3 Online Learning Tools (and Skills) Made More Essential by COVID-19

Workplace learning has made increasing use of technology for not only years, but for decades now.

And then the COVID-19 pandemic came, making face-to-face, instructor-led training dangerous, potentially fatal, impractical, and less desirable and making various forms of online, remote, or technology-assisted training even more desirable.

We’ve done our best to keep writing about how to deliver training more effectively and safely as a result of COVID-19, We wrote an article about quickly transitioning to elearning and another on quickly taking up live online learning and followed those up with a webinar on the same topics. Then we had a recorded discussion with Shannon Tipton about live online learning, including the use of webinars and virtual classrooms. We’ve talked about it elsewhere, most notably in some webinars on online manufacturing training and online maintenance training. And we’ll be writing about it again in an article with some tips on virtual classrooms via guru Cindy Huggett.

In this article, we’re going to quickly introduce three online learning technologies to consider as your company continues to adapt your own training programs because of COVID. As always, let us know if you’ve got any questions!

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Online Industrial Training Tools & Tech to Know About

Online Industrial Training Tools

Industrial companies and other organizations have been making increasingly common use of online training and different technologies associated with online training for some time now. And that long-term trend has only increased as a result of COVID-19.

So if you’re a manufacturing or industrial organization, and you’re looking to begin your online training journey or simply add to it, you may be asking yourself what some of the common technologies, tools, and product types are.

And that’s what we’re going to try to help you with now.

In addition to this article, please feel free to listen to our Effective Manufacturing Training that Works webinar and our Selecting Online Manufacturing Training webinar as well as download our Manufacturing Training guide and our Selecting & Using Online Manufacturing Training guide.

And of course, we’ve got a range of online manufacturing training courses, mobile training apps, and learning management systems for manufacturing organizations as well.

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LMS Basics: Can You Use an LMS to Track Safety Training Completions, Due Dates, Expirations, and Recurrent Safety Training?

LMS Basics Image

Many people are quite familiar with learning management systems (LMS), what they can do, and how you can use them at work. However, other people are still new to the idea of a learning management system, and they often ask us how they might be able to use an LMS at their workplace.

We have conversations like this with safety mangers and other people tasked with delivering, tracking, and reporting on safety and health training at their workplace, especially when it it comes to safety training that fulfills compliance requirements from organizations like OSHA or other regulators.

The short answer is that yes, many learning management systems can do that kind of stuff to help you out with your safety training. Of course, no LMS is exactly like another, and each has their own features. So some LMS may do everything a safety manager wants, whereas other LMS may miss out on a few of those safety/compliance-specific features because they focus on some other aspect of workplace learning and performance improvement.

The Convergence LMS was designed in close consultation with manufacturing and industrial clients, often including their safety managers. We designed our LMS with their needs in mind, and they’ve been battle-testing it out in the field, running our LMS through their EHS training compliance requirement challenges and letting us know when we needed tweaks or new features not just to hit that bottom floor of safety training compliance but improve overall safety at their organization while also making the LMS and safety training administration easier and easier. So, thanks to them for working with us on this for more than a decade, and lucky you for coming to us now looking for help with your safety training needs.

We’ll briefly explain a little more about how an LMS can help with your safety training needs and challenges below. And of course, we invite you to contact us with questions about using an LMS for safety training or anything having to do with safety training (we sell pretty cool 3D-animated online safety and health training courses, too, by the way).

If you’re really serious about getting some online safety training at your workplace, in addition to this article, you might find the two resources below very helpful:

Now let’s get on with our quick overview of using an LMS for these safety training assignment and tracking issues we just discussed.

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Free Infographic: Analzying & Solving Workplace Performance Problems (the Mager & Pipe Flow Chart)

Workplace Performance Probably Analysis Flowchart

One of the key tenants of human performance improvement, or HPI, is that there can be a variety of causes for workplace performance problems and therefore also a variety of potential solutions.

A corollary to this is that workforce training, while it CAN be a great idea, isn’t always the best or even an appropriate solution to a workplace problem.

Creating the RIGHT solution (or intervention) to a workplace performance problem, therefore, begins with correctly analyzing the cause of that problem (this is covered in a little more detail in our article on the ATD’s six-step HPI model).

There are many different methods or models you can use to analyze the cause of a workplace performance problem. At the bottom of this article, we’ve provided a free workplace performance problem analysis flow chart you can use for this. The flowchart is drawn from the famous book Analyzing Performance Problems; or, You Really Oughta Wanna by Robert F. Mager and Peter Pipe (if you’re not familiar with the flowchart, the book, or with Mager & Pipe, we encourage you to study up on all of them–start by reading our article here and then run, don’t walk, to buy and read the book).

Of course, there are other methods for analyzing workplace problems and improving performance, and we’ll being writing about some of them in the future as well (actually, this article on systems thinking for performance improvement and this article on the value of thinking slow, not fast at work are good places to start), but this is a pretty solid place to start.

Enjoy the free downloadable flowchart, let us know if you have any questions, and good luck improving the performance of workers at your workplace.

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eLearning Basics: Can You Make Your Own eLearning Courses?

In our ongoing “eLearning Basics” series of articles, we’re going to address the question of where you can get elearning courses from. And, in particular, we’re going to explain that you CAN make your own elearning courses and explain how.

Let us know if you’ve got other questions you’d like us to answer in future “eLearning Basics” articles, feel free to download our Blended Learning Strategies guide at the  bottom of this article, and contact us if we can help you with off-the-shelf or custom-made elearning courses for workforce training.

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“Live Online Learning:” Webinars and Virtual Classrooms

Live online learning–meaning stuff including webinars and virtual classrooms–has been part of the workplace learning & performance improvement quiver for quite some time.

But, there’s a lot of additional interest in it as of late due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with lots of workers working from home and with some reasonable concerns about holding face-to-face and/or classroom-style, instructor-led training.

Not that long ago, in our series of articles about getting training online quickly because of COVID-19, we profiled an interview that Shannon Tipton and Jo Clark had with Michelle Ockers, talking about this very same thing (full disclosure: we loved that “Disruption Series” of interviews Michelle Ockers had; we applaud Michelle and all the participants; it really helped kick-start us into learning more on this topic; and we encourage you all to check it out).

But with live online learning, including webinars and virtual classrooms being so important, we figured it would be great if we could get Shannon Tipton to talk to us about this stuff as well, and we’re happy she agreed to. So that interview is below–we hope you enjoy it. Thanks to Shannon for sharing her time and expertise.

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eLearning Basics: Flash is Going Away–Have You Checked Your eLearning Courses?

News flash for you (pun INTENDED!): Adobe is going to discontinue the Flash Media Player at the end of this year (2020).

Why should you care? For one reason, because some of your elearning courses at work may still use Flash video. You want to start planning and acting now to avoid a problem at the end of the year.

We tell you more in the article below so you can make it through this transition without major problems.

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LMS Bascis: Can You Assign and Track a Webinar for Training in an LMS?

LMS Basics Image

Webinars and virtual classrooms (sometimes referred to together as “live online learning“) have always been a viable part of an organization’s training delivery options. But with COVID-19, the need for social distancing, and a lot of workers working and receiving training from home, webinars and virtual classrooms are being used more and more for workforce training.

That’s led some organizations to wonder about how webinars can work with learning management systems (LMS) and, in particular, whether you can use an LMS to assign webinars, grant credit to workers for completing webinars, and store records for those employee completion records after webinars have been conducted.

Short answer: yes. We’ll explain more in the article below.

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Adding Online Maintenance Training During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Online Maintenance Training Image

Companies have been using online training more and more in recent years. But this COVID-19 pandemic, which really became an issue in the United States in early 2020, is making all sorts of companies think even more about using different forms of online training to help transfer knowledge to their employees while assisting employees in the continued development of skills.

Just like any other department, maintenance departments are thinking the same thing, thinking of safe ways to deliver training to maintenance techs while observing social distancing and trying to prevent passing a dangerous viral infection from worker to worker.

In this article, we’ll discuss a few different types of online training in this article and give you some tips for getting some online training to your maintenance techs instead of using instructor-led training.

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8 Ways a Learning Management System (LMS) Serves as a Risk Management Tool

LMS and Risk Management Image

Risk management is an important tool in many different fields: finance, safety, and more.

Risk management is also central to your workplace learning and development efforts, even if you don’t think of workforce learning in that way. But stop and think of all the different risks you’d face if it wasn’t for your workforce learning programs. You might not be able to recruit as many good new employees without one and you might not keep the ones you do recruit as long. New employees would struggle to understand their jobs and it would be harder to teach them new job roles and skills in their career path. You might quickly run afoul of compliance challenges, and without an emphasis on learning, your company might drift into inefficiency, irrelevance, and ultimately out of existence.

One tool your learning program can use to reduce these risks is a learning management system, or LMS. We’ll discuss a few of the ways an LMS can help your organization reduce risk exposure in this article.

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Best Practices for Moving Instructor-Led Training to Webinars and Virtual Classrooms (Live Online Learning)

Because of COVID-19, lots of companies are rushing to get at least some of their instructor-led training materials into an online format.

Our friend Michelle Ockers has called in an impressive team of learning experts to discuss issues like this in her Learning Uncut Disruption series of podcasts. We enjoyed the series so much, we’ve asked Michelle and the contributors if they’d mind if we include highlights and transcripts here to broaden the reach of the podcast series. And they all said yes, which we are grateful for. Thanks for that!

In an earlier blog post, we highlighted some of the key points from a discussion Michelle had with Connie Malamed about making elelarning courses quickly.

In this article, we’re focusing on a discussion Michelle had with Shannon Tipton, owner of Learning Rebels, and Jo Cook, owner of Lightbulb Moment, on live online training, which includes both webinars and virtual classrooms.

Here’s how Michelle introduces this conversation at her podcast webpage:

This episode is part of the Learning Uncut Disruption series.  This pop-up daily series aims to equip learning professionals with practical guidance and tips to get started or scale up with practices needed as part of their organisational response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Shannon Tipton and Jo Cook provide guidance on designing and facilitating live online sessions in lieu of face to face instruction led training.  Discussion covers:

    • How are live online sessions similar to and different from face to face?
    • Common traps for people new to designing and facilitating live online sessions – and what to do instead
    • Planning and communicating sessions
    • Technology – how to pick your platform
    • Techniques to make your live online sessions engaging
    • What to do after your session

We’ve included a link to the full podcast immediately below. Below that, we’ve summarized some of the high points and included the full transcript.

Listen to this episode of the podcast series here, 

Read on to learn more about live online learning.

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