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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.


Client profile: Abreon uses LMS as a change-management tool

Posted by susan reuter on Fri, Jul 16, 2010

Change is difficult.

Change is scary.

Change is painful.

Change, done for the right reasons, can be transformative. And profitable.

Abreon is in the business of change management, helping organizations of all sizes – including some Fortune 500 companies – with technology adoption, corporate learning, organizational change and healthcare transformation.

In most cases, eLearning software plays a major role.

“Ninety-nine percent of all projects have an eLearning component,” said Fred Nolte, Abreon’s director of education practice. He noted that eLearning is a cost-effective solution for many change-management efforts.

“We customize, we do blended solutions for clients,” Nolte said. “Any time you are doing a technical change or business process change you need to educate workers and have a good education strategy.”

“We do an awful lot of eLearning for places that don’t have an LMS,” Nolte added.

The learning management system that Abreon uses to meet its wide-ranging needs is Ziiva Prosperity LMS.

Nolte has used Prosperity to customize eLearning programs for several employee training efforts, including enterprise resource planning (ERP) and electronic health records (EHR) projects.

Dealing with multiple clients with multiple needs, Abreon needs an LMS platform that can be easily customized. Turn-around time is also an issue. “People wait until the last minute to think about training end users,” Nolte said. “The challenge is to have a system that can be rapidly deployed to meet their needs.”

Through a strategic partnership between Ziiva and Abreon’s parent company, Prosperity’s html-based eLearning software is used to quickly create unique, easy-to-use Web-based training sites that have the branded looked and feel of the client, including company-specific URLS. “From the standpoint of end user perspective, they see (the LMS interface) as their company,” said Nolte.

That flexibility is one of Prosperity’s best features, said Nolte. “The flexibility – how quickly we can load things and get them up and running, along with the support that Ziiva provides on the back end.”

Nolte said the partnership with Ziiva has been “very successful” for Abreon.

Although Abreon uses Prosperity for short-duration change-management projects, Nolte – who has worked with other learning management systems in the past – believes it can be a long-term solution for a business because of its ease of use and flexibility.

“It’s pretty straightforward in the way it functions,” Nolte said, noting that his clients’ needs vary. “Some customers want eLearning, some want certificates, e-mails – all that capability resides within Prosperity.”

From an end-user perspective, he’s had no complaints. In fact, one recent client is now looking at using Prosperity as its corporate LMS.

“Everybody likes it,” said Nolte.

That’s a good thing, because while change can be painful, an LMS shouldn’t make it any more difficult.

Topics: lms, employee training, corporate learning, e learning software, learning management system, learning management, web based training





Training Development: Three keys to successful workplace training

Posted by susan reuter on Fri, Jun 18, 2010

 In some organizations, these two words can often be a cause for annoyance, irritation or even dread: Employee training.corporate training, lms

Regardless of your position – c-suite, cubical-dweller, call center, etc. – being herded into a windowless room for (yet another) slide show can be a real buzz kill.

 But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Continuing education is a major factor in the success of any organization, and most of your employees likely understand that.

So, what’s the problem? We believe there are three potential bottlenecks in the training development pipeline.

Sometimes its you

There are, of course, a number of factors inhibiting workplace learning, but with the right strategy and the right culture, these can be mitigated.

In terms of corporate learning strategy, here are some questions you need to ask: Do I have clearly crafted goals? Have I teased out the junk and focused on the meat of what I want my employees (or customers) to learn? Do I have a flexible system in place that provides on-demand, computer-based training options? Can I effectively measure the results of my efforts?

In terms of culture, does your organization do a good enough job promoting the virtues of workplace training? Do your employees understand how their training fits into the company’s overall strategy? Finally, are your employees excited about your brand? It’s one of those things that go hand in hand – people who are proud of what they do and look forward to solving challenges are also motivated learners.

Sometimes it’s them

While you can – and must – do everything you can to motivate your employees to learn, they also need to look within. As Shelley Gable points out in her blog post on Internet CE – “Motivate Yourself to Learn through Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction” – self-motivation is possible, and crucial.

In a related post, Gables makes yet another great point about how an individual can get the most out of their learning experience: Don’t try to multitask your way through it.

While there is some debate about the benefits and drawbacks multitasking out there, we believe employees – whether training in a classroom setting, in their spare time, or remotely via the Web – can get the most out of training by giving it their undivided attention, as opposed to texting, tweeting, checking fantasy baseball stats and then skipping back a few screens to search for what you already forgot.

Sometimes it’s the system

Your learning management system may be well-known in the industry, but does it do what you need? How easily can you adapt it to your specific requirements? How easy is the interface for end-users? Do you receive the kind of service and support you need to make it work for you?

If you go through the steps above to maximize your organization’s training efforts, you don’t want software to be a choke point, so look for a customizable, flexible, easy-to-use LMS that meets your needs.

Back in January, we posted a more in-depth blog entry about this specific issue, noting that choosing the right LMS can significantly affect “organizational benefits, ROI, and effectiveness of an organization’s training strategy and goals.”

The takeaway

A coherent training strategy and a culture of learning are essential to successful workplace learning. But so are motivated employees. And having the right software tools. Put all these things together and the sky’s the limit.

Topics: employee training, corporate learning, learning management system, training development, computer based training





eLearning and Learning Management Systems news & May Notes

Posted by susan reuter on Tue, Jun 01, 2010

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

Thou shalt eLearn

Since Cath Ellis offered her Ten Commandments of eLearning about a month ago, other eLearning prophets - including Abhijit Kadle at Upside Learning and Clive Shepherd - are sharing some commandments of their own. Taken collectively, these virtual stone tablets offer a nice, basic roadmap for planning out an effective training development strategy.

New toys

HTML 5 could be one of those game-changing eLearning tools, Craig Weiss writes in his e-Learning 24/7 blog. Find out why he thinks so in "HTML5 - Let the Games Begin!"

How free is free?

Ever since the Trojans accepted that free wooden horse from the Greeks, people have gotten unpleasant surprises by expecting something for nothing. The same is true with learning management systems, as Amit Gautnam of Upside Learning points out in "The Real Cost of a Free Open Source LMS."

When to learn

 You may be ready to run an employee training session, but your staff may not be all that motivated to make the most of it. That's because, as Nemo Chu writes in a guest post on Corporate eLearning Strategies and Development, "For some organizations, knowledge workers simply aren't ready to learn in the workplace. Their Energy Star brains are burning like a 100-watt light bulb and they are more interested in a nap than they are interested in formal training." Chu's solution: mobile, on-demand learning.

The state of the LMS

While Jane Hart and Harold Jarche are questioning the future usefulness of the LMS, their Internet Time Alliance co-contributor Clark Quinn looks at what an LMS system could - and should - be used for in his post, "A Case for the LMS."

Crystal ball

"Futurity is always a risky endeavour particularly where technology is concerned," writes Derek Morrison in The Auricle, a UK-based blog dealing with digital learning. Despite that caveat, Morrison goes on to provide a thoughtful, in-depth look at how technology may enhance learning by 2015. Although we agree that predicting the future - particularly in the digital realm - is far from easy, this post is still worth reading.

The buzz on corporate learning 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, employee training, e learning tools, corporate learning, learning management system, learning management, training development





Client profile: Prosperity LMS takes air ambulance company to new heights

Posted by susan reuter on Mon, May 17, 2010
Simple geography has always been a training challenge for Phoenix-based PHI Air Medical Group, which flies out of nearly 50 bases in 11 states.

The company, a full-service air ambulance provider that serves more than 30,000 patients each year, needs to ensure that its employees - nurses, paramedics, respiratory technicians and pilots - are not only current on their mandatory certification training, but also have the opportunity to increase their skills with programs that incorporate industry-wide best practices. Up until a couple years ago, that meant training coordinators assigned to each state had to travel extensively to run face-to-face sessions; in addition, employees sometimes had to travel up to three or four hours - on the company's dime - to attend a class. The situation was costing PHI Air Medical time and money.

Mike Harmon, PHI Air Medical's Manager of Clinical Education Standards, began looking at learning management systems as a possible way to provide web-based training for the company's geographically diverse staff.

Among the elearning software he looked at was Ziiva's Prosperity Corporate LMS, which had the features he needed - SCORM compliant, able to run detailed reports, strong customer support - at a very competitive price. "I was looking for something I could sell to administration," Harmon said. "Not knowing how much we would be able to save from an LMS, cost was a factor."

Since implementing Prosperity - first for medical staff, and then for pilots - PHI Air Medical has saved between $300,000 and $400,000 in training-related costs while increasing employee development opportunities available to its staff. The company also has been able to cut three days from what was once was a two-week, on-site new employee training program in Phoenix, which provides additional ongoing savings.

Harmon now has more than 125 courses available online through Prosperity - 13 recurring courses that employees take annually to maintain certification, 24 more courses specifically for new hires and many more for continuing education.

Harmon is also pleased with Ziiva's reporting capabilities and ability to randomize tests, which makes it easier for the company to maintain its certification from the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Services (CAMTS).

Because of the nature of its business, PHI Air Medical still conducts some site-based training, but the company has been able to maximize the face-to-face sessions by having staff do much of the prep work online. "Adult education in the medical world is scenario-based problem solving," Harmon explained. "We use Ziiva to build base-level knowledge before (the site-based training) so trainers get to spend more time on problem-solving and critical-thinking programs."

The ease and availability of online learning has also allowed the company to provide remedial education for employees who may have previously been fired because it was cost-prohibitive to send them away for individual employee training.

Although Prosperity has its own course-creation program, Harmon was more familiar creating modules using Microsoft PowerPoint and Adobe Articulate, which Ziiva's learning management system can easily accommodate. He's uploaded a number of new and existing courses that way, as well as some training videos.

Now he's looking at using Prosperity's own tools for expanding the company's online offerings, including higher-level learning, more interactive courses and more. Harmon admits that, as satisfied as he is with Prosperity, he's still only scratching the surface of what it can do.

Overall, employee feedback has been positive.

"Pretty much every course they do has a course evaluation," Harmon said. "We've probably had between 80 and 90 percent approval - fours and fives (on a five-point scale) and even the watercooler talk about it is generally pretty positive."

Things have gone so well, in fact, that PHI Air Medical's parent company replaced the LMS it was using for a larger subsidiary that provides helicopter transport for the offshore oil and gas industry with Ziiva's system. In all, PHI, Inc., has about 2,600 employees.

Down the road, Harmon is looking at making some computer-based training available at a nominal fee to local fire departments and ambulance companies in areas served by PHI Air Medical. The courses can be used by these organizations for employee certification.

When asked what he liked best about Prosperity, Harmon said the price and the ability the software gave him to "advance education opportunities and knowledge level of my staff."


Topics: lms, employee training, e learning software, learning management system, employee development, computer based training, web based training





What to look for in an Learning Management System

Posted by susan reuter on Mon, May 10, 2010

LMS experts, trainers agree on one thing: Usability is key

What is the most important thing to look for in a learning management system?

When we asked a dozen elearning and training professionals this question, we thought it was the kind of query that wouldn't have a simple answer. After all, while everyone has similar needs - employee development, customer education, executive training - they don't have the same needs.

We were flat-out wrong.

Yes, there are plenty of things that people want in an LMS - cost, adaptability, tracking, etc. - but the item at the top of pretty much everyone's list is even more basic: ease of use.

When you think about it, that makes perfect sense. Good traininglms, training, corporate education software shouldn't have a large learning curve, or, for that matter, any learning curve. It should be practically invisible. Users should be able to hop right on and begin training without being challenged by a confusing interface. The same goes for trainers: they shouldn't have to jump through hoops to create online training modules or generate the reports and documentation they need.

The director of an elearning consultancy in the United Kingdom summed it up this way: "My life for the last 10 years seems to have been trying to work around illogical LMS functionality that simply isn't user friendly for the learner!"

Our admittedly unscientific survey of professionals on LinkedIn and current Ziiva Prosperity LMS clients was intended to develop a list of starting points for businesses thinking about purchasing an LMS system. While we found a common, overriding theme in usability, we also heard about some other important factors you may want to consider as you conduct your own search for learning management systems.

Here are some of the other key points raised by survey respondents:

  • Implementation: How fast can I deploy the system? How much support will I need?
  • Security: Does the system allow secure remote login? Does it protect proprietary corporate materials?
  • Adaptability: Can the system support various file types such as Flash, streaming video, podcasts, etc.? Can it support classroom elearning, instructor-led training and self-paced web-based training? Can the system be modified to accommodate new or revised learning modules, as well as scaled to organizational growth?
  • Cost: What are the startup costs? What are the long-term costs of service fees and licensing?
  • Data collection: Can the system retain records and monitor learners' progress at the level you need to document employee completion of safety, ethics/compliance and similar classes?

These items should provide a useful starting point for anyone looking into LMS software, but if you have any other issues you want to add to this list, please add a comment below.

Topics: lms, learning management system, learning management, executive training, learning management systems, employee development, web based training, online training