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How to Use Test Results to Automatically Enroll Learners into Learning Activities

Making Sure Your Learners Have The Knowledge They Need

My last blog post was all touchy feely. We looked at empowering learners by asking them what they’re good or bad at, and to subsequently use these self-assessments to drive their learning activities.

Are you an expert at business writing? We believe you. No need to take any courses and as an extra reward, we’ve added a shiny competency badge to your transcript.

Are you willing to admit you suck at project management? We love people who don’t feel a need to protect their egos (!) and as a reward are enrolling you into a project management curriculum that will make you a PM Jedi in no time.

With the exception of the occasional rotten eggs, people are for the most part fundamentally honest. So these self-assessments are likely to produce a good starting point to decide which learners should complete which courses.

Continue reading on the Absorb LMS Blog.


Have You Considered Asking Your Learners Whether They Need to Take the Course?

Learning administrators can at times suffer from a certain smugness. Although it’s unlikely that they have met the vast majority of the learners in their learning management system (LMS), these administrators are confident that they know—with absolute certainty—what learners need.

These admins will enthusiastically click away, enrolling learners into courses and curricula. In the minds of these learning professionals, mother knows best and they are mother.

“Eat your broccoli. Clean your room. Take these courses.”

If these LMS administrators are feeling generous, they may let the learner “test out” of a course or curriculum. Learners who pass the exam will be exempt from having to complete the other activities. This is the learning and development equivalent of being allowed to eat dessert even though you didn’t touch your dinner.

Continue reading on the Absorb LMS Blog.


One Reason Why More than 30 Per Cent of Organizations Really Hate Their Learning Management System

Selecting the right learning management system (LMS) can be a daunting task. There are hundreds of systems available. Making matters worse, you wouldn’t sound like too much of a conspiracy nut to suggest that all LMS vendors get together at the corner pub every Friday night to figure out how to make it even harder for buyers to compare their products and pricing.

“John, how about you charge per course enrollment and Mary, you charge per bandwidth used but don’t make the price changes linear, make them logarithmic, OK?”

Given the level of difficulty in selecting a learning management system, many organizations look for shortcuts, the most common of which is to simply buy the system used by one or more of their closest competitors or others in their industry.

If that giant import/export conglomerate, Vandelay Industries, is using QuickyLurn LMS, then you’d be nuts to select any other system for your own import/export business! After all, Vandelay’s billion dollar annual revenues would have been more than enough to fund the most exhaustive LMS search, ever.

Continue reading on the Absorb LMS Blog.


Absorb LMS Blog Digest: June 2012

My June 2012 posts on the Absorb LMS Blog:

We Have Art! (And it Isn’t `Dogs Playing Poker’)
You know you’ve settled into a new home when art starts appearing on the walls. The presence of art indicates that other parts of the move, like getting lights-electricity-doors-network-a kitchen-boardrooms-etc. are likely resolved: More >

In Praise of Beautiful Work Environments
My youngest daughter’s bedroom looks like a war zone. She’s presently in her final exam week in high school and so her floor is covered in papers, clothes, dishes, and detritus—hopefully inorganic—that I can’t identify. More >

A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Learning Management System (Part 8)
STEP 8: Create Enrollment Rules or Course Assignments
When dot coms start clashing with dot nets (ok, you’re on to me. I’m not a programmer), Absorb LMS team members regroup and recharge by blowing virtual things up in the new Blatant Media games room. More >

A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Learning Management System (Part 9)
STEP 9: Add Learners
In some systems, your LMS will be “live” as soon learners are added to the system. Learners will be automatically informed of their login information as soon as their learner accounts are created: More >

A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Learning Management System (Part 10)
STEP 10: Create Reports
Congratulations! We’re at the last step of the process. The reason we’ve left the this step to the end is that it’s easier to create the reports you need when you have actual activity data in the system. So, you could potentially take a break after adding learners to the system, allowing them time to interact with the content. More >


Absorb LMS Blog Digest: May 2012

My May 2012 posts on the Absorb LMS Blog:

A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Learning Management System (Part 2)
STEP 2: Perform a Content Inventory Audit
One of the greatest strengths of a LMS is that it acts as a central repository for much of the formal content you’ll make available to learners. This content can be in many formats to support different learning modalities, including: More >

A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Learning Management System (Part 3)
STEP 3: Establish Who Needs What Content
It may have seemed like a pain to create your content inventory audit, especially if you have a large amount of content. You’ll now, however, begin to reap the benefits of the work you’ve done. It’s time to connect the learners with the content. More >

Where We’ll Be if Aliens or Zombies Attack
When dot coms start clashing with dot nets (ok, you’re on to me. I’m not a programmer), Absorb LMS team members regroup and recharge by blowing virtual things up in the new Blatant Media games room. More >

A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Learning Management System (Part 4)
STEP 4: Define Administrative Roles and Create Admin Accounts
Chances are you won’t be alone logging into the administrative control panel of your LMS. Others may require access as well. These people might include: More >

A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Learning Management System (Part 5)
STEP 5: Create Learner Groups and Placeholders for Identifiers
The day you tackle this step, you’ll be going home from work feeling smug and productive. Even if you have a large number of user groups, creating departments or groups for them in your LMS should be fairly fast and straightforward. More >

At Last, a “Blatant Media” Google Alert Worth Reading
Most of the Google Alerts I receive for the words “Blatant Media” are for Blog posts by enraged political activists who feel that there’s a conspiracy by the media to defame their preferred candidate. These posts can be entertaining at first (lots of exclamation points) but after a while, they become repetitive and predictable. More >

A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Learning Management System (Part 6)
STEP 6: Import, Configure, and Test Content
If you have a large amount of content, this will be the most time-consuming part of your new LMS implementation. More >

What’s the Kardashian Rating of Your Learning Content?
A few months ago, I wrote a blog post titled “`No Pain, No Gain’ Belongs in the Gym, Not in Learning and Development Departments.” This has become one of our most popular posts. More >

A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Learning Management System (Part 7)
STEP 7: Create Curricula/Learning Paths
If you’re only making individual courses available to learners, then you’ll be able to skip this step altogether. If, on the other hand, you plan to make curricula/learning paths available, you’ll need to create those course groupings. More >


Absorb LMS Blog Digest: April 2012

My April 2012 posts on the Absorb LMS Blog:

How to Name a Course to Encourage Enrollment

You may create the best, most engaging content in the world. Unfortunately, if you name the course something like “Establishing Guidelines and Policies for Inter-Departmental Budgetary Reporting,” you’ll have created the courseware equivalent of the kid we knew at school who ate lunch alone. More >

Regarding the `LMS is Here to Stay’ Versus the `LMS Will Go Away’ Debate

Last week, Tony Bates wrote a Blog post titled “Why learning management systems are not going away.” He cited the following reasons for his conviction that LMS are likely here to stay. More >

Check Out Our New Home!

It’s been more than a month since we moved into our new bigger offices in the trendy Inglewood area of Calgary.

Before you head off to check out our new location on Google Maps, let us assure you that our developers aren’t currently attempting to code new Absorb LMS features outdoors in a construction pit. Google is long overdue to revisit our neighbourhood and include photos or our new home, the fabulous $80-million, LEED-Certified, Atlantic Avenue Art Block. More >

Absorb LMS Blog Digest: March 2012

My March 2012 posts on the Absorb LMS Blog:

Video: How Jennifer Automates the Management of an Extended Enterprise Learning Initiative

If you’re a regular reader of this Blog, you’ve read about how learning management systems can be configured to automate many of the activities required to manage a learning and development initiative. You may have read this, but you may not have SEEN it. ;-) So here’s a short video showing how this is done within Absorb LMSMore >

A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Learning Management System (Part 1)

A new learning management system (LMS) is like a blank canvas. You can proceed with setting the system up two ways: More >

How to Provide Learning to People Outside Your Organization

Increasingly, organizations are expanding their internal learning programs to now include partners, suppliers, contractors, association members, and customers, among others. We’ve just written a case study describing one such scenario. More >

“Can’t We Just Manage Learning Using Email and a Survey Tool?”

My home is filled—evidently—with a visual history of using the wrong tool for the job. Unable to find nails, artwork has been hung with screws that were hammered into walls. Once the frame has crashed to the ground, I’ve filled the hole with toothpaste for lack of having drywall filler. Invariably, these workarounds have eventually caused greater problems and expenses. I now believe in using the right tool for the job. More >


Absorb LMS Blog Digest: February 2012

My February 2012 posts on the Absorb LMS Blog:

What Do Learners Really Think of Their Learning Environments?

Luana Vargas, Educational Development Manager at International Society of Arboriculture, recently posted a great question on a LinkedIn discussion group: “Do you directly sell courses to your e-learning end-users? If you do, how are you evaluating (reaction) the courses or the platform in which they are offered?” First of all, kudos to Luana to care about learner reaction and satisfaction. As a commercial content provider, it’s critical that her learners see the value in her courses. What I especially like about Luana’s question is that she hasn’t restricted feedback to the course content. More >

Should You Block Access to Your Learning Management System?

Two commercial courseware providers asked me the same question this week: “In the event that a customer does not renew a subscription to my courseware, how do I block their access to the learning management system?” Great question! More >

Absorb LMS Blog Digest: January 2012

My January 2012 posts on the Absorb LMS Blog:

The Year Ahead

The start of a new year always holds so much promise.  Our “type A” friends have their list of resolutions neatly typed up, ready to conquered. Our “live-in-the-moment” friends avoid resolutions but, when pressed, admit that they intend to live even more in the moment in the new year than in the last. More >

Learning Management Practices that Sabotage Scalability 

Organizations that move from managing training manually using spreadsheets or pen and paper to using a learning management system (LMS) invariably see improved efficiency and cost savings. Thrilled with the gains achieved, these organizations often stop short of any further optimization. More >

64 Per Cent Rate Effort Required to Administer Learning “High”

I had a great time this week presenting a session titled “How to Manage Large Scale Learning Initiatives Painlessly” for’s Technology Enabled Learning virtual conference. Thank you for putting on a great event. To get a sense of who was in attendance, I began the session with a few poll questions. More >

More Learning and Development Myths

As a follow up to my post of last December titled “The Biggest Myths in Learning and Development,” I asked the following  question within various LinkedIn discussion groups: “What other learning and development beliefs do we hold to be true but probably aren’t?” Here are some of the replies: More >