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Dive deep

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.

Ziiva LMS Favorite Reads

Posted by susan reuter on Fri, Feb 19, 2010

Here at Ziiva, we're constantly scouring the web looking for great articles about LMS and eLearning. Here are some of our most recent favorites.

1. Learning Tools Directory 2010

Jane Hart of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies collected and organized a list of websites and tools to help you, your employees and your clients better and easier ways to learn.

2. 10 Ways to Learn in 2010

The eLearning Coach understands that in this day and age there are a slew of new and exciting ways to learn through searching Web sites and social networking sites to get right to the content that you want without having to shovel through search results that aren't relevant to you.

3. Learning Discovery - The Art of Defining Work Context

A recent post on Living in Learning's blog stresses the importance of learning and training and that it should not be crammed into such a small time frame of someone's work time.

4. Social Learning in the Enterprise in Four Minutes

The Internet Time Alliance produced a great 4 minute video about the ways that work, learning and collaboration have evolved dating back to the times of Socrates and Plato to today.

5. Get Your Audience Pumped: 30 Ways to Motivate Adult Learners

The eLearning Coach has another great article, this one about how to motivate adult learners. Sitting in a classroom or an elearning session can be both intimidating and draining so educators need to make their lessons relevant, interesting and fun.

Topics: lms tips, links, lms resources, elearning

How Learning Management Systems Can Drive Customer ROI For Application Development Vendors

Posted by susan reuter on Mon, Feb 08, 2010

Not your father’s Learning Management System – LMS’ aren’t just for your employees anymore

Learning Management Systems have evolved since first development in London during the 1970’s. Later that decade, LMS’ were adapted to adult learning in corporate employee training.

Today, Learning Management Systems provide training solutions for customers as well as vendors.

What types of training makes sense for customers? Software (and SAAS) companies provide an excellent example of how a LMS can add increasing value to a client’s software choice. While different clients each have their own unique customer needs, some general categories have proven valuable for customer end-user training.

Customer-side ROI:

In today’s economy, business software (and SAAS) vendors have a tough sell. Often, it’s all about ROI. As corporate IT budgets have come under greater scrutiny, ROI has an increasing influence on a client’s decision process between competing vendors. In addition, demonstration of increased ROI may be necessary to surpass current client finance department internal hurdle rates for capital investment.

End user e-learning is often offered by software vendors, but what does a Learning Management System add? e-Learning on its own can be a cost-effective delivery method, which is why many software vendors provide some sort of web based training. Can a software/SAAS vendor develop additional value adds to build competitive advantages through a Learning Management System?

Software vendors who deliver training through a LMS platform can provide additional ROI to their clients. Savvy business application development companies can deliver additional ROI to clients through tracking/reporting completion, knowledge gains, basic competency, retraining schedules, and training on new software features. Software/SAAS vendors can allow their clients to schedule training notification emails, reminders, and management reporting by adding a learning Management System to the customer experience.

Well designed web training delivered through a modern LMS can increase compatibility with client LMS systems, providing the client an integrated experience (look for SCORM compliant systems).

Once Software/SAAS vendors estimate the ROI added by the LMS, they can then determine how they want to deliver that value. This value can be realized by offering as an additional free service to clients, utilizing as a feature to close client on the cusp of a decision, or by monetizing it through additional fees or subscriptions.

Software application vendor-side ROI:

Well designed and deployed Learning Management Systems can actually save hard dollar costs for application development companies. Better trained client users make fewer technical support calls.

Software vendors who make LMS provided training information available to technical support staff can gain insight to end-user proficiency, which may decrease call times. In addition, technical support staff noting high number of user error generated support calls can notify client management of productivity increase opportunities by providing retraining feedback. Since retraining is typically more efficient than gaining education through repeat technical support calls, the vendor can reduce costs, as well as the client.

Think about that for a moment … A well designed LMS with built in feedback loops can reduce vendor-side costs by making the client happier.

Some might call that the holy grail of training … would you?

Readers, please share your comments below about how you’ve applied e-learning or Learning Management Systems to drive customer ROI.

Topics: ROI, lms, elearning, learning management system

12 Questions - Choosing A Learning Management System

Posted by susan reuter on Mon, Jan 18, 2010

Choosing the right LMS for your organization isn't easy.

There are numerous choices, from vendor systems, to open source, proprietary systems, even "free" learning management systems.  There are many stakeholders whose needs should be considered. Worse, much of the information is conflicting, and product information from competing competitors starts to look all pretty much the same.

Organizations invest significant time to investigate providers of eLearning content.

Choosing a LMS can be just as critical of a decision, significantly affecting organizational benefits, ROI, and effectiveness of an organization's training strategy and goals.

To make a better decision, answer these questions before you choose a learning management system.

Knowledge Management Software Overview:

  1. What are your training goals?  Typical goals include regulatory compliance (OSHA, EEOC, other), risk avoidance (harassment, diversity, safety), quality/efficiency (ISO, Lean, or Six Sigma initiatives), increased sales (sales techniques, CRM), customer service (corporate procedure, handling difficult customers, issue tracking software),  manufacturing processes, new hire training, software/equipment training, corporate policy training, and customer product training.  Are your goals to increase learning retention?  Cut learning costs?  Develop future management?  Increase sales?  Cut manufacturing/service/delivery costs?

  2. How many students do you expect now and five years from now?  How many courses?  There's a big difference in the amount of complexity a mid-sized organization will need (up to around 5,000  students) vs a large organization (tens of thousands of students).  Number of courses will also have a direct impact on the amount of complexity your LMS will need.  There's no need to purchase an "atomic fly swatter", when there are simpler, more cost effective, easier to deploy and manage solutions available on the market.

  3. How much will your content change?  Are you a fast growing young business whose needs will likely change within the next 5 years?  Or are you more a stable organization where your needs and size may change more slowly?  If you expect your content to change, you'll want a LMS that can manage content changes easily.  If you expect your business to significantly change within the next 5 years, you'll want a LMS that can be easily modified as your needs change.
  4. Learning Management Constraints:

  5. How much budget and time do you have? Do you have the time and budget needed to create and support a fully customized solution - do you have significant support of your in-house IT staff, or a budget to hire teams of consultants?  Unless your organization has made training a priority over most other projects, you may not get as much IT implementation and service support as you need.  If you see a risk that your IT support may be insufficient or may shrink, a hosted solution can take some of these risks off your shoulders.

  6. How much of your content is developed in-house?  Most organizations have both in house developed and vendor provided content, but which is the most important to yours?  Is your custom training developed in-house or by outside vendors?    Organizations that develop significant in-house content themselves will want a LMS with features to make content authoring easy and efficient.

  7. What's more important, ease of implementation, or really cool features?  Bells and whistles catch our attention when selecting a product, but ask yourself - how often will features be actually used?  Will specific features better engage students and result in greater usage and retention?  Will specific features provide information that is actually used to manage employees or help you make decisions on your training programs?  Be careful of being drawn to attractive features that will be seldom used by your organization.
  8. Additional eLearning Strategy Details:

  9. Is customization important, or is off the shelf ok?  Most organizations want the ability to tweak the system, especially if it will be used for a number of years.  Today, many companies are used to the benefits of site customization, especially for systems that will be used for a number of years.

  10. How detailed do management reports need to be?  Will you publish summary or granular training information to other parts of the organization?  Organizations having a complex organizational or cost structure are more likely to require more granular information.  While many companies may only need summary information, organizations that allocate every expense into product costs, who have a matrix organizational structure, or who have many departments based on products/functions/regions may need very granular information.

  11. How easily will an LMS work with your existing training content?  If you've already purchased content, consider how well it will integrate with your LMS.  Ask potential e-learning vendors for sample course that you can test on a demo of an LMS that you are considering to make sure it works.

  12. Does your LMS need to be SCORM compliant?  If your training needs to be SCORM compliant, your LMS needs to be able to work with SCORM compliant training.

  13. How important is security around your training systems?  How much of your training contains trade secrets?  Would the risk of even minimal training downtime significantly impact your company?  Most organizations find that training, while important, won't contain the secret recipe to Coca-Cola and isn't so mission critical that investing in 100% uptime provides a strong ROI.  For most organizations, security, while important, isn't the central deciding factor when choosing a LMS.

  14. Who is the company behind the LMS?  Have they been around for awhile?  Do they have a track record?  Will they still be here in 5 years to support my investment?  Do research beyond the website and product literature to find out how long the company has been in the LMS market, talk to customers, and research the web for customer reviews.

The best computer based training content in the world can fail to deliver intended benefits if paired with a learning management system that doesn't meet your organization's needs.  Many organizations invest more time and resources to examine eLearning content than to study the system that organizes that content, as content typically carries a steeper initial investment.  HR and training managers can avoid expensive pitfalls by asking the right questions before choosing a LMS.

Topics: lms, elearning, learning management system