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Archive for the ‘ELearning Industry’ Category

Learning Management System Prices

money_bagI’ve just read the most recent report from Tagoras regarding the Learning Management System market, and I thought it would be a good way to highlight some of the benefits of the Axis LMS.

The report was based on the responses of 20 LMS vendors, and it has some interesting (and quite honestly, a bit shocking) stats pertaining to average LMS costings that I thought I’d share:

The average first year cost for a Learning Management System ranges from:

  • $22,376 for 500 users
  • to $70,857 for unlimited usage

Across 3 years the costs averaged out at:

  • $43,889 for 500 users
  • $165,286 for unlimited usage

I found it interesting to read these statistics and compare them with our own product (Axis LMS) to see where we sit in comparison.

A typical nicely-configured 500-user system currently runs about $10,000/year, making it about $30,000 for a 3-year period (so the Axis LMS is $14,000 less than the 3-year average).

A typical nicely-configured Axis unlimited user LMS system runs about $25,000/year, making it about $75,000 for a 3-year period (so the Axis LMS is $90,000 less than the 3-year average).

If you are currently shopping for a Learning Management System, I suppose the LMS prices above do not shock you and/or are exactly what you are experiencing as you request price information from potential LMS vendors. However, as someone who doesn’t actively shop for Learning Management Systems, these numbers came as a complete shock to me. I realized that the Axis LMS was more budget-friendly than most other LMS systems, but really had no idea that the difference was so large.

I am hoping that the large savings may encourage you to consider the Axis LMS as a potential fit for your organization if you are currently in the market for an LMS.

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Creating Effective E-Learning Outcomes

1319069_the_door.jpgI have a question.  When you sit down to create a new E-Learning initiative, where do you start? At the beginning? Or at the end?

The knee jerk reaction is to say, “of course I start at the beginning!”

But today I want to look at things a bit differently.  I want us to start thinking in terms of outcomes, and creating E-Learning initiatives that fulfill business needs. (more…)

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Top 10 Ideas to Expand Your Learning

1266360_sparkler.jpgAs part of wrapping things up last year, we looked at some of the best free learning tools out there.  A sort of looking back on the year and hitting the high points so to speak.

Now a few months into the new year, I am more than ready to move forward and greet this year with everything I have.

Want to come with me?  Awesome!  Then let’s go check out what might just be 10 great ways to expand your learning.

(more…)

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LMS Plug-in Development Inside Look

boring_presentation.jpgThings are extremely busy here at Atrixware E-Learning Solutions these days – across all departments. I thought I’d provide you with a sneak peek into the product development happenings (at the risk of being boring for some), and give you some information on some cool Weblearning LMS plug-ins (currently available plug-ins are here) we are readying for 2011 release.

Flash Cards
This is a new module type that can co-exist with the learning presentations, practice quizzes, and graded quizzes you can already create inside of your Weblearning LMS account. This plug-in will enable you to create online flashcard style learning modules, where users can view questions on the front of a card, and then flip the card to view the answer.

(more…)

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SCORM Explained

If you work for a corporation, or have been researching the e-learning software tool marketplace, you have probably come across the term “SCORM”. Wondering what it all means? Bear with me as I will try to explain without becoming too long-winded.

What is SCORM?
In a nutshell, SCORM is a package ‘format’ that e-learning content can be ‘wrapped’ into. Once wrapped into this format, theoretically, any online content management system that can ‘talk to’ a SCORM component will run the component in the way the author originally intended. In summary, SCORM is an attempt to create a standard communication system between online content systems, and authored content.

Do I Need SCORM?
Good question. If you want to be able to use authoring tools from any vendor, and a content management system from a different vendor, or, you want be be able to purchase pre-authored content to use along side or instead of your own content, then you will most likely need to use SCORM. If you have found a vendor that offers you all the features you need in a single e-learning system (both authoring and delivery), then SCORM becomes less important. In my view, the larger company you are, the more likely it is you need SCORM, and the smaller company you are, the less likely.

Is SCORM Expensive?
Yes, SCORM systems can be very expensive (especially the online LMS systems). This is perhaps one of the most disappointing things regarding SCORM. Because SCORM is complex, it requires expensive support and programming staffs to maintain. This cost is passed on to the end user (you). You will often find (although it is becoming less common) Online E-Learning Systems that do not offer SCORM as a standard feature, and they will tend to be significantly less expensive than ones that do (for example, our Weblearning LMS – a very feature-rich product, comes in several versions – some which accept SCORM modules, and some which do not – and the ones that do not accept SCORM are less expensive).

Is SCORM Easy?
For simple authoring and deployment, it can be fairly straightforward, but more advanced tasks get increasingly complex. Still, authoring tools are getting better and better, but I still personally feel that most online E-Learning systems are too complex (which is why our Weblearning LMS is purposely designed to value ease-of-use over feature-bloat).

Does SCORM Work?
For the most part, SCORM is a success. There are many content management systems that can use SCORM components, and many authoring tools that can be used to author SCORM content (Our SCORM Quiz Maker is one such product – it enables you to create SCORM Quizzes that work your your LMS). Like any other technology, there are some issues, but you are unlikely to experience any of them unless your e-learning needs are very elaborate.

What Does Atrixware Offer for SCORM?
Our Weblearning LMS has editions that accept SCORM (as I write this, the Weblearning Enterprise GOLD Edition is SCORM compatible). We also offer less-expensive Weblearning Editions without SCORM for those that don’t need it.

Also, we offer a quiz maker tool for SCORM is SCORM Quiz Maker - which enables you to create SCORM Quizzes (quizzes that will work on your LMS/online system). It’s unique feature compared to other similar products is that it produces mobile-friendly quizzes (for example, quizzes will work on the iPad and iPhone), because it does not output to flash, but instead outputs to HTML5.


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The Online Trainer’s Checklist

The online trainer has to take into account many considerations. Proper preparation is vital to keeping your training running smoothly and your audience engaged.  Use this checklist to ensure that you are prepared for your next virtual classroom training event.

Materials Checklist -  well before the class start date.

Participants have been sent:

___  pre-work instructions

___  installation instructions for virtual classroom software

___  logistics such as links, passwords, and conference call information

___  contact information for questions

You and your co-trainers have the following materials ready:

___  slides and other files

___  instructor notes

___  activities and exercises

___  contingency plans

Technology Checklist – on day of class

___  computers and equipment have been checked and tested

___  computers have been re-booted

___  applications and necessary files are open, available, and ready

___ audio technologies such as telephones and microphones have been tested

___ all non-essential applications are closed

___  virtual classroom has been joined at least 30 minutes early

___  “sidekick” computers are logged into virtual classroom as participants

Trainer Checklist – on day of class

___ delivery area is ready (free of distractions, glass of water available, etc)

___ training materials are readily available

___  technology tools such as whiteboard and chat windows are enabled

___ phone number and contact information for IT support is available

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10 Tips on Selecting a Learning Management System (LMS)

Are you considering purchasing an LMS for your company? Below are some tips or a “checklist” of things you may want to consider. Please provide feedback whether this was helpful, or provide suggestions to add to the list to frank@atrixware.com.

Tip #1. Do your “Due Diligence”
More features usually means more complexity – What level of complexity can you handle?
___ Did you identify your core current needs or requirements for your LMS?
___ Did you identify your future needs? (see scalability below)
___ Which LMS Features are “need to have” versus “nice to have”?

Tip #2. My Server or Yours
___ Decide on a hosted solution LMS (by the vendor) or…
___ Decide on an LMS that you host (on your company’s servers)
Does the vendor offer both solutions? If so, Which solution is better for you?
If the vendor hosts, you probably don’t need an IT manager or department involvement.
If you host, did you identify LMS techincal requirements and get IT involved?

Tip #3. Try it before you buy it
___ Does the Vendor offer a FREE LMS Demo or LMS Presentation?
___ Is it “Live” so you can ask questions during the demo, or is it “pre-recorded” so you can watch it anytime?
___ Does the vendor offer a working “sandbox” implementation so you can “pilot” or evaluate the LMS using your data and conditions?

Tip #4. Batteries not included (Know the LMS limitations)
___ Are all the features you need included “out of the box”?
___ Are there any features you need that are available but at an additional cost?
___ Are there any features you need that are not available at all? (the “deal” breakers)

Tip #5. Get a user-friendly LMS
___ Does the LMS interface have easy navigation and ease of Administration?
___ Is the LMS end-user centered for your student, employee and/or customer?
___ Is it an intuitive LMS? can the instructor use it immediately or is training involved?
___ Are there simple and time saving edit functions and Help available in the system?

Tip #6. Get a user-friendly Vendor
___ Do you get a “Live” vendors who take the time to talk with you?
___ Does the Vendor have experience with organizations similar to yours?
___ Does the Vendor align with your strategies and commit to your long term business goals?
___ What is the Vendor’s history, vision, and current successes?
___ Is the Vendor a Stable company? Who are their current clients?
___ How successful have their clients been with implementation? What is the vendor’s overall reputation?
___ Can the vendor provide to you a list of customers currently using their LMS?

Tip #7. Get a Scalable LMS (an LMS thats expandable like your business)
___ Is it a Configurable LMS?
___ Can you customize the interface to reflect your companys color scheme, logo, branding, etc?
___ Can the LMS automatically generate certificates for end-users with the necessary information?

___ Is it a Customizable LMS?
___ Do you need an LMS with e-commerce automation and integration?
___ Is it a for-profit LMS or a not for profit LMS?
___ Do you need your LMS Integrated with other systems?

Tip #8. Get a Flexible LMS
___ Does the LMS offer online tracking, self-registration, and front-end authentication?

What is the LMS Authoring capability?
___ Can you store different types of media including: .doc, .swf, .html,etc.
___ Is it easy to import existing elearning content or elearning materials?

What is the LMS Reporting capability?
___ Can reports prove your LMS training is both effective and cost effective?
___ Can you get easy access to standard reports and export the reports to varied formats like Excel?

Tip #9. Get a well Supported LMS and Secure LMS that is Easy to Implement
___ Will the vendor get you thru implementation and successful launch of the LMS system, or is there additional costs involved?
___ What post implementation services are available?
___ What levels of ongoing support are included and what is the cost of those services?
___ Is it email (ticketing system) support, phone support, both or none?
___ Does the Vendor offer System Backups?
___ What about Upgrades? Online Help? What type of training if offered?
Is is a Reliable LMS?
___ Is Reliability and Stability and continuity of LMS service guaranteed?

Tip #10. All that and a bag of chips… Affordability
___ Is it a cost-effective LMS?
___ Is the cost of the LMS within your budget?
___ Is it an affordable LMS (remember to include annual tech support, upgrades, etc)?

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Cost Effective Elearning System is a Great Customer Service Tool

Do you need to create “A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service” in your organization? If so, put your employee training content into a cost effective Online Elearning System and put your customer feedback questions into an easy to use Online Survey System.

That is only one important message and call to action I got from reading the book Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles. The subtitle to the book ” A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service”   is explained thru these 3 main ideas:

1. Decide What You Want Your Company To Be
Create a perfect “vision” of service centered on the customer. That perfect vision is your goal. Make it easy for customers to do business with you. For example, use websites and other technologies to help customers shop. Make the customer experience warm and pleasant by training staff to show attentiveness, warmth, and knowledge. Communicate your vision to the rest of the company and focus on constantly achieving your vision.

2. Discover What Your Customers Want
Customers only focus on a few needs. So you find and then focus on those needs. (when I was in the Fast Food industry we focused on HQSC - Hospitality, Quality, Service, and Cleanliness) Listen to what they say, and listen to what they don’t say. Start asking sincere questions, and win their confidence. (You may want to send out a customer survey.) Serve them, then ask their thoughts and opinions. Show them that they are important.

3. Deliver Consistently and Deliver Plus One
Consistency is the key. If you promise and deliver consistency in quality, timliness and results, you will win over customers and keep existing customers coming back to you. Improve your “vision” by 1% per week so you can master consistency in delivering new as well as existing commitments.

So how do you develop consistency?
A. Don’t commit to the mistake of offering too much service.  It’s better to find a small promise you can consistently deliver than a myriad of services you seldom can meet.
B.Put systems in place. Systems allow for a minimum level of consistency.
C. Support your systems with good training. Help your people deliver on what you promise to the customer by putting them thru cost effective training.  Systems are useless if you don’t put a training system to support it.
D. Finally, congragulate staff when they do well in exceeding customer expectations.

I’ll be back again next week with another summary of a best-selling business book and how it relates to the elearning industry. Do you have questions about Online Learning, Elearning Software, or even Printed Quizzes or CD-Rom Packages? If so, give me a toll free call at 866-696-8709 x922 or email me at frank@atrixware.com . I would be happy to offer you a free consultation or webinar.

  

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ELearning Terms and ELearning Acronyms (part 2)

Anyone who has something to say about elearning may find the below ( L thru Z ) collection of elearning terms and definitions helpful. (compiled by Eva Kaplan-Leiserson on behalf of ASTD (American Society for Training and Development)) 

Click here to view the ( A thru K ) definitions.

LAN (local-area network): A group of personal computers and/or other devices, such as printers or servers, that are located in a relatively limited area, such as an office, and can communicate and share information with each other.

LCMS (learning content management system): A software application (or set of applications) that manages the creation, storage, use, and reuse of learning content. LCMSs often store content in granular forms such as learning objects.

Learning: A cognitive and/or physical process in which a person assimilates information and temporarily or permanently acquires or improves skills, knowledge, behaviors, and/or attitudes.

Learning environment: The physical or virtual setting in which learning takes place.

Learning object: A reusable, media-independent collection of information used as a modular building block for e-learning content. Learning objects are most effective when organized by a meta data classification system and stored in a data repository such as an LCMS.

Learning objective: A statement establishing a measurable behavioral outcome, used as an advanced organizer to indicate how the learner’s acquisition of skills and knowledge is being measured.

Learning platforms: Internal or external sites often organized around tightly focused topics, which contain technologies (ranging from chat rooms to groupware) that enable users to submit and retrieve information.

Learning solution: 1) Any combination of technology and methodology that delivers learning. 2) Software and/or hardware products that suppliers tout as answers to businesses’ training needs.

LMS (learning management system): Software that automates the administration of training. The LMS registers users, tracks courses in a catalog, records data from learners; and provides reports to management. An LMS is typically designed to handle courses by multiple publishers and providers. It usually doesn’t include its own authoring capabilities; instead, it focuses on managing courses created by a variety of other sources.

M-learning (mobile learning): Learning that takes place via such wireless devices as cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), or laptop computers. Multimedia: Encompasses interactive text, images, sound, and color. Multimedia can be anything from a simple PowerPoint slide slow to a complex interactive simulation.

Online: The state in which a computer is connected to another computer or server via a network. A computer communicating with another computer.

Online learning: Learning delivered by Web-based or Internet-based technologies.

Online training: Web- or Internet-based training.

Scalability: The degree to which a computer application or component can be expanded in size, volume, or number of users served and continue to function properly.

SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model): A set of specifications that, when applied to course content, produces small, reusable learning objects. A result of the Department of Defense’s Advance Distributed Learning (ADL) initiative, SCORM-compliant courseware elements can be easily merged with other compliant elements to produce a highly modular repository of training materials.

Soft skills: Business skills such as communication and presentation, leadership and management, human resources, sales and marketing, professional development, project and time management, customer service, team building, administration, accounting and finance, purchasing, and personal development.

Synchronous learning: A real-time, instructor-led online learning event in which all participants are logged on at the same time and communicate directly with each other. In this virtual classroom setting, the instructor maintains control of the class, with the ability to “call on” participants. In most platforms, students and teachers can use a whiteboard to see work in progress and share knowledge. Interaction may also occur via audio- or videoconferencing, Internet telephony, or two-way live broadcasts.

TBT (technology-based training): The delivery of content via Internet, LAN or WAN (intranet or extranet), satellite broadcast, audio- or videotape, interactive TV, or CD-ROM. TBT encompasses both CBT and WBT.

Teaching: A process that aims to increase or improve knowledge, skills, attitudes, and/or behaviors in a person to accomplish a variety of goals. Teaching is often driven more toward the long-term personal growth of the learner and less toward business drivers such as job tasks that are often the focus of training. Some people characterize teaching as focused on theory and training as focused on practical application.

Training: A process that aims to improve knowledge, skills, attitudes, and/or behaviors in a person to accomplish a specific job task or goal. Training is often focused on business needs and driven by time-critical business skills and knowledge, and its goal is often to improve performance.

Tutorial: Step-by-step instructions presented through computer or Web-based technology, designed to teach a user how to complete a particular action.

WBT (Web-based training): Delivery of educational content via a Web browser over the public Internet, a private intranet, or an extranet. Web-based training often provides links to other learning resources such as references, email, bulletin boards, and discussion groups. WBT also may include a facilitator who can provide course guidelines, manage discussion boards, deliver lectures, and so forth. When used with a facilitator, WBT offers some advantages of instructor-led training while also retaining the advantages of computer-based training.

Webinar: (Web + seminar) A small synchronous online learning event in which a presenter and audience members communicate via text chat or audio about concepts often illustrated via online slides and/or an electronic whiteboard. Webinars are often archived as well for asynchronous, on-demand access.

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ELearning Terms and ELearning Acronyms (part 1)

Want to “speak” elearning language? Anyone who has something to say about elearning may find the below ( A thru K ) collection of elearning terms and definitions helpful. (compiled by Eva Kaplan-Leiserson on behalf of ASTD (American Society for Training and Development))

Click here to view the ( L thru Z ) definitions

Assessment: The process used to systematically evaluate a learner’s skill or knowledge level.

Assessment item: A question or measurable activity used to determine whether the learner has mastered a learning objective.

Authoring tool: A software application or program used by trainers and instructional designers to create e-learning courseware. Types of authoring tools include instructionally focused authoring tools, Web authoring and programming tools, template-focused authoring tools, knowledge capture systems, and text and file creation tools.

Blended learning: Learning events that combine aspects of online and face-to-face instruction.

Browser: A software application that displays World Wide Web pages originally written in the text-based HTML language in a user-friendly graphical format.

CAI (computer-assisted instruction): The use of a computer as a medium of instruction for tutorial, drill and practice, simulation, or games. CAI is used for both initial and remedial training, and typically does not require that a computer be connected to a network or provide links to learning resources outside of the course.

CBL (computer-based learning): See CBT.

CBT (computer-based training): An umbrella term for the use of computers in both instruction and management of the teaching and learning process. CAI (computer-assisted instruction) and CMI (computer-managed instruction) are included under the heading of CBT. Some people use the terms CBT and CAI interchangeably.

CD-ROM (compact disc read-only memory or compact disc read-only media): A computer storage medium similar to the audio CD that can hold more than 600 megabytes of read-only digital information.

Certification: 1) The awarding of a credential acknowledging that an individual has demonstrated proof of a minimum level of knowledge or competence, as defined by a professional standards organization. Professional certification can be used as a screening tool and verification of an individual’s skills and knowledge. 2) Program that evaluates products or tools according to predetermined criteria

Classroom training: See Instructor-Led Training.

C-learning: See Instructor-Led Training.

CMI (computer-managed instruction): The use of computer technology to oversee the learning process, including testing and record keeping.

CMS (content management system): A centralized software application or set of applications that facilitates and streamlines the process of designing, testing, approving, and posting e-learning content, usually on Webpages.

CoD (Content on demand): Delivery of an offering, packaged in a media format, anywhere, anytime via a network. Variants include audio on demand (AoD) and video on demand (VoD).

Content: Information captured digitally and imparted to learners. Formats for e-learning content include text, audio, video, animation, simulation, and more.

Courseware: Any type of instructional or educational course delivered via a software program or over the Internet.

Customer-focused e-learning: Technology-based learning programs offered by a company and targeted at their current and prospective customers. The intent is to increase brand loyalty among existing customers and attract new business

Default: A setting that the computer system uses automatically, unless it is changed by the user.

Delivery: Any method of transferring content to learners, including instructor-led training, Web-based training, CD-ROM, books, and more.

Disc/Disk: Floppy Disk or CD-ROM.

Disk drive: The part of a computer that reads and writes data onto either a floppy disk, a hard disk, or an optical disk (CD, CD-ROM, DVD, DVD-ROM, WORM, and so forth).

Distance education: Educational situation in which the instructor and students are separated by time, location, or both. Education or training courses are delivered to remote locations via Syncronous or Asyncronous means of instruction, including written correspondence, text, graphics, audio- and videotape, CD-ROM, online learning, audio- and videoconferencing, interactive TV, and FAX. Distance education does not preclude the use of the traditional classroom. The definition of distance education is broader than and entails the definition of e-learning.

Distance learning: The desired outcome of distance education. The two terms are often used interchangeably.

Download: (noun) A file that’s transferred or copied to a user’s computer from another connected individual computer, a computer network, a commercial online service, or the Internet. (verb) To transfer or copy a file to a user’s computer from another connected individual computer, a computer network, a commercial online service, or the Internet.

E-learning (electronic learning): Term covering a wide set of applications and processes, such as Web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classrooms, and digital collaboration. It includes the delivery of content via Internet, intranet/extranet (LAN/WAN), audio- and videotape, satellite broadcast, interactive TV, CD-ROM, and more.

End user: The person for whom a particular technology is designed; the individual who uses the technology for its designated purpose. In e-learning, the end user is usually the student.

E-training: See TBT.

ILS (integrated learning system): A complete software, hardware, and network system used for instruction. In addition to providing curriculum and lessons organized by level, an ILS usually includes a number of tools such as assessments, record keeping, report writing, and user information files that help to identify learning needs, monitor progress, and maintain student records.

ILT (instructor-led training): Usually refers to traditional classroom training, in which an instructor teaches a course to a room of learners. The term is used synonymously with on-site training and classroom training (c-learning).

Internet-based training: Training delivered primarily by TCP/IP network technologies such as email, newsgroups, proprietary applications, and so forth. Although the term is often used synonymously with Web-based training, Internet-based training is not necessarily delivered over the World Wide Web, and may not use the HTTP and HTML technologies that make Web-based training possible.

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ELearning at a Distance

Distance learning has become very popular with the elearning community.  It enables the ability to offer online courses with lectures, lesson plans, online tests etc.  Students can now receive all of the attention they would receive in a classroom environment online.

Here are a few useful options you may want to explore…

Streaming content such as video and audio has made online education very useful and effective.  Many programs such as one I use personally – Apple’s iLife – make it very easy to record, edit and deploy content. Streaming audio and video has become instrumental in displaying content in real-time online. It has also allowed almost instant playback of large videos that otherwise would take several minutes to hours to download.

I have used software like gotomypc.com and is very helpful for remote use of computers without the need of networking knowledge.  This creates a one on one experience between the instructor and student to troubleshoot any issue the student may be having. 

Programs like Adobe Visual Communicator allow users to create professional quality presentations to stream online very quickly.  This can be used as instructional videos, lectures etc.

The use of the programs and media mentioned above in conjunction with eLearning software like Test Pro Developer and Weblearning which enable you to create and deliver online quizzes, self-guided presentations, and courses, can create a full featured distance learning experience.

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Peer-to-Peer Networking for eLearning

Peer-to-peer networking is one of the most popular items for teenagers on the internet today.   Sites like MySpace and Facebook allow anyone to easily create their own personal webspace free of charge.  It has become so big, that most people my age (25) and younger have a profile and update it regularly.   

Social networks like the ones mentioned above can create very successful environments for eLearning as wellTeachers can easily build online communities through MySpace and Facebook to help students study, discuss and share information.  Although most people would not want their current profiles displayed to a teacher or superior, new profiles can be developed specifically for an elearning community

MySpace has a variety of very helpful features that can be applied to eLearning communities.  I have been using MySpace for about 1 year so I will discuss some of things that this community offers.   

The most basic feature of MySpace is to send and receive comments posted on your home page or privately.  This creates an online classroom enviornment that can address the needs of the class or the needs of an individual student.

In conjunction with youTube, elearning videos can be posted onto MySpace pages and discussed accordingly.  MySpace also has a bulletin board that is displayed when you login.  This can be helpful to post homework assignments, lesson plans etcElearning blogs can also be developed by students and teachers as well. 

To complete the online classroom environment, teachers can use an online learning management system (LMS) to develop quizzes, tests and add other online materials.   LMS systems can automatically grade quizzes, eliminate copying quizzes, generate online reports etc.  This can free up a lot of time for teachers so they can concentrate on developing an elearning community successfully.

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How to Create a Successful E-Learning Presentation

“How to Speak so People Will Listen” was the presentation given at a recent ASTD (American Society for Trainng and Development) meeting in Philadelphia. PA. Dilip Abayaserkara, Ph.D., A.S. from Speaker Services Unlimited was the presenter. I was among the over 50 people priveleged to attended. Dilip is a renowned Speech Coach, accredited speaker, and Toasmasters’ Past International President.  Although most of his information was geared toward “live” presentations, there were also some other ideas that transfer easily into the Online E-Learning Presentation and Distance Learning Presentation style as well.

Here are a few “tips” for you to consider when you create your next presentation:

1. Reduce encoding errors (the message you send)  Example: Don’t say “you look ugly in that dress” if you mean “that dress does not compliment your beauty”

2. Make it easy for the audience to decode (understand/apply your message) Use short words & sentences. Use rhyme, rhythm & cadence. Use images & examples the audience can relate to. Example: Don’t say “Pulchritude extends merely to the epidermal layer” if you mean “beauty is only skin deep”

3. Reduce interference as much as possible. The communication channel (face to face, phone, email, online, etc) determines what the interference is  and what you can do about it.          Example: Online Presenters can integrate more interactive features: read, view, listen, click, write etc.  instead of requiring your audience to just listen to a “boring” lecture or read “dry” content. Create interest and participation not distraction and apathy.

4. Be “First Brain Friendly”  Be What? The first brain is the most primitive part of the brain which directly receives all the sensory inputs and is the gatekeeper (filter) for the rest of the brain (logical thinking and creative part). The first brain seeks (senses) safety and trust before allowing any words, numbers or language in (which is your message/content).  Example: Smile, use open and accepting gestures, be sincere and credible and confident and caring and enthusiastic. (Like an adult is in front of a baby. Let them know it is safe and secure to be with you and learn from you) I think that is why so many successful presenters start with a joke, an icebreaker, or an interesting story to ease the initial “tension” and then the audience is receptive to what they have to say.

5. Give the audience what they want, not what you want. Why?  When you go fishing, is the bait food that you like, or that the fish likes? Example: The audience wants: understanding, relevance, significance, value, inspiration, entertainment, etc.

6. Communicate Clearly. Begin with one sentence or phrase with your crystallized purpose. Then introduce appropriate content, words, examples. Associate new information with old information, keep it simple. Example: How about Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech.

7. Be Organized. If possible, every presentation should have: an introduction, a body and a conclusion with a smooth transition/flow.  One theme with main points and supporting data, an appeal to the mind (factual) and heart (emotional), If you would like to learn more about Dilip Abayasekara, his company Speaker Services Unlimited, or his presentation, “How to Speak so People Will Listen” send me an email at frank@atrixware.com and I will forward you his contact information.

If you would like to learn more about ASTD, click here www.ASTD.org.

If you want to learn more about Online E-Learning and/or Distance Learning Solutions, visit our website www.atrixware.com, give me a call 856-831-7772, or send me an email at frank@atrixware.com.

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How to Make Your Own Quiz

What a broad topic. I know – you just want to make your own quiz, and do something with it – like put a quiz up on to your web site, or make a quiz you can email, or make a quiz for your website. Some of you might be doing it for fun (maybe you want to make a quiz for fun, for example), and others are looking for a was to make a quiz you can use to quiz your students.

For those of you just trying to make your own quiz for fun (for myspace for example), you are probably best served using a free or low-cost quiz maker software product. There are a handful out there. Atrixware offers a free quizmaker as well – its actually a full older version (2002) of our Test Pro Developer product. For more information on getting the free quiz maker we offer, just click here.

If you want to make your own quiz that actually counts, you have various products to choose from. Atrixware offers a few products that can help. Our desktop quizmaker software product is called Test Pro Developer. It is offered in several ‘editions’, but for most of you, the Basic/Academic edition will be more than adequate to let you make your own quiz and put it up on your website, email it to your students, make a printed quiz, make an online quiz, and much more. We also offer a very popular online quiz system / LMS system called Weblearning. It enables you to make your own quiz (actually many quizzes, and also learning presentations), place them into courses, and enroll students. For more information on the Weblearning LMS, click here.

For a fun quiz, you probably want to keep the questions to a minimum (10 questions or less), and stick to simple multiple-choice and true/false question styles. When you make your own quiz and its one that will count towards a grade, the content of the questions is obviously paramount. Make sure the questions are good and the answers are accurate. Using a system such as Weblearning (which has statistical reporting) will help you determine which questions are too easy, which are too hard, and which ones need to be modified.

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Free Quiz Maker

As many of you reading this may already know, Atrixware (www.atrixware.com) has been around since 1997. 2008 represents our 12th year in business. One of the results of this many years is that we have released many versions of our products.

We already offer all of our desktop products in trial editions with no time limit. One of our employees had suggested offering an older version of the software for free (and offer a Free Quiz Maker), and most of us liked the idea. So, we chose Test Pro Developer 2002 Home Edition Quiz Maker (which is roughly the equivalent of the ‘Basic/Academic’ edition in our version 8 lineup).

Version 2002 is 3 versions behind the current version 8 of Test Pro Developer (think of version 2002 as ‘version 5′). Despite its name, it was actually released in late 2001. It certainly does not have all the bells & whistles of the version 8 product, and has a much older (2001-ish) interface. This older quiz maker product also does not have much in the way of online quiz creation ability (although you can make online quizzes with it). It also may take a few extra steps to get installed on Vista (as it was created way before Vista was out).

In any event, it is being offered for FREE (hence the Free Quiz Maker headline) for a limited time (to be determined by the powers that be here at Atrixware) ‘as is’, with no installation or usage support (although you can post in support forums if you would like).

Of course, the hope is, it will be ‘good enough’ to wet your appetite, but make you feel compelled to purchase our version 8 product — but if you don’t, that’s ok too.

Ready to get it? Follow these Steps

Step 1: Download the Installer
Step 2: Run the installer
Step 3: During install, always click OK, YES TO ALL, or IGNORE to any prompt.
Step 4: Run the software by clicking START > PROGRAMS > TEST PRO DEVELOPER
Step 5: Create a developer profile and then log into the software
Step 6: Click HELP > REGISTER TEST PRO
Step 7: Enter the following into approprate fields (you may want to copy/paste for accuracy)

Name: Free Promotion
Install Key: nS02%46Q9F
Serial Number: 3VD2-4194-3VD3-157G-2CL3
Email: promotion@atrixware.com
Edition: Home

Step 8: Close and Restart the Test Pro Developer 2002 Quiz Maker software

I hope some of you find it useful. Have fun!

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