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Absorb 5.0 Availability and a Top 20 Learning Portal Award!

September 4, 2014 Leave a comment

dan in white

 

We here at Blatant Media are thrilled to announce the imminent release of Absorb LMS 5.0 – a major upgrade to our multi-award-winning Absorb Learning Management System.

 

Absorb LMS version 5.0, which will be released on September 8th, contains over 400 new features and enhancements including:

  •     Mobile (responsive HTML5) administrator interface with an all new look and feel
  •     New administrative dashboards and widgets
  •     Multi-language admin interface
  •     Significant security enhancements including administrator audit trails
  •     Major performance improvements built on new architecture and overall optimization
  •     Flexible competency models and certification enhancements
  •     Enhanced reporting functionality
  •     Advanced exam authoring
  •     Expanded course administration/ownership rights
  •     New “mass actions” for user and course management
  •     And hundreds more!

The release of Absorb 5.0 positions Absorb as the best LMS for organizations looking for ease-of-use, multi-language support, security, robust functionality and a great user experience at a fair price.

“We are very focused on, and invested in, maintaining our leadership position in the industry by delivering new features and technologies in a way that is intuitive and useful for our clients”, says Mike Owens, President of Blatant Media.

This customer-driven model and constant focus on innovation has led to continued growth and accolades, with the most recent award being the addition of Blatant Media to the TrainingIndustry.Com “Top 20 Learning Portal Company List for 2014“.

“It’s super awesome to be on the Top 20 Learning Portal list for the fifth year in a row!” says Mike Eggermont, Co-founder of Blatant Media.

top 20 learning portal companies 2014

 

For more information on Absorb 5.0, please visit absorblms.com.

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.

Thank You From the Blatant^ Mo Bros and Mo Sista

November 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Many if not all of the Blatant Media Mo Bros will tomorrow be shaving off their facial hair. Mo Sista Danielle Roberts will, sadly, be peeling off her moustache. On behalf of everyone on the Blatant^ Movember team, thank you very much for your generosity.

Special thanks as well go to our Team Captain, Michael Ferster. Creating a Blatant^ Movember team was Michael’s idea. Also, in an effort to restore some grooming decency in the office, Blatant^ matched all donations,  bringing our total so far to $3475. (It’s not too late to make a donation.)

As promised, here are the before and after photos:

Al Kinnear Al Kinnear
Al Kinnear
Bryan Harrigan Bryan Harrigan
Bryan Harrigan
Danielle Roberts Danielle Roberts
Danielle Roberts
Don Landry Don Landry
Don Landry
Ethan Millard Ethan Millard
Ethan Millard
Michael Ferster Michael Ferster
Michael Ferster (Team Captain)
Monte Rattray Monte Rattray
Monte Rattray
Richard Nantel Richard Nantel
Richard Nantel
Troyden Fissell Troyden Fissell
Troyden Fissell

Meet the Blatant Mo Bros (and One Mo Sista)

November 9, 2012 2 comments

It’s the time of the year when Gillette, Schick, and other producers  of men’s razors likely experience a drop in revenue. In November, men throughout the world reduce or abandon altogether their shaving to raise awareness and money for men’s health issues, specifically prostate cancer and male mental health initiatives.

In support of this worthy cause, Blatant Media has formed a Movember team.

“Since its humble beginnings in Melbourne Australia, Movember has grown to become a truly global movement inspiring more than 1.9 Million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to participate.”

In less than ten years, this important initiative has raised more than $850,000 million.

We’re now in the second week of November so all of us—with the exception of Mo Sista Danielle Roberts—are at the stage where our faces could be used to scour dirty pots and pans. Animals and small children run away when we enter a room. Needless to say, no one dares kiss us.

In three weeks, we all, (with the exception of Danielle), hope to resemble Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp . You’ll be the judges. We’ll be posting before and after photos of team members at the end of the month.

Until then, we hope you’ll support this great cause. Donations can be made here: http://ca.movember.com/team/536633/

Movember stats:

Movember stats

Absorb LMS Welcomes its Newest Customers

Welcome. License Some rights reserved by olishaw on Flickr

As we’ve mentioned, it isn’t possible for us to announce every new customer:

  • Some customers select Absorb LMS as a departmental LMS within an organization with an official enterprise system in place.
  • Some clients wish to have their new LMS implementation secret until they’re ready to make an official roll-out to learners.
  • Some clients are commercial courseware providers who prefer not to disclose the platform being used to provide learning to their customers

So, here’s a partial list of the organizations that have, within the last few weeks, selected Absorb LMS to support their learning initiatives:

Active Network — Active Network is a technology and media company powering the largest network of organizations, activities, and people. Their technology helps businesses automate and simplify operations, management, and participation, while their media properties are home to millions of people looking for things to do. More > http://www.activenetwork.com/

Aspire Bariatrics — Aspire Bariatrics is the developer and provider of AspireAssist™ Aspiration Therapy System , a breakthrough weight loss solution for people with obesity. More > http://www.aspirebariatrics.com/

AXIS Specialty U.S. Services — AXIS provides specialty insurance and reinsurance on a worldwide basis through operating subsidiaries and branch networks based in Bermuda, the United States, Europe, Singapore, Canada and Australia, as well as a Representative Office in Brazil. More > http://www.http://axiscapital.com/

Catalyst Repository System — Catalyst helps corporations and counsel manage e-discovery and work together on complex legal matters. Their secure, grid-based systems helps organizations handle the largest legal matters in the world —from multi-language litigation to multi-party regulatory investigations. More > http://www.catalystsecure.com

Krillo Consulting Partners — Krillo Consulting Partners is a consultancy specializing in the areas of talent management, leadership development, training and capability development, and organizational development.

Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating — Mitsubishi Electric US is a recognized leader in the research, marketing, sales, engineering, and manufacturing of electrical and electronic equipment used in information processing and communications, consumer electronics, industrial technology, energy, transportation and construction. More > http://www.mehvac.com/

Montreux Solutions-Geneva — Montreux Solutions–Geneva provides on-line training for individuals working for private security companies, enhancing individual professional knowledge and competencies. Montreux Solutions professional on-line training supports career development by demonstrating knowledge of, and a commitment to, international law, human rights and industry standards.

National Rehab — National Rehab (NR) supplies medical products that help people lead healthier, happier lives. They are a provider of wound care, urological, ostomy and incontinence supplies as well as orthopedic products. More > http://www.nationalrehab.com/

New Flyer Industries Limited — New Flyer is the leading manufacturer of heavy-duty buses in the U.S. and Canada. Offering the broadest line of transit vehicles, they have secured their strong position by providing reliable transportation solutions that meet the needs of today while anticipating the needs of tomorrow. More > http://www.newflyer.com/

nVoq Inc —  nVoq Inc. is a privately backed software company based in Boulder, Colorado. nVoq’s main product is SayIt, a speech-to-text solution designed to improve workflow. nVoq was founded in 2000 by veteran technology entrepreneur Charles Corfield. SayIt™ is a hosted service used by a variety of customers including major communications companies and health care organizations. More > http://www.nvoq.com/

Cpl Integrated Services — Cpl Integrated Services is a division of Cpl Resources Plc., a leading provider of recruitment and HR outsourcing solutions throughout Europe. Cpl Resources Plc. is organised into ten individual companies, each providing specialist recruitment and HR solutions across a number of sectors. More > http://www.cplintegratedservices.com/

Salt Lake City Airport — Salt Lake City International Airport is located five miles northwest of downtown Salt Lake City. Eight airlines and their affiliates serve Salt Lake City International Airport: American, Continental, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, United and US Airways. It is a hub for Delta Air Lines. Along with commuter partners, they operate around 219 scheduled daily domestic flights. The airport served 20 million passengers in 2011. More > http://www.slcairport.com/

Transportation Investment Corp — Transportation Investment Corporation (TI Corp) is a public crown corporation established under the Transportation Investment Act to implement the Port Mann/Highway 1 Improvement Project, including construction, operations and maintenance of 37 kilometres of improvements to the TransCanada Highway through Metro Vancouver, as well as development, implementation and management of tolling operations to pay for the project. More > http://www.pmh1project.com/about-the-project/about-ti-corp/Pages/default.aspx

UL-DQS (Underwriter’s Laboratories) — UL DQS Inc. was formed as a strategic partnership between Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and DQS (Germany’s first certification body). As a result of this merger, UL DQS, and as a member of the DQS-UL Group, UL DQS Inc. is able to provide highly skilled, local resources to our value-adding assessment services. With a global presence including offices in over 50 countries and more than 2,300 leading industry experts, UL DQS Inc. helps organizations achieve business objectives. More > https://www.dqs-ul.com/en/

Zones, Inc. — Zones is a national provider of end-to-end IT products and solutions to businesses. Zones technical experts take care of all the research, quoting, authorizations, capabilities, and possible risk factors to craft flexible, expandable IT solutions and customize them for their clients’ unique IT implementations. More > http://www.zones.com

A Few Small Changes While You Were Away on Vacation

True story: My mother once went on a short trip with her sister. When she returned home, she discovered that my father had cedar shingled the bathroom walls.

Cedar shingles (Photo: Muffet/Flickr)I don’t know what inspired my dad to do this. He wasn’t the type to read home decorating magazines. And, he wasn’t the sort of guy who commonly undertook home renovation projects. I picture him sitting on the couch reading the newspaper one Saturday morning and having the epiphany that, since shingles look great on the exterior of maritime houses, they’d look fantastic on the walls of our upstairs bathroom.

This wasn’t an easy project for my dad, who was, like me, a member of the measure-once-cut-multiple-times school of craftsmanship. He had to saw holes in the shingles for light switches. Adding to the challenge, the small finishing nails he used wore away at the dry wall, making the shingles a bit wobbly.

Upon her return home, my mother wasn’t pleased.

The shingled bathroom walls were a continual irritant in their otherwise happy union for about 15 years until my father finally gave in and allowed my mother to call a contractor to renovate the bathroom.

I’ve just returned from a two-week vacation and was relieved to see that no one undertook to shingle the walls of the Blatant Media games room while I was away. What is new, though, is the arrival in our Atlantic Avenue Art Block offices a fourth painting by David Brunning, TheKidBelo, one of Western Canada’s premier visual artists. You can see the others here and here.

Painting by David Brunning, TheKidBelo

In Praise of Beautiful Work Environments

June 14, 2012 3 comments

My youngest daughter’s bedroom looks like a war zone. She’s presently in her final exam week in high school and so her floor is covered in papers, clothes, dishes, and detritus—hopefully inorganic—that I can’t identify.

(I can safely tell you this knowing that no member of my family ever reads my Blog posts.)

Comparatively, my eldest daughter’s bedroom is spotless. She finished classes more than a month ago and is now travelling in Europe. Prior to leaving, she did a massive clean up. Not only can you eat off her floor, you could likely perform surgery in that room without risk of infection.

Last night, I discovered my youngest daughter studying for an exam in her sister’s immaculate bedroom. The order and cleanliness made it a better environment to learn and work. “Fewer distractions,” she said.

The point is that we all know deep down that our environment has a huge impact on our work and mood. Distractions can impede our ability to focus and learn. Beautiful environments make us feel good.

Our own work environment just got better. The walls of Blatant Media’s new office in the Atlantic Avenue Art Block in the trendy Inglewood area of Calgary are now adorned with two new paintings by David Brunning, TheKidBelo, one of Western Canada’s premier visual artists.

Feels like home.

We Have Art! (And it Isn’t `Dogs Playing Poker’)

June 1, 2012 2 comments

You know you’ve settled into a new home when art starts appearing on the walls. The presence of art indicates that other parts of the move, like getting lights-electricity-doors-network-a kitchen-boardrooms-etc. are likely resolved.

As you’ve probably noticed from past posts here and here about our games room, creating a fun work environment is a priority at Blatant. A nice environment helps to create a positive culture.

Wishing to contribute to this positive culture, I was about to bring to the office the print of “Dogs Playing Poker” that hung in my parent’s basement playroom for 35 years when this painting appeared on the wall I had targetted:

The painting is the work of David Brunning, TheKidBelo, one of Western Canada’s premier visual artists. From everyone at Blatant Media, thank you to TheKidBelo for making our new home even better.