E-Learning Goes Mainstream: How To Upgrade Your Strategy

E-Learning Goes Mainstream: How To Upgrade Your Strategy | KnowledgeVisionRecently, e-Learning has been covered in numerous high-profile articles in mainstream media outlets, such as the New York Times and Forbes Magazine.

It was a topic of discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos. It’s even been the topic of a Thomas Friedman column.

What does this mean?

Is e-Learning mainstream? Does the guy in accounting who still uses a Palm Pilot know about it yet? He probably does, and his aunt Gertrude told him (Thanks, Gert!).

e-Learning At A Crossroads

It’s a funny thing, being part of a trend. You feel like the guy at the wedding who starts a new dance routine, and some of the cool people join in. Then when everybody else picks it up you head back to your table. It’s not cool anymore. There’s a sweet spot you need to be in: not the first one to try something; but the one who observes, learns the weaknesses, and improves upon it.

“Oh, I see, let’s tie the bungee cord to the bridge this time.”

This is where e-Learning, including organizations like edX, Coursera, Blackboard, Skillsoft, Udacity, lynda.com and nearly a hundred others choose a path to become tomorrow’s Googles and Apples (or DECs).

Did you know that college enrollment fell for the first time in 15 years, while enrollment in online courses rose for the 9th straight year? The numbers are of course incomparable, but the trends are telling. So is the fact that enrollment in accredited online courses is rising more than 10% each year.

How To Choose Your Next Platform

Whether you’re part of a university, or a company building its own training courses, you should probably think not just about making e-Learning technology part of your programs, but centering your strategy around e-Learning tools. Beyond the standard features like ease of use, LMS integration, SCORM compliance, test management, and internal communications tools, the capabilities you should demand are:

  • Mobile-Readiness: These days, trainees and students are going to use all sorts of devices for online learning, and mobile tablets are likely to become a primary tool for them. Unfortunately, mobile devices come in several different sizes and run on two or three major operating systems that don’t use the same technologies for dynamic media. The ability to display your training content in Flash, Javascript and HTML5, as well as the ability to detect mobile devices are all potential requirements for any learning platform.
  • Rich Media Compatibility: How are you going to interface with your trainees? Are you going to use video, Flash, audio, Podcasts, PowerPoint slides, PDFs, high-resolution graphics? No matter what you want to use, your e-Learning platform should be capable of integrating all of it into the learning interface. It should also be possible for end users to select the method that works best for them and control the playback.
  • Social Integration: It’s possible to use social tools as a major avenue of communications for your online training programs. If you choose a learning platform that can integrate social media into the user interface, you’ll be better able to create a community around your courses and communicate in a way that students and trainees have become used to.
  • Cloud Hosting: There is little need to store all of your materials in your own servers any longer. Unless your IT department requires a high measure of security, using cloud storage makes it easier for students to take part in your courses anywhere, anytime, without using a VPN or specialized software applications. Cloud hosting also alleviates your responsibility for the immense storage and memory requirements of an e-Learning program.
  • Personalization: Trainees and students interface with your organization and its brand, not the learning platform’s brand. Why should they be forced to jump from the experience you wish to provide to a different one dictated by someone else’s design? An e-Learning platform should be configurable to match your look and feel, and beyond that, it should be possible for the trainees to define their own experience.
  • Accessibility: This can’t be stressed enough. Trainees will have different learning preferences and may have trouble dealing with one method or another. Your chosen e-Learning platform should be capable of making courses accessible to people with hearing or vision impairments by using captioning, selectable text sizes, audio controls, and specialized downloadable materials.

e-Learning has hit the big-time, but it’s still only the beginning. You should definitely evaluate as many of the latest tools as you have the patience for, but beyond picking a platform, it’s your strategy that is most important. It should combine the latest technologies, communications tools, and storage capabilities, to stay ahead of the curve.

Originally published on The KnowledgeVision Fresh Ideas Blog.


How To Maximize The Micro-Learning Phenomenon

How To Maximize The Micro-Learning Phenomenon | KnowledgeVisionIn the online training world, numerous software platforms and applications have made it possible to build very specific course topics. The phenomenon is called micro-learning, and it’s driving a revolutionary shift in corporate and academic e-learning. How can you build your own courses using these new tools and techniques?

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Online Training Content: Right In Front Of Your Nose

E-Learning Content is Everywhere! | KnowledgeVision Online Presentation“To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” – George Orwell

George Orwell wrote that in 1946. And it’s true today. It’s one of those timeless sentiments that can be applied to almost any situation.

Here, it’s used for an innocent purpose; to point out that putting together corporate training courses can seem difficult, but if you simply look around, you’ll find the content you need is, well, in front of your nose.

The Current Thought On Training

Elliott Masie’s Learning 2012 Conference was held this October in Orlando, Florida. This is the foremost conference for current thought on learning and corporate training. The event typically keynoted by people of note like Colin Powell, Bill Clinton, Malcolm Gladwell, and Susan Cain.

The topics range from using mobile technology for online learning courses to using video for training in the workplace. The people leading sessions include thought leaders from learning institutions, global companies, software and service providers, and others who specialize in training and leadership.

KnowledgeVision’s Michael Kolowich led an inspiring session on how to create training courses using materials most companies already have. The dilemma that trainers face is that building a course seems to require new content, new video, and a new script. But it’s not true.

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