How to choose an external e-learning vendor ?

Ideaon

Interaction with a prospective vendor can show and shed more light than reading up about them or viewing their work online. What skills does the e-learning vendor offer? Are the skills that the vendor brings, something that is complementary to your team? There is comfort in knowing that a vendor can work on a particular skillset, but can also work with aligned skill sets? Is e-Learning their major line of business? Pick up the hints.

How to Choose the Perfect e-learning Vendor

Designing Digitally

E-learning is a great option for organizations seeking to develop training that can be availed anywhere and anytime. Corporations may opt for creating their own learning in-house or hire an e-learning vendor. Hiring an e-learning partner is not an easy task. Vendors need to be evaluated based on several parameters. Here are a few areas to assess when determining how to choose the best e-learning vendor for your organization

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Working with E-Learning Vendors: The RFP

E-learning Uncovered

Last month I gave some tips on how to create a Request for Information (RFI). The RFI and RFP are the two primary tools you can use to select which vendor from a group is the best one to meet your needs. RFPs are formal documents written to vendors that specifically list what you want and help the vendor provide a specific, binding proposal. They can help you make apples-to-apples comparisons of possible vendors.

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Working With E-Learning Vendors: Evaluating Responses to Your RFP

E-learning Uncovered

Now, let’s look at some tips on how to sift through all of the information you will get back from the vendors. The best time to think about how you want to evaluate vendors is when you are creating the RFP, so you don’t forget to ask the vendors for something you need. Depending on what you asked for, the review process may consist of reading proposals, reviewing demos, listening to presentations, calling references, or even evaluating prototypes created just for you.

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Working with E-Learning Vendors: Creating a Request for Information (RFI)

E-learning Uncovered

The selection of an e-learning vendor can seem challenging. Maybe you don’t know what vendors can provide the exact product or service you need, or it might be that you aren’t even sure WHAT you need. My next few blog posts will give some tips I have found for selecting and working with vendors. First, let’s focus on how to get the information you need from a vendor using a Request for Information (RFI).

"Don't Touch/Wet Paint!" - "E"-Learning Vendors Try to Go "M"

mLearning Trends

A linked feature story in the update that immediately caught my eye was titled " Best Practices for Creating Mobile Learning Content " and clicking that link shuttled me over to SumTotal's corporate web site where I registered to download their latest mobile-related white paper. And I'm willing to "put up or shut up" too -- click here to see what a real white paper on mobile learning looks like!

The Latest LMS Insight

eLearning 24-7

Every E-Learning vendor should want your business and treat you as they would want to be treated. Every LMS vendor should have a standard regarding response times, when they receive an inquiry via the internet. I know of one vendor who responds within 30 minutes of receiving an inquiry. Oh, and for added value – ask if the person (respondee) wants to receive information initially via e-mail or via the phone. . E-Learning 24/7.

DevLearn Day 2

eLearning 24-7

One of the wonderful things I love about attending expos is the ability to see new products and new vendors. For example, there were several vendors making their debut – as in their solution – at DevLearn. Not only does it show that this industry, i.e. e-learning is continuing to grow an enhance, it also shows the naysayers – we are not going anywhere – so go after the ILT people and leave us alone. E-Learning 24/7.

A Look Back at E-Learning in 2012

eLearning 24-7

Mobile Learning. LMSs – Finally vendors took notice. Sadly though many still are in the dark on true mobile learning – i.e. not accessing their platform via a mobile web browser. Authoring Tools – With only a small sample of vendors that are SaaS based, pickings are slim. Those who aren’t are either offering native apps with online/offline synch or performing the shell game via the mobile web browser and calling it mobile learning.

What I am hearing and seeing in E-Learning

eLearning 24-7

It comes from fellow readers who send me e-mails or talk to me via social media. It comes from me talking to vendors, buyers, monitoring the industry all the while taking notes and seeing the trends/patterns appear right before my eyes. What has always amazed me are number of e-learning vendor web sites whose design looks like it came from 1995 when Netscape ruled the land. Upside Learning. This is an exciting time to be in the e-learning space.

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ASTD International Conference Day 1 Wrap-Up

eLearning 24-7

It was an exciting first day, with lots of vendors hitting the entire training spectrum. Here are my favorites: Numerous vendors were unhappy that they had to pay $700 a day for Wi-Fi, that didn’t work most of the time or was slow. One vendor who spent $5,000 on their booth, thought the $700 a day fee was obscene and declined. Other vendors weren’t so lucky. SumTotal – Get ready for a new UI for the learning module. E-Learning 24/7.

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New E-Learning Rankings: Authoring Tools

eLearning 24-7

best products that work under water (summer time) and from the e-learning prospective – the best authoring tools. Vendors can move up, down or out of the rankings – after all it is on-going. I’m not a lead gen for the vendors listed – rather the goal is to provide you with vendors that meet numerous criteria including UI, features, support/service, mobile, feedback from current and past clients and future game plans. E-Learning 24/7.

Y R Some Vendors confused about e-learning?

eLearning 24-7

Are there vendors in the e-learning space who lack basic understanding around e-learning? Lastly, if the vendors, organizations and firms whose whole background, expertise and existence is tied to e-learning and they themselves are not fully understanding it, does this bode well for the industry as a whole? (I’ll E-Learning is E-Learning and not some magical dust. Hello, it fits under e-learning.

Best of the Best – Extended Enterprise or multi-tenant LMSs

eLearning 24-7

Just because a system lists itself as an extended enterprise does not mean it comes with multiple domains (which with some vendors includes customized) nor with multiple portals or my preferable term – “multi-tenant” You may see an “extended enterprise” which not only refers to the company’s employees, but also their customers and channel partners. That is the problem with the term and as such it creates quite a confusion in the marketplace.

ET and E-Learning

eLearning 24-7

Emerging technology that has I believe the potential to do wonders in the e-learning space. E-Mail. E-Learning and Emerging Technology. While you can easily put a lot of things in here, I am going to talk about four emerging technologies I see as real powerhouses in the possibilities and capabilities in e-learning. The truth of the matter though is that the technology was created in Cambridge, England and not by anyone at Microsoft.

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Video Learning Platforms

eLearning 24-7

People who bought HD-DVD players – learn that they make great flying objects out of five story buildings. 2013 - LMSs are not the only learning system in town. The new kids of the block (please no jokes here) are Video Learning Platforms. Video in e-learning means something quite different than video in its usual term. Other options – depends on the vendor. M-Learning support – all devices including iPad and other tablets.

Course Authoring Tools for eLearning Developers and the masses

eLearning 24-7

Geared toward e-learning developers and instructional designers. The biggest problem facing the industry in the past few years are the lack of course authoring tools for e-learning developers and instructional designers. Celtix - Enables you to create storyboards and scripts. Flash course development toolkit - provides the source code, features include ability to load your movies, creates a table of contents and provides complete navigation control.

How to choose the right LMS

eLearning 24-7

The same thing applies to the learning management system market. The minus: vendors come out of the woodwork to tell you their system meets those needs. I mean if you say you need “e-commerce for 500 users, certificates, ability to add users to groups for courses”, that would cover about 550 systems. No vendor could say honestly that their system is the best for you, because they are missing a lot of information. Whichever sticks – is your vendor.

On Fire in 2013 – What’s going to be hot in e-learning

eLearning 24-7

For each of these items in e-learning. One vendor already offers it in 2012, and knowing this industry – if something takes off and works, others will follow. Right now, you have to upload the course as you would with your SCORM wrapper, where you self-upload or use the course within an online mobile platform from your authoring tool vendor. E-Learning in General. M-Learning. M-Learning with tablets. E-Learning 24/7.

E-Learning: Did you know.

eLearning 24-7

I love going to LMS sites and seeing a list of clients that the vendor lists. Especially the LMS vendors who also create custom content/development. That some vendors who provide a list of clients may not be clients of their LMS, rather they are current or past clients of custom course development. Yep, you read that right, and best or worst of all, they (vendor) never tells you, unless you inquiry. For the vendor to achieve success in the demo.

LMS Ecosystems – The next big thing

eLearning 24-7

When you think of a learning management system you immediately focus on the features, ease of use (ideally) and more importantly how it ties directly to what you want to do in the short and long term as related to learning or learning/performance management. Maybe you see it as a component within a blended learning environment. Because the one stop shops are now appearing in learning management systems, for the better. E-Learning 24/7.

When is a LMS not a LMS?

eLearning 24-7

Next Gen Lite Learning Management Systems. A learning management system is a heavy pancake. If I am not really looking for a learning management system but want some basic things, I’d consider that route. But make no mistake about it, they are learning management systems with a twist. They are the next generation of lite learning management systems and not the anti-establishment of such systems. E-Learning 24/7.

Review of ASTD International Trade Expo

eLearning 24-7

Lots of vendors, lots of potential. There were vendors that had nice LMSs and cool features. It just wasn’t me thinking this, I heard it from attendees and even other vendors who were trolling the floor. E-Learning has been minimal. I would estimate that there was a 60-40 split, still instructor led driven, but even a significant number of the ILT vendors were offering subsets or capabilities to turn their ILT into online via webinars or online courses.

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New Authoring tool rankings #11 to #20

eLearning 24-7

However, in the past week, I have received over 500 e-mails from readers requesting a list of the top twenty (rather than top then). No reason, I just love saying that) Mzinga shows up with a true social learning authoring tool. A few vendors say “social learning” but it is often far from it. I’m always amazed at some of the names vendors come up with for authoring tools. 1st vendor to have online/offline mobile synch. E-Learning 24/7.

Latest Trends in E-Learning

eLearning 24-7

Twice a year I will be providing some trends that I am seeing in the e-learning market. This one trend really is an irritation to me, because the term “training” is showing up rather than “learning”, which is the standard term as it relates to online learning (see it already?). We call online learning, e-learning, not e-training, but some vendors will have you believe that “training” is the appropriate term, rather than learning.

5 E-Learning Forecasts for 2012

eLearning 24-7

They involved talent management, “hello and goodbye” with vendors, social learning, upswing in mobile learning, new feature sets in the authoring tool space, flat lining in web conferencing and standalone platforms. LMSs/LCMS/CMS/learning platforms in commercial and open space continued their presence. For the mobile learning space – it is a necessity. GestureTek develops motion control for tablets, e-readers, smartphones and televisions.

Q&A from Blog Readers on E-Learning

eLearning 24-7

Every e-learning consulting/research firm, etc. My latest take on those three vendors (plus one) are: Cornerstone On Demand – I have seen the new UI and I like what I saw. While the learning cloud and extended enterprise cloud are purchased by folks, I still see the platform – assuming you get all the modules as a HCM. That said, they are in my top 40 for learning/extended enterprise cloud. Any vendor will do that – regardless of setup fees.

Low Cost LMSs – Yes, u can find one for under 10K

eLearning 24-7

Some systems in this space include e-commerce at no additional charge. Any vendor, who includes a set storage fee, should be able to provide you a range of number of courses – with examples and video/audio files – if you plan to use them. Many vendors’ sites do not state this information in their pricing. Some 50K or more systems could learn from the top low cost systems on some things. E-Learning 24/7.

#25 to #11 LMSs of 2012

eLearning 24-7

It is the holiday season and for those who see me as the grinch (okay a few vendors do, but I digress) here is a special post. Next week, 12-12-12, will be #10 to #1 learning management systems for 2012. New features include m-learning on the iPad with native app (no on/off synch), integrates with Yammer, themes, custom URL, assessment tool, the authoring tool is the key component, help and feedback tab. Video learning platforms. 20 Saba Learning Suite.

#ASTDTK14 Review

eLearning 24-7

ASTDTK14 zoomed into Vegas last week with about 60 vendors (est.) On the expo side, and I know ASTD Events are going to disagree with me (err, they already have via Linkedin), I wasn’t overly impressed on the number of vendors’ booths. Authoring tools vendors – pickings were slim, Adobe was present, so was Allen Interactions (Zebra Zapps), but no Articulate? Mobile specific tools or m-learning spin tools – were not as extensive as I was expecting.

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Evolving the E-Learning Experience for the 21st Century

eLearning 24-7

What always stuns me are vendors who state they know what their learners want, but in reality have no clue, because they themselves do not see the technology and its usage among the masses. E-Mail. The growing number of businesses leaving Microsoft Outlook to Internet e-mail is amazing. I see this as one of the most important features for any learning management system, open source or commercial. Innovation drives the market (regardless if it is e-learning or not).

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Recap of ASTD TechKnowledge 2013: Day 1

eLearning 24-7

Oh, did I mention you can create your own character right in the product, including changing outfits and much more. Learn a foreign language software. Follows a conversational approach to learning – which is so much better than hearing the word and then repeating it, with zero idea on what it means and more importantly, how to use it in general conversation. I see it not only as a standalone but also as a course or courses within a learning platform.

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Authoring Tool Market – What I am seeing

eLearning 24-7

Because the industry as a whole is a lemming, I expect more vendors to come on board. If you are an e-learning developer or instructional designer this has always been a favorite feature of authoring tools. In just the past month, I have seen quite a few vendors add this capability in their product – and for the most part they are all RCAT products. Well some vendors have more than 15 come with their product. One vendor has a gaming raceway for quizzes.

How to Buy a LMS

eLearning 24-7

LMS – Learning Management System – most commonly sought out by folks. LCMS – Learning Content Management System – going the way of the dodo bird. M-Learning- Mobile Learning. E-Learning – Online Learning. Many people confuse the term thinking it means electronic learning and thus will boost that they were doing e-learning 20 years ago or even longer. LRS – Learning Record Stores.

Now you bought a LMS: Implement, Train and Support

eLearning 24-7

You have now purchased your learning management system. Enjoy it will you can, because the next stage can create more stress than waiting in line at Disney World. Many people will ask their potential vendor what is the implementation time, but will forget to ask if the vendor has a dedicated project manager. This person handles everything from the vendors’ side of thing. The next call you should receive is from your vendor’s project manager.

SharePoint – Social Learning Savior?

eLearning 24-7

In today’s corporate world, you can not toss a rock in any direction without someone mentioning SharePoint as the glorious solution for social learning and in many cases a LMS. The social learning savior or a hero waiting to save the learner in distress? If not, and you are planning on implementing SharePoint for your social learning success, here are a few reminders, before you dive right in. For social learning, this slew of items – documents, files, etc.

Dispelling the LMS Myth

eLearning 24-7

He was recognized throughout the e-learning and learning communities. I live it, perhaps too much, yet the other day I came across a learning blog informing its readers that in order for the LMS to survive: Must become modular. E-Commerce. Customized skinning – albeit in today’s market there are some vendors who charge for skins – disgusting! Excluding the above, there are vendors out there who charge extra for. E-Learning 24/7.