When you become a leader, whether it be that of a small team or a large company, the prospect is always daunting. Leadership is always a large responsibility and it can be a crushing burden if not handled properly. History is littered with leaders who weren't able to handle the pressure. Thankfully, we've learned a few things from history – which is where leadership development programs come in.

Being a good leader is not a trait that's spread out in the human population. It's kind of like being a good soccer player or a good player. Some people have the natural talent to be a leader. Some people need a little push in the right direction. The problem with being suddenly handed the big chair is that, unless you've had previous experience, you might not know which of the two are you. 

Which is why most employers initiate leadership development programs for those who are in a management position. You might be confident enough in your leadership abilities but those higher-up have to make sure that you are doing the best that you can at the job. The following are two reasons why leadership development programs are good for you:

a) Better self-assessment – Most of the time we're often blind to our own faults. A cursory self-examination will always come up with the result that you may not be perfect but you're not that bad. That's a completely wrong way to do it. When evaluating yourself, you need to be your own worst critic. This is mostly because most other people are not as forgiving of your own faults. 

Having a faulty high opinion of oneself is a recipe for disaster – everyone's heard of the arrogant boss or supervisor. You should identify your personal shortcomings before your subordinates do and do something about them. Leadership development programs have a strict self-assessment portion that helps you do this. Additionally, the professional counselors who run these programs can help open your eyes to any troublesome personality traits or habits that you may have.

b)A more aware learning experience – Most leaders learn on-the-job. It's not exactly optimal but sometimes the best way to learn something is to experience it. These learning experiences are often problems at work. The problem with experiencing crises it is sometimes we don't think of it as a learning experience and just pass it off as being part of the job. They do not care to examine deeper into the problem. 

This is why they do the same mistakes that resulted in the situation in the first place. Leadership development programs usually give you a better handle on these incidents. A more positive outlook and an inquisitive mind are what these programs encourage and they often result in leaders who know how to identify roots of problems and eliminate them at that level.

There are, of course, several other reasons why you should join leadership development programs but these two are the primary ones. Enter one as soon as possible and prepare to learn to become a better leader.

 
 
I have been asked by many of family and friends how I was able to access netflix, hulu and other US-based services in Canada. So, I thought I would share this information with all of my readers.

First, why access US programming? It’s cheaper and offers wider selection.

Why do you need Smart DNS?

Because of licensing issues, US-based providers block your access if you are outside of US; they do that by looking at your IP address (your electronic address). Smart DNS in essence allows to you have a US-based electronic address that inturn enables you to access blocked websites and programming.

You can get a US-based electronic address via VPN or Smart DNS. The key advantage to using Smart DNS is that it will not slow down your internet speed. VPN on the other hand is great if you’re concerned with online privacy, but if you’re simply looking for US-based programming, then go with Smart DNS. 


If you're looking for a quality Smart DNS, take a look at SmartyDNS . They unblock US, UK and Polish media websites.
 
 
Well-trained employees ensure your business success, as such, it’s crucial that any gaps in potential and actual skill levels of the employees are identified and bridged quickly to maximize their potential. Once you identify the employee skills gap in light of business potential, you can decide what kind of training is needed or who should be trained in your organization. Ravinder Tulsiani, a Learning Consultant with Training EDGE, the Canadian based performance consulting firm explains the importance of evaluating any such training needs within the organization.


Effective staff training sets the pace of your business expansion and proves extremely beneficial to the organization. Any areas of your business, including customer service, current operations, morale, motivation and overall productivity of the employees can be improved through training that might otherwise hold or drag the growth of the entire organization. Analyzing the need for training and selecting the right type of training is the basic step in effective staff training.


The following suggestions can help you in accessing whether any developments have created gaps in the potential and actual skill levels of your employees that should be bridged by implementing appropriate training modules:


  1. Analyze Business Plans, Policies and Procedures: Your business will tell you everything you if you analyze the recent changes. For example, training will facilitate a smooth transition for both the customers as well as the employees if you have implemented point-of-sale program or upgraded system management software. The employees will be willing and capable of handling changes on being adequately trained. The training will also strengthen their loyalty towards the organization by infusing the sense of being valued and supported.
  2. Analyze the Demographic Profile of Your Customers: The changes in the demographic profile of your customers can create new opportunities and business potentials that require you to prepare your organization to utilize the available potential for business expansion. For example, if the new generation is showing trends for an increase in online services, you may need to train your employees according to the requirements for effectively handling the online demand.
  3. Analyze the Feedbacks: The feedbacks from the customers, employees or even the managers can reflect the need for training in your organization. The surveys and forums create communication opportunities between the management and employees providing simple and effective methods of accessing hidden training needs. The feedbacks not only serve as effective grievances Redressal system, but also provide avenues of business expansion by highlighting staff training requirements.
  4. Analyze Complaints and Frequent Problems: The recurring problems within the system or complaints might indicate the need for employee training. Many issues can be easily resolved by training the staff rather than considering them as the lost, dumb or inefficient workers to be fired. Therefore, the complaints and frequent problems should be analyzed whether training is required to solve the problem
  5. Analyze the Training Needs of New Staff: The new employees might need advanced skills required to work as front-line employees and understand the organizational culture and structure of your organization. The training needs of new hires are extremely crucial and should be promptly addressed. Lack of training can affect the quality of service and thus prospects of your business.
  6. Analyze the Training Needs for Retaining Employees: High employee turnovers can negatively affect your business prospects. You should implement sufficient opportunities to improve the skill levels of your employees and create avenues of their career growth within the organization or industry in order to retain skilled workers.

However, Ravinder cautions that training cannot be seen as one solution to all your problems. Training the employees doesn’t guarantee that recurring problems will be completely addressed. For example, unsatisfied employees may still decide to quit the organization after being trained, and you have to train your new employees again. Similarly, you may find that training doesn’t reduce the customer complaints against any front-line employee who needs to be shifted to another position or functional line. Accessing the training needs within your organization also requires your attention, and you have to prioritize your time for evaluating the training needs and overall benefits of such training. Developing and implementing right training modules also require planning to take care of the training needs of specific workers or functional divisions.

Once you analyze staff training in the right perspective, it allows you to reap the full potential of your employees by boosting their morale, motivation and efficiency through constant proactive support. The high morale, motivation and efficiency are the key factors that contribute to the growth and prosperity of your business. The assessment of training needs within your organization will provide great insight to improve your customer experience and create avenues of business expansion.
 
 
Just how important is a return on investment (or ROI)? Well, it’s so important that many organizations are gradually more concerned in measuring the return on investment than the typically used training and organizational change programs, which can be quite costly. 

Return On Investment: What Is It and Why Is It Considered So Important 

According to Ravinder Tulsiani, an ROI is basically a calculation that looks at an organization’s gained benefits compared to the company’s expenditure.  The four key trends that dictate the ROI (accountability needs and evaluation in-training and development) include:

  1. Saving money and time using ROIs over costly training programs, which often means conducting a detailed investigation of their impact to the company’s performance. 
  2. More organizations are executing other measures to evaluate a company’s success and its progress. Training must be accurately gauged, watched and assessed, and should be included in the trend. 
  3. Accountability is important if an organization is to meet its strategic goals. Therefore, training to meet those objectives is important.
  4. Upper-level management ensures that training and development processes are looked at even closer and more in-depth, ensuring accountability for important training expenses. 

What Is The Return On Investment Method 

Ravinder said the basic idea behind the method is to figure out – in percentages – a development’s return by taking away the activity’s costs from its complete benefits. The key problem behind this is that not every benefit can be numerically measured – leadership, confidence level, etc.  There are five steps to determine what the ROI process is:

1. Gather Supportive Program Information 

Before anything else is done, it’s imperative to collect baseline and follow-up information about a company’s performance, said Ravinder. There are numerous data collection techniques available – examinations, tests, survey sheets, etc.  Questionnaires are seen as the most common method of following up, as they provide a good deal of information about how much knowledge was put forth in what they learned and the successes they attained.  

Now, the data should only be collected from folks who have been through the training experience because this ensures there is an unbiased process and there are little chances for mistakes. 

Ravinder said timing is also an issue that must be dealt with in data collection. The trick with ROI calculations is they’re typically done at random. Still the training benefits are often felt way after an event. Some programs were created so there was a long-term impact. However, identifying certain kinds of improvements from the programs can be difficult if they’re evaluated years after the completion of a program. 

Despite the existing connection between performance and training, it’s hard for employees to understand the connection between training and improvements happening months or years after training has commenced. 

2. Division Of Training Effects 

In all businesses, there are factors that affect the company’s output measures. It’s tricky to determine if training by itself was effective, as it’s just one of the multitudes of influences that drive a certain measure such as:

  • Measureable decline in absences
  • Rise in productivity
  • Improvement in product and service quality
  • Improvement in employee satisfaction
  • Improvement in employee turnover
  • Improvement in company’s bottom line

Some techniques that may be used in the assessment process of the training include:

  • Forecasting models
  • Trend lines
  • Control groups

Of course, at least one strategy (more, if you want) should be used to determine the training’s effect. 

3. Calculate Your Costs

A very important step in getting the program costs to find out what the whole investment is. Every cost about the training programs needs to be taken into consideration:

  • Facilities 
  • Facilitator/instructor
  • Intervention development
  • Training needs investigation
  • Evaluation
  • Overhead/administrative
  • Participant benefits and salaries
  • Meals/travel/lodging
  • Program materials 

4. Determine The ROI

The return on investment is figured out and shown as a percentage with net benefits divided by the whole investment in a training program. This ensures, Ravinder said, that the ROI formula is similar to ROI calculations for other kinds of investments, typically seen in the net earnings that is divided by the usual investment. 

The formula below is what is used to determine the precise value:

 Net Programme Benefits - Total Cost of Training Programme
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  x  100%  =  ROI
                                    Costs

It can be difficult to find out what a training program’s ROI is. Therefore, the precise value is never known. Still, the above formula is widely used for gauging training programs. 

5. Recognize The Incorporeal Remunerations 

Incorporeal remunerations, which are benefits that have no monetary value attached to them or where there is a questionable assigned value, are extremely important; however, they’re not turned into monetary values for the company’s profits.

The ROI calculation does not use them; but, when it comes to the organization’s goal, they are extremely important and much more relevant than performance.  Ravinder said some incorporeal remunerations include:

  1. Less stress
  2. Reduction in customer complaints due to better customer service
  3. Improvement in teamwork
  4. Rise in the commitment to the organization
  5. Rise in the fulfillment of the profession
  6. Fewer to no conflicts

4 Useful Concepts To Attain A Better Return On Investment

According to Ravinder, there are four useful concepts business can apply to get a better ROI for their company. These concepts include:

  1. Improve the end of course sheets so that it includes questions like what can the company do different because of the training.
  2. Carry out additional training with the company to learn what was implemented and how the performance was bettered because of the information.
  3. Send out samples to people questioning them about previous incidents and the skills used to handle them and how they got them.
  4. Talk with the company before and after the training, taking a look at the people’s behaviors that were before the training and what they were after the training. 
 
 
You can have the best training material and delivery method, but if I don’t like the training environment or am not motivated to learn; chances are that I will walk out of that training room with very little new knowledge or skill. 

“Creating a positive learning environment is the key to building strong connection with your learners and ensure learning takes place” says Ravinder Tulsiani, a Learning Consultant with Training EDGE.

Ravinder explains that “a learning environment conducive to learning is no accident, it must be planned”. He suggests a few simple things you can do before and during the training session to create a positive and stimulating environment.

Here are measures that should be taken before the session begins:

  • Prepare the participants by sending them an email to explain how they are going to benefit from the session and provide positive suggestions.
  • Choose a training room with lots of lights (ideally sunlight). Bright natural lights will significantly improve the learning ambiance and help in sustaining the motivation level of the participants by maintaining good concentration and energy levels. Insufficient light breeds the sense of fatigue and negatively influences the participants' mood. Therefore, make sure that natural sunlight reaches the training room or use the table and floor lamps to light the room when natural light is not available. The floor or table lamps provide natural and warmer light as compared with strip lights.
  • The individual or row sitting arrangement of traditional class-room environment builds up pressure. Create a more positive atmosphere by clustered sitting arrangements that create a sense of participation among the trainees.
  • Reinforce the positive atmosphere of the training room and motivation of the trainees by presenting the positive feedback from the trainees who have already benefited from the training.
  • Sustain the motivation level of the trainees and create curiosity among them by presenting key points and objectives of the training through colorful flip-charts around the room.
  • Create a relaxing ambiance by redesigning the training room using the theme of comfortable environments such as the restaurants, garden and even the beach. Use the following approach to create a learning environment that is completely distinct from their working environment:
          ~ Eliminate every possible clutter from the environment.
          ~ Decorate the learning room with flowers and plants.
          ~ Divert the phone calls.
          ~ Let the participants refresh when they need.
          ~ Use background music. Baroque music is considered very                           stimulating and favorable in promoting learning due to its easy and              familiar rhythms.

Ravinder cautions that stimulating background themes or the perfect learning ambiance should not be taken as an end in itself. “No single technique can ensure learner transfer occurs”, creating a positive learning environment using the above techniques must be a part of the overall training strategy. Another key determinant is the skills and proficiency of the trainer; a good trainer can significantly accelerate the learning process. Ravinder suggests the following measures for sustaining the right learning environment during the session:

Here are measures that should be taken during the session:

The training should start smoothly with a pace that doesn't create discomfort to any learner.
  • A trainer should ensure that participants feel relaxed and comfortable during the session. The use of authority, force or even satire on the late-comers hardly contributes anything to accelerate learning except breeding anxiety, embarrassment and pressure on the trainee. 
  • The participants should be involved in group activities in order to promote cordial learning environment.
  • The mutual support and understanding among the participants should be encouraged so that they can pair up with other participants after the session to discuss and excel in their training.
  • A trainer should effectively use icebreakers to eliminate the participant’s hesitation in sharing their views and encourage them to engage with other participants. The following points should be considered while using the icebreakers: 
          ~ The trainer shouldn't force any participant to engage in any                       activity regardless of the intention to eliminate hesitation.
          ~ The trainer should only use icebreakers to eliminate hesitation and               not for bringing any perceptible change in learning results.
          ~ The trainer should foster confidence that the personal information               of the participants will never be misused and remain personal.                ~ The trainer shouldn't force any participant to engage in any                       activity regardless of the intention to eliminate hesitation.
          ~ The trainer should only use icebreakers to eliminate hesitation and               not for bringing any perceptible change in learning results.
          ~ The trainer should foster confidence that the personal information               of the participants will never be misused and remain personal.

 
 
Informal learning accounts for almost 80 percent of all the learning activities within the organization, then why do most companies focus all their efforts on formal training. “Most organizations don’t utilize the full potential of informal learning” says Ravinder Tulsiani, a Learning Consultant with Training EDGE. Ravinder advocates that “organizations should incorporate informal learning as an important approach to employee education and training”, and explains the factors that can enhance the effectiveness of the informal learning process within the organization.

Research has shown that informal group behavior within the organization exerts tremendous influence on the overall performance of the organization. These informal groups within the organizations also impart right skills to their group members and surprisingly account for as high as 80 percent of all the learning activities within the organization. The formal managers or education and training department of the organization have no role in this informal learning process and therefore, the informal learning may not serve as a very effective and desired training process from the manager’s perspective.

Management cannot control the informal learning process within the organization, but they can influence the quality and effectiveness of informal learning by considering it as an important approach to employee education and training. The managers should facilitate the informal learning process and ensure that their employees have access to the right information when they look for it.  The training or human resource department should include the following guidelines for taking full advantage of informal channels of training within the organization:

1. Understand the informal learning process within the organization

It becomes highly imperative to understand the information learning process within the organization to effectively support and facilitate informal learning so that it actually aligns with the formal education and training within the organization. The managers should find out how their employees learn at the workplace in order to understand the informal learning process. The analysis of the worker's learning process at the workplace can be carried out by using any combinations of the following approaches:

Conducting a Survey:

The managers can conduct surveys by drafting a questionnaire to collect important information as to how the employees improved their skills. The surveys are better than focus groups or interviews in quickly and efficiently obtaining the information but may require further clarification or follow-up questions to get a more comprehensive understanding of the informal learning process.

Focus groups/interviews:

The managers can suitably categorize the employees into focus groups and engage in personal conversation with them to find out the source of their information and how they perform their routine jobs. During the personal interactions, the managers can specifically ask how the employees improved their efficiency, what they do when face any work-related  problems and what resources are more useful in solving their problems. This will allow the managers to understand the resources that are more important to the workers.

Observation:

The observation during the actual work is the most important approach to understand the informal learning process because the informal group code may prevent the employees to share information with the managers as to how they work and coordinate with each other in solving problems. Although observation is the most revealing method of understanding informal learning process, it’s equally time-consuming process. The workers may coordinate with each other in the following manners to resolve their work-related  issues:

  • Consult with senior colleagues through email, phone or personal interaction.
  • Search the Internet for answers to their problem.
  • Look for past references and information from hard copy records or shared computer-based  records.
  • Consult with subject matter experts in question.

The close observation and monitoring of such activities will reveal the true picture of the informal learning process taking place in any group or functional departments within the organization.

The analysis and understanding of the informal learning process will reveal the secrets of close informal groups as far the informal learning process is concerned, and the education and training department of the organization can have a clear picture as to what resources are utilized and which one are neglected by the employees. This understanding of the informal learning process will enable them to plan accordingly and improve the correct resource utilization for education and training.

2. Encourage and Support informal learning within the organization

The informal learning in the most natural process without any need of formal interference, but the informal learning process can be significantly improved. The managers can incorporate training modules on the following skills and activities in the formal training to encourage and support the informal learning process within the organization:

  • Improving the information sourcing skills of the employees such as the methods of finding accurate information on the Internet.
  • Improving the learning skills of the employees by making them proficient in mind mapping, taking notes, and personal reflection, etc.
  • Motivating and encouraging the workers to become more responsible and dedicated in achieving personal learning goals.
  • Encouraging employee’s access to an expansive personal network so that they can quickly find a solution to any work-related  problems.

The role of education and training department of the organization lies in imparting formal learning opportunities to the employees for improving their working proficiency and thus increasing the overall organizational efficiency. The incorporation of these skills will provide additional advantages of smooth informal learning at the same time enhancing work efficiency of the employees through formal training. The encouragement and support to informal learning process by formal training certainly lead to dual advantages.

3. Provide access to authentic and quality resources for informal learning

The most important aspect of informal learning is that it provides support to the employee in the form of right information whenever they face problems. The informal learning can be improved by supporting the employee’s access to quality and authentic information sources. The organizations can use intranet to provide cost-effective and easily accessible authentic information to the employees.  The easy access to quality information will naturally improve the informal learning once the usage and availability of information is promoted by using formal learning opportunities.

The organization should use the services of only those providers who can effectively deliver right knowledge base and meet the information requirements of the workforce.

4. Support employee’s access to subject matter experts

Generally, the senior colleagues with expertise on the concerned subject matters serve as informal advisors and provide a very instrumental role in the informal learning process. Virtually, the entire informal learning process within the organization revolves around their mentoring skills. The organizations can identify and develop the mentoring skills of these senior subject specific experts within the organization to encourage and facilitate the informal learning throughout the organization. The development of subject matter experts within the organization will encourage informal learning and improvements in their skills will ensure that they don’t act as the answering machine but actively encourage the employees to develop self-learning  capabilities.

5. Develop Knowledge base and Information resources that can be easily updated

The employees within the organization persistently seek the right and updated information, and research has revealed that on an average 15-30 percent working hours of the employee is lost in seeking the most authentic information (IDC Information Worker Survey April 2003). This waste of time can be significantly reduced by incorporating an information management system where the information can be easily edited, stored and shared by the employees. The organization should incorporate the information management system but allow the employees to manage and develop the information resources. The extent of workforce ownership and sharing of the knowledge base will encourage informal learning by providing quick access to authentic and updated information. The monitoring and management of the knowledge base by the subject-specific  experts will significantly enhance the potential advantages of using information management systems.

6. Encourage opportunities of informal learning

The cordial working environment conductive to informal group interactions enhances the effectiveness of informal learning as the employees can easily interact and share ideas and solutions. The organization should encourage and promote employee interaction through cordial working environment by incorporating the following aspects in the organizational culture:

  • Creation of an informal working platform where workers can feel comfortable is the first step in promoting informal learning. The employees are more likely to engage in informal interactions when they are assured that their activities are not going to create any negative implications. 
  • Encouraging informal relationship between the formal training professionals and the employees create additional avenues of informal learning. The formal education and training department of the organization is concerned with the formal training to the employees, but the behavioral aspects in the organization cannot be neglected and if an informal relationship develops between the trainers and the employees, it creates additional avenues of informal learning.
  • Encouraging team work and coordination across the functional divisions within the organization in any project creates additional avenues of personal interactions with employees from different teams and departments, significantly increasing the scope of potential informal network. The cordial working environment across the functional divisions of the organization can infuse totally new perspective among the various stakeholders of the organization.

7. Monitoring, Evaluation and corrective measures

The adaptation to the behavioral challenges of the organization is an ongoing process, and the avenues of informal learning have to be constantly explored. The evaluation of the supportive measures becomes very important for encouraging informal learning process. All the policy measures that don’t bring desired changes have to be refined. The technical advancements such as sophisticated software, monitoring systems, the Internet, etc. create additional opportunities that can be incorporated within the organizational culture to increase the effectiveness of informal learning. The workforce participation in finding the most appropriate technological improvements conductive to informal learning is another very crucial factor for promoting informal learning within the organization.
 
 
Most companies want training programs that efficiently deliver the new knowledge in the least amount of time as possible to minimize disruption to their normal day-to-day operations.

Resulting from the need for efficiency, most trainers have focused almost exclusively on creating a training session or series of training sessions, in fact, trainers spend over 85% of their efforts on designing and developing the training event; this enables trainers to ensure that the material is delivered in the most compact way as possible and ensure the knowledge transfer occurs inside the classroom efficiently.

The problem with focusing on event almost exclusively is the long-term retention. Studies prove that less than half of the skills and information learned is transferred to the job immediately after the training session. Within 6 months, three-quarters of the information or skill is forgotten, and after one year employees retain as little as 10 to 15% of what they learned in the training session.

If you’re looking for better return from your training investment dollars, then consider breaking the event mindset and start thinking about the entire learning process.

he training event is only a part of the learning process. You should allocated no more than 60% of your efforts in the event itself; to increase the effectiveness and return on training investment, focus your remaining 40% of your time in developing post-training re-enforcement and follow up.

Post-training re-enforcement and follow up strategy can include providing resources to answer questions, additional reinforcement training sessions / stand ups, job aids, online resource, follow up on actions learners indicated they would take; any effort taken to reinforce the skill. You can also give employees who have successfully implemented new skill the opportunity to provide training.

Engage the immediate managers prior to training and encourage them to hold learners accountable for the new skills learned and recommend that they put in place rewards and incentives to encourage the new behavior. Encourage them to measure and monitor performance, because “what gets measured gets done.”

By having a solid post-training plan, you will exponentially increase the return on your training investment dollars. In fact, studies show that training combined with follow up and coaching increases effectiveness by over 80%.


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Top Ten reasons why learners do not apply what they learn to the job in their organization?

1. Learners are not evaluated on their use of newly acquired knowledge and skills on the job.

2. Learners are not rewarded for using newly acquired knowledge and skills on the job.

3. There is not enough time during learning for sufficient practice and rehearsal of the newly trained skills.

4. Lack of time for learners to use the knowledge and skills acquired in learning.

5. Learners are not motivated to use new knowledge and skills on the job.

6. Learners’ immediate manager does not support the use of the knowledge and skills on the job.

7. Lack of resources the learners require to use newly acquired knowledge and skills.

8. The learners’ work group or co-workers do not support the use of the knowledge and skills on the job.

9. Lack of opportunity for learners to use the knowledge and skills on the job.

10. Upper management does not support learners’ use of new knowledge and skills on the job.

 
 
Here is a list of FREE eBooks for instructional designers and eLearning professionals available online.

  1. Game Changers: Education and Information Technologies - An EDUCAUSE e-Book
    New models and new technologies allow us to rethink many of the premises of education—location and time, credits and credentials, knowledge creation and sharing. Institutions are finding new ways of achieving higher education’s mission without being crippled by constraints or overpowered by greater expectations. Game Changers, a collection of chapters and case studies contributed by college and university presidents, provosts, faculty, and other stakeholders, explores these new models.

  2. Theory and Practice of Online Learning - Athabasca University 

    Awarded the Charles A. Wedemeyer Award by the University Continuing Education Association. The Charles A. Wedemeyer Award recognizes publications of merit that make significant contributions to research in the field of distance education.

  3. Emerging Technologies in Distance Education by George Veletsianos
    A one-stop knowledge resource, Emerging Technologies in Distance Education showcases the international work of research scholars and innovative distance education practitioners who use emerging interactive technologies for teaching and learning at a distance.

  4. Learning Perspectives - The MASIE Center (2011)

  5. Web 2.0 Tools in Education: A Quick Guide by Mohamed Amin Embi. 
    This book includes 20 2.0 Tools that you can use in Education.

  6. E-Learning: A Guidebook of Principles, Procedures and Practices by Prof Som Naidu, written for CEMCA.

  7. The Strategic Management of e-Learning Support by Franziska Zellweger Moser.
    This book includes the research of three innovative American Universities with more than 50 interviews with key persons reflecting a wide variety of perspectives. In this research project the strategic management of e-Learning support at American research universities was studied.

  8. Michael Allen's 2012 e-LEARNING Annual by Michael Allen ("Don't Get Trapped by Your e-Learning Tools" by Allan Henderson). 
    This Annual offers a revealing discussion and debate, consisting of 27 papers from 30 authors, on the appropriate selection and implementation of technology for learning solutions. “By placing so many viewpoints together, Allen has made it possible to do the classic ‘compare and contrast’ that helps develop insights and identify possibilities and strategies that fit our particular circumstances,” explains Bill Brandon, editor of Learning Solutions Magazine for The eLearning Guild, in his book review. “The authors support all of the content with decision aids, tables, and figures that you will find useful not only for your own understanding, but also for explaining new concepts and ideas to others, including decision-makers”.

  9. Successful  e-LEARNING Interface: Making Learning Technology Polite, Effective & Fun by Michael Allen. 
    (Only Chapter 2: Introducing the CEO of LID). This book will help you use your time and resources effectively to build the best e-learning experiences possible within your contraints. As with the other books in this series, this book is geared toward pragmatic application. It's direct and to the point: here's how to connect with your learners, how to empower learning to make the most of e-learning's capabilies, and how to orchestrate learning events for maximum impact: CEO—connect, empower and orchestrate.

  10. E-Learning Concepts and Techniques - University of Pennsylvania
    E-Learning Concepts and Techniques is a collaborative e-book project by Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania's Department of Instructional Technology  students and guest authors. It was a project-based assignment for the online class, E-Learning Concepts and Techniques Spring 2006  and is dedicated in memory of Justin Bennett (1989-2006). It is also dedicated to those who love to learn as well as to those who inspire that love in others.

  11. Learning Strategies - The MASIE Center

  12. 52 Tips on Best Practices for eLearning Development and Implementation
    How can you develop and deploy eLearning quickly, efficiently, and with positive results? Which eLearning development and implementation methods work best and which methods are unreliable or ineffective? This complimentary eBook features 12 experts offering development and implementation tips on areas including Guidelines and Protocols, Making Tools Work for You, Engaging Your Team, and Reaching (and Teaching) Your Audience.

  13. CU Online Handbook - University of Colorado Denver
    Do you currently teach online? Have you thought about teaching online but for
    some reason haven’t done it yet? Here at CU Online, we believe in the power of online learning. Whether you currently teach online or you are thinking about doing it in the future, we are here to help you sort through this process and we hope that this handbook might help you along the way. The boundaries between traditional face-to-face courses and completely online courses are beginning to blur. Therefore, as we move forward, we all must consider when, how, and why we integrate the tools that we do into our classrooms.

  14. Learning Perspectives - The MASIE Center (2010)

  15. Learning Spaces - An EDUCAUSE e-Book
    Space, whether physical or virtual, can have a significant impact on  learning. Learning Spaces focuses on how learner expectations influence such spaces, the principles and activities that facilitate learning, and the role of technology from the perspective of those who create learning environments: faculty, learning technologists, librarians, and administrators. Information technology has brought unique capabilities to learning spaces, whether stimulating greater interaction through the use of collaborative tools, videoconferencing with international experts, or opening virtual worlds for exploration. This e-book represents an ongoing exploration as we bring together space, technology, and pedagogy to ensure learner success.

  16. 62 Tips on Graphic Design, UI/UX Design, and Visualization for eLearning
    Effective eLearning deliverables require more than just text and a few random graphics. Good graphic design, user interface (UI) design, and user experience (UX) design aren’t optional – they’re necessary to ensure maximum learner comprehension and retention. This complimentary eBook features 12 top professionals offering graphic design, UI, UX, and visualization tips on areas including Highlighting Learning, Aesthetic Considerations, and Tricks and Tools.

  17. Down-and-dirty Guidelines for Effective Discussions in Online Courses by Joanna C. Dunlap

  18. 65 Tips on Managing Projects and SMEs for eLearning
    All the ideas in the world don’t matter if you can’t complete your eLearning project. This complimentary eBook features 11 top learning professionals offering tips on managing eLearning projects and SMEs, including Dealing with Stakeholders and Planning Your Project, Choosing and Managing Your Team, Effective Communication, Constraints and Challenges, and Quality Control.

  19. Learning 2.0 for Associations by Jeff Cobb
    “In Learning 2.0 for Associations Jeff delivers an easy-to-read primer on how to leverage social media tools to expand the learning value that associations deliver. It’s a must-read for all association educators!”
—Mickie S. Rops, CAE / President, Mickie Rops Consulting Inc. / Chair, ASAE Professional Development Council / http://msrops.blogs.com
  20. The Insider’s Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro by The Rapid e-Learning Blog.
    One of the great benefits of rapid e-learning is the ability to create e-learning courses much faster and easier than ever before. However, going faster and making your job easier are not the only considerations. That’s where this free 46-page ebook by Tom Kuhlmann comes in.

  21. 53 Tips on Using the Cloud for eLearning
    The cloud has tremendous potential in the eLearning world, but there are so many choices. Should you use a public or private cloud? How can you make the online experience more seamless? This complimentary eBook features 11 top eLearning professionals offering tips on areas including Planning, Cost, Content and the User Experience, and Support and Security.

  22. Protocols for Online Discussions by Joanna C. Dunlap

  23. 58 Tips for Breakthrough eLearning Instructional Design
    This eBook draws on the ideas and experience of 14 Instructional Design experts who are leading sessions that are part of The eLearning Guild’s May 2012 Online Forum on “eLearning Instructional Design: Advanced and Breakthrough Techniques.” These tips will enhance the way you design eLearning.

  24. Designing Successful e-Learning by Michael Allen 
    (Only Chapter 7: Designing Outside The Box). "While its target audience is instructional designers, this book should also be required reading for all training managers seeking guidelines on implementing world-class training. Allen bridges the gap from theory to practice on both training and educational programs. His guidance is as applicable to classroom-based as it is to e-learning based training." by Patty Crowell, director, Global Education Services, LSI Logic

  25. Facilitation Online - The Center for Education Technology.
    The guide contains the course model, week-by-week learning activities, general guidance to the course leader on how to implement and customize the course and specific guidelines on each learning activity. The latest version of the course manual includes several minor corrections and is dedicated to the memory of our co-author Jeanne Smuts who died on 28th July 2009.

  26. 75 Tips to Reduce eLearning Costs
    In this eBook, eLearning Guild members reveal imaginative ways to cut eLearning costs, and share insights on how to optimize your resources to get the job done more efficiently and effectively, without sacrificing quality. See how others are doing amazing things with limited budgets, and how innovative cost-saving ideas can help you do more with less.

  27. Educating the Net Generation - An EDUCAUSE e-Book
    The Net Generation has grown up with information technology. The aptitudes, attitudes, expectations, and learning styles of Net Gen students reflect the environment in which they were raised—one that is decidedly different from that which existed when faculty and administrators were growing up.This collection explores the Net Gen and the implications for institutions in areas such as teaching, service, learning space design, faculty development, and curriculum. Contributions by educators and students are included.

  28. 701 e-Learning Tips - The MASIE Center
    Thanks to The MASIE Center’s TRENDS readers and Learning Consortium Members, over 1000 e-Learning tips were received, analyzed, and categorized. These tips are from senior managers and training professionals from major corporations around the world. We have edited and compiled 141 pages and 14 chapters covering the ABC’s of getting started to global implementation strategies.

  29. 98 Tips for Selecting and Working with e-Learning Service Providers
    In this eBook we discuss how we can work best together, identifying what should be done inhouse or where outsourcing would be more economical, and how a team approach can align the brainpower of widely diverse groups, often across the miles.

  30. Videoconferencing Cookbook - ViDe 
    Who are the Intended Readers? Members of the higher education academic and research communities, K-12 educators and technologists and workplace technology integrators.

  31. 65 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your e-Learning Budget
    This eBook on maximizing your e-Learning development budget demonstrates the ingenuity of our industry and our commitment to learn all-ways. You will find tips on enduring themes such as where to begin your e-Learning programs, getting the most from subject matter experts, lending your skills to other departments, and lessons learned the hard way.

  32. 144 Tips on Synchronous e-Learning Strategy + Research
    The eLearning Guild conducted a survey of its members, asking for their favorite tips relating to strategies for effectively creating, managing, and using synchronous e-Learning. These tips will be useful to any designer or developer looking for best practices to incorporate into their own processes. This eBook is sponsored by Adobe Systems, Inc.

  33. Improving the Odds of Effective Collaborative Work in Online Courses by Joanna C. Dunlap

  34. 239 Tips for Producing and Managing Flash-based e-Learning Content
    In February and March, 2008, The eLearning Guild conducted a survey of its members, asking for their favorite tips for producing and managing Flash-based e-Learning. Members could submit tips relating to any or all of 19 different tools (plus an “other” category) that either produce Flash output or that can incorporate Flash content.

  35. The Instructional Use of Learning Objects
    This is the online version of The Instructional Use of Learning Objects, a new book that tries to go beyond the technological hype and connect learning objects to instruction and learning. You can read the full text of the book here for free. The chapters presented here are © their respective authors and are licensed under the Open Publication License, meaning that you are free to copy and redistribute them in any electronic or non-commercial print form. For-profit print rights are held by AIT/AECT. The book was edited by David Wiley, and printed versions of the book are published by the Association for Instructional Technology and the Association for Educational Communications and Technology. If you find the online book useful, please consider purchasing a printed copy.

  36. 162 Tips and Tricks for Working with e-Learning Tools
    In October and November 2007, The eLearning Guild conducted a survey of its members, asking for their favorite tips for using software to create e-Learning. Members could submit tips in any or all of these five categories: Courseware authoring and e-Learning development tools, rapid e-Learning tools, simulation tools, media tools, and combining and deploying authoring tools.

  37. The eLearning Guild's Handbook of e-Learning Strategy
    This FREE Digital Handbook will help you make a broad, fundamental connection between learning, e-Learning, and your organization's mission, business objectives, and the bottom line. Chapters address everything from crafting a focused strategy, to keeping your strategy focused, to change management. This eBook is sponsored by Adobe Systems, Inc.

  38. The eLearning Guild's Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning
    This FREE Digital Handbook on Synchronous e-Learning is intended for anyone and everyone who wants to produce, lead, or promote live, interactive learning events on the Web. It's packed with job aids, references, examples, and information to significantly reduce the amount of time required to produce online learning events. This eBook is sponsored by WebEx Communications, Inc.

  39. Learning Leaders Fieldbook - The MASIE Center

  40. 382 Tips on the SELECTION of an LMS or LCMS
    This FREE Digital Book is an awesome collection of tips from hundreds of your professional colleagues. These tips will help you navigate the LMS minefield, streamline your selection process, and help you save money! Nowhere will you find a more comprehensive set of tips that you can use to improve your LMS and LCMS selection efforts.
  41. My Most Memorable Teacher - The MASIE Center

  42. 339 Tips on the IMPLEMENTATION of an LMS or LCMS
    This FREE Digital Book is an amazing collection of tips from hundreds of your professional colleagues. Nowhere will you find a more comprehensive set of tips that you can use to improve your LMS and LCMS implementation efforts.

  43. What Keeps You Up At Night - The MASIE Center

  44. 311 Tips on the MANAGEMENT of an LMS or LCMS
    This FREE Digital Book is an incredible collection of tips from hundreds of your professional colleagues. Why reinvent the wheel when you can learn from these tips on the management of your LMS or LCMS system! Nowhere will you find a more comprehensive set of tips that you can use to improve your LMS and LCMS management efforts.

  45. 834 Tips for Successful Online Instruction
    This FREE Digital Book is a wonderful collection of tips from 336 of your professional colleagues. Nowhere will you find a more comprehensive set of tips that you can use to improve your knowledge and skills in online instruction. This eBook is sponsored by WebEx Communications, Inc.

  46. In Search of Learning Agility
    This publication deviates from the typical eLearning Guild eBook. We’re publishing it here because we believe that it contains a powerful and insightful view of the role educational technology plays in organizations. The central premise is that enduring competitive advantage must be built on organizational learning agility. This is a “must read” for managers and executives who are interested in aligning learning and training efforts and investments with larger business objectives.

  47. e-Learning Practices - Editor: Prof. Dr. Ugur Demiray

  48. e-Learning Survival Guide by e-Learning Queen (a.k.a Susan Smith Nash)
    Everything you need to succeed in the wild world of mobile learning, e-learning, and hybrid college, K-12, and career courses.

  49. Web Teaching by David Brooks, Diane Nolan, and Susan Gallaghe
 
 

Articulate

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Uses PowerPoint as the main development environment and overlays interactions, audio and Flash media over the top. Then, it exports it out into a handy, single .SWF file for distribution on the web. It has a nice wrapper that creates a nice, contained package for navigation and user controls.

Pro:

If lots of your training is already in PPT, then maybe Articulate is a good be: Import your PPT, add some audio and a couple questions and after export, you are good to go.

Con:

It uses PPT as the basic development platform and plugs in over the top. Your training looks like a glorified PPT.


Captivate

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Uses itself as a development platform and does screen recordings and your desktop. It adds interactions and demonstration pop ups, while also allowing for a degree of branching, quizzes and the new version has great audio controls. Then, when you are done, it exports out to a handy, single .swf file for distribution. It also has a nice wrapper that has great navigation and user controls.

Pro:

Captivate is great for capturing mouse movements and screen shots. If you are developing training on a new computer system or software Captivate is really, really good.

Con:

Not suitable for more advance e-learning.


Lectora

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Is its own development platform specifically designed for eLearning creation. It allows for the most flexibility, and the pro package has screen capture, audio capture and PPT import as well. It has lots of interaction templates, learning templates and other features that allow you to jump right in and start programming great eLearning.

Pro:

Lectora is great for everything. Everything Articulate and Captivate does, you can do it in Lectora. Plus, the flexibility of Lectora allows you to go beyond and really do some creative eLearning. If you want to build training distributed over the web, and you have a team of creative designers who want no limits, try Lectora.

Cons:

Not as intuitive. There is a learning curve.


Recommendation

So which e-learning software is best? Depends on your skill level and type of material you are creating. My advice to you is don’t spend a lot of time looking for a "One Size Fits All" solution instead consider using a combination of software and integrating them to achieve the best results for your targeted audience.

 

All Rights Reserved. Ravinder Tulsiani. 2011