eFrontPro marches forward with 4.1

efront_pro_update

We decided to build eFrontPro from scratch in order to replace our eFront codebase that was getting long in the tooth and to be a great foundation to build upon for the next decade.

It wasn’t an easy task: we had to rewrite legacy code, to re-think the architecture and UI, to make it more modular and speedy, and to learn and adapt new technologies. It also involved a lot of hair-pulling and head-scratching, in order to come up with the best solutions to the challenges we faced.

Yep, it wasn’t easy. But, as hard work is known to do, it paid off. You’ve seen it yourself, in the faster pace that major eFrontPro updates arrive, with the first one landing just a month after our first release. And then another.

Well, it’s time to introduce our freshly baked latest update, eFrontPro 4.1.0, and the goodies it brings to the table.

Curriculums

You know Branches, Groups, Audiences, and the rest of eFrontPro’s logical groupings, they are here to help you organize your e-learning deployment in the way you like, and avoid repetitive manual tasks.

eFrontPro 4.1 introduces “Curriculums”, a way to bundle several courses together to handle as a single package. You can offer a whole curriculum for sale (like selling courses), assign a curriculum to a user or a group, see aggregates reports for the whole curriculum and award certificates upon a curriculum’s completion.

add_curriculum

Certificates

The new version builds upon the Certificate features of the previous one, adding several significant new features. Besides being able to award certificates based on curriculums (see above), you now also have the option to have self-expiring certificates that can be re-assigned automatically to the students upon (or even before) expiration. Last, but not least, we’ve also added a new reporting page for certification related statistics.

certification

Automatic content conversions

To make online content creation faster and less tedious, we’ve automated content conversion by integrating EncodeMagic to eFrontPro. You can now upload all kinds of videos, audio files, presentations, etc, knowing that they will be automatically converted to formats that your users can open, with the optimal encoding and delivery for all web-enabled devices (laptops, tablets, phones etc).

encodemagic

Tests

This version allows you to automatically create variations of your tests with the new “Randomized” question type, that can select multiple random questions from a question pool. You can select how many questions out of the pool you want to use in each test.

We’ve also added question timers, for time sensitive tests, as well as the option to re-use questions across lessons.

tests

Payments

You asked for it, you’ve got it: version 4.1 adds the (not so long) awaited support for Stripe payments.

stripe

SEO URLs

If you’re running your eFrontPro service publicly, you’ll love this one: all eFrontPro URLS are now SEO friendly, for better Google placements and more traffic coming your way.

Login with Facebook

Third party authentication is all the rage these days, especially from the big-3 providers (Facebook, Google, Twitter). Well, you can now let your users register and login with their Facebook account.

facebook_login

Reports

Reports weren’t a major focus for this update, but we still managed to squeeze in a number of reporting improvements and a few new report types.

reports

More documentation

Last, but not least, we revamped our eFrontPro documentation, nearly tripling it in size. Besides entries for the new features in this update, you’ll also find several mini how-tos guiding you through common tasks, answers to frequently asked questions, technical guides for installing, securing and taking care of your eFrontPro deployment.

You can check the ongoing eFrontPro documentation here.

Oh, and that’s not all. There’s also a tutorial on creating your own themes, for the HTML/CSS savvy types, and an API guide integrating it with your other systems and services.

Finally, the documentation includes an extended Plugin Guide, you may use to extend eFrontPro to fit your needs.

The post eFrontPro marches forward with 4.1 appeared first on eFront Blog.

The HR Challenge: Analyze Your Corporate Training Needs

corporate-classroom

If there is one thing that holds true for developing eLearning training materials, it’s planning, planning and planning. You can’t go wrong with that one. Think of a training course a result of relentless hard work and dedication. In fact, it’s not uncommon to spend 40 hours to develop a course to yield only 2 hours of training time.

With this perspective, we need to make sure we plan in detail, we plan with all details and we rule out unnecessary details. In short, make the planning stage the longest step in eLearning course design! Wow, that’s a lot of pressure! But it’s true. Think of all the trainings left untouched or uncompleted in your learning management system. Why, despite hiring the best eLearning consultants and even applying your own training management skills, some courses never make it to better testimonials and performance spikes? What key steps need to be executed in the planning stage to ensure the effectiveness and success of your corporate training materials?

Let’s find out and try it for ourselves!

The Real Heroes: Human Resources

The human resource department has a rich information on each employee, their aspirations and their needs. It can also aid in revealing the bottom line of your organization – the immediate and long-term growth goals and current potential. Leverage your training material planning phase with an HR personnel.

Determine Organization Business Processes

The HR of your organization is the correct place to start analyzing your corporate training needs. Discuss the corporate functional and operational strategy. Are there any changes made recently? Create a concise training strategy statement with the aid of HR personnel responsible for policy and manual development.

Any latest research and development that would affect your corporate strategy? What about defining the type of business processes dominantly engaged by your organization? Are you a product oriented, a service oriented or a performance oriented organization?

Narrow down your organization activities in this way. This will help determine the type of training you need to develop. For instance, technical training usually needs simulations, service improvement training usually need scenario-based decision making, and product training requires detailed tutorials on the product.

Determine Performance Needs

When we talk about performance, the first tool that comes to mind are the KPI’s (key performance indicator). The HR department will have a list of updated KPIs that need to be integrated into training materials.

KPIs quantitatively measure the performance of the employees, for example, number of customers per month, number of products sold per month, number of complaints handled per month, number of lost registrations per month, etc. These figures hold valuable input for your planning phase.

What will the employees do after completing the course? How will their learning affect the KPIs? Aligning training goals with corporate KPIs is the smartest way to create effective eLearning material.

Determine Employee Performance

Most training crash upon launching because they are only organization focused. Omitting the individual learning needs of your employees during the planning phase will cost you in the long-run. It is the employees who will inspire other employees to take the training.

Analyze the employee training barriers – what factors prevent them to train on time? Is the content relevant to their job description? If not, have you explained the value of the extra content? Is the content organization violating the cognitive overload theory (providing too much information in one screen).  Are you “showing” most of the time as compared to “telling”? Does your content have engaging multi-media and intelligent interactive components? Are you providing training incentives (recognition, awards, online mentoring opportunity etc?).

Remember, your aim is to boost employee performance and organization-wide ROI (return on investment). Keep into account the adult learning theories that describe the effective methods of tackling training programs. Determine the performance of the employees (As evaluated by managers post-training) and measure it with corporate performance needs. Is there a gap? What areas does the gap specify?

Custom-tailor your training materials according to these gaps. Not only will your training development efforts remain focused, your training materials will be targeted and relevant to both the employee and the organization.

Develop Corporate Training Strategy

This is the most crucial step in training analysis and planning phase. After uncovering the above-mentioned information, create a formal Corporate Training Strategy. Involve all stakeholders who are the key enablers in approving the budget for the training materials. A Corporate Training Strategy is a dynamic training philosophy that reflects the business practices, business culture, external environment, laws, policies and innovative technologies/practices.

Needless to say, the Corporate Training Strategy is a result of extensive research and analysis and rigorous peer reviewed document. Make it your cardinal rule to refer to this document before developing any training materials.

Determine Delivery Methods

Ensure your training delivery is mobile and laptop friendly. Take into account the language and jargon barriers. Translate and provide glossary whenever possible. Depending on the trainees, determine their technology preference.

Are they too busy with meetings and unexpected calls to attend structured, blended training? Will they prefer asynchronous learning materials? What has worked in the past? Did you gather any explicit trainings preferences through surveys? Are your trainees game-oriented? Maybe ice-breakers and case-studies will motivate and engage them into the training. Maybe it’s a puzzle or a mystery they need to solve as group. Maybe team development and team trust is the main issue that prevents success in training.

Understanding and empathizing with group and team-level needs will help determine training delivery preferences. Above all, check with your organization resources. What learning management system is in place and does it support blended and online learning? Most employees enjoy talking about their learning experience. Channel this productive talk using the collaborative features of your LMS. Observe and mentor communications based on newly acquired training. Determine what needs to go into the training material in order to improve it for the next iteration.

Planning and improving training in iterations is the sure-fire method to power up trainings that yield performance.

The post The HR Challenge: Analyze Your Corporate Training Needs appeared first on eFront Blog.

¡ Nos reíamos mucho !

He dejado de escribir en el blog, pero comprobar la desorientación espacial de un colega, me anima a contaros algunos chascarrillos de hasta que punto los puntos cardinales son unos lugares que alguien caprichosamente situó sobre una brújula.

a) Caminando hacia el hotel que había visitado en más ocasiones que yo mismo, habíamos bajado a un bar en una calle perpendicular, el hotel hacia esquina. A pesar de la situación privilegiada y la existencia de banderas, en todas las ocasiones equivocó la bocacalle: giraba previamente o posteriormente, nunca acertó en la calle apropiada. NOS REÍAMOS MUCHO.!!!

a bis) También se perdía dentro del hotel, aunque se sentía aliviado cuando una señora le decía a su esposo que llegaba tarde porque no encontraba el ascensor [sic] NOS REÍAMOS MUCHO!!!

b) Comentaba que el suegro de un amigo que estaba divorciado, el día que fue a "pedir la mano de su ex-esposa" (siento revelar la edad de su amigo), el suegro comentó "Ya está el gato en la talega", pero no estaba a tiempo de echarse atrás, aunque años más tarde al divorciarse, recordaba la pertinencia del comentario. NOS REÍAMOS MUCHO.!!!

c) En cierta ocasión, viajaba en la parte trasera del vehículo donde se encontraba el bolso de la conductora que nos acompañaba y sonó un teléfono. Ella le pidió que, por favor, lo cogiera y se lo sacara. Saco un teléfono y dijo . "pone que hay que poner un PIN", mientras que el sonido del teléfono seguía ensordecedor. Evidentemente, no era el teléfono que trilaba sino otro teléfono, pero él lo paso diciendo que faltaba el PIN. NOS REÍAMOS MUCHO!!!

d) Visito a una personalidad, un cargo, de una institución y volvió a visitar a ese cargo un mes más tarde y nadie le advirtió que había cambiado la persona y, ¡claro!, él no lo percibió. Estuvo durante más de media hora hablando con esta persona, mismo cargo, como si fuera la persona de la primera ocasión. NOS REÍAMOS MUCHO!!!

Quizás estas anécdotas no parezcan divertidas porque no he sabido narrarlas adecuadamente; pero os aseguro que la combinación del contexto espacial y temporal, así como la comunicación no verbal  ayudaron a que estas anécdotas fueran relajantes y refrescantes en las Jornadas de trabajo.

Dedicado a quien me pidió que esto debería compartirlo en el blog.


Investigación y Educación TIC . revista edmetic . Vol 3 (2) 2014. Monográfico

Hoy traemos a este espacio el Volumen 3 número 2 de EDMETIC, Revista de Educación Mediática y TIC.


(leer más...) Fuente: [ edmetic ]