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Blatant^ Named a 2013 Bersin & Associates WhatWorks® Award Winner for Delivering Innovation

March 28, 2013 Leave a comment

Bersin & Associates WhatWorks® AwardCALGARY, ALBERTA– (Mar 28th, 2013) – Bersin by Deloitte, a leading provider of research-based membership programs in human resources (HR), talent and learning, have announced that Blatant Media Corporation (blatant^) has been named a 2013 WhatWorks® Award Winner in the area of Delivering Innovation.

Winners were chosen by Bersin & Associates from hundreds of applicants and include industry leaders in business processes, consulting, financial services, food products, government, hospitality, information technology, insurance, media and software. Bersin & Associates conducted the awards program in cooperation with Human Resource Executive® magazine.

Blatant^ was recognized a winner for the development of Absorb LMS’s innovative, HTML5-based, learning management system user interface, which responds and adapts to different hardware platforms. This technology allows learners to access content such as courses and learning events on traditional computers, tablets such as iPads, and phones.

“We’re thrilled to add a Bersin & Associates award to our trophy shelf,” said blatant^ co-founder, Mike Eggermont.

This is the 13th award and accolade bestowed on blatant^ since 2008.

About Bersin by Deloitte

Bersin by Deloitte delivers research-based people strategies designed to help leaders and their organizations in their efforts to deliver exceptional business performance. The company’s WhatWorks® membership gives Fortune 1000 and Global 2000 HR professionals the information and tools they need to design and implement leading practice solutions, benchmark against others, develop their staff, and select and implement systems. A piece of Bersin by Deloitte research is downloaded on average approximately every minute during the business day. More than 5,000 organizations worldwide use our research and consulting to guide their HR, talent and learning strategies. For more information, please visit www.deloitte.com/bersin or www.bersin.com.

About Blatant^ and Absorb LMS

Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Blatant Media Corporation is an e-learning company that leverages the power of technology to enable learning for clients throughout the world. The company’s multi- award-winning learning management system, Absorb LMS, is used by more than a million learners in organizations throughout the world. Organizations currently using Absorb LMS include Adobe Software Systems, American Medical Systems , Dannon, New York University, Oakley, the United States Anti-Doping Association, and more than 500 others.

Media Contact

Richard Nantel
VP, Enterprise Learning Solutions
Absorb LMS | a blatant^ solution
(403) 277-4856
Richard.Nantel AT AbsorbLMS DOT com

 

Key Differentiators of Absorb LMS and blatant^

March 13, 2013 1 comment

No one really knows how many learning management systems currently exist. Some research firms and analysts place the number as high as 500 and includes commercial systems, open source applications, and custom built, in-house platforms.

The large number of available systems is both comforting (a system that meets your most important needs is almost certainly available) and overwhelming (faced with so many choices, finding that system can be tough.)

To help make your search easier, here are what we believe to be the key differentiators of Absorb LMS and blatant^:

  • Absorb LMS doesn’t look like other learning management systems. That’s because we place a huge emphasis on design, usability, and brand projection:

basic_skin_sample_4b

  • Absorb LMS delivers learning content to people on any device that can interpret HTML 5. This includes conventional desktop and laptop computers, tablets such as iPads, and popular phones.
  • Most Web sites designed for traditional computers simply shrink down the interface to fit the smaller screens of tablets and phones. Absorb LMS is different. The site adapts to the device being used to create a better experience for the learner. Here’s how the same Absorb LMS portal displays on different devices:
Absorb LMS viewed on a traditional computer.

Absorb LMS viewed on a traditional computer.

The same Absorb LMS learning portal viewed on an iPad

The same Absorb LMS learning portal viewed on an iPad

The same Absorb LMS portal viewed on an iPhone

The same Absorb LMS portal viewed on an iPhone

  • The administrative features of Absorb LMS are designed to make management of learning initiatives very easy. In fact, the entire learning workflow can be automated, from the learner’s registration in the system, enrolment in courses, generation of progress reports, certification, and beyond.

AbsorbLMS-Automation

  • The system is particularly strong at providing different learning content to different learners. So, if you want to make a curriculum available to, say, a group of people located in a specific city who do a certain type of work, it will take you less than one minute to set this up.
  • Most LMS vendors, of course, say that they have a great system. Boasting isn’t our style but we will say that we’ve won 13 major industry awards for excellence since 2008. We also get really great reviews from our customers, which means the world to us.
  • About two or three new clients per week select Absorb LMS and 95 per cent of clients stay with us each year, not because they have to but because they want to.
  • Absorb LMS isn’t the least expensive learning management system; after all, there are free open-source systems you can try. But when you factor in the time, effort, and cost related to configuring other systems and using them to run your learning initiatives, we think we provide good value. (One of our clients, COLA, recently switched from a `free’ open source platform to Absorb LMS and saved a pile of cash. You can read all about it here.)
  • We try to stay focused on creating a great learning management system rather than attempting to be everything to everyone:
    • We’ve resisted the trend to become a talent management suite. Absorb LMS doesn’t have a recruiting module, a succession planning module, etc. But, you can integrate Absorb LMS with those types of applications by using APIs we’ve created. A full 40 per cent of our customers integrate Absorb LMS with other enterprise applications.
    • We’ve also resisted the trend to build social network capabilities into the system. We think Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other platforms are pretty awesome and like you, we use them every day. So, rather than recreating those technologies (which would take our time away from building a great LMS) we’d rather leverage popular platforms by making them available to learners as resources integrated into their dashboards.
  • Absorb LMS contains a built-in shopping cart, so if you’re planning to sell courses, either now or in the future, that will be a breeze.
The Absorb LMS shopping cart

The Absorb LMS shopping cart

  • If you come to us and say you like our system a lot but could we please create new features just for you, we might say no. It’s not that we don’t want to help you out. But, we’ve been doing this long enough to know that having a lot of highly customized implementations can be a nightmare for both our clients and for us when the time comes to upgrade to new versions. We prefer a single, super-stable codebase everyone uses that’s highly configurable, with features turned on or off as needed. (If, however, you have an idea for a great new feature we should include in our roadmap, we’d love to hear about it.)
  • We’re very proud of the culture at blatant^. Jerks don’t remain here long. This means morale is high and when you contact us, you’ll be served by happy, talented people who will be calm and professional. If you visit our office, you can even challenge members of our team to an Xbox game. (You might want to practice a bit before.)
gamesroom

The Xbox games room at blatant^

  • If during your evaluation of Absorb LMS, we get a sense that we aren’t a good fit for what you want to do, we’ll let you know. We promise. It’s more important for us to get new customers we can make happy than to get new customers who will be miserable trying to use our technology to do things it wasn’t designed to do.

So, the bottom line is that if you’re looking for a powerful, award-winning learning management system that:

  • Supports mobile learning initiatives
  • Is easy to use, both for learners and administrators
  • That can be designed to project strongly your organization’s brand and culture
  • That you can use to sell courses
  • That can be easily integrated with other enterprise applications

…then we might be a good fit for you. If your needs are significantly different, it might be best to exclude us and continue your search.  With so many systems available, you don’t need to settle for a learning management system that does not do the most important things you need it to do.

The Evolution of the Absorb LMS: An Update

March 6, 2013 Leave a comment

dan suitIf you’ve spoken to our staff or visited our website or blog recently, you may have noticed 3 things:

1. Absorb LMS has a fancy new look and feel!
2. We are no longer talking about Smartlab
3. We are now talking about something called “Mercury”

Absorb LMS is rapidly evolving, right along with the entire learning technology industry. The rise of mobile learning, and specifically, the success of the Apple iPad and iPhones, have created new challenges – and new opportunities – to rethink how we deliver online learning.

It’s been more than 10 years since blatant^ was founded on the principle of building a better Learning Management System. Over time, we have added many new features, mostly at the request of clients and sometimes because we’ve anticipated what’s to come and tried to lead the market in that direction. We’ve always aimed to implement these new features so that they will be both useful and easy to use. We also try to ensure that we maintain a high-level of design standards. The user experience is tantamount.

A few years ago (a lifetime, in the technology arena) and as part of this ongoing product evolution, we created a completely custom platform that sat “on top of” Absorb LMS. It provided some of our clients with a completely custom HTML5 interface, and added some additional functionality to support increased marketing, learner messaging and learner engagement requirements. This platform – Smartlab – also ran on iPads (where the old Absorb FLASH interface would not) and it offered all of the Absorb functions plus some new features and widgets: FAQ, Quick Polls, Twitter Feed, News Feed, Rotating Banner Ads and Contests. All of which could be targeted at specific groups of users with the standard drop-down audience filters that Absorb provides for course and resource targeting.

For the clients that adopted Smartlab, this was great. For a while. We all learned some things and thought long and hard about how we could make Smartlab even better.

What we learned:
1. HTML 5 is great for iPads but an IDEAL user interface should scale in size and layout regardless of the size and type of device that the learner is using.
2. Custom is great, until you want to change it. Then it can get expensive and time consuming.
3. Custom does not like upgrades. Having a custom anything kind of defeats the purpose of the SaaS model, where all users get all new features at the same time.
4. Custom can get very expensive and requires tons of planning and review work. If many people are involved in the decision making process, this can drag on for some time.

How we improved it:
1. We took the best features of Smartlab (Polls, FAQ, Contents, News, Twitter, Banners) and made them available to all of our Absorb users (current and future).
2. We renamed this ‘Absorb Mercury Edition’. Smartlab was a weird name anyway, and besides, it was still 95% powered by the core Absorb LMS.
3. We changed the entire product to have a slick new “responsive design” that detects and adjust its layout depending on the size and orientation of the browser/device being used.
4. We dropped the design fees for the (formerly Smartlab) Mercury options by over 80% and eliminated 6 months of project management effort.
5. We recognized that only some of our clients would be interested in Mercury’s bells and whistles and so made it available as an easy add-on module that can be purchased and turned on at any time.

Our clients think this is great. Whether they upgrade to the new Absorb Mercury Edition or simply migrate to the new Absorb LMS responsive interface, they will still benefit from complete cross-platform/mobile support in a beautiful user interface. In other words, you don’t need to use Mercury to take advantage of the adaptive features in the new learner interface – this is now standard to the Absorb platform.

So to recap, Smartlab has been improved and renamed Absorb Mercury Edition (or “Mercury”, for short); the price and implementation time were reduced dramatically, and Absorb now scales perfectly across different types of desktop computers and mobile devices, thanks to the new responsive design.

Since it is part of the core Absorb LMS platform, Mercury also gets regularly updated as part of our standard development cycle. And for clients that want or need a custom interface, we still offer that service too, and at a much lower cost due to the new Absorb Mercury Edition architecture.

It’s an interesting and dynamic time in the learning technology industry, and we’re excited and inspired by all the change.