates.

Beyond these, of course, great content with sparkling wit, humorous takes and deep context works, but that’s art, not science. And if you can get instructional designers who can deliver that, well, you got gold…

By Arijit Lahiri, Co-Founder of QuoDeck

How do I launch my E-training business?

E-Learning Industry is projected to grow to close to $300 Billion in the next 4 years. With the increase in internet connectivity and the growing millennial workforce in emerging markets, the business climate is extremely promising for high-quality content creators.

  1. Decide the Companies and functions where your expertise is valuable. Your target segment, should be focused, do not try to cover every type of Company. e.g: If you are an expert in Labor law, you should target Legal and Compliance teams in Manufacturing/Capital Goods companies.
  2. Create an e-course using SaaS LMS: SaaS LMS allows free trial periods. Test the LMS’s and pick the one that best fits your requirement. Consider the following criteria while shortlisting your LMS – a) Easy to create content across multiple formats, b) Price, c) Mobile friendly, d) Game-based compatible. Create a library of content including videos, presentations, documents, learning games and assessments for a few of the courses. You will have to showcase these in all your interactions with prospective customers. 
  3. Online Marketing: While you will reach out to your existing contacts, online marketing is a very powerful and affordable tool to increase leads. Upload some of your content on your website, Social media pages, YouTube channel and post it on relevant online forums. Setup ads on Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media websites to generate traffic on your website.
By  Venkataraman Ananthakrishnan, Head- Online and Global Business at QuoDeck

Which Learning Management Systems (LMS) are easiest and most affordable for a small company to utilize?

QuoDeck is a game based mobile learning management system. It is designed specifically for corporate learning and priced at a level that makes it particularly suitable for small businesses and startups. We have focused on making it easy for non-instructional designers to get started with team training in 10 minutes flat with your existing content.

That being said, it is powering team trainings in large Fortune 500 companies, so it’s not skimpy on features either.

Do give it a spin and tell us what you think of it…

And if you are looking for a larger alternative, you should look no further than Moodle. Just get a cpanel based hosting solution and you would get a one-click deployment option embedded within. Cost wise this should not exceed $100 a year, but it is a complex to configure and manage the system.

By Arijit Lahiri, Co-Founder of QuoDeck

What are the advantages of SaaS LMS?

Software as a service (SaaS) LMS is hosted on a cloud, requiring no installation on the customer’s end saving space and infrastructure. The payment is on a subscription model which can be chosen as per the customer’s need, which is more fungible compared to traditional LMS.

  1. Cost Effective: You can choose your plan based on a number of users, term of subscription and usage and requires no capex.
  2. Short Implementation time: SaaS LMS’ are plug and play which do not require any significant time in deployment and since they are cloud-based, do not require multiple stakeholder approvals.
  3. Offer Free Trails: Unlike full-fledged LMS’, the SaaS counterparts offer free trial periods. This time can be used to evaluate them and gather feedback from the actual users, helping you decide the LMS best fit for your organization.
  4. Access Courses remotely via multiple devices including mobiles: As all data is stored securely on the cloud, your team can access it across geographies with content rendered for the device they are using.
  5. Regular Updates and No maintenance: Your LMS will be regularly updated with all the new features added by the developer. In addition, you will not have any maintenance as the LMS is maintained by the technology provider.
By  Venkataraman Ananthakrishnan, Head- Online and Global Business at QuoDeck

What is the right Equity sharing for a startup?

If anything, it is low. The key promoter should typically be holding 60-70% prior to external equity infusion. A 40% stake will dilute him down to indifference levels with any kind of funding coming in.

Let me also make a thought clear on this. The key promoter is not one who gets his position for coming up with an idea. He had to be taking maximum risk in the business. In terms of lower salary, efforts put on a daily basis, leading fund raising efforts, ability to do multiple roles and above all promoter responsibilities including being responsible for statutory risks like being legally accountable for things like permissions and liabilities. Ideas are cheap, living them expensive.

Advice aside, here is some hard number feedback for you. The employee pool at 20% is high. The norm is 6-9% typically. Also, 10% is too high or too low for business alliances, depending on what kind of alliances you are talking about. Provide for a 15% investor pool instead for some angels, if you are looking to tap them.

Typically, such complicated equity distributions are done once you have a business which is operational so my advice would be to not burn much additional time on iterating it. Rather think about the business. If it succeeds, 5% is a huge amount to own.

By Arijit Lahiri, Co-Founder of QuoDeck

How do I use Technology to make learning interesting in the classroom?

Technology will help you enhance the learning experience of your students, let them assimilate in a more self-paced manner and help in social learning.

  1. Use AR to make learning more immersive and fun. You can turn your classroom or the school into Virtual trips across space and time.
  2. Leverage on Mobile phones to disseminate your course and promote learning even outside your classroom.
  3. Use technology to encourage social learning, where kids learn by themselves and from each other.
  4. Use short videos and games to teach kids.
  5. Setup regular short online assessments and surveys.
By  Venkataraman Ananthakrishnan, Head- Online and Global Business at QuoDeck

Avoiding the LMS Overkill

“The world is full of people who will help you manufacture tornados in order to blow out a match”
Shaun Hick, Author

What LMS Overkill Is And Ways To Avoid It?

In a fast-changing world, organizations need to keep their teams up to speed with the latest trends and methods for each industry. This requirement for learning has spawned the multi-billion-dollar Learning Management System (LMS) industry. And, today, there are hundreds of LMSs to choose from, with a mind-boggling array of features. Which brings me to the all-important question: As a company looking to implement an LMS, how does one choose the most appropriate one?

Well, most LMSs would provide core features – User Management, Course Creation, and Basic Progress Analytics. What distinguishes one LMS from the other are the shiny advanced features they offer.

So, why not just go for the one with the largest number of features, or the one with the coolest features, or the one that the leader in your industry is using?

Because you might just end up with a system that is nightmarish to implement and, altogether, too complex for your audience to use. This is the concept of the LMS overkill, and most LMS providers, including us, have been guilty of it at some point or the other.

The truth is that given the size of the target base, experience with learning systems and the complexity of training to be administered, enterprises have different learning requirements at different points in time.

This is called the Enterprise Learning Life Cycle, which broadly maps into 5 stages:

Enterprise_Learning

The selection of the most appropriate LMS should ideally depend on where the company is in the Enterprise Learning Life Cycle.

1. Solo Stage Requirements

In the Solo Stage, a senior leader or trainer acts as a Subject Matter Expert and trains a select set of learners in the subject. The content is mostly from existing knowledge built over the years of practicing their trade. The onus of learning is on the learner with little focus on assessments or pushing adoption.

Stage Indicators

 Learning System Requirements

Learning_System_Requirements _LMS_QuoDeck

In the Solo Stage, there is no real need for a formal learning system unless the Subject Matter Expert is planning to translate his knowledge into something more permanent. In such a case, the only requirements they would have is a repository to store the learning content and a way to share the content.

Instead of an LMS, you should consider using Google Drive, OneDrive, DropBox or a similar file sharing service at this stage. Alternatively, you could create a course on a MOOC like Coursera or Udemy to host and share your content.

2. Startup Learning Team Requirements

In the Startup Stage, the organization relies on its managers to train their own teams. This is typically the case when the organization is in the startup stage or is composed of small teams. The main learning objective for the learners is to get familiar with the company’s products and sales pitches. A lot of the learning happens on-the-job, and the quality of training depends on the quality of the managers.

Stage Indicators

Learning System Requirements

Learning_system_requirements_lms_QuoDeck

In the Startup Stage, the requirement is for a low-cost system that can be handled by the manager himself. Most of the content that needs to be disseminated is already available as sales pitches and planning documents. The requirements, in this case, are a repository to store the content, a way to share it, a system to check whether the learners have viewed the content, a way to make the whole experience more engaging, some basic assessments and above all, a method to prevent download or onward-sharing of the often-proprietary content. In case the team operates in the field, you might also require mobile learning functionalities.

For this stage, you should try out a lite LMS like QuoDeck ExpressTalentLMS or ProProfs.

3. Standard Learning Team Requirements

In the Standard Stage, the organization takes on the responsibility to scale up all its employees. The organization typically has a dedicated HR team, who explore need gaps and plan and conduct learning sessions to plug them. Leading with classroom sessions, most organizations typically look to add in eLearning to standardize the content and dissemination approach as well as reduce costs.

Stage Indicators

Learning System Requirements

System_requirements_lms

The Standard Stage is when the company is most susceptible to LMS overkill. Given the mandate to acquire a new enterprise system, it is but natural for the team to go for the “best” instead of the “most appropriate”. LMSs tend to get evaluated on the number of features they offer, rather than what is really required by the organization.

Ideally, the focus should ideally be on creating high-quality interactive content on tools like Articulate and Captivate. The LMS is required largely for structured dissemination.

At this stage, it is preferable to go for a cloud-based mobile learning system with a lower technical learning curve. Ideal candidates for this are LMSs like CanvasDocebo, and Litmos.

4. Seasoned Learning Team Requirements

In the Seasoned Stage, the organization starts a decentralization process due to the increase in its scale of operations. Each team has dedicated HR managers who take on the responsibility to scale up the employees in their team. There is a central, dedicated learning team, who oversee and authorize learning activities.

Stage Indicators

Learning System Requirements

Learning_requirements_lms

The Seasoned Stage is where the organization should look to acquire a full-fledged LMS. However, the key at this stage goes beyond the LMS features themselves. The ongoing learning management for the organization requires many offline processes which are the mainstay of the learning team.

Mapping of the organization, arranging them into cohorts and setting up aspects like escalation matrices, social networks, etc. require close coordination between the learning team, IT, and business units. Tracking of offline activities requires strong processes driving such activities and social learning requires tight moderation.

At this stage, it is advisable to go for a full-featured LMS like MoodleSabaBlackboard, QuoDeck Enterprise, CornerStone On Demand, etc.

5. Scaled Learning Team Requirements

In the Scaled Stage, the organization has learning as a business function. Beyond training its own employees, the learning team of the organization takes on the responsibility of training the employees of its company’s ecosystem (vendors, partners, distributors) and its consumers too.

Stage Indicators

Learning System Requirements

Requirements_lms_QuoDeck

In the Scaled Stage, the organization extends its enterprise LMS with multiple microlearning platforms. These platforms get deployed for differing purposes and are managed by the business teams once set up.

Advanced analytics become a significant component of learning management in this stage. Being a business function, learning at this stage becomes strongly MIS driven, with roll-up reports and integration with Business Intelligence systems.

This stage typically requires an on-premise deployment of a full-featured LMS as in the Seasoned Stage and multiple cloud-based micro-platforms as in the Startup Stage.

Conclusion

Given the hundreds of choices available when picking an LMS, it is undoubtedly difficult to be sure of the one you choose. Be careful that you do not end up investing in a system that is more expensive than what you need to afford, and one that offers features that sound impressive but in reality, add little tangible value to your specific needs. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and start simple.

And remember; ultimately, the LMS is just the technology. Your learning architecture, Instructional Design, content quality, and adoption drives are equally important in proving the difference between a successful implementation and an LMS overkill.

By Arijit Lahiri, Co-Founder of QuoDeck

This article was first published at eLearning Industry.com.

Enterprise Gaming – Once an Opportunity, now a Trend

Having spent a large part of my career in the financial services space driving traditional business growth, using gaming to achieve business goals was not a cause I expected to be championing. Gaming was always a personal interest, but the business parallels only became apparent after we started experimenting with service engagements for enterprises. Given the planet anyway spends 3 billion hours a week playing games, the challenge was really to figure out how learning could fit in that construct.

We formed QuoDeck in 2010 to bring gaming into learning for enterprises. Having started with some elementary game engines and simulations, QuoDeck quickly moved on to make an omnipotent system built with the changing business environment in mind. QuoDeck’s platform today is one of the most powerful and engaging learning platforms in the world, catering to enterprise requirements for mobile learning. And as a leading player in this category, our advice to new entrants is to stay true to course, understand that the market is huge and that innovation is the key.

Mobility is here to stay

Mobile learning was just about appearing on the horizon in India when we entered the market. In fact, it was still at a nascent stage globally as well. While enterprises saw the demographic shift coming, the speed at which the device shift happened took everyone by surprise. Within a period of 3-4 years, millennial users had junked tablets and wouldn’t access their desktops or laptops for anything but sit-down work. They wanted everything on their mobile – on-demand, anytime, anywhere. Being a generation bred on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, they also wanted content and technology that was easy-to-use, visually appealing and in bite-sized pieces. The learning evolution that needed to happen in enterprises was phenomenal and existing products just weren’t prepared for this. Mobility as a trend forced a change in behavior, technology, content creation and consumption patterns across all strata of business.

There is always an element of luck in startup success and we were no different. Perhaps being at the right place at the right time with the right thought process is what its all about. QuoDeck has been at the forefront of this shift, shoulder-to-shoulder with enterprises looking to stay ahead of the curve.

EnterpriseGaming_MobileLearning_CEO_QuoDeck_2018.jpg

Gamifying the world

Our personal insight of gaming being habit-creating and creating long-term associative memories, was the inspiration behind the approach we took. Countless times, behaviors and constructs learnt in gaming had been translated by us to address real-world problems with excellent results.

We had a learning curve here as well. Having played on consoles such as PlayStation and Xbox, we assumed the world was ready to deal with highly complex games and constructs. However, working closely with business heads, HR teams and the Learning & Development function, we learnt that hyper-casual games create the best impact from a learning perspective. This is because they are somewhat repetitive in nature, with a greater level of participation & addiction to ‘scoring’.

While we initially worked on gamification applications on functions such as marketing, research, and learning, we chose to go with learning as a primary focus. Having started in this category long before games became the buzzword of today, we were fortunate to be able to take a pole position and we hope to actually drive the future of gamification for learning in the enterprise. But there are still a lot of white spaces to go after in enterprise gamification.

For New Players

Gaming as a learning solution is so vast in its scope, that it can’t be characterized or identified with any particular industry or even a clutch of industries. Wherever there is widespread staff or skilling required, gaming solutions can take charge and lead the change. So, when new players come in, they must remember that competition comes in various guises and is very rarely with another player. You will end up competing for mindshare against the likes of video-on-demand platforms or search engines where users can find information and content at their fingertips. Knowing what creates pull is perhaps the only challenge you should worry about.

Look out for learning opportunities

Gamification as an industry has a widespread application with learning being only one of them. A space was created for us because existing products failed to keep pace with what was required – large entrenched players became irrelevant in a matter of months. Overnight, enterprises recognized that resistance against this changing paradigm was futile, and mindsets started changing. Gaming and mobility were no longer bad words.

It would be foolish of us to think that we cannot be on the other side of such a trend. Keeping your offering relevant and at the cutting-edge requires you to have an innovation engine, which stops for no one. This requires tremendous willpower and a staunch refusal to settle into a comfortable spot.

 

This article was first published at YourStory

By Kamalika Bhattacharya CEO & Co-Founder at QuoDeck Technologies