Well it’s that time again. Here are my e-learning predictions for the coming year.
- You know I have to include a Flash prediction. So, here you are… I predict a Flash player will finally be included on the iPad and iPhone this year. This will be mostly due to the fact that so many more phones, and tablets, will be released with Flash, pressuring Apple to do the same.
- Say goodbye to the “e-” and the “m-” and say hello to just “learning” in 2011. I think we will be less concerned about the medium and will call it “learning” regardless of whether it is in the classroom, computer, phone or wherever else you are finding it.
- The coming flood of tablets in 2011 will move m-learning much further along. However, I think people will be distinguishing less and less between the terms e-learning, m-learning, and just learning. After all, where does m-learning stop and e-learning begin? See prior prediction.
- With the economy improving, we will see reinvestment in classroom training and classroom trainers. I believe too many organizations have hastily delved into online training, resulting in developing courses that are better off in in the classroom than online. Plus with so many rushing into e-learning without investing the time in understanding the design end has resulted in ineffective “rapid e-learning.” I think we will see these people who had good intentions are going to move away from e-learning. For those that may be in that boat, don’t give up on e-learning, but please read “Hey You Rapid e-Learning Peeps, Slooow Down and Take a Little Drive on the ISD Side of Town.”
- QR Codes will become more prevalent in the U.S. In fact, I just started using them myself by including them in a new e-learning course. I also plan to start adding them to job aids, manuals, presentations and anywhere else when appropriate.
My organization is just finishing up its compliance period and I have gotten my share of calls and e-mails from staff regarding their courses. For As long as I have been in e- learning, the majority of the calls I’ve received from users have fallen into one of the following issues:
- A pop-up blocker on the user’s computer is enabled.
- The user does not have Adobe Flash.
- A manager wants to confirm their staff took the course.
Whether you receive similar calls regarding your courses or other calls for assistance, here are a few tips to make things a bit easier for you and for those taking your courses.
- Create concise job aids for common problems. Send the appropriate job aid via e-mail to staff in need. For example, directions with screenshots on how to disable a pop-up blocker will be well received plus they can use it again and again instead of calling again and again.
- Provide clear information on the LMS, Intranet, course announcements of whom to contact if assistance is needed. Also provide links to help pages and job aids.
- Give your organization’s help-desk the heads up. Let them know certain courses are currently in demand and they may also receive calls. Give them information regarding the types of calls that might come in, solutions, and job aids they can also send callers.
- When your are not available, add helpful information to your out-of-office message. For example, links to help pages and job aids.
- Provide instructions to managers on how they can access their own reports and/or staff transcripts themselves if your LMS accommodates that ability.
These are some tricks I have been using over the years and some I picked up recently and will be applying going forward. Hopefully, these will relieve the influx of calls and also provide quicker resolutions for anyone taking your courses. Please feel free to share your tips in the comments section. Thanks!
Warning, this is a bit of a rant written mostly for my own need in sorting through how I really feel about learning management systems (LMSs). If you work with the average LMS you probably understand.
I have worked numerous different LMSs, some good and some not so good. I don’t think I have used any considered “user-friendly” on either the admin or the user end. Currently, I am getting to know another LMS and trying to be patient with its quirks and illogical design. To give it some credit it is not much quirkier, or designed much worse, than most other LMSs (most are drek). As in the past, once I get used to the peculiarities of the system I am sure I will begin to tolerate it and even be able to do what is needed. However, learning to get it to do what you want it to does take quite a bit of hair pulling and shouting many nasty phrases at it. I also have received great deal of help from my coworkers who also work with the system, in which I am extremely grateful. If you are reading this, thank you.
Now, why the heck do we even use these things? Here are the crazy reasons we keep hearing in the corporate training world.
- “Auditors are going to ask for reports showing everyone took the compliance courses.”
- “We need to give assessments and see that learning occurred.”
- “We need a way for staff to enroll in classroom training.”
- “So staff can access their transcripts.”
- “We have to track EVERYTHING!”
Some of these reasons are valid to a point, but do we really need a cumbersome LMS for all this? First off, we do not need to track everything. We should be more concerned that staff are learning and applying what they learned than if they have the word “completed” next to their name. In the case of assessments it may demonstrate learning, but not the application of what was learned or the results of its application. It is very important that learning occurred, but please do not assume they did anything with it. As far as classroom enrollment and transcripts, I am confident there are cheaper, easier alternatives for those tasks.
Yes, there is some practicality in the fore-mentioned list and I am not naive enough to think we can simply write off the LMS so quickly. And yeah, I know the auditors want to see a report that has the word “completed” next to each person’s name. However, in my perfect world we can offer courses that are accessible outside the LMS and our audience take courses because of their thirst to learn not to get the word “completed” placed next to their name.
For the record, I see the value in having an LMS, but I also see its limitations, hindrances, and how it can be when overused. I guess you could say I have a love-hate relationship with it.
What value do you see in an LMS or what do you see as reasons we do not need one?
Thank you for allowing me to vent on this subject. I have to get back to completing a bulk enrollment and then run a couple of reports.
Yesterday I attended a SCORM webinar provided by Advance Distributed Learning (ADL). If you do not know the ADL, they are a part of the U.S. Department of Defense and are the producers of SCORM. At the conclusion of the webinar they gave a tour of some of the available resources on their site. These include SCORM documentation, past webinar slides, and content examples, including the files from a Flash example. which you will find listed as “Plug-In Technologies Content Example.” They also provide a test suite. FYI: All of the above are free to download.
Do you have any great SCORM resources? Please share in the comments section, thanks.