Hero Image Punk Readiness Check
Are you ready?
Leveraging the Readiness Check to make learning experiences more customised

How Tinder and Netflix are shaping the future of learning

The media consumption patterns of Gen Zers call for completely new learning formats – Here’s one we’ve come up with

The media consumption habits of people currently moving into the corporate workforce are very different to those of previous generations. And they are playing a major role in shaping employee expectations around work and professional development. In this challenging environment, corporate learning will remain effective only if it is learner-centric and offers formats that are in keeping with learners’ other everyday digital experiences. This is important because learning providers are no longer competing just with other learning providers; they are also competing with dating apps, streaming services and social media.

 

One key way of staying competitive in this sense is to develop individualised learning experiences and adaptive learning content. And we have a new tool that can help with that. Introducing the “Readiness Check”.

Störer Punk Readiness Check

“We want to be the Tinder or Netflix of learning”

Gen Z has integrated digitalisation into all aspects of daily life, as Dr Robert Lohmann, product manager for learning content at imc, knows full well. “These days, you’re not going to get engagement from anyone by throwing content at them in the form of outmoded training courses,” he says. “These sorts of courses were all well and good at the time, but now they are no longer enough. And that’s why we’re increasingly working with elements and features that are familiar from other digital domains, such as chat bots, swiping in dating aps, and content recommendations of the kind used by streaming services.”

 

Companies, including their learners, want customisation, but they don’t want to pay the earth for it. Hence the growing demand for off-the-shelf learning content.

 

But even with off-the shelf content, adaptive learning and individualised learning experiences are an absolute must if you want to engage with the new generation of learners. “That was the big challenge here: to create off-the-shelf training content that is generic enough to be useful to a wide range of users while still offering individualised learning,” Lohmann explains. “And that’s what we achieved with our Readiness Check in the case of our awareness game Cyber Crime Time.”

cyber crime time readiness check

Using the Readiness Check to make learning experiences more customised

The Readiness Check enables companies to build up a highly granular picture of their learners’ current level of knowledge so they can tailor an appropriate response. In all likelihood no two users will ever receive exactly the same feedback when working with the Readiness Check. So, how does it work?

 

Timo Paul, a senior frontend developer in our content department who played a major role in developing the Readiness Check, explains: “It works by assigning a numeric value to each of various defined learning categories. The numeric values themselves are variable, so they can be specific to the learner. The response yielded by the Check is thus highly customised and can comprise anything from simple feedback to activity or content recommendations all the way through to further training courses or learning nuggets. There are no limitations, and that’s what makes this tool an attractive option for creating customised learning experiences.”

punk readiness check cyber crime time

The tool can even be used with very broad learning domains simply by aggregating multiple Readiness Checks into one overall Check, as Timo Paul explains: “It’s a bit like a general knowledge quiz, where you poll the subject’s knowledge in multiple categories and hence arrive at an individual result for each category. The technology behind the system then compiles the results of the individual categories to arrive at an assessment of the subject’s general knowledge.”

It’s all in the weightings

By now, some of you have probably concluded that the Readiness Check uses some form of AI. And you’d be wrong. It uses something even better than AI: humans. The people who configure the Check specify the weightings that lead to the final result. In other words, they determine the numeric values of the individual answers or categories within the Readiness Check, which enables them to make a qualitative assessment of the learner’s existing knowledge.

 

The overall result is not based solely on the number of correct answers, but also on the weightings that have been assigned in the background. “That’s what’s new about the Check,” Timo Paul explains. “We supply the tool, and then the person responsible for training content works with us to set the tool up so that it meets their needs.”

punk readiness check

Cost savings through individualised assignment of learning content

Last year, imc wowed the market with its award-winning “Cyber Crime Time” cyber security awareness game. So, it made sense for the company to integrate this new learning format into its own in-house premium training. And it did this using the Readiness Check. “The development work we did for the Cyber Crime Time Readiness Check was a valuable learning experience for us,” Dr Lohmann says.  “It involved developing something in-house and then testing it over and over until we were happy with the result. And that result is the Readiness Check. It’s been a big help for us, and our clients can now benefit from it too. A lot of blood, sweat, tears and time has gone into getting this tool just right, and now it’s ready to go.”

punk readiness check

Ready to go!

But the two categories can also be combined to leverage their strengths, Härle explains: “There really are no limits! With an individual learning journey, off-the-shelf content might, for example, be included as learning nuggets. Our objective is to create off-the-shelf content that feels nothing like off-the-shelf. Cyber Crime Time, the Journey, is a prime example for this.”

RELATED CONTENT

The Netflix Factor in Self-Directed Learning

Self-directed learning and Netflix have a few things in common! We find out what, how it can be used in companies and where the limitations lie in corporate learning.

Off-the-shelf content has come a long way from being an uncomfortable compromise

Costum or off-the-shelf training content - which should you choose? You should first ask yourself: Is the training need or problem I have very specific? Or is it something that many different people in different industries need training on?

The trends of the education rebellion

E-Learning Punk is an article and talk series for all L&D Pros who want to dare something and believe that digital training has to be colourful and loud.

E-Learning-Punk Logo

Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
hero image punk improv theatre
Training with a Difference
Improv Theatre as a Teaching Method

Using Improvisational Theatre for Corporate Learning

Interview with Marlene Konrad, a consultant and trainer specialising in communication, collaboration and change

The curtain is just about to go up. The actors are calming their nerves as  the excitement in the audience builds. Just another “normal” day at the theatre. Except there’s no script: anything goes. This is improvisational theatre, and spontaneity is the name of the game.

 

Improv actors need to be constantly on their toes, ready to pivot and respond to ever-evolving situations. Working together, they juggle ideas, developing the scene as they go along. If one idea falls flat, they move on to a new one without any break in the flow of action.

 

The skills used by improv actors seem to align closely with what’s expected of a lot of teams in today’s corporate world. In both cases, it’s about navigating uncertainty, constantly adapting to new challenges, trusting in one’s teammates, and working together spontaneously.

 

If this is true, then surely it’s not too much of a stretch to use improvisational theatre techniques in corporate learning? To find out how this might work, we spoke to Marlene Konrad, a consultant and trainer specialising in communication, collaboration and change.

breaker punk improv theatre

Change requires a willingness to learn

“For me, learning and change are two inseparable parts of the same thing,” Marlene Konrad explains. “Change in an organisation can succeed only if all employees learn something new and if they learn how to grow and develop. That’s why learning is such a key part of my work.”

Konrad studied theatre and media studies and English language and literature. She completed her practical training at Commha Consulting, where she continues to work as a consultant and trainer.

Marlene Konrad

Marlene Konrad

In her work, Konrad likes to switch things up and try out-of-the ordinary approaches. She is passionate about improv theatre, for example. “Using improvisational theatre, or at least elements of it, as a training method is nothing new. It’s called applied improvisation, and it’s been around for quite a while. But I’ve developed my own personal approach because I’ve been doing improvisational theatre for a long time and have led several improv groups.” Alongside a whole range of improv-inspired projects, Konrad uses improvisational theatre techniques in two main areas.

Agile teams

The salient point here is that improvisational theatre is a team sport. “Improv theatre teams have many characteristics and skills in common with effective teams in work contexts. Hence, we can adapt a lot of improv techniques for team development and collaboration. Improv teams have to remain unfazed by extreme situations. They need to be able to navigate complete uncertainty, for example. And that’s also something that is expected of agile teams in work contexts.”

 

Reflection

Another key aspect of improv theatre is that it sheds light on things that would otherwise remain hidden: “Improvisation makes intangible things real. That’s why I like to use it as a tool for reflection. Improvised roleplays bring into the open things that are normally difficult to explore, such as communication, conflict, feelings and interpersonal relationships. This is hugely important in feedback training and leadership seminars, for example.”

punk improv theatre, actors playing, role play

New Work – new challenges: Tomorrow’s teams need more certainty

For Marlene Konrad, one of the greatest challenges in organisational transformation processes is to embrace flexible thinking. She explains this in terms of companies weaning themselves off rigid processes and workflows while still ensuring that their employees feel safe and secure. “Perhaps you’ve heard of ‘psychological safety’. This is where I foster in a team a sense of safety that comes from the team itself, from the interrelationships and responsibilities between the members of the team,” Konrad explains. “It’s important that this feeling of safety no longer derives from processes because processes can quickly change. So, as well as being flexible, the team needs to work on relationship building.”

 

Improving this sense of safety within teams is another area where improv theatre techniques can help. To be able to function as a member of an improv team, you have to be open to what’s going on around you and willing to put yourself out there as a person. “You’re thrown into a situation where you need to swing into action quickly because there’s no time to think about ‘what if’. In that situation, you need to have the confidence that you won’t make a fool of yourself if you react spontaneously. That it’s okay to mess up and fail. The art is to ‘fail well’. And that’s something that can be practised using improvisation methods.”

collaboration

The “Yes, and...” thinking as an innovation booster

Ever been in a meeting and heard an idea dismissed with “yes, but...”? How might that meeting have gone differently if everyone had said, “yes, and...” and simply taken the idea and run with it?

 

“Yes, and ....” thinking is a key part of improv theatre, and it’s a highly effective technique in innovation processes, as Konrad knows from personal experience: “By saying ‘yes’, I start by accepting what my conversation partner is saying. I consciously avoid following that with ‘but’ because a ‘but’ can close the door to a lot of potentially good ideas. You need to keep that door open and start out by saying yes to everything. Spontaneous improvisation is a good way of explaining this principle.”

 

Of course, after all those yeses, the team needs to make an intelligent selection and close the meeting. “That’s another aspect that improvisational theatre is great at teaching,” Konrad explains. “When doing a scene, if you keep bouncing from idea to idea to idea, then sooner or later the audience will get bored. Hence the actors need to focus, build coherence and bring the scene to some kind of logical conclusion. By training in that, too, you can learn how to conduct brainstorming sessions and manage innovation processes successfully using the ‘yes, and...’ principle.”

whiteboard with yes on it

Improv techniques can also be used in digital learning journeys

While taking an entire improvisational theatre performance digital might be a bit of a challenge, the learning methods involved are actually highly transferable to digital learning journeys. The only prerequisite is that all participants meet in an online session with their cameras and microphones on.

 

Marlene Konrad has already run numerous remote training courses and speed learning sessions using improv theatre methods. “They work really well online. The improv exercises often give rise to a certain synchronicity, or presence, between the participants that enhances the training. And that’s true online, too.”

actors learning together

Examples of learning with the impro method

  • Role reflection
  • Feedback training
  • Innovation/design sprints

Konrad has now developed her improv training technique to the point where she can hold online sessions with more than 20 learners. “It actually works surprisingly well in large groups. For individual roleplays or improv scenes, you can work really effectively in breakout sessions and then reconvene the whole group to reflect and share the learnings.”

Multi-participant digital sessions can be incorporated alongside web-based training and self-learning phases into most learning journeys. That is why our experts recommend that designers consider all format options when creating digital learning journeys. It’s all about having a mix of formats because different learning formats work best with different types of content and offer different advantages. And now: Curtain up!

RELATED CONTENT

The Netflix Factor in Self-Directed Learning

Self-directed learning and Netflix have a few things in common! We find out what, how it can be used in companies and where the limitations lie in corporate learning.

The Power of Emotionally Intelligent Brand Training

Emotionality makes it easier for employees to identify with the brand. This identification has a positive effect on motivation and thus directly on daily work. Emotional brand training also generates brand ambassadors from within the company - both internally and externally.

The trends of the education rebellion

E-Learning Punk is an article and talk series for all L&D Pros who want to dare something and believe that digital training has to be colourful and loud.

E-Learning-Punk Logo

Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
lms hot topics E-Learning Glossar
The eLearning Glossary
All elearning terms and abbreviations from A to Z

The Ultimate eLearning Jargon Glossary 2022

LMS, LXP, SCORM, WBT, EPSS, NGLE, CBT, ITS!? Lost in a world of elearning terms and abbreviations? 

Digital learning is teeming with cryptic terms, many of which are not at all self-explanatory and have various, equally-confusing alternatives.

 

In this A to Z, we shed some light on the subject and have compiled a list of the most important terms and abbreviations in the field of e-learning in 2022.

 

Jump to a relevant section or scroll on to browse…

 

A to F   /   A  -  B  -  C  -  D  -  E

 

G to M   /   G  -  I  -  L  -  M

 

N to R   /   N  -  O  -  P  -  R

 

S to Z   /   S  -  V  -  W  -  X

A

Adaptive Learning Systems (aka Intelligent Tutoring Systems / ITS)

Adaptive learning systems gather data on the learner's activities and use this to adapt the learning journey to the individual’s observed needs. Using algorithms, the system will deliver image based content to a visual learner and interactive content to a communicative learner, or advanced content to a learner showing expertise in the subject area.

API

The term API stands for Application Programming Interface. This is a tool that acts as a bridge between two software platforms, allowing them to communicate data with one another. 

 

In the context of e-learning, an API can be hugely valuable by allowing your learning platform to communicate learner data with related business systems, such as your HR software or collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams. This saves time by reducing the need to duplicate the management of employee data across multiple platforms.

Authoring Tool

An authoring tool is software for making it easier to create e-learning content. This could include interactive applications with which text, graphics, sound and interactivity can be combined to form a piece of content. Authoring tools can be used to create simple presentations or WBT (web-based training), or with an advanced tool - a full interactive module. No programming knowledge is required for using an authoring tool.

 

Learn more about our own authoring tools:

imc Express and imc Content Studio.

B

Blended Learning

Blended learning uses a combination of online and in person training to deliver training. The term often also refers to a blend of instructional methods, pedagogical approaches and technologies.

 

More about blended learning advice on our blog.

C

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is the housing of digital resources or applications across multiple servers, often across multiple data centres or even countries. This can help to reduce the risk of downtime from a single machine failure.

 

Also known as cloud-based hosting, this can be a highly effective way for organisations - especially large, multi-site operations - to ensure speed of resource delivery regardless of location, and to scale as needed without the potential limitation of a single machine.

Conversational Learning (aka Conversational Interfaces)

Conversational learning interfaces utilise the basic concepts of social learning to create an interactive learning experience. The chatbot guides the user through the learning material with a question and answer conversation between user and bot. 

 

Emoji's are a key part of conversational learning. Used as a replacement for body language, emoji's provide the learner with the non-verbal cues that are missing from digital training tools. 

Custom content (aka bespoke content)

Custom elearning content is developed specifically for the needs of any individual client, in order to best meet their current and future training needs.

 

The alternative is ‘off the shelf content’, which is typically lower cost and used to deliver quick, compliance-based training. This can be good for ‘tick-box’ kind of training in areas such as basic health and safety awareness.

 

However, if you’re looking to use e-learning to engage learners and drive performance in the context of your business, then custom content will tend to be much more effective.

 

Learn about the custom elearning content development services we offer at imc.

D

Digitisation, Digitalisation and Digital Transformation

Digitisation is simply the transfer of assets from analogue to digital. In the context of learning, this is often taking paper based training materials or face to face classroom delivery, and creating online learning media, which is often housed in an LMS. 

 

Digitalisation is the tactical use of digital tools to improve business processes. For example, this could be analysis of employee or team data within a performance management system (or even just a spreadsheet), in order to identify skills gaps or improvements to training materials. Digitalisation could go as far as changing a business model - for example, a physical goods store moving to ecommerce or a training company switching to selling courses online. 

 

Digital Transformation is the broadest move that happens as a strategic shift orchestrated by the highest level of management. It is a long-term, highly coordinated series of digitalisation projects that may need to overlap and interact with each other. 

 

Digital Transformation can be a powerful modernisation of an organisation that enables it to find new efficiencies, adopt the latest and future technologies, and literally change the organisational culture.

E

e-Learning

This is what imc Learning is all about - the term e-learning stands for ‘electronic learning’. Also known as elearning without the hyphen and digital learning, the word dates back to the days of installing training software to your desktop computer from a CD-ROM. 

 

Now though, e-learning tends to be seen as synonymous with online learning and mobile learning that’s available anywhere and any time.

Electronic Performance Support System (EPSS)

An EPSS supports just-in-time (JIT) learning. In contrast to formal learning, this takes place at the point of need. EPSS is typically deployed to support a piece of software and can either guide a user through a process or act as a JIT tool, on hand to provide support when needed. The user gains independence and confidence by efficiently learning new systems and processes without the aid of expert trainers.

 

More about Electronic Performance Support.

Extended Enterprise

An extended enterprise means a company that needs to train, for example, franchisees, external service providers, brokers, their supply chain etc. Such training can be tackled strategically and efficiently by creating learning portals, customised for each type of audience, built into your LMS.

G

Game-Based Learning

The term Game-Based Learning refers to learning experiences that are delivered through the use of a game. A learning environment must be created that is attractive for the user, in which he or she can develop through positive, entertaining learning experiences.

 

More Game-Based Learning advice on our blog.

Gamification

This term refers to player motivation principles, such as rewards, to drive learner engagement. Gamification elements within training could be scores that are displayed to the learners and allow them to compare themselves with other players. Further gamification elements are badges and badges, which are awarded after completed tasks.

 

Gamification principles for motivation can be incorporated into training without the learning experience actually involving a game.

I

Instructional Design

This is a skill and process that combines foundational principles in learning psychology with the latest available technologies to design content for the best possible learning experience. Trends in recent years have moved towards learner engagement, as well as the effectiveness of content, helping people want to follow the training materials.

 

Multimedia content options, such as video that is now more accessible with ubiquitous, fast internet access, and principles such as gamification and games-based learning, are now key elements of the instructional design toolkit.

 

Modern e-learning software, such as our own authoring tools, allow L&D professionals and subject matter experts with no formal industrial design training to create effective learning content.

Interactive Learning

Interactive learning requires a greater level of learner involvement than the stereotypical, ‘click next’ e-learning experience. Interactive training content has been shown to bring better learning outcomes than a passive learner experience, as it tends to be more engaging and forces the learner to process information and put their learning into action.

Interactive Video

Interactive videos are films that allow learners to decide for themselves what they want to see next. The learner is thus not only a passive viewer, but actively determines what he or she sees and learns.

L

Learning Experience Platform (LXP)

The LXP is a relatively new concept that takes e-learning beyond a top-down, employer-led platform into being a more immersive environment where employees can explore what to learn next. This allows them to proactively develop their own knowledge and skills. 

Many LXPs take principles of context exploration and recommendation engines from the likes of Netflix. They can be a key tool for large companies to encourage a culture of learning.

Learning Nuggets

A learning nugget is a short learning unit or a building block or a mini module in e-learning that usually lasts no longer than five minutes. The term is often used in connection with Micro-Learning.

Learning Management System (LMS)

A Learning Management System, (LMS for short) is software used to digitally host, manage and track learning content, which is typically assigned by tutors to their learners.

 

More about Learning Management Systems on our Learning Suite page.

Learning Content Management System (LCMS)

A Learning Content Management System (LCMS) is software that enables the creation, storage and management of reusable learning objects. It also enables web-based learning to be organised and maintained by multiple authors. An LCMS combines the functionality of an LMS and a content management system (CMS).

Learning Record Store (LRS)

A Learning Record Store is connected to an xAPI or Tin Cab and collects, stores and retrieves data and learning activities. An LRS can be integrated into an existing LMS.

Learning System Suite

The concept of the Learning System Suite is a combination of an LMS and LXP, as well as a NGLE.

It provides all the top-down training delivery and assessment capabilities associated with a Learning Management System (LMS) for the essentials of onboarding and compliance, combined with the intuitive and engaging environment of a Learning Experience Platform (LXP) and the broader ongoing training, collaboration and interoperability you might consider to be a Next Generation Digital Learning Environment (NGDLE) (or NGLE). 

 

The imc Learning Suite is built for exactly this purpose - a solution for learning management, experience and performance all in one place, while integrating seamlessly into your existing tech stack.

M

Micro-Learning

Learning content is divided into small units or building blocks for the user to access as individual elements at any time. This flexible approach is also often termed as 'learning nuggets'.

Mobile Learning (M-Learning)

Mobile Learning refers to training accessed through mobile devices. This makes the learning experience more flexible and more independent of time and location. 

 

Mobile Learning modules are typically designed primarily for a smaller screen size, especially phones, enabling any time, anywhere learning. This requires streamlined content that is less taxing on bandwidth, and a different approach to user navigation. 

 

More about Mobile Learning on our blog.

MOOC

A MOOC (a Massive Open Online Course) is an online course aimed at a large number of participants and is usually free of charge. Pioneers of this format are Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University.

Multi-tenancy LMS

In the field of software, the term multi-tenancy refers to a single application (so in our context, the LMS) shared by multiple user groups who each experience their own, individualised learning environment. This means that different user groups can have different learning portals (each with its own entry portal, its own features, user rights, content, look & feel, etc.), while the system is centrally managed through a single LMS. 

 

This can greatly reduce the cost and time needed to adapt the training experience for different teams, partner organisations, or even customers. 

 

Read more about multi-tenancy LMS solutions in our in-depth article on the topic.

N

Next Generation Digital Learning Environment (NGDLE)

L&D professionals and industry commentators have been bemoaning the limitations of learning management systems and predicting their imminent death almost since they were invented. One of the key complaints is their closed nature that requires a great deal of additional administration alongside other business and HR systems.

 

The idea of the Next Generation Digital Learning Environment or NGDLE is that it opens up a learning and people performance ecosystem of tools with open standards and principles, perhaps with single sign on (SSO), which will greatly reduce the siloing of learning assessment, collaboration, feedback and general communication.

 

Some people drop the ‘Digital’ as a given, giving us NGLE.

 

Our own imc Learning Suite is an example of such an integrated solution that plays nicely with other popular business tech solutions.

O

On-site Hosting (aka on-premise hosting)

In contrast to cloud hosting where data can be stored on multiple servers, and possibly even across multiple territories, on-site hosting will house data at a single client location. 

 

While data security has generally improved over the years and many organisations have moved entirely over to the cloud, on-site hosting can still be appropriate for some organisations where security is of extra concern, and / or to ensure compliance with specific industry or local regulations. 

 

The downside of on-site / on-premise hosting compared to cloud tends to be reduced scalability as resource needs grow or the economies of scale associated with a company maintaining thousands of machines at one or more data centres, rather than a small number on-site. However, this is not a concern for some single-site organisations.

On-the-Job-Training (OJT)

On the Job Training refers to learning that takes place alongside activities at the workplace, and usually under the guidance of a colleague, coach or mentor or also through an EPSS. In colloquial terms, "learning by doing" refers to this type of training.

P

Performance Management System

A performance management system enables the ongoing, regular monitoring of employees against KPIs and individual targets. These targets and expectations will be set to support collective contribution towards the wider organisational strategy. 

 

A good performance management system will include learning resources to help support individuals and give them data on their own performance, while providing a management dashboard so that L&D and HR teams can identify an issues, in order to offer additional support or intervention where needed.

 

The imc Learning Suite incorporates the functionalities of a Performance Management System in the LMS. With its extensive Learning Analytics modules, the imc Learning Suite provides both learners and tutors as well as managers with clear dashboards regarding the learner's progress and performance.

Predictive Analytics

The leading modern learning management systems can aid in the use of learner data to identify potential training requirements of individuals or certain groups. 

 

Predictive analytics is a foundation of adaptive learning systems and learning experience platforms.

R

REST API

API (Application Program Interface) as explained above is a general set of protocols that enables various software to interact and communicate data between each other. REST API or RESTful API (Representational State Transfer) is a subset of this that deals specifically with web applications and is mostly used to handle HTTP requests. 

S

SCIM

The abbreviation SCIM stands for System for Cross-domain Identity Management and is one of the open standards for managing user information across platforms. In the context of L&D and HR, it can greatly streamline IT tasks and reduce admin time when using cloud-based apps and services, as it allows your IT team to automate many repetitive tasks, such as employee details and learning requirements.

SCORM

The abbreviation SCORM stands for "Sharable Content Object Reference Model" which references the digital packaging of e-learning courses. Through this format, SCORM courses can be imported and launched through any SCORM compliant platform. Industry standard LMS all include SCORM players.

Serious Game (related terms: Adventure Game or Learning Game)

Serious games are not exclusively for entertainment purposes, but instead convey knowledge or skills through playful actions. See also: Gamification and Game-based Learning which aim to engage and motivate learners through adventures and competition.

Social Learning

Social Learning promotes an interaction between learners through sharing learning experiences. e-Learning can include social elements through comment functions, social media postings, instant messages, forums, wikis, video chats, etc. which can typically be integrated with modern LMS. In addition, virtual communities can be set up to exchange ideas, knowledge and new contributions.

More about Social Learning on our blog.

V

Validated Learning Management System (VLMS)

Many companies – for instance, in the food, pharmaceutical or medical sector – need to meet strict regulatory requirements such as FDA Title 21 CFR Part 11. These requirements include that all processes leading up to the production of a product have to be documented and verified at any time. This also applies to employee training, as it is an essential factor in the quality management process.

 

A Validated Learning Management System (VLMS) - like the imc Learning Suite - enables organisations to make their training processes compliant with these strict requirements. Read more about Validation and Validated Learning Management Systems here.

Video-Based Learning

Learning through videos is popular with both employers and learners as it can convey much more information than static formats in a short space of time, and can appeal to those who prefer visual or auditory content. Videos can be designed and animated in different ways to contextualise learning, or directed by real people - 'characters' - who guide learners through a topic. 'Explainer videos' can be highly effective for onboarding new staff and introducing new concepts.

 

An advanced use of video-based learning is the interactive video.

 

More about Video-Based Learning on the blog.

W

Web-based Training (WBT)

Unlike computer-based training (CBT), no specific software installation is required. Instead, with WBT, the user accesses learning materials via a website or online learning platform.

X

xAPI (also Experience API or Tin Can)

xAPI is often seen as a further development of SCORM. In principle, learning content and learning management systems (LMS) can exchange information with each other in order to record a wide variety of data and learning activities. 

 

To this end, xAPI has redefined some of the basic practices for tracking learning experiences. The main difference between xAPI and SCORM is the type of learning that each participant can follow.

While SCORM is limited to recording online learning, xAPI can track almost any activity. Here xAPI provides a much more detailed view of learning progress, both online and offline.

 

Different learning methods that xAPI can track include reading a web page, attending an event, borrowing a library book, playing a game, blended learning, and team-based learning. The xAPI data is stored in a Learning Record Store (LRS).

?

Do you miss anything?

We hope we’ve shed some light on the most mysterious e-learning terminology.

 

Do you have any questions, additions or suggestions?

Feel free to contact us!

RELATED CONTENT
lms hot topics: stakeholder learning management system
Convincing stakeholders for an LMS

The success of introducing a learning management system hinges on those responsible for the launch taking due account of their stakeholders - and not under­estimating them. We have compiled some expert tips and a checklist to help you in convincing your stakeholders.

lms hot topics: software training
Stop boring software trainings!

Stop boring software-trainings! That is the mission of Sarah Hillmann, Trainings Specialist and Business Consultant. She has prepared a new way to train customers for using imc's Learning Management System (LMS).

LMS Hot Topics

Topics, trends and tools all around LMS.

More information about the LMS

imc Learning Suite

If you would like to find our more about the Learning Management System of imc, please find all information here.

Contact

I have been working in the Marketing & Communication Team at imc since March 2019.

Communication, creative content and social media are my passion. "KISS - Keep it short and simple" is my credo.

 

To explain complex content in an understandable way and thus make the topic of e-Learning accessible to everyone is an exciting challenge every day.

 

Privately I love to read, play poker and travel a lot.

I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions.

Photo of Nadine Kreutz
Nadine Kreutz
Communication Manager
LMS Hot Topic Learning Ecosystem
LMS Hot Topics
Learning Ecosystem: A Universe of Learning

Learning ecosystem: A universe of Learning – why you need it, how you build it

Discovering new worlds of corporate learning

The L&D sector has largely reached a consensus: Customisation must play a bigger role in corporate learning. We must strive to democratise knowledge. The panacea needed to achieve these ambitious goals? A learning ecosystem. The focus is almost exclusively on soft factors related to the corporate and learning culture when establishing such a system, neglecting technological aspects.

 

Yet, suitable software such as a learning management system or learning experience portal is vital. Let’s take a step back to grasp what a system needs to achieve to map a meaningful learning ecosystem.

Inflexible systems and uniform learning paths for all employees are a thing of the past. Nowadays, companies face the challenge of creating a learning ecosystem that promotes self-directed corporate learning in the long term.

Such a system links various platforms and creates a clear structure for the different formats within a learning portal. The search function leverages all integrated systems, taking account of both internal and external sources.

Andreas Pohl

Andreas Pohl, Director Research & Development at imc

So much to the theory. The question now is: What technical structure enables a learning ecosystem to meet all requirements and offer real benefits to the employees?

What role does a learning management system (LMS) or learning experience portal (LXP) play within such learning universe?

imc expert Andreas Pohl, Director Research & Development, leads the development of such systems. Thanks to his many years of experience, he is very aware of the hidden potential learning ecosystems offer.

LMS Hot Topic Learning EcoSystem

Hello Andreas! What would a learning ecosystem look like in practice? Can you give us a specific example?

Let’s say we have an industrial client who manufactures special parts for large-scale equipment. All new employees and trainees must know how to use the equipment employed to make these parts.

They train on a training machine to learn the workflow. Now, it is possible to link this training machine to a learning management system (LMS). In that case, a new employee could log into the training machine with their personal identifier. Once they have mastered the workflow, the machine automatically transmits the training success to the LMS where the training is marked as complete.

 

This is then booked in the employee’s learning path or as learning progress – for instance, as part of their on-the-job training. Thus, the communication between the different systems makes learning easier. This example might be a little staged, but I think it illustrated the practical application of a learning ecosystem very well.

What does a learning ecosystem need to do to make learners use them?

Before you start thinking about a learning ecosystem, a suitable cultural framework must be in place.

As an employer, I need to motivate employees to use a system and allocate time for that purpose. At the same time, the user experience of the learning ecosystem (LE) must be structured in such a way that the employees enjoy using it, and make it easy for them to find relevant content.

A user will be far more likely to use the system when they can see an immediate and direct benefit. If that benefit is not obvious, you have lost.

How do you realise that from a technical perspective?

There are two approaches: First of all, I can make the LMS or LXP the central hub for my learning ecosystem. In this case, the LMS also needs to be able to present contents from external sources.

 

The learner can find materials from the entirety of the ecosystem through the frontend of the LMS. It makes no difference to them where learning content is stored – in the company LMS or, for instance, an integrated content library. For the learners, it is important that the system is easy to navigate and that they can quickly find relevant contents without jumping through hoops. Whether or not this takes them into a different system is irrelevant.

 

The second approach is to subordinate the LMS to the overarching portal. Rather than being at the centre itself, it delivers its results to the top level. This is useful when a central portal already exists and the LMS is integrated at a later stage.

How does an LMS become part of a learning ecosystem? What are the prerequisites?

In the second case – when the LMS is a cog in the wheel – the contents must be supplied to the overarching system. Indexing then becomes a major factor. That means that content must be provided in a format that triggers useful search hits presented and shown in a meaningful manner. The same applies to recommendations the system gives the user based on learning habits or interests.

 

Good APIs (application programming interfaces) are the key success factor for these types of functions. They facilitate the communication between the different applications. Effective and standardised interfaces are always important in IT, but whenever several systems come together, they become absolutely crucial.

LMS Hot Topic Learning EcoSystem Rocket engine

How does an increase in content affect the individual interfaces and components?

This is a very interesting question. Let’s break it up into two parts. To illustrate: Your universe might grow because the number of planets is increasing, or because the existing planets are becoming more populated. These are two very different scenarios.

Similarly, you can expand your learning ecosystem by integrating or linking new components, or by adding more content to the existing elements.

 

After all, the purpose of a learning ecosystem is to continuously and frequently change the volume of the learning content, and the integration of user-generated content (UGC). Going back to our analogy, user-generated content merely increases population density on a given planet. From a technical perspective, this is not a critical process, as the growth takes place within an existing system with no effect on the complexity of that system. It would therefore not qualify as a true expansion.

So, what is “true” expansion? What do we have to watch out for?

I would say a true expansion of the ecosystem involves the integration of additional systems or a new interface. This expansion process is somewhat slower, as each new system needs new interfaces or gateways.

 

Each “planet” needs to provide the information within the LMS to the other “planets” – and ultimately the user – through standardised interfaces, and various APIs as well as an event bus are utilised for this purpose. Meanwhile, the central system must be able to absorb content and integrate it in its search function to make it accessible to its users.

LMS Hot Topic Learning Satellit

How does the system know which content should be shown?

The system can only show content it knows. That means either the index content must be transmitted to the system – for example, via a data or event bus – or the system must have direct access to the index. Naturally, this can only work if indices are properly maintained and clearly structured.

What role does the data or event bus play?

An event bus is basically a messaging system. One system throws a message onto the bus, the bus takes off, and the next system can retrieve the message.

The message does not disappear after it is retrieved by one system – it remains available for the other systems. For example, systems A, B and C “take” the message, but system D ignores it, because it’s not relevant to it. Meanwhile, system D might “take” a different message that A, B and C are not interested in. Messages are thus distributed in real time, making manual message transfer to each system redundant (publisher-subscriber approach).

 

The challenge with this approach is that each system involved must be able to understand the message contents. This often requires some adjustments, as some systems might not be able to translate it directly. This is a major current topic for our development team.

What trends would you say can make learning ecosystems even better?

There is certainly room for improvement in system alignment, which also encompasses IoT (internet of things) and ESB (enterprise service buses). In other words, systems need to know both, which message they need to retrieve from the bus and which immediate adjustments they need to make.

This reduces the need for system adjustment. Now, an ESB is not a trivial thing, and might be overkill for a straightforward set-up with a small number of systems. However, my learning ecosystem is fairly complex and serves more than 10,000 employees, it makes an enormous difference.

 

Another thing we are working on at the moment is switching over to external contents. Right now, we can integrate external content in the search through our LMS, for example, through the LinkedIn Learning Content Importer. We want to expand that capability to enable the user to switch directly into the external system. We are currently collaborating with a major client to achieve that.

Finally, what should we pay particular attention to? Where do you see the most potential? Are there also disadvantages?

It comes at a cost. None of this is free. Everything we talked about needs investment. The systems need to be maintained continuously, as do the connections to the interfaces, and some of these systems might be proprietary. It’s not an automated process.

Ideally, that will enable me to create a learning ecosystem which optimises how the different needs of all my learners are met. Everything then comes from a single source, which is a whole lot more user friendly and actually feels like one system. A good learning ecosystem goes a long way towards improving the learner experience and providing real support to employees in their daily work.

 

My advice: Good planning is half the battle! It is important to clarify from the outset what you want to achieve, how many systems should be maintained and how much maintenance can be provided.

RELATED CONENT

How not to break bad with validated processes in an LMS

What requirements must an LMS map for validated processes? And how does Breaking Bad fit here? Questions about questions not only the Pharmaceutical industry should think about.

learning analytics, LMS Hot Topics

Learning Analytics: It comes down to the right questions

Learning must not be an end in itself, but fit in the company’s business outcome: More and more managers are demanding this. We therefore looked at how L&D managers can meet this requirement with the help of Learning Analytics.

LMS Hot Topics

Topics, Trends and Tools all around LMS.

More about our LMS

If you would like to learn more about imc's Learning Management System, check here for more information.

Contact person

I have been working in the Marketing & Communication Team at imc since March 2019.

Communication, creative content and social media are my passion. "KISS - Keep it short and simple" is my credo.

 

To explain complex content in an understandable way and thus make the topic of e-Learning accessible to everyone is an exciting challenge every day.

 

Privately I love to read, play poker and travel a lot.

I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions.

Photo of Nadine Kreutz
Nadine Kreutz
Communication Manager
My Digital Onboarding Kit
How to ensure digital onboarding success

Six vital modules for every digital onboarding concept

A blueprint for efficient onboarding with lasting impact

Different companies have different requirements for their onboarding process. They might want to use modular and future-proof concepts, achieve cost and time savings compared to current approaches, or enable employees to start working sooner. Moreover, the pandemic has accelerated the need for digital onboarding as face-to-face training has not been possibleDespite the pandemic introducing more relaxedremote working arrangements, hybrid work arrangements will become the norm; hence digital onboarding will become the tool to deliver great first experience to new employees. 

 

Yet, companies are not the only stakeholders – Employees have their own expectations of the onboarding process. This is why many HR managers are deciding on learner-centric onboarding that revolves around the needs of new employees:

“I want to know what makes my company tick,” – “I want to feel like I’m becoming part of the community,” – “I want to improve my skills.”

 

To achieve that, your onboarding needs a framework that provides guidance and an emotional connection while assessing the current state of knowledge and developing expertise.

This article explains how to design an exciting and creative digital onboarding process with new and existing e-learning content, even without a learning management system (LMS).

An illustration of the key building blocks

Our experts are always developing concepts suitable for a wide range of requirements. Get a head start with our “best of” compilation. Let’s imagine this situation: You want to digitise five days of basic training that has always been conducted on site. You are looking at a very diverse group of participants. The target group for this training extends beyond new colleagues, and also includes “old hands,” as well as some external service providers. They each have a different level of prior knowledge, different hardware, and different levels of access to a learning management system (LMS). Some might not have any access at all.

 

How do you satisfy them all? The solution is to design a structured framework for digital onboarding. Our experts recommend getting a head start with these 6 modules:

  • A central (digital) starting point
  • A daily virtual kick-off
  • The self-learning phase
  • A virtual hands-on workshop
  • The online quiz
  • A learning diary

Together, these six modules form a foundation. Let’s look at each element separately.

My Digital Onboarding Kit – The modules in detail

The central starting point could, for example, be a browser-based landing page created especially for onboarding, a homepage in the company intranet, a portal page (in the LMS) or an interactive PDF. It is important that the employees can see at a glance what is on the agenda for the day when they arrive for their onboarding. Think of it as a modern timetable. Every new employee needs structure, and an overview page is an easy way to provide that.

Digital_onboarding_homepage

Portal page as central starting point

The virtual kick-off at the beginning of each training day serves to agree and discuss the agenda and objectives for the day together with the trainers. The focus should be on social onboarding, on promoting interaction between the participants. Our experts recommend a playful warm-up with surveys, icebreakers, or activation games aka energisers. Why not play a round of “I packed my bag” to get started? It is helpful to establish a meeting netiquette, specifying that cameras and microphones must be switched on.

virtual kick-off

In the self-learning phase, each learning format achieves a specific objective. For example, digital performance cards help employees gain knowledge with a certain focus, and then apply it in simulations as part of web-based training. Virtual scavenger hunts help them familiarise themselves with the company or the intranet. Companies can also integrate existing training courses or offer individually tailored or branded content. Variation between different e-learning formats has proven particularly effective.

Performance cards

Performance cards

The hands-on workshop moderated by the trainers gives the employees an opportunity to apply what they learned and clarify any questions or uncertainties. This could include polls, multiple choice questions in the group chat or whiteboards.

The online quiz concludes the day. One great example is the BizQuiz. It provides participants with feedback on their learning progress and gives them the opportunity to close any knowledge gaps.

quiz app: Biz Quiz

Finally, the learner makes their personal entry in the learning diary. An easy way to integrate the diary is to design a page in the intranet, a document in the cloud or a form that mirrors the central starting point, and which each participant completes for themselves. This serves to summarise the core messages from the workshops or formulate the questions and tasks for the self-learning phase, as well as compiling key insights from the training courses. The personal learning diary thus becomes an individual reference resource participants can look things up in long after their onboarding.

Learning diary

GOOD TO KNOW

Time investment for trainers is automatically reduced

The targeted use of digital learning formats in the self-learning phase reduces time investment for trainers during digital onboarding. That saves costs and resources. Following this 6-module approach, trainers are only required for the kick-off and the workshop phase.

Digital vs hybrid onboarding

Digital onboarding works. This approach can absolutely be appropriate while also saving resources. Nevertheless, some onboarding processes are easier to realise in a hybrid format. Of course, that does require new employees to travel to the location.

 

One example for a good hybrid solution would be to communicate theoretical content through online self-study, and then bring participants on site to carry out specific actions, such as operating machinery. The face-to-face part of the training can then be utilised for practical exercises and to clarify questions.

 

Similarly, a dual approach helps with understanding the corporate culture. For instance, companies might invite new employees for an intro day before their first day of work. Make the most of this day by asking colleagues to talk about how they realise the values, objectives, and mission of the company in their daily work. This meeting can also be leveraged to establish an emotional connection with new recruits and build enthusiasm for the company.

 

In our experts’ experience, it is not as clear-cut as one approach being universally better. Rather, it is about selecting suitable formats and linking them in a helpful way based on the new employees’ needs and the learning objectives.

We linked a special treat for anyone interested in hybrid onboarding:

RELATED CONTENT

Digital Learning Journey

Reaching the destination with the right blend of formats: Digital learning journeys capitalise on the strengths of each learning format to create a motivating learning experience.

LMS Hot Topics: Science fiction or near future?

Onboarding can already be integrated into existing learning management systems. But Hanna's example shows that this is only the beginning.

The trends of the education rebellion

E-Learning Punk is an article and talk series for all L&D Pros who want to dare something and believe that digital training has to be colourful and loud.

E-Learning-Punk Logo

Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
E-Learning Punk, Hero Rapid content
Faster Is Always Better?
How (not) to develop E-Learnings quickly

Rapid Content Development: Creating E-Learning Trainings Quickly

Why fast creating digital trainings is possible but risky

... and suddenly, the training had to be scrapped. Many companies made that experience in lockdown number one. Employees needed to be trained, but the training was postponed due to Corona. Again. And again. However, most types of training simply cannot be endlessly postponed or even be cancelled altogether.

 

A pragmatic and swift solution is needed – training needs go where the employees are: their home office. For many companies, that means digitising learning content, and doing so quickly. They need rapid content development. This trend was already apparent before Corona, but the pandemic greatly increased the demand for the technologies that facilitate rapid content development.

 

This article explores what qualifies as rapid content development, what type of learning content is suitable for rapid digitisation, and what risks a strong focus on speed entails.

INFO

Definition: Rapid content development (RCD) is an agile model for teaching system design, comprising a preparation phase, an iterative design, template-based re-usable components and e-learning tools for quick and cost-efficient provision.

Speedy please – but without quality loss

We want things now: fast food, coffee to go, messenger services, online shopping … we no longer have time. Companies have also clocked onto this trend, and want to stay up to date with their training courses. An ever-increasing amount of knowledge is expected to be available almost instantly on various media while maintaining a high quality standard and staying within budget.

 

The solution: rapid content development. But wait a minute! No matter how fast you go, the quality of the overall learning solution must not be compromised. That’s why learning experts like Eva Lettenbauer always look at the big picture.

Eva Lettenbauer, imc

Eva Lettenbauer, Specialist Learning Experience Design at imc

INTERVIEW

Hi Eva, thanks for “quickly” making time for us. How did you experience the rapid content development hype last year?

Especially at the beginning of the pandemic, many companies were facing the challenge of having to digitalise their face-to-face training in a short space of time. However, directly transitioning classroom-based training courses to a virtual classroom or web session is not always effective, and it’s most certainly not efficient.

That is why we always examine the specific issues and objectives. This allows us to digitise specific learning content in a way that drives outcomes and boosts performance.

How do you handle requests for “rapid” content?

Since requirements differ as widely as the type of knowledge to be conveyed, digital solutions vary enormously. We start by analysing the sharable knowledge and the desired outcome. We also examine if the integration of certain existing learning solutions or curated content would add value, and examine the suitability of different learning infrastructures. Finding the right formats for the content at hand has to be a priority, as this then allows new content to be created quickly and systematically.

Often, less is more. It pays to take a closer look and be more deliberate when starting the rapid content development process, and avoid mistakes.
Eva Lettenbauer
Specialist Learning Experience Design
imc

What risks does rapid content development involve, and how do you avoid them?

There is a risk of quality loss – creating too much content while neglecting quality, or losing sight of the target group, their performance or the intended business outcome when designing and creating content. This can make the learning solution irrelevant and ineffective. Often, less is more. It pays to take a closer look and be more deliberate when starting the rapid content development process, and avoid such mistakes.

Warning danger

When would you recommend slowing down?

Whenever learning corresponds to behavioural changes, aims to change the learners’ mindset, or the branding, look or feel of the learning solution are important, investing time to achieve a high-quality solution is paramount. This is the only way to gain the learners’ lasting interest and make them believe in digital learning approaches.

GOOD TO KNOW

Authoring tools enable companies to create learning content themselves or digitise existing material. This facilitates a flexible response to learning requirements within the company.

Authoring tools are cost-effective and allow both internal experts and other employees to create training courses. This is also known as user generated content.

What are the limits for content creation with authoring tools?

Authoring tools like imcExpress are ideal for quickly creating and sharing content based on facts or background knowledge. Digital learning content can be created quickly and – crucially – kept up to date. However, no learner should be trained exclusively with web-based training courses. Especially if their development involves the application of specific practical skills, traditional web-based training is seldom enough – but that is all an authoring tool can deliver.

What would a worst-case scenario look like? How “not to” do it?

Worst case: 5 days of face-to-face classroom training is taken “as is” and squeezed into a 3-day training course in a virtual classroom. Endless recordings of face-to-face training or web sessions replace the on-site presentation of the material.

 

Best case: A 3-day face-to-face training course is digitalised and broken up into various learning nuggets like short web-based training courses, complemented with learning tandems, snappy web sessions and curated content.

How about a quick summary? Happy to be at your service:

Sketchnote for rapid content development
RELATED CONTENT

Digital Learning Journey

Reaching the destination with the right blend of formats: Digital learning journeys capitalise on the strengths of each learning format to create a motivating learning experience.

imc Express teaser

User-generated elearning content meets artificial intelligence

Creating learning content has nerver been that easy. Oliver Nussbaum and his team developed a new AI-driven authoring tool called imc Express.

The trends of the education rebellion

E-Learning Punk is an article and talk series for all L&D Pros who want to dare something and believe that digital training has to be colourful and loud.

E-Learning-Punk Logo

Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
woman does long jump in front of computer
E-Learning and Sports

On the podium thanks to e-learning: why sports clubs and associations should focus on digitalisation

After the Olympics is before the next Rugby League, is before the FIFA World Cup! Or vice versa. Regardless of discipline: Training is not only essential for the professional athletes and players, but their trainers, referees and crew members also need continuous professional development.

Summertime is Sports Time! But no matter if watching Tennis, Rugby or Athletics: physical effort and mental training is not the only one. Behind every successful athlete is an entire association and a team that also needs to train and continue learning.

 

This ranges from new training methods through first aid courses to preventive approaches and anti-doping training – and everything in between. We spoke to a former pro athlete, and explain how these and other topics can be presented as e-learning contents, and what advantages that brings.

 

featured image commonwealth games

Going for gold with blended learning

Eric Uder

Eric Uder

Clubs and associations increasingly facilitate continuous development through e-learning, as imc Solution Consultant and former professional javelin thrower Eric Uder notes: “The associations need to ensure that training courses on new training methods, referee rulebooks and preventive approaches are carried out and understood.

Pure face-to-face training is not always helpful in this context. Rather, more and more sports associations from a vast range of disciplines favour blended training concepts, combining e-learning with on-site training.”

No chance for a second Wembley goal

According to Uder, sports associations utilising e-learning is nothing new in itself. After all, the integration of the digital and analogue world has long arrived in sports. That also includes using goal-line technology in football to verify precisely whether or not the ball was in. We can therefore rest assured that we won’t see another Wembley goal.

 

Moving training scenarios from a face-to-face format to an online environment is thus an obvious solution. Even associations which long resisted this step are now coming around to it, as Uder explains: “We have been supporting larger associations from New Zealand and Australia for years; for instance, in rugby. We now see that the German associations too are increasingly interested in online training concepts and our platform.”

football and laptop on pitch

New training scenarios tap into new target groups

With the introduction of a learning platform or learning management system, associations open up far more opportunities than simply training the trainers and referees: Volunteers can gain access and complete mandatory training courses or inductions online, at any time and from anywhere.

It is also easy to include sponsors, keep them informed and offer them insights into current affairs, new regulations, and other items of interest. The possibilities are endless. All types of content can be accessed smoothly without jumping through hoops: from video tutorials, through web-based training to learning nuggets, from compliance through anti-doping to mental health topics.

swimmer top view

Excuses are so yesterday

Uder predicts: “I believe that sports associations will place an even stronger focus on digital learning platforms in coming years. They are facing enormous challenges: On the one hand, they are expected to produce results. On the other hand, they are often short staffed and lack financial resources. This makes healthy budgeting practices even more important.

An LMS allows them to send out automated reminders for training courses, book entire groups of members onto new courses at once, or integrate tests to verify that participants have understood the contents. This all saves time while enhancing transparency. It makes it easy to verify who completed which training course when.”

This may well be the knockout punch for excuses claiming ignorance on rules. Maybe, it will even allow us to experience what we crave the most: Sports successes the entire team, as well as the associations and fans can celebrate without reservation.

RELATED CONENT
Featured Image Compliance

Don't call it compliance!

Compliance training - the term alone is a red flag for many employees. We give some tips how to create an interesting training instead.

Featured Image Business Case

Why the gains from an LMS outweigh its costs

A Learning Management is far too expensive? Not if you use it in the right way! Even more: For most clients, an LMS pays for itself within a year. We tell you how to prove that with a Business Case.

Discover our online-magazine

No matter if you're an experienced L&D pro or more a e-learning enthusiast: In our online magazine Reth!nk every e-learning fan will find the right article all around digital learning.

Contact person

I have been working in the Marketing & Communication Team at imc since March 2019.

Communication, creative content and social media are my passion. "KISS - Keep it short and simple" is my credo.

 

To explain complex content in an understandable way and thus make the topic of e-Learning accessible to everyone is an exciting challenge every day.

 

Privately I love to read, play poker and travel a lot.

I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions.

Photo of Nadine Kreutz
Nadine Kreutz
Communication Manager
Symbol for losing money
LMS Hot Topics
Turning a learning curve into an earning curve

Why companies cannot afford to skip training their external partners

Turn a learning curve into an earning curve

Only considering your own workforce when planning your training is short-sighted. After all, distributors, franchisees, agents, brokers, as well as association members and even volunteers contribute to corporate success just like your in-house employees.

Consequently, these external partners need to know all the details of your company’s products and services. In this article, our experts show how to set online training up for success in such an extended enterprise learning scenario, and how to turn a learning curve into an earning curve.

Revenue losses through deficient distributor and network partner training

To understand “partner training” let’s picture the following scenario: A manufacturer of glasses and other optical aids is launching new contact lenses that are particularly thin and suitable for sensitive eyes. First of all, the company’s own sales staff need to know the benefits of these contact lenses, as they sell the products either directly to the customers or to other companies like Company B.

If the products are sold on via a trading partner as an additional distribution channel, the sales consultants employed by Company B also need to know the particularities of the new lenses. The crux: You can only sell a product if you know its benefits. This holds true even more when a trading partner sells products from more than one provider and has several suppliers.

imc learning Suite on mobile devce

NOTE

Distributors, trading partners AND external sales people all have the same need for specialist and product knowledge. Leaving out this target group when arranging learning and development measures is a missed opportunity for significant revenue growth.

Which target group should an extended enterprise training scenario take into account?

The circle of distribution partners includes more than just external sales employees. Depending on the sector and the orientation towards B2B or B2C business, a completely different set of target groups should be addressed and included. For example:

  • Distributors and dealers (car dealerships, opticians)
  • Franchisees (restaurants, insurance companies, real estate agents, etc.)
  • Specialist staff in the insurance, health or medical technology sectors
  • Joint ventures
  • Partners
  • Customers
  • Members and voluntary staff
  • Friends and family
  • The general public
Young woman presenting facts for Salessomething

Sales training for external partners: online or in person?

Once the external partner network has been defined, the question is: Is it better to train these employees online or in person? Both options have advantages and disadvantages which need to be balanced precisely. The idea to present such distributor training online – for instance, in a learning management system (LMS) – is not new.

The benefits are obvious: Instead of sales consultants travelling to attend on-site training, all employees ultimately involved in selling the product can complete relevant product training in the convenience of their home or their workplace using various devices. For instance, an optics manufacturer placing their products with various chains can provide remote access to the product training to all sales staff of those chains’ branches.

However, the drawback of such online training is that employees are often under time pressure or lack motivation to get started with such training. It is therefore crucial to minimise any barriers to entry for training measures.

For instance, complicated registration processes act as a deterrent. Combined online and face-to-face training within a hybrid learning concept or even a true blended learning scenario may also be suitable options.

 

Having assisted numerous imc customers with the development and support of such training, training expert Anika Rabe recommends:

Anika Rabe, imc AG

Anika Rabe

“Most of the time, product training is not designed for the general public and must therefore be set in a secure area. An LMS is a suitable option for this.

Yet, the training courses must be easily accessible for everyone and, above all, they must be interesting. In particular, external employees must be involved on an emotional level rather than stopping at technical product knowledge.”

group of employees laughing

Facts tell, stories sell

No emotion – no sales. Especially when technical differences between products or brands have no major impact, brand loyalty and great storytelling are key.

An external employee needs at least the same degree of emotional investment as a team member of the manufacturer - they must both convey enthusiasm for the product. That is exactly what product training needs to deliver. Items like smartphones, jewellery or cars are frequently bought for emotional reasons, rather than based on mere facts.

If a sales consultant can share their enthusiasm for a product, customers are more likely to buy it – even if, objectively, it is not better or cheaper.

Tap clogged with money

One size fits all is a thing of the past

The training that helps external partners internalise these stories differs from that most helpful to your own employees. Internal team members already have a special connection to the brand or the products. They already believe in the quality standard, and need not be won over.

This is an important aspect to take into account. One-size-fits-all solutions no longer have a place in training design – and even the best training will fail if it is unnecessarily difficult to access. This is why training expert Anika Rabe recommends: “Making it easier to access learning means making it more likely for the learning experience to be shared by everyone. For example, adding a QR code to products that are new or involve a steep learning curve is easy, and can be used to direct the user to the relevant training course with a simple scan.”

However, Anika notes that simplified access also makes it harder to verify training. If a training course requires no prior authentication, the creator of the learning content cannot know with certainty whether the end user really completed it, nor how much time they invested. It also remains unknown how much the learner actually learned, and whether they actively apply that knowledge.

Yet such assessment is important, especially when optimising and evaluating learning content. While in-depth learning analytics would be taking things too far in this context, it is a topic L&D managers should keep an eye on.

Combining both worlds to boost sales

According to Dr. Wolfram Jost, Board Member and Head of Product Management at imc, the only thing that really matters in the end is this: The learning curve must be transformed into an earning curve. No company trains employees just for fun – whether that is internal employees or external partners. Especially in the extended enterprise learningscenario, the fundamental objective is to increase the company’s sales. Partner training must contribute to corporate success.

It helps to keep these key questions in mind when designing your extended enterprise training to transform the learning outcome into revenue.

  • Objective: What is the training designed to achieve?
  • Target group: Who is meant to be trained? What prior knowledge does my target group have? What information and which stories do they need?
  • Conceptual design: What type or combination of training is suitable?
  • Performance assessment: How do I define success? How and when do I measure it?
  • Training access: How can I simplify training access?
  • Learner motivation: How can my training design ensure that external partners enjoy the training process and retain the learned content?
RELATED CONTENT

Onboarding, slightly different

Onboarding can already be integrated into an existing LMS, but this benefit is hardly ever used.

We took a little trip into the (near) future to see what a successful onboarding process could look like.

Featured Image Business Case

Why the gains from an LMS outweigh its costs

A Learning Management System too expensive? Not if you use it in the right way! For most clients, an LMS pays for itself within a year. We tell you how to prove that with a Business Case.

LMS Hot Topics

Topics, Trends and Tools all around LMS.

More about our LMS

If you would like to learn more about imc's Learning Management System, check here for more information.

LMS Hot Topics

Contact person

I have been working in the Marketing & Communication Team at imc since March 2019.

Communication, creative content and social media are my passion. "KISS - Keep it short and simple" is my credo.

 

To explain complex content in an understandable way and thus make the topic of e-Learning accessible to everyone is an exciting challenge every day.

 

Privately I love to read, play poker and travel a lot.

I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions.

Photo of Nadine Kreutz
Nadine Kreutz
Communication Manager
lms hot topics E-Learning Glossar
LMS Hot Topics
Topics: Onboarding of the future

Science fiction or near future?

What effective onboarding might soon look like

28% of all new recruits quit within their trial period or even fail to turn up on their first day of work. Moreover, employees who receive poor induction are twice as likely to leave as employees who go through an effective onboarding process.

These figures by Haufe should alarm companies: Faced with the ongoing “War of Talents”, new hires are extremely time consuming and costly. Yet, a well-designed onboarding concept can be integrated directly into the existing learning management system (LMS).

To many LMS managers, some of the options available today sound like science fiction. That’s why we embarked on some onboarding time travel into the near future to experience what onboarding might look like.

The first few weeks are crucial for making new colleagues feel welcome in the organisation and helping them become part of the team, as this is the foundation for long-term company loyalty. This requires both empathy and clear onboarding processes. Even larger organisations with existing learning management systems that would provide an optimal infrastructure for efficient onboarding design are often unaware of the opportunities available.

This is why we are following our fictitious employee Hanna in this article to get a glimpse of her slightly different onboarding experience ...

AFTER SIGNING THE CONTRACT
Icon representing Retailer Qualification

Hanna is excited. She just signed the contract for her new job. She is leaving the big bank where she had been involved in investment advisory services for several years and completed many professional development courses. While most of these followed the traditional face-to-face format, some were delivered online – and often bored her to death.

She will handle similar tasks in her new job with her new employer and fears that she will have to chew through the same dull content all over again. After all, that’s what happened the last time she changed jobs. She lets out a sigh at the mere thought at yet another bog-standard first aid course. Hanna has been a certified first aider and fire protection assistant for years.

PRE-BOARDING WITH ROBBY

Exactly two weeks before her first day at work, a friendly email lands in Hanna’s inbox, asking her to join her new employer’s in-house learning management system. She is quite unsure what to make of that. Surely, they are not expecting her to work already?

Curiosity gets the better of her – and she is in for a surprise. Instead of the expected work assignments, a chatbot welcomes her who resembles a cross between Wall-E and R2D2. The assistant introduces himself as Robby and gives Hanna a virtual tour of her new office, introduces the other team members with a picture, and shows her where they sit. He also reveals her future email address and the (mobile) devices she can expect to find on her desk on her first day.

 

He asks how she plans to travel to the office, and whether she prefers public transport, car or changing it up. She chooses “both” and promptly receives an overview of all connections and parking options. Robby also shows her who will be sitting at reception on her first day and issue her access card.
The little chatbot then explains which communication tools are used in the company and which other tools Hanna will be working with. She is given the option to take a closer look at these tools before starting her job, but is informed that her manager will personally show her how to use them all in her first week.

Robby ends his tour with the words: “We are looking forward to welcoming you soon. If you have any further questions, simply launch a chat and I will be happy to help you!”

MOBILE SCAVENGER HUNT
Icon representing Effective Quality

The day of truth has arrived: The first day gets underway and Hanna is stumped. Armed with a smartphone, she is asked to team up with another colleague to complete some type of digital scavenger hunt through the company. When she passes certain offices, she receives a notification along the lines of: “Say Hi to Peter! Peter is responsible for your business trips and finances.”

 

In her new office, she meets the colleagues Robby had already introduced her to virtually, and she is asked to log into the learning management system from her workstation and complete a test. Instead of a typical mind-numbing multiple choice test, Robby greets her, guides her through the different departments and processes, and invites her to an interactive quiz. Even the training sessions on data protection, cyber security and first aid flow nicely.

When she states her qualifications as a first aider and fire protection assistant, she is asked to upload her certificate and given leave to skip all subsequent questions in this field. Robby also enquires directly whether he may add her as a first aider in the system. Hanna agrees.

 

The system also adapts to her current knowledge with the subsequent questions, and tailors them accordingly. When the program notices that Hanna already possesses sound knowledge in a field, it either asks more difficult questions or skips certain sections. At the end of the training session, Robby leaves her with the words: “Thank you for your support! I see you are already a real pro. I will adjust your onboarding plan and training accordingly.”

Indeed, Hanna learns only new contents in subsequent training sessions. She is asked to self-assess and is provided with a tailored concept aligned with her personal development goals. She is free to schedule her learning time at her leisure. Her superiors only set a deadline for completing all training units.

 

Even learning method and approach are tailored to her personal requirements. All training contents is available in various formats, and Hanna can select her preferred system. This involves no additional tests: The algorithm identifies the methods most suitable for Hanna based on the training units she has already completed, and suggests training units using a similar approach. If she doesn’t like them, she is free to switch to other formats at any time.

LEARNING ON DEMAND
Icon representing Knowledge approval Quiz apps

A few weeks into her job, Hanna suddenly stumbles on a question. She enters it on the intranet and is immediately referred to a matching training session. In addition to the specific training offer, she is also shown which colleagues could assist her with her query. Meanwhile, Hanna is shown as an expert for questions in her specialty areas.

 

Intuitive tools also let her create her own training sessions in minimal time. Templates are provided in the system, and she can choose between voice-to-text, typed entries, preparing presentations or creating diagrams. Content design is automated and the output is provided in a range of formats. Training is delivered in “learning nuggets”, that is smaller learning units no longer than three minutes each.

TARGET VS. ACTUAL
Icon representing Performance cards mobile learning

By now, Hanna’s profile is after three months filled with a wealth of information. She had already discussed the direction she would like her development to take with her manager in the initial weeks, and they identified the required competences and skills and how she can acquire them. In the next half year, she would like to further improve her English. She is also considering assuming technical management tasks.

To this end, she submitted her self-assessment which must be confirmed by her line manager. A skill profile based on this assessment was set up in the system, which shows target and actual scores. Every time Hanna creates or completes another training unit, the target score increases, and she can see which courses would help her achieve further improvements.

SKILLS-BASED JOB PROFILES

Hanna’s onboarding is complete after six months. She feels like she has arrived and is in good hands. Her line manager now sets up a meeting together with the head of her department. Hanna is slightly uneasy when she arrives for the meeting and wonders whether she had misjudged her achievement after all.

Instead, she finds out that a colleague in another department had unexpectedly handed in his notice. The skills match for the position showed that Hanna already met 80% of the job requirements. While she still needed training in employee management, her superiors are confident that she will master this quickly. Hanna accepts and is promoted after only half a year with the company.

...and in reality?

So far, so good. Which parts of this story are wishful thinking? Which aspects ring true in real life? No doubt, almost every scenario described is possible today - or will be very soon. Nevertheless, companies are only utilising a fraction of these options and opportunities. Creating a dedicated skills profile for each job, developing learning paths and linking these with competences or integrating learning on demand  takes time. Yet, investing in these topics – also in combination with skills-based job profiles – and integrating them into the onboarding process pays off, especially when facing skills shortages.
We therefore hope that Hanna’s story leaves the realm of science fiction and becomes reality soon.

 

Our eBook on competency-based learning  offers many helpful tips and, of course, we are happy to assist. Feel free to contact us directly on [email protected]

RELATED CONENT
Picture of Christian Mai
Courage to the LMS - even as SME!

Not only big companies should have the courage to go for a Learning Management System. In our interview Christian Mai from S&G Mercedes Benz, tells about his experiences with rolling out an LMS in a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME).

lms hot topics: stakeholder learning management system
Convincing stakeholders for an LMS

The success of introducing an LMS hinges on those responsible for the launch - and not under­estimating them. We have compiled some expert tips and a checklist to help you in convincing your stakeholders.

LMS Hot Topics

Topics, Trends and Tools all around LMS.

More information about the LMS

imc Learning Suite

If you would like to find our more about the Learning Management System of imc, please find all information here.

Contact

I have been working in the Marketing & Communication Team at imc since March 2019.

Communication, creative content and social media are my passion. "KISS - Keep it short and simple" is my credo.

 

To explain complex content in an understandable way and thus make the topic of e-Learning accessible to everyone is an exciting challenge every day.

 

Privately I love to read, play poker and travel a lot.

I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions.

Photo of Nadine Kreutz
Nadine Kreutz
Communication Manager
E-Learning Punk Talk E-Learning Trends blended learning
E-Learning Punk

Punky Talk #3: Katharina Kunz

The learning strategy expert demands: “Arrange your learning offer as a buffet!”

The third Punky Talk is all about blended learning. We welcome our guest Katharina Kunz. As a learning strategy expert, Katharina Kunz helps companies link learning content, systems and people to create a working learning ecosystem. She is appealing to all learning and development managers not to limit professional development to invitations for 4-course meals, but also offer a 24/7 learning buffet.

 

In our E-Learning Punk interview, Malte had already compared a successful blended learning solution to a balanced meal. Katharina picks up the thread right there and takes it one step further. She explains why we should look at the bigger picture of blended learning – the entire learning offer, rather than just one topic – and why a buffet offers greater flexibility, enabling us to create customised learning experiences on demand.

 

Enjoy watching!

Blurred Video Thumbnail

Um dieses Video sehen zu können, müssen die Marketing Cookies aktiviert werden. Klicken Sie auf den Playbutton, um diese zu akzeptieren. Mehr Informationen finden Sie in unserem Cookie Banner und in der Datenschutzerklärung.

Please accept marketing cookies to watch this video.

(Note: under "settings", you can turn on the English subtitles for this interview)

RELATED CONTENT
E-Learning Punk: Blended Learning E-Learning Trends

Blended Learning Recipe

 

Instructional Designer Malte Arend reveals to us what a successful Blended Learning solution has in common with the perfect pizza recipe.

E-Learning Punk: Picture of Roman Rackwitz, gamification expert E-Learning Trends

Punky Talk #2: Roman Rackwitz

 

Roman Rackwitz hhas already been named one of the top 10 gamification experts in the world. In the E-Learning Punky Talk, he discusses game-based learning, quiz-based learning and AI.

The trends of the education rebellion

E-Learning Punk is an article and talk series for all L&D Pros who want to dare something and believe that digital training has to be colourful and loud.

Contact person

Since 2014 I have been part of the marketing & communication team at imc. My heart beats for creative campaigns, exciting content and digital innovations. My goal is to make digital topics understandable and simple to the point. My passions besides my job are good books and sports.

 

I am always happy to receive feedback on the series at [email protected].

Photo of Vanessa Klein
Vanessa Klein
Senior Event and Communication Manager