What Is an eLearning Authoring Tool?

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Some people in learning and development are old hands with eLearning authoring tools (also just called authoring tools). In some cases, perhaps, to the point that the authoring tool becomes a bit old hat.

No, I doubt that. I just wanted to make an old hand/old hat joke.

Because what eLearning authoring tools let you do is pretty amazing, pretty powerful, and pretty darned fun.

On the other hand, though, almost every week I meet people in training almost who don’t use eLearning authoring tools and don’t even know what they are. Sure, once you explain what an eLearning authoring tool is, they can tell you that they figured there must be some software application that did something like that. But they’re always pretty interested to know more, too.

So, especially for those who are new to eLearning authoring tools, we’ve put together this quick explanation. If we only whet your appetite and leave you with more questions, please use the comments section below.

On the other hand, if you’re a authoring tool power user, we invite you to add your insights down below too. Let us know what your favorite ones are, and why, in particular.

We’ll follow up this blog post by taking more “deep dive” views at various eLearning authoring tools and by creating an eLearning authoring tool comparison article at some point in the (hopefully near-term) future.

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8 Important Training KPIs You Should be Tracking

KPI-top-graphicKPI stands for key performance indicator(s). KPIs are numerical ways to track the progress of a business as it strives to reach different business goals. KPIs have to be something you can count and measure objectively so that you can track progress.

A business as a whole may have its own set of KPIs. In addition, each site or department may also have its own KPIs. And so it stands to reason that the training department might/could/should have its own KPIs too. We’re going to look at a few of those in this article.

There are many different kinds of KPIs to track for a training program. Some focus on things that are directly related to training–like how many workers are complete or how many are overdue. Others focus on how the training program is affecting business results–like a comparison of profits or production or quality before and after a training program began.

In this article, we’re going to focus on those KPIs that are directly related to your training program, and in particular KPIs you can track using a learning management system (LMS). In future articles, we’ll look at some of those KPIs related to business results. If you’re not familiar with what an LMS is, the short video below will make it more obvious.

Having a learning management system (LMS) can make it very easy to track these training KPIs because they automatically capture training data and make it easy to generate reports. The same KPIs might be very hard to track accurately if you have training records in multiple spreadsheets, paper-based documents, and/or various computer systems.

Before you continue to read this article, feel free to download our free LMS Buyer’s Guide.

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Introducing New LMS “Landing Pages”

Those of you looking to add a little more of your company’s style and personality to your Convergence LMS can now take advantage of our new customizable Landing Pages to do just that.

Where before your LMS users were greeted with a simple and plain login form, you’re now able to present them with virtually any information you’d like when they sit down to take their assigned training.

Configure your custom dashboard to display blog posts, announcements, news, or other data from an RSS feed. Upload a static image, like your company logo, or display an entire webpage by entering a simple url.

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Convergence LMS Gets a New Look

We’ve recently added some more firepower to our programming team, and as a result we’ve been able to push out a number of long-awaited enhancements that improve the look and feel of the Convergence LMS.

Modernized UI

While we made quite a few minor updates to make for a smoother user experience, the most visible changes involve updated icons, flattened layout, and improved fluidity of the overall design.

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Using an LMS to Onboard New Hires More Effectively, Efficiently

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Onboarding new employees can be time consuming, difficult, and inefficient. And, for a number of reasons–it’s often ineffective. If you’ve done it before, you already know this.

You can onboard new employees more quickly, efficiently, and effectively by using a learning management system (LMS). An LMS is a software application that companies can use to import, create, assign, deliver, and track training. You can use an LMS to deliver all sorts of training. This can include training specific to various job roles, HR training, and safety training. And–yes–you can also use an LMS when onboarding new employees.

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Convergence Mobile Wins Brandon Hall Award for “Best Advance in Performance Support Technology”

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Convergence Mobile has won a silver medal for “Best Advance in Performance Support Technology” in Brandon Hall’s annual Excellence Awards. Our Convergence Mobile solution debuted in 2012 and has seen continued development of new features designed to arm employees with the knowledge they need to make smart operating decisions quickly.

Winning this award validates the hard work our team has put into developing a performance support solution that meets the needs of our industrial and manufacturing clients. All Excellence Award entries were evaluated by a panel of veteran, independent senior industry experts. Brandon Hall senior analysts and executives evaluated the series based on innovation, value proposition, and measurable results.

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Use e-Learning for Standard, Consistent Training Messages

We’re fans of “blended learning” solutions that make use of different types of training activities. This might include written documents, instructor-led training, on-the-job training (OJT), and more.

The idea is to pick the type of training activity that best suits each training need. For example, maybe you really need the real-time, spontaneous feedback that instructor-led training can provide for one training need. Or, maybe the hands-on practice in the real work environment with an experienced co-worker fits the bill for another training need.

When you’re choosing the right activity type, one thing to think about is “Does this allow me to deliver the same, consistent training message every time?” Something we hear again and again from new customers is that they struggle to deliver the same standard, consistent training message on a given topic to each worker, every time they hear the message.

You can see why this is important. For example, you may have a set of policies that you want to make all new employees aware of during their onboarding. Or, maybe you want each employee in the Production department to perform a particular procedure in the exact same way. Or, maybe you want to make sure the message in your yearly refresher training matches the message employees learned the first time they were trained.

Need some e-learning courses for your workplace? Check out our e-learning course libraries and our learning management systems (LMSs). Or, contact us for more information or to set up a demo.

And hey, why not download this free Guide to Effective Manufacturing Training or this Guide to Effective EHS Training while you’re here?

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Better Safety Training with an LMS and Online Safety Training Courses

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I work with a lot of busy safety managers who are trying to improve their safety training programs. They’re typically looking for ways to use their time more efficiently while creating better training programs that have a real effect on their employees’ behaviors.

They hope they can reach these goals by using one of our learning management systems (LMSs) , or some of our 3D-animated online safety training courses, or both. And it’s true, they can.

Using an LMS and e-learning courses can save you time and also let you provide better safety training. But how? Well, some of the way are probably pretty obvious to you, and others may be things you haven’t thought of. Let’s break it down and consider some reasons.
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Create Your Own Safety Training With Articulate Studio

(Since writing this post, we also used it as a basis for webinar. You can view a demonstration of the steps written below by watching our How to Create Custom Safety Training webinar, or simply read on if you prefer reading.)

For many companies with safety training needs, off-the-shelf e-learning courses like the ones we make here at Convergence Training are a great option. They provide affordable access to quality training on common safety topics. However, every work environment is different, with unique health and safety hazards, and one-size-fits-all training can’t meet 100% of your EHS needs 100% of the time.

If you rely on a learning management system to help you deliver your training, it can help to have some experience creating your own e-learning courses. There are some really simple tools out there that let you create your own, complete with interactivity and quizzes, to help you fill in any gaps in your EHS training library.

In this post, we’ll show you how you can create safety training with an e-learning authoring tool called Articulate Studio. When we’re done, you will have made an e-learning course that teaches crane operators to identify crane hand signals. The course will include a simple interactive slide show and a quiz. And then you can apply the process to create safety training materials of your own on any topic you wish.

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The Benefits of Optional, Elective-Based Training At the Workplace

If you administer a learning management system (LMS) at your workplace, or even if you’re just thinking about getting one, you may be focused on mandatory training assignments.

And that makes sense. There’s a lot of training that you’ll want to be 100% sure your employees complete: job-based training about their current position at your workplace, mandatory safety and compliance training — You can probably add more items to the list yourself.

Convergence Training is a training solutions provider. We make a series of learning management systems, many libraries of e-learning courses for workforce training, apps for mobile learning and performance support, and more. Contact us to ask some questions and set up a demo. 

You may also be interested in the free guides below:

But What About Elective Training?

With all that focus on mandatory training assignments, it can be easy to lose track of the value of making elective training available on an optional basis. What are some reasons to make optional elective training available to your workers, you ask? We’ll list a few below.

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Choosing an LMS: How to Get it Right the First Time

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Wondering what  to consider when choosing a learning management system, or LMS?  If so, you’re in good company.

Many companies realize that an LMS can help their workforce training program, but they have no solid ideas of what to look for, how to evaluate the LMS itself, or how to evaluate the LMS provider.

Adopting an LMS is a big decision, and not one to rush into. Even with time and caution, it’s a tough process to choose the right one. And choosing a poor one can really set you back, wasting time, money, and momentum.

To make the process easier, and help steer you in better directions, we’ve created a free downloadable guide to lead you through the LMS decision process. It’s at the bottom of this article.

Here are the topics we’ll cover in this article and that we’ll cover in more detail in the free guide at the bottom:

  1. Identify and consult with LMS stakeholders
  2. Determine business needs for LMS
  3. Where to get your LMS: Open source, build-your-own, or buy?
  4. Evaluate the LMS
  5. General functionality of the LMS
  6. Important features of the LMS

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Closing the Skills Gap with Structured On-The-Job Training (OJT)

Instructional Design Basics

I spend a lot of time working with new customers in the manufacturing sector who are just beginning to use our Convergence learning management system (LMS) at their workplace as they try to close a skill gap at work.

At many of these businesses, a large part of the workforce is older and nearing retirement. These older workers are very experienced and have a lot of knowledge about the processes, procedures, and machines in their workplace. Unfortunately, that information is typically just “in their heads” — it’s rarely written down, documented, or recorded in any way.

As these more experienced workers retire, the manufacturing companies are scrambling to hire newer, younger workers to take their place. These workers are ambitious and work hard, but they know only a fraction of the stuff they need to know to operate as effectively as the more experienced workers they’ll need to replace soon.

Naturally, our customers want to facilitate the transfer of critical knowledge and skills to these new workers. Ideally, they can get the new hires up to speed quickly, and they can capture that critical knowledge before the more experienced workers retire.

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