Tag Archives: elearning

What are some free, open source, or low-cost authoring tools to create e-learning modules?

When you think of creating eLearning, you are thinking of SCORM modules or a full platform. If you are thinking of Scorm creation, I would recommend building on PowerPoint and using an add-in to convert to basic SCORM. If you can afford it though, Articulate and Captivate are spectacular for authoring.

As an alternative, I would also like to invite you to try QuoDeck to create a mobile learning platform. You can use your existing PPTs, PDFs, and Videos to create the content and layer it with quizzes and games without requiring a separate authoring tool. Give it a spin and see if it works for you…

By Arijit Lahiri, Co-Founder of QuoDeck
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How to build effective sales training for high attrition teams?

Attrition is, unfortunately, one of the harsh realities that sales trainers have to deal with today. Driving productivity with a changing base of resources can be tough for any business function, but with sales, it ends up hitting where it hurts. Here are some insights to building effective sales training programs in a high-attrition environment.

While companies worry about attrition across all functions, they worry about it the most in sales teams. CSO Insights puts average sales team attrition levels at around 16% – twice as high as any other function. This means sales trainers are training a third of their audience from scratch every year, without accounting for growth in the team.

Attrition in a sales team can have a strong effect on turnover and affect client relationships as well. Especially when that attrition is of high performers, any organization can go a while before finding replacements and getting these new hires to perform effectively. Therefore, the cost of attrition is not only in actual lost revenues but the time value and return on investment on every subsequent hire.

In high-attrition environments, these costs can pile up significantly. With the amount that companies spend to train these teams every year, ROI for these spends can steadily decline unless managed carefully and through effective sales training programs.

Sales trainers have just one job in high-attrition environments – make new people productive in the shortest time possible. Good onboarding programs can help make sales people productive 2 months faster than less effective programs. With such clarity of purpose, this seems like an easy problem to solve. But its not. 71% of companies take six months or more to onboard people effectively according to CSO Insights.

So, what does it take to build an effective sales training program in such high attrition environments? In one word, “standardization”. Here are some critical ingredients that can help you cook up the right recipe to standardize and increase velocity of your sales training program.

Increase the eLearning/mlearning component in your blend

In today’s mobile world, the tendency and receptiveness to consume digital content has gone up tremendously. A 70:20:10 approach – with 70% on-the-job, 20% mentoring and only 10% structured or eLearning – may be outdated, and more expensive than you think. In high attrition environments, placing the burden of on-the-job training on sales managers can mean a further slowdown in productivity. Since millennials are prone to consume a lot more digital content today, given the ease and convenience of doing so, it could be more effective to increase the eLearning/mlearning component of onboarding programs to ~30% to play into your audience’s natural behaviour. Apart from standardizing what is taught to your audience, it also ensures sales managers can focus on productivity and retention among their sales team rather than constantly worrying about training.

Build a eLearning/mlearning repository for informational content

Most sales onboarding programs try and cram in as much information into the first few interactions that a sales person has with the program. Retention typically takes a hit because of this. A more natural way for your audience to consume is to give them online courses with all the information to be imparted that they can explore at their own pace. This will serve as a go-to destination for all sales people to refer to on a regular basis. In some cases, this can also be used as a sales aid in the field, for quick reference before meeting with customers or networks.

Of course, onboarding programs must give critical information to the sales person before they can get started such as product information, company history, sales processes and systems etc. However, including microlearning highlights with references to your online courses repository will ensure they don’t get deluged with a lot of information they ultimately cannot remember. In a high-attrition environment, having this repository will help you send out your sales people into the field faster with a safety net of the reference repository.

Build a culture of contribution in your audience

When performing sales people leave, a lot of institutional learning leaves with them. Whether this is in the form of insights or anecdotes, effective sales trainers aim to capture and build an organizational knowledge repository to draw upon for their programs. To institutionalize this, sales trainers must push for a ‘culture of contribution’ among their sales teams. Having KPIs around knowledge sharing that require all sales people to contribute to a ‘knowledge repository’ can help build such a culture and keep your program current and relevant.

In today’s digital world, generating this content is far easier than you imagine, especially using modern mobile learning products. Instead of asking your experts for PowerPoint presentations – which you will probably never get – ask them to record and post a short video or audio clip with some sales insights, to the social section of your mobile learning app. Most modern eLearning and mlearning platforms will ease this process. Crowd-sourcing such content can help ease your time and budget constraints and promote ownership of the program among your audience. Such content can be drawn upon by your new sales people for sales tips and tricks they would otherwise take many years to learn.

If the holy grail is getting your new folks onboarded faster, then bringing your onboarding program into the new-age may be a great place to start!

Continue to watch this space for our upcoming series on how to drive sales training adoption

By Kamalika Bhattacharya, CEO & Co-Founder at QuoDeck

5 self-improvement goals for teachers for 2019

“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together & motivating them, the teacher is the most important” – Bill Gates

Do you find it difficult to grab your students’ attention? Are you looking for ways to engage with them and get them to score better on assessments? Well, technology is the solution here. In today’s technology-led world, you would become obsolete if you did not figure ways to include technology inside, and outside the classroom. Let’s dedicate 2019 to just doing that – in 5 simple steps.

The beginning of a new year is a good time to set objectives. This year, let’s focus on using technology to enhance ourselves.

  • Learn technology – become the expert at education technology

The internet has multiple tools that you can use as an educator. Begin your journey with Google’s tools such as Drive, Gmail, Docs, etc. Once you have the hang of it, you should move to more e-learning focused technologies such as Canva, Course Lab, QuoDeck, etc.

These tools are simple to use and can catapult your classes into the next level on engagement. You can use these for free.

  •      Get on Social Media – tweet your thoughts away

Social Media is the most important piece of the pie, with Twitter being on the top of the list, currently being used by more than 335 million users on monthly basis. Why not put it to use? Connect with people worldwide and share your experiences. Know what’s happening and what’s trending in the field of education technology. Be seen by your students as someone who understands them and believes in technology.

  • Pedagogy – brush up on your teaching techniques

There’s always room for pedagogical improvement – be it theory, getting back to basics, or just adding a new technique to your arsenal. Bringing changes to the way they teach should be a recurring feature in every teacher’s to-do list. Introduce game-based learning in your classroom, bolster text books with educational videos, gamified assessments etc. Make sure that when you plan on using learning games, you plan for rewards as well.

  • Adjust your mindset

If you wish you see the change in the way you teach, you need to first change the way you think about it. To keep up your exposure up to date, you must read books, blogs and articles on methods to transform your teaching and you will start noticing a difference in the way you process the daily challenges of teaching. Connect with other teachers, make groups and share knowledge of the changes that have been made. Practice this in your routine.

  • Bring freshness to your content

Most teachers are comfortable using PowerPoint or Keynotes for their presentations. But what we forget is that all of it doesn’t appeal to the students. What they would be really interested in are games and entertainment. Choose interactive slide presentations along with game-based learning to get your students to learn what you want them to learn. There are simple tools to help you do this. This will result in academic accomplishment along with you becoming a better educator in your students’ eyes.

Ask yourself – How are you growing as a teacher? Have you given a thought to this? If not, now is the right time to do so. These 5 goals are just a starting point.

Do you have your own strategy that has brought changes in you and your students? Tell us all about it. Talk about the kind of tech-related professional development that has been most valuable for you, and why. We would love to hear from you.

 By  Vinaya Souz, Head – Marketing at QuoDeck

6 critical eLearning pitfalls all Learning and Development (L&D) Leaders should avoid

eLearning is like the proverbial Prometheus’ Fire. It will deliver great good for your employees, improve engagement and increase knowledge assimilation. As an L&D leader, you should avoid the following mistakes to help maximize its effectiveness.

  1. Digitizing traditional offline or using existing traditional content: Traditional content such as long videos, lengthy documents and classroom training techniques are not symbiotic with eLearning. Content will have to be created and designed to be engaging, and interactive.
  2. Not creating mobile friendly courses: While this is a must for on field sales force, it is important to roll out mlearning for all employees. Employees spend a lot of time on their mobiles and it is imperative to make learning as informal and accessible as possible, even outside the work place.
  3. No effective assessment tools: Putting out the most engaging and interesting course, with no way to assess your learners, is a waste of your and the learners’ time. Put out quizzes and exams for each section, and the entire course. These tests should be short and fun. Use Images, videos and blurbs as part of the assessment to improve engagement.
  4. No feedback mechanism for the learner:  Learning is a two-way street, the higher the engagement with the learner, the more the learning. One of the primary reasons for drop-off in engagement is the lack of an effective feedback mechanism for the learner to express her views on the course. Listen to what your audience is saying and act on them.
  5. Unclear learning objectives: Why have you set this course up, what do you want your audience to gather, is this course to increase knowledge, boost productivity or develop objection handling skills? If you are unclear of the outcome of the course, your learner will be even more unclear. Lay down objectives at the beginning and design the course to fulfill these objectives. Gather feedback and conduct assessments at regular intervals to modify the course.
  6. Clunky and complicated UI/UX: So, you deployed the latest and most expensive Learning Management System (LMS) in town, but the adoption rates are low and dropping. This might be because its to complicated to navigate. Always approach eLearning from the learners’ point of view, not the creators.  The simpler and more intuitive the UI, the better the chances of learners engaging with it.
By  Venkataraman Ananthakrishnan, Head- Online and Global Business at QuoDeck

What is SCORM?

SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model) is a standardized technical specification for eLearning content. SCORM is comprised of a collection of interrelated technical specifications for creating interoperable and plug-n-play eLearning content. 

SCORM was developed by ADL, an US Government initiative. ADL (Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative) developed SCORM in the 90s to solve interoperability issued for Computer Based Training (CBT) across multiple delivery systems. SCORM can be called the common language that all Learning Management systems speak.

The Two main phrases you will hear associated with SCORM are SCO (Shareable Content Object) and Reference Model (RM).

SCO is the most granular piece of content in SCORM. It like a chapter in a book.  The SCO can be assembled into courses and used across different Learning Management Systems (LMSs) and Organizations.

Reference Model: is the standard set of rules that all SCORM compliant LMS understand thus making course interoperable across various systems.

The existing versions of SCORM are

SCORM 1.1 – this was the first version of the SCORM and is not widely used.

SCORM 1.2 – It is supported by nearly all LMS and majority of content providers create on this version.

SCORM 2004 – is the latest version. The sequencing and navigation feature allows creators to define behaviour within and between SCOs, which was not possible in the previous versions. This helps in greater content interaction and reusability of SCO.

The most popular SCORM authoring tools are –
QuoDeck, Articulate, Camtasia, Adobe Captivate

By  Venkataraman Ananthakrishnan, Head- Online and Global Business at QuoDeck

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

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

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

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.