Edvance360 eCourse Library - For our employee training programs, each of whom offer the same basic safety and compliance courses and often need similar soft skill courses, there's no need to re-invent the wheel - or rather, create the courses from scratch. We've partnered with a third-party vendor, eLightenment, to provide a full library of courses.
Building a positive work culture that encourages life-long learning and development takes time and people who care. While software systems like our learning management system help, they are no substitute for human relationship, which is why we've focused so heavily on the relational tools. In Edvance360, there are tools for:
- Building relationships on the enterprise scale (the secure social network) to smaller departmental or focus-centered scale (communities)
- Building relationships through collaboration (wiki tool), discussion and debate (discussions and live chat tools) and even live meetings that can be recorded on the LMS (video-conferencing integration)
- Building relationships that specifically benefit minorities (via course facilitator tools) and individuals (learning paths and mentors)
This blog focuses on that last one: mentors. Mentors can be any role in the LMS (learner, instructor, staff, admin, etc.) but are assigned to an individual to provide a more relational approach to on-boarding and training, to provide coaching, and even just the feeling that someone is available to help, should the need arise. This connection is made on the learner's Home Page (see screenshot below). The mentor's contact info and even a Live Chat button can be made available to allow the learner to quickly access them and their services.
Edvance360 Communities - groups of people collaborating towards a purpose - are one of our clients’ favorite features. Administrators, instructors as well as learners can create communities, if desired. They offer much of the same functionality of a course/training, but do not have tests or Gradebook modules as community members do not receive a grade.
Edvance360 has dozens tools to communicate with learners - from system-wide announcements to course and community announcements, date-based announcements, user and group announcement, alerts, banners, emails, automated email, text messages, discussion forums and more. This blog deals with both system-wide and course/community announcements.
These types of announcements are good for either long-term or short-term messages that need to be "pushed" to the users. They take of the most important "real estate" of the screen so users can't miss them.
Edvance360 Learning Management System has a robust question repository (as part of the Learning Object Repository) and test tool. Questions are stored in the Question Repository which course designers and faculty can use (and re-use) to build tests. Several question types such as true/false, multiple choice, fill in the blank (or short answer), essay, multiple answer, and ordering are available. Question banks can be built by hand or imported via several tools. Questions can also be stored in the Global Question Repository, allowing all course designers or faculty to access frequently-used questions. But it's real value is in it's time-saving quality: when a question on a test needs changing, it can be quickly changed in the Question Repository, resulting in the change matriculating in all assessments using that question.
For many LMS vendors, the most admins can do to brand a site is to add a logo, select a color theme, and maybe use some CSS (if you're fancy enough to know what you are doing). At Edvance360, we realize that every one of our clients is going to need more than some changes to a logo and colors. There are several layers of customization that our clients can utilize to make sure their user's experience is vastly different than any other Edvance360 client and custom-tailored to your user, every time.
In Edvance360 LMS multiple sections of the same course can be merged into one course to make it easier for instructors to manage. Many colleges and universities offer the same course at different times, on different days, or to different levels of students, but the same faculty member oversees it, grades assignments, etc. For examples, the course "Chorus" might be offered as "Chorus 101" all the way through "Chorus 401" with many shared assignments, attendance and other course features. Instead of having to take attendance and mark grades in each of the four courses, the faculty would use the Merge Feature.
Open Learning is typically associated with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). MOOCs received a lot of hype over the past few years, but not yet gained the predicted traction. Institutions of higher education like Harvard to startups like uCertify or networks like Coursera have offered MOOCs for both free and a charge. Edvance360 has made it's own MOOC network, MOOC360, available to our own clients to host their MOOCs (who have, by the way, garnered completion rates far above other MOOC networks).
In Edvance360, we use the term "open learning" to refer to a more generalized perspective that:
- provides learners with flexibility to complete lessons at their own pace and in any order
- encourages self-led learners to participate in the trajectory of their learning paths
- promotes learning content in "bite-sized" (and trackable) content pieces that are made available to the learner in their time of "need"
Edvance360 providers course designers to display learning content in a sequential (one step at a time) or non-sequential (checklist). The non-sequential option is usually used when learning content and objectives do not build on one another and the order in which the learner experiences them doesn't matter. In the non-sequential option, a learner could cheat and check off action in which they don't actually participate and any gaps in their learning would show on a final exam or project/paper. This method is very useful for self-led courses such as Master's level courses, Capstones, and the like.