Monday, 30 November 2015

Learning Methodologies: An Overview


Expert Author Michael Hines
Learning is the process of acquiring any information that modifies a person's behaviour, values and knowledge base. An ongoing process that starts as early as the fetal stages in humans, it occurs in many forms including instinctive, experiential, conscious, and purposed learning. Personal experiences, formal education, and controlled training are some of the general scenarios within which learning can be administered. Some types of learning--such as native language skills--occur over time as part of the learner's daily social interactions. Some--like martial arts training--are consciously undertaken by learners who are motivated by various reasons to learn a particular subject, discipline, or skill. Others such as primary education, are mandated by governments and as such, are compulsory activities.
In formal learning, different methodologies are used to effectively impart knowledge to students within different learning scenarios. The most common learning methodologies are the following:
1. Collaborative
2. Cooperative
3. Discovery-based
4. Engaged
5. Problem-based
6. Whole Language Approach
Understanding the nature of each of these instructional methods as well as the learning scenarios for which they have the greatest impact is critical for teachers who intend to optimize learning outcomes. Expectedly, some methods work effectively in certain classroom environments while others don't. When there is a clash between instructional methods and conditions, frustrations may occur and communication channels may be bogged down. This is something educators should avoid at all costs and best way to do that is not only to know the terrain but also to know the tools that are best adapted for it. By deeply understanding different learning methodologies, teachers can easily align their teaching styles depending on the needs of their students.
Collaborative. Collaborative Learning refers to a learning process wherein the social connections among learners are heavily leveraged to generate a desired learning outcome. Collaborative learning entails beneficial interdependence among learners and develops individual accountability, social skills, leadership, teamwork, and amicable conflict resolution. In collaborative learning, each student is responsible for his or her own development as well as those of other members of the group.
The concept that collaboration promotes learning has been around for decades and is the subject of numerous research and advocacies. Studies suggest that students learn remarkably well when their involvement in the learning process is very pronounced. In fact, students that are formed in small learning groups have been found to learn and retain the subject matter better than students who are guided to learn the same subject individually. The most plausible explanation for this phenomenon is that collaborative learning requires a deeper involvement about the subject matter, thereby encouraging interest and promoting critical thinking.
By streamlining the working parameters, collaborative learning may be applied in all subject areas. However, it is best used in the humanities wherein concept exploration can be limitless and will provide avenues for highly involved participation. It is also well-suited in language training because controlled socialization provides a good platform for linguistic articulation.
Cooperative. Cooperative learning is a type of collaborative learning that is more structured, targeted and organized. In cooperative learning, students are formed into small groups that are tasked to achieve a certain set of goals or objectives. Each student assumes responsibility for his or her learning while being simultaneously involved in the group work. For cooperative learning to work, the groupings must be small enough in order to encourage strong participation of all members. In addition, the objectives must be clearly established and the working parameters well-defined.
When orchestrated properly, cooperative learning delivers many positive benefits such as active learner participation, mutual respect, appreciation for diversity, and teamwork. Like collaborative learning, cooperative learning may be applied to just about any learning objective provided that the teacher establishes the right atmosphere for group dynamics. It is also very appropriate for language learning since extensive mutual practice is possible.
Discovery-based. Discovery-based learning is a student-centered instructional approach that is rooted in the constructivist theories of education. The underlying philosophy of this learning method is that the best way to learn is to "learn by doing." In this method, the experiential and empirical approach to learning is given more premium than the teacher-centered model wherein all concepts and learning opportunities emanate from the actions initiated by the teacher.
Discovery-based learning may be implemented for tasks that involve the detection of patterns, simulations, compliance with a set of instructions, problem-solving and experiments. As discovery-based learning requires students to interact, manipulate, or experiment with objects, systems, and people in their surroundings, it is a very valuable instructional method in the teaching of technical subjects such as the natural sciences, engineering, and IT.
Engaged. Engaged learning is an instructional method wherein students are active participants in the design and management of their own learning. Like discovery-based learning, engaged learning is a student-centric approach, but in a more fundamental sense.
Numerous research agree on the critical importance of engaged learning in classrooms. In engaged learning students are the most active stakeholders in the learning process. Within this learning parameters, students do extensive research, participate in discussions, and deliver various types of outputs based on their learning decisions. Teachers on the other hand, are mere coaches or facilitators to the star players.
In engaged learning, students should be self-disciplined because they assume responsibility for their own learning. They also become explorers and get involved in different aspects of their learning environment just like students under a discovery-based learning approach. Hence, engaged learning is a perfect instructional technique for sharing the concepts of science and other technical subjects. This does not mean that it cannot be used in other subjects, however. Proponents of engaged learning believe that any subject can be taught using the principles of engaged learning.
Problem-based. Problem-based learning is a radical alternative to conventional teaching approaches. Similar to discover-based and engaged learning, problem-based learning is highly student-centric. In problem-based learning, teachers present real or theoretical problems instead of one-sided lectures. Students are given a complex and interesting set of problems that they need to solve collaboratively as small teams. There is minimal content shared by the teacher and students are left to their own devices to find a viable resolution for the problem. In the problem-based learning model, students are motivated to learn the subject matter because they are highly involved in finding a solution to engaging problems.
Problem-based learning delivers many positive outcomes and benefits including self-discovery, discipline, socialization and communication skills, and logic. Problem-based learning is a perfect instructional approach in the teaching of the sciences, economics, and business.
Whole Language Approach. Whole language approach refers to an instructional philosophy that gives more premium on derived meaning than on the decoded aspects of a system (such as a language) as is implemented in a phonics-based language teaching approach. The whole language approach follows a constructivist philosophy and was developed based on findings in many disciplines that include linguistics, education, anthropology and sociology.
In classroom situations where whole language approach is used, students learn reading by being aware that singular words are part of a complete language system. This holistic approach establishes learning as an experiential process and encourages students to derive "meaning" from read text and to express "meaning" in what they write.
Obviously, the whole language approach is an excellent instructional technique in ESL/EFL education where communicative considerations are more important than syntactical correctness. However, the benefits of its philosophical antithesis--phonics--should still be deployed in order to improve the quality of language learning.
Michael G. Hines is an educator living in Thailand and the Founder of Icon Group (IconGroupThailand) - Educating the Future:
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Sunday, 29 November 2015

Are Language Learning Software Programs the Best Way to Learn a New Language?


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Expert Author Ryan Thomas P
When you decide to learn a new language, it's pretty obvious that you're going to need the best resources available to help you achieve that goal. There are many different avenues that you can take to learn a language and some of these are as follows: personal tutor, college classes, textbooks, and language learning software programs. In this article, I will inform you of the positives and negatives of each language learning software and why learning a language with a language learning software will provide with the best likely hood to successfully learn a new language.
One of the oldest methods of learning a language is with the help of a personal instructor or tutor. You learned your native language by listening to your parents or guardian. So in an essence, they were actually a tutor to you. Having a tutor to teach you a new language is a great way to learn a language! Your tutor can plan out a study schedule for you and keep you on track. One of the biggest challenges that students face when learning a new language is pronunciation. With a tutor, you will not have to worry about this aspect as much because your tutor should have a solid understanding of how the words are spoken and be able to teach you that same solid understanding. The unfortunate part of using a tutor to learn a language is that tutors are expensive. The average price of having a personal tutor is in the range of twenty-five dollars an hour. This is just an average figure and I have personally seen this price much higher! Overall, having a tutor teach you a language is a great option to have at your disposal if you can afford to pay the necessary dues.
College Classes
College classes are another great way to learn a language. By taking advantage of college classes, at either your local college or a local university, you will be providing yourself with a teacher who can teach you how to communicate in another language. Your teacher will define a study schedule for you and help you over come any obstacles that you may encounter. Some of these obstacles may be pronunciation, verb usage, and listening comprehension. In addition, you will have the added benefit of having classmate to learn with. This is a great tool to have because it allows you to ask your classmates questions and help answer any questions that your classmates may have. The major fall backs to learning a language by using a college course are time and progress. Unless you are taking an online class, your college class is usually on a set schedule. This means that you show up at a specific time no matter what you may have going on in your personal life. Progress is the other problem and becomes evident very quickly when taking a college course! A professor will do his or her best to ensure that each student is learning the material and this usually decreases the amount of material you will learn. A semester in college usually last around five months and at the decreased learning rate you will probably be able to only learn the basics of the language. If you have all the time in the world and you don't mind waiting on your classmates then this may be the perfect option for you.
The best thing about using a textbook to help you learn a language is that you can learn at your own pace. You can take your time or you can kick everything into high gear and drive right through the material. Either way, you can learn a lot about any language you choose to learn. The major down side to using textbooks to learn a language is that you are severely limited in what you can learn. For instance, if you're studying Spanish and your textbook only list 20 verbs for you to learn. Obviously, there are way more than 20 verbs in the Spanish language! You may also face problems in learning how to correctly pronounce words or letters. Altogether, textbooks are a great supplement to another learning method but on their own they can do very little to help you become fluent in another language.
Language Learning Software
One of the most effective ways to learn a language is through a language learning software program. These programs provide you with an array of learning tools and in most cases they cover all of the basic language fundamentals such as reading, writing, speaking, grammar, vocabulary, and listening comprehension. Having a strong grasp of these six areas is essential if you want to be able to communicate effectively with a person in another language. In recent years, most language learning programs have really advanced in their ability to successfully teach a student a new language. Some programs offer you guided learning tools, progress tracking tools, and speech pronunciation tools. Having these tools in addition to the lessons that cover all the basic fundamentals are very important to helping you learn that language. If you choose to learn a language with a language learning software then you should really take advantage of their customer support. These individuals can really help you out with any questions that you may have with the software. The disadvantages that are associated with language learning software programs are based on the individuality of each software program. One program may focus on immersion methods where as others may use a combination of methods. So take your time and figure out exactly how you learn best and look for a software program that teaches in that format.
For me, personally, a language learning software program would provide me with the best opportunity to learn a language. The reason for that is because a language learning software provides me with all the learning features that I can get from a personal tutor, a college course, and a language textbook. In addition, I will have access to customer service, FAQ boards, learning tools, detailed lessons, and a money back guarantee if it's needed.
If you would like to find out additional information in regards to language learning software [] programs written by Ryan Thomas P then visit the previous link. You can also find reviews on several of the top Spanish software programs by visiting [].

Saturday, 28 November 2015

How to Learn Anything Thoroughly and Fast - A Lifestyle Improvement and Self Coaching Technique


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Expert Author Joe Timmins
An Introduction to the Learn Anything Technique
What crazy amazing thing do you want to do?
Climb a mountain? Learn a language? Lose Weight? Buy a new car? Experience more gratitude? Peace of mind? Forgiveness? Get a better job? Improve your love life?
What happens when you treat these as learnable skills? Not all or nothing propositions that may or may not be readily accessible. Not a switch to be thrown from off to on.
How to Learn Anything
Carve up, and plot out what you want, and treat it as a learning task. If you were a student of your goal, how would you treat the learning process? What would aid you in accomplishing/learning it? The following are some keys to "learning" anything, or treating anything as a learnable skill:
1. Chunk down and process the steps and components.
2. See it as part of a bigger picture.
3. Study, gather information, educate yourself.
4. Get help or guidance from people who know more than you or who've done it before.
5. Do not fear being a beginner. Embrace it. Start small. Start slow. There is humility and nobility in beginning. Be open.
6. Develop and practice the fundamentals. Don't ignore the boring things that play important support roles.
7. Get your reps in. Reps, reps, reps. Repetition is the mother of understanding, competence, and mastery.
8. Persist. Learning requires consistent effort over time. Work while you wait. Patience is a core muscle.
9. Make it fun. Play is a powerful learning tool, and a powerful tool for achieving goals. Make it a game. Celebrate accomplishments.
10. Create time frames, deadlines, way markers, benchmarks, "tests", and "final exams."
Along with these principles, you might want to think of a class or classes that you did well in or enjoyed. Or maybe a job where you successfully learned a lot. What elements of your character did you bring to bear? What tools, resources, and techniques did you use? What was the structure or the time-bound process you went through? How can you recreate helpful attitudes or environments?
You already know a lot about learning. Now to consciously apply it and expand your repertoire of learning skills.
The Learn Anything Technique in Life
In the bigger picture, a Learn Anything approach has massive implications.
Here's the big view: It involves taking responsibility for your skills and knowledge (detach the idea of learning from school, which is only one time and place of many for learning) to make learning a core and consistent part of life, and taking advantage of modern resources for doing, being, having, and learning anything.
Learning never stops. Not at the end of high school, or college. Not at 5 pm at the end of the day in your work life. Learning is lifelong. It takes place throughout all areas of life. Your mind and body are basically ready, willing, and able to learn at all times.
You need a well-meshed filter. The Learn Anything technique requires awareness of the processes involved in learning new skills and abilities. It requires consciously taking the reigns of the way you receive all the stimuli and data of the world.
It's amazingly empowering to think of everything as a learnable skill - everything is within reach using the Learn Anything principles. Speaking a language, obviously, is a learnable skill, but also running a marathon, improving relationships, increasing happiness and fulfillment, reaching career achievements, or whatever goal.
Physical energy and strength are skills. Good relationships are a set of skills. Resource creation is a big fat skill. Compassion is a skill.
Break it down. Nerdify. Engage.
Example: Anyone Can Run a Marathon
Running a marathon is a learnable skill. It seems super intimidating at first, but anyone can do it. You have to invest the time required to learn intellectually and let your body learn (muscularly) how to travel all that distance (26.2 miles/42 kilometers) within the time allotted (about 6 or 7 hours.) Think of it as semester course, at the end of which your final exam is a marathon.
You find a training regimen that you can follow. You may find a coach or teacher or mentor. You find "classmates" - other people who are also learning this skill (for example, a local running group or an online runners' forum.) You ask lots of questions. You research proper nutrition and hydration. You watch demonstrations on running form. You try new sneakers. You learn about auxiliary skills like stretching and strength training. You first learn how to run 3 miles. Then you learn how to run 6. A large part of it is just putting the miles in your legs. That's how your muscles learn.
"You gotta do your reps," an acting teacher of mine once said, referring to becoming a good actor, but also referring to becoming good at anything.
Little by little you learn how to run 10, 11, 12 and then 13.1 miles (a half marathon.) Over time, through the experience, you learn what's needed psychologically. And you learn to increase your distance every so often, until finally you are prepared to run a marathon.
The more you "study" beforehand the better you'll do on the "final" exam. Fortunately, for many of us who decide to run marathons, we aren't limited to a 3 month semester. We can take 4, 5, 6 months or even a year to prepare depending on how much "skill" you bring to the table - in both intellectual knowledge and physical experience.
The Learn Anything Technique as a Self Coaching Technique
Learn Anything is an important Self Coaching technique. It's a way of planning your approach to any task. It's a way of taking action toward your dreams. It's a way of influencing yourself and your world.
So, what do you want to learn? What do you want to do, be, have or achieve? Who do you want to become?
  • Want to find love?
  • Change your body?
  • Start a business or organization?
  • Find out what your dream is?
  • Pursue your dream?
  • Be happy?
These are all skills that can be learned. You don't need to know the territory before you begin the journey.
Remember that, at one point, even the alphabet seemed impossible to learn.
It takes consistent effort over time to get good at anything. The techniques of a focused, attentive, persistent student can be brought to any task or project-physical, mental, social, or financial.
Nerd up. Reach out. Immerse. Expand.
What Do You Want to Learn?
People often say they want to learn a new language or learn to play a musical instrument. But they also accuse themselves of lacking will power, motivation, or self-discipline. This is not the problem. What they actually lack is the conscious awareness of an effective student's techniques - the techniques that will lead you to effective mindsets and behaviors.
Want to learn to be thin? You can learn the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of a thin person.
Want to learn to be happier? You can learn the mindset and emotional patterns of a happier person.
Want to be more creative or productive? You might not become the next Picasso, but you can develop the skills and strategies you'll need to create and produce at a higher level.
Plan it out, and dive in. Follow the Learn Anything principles and learn, baby, learn.

Friday, 27 November 2015

7 Ways To Become More Effective At Learning

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Expert Author Elaine Bailey
"You are the product of your learning. Everything you know, everything you can do and everything you believe, you have learnt." ~Peter Honey, Author and Speaker
"I love learning, but I want to read and learn everything. I feel overwhelmed with all that I want to do, and would like to work out how I can get a better balance with the time I spend learning and doing everything else, and how I should maybe plan how and when I learn." ~A Coaching Client
I was asked this week for coaching advice from someone who loves to learn, but she was overwhelmed with learning and frightened of becoming obsessed with the feeling of not knowing enough.
The feeling of not knowing enough is common, and it is reinforced by the abundance of tools and information that is readily available today. Many of us buy learning materials without really having any plan of how we intend to use them. They gather dust on the shelf, as we rush back to our reactive and often chaotic busy lives.
There is so much information and inspiration out there, especially with instant access to content just a credit card click away on the Internet. It is easy to be drawn into buying every book and online workshop available.
You end up with information overload and overwhelm.
You may have invested money in your learning but you have forgotten about two other important key investmentsYour time and your attitude towards learning.
Here are some tips on how to apply your learning instead of becoming a victim of Shelf Help Overwhelm!
1. Plan your learning. Set clear learning goals. What do you want to learn? Why do you want to learn it? What difference will it make to you personally or/and professionally? How important is it for you to learn and apply this knowledge/skill/behaviour? Set time in your schedule each week for Personal Development time. This is important, give it high value on your agenda (Or you won't do it!). Choose to learn from one resource at a time, e.g. read one book (not several books and an online programme all at the same time!).
2. How do you learn best? Improve your own learning efficiency by understanding how you learn. I use Honey & Mumford's learning styles to explain how people can best learn. Using all four styles will ensure that your learning is effective:
  1. Have an experience (Activist). Jumping in and trying it out, seeking the challenge and having a go.
  2. Review the experience (Reflector). Standing back to think, gather data and ponder.
  3. Conclude from the experience (Theorist). Assimilate facts, theorise and pull together themes.
  4. Plan the next step (Pragmatist). Seek out and try new ideas and applying a down to earth practical approach.
We all have a preference for one of these in the cycle. If you only learn using your preference, you will miss opportunities to learn quicker because you have not used the whole learning cycle: Do, Reflect, Conclude and Plan. Use a learning log to ensure that all four elements of learning are covered.
3. Create a learning log. Create a simple learning log or journal to help you apply what you're learning as you go. Answer these four questions:
  1. What was your learning experience?
  2. Reflect on the experience, what were you thinking and feeling during the learning?
  3. Did you specifically learn?
  4. How do you intend to apply this learning to your life/work? (What is your first step?)
4. Use it or lose it! If you only read it once, you'll forget it because your brain will eliminate the neural pathway, unless you keep using it. If you want the new information you've learned to stick, then you have to make learning a continuous practice (Practice makes permanent). Look for opportunities to keep practicing and rehearsing the information. Re-visit your notes, make an audio to remind you of the key points. Refresh your knowledge.
5. Use multiple ways to learn. Don't just read books. Engage your senses by listening to podcasts or an audio. Look for verbal and visual ways to learn such as drawing a mind map, watching a video or sharing your knowledge with a friend or an accountability partner. Using different parts of the brain helps you to learn at a deeper level rather just relying on memory recall.
6. Teach other people what you have learned. When I learn something new I translate it into my own words, this helps me to understand the information. I then apply it to my coaching or training classes or I might even write a blog post about it! Sharing what you have learned with others helps you to embed the new knowledge in your brain. You help other people in the process!
7. Apply what you have learned. Reading and researching is only part of the process, putting new knowledge, skills and behaviours into practice is one of the best ways to learn. Make what you have learned real, by using it in the 'real' world (not just holding it in your head). If you have learned about being assertive, then try it out at work or home. Do it imperfectly then use your learning log to build on the experience for next time. Little and often, practice it regularly, form a new habit.
Be deliberate about your learning.
Plan, Do, Review, Conclude!
Elaine is founder of Elaine Bailey International Ltd. a company devoted to coaching busy and successful women and men into their best lives. Elaine spans the Atlantic from the UK to the USA in her life and business coaching. She is a sought after motivational speaker, whose topics include "Business or Busy-ness? Four Ways to Get Your Life Back on Purpose. Please visit

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Types of E-Learning: Technology Enabled Learning for the Corporate World

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Expert Author Gireesh K. Sharma
With advancement of technology and instant delivery platforms like Web 2.0, e-learning has gained huge popularity in all circles including corporate learning. E-Learning solutions deliver consistent, high quality and centrally track-able course material to a geographically dispersed workforce. The usage of advanced development tools makes creation of custom e-learning convenient and simple. To cater to increased need for quality e-learning solutions, companies also employ e-learning services from developers who have an understanding of the learning industry as well as an acquired knowledge of their domain. With the advent of mobile technologies, mobile learning is also becoming very popular in the learning circles.
There are various types of e-learning solutions that can be employed to train your learners. Choose the type that best suits the needs of the learner, keeping in mind the available technologies that would help them access e-courses.
  1. Pure e-learning: In this type of e-learning, the learning material is made available to the learners via technology enabled platform like through a CD or a Computer-based training (CBT) which can be run on the learner's system. E-courses can also be made available through Web-based trainings (WBT) which utilize the internet as the platform of learning delivery. The courses are self-paced, and the learner has no interaction with an instructor or fellow learners. This type of e-learning is called asynchronous, where each learner follows his or her own path through the course, taking more time to assimilate certain sections and breezing through others. This works very well for adult learners who are more motivated to learn, in order to learn new skills, update their resumes and attain professional excellence.

  2. Blended e-Learning: The growing popularity of e-learning does not take away from the merits and strength of classroom delivery. Some trainings, like soft-skills or sales trainings have to have a face-to-face component in order to be truly impactful. A blended learning approach works best here, where the classroom is utilized to conduct exercises and interactions that cannot be conducted in e-learning delivery. Technology-enabled learning is employed to prepare learners before they come to class as well as provide re-enforcements after, to increase the impact of learning. The blended approach provides close interactivities of the classroom model of learning as well as learning as and when the learner needs through e-learning.

  3. Mobile learning: The easy availability and affordability of mobile devices has opened up the horizon for mobile-enabled learning or simply, mobile learning. Learning which is delivered on the mobile platform cannot be the same as that has been developed for delivery on the learner's computer or laptop. The capabilities of the mobile device, including disk-space, internet connectivity and screen size has to be taken into consideration. Even a few years ago, when creating mobile learning material, two separate versions of the same course had to be created for mobile delivery and delivery on computers/laptops. The former had to be a lighter version, with different alignment of content keeping in mind the limited screen space in most mobile devices. But with the advent of web response design, content can be automatically aligned as per the specifications of the user's device. This is a huge benefit, as it cuts down the costs of production as well as the time taken to develop e-courses for mobile delivery.

  4. Social Learning: The impact of social media is all around us and the corporate world is no stranger to social networks among employees. The power of the social network can be garnered to encourage and instill a culture of learning as well. Employees can collaborate and network on social platforms to discuss problems, queries and experiences. Learning can emerge from the collaborations between peers as well as experts who are often a part of such communities. More and more organizations are realizing the true power of social learning and encouraging their employees to interact more within themselves and other like-minded people. Social collaboration platforms are also built within LMS so that the learners do not have to discuss on public platforms and the learning which emerges from mutual collaboration resides and grows within the LMS.

  5. Game-based learning: Games are considered to be fun by all irrespective of learner profile. But they can be a powerful medium of experiential learning as well. Games provide learners with relief from the usual mediums of learning âEUR" be it classroom or e-learning. Through games, concepts and knowledge can be imparted in an innovative manner. Skills building games can be created that encourage the learners to practice existing skills and gain new ones. Logical and knowledge based games like mazes, puzzles or quizzes encourage the learners to think cognitively. Goal based games instill a sense of competition between learners which is a great for learning, and the learners become self-motivated to win the task or reach the goal. There are many types of games that can be created as per the needs of the learners.

  6. Virtual classrooms: With the use of VSAT technology, a classroom atmosphere can be created on a virtual environment. Through virtual classrooms, an instructor can deliver a lesson as he or she would in physical space âEUR" but with increased reach and many added features. In a virtual classroom, many of the features are akin to actual classrooms. Like the whiteboard can be utilized as an actual interaction board in a classroom. In addition, there are provisions of sharing files or documents that the students can refer to during or after the session. Two-way chats can include conversation between instructor and students as well as among the student group spread across different locations.
Each model of e-learning has different strengths and merits. It is prudent to choose the one that can be employed within available budgets and suits the learner needs the best.
Gireesh Sharma is an e-learning blogger and likes discussing innovations in training & learning for the new-age corporate sector. He is an avid follower of leading industry blogs and like to discuss leading trends like custom e-learningGame based learning, etc.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015


Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, UK and Paris, France, May 12, 2015: Training Management Systems specialist Training Orchestra is extending its global reach by entering a new partnership with Course Merchant, a leading e-commerce platform provider servicing the North American and UK markets.
Course Merchant provides e-commerce solutions to small-to-medium training companies using the hugely popular Moodle and Totara Learning Management Systems (LMS) and is market leader in its sector. The company has also developed CourseCRM, a Learner Management solution sold as an add-on to Course Merchant which offers a full-featured Customer Relationship Management system for managing courses.
Training Orchestra is a separate product that has been developed for the high-end B2B market. Its Enterprise-Level Training Management System gives exceptional data visibility and powerful scheduling and resource management tools to training companies, corporate universities, HR training departments and extended enterprises.
Training Orchestra has over 10 years' experience in the Training Management business and has attracted over 250 major corporate clients including Carrefour, Securitas and Johnson & Johnson.
The new partnership with Training Orchestra allows Course Merchant to extend its Training Management offer to Enterprise-level customers, and helps Training Orchestra increase its penetration into the US and UK markets.
Richard Standen, Managing Director of Course Merchant, said "It was an honour to be selected by Training Orchestra to represent them in their key UK and US markets. This partnership benefits both companies because we can serve the Enterprise Training sector whilst helping Training Orchestra to extend their reach." Training Orchestra's CEO Stéphane Pineau commented: "We are convinced that Course Merchant's established position as UK brand-leader in the course-sales market will give us the platform we need to make a real impact on the UK and United States."
Course Merchant's knowledge of helping training companies make critical software purchasing decisions comes from its experience in implementing Course Merchant, its e-commerce product for the Moodle and Totara LMS.
Growing training companies tend to use a mixture of systems: Excel, Access, a CRM, and other software products, which do not always scale well within a growing organization. Training Orchestra is squarely aimed at larger training businesses as a proven all-in-one solution for managing these diverse needs.
About Connected Shopping Ltd.
Connected Shopping Ltd is a UK company supplying software and services to support the sale of courses online. With a UK-based development team, the company now has over 300 clients worldwide, including Universities, Museums, Government Agencies and Companies in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and across Europe.


by David Hill
As more and more courses are delivered online it has become apparent that the systems whichdeliver the courses – Learning Management Systems (LMSs) – are generating a lot of data on learner activities and engagement. Course attendance, grades, forum activity, interaction with tutors, progress through courses, modules accessed, and other data, are all stored in some way in the LMS.
In the last few years a realisation has spread across the eLearning community that rather than just sitting there, this data can be pressed into service for the purposes of improving the student experience, designing better courses, increasing retention and achievement, and maybe other purposes nobody has thought of yet. There is a growing market for Learning Analytics software that generates reports on students’ clicks, page views, time spent logged in, and notes. I have been responsible for bringing one such product – CourseCRM – to market.
The trend has sparked a debate about the ethics of Learning analytics, especially in academic circles. Large educational institutions such as universities are generally bound by their own codes of ethics and data security; they can usually be found somewhere underneath the Mission Statement. Yet how exactly to handle Learning Analytics data is largely a chapter yet to be written. Scholarly articles have appeared in journals. Elizabeth Dalton, an LMS Administrator at a North American college, is basing her PhD on Learning Analytics and has more questions than answers on the ethics aspects – watch her fascinating talk at MoodleMoot US 2015 for her take on the topic.
The big question is, do educators have a responsibility to tell students what they are doing with their learning data? Some industry-watchers are promoting the idea of data transparency to foster trust. Just give students access to all the data. Simples.
This might appear to solve the issue, but really it’s just sidestepping it. How many students will have the time to sit down and analyse their analytics? Will they be given raw data without access to the tools administrators are using to generate graphs, reports and statistical models about them?
The Open University, which runs one of the world’s largest installations of Moodle, has been relatively quick to codify its stance on the issue, but due to its distance-learning nature it has been an early adopter of Moodle and has been gathering LMS data for longer than most universities. Maybe this is why it seems ahead of the curve in perceiving the need for an ethical policy.
One laudable effort to construct a framework for Learning analytics ethics is being developed by Jisc, a registered education research charity. Jisc issues prescriptive statements such as the following:
"Students will normally be asked for their consent for personal interventions to be taken based on the learning analytics. This may take place during the enrolment process or subsequently. There may however be legal, safeguarding or other circumstances where students are not permitted to opt out of such interventions. If so these must be clearly stated and justified." []
The debate is very much a current one, and the extent to which standards such as these are adopted in practice remains to be seen.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015


  •  © David Hill
Ernst & Young and PriceWaterhouseCoopers don't care about their job candidates' university background or A-Levels any more.
In other news, their HR departments are now being run by unicorns.
Just a few years ago these two statements would have been equally believable. Entire institutions – private and state school systems, higher education – have their foundations in the bedrock expectation that top employers expect top A-Level and University grades.
In a similar move to Ernst & Young's, top law firm Clifford Chance have introduced a ‘CV-blind policy' for graduate recruitment. Recruiting staff are given nothing but the candidate's name before final interviews. This is intended to eliminate any bias surrounding school and university background and allow the candidate to shine on their own merits. Both firms have stated that they place greater trust in their own online assessments and interview processes than they do in institutions attended and grades achieved. Recruiters have long complained that a candidate's degree result is not a reliable indicator of their workplace potential.
Perhaps the whole university model is simply obsolete. There's a parallel with how manufacturing has moved forward. If you needed to make a mockup of a widget a few years ago, you had to send it off to a modeller or have it machined by a third party engineering firm, and wait for it to come back. Now with 3D printing, you can CAD it and print it off yourself. To make an employable knowledge worker a few years ago, you had to send them off to university and wait several years until they were deemed fit for purpose. Now candidates can create their own education profiles and career paths at home rather than buying them off the peg – and at great expense – from the traditional purveyors of the keys to the castle.
Cobbling together their own learning path can itself be seen as an indicator of a candidate's initiative and drive. Suddenly taking a three-or four-year university degree seems like a softer option for those lacking the resourcefulness to tailor their own education to fit their career goals.
So how exactly do you build your own education? By grabbing knowledge when you need it, rather than squirrelling it away for future reference. Online academies like Udemy and Lynda offer digestible chunks of learning, on specific topics, delivered by experts, designed with the aim of improving job-related skills. These mini-courses can be taken at times that are optimal for the learner, rather than learning it at some point during a degree course, forgetting it, and having to re-learn it when it is finally needed.
As anyone who has even glanced at Jeff Cobb's book Leading The Learning Revolution will know, the lifelong learning sector is exploding in popularity. This is good news for anyone planning to sell knowledge online. If your education and training offer is carefully designed to attract and catch people at the point in their career paths when they need it, and if your marketing and ecommerce channels are set up properly, build it and they will come.

The Uberfication of Workplace Learning

18 November 2015 by 

uber-carI wanted to thank all of you who responded so positively to my post on The L&D world is splitting in two  – either publicly or privately – to tell me about what you are doing to bring about fundamental change in your own L&D departments.
It was particularly encouraging to read that a lot of it has been inspired by my own MWL (Modern Workplace Learning) work, as well as as that of my ITA (Internet Time Alliance) colleagues – Charles Jennings and the 70-20-10 framework, Harold Jarche and PKM (Personal Knowledge Mastery) and Clark Quinn and his Revolutionze L&D book.  I know that many of you are openly sharing what you are doing, whilst others – although quietly confident about the impact you are seeing – are not quite ready to do so. But I look forward to hearing more about all of these new initiatives.
Because of the large number of shares of that post, it was also seen by people who had not previously been exposed to my work. One lady wrote to tell me that only having recently entered the profession, she hadn’t been able to understand why the conferences she had attended were still talking in such traditionalist terms, and not advocating the radical changes she personally believed L&D should be making in their own practices to help their organisation move forward.  Whilst all of us in the ITA do get to speak at conferences around the world, it is probably true that a lot of conferences do only focus on how to improve existing training/e-learning practices – or “how to rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic”, as one commenter put it! – rather than bring about real change. So that is one of the reasons why, in addition to blogging a lot, Harold and I also offer ongoing public online workshops to help those who want to delve deeper and understand these new ideas and practices, as well as have conversations with others around them.
Of course, my post was not without its critics, but this is to be expected when an industry is being disrupted. After all taxi drivers around the world didn’t remain quiet when Uber arrived in their towns! But just as Uber recognised the realities of the modern world, and offered a radical new model fit for the on-demand economy, modern L&D departments are also beginning to think in the same terms, and are adopting new models/frameworks/principles like MWL, 70-20-10, PKM, etc, in order to offer new services to their organisations (rather than just do “better (e-)training”). However, just as traditional taxis haven’t disappeared entirely, traditional L&D (read Training Departments) will undoubtedly persist for some time to come too. But one thing is clear, the Uberfication of workplace learning is underway.
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Jane Hart

Founder at C4LPT
Jane Hart is an independent Workplace Learning Advisor, Writer and International Speaker. She is the Founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies and every year she compiles the Top 100 Tools for Learning list. Her new book Modern Workplace Learning: A Resource Book for L&D is now available. Find out more about Jane and her work at