January 15, 2013 was a big day at blatant^. That was the date that our first customer, a major global manufacturer and retailer, went live with the new HTML-5, iPad- and iPhone-friendly version of Absorb LMS, code named `Ninja.’ We were confident that this implementation would go smoothly since prior to the official launch, one company had exposed 40,000 learners to a successful Beta preview.
Prior to launching Absorb LMS Ninja, the learning management system featured a Flash-based user interface that wasn’t compatible with Apple iOS devices, but did run on any device that supported Flash.
Absorb LMS Ninja was well received in the industry:
- Bersin by Deloitte bestowed a ‘What Works’ Award in recognition of the innovative new technology.
- Brandon Hall Group gave Absorb LMS a Gold award for “Best Advance in Learning Management Technology for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses” in the Excellence in Technology Awards.
The launch of this new mobile elearning-friendly version of Absorb LMS marked the start of a massive undertaking to migrate hundreds of customers to the new technology. Four months later, 100+ clients are using Absorb LMS Ninja. An additional 150 clients have go-live launch dates in place with the new version.
More than half of the phones sold in the U.S. are smartphones, and Gartner predicts that tablet sales will outpace PC sales by 2017. This reality has many organizations rethinking how they approach learning content and environments. What does a mobile-ready environment look like? What content is appropriate for mobile delivery?
Join David Wentworth, Senior Analyst with Brandon Hall Group and Dan Medakovic, V.P. Learning Solutions, from Blatant Media’s Absorb LMS as they explore the ways mobile delivery can be leveraged for learning and some real-world examples of mobile learning in action.
- An understanding of the current mobile landscape
- A breakdown of different mobile technologies and platforms
- Examples of organizations delivering mobile learning
Absorb LMS Tips and Tricks
Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM MDT (UTC-7)
Join Absorb LMS team members for a fast-paced presentation of their favorite Absorb LMS tips and tricks. Whether you’re an Absorb LMS customer, use a different learning management system, or are considering acquiring your first LMS, this session will likely give you ideas on how you can optimize the management of your learning initiatives to provide a rewarding experience for your learners.
Does Your LMS Focus on the User Experience? A Bersin & Blatant Media Webinar
Wednesday, June 20, 2013, Noon – 1:00 PM MDT (UTC-7)
When your employees need to find and access learning content, the experience of doing so should be intuitive, responsive, fast and targeted. Anything less leads to frustration and wasted time. Whether accessed through a desktop, laptop, or mobile device, organizations need an learning management system that helps them become efficient and effective.
Join Dr. Katherine Jones, Lead Analyst, HCM Technology at Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and Dan Medakovic, Vice President, eLearning Solutions at Blatant Media Corporation for a Webinar that will help you understand how a learning management system that provides a good user experience can reduce wasted time and lessen frustration among end users. You will be presented with:
- The need for, and attributes of, a good user interface
- Strategies for providing end users with fresh, targeted learning content
- Questions to ask when evaluating systems
Satisfaction surveys of learning management system administrators invariably identify reporting as the most reviled feature in their platform. Administrators complain about reporting being unintuitive, cumbersome, lacking customizability, not being powerful enough, and just generally being bad at displaying the data administrators want.
So, why aren’t LMS solution providers fixing the problem? The short answer is that it’s really tough to please all system administrators:
- Some administrators want the reporting features to be super easy. They want templates with one button to push.
- For other administrators, one-button-to-push templates with few options are a living hell. They want infinite power and customizability in their LMS reporting capabilities.
For LMS vendors, coming up with reporting features everyone likes is like trying to open a restaurant that serves only one dish. Your cheese lasagna with buffalo mozzarella flown in daily from Italy might be a hit with some customers but the carnivores will complain on Urbanspoon that the recipe should have had meat and the lactose- and gluten-free crowd will tell their friends they were up all night with cramps after eating at your lousy joint.
So, the bottom line is that in designing their platforms, LMS solution providers are constantly walking the fine line between ease-of-use and how powerful and customizable to make their reporting features.
If you’re looking to acquire your first learning management system, or if your needs have changed and you are considering switching systems, here are some things to look for in evaluating the reporting features of LMS.
- Report templates—Your LMS administrator may be a geek with a capital G who likes to create all reports from scratch by typing SQL commands into fields. That’s great! …until that person leaves your organization and someone else needs to step in and take over the work. You want a system that contains basic templates that can be customized to quickly display the information you need.
- Consistent user experience across all report templates—You shouldn’t have to learn to create a report, and then need to learn how to create a different report. You should be able to learn how to use one report and then apply those skills to all other reports. Whether you are creating a report showing the progress of a group of learners in a curriculum, or a report showing a list of learners on a waiting list for a classroom-based course, getting to the data using similar features will significantly reduce the learning curve for administrators.
- The ability to show, hide, and rearrange the order of columns in reports—Sometimes, you want to show more, or less, of the information contained in your system’s databases in a way that’s clear and easily understood.
- The ability to query the fields in a report—Whether you want a listing of learners in a specific city, a list of people who scored less than 70 per cent on a recent exam, people who have completed a course within a given time period, etc., you want to be able to search for—and display—the data you need.
- The ability to automatically e-mail reports—I guarantee you, there will be at some point in your learning initiative, a need for a manager or team leader to monitor the progress of a group of learners. Sure, you can give that individual access to the LMS’s admin features and ask her to get her own darn report and leave you alone, but a simpler and more politically astute approach is simply to have a report automatically e-mailed to the individual. She’ll love the fact that the report is sitting in her inbox when she gets to work on Mondays. She’ll say nice things about you to others. You’ll be a rock star.
- The ability to export data—Sometimes, you just want to play around with data outside of the LMS. Or, perhaps you’ll want to archive some information you feel you no longer need.
- The ability to save and retrieve a report you’ve created—It’s a major waste of time to have to recreate the same report over and over again. If it’s been saved, it will take one second to call up the information you want.
In closing, the best way to assess the reporting features of a learning management system is to decide what reports you might need and ask the vendor to demonstrate the creation of those reports. If the person demonstrating the platform can’t create the reports you require within a few minutes, chances are your satisfaction with the platform will be low once the initial honeymoon phase has passed. Save yourself some heartache and be disciplined about evaluating this critical component of LMS technology.
It’s been quite a few months since we presented our popular Webinar on the topic of configuring a learning management system. Since then, many of you have likely started using a new platform. Consequently, we’re repeating this popular session.
Whether you’re acquiring your first learning management system or replacing an existing system, this session will present a structured approach to configuring your LMS that will make managing your learning programs a breeze. We’ll examine:
- How to organize learners into groups
- How to structure your content
- How to create learning plans
- How to provide learners with a way to select the types of learning events they prefer
- Creating communication templates that reflect your organization’s culture
- How to manage venues for instructor-led learning
- Defining administrators
- How to create reports that give you and others the information they need
- And more.
We only have room for 100 attendees so sign up early. I hope to see you there!
A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Learning Management System
Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM MDT (UTC-6)
CALGARY, ALBERTA– (Mar 28th, 2013) – Bersin by Deloitte, a leading provider of research-based membership programs in human resources (HR), talent and learning, have announced that Blatant Media Corporation (blatant^) has been named a 2013 WhatWorks® Award Winner in the area of Delivering Innovation.
Winners were chosen by Bersin & Associates from hundreds of applicants and include industry leaders in business processes, consulting, financial services, food products, government, hospitality, information technology, insurance, media and software. Bersin & Associates conducted the awards program in cooperation with Human Resource Executive® magazine.
Blatant^ was recognized a winner for the development of Absorb LMS’s innovative, HTML5-based, learning management system user interface, which responds and adapts to different hardware platforms. This technology allows learners to access content such as courses and learning events on traditional computers, tablets such as iPads, and phones.
“We’re thrilled to add a Bersin & Associates award to our trophy shelf,” said blatant^ co-founder, Mike Eggermont.
This is the 13th award and accolade bestowed on blatant^ since 2008.
About Bersin by Deloitte
Bersin by Deloitte delivers research-based people strategies designed to help leaders and their organizations in their efforts to deliver exceptional business performance. The company’s WhatWorks® membership gives Fortune 1000 and Global 2000 HR professionals the information and tools they need to design and implement leading practice solutions, benchmark against others, develop their staff, and select and implement systems. A piece of Bersin by Deloitte research is downloaded on average approximately every minute during the business day. More than 5,000 organizations worldwide use our research and consulting to guide their HR, talent and learning strategies. For more information, please visit www.deloitte.com/bersin or www.bersin.com.
About Blatant^ and Absorb LMS
Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Blatant Media Corporation is an e-learning company that leverages the power of technology to enable learning for clients throughout the world. The company’s multi- award-winning learning management system, Absorb LMS, is used by more than a million learners in organizations throughout the world. Organizations currently using Absorb LMS include Adobe Software Systems, American Medical Systems , Dannon, New York University, Oakley, the United States Anti-Doping Association, and more than 500 others.
VP, Enterprise Learning Solutions
Absorb LMS | a blatant^ solution
Richard.Nantel AT AbsorbLMS DOT com
No one really knows how many learning management systems currently exist. Some research firms and analysts place the number as high as 500 and includes commercial systems, open source applications, and custom built, in-house platforms.
The large number of available systems is both comforting (a system that meets your most important needs is almost certainly available) and overwhelming (faced with so many choices, finding that system can be tough.)
To help make your search easier, here are what we believe to be the key differentiators of Absorb LMS and blatant^:
- Absorb LMS doesn’t look like other learning management systems. That’s because we place a huge emphasis on design, usability, and brand projection:
- Absorb LMS delivers learning content to people on any device that can interpret HTML 5. This includes conventional desktop and laptop computers, tablets such as iPads, and popular phones.
- Most Web sites designed for traditional computers simply shrink down the interface to fit the smaller screens of tablets and phones. Absorb LMS is different. The site adapts to the device being used to create a better experience for the learner. Here’s how the same Absorb LMS portal displays on different devices:
- The administrative features of Absorb LMS are designed to make management of learning initiatives very easy. In fact, the entire learning workflow can be automated, from the learner’s registration in the system, enrolment in courses, generation of progress reports, certification, and beyond.
- The system is particularly strong at providing different learning content to different learners. So, if you want to make a curriculum available to, say, a group of people located in a specific city who do a certain type of work, it will take you less than one minute to set this up.
- Most LMS vendors, of course, say that they have a great system. Boasting isn’t our style but we will say that we’ve won 13 major industry awards for excellence since 2008. We also get really great reviews from our customers, which means the world to us.
- About two or three new clients per week select Absorb LMS and 95 per cent of clients stay with us each year, not because they have to but because they want to.
- Absorb LMS isn’t the least expensive learning management system; after all, there are free open-source systems you can try. But when you factor in the time, effort, and cost related to configuring other systems and using them to run your learning initiatives, we think we provide good value. (One of our clients, COLA, recently switched from a `free’ open source platform to Absorb LMS and saved a pile of cash. You can read all about it here.)
- We try to stay focused on creating a great learning management system rather than attempting to be everything to everyone:
- We’ve resisted the trend to become a talent management suite. Absorb LMS doesn’t have a recruiting module, a succession planning module, etc. But, you can integrate Absorb LMS with those types of applications by using APIs we’ve created. A full 40 per cent of our customers integrate Absorb LMS with other enterprise applications.
- We’ve also resisted the trend to build social network capabilities into the system. We think Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other platforms are pretty awesome and like you, we use them every day. So, rather than recreating those technologies (which would take our time away from building a great LMS) we’d rather leverage popular platforms by making them available to learners as resources integrated into their dashboards.
- Absorb LMS contains a built-in shopping cart, so if you’re planning to sell courses, either now or in the future, that will be a breeze.
- If you come to us and say you like our system a lot but could we please create new features just for you, we might say no. It’s not that we don’t want to help you out. But, we’ve been doing this long enough to know that having a lot of highly customized implementations can be a nightmare for both our clients and for us when the time comes to upgrade to new versions. We prefer a single, super-stable codebase everyone uses that’s highly configurable, with features turned on or off as needed. (If, however, you have an idea for a great new feature we should include in our roadmap, we’d love to hear about it.)
- We’re very proud of the culture at blatant^. Jerks don’t remain here long. This means morale is high and when you contact us, you’ll be served by happy, talented people who will be calm and professional. If you visit our office, you can even challenge members of our team to an Xbox game. (You might want to practice a bit before.)
- If during your evaluation of Absorb LMS, we get a sense that we aren’t a good fit for what you want to do, we’ll let you know. We promise. It’s more important for us to get new customers we can make happy than to get new customers who will be miserable trying to use our technology to do things it wasn’t designed to do.
So, the bottom line is that if you’re looking for a powerful, award-winning learning management system that:
- Supports mobile learning initiatives
- Is easy to use, both for learners and administrators
- That can be designed to project strongly your organization’s brand and culture
- That you can use to sell courses
- That can be easily integrated with other enterprise applications
…then we might be a good fit for you. If your needs are significantly different, it might be best to exclude us and continue your search. With so many systems available, you don’t need to settle for a learning management system that does not do the most important things you need it to do.
We’ve just published a new video to our Absorb LMS YouTube channel that provides an overview of the new `Mercury‘ module. The Mercury module is a special add-on to Absorb LMS that contains features specifically aimed at increasing learner engagement. These features include:
- News items
- Twitter feed
- and more
In a nutshell, the Absorb LMS Mercury Module can turn your Absorb LMS portal into a pretty effective Intranet, giving the learners access to anything they need to do their work and increase their skills. It will all make sense if you take four minutes and twenty-eight seconds to watch this:
Join Absorb LMS team members for a fast-paced presentation of their favorite Absorb LMS tips and tricks.
Whether you’re an Absorb LMS customer, use a different learning management system, or are considering acquiring your first LMS, this session will likely give you with ideas on how you can optimize the management of your learning initiatives to provide a rewarding experience for your learners.
Register here: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/608906591
Year after year after year, organizations report that they are in the `planning phase’ of providing mobile learning to their workforce. Spinning wheels without getting anywhere in a persistent planning phase often reflects:
- An understanding that the initiative is important
- Complete confusion about how to get it done
You can now cross the `Implement Mobile Learning’ task off your To Do list.
`Ninja’ is the top secret code name for the latest version of Absorb LMS, the multi-award-winning learning management system from blatant^. Absorb LMS Ninja is an innovative and responsive HTML 5-based design that adapts dynamically to any device, be it a traditional desktop or laptop computer, popular tablets such as iPads, or phones.
Lucky for us, this Ninja uses its power for good, not evil.