A New eBook from the eLearning Guild...



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 — meaning an organization’s ability to respond to adaptive challenge through the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills. The authors, Clark and Gottfredson, sketch three distinct stages of learning agility: 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0, and illustrate a clear path forward for the meaningful use of learning technologies in organizations. This is a “must read” for managers and executives who are interested in aligning learning and training efforts and investments with larger business objectives.

Access Instructions: Depending on the speed of your Internet connection, this document could take a few moments to download because of its size (39 pages in PDF format, ~421K). We urge you to save it to your computer first and then open it.

Download Link: http://www.elearningguild.com/showFile.cfm?id=3035


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. Members could submit tips relating to any or all of five different categories. As is usual in our past surveys, the tips range in length from one-sentence ideas all the way up to multi-page discourses. You will find tips in these categories...

  • Blending Synchronous Learning with Other Learning Modalities
  • Designers of Synchronous Presentations, Courses, and Webinars
  • Managers Who Lead Synchronous Learning Efforts
  • Synchronous Speakers and Instructors
  • Technical Production, Planning, and Preparation

This FREE Digital eBook would not have been possible were it not for a generous contribution to its development from Adobe. If you're not familiar with their products, or if you haven't checked them out lately, we encourage you to look at their offerings soon!

Access Instructions: Depending on the speed of your Internet connection, this document could take a few moments to download because of its size (58 pages in PDF format, ~3MB). We urge you to save it to your computer first and then open it.

Download Link: http//www.elearningguild.com/showFile.cfm?id=2930


Learning Content Management System
The GeoLearning Learning Content Management System (GeoLCMS) is a browser-based tool for creating, delivering and managing high-quality learning content quickly and cost-effectively across your organization. Organizations just starting out in e-learning will appreciate its simplicity, while experienced developers will find that GeoLCMS offers ways to streamline their course creation process—and substantially reduce development costs.

GeoLCMS provides anyone in your organization, partner channel or customer base with critical learning and knowledge resources when they need them. Learning and knowledge sharing are driven from a single database of content that is easily created, updated and shared.

GeoLCMS is an integrated component of GeoLearning’s GeoMaestro enterprise learning and performance management platform, providing seamless content connectivity, security, session management and integrated reporting. It can also be deployed as a stand-alone system, or integrated with our GeoExpress LMS platform, as well as other third-party LMSs. Either way, GeoLCMS offers one-of-a-kind features that make the development of e-learning applications faster and more efficient.

The GeoLCMS offers several competitive advantages:

  • Rapid Content Creation
  • Powerful Collaboration Tools
  • Open Authoring
  • Reusable Learning Objects
  • Adaptive Learning Paths
  • Superior Assessment and Survey Capabilities
  • Robust Administrative Features
  • Intuitive Student Experience
  • Powerful Tracking, Reporting & LMS Integration Capabilities
  • Web-based and delivered Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • AICC, SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004, PENS and Section 508 Compliant
“GeoLCMS offers us unlimited flexibility to create robust custom sales training content. The content reusability and intuitive environment enables our content development team and SMEs to access centralized assets and collaborate to streamline content development best practices. Our content creation and update process is rapid, reliable and scalable.”


Docebo is an Open Source e-Learning platform (LMS and LCMS) used in corporate and higher education markets.The Platform supports 18 languages and can support different didactic models. Including: Blended, Self-Directed, Collaborative and even Social Learning through Chat, Wiki, Forums and 53 other different functions.

E-learning: Docebo LMS LCMS functionality

  • LMS support SCORM 1.2 and scorm 2004 (international elearning standard) support
    The elearning System (LMS and LCMS) manage every file type (word, excel, video, audio, etc.)
  • User notification via SMS or E-Mail
  • Videoconference, chat, forum
  • Messages, advice
  • Test, polls
  • FAQ, Help, Link List, Glossary, Wiki, e-Portfolio
  • Elearning reports by user and by course
  • Organize users in company organizational trees
  • Group management
  • Docebo LMS, elearning system support interface with HR software like SAP, HR, Zucchetti, Lotus, as well as authentication systems like LDAP and Active Directory, Kerberos and NTLM
  • Business intelligence elearning system
  • Skill based
Multilanguage elearning (LMS and LCMS)

Docebo LMS LCMS is translated in following languages: Italian, English, Arabic, Croatian, Bosnian, Danish, Dutch, Farsi, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, Tamil, Turkish .


After more than 100 projects delivered to corporate, university and government customers and with more than 100,000 hours of e-learning programs delivered, we have formalized a set process that some would consider the most common elements involved in it.Through our extensive experience we found that e-learning is not only a matter of technology, but is a sum of best practices, pre-planning activity in methodology and learning objectives.

4 main elements of on-line course delivery are:

  • LMS (e-learning platform)
  • Learning Objects
  • Human Factors (Trainers, Tutors, Supervisor)
  • Internal Sales

LMS (e-learning platform): An “in the box” metaphor for the e-learning platform. This manages the following tasks: User Management, Course catalogue, User Course policies, Learning Object Delivery
and Reporting.

Learning Objects: This is one of the most critical activities. The Learning Objects are the core of the e-learning platform. They must be well done, interactive and not bore the student. Learning Objects can contain: Text, Audio, Video, Interactive files, Games, downloadable files for “off line study” or any mix of this elements.

Human Factor: This factor can be divided into two different areas:

1. The HR office (or training, office) measures results they need to obtain in terms of learning performance with activity reports.

2. Is the activity that the tutor, the content expert and the other offices manage during the launch and in daily production activity.

Internal Sales: It is difficult that an e-learning project can follow an approach like “go and click” (means that the user is self-motivated to periodically check the training catalogue) the training office must promote every activity, talk to every course attendee and push them to complete the courses. The promotion activities can be made through different tools such as newsletters or physical
meetings.


Administrators

  • Module Manager: Administrators can install modules, enable and disable them, define a default module and menu configuration for new courses. Developers can create integrated and third party feature modules for ATutor to extend its functionality. Types of Modules administrator, instructor, group, course, and public modules, as well as fully integrated feature extensions, or third party add-on software. New in 1.6.2! modules can be imported directly from a central module repository, and can now be automatically unistalled.
    Administrator's Home Page: All administrator tools can be accessed quickly from a central Administrator Home Page.
  • Patcher Module: New in 1.6.1! Administrators can install patches issued at update.atutor.ca to keep their ATutor system up-to-date, and secure. The Patcher can also be used to share custom features across multiple installation.
    Administrator ATutor Handbook: Administrator documentation is linked from each section of the handbook to the screen ATutor it refers to. The Handbook can be translated, and mutliple translations managed for each ATutor installation.
    Multiple Administrators: Create multiple administrator accounts assigning specific privilages to each.
  • Pretty URLs: New in 1.6.1! Administrators can turn on Pretty URL to have URLs with variables attached, rewritten in a more readable form. When turned on, public courses in ATutor can be indexed by search engines.
  • Master Student List: Require newly created student accounts to be authenticated against a custom imported student ID/PIN paired list.
  • Themes Manager: Easily create a custom version of ATutor by modifying or creating a theme. Type in a URL to a theme to install it in ATutor (see Themes). Assign themes to categories of courses. Export a theme to share with others. Login to submit themes to atutor.ca to make them available to the ATutor Community. DIV-based themes are available for added accessibility. New in 1.6.2! theme designer documentation is available in the ATutor Handbook. New in 1.6.2! administrators can import community contributed themes directly from the theme respoitory on atutor.ca.
    Automated Installer and Upgrade: A fast and easy way to install or upgrade ATutor! In most cases it only take a couple minutes, with little need for technical knowledge.
  • General Statistics: View system usage statistics.
  • Secure Course Content: Secure course content directory to prevent unauthorized access to course files.
  • Instructor Request: Review requesting instructors' personal information, and assign instructor status so they may create courses. Administrators are informed by email when new requests are made.
  • User Manager: Users on a system can be sorted, personal information can be viewed, and access privileges can be modified. Send announcements to all users on an ATutor system, or to students, or to instructors. Search through the users database using a variety of search strategies to find individual students, or a group of students. Users accounts can be batch managed to rapidly add, modify, or delete accounts. View courses in which individual students are enrolled.
  • Enrollment Manager: Administrators have all the same tools for managing course enrolments as instructors do, with the ability to manage students in any course. Create an enrollment list online to add new students to a course. Automatically generate login names and passwords for students and send them by email when a student is enrolled in a course. Assign students as Alumni so they can participate in discussions for future course sessions. Filter by login, first or last name, or email address.
  • Course Manager: Much like the User Manager, courses on a system can be sorted, their properties modified, and their instructors managed. Create new courses and assign an instructor. Use course backups to generate initial content for a new course. Create shared forums for select courses, or create a community forum for all courses. Easily jump between the administration section and courses without having to re-login each time.New in 1.6.1! Administrators can create an enrolment "trigger" link, that when followed, students are enrolled in specified courses automatically when they register.
    Backup Manager: Generate backups of courses to create master copies. Download backups for safe keeping or to move courses to another ATutor server. Use backups to generate new courses.
  • Cron Utility: Optionally schedule scripts to run at specific times. Use the Cron Uitlity to run the Mail Queue every few minutes. Write custom scripts to generate statistics, create a system backup, or to send system reminders, etc. using the cron utility to schedule when they run..
  • Course Categories: The ATutor course browser includes a course category browser, so courses can be sorted into a custom defined set of categories, perhaps by department or topic or grade level, for example. Themes can be assigned to course categories so all courses within a category look the same.
  • Language Manager: Import language packs directly into ATutor. Once imported, edit languages as needed. Create an ATutor Language Pack by exporting the language from your ATutor system. Make the language pack available to other, and submit it to the atutor.ca Translation Forum as an attachment, so others can use and continue to maintain the language. Easily search through the text of the language to quickly find and customize interface, feedback, and module language.New in 1.6! All languages are available in UTF-8, and courses can display multiple languages at the same time.

Developers
  • Developer Documentation: Guidelines, instructions, recommendations for those who wish to develop ATutor core features, bundled with each ATutor distribution.
  • Module Developer Documentation: Guidelines, instructions, recommendations for those who wish to develop ATutor Modules, bundled with each ATutor distribution.New in 1.6! Install the phpDocumentor module to generate API documentation. New in 1.6.2! modules can be exported from the module manager to be shared or redistributed to other ATutor systems.
  • Theme Designer Documentation: New in 1.6.2! Guidelines for developing themes are included in the ATutor Handbook. Theme designers can export themes to share or redistribute.
  • Hello World Template Module: A sample module that implements all potential module features, which can be used as a template for creating new ATutor modules.
  • Patcher Module: New in 1.6.1! Developers can use the patcher module to create patches to fix bugs, or to add new features or feature adjustments to ATutor, that can be submitted and added to the ATutor public distribution.
  • ATutor SVN Code Repository: Developers can checkout the live evolving ATutor source code from a public Subversion repository. With approval, developers can commit their features to the respository to be include in the ATutor distribution .
  • ATutor Bug Reports: Developers can keep up on bug fixes using the ATutor Bug Tracker With approval, developers can report to, and provide comments on, bugs listed in the tracker.


Instructors

  • Instructor ATutor Handbook: Instructor documentation is linked from each section of the handbook, to the screen ATutor it refers to. A link to the full Handbook is available on every screen.
  • Guest Access to Courses: Guests can be granted access to private courses through a guest URL, sent to them by a course instructor. Guests can view, but not post content to a course.
  • SCORM Run-Time Environment & SCO Manager: Thanks to Matthai Kurian and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich for creating an ATutor SCORM run-time environment (RTE) and SCO package manager. Add prepackaged, interactive, interoperable, content to your courses. Initial support for SCORM 1.2 LMS-RTE3, with additional SCORM support coming.
  • Course Tool Preferences: Instructors can choose from the available course tools and menu modules, selecting only those that are used in a particular course. Optionally display tools in the main navigation bar, or link them into the course home page for quick access. Tools can be located on the course home page, or moved to a separate Student Tools page.New in 1.6.2! tools can be moved onto their own separate screen.
  • Course Manage Page: All ATutor tools can be accessed quickly from a central course Manage Page.
  • Content Usage: Individual usage statistics can be reviewed to identify gaps in content coverage and the learning tendencies of each learner.
  • Instructor ATutor Handbook: Instructor documentation is linked from each section of the handbook to the screen in ATutor it refers to (context sensitive help). The handbook can also be searched or browsed. If enabled, instructors can add their own notes to the handbook.
  • Work Groups Manager: Instructors can manually create, or automatically generate work groups for a variety of purposes. Groups might be used to provide a private area where students can work, to create an assignment submission area, to asign a test to specific students, or for a variety of other possibilities. The new Work Group feature replaces much of the functionality previously found in the ACollab add-on module, which can still be used in addition to the new work group features.
  • Learning Tools: Instructors have access to all the learning tools that are available to learners. Context sensitive access to the ATutor Handbook allows instructors to access the right documentation page quickly.
  • File Storage: In addition to the File Manager, which contains files associated with ATutor content pages, the File Storage utility can be used to store private files, files to be shared with course members or group members, or used as a place to collect assignment submissions.
  • Assignment Drop Box: Extending the File Storage, instructors can create file folders for collecting assignment submissions, collected from all course members, from group members, or from individuals. A collection of assignments can be zipped together and downloaded.
  • Content Editor: Instructors can create content in HTML or plain text. This content can be imported from a local editor, or edited directly online. Release dates can be set to control when content is viewable to learners. Release dates extend to all sub pages in a content section when the release date for the open page is set. Content pages can be moved to different locations within a course. Related pages can be linked to content as references or relevant information. Use the File Manager while creating content. Click on the Insert button next to a file in the file manager to embed a link or an image in a page while authoring content. Add Latex formatted mathematical notation and multimedia objects to content pages.New in 1.6! Using the UTF-8 conversion module, instrucotrs can take old content, and easily convert from older character sets to UTF-8, the current standard. Content authors can include scripts and style sheets that appear in the HTML HEAD, to control the functionlity and appearance of content. New in 1.6.2! IMS/ISO AccessForAll support allows content authors to create adaptive content to match student needs. New in 1.6.2! Tests can be associated with content for quick access to a test after completing a learning unit.
  • Visual Editor: A JavaScript based WYSIWYG editor is available as an extension of the Content Editor so content creators can format course materials without knowing any HTML. A soon to be ATAG 2.0 compliant version of the TinyMCE 3.01 WYSIWYG HTML editor assists authors in creating accessible content. New in 1.6.1! Visual editor is preloaded so authors can switch between it and the text editor without reloading the page.
  • Accessibility Checker: The ATRC AChecker Web service has been integrated into the Content Editor to allow authors to review the accessibility of their content to people with disabilities who may be accessing ATutor using assistive technology. A variety of standards are available for an international audience. AChecker automatically identifies known accessibility problems, and allows authors to make descisions on potential problems that AChecker can not identify for certain. Accessibility reports are saved in the AChecker database, and allow ongoing monitoring of accessibility as content evolves. The AChecker Web service is available as a plugin for TinyMCE, so content can be assessed for accessibility directly from within the editor.
  • IMS QTI Test Export: New in 1.6.2! import and export interoperable QTI 1.2 test packages. Tests and questions can be exported in QTI 2.1 packages
    IMS/SCORM Content Packaging: Instructors can export content from ATutor as IMS/SCORM conformant Content Packages that can be viewed offline in the accompanying viewer, or imported into ATutor or another conformant e-learning system. Entire courses, or individual course units can be packaged for viewing or redistribution. Content from other compliant systems can be imported into ATutor. Import and export complex content such as Java applets, Flash content, and other embedded programmed objects.New in 1.6.2! Content packages can be imported and export with QTI Tests, and AccessForAll adapted content together in a single package. New in 1.6.2!Content and tests can be imported from IMS Common Cartridges.
  • Reading List: Instructors can gather a list of resources (books, papers, urls etc.) related to topics in a course, and create a Reading List based on those resources.
    Learning Objects Repository: Search the TILE learning objects repository for course related materials. Download content packages from the repository for viewing, or import them directly into ATutor. Enter a URL to a content package anywhere on the Web, and import it into your course. Export content from ATutor into the repository, login to the repository to author new content, add to, or enhance existing content.
  • Backup Manager: The entire content and structure of a course can be backed up and stored on the ATutor server, or downloaded and saved to your local computer. Create a copy of a course as a master for future sessions, or move a course to a new location.
  • News & Announcements: Instructors can post messages to the course Home Page to guide learners through the course. News can be used for weekly introductions, announcing important dates, or posting critical information. The announcements Demopage is always the first page a learner visits when they log into a course. An RSS feed can be turned on to display course announcements on other Web sites.
  • File Manager: Instructors can upload and manage course related files. Directories can be created to sort files, zip archives can be uploaded and unpacked. A popup file manager can be opened alongside the Content Editor or test question editor. Course files can be easily linked into content pages or test items as they are being created. Text or HTML files can be created or edited online. Rename files, or batch move or delete files.
  • Test Manager: Instructors can create tests with multiple choice, true/false, Likert, ordering, matching, drag and drop, and a number of open ended question types. M/C, multi-select M/C, ordering, matching, and T/F questions are marked automatically. A test release window can be created to make a test available for a certain period, feedback can be customized, and test results can be archived. Self-marking tests can be created to provide students with instant feedback. Create surveys and link them to the course home page. Select from a pool of questions to generate random question quizzes. Assign tests to groups of students. Add questions to a Question Database, then select questions from the database to assemble a test or quiz. Create image based test items, and arrange items horizontally or vertically. Questions can be arranged in any order. A test property can be set to allow guests to take tests. Add Latex formatted mathematical notation and multimedia objects to test questions.New in 1.6! A "test window" can be opened during which the test is available, and after which is locked. New in 1.6! Test questions can be presented all on a single page, or one at a time. New in 1.6.2! data from guest test takers can be collected.
  • Polls: Instructors can create one question polls to quickly gather student opinions.
    Forums: Instructors can create and manage multiple forums for each of their courses. Messages can be edited, deleted, locked from reading and/or replying, and "stuck" to the top of a thread list if a message is important. Administrators can create forums shared across multiple courses. Request a shared forum to allow students in all your courses to communicate with each other. Subscribe to forums, or to topic threads to have messages sent by email. Instructors can set a time limit for editing forum posts, so messages can be corrected if errors are made in the original post. Add Latex formatted mathematical notation and multimedia objects to Forum messages.New in 1.6.2! past forum discussions can be archived.
  • Course Email: Instructors can send bulk email to course members, assistants, or both. New in 1.6! and insert tokens to customize messages for each individual user.
    Course Properties: Instructors can view course login statistics, edit course properties, and send course-wide email messages. A default display language can be set for each course. Assign a course as public, protected, or private, or hide a course while it is being developed. Control student access to content packaging. Turn on an RSS feed for course announcements, and display them on other Web sites. Set the release date for a course, after which it becomes available to students. Create a custom splash page for each course. New in 1.6! Instructors can upload their own custom course icon as a visual representation of the course.New in 1.6! Instructors can add a custom course banner to give courses their own custom look. New in 1.6.1! A course directory can be customized to extend Pretty URLs (described for Administrators) creating a unique URL for each course.
  • Enrollment Manager: Instructors may import a comma separated list of students to enroll in their courses, or export an enrollment list for staff keeping. Create an enrollment list online to add new students to a course. Automatically generate login names and passwords for students and send them by email when a student is enrolled in a course. Assign students as Alumni so they can participate in discussions for future course sessions. Filter by login, first or last name, or email address.
  • Privileges: Through the Enrollment Manager, instructors can assign students access to various instructor tools, creating teaching assistants or co-instructors.
  • Addon Modules: FAQ, Google Search, RSS Feeds, EWiki, ACollab, ATalker Text-to-Speech, and SCORM Packages modules are each available with a quick installer. Many other add-on modules can be found on the atutor.ca Module Page.


ATutor Features for Learners

Posted by Miro | 4:19 AM | | 0 comments »

The following is a relatively detailed list of the standard features in ATutor. Also see the Modules Section for additional features and third party add-on software.

Learners

  • Accessibility: ATutor was designed with accessibility as a priority. A wide range of features ensure assistive technology users can participate fully in learner, instructor, and administrative activities. DIV based themes are available for added accessibility. ATutor conforms with international accessibility standards. New in 1.6.2! IMS/ISO AccessForAll support allows learners to configure the environment and content to their specific needs.
  • Security: Login passwords are encrypted. Forgotten passwords must be reset, rather than retrieved by email, removing the possibility they might be intercepted when being sent over the Internet.
  • My Courses : Instructors and students can manage the ATutor courses they teach and/or are enrolled in. New in 1.6.1! When a student registers they are automatically logged into My Courses.
  • Inbox/Messaging : All users on an ATutor system have an Inbox, through which they can send and receive private messages from other users. Messages sent are saved to Sent Messages, which remain for a set period before being deleted. Messages can be exported and saved externally.
  • Student Profile : Students can add personal information about themselves for other to see, and include a profile picture, which is also displayed with forum posts.
  • Adaptive Navigation: Learners can move through ATutor content using global, hierarchical, or sequential navigation tools. Navigation elements can be displayed as text, icons, or both text and icons, and they can be hidden to simplify the environment.
  • Work Groups: Learners can collaborate with others on course projects, communicate as a group through the forums share resources using the File Storage, and work together authoring project documents. Exercises or assignments can submitted to the group leader, or course instructor. This replaces much of the functionality found in the ACollab module, though it is still possible to use along with ATutor work groups.
  • File Storage: All user on an ATutor system have their own file storage utility. File storage areas can also be shared across groups, or an entire course. Version control can be enabled to keep track of drafts or changes to documents.
  • Group Blog: Each group has access to their own blog, to which they can post public messages, available to all course member, or private messages, available only to group members and instructors. Add Latex formatted mathematical notation and multimedia objects to blog postings
  • Feedback: Following an action (such as saving preference settings, or posting a message), feedback is given on the status of the operation. This could be a success message, warnings to consider, or errors to fix.
  • Preference Settings: Learners can control ATutor features and the theme ATutor is presented in. New in 1.6.1! A theme with the Fluid libraries integrated, allows users to move the menu from side-to-side to suit their preference. New in 1.6.2! Students can control visual display settings, content adaption settings, navigation controls and learning tools settings.
  • Communication Tools: Learners can communicate with others using ATutor's private mail, the discussion forums, the chat rooms, or the "User's Online" tool. Threads and messages can be sorted in a variety of ways. Students can communicate with those in other courses through shared forum, or a community forum. Subscribe to forums or topic threads to have forum messages sent by email. Students can edit their forum posts for a specifed number of minutes.New in 1.6.2!Students can search through forum messages in the current course, enrolled courses, or all available courses.
  • Content Package Viewer: Learners can export content from ATutor as Content Packages that can be viewed offline in the accompanying viewer.
  • Content Tracker: Learners can keep track of the content pages they have visited.
    Test Manager: Learners can take tests, review test results, and keep track of their scores. Course Guests can take practice tests.New in 1.6.1! Students can return to a test previous started but not completed, and begin where they left off.
  • Glossary: Words and phrases added to the glossary by the instructor, can be accessed from terms embedded within content pages, or viewed alphabetically in their entirety using the Glossary tool.
  • Links Database: Each course, and groups within courses, has a tool for collecting links to Web-based information. Both students and instructors can add links. Instructors can manage course links, and students can manage group links.
    Course Search: A search engine allows learners to search course content. Search for courses in the course catalogue.
  • TILE Repository Search: Learners can search the TILE learning objects repository for content related to the topics they are studying, and download content packages for viewing offline.


ATutor is an Open Source Web-based Learning Content Management System (LCMS) designed with accessibility and adaptability in mind. Administrators can install or update ATutor in minutes, develop custom themes to give ATutor a new look, and easily extend its functionality with feature modules. Educators can quickly assemble, package, and redistribute Web-based instructional content, easily import prepackaged content, and conduct their courses online. Students learn in an adaptive learning environment.

Try the demo to experience ATutor's adaptability, and its flexibility for course designers. Download ATutor to get a copy of your own.


Why ATutor?
Accessibility
ATutor supports these accessibility standards:
W3C WCAG 1.0
W3C WCAG 2.0
W3C ATAG 2.0
US Section 508
Italy Stanca Act
IMS AccessForAll 2.0 draft
ISO FDIS 24751

Interoperability
ATutor supports these interoperability standards:
IMS Content Packaging 1.1.2+
SCORM Content Packaging
SCORM 1.2 LMS RTE3
IMS Question Test Interoperability (QTI) 1.2/2.1
IMS Common Cartridge 1.0
W3C XHTML 1.0

ATutor's base in Open Source technology makes it a cost effective tool for both small and large organizations presenting their instructional materials on the Web, or delivering fully independent online courses. Comprehensive help is available through the documentation, through a number of support services, or through the public forums. Full language support is available through the ATutor Translation Site.

Open Source
ATutor is an Open Source project. You may copy, distribute, and modify ATutor under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). See ATutor Licensing for examples of permitted free use.

ATutor Awards
IMS Gold Learning Impact Award 2008: Selected by industry leaders, the IMS Learning Impact Awards recognize the high impact use of technology to improve learning across all industry segments and in all regions of the world.

Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration 2007: Presented by The Andrew Mellon Foundation. recognizing not-for-profit organizations that are making substantial contributions of their own resources toward the development of open source software and the fostering of collaborative communities to sustain open source development.


A Special Holiday Gift from The eLearning Guild!




162 Tips and Tricks forWorking with e-Learning Tools

The eLearning Guild asked members for their favorite tips for using software for the creation of e-Learning. Members could submit tips in any or all of the following five categories:


  • Courseware authoring and e-Learning development tools
  • Rapid e-Learning tools
  • Simulation tools
  • Media tools
  • Combining and deploying authoring tools
A total of 122 members responded to the survey, contributing 162 usable tips. As with our previous Tips eBook efforts, the tips range in length from one-sentence ideas all the way up to page-long discourses. Some are very basic in nature, and others are quite advanced. We have not edited the tips in any way, other than to correct spelling – everything you see in this book is in the tipsters' own words. As a result, these tips will be useful to any designer or developer looking for best practices to incorporate into their own production process.

This FREE Digital eBook would not have been possible were it not for a generous contribution to its development from these sponsors:

Trivantis Adobe Quicklessons Articulate

If you're not familiar with their products for e-Learning, or if you haven't checked them out lately, we encourage you to take a look at your earliest convenience.
Access Instructions: Depending on the speed of your Internet connection, this document could take a few moments to download because of its size (65 pages in PDF format, ~6MB). We urge you to save it to your computer first and then open it.

Download Link: http://www.elearningguild.com/showfile.cfm?id=2671

License Agreement:The content of all Guild eBooks is FREE. You are encouraged to use it, share it, and post it on your Web site and/or your organization’s Intranet. No one is authorized to charge a fee for it or to use it to collect contact information. The PDF file cannot be altered without written permission from The eLearning Guild. We request that reuse or re-distribution of this publication is accompanied by appropriate attribution to The eLearning Guild.


A Special Gift from The eLearning Guild...


The eLearning Guild'sHandbook of e-Learning Strategy

In many organizations, there is a need to better identify and document a comprehensive learning strategy and to answer the question, "What should we be doing in order to support improved learning and performance?" This e-Book 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. Refocus on e-Learning strategy and insure that your e-Learning technology and methodology investments pay off and so you can achieve your e-Learning goals!

This FREE Digital Book was made possible by a generous contribution to its development from Adobe Systems. To learn more about Adobe click HERE.

Access Instructions: Depending on the speed of your internet connection, this document could take a few moments to download because of its size (87 pages in PDF format, ~7.3MB). We urge you to save it to your computer first and then open it.

Download Link: http//www.elearningguild.com/showfile.cfm?id=2509

License Agreement:The content of all Guild eBooks is FREE. You are encouraged to use it, share it, and post it on your Web site and/or your organization’s Intranet. No one is authorized to charge a fee for it or to use it to collect contact information. The PDF file cannot be altered without written permission from The eLearning Guild. We request that reuse or re-distribution of this publication is accompanied by appropriate attribution to The eLearning Guild.


Molly Tipton failed at her first try last winter at putting classroom resources and homework assignments online—via a class MySpace page—after parents said they feared their children might get into trouble on the popular social- networking site.

But the 8th grade teacher has had more success this school year, with her second try. Last fall, she started using Moodle, an online course-management system that is stored on the El Paso,Texas, school district’s computer server, with access controlled by student passwords.

Through Moodle, Ms. Tipton now posts reading passages and links to Web sites that are related to her lessons. She also has set up a popular online chat room for her students and posts homework assignments online, a feature that students as well as some parents have embraced. Moodle’s online capabilities, she said, are making her social studies classes a hybrid between traditional and online courses.

Ms. Tipton is part of a growing number of K-12 educators in regular classrooms who are using course-management systems to share assignments, homework, classroom assessments, and other information with students and their parents. A course-management system is a software program that allows controlled exchanges via the Internet of just about any kind of information related to a course, although the features of individual products differ.

Blackboard Dominates
Moodle is perhaps the most popular rival to the course-management system sold by Blackboard Inc., the dominant company in the U.S. market for e-learning tools in higher education. The for-profit Washington-based company is trying to expand its foothold in what Blackboard officials call the emerging K-12 market.

Blackboard, which in 2006 bought its main for-profit competitor in higher education, WebCT, says that 400 precollegiate schools or school districts use the full or partial version of its academic product.

The company says it welcomes open-source competitors like Moodle, because interest among schools will help expand the use of course-management systems—a market that company officials believe they will dominate.

Next week, Blackboard is launching an enhanced version for small schools and districts, for an annual flat fee starting at $10,000, including online hosting and training of personnel. That rate is substantially lower than what larger institutions pay.

Still, cost remains a formidable obstacle in many school districts, and that’s one reason why Moodle is creating a buzz in the school marketplace. The software is free, with a modular design that allows educators to start using a few tools, while working gradually to add more.

The software has been developed over the past nine years by a global community, of both commercial and noncommercial users, led by Moodle, a company based in Perth, Australia. Under the terms of Moodle’s open-source license, users or their contractors may use the software on an unlimited number of computers and modify the program to add unique or specially tailored functions at will.

Yet while Moodle is free, it is not without cost. Those costs include computers, networks, and personnel to install and maintain the hardware and software, as well as the cost of training teachers, though some or all of these requirements can be outsourced to outside providers.

“It is free like a puppy, not like a beer,” says Trish Hart, a facilitator and instructor at the Alaska Vocational Technical Center, a state-run postsecondary school that uses Moodle extensively.

The school, in Seward, Alaska, offers online courses for students and teachers statewide, including professional-development offerings for secondary school teachers and advanced courses or electives for high school students. The Moodle system is run from a commercial host server in Virginia.

Other Players
Outside hosts and programming companies specializing in Moodle can provide schools with technical skills that their own technology personnel may lack, though a global community of users can also be tapped for assistance.

Commercial firms offer customized versions of Moodle, as well as hosting services. For example, Moodlerooms, a systems-integration company based in Baltimore, charges schools a fee to create customized versions of Moodle’s grade books, repositories of learning resources, warehouses for student data, and tools for real-time learning activities. The company also hosts Moodle systems for schools for an annual fee of $1 per user.

Moodle is not the only open-source, online course-management system, or CMS. Another is the Sakai Project, a free educational software platform, developed with leadership from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with an original grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, based in New York City. The software supports online document distribution, a grade book, discussions, live chats, assignment uploads, and online testing, among other functions.

All told, at least a dozen different online course-management systems are used in schools around the world. Confusion about the term CMS exists, though, in part because of similar and overlapping technologies. They include LMS, or learning-management system; VLE, or virtual-learning environment; and LCMS, or learning-content-management system, among others.

“There are a lot of labels to describe this [market] space,” said Jessie Woolley-Wilson, the president of Blackboard K-12.

She said that Blackboard, which began by producing software for managing the operation of online courses, now supports a “mosaic” of functions, including interactive learning; synchronous, or realtime, learning; and asynchronous learning, in which students participate at different times.

“In its most simplistic form, we are focused on delivering an engaging, effective, and increasingly individualized learning experience to learning constituencies, including students, parents, teachers, and administrators,” Ms.Woolley-Wilson said.

Blackboard will work with schools, she said, to tailor its product “from 100 percent virtual, which includes data collection and data analysis, to using technology to help lighten the load and help teachers get back to teaching,” by helping them create, manage, share, and organize course content.

Amy W. Junker, a senior analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co., an investment- research firm in Milwaukee, Wis., said she expects the K-12 market for course-management systems to expand. High schools, in particular, may see them as a way to help prepare students for higher education, where online and hybrid courses are common, she said.

“Certainly we’re going to see greater adoption of course-management systems in the K-12 market,” Ms. Junker said.

In her view, the ability for teachers to conveniently post homework assignments online—giving busy parents a better ability to keep their youngsters on track—might be the “killer application” that turns the systems into a must-have for many schools.

Complementary Services
Some companies offer other services that can be added either to Blackboard systems or the open-source alternatives such as Moodle.

For example, Elluminate Inc., a Canadian company that has its U.S. headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., provides live Web conferencing that is tailored to school functions, such as professional development for teachers. The live-video capability and moderator tools can be integrated into the use of Moodle or Blackboard.

The new Blackboard School Central service—for schools and districts with no more than 2,000 users—is a more robust package than the Blackboard Gateway product it replaces, but at a comparable price, the company says.

For an annual fee starting at $10,000, Blackboard will host an e-learning system, with software and training included, for an unlimited number of courses, including professional-development sessions.

The company said it could not provide the price for Blackboard’s Academic Suite, the comprehensive e-learning platform used by large districts or higher education institutions; that price is based on many factors, such as student enrollment, the number of users, and the services included. But Ms. Junker, the Baird analyst, said larger institutions typically pay annual fees ranging from $25,000 to $75,000 for the full suite.

Ms. Junker said that tightening school budgets and the costs of absorbing the company’s acquisitions may mean that even with the new lower-cost offering, Blackboard’s growth in the K-12 market will be tempered. She lowered her rating for Blackboard stock in November, advising investors to maintain but not increase their holdings. Still, she said, the company’s long-term prospects are bright.

Whatever course-management system they select, of course, busy educators must carve out the time to learn how to use it.

For Ms. Tipton of El Paso, learning how to use Moodle took about a day of practice last summer.

Soon afterward, she starred in an instructional video that introduces educators to Moodle, which the 64,000-student district made to interest other El Paso teachers. The video is also posted on the Teacher-Tube and YouTube video-sharing Web sites.

Ms. Tipton has plans to ramp up her own use of Moodle, first by putting podcasts of her lessons on her Moodle site to give students another avenue for learning class material, among other ideas.

She also is looking for grants to buy a classroom set of 30 laptop computers, so her students can use Moodle in class without going to the computer lab. And she plans to help train other teachers in the district.

But those projects will have to wait till summer, she said: “Once the school year has started, we have no time to try anything new.”


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.

This FREE Digital Book was made possible by a generous contribution to its development from Adobe Systems. To learn more about Adobe click HERE.

Access Instructions: Depending on the speed of your internet connection, this document could take a few moments to download because of its size (58 pages in PDF format, ~1,494kb). We urge you to save it to your computer first and then open it.

Download Link: http//www.elearningguild.com/showfile.cfm?id=2096

License Agreement:The content of all Guild eBooks is FREE. You are encouraged to use it, share it, and post it on your Web site and/or your organization’s Intranet. No one is authorized to charge a fee for it or to use it to collect contact information. The PDF file cannot be altered without written permission from The eLearning Guild. We request that reuse or re-distribution of this publication is accompanied by appropriate attribution to The eLearning Guild.


Founded in 1997 with a vision to enable educational innovations everywhere by connecting people and technology, Blackboard is a leading provider of e-Education enterprise software applications and services. Consisting of five software applications bundled in two suites, the Blackboard Academic Suite and the Blackboard Commerce Suite, these products are licensed on a renewable basis.

Our global clients include primary and secondary schools, higher education, corporation and government markets as well as textbook publishers and student-focused merchants. Blackboard and its clients have pioneered the emergence of the e-Education industry around the world.

Blackboard's online learning application, the Blackboard Learning System, is the most widely-adopted course management system among U.S. postsecondary institutions.

Mission
To enable educational innovations everywhere by connecting people and technology.

Vision
Our role is to improve the educational experience with Internet-enabled technology that connects students, faculty, researchers and the community in a growing network of education environments dedicated to better communication, commerce, collaboration and content.

Blackboard's large and diverse community of practice supports, enhances and extends our offerings every day, all over the world. The Internet offers great potential for education and the educational experience. While our role as the platform is important, communities of practice make the best solutions. The value of the network is connectedness. Each Blackboard client makes every other Blackboard client’s solution more valuable as a result of that connection.

The Blackboard Learning System™ is a family of software applications designed to enhance teaching and learning. Intuitive and easy-to-use for instructors, the Blackboard Learning System helps instructors to build course materials online and engage with students in an interactive way.

»Institutions around the world use the Blackboard Learning System to:

  • Create powerful learning content using a variety of Web-based tools
  • Encourage student interaction, small-group work, and peer knowledge sharing
  • Facilitate students or groups using engaging assignments that cause them to reflect
  • Enhance student’s critical thinking skills using interactive tools
  • Leverage student participation, communication, and collaboration
  • Evaluate a student’s progress using a rich set of evaluation and assessment capabilities


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. This eBook is available for everyone regardless of their affiliation with The eLearning Guild - so don't hesitate to tell all your colleagues about it!
This FREE Digital Book was made possible by a generous contribution to its development from Adobe Systems. To learn more about Adobe click HERE.

Access Instructions: Depending on the speed of your internet connection, this document could take a few moments to download because of its size (48 pages in PDF format, ~447kb). We urge you to save it to your computer first and then open it.

Download Link: http://www.elearningguild.com/showfile.cfm?id=2073

License Agreement:The content of all Guild eBooks is FREE. You are encouraged to use it, share it, and post it on your Web site and/or your organization’s Intranet. No one is authorized to charge a fee for it or to use it to collect contact information. The PDF file cannot be altered without written permission from The eLearning Guild. We request that reuse or re-distribution of this publication is accompanied by appropriate attribution to The eLearning Guild.


What's ToolBook?

Posted by Miro | 6:28 AM | | 0 comments »

ToolBook provides a comprehensive solution with everything you need to quickly create engaging interactive content, quizzes, assessments, and simulations.

Learning content that you create in ToolBook is deployed as HTML for distribution, delivered through SumTotal Learning Management solution, or any SCORM or AICC-compliant Learning Management System (LMS). Learners easily access content from desktop and mobile devices like the iPhone.

Our newest ToolBook 9.5 version allows you to build your courses faster than before.

Faster, Engaging and Interactive Authoring
ToolBook helps you quickly create professional learning courses with the included content templates, SmartPages and SmartStyles. Choose from over a dozen different graded question types – including true/false, multiple choice, fill in the blank, matching, hotspot, drag-n-drop and more.

Create software application simulations with the screen recorder and simulation editor. When needed, you can develop custom interactivity and branching with the Action Event feature.

Turn your Microsoft PowerPoint Library into SCORM-Compliant Courses
With ToolBook, you can easily import the slides of a Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt) presentation. ToolBook enables you to enhance the imported presentation with assessments, interactivity, media, and rich effects.

Anytime, Anywhere Learner Access
ToolBook allows you to deliver engaging learning experiences across major operating systems, Web browsers, mobile phones and devices.


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.

This FREE Digital Book was made possible by a generous contribution to its development from Adobe Systems. To learn more about Adobe click HERE.

Access Instructions: Depending on the speed of your internet connection, this document could take a few moments to download because of its size (43 pages in PDF format, ~1,133kb). We urge you to save it to your computer first and then open it.

Download Link: http//www.elearningguild.com/showfile.cfm?id=2097

License Agreement:The content of all Guild eBooks is FREE. You are encouraged to use it, share it, and post it on your Web site and/or your organization’s Intranet. No one is authorized to charge a fee for it or to use it to collect contact information. The PDF file cannot be altered without written permission from The eLearning Guild. We request that reuse or re-distribution of this publication is accompanied by appropriate attribution to The eLearning Guild.


Composica Enterprise is a web-based e-learning authoring system that offers real-time collaboration among team members and provides a powerful programming-free WYSIWYG environment to create high-quality interactive e‑learning content.

Features

  • Rich web-based WYSIWYG authoring environment
  • Groupware authoring with task-management
  • Entirely programming-free
  • Unique fast-editing approach
  • Highly reusable content
  • Powerful assessment capabilities
  • Serious Games - game based learning
  • High interactivity - Multi Choice, Drag & Drop, Fill-in, Hot Spots, and other customizable interactions
    Direct and easy import from PowerPoint
  • Exciting visual effects and animations
  • Dynamic navigation elements
  • Project tagging
  • Instant preview
  • Automatic bookmarking and state restoration
  • SCORM 1.2 / 2004 and PENS conformance
  • Publish anywhere, LMS/online/offline/CD


What Is Moodle?

Posted by Miro | 3:47 PM | | 0 comments »

Moodle is an open source Course Management System (CMS) that universities, community colleges, K–12 schools, businesses, and even individual instructors use to add web technology to their courses. More than 30,000 educational organizations around the world currently use Moodle to deliver online courses and to supplement traditional face-to-face courses. Moodle is available for free on the Web (http://www.moodle.org), so anyone can download and install it.

The name Moodle has two meanings. First, it’s an acronym (what isn’t these days?) for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment. Moodle is also a verb that describes the process of lazily meandering through something, doing things as it occurs to you to do them, an enjoyable tinkering that often leads to insight and creativity.

Free and Open Source
The phrase “open source” has become a loaded term in some circles. For those who are outside of the techie culture, it’s hard to understand how powerful this idea has become, and how it has forever changed the world of software development. The idea itself is simple: open source simply means that users have access to the source code of the software. You can look under the hood, see how the software works, tinker with it, share it with others, or use parts of it in your own product.

So why is this important? For one, open source software is aligned with the academic community’s values of freedom, peer review, and knowledge sharing. Just as anyone can download and use Moodle for free, users can write new features, fix bugs, improve performance, or simply learn by seeing how other people solved a programming problem.

Secondly, unlike expensive proprietary CMSs that require license fees and maintenance contracts, Moodle costs nothing to download and you can install it on as many servers as you want. No one can take it away from you, increase the license cost, or make you pay for upgrades. No one can force you to upgrade, adopt features you don’t want, or tell you how many users you can have. They can’t take the source code back from users, and if Martin Dougiamas decides to stop developing Moodle, there is a dedicated community of developers who will keep the project going.

Educational Philosophy
Martin’s background in education led him to adopt social constructionism as a core theory behind Moodle. This is revolutionary, as most CMS systems have been built around tool sets, not pedagogy. Most commercial CMS systems are tool-centered, whereas Moodle is learning-centered.

Social constructionism is based on the idea that people learn best when they are engaged in a social process of constructing knowledge through the act of constructing an artifact for others. That’s a packed sentence, so let’s break it down a bit. The term “social process” indicates that learning is something we do in groups. From this point of view, learning is a process of negotiating meaning in a culture of shared artifacts and symbols. The process of negotiating meaning and utilizing shared artifacts is a process of constructing knowledge. We are not blank slates when we enter the learning process. We need to test new learning against our old beliefs and incorporate it into our existing knowledge structures. Part of the process of testing and negotiating involves creating artifacts and symbols for others to interact with. We create artifacts and in turn negotiate with others to define the meaning of those artifacts in terms of a shared culture of understanding.

So how does that relate to Moodle? The first indication is in the interface. While toolcentric CMSs give you a list of tools as the interface, Moodle builds the tools into an interface that makes the learning task central. You can organize your Moodle course by week, topic, or social arrangement. Additionally, while other CMSs support a content model that encourages instructors to upload a lot of static content, Moodle focuses on tools for discussion and sharing artifacts. The focus isn’t on delivering information; it’s on sharing ideas and engaging in the construction of knowledge.

Moodle’s design philosophy makes this a uniquely teacher-friendly package that represents the first generation of educational tools that are truly useful.

Community
Moodle has a very large, active community of people who are using the system and developing new features and enhancements. You can access this community at http://moodle.org/ and enroll in the Using Moodle course. There you’ll find people who are more than willing to help new users get up and running, troubleshoot, and use Moodle effectively. As of this writing, there are over 300,000 people registered on Moodle.org and over 30,000 Moodle sites in 195 countries. The global community has also translated Moodle into over 70 languages.

The Moodle community has been indispensable to the success of the system. With so many global users, there is always someone who can answer a question or give advice. At the same time, the Moodle developers and users work together to ensure quality, add new modules and features, and suggest new ideas for development. Martin and his core team are responsible for deciding what features are mature enough for official releases and where to go next. Because users are free to experiment, many people use and test new features, acting as a large quality control department.

These three advantages - open source, educational philosophy, and community - make Moodle unique in the CMS space.


A New eBook from The eLearning Guild!

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. A total of 147 members responded to the survey, contributing 239 usable tips on 28 products (17 of which were not included in the original list). The tips range in length from one-sentence ideas all the way up to multi-page discourses. Some are very basic in nature, and others are quite advanced. These tips were different from past surveys in one significant way: Many of them contain detailed ActionScript code that will help you solve common problems. We have not edited the tips in any way, other than to correct spelling – everything you see in this book is in the tipsters' own words. As a result, these tips will be useful to any designer or developer looking for best practices to incorporate into their own production process.

If you're not familiar with their products for e-Learning, or if you haven't checked them out lately, we encourage you to take a look at your earliest convenience.
Access Instructions: Depending on the speed of your Internet connection, this document could take a few moments to download because of its size (102 pages in PDF format, ~6MB). We urge you to save it to your computer first and then open it.

Download Link:
http//www.elearningguild.com/showFile.cfm?id=2866

License Agreement: The content of all Guild eBooks is FREE. You are encouraged to use it, share it, and post it on your Web site and/or your organization’s Intranet. No one is authorized to charge a fee for it or to use it to collect contact information. The PDF file cannot be altered without written permission from The eLearning Guild. We request that reuse or re-distribution of this publication is accompanied by appropriate attribution to The eLearning Guild.


What's Sakai?

Posted by Miro | 3:26 PM | | 0 comments »

The Sakai CLE is a free and open source Courseware Management System. It features a set of software tools designed to help instructors, researchers and students collaborate online in support of their work--whether it be course instruction, research or general project collaboration.

For coursework, Sakai provides features to supplement and enhance teaching and learning. For collaboration, Sakai has tools to help organize communication and collaborative work on campus and around the world. Using a web browser, users choose from Sakai's tools to create a site that meets their needs. To use Sakai, no knowledge of HTML is necessary.

But the product vision reaches beyond teaching and learning applications. Many Sakai deployments include as many or more project and research collaboration sites. In addition, the Open Source Portfolio e-Portfolio system is a core part of the Sakai software. Finally, the Sakaibrary project links library resources to Sakai. You can try Sakai for yourself by downloading and installing the demonstration .

Sakai is Open Source
Sakai is distributed as free and open source software under the Educational Community License. Access to this code is extremely valuable to those who want to customize their on-campus instance or wish to develop innovative new tools. But open source code is important to the entire Sakai community. The ability to make that one change to the code for your campus can be crucially important and that change can be added to the Sakai code base, removing the need for customization as you upgrade. And the source code serves as the ultimate insurance policy, ensuring that you aren’t locked into a single vendor.

The Sakai Project began in 2004 when Stanford, Michigan, Indiana, MIT and Berkeley began building a common Courseware Management System rather than continuing their homegrown systems or licensing software from a commercial vendor. The Mellon Foundation provided initial funding for the project.

These universities recognized that research collaboration would be as important as teaching applications and developed a Collaboration and Learning Environment (CLE) that scales across many kinds of academic uses.

Today, the Sakai CLE is the enterprise system of choice at over 100 institutions, in production settings ranging from 200 to 200,000 users. The Sakai CLE is open source software that is freely available to everyone.

The Sakai Community
The Sakai community draws on the contributions of many organizations and individuals around the world. The Sakai community is responsible for all aspects of evolving the Sakai CLE. No one is closer to the needs of users than the teams designing and developing Sakai. The Sakai CLE is truly designed by higher education, for higher education. Members of the Sakai community believe this community-driven development model will inevitably lead to the best product for use on campus. Whether large or small, institutions may also opt to work with Sakai commercial partners which offer hosting, development and support options.

The Sakai Foundation
The Sakai Foundation is a member supported non-profit corporation with a small staff and modest budget. While membership in the Foundation is optional, over 100 organizations around the world support the foundation so that it can continue its important community activities. These include managing the intellectual property of Sakai, organizing conferences and planning meetings, maintaining the Sakai technology infrastructure including the bug tracking system and project wiki, coordinating development activities and quality assurance, publishing the Sakai CLE releases and functioning as a public advocate for Sakai.


  • Know that the term “eLearning” has an ambiguous definition. Personally, I consider eLearning to be the intersection of learning and technology, where we help people do their jobs more effectively and more efficiently. But you’ll probably hear at least 25 other definitions floating around out on the web.
  • The best thing you can do at conferences is meet people and exchange contact information. Make an effort to meet experts and meet newbies. Stay in touch with these people after the conference. Learn about them and learn from them.
  • Don’t be intimidated. There are hundreds of other people that are brand new to eLearning.
  • Assemble a list of eLearning blogs. Read them often. Just ask around for suggestions. Get set up with an RSS reader, like Google Reader, and begin to read blogs on a regular basis. Our field has an incredibly active blogging community, which can also serve as a support group for you (see the next tip).
  • Start a blog about your eLearning adventures. Use blogger.com or wordpress.com to sign up for a free blog. Write blog posts on a daily or weekly basis. Talk about the successes (and roadblocks) you encounter. Trust me, you’ll see the value after a few short weeks. Blogging helps in several ways: First, it helps you reflect on your experiences and organize your thoughts. Second, you are putting your thoughts on display for other professionals to see (and they will chime in to give you feedback).
  • Become familiar with the eLearning Guild’s Research reports. You can find these on eLearningGuild.com. They are fantastic. Skim them to find what you need; you don’t need to read them in detail.
  • Always try eLearning tools before purchasing them. This applies to authoring tools, simulation tools, Learning Management Systems (LMSs), etc. Don’t be pressured into buying something unless you want it.
  • You can take several different paths in the world of eLearning. The main paths that stand out to me are: Media, Writing, and Programming. Select the path you prefer, and then surround yourself with individuals that offer the skills you do not have.
  • Helpful web sites and blogs:
    http://www.eLearningPulse.com
    http://www.eLearningLearning.com
    http://elearndev.blogspot.com
    http://elearningtech.blogspot.com
    http://discovery-thru-elearning.blogspot.com
    http://badsquare.wordpress.com
    http://blog.learnlets.com


Good luck!


What is e-Learning?
e-Learning is using the Internet for learning. All it requires is an Internet connection and a Web browser, which enable people to learn at any time or place.It is a new style of learning in which students are not required to attend scheduled classes. It consists of a virtual learning environment on the web. You will however be able to ask questions through classrooms which will be determine in advance.This means that you can study anywhere like your home or an office at any time, and although there may be deadlines to meet, you will be able to study at your own speed. As all the material will be available to you, you will also be able to go through difficult parts of the course a number of times if you did not fully understand them the first time.

Why learn via e-Learning?
It encourages students to be more creative Students have the flexibility to access unit notes, chat room discussions and communicate with the facilitators at times which are most convenient to them.This flexibility makes it an ideal education option for people with work or personal commitments which make it difficult to attend a traditional classroom-type course. It is for example, ideal for those who work shift hours and who always seem to be sleeping when others have the chance to attend college. It is also a good option for people who cannot afford either the time or the money to travel abroad for their education.

What is the difference between online programmes and those conducted in a class?
Both programmes are quite similar except that the mode of delivery is different. For the online learning mode, everything will be conducted through the web. This includes 'attending classes' through web chat sessions, accessing module notes and even interacting with facilitators online.

Is e-Learning For Me?
e-Learning is for practically everyone. You can be a working professional who wants to refresh or update your IT skills, a student who wishes to pursue higher education, or an unemployed person who would like to study at your own pace from home. Just about anyone can tap into the power of the Internet to fulfil his learning needs.

How do I benefit from e-Learning?
e-Learning is a training solution that is cost-effective, convenient to access and consistent in quality. You can enjoy the flexibility of attending classes around your personal or work schedules, whether your goal is professional advancement, personal enrichment or earning transferable degree credits.Online courses are an exceptionally accessible, flexible resource that gives the same high-quality instruction and course content that you demand, but without the day-to-day obstacles that prevent so many of us from pursuing our opportunities. In addition, each individual’s learning progress can be monitored and fed back to you for self-evaluation. In other words, this learner-centred methodology empowers you to manage your own learning experience, making it dynamic, personal and scaleable according to your needs.

What are the advantages of e-Learning?

  • There is no need to waste time travelling to classroom lectures.
  • You can network and have discussions with lecturers and students located around the world.
  • You have the advantage of a flexible study schedule to suit your own needs.
  • There is consistent quality in the delivery of the course which does not vary from instructor to instructor.
  • On-line study encourages you to be more inquisitive, innovative and widens your access to new collaborative technologies, keeping you up-to-date with computer technology.
  • There is an on-line Evaluation Form at the end of each term for you to give immediate feedback on the programme.

How Does e-Learning Work?
You will be supported by online course materials, live chat classrooms, email and downloadable course, related documents that create a rich learning experience for you.As you receive your courseware via the Web, it allows you to work one-on-one without the constraints of a fixed time schedule or classroom location. You can go through the course materials as fast or as slow as you like, with full control and direction. This enables you, for instance, to review a topic as many times as you wish, or pick up the pace for topics you are already familiar with.
For each programme, an online facilitator who is an expert in the subject will be assigned to the course. He takes on the role of a lecturer as in a classroom setting and leads you through the learning process on a weekly basis. He interacts with you and other students via regular sessions and answers all questions posted in the discussions rooms.

Web-based Training is ideal for :

  • Professionals looking for a convenient way to refresh or update specific skills and knowledge.
  • Professionals who need to keep their certification status or credentials current by meeting certain skills criteria.
  • Adult learners who have the discipline to study at their own pace and who prefer to work independently.
  • Companies wishing to train large numbers of people within a short period of time, or a small number of people over an extended period of time.
  • Technical workers at different field, who need to enhance their positions.
    Groups which are geographically dispersed.


LMS and LCMS Tight Integration

Posted by Miro | 3:33 AM | | 0 comments »

When a customer deploys both an LMS and an LCMS product to derive the value each promises, a smooth and tight integration is not just a convenience, it’s an absolute requirement. Because the LMS and LCMS share different levels of administrative interests in the same entities, lack of smooth integration between the products results in a broken solution with administrative conflicts.

In addition to resolving the administrative conflicts, a tight integration of LCMS and LMS products from the same vendor can offer unique benefits beyond those offered by the individual products.

A working solution out-of-the-box
Though it is possible to create integrated solutions based on LMS and LCMS products from different vendors, this is usually achieved at a much higher level by tweaking the user interface UI) to include cross links between various features across the products. The integrated solution often behaves as two different products co-existing in the same deployment, each providing cess points to the other. Even this level of minimal integration cannot be taken for granted. Given the complications of shared administrative interests between an LMS and LCMS, the customer must often invest substantial time and effort to achieve integration.

LMS and LCMS products from the same vendor are usually well integrated to begin with, enabling the customer to deploy a working solution with the combined LMS and LCMS offerings right out of the box. Even when the customer purchases one product and later decides to expand the deployment capabilities with the other product, buying LCS and LCMS products from a single vendor simplifies this expansion effort and requires virtually no further integration investments or delays.

While many vendors guarantee some level of integration between their LMS and LCMS products, some vendors raise the quality of integration by building their LMS and LCMS products based on a common architecture and schema. Products from such vendors essentially behave as a single product when deployed together, offering the highest level of consistency in all areas of deployment, including user interface, functionality, schema, administration, and maintenance. If the deployment of one product is expanded to include its complementary counterpart from the same vendor, there is often no need to migrate user data or any other tracked data. Users continue to access the deployment as they had previously, and the deployment magically starts offering more capabilities.

Common content repository
LMS and LCMS products from the same vendor may share a common content repository. Thispowerful feature offers certain unique benefits:



  • The content repository is consolidated in a single location, essentially guaranteeinguniform administration and maintenance of the repository.
  • The ongoing extra effort to ensure content consistency and integrity across the twosystems is completely eliminated.
  • A single content repository enables the unique identification and access of learningobjects across the two systems based on a common name space. This allows theauthor of a learning object to define prerequisites in terms of other learning objects inthe LCMS without questioning whether the LMS will recognize and honor these prerequisites.
    • With separate content repositories, even if the name space that uniquelyidentifies the learning objects is somehow standardized across the two systems,the customer must ensure that all prerequisites defined for a learning object inthe LCMS are indeed published into the LMS repository for the LMS tosuccessfully honor these prerequisite specifications. A single content repositoryshared between the LCMS and LMS completely eliminates this issue.
  • Common content repositories enable authors to update learning objects in the LCMSonce, without propagating the change to all learning activities and curriculums that usethat learning object in the LMS. All usages of the learning object automatically adopt theupdated version from the common repository. This is particularly important fordeployments containing frequently updated content.

Unified schema
LMS and LCMS products that are tightly integrated at the database level, and are based on a common unified schema, have a distinct advantage because each product leverages in real-time all data tracked by the other product. The current industry standards, such as AICC and SCORM, enable LCMS and LMS products to exchange content packages and simple sets of tracked information such as completion status and scores. However, both LMS and LCMS are often interested in other common information for which no standards exist, such as detailed user profiles, competency definitions, organizational affiliations, job roles, learning objectives, the mapping between learning objectives and learning objects, and the detailed tracking of interactions between a user and a learning object.

LMS and LCMS products that share a common schema can leverage this common data regardless of which product tracked which piece. For example, when delivering a learning object to a user, the LCMS could take advantage of the personal information maintained by the LMS to offer the user a highly customized experience. Similarly, the LMS could maximize the detailed tracking by the LCMS to offer rich reports that help measure and improve the health of the entire solution.

Advanced personalization
Tight integration of the LMS and LCMS can enable several advanced personalization capabilities that are not easily achieved through either product alone. For example:

  • The LCMS can use the user information available in the LMS, such as profile, preference, job role, and competency data, to deliver a customized track of the learning object to the user automatically.
  • The LCMS can also analyze trends by correlating the user properties from LMS, the tracks chosen by corresponding users in the LCMS, and the details on their performance in those tracks.
    • Learning-object authors can use this kind of trend analysis to understand how the tracks they create are used in the real world. Such analysis also provides a more accurate profile of the real audience for each personalized track. Authors can use this information to fine-tune the track or create new personalized tracks to address the needs of users with specific profiles.
    • The LCMS can also use the results of this trend analysis to prescribe an appropriate track to future users automatically based on their profile. The LCMS becomes an intelligent system that learns, based on real data, what worked for whom and then uses this information to help future users.
  • When an LMS has real-time access to all learning objects managed by the LCMS, the LMS can dynamically build personalized curriculums and learning activities to match a specific user’s needs and profile. A dynamic curriculum built for a user by the LMS can include an assortment of learning objects based on the learning objectives associated with each learning object. The curriculum may include a blending of learning objects to be delivered by the LCMS as well as other learning activities such as seminars, workshops, and so forth that may be available outside the LCMS.

Better insight for improving content
The granularity of tracking in an LCMS helps content owners gain insight into the clarity and effectiveness of their learning objects. The amount and nature of peer collaboration, and the amount and nature of additional help users seek from knowledge experts in the context of a learning object, provide great insight into the clarity and completeness of the learning object. Correlating this data with the user profile, job role, competencies, and skill levels available in the LMS provides valuable insight into the types of users who find the content effective or who have difficulty with the content. Further correlating this data with the curricula or learning activities in the LMS that included the learning object can reveal where the learning object should be included in future and also help fine-tune the learning object’s prerequisites. This analysis may also provide insight into how the learning object’s prerequisites depend on the audience’s characteristics.

Capturing intangible knowledge
Structured knowledge that satisfies a specific set of learning objectives is often well defined and managed as tangible learning objects in an LCMS. However, in this fast-moving knowledge economy, an equally important challenge is to capture the vast amount of unstructured, intangible knowledge in an organization and make it readily available to increase on-the-job productivity. Intangible knowledge is often buried in a person’s head and in what one knows beyond what is available in formally documented knowledge. LCMS and LMS products recognize this challenge and often facilitate the transfer of intangible knowledge through methods such as discussion forums, chat rooms, and study groups. While most products facilitate knowledge transfer beyond formal training, very few offer a built-in mechanism that actually captures the transferred knowledge and makes it readily available for future reference.
Some advanced LCMS products not only capture transferred knowledge, but also automatically associate the knowledge with specific learning objects and provide meaningful context for future reference to this unstructured knowledge. If these LCMS products are part of a tightly integrated LMS and LCMS deployment, the context of the unstructured knowledge captured can in turn be used to create new learning objects and improve existing learning objects. In essence, this helps capture the intangible and unstructured knowledge in an organization and transform it into a tangible asset.

Other key benefits
The tight integration of an LMS and LCMS from the same vendor can offer other unique benefits:

  • Integrated security with common roles and privileges honored by both the LMS and LCMS provides a single logon and uniform access model to all capabilities across both systems. This uniformity provides a better user experience and simplified administration.
  • Tight integration unifies administration and maintenance of the two systems, resulting in reduced maintenance cost.
  • Uniform search capabilities across both the LMS and LCMS.
  • With products from the same vendor, the integration is likely to be preserved through
    future versions of the LMS and LCMS products. Issues involved in upgrading the integrated deployment are resolved as part of the product release. Integrating LMS and LCMS products from different vendors would likely involve substantial additional integration work when upgrading to future versions of each product.

Tight Integration ≠ Proprietary
A tight integration of LMS and LCMS products from the same vendor doesn’t have to mean a proprietary solution that locks down customer investments. The key is to make sure the integrated products are based on an open, flexible, modular architecture and are compliant with available industry standards.

The architecture should guarantee that the integrated product suite features well-defined interfaces that make it easy to work with other enterprise products. At the same time, the integrated product should guarantee its standards compliance; that is, that it can manage and use standards-compliant learning objects created by external systems as well as standards compliant off-the-shelf courses. The product should also guarantee that all learning objects created with the product are similarly standards-compliant and can be easily exported and published to other standards-compliant learning systems.

The Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) is emerging as the de facto standard for learning objects, so the integrated product must also be able to create SCORM-compliant content as well as manage, play, and track SCORM-compliant content created by other systems.


LMS and LCMS Demystified

Posted by Miro | 3:27 AM | | 0 comments »

Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS) and Learning Management Systems (LMS) represent two distinct but complementary product categories. Each has unique strengths and value propositions, and one does not replace the other. At the same time, a tightly integrated LCMS and LMS solution mayoffer unique benefits that surpass the value offered by each system separately. This paper analyzes the relationship between the two systems and discusses the advatage of a tightly integrated LCMS and LMS solution, ideally from the same vendor.

What Is an LMS?
An LMS essentially helps manage an organization’s learning activities and competencies. The activities managed by the LMS could vary from instructor-led classroom training to educational seminars to Web-based online training. From an end-user point of view, an LMS provides an effective way to keep track of individual skills and competencies, and provides a means of easily locating and registering for relevant learning activities to further improve the learner’s skill levels.

An LMS also provides access to online courses for which the user registers. Administratively, an LMS makes it easy to enter, track, manage, and report on learning activities and competencies in an organization. In essence, an LMS primarily focuses on competencies, learning activities, and the logistics of delivering learning activities. An LMS does not focus on creation, reusability, management, or improvement of content itself.

What Is an LCMS?
In contrast, an LCMS helps create, reuse, locate, deliver, manage, and improve learning content. Content is typically maintained in a centralized content repository in the form of small, self-describing, uniquely identifiable objects, or learning objects, each of which satisfies one or more well-defined learning objectives. Each learning object may have been created from scratch or by re-purposing existing knowledge documents in other formats. An LCMS may locate and deliver a learning object to the end-user as an individual unit to satisfy a job-specific need or deliver the learning object as part of a larger course, curriculum, or learning activity defined in an LMS.

An advanced LCMS tracks the user’s interactions with each learning object and uses this detailed information to deliver highly personalized learning experiences while providing authors with rich reports for analyzing the clarity, relevance, and effectiveness of content, so it can be improved on an ongoing basis.

Some leading-edge LCMS products go even further to enable powerful collaboration and knowledge-exchange paradigms in the context of learning objects, and empower users to collaborate with each other as well as with subject-matter experts on specific learning objects. These knowledge exchanges are also captured, archived, and made easily available to future users to expand and supplement the knowledge encapsulated by that learning object.

An LCMS essentially focuses on creating, reusing, locating, delivering, managing, and improving content. In certain cases, the focus also extends to fostering knowledge communities and capturing the unstructured knowledge around the learning object in a tangible form. But an LCMS does not deal with competency management, the extensive administrative functionalities of managing learning activities, or the logistics of these activities.

Where Do LMS and LCMS Meet?
Though Learning Management Systems and Learning Content Management Systems fundamentally differ in focus, they address complementary aspects of the same high-level goal: to accelerate knowledge transfer. In achieving this goal, they share common ground in three key areas:

Content:
Content is a key ingredient handled by both LMS and LCMS. The LMS manages, prescribes, delivers, and tracks online courses, which are typically composed of learning objects that were created and defined in the LCMS. The LMS and LCMS both monitor the delivery of content but at different levels of granularity. An LMS concentrates on course-level tracking, particularly completion status and rolled-up scores. In contrast, an LCMS employs detailed tracking at the learning-object level not only to trace user performance and interactions at a finer granularity, but also to provide the metrics that help authors analyze the learning object’s clarity, relevance, and effectiveness.

Users:
Users play a central role in both LMS and LCMS. Independent of whether the resource is a learning object, an online course, an expert, or some other form of learning activity, an important common goal of products in both categories is delivering the learning resource to the user in the most effective way possible. A typical LMS maintains a rich profile of each user, including organizational affiliations, job role, preferences, competencies, skill levels, participation in past learning activities, and so forth. Users typically go to the LMS to manage their current competency status, analyze their skill gaps, and register for learning activities that will help them reduce their skill gaps against an aspired career path. An LCMS focuses on delivering a personalized experience to the user that provides just enough content to address the person’s individual needs, just when he or she needs it. An LCMS may also enhance this experience by customizing the content based on a user’s profile or by offering rich collaborative and knowledge exchange capabilities around the content. The key difference is that the LCMS takes advantage of all the information available about the user to offer a personalized experience when delivering a learning object, while an LMS typically maintains the user profile information and makes it available to the LCMS to deliver the personalized experience.

Administration:
An LMS and LCMS share varying degrees of administrative interests in content as well as users. An LMS typically offers detailed user administration including user profiles, competencies, roles, and organizational properties, but only high-level content administration and tracking. In contrast, an LCMS offers extensive content administration and tracking at fine levels of granularity. However, the LCMS pays more attention to the interactions between user and content than the actual administration of users themselves. Irrespective of the administration’s sophistication and focus, products from both categories have built-in administrative features to manage users and content. Customers have the substantial practical challenge of sharing these administrative interests across an LMS and LCMS, and ensuring the administrative process flows consistently and smoothly between the two systems.