Archive for August, 2012

Blatant Media Named One of’s Top 20 Learning Portal Companies for 2012

August 30, 2012 Leave a comment

We’re thrilled to announce that for a third year in a row, we’ve been named one of’s Top 20 Learning Portal Companies. Selection of this year’s winners was based on the following criteria:

  • Breadth of functionality and capabilities
  • Commitment to the corporate training market
  • Industry visibility, innovation and impact
  • Number and strength of clients
  • Geographic reach

Training’s leadership describes the companies named to this list as follows:

“Our Top 20 Learning Portal Companies list represents the pioneers of technologies companies in the industry. These innovative companies integrate an array of technologies into their portals and serve multiple industries.” said Ken Taylor, Chief Operating Officer of Training Industry, Inc.

“These companies offer a variety of learning portal services and present various levels of customization for their clients. There is also a strong focus on improving the ease of use through simple, innovative platforms and interfaces” said Doug Harward, Chief Executive Officer of Training Industry, Inc.

Our full list of awards and accolades is located here.

Integrating Blogs Into Your Learning Management System

August 15, 2012 1 comment

Richard Nantel, Vice President, Enterprise Learning Solutions, Blatant Media | Absorb LMSYears ago, back when I was a learning analyst, a colleague, Gary Woodill, had a big idea. He suggested we create a `filter Blog‘ to draw traffic to our Web site. Gary was a big fan of Stephen Downes, who has an immensely popular newsletter on the topic of online learning called OLDaily. Our Blog was modelled on Stephen’s e-newsletter.

Every day, Gary Woodill, Janet Clarey, Tom Werner, and I would each spend about 30- to 45-minutes browsing news headlines related to workplace learning and development. Each of us would then summarize a story and provide our own analysis.

With four posts per day, this Blog quickly became popular and met our goal of drawing traffic to our Web site. But, it also turned out to be a great learning tool. If you want to become an expert on a topic, start a filter Blog and commit to writing at least one post per week.

  • You’ll quickly get an understanding of what’s going on in your topic area
  • You’ll develop critical thinking skills by having to differentiate valuable information from “fluff”
  • You’ll quickly identify the experts in your topic area since many of the resources you read will all point to the same source
  • Your writing skills will improve
  • With time, you”ll create a huge, searchable repository of valuable information
  • Your posts will contribute to the knowledge of others

Great Blogging platforms such as WordPress and Blogger are free, so your only investment in adding Blogs to your learning initiative is the time required to read content and write posts. Setting up a new Blog, either by opening an account with one of the popular hosted platforms, or by installing Blogging software on your own server, takes minutes.

It isn’t necessary for your LMS to contain built-in Blogging features. Blogs can be included within your learning management system even if you use third-party Blogging software. Here’s an example of this Blog added as a resource:

Blog as a resource

Blogs can also be integrated into courses. Here’s an example of a task to read and comment on a Blog post inserted as a lesson within a course:

Used this way, Blogs are an easy way to foster social learning activities within your LMS. Since the Blogs are accessible through the learning management system, formal and social learning content reside side-by-side. There’s no need for learners to bookmark different resources. All can be accessed from the portal.

How to Let Learners Choose Activities Within a Learning Path

Richard Nantel, Vice President, Enterprise Learning Solutions, Blatant Media | Absorb LMSAs I’ve mentioned in the past, there’s a large and vocal group of learning pundits who are vehemently anti learning management system (LMS). They view LMS as creating inflexible learning environments where learners are provided with few choices and force fed content created by a training department.

In reality, though, it’s possible to create a learning environment using a LMS that provides learners with choices over their learning activities. Although given the ability to pick the courses and learning events they prefer, these learners will still meet the learning requirements established by their workplaces or industry requirements.

Here’s one way to do this:

Management Curriculum

  • In the Introduction section of the Management curriculum displayed above, a learner can choose between a self-paced or virtual instructor-led course. There’s no need for the learner to take both courses since they contain the same content; only the learning modality is different.
  • In the Management Skills section, the learner can take any two of the three courses listed.
  • In the Task section of the curriculum, the learner can select and undertake any two of the three tasks listed.
  • Finally, everyone must complete the Exam.

We rarely hear complaints that universities provide rigid learning structures. After all, undergraduate university students can enroll in elective courses (darkroom photography, astronomy, children’s literature, art history, whatever) that may not be central to their core study area, yet count towards their degrees. By creating curricula that empower learners with the ability to choose courses they prefer, you can create a similar environment within your learning management system.