Death of Learning Management Systems

Learning Management Systems have been around for years.  They have taken different forms depending upon the hero that they were developed in.  When they were first introduced, educators felt that they may be the answer to individualized education.  However, as technology has advanced many people feel that the learning management system is no longer relevant.  I think however that learning management systems not only are relevant, but will be here for many years to come.

20 years ago, the average person had ever heard of the tablet.  30 years ago, cell phones Learning Management Systemswere just a dream.  40 years ago, personal computers were the fantasy of only a few.  Each of those devices not only is with us today.  What is shaping the society that we live in.  Learning management systems have the potential to do the same.

Colleges have been using learning management systems to promote both online education and blended learning for many years.  Those systems may or may not be what they were 5 or 10 or 15 years ago, Continue reading

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3 Ways to Improve the Integration and Acceptance of Technology in Workplace

As a technologist, it can be hard to integrate new technology into the workplace.  Most people are resistant to change, so getting people to accept something new can be even harder than figuring out how to install the hardware or software.  There are three ways that you can help a new technology be integrated and accepted into your organization.  They are:

  • Explain the benefits
  • Have a core group
  • Reduce the impact.

Explain the Benefits

Technology PlanningWhen you’re considering bringing a new technology into your organization, it is extremely important for you to explain the benefits initial to management and later to the staff.  As a technologist, you will quickly see what those benefits are and how it will fit into your organization.  But management’s focus is elsewhere and so they won’t necessarily see the benefits as quickly as you.  The benefits to explain will probably include how the technology will save time and reduce long-term cost.

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Elements of a Training Class – What We’ve Talked About and How to Move Forward

This is the final post of this series and in it I thought I would go back a summarize the main points – basically giving you a check list for developing your training program and then give a framework for developing your program and the individual trainings in a single format.Training Program

  • Building Your Training Program was an overview of the series with teasers about each section.
  • Program Design was a two-part post that covered goals, resources, staff, and different formats for training.
  • Identify Needs covered and reviewed how to run a needs assessment and review the results.
  • Deciding on a Training Model gave information about three different training models, their strengths and weaknesses and what you should look for when choosing a training model for your organization.
  • Evaluating Training gave some suggestions about evaluating your training program for improvement and future revisions.

Moving Forward

The following is a skeletal outline you might consider using in your organization to develop your overall program and/or an individual class.

Name of Training Program / Subject

While your training program may not be looking for people to sign up because it will be required, you might as well try to instill some excitement in participants from the get go.  To help with this give your program a name that is something compelling; something that will gain people’s interest and gets them excited (even if the training is required).

Training Need Justification

This is where you will provide the data from your needs assessment, the request from a supervisor, or the requirement that may have come from corporate or a governmental agency.  It gives the reason why your company should invest the time and money in training.

Target Audience(s)

Who in your organization will this training be developed for?  Be as specific as possible by department, job duties or any other descriptor that applies.

Learning Objectives / Outcomes / Goals

Whatever term you use for this part of a plan this section should be about what the participants will be about to do after the training.  This may also include the ROI (Return On Investment) on this training that the bean counters will look at to justify the money spent on your program generally or this specific training.

Instructional Design

These are the models we talked about in post 5 about Deciding on a Training Model.  Remember that Deciding on a Training Model gave information about the abstract versions and you will need to fill in the details for explanation – non-training professionals probably won’t have any idea what is included in the Analysis Stage of a training program or when it should happen.

Methodology / Format

This section will be how the content will be delivered – face-to-face, classroom, mentorship, just-in-time training delivered while participants are at their workstation.  These choices will be dependent largely on the instructional design, budget, and the goals/objectives/outcomes.  Take some time to plan and develop this section because you may be stuck t\with what you say here for a while.

Duration, Time, and Dates

If you are preparing an outline for a specific program, you will probably under estimate the time required to develop the content for a new training program and the time to process the evaluation data.  Be sure to include as much time as you can for problems that will crop up as you work through your program.

Budget

While it is nice to have the best of everything to deliver your training, it probably isn’t realistic to expect that to happen.  When developing your budget for a training department, try to spread the costs out over several projects so that the ROI on any single project does fall too dramatically.  Watch how many one-use consumables you plan to buy and consider reusable materials.  For example, perhaps you could buy a larger three ring binder and have participants add to the same blinder over several different programs instead of buying a different binder for each class.  That way the cost has been spread out and a positive ROI is easier to reach.

Take a Ways:

These are things that we have learned in developing training over the last 20 years for a variety of participants and organizations.  No two programs are identical so shape this as needed to fir your organization.

If you have anything other insights, please don’t hesitate to join in the conversation.

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Evaluating Training the Right Way

Evaluation is one of the most important and least liked aspects of training.  Almost no participants and very few trainers actually like doing an evaluation.  It provides more stress than most people want in their lives.

However, evaluation of training (not the participants or trainers) is essential for quality training.  Training EvaluationIf used correctly it can highlight areas in both curriculum and delivery that need improvement.  To achieve this end, evaluations should be both targeted and used correctly.

To be targeted correctly, evaluators should know exactly what they are trying to assess and how to ask the questions to get good data.  Many of us remember tests in school that were written as “gotcha” tests.  (Tests that were written to see if you were listening or had a photographic memory for things you were supposed to read.)  Training evaluation shouldn’t be this kind of activity.  Training evaluations should be used to see if curriculum was correctly written, if the method of presentation was effective, and if students will be able to use the information or skills on the job.  Continue reading

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A Training Program’s Basic Outline

We talked about a lot of things up to this point about Building a Training Program.  Before we talked mostly in abstract –  today we’re going to talk about a training program’s basic outline Building a Training Program, Designing your Training Program, Identifying Training Program Needs, and Deciding on a Training Model.  Most training programs deal with five areas of focus when being developed.  Those 5 areas are: We Need to Have Training!, Reviewing Current Materials, Learning Objectives, Evaluating Training, and Training Personnel.

We Need to Have Training!

Training Program BasicsThe information you have about needing training may come from any of several different sources.  As we’ve already talked it may come from your needs assessment.  It’s also possible there’s a manager that came to you and said, “My folks aren’t doing what they should be doing.  How can you help me with this?”  Perhaps an employee sent you sent an e-mail and saying something like, “I’m expected to do this task and I don’t know how.  Can you help me with that?”  There may be a directive from corporate saying there will be a shift to this process or procedure.  Also, new federal regulations may have changed the process or procedure requirements for your particular business.

Whatever the source of the information saying that you need a new training program, you’re going to approach it basically in the same standpoint.  Continue reading

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