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Tips & news

At Ziiva, we offer more than a comprehensive, tailor-fit Learning Management System. We are always seeking ways to enrich your company culture and improve the online learning experience that you offer to your students, employees, customers, or users.


How an LMS helps you sell your content

Posted by susan reuter on Fri, Aug 18, 2017

Two people using Prosperity LMS to sell content

You’ve created the content. Now comes the next step—getting it online and selling. If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you dread getting bogged down with administrative tasks. 

And getting bogged down is easy. There’s always a meeting, a phone call, or a crisis. According to a survey from The Alternative Board, average entrepreneurs spend more than two thirds of their time working on day-to-day tasks and less than one third working on business goals and strategy.

A Learning Management System (LMS) helps you change this ratio and focus on what you do best—training. All you have to do is upload the content.

We’ve broken it down into five ways an LMS can help you sell: 

1. Gets your content online

Entrepreneur describes an LMS as a software platform that “delivers, manages, and tracks results, and generates reports for online courses and training programs.” 

This means your ideas, concepts, and content get online—fast. This allows you to reach more prospective students and train more people in more places. 

Whether you sell courses to 50-person startups or you manage certification training for 50,000 association members, an LMS helps you tackle that first step—getting your content organized and online. 

2. Offers flexible pricing

In addition to customizing the function of an LMS, many also allow you to customize the course pricing. This allows you to use the pricing system that makes sense for you. 

Do you offer a single course or test for one-time customers? Are you selling a six-month certification program where people log in regularly to complete assignments? Are you always flooded with inquiries in January? 

A flexible LMS, moreover, will charge you based on the pricing model you need, and the volume and behavior of your customers. You should not have to pay more for a program that’s designed to fit another business.

Here are some example pricing options:
  • Prepaid course codes
  • Pay-as-you-go
  • Base hosting fee + price per student
  • Support bundles
  • Packaged pricing bundles

3. Provides support for your customers

So you have your content online and you’ve chosen an LMS that works for your business. Now what?

Customers and potential students will have questions. Technical issues will arise. And in order to be successful, you’ll need the time and resources to quickly respond.

According to a 2016 Forrester survey, 63 percent of companies prioritized investing in new technology to improve customer experience. Your LMS can be this technology.

An LMS partner can handle the student support for you, saving you time and money. Many programs have built-in email clients to broadcast messages to students and potential customers. They can also automatically alert students about additional courses and approaching certification deadlines.

4. Collects valuable data

At each customer interaction, an LMS collects data. Did the student create an account, but fail to sign up for a class? Did a potential customer spend time researching your program, but abandon the shopping cart?

 This information gives insight about your students and potential customers. The students who create accounts but don’t add courses can become your prospect list—you already know they are interested. By tracking the learning performance, you can determine if the course needs updating. If you’re struggling for enrollments, you can reshape your content or remarket the course. 

eLearning Industry identifies five types of LMS data to extract:
  • Completion rates
  • Learner performance and progress
  • Assessment scores
  • Learner surveys
  • Peer-based feedback

5. Accommodates your business requirements

So what happens if you’re offering a certification program, but the requirements change? What if you have customers in different states with different requirements? 

Some LMSs can automatically track certifications that vary by state and industry—lifting the burden of compliance monitoring. These areas could include criminal records, credit checks, medical records, and professional licensing.

Using automated alert and email systems, an LMS can notify customers of these changes and impose deadlines for ensuring they are met. 



Ziiva_lms_checklist-a.jpg

Let's get started
If your goal is selling courses and content, an LMS may be the perfect tool to automate tedious administrative tasks, increasing your efficiency and success.

To help you get started, we have created a checklist to help you prioritize your needs and desires, so you can navigate the hundreds of LMS choices and find what fits you best. This checklist is intended to be personalized to YOU, not a particular LMS.

Get the LMS Checklist

Topics: lms, e learning software, training, computer based training, web based training





Don't let overwhelm hurt your training and onboarding programs

Posted by susan reuter on Fri, Aug 11, 2017

You were drawn to HR and training work because you’re passionate about helping people—developing new courses for them, registering them for training, and empowering them to do their best work.

Does your to-do list look like this?

Manage and track online courses, Manage training, Track training, Email students about deadlines, Organize course/content materials, Sell and deliver my content, Find a way to track eLearning content, Administer and track compliance, Track compliance audits, Report on training initiatives to management, Research LMS selection and LMS feature list, FIND A WAY TO DO ALL OF THESE BETTER.

But YOU can’t do YOUR job if the length of your to-do list is mind-stutteringly long.

Unfinished tasks are piling up. Your job description has silently (malignantly) expanded overnight, while your resources and time are still the same… or wait… are they shrinking?

How is there less time when you are working more? Nights and weekends on the clock,  checking email before you’re even out of bed.

This unhappy asymmetry is a symptom of the always-connected-24/7-work environment. It’s infecting the workplaces and headspaces of HR and training professionals across the country, funneling them into a dark place…

Welcome to overwhelm.

You know what really sucks here? Employees who are cognitively overloaded are dramatically less productive.

According to research from professional services firm Towers Watson, employees suffering from high stress levels are less engaged, less productive, and miss more work than those not working under intense pressure.

It’s particularly vicious for HR, because if you can't do your job, the whole organization limps to a bleeding halt.

What happened to my day?

How many times did you check your email or social media? How many things are you doing at the same time, and how many of them did you actually accomplish?

Studies show that people check their mobile devices 150 times a day. They receive 122 messages every day, and spend a quarter of their day reading and answering them. At work, 57 percent of interruptions result from the use of social media or switching among different stand-alone tools and applications.

What happened to my productivity?

The always-connected-24/7-work environment is overwhelming workers, undermining productivity, and contributing to low employee engagement, according to Deloitte’s 2014 Global Human Capital Trends report.

And it hurts the whole company: according to the Deloitte report, “This constant and frenetic level of activity also costs money, perhaps $10 million a year for mid-size companies.”

Psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, an expert on attention-deficit disorders (ADD), suggests that modern workplace stressors induce “attention deficit trait (ADT),” with symptoms similar to those  of ADD.

“[ADT] is brought on by the demands on our time and attention that have exploded over the past two decades. As our minds fill with noise—feckless synaptic events signifying nothing—the brain gradually loses its capacity to attend fully and thoroughly to anything,” writes Hallowell.

What happened to my poor monkey brain?

On a good day, your prefrontal cortex is the master of ceremonies of your life, which means you’re going about the business of supporting and managing your people.

But when you’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed, your calm, capable HR cool can evaporate, and your co-workers are rudely introduced to your secret “evil-twin” personality.

In evil-twin mode, your amygdala and the lower regions of your brain are flooded with a hormone called cortisol, which primes your body for fight or flight. This is a great hormone if you’re running away from a bear, but high levels of cortisol over long periods of time can wreak havoc on your brain, hindering your capacity for rational thought.

What to do? What to do?

Go ahead and wring your hands a few times, take a deep breath and

…prioritize your tasks

What jobs are time-critical? And which ones are you most dreading? Do those first.

…break your big projects into small steps

Focus on one manageable piece at a time, and celebrate each mini-victory.

…delegate or reject tasks

Step aside for a moment and see what jobs you can delegate or officially postpone.

…get some help

Don’t suffer in silence — it’s hard to meet goals when you’re in survival mode. Talk to your managers about your priorities, resources, and job description.

If your to-do list is still hideous, it’s time to enlist some digital assistance and implement or update your Learning Management System (LMS). A good LMS can streamline your processes, offload administrative work, and eliminate repetitive tasks.

Imagine a workday where employees were synchronized with an LMS.

  • Users of your system are automatically assigned training based on their jobs
  • Reminder emails and reports are sent autonomously
  • You are automatically tracking/applying continuing credits and certifications
  • You don’t have to provide technical support to your users.
  • You’re working with an experienced implementation and support team with deep corporate knowledge

You have time to do your real job! You are no longer personally signing people up for courses, sending reminders, tracking certifications—or making sure which state has what requirements.

Yes, there are a lot of systems to choose from (more than 500!) but don’t panic. We’ve got you covered.

We put together an LMS checksheet that will help you articulate the LMS feature list and requirements that would best meet your needs.

Happy de-stressing, and be sure to take it one step at a time.

 

Topics: employee training, training development, learning management systems, global human trends





LMS — The paradox of choice

Posted by susan reuter on Fri, Aug 04, 2017

An image showing a hand tapping several options superimposed over a blurred person using a computer

So you are considering a Learning Management System (LMS). Whether you are a first-time LMS user, or looking to upgrade, you know it will help you keep organized and minimize administrative overload, ultimately helping your company meet its defined goals and realize its return on investment. 

But with 500+ platforms on the market today, which one should you pick?

Sometimes the process of choosing an LMS can overwhelm you before you even begin. Do you need one that manages and tracks online courses or one that administers pre-employment tests? Do you need it to simplify the onboarding process or report on training initiatives?

This problem is not unique to the training industry. People in every market struggle to make decisions when they’re overwhelmed with choices. TVs come in a variety of displays, ports, sizes and price ranges. Smartphones are offered by multiple providers and come in a variety of colors, display options, storage sizes and qualities. While it’s good to have options, studies have shown that too many choices can prevent you from making a decision altogether. 

Overwhelming choices

One of the most famous experiments in consumer psychology, called the Jam Study proved this point in 2000. It found that consumers were 10 times more likely to purchase a jar of jam on display when the number of flavors was reduced from 24 to 6. College psychologist Barry Schwartz calls this the Paradox of Choice. He argues that paralysis is a consequence of having too many choices.

When people feel overwhelmed by a decision, they simply won’t make one at all. Schwartz further explains, “The second effect is that even if we manage to overcome the paralysis and make a choice, we end up less satisfied with the result of the choice than we would be if we had fewer options to choose from.”

The best way to avoid this problem is to narrow your choices from the start (see our LMS checklist).

Envisioning your dream LMS

That’s easy to say and often hard to do — especially when you’re not sure what you need an LMS to do.

Start by envisioning your dream system.

Does it offload administrative tasks and automate messaging to users? Does it ensure customers can easily understand your offerings and access a support team? Does it automate alerts for compliance needs and track continuing certifications? These tasks fall into three general LMS functions: 

  • Liberate your time
  • Lift the burden of tracking and compliance monitoring
  • Achieve hassle-free results

Identifying your needs and dreaming up your ideal tool are the first steps toward pinpointing your unique LMS system requirements.

Determining your unique requirements

Once you’ve narrowed down your LMS selection choices by dreaming up the perfect system, it’s time to think about your specific needs. Do you lack the administrative skill level to implement, manage and integrate an LMS? Is it important to have the system be installed on your own network? Answering these questions will help you determine which is best: an out-of-the-box product that gets you up and running quickly, or a customized version that gives you exactly what you need. Here are some key differentiators:

SaaS (Software as a Service) LMS
  • Cost effective
  • External hosting
  • Maintenance and updates
  • Fast implementation
Custom LMS
  • Consistent branding
  • Additional capabilities
  • Seamless integration

While SaaS platforms have become increasingly popular, they aren’t the best fit for every organization, says Knowledge Anywhere’s Sara Johnson. Deciding which LMS solution is right for your needs comes down to budget, time frame, and IT capabilities. 

Ready to integrate

Choosing your LMS is half the battle.  People are overwhelmed by the number of options in the $2.5 billion industry, and often take up to six months to decide to place an order.

Narrowing down the number of options is key to choosing the right LMS and avoiding the paradox of choice. If you can envision your dream system and identify your unique needs, you’ll be one step closer to implementation.

Let us help you get started with our checklist: What to know before you commit to an LMS.

Topics: lms tips, lms learning





Corporate Training: Well-trained workers save time and money

Posted by susan reuter on Wed, Sep 01, 2010

Why train employees?

If you’re using Ziiva’s Prosperity Learning Management System as part of your corporate training efforts, your answer will likely be to roll your eyes and ask, “Duh? Why NOT train employees?”

Sadly, online learning isn’t a no-brainer for everyone. Here are four ways that a lack of proper employee training can hold your business back:

It will cost you time: California’s inspector general recommended that a contracting company which received nearly $3 million inemployee training, education, learning management, employee development federal stimulus money to weatherize homes stop work because it did not train its employees, the Associated Press reported. The inspector general also said state officials should verify that the 38 other companies receiving stimulus money to weatherize homes are using properly trained workers.

Now, even if these other companies have a trained workforce, they could lose business while they gather the documentation necessary to prove it. In a case like this, using an LMS that tracks individual employee development and provides instant documentation can resolve the situation quickly.

It will cost you money: Last month, an untrained employee dumped 100 gallons of sour milk down a storm drain outside a grocery store in Santa Rosa, Calif. The milk could have harmed wildlife if local officials hadn’t cleaned it up before it reached a nearby creek. “This was just an untrained employee who didn’t know the difference between a sanitary sewer and a storm drain,” police told the Press Democrat newspaper. Nonetheless, the store may end up on the hook for the cost of cleaning up the spill, as well as a possible fine.

It will corporate training, online learning, cost savings, employee developmentcost you customers: There are numerous sites where consumers can register their displeasure with you for any reason, including having to deal with untrained employees. It’s important to monitor these sites and respond to legitimate complaints, but it’s even more important to train your workers so that you can avoid the sort of issues that lead to complaints in the first place.

It will cost you your reputation: The examples above came up in a simple Google search. If your would-be customers do even the most rudimentary due diligence, they’ll find any potential problems with your organization this way, as well.

The bottom line: Corporate learning isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.

Topics: lms learning, employee training, corporate learning, learning management system, employee development, online training





eLearning and Learning Management Systems news & July Notes

Posted by susan reuter on Fri, Aug 06, 2010

Here is this month’s installment of recent e-learning-related blog posts and articles that are worth a second look:

Brain dump

If the words “cognitive load theory” make your brain hurt, check out Jane Bozarth’s article in Learning Solutions Magazine, which put this esoteric-sounding concept into plain English and explains what it means for eLearning designers and instructors. Reading it will not harm your brain. Honest.

Eyes on the prize

The eLearning coach offers a dozen ideas to help online training designers and developers improve their focus while working on a big project. These are good, common-sense tips that apply for any sort of project work, not just eLearning. We can’t want to try them in our own workday.

Drinking in knowledge

OK. We admit it. We may have overlooked Tom Kuhlman’s outstanding post on the fact that there’s no one-size-fits-all way to approach creating eLearning courses were it not for this headline: “Want to Build Better E-Learning Courses? Think Beer.” But there’s a lot more to this thought-provoking post than a gimmicky headline.

Instant blog roll

In a recent post on her Experiencing E-Learning blog, Christy Tucker shares her collection of blogs by instructional designers, e-learning developers and workplace learning specialists.  Whether you’re just jumping into the world of LMS learning or looking to expand your horizons, this list is a fine place to start (behind us, that is).

Everyone loves a list

Want to add your two cents on The Emerging List of Top 100 Tools for Learning 2010? Well you’ve got about two more months to chime in. As of Aug. 10, there were 358 entries (and counting). As of this writing, a little bird (tweet, tweet) is flying on top of this list.

The big picture

Finally, it’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae of eLearning, or of corporate learning in general. If you feel you’re trapped in the forest, check out the treetop view from Jon Lloyd on the VelocityMG blog. Here’s a link to the first post of a five-part series on managing learning teams.

The buzz on employee training and elearning tools only gets bigger, so if you don’t have time to track down all the relevant news yourself, stop on by and we’ll pass along what we found. Your suggestions are always welcome, of course, so please post a comment if there’s anything you want to share.

Topics: lms learning, employee training, e learning tools, corporate learning, learning management system, online training