LMS Upgrade – All the Bells and Whistles

As you might recall from my previous blog post, Choosing a new Learning Management System, I researched LMSes and chose Absorb for the National Glass Association.

In this blog post, I’d like to show you the stark contrast between our previous LMS, The LMS Which Shall Not Be Named, and Absorb – from both a learner standpoint and an administrator standpoint.

This is the previous LMS’s home page and course catalog from a learner’s perspective, and the admin tab from an administrator’s perspective.

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Although we haven’t yet customized the skin or our learner experience, here is what Absorb looks like:

Home Screen: Learner Perspective

Absorb Home Screen - Learner

The long billboard on top is part of Absorb’s Mercury Module, which allows you to target different photos and/or videos to different learners based on any attribute in their profile.

We plan to use the Resources section to house our  Knowledge Management content, including articles, videos, etc. This will be a “Members Only” benefit.

The Latest News will show the latest news from Glass Magazine.

The Poll section may be replaced by advertising, but it is a neat feature to solicit feedback from learners.

The Contests section may also be replace by advertising, but it is a way to encourage learners to compete with each other and complete courses. Contests (gamification) have been proven to increase course completion rates.

The Tweets section is fed by our Glass Build America Twitter feed.

Catalog: Learner Perspective

Absorb Catalog

Much more user-friendly, the catalog can be organized into categories (I have created categories of Contract Glazier, Glass Processing, Intro to the Glazing Trade, Legacy Courses, and Safety in our initial planning). In this example, I’ve also created a Curriculum, which you can see in more detail here:

Curriculum: Learner Perspective

Manual Glass Handling Curriculum

There are several courses in this curriculum (specifically the ones under Safety Considerations) that will be prerequisites for other courses, as well. Once a learner has completed a course once, they will not have to complete it again in other curriculum courses. Another feature we’re using is Terms and Conditions. You can see the button to review Terms and Conditions on the left. Previously, every course started with a Terms and Conditions slide. Now, it is a box that the learner must check when he or she starts a course. We also added Comments as a means of encouraging learner interaction with the instructor/Course Director and with peers who are also taking the course.

There are many options for what a course consists of, as shown:

Learning Object Options: Admin Perspective

Learning Objects

There are so many other features in Absorb, but I can’t possibly show them all to you. What I would like to say is that, especially for someone with limited LMS experience and limited time to dedicate to uploading and managing courses in the LMS, Absorb is very intuitive and easy to use. It is also very robust and powerful. It is going to be a great asset to our organization.

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