LMS Hot Topics
Topic: LMS migration

Getting LMS migration right:
FAQ and checklist

When a new learning management system (LMS) is needed or an LMS provider vanishes from the market, sound advice is hard to come by. What other providers are there? And: How do they ensure that the existing data is migrated? What processes are needed for migration and activation? We compiled tips from industry experts, and summarised the key questions and answers in our FAQ checklist.

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What should I focus on when selecting a new provider?

The new provider should have sufficient experience in data migration and offer solutions that address each client’s actual needs, rather than pushing a one-size-fits-all approach. Since a 1-to-1 transfer can rarely be achieved, it is crucial to find a provider that offers appropriate consultations and understands the purpose of the different data bits to ensure these are translated to the new system.

Moreover, the migration should be tailored to the specific needs of the company. While this might be achieved with a standard migration in some cases, other scenarios will require the development of customised scripts.

How do migration to the cloud and on-premise migration differ?

If the new provider offers both solutions, the client should not notice a difference. While the actual data transfer works differently, this process would be handled by the provider.

How does the migration work?

Migrations happens in several phases. Andreas Pohl, Director Research & Development at imc recommends: “It generally helps to look at migration as a project in its entirety. In particular, this is important when installing new software in connection with the data migration. This combination is crucial if you want to continue working with the required data in the new system as soon as it goes live. We divide such a project into a total of ten phases.”

These are:

 

  1. Consultation, analysis and definition of the data to be migrated as well as processing
  2. Specification and documentation of the migration process/format
  3. Script development by the provider in accordance with the agreed specifications
  4. Data and file preparation by the client in accordance with the agreed specifications
  5. Running the scripts in the test environment*
  6. Error output into a log file*
  7. Quality control by provider and client*
  8. Data and scripts correction loop*
  9. Execution of actual migration in the production environment
  10. Final verification & sign-off

*In complex migration projects, steps 5-8 are carried out several times.

LMS migration
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What interfaces should the provider have access to?

An experienced provider will have dedicated migration and import scripts to execute the migration for the client efficiently and ensure the necessary data quality. At the very least, interfaces relevant for learning management systems should be available: e.g. SCORM, AICC, LTI, QTI, as well as proprietary REST-API or other constructs to integrate or feed third-party systems.

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What kind of data can actually be migrated?

In principle, (almost) all data can be migrated. The real question whether it’s useful and reasonable to migrate each data set. After all: Data doesn’t migrate itself. Migration involves costs, and needs precise planning and coordination. In an ideal scenario, migration is relatively straightforward for the following types of data:

 

  • User data
  • Learning history
  • Course and learning content
  • Training locations
  • Courses and programmes
  • Job profiles and competences or competence profiles
  • Test questions

When migrating data such as training and course history, the complexity of the content also matters. In some cases, standard processes can be used. However, if extensive information like certificate and competence allocation is linked, special scripts are required.

How long does it take to migrate my LMS?

There are three broad levels of migration projects. Level one would be a straightforward transfer of user data with learning history. This process can be completed within a week. Standard sets with import scripts are available for these cases, facilitating swift migration.

However, the greater the complexity of the system, the longer the migration process. That makes it difficult to specify a timeline without knowing the details. Generally speaking, three months can be realistic for data transfer to test stage.

The project duration also depends on other factors, and it is often not possible to estimate the time involved for each of them. These include:

  • Data complexity
  • Expected data volumes and their condition (data cleansing required or not?)
  • Dependency on functions not developed/configured yet
  • Development resources for scripts
  • and many more

To conclude, each migration requires excellent planning and preparation, as many factors need to be considered. Due to the dependency on external IT resources or third-party providers, it is important to document migration specifications at an early stage. If an involuntary change of provider makes migration necessary, data availability and access to the legacy system are even more crucial.

 

At first sight, this may seem like a big effort – but it soon pays off. Each change of provider is also an opportunity to leave legacy issues behind and implement improved processes. Above all, it pays to choose a provider with the necessary experience in the consultation, planning and implementation processes, who can also provide references for successful projects of a similar nature.

INFO

A legacy system refers to an established, historically grown application in the area of business software.

In case you have any further questions regarding  LMS migration, we're happy to provide more information.

To help you find the right provider, we also recommend our whitepaper on “4 steps to the right LMS – help with navigating the jungle of providers”.

RELATED CONENT
AI in corporate learning

Around the topic of artificial intelligence (AI) are many fears, anxieties and uncertainties. But what AI in the LMS can do and already does is mostly still unclear. We explain the most important terms and applications.

Onboarding slightly different

Already today, onboarding can be integrated into an existing LMS. But this is hardly ever used.

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

LMS Hot Topics

Topics, Trends and Tools all around LMS.

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 Topics
Topic: AI in Corporate Learning

Artificial Intelligence:
Useful tool in Corporate Learning or a complete loss of control?

What kind of influence does artificial intelligence (AI) have on learning management systems? Where and how is it being used already? And are all employees about to be continuously monitored by machines?

These are just some of the questions that are also on L&D specialists’ minds as they consider the potential applications of AI in learning systems. And that’s more than enough reason to take on some of these questions and look at them in greater detail.

Andreas Pohl
A lot of the fears related to the subject of AI are unfounded.
Andreas Pohl
Director Reasearch & Development
imc AG

When it comes to the topic of artificial intelligence, there are a lot of misgivings. Losing sensitive data and constant employee monitoring are only two examples, and learning experts are also having to confront these questions as they develop.

However, imc software expert and AI enthusiast Andreas Pohl thinks it’s important to put things into perspective: “A lot of the fears related to the subject of AI are unfounded. Sure, there absolutely are justified concerns regarding ethical issues that need to be clarified, but when it comes to our Learning Management System (LMS), customers don’t have to worry about the possibility of an evil AI suddenly stealing their data or something like that because it’s not a thing that can actually happen.”

To provide a better understanding of what AI really can and cannot do and how it is used in our LMS, we’ll go over the most important concepts and provide concrete examples of their use.

MACHINE LEARNING

What is machine learning?

The term is used to describe dynamic algorithms that are able to learn and improve by themselves in such a way that systems can recognize recurring patterns, develop solutions, or provide advice, for example. And the more data that is entered, the more accurate the corresponding predictions.

However, it’s absolutely imperative to define, in great detail, what data is relevant and which rules should be used to analyse data and recognize patterns. In other words, it requires for human beings to actively step in when it comes to the analysis of data and the actual decision-making process.

 

For more information, visit DeepAI.org.

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What is machine learning used for?

One typical example of a machine learning application is image recognition processes. If you teach a machine that a triangle always has three corners and a rectangle always has four, the program will recognize this. It’s important to point out, however, that very exact parameters need to be set up and that if an image doesn’t meet those exact parameters, it won’t be recognized sometimes.

Where in our LMS does machine learning take place?

A typical example consists of automatic recommendations similar to those used by Amazon: “You like A, so check out B.” This is the exact same principle used by the recommendation engines in learning management systems.

Basically put, a person chooses the course they want to take, and the system provides additional recommendations based on this. In fact, these recommendations can also be linked to the person’s learner profile, i.e., their position, their development goals, the courses they’ve already completed, etc.

And the more data that the underlying algorithm has, the better its recommendations will be. This is one of the classic applications of machine learning.

DEEP LEARNING

What is deep learning?

Deep learning is a subset of machine learning in which a machine is able to improve its abilities independently and without any human assistance. In contrast to machine learning, people do not influence deep learning results at all, and instead only make sure that the required information is available and that the relevant processes are documented.

In fact, the machine itself carries out the actual analysis and uses it to derive forecasts and/or decisions without assistance on the basis of neural networks, which are connected to each other in a manner that resembles the human brain. Ultimately, the machine is able to make decisions based on these connections.

Now, it’s important to point out that this requires an enormous amount of data, and that this type of data is not found in individual learning management systems.

 

For more information, visit DeepAI.org.

 

Icon representing Intuitive

What is deep learning used for?

One typical example of a machine learning application is image recognition processes. If you teach a machine that a triangle always has three corners and a rectangle always has four, the program will recognize this. It’s important to point out, however, that very exact parameters need to be set up and that if an image doesn’t meet those exact parameters, it won’t be recognized sometimes.

Where in our LMS does deep learning take place?

Generally speaking, using deep learning in learning management systems is still extremely difficult given the lack of sufficient data. In fact, in order to be able to analyse specific patterns and processes, learning platform vendors would have to analyse the data from various companies together, but this isn’t possible due to the fact that this data is subject to very strict data protection regulations and policies.

 

One concrete example of an area where deep learning algorithms could be used would be learning style recognition. With AI, this recognition could be much more efficient than it has been to date, as it would work uncoupled from manual input and tests.

In this scenario, a system would be able to automatically figure out a learner’s preferences and behavioural patterns and determine the correlation for the corresponding learning results. This means that, from a purely theoretical perspective, your LMS would be able to determine what your learning style is and recommend appropriate content for you based on that.

What is the reality?

In order for the system to be able to use the existing knowledge on how to use learning style recognition to provide appropriate recommendations, all learning contents would have to be available in various versions, that is, as text, images, video, games, or audio.

Needless to say, however, creating these individual contents would entail an enormous amount of time and money, so this approach has seldom been used to date in real-life applications. However, it’s reasonable to expect that these topics will be pretty important in the future, particularly in relation to improving learning efficiency and learning in the moment of need.

CONCLUSION

In other words, a lot of the fears that people have in relation to the topic aren’t really relevant, or at least not today. However, when it comes to the subject of learning and AI, it will admittedly be necessary to answer ethical questions regarding applications in the future.

Or as Andreas Pohl puts it: “I think we should see AI as an active tool for supporting people. Humans must always be in the foreground of everything, and every single system must provide customers with real added value, regardless of whether it uses AI or not. And at the end of the day, we can always turn any system or tool on or off.”

 

More about AI and how it can also be implemented in the onboarding process, you can find out in another article of LMS Hot Topics.

RELATED CONENT
Onboarding slightly different

Already today, onboarding can be integrated into an existing LMS. But this is hardly ever used.

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

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.

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] Virtual Classroom
E-Learning Punk

Rock 'n' roll in the virtual classroom

Let blackboard and teacher's desk shine in new splendour

Virtual lessons are booming. The reason couldn’t be more obvious. Hardly an article out there manages to get around the topic of corona. It pays to remember though that online classrooms offer a range of benefits beyond the crisis. Lugging around heavy textbooks is not the only thing the digital sphere has made redundant. Flexible teaching and learning independent of location, joining lessons from anywhere in the world, acquiring digital competences as you go are all notable advantages of virtual lessons. So much so, that we feel compelled to take a closer look at the topic of “virtual classrooms” in this edition of E-Learning Punk. After all, digital teaching deserves a little extra opulence and glamour.

What is a virtual classroom?

The term implies synchronous, digital lessons. You could say that “live” e-learning is taking place in the virtual classroom. This means that instructors and course participants are in a shared digital room where they all hear, see and experience the same – just as they would in a real room. In contrast to a webinar where participants primarily listen, a virtual classroom allows active participation in the lesson. The focus is on sharing and learning together.
FUNCTIONS

How does the virtual classroom work?

Various functionalities simulate optimal student-instructor interactions in the “virtual classroom”. We summarised the top 5 for you:
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Real-time communication

Thanks to video and audio functions, lesson participants can see and hear their instructors, and communicate with them in real-time. The virtual classroom facilitates exchange the same as a real classroom does.

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Interactive whiteboard

Interactive whiteboardThis is equivalent to working with a whiteboard, blackboard or presentation board. Students and instructors can use this tool to create and edit content together – just like in a real classroom. The collaboration is key here. It boosts the sense of community despite the physical separation.

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Virtual “hand raising”

By clicking on the virtual show of hands, a student indicates – as they would in a real classroom – that they have something to say or would like to ask a question. The instructor sees this and can let the student speak.

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Group rooms

Small group settings encourage a particularly intensive exchange and allow different issues to be examined in parallel. In the digital world, participants can be split up into smaller working groups by using “breakout rooms”.

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Additional communication options

For the digital world, this final point is the cherry on top: Additional functionalities like anonymous surveys encourage more honest feedback than you would receive at face-to-face events. Chats particularly help more reserved course participants.

TIPS & TRICKS

What should I pay attention to in the virtual classroom?

Many people are only discovering this whole new world of digital conferences and virtual lessons right now. Time and again, we hear about video calls in pyjamas, involuntary sideshows and embarrassing background motifs. While proper attire and a quiet environment should be obvious, we compiled three additional aspects you should ensure in the virtual classroom:

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Well-trained instructors

It is important that instructors familiarise themselves with the functionalities of the “virtual classroom” tools before the first lesson. They need to know where to find what they need when live and be able to keep an eye on the chat at the same time.

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Preparation

The course participants also need to be prepared for the new situation. Providing a technical support phone number and communication rules in advance will prove helpful.

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Didactic structure

A teaching concept and course materials tailored to the virtual sphere will come up trumps. It may help to schedule an introductory session to overcome digital anonymity. Available interactivity options should be utilised to the fullest throughout the entire lesson.

SOFTWARE

Which providers offer virtual classrooms?

There are various virtual classroom providers – ranging from freeware to comprehensive professional versions, depending on the required range of functionalities and the preferred focus. Let us introduce three popular professional providers:

Zoom: especially in English-speaking countries widely used. Around 96% of the leading US universities choose Zoom for their virtual and hybrid classrooms. If you would like to try Zoom: Meetings lasting up to 40 minutes with a maximum of 100 participants can be held free of charge.

 

Adobe Connect: flexible, multimedia web communications and collaboration system that lets you create, hold and manage e-learning courses, online training courses and virtual seminars.

 

Vitero: emerged as spin-off from the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO). The highlight: The user interface of the virtual classroom is based on the real world, representing a conference room where all participants are seated around the central workspace.

Directly integrating the virtual classroom into a learning management system (LMS) will help you facilitate a holistic virtual teaching and learning experience. This way, the virtual room can be booked directly via the LMS and participants can enter from the LMS. The LMS allows transparent tracking of attendance and learning successes. Vitero, for instance, can be integrated seamlessly into the imc Learning Suite.

 


That is why we’ll be speaking to Vitero in our next Punky Talk, and find out their tips for adding opulence and glamour to the virtual classroom.

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 vanessa.klein@im-c.com.
Photo of Vanessa Klein
Vanessa Klein
Senior Event and Communication Manager
E-Learning Punk Trends Immersive Learning Augmented Reality Virtual Reality
E-Learning Punk

Is coronavirus bringing immersive learning to the forefront?

Jennifer Fritz explains the potentials that virtual reality offers as the coronavirus crisis continues

Student exchanges in the US, a semester abroad in China – immersion, which can be described as switching to a completely different (language) environment, continues to be the most successful (language) learning method in the world, as well as the one with the most thorough research behind it. It’s no surprise then that virtual reality (VR), which is often mentioned in the same breath as augmented reality (AR), works much the same way.

INFO

While AR enhances our “true” reality with virtual elements, VR is instead designed to fully immerse us in a virtual world.

Needless to say, both immersion and virtual reality have become very relevant topics ever since the coronavirus crisis started. Just think of the number of people setting up Zoom or Skype meetings to stay connected and reduce the isolation that comes with social distancing as much as possible. Now think of the limits of these meetings when it comes to really making eye contact, branching off into one-on-one conversations, and even moving to a different room. That’s where VR can help.

 

Jennifer Fritz has worked as a learning concept designer, storyteller, and consultant for companies such as Virtual Identity AG and imc AG. Her passion is digital learning and teaching, and as a former member of the First German Business Association for Immersive Media (EDFVR), she knows that the future in this area belongs to virtual and augmented reality. In fact, she has seen a trend towards social virtual learning since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.

A key observation by the concept designer, storyteller, and consultant: “Now we’re suddenly doing things that would have been completely unimaginable just a few weeks ago.”

Hi Jenny! How would you describe the role of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in your day-to-day routine?

Jenny: Well, as you probably know already, both are incredibly exciting new technologies. What’s worth pointing out is the fact that they’re finally seeing some proper development nowadays, and so there’s a lot of room still left for experimenting. When it comes to my personal life, I really like using entertainment applications such as Wonderscope, for experiencing stories in AR, and Beat Saber, which is a rhythm game.

 

In addition, I also work with these technologies whenever it makes sense to do so in my projects. In fact, I can’t overstate just how strongly I believe that AR and VR are both opening entirely new possibilities in terms of learning and storytelling.

 

Now, there are still many clients who are not too keen on the costs or the technology at this point, but I think it’s important to point out that VR in particular can really help us deal with the isolation resulting from social distancing during the coronavirus crisis and give us that sensation of “being there” that you don’t really get when working from home. And it goes without saying that an obvious application is daily VR meetings, but it can also extend far beyond that and include things such as professional development training and even onboarding. Moreover, the importance of this becomes more obvious when we consider that people have now been working from home for weeks and that new employees keep being added, which means that companies that have already implemented VR onboarding training have a clear advantage.

This reference to onboarding is really interesting because, as you’ve pointed out, it’s a new and exciting area of application. Now, it’s probably reasonable to assume that most people think that VR is particularly well-suited to training for high-risk scenarios – what other kind of applications and scenarios are there?

Jenny: Well, like you’ve said, VR is ideal for simulating dangerous situations and processes with valuable raw materials. But it’s important to keep in mind that VR training also makes sense when not enough training stations are available.

 

And once again, I can point out a good example related to the current coronavirus pandemic, this time derived from the fact that it’s a high-risk situation for medical staff. More specifically, a new VR training system has recently been used to train 17,000 doctors and nurses for the COVID-19 pandemic, which is something that would have been completely impossible to do with traditional training given the number of people. Most hospitals are overburdened and don’t really have capacity for urgently needed training, so a virtual space made it possible for the training participants to get their bearings in regard to the new coronavirus reality without having to put their own health, or that of their patients’, at risk. And on top of that, using virtual reality meant that valuable PPE was conserved. So if you think about it, this is a perfect example of every single factor in a single scenario: Compensating for insufficient training stations, conserving crucial raw materials, and providing safe training for a hazardous situation.

 

It’s also important to note that we’re seeing new scenarios that seem to be viable to various degrees arise on almost a daily basis right now. Needless to say, high-risk scenarios and limited capacity have been firmly established as cases where virtual reality training makes sense, but we’ll see others be confirmed as well with time. As I mentioned earlier on, social distancing makes it very likely that we’ll see – at least temporarily – areas in which VR training will replace what would normally have been in-person training, such as communication skills and sales.

You mentioned concerns about cost earlier on. Aren’t AR and VR learning methods incredibly expensive in terms of hardware and content creation? How can someone decide whether it’s really worth it?  

Jenny: With the Oculus Quest’s launch a few months ago, we now have a headset on the market that offers full mobility in a virtual environment and that doesn’t need a PC or external tracking elements – all at a price of 400 euros. This saves additional costs that would normally be associated with equipment, and the head-mounted display (editor’s note: AR glasses) is easy to use. In other words, we have an affordable option for the HMD at least.

 

Now, in regard to content creation, it really comes down to what the company in question wants, and we’re talking from real 360° photos to highly complex 3D animations – I honestly think there’s an option for every budget out there by this point. Basically put, the market has stabilized. Of course, however, it’s important to consider that virtual reality training is really only worth it beyond a certain number of users, which is why it’s absolutely necessary for companies to sit down with the relevant service provider before beginning a project and analyse the target group, the specific needs, and the general conditions involved. This would then yield a recommendation on which format and which technology to use.

What are some important considerations when designing VR and AR experiences? Do you have any specific tips?

Jenny: Well, it goes without saying that it’s important to draw several firm distinctions here. AR is used on a multitude of devices ranging from smartphones and tablets to smartglasses, so the size of the device really matters. One thing that people should always do, however, is to make sure that their applications aren’t too difficult to use regardless of whether they’re using gestures or touch. Controls need to be clear and easy to use, and there’s hardly anything as frustrating as not knowing how to make progress when taking a training course. Another thing worth considering is that voice control and a generous use of audio and audio effects can be very good ideas for both technologies. In fact, even music can be ideal depending on how cinematic the end product should be.

 

Having said all that, there is one nugget of wisdom from “normal” e-learning that remains intact for these two new technologies too: Interactivity maximizes learning. In other words, it’s important to give the person taking the course regular opportunities to explore and try things out and interact with the course contents and the learning environment.

What should we keep in mind when introducing AR/VR – in terms of the target group, for example? Would it be true that the younger and more familiarized with digital tools, the better?

Jenny: I know as many “young people” without an affinity for digital tools as “old people” with that affinity. I think it’s less a question of age than of wanting to do it. However, incorporating a phase for getting used to things and a tutorial at the beginning of a training program is never a bad idea.

 

On top of this, it’s important to remember that HMDs weigh a certain amount and that the duration of the course should usually be shorter than normal due to this.
And finally, it’s absolutely crucial to make sure it’s not just a one-time gimmick to be all cool and cutting edge. If someone really wants to use XR learning, it’s important to make a long-term commitment and consult with a professional to identify the learning scenarios that make sense, the devices that should be used, and the way that implementation and maintenance should work.

In addition to a phase for getting used to things and tutorials, are there any other tips you can offer for improving the willingness of students and trainees to use AR/VR learning applications?

Jenny: I think that’s happening by itself right now, to tell you the truth. The exigencies arising from the coronavirus pandemic have essentially made people much more willing to try out new things. In fact, Google Classrooms with VR are enjoying a surge of popularity right now, and we’re seeing less obvious solutions as well, such as people moving their travel plans to their VR headsets due to the lack of other options. And many others are now going to the museum or theatre with (web) VR applications. Now we’re suddenly doing things that would have been completely unimaginable just a few weeks ago.

 

Now, it’s worth mentioning that what has worked particularly well for me is introducing the new technology in a very relaxed and casual way. Simply bring the VR headset and let the person put it on and try out a couple of simple applications and they just usually realize right away that the technology can be fun and is nothing to be afraid of. And, of course, having an advocate team within the company that knows its stuff and can answer questions can be really helpful when introducing things.

What are some current trends in the field of immersive learning and where are things headed?

Jenny: I think the most solid trend is probably that the coronavirus crisis has resulted in a new push towards joint virtual learning. And both social learning and virtual reality were already on every single trend list before the pandemic started, but now we’re seeing a move towards social virtual learning. I think we’re definitely going to see a bunch of new products hit the market in the next few months.

 

I also think that we’re going to see a greater integration of WebVR snippets into “normal” training courses, as that’s a great way to test the waters with this new trend.

 

 

Thank you very much for the exciting interview, Jenny!

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 vanessa.klein@im-c.com.
Photo of Vanessa Klein
Vanessa Klein
Senior Event and Communication Manager
lms hot topics E-Learning Glossar
LMS Hot Topics
Topic: Stakeholder management

Who is meant to pay for all that?!

Overcoming typical arguments against LMS and convincing your stakeholders

The introduction of a learning management system (LMS) is a landmark decision with lasting effect on company processes. Its success hinges on those responsible for the launch taking due account of their stakeholders - and not underestimating them. Each department has unique interests, requirements and perspectives.

 

Failure to involve data protection officers, works councils or the HR department in the initial stages can, for example, result in avoidable delays and unnecessary conflict. This makes it crucial to integrate stakeholders into the project early on. We have compiled some expert tips and a checklist to help you on your way.

EXPERT TIPS

The real work only starts with the decision to implement a learning management system. After a long fight for a decision, those involved are often highly motivated and want to get started on the provider selection and realisation as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, this frequently means that they forget to involve key stakeholders within their organisation in due time. If responsibilities, requirements and potential risks are not discussed at an early stage, and other departments and employees are left out of the loop, problems are almost a given.

Florian Casper, imc Data Protection Officer, cautions against ignoring stakeholders: "It is extremely important to know your interest groups and involve them early on. Works councils, data protection officers and IT departments all bear a lot of responsibility in relation to the processing of personal data. That makes it even more upsetting for these functions if they are presented with a done deal.

We have experienced on numerous occasions that LMS implementation projects come to a halt, because these stakeholders were not informed about the planned procurement. Early and transparent involvement of these functions helps to avoid unnecessary internal conflicts, ensures smooth and straightforward project execution and also prevents high additional costs that would be incurred through project delays or abortions."

Elisabeth Schulze Jaegle equally emphasises the importance of getting stakeholders on board from the outset. The independent expert for digital learning and agile learning designs often acts as a mediator between different interest groups and recommends early talks.

 

Especially in relation to the works council, she advises: "Successful LMS implementation for the long term can only be achieved in close and fair cooperation with co-determination parties, i.e. the works council. Especially in relation to the processing of personal data, the works council has a great say. It should be actively involved from the beginning, and can also be a strong partner for personnel development."

Clarifying the following questions in advance will help you prevent unnecessary conflict and delays:

  1. Who are my stakeholders?
  2. What potential concerns might arise in the implementation of the LMS?
  3. What are the counter-arguments?
  4. Who should be informed when?
STAKEHOLDER CHECKLIST
Management team/ investors

Typical argument
LMS involves costs, but does not generate profit. A good LMS helps users work notably more efficient and promote talents. This drives progression for the organisation. Costs are lowered in the long term.

 

Response
The outcome for the organisation is also determined through learning analytics. That means learning happens not just for the sake of learning, but in line with KPIs.

 

Timing and manner of information
The management team or investor makes the decision. It must approve the project and costs. You should therefore provide information on planned steps and realised milestones.

Tip: Create a business plan early on, and list effects for the organisation – ideally with clear KPIs (financial and efficiency indicators) rather than relying on soft factors.

HR department

Typical argument
1. Resources for the management of such a system are not available.

2. Employees (especially older ones) will not accept the system.

 

Response
1. Training already takes place today => There are no additional costs. On the contrary: An LMS facilitates decentralised organisation, as opposed to central administration involving individuals.

2. A good LMS can be adapted to the requirements of different user groups. Simple and intuitive operation also motivates older employees.

 

Timing and manner of information
The HR department is a central contact and should already be consulted when choosing the provider to clarify which data and interfaces are required.

Especially for internal HR and personnel development processes, the HR department should be involved at an early stage.

The system owner question should be given due consideration => It is often assumed that the HR department is the system owner per se. However, a dedicated L&D department is established in most professionalised organisations, which assumes responsibility for HR development.

Works council

Typical argument

1. Employees are constantly monitored and controlled.

2. Employees are not given enough time for digital learning.

 

Response

1. A professional LMS compliant with European data protection regulations facilitates customised configuration as required in works agreements. This allows the works council to define the data to be generated together with the internal project participants and the provider. The works council can also be involved in any communication including the releases.

2. A well-designed LMS concept saves employees unnecessary training courses, and develops them in line with their personal goals.

 

Timing and manner of information

The works council should be informed during the selection process for the provider in order to define the catalogue of requirements together with other stakeholders.
A workshop (ideally not linked to a specific provider) with an expert who can explain terminology and present the opportunities of e-learning in general and/or specifically in an LMS is recommended.

Remember: The works council has a legal right to stop the entire project!

IT

Typical argument

Available human resources do not stretch to implementation, maintenance and support requests.

 

Response

A good LMS has standardised interfaces that facilitate easy integration into the existing IT infrastructure. A professional service provider offers ongoing support. Intuitive operation prevents excessive support requests.

Cloud-based systems also simplify project design and minimise the use of IT resources.

 

Timing and manner of information

The IT department should be consulted during the provider presentation and before the interfaces are defined. Also check, whether fundamental IT guidelines (security, cloud, etc.) exist which must be furnished to the provider in the selection process.

Subsequent support must also be clarified with IT (e.g. Who handles 1st level support?)

Data protection officer

Typical argument

Sensitive employee data is collected. An LMS is not secure enough.

 

Response

A well-designed authorisation concept prevents data getting into the wrong hands. A serious cloud provider will guarantee compliance with data protection provisions. If an on-premise solution were selected, data would always remain within the organisation.

 

Timing and manner of information

The data protection officer has an advisory and supporting role. They should be consulted before the contract is awarded to review the processing of personal data from a holistic perspective, and be given the opportunity to voice any concerns.

They can also help to select a suitable operating model, and prepare the documents needed for data protection issues or requirements together with IT Security and the provider.

End user

Typical argument

I get lost in the system if left to my own devices. I don’t have time for e-learning.

 

Response

User-friendly design ensures intuitive operation. Micro-learning nuggets available on mobile devices facilitate learning on the job – during regular working hours.

 

Timing and manner of information

This group is often left out, even though employees are the very people for whom the LMS is introduced. That is why you should inform your employees about the planned implementation and keep them in the loop.

Many concerns and uncertainties can be avoided through targeted communication and training in advance.

SUMMARY

Above all, Elisabeth Schulze Jaegle recommends looking at each stakeholder - especially the works council - as a partner and promoter of learning culture and learning offers, rather than a stumbling block and time waster.

 

We all know: If key interest groups within an organisation are in favour of a project, this has a crucial impact on acceptance levels in general. Thus, open and early communication is the foundation for successful LMS implementation.

RELATED CONENT
Photo of Ioana Precu
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).

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The big e-learning glossary

WBT, SCORM, Predictive Analytics, Blended Learning - uh, what? The first two articles in this series are a glossary for those who have felt lost in the e-learning jungle of abbreviations and technical terms.

 

LMS Hot Topics

Topics, Trends and Tools all around LMS.

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 topics E-Learning Glossar
LMS Hot Topics
Topic: Modern software training

Stop boring software-trainings!

Let's not kid ourselves. Nobody wants dreary and uninspiring training and only very few are fully motivated when they hear that a Learning Management System (LMS) is involved.

If then unclear task and team structures are added, the enthusiasm  is ultimately gone.

 

This is exactly where Sarah Hillmann wants to help. She has been working for imc in Melbourne for over four years as a Business Consultant and Training Specialist. One of her main tasks is to introduce customers to the IMC Learning Suite, the company's own LMS, in an informative and entertaining way.

In this interview, she talks about challenges opportunities, and the mistakes customers should avoid before purchasing a Learning Management System (LMS).

Photo of Sarah Hillmann

Interview partner

Sarah Hillmann

Consultant & Trainings Specialist at imc in Melbourne, Australia

INTERVIEW
Hello, Sarah, glad you're here. You've completely revamped the concept of imc Learning Suite training. How is it going so far? What did you change?

The old training consisted in a three-day training course with everyone who will later work with the LMS as administrator in different roles. It must be said that the administrators are, for example, HR employees or working in other specialist departments, i.e. people without an IT background.

Some of them see such a system for the first time during the training, which can be a bit intimidating. They have the fear or even expectation that they would have to learn everything about the LMS within three days; which is of course completely unrealistic. The training sessions themselves then consisted mainly of lots of slides, which was a bit of a blow for many customers.

 

My goal was to pick up the customer where he is and familiarise him with the system step by step. For this purpose, I developed the "Learning Suite Champion Path", which is held directly in the LMS and consists of several steps.

How exactly is the newly designed training now structured?

At the beginning, the customer receives a welcome e-mail with all information about the next training courses and a link to our customer portal. Next, there will be a kick-off webinar for training planning with all administrators. Here we will ask what the priority are, what the expectations are and what the admins' areas of responsibility are.

It is very important that really every single future Learning Suite Champion is present, who will later work with the system, so we can truly optimize the training.

Often customers cannot really estimate in advance which functions they need. In addition, prior to the training there was often only contact with the project manager, who sometimes has different ideas than the training participants.

Afterwards, the participants have time to explore the customer portal, the "Learning Connect Academy". There is an online course which prepares them as well as possible for the Basic Training. The course includes a video series, exercises, quizzes, training slides and other useful documents.

This is where a change of perspective takes place, so to speak, and the person who later creates or enters training courses slips into the role of the learner. This enables administrators to better structure learning paths and create tailor-made content. The participation in this course is the basis for all further trainings and the course can also be watched again, in case personnel changes and new admins must be trained.

 

A little later the Basic Training will follow. This stretches over two days of face-to-face courses in which we look at and explain the system together with the customer. This is not without theory, because the customer must understand and master the most important functions and features of the Learning Suite. However, there are always practical exercises.

After the Basic Training we offer a final webinar. In terms of time, this should not be held immediately after the Basic Training, so that the information can settle down and the participants have enough time to explore the LMS themselves and to practice.

This last webinar is virtually a scenario-based workshop in which we work with the customers to find out which individual learning scenario is best suited for them and which functions they can use to create it.

In summary, the main learning objective of the Basic Training is to be able to create and manage learning content. The future champions should then be able to know the functions and the system to such an extent that they feel confident to explore it on their own.

ADVANCED SESSIONS
What happens when the admins have mastered all the basics?

In addition to the Basic Training, which in the future every customer will receive automatically, there is the Advanced Training, which can be held either as face-to-face training or web session. In the Advanced Training, we look at a specific customer scenario, take another close look at the functions that can be used for this purpose and work out a solution together with the team.

Let's say, the customer would like to be trained in blended learning strategy. Then we consider together with the customer how we can best approach the topic and which functions are best suited for its implementation. I give tips and try to provide inspiration and best practice examples. In many cases, the customer doesn't know exactly what he/she needs or better: what is available.

My colleagues and I, therefore, act more as sparring partners than trainers for the customer in these sessions. Often there are many paths that lead to the goal and we must find out which path is best suited for the particular customer.

Are these new trainings only available for new customers, or also for existing ones?

Partly. The Advanced Trainings can also be booked by existing customers. We are currently in the process of rolling out the training worldwide and the consultants in all countries are now beginning to orient themselves to the new strategy.

Each consultant can adapt the training flexibly, because not every customer is the same and some projects are significantly more complex than others. We are therefore eagerly awaiting feedback from colleagues and, of course, customers.

PRICING & CUSTOMER SUPPORT
What does it all cost? Are there fixed prices per course, or can packages be booked?

For new customers the Basic Trainings are included in the price. Existing customers can request training packages or individual courses in the Learning Connect Portal and then receive an offer. This depends on the complexity of the topic, because individual topics can be approached very differently.

 

There is also a consulting package that is very flexible. For example, we held 1.5-hour web sessions a week for three months with a major customer here in Australia, and in these sessions, we addressed exactly those topics where the customer needed support and presented the corresponding functions and features.

What are the biggest challenges for you as a trainer and for the customer?

e challenge for us is to make a boring software training course as exciting and intuitive as possible. The customer should have fun and we must convey our knowledge in such a way that the logic of the system becomes clear and the customer also knows how versatile and flexible the system is.

But such a high degree of flexibility also requires a very high degree of complexity. This is an opportunity on the one hand, but also a challenge for every admin on the other. Therefore, it is also part of our task to take away the fear of the system from the customer.

To what extent does the Learning Connect Portal continue to support the customer after the training sessions?

The portal is our knowledge platform, so to speak. Apart from course bookings and courses themselves, customers can also watch various videos, read release notes and find out everything about upcoming webinars. The portal is a kind of Wikipedia for the LMS and has a catalogue function that can be used to search for functions.

In addition, customers can exchange information among themselves in the admin forum. It happens often that a customer can help another customer because he/she has had a similar problem before. This is extremely helpful and valuable.

TIPS & TRICKS
Can you tell us your top 3 tips for all those who want to buy an LMS?
  1. Define requirements: The first and most important thing for me: You must know which requirements your LMS has to fulfil. How complex are my scenarios? It depends on this question how complex the LMS must be.
    The more flexibly the system can map processes, the more complex it is, of course. Here you have to think carefully about what you need. When in doubt, you should also get advice on this, otherwise you will end up with a system that is either too complex or cannot meet your requirements.
  2. Clarify care and support: The second would be to pay attention to how well you are looked after. How do the training courses run, what does the support look like, and generally how am I guided through the implementation?
  3. Define team building and responsibilities: This may not seem obvious at first glance, but I think it's very important. Often admin teams are thrown together wildly, and it is not clear who is responsible for what.
    For example, who is the system owner and contact person for other administrators? If the team is not clearly defined, misunderstandings occur again and again, which in the end also cost unnecessary time and money.
What would be your wish for the future regarding imc training?

I would like to implement our blended learning strategy even better in order to train customers in the best possible way. I would like us to continue standardizing training on a global level and to be known not only for our products and projects but also for our training.

Sarah Hillmann is developing new training methods to help imc's customers get to know the Learning Management System in a more interactive and playful manner.

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Picture of Christian Mai
Courage to the LMS - also as SME!

Not only big companies should have the courage to go for a Learning Management System (LMS). 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).

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LMS Hot Topics

Topic, trends and tools all around LMS.

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 topics E-Learning Glossar
LMS Hot Topics
Topic: LMS and SME – does that fit?

Courage to the LMS!

Why SMEs and Learning Management Systeme do fit together

-A practical example-

Let's be honest, when you hear Learning Management Systems (LMS), you will think: "Much too expensive", "not affordable for us anyway", or: "We don't have enough personnel for it". Sound familiar? Don't worry, you're in good company. Many customers, above all small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) share exactly the very same doubts.

 

The example of SundG Automobil AG shows why the purchase is still worthwhile. The world's oldest Mercedes Benz dealer has been using imc's LMS for its 1,300 employees since 2016.

In an interview, Christian Mai from S&G, reports on his experiences with the implementation, gives practical tips and explains why an LMS can even increase the appreciation of employees within the company.

Picture of Christian Mai

Interview partner

Christian Mai

Mainly responsible for Learning Management System at S&G

INTERVIEW
Hello Mr. Mai, thank you for your time. First question: What does good e-learning mean to you?

An opportunity to give employees knowledge they enjoy and what they not only see as a duty, but what makes them feel entertained and what they like to do. Good e-learning should also offer a change from the normal working day.

When it comes to the introduction of LMS, many companies, especially medium-sized ones, are still sceptical. Why did S&G decide to do this?

On the one hand, we wanted to show that we are moving with the times and are open to new technologies. On the other hand, there were of course also very practical reasons. We have around 1,300 employees at 19 locations and wanted to provide fast, direct information across locations without email traffic.

 

Sometimes it was also the case that employees travelled from location to location to hold training courses, which was neither up-to-date nor efficient. In addition, some employees were informed directly by their superiors about individual training courses, which led to a certain "dispersion loss". It was also never exactly known whether messages were received and read.

Basically, we simply wanted to bundle the whole topic of training and at the same time meet our obligations to provide evidence in respect of training on topics such as money laundering, compliance and data protection. But we also had other concrete problems that we wanted to solve.

Screensho S&G
...Which ones were there?

Very practical things, for example we have employees who work in the workshop (garage) and don't have their own PC. But they also have to access the LMS, which we call "Learning World", and above all cope with it.

In addition, before "Learning World" was introduced, employees were unable to register for classroom courses on their own. This was a rather complicated process, but it could be replaced by the LMS.

We underestimated how time-consuming the administration of "Learning World" would be
What were the special challenges during the introduction of the LMS?

What we really underestimated, on the one hand, was how time-consuming the administration of "Learning World" would be. On the other hand, it was difficult to find out which employees would actually be able to design visually appealing training courses.

 

With the Content Studio, which is included in the LMS, it is relatively easy to create training courses yourself, but they still must be created by someone with the appropriate expertise. Previously it was simply that PDFs were created for training courses and sent to the participants, but with the introduction of "Learning World" and its possibilities, the requirements have naturally grown, also of a graphical nature.

What kind of courses do you produce with the Content Studio?

At the moment we mainly use classical presentations with speech synthesis. We once tried to record our own voices to make the whole thing more personal, but that was too time-consuming.

Then we started to use Content Studios artificial voice tool again, and now we're getting away from them. We found out that it simply isn't suitable for many of our employees to have a training with sound, because they can't play it anyway. If, for example, a salesman is sitting in the salesroom, the loud playback disturbs the colleagues. But sitting with headphones does not make a good impression on customers. It's also difficult for fitters who travel a lot.

Since automotive mechatronics technicians, service consultants and sales staff are our three largest professional groups, we tend to get away from speech synthesis in these groups.

How does the creation of training content work?

Originally, we had appointed a total of 20 authors from various fields. However, we have now reduced this number to five to six people, because we have noticed that it makes more sense to have fewer people who have more practice in creating the training. We now have the authors and those responsible for the content.

 

The authors coordinate the trainings with the responsible persons, check them and determine for which employee group the training should be obligatory. Then all the training sessions come to me, I check the framework conditions, such as compliance with the corporate identity, test on various end devices and then transfer the whole thing into Learning World.

We had to learn what each individual employee group needed
How did you train the authors?

The authors first received a two-day workshop from imc. That was a very good basic framework, but afterwards it was still a lot of learning by doing. We strongly supported each other and gathered a lot of feedback from the staff. That was very important for us, because we first had to learn what each individual employee group needed individually.

 

If, for example, it was self-explanatory for me to have to click on an arrow at the bottom right to go any further, it might not have been clear to an older employee from the assembly department. So, we had to get to know our target group and their needs and adapt the training specifically.

Which function of the LMS do you use most?

For us, automated assignment is something that saves a lot of time and administration. When each user is created, they aresorted into a specific group according to their activity. Depending on which user group, i.e. which department they are in, they are automatically registered for certain courses. The system is linked to our SAP and if, for example, a new trainee joins, he is automatically assigned to the "Trainee" group and the corresponding courses are automatically booked for him.

Some courses are also mandatory for all employees, such as fire protection, data security or first aid training. There are also specialist training courses, some of which build on each other. Only if the new trainee has passed course A, in order to stick to the example, can he start course B, and so on.

The supervisor can also see when he has completed the courses and can determine when each course must be completed. The trainee can, however, decide flexibly when he wants to take the course and whether he prefers to take it in one go or on several days.

Smaller companies can react more flexibly and are closer to our employees
How is the acceptance of Learning World with your employees?

Very high almost throughout. We first had an official information event where Learning World was presented. In addition, our Executive Board, which was really behind the project from the very beginning, was personally very committed to it and, for example, talked about it again and again at works meetings. He also said to me once in fun: "If there are complaints, just refer the people directly to me".

With such a project a strong backing helps immensely and, in my opinion, this is also an advantage of SMEs. We can react more flexibly and are closer to our employees than is the case with large corporations.

 

But what was also extremely important for the acceptance of Learning World was to make it clear that we don't want to impose any additional work on the employees, on the contrary we want to save them work and paperwork. Although there are still a few sceptics who don't like these "new-fangled things", on the whole we received very positive feedback. Especially when the employees find out that it is the company's own colleagues who create the trainings, they find it great and are proud of our "S&G products".

Could the system in general meet your expectations?

Mostly yes. What we wanted above all was a reduction in paperwork and bureaucracy. The paperwork has really improved a lot, but we still have to struggle with the bureaucracy and the right settings.

But what is definitely already there is a significant time saving, since we were able to convert many classroom training sessions into online courses. In addition, the automated assignment of training courses and instructions saves us a lot of mail and time.

Would you say afterwards that you underestimated the introduction of the system?

As a company, probably yes, as is often the case with large projects. Things are always added or interfered with that you haven't taken into account. In the beginning we didn't really know what possibilities there were and what we could do with the LMS.

 

As a person, however, I think I assessed it reasonably realistically, but only joined the project when the decision had already been made. I am an automotive salesman and worked in the human resources department of S&G. I also studied business administration and business psychology. My boss, however, wanted there to be a person with the main responsibility who already knew the company, so he brought me into the project team in 2017.

 

Therefore, because I am not a computer scientist, I had great respect for the topic and the scope. In the meantime, I've worked my way into it quite well and most of it runs relatively smoothly. Of course, there are always minor problems that you can't see coming before.

What would you like to use the system for in the future?

There are some topics that we still want to integrate. One example would be induction concepts for employees according to activity groups, which are currently still controlled manually by their superiors. In some cases, signatures have to be obtained from the instructing employees. That would be an idea to represent this process digitally.

But quality management topics that are currently still on the intranet could also be linked to further reduce administrative effort.

If you had a wish for a good LMS fairy godmother, what would that be?

I am now used to it, but when I started working with the LMS, I, as someone with no IT background, found it was not really intuitive at first. There are so many masks and possibilities that I felt a bit exhausted. For each small topic you have to open new buttons and enter new terms.

In the meantime I have developed my routine and found my way around, but in the beginning I would have liked the system to have been more self-explanatory.

Finally, do you have any concrete tips on what a company should bear in mind when introducing an LMS?

Difficult question, there is a lot! It starts with the question of whether you control the whole system centrally, as we do, with regard to organisation and administration. Then you have to think carefully about how the authors should work and who should become an author at all.

Here you have to weigh very carefully and the basic question you have to ask yourself is: Do I want employees to create courses that are already familiar with the processes and structures of the company, but first have to be didactically integrated, or do I hire someone who has the technical, didactic background, internal structures for it does not know.

 

Also very important and to be clarified at the beginning is the question of the main responsible person and contact person. This is not only essential for system implementation, but also plays an important role for employees and acceptance. Employees need to know who to turn to when they have questions. In my opinion, it makes little sense to appoint different contact persons, for example, one who is responsible for the design, the other for the content of the training courses, and so on. It is better to have a person in charge who is centrally in charge.

But you have to be aware that the introduction of an LMS, like all major projects, is always associated with certain difficulties and never goes smoothly.

Thank you very much for the exciting discussion, the good tips and continued success with the optimisation!

ABOUT S&G
Logo S&G

SundG Automobil AG is the oldest Mercedes Benz dealer worldwide. Since 2016, the company has been using imc Learning Suite for its 1300 employees.

Image of the S&G Showroom
Image of the S&G Showroom
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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 topics E-Learning Glossar
LMS Hot Topics
Topic: E-learning glossary, part 2

The big e-learning glossary - part 2

Lost in LMS and WBT? The e-learning glossary helps!

Welcome to the second part of the big e-learning glossary! Missed part 1? Check out part 1 here. Let's go on with

 

Part 2: From Learning Nugget to xAPI

L
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 platform or 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.

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.

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 in terms of time and location. Mobile Learning modules are typically designed for a smaller screen size, and easy navigation.

More about Mobile Learning.

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.

O
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
Predictive Analytics

Modern learning management systems contain integrated evaluation mechanisms, so-called learning analytics, in order to map the learning behaviour of employees on the basis of complex data sets. Learning analytics helps training managers to evaluate large amounts of data and use them as a basis for decision-making. For example, learning needs and difficult learning topics, i.e. the "blind spots" of learners, can be identified.

S
SCORM

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

Serious Game, also 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. A further development of the SCORM standard is xAPI.

More about Serious Games.

Social Learning

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

More about Social Learning.

V
Video-based Learning

This type of training is the generic term for learning through videos. Videos can be designed and animated in different ways to contextualise learning, or directed by real people 'characters' who guide learners through a topic, which is also known as 'explainer videos'. Another example of video-based learning is the interactive video.

More about Video-based Learning.

W
Web-based Training (WBT)

Unlike computer-based training, no specific software is required. Instead, the user logs into the respective portal, program or website. This is also known as eLearning.
More about Web-based Story Training.

X
xAPI, also Experience API or Tin Can

xAPI is often seen as a further development of SCORM. In principle, learning content and learning 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 ways of learning xAPI tracks 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).

We hope to shed some light on the subject with this overview. Do you have any questions, additions or suggestions? Then feel free to write to us!

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Topics, trends and tools all around LMS.

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 topics E-Learning Glossar
LMS Hot Topics
Topic: E-learning glossary, part 1

The big e-learning glossary -
part 1

Lost in LMS and WBT? The e-learning glossary helps!

LMS, SCORM, WBT, EPSS, CBT, SCORM, ITS!? Lost in e-learning abbreviations? Digital learning is teeming with cryptic terms, mostly not self-explanatory technical terms and terms that mean the same thing but are called differently.

In this series we shed some light on the subject and have compiled the most important terms and abbreviations in an e-learning glossary.

Part 1: From Adaptive Learning Systems to Interactive Video

A
Adaptive learning systems, also: Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS)

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

Adventure Game, also called Learning Game, see Serious Game
Author System or Authoring System/ Content Authoring Tool

An authoring tool is a development tool for 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, or with an advanced tool, a full interactive module. No programming knowledge is required for an authoring system.

More about authoring systems.

B
Bespoke content, also Custom content, check Individual content
Blended Learning

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

More about blended learning.

C
Conversational Learning, also: 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 ques that are missing from digital training tools.

More about Conversational Learning.

Custom content or bespoke content, check individual content
E
Electronic Performance Support System (EPSS)

An EPSS supports just-in-time 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 process without the aid of colleagues.

More about Electronic Performance Support.

Extended Enterprise

An extended enterprise means a company that needs to train, for example, franchisees, external service providers, brokers, etc. Such training, often mandatory, can be tackled strategically and efficiently using an integrated automation process built into an existing LMS.
More about Extended Enterprise and Standard Content.

G
Game-based Learning

The term Game-based Learning refers to the appearance and the visual presentation, for example within a serious game. A learning environment must be created that is attractive for the user, in which he can develop further and in which he can gain positive learning experiences.

More about Game-based Learning.

Gamification

This term refers to player motivation. Gamification elements within a serious game can be scores that are displayed to the learner and allow him to compare himself with other players. Further gamification elements are badges and badges, which are awarded after completed tasks.

I
Intelligent Tutoring Systems, IST, see Adaptive Learning Systems
Individual content

Individual content is developed tailor-made for a customer and can appear in various formats, e.g. as a serious game, web-based training or interactive video.

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 sees and learns.

Could we enlighten you? For more aha-moments check out the second part as well!

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Topics, trends and tools all around LMS.

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
Photo of imc colleagues
Job Slot
Unique people. Random questions.

Career hoppers welcome!

What it really takes to become
a concept designer

“Two thirds of you will at some point work in a job that you currently don’t even know exists.” This statement by his former German studies professor hit the nail on the head for Philipp Schossau. After graduation, he applied for a position as a concept designer with an e-learning provider.

Today, his awesome job title at imc is Instructional Designer. However, that didn’t really change his role. In this interview, he reveals what exactly his job entails, the skills it calls for and why he considers it a privilege.

Photo of PhilippSchossau
PHILIPP SCHOSSAU

Job | Concept/ Instructional Designer
Works in | Essen, Germany
At imc since | 2016
Superpower | flexibility to adapt quickly to new projects
Favourite food | Palak Tofu

JOB AND DAILY BUSINESS
Icon representing Office
Hello Philipp! Thanks for making time! It's safe to say your job title Instructional Designer can be a little confusing. Can you explain what that is all about?

Back when I applied for the role after my German philology and history studies, it was called concept designer. I believe that was a bit more obvious. Really, editor for digital training would be the most helpful job description. In other words, I develop the learning concept for our clients.

How would you explain what you do to your grand parents?

That's not quite as straightforward. There have been a few misunderstandings in my family over the years. I've often been described as someone who writes operating instructions for Volkswagen, or plain and simple "Philipp works in advertising".

Today I say: I create professional development for large companies, just from my PC.

What does your typical day at work look like?

When I'm in the office, I start by checking my emails. Then, I prioritise and schedule the tasks at hand and check the status of my projects. For example, I might be working on a script or coordinate with other teams or the client.

Generally speaking, there's always a good mix of extensive communication and creative work. I like this change between active talk and interaction and the extremely quiet phases, where I'm totally focused and block out everything else.

You stated earlier that you are the person who develops learning concepts for clients.
Can you explain that in a little more detail?

Once a contract has been concluded, a colleague from Sales, the competent project manager and myself typically have an initial meeting with the client. We outline the scope of the project and I double-check what exactly the client wants - or what they think they need.

I need to understand very quickly what expectations they hold and what exactly the employees are ultimately meant to learn. Based on this, I advise the client and we sit down together to define the type of training we want to develop.

The next phase is the concept stage with a rough and detailed concept. Once the detailed concept has been approved, it is handed over to the programmers and designers. Again, I'm involved in the coordination, and I test the Beta version before we submit it to the client.

CHALLENGES AND BENEFITS
What is more difficult in the concept development: If the client has no idea what they want, or if they have very specific expectations?

Neither is easy. Both require immense tact and instinct. When a client has no idea at all and is totally happy with all your suggestions to the point where they can't make a decision, you ultimately need to make the decision for them as a concept designer and hope that it really is a good fit. Meanwhile, it might not be possible to realise that very clear vision some clients have, or to align it with the actual training goals.

I often have to educate my clients, as many cannot judge the time and cost investments involved - for example, for some animations. Some expect teasers in blockbuster quality for next to nothing within a week. Of course, that's unrealistic. It takes a good bit of diplomacy and explanation.

 

Now, I would say, the most crucial aspect is found elsewhere: It's really important to start by defining and clarifying all the terms. Say, gamification: everyone has a different understanding of what that means. I need to get people on board from where they are. The best way to achieve that is to use specific examples and results from our portfolio. Overall, client consultation can sometimes be a balancing act.

I need to decide what to advise the client on, when to talk them out of an unrealistic idea, and when to respect their wishes. Thankfully, I have learned a lot in my nine years on the job.

What do you appreciate the most about your job?

Without a doubt, the variety. I deal with such an extensive range of people, industries and topics, and really like the project business. Maybe it sounds a bit cheesy, but I work in a job where I learn something every day. I consider that a great privilege.

PERSONAL LIFE
What did you want to be as a kid and why?

I think I wanted to become a diver at some point. I really don't know why though. I guess it looked pretty cool with the wetsuits and such...

How important is professional development to you personally? What do you do in that regard?

In the project business, personal development can be difficult. Of course, there's the big professional development (CPD) courses - I qualified as a certified face-to-face trainer last year.

Mostly though, I do many micro courses. I always keep an eye on what others in my field are doing, and try to learn from that to develop myself.

What your favourite way to start your day?

I just love being woken up by my kids!

Thank you very much and I hope you'll keep having diverse interesting projects!

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IMC CAREER

Would you like to know more about imc as an employer? Then take a look at our career section, maybe there is a suitable position for you.

We are also always happy to receive unsolicited applications!

imc Job Slot: Unique people. Random questions.

Random questions, regularly new faces and jobs – that's the job slot of imc.

Contact

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

 

I am passionate about communication, creative content and social media. I live by the motto: “KISS – Keep it short and simple!”

Explaining complex content in simple terms and making e-learning accessible to everyone are challenges that make every day exciting.

 

In my time off, I like to read, play poker and travel a lot. 

I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions: nadine.kreutz@im-c.de.

Photo of Nadine Kreutz
Nadine Kreutz
Communication Manager