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.

Icon representing Intuitive

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.

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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:
Icon representing real-time communication

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.

Icon representing interactive

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.

Icon representing hand raising

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.

Icon representing virtual rooms

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”.

Icon representing feedback

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:

Icon representing instructors

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.

Icon representing preparation

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.

Icon representing didactic

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: 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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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: 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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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.

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Nadine Kreutz
Communication Manager
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Job Slot
Unique people. Random questions.

Developing the learning
of the future 

How do we actually learn? What helps us to become better, which tools and strategies are there to make learning more efficient? How can learning be fun and made more individual?

Michael Schlothauer has been asking these questions since his studies in media informatics and throughout his 11 years at imc.

 

In the job slot he reveals what is hidden behind his title, talks about the latest learning trends and clears up false expectations where artificial intelligence can help learning - and where not.

job-slot product manager
MICHAEL SCHLOTHAUER

Job | Vice President Learning Solutions
Works in | Munich, Germany
At imc since | 2008
Superpower | Authenticity
Favourite food | Duck breast fillet with mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts

JOB AND OUTLOOKS
Icon representing Office
Hello Michael, you have worked at imc over the years in various areas. Where have you been and what are you doing today? 

Originally, I started in consulting, then I was in international sales, then I became Vice President Sales Operations and for 3 years I have been in product management. So I've been around a bit and had the opportunity to get to know many different customers, imc departments and processes.

What exactly do you do as Vice President Learning Solutions? 

I lead a team of motivated people who have different tasks and work together to develop a solution for our customers. There are three levels: The product managers, the designers and the product owners.

Put simply, the product owners describe the customer's requirements in technical terms, agree it with the designers as a visible solution and the development team then implements it. The product managers are the direct interface to the customer, so they establish contact or identify requirements and needs. Identifying these requirements at an early stage helps with roadmap development.

 

That's where I come in:  Together with the team and the Executive Board, I define the roadmap and thus the future of our Learning Management System (LMS), the imc Learning Suite. To do this, I must coordinate with customers on the one hand, but also internally with colleagues and other stakeholders on the other. We then draw up the roadmap and process it iteratively every three months in so-called "Innovation Packages".

In doing so, we always try to maintain a strategic direction and look where the learning trends are going.  We define two to three pillars and everything we do is ideally designed to move closer to this goal and towards learning for the future. If we make sure that our products help our customers to love us, we have done everything right!

In one sentence, I am responsible for team leadership, release management and strategic product development issues.

What do you value most about your job? 

Interdisciplinarity. I work with such a broad spectrum of people, from designers, developers, project managers, customers to financiers and experts.

That's the big challenge at my interface, I need to speak a common language with everyone that help us to reach our goal.

EXCURSION: LEARNING TRENDS
You were just talking about learning trends. What are they now?  

The trend at the moment is moving away from face-to-face training towards more blended learning, from monoliths, i.e. large learning units to smaller learning nuggets, and a thirdlyfrom standard learning to ubiquitous and workplace learning.

Basically, we also think that soon there will be an increasing trend towards individual, competence-based learning, and social and workplace learning will also move more into focus. These are the four key trends that we have identified for ourselves and that we want to support with our tools and services from start to finish. Then, of course, there are topics such as artificial intelligence (AI).

What role does AI play in this? 

We see AI as an essential trigger of automation. AI can be very helpful where connections are difficult to establish and would be very difficult to administer manually. If, for example, you ask a question in a forum and I answer to you, you (hopefully) learn something from it.  AI can track the learning you have done and make it visible in the system.

For companies it is of course very interesting to know what every employee can do, especially on a non-formal basis, but rather informally. This is our starting point for the AI to establish these links and make them transparent.

Can AI also recognise what type of learner I am? 

As in many areas of learning management, AI can also support you here. Learning type recognition is basically possible without AI and has, for example, been practised for some time in "learning to learn" approaches in which a learner can learn more about his personal learning type.

AI helps to make learning type identification more efficient by freeing the learner from manual inputs or tests. It can automatically identify learning preferences and behaviours and correlate the resulting learning outcomes.

 

The topic is strategically particularly important in terms of increasing efficiency in learning and in terms of learning at the moment of need. It is about providing the most appropriate content at the right moment. Here it is necessary to identify the use cases in which the AI can not only help, but also demonstrably offers real added value.

To achieve this, our tools must seamlessly integrate with the learning content to create the optimal learning experience. This is not a self-runner, but one needs content production that is appropriate for the learning type as an essential prerequisite. The AI can only serve learner types with tailor-made content if it is also produced and available.
In other words, what is not there cannot be displayed. So, corresponding, as up-to-date content as possible must be integrated, which is then displayed by the system. Ideally, this content should also be as easy to create as possible so that it can be constantly updated.

This is another strategic topic on which we are working very concretely on, the development of an authoring tool. The aim is to make content creation as simple as possible so that every knowledge carrier can enter content into the system. AI will then automatically curate this content and recommend it according to the type of learner and competence.

SKILLS AND EDUCATION
Exciting, but let's go back to the job slot. Which skills are particularly important in your job? 

First, to understand all disciplines and to establish the connection between the individual disciplines. Second, to always serve the customer and third, to get the others on board as well.

When I talk to a designer, I am not allowed to express my personal opinion, but have to put myself in the customer's shoes, argue from their point of view and consider how I can make it as easy as possible for the customer. You need a strong customer focus and the passion to satisfy the customer.

On a scale of 1-10, how well did your studies or training prepare you for your current job? 

A clear 9. My study of media informatics fits my job perfectly, that was a very small course with only 20 participants and media production was directly combined with interdisciplinary subjects. I did video design, project management, marketing and programming.

So, I was able to get a good taste of all disciplines and at least got a good overview.   That's why people with a background in media informatics or educational technology are predestined for my and similar roles.

PERSONAL LIFE
Do you have a professional or personal role model? 

I find Apple as a company very interesting and both Steve Jobs and the current CEO are very inspiring and visionary. I think having someone like that as a supervisor is very motivating, you can really look up to such people and let them drag you along with them. I appreciate it when people know how to transfer their passion and visions to others.

eBooks, yes or no? 

I read eBooks on a regular basis, but I only take out the portions that really interest me. I only download eBooks when I have a specific need and then I only read technical books. I like real books better in my private life.

How much coffee do you drink a day? 

You could say too much.  About 4-5 cups.

Thank you very much for the exciting insights and good luck with the next challenges!

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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.

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Nadine Kreutz
Communication Manager
E-Learning Punk: Man in a Suit with a Questionmark representing his head E-Learning Trends
E-Learning Punk

The quiz show phenomenon in e-learning

Understanding why companies should rely on quiz apps in professional development

Learning by quizzing: are you always looking for entertaining fun facts for your next small talk? We feel the same way. That's why today's E-Learning Punk article starts with a quick question for all the British Royal family fans.

 

The Queen…

  • A: celebrates her birthday twice a year
  • B: has already had a little plastic surgery
  • C: swears by yoga in the morning

You will get the answer at the end of the article. First of all we want to look at where the interest in quizzes comes from, how companies can make use of them in training and what needs to be considered.

The success of quizzes depends on the mix

Jeopardy and QuizUp are just two well-known quiz examples. Quizzing is simply fun, it activates the reward centre in our brain and provides flow experiences with the right questions. Companies can also take advantage of this and use quiz apps in professional development. The quiz apps combine the advantages of mobile learning and game-based learning.

 

Various game elements are used, which in combination contribute to the success of the format. Here are the three most important elements of quiz apps:

Icon representing Avatar Quiz apps

Avatars

They are used as identification figures. Wonderwomen, Jack Sparrow or Count Dracula - my avatar allows me to present my innermost self or to slip into different roles.

Icon representing competition Quiz apps

Competition

By competing against other players, my ambition is aroused (fun fact: this is especially true for men, women are usually more reserved). When I play in a group, I feel like I'm part of something bigger. This phenomenon is also described as "epic meaning".

Icon representing Feedback Quiz apps

Feedback

If I answer a question correctly, there will be points and I will be promoted to the high score list. If I answer a question incorrectly, there are no points. It's that simple. The feedback is clear, honest and direct.

LEARNING BY QUIZZING

Quiz apps as a learning tool?

With BizQuiz, IMC also has a quiz app that uses the three elements just described. We evaluated the data of about 100,000 players and came to the result that quiz apps in continuing education are a learning trend that - when used correctly - leads to really amazing success:

INFO

Most players play daily - even on weekends. As a result, after just three weeks they know about 1.5 times more than at the beginning.

That makes sense. People are learning by repetition. By repeating something over and over again, it becomes an unconscious competence for me and takes place automatically at some point - like typing with ten fingers or flashing while driving. "We only see limitations when a target group simply has too little basic knowledge for the topic," says Oliver Nussbaum, IMC Managing Director in Austria and quiz master. But here we also have to say, the right mix makes the difference.

USE CASES

Areas of application for quiz apps in companies

Experts use quiz apps at various points of the learning journey and combine the quizzes with other tools such as digital learning cards and classroom training. Sounds complex? Want to know more? Ok, here we go. Quizzes are ideal whenever the level of knowledge needs to be tested or knowledge needs to be consolidated:

Icon representing Knowledge testing Quiz apps

Testing the state of knowledge

At the first point of the learning journey, quizzes helps to determine the status of the learners and to discover knowledge gaps. Ideally, the learning content is tailored to the results.

Icon representing Knowledge approval Quiz apps

Consolidate knowledge

After face-to-face training or e-learning, quizzes can make a significant contribution to consolidating knowledge. Perfectly suited are quizzes that run over a period of two to three weeks and reward with a real prize at the end.

TIPS & TRICKS
5

tips for the use of quiz apps in continuing education

So now we know what elements make quiz apps so successful and at what point in the learning journey quizzing can provide a bit of fun and motivation. Finally, we have a few tips for you to make sure that the quizzes don't miss their effect and you don't get bored:

  1. Limite the maximum number of games that can be played per day.
  2. Do not use quizzes in an inflationary way. Instead, use them mainly for topics of strategic importance and with a manageable number of questions.
  3. Pay attention to the flow channel when creating questions. A good question should not be too difficult, but also not too easy.
  4. Provide small incentives that have a positive effect on the status of the winner, for example an exclusive meeting with the management board.
  5. Leave the game as what it is: a game. Not a formal learning measure. Don't force your learners to participate.

 

The right answer is A, by the way.

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 Talk Roman Rackwitz Gamification game-based learning
E-Learning Punk

Punky Talk #2: Roman Rackwitz

Gamification guru Roman Rackwitz wants to break down barriers

The second Punky Talk focuses on game-based learning, quiz-based learning and AI . We are hosting Roman Rackwitz, gamification guru and CEO of Engaginglab GmbH.

 

Roman has been involved in game thinking and gamification since 2007. He has already been named one of the top 10 gamification experts in the world. He describes himself as a naive optimist who rebels against the mindset that gaming were a waste of time. He wants to break down barriers and make games a natural thing, even in a corporate environment.

 

In the interview with E-Learning Punk moderator Vanessa, he talks about why failure is so important for our personal progress, why content is king but context is god, and why rewards should act as feedback – not bribery.

 

The interview was recorded live at LEARNTEC 2020 in Karlsruhe (Germany).

 

Enjoy watching!

 

 

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

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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 and 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 Talk E-Learning Trends Corporate Learning Community
E-Learning Punk

Punky Talk #1: Karlheinz Pape

The founder of a popular German learning community talks to us about self-directed learning

In our E-Learning Punk series, we publish a new article on current digital training trends each month. The last three months have been dedicated to the following three trends: video-based learning, blended learning and mobile learning. Now, in the first Punky Talk, E-Learning Punk editor Vanessa talks to Karlheinz Pape, founder of the German Corporate Learning Community (CLC), about these topics, but also about his favourite, self-directed learning.

 

With the CLC, Karlheinz has established a community network that drives new forms of learning. In our interview, Karlheinz appeals to the crowd to reject their prejudices against learning with video. He also explains why Twitter is his number one learning booster and why mobile learning is an artificial term for him.

 

Listen for yourself below.

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

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 and 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 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!

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

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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 vanessa.klein@im-c.com.

Photo of Vanessa Klein
Vanessa Klein
Senior Event and Communication Manager