New To Online Learning?

Our online learning frequently asked questions (FAQs) provides you with just enough information to be dangerous. You will learn the basics of online learning, and get a handle on the right questions to ask of a potential learning partner to ensure you make the right choice. If you don’t find the information you need, reach out, we’re happy to answer any questions you have.

What Is Online Learning?

What is online learning?

Online learning is the act of gaining or building on new or existing knowledge through electronic or digital means. Nowadays, online learning is everywhere, from high schools and universities to corporate offices and regulated professions like accounting. Learning online, particularly for working professionals, is a vital component of everyday life. Companies and organizations worldwide use online learning to improve onboarding processes, training programs and the delivery of industry-specific education. Another core advantage of online learning is that it is deliverable through multiple different devices and mediums.

 

In today’s hyper connected world, online learning is delivered anywhere, anytime through computers, tablets and cellular phones as long as they are connected to the internet. No matter what industry or sector you operate in, online learning can improve your organization in innumerable ways.

What are the benefits of online learning?

Online learning is a useful tool can generate many positive outcomes. Below are a few specific benefits that are universally helpful no matter your industry or profession.

Reduced Cost

As any educator knows, traditional learning is expensive and difficult to maintain.

  • Managers don’t always have the resources to dedicate to full-time education creation and maintenance.
  • There is a high cost to having on-site instructors and facilitators.
  • There is unwanted cost and waste involved in creating and updating printed materials for learners.

Online learning eliminates all these woes and more, and actually reduce costs within your organization, first by cost-saving on content production, then long term by improved performance and productivity.

Saves Time

Creating educational courses, programs or packages is time consuming. Developing, and then delivering, those lectures, educational events or demonstrations in-person takes time out of peoples schedules and often requires travel time. When you make online education available anywhere, you give your students the gift of time and flexibility, and encourages learning at any pace and place. Saving time is important no matter who you are, and by moving learning modules online, you create opportunity and space for students and employees alike. What’s more, online learning saves the valuable time of managers and subject matter experts who commit working hours to in-person training each time there is a new hire. With online learning, newly hired employees learn new material through pre-approved and developed instruction, granting managers and roles similar to more time for other tasks.

Minimum Environmental Impact

Sustainability and reducing waste is of the utmost importance in today’s climate changing world. Any effort, even the most minor, is a step in the right direction and learning online is just one way to make an impact. By removing the need for an excess of printed materials and the need to travel, organizations can reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a greener economy.

Improves Performance and Productivity

Online learning makes training and other processes like onboarding quick and easy, increasing productivity and improving performance right off the bat. It also allows for extra time to navigate materials, learn at your own pace and flexibility when managing multiple tasks. It also allows for greater retention, revisiting of material and access to frequently updated content, creating an ever-present learning lifecycle. With the freedom of online learning, people feel more motivated to further their professional goals as they feel their organization has invested in their education, making them feel valued and trusted.

What is an online learning platform?

An online learning platform is a portal, software solution, app or webspace that holds resources and educational content for students or employees including lectures, courses, messaging systems and informative material. It is a hub for all online learning resources relevant to the subject being taught.

Online learning platforms are often robust, intuitive and AI-powered. Many offer customizable features, comprehensive dashboards and useful tracking and reporting abilities. Normally, online learning is commonly delivered through a Learning Management System, or LMS, but can take place through other verticals as well.

Finding the right online learning platform for your organization can take some time and research. It’s important to take into account all the desired outcomes you want from your online learning platform and choose a solution that closely aligns with your needs and values. Before choosing a platform, the prospective user should carefully consider their goals and utilize online research tools to find the right fit.

What is custom online learning?

Custom online learning provides a solution tailored to suite your brand, values, processes and company culture that best fits your unique training and business needs.

An online learning platform, a learning management solution or LMS, can be constructed for specific purposes and a company or organization can dictate how their solution looks, sounds and feels.

Custom online learning solutions are important for specialized industries as content can be developed for specific job roles and molded by tone for the type of training being delivered.

Larger organizations with dedicated in-house learning and development resources may be inclined to create custom content that fits with the rest of the brand’s overall purpose.

However, many companies don’t have that luxury. That is why there are outside service providers like us who specialize in course development and learning platforms – from course development to LMS integration to video and extended reality (XR) production.

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When Do You Need a Learning Strategist?

What is a learning strategist and why would you need one?

Learning strategist can help you create a winning curriculum or find the best way to deliver programs to meet your business goals and enhance productivity. They can also investigate whether your current learning software is performing at its most optimal level or give advice on choosing the right software. Where ever your company is in its learning journey, a learning strategist can analyze data to identify gaps in current programs or indicate where breakdowns in learning or communication may be disrupting student or employee progress.

 

A learning strategist can be internal to the organization or an external consultant hired by the organization can provide strategic services to review process and systems, and suggest strategy direction.

 

Hungry for more information? Here are more concepts to explore if you are interested in eLearning.

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What Is An LMS?

What is LMS software?

A learning management system, or LMS, is a software application for creating, structuring, delivering and managing educational courses, training programs, or learning and development programs digitally. A robust LMS should administer, document, track, report and automate every aspect of an online education program or course.

The capabilities of an LMS will vary depending on the breadth of the solution’s offerings. Some are simple while others are more complex. An LMS can be tailored to your needs and the extent of your desired features should define the type of software you are looking to purchase or subscribe to. Put plainly, an LMS is the most effective way to streamline learning and training for a company or organization.

What are the benefits of a learning management system?

Using a learning management system (LMS) provides many benefits to an organization. In the short-term, you will see cost-savings on training and educational material, increased time and productivity, and higher engagement with employees. Some long-term benefits include:

  • Employee satisfaction and retention
  • Improved onboarding experience
  • Tangible return on investment on training programs
  • Greater remote learning abilities

What features should you look for in an LMS?

Skills and certification tracking are two of the most important features of an LMS but there are a number of other features that are important when looking for the right solution. Some of these features include:

  • Data tracking
  • Automated alerts and notifications
  • Flexible reporting and analytics
  • Offline learning trackers
  • Remote or mobile-workforce ready
  • Centralized learning materials
  • Personalized user experience
  • LMS integrations

If you are new to online learning, the first thing to do is define the goals of your organization and build your wish list according to those attributes. And make sure you engage with a learning expert who can help match your needs with the right learning platform.

What is the ROI on an LMS?

Depending on the training delivered, many organizations can see the return on investment (ROI) in their bottom line. If, for example, they use the LMS to deliver sales training that sales training should in fact improve their sales.

But what if the goal of the training is to improve employee engagement? There may not be a direct link to their bottom line. The results of that training may be seen in employee retention and turnover.

An LMS is an investment in your internal systems… a commitment to increasing the knowledge base and the qualifications of employees.

Off the bat, you will see things like increased savings due to reduced travel expenses, lower administrative costs and time spent training. But long-term, the ROI of an LMS is much more, and can include:

  • Increase in productivity
  • New revenue generation
  • More time for high-level strategy
  • Reducing training expenses

LMSs are a proven profitable business model and can allow trainers, managers and other professionals the ability to connect to learners, asses the training need, offer courses and track progress. It provides a learning lifecycle that enhances employee ability and makes organizations stronger and smarter.

What types of LMSs are available?

There are several technical differences when it comes to LMSs. Each has its own benefits and advantages.

  • Hosted LMS – a common form of LMS, hosted training systems centralizes all learning within the organization’s server, making it secure and easily accessible to employees or members of an organization. Software is purchased and resides on the network.
  • SaaS LMS or web-based LMS – a common form of delivery, SaaS LMS or web-based LMSs, require you to pay a subscription fee in order to gain access to the platform and are often hosted by the LMS vendor on their server.
  • Open-source LMS – a bit more technical, an open-source LMS is a system whose source code is available for use of or modification. Other users or developers are able to change the system, which means it is usually public and free.
  • Closed-source LMS – this type of system does not give access to the source code which means it is not capable of being changed or altered and is most likely a subscription or cost-based software where users are able to create and edit education materials within the confines of the editing options available.

What is an LMS integration?

LMS integration is the ability for your LMS to integrate with the business applications that your company or organization already uses. It should permit users to move data between systems to coordinate reporting and task automation. An integration app can make data sharing between LMS, CRM, HRIS, email automation and payment services simple, turning manual processes into a thing of the past.

When it comes to LMS content, almost all platforms and software are built to be SCORM compliant, which allows for interconnectivity and compatibility between various types of systems. SCORM compliance is the gold standard of LMS and it should be very important to any user looking to adopt eLearning that their LMS platform abides by the standards set out by SCORM.

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What Is SCORM?

What Is SCORM? And how does it relate to eLearning?

No online learning lesson would be complete without learning about the importance of SCORM (short for Shareable Content Object Reference Model).

SCORM is an international standard set for all eLearning products, platforms and solutions to ensure optimal operability across the eLearning industry. It is the gold star of eLearning platforms and course development.

When an online course is published in SCORM format, it is recognizable in almost any Learning Management System (LMS), which makes SCORM compliancy very important in the eLearning industry. SCORM directs programmers on how to write code so that what gets built will work cohesively with other eLearning software. Basically, it is a standardized way of creating online courses so that each type of eLearning product will work worldwide across platforms and industries.

The Two Key Components of SCORM

To break it down further, SCORM can be split into two components: Sharable Content Object (SCO) and Reference Model (RM).

1. Shareable Content Object: This portion refers to creating units or ‘objects’ of online training material that can be shared across different eLearning systems or LMSs. SCORM defines how to create a shareable content object (SCO) that can be used, shared and reused in different systems and contexts.

2. Reference Model: This refers to the fact that SCORM is not a formally mandated or enforced formatting process but simply a reference guide for courses to be built around, which can make the concept a bit complicated.

Ironically standardization offers flexibility

Investing money and time into creating e-courses and online learning content is a serious commitment. So, naturally, you will want that content to work with any LMS system your company or organization employs (present or future). Should your company decide to change LMS providers over time, the content you have created will be transferrable over to your new system if you are SCORM compliant. If not, you could lose valuable content that took your weeks, months or years to complete.

So, understanding and researching SCORM compliancy is highly recommended before choosing an eLearning platform or LMS.

What does it mean to be SCORM compliant?

To be SCORM compliant means an LMS abides by the rules and requirements dictated by SCORM regulations. Conversely, SCORM compliant elearning can be uploaded and used within any SCORM compliant LMS.

When choosing an LMS, it is important to ensure it is SCORM compliant so that the content you develop can be used, transferred and reused on any LMS. While the average person will not know how to create SCORM content, your eLearning platform or LMS provider should be able to prove they are SCORM compliant and create content for you that will abide by SCORM conduct.

To be SCORM certified means your content products have been tested through ADL Certification Testing Centers. The ADL stands for the Advanced Certification Learning Initiative.

What does SCORM mean for online learning?

For online learning, SCORM compliance is practically a necessity and should be heavily considered before developing any online learning programs or courses. Think of SCORM as the regulatory framework for the creation of all eLearning content.

Creating SCORM enabled content will ensure your organization’s learning content is versatile and able to operate on any number of different systems. SCORM compliance also has additional benefits that make eLearning more impactful. These benefits include:

  • Compatibility – SCORM courses are recognized by almost any LMS.
  • Progress Saving – Courses can be broken into steps and progress is saved. This is important for when the system might fail or if the e-course being offered is temporarily closed.
  • Feedback – Access to assess student progress, points scored and notification when courses are completed.
  • Clear Course Structure – Courses can be structured and rules can be set for moving between sections.
  • Modularity – In SCORM courses, training material can consist of modules or standalone units, which can then be broken or, transferred or shared to new or different systems.

SCORM and eLearning go hand-in-hand. Knowing the basics of SCORM and discussing this important component with your eLearning provider is a smart way to ensure your investment is safe and secure.

What are the benefits of using SCORM?

We know SCORM is an important component of elearning courses, but what are the benefits of having a SCORM course? Here are a few:

  • It is pro-consumer. Similar to how a YouTube video can be played on multiple different devices and internet browsers without intervention, an elearning course that is SCORM compliant can be played on any compliant LMS, making them a valuable product. If you are unhappy with one LMS provider, you can upload your content onto another and not lose any value or quality.
  • SCORM has reduced costs. Since training and content does not need to be made for every LMS system, SCORM compliant content can be ported from one SCORM compliant LMS to another.
  • SCORM has introduced better quality content overall as the best course creation tools are compatible with SCORM compliant LMSs.
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Why Use Online Learning for Compliance Training?

What is online compliance training?

Compliance training is a vital part of any onboarding, awarding of professional designation or government mandated training. Traditionally, learners traveled long distances for in-person training, but online alternatives are making the time consuming, costly and inefficient realities of in-person compliance testing a thing of the past.

Online compliance training is defined as digitally delivered education for employees and members of regulated professions on laws, regulations and company policies that apply to their day-to-day job responsibilities.

By moving to online compliance training, organizations can effectively streamline learning and deliver it in an impactful, purpose-driven way, and learners can partake in compliance training anywhere, anytime.

How can eLearning help with online compliance training? Who benefits from compliance training?

Using an LMS and other digitally delivered solutions for compliance training gives employers the freedom to create, implement and track tests for onboarding, educating and testing. The benefits to online compliance training are endless and can be tailored to meet an organization’s business goals.

Lectures can be taken any number of times and the proper learning platform will offer rapid access to regularly updated content and catalogues of vital, easily delivered lessons.

What’s more, using an LMS reduces costs of traditional compliance training and offers scalability, consistency and trackable effectiveness. Any industry or profession can employ online compliance training. Using online learning solutions can solve all compliance training challenges without any in-person intervention. Best of all, it can be delivered anywhere, anytime with the sophistication and specificity expected of a regulated program.

What should you look for in online compliance training software?

The LMS market is saturated so knowing what to look for is important.

The best LMSs offer things like customizable platforms, intuitive authoring tools and app integration, with the option to add media-rich content that is deliverable through multiple mediums (eg. video, animation, charts, electronic and hard-copy course materials). This allows LMS administrators to provide learners with an interactive and engaging learning experience.

Key features to look for include:

  • Web-based support
  • Customizable reporting tools
  • Responsive design features (ie. scalable to any mobile device)
  • Ability to impose time limits
  • Flexibility to link resources to questions
  • Ability to randomly select question by shuffling from a set pool
  • Hinting features
  • Ability to review results in raw numbers, percentage summaries, pass/fail indicators
  • Ability to adapt course platform into multiple languages (multi-lingual capability)
  • Brand integration

A good LMS should turn education into a pleasant, immersive experience the learner enjoys. These features are important for compliance training, but are also important for sales training and employee onboarding to name a few.

How can online compliance training be applied across different industries?

Digital compliance training is not just intended for regulatory bodies responsible for administering professional certifications. Below are other examples of how online learning is being used across several key sectors.

Professional Education for Accountants (eg. NASBA requirements)?

NASBA is the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy: a forum for 55 State Boards of Accountancy, which are responsible for regulation the practice of public accountancy in the United States. The State Boards are administer the examination and certification for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Over 650,000 CPAs are licenced annually.

It is NASBA’s role to set uniform standards for examination and certification programs. NASBA offers member boards a variety of products and services to aid Boards of Accountancy in their mission of ensuring public protection.

One of their key support services is to ensure courses, and the Learning Management Systems (LMS) used to create them adhere uniform standards and best practices for continuing professional education (CPE).

NASBA has a National Registry of CPE sponsors. CPE sponsors are responsible for ensuring any courses created on their platform meet NASBA requirements. For example:

  • Course authoring and rapid deployment of Group-Internet Based to QAS Self-Study
  • CPE tracking
  • A course evaluation tool
  • Complete reporting on learners, courses, and CPE data
Security and Privacy Training (eg. Online HIPAA Training)

The medical field is one area where compliance training is vital – not just for imparting medical knowledge – but increasingly to deal with security and privacy issues.

For example, HIPAA training is an educational program that teaches medical professionals how to recognize protected health information (PHI), proper uses and disclosures of PHI, how to keep PHI secure, and how to report a breach of PHI.

HIPAA online compliance training provides employees with an introduction to all these topics and more through a digitally delivered format that is safe, secure and succinct. Through an eLearning vertical, professionals in the health sector and related industries can offer crucial training of new or existing employees that will ensure the safety and security of clients, patients and other professionals.

Safety Training (eg. OSHA compliance training)
Several of the world’s leading organizations in charge of safety compliance certifications are already using eLearning solutions. Some industries that are well funded are ahead of the curve.

The OSHA training program educates workers and employers on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of safety and health hazards in workplaces in general industry. This training program is of the upmost importance, particularly to the trades and manufacturing industries, and serves to save lives.

By using eLearning solutions, program administrators can make compliance training and certification more accessible For employers, the ability to complete training online is easier, more efficient and causes less disruption by allowing employees to take courses and testing on-site. This saves time and expenses for hotels and flights.

Transportation Compliance (eg. DOT compliance training)

DOT compliance training educates workers on the basics of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. As mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT training covers a broad spectrum of motor carrier related training such as compliance and safety, hours and service regulations and controlled substances and alcohol mandatory training.

For those in heavy industry, automotive, transportation, mining and other related sectors, online DOT compliance training can educate employees worldwide on federally mandated training requirements and learning in order to prepare workers for any motor carrier-related situation in their respective fields. As with the examples above, eLearning platforms make training easier and more efficient for corporations, employers and regulatory administrators alike.

Disability Compliance (eg. 508 compliance training)

508 compliance is a federal law requiring that all electronic and information technology development, maintained or used by federal government, be accessible to people with disabilities.

This means that government agencies, federal-funded nonprofits, public higher education institutions, and public K-12 schools must use software and web tools (including eLearning) that are accessible to people who have disabilities and might use supporting tools such as screen readers.

For organization looking to deliver training through eLearning platforms, this will be of particular interest. Course creation and education outline and will ensure your organization is up-to-date with the most current 508 compliance guidelines available.

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Why Use Online Learning For Your Sales Team?

What are the benefits of online sales training?

Online sales enablement training can encompass any activity, training, tool, coaching or practice that helps support sales. This includes providing the information, tools, research and training your sales team needs to be effective and impactful.

Today, organizations of all types and sizes are providing access to all the necessary education and training that a sales team needs to flourish through online learning. Online training has proven to be an effective solution for improving the skills, knowledge and attributes of your sales force to maximize success.

What platforms are available for sales teams to manage partners and clients?

Learning Management System

An LMS (learning management system) is geared toward organizations looking to provide training to employees or to regulated professions. For sales training across a large or mid-size organization, an LMS can be used for onboarding or for providing the framework for sales employees to learn valuable sales skills through a fully digital learning vertical.

Partner Relationship Management

A Partner Relationship Management tool, or PRM, allows corporations to deliver consistent sales, training, communication and marketing programs to its employees, and to all relevant partners within an extended channel network of dealers, suppliers, contractors and agencies. Anywhere in the world.

Customer Relationship Management

A Customer Relationship Management tool, or CRM, is a software that helps businesses manage any and all communications with current clients and potential prospects. CRMs can be hosted in the cloud or on-premises and are very helpful in managing customer data, as well as engaging and building connections with leads and clients.

For more information on online sales training platforms, visit our Product Solutions page.

How do you select the right sales enablement and LMS software for training employees?

There are many types of sales enablement solutions for training employees. A sales enablement tool is a software or system that connects your content, marketing and sales cycle, enabling you to follow sales processes from beginning to end.

Most systems can provide detailed analytics to measure what is or is not working. Sales enablement platforms should serve as a dashboard for your entire sales network, offering easily accessible marketing, content and sales analytics insights for tracking and cross-referencing.

A good sales enablement training software should offer the following capabilities:

  • Sales content management
  • Sales engagement
  • Sales intelligence
  • Account and opportunity planning
  • Video coaching practice
  • Sales management
  • CRM – dependent on the scale or size of a business

How do you select the right sales enablement and LMS software for training employees?

There are many types of sales enablement solutions for training employees. A sales enablement tool is a software or system that connects your content, marketing and sales cycle, enabling you to follow sales processes from beginning to end.

Most systems can provide detailed analytics to measure what is or is not working. Sales enablement platforms should serve as a dashboard for your entire sales network, offering easily accessible marketing, content and sales analytics insights for tracking and cross-referencing.

A good sales enablement training software should offer the following capabilities:

  • Sales content management
  • Sales engagement
  • Sales intelligence
  • Account and opportunity planning
  • Video coaching practice
  • Sales management
  • CRM – dependent on the scale or size of a business
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Why Use Online Learning For Employee Onboarding?

What are the benefits of online learning for employee onboarding training?

Onboarding is a universal process that is essential to every company’s success. When done right, it makes a new employee feel welcome and sets them up for success. When corners are cut, it can lead to frustration, lack of understanding around core job functions and high turnover.

The challenge is that companies are busy. Onboarding takes time, effort and dedication. It can be costly, time-consuming and, if it is done incorrectly, it can create inefficiencies that further disrupt business operations.

Online training provides companies and organizations with an easier, more efficient way to deliver world-class onboarding.

Whether using a learning management system (LMS) and developing internal content for corporate online onboarding – or outsourcing onboarding program creation – you can efficiently streamline training. This will ultimately save time, money, and drive revenue.

Using online learning solutions for onboarding offers several advantages:

  • Minimizes the need for core staff to take time out of their schedules for one-on-one onboarding
  • Training can be done from anywhere at any time (no need for travel)
  • Online resources are always in place if a new employee needs a refresher
  • Multimedia format enhances interest vs. manuals and lectures
  • Consistent training and messaging

Demonstration videos, animations and illustrations are being used to enhance learning and engagement. Again, you simply create the content once instead of having to reinvent the wheel with each new hire. Additionally, virtual reality is gaining traction as a tool for simulating work environments in the online classroom, and replicating situations that would not be otherwise possible.

Why choose an LMS for employee and partner training?

An enterprise LMS is perfect for employee and partner training as the world moves more into a digitally-driven realm. It is a vehicle for learning, and when employees and partners need expertly developed and delivered training programs, an LMS can offer unrivalled quality, quantity and support.

How can onboarding training be applied to different departments?

Safety and Compliance Training

When it comes to industries like manufacturing and construction, proper onboarding of new employees is of the utmost importance. Operating heavy machinery and working in hazardous environments offer unexpected and complex challenges on a day-to-day basis. Having the right training can save time, money and most importantly, save lives. With an LMS online learning solution for safety and compliance training, companies can rest assured they are supplying their employees and partners with the most up-to-date, relevant and vetted training information available.

Online Channel Partner Onboarding and Training

Adding new partners is always an exciting time but introducing company concepts, processes and procedures can be challenging, particularly when partners may be outside your region or country.

With the right online platform, you can update partners, associates and other company executives on any and all information pertinent to the business. With online authoring tools for partners, newcomers can learn about you and your business from anywhere in the world.

Human Resources Training

Whether it’s explaining sick leave, benefit plans, time tracking, behavioural policies – you name it – online learning solutions are ideally suited for covering the bases on human resources policies and procedures.

Software Training

Today, large and small corporations use a myriad of software applications and programs. For new employees, there is a need to get quickly up to speed. Online onboarding training solutions such as videos, slides and animations can be used to clearly explain the process by a software expert and ‘champion’ within your organization.

Process and Procedure Training

Manufacturers and distributor often need to quickly educate new hires on simple or complex processes that can require defined steps and actions. Online learning tools provide a solid framework for disseminating the detail-oriented training required.

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