Posts Tagged learning management system
Lakhs of students write entrance exams for getting entry into professional courses in India every year. The demand for these professional courses has given rise to many colleges in the hope of capturing a chunk of this target student base who can’t make it to top rung institutions. Some institutions are backed by corporate entities or real estate companies. However, this increase in the number of colleges did not actually translate into an increase in quality (in terms of knowledge, industry readiness, skills etc,) of students, coming out from these colleges. The primary reasons for this are:
Shortage of resources
Managements of colleges with deep pockets are able to provide good infrastructure. But colleges with limited financial resources find it hard to provide the needed infrastructure. But irrespective of the financial power of these institutions, finding good quality teaching faculty has been a huge challenge in recent times as there is a genuine dearth of quality teachers with professional and research background.
It is difficult for lesser known colleges to provide early industry interaction for their students through internships or to get well-known guest speakers from the industry to come, speak and interact with the students. The reasons could be varied, ranging from lack of budget to lack of contacts. The troubles faced by the institutions are not limited to the above. But the end effect is many colleges are being forced to scale down courses or close down altogether due to lack of student enrollment.
With resources like faculty with background in high end research, quality teaching material etc coming at a premium, colleges are turning to technology to help overcome these hurdles. A Learning Management System is one such technology enabler for E-Learning and is an option being explored today by many institutions. Once an LMS is enabled across the institution, it is just a matter of acquiring/creating a courseware that can be delivered through the LMS. An e-Learning course enabled and delivered using an LMS solves the above issues in the following way:
Teachers need not be physically present for handling courses
If the institute can acquire quality material, this can be uploaded into the LMS, creating courses in different streams/areas.
Video lectures (recorded or live)
Record lectures once and deliver to multiple students any number of times.
Apart from the above, an LMS for educational institutions provides these additional benefits:
Students can study at their own pace
Students will be encouraged to put in efforts to go through the course or practice on their own for exams. The evaluation methodology has also undergone quite a few changes over a period of time keeping in mind the limited faculty time. Some LMS providers also provide social learning features to enable participative learning among students.
Reach of courses
College management wants to reach out to maximum number of students possible to offer their courses. This is true especially in case of distance learning course providers. An LMS for distance learning institutions that can help create and deliver courses online and can enable submission of assignments and quizzes online will create real value for these institutions.
“People are our greatest assets, and people-development is a key pillar of our success.” scream organizations from their roof-tops. Any Company worth its salt in the global corporate fraternity aims to be “progressively learning” and wants its employees to be on a continuous learning curve. Some call themselves “learning organizations” while some claim (for good reason) that in this age of knowledge-intensive growth, it is essential for all organizations to perennially maintain their learning edge to be able to keep their noses ahead of competition. More and more employees now realize that their success is directly proportional to their skill-enhancement, and training opportunities provide a great avenue for the same. That’s where e-Learning is proving to be a game-changer.
With the onset of e-age tools, the electronic existence of an individual more or less defines his/her persona. Even in the corporate world, the online environment has become a strong medium to reach out to employees and provide them a credible option to build their corporate persona. From intra-office social networks, to blogging sites, from online notice-boards to learning circles, email-notifications to compensation-management portals, online hiring tools to online learning management systems, “online” is now employed by organizations for all their people programs. The online mode has become a potent one for employers to enhance the learning and development opportunities for their employees as well. Most progressive organizations today have training modules made available to their employees through an online LMS. A whole host of ready-made electronic modules as well as recordings of classroom training programs with training materials have been made available to facilitate learning on a plethora of topics, which hitherto were considered the hegemony of classroom sessions. While traditional class-room sessions and on-the-job trainings still form an inseparable part of the learning curve of any organization, e-learning has carved out its own niche and today is exploited vastly for furtherance of talent development initiatives. In addition to organizations using an online LMS for internal trainings and assessments, there are several independent portals which offer e-Learning options for students and individuals as well, to help them enhance their skills in various dimensions.
So are we cozying up to this new-age online wonder in the learning and development space? Well, I for sure am! e-Learning offers a host of advantages which help overcome various road-blocks faced in pursuing the traditional brick & mortar classroom training models. To outline a few:
- Flexibility of time – Unlike in classroom training, where you have to register for sessions and free up your calendar as per the training schedule, e-learning presents online modules right at your workstation, and you could choose to undergo the training at any time of your choice.
- Quorum – More often than not, classroom trainings necessarily need to have a certain quorum for effective transfer of learning. E-Learning modules are independent of this factor. Companies are also deploying recordings of successful classroom sessions online, for future trainees to go through the sessions online, without missing out on the exchange of views as it happens in a classroom.
- Cost – Today, organizations are trying to cut down on costs in every possible way. E-Learning also presents a cost-effective training mechanism for organizations. A successful classroom training program, once conducted, could be harvested across several employees through the online mechanism by allowing them to go through a recording of the same. Needless to say, the savings on account of logistics are considerable.
- Adopt a comfortable pace – In classroom training or in OJT (On-the-Job-Training), the trainee needs to keep pace with the trainer, and the transfer of learning depends wholly upon whether one is able to keep pace with the rest of the batch. The trainers work towards completing a fixed module and tend to push the pace on need basis. e-learning is advantageous in that one could go through the program at a pace of their comfort, and repeating modules and sessions for better understanding, as many times as they need.
- Backlog – Employees often complain that owing to trainings requiring attendance in multiple classroom sessions, the regular day’s work gets piled up, and they need to slog extra hours or often even weekends to clear it up. e-Learning actually is a boon in such cases. Just keep the online module running in a window and keep toggling it as and when you get time!
- Online Assessment – Any good e-learning programme is usually followed up with a short but incisive assessment test. It’s an online test and the good ones usually give an appropriate picture of the understanding developed by the trainee on the subject. If the scores are not good, don’t sweat…just re-load the requisite module, go through the session again and re-do the test. Eventually, for the sensitive minded, it is better than the drama around a classroom test where your performance could be openly scrutinised. Self-evaluation of one’s learning is always the best way to assess one’s proficiency, if one is honest about learning any topic.
Detractors may argue that it restricts the learning to the limited module subjects, and any additional clarifications may not get resolved, thus proving the training to be restrictive. Also, given that it could be done at the workstation, there would not be undivided attention, thereby diluting the learning.
While it is true that everything has a flip-side, one has to understand that online modules should be developed for a limited syllabus, and should have enough case-studies and examples to provide a holistic learning of the topic. All progressive organizations invest a lot of research in developing impactful online modules, covering a host of subjects which do not require classroom presence for effective learning. While undivided attention is a concern, the same applies to classroom sessions as well, wherein employees keep walking in and out of the training rooms to attend “urgent calls” and office-related works.
One must appreciate that e-learning is not a substitute to other forms of training. It is a strong supplement to the bouquet of learning initiatives of an organization. What’s more, I get to train myself on topics of my choice, at a time of my choice, at a pace of my choice, and also get a record of course-completion after each course. At the end of the year, I get to mention it all as “self-initiated learning” in my appraisal and impress my boss with my ‘eagerness to learn’ and ‘skill-enhancement initiative’! So what’s stopping you…figure out your favorite topic and enhance your skill by enrolling for the relevant module online. Happy Learning!
When the number of applicants for popular competitive exams increases, it becomes increasingly difficult for the institute/board conducting the exam to administer the test manually. The logistics too, stretch the bandwidth of faculty and administration. In this context, many of these boards are looking to systematically taking these exams online. In accordance with the same trend, entrance exams for Banks in India went online. This came as a huge shock to aspirants who were preparing for these exams. Officially, IBPS, Institute of Banking Personnel Selection, conducts the exams on behalf of banks. Earlier, OMR sheets were used since all questions were multiple-choice based. Though it makes the process easier for IBPS, the candidates think otherwise.
It is not only the Probationary Officers exams, but also the Clerical grade exams that went online. Many of the applicants are from middle class and lower middle class families for whom getting a bank job is a dream come true. They might not be comfortable answering questions online during the exam, if they didn’t have prior experience of using a Computer Based Testing (CBT). To address this issue, IBPS said that it will provide special training for the applicants from less privileged backgrounds or differently-abled candidates.
For training institutes, involved in training aspirants for these various bank recruitment exams, too, this is a major change. The training methodologies and processes they have been following over the years need to be overhauled. They will be required to provide some kind of simulation of CBT for the people they are training. This involves setting up infrastructure and also providing an exam and assessment software for simulating the CBT environment.
To its credit, an online system makes it easy and faster for tests to be conducted. Lakhs of applicants vie for thousands of bank jobs in India. The recruitment process is a major exercise for the banks. Conducting an online test makes it easier, faster and more accurate. The turnaround time, between conducting the test and analyzing the results, is reduced which would help banks recruit more often with lesser strain on their resources both in terms of effort and time.
For Training Institutes:
vTesting is an online exam and assessment platform from hubVirt Software Solutions, that helps institutes offer their exams in various test areas. The students/users of an institute can login to vTesting and practise tests put up by the institute.
For aspirants who need additional practice online:
hubVirt also offers a content based solution, vStudyroom, that has simulated practice tests for bank exams covering various test areas. The test areas covered in these bank exams are: Quantitative Ability, Logical and Reasoning Ability, Verbal Ability, Data Interpretation (for PO), Marketing/ General Awareness and Computer Skills. vStudyroom, a FREE resource, provides practice tests in all these areas.
As businesses expand, having a workforce that is well-trained and up-to-date with knowledge of internal processes becomes critical in order to deliver quality services. It is not easy to find such talented and readily trained employees. Hence some companies have partners or extended work force instead of permanent employees to maintain flexibility in resource base. Managing such a workforce is more difficult than managing permanent employees.
No matter what type of workforce an organization has, it is important that every employee follows the current best practices and common processes to ensure that the offering to the end customer is consistent. Whether it is keeping the sales force up-to-date on the product offerings of the company or training the employees on the products & processes, training and development of workforce plays a pivotal role in ensuring that quality service is delivered to customer. As the company grows, it becomes difficult for the company to bring the workforce together for frequent trainings or product updates.
Technology plays a crucial role in managing the trainings of a global workforce. A comprehensive LMS is a must-use training platform for companies. Here are some of the important features that a company should look out for:
- tracking current skill set of employees
- nominating employees for trainings
- online course delivery
- knowledge base sharing
- social learning to engage workforce
- feedback mechanism
Some of the benefits of offering courses online are:
- save resources used for training
- have easy access to training material
- let employees undergo training at their own pace
- track skill base of employees
- scale up training programs quickly
vLearningPro is a comprehensive LMS for organizations, that enables them to take advantage of technology in saving time, cost and resources for talent and knowledge management by offering training programs online to their workforce. For more details visit: www.hubvirt.com
Training is an integral part of the operations in an organization. From induction of new employee to leadership training, every company has to spend time, effort and money in organizing trainings. Yet the knowledge dissemination is not uniform and sometimes not enough for the professional growth of employees. There are dedicated training departments for large firms, whereas in smaller firms, senior employees act as trainers or mentors.
Typically companies provide training in various ways:
• Hold in-house training sessions
• Provide manuals and self-study material
• Tie-up with some outside institution
• On the job training where senior employees act as mentors
• Adhoc trainings by bringing in experts as training consultants
Whatever might be the way, it puts extra burden on resources and the un-organized nature of knowledge transfer does not often yield required results. Sometimes the trainee is also torn between giving time to training versus work.
E-Learning is an option that is being increasingly considered by companies to save on cost, time and resources. One pre-requisite of e-learning is computer literacy which is no longer an issue in current scenario.
A learning management system (LMS) manages and deploys e-learning. It also consolidates the training resources and information of the organization. Communicating and sharing knowledge becomes easier. An LMS makes the learners accountable for their own training plans and helps the HR department track and plan the career growth of employees. Controlled access to courses ensures that the training material is distributed only to those who really need it. Reduction in time off from work increases the productivity of the employees.
The use of technology in education, known as e-learning, is much sought after these-days by institutes and corporates alike. Technology applications are not just limited to administration. They are being increasingly used in classrooms. There are various ways in which institutes use technology:
¨ Online courses: The instructor conducts sessions online – either through video or audio or text methods. The student-teacher interaction is minimal.
¨ Technology supplementing tradition: The instructor teaches sessions in the classroom, but uses technology to supplement teaching in the form of power point or sharing course material or online tests, etc.
¨ Semi-traditional courses: The instructor replaces some of the classroom sessions with online sessions.
As institutes adopt technology for e-learning, they should keep in mind some important issues:
¨ Institutes must provide adequate and reliable infrastructure
¨ Set aside a specific budget and time-line for adoption of technology
¨ Students and faculty must possess the skills to use e-learning tools
¨ Faculty must re-design their course offerings to be incorporated into e-learning environment
¨ Do not underestimate the extent of administration and support that e-learning requires
¨ Opt to distribute or centralize the administration of e-learning depending on the distribution of their resources.