Online Training and e-Coaching Tips

Using Training Materials From Others

April 1, 2013 18:08 by

How do you create your training programme in no time at all? Just buy the training materials and use them to compose your own online training sessions inside your learning management system.


A scorm package is a container which facilitates sharing online training materials

Every modern learning management system (lms) supports a universal standard for exchanging training materials: SCORM. Scorm stands for Shareable Content Object Reference Model, but you can forget about that (I always do). The really important thing about scorm is that you can create learning content or a training unit, package it in a scorm zip and export it to another lms. Of course, the reverse is also true: you can import somebody else’s scorm package as well.

But what do these words mean, learning content, training unit? Most scorm packages I have encountered so far, consist of fifteen, thirty to 120 minute sessions about a specific topic. The training participant logs in to your lms, opens the scorm package (just like any other online training activity, usually by hitting a button or clicking a link), does whatever is inside the package and receives a score (or at the very least a “completed” check mark).

Once the user clicks the link to the scorm unit, the scorm player takes over. The scorm player is the software inside the lms that “reads” the scorm package and “plays it back”. In the background, it does the presentation, evaluates any answers the participant may enter and computes the final score (if there is one). The score is transmitted to the lms, which stores it together with the name of the user for future reference (e.g. to make it available in a grade book).

How does this differ from using a training activity provided by the lms itself (e.g a quiz or test)? Well, it doesn’t until you would want to export the activity to another training platform. Okay, I told you to forget what scorm stands for, but one part is important: the shareable part. A scorm package can be shared across all e-learning systems which support the standard (and there are a lot of those out there).

Practical Note on Using Scorm

Your lms should already contain a scorm player, but I’m going to tell you to get another one. This way, in case of any problems with a scorm package you can always verify that the problem resides with the scorm package and not the settings of your lms. Simply try to play the scorm package in your standalone scorm player. If the problems persist, there’s probably nothing wrong with your lms’ settings.

Download SCORM training materials

So where do you find scorm trainings? Here are a few online markets where you can download scorm packages but also offer your own for sale.

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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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Cut Your Training Session by Half

January 8, 2013 8:08 by

Last month, my wife attended a two day training session. She’s a business analyst for a health insurance company and part of her job is to write requirements for software used company wide. She’s also got a bunch of colleagues with the same title. So, to get everybody to use the same requirement analysis methods, the company had them all trained according to one specific methodology.

Requirements Analysis

Requirements Analysis

Now get this: the entire first day of training was spent on theory. A whole day long, the trainer stood there and explained the theoretical underpinnings of requirements analysis. And no, I don’t think the subject is too light to spend a complete day on. On the contrary, this is probably barely enough.

However, I do take issue with doing the theoretical part of the training during a face-to-face session.

Here’s what the trainer should have done for the benefit of everybody. The trainer included (especially the trainer).

Put the Theoretical Part Online

Put the theory online. This is what a e-learning is for.

Now, I’m not advocating that you put the book online. (There’s always a book, right?) Make it an interactive experience instead. There are numerous options to engage the participant through a learning management system.

For instance, you can still present the theoretical part yourself if you wish, but use a video instead of a live presentation. Divide the  video into subtopics and at the end of each subtopic, present an adaptive test. If the training participant fails the test, don’t just present the same video again, but offer another mode of explanation.

Use the lms to email all participants a case to solve. And then have them submit their solutions to a forum in the lms. Finally, ask them to review each other’s solutions.

Double Your Income

By putting the theory online, the trainer hired by my wife’s company could have literally cut the training session by half.

However, they still could have charged the same rate, because the end result is the same: proficiency in the theory behind requirements analysis. They’re still offering the same value, in other words. And of course the remaining part of the face-to-face training would have been concentrated entirely on practice.

Minimal Art by Keupp

Let’s keep looking for simple solutions

This approach has two benefits:

  1. Because employees can master the theory in their own time, it frees up valuable working time.
  2. The trainer can deliver twice as many training sessions in the same period of time.

Think about that: because you’re offering the same value, you can charge the same rate. And on top of that, you’re able to deliver more training sessions. So, using e-learning doubles your income!


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