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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.


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





LMS Implementations: Four corporate learning lessons from NASCAR

Posted by susan reuter on Fri, Jul 30, 2010

Nascar, lms

The LMS is at the starting line, the crowd is pumped, the flag drops and it’s off to the races.

Hold on just a second.

Employee training shouldn’t be a street race. It’s not sound business to jump into the shiniest hot-rod in the parking lot, find a reasonably straight stretch of blacktop and go hurtling off into the night, racing to meet your corporate eLearning goals without any thought to what lurks around the corner.

It’s better to steal a page from NASCAR and take a more methodical, professional approach to training development. Figure out where you want to go, find out who’s going to be in your way, and use the best equipment you can to get across the line first.

Here are four lessons for employee development from the world of racing:

Know the course

Professional racers don’t show up at the track and hit the gas, first they study the ins and outs of the course. You need to do the same. How long will the training take? How many people will be involved? Have you scheduled your pit stops effectively? Are there any quirks you need to account for that are particular to this course?

Use the best tools and technology available

Even the driver who finishes last – or crashes and burns – is an elite member of their profession, the best of the best. Sure, raw talent, guts and luck are important, but the machines themselves play a crucial role in who wins and who loses. Does your learning management system meet the needs of your learners? Do you have the eLearning software and hardware to go the distance? Is it easy to handle? Does it give your pit crew the data it needs to make effective assessments?

Have a capable pit crew

There’s a crew of unsung heroes behind any driver. Without them, the wheels will come off – literally. When it comes to computer-based training, you need a strong pit crew, as well. From the course developer to the administrator to the trainer to the back-end IT muscle to the vendor support, every link in the chain must be able to participate as needed.

Have fun

Drivers love what they do. It’s more than a job to them, it’s who they are. That may be asking too much of someone doing compliance training, but that doesn’t mean training still can’t be fun (or at least not un-fun). Make sure your online training provides a positive user experience.

OK, with these lessons in mind, now it’s time to wave the green flag: Ready, set, learn!

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





eLearning and Learning Management News & June Notes

Posted by susan reuter on Fri, Jul 02, 2010

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

Rule to create by

In 10 Rules to Create Engaging eLearning, Tom Kuhlman follows his own rules and provides an engaging, interesting and visually attractive post on his Rapid E-Learning Blog that provides excellent guidance on how to create an engaging, interesting and visually attractive eLearning courses. Of particular note is his first tip: Don’t Create the Course. “If the course isn’t tied to real performance improvements, it might not be worth building,” he writes.

Along the same lines, Cathy Moore recently posted a 5-part video series from her presentation at a May event organized by the UK eLearning Network. In her introduction to the series, titled “How to design eLearning that’s memorable and budget friendly,” she makes this (familiar) point: “Don’t create a course unless it’s really necessary and useful.”

Amen, Tom and Kathy, we’re with you on that one. Simply creating employee training courses to say you created courses is a recipe for failure. Having a clear, measurable goal of what you want to get out of your eLearning efforts is a must.

subhead: You must remember this

The eLearning Coach offers 20 Facts You Must Know About Working Memory. Why must you know these facts? Because need to understand the strengths and limitations of working memory in order to design effective computer-based training that “sticks” with your users.

It’s easy, really

Clark Quinn, in an opinion piece for eLearn Magazine, makes the case for better design of eLearning courses. His point: No matter what you may think, better design doesn’t take more time. Sure, he admits, incorporating best practices will take a little time initially, but in the long run it won’t take any more time than doing what you are doing now.

A Preference for web-based learning

Who prefers online training to traditional classrooms? Wal-Mart employees, for one. In an article by Associated Press reporting on the retail giant’s new program to allow employees to gain college credit from the online American Public University, Alicia Ledlie, Wal-Mart’s senior director for associate development, said nearly three-quarters of the company’s workers contacted in a survey said they preferred Web-based training to attending a local college.

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: employee training, corporate learning, elearning tools, learning management systems, computer based training, web based training, online 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