Jan 26, 2007

Cost of e-learning content creation

According to a Brandon Hall research, the cost of having one-hour of e-learning course developed by a custom content vendor is approximately 30000 US$.

Jan 21, 2007

Benefits and drawbacks of Virtual Classrooms

- no need for travel for either participants or instructor
- shorter development cycle especially comparted to e-learning
- cost savings

- scheduling difficulty (timezones etc)
- bandwidth need
- technical difficulties (Murphy)
- specific instructor/facilitator skills needed for virtual environement
- instructional design different

Jan 18, 2007

Gerenations of content

You can recognize the different generations of content by these features:

Generation 1 (1996 to 2000)

* Slides
* Some audio
* Online and on CD-ROM

Generation 1 content did little more than migrate classroom courses to the
computer — vendors didn't redesign the content to work well on computers.
This content wasn't well-received by workers, which led some companies to
believe that classroom instruction was their only viable option.

Generation 2 (2000 to Mid-2002)

* Animation and rich content
* Online, with limited offline delivery
* Limited live delivery

Generation 2 content added more-sophisticated design and instructional
techniques. Live delivery has proven to be popular, but many companies use
it simply to share slides. Some vendors have packaged courses for live
delivery and received rave reviews. Just as with self-paced courseware, you
need to plot out courses on storyboards and design content for online

Generation 3 (Mid-2002 to 2005)

* Rich course design
* Support for the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM)
* Online and offline availability
* Limited use of simulation
* Live delivery as an option

Many companies use Generation 3 content because they realize that rich
course designs help e-learning programs succeed with users. Courses often
lack flexibility by being hard-coded for online or offline delivery, but
this is slowly changing. SCORM support enables companies to reuse content
and run it on their learning management systems (LMSs), even if the content
is authored with different tools. However, because not all authoring tools
support SCORM, content has not yet become fully interoperable.

Generation 4 (2006 to 2009)

* Dynamic course designs
* Multichannel delivery (online, offline, live and mobile or wireless)
* Consistent use of simulation
* Just-in-time scheduling

Simulations will become pervasive and more advanced in their design. Some
companies will use simulations for tasks beyond training, such as screening
workers for job advancement. Generation 4 content will also be available at
any time, and links to just-in-time scheduling will connect it to the
business process or application. For example, if an employee leaves
unexpectedly, a colleague can train immediately to take over his or her

(source : Gartner)

Jan 14, 2007

Knowledge Management and e-learning

A free extract from a Brandon Hall report has an interesting section on Knowledge Management and e-learning. Is it possible to link both worlds that are artifically split anyhow?

Some sentences:

Knowledge Management

By simple definition, knowledge management is the practice of organizing information in a central repository, representing the best practices of an organization, and serving up that information in a timely fashion to those who need it. For some types of knowledge and some types of work, however, it is best to focus on supporting group interactions rather than structuring knowledge into databases and documents. This highlights the two sometimes divergent views of knowledge management: the “content” perspective and the “community” perspective. Ideally, both are applied in various combinations suitable to each particular context.


In contrast, some have described learning content management systems as the convergence between traditional e-learning and knowledge management. This oversimplifies the issue. We see this convergence as just starting to take place for the following reasons:

  • Both learning content management and knowledge management share a similar purpose, namely to increase knowledge, learning and skills within the organization.
  • Both share similar technologies. The database technology for both knowledge management and LCMSs are fundamentally the same. Both allow for advanced searching of content. The primary difference is that learning content generally includes opportunities for measuring performance through tests, quizzes and interactions such as simulations, while a knowledge base generally serves up only critical information needed to perform one’s job.
  • Both represent expert knowledge and best practice information to achieve organizational goals.

... On the other hand, there are some significant barriers to this convergence. The obstacles are more structural and historical than they are technological barriers:

  • Structurally, the management of learning almost always resides within the training department as part of human resources. Knowledge management, however, in most cases does not reside within the training department.
  • Knowledge management often resides at a very high level in the organization, sometimes directly below the executive level or is dispersed among several departments. Very often, knowledge management is married to the establishment of the corporate intranet.
  • Complex and ambiguous concepts: Knowledge management concepts are among the most ambiguous and misunderstood. There is only partial agreement on definitions of knowledge, content, intellectual capital and other basic concepts, leading to confusion and missed opportunities for collaboration.
  • Divergent communities of practice: While this has begun to change, knowledge management and e-learning/training people rarely attend or speak at the same conferences.
  • Divergent technologies: Knowledge management and e-learning have spawned totally different software sub-industries, with very few firms trying to serve both markets. Content and document management systems include virtually no learning or competency management functions, and learning management systems offer little support for content which is not structured training.

Jan 10, 2007

Top 10 characteristics for LMS

A free section of the Brandon Hall report 'LMS KnowledgeBase 2006' lists 10 charcteristics often found in request for proposals/tenders for a Learning Management System. They are:

- Standard-based e-learning launching and tracking (SCORM / AICC)
- Open model for interoperability with 3rd party content (NETg / SkillSoft / ElementK / ...)
- Ad hoc, customizable reports / reporting engine (not just some static reports)
- Classroom management capabilities with facilities/instructor management
- ERP/CRM integration capabilities (SAP/PeopleSoft/...)
- Content Management capabilities for in-house content
- Performance management capabilities (competency management/compliance tracking)
- Quick, efficient implementation
- Reasonable price
- Financial viability of the LMS vendor

Jan 9, 2007

4C From learner to e-learner

The ELEC project (sponsored by the European Social Funds and coordinated by BE-ODL) has published a booklet 'from learner to e-learner' to help people to make the transition to this 'new' form of web-based learning.

Currently the booklet is available in Dutch, but will be translated in English (and maybe French).

The ELEC partners found 3 types of learners. The booklet contains a short test to determin your own style, and has 3 color-coded sections to make suggestions on the learning formats, best practises and tools for your learning type. Furthermore there is a FAQ section and a glossary.

The online PDF version in Dutch is available here.

The related presentation from the international seminar in Ghent where the booklet was presented can be found on slideshare. It lists the findings of a learner survey that was used to make the booklet.

Jan 8, 2007

open content

After open source, open content is becoming increasingly popular. The MIT was the first to release many of its courses under a free and open license. The Open University in the UK followed its example last year.

Open University in the U.K. launched its first free online courses in October. The university is reportedly spending €5.65 million on the courses, which are housed on its OpenLearn Web site and cover subjects ranging from the arts and history to science and nature. The online learning material is taken from Open University courses and utilizes tools including videoconferencing, mind maps and instant messaging to facilitate learning. To learn more or to take a course for a test drive, visit the above URL.

Jan 5, 2007

2007: the year of ...

Everyone is making lists these days, so I couldn't resist. This is the list of topics I would like the learning professionals and the learning industry take to heart in 2007:

1- Architecture

Architecture is not just about IT systems. It's a combination of people, processes and systems. I would like to see more focus on the design of the learning function.

Architecture comes to mind when you think of buildings. Buildings need architecture because they are complex systems with many components (foundations, walls, electricity, heating,...), because you want to be able to redo it later on, and because you want to be able to change it later on. Without a blueprint that would be close to impossible. We need more architecture in learning for the same reasons: it is complex, we want to be able to redo it and we want to be able to change/maintain it. So we need a blueprint of how the people, processes and systems in the learning function deliver their goals.

2- Reuse of content

It has been a promise of the learning industry for years: reuse of content. It is one of the main reasons that make organisations standardize on SCORM or AICC. It is one of the main reasons why we design our learning products as a combination of small 'reusable' learning objects.

But it doesn't happen. Why?

There are dozens of LMS vendors out there, but end of this quarter we will have one single dominant worldwide player for content: SkillSoft. (And a bunch of small, local players.) There is just no competitive and efficient market place for content. I would like so see more focus on sharing/selling content. What stops us from doing it?

3- Localisation

Another wet dream of the learning industry is to one day be able to assemble a course 'just in time', adapted to the unique needs, delivery capabilities and style of the learner. It will not happen in 2007, but we can already progress halfway between this dream and the one-size-fits-all approach we still take too often. We can start localising our learning products better. With localising I mean not just translating (which is important on its own), but also making the examples and exercises relevant to the learner, the learner's organisation and the learner's work context.
So what does it take to be better at localising content?

So that's my proposal for the learning agenda this year. I'm even too realistic in my dreams: I did not dare include measuring the impact of learning, but some day we need to get our act together on that one too. Hypes last for years, but when they are over you need to be able to prove your value. Maybe in 2008...

Jan 1, 2007

Cost of learning in ERP projects

For enterprise tranformations, learning typically accounts for 15 to 25 percent of the budget. Learning for a full enterprise tranformation may include everything from setting learning strategy, developing multimedia programs, delivering learning and implementing learning technology.

Learning invested in process tranformation usually ranges from 10 to 20 percent of total project costs. This finding is in line with Gartner's recommendation, which suggests a learning investment of 10 to 15 percent of the total project cost for small/medium business ERP installs.

Learning initiatives for operational transformations typically range from 5 to 15 percent of the total investment.

(Source: Learning, a vital ingredient for successful business tranformation. IBM Learning Solutions, August 2005)