4 Concepts to Consider When Planning a Course

By Cameron Young


Teaching others a new concept can be daunting not just for the learner but also the teacher. And as instructors, we often make it harder on ourselves than it necessarily needs to be. It is understandable as we are ambitious beings; we see the light and run straight towards it.

Take for instance, ever since I was a wee child, I wanted to ride a motorcycle. I thought it was just the coolest thing. I remember watching my dad leave to go ride and the first time I was allowed to ride on the back. When finally, my father deemed me to be old enough to learn; I was so hyped.

I am going to ride so fast, weaving in and out of traffic, and pop so many wheelies! But to my dismay on the day we were to begin lessons, he wheeled out of the garage not his motorcycle but a bicycle.

At first, I thought it was a joke. So when he told me to take a few laps around the neighborhood on it, I did so. Returning thinking, now I am going to learn but nope. He then continued to drone on about gears, ratios, the mechanics of the bike. To end the day, he told me that he expected me to ride everyday, focusing on getting faster and going farther. And to keep my bike in top form.

After a month or so, I found myself so comfortable on the bike; pedalling, climbing, gear shifting, cornering were executed effortlessly. It was only then that I began learning with a motorcycle.

This little story, I hope illustrated a few points of effective teaching; or as I like to call it, facilitated internalization. I find it much more efficient to frame ideas within a story.

So let’s breakdown a few ideas that can be found in the story above:

The “golden ratio” when it comes to learning is the frequency of learning through a certain method.

10% should be through formalized courses and lessons.

20% should be with a mentor.

70% should be experiential learning; or through trial and error

I started with the big goal of riding a motorcycle. My father helped my along the way and taught me a few key processes but I learned the most “on my own”. And that’s the key to learning, the student needs to feel a sense of responsibility to learn. If I didn’t get up on the bike, I didn’t learn; I knew that. This ratio is a good guideline to balance between spoonfeeding concepts and leaving a person high and dry.

Well I did promise four tricks so this last concept is adapted from a productivity hack called the Pomodoro technique; yes like the tomato. It is actually named after the tomato alarm clock. It is quite simple, you are to work for 25 minutes and then take 5-10 minute break. After 4 pomodori or cycles, you take a longer break up to 30 minutes. This allows you to work in intense spurts and prevent yourself from burning out. The concept we will pull from the pomodoro technique is that each lesson in your course should be about 25 minutes.

So that’s it, four ideas to consider to accelerate your employees learning.

  • Start big and then break learning into management components

    • It’s just like building a house.

  • Make it relatable

    • Tell a story and use stories

  • Pomodoro Technique

    • People are distracted, work around it not fight it

    • 25 on, 5 off. aim that for your lesson length

  • 70:20:10

    • 20% should be formalized learning




Ready, Set, Teach!

By Cameron Young


Picture by Ryan McGuire

So you decided that you want to monetize your knowledge but have no experience in creating a instructor course. There are many questions swirling around in your head,

  • How much do I charge?

  • How will I market my course?

  • What makes a good course; how long is it?

Don’t worry I have you covered. I am going to breakdown course creation into a few blog posts. Today we will focus on developing a robust understanding within your mind of your course. Before you create your course, you should be able to explain to anyone and excite them about your course. Not sell the course, but guide them to the point where they want this course to be created; that they share your vision of this course.

This is your first goal in creating a course, you must be able to articulate the point of your course before you create a successful course.

So let’s start with imagining the end product which is the graduated student. What change should they expect to see upon completing your course? This can be manifested in a shift in a way of thinking, ability to do something, or the method of which they do a process. Examples would sound like from the basic objectives like, students will be able to apply the scrum method undertaking a project, to the more advanced objectives like, students will be able to analyze and form an informed opinion surrounding an international business lawsuit.

These are your learning objectives; or another word is value proposition. A good number to aim for is 3 but a range of 2 to 5 is solid.

This can be a very difficult question to answer but a critical one. It provides a firm foundation that your course can be built upon. This answer is the ‘X’ on the map. If you ever find yourself lost later on creating your course, learning objectives are what you should reference.

Now let’s bring this around and see how your learning objectives can do the majority of explaining a course idea. I’ll use the hypothetical course of Grifting 101. I determined that the learning objectives are students will be able to…

http://i0.wp.com/www.gambitmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/community.jpg?resize=620%2C360

  1. Identify scenarios and people who are susceptible to grifts

  2. Give and receive the 10 most common grifter signals discreetly

  3. Apply the Ponzi methodology when planning a scheme

I would explain grifting 101 to someone like this,

I will be teaching grifting 101 to people so they can find a mark in a grifting-friendly situation. Execute a scheme planned with the Ponzi methodology using discrete signals.

A suggested activity if you are feeling stumped in creating learning objectives is to make a list of 20 words, phrases or anything really that can be applied to a graduated student from your course. Now whittle this list down by 5 items until you have just enough to create learning objectives with. I find it useful to do this with a friend who can talk out eliminating items.

A quick recap of this week’s post,

  • A good course can get anyone excited about it’s subject

  • Creating learning objectives are the critical first step

  • Learning objectives articulate the value of your course




What Exactly Is E-Learning?

By Cameron Young


lecture room

 

Education. It formally started when we were 3 or 4 years old at preschool and should never end. Whether it is learning a new concept or on the job learning, learning is one of the important habit anyone can grow.

 

You can learn through a multitude of ways from reading a book, with a mentor, or as the trend of recent; online, or e-learning. What comes to mind when you hear the term, e-learning? We’re not psychic but it probably had to do something with the Internet.

 

And we would agree with you. At Nuvola Academy, we like a broad definition of e-learning of,

education facilitated through technology.

For us, this eliminates technology aides that assist in learning such as a calculator or a projector. It is not to discount their utility rather they are tools whereas e-learning revolves around the actual medium. And it is for that reason, our position in the debate of the proper terminology of “e-learning” is to keep the “e” as it denotes a specific, broad subcategory within the education field.

 

The most important factor of e-learning is that the majority of the interactions between the instructor and student take place online. This distinction is an important one that separates a supplemental tool to support the physical classroom like a Blackboard or Canvas and a platform that is built as a virtual classroom.

Often MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) come to mind where the instructing is automated, usually through a combination of recorded lectures and quizzes. This allows the instructor to teach when they have time and the student to consume the course at their convenience

The flipside is a limited size course that is taught live through a video call. At the cost of convenience, the level of engaged learning soars. There is no standardized term for this type of course yet.

 

Well that is the basics of e-learning, stay tuned for our next post in this series where we will delve into an overview of industry terms.

 

If you want to learn more about how e-learning can work for you, click here to get in touch with Cameron Young.




Feature Announcement: Course Referrals

By Cameron Young


Stellar education occurs when a diverse set of subject experts are able to teach lessons surround their unique knowledge set. This is where course referrals demonstrate their value. Instructors now have the option to set a commission to be paid for every student directly referred to their course. The commission will only be paid once the student fully enrolls within your course.

This transaction is purely between you and the referring instructor, there is no surcharge from Nuvola Academy.




Motivating Your Employees in Online Training

By Admin


Online training is only effective if employees are receptive to the overall experience of eLearning. Even if you’ve invested resources into the implementation and design, the employees need to be fully engaged and motivated to learn if you want it to be successful. Here are some tips from E-Learning Industry that you can use to motivate your employees in online training, no matter the subject.

 

 
1. Emphasize the benefits of the online training session.
 
They need to be aware of the value and benefits that the training will give them. Highlight the important things they will receive from the course to keep their motivation up and their attention focused on absorbing the key takeaways from the training.
 
2. Offer them a way to track their progress.
 
Create periodic quizzes or exams that test their knowledge after every module. This will make them pay attention to the training and give them the ability to track their progress throughout the course.
 
3. Encourage an online training culture within your company.
 
Online training needs to be more than a mandatory activity. It needs to be a part of your company’s culture. Employees need to realize the benefits of it professionally and personally. Stress the benefits of the courses and motivate employees to get excited about improving themselves.
 
4. Give them a variety of opportunities to interactive within the course.
 
Everyone learns differently. While some prefer to observe and study, others prefer videos and interactive learning. It’s important to provide a wide range of interactive training opportunities to get them actively learning.
 
5. Set up a reward or incentive program.
 
One big way to motivate employees is to offer them rewards or an incentive system that allows them to earn credits or points towards something. It gives them an extra boost to complete the training.
 
6. Develop learning activities focused on group collaboration.
 
Employees like to collaborate with each other. Getting them to work together is a great way to improve performance and encourage innovation.

 

 

Your main goal is to get your employees motivated so they will be excited and inspired to further their knowledge and become active participants in the online training process! 




Integrate Storytelling into your eLearning

By Admin


Creating eLearning courses with a storytelling model will increase the power of content and help the learner retain information better than other formats of study. When you hear a story, your brain responds as if it were experiencing the events first-hand. You actually use more of your brain when listening to stories. Not only does it create an immersive environment for learning but it also allows learners to feel more emotionally connected to the subject matter.
 
It’s a challenge to engage learners in a self-paced environment but by using stories in eLearning, you can grab the learners’ attention and this motivates learners to achieve their goals even in a self-paced course.
 
By making the story relatable and relevant, the content has the power to engage learners and help them retain information at a better rate. Make sure to integrate your core message into the plot of the story and offer narration that enhances the story but does not distract the learner. By using the storytelling model not only will you content be more effective but it will also deliver an entertaining experience for your learners.
 
Take a look below at this Storytelling for Effective eLearning Infographic to see how stories can be incorporated into your courses for maximum engagement and efficiency! 

 




Increase Student Motivation and Engagement in Online Courses

By Admin


Across all institutions, grade levels, subjects and courses it’s a constant challenge to keep students engaged and motivated. There are some disadvantages to online courses, for instance, faculty may have trouble picking up on cues from students that indicate a lack of engagement or enthusiasm. Also, the anonymous feeling of the online course can make it easy for students to withdraw or participate minimally.
 
However, there are several advantages to online courses that can help make it easier to engage students in the learning process.
 
  1. The self-paced nature of eLearning allows students to fit the course around their schedule, making it less of a chore and stress on the student.
  2. Motivated students remain engaged with quizzes and interactive lessons that give them immediate feedback and help them keep up with their progress in the course.
  3. eLearning offers flexibility, interactivity and creativity for students and teachers alike. There are several different ways to create engaging experiences for learners.
 
There are also many different ways to design your eLearning courses to obtain maximum engagement from your students.
 
  1. Use imagery, video, audio and interactive features to create an engaging design for your course materials and web pages. 
  2. Use video to create an introduction to the course content and other exciting course topics
  3. Involve role-playing and the use of maps and data sets to integrate your materials around a central topic.
  4. Asking students for their input on class topics, assignments and projects can allow them to feel like they have a voice and can be a part of choosing what material they will get to learn
  5. Create assignments that students must complete before they can proceed in the course
  6. Use a discussion board to create a sense of community within the course and promote active engagement. 
 
Using any number of these tips and tricks will help you design a course that fits the needs of your students while also creating an interesting and motivating environment for learning!

 

 
Along with creating a motivating course environment, there are some things that instructors can do to promote engagement within the course as well. Instructors must create explicit course and activity goals so students will feel motivated to put effort into the course when they see that the course goals are worthwhile. They should also clearly communicate work and learning expectations at the beginning of the course, preferably in video format. Another important tool is to have a detailed syllabus with assignment information and schedules, advice for completing the work and all important quiz and test dates so the students know what to expect and gain from the course. It is also beneficial to have a consistent timetable for the work due each week so the deadlines are predictable and students can prepare effectively.
 
Communication is another important factor to keep students engaged in an eLearning course. They need to know that the instructor is available to answer questions, help with course material and is genuinely interested in seeing them excel in the course. As an instructor, choose a communication tool that your students prefer and use it, aiming for frequent contact with the students each week. Also, encourage personal interactions by getting the students in the course to share information about themselves with the other classmates. This gives them a bit of an icebreaker and allows them to form bonds with other students that are taking the course.
 
Some critics are quick to list all of the disadvantages that come with online learning but the truth is, it can be as effective as classroom learning. It allows for students to learn on their own time, which gives them more motivation to do the work and get excited about their success. Just because they are behind a computer screen does not mean they are automatically less engaged in the material they are learning. They just have to be given the right tools to stay motivated and reach their goals. 




Time Management Tips for the Online Student

By Admin


Students love the flexibility and convenience that online training offers but sometimes the success rate can be lower in online courses due to the need for more self-discipline. The main thing that will attribute to a higher success rate among eLearners would be for them to focus on better time management in their courses and coursework. Here are some tips for eLearners on how to better manage time in online courses for maximum achievement.
 
 
One of the first things you want to do is eliminate distractions while you are learning. This is easier said than done when it comes to taking an online course. It’s very easy to get distracted in web browsers. You may think it won’t take long to check your Facebook or email but before you know it you have wasted an hour that could have been devoted to your coursework. Make sure, when you sit down to complete work for your online class, that you go directly to your course site and get your classwork done before venturing off onto other leisure sites.
 
Another thing that would benefit you would be to take advantage of online tools to manage your time. Set reminders for important deadlines and make to-do lists for imperative class work. You can also search for time-tracking and productivity apps to help you perform tasks during your designated coursework times. Don’t let technology overrun your study time! You should also think about creating a bookmark folder or a running document that can be used as a reference guide when working on coursework. This document or folder can contain all of the links you use for your coursework, contact information for your school and professors, and any other necessary resources. This way they are all quick and easy to access, with minimal distraction from outside webpages.
 
Another time management tip would be to plan a few of your study/class work times on the same day or around the same times that your professor is online. This way you can get answers to your questions faster. The quicker you can receive a response means more time you save when it comes to completing coursework.
 
You also want to make sure that you create an easy to follow schedule that includes class and study times. This allows you to set a commitment to yourself that you will focus on your course at the specified times and it will help you to create healthy habits for future online courses and coursework.
 
 
The biggest tip to mention would be to STAY ORGANIZED. Being organized is the best thing to do in any course but especially in an online course. You are responsible for staying on top of your coursework and studying on your own time so keeping track of all of your assignments, study materials and important quiz and test dates, in an organized manner, will greatly benefit you in the long run.
Hopefully these tips will be helpful to people that are currently taking, or thinking about taking, online courses. eLearning courses are very convenient if you have the responsibility to stay on top of your work and constantly strive to become better at managing the time you're spending on learning. If you have some time management tips of your own you would like to share with us, please post them in the comments below. Happy Learning!




What Makes Up a Good LMS?

By Admin


As we briefly discussed in an earlier blog, an LMS (Learning Management System) is an information system that administers instructor-led courses and keeps track of student progress. In this blog post, we’ll dive a little deeper into LMS’ and the benefits of having a good system for administering your course material.
 
The eLearning market has increased immensely in the past ten years and it is only growing. With that growth has come some pretty interesting statistics. Studies have indicated that learning occurs 50% faster online than in a classroom and not only does an LMS use 90% less energy than a face-to-face course but it also produces 87% fewer CO2 emissions per student.
 
Maybe you're thinking about switching your course from a traditional method to an online learning platform? Maybe you're just curious for a little more information? Either way we want to provide you with some good knowledge to keep in your back pocket when thinking about online vs. traditional learning. We'll start with the most important key to creating a successful eLearning course and that's having an awesome LMS. 

 

Here are some signs that will let you know you are working with a good LMS. First off, they will have a method for assigning and tracking learning and will have management reports that evaluate learning performance. They will also offer online collaboration tools like forums, email and chat options for everyone in the course. Another sign of a great LMS is that is has a flexible structure to allow different user groups to be generated. And probably one of the most important things is that it needs to have a user-friendly interface for course instructors and students.
 
There are so many benefits to using an LMS rather than having a face-to-face training or course. Not only can students train anywhere, at anytime, but by being online it also allows them to have all of the course information in one convenient, self-paced, environment. It gives students the flexibility to complete courses on their own time, which is a big selling point for learners in today’s busy world.  LMS’ also are the more cost effective option compared to face-to-face courses. Eliminating the hassle and expense of coordinating for in-person training or teaching, by uploading course content for user to access 24/7, saves valuable money.
 
From greater accessibility to saving significant time and money, there are so many benefits of using a good LMS as opposed to face-to-face learning. In today's high-tech world, online learning is transforming the way we learn and educate. And here at Nuvola Networks, we’re hard at work, continually improving our LMS to offer students and instructors a great platform for education now and for the future.

 




What's Going On at Nuvola Networks

By Admin


 

Lately Nuvola Networks is undergoing a little bit of change. We’re now shifting our energy and focus onto what we really want to do, which is “Educate Everyone!” The education model is in the midst of a major shift as online learning is growing in popularity.  We want Nuvola Networks to be a trusted site for educators and students, across all subjects, as a great place to learn new material from others or get your material into the hands of interested students. 
 
We offer a simple and flexible learning management platform that allows people that have an expertise in a certain subject to host their own classroom on our site and disseminate their knowledge to others.  The best part is that we offer flexible pricing with no upfront cost. We offer our service for a monthly fee or you can use the pay-per-click, or revenue-share, model, which allows you to have your site to create and post your content on and if you’re making money, then we also make money. 
 
However, we’re not only looking for people who want to teach. We also are looking for people who want to learn! We want to have a relaxed and collaborative online learning environment for people to take courses in subjects they’re interested in. Whether you are doing online training for a job or want to learn more about how to use your Digital SLR camera, we want to be your source for stress-free and flexible online learning.
 
We’re a really excited to see what the future holds for Nuvola Networks. We are constantly staying up-to-date with the latest eLearning trends and we are always looking for new ways to collaborate and learn. We hope to provide educators with a personalized portal for their classes and we hope to offer students, and schools, a great way to keep the learning process fun and engaging. 
 
If you’re interested in hosting your content on our site or if you might be interested in investing in Nuvola Networks, please contact us here. We would love the opportunity to speak with you about our mission for education and to see how we can work with you! 




Now’s the Time to Consider Online Corporate Training

By Admin


Regardless of the size of your staff or budget, corporate eLearning is something you should consider migrating towards. This form of training is becoming more and more popular with companies as it is a great way to reduce training costs and employee turnover rates. We’re here to show you some of the advantages of corporate eLearning so you can see if it is worth the investment.
 
One major advantage is that by switching your training to eLearning courses, it will significantly reduce your training costs. Since everything is taking place online there is no need for on-site instructors or printed materials for the course. There is an initial investment involved when it comes to switching your entire training to eLearning, however, once it is in process the upkeep is minimal compared to traditional training courses.
 
It also allows for the ability to disseminate content faster and the training methods are more flexible compared to traditional courses. With online training, materials can be sent to the employees immediately so there is no waiting for the next class to get printed materials. It’s a great way to add additional training quickly and conveniently to the course, if the need arises.
 
Not only can the instructor distribute course information quickly and efficiently but also the employees are able to access all of that information 24/7. They have a handy reference guide online to be there whenever they need to refresh or relearn a particular skill or topic. It’s a great way for them to feel at ease, knowing that they can access the help, whenever they need it.
 
Online courses also offer the flexibility for employees to train at their own pace and on their own time. For instance, if they want to dive deeper into a certain skill set or make sure they’ve fully absorbed the material they can do that at any time. As we know, no one learns at the same speed, so allowing them to have access to the materials to review on their own time is a great way to increase retention and help the employees feel confident in the knowledge they are gaining from the training course.
 
Happy and knowledgeable employees are more likely to remain loyal to your company or organization. So by allowing them to be more educated on all of your products and/or services and giving them the materials they need to support themselves, and their co-workers, it makes them more efficient and more informed when it comes to your brand. Having the easy access to the training materials and being confident about their knowledge of what your company offers leads to better employee productivity and subsequently reduces turnover rates.
 
As you can see, corporate eLearning has several advantages. Especially, as more and more millennials are entering the career world, you want to have training that is easy to grasp, relevant and up-to-date. Technology is a big part of today’s world and it only makes sense that you take advantage of it to grow your company with talented and knowledgeable staff members.

 

 

 




Phases of Effective eLearning

By Admin


To create an effective eLearning course you want to involve the student in the four phases of learning. Those phases are Activation, Demonstration, Application and Integration.
 

 

Students need to relate to real-world problems when they are learning. You want the students to see benefits from solving the problems, thus engaging and motivating them to continue learning. Here is a break down of the four stages you want to consider when creating effective eLearning materials and coursework.
 
Activation
 
You want students to be active and engaged in the learning process. Make sure they’re ready to learn and they have the experience to tackle the problem(s). Make sure you have prepared the students sufficiently. You want to activate their existing knowledge so they can, in turn, learn new things.
 
Demonstration
 
You don’t want to just tell your students, you want to show them what to do to solve the problem. You want to show them how to apply the knowledge they have learned to prove how the problem is solved. This can be done with experimentation, presentations, visualizations and examples for concepts. This part requires creativity as an instructor but it’s one of the most important tools you can use to help students learn effectively so keep that in mind when creating course materials.
 
Application
 
This goes hand-in-hand with Demonstration. You want to show them how to apply the knowledge to solve problems but you also want to let them apply it on their own to reach solutions. Let them practice and learn from wrong answers or mistakes. By allowing them to apply what they’ve learned they can measure their own success through the course and know when they’ve made mistake or what areas they need to work on.
 
Integration
 
Learning is best when it’s personal. When students are motivated to learn they can incorporate the instruction into their lives. Once they get involved in the lessons and learning process they are able to demonstrate their skills and improve on their knowledge. You want to create an environment where students can adapt themselves to new knowledge and skills that in turn create motivation in its purest form. 




Gamification in eLearning

By Admin


This past Friday, Nuvola was able to join in on the #GuildChat, hosted by @eLearningGuild, that takes place on Twitter every Friday, at 1 pm EST (Noon CST), and it did not disappoint. This week #GuildChat posed some interesting questions on the use of games in the learning process and gamification in eLearning. I wanted to share with you those questions and summarize some of the key discussion points from the twitter users who joined in on the chat.
 
 
Q1: What kind of games do you play? What about those types of games interest you?
 
A1: Most of the users mentioned games of strategy, not chance. Many of them preferred games that were easy to learn but difficult to master. Something simple in design, however, still engaging in themes and game play. We had to agree with most of the chat members. Games of strategy are a lot more fun and engaging than games of chance. You want game components that are simple to pick up but when it comes to playing the game you spend endless amounts of time attempting to win or level up.
 
 
Q2: What would you consider to be some of the core components needed in a good game?
 
 
A2: Some of the core components that engage game players would be an engaging and compelling story, addictive game play with choices and options that allow for different outcomes. Realistic challenges that players can identify with and many chat members said they prefer a conclusive ending.
 
Someone in the chat even brought up a great point, that instructional designers could learn a lot from playing games. It can help them design and build their own courses.
 
Q3: What have you personally learned via game-based experience?
 
A3: There were some pretty good responses to this question. One of our favorites in particular was “To continue to beat the same opponents, you need to be willing to adopt new strategies.” Some other things mentioned were that simple games can be addictive and games can teach you how to become a better strategist. An important thing that games teach is that failure isn’t fatal and practice makes you better. They can teach you how to be a part of a team and how to work cooperatively as well as teach through play.
 
 
Q4: What aspects of games transfer well to learning?
 
A4: Allowing people to fail while encouraging them to try again and having clear objectives. Having players solve problems and create solutions transfers well to learning also. Feedback in game play is key, just like in learning (examples are losing a life or progressing to the next level).
 
 
 
Q5: What are the differences between game-based learning, gamification and serious games?
 
A5: Many games allow you to learn by doing rather than being taught and then trying things yourself. Gamefication is the integration of gaming elements into an experience. @Mathvermoulen gave a great example of the difference between these three…
 
 
Q6: What are some of the pitfalls we need to watch out for when considering adding gaming elements in our learning programs?
 
 
A6: The main point that most made was to not get so wrapped up in the game design that you lose the learning objectives. Other important things that were mentioned were to remember the context, use empathy for learners and target the energy you’re trying to generate; all good points.
 
Q7: What are the challenges organizations encounter when considering game-based learning programs?
 
A7: Most of the standard challenges were brought up by many chat users. The obvious ones to many of us are time and the costs involved with designing and building the games. Another big hurdle a few mentioned were getting your stakeholders to embrace the idea of using game-based learning.
 
 
After everyone had discussed those questions and responses #GuildChat held a Lightning Round for people where they tweeted a few words and you were to say the first thing that came to mind, which lead to some pretty interesting comments and sparked a few discussions. If you want to see the lightning round excitement just visit Twitter and search #GuildChat and not only will you see the lightning round responses but you will see all of Friday’s chat.
 
Are you interested in being a part of the next #GuildChat join all of us every Friday, 1pm EST/12 pm CST, for the fun!




Audio in eLearning

By Admin


To create an effective and engaging eLearning course you want to get your learners fully immersed in the learning process, which requires using several different types of multimedia to enhance the experience. The use of audio and video are two of the most important types of media to take advantage of when creating course material.
 
Audio in online learning not only allows learners to receive content efficiently but it allows learners to relate to the material more effectively as well. And as we all know, when learners can relate to the material they are able to retain the information even better. So it’s apparent that audio is an important tool in eLearning but how do you take advantage of this form of media successfully? Well, today we’re going to give you some pointers on how to use audio to make your online courses even more exciting and effective!
 
 
One of the most important things to remember is to avoid simply narrating the text that learners will see on the screen. That will get boring, really fast. It’s a good idea to put your main points in text and then use your audio to elaborate on the subject. This will keep learners engaged in the learning process since they will have to constantly pay attention for key information and insights on the topic.
 
If you know the material is more complex and will be a little difficult for learners to understand via audio only, consider adding visuals to aid the learning process. Photos and graphics can give step-by-step instructions along with the audio explanation, allowing learners to fully understand the concepts and how they operate. You also want to make sure your audio quality is exceptional and concise. You want it to be crisp and clear so it is easy to understand.
 
Make sure you create audio that uses the right tone and vocabulary. Use terminology that is consistent with your learners and make sure they can easily comprehend what you’re teaching. Make sure you are speaking clearly and quickly enough to keep their attention but not so fast that they can’t obtain the information. You also want to make sure that learners have the ability to control the volume or mute the music, or narration. This will enhance the learners’ comfort level since they will all be accessing the content in different places.
 
Another way to use audio to make the learning experience more engaging is by creating customized songs to remember certain course materials or objectives. Not only does it allow learners to have fun and enjoy themselves but also it will boost retention and overall creativity if they are required to complete course assignments. You can also have learners submit audio presentations or songs as part of their eLearning course. It can help you assess where they are in the course and their comprehension of the material.
 
As you can see not only is audio a successful way to disseminate information in your online course but these tips will allow you to create dynamic and engaging content that will give your learners the ability to retain their training materials quicker and more efficiently than in a traditional course. 




Mobile Learning in the Workplace

By Admin


With eLearning becoming a more prominent and effective way to give employees the training they need, many companies are making the switch to mobile learning. Not only is it cost effective but it allows instructors and learners to access content anywhere and everywhere, 24/7, which is a huge plus. There’s no doubt that many people agree that mobile learning is the way to go but do companies know how to use it effectively?
 
There are some challenges when it comes to shifting your content from face-to-face instruction to mobile instruction but were here to explain why, ultimately, it’s more beneficial to make the change and reap the benefits of mobile learning at the office.
 
 
The obvious reason, as briefly mentioned above, is that allows instructors to distribute their content quickly and efficiently. Many jobs require staff to travel and spend a significant amount of time on the road so the ability to access training content at any time is convenient and beneficial, especially in industries that have to manage constant changes to rules, regulations and more. Mobile learning makes it significantly easier to distribute these materials at any time, even while staff is out of office.
 
Where is your phone right now? I bet, for a majority of you, it is within reach. That’s another benefit of mobile training. It allows companies to send out important information at a moment’s notice and for employees to receive it immediately. Having the ability to do that will boost your employees’ skills and performance while also ensuring customer satisfaction, as they will feel confident knowing that your company is consistently on top of any changes or introduction of new material in your field.
 
Another benefit of mobile learning is that it saves a significant amount of time.  By having company training broken down in to modules, employees can take only the modules necessary to their training and education, rather than having to sit through an entire course to pull out the vital pieces of information for their specialization. ‘Time is money’ is probably one of the most often sayings adopted by companies today. Time is very valuable and the time spent in lengthy training can impact the time employees spend working on what they need to get done. There is no doubt that training is important even if it takes away company time but why not use mobile learning to make it more efficient. By allowing employees to only participate in the modules they need and giving them access to that content whenever, you allow training to happen while traveling or waiting, which is better than it cutting into their work time. Not having to wait for new materials to be delivered to them and the ability to know that they can complete their training at a time that is convenient for them will boost their productivity and overall satisfaction as employees of your company.
 
Mobile devices have been found to improve engagement in learning and it offers an easier learning process, which is less intimidating to employees. The ability to learn online also removes the formality of face-to-face instruction, which lets learners feel more relaxed and less apprehensive about the training and retention of the new material.
 
As you can see, there are so many benefits to introducing mobile learning into the workplace. Not only does it save the company time and money but it also promotes a healthy work environment for the employees. Giving them the confidence to know that they have access to instructional materials at any time and will always be on top of the changes in your industry. So, are you sold on mobile training? Contact Nuvola Networks to get started on creating engaging and effective eLearning course material for your company, today!




eLearning Revision Doesn’t Have to be a Nightmare

By Admin


It happens, you’ve created your course and everything is running smoothly but revision time comes and everything seems to fall apart. Well, don’t be scared of the revision nightmare any longer. We’re here to help!
 
The first thing you need to do is sit down and define what content changes you need to make or what activities will require additional changes. Speak with your instructional designers and LMS provider to determine what are the easy fixes and what items will require significant work to change. You want to do all of this before you kickoff the revision project so you have a clear guideline of what needs to be done.
 
Once you know what needs to be revised and how long certain revisions will take you want to create revision deadlines and STICK TO THEM! Create clear and concise objectives and goals, as well as deadlines for getting your revisions to your LMS provider. You need enough time to completely review the course but you don’t want to take so long reviewing for changes that the process is drawn out and you acquire additional charges.
 
Rather than emailing your team for their input on revisions, consider keeping the process streamlined. Multiple people replying to an email with revisions can become extremely confusing and overwhelming. When you have multiple team members revising the material, consider keeping the material in a collaborative cloud tool, like Google Drive, so the whole team can joint-edit the document(s) and leave comments, notes and suggestions for approval. That way once all revisions are reviewed and agreed upon by your team you can send it to your LMS provider in one clear and concise document.
 
When revising a course, make sure there is one team member that has the final say on revisions and design. With too many hands in the fire there can be a redundancy and miscommunication that could lead to another round of revisions and can cost you money. To avoid this disaster, appoint a leader of the course revision who will communicate all final revised materials and changes to the LMS provider and will give the final approval on the project. This is probably one of the most important things to do because this will alleviate a lot of stress on the team when it comes to the revision process.
 
Make sure all involved team members are contributing to the revision process from the beginning so no one is jumping in at the last minute with their input after most of the significant content has been changed, edited or developed. It is better for the team as a whole to work collaboratively from the very beginning of the revision process.
 
Finally, even with a project manager make sure you establish appropriate permissions to all team members such as editing spelling or grammar mistakes.  Sometimes it wastes more time to submit spelling fixes for approval than it would to just change them right then. So make sure the team knows what they can edit and what needs to be submitted for approval so you can improve turnaround time on revisions and your LMS provider can tackle the more complex revising.
 
Hopefully, these little tips can help you be better prepared for your next course revision. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a terrifying nightmare. Just stick to your deadlines, appoint a project manager and outline your goals and permissions to your team members and you will have no problem surviving the revision process. Good luck! 

 

 

 




Adult Learning Principles

By Admin


Adult learners are a big part of today’s eLearning world. They are characterized by maturity, self-confidence, solid decision-making as well as being less open-minded and receptive to change. All of these traits effect how they learn and retain information. Course designers and instructors need to be aware of this so they can structure their courses for maximum engagement and satisfaction.

 

 

Here are some things you need to know about Adult Learners…

 

  • They are self-directed – Adults like to have control over their own learning

  • They are motivated – Adults receive their motivation to learn from internal factors

  • They are experienced – Adults draw upon past experiences to help their learning

  • They are ready to learn – The learning readiness of adults is related to the assumption of new roles

  • They are oriented – Adults want to apply new knowledge immediately in problem solving

 

Adults need to know why they are doing something. They learn from problem solving and doing. They are mutli-taskers by nature. They want to be taught things that will be useful to their work and they expect to have immediate results. Their motivation is the driving force behind their learning so instructors need to create thought-provoking and engaging material that will stimulate the learners.

 

Instructors must apply adult learning principles by explaining why the skills are being taught and allowing them to learn from their mistakes. It’s also important for instructors to recognize different levels of experience and to create task-oriented training for these students.

 

Creating a course for adult learners can seem like a difficult task but just focus on maximizing the learners’ advantages, meet the individual needs of the students and address all of the learning challenges. This will let them know that you are there to create a judgment-free, engaging learning environment for them, thus promoting their satisfaction with the course.




Efficient Learning Techniques

By Admin


When it comes to trying to store new information in our long-term memory, we all resort to making use of various learning techniques. However, did you know that some techniques, while effective, are not as efficient as others? This is especially true when you factor in the time it takes to use each technique. Take a look at these learning techniques, based on utility level and see how you can apply them to your learning.

 

 

 

A couple of high utility learning techniques are practice testing and distributed practice. Practice tests allow students to gauge how well they are retaining the information as well as allowing them to review all of the important material prior to the test. Distributed practice is where study is broken up into a number of short sessions over a longer period of time. When studying for an exam dispersing your studying over a larger period of time is a more effective practice than one intense study session the night before your exam.

 

Moderate utility techniques include elaborative interrogation, self-explanation and interleaved practice. Elaborative Interrogation encourages learning through asking the question “Why.” It focuses on enhancing memory by bringing out facts that are learned by encouraging students to generate “Why” questions after reviewing the material. It allows them to be engaged in the active learning process. Self-Explanation has students generating reasons to explain new information. It’s the practice of thinking out loud by having students explaining to themselves what they are doing and thinking. And finally, Interleaved Practice is trying out different types of problems while practicing the material. It’s been proven to increase the ability for students to learn and retain all kinds of knowledge, skills and material.

 

Last but not least, there are several low utility learning techniques for students as well. All of these are pretty straightforward but can still be effective learning styles for the retention of information. These styles include summarization, which involves the student taking the material and summarizing the lengthy information into their own words to see what they have retained. There is keyword mnemonics, which is associating new words with similar sounding words. You also have visualizing, which is creating mental images while you read. And you also have highlighting, underlining and rereading, which allow you to emphasize key points in the material and review the information multiple times for retention.

 

These are all very popular learning techniques, but to you some may be better known than others. We encourage you to dive deeper and explore all of these techniques and try out some ones you are less familiar with to see if they will improve your studying and retention rate. Good luck! :)




How Can You Help Unproductive Employees?

By Admin


Employee productivity is essential for any company to be successful. Employers must ensure that employees are productive and that their attitudes, and actions, contribute to the company, as a whole. So what can you do to make you employees productive? Well, read below for some helpful tips!

 

 

 

Training employees properly has a huge effect in their productivity, right from the beginning. Proper training ensures that workers have the correct tools and knowledge to perform their job duties. Sometimes, after the initial hiring, training and start of the work, employee productivity can fall behind. What you need to do is use these tips to increase your employee engagement and productivity, which will lead to them feeling valued, positive and focused on company goals.

 

The first tip is to give your employees the opportunity to make choices. Employees do not like to work in situations where they are micromanaged and have no control over their day. Employees that have the choice of when and where they work are noted to be more satisfied, therefore, they work more efficiently. A lot of companies offer the flexibility that allows employees to work from home or choose their hours. If this is not something your company can offer then you can do this in a small way by granting your employees the ability to choose how they handle their work tasks and in what order they wish to complete them. Allowing your employees to manage their workload how they see fit, with a more hands-off approach from managers, will lead to an increase in productivity.

 

Another tip is to make the work matter. With the same way you insert real-life scenarios into training to make them more meaningful to employees, you need to make the actual job meaningful as well. Employees want to feel like they are an integral part of the machine and that their work matters. Offering opportunities for advancement and showing workers how their work is making a difference is a great way to ensure their skill remain sharp and their productivity is high.  And always make sure to recognize employee’s work to make them feel appreciated.

 

You also, always want to strive for a pleasant work environment. If employees don’t look forward to going to work then they will exhibit a lack of productivity. Having as strong and supportive social circle is what makes a person happy and fulfilled. The opportunity to have that social circle at work makes it an environment you want to be in and enjoy. Make sure to offer opportunities for co-workers to build relationships and socialize. Offering opportunities for collaboration is a great way to encourage office socializing. Having these connections will allow them to enjoy going to work every day, which will lead to increased employee satisfaction and productivity.

 

Another thing to always be aware of is an employee’s feelings. If they develop negative feelings towards the job or their work then their negativity can affect their work performance. If you, as a manager or boss, see this happening, confront the employee and find out what you can do to make them more satisfied and see if it’s something you can provide. If their behavior doesn’t change, despite your efforts, then maybe it’s time to think about letting them go. However, if there is something you can do to change their outlook from negative to positive, you should do it because it will help them refocus, feel supported and they’ll be able to get back on track.

 

Finally, keep training relevant and within the job. To keep employees engaged and excited about their work you want to make training relevant to the job. Employers can stay updated on employees’ performance while helping motivate employees to complete their work efficiently.

Unproductive staff can be bad news for any company but hopefully with these tips you can manage your employees, as well as, maximize their satisfaction and productivity! 




What is LMS?

By Admin


LMS, known as Learning Management System, is a software application for the documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of electronic education courses or training programs (also called eLearning).

 

 

There are many different ways to use LMS software, from distributing online or blended college courses to delivering online training at corporate training departments.  An LMS is the infrastructure that delivers and manages instructional content, identifies and assesses individual and organizational learning (or training) goals as well as collects and presents data for supervising the learning process as a whole. A successful LMS should be able to do the following:
 
Centralize and Automate Administration
Use Self-Service and Self-Guided Services
Compile and Deliver learning content quickly
Consolidate training initiatives on a scalable web-based platform
Support Portability and Standards
Personalize Content and Permit Knowledge Reuse
 
Nuvola Networks offers LMS software that was developed to be incredibly flexible to meet a variety of needs. Another plus, our LMS is completely hosted and managed by us – meaning less work for you! We have a simple, yet powerful platform to get your content out to people who need it in hours, instead of weeks.
 
With 2558 completed courses and 587 satisfied customers we’ve developed a company with software that is “you” focused.  If you have questions, or are interested in a free trial, reach out to us here. We’d love to explore how Nuvola Networks can work with you!
 

 




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