What Are The Components of a Good LMS?

Learning Management System (LMS) word cloud business conceptLMSs have many features, and we have already looked at the features you should look for when choosing a LMS. We have also looked at how you should choose a LMS. However, now we need to know what parts usually make up a good LMS.  It doesn’t do any good to jump into the market blind, with no idea as to what you’re looking for.  With that in mind, we are now going to look at what the main components of a LMS are -or should be-.

There is no set rule as to what components should form a LMS, but there are a few that, if they were not present, would render the LMS useless.  In the same vein of thought, these components -or lack thereof- might make an argument as to whether the system was a LMS or not. Continue reading

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What Are Your Training Metrics Actually Measuring?

ruler-150936_640Is your training working? That is the question. We can talk about MOOCs and gamification and whether self-paced courses are better than scheduled courses until we’re blue in the face, but the reality is that only one question really matters — what works?

Much has been written on the subject and many experts have weighed in on what they consider to be the most crucial training metrics (here are my top 10). However, it remains that for individual courses and at individual companies, the effectiveness of training is ridiculously hard to measure.

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MOOCs and Brain-Based Learning: The Perfect Combination?

shutterstock_227580421For too long, corporate training has focused on teaching, rather than on learning. This is the fundamental reason why so much corporate training fails: the way it is presented simply doesn’t have anything to do with the way people learn.

But as demands for training increase — not just training that satisfies butt-in-seat compliance requirements, but real training that leads to real results — learning is finally being acknowledged as the real goal. Over the past few years, there has also been a huge amount of new research into the brain basis of learning, which has lead to a host of new and more effective teaching strategies. Continue reading

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The 4 Biggest Fears About Online Learning and How to Overcome Them

fear-617132_640On this blog, I’ve mainly discussed attitudes about MOOCs and online learning from the perspective of trainers, managers, and others higher up in the organization. But, there is an even more important group of people whose attitudes need to be addressed: the learners themselves.

While it’s true that many learners prefer technology-enabled learning and would rather take a MOOC than a traditional course, you may also encounter employees who fear online learning. Here, we’ll look at the four biggest fears about online learning — from the learner’s perspective — and explore ways to overcome them. Continue reading

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Thinking About Gamifying Your Training? Read This First

shutterstock_208353946If you are in corporate training, this statistic should concern you:

  • 70% of employees are either not engaged or actively disengaged (source: Gallup)

Gamification is often touted as a sure-fire strategy to increase employee engagement, because people like points, right? But there is a dark side here: many gamification implementations fail.

In 2012, Gartner predicted that by this year, 40% of Global 1000 organizations would “use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations.” But a little while later, Garter also predicted that 80% of gamified implementations would fail. That’s a huge number, and it has caused many to argue against gamification as a whole — why should companies spend any time, money, or effort on something that will fail eight out of 10 times? Continue reading

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How to Choose the Right MOOC for Your Employees

entrepreneur-696966_640The buzz around massive open online courses (MOOCs) has finally started to infiltrate the corporate training space. After a couple of years of waiting to see where the online course trajectory was going, companies are starting to embrace MOOCs as a practical, economical, and effective solution to their growing training problems.

Almost exactly two years ago, I wrote a post called “What Type of MOOC is Right for You?” At that time, there were only about a handful of different types of MOOCs. Today, the landscape is much larger, and it continues to grow as technology improves and trainers discover (or invent) new ways to use the technologies to the greatest benefit of learners and organizations. Continue reading

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What’s the Difference Between a MOOC and an LMS?

20130514160027!MOOC_poster_mathplourdeMassive open online courses (MOOCs) have been around long enough that most people in the training industry have at least a general understanding of what they are. But there is still some confusion about how they differ from more familiar forms of elearning and online courses.

In particular, a question I’m often asked is: “What’s the difference between a MOOC and a learning management system (LMS)?”

The basic answer is that an LMS is a platform for hosting a course, while a MOOC is the course itself. A MOOC can be run on an LMS, but it doesn’t have to be. In the same vein, an LMS can be used to host a course that is not a MOOC. Misunderstanding often creeps in because the major MOOC platforms — Coursera, edX, and so on — involve both an LMS and a MOOC. For example, if you take a course on Coursera, you are taking a Coursera MOOC that is hosted on the Coursera LMS. Continue reading

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What Corporate Trainers Can Learn from MOOCs (Even If You Don’t Use Them)

LearnMassive open online courses (MOOCs) recently celebrated their third anniversary. What started as an ambitious experiment is now becoming a standard component of education. Learners around the country and around the world are taking MOOCs. Even many students at traditional brick and mortar institutions are taking MOOCs, sometimes as standalone courses, sometimes as part of a hybrid learning program.

And there are new developments all of the time. Just this month, Coursera and the University of Illinois announced that the school’s entire MBA program would be put online in a MOOC format. Students can take the courses for free; they can sign up for paid course sequences called Specializations, such as “Digital Marketing” and “Improving Business Finances and Operations”; or they can complete the entire curriculum and earn an iMBA from the University of Illinois. This last option costs $20,000, but that is about $80,000 less than what an MBA costs elsewhere. Continue reading

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New MOOC Research: What the Findings Mean for Corporate Training

shield-229112_640Aside from the time savings, the cost savings, and the boost in learner engagement, one of the biggest areas where massive open online courses (MOOCs) provide benefit is education research. MOOCs generate a huge amount of data, which can be collected and analyzed to gain insights into how people learn, what teaching methods are most effective, and many other areas related to learning.

Here we’ll review some of the new research that has come out of MOOCs and other technology-enabled learning environments and explore what the findings mean for corporate training.

Online learning works, so let’s shift the conversation to how to make it successful

Despite a plethora of research that online, blended, and other technology-enabled learning works just as well as face-to-face learning, many companies still hold tight to the belief that there is something special about in-person instructor-led training (ILT). Continue reading

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6 Steps to Prepare Your Company for a MOOC

success-413093_640Moving your corporate training courses to a massive open online course (MOOC) format represents a huge change, especially if you currently offer only instructor-led training (ILT). People at all levels of your company–managers, trainers, trainees–may understandably feel some apprehension about moving to the new format. The more you do at the beginning to address their concerns, the better the chances your first MOOC will be a success.

Here are six steps you can take to prepare your company for a MOOC.

1. Get buy-in from top to bottom

One factor that distinguishes MOOCs from all other forms of training is that their reach can span an entire organization all at the same time.

ILT takes place at the classroom level — interactions around courses are often limited to the employees in the room, or employees and their direct managers. E-learning takes place at the individual level — often no person-to-person interactions take place at all. But the most successful MOOCs take place at the organizational level — individuals throughout your organization participate through taking the course, facilitating the course, commenting on discussion boards, or serving as subject matter experts for certain topics. The best MOOCs have people participating at all of these levels, which means everyone in the organization needs to be committed to this new form of learning. Continue reading

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