Wednesday, March 8, 2017

eLearning Authoring Tool Comparison

Are you wanting to create engaging, learner centric eLearning courses but are unsure of what tool to use to accomplish the task? This infographic from Raptivity is a great side by side comparison of 5 tools you could use to create engaging content.

eLearning Interaction Building Tools Comparison Infographic
Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

5 Tools Everyone Should Be Using for Online Training

This should be easy since I’m in the business of advising my clients all the time on tools they should be using to build online training. I’ve been in the training field for about 20 years as an instructor/trainer/instructional designer/LMS implementer/LMS/Administrator/speaker/facilitator/sales rep/service technician/support analyst. If it involves training and education I’ve done it. So, I figured I could list out some obvious and not so obvious tools that will help you build engaging online training courses that can educate and protect your business. After all, it’s no secret that well-trained employees are the core of any successful business.

1. Video – Super obvious, right? Video is the great equalizer. It allows you and your message to be consistently delivered to anyone at any time. It’s a duplicator or the closest thing we’ve come to it. It’s a great idea to tell all your employees how something should be done but if you can show them too it becomes a no brainer. We invest in expensive equipment, costly insurance policies, branding and marketing but what about the brand itself? The people you have representing you are the brand so make darn sure they know how to do their job. Showing them with video in addition to in person is the best and most cost-effective way to save money in the long run. The best thing about this is almost everyone is walking around with a great video camera on their smart phone and editing video has become so easy. Don’t pay high dollar productions costs when your employees care way more about the substance than the sizzle.

2. Images – I’m not talking cute little clip art pics but pictures of your business equipment, your employees and your surroundings. When employees log in to take an online training course and see pictures of fellow employees, equipment they recognize or facilities they work at, it tends to resonate so much more then general web based and often purchased at a high cost images. Why pay for images that can be photographed by you?

3. Gamification – Interactive Games are a great way to get your audience engaged in the learning process while also keeping it fun. There’s a lot of gaming tools and sites out there but we love the ease and price (free) of Quizlet. Check it out here

4. Quizzes & Assessments – Okay, this is an obvious one for me but I am always surprised how few people actually implement this into their e-learning materials. It’s doing a few things. Quizzes help you engage your audience in interactions to help drive home learning messages. It can also be a pause point for some quick reflection about the lesson you just taught all the while ensuring your audience isn’t just going through the motions, clicking next and moving to the exam. Lastly, those final exams are what helps you determine if lessons are being comprehended. They also help point out strengths and weaknesses in areas of expertise you want your audience to learn. Most LMS’s will give you statistics on which questions are being answered correctly, helping to identify strengths and weaknesses of your staff or learning audience. Use this information. If your target passing threshold of a question is 65% and your audience is only passing it at 30% there is an obviously glaring need to address the content of that question so the learners have a better chance at retaining that information.

5. Third party embed code sites. These are the websites you get to borrow pre-built material from. Why don’t people do this more often for standard training information? Someone has usually gone through the trouble and effort to build out the training material for you. Why not grab that material for free and use it and you focus on building what is your unique messages and lessons? I’m talking about sites like YouTube, Vimeo, SlideShare, SlideBoom, PowToon, JibJab, and Prezi. There’s tons of cool sites, this is just a shout out to the obvious ones.

There you have it, 5 tools that will help you build a world class, fun and interactive learning experience without breaking the bank. Every one of these suggestions is a free way to help design engaging learning modules.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Tips for recording a voice-over for your online course

Sometimes I really struggle with adding audio to my screencasts and online courses I create. I love adding a voice-over to make the course more interactive but lack the confidence with my audio recordings. Atomi has 8 great tips that will help record audio for our screencasts and online courses we create. Hope you enjoy Recording Audio for Your Screencasts Infographic from Atomi. 

Recording Audio for Your Screencasts Infographic
Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

Thursday, January 19, 2017

15 Myths about online training

1. It’s too expensive - It used to be and some still are but most systems are very reasonable to get into today.

2. It takes too long to implement – Most systems are cloud based and can be set up in minutes instead of days.

3. Difficult to use – Student experiences are super simple these days, if it isn’t find one that is. Same goes for authoring tools.

4. Need a full-time administrator – Most systems today have removed the need to a full time LMS administrator it’s something you do to support your team but it’s not your full time job.

5. You must hire someone to build content – A good system with have a built in easy to use authoring tool. If yours doesn’t go shop around.

6. Not an effective way to train – e-Learning has the power to increase knowledge retention rates by up to 60%. 

7. It’s just for millennials – Even my mom can take a course on her iPad, completely untrue.

8. The more interactive, the more engaging – What ends up being important is clear and concise training messages. This can be a simple video, an animation, text to be read with corresponding images (of your staff, equipment or facility).

9. You need to be a graphic designer to make good looking courses – Most good systems come with an authoring tool, are template driven and allow anyone with subject matter expertise to create effective training courses.

10. It’s impersonal and unsocial – With easy to use and low cost tools available today you can absolutely put your stamp on every training module you deliver. A webcam is very powerful.

11. There’s no need for instructors any more. – e-learning is not designed to remove instructors but to augment their efforts with blended learning. Using different mediums will make sure all learning styles are addressed.

12. The tech stuff is going to be super hard and confusing and I stink at that – Find a system that is intuitive, if my 70+ mom(sorry mom) can take a course I’m confident your learning community can as well.

13. I must appear on camera and that’s intimidating – Video is just one option and it doesn’t need to be your face in the video. You can talk over images, PowerPoints, software simulations or have fun happy pictures. They don’t need to watch you as much as they need to hear and comprehend your message.

14. No one will buy my course because you can just Google everything – What is unique about your training message cannot be found on Google because it is in your head. It’s why you built your business. You aren’t building exactly what someone else has already done. Discuss your differentiators.

15. My course and site need to be perfect the first time, and can never evolve or change – One of the biggest myths out there. Training and courses can be modified and versioned. You can start with a small simple course and build upon that by releasing courses in iterations.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wowing your customers with finely tuned customer service...

Providing the best products or a great service idea is nothing without great customer service. Customer service is at the center to every business’ success, and great customer service is often the deciding factor of whether to pay a little less at business A and receive mediocre to bad customer service and whether to spend a little more at business B and receive outstanding customer service. In a world where customer service has turned into an often lackluster experience, there is something so very appealing about an optimistic, warm voice on the other end of a phone, computer or face to face meeting.

Your employees are your company’s first impression. They are very often the deciding factor whether new business becomes returning business that refers other new business to your business. In today’s fiercely competitive marketplace, your best edge over the competition is obsessive customer service training.  

We all know that practice makes perfect and there is no better way for your employees to receive the ongoing, consistent training they need to drive customers to your door than by providing on-line customer service training.  Online customer service training is available when and where you need it for your employees. The benefits of providing on-line customer service training is huge; here are just a few:

Improved Customer Service Skills  
Customer service training programs focus on improving communication, listening, problem-solving and organizational skills. Training employees on the same standards sets the bar for consistent and remarkable service, creating camaraderie, motivation and engagement between staff leading to improved customer service.

Increased Customer Satisfaction
Through effective customer service training, employees are able to resolve customer issues quickly and efficiently, decreasing prolonged resolution which greatly increases customer satisfaction. The confidence gained by employees through customer service training leads to the consumer feeling appreciated and respected. This is the basis for customer loyalty, and new referrals.

Higher Profits
Investing in online customer service for your staff pays back big dividends in other areas such as customer loyalty, new customers, lower employee turnover and increased sales.  Customer service training also has a great impact on employee motivation and morale, which leads to increased productivity. Training, increased customers numbers, higher productivity and morale, those are the keys to higher profit.

What are you waiting for? Improved customer service, increased customer satisfaction and higher profits are just a click away. 

- contributed by Felita Estes