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Posts Tagged ‘Automation’

Video: How Jennifer Automates the Management of an Extended Enterprise Learning Initiative

If you’re a regular reader of this Blog, you’ve read about how learning management systems can be configured to automate many of the activities required to manage a learning and development initiative. You may have read this, but you may not have SEEN it. 😉 So here’s a short video showing how this is done within Absorb LMS.

Let’s set the stage:

Jennifer is employed as a Learning Manager in a medical supply company, MedSupply Inc. She has just been informed that her organization has signed an agreement with a new distributor, Safe Distribution LLC. The contract between the two firms specifies that Safe Distribution’s employees must undertake a certification-based learning program to ensure that they understand the safe handling of MedSupply’s products.

Jennifer does not know who Safe Distribution’s learners are, nor how many there are. She’s been informed that up to 500 Safe Distribution employees may require certification. Compounding the challenge, the time frame for training is short. Safe Distribution employees must be certified within 60 days.

The good news is that the required course is already created. All MedSupply internal employees have undertaken the same certification-based program.

Jennifer now needs to:

  • Register these external learners into the learning management system
  • Enroll these individuals into the appropriate course
  • Provide status learner progress reports to MedSupply’s and Safe Distribution’s management
  • Issue certificates to the learners who successfully complete the learning program
  • Provide learners with a refresher course

The video below illustrates the steps Jennifer took to configure the LMS for this learning program.

Note: Jennifer, MedSupply, and Safe Distribution are all fictional. Any resemblance to a Jennifer you may know is coincidental. 

WEBINAR: How to Automate the Administration of Learning Within Your Organization

January 18, 2012 1 comment

Join us for a free Webinar:

How to Automate the Administration of Learning Within Your Organization

Date: Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Time: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM MT (GMT-7)

Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/122110502

Register Now

What would be your reaction if you were informed that you needed to provide training to 1000 new individuals in the next 30 days? If you’re a commercial training provider, it may be a combination of joy over the influx of revenues mixed with stress at the required effort. If you’re a learning administrator within an organization’s learning or HR department, the need to manage a new learning initiative may be one more big responsibility added to an already massive task list.

Enabling learning in others shouldn’t be a source of stress, it should feel rewarding. Too often, though, the time and effort required to enrol learners, assign them to the correct course or curriculum, track their progress, provide them with certificates, and manage future re-certification requirements is huge and potentially demoralizing.

Join Blatant Media’s Richard Nantel as he discusses:

  • Why your learning initiative needs to be scalable
  • How automation can make the number of learners irrelevant
  • The costs of administering training in a LMS manually
  • How to structure administration within your learning management system

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Space is limited. We hope to see you there!

REMINDER: Two Upcoming Webinars

December 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Absorb SMARTLAB: Where Learners Go to Escape Learning Management Systems

  • Date: Thursday, December 8, 2011
  • Time: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM MST

Oakley, Virgin Mobile, Logitech LifeSize, and American Medical Systems have selected Absorb SMARTLAB as their learning environments. Find out why.

How to Automate the Administration of Learning Within Your Organization

  • Date: Wednesday, December 14, 2011
  • Time: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM MST

It may only take a few minutes for you to administer a learner’s experience within your LMS. But, if you need to repeat the process for every learner,`you`ll quickly be overwhelmed by the effort. Find out how to create a scalable learning initiative.

What Software Users Need to Work Efficiently

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment

The Zite app on my iPad served me an excellent post last night from UX Movement; a “user experience blog that’s devoted to improving the way designers and developers design and make user interfaces.” The post, written by Anthony Tseng, is titled Are You Meeting the User Experience Hierarchy of Needs? Included in this post is this nice diagram illustrating the what applications must provide to be usable:

At the bottom level is the need to have the application’s features work. The top-most level is the need for users to be able to perform tasks within the application quickly and accurately.

I applaud Anthony for really nailing some of the key issues surrounding usability:

When most people speak of user experience, they’re usually referring to usability, the highest need of the user experience hierarchy. Usability is the ease of use of an interface that increases user productivity. Interfaces that have a high level usability allow users to complete tasks quickly and accurately. However, most interfaces rarely achieve usability to its full capacity. This is because most interfaces have many user tasks, and there’s always some task that users make errors on or can’t complete fast enough.

I believe the diagram above should have one extra layer added above Usability. That level is Automation. Through automation, productivity is even higher yet risk of user error is low. The user spends time not in repeating tasks but in creating rules to automate those tasks.

We’re seeing more applications adding automation. Hootsuite, for instance, is one of a number of popular applications that allow you to automate and schedule the publishing of content to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. We’re also slowly seeing automation appearing in enterprise software such as learning management systems.

How to Start a Successful Training Company (Part 3)

November 21, 2011 1 comment

Richard Nantel, Vice President, Enterprise Learning Solutions, Blatant Media | Absorb LMS

This is the final post in a three-part series. Part one was an introduction to selling learning content to individuals and organizations. Part two examined the most important learning management system requirements to support the sale of training. Part three will show how Absorb LMS meets the needs of commercial course providers.

I’m writing this post on a flight to Seattle where Mike Owens, co-founder of Blatant Media, and I will be meeting with the great team at Adobe to help them plan out their learning management system (LMS) strategy. It’s been 12 years since I was last in Seattle. During my last trip there, I attended a conference on the design and development of help systems for software applications.

A dozen years ago, help systems were all the rage, largely because enterprise software was rarely easy to use. We now expect software and hardware to be intuitive and self explanatory. There remains, however, a huge disparity in the level of usability of enterprise software. In my 11 years as a learning management system analyst, I saw applications that were so horribly designed from the point of view of usability that they’d immediately demoralize any but the most mentally tough user. (No wonder 30 per cent of organizations report that they are looking to replace their LMS.)

Apart from relying on your gut reaction, how do you evaluate usability in enterprise software? Consider the following criteria:

  • Basic usability: Each feature is an island onto itself. You use a feature to perform a task and the application returns you to the home screen where you can then use a different feature. If you’re lucky, the interface design will be clean and uncluttered, and the features will be easy to find and use.
  • Workflow enabled usability: After performing a task, the application provides you with logical choices for what you may want to do next. In other words, the LMS is designed with workflow in mind. Older readers may recognize the following as Microsoft’s early implementation of this idea.

Absorb LMS and Absorb SMARTLAB provide something similar (minus the little paper clip person.) After adding a new learner to the system, for instance, the software displays the following suggestions:

  • Usability through automation: The application contains the ability to automate common tasks so that they do not need to be manually repeated. This is the highest level of usability, where the application does your work for you.

Automation is the holy grail of usability.

Automation frees the user from their natural physical limitations.

Automation creates scalability.

Automation should be a top priority for anyone starting a business.

Absorb LMS and Absorb SMARTLAB have been designed to automate the administration of learning. Here’s how:

  • Enrollment keys: When a customer comes to you and says they want 300 learners to take one of your courses, you can send that customer an e-mail from within Absorb that contains a special code called an enrollment key. The customer distributes this code to his or her employees who, in turn, paste it into a registration page. Once registered in the LMS using the enrollment key, learners can be automatically defined as a group and enrolled into a course or curriculum.
  • Email automation: Each course can have its own templates for enrollment, reminder or “nudge,” and completion emails. (If you want to really bug a learner, set the frequency of the nudge e-mail to daily.) These e-mails are automatically sent to learners when appropriate. 
  • Report automation: There’s no need for an administrator to log into the system to view a report (although they can if they want to). Reports in Excel or comma delimited format can be set up to be automatically e-mailed to one or more individuals daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. The client who sent you 300 learners probably wants to know the progress of his or her learners. Make this customer a recipient of a weekly learner progress report and they’ll be thrilled to be kept informed. .
  • Certificate management: Certificates are automatically issued to learners upon completion of their training. If applicable, learners will be automatically notified that they need to recertify at a later date. If the content required to recertify is different from the original content, the system will automatically enroll the learner into the correct course or curriculum using a feature called the Post Enrollment Trigger.

Final thoughts:

In part two of this series, I presented a scenario where you, a commercial courseware provider, receive a call from a customer wishing to have 300 learners take one of the courses you’ve created. This should be a cause for celebration, not a source of stress. If your LMS is designed to automate the administration of learning, you’ll quickly be able to add these learners to your system and ensure they are accessing the content they need. The next time your customer calls, they may want 5000 learners to take your courses. Through automation, the administrative effort will be exactly the same as for a single learner. (The revenues on the other hand, will be much larger.)

As a commercial training provider, focus your effort on growing your business, creating fantastic content, and providing a rich learning experience for your users. Don’t get sucked into the quagmire of manually administering and tracking the experience of your learners one by one.