Posts Tagged ‘Learner engagement’

The Powerful Amazon Feature You Should be Adopting in Your Learning Management System

April 1, 2014 3 comments

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

It seems like just yesterday that business analysts were wondering whether this newfangled e-commerce fad would catch on.

  • Would anxiety over credit card theft deter customers from trusting on-line retailers?
  • Would people feel confident in buying stuff sight unseen or would they instead stick to going to brick-and-mortar stores to paw and sniff the merchandise?

Fast forward a few years and we now find Web retail giant Amazon, fueled by our insatiable urge to buy stuff on the Internet, with 2013 sales of more than $17 billion U.S. and a market capitalization of $153 billion.

We choose to buy from sites such as Amazon because of convenience, pricing, breadth of offerings, product reviews, and a simple and pleasant shopping experience.

One of the things these sites excel at is the ability to recommend products based on our browsing or purchasing history. Search for, say, a bicycle helmet and Amazon will tell you that “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” cycling shorts, cycling shoes, cycling gloves, and every other cycling-related item including chamois cream (don’t ask).


Photo by Naoto Sato on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Amazon’s recommendation engine encourages us to increase the number of items added to our shopping cart. Rather than feeling like these items were forced upon us, we are instead grateful to the site for making shopping so easy. Gone are the crowded parking lots, endurance of inclement weather, and eternal waits in checkout lines, replaced with anticipation for delivery which may soon come within minutes via a flying drone.

With millions of customers, Amazon has the big data to support a powerful recommendation engine. But really, it isn’t rocket science to suggest to someone shopping for a kitchen knife that they may also want to purchase a cutting board and maybe some adhesive bandages for potential sliced fingers.

Adopting an Amazon-like recommendation system in learning and development doesn’t require big data and teams of programmers. This can be done within any learning management system (LMS) that contains two simple features:

  • The ability to have course-specific communication templates
  • The ability to link directly to one or more courses

Here’s a typical course completion e-mail:

Absorb LMS Course Completion E-mail

Here’s a variation that contains a couple of recommendations:

Absorb LMS Course Completion E-mail With Recommendations

Adding recommendations to your communications with learners can provide measurable benefits:

  • Increased enrolment, course completion, and certifications obtained
  • Better learner engagement through a more pleasant experience
  • For commercial learning content providers, increased sales

Successful on-line retailers such as Amazon would never let you buy a pen without also suggesting you take a look at notebooks. Consider using the same simple logic in your learning initiatives.

Video: Increase Learner Engagement with the Absorb LMS Mercury Module

February 28, 2013 Leave a comment

We’ve just published a new video to our Absorb LMS YouTube channel that provides an overview of the new `Mercury‘ module. The Mercury module is a special add-on to Absorb LMS that contains features specifically aimed at increasing learner engagement. These features include:

  • Billboards
  • Polls
  • Contests
  • News items
  • Twitter feed
  • and more

In a nutshell, the Absorb LMS Mercury Module can turn your Absorb LMS portal into a pretty effective Intranet, giving the learners access to anything they need to do their work and increase their skills. It will all make sense if you take four minutes and twenty-eight seconds to watch this:

What’s the Kardashian Rating of Your Learning Content?

May 25, 2012 6 comments

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post titled “`No Pain, No Gain’ Belongs in the Gym, Not in Learning and Development Departments.” This has become one of our most popular posts.  A significant number of visits to that article have been referred to by search engines. Apparently, if you Google “no pain no gain gym,” this article appears high up in the rankings, in the coveted number five spot.

To all the weightlifters and strength trainers who have been inadvertently directed to this site and found themselves reading about learning management technology: there was never an intent to deceive you and waste your valuable workout time.

To all the gyms in the world, Blatant Media is not your competitor. Really, we aren’t. We’re a software company.

Now that that’s cleared up, let’s move on to today’s post on the topic of learner engagement.

Kim Kardashian, inspiration for a new unit of attention measurement. Attribution : © Glenn Francis,

Most of the information related to learner engagement I’ve read in my 25+ years as a learning professional has focused on how to increase it. Popular suggestions include:

  • Keep lessons short
  • Serve bite-size chunks of learning content
  • Give learners the freedom to jump around in the content
  • Give learners a way to quickly find what they want
  • Include learning games
  • Include social learning activities
  • Etc.

Although there are many strategies to increase engagement, there’s remarkably little on the subject of measuring engagement.

Ethan Zuckerman, a Blogger and researcher at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, has proposed a solution. In his post titled “An idea worth at least 40 nanoKardashians of your attention,” Mr. Zuckerman suggests the establishment of a new unit, the Kardashian, as a measure of attention. To be clear, this is not a measure of quality, but rather…

[the] Kardashian is an exemplar of attention disconnected from merit, talent or reason. The Kardashian mentions how much attention is paid, not how much attention is deserved…

An obvious way to apply the idea of Kardashian units to learning and development would be through Kirkpatrick level 1 evaluations. Learners could be asked, for instance:

Which best describes your experience with this learning content?

  • I was totally in the zone. The rest of the world ceased to exist. I lost track of time. (High Kardashian)
  • I made it through the content but had to use willpower and the reward of eating a piece of chocolate once completed. (Mid Kardashian)
  • I checked Facebook and Twitter every two minutes. I couldn’t help myself.  (Low Kardashian)