Posts Tagged ‘curricula’

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.

Do Social Media Eliminate the Need for Learning Management Systems?

July 12, 2012 2 comments

Richard Nantel, Vice President, Enterprise Learning Solutions, Blatant Media | Absorb LMSThere’s a large and vocal group of learning pundits who are vehemently anti learning management system. They view LMS as metaphorical feeding tubes rammed down the throats of learners, force-feeding them information they’ll soon forget. Within a LMS learners are, they believe, like geese on a foie gras farm. In these pundits’ eyes, a more ethical approach is for these learners to roam free, munching on the content they encounter on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and elsewhere.Goose farm Some rights reserved by muffinman71xx/Flickr

Social media provide exciting and engaging learning opportunities and can play a central role in blended learning programs. But, these don’t replace the need for a centralized learning environment.

Within almost all organizations, you have:

  • Super keen overachievers who will immediately head off and learn what they need to learn with little support and direction. Just make a passing mention that it would be good for them to have some project management skills and they’ll be up until midnight surfing the Web to find out everything they can about the topic.
  • The no-one-told-me-I-need-to-know-this type, who will only interact with learning content if it is mandatory and clearly assigned to them.
  • Everyone else on a continuum between these two extremes.

The super keen overachievers do really well roaming free, munching on the content they encounter in social media sites. Members of the no-one-told-me-I-need-to-know-this group will want to know the specific URLs they must go to on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and elsewhere. And, they’ll want to be guided in what they should do when they get there.

The bottom line is that I’m thrilled that maintenance technicians within a medical device company might have a Facebook learners group. I just want to make sure these technicians are all qualified to service their company’s devices before they are inserted into me. Regardless of whether they are keeners or no-one-told-me-I-need-to-know-this types, I want all these people to have met the learning requirements to perform their duties well.

Next week, I’ll be presenting some ideas on how you can empower learners by allowing them to select preferred content types as well as integrate interactions within social media into your LMS.

Stay tuned.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Learning Management System (Part 7)

May 29, 2012 4 comments

By the time you complete this step in the process, you’ll be very close to making your new learning management system available to learners. So far in this series: 

STEP 7: Create Curricula/Learning Paths

If you’re only making individual courses available to learners, then you’ll be able to skip this step altogether. If, on the other hand, you plan to make curricula/learning paths available, you’ll need to create those course groupings.

Once again, the course inventory audit document you created in Step 3: Establish Who Needs What Contentwill make this step much easier. Simply looking down a user group column will identify the content each group requires. If it makes sense to you to bundle those courses into a curriculum, go ahead and do so.

In bundling courses into a curriculum/learning path, you’ll need to decide:

  • Do the courses need to be completed in a specific order
  • Do courses issue individual certificates or does the learner receive a certificate for completing a curriculum
  • Does the learner need to complete all the courses or only some courses in the curriculum


If you have high-priority courses many learners will need to take, consider investing the time and effort into presenting this content in different formats. You could, for example, present the material through:

  • A self-paced online course
  • A virtual classroom session
  • A face-to-face session in a physical classroom

If your LMS supports course equivalency and the option to complete some, but not all the courses in a curriculum, your learners will appreciate the ability to take courses in the formats they prefer.

In the example below, the learner must take the course titled “Welcome” but can choose between a self-paced or a Webinar-based version of the course called “Safe Handling and Transportation.”