Online Training and e-Coaching Tips

Automating Boring Stuff with Your LMS

March 4, 2013 9:00 by

Scheduling, planning and gathering trainees’ data is like taking out the garbage. You simply have no other option than to do it, or you will hear about it from your significant other. Or, your training sessions will run amok.


Unfortunately, there are no household trash robots yet

Unfortunately, there are no solutions. There is no household robot yet which can stuff your trash in a container and then move the container in the street at the exact right day. (Was this Monday or Tuesday? I always forget.)

But wait! For organizing your training sessions there’s always the option to use a learning management system. A learning management system, or lms, offers several tools to alleviate the boredom of simple administrative tasks. These tools are:

  • User profile
  • Intake form
  • Bulk email

User Profile

Every learning management system that I know offers a user profile where training participants specify their name, title, activities and introduce themselves with a little story. And maybe they even put a portrait online. All in all, this is information that is absolutely not specific to the training they are about to get. Which brings us to the intake form.

Intake Form

The intake form is used to gather data about the trainee which usually pertains to the training. Using an lms means you don’t have to scan, copy and paste or even type in the data yourself. What’s more, if you need to perform a simple statistical analysis (the median age or something like that), most learning management systems support that.

Bulk Email

Data Entry

Tedious manual data entry

Once you’ve collected everybody’s email address (the user profile form has a field for that), you can send out an email message to everybody, or a selected group of training participants. This helps you communicate things like changed schedules and welcoming messages.

Here’s how one training company, Reframe, used the tools mentioned above to remove a lot of tedious paperwork and manual data entry.

Case: Self-Registration for Online Training

Training company Reframe is specialized in aggression management. In preparation of their training sessions, they used to send out paper intake forms to the participants. The data was manually processed.

At some point they started using the learning management system Moodle to put the intake forms online. But they still had a lot of manual operations: registering the training participant as a user in Moodle and adding them to the course containing the online form.

There is, to be sure, always the option to have trainees self-register in Moodle. But this was not deemed secure because anybody who knows the internet address (the “url”) can register, not just trainees.

Also, once a user in Moodle, you still have to enroll in an online training (Moodle can hold multiple online training sessions at once). Reframe is using Moodle for many clients, so self enrollment in an online training was not an option. That would have meant that any client’s trainees would have been able to enroll in the training session for another client (using Moodle’s “enrollment key” would have been a solution for that).

Voucher Based Registration

We created a solution for Reframe based on the concept of vouchers. As a trainee, you get a voucher for a specific course. If you visit the Reframe learning management system for the first time, you use the voucher code to register as a new user. This simply means filling in the user profile form, including the username and password fields.

Once you are registered as a user, you are automatically also enrolled into the correct online training sessions. Needless to say, this saves Reframe employees an enormous amount of time previously spent on peddling data.

Not as great as a household robot but still tremendously useful.

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