AICC and Tin Can courseware

Where does your content live? Hosting content inside vs outside an LMS.

Often, the simplest way to add training content to a Learning Management System is to simply upload that content directly. Things are usually simpler this way. The content is stored on the server neatly inside your LMS, and things just work. When you need to replace the content, you simply re-upload. Just about every courseware technical standard including AICC, SCORM and TinCan are set up to work flawlessly this way. For many trainers, simply publishing a course from a courseware development tool in a SCORM package and loading that training directly into the LMS is a simple, perfect solution.

But what if you want your training to run in an LMS, but you don’t want to load the content directly? You may have a customer who has their own LMS, and you want to provide them with your training content, but you don’t want to completely turn over control of the material. You may want to “Link” to your content on your own server, in your own location, so that you can maintain control, and so that you can update the content at will, without needing to contact the administrators of the LMS. This can be a bit more complicated, but is still quite doable.

The AICC and Tin Can standards were built with this “remote content” scenario in mind. With both AICC and Tin Can, you can load your content to some publically available location, like a website that you control. You can then provide a file to the LMS administrator (frequently referred to as a STUB file) that does NOT contain the actual course materiel. Instead, this STUB file contains instructions for the LMS to LINK to the course at your own location.

The STUB file that you would provide to the LMS contains just about everything a normal AICC or Tin Can file would contain, including the name of the course, description and other details about the course. The only real difference is that the STUB file contains a LINK to a publicly available standards compliant course at a server location different from the LMS itself.

SCORM by default, does not allow for your training content to be hosted in a separate location from your LMS. SCORM generally communicates with your LMS by making direct JavaScript calls, which tend to be blocked by browser security from one domain to another. The issue is called “cross domain scripting”, where a file (your course) on one server is prevented from making JavaScript commands to another file (your LMS) if they reside on two different websites. There are a number of “workarounds” and “hacks” and technical “cheats” that can be implemented to make SCORM courses work in an off-site scenario, but the technical effort and expertise involved in these workarounds is usually prohibitive, especially when there are other courseware standards that work well already.

Obviously the process of hosting your content outside of your LMS presents a few additional challenges. First, you have to have access to a website or web server of your own, to post your training content. Secondly, you will have to learn how to produce a properly formatted STUB file that will tell the LMS where to find your course. Additionally, when your content is hosted in a location separate from your LMS, you will have two possible points of failure. If you website goes down, even if the LMS is functioning properly, no one will be able to access your courses.

Though the process of hosting your training content outside of an LMS is more complicated than direct loading, it can certainly be done, and done well. Just ensure that if you need to host your training content outside of your LMS, you choose the correct courseware standard, and have the resources available to host and maintain the content yourself.

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Creating Multiple Brands for Your EZ LCMS Account

Most Learning Management Systems provide you with the ability to modify the interface to some degree, adding your own corporate logo and color scheme. This works great for companies that are simply looking to provide a product to their own organization, or companies that provide training to the public under one corporate identity.

However, in Business-to-Business training relationships, the training provider may want to consider providing a Learning Management System experience that is branded for their customers, not themselves. For example, if your company is XYZtraining, and you are providing safety training products to other companies like Acme Widgets and Paragon Manufacturers, you might want to go the extra mile for your customers and provide them with branded LMS experiences that include their own company logos and color schemes.

One of the features unique to EZ LCMS is multiple branding. This allows you to create as many brands as you want, for the same Learning Management System account. You simply create more than one brand as an Administrator. Each brand is defined by its own separate login page. Users who log in through the Acme Widgets branded login page, with see the Acme Widgets brand, with their own logo, color scheme, fonts, sizes etc. Users who log in through the Paragon Manufacturers login page see the brand you made especially for them.

The LMS content and functionality inside of the LMS account is always yours, and controlled by you, but the end user customer gets a Learning Management experience that looks and feels as if it were made just for them. If you want to go even further, you can tie different brands to different groups, and even define which specific content is available to different brands and groups.

The ability to create more than one brand for a single Learning Management System account is one of the many great features that set EZ LCMS apart from other LMS providers. Try it for yourself free for 15 days here.

september_release

Coming Soon: The EZ LCMS September Release

We have been hard at work here at EZ LCMS, creating loads of new features and enhancements to our world class Learning Management System. In September, we will be releasing the latest version with a number of added features and performance improvements. Don’t worry, the core functionality and built-in ease-of-use will not be changing. We are simply adding new features and functions to make the process of creating, delivering and tracking your training programs and products even easier and more efficient.

Here is a quick preview of some of the features and enhancements coming to EZ LCMS in September:

  • A new online PowerPoint converter, allowing you to drag and drop your PowerPoint presentations directly into EZ LCMS, where they will be automatically converted into trackable online training products.
  • A new online Quiz builder allowing you to create quizzes and tests directly within the EZ LCMS interface.
  • New branding and interface sizes and options.
  • New communication, notification and email alert options.
  • New content preview options.
  • New e-commerce options for managers.
  • Gamification enhancements including the ability to load your own custom badges.
  • Improved integration options.
  • Much more…

Stay tuned over the coming weeks for more detailed information about these features and more coming to EZ LCMS in September 2016.

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Why Own Your Own Learning Management System?

Many Learning Management System companies allow you to easily “sign-up” and use their LMS, or even license their standard LMS on an annual basis, but very few actually allow you to “purchase” their Learning Management System. EZ LCMS, unlike many other Learning Management System providers in the industry, does just that. We offer a “complete purchase” option, where you can purchase your own copy of EZ LCMS for a one-time purchase price.

You can purchase EZ LCMS for a single up-front price of $24,495.00, and never have to pay monthly per-user fees, installation charges, or annual licensing fees ever. The only optional ongoing costs associated with purchasing EZ LCMS is the annual hosting, maintenance and support fee of $1,495.00 per year, which allows you to host your purchased copy of EZ LCMS on our servers, keeps your copy of EZ LCMS up to date with all of the latest features and functions, and ensures world class technical support for your Learning Management System.

Owning your own Learning Management System has a number of advantages over using a licensed copy, or using an online SAAS account. Here are just a few:

Unlimited User Accounts

The biggest advantage of owning your own Learning Management System is the removal of user limitations. When you purchase your own copy of EZ LCMS for example, you can have an unlimited number of LMS users of any type. You may have the need to deliver training products to over 100,000 users, with thousands of managers and groups, instructors and even admins. With a purchased copy of EZ LCMS, there is no limit to the number and type of users you can create.

No more counting users and paying per-user fees. No more deleting users to make room in your account, and no more account overages or monthly charges. With a purchased copy of EZ LCMS, you will find that your account is completely unlimited, and free to use and manage however you see fit.

Customization

Not every organization is the same, and not everyone’s LMS needs are the same. You may find that an LMS like EZ LCMS fits your needs to some significant degree, but a couple of needed features are missing. In most Learning Management System situations, you would have to forgo those needs and settle for what is already available. But not with EZ LCMS. When you purchase your own copy of EZ LCMS, your LMS can be customized to fit your exact requirements.

EZ LCMS has programmers on staff who are dedicated to customizing our Learning Management System to meet your specific needs. During your analysis phase, we encourage you to contact our sales team and discuss any features or functions that you may need added or changed to satisfy your specific requirements. Our sales team can provide you with a custom purchase quote that will include the purchase of the Learning Management System with your own custom features in place.

Some of the custom features that we have implemented for our past clients include:

  • Interface customization, including the addition or removal of certain buttons, tabs, features and functions.
  • Custom data imports and exports for integration with non-standard data tracking systems and CRMs.
  • A custom “Claims” role to integrate insurance claim management with the Learning Management System.
  • A custom “audit tool” to integrate safety audits with training.
  • A custom “Partner” role to facilitate the sales of training products through third party sales organizations.
  • Custom tracking mechanisms for online and live training tracking.
  • “Scaled Down” versions of the LMS, providing only the features and functions that a customer needs, hiding the rest.

 

If you have been looking for an LMS that has every feature you need, and have not found it, please feel free to contact us and discuss how we can customize EZ LCMS for you, to meet your entire set of requirements.

Multiple Organizations

You may find yourself in a situation where you need not just one LMS account, but many. You may need to provide a Learning Management System to a number of completely separate entities or organizations. EZ LCMS is the only Learning Management Systems available (that we are aware of) that has the functionality to allow for multiple, separated Learning Management System instances within the same copy of the Learning Management System, and the same database.

For example, a franchise company may want to provide each of their Franchisees with a completely separate, segregated LMS account, where they can provide the company specific training products to their own employees, without the training records and access privileges of their employees comingling with those of other franchisees. With EZ LCMS, it’s a breeze. The “Master Admin” portal in EZ LCMS, provided to all purchasers, allows you to quickly and easily establish new, segregated instances of the Learning Management System with just a few clicks.

In addition to the ability to create more than one LMS account, you can also manage the training for all accounts from one source. You can create a simple “Content Repository” where you set up all of your training products, and then quickly and easily “License” that training out to all of your other organizations. Then, when you update the training in the “content repository” at a later point in time, all of the training in all of your LMS accounts will automatically be updated as well.

Believe it or not, all of these features, along with 5 free segregated LMS accounts are included FREE when you purchase EZ LCMS. If you need more than 5 separate LMS accounts, more can be added for a minimal additional fee.

Reselling the LMS

Tied closely to the ability to create multiple LMS instances, is the ability to resell the LMS. Many training providers are looking to beyond just providing a training course to their customers. Many are looking to provide a complete training delivery and tracking system to go along with their training products. The multiple instance capabilities of EZ LCMS give you a fast and easy way to give your customers a training delivery portal where their users can go to take the training they need, and to track their training implementation themselves.

Reselling the LMS along with your training products also provides you the ability to maintain control over your content. Instead of delivering zipped training courses to your customer, and losing control of where they end up and who ends up using them, you can simply provide your customer with an account in your copy of EZ LCMS, where you load your content, you manage it, and you can see exactly who is using it.

Saving Money

In many situations, it is far more economical to purchase EZ LCMS than to pay monthly per-user fees over time. Depending on the number of users you intend to deliver to, using any Learning Management System on a monthly hosted program can get very expensive. With EZ LCMS you can pay a simple up-front purchase price, and never have to pay monthly per-user fees again. The only ongoing charges for EZ LCMS is a modest annual hosting, maintenance and support fee, which ensures your copy of EZ LCMS stays up to date with all of the latest features and functions.

Many people who consider purchasing EZ LCMS fear the technical challenges that go with hosting an LMS, like the need to manage servers and engage IT staff in maintenance, but you don’t have to. When you purchase EZ LCMS, we will host your copy of EZ LCMS on our servers at your designated domain name (e.g. yourlms.com) for FREE for the first year. Additional years of hosting are also included in the annual $1,495.00 hosting, maintenance and support fee as well. So you can have the best of both worlds. You can own you own customizable, unlimited-user copy of EZ LCMS and not have to worry about installation, servers and maintenance.

EZ LCMS even offers custom no-interest financing. Our sales team can provide you with a custom financing quote that fits your needs and your budget, and allows you to get started immediately with your own copy of EZ LCMS, while you continue to make interest-free payments.

Conclusion

When looking for the right LMS solution for your organization, you may find that the large number of users you need, or the need to have specific features built to your requirement, prevent you from being able to “sign-up-and-go” with a standard LMS. At EZ LCMS, we understand the frustration this can cause, and we are ready to help you implement your own personalized, customized copy of our Learning Management System that perfectly meets your needs.

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Sell access to training in EZ LCMS using group access

You probably already know that EZ LCMS enables you to sell courses using the catalog with built-in shopping cart. But did you know that you can also sell “group access”? By selling access to a group in EZ LCMS, you can allow a student to purchase access to a selected set of courses, along with a set of automatic enrollments.

When creating a group in EZ LCMS, you can easily create a “limited catalog” for the group, which means users in that group only have access to select courses. You can also assign “associations” which are courses that the user will be automatically enrolled as soon as they join the group.

When using e-commerce, you are also provided with the ability to assign a price for access to the group. Students who purchase access to this group will be able to take advantage of the “limited catalog” and the “associations” that you defined for that specific group.

Once your group is configured, you can take advantage of the “Direct purchase link” to sell the group access to your target audience. By clicking on the “dollar sign” icon next to any group, you will be given a branded “direct purchase link” that can be embedded in your own sales website, your CRM system or it can even be emailed out to potential purchasers.

Students will click your link and self-register, and can pay with credit card or PayPal. Once their payment is submitted, they are provided with instant access to your Learning Management System account, with the desired catalog and enrollments in place, as defined in the group settings. Additionally, the user is placed into the specified group for reporting purposes, allowing you to easily track purchases and course usage by group.

Selling access to groups is one of the many easy ways EZ LCMS allows you to get the right training to the right people at the right time. Give it a try for yourself, free for 15 days.

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Creating a Blended Learning program in EZ LCMS

“Blended Learning” is a somewhat formal term for creating a learning experience that comes from more than one source. Frequently, learning environments and systems will try to create a learning experience that consists of one single “training type”, like a single online course or live training session. As you can probably guess, this is not always the most effective solution. Though there are many industry buzz-words like “Hybrid Learning” and “Mixed-Mode Instruction” that go hand-in-hand with “Blended Learning”, they all boil down to the same “blended learning” principal which is that people can’t always learn everything about a subject from a single source.

Actually, almost all true learning experiences are “Blended Learning” experiences. For example, if you want to learn how to use a sophisticated new software program, you will most likely turn to a number of sources. You may start with a seminar or live class on the basics of using the software. Then when you return home, you may watch a few videos on YouTube and search a couple of online forums for “tips and tricks”. Very rarely does a person learn everything they need to know about a subject from one single source.

Though this may seem like a fairly intuitive and easy-to-understand concept, many Learning Management Systems and platforms struggle to enable their users to learn in this way. Many Training Systems were built for a single purpose, the delivery of online training courses. These short-sighted, restrictive systems only facilitate the delivery of online training content, and expect that to be enough to provide a thorough training experience.

EZ LCMS on the other hand, was built with Blended Training at its core. Every “Course” in your catalog can be constructed with online training modules, live training sessions, links to online resources, videos, and more. When building a “Course” in EZ LCMS, you are encouraged to build a robust experience for your Learners that provides them with resources and learning experiences beyond the simple “Online Lesson”.

For example, instead of building a course on the “Basics of MS Excel” that looks like this:

The Basics of MS Excel:

  • Lesson 1
  • Lesson 2
  • Lesson 3
  • Lesson 4
  • Quiz

It might be wise to build a “Basics of MS Excel” course that looks like this:

The Basics of MS Excel:

  • A Video introduction to MS Excel (5 minute video)
  • Getting to know the MS Excel User Interface (Live class every Thursday at 7:00 PM)
  • MS Excel User Interface Quick reference sheet (PDF)
  • Formatting a spreadsheet in MS Excel (Online Lesson)
  • Formatting “Quick Quiz”
  • Performing calculations in MS Excel (Online Lesson)
  • Calculations “Quick Quiz”
  • The “MS Excel User’s group” basic tips and tricks (online forum)
  • “Taking MS Excel to the next level” YouTube video by John Doe.
  • “The Basics of MS Excel” Conclusion and summary (5 minute video)
  • MS Excel training survey

In most cases, building a blended learning experience for you students that works in harmony with the way students normally learn, is the most effective way to provide training. And using the EZ LCMS Learning Management System, creating a blended learning program is very easy. Give it a try for yourself with the EZ LCMS 15 Day Free Trial and see how easy blended learning can be.

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Why Should I Care About Tin Can – Part 2

Part 2, Making Tin Can work for you.

Now that you know how learning tracking standards have evolved (see part 1), and now that you have a Learning Management System (LMS) with a built-in Tin Can Learning Record Store (LRS) (if you don’t yet, try EZ LCMS free for 15 days), let’s take a look at the many ways you can start tracking learning information and events using Tin Can.

Two Distinct Programs:

Tin Can communication and tracking requires two separate parts, or “systems”. The “Listener” and the “Communicator”. In most traditional systems, the “Listener” is the LRS (sometimes built into the LMS) and the “Communicator” is the online course, class or device you are using.

The LRS is generally a “passive listener”, sitting there on your server waiting to receive a message from your “communicator”. In SCORM, the “listener” and “communicator” usually came from the same source/server/system and gave the impression of one single “system”. With Tin Can, you generally CAN load your course/class/application on the same system as the LRS/LMS, but you don’t have to. Generally, the LRS will not actively DO anything. It will not SEEK OUT data.

Frequently, people will misunderstand Tin Can and the LRS and think “I have a Tin Can LRS now, I can track anything, anywhere.” While this is technically true, the LRS does not do all the work. The “Anything, anywhere” has to be a course or application or “anything” that does some of the work as well. Using a Tin Can LRS will not enable you to track who views a simple HTML website. The LRS will “listen” and if your HTML website is set up as a “communicator” that sends Tin Can formatted information to the LRS, then it WILL track page views.

Tin Can communication is a two-way street, and it requires a “listener” AND a tool to transmit information. Think of your Tin Can LRS as the HOOP on a basketball court, and your training content or application as the players shooting the ball through the hoop. Any player of any size from any location can shoot the ball, but no points are scored unless someone is putting the ball through the hoop. Having a Tin Can LRS is only half of the Tin Can communication process. You need a course or system or application that is shooting the ball.

Basic Tin Can communication:

Tin can uses statements that are modeled after normal speaking language. A tin can statement typically has a Noun, a Verb and an object, like “Jane Doe – Completed – New Employee Orientation”. These statements can go much further than your basic training statements. Other examples of Tin Can statements can be:

  • Jim – played – a learning game
  • Sally – viewed – a website
  • Jackie – searched – for HR documents
  • Don – read – a user manual
  • Logan – watched – the introductory video
  • Beth – created – a new task

JSON communication:

The technical way that a Tin Can “communicator” sends a message to an LRS “listener” is through a JSON statement. A JSON statement is a technical format or standard (similar to XML) for transmitting information. The Tin Can LRS has an “Endpoint” where any time of learning content or device can “post” these JSON statements. A typical, basic Tin Can Statement that the “communicator” would send to the “listener” would look like this:

{

“actor”: {

“name”: “Jane Doe”,

“mbox”: “mailto:jane.doe@example.com”

},

“verb”: {

“id”: “http://adlnet.gov/expapi/verbs/experienced”,

“display”: { “en-US”: “experienced” }

},

“object”: {

“id”: “http://example.com/activities/personal-protective-equipment”,

“definition”: {

“name”: { “en-US”: “Introduction to Personal Protective Equipment” }

}

}

}

The “communicator” would post this JSON statement to the Tin Can Endpoint, and the Tin Can LRS would then process it and store the data accordingly.

Using Tin Can:

Most online course development tools like Articulate and Captive are already set up to export content that uses the Tin Can standard. These will generate online courseware that is already set up to be the “communicator” in the Tin Can scenario. However, if you publish your course from a third party tool to the Tin Can standard and upload that course into your Tin Can compliant LMS, you are really not doing anything you could not already do with SCORM.

The real magic of the Tin Can standard is exposed when you create a program, application or device that captures learning where and when it happens, and sends that information to your LRS endpoint behind the scenes automatically.

Want to know when someone reads the help manual for your product? Build your help manual in a website or mobile app that sends statements to your LRS endpoint. Want to know who completes the safety checklist? Build a Tin-Can enabled checklist application. Want to track attendance at a conference? Build an iPad “roster/signup” app that sends Tin Can statements. With the open standards of Tin Can, the possibilities for capturing learning where and when it happens really are endless. It just requires a little bit of technical know-how to create an application that can send Tin Can JSON statements to the endpoint of your LRS.

Taking it one step further:

You have probably already realized that having a basic Tin Can LRS that simply takes in and spits out data is next to useless. You need to be able to harness that data and turn it into useful information that can be applied to curriculums, certifications etc. The best kind of Tin Can LRS is one that is tightly integrated into a true Learning Management Platform, like EZ LCMS. The EZ LCMS Learning Management System has a built-in LRS that not only tracks every Tin Can statement it receives, but applies that data to training curriculums, learning paths, certifications and re-certifications, performance reviews and remediation and even achievements and badges.

The EZ LCMS LRS stores all learning data it receives and then processes it automatically to find where that data fits into a learners enrollments, learning progression and achievements. Learning events are stored on a learner’s transcript, course completion and certification is granted, and gamification achievements are automatically applied based on the Tin Can data that the EZ LCMS LRS receives.

Additional resources:

Check out a cool experiment where Minecraft is “modded” to send Tin Can Statements to the EZ LCMS Learning Record Store, and applied to course completion.

Read more about the nitty gritty of the Tin Can Specification.

Try EZ LCMS Free for 15 days.

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Why Should I Care About Tin Can – Part 1

Part 1, the history of electronic training standards

This is part 1 in a series of articles about how you can put the Tin Can API to work for you. Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon.

Before we dig into what Tin Can is and how you can use it, let’s first look at the history of training content communication, and why Tin Can is so important. As you know, your training content and your training system must to be able to communicate with each other. They need to speak a common language that they both understand. Just like the development of spoken languages around the world, the language that training content and training systems speak has evolved over time. Early on, in the “Cave Man” days of electronic training, most folks creating computer-based training products and system created their own language that suited their own specific needs and requirements. Each “Clan” in each “Cave” made their own series of electronic grunts and whistles and were able to successfully achieve basic training communication and tracking. This worked fine in many cases, until you needed to move your data to another location, or use your content on a different platform (or move to another cave).

As time went on, standards or “Specifications” began to emerge, with the idea that training content and training systems all over the world would begin to be able to communicate with one another using a single common language. One of the earliest specifications to take hold was the “Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee” standard, or AICC as most of us know it now. This group of industry experts put together the first widely used “Language” used by training content and training systems to communicate with each other. The AICC specification was well thought out, and generic enough to be used as the common language for electronic training communication for quite some time, and is even still used today by many training systems and products. AICC might be thought of as the first common alphabet in the evolution of our electronic training language.

As the needs and requirements for training data and collection advanced, and the systems and platforms used for training delivery and data collection became more complex, a more sophisticated language was needed. Additionally, trainers began to realize the efficiency that could be achieved with training portability and “reusability” and began to require that their training products and the language that they spoke enable this efficiency. For example, if your company’s manufacturing department has already built an online training course on “Personal Protective Equipment”, why should your packaging department have to create the same course again? Why can’t the manufacturing department simply “re-use” the existing online course, combined with their own specific training products? And thus, the first Sharable Content Object (SCO) was born. The Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) initiative was created with the primary purpose to create a new, more sophisticated language for training products and systems that would enable training products to run properly and communicate natively inside of any compatible training system on any platform, and to be re-used globally as needed.

The language that the Advanced Distributed Training initiative created was the Sharable Content Object Reference Model, or SCORM. SCORM was a “reference model” or language designed from the ground up to enable any training product to communicate effectively with any training system. SCORM was very successful, and did a good job of evolving with the times, and stood as the practical standard for training communication for more than a decade. SCORM was released in a number of versions and most online training products still use SCORM today.
In recent years however, due to the evolution of mobility and mobile devices and electronic platforms, many trainers have found SCORM to be somewhat limiting. For example, SCORM generally requires that a training course and the training platform are collocated in a single location. Training developers no longer simply required that their training product be able to communicate properly with any training system. They began to require that their training products communicate with any training system, anywhere, on any device, at any time. To meet this need, a new language was required.

This new language is the Tin Can API. The Tin Can API is a new training specification or “language” that comes with lots of exciting and liberating new capabilities. The Tin Can language provides the ability for any training product or event from any source or platform to communicate effectively and verbosely with any Tin Can Compliant training system. With Tin Can, any learning event, be it a live class session, a one-on-one “shop talk” on the shop floor, a user looking for help on a mobile app, can all be tracked in a Learning Record Store, or LRS. In the real world, training can and does happen anywhere, any time, and with Tin Can, you can now listen to and observe it happening, no matter when or how it is happening.
Think of Tin Can as a large radio receiver, set up to capture all kinds of learning event data from any source that can send it. This receiver can receive information from mobile phones, tablets, online webinars, live classroom activities, as well as the usual online training products and materials. Your Tin Can Learning Record Store is the “device” that listens to all of the information being received by your giant Tin Can Radio Receiver and writes it all down.

In essence, with the new Tin Can Learning Language, training products no longer are limited to making simple pre-defined statements like “Bob took the PPE course and passed with a score of 100%”. With the new, robust Tin Can language, your training products and events are free to say anything relevant about the training experience like “Sally attended the PPE seminar” or “Joanne experienced a corporate welcome video” or “Don accessed the manufacturing job aid on his mobile phone” and more. Tin Can has stepped in to rewrite the rules about how learning information and data tracking can take place. Where SCORM was the rigorous, specific language of re-usable training content that has gotten us to where we are today, Tin Can is the new and improved learning language that allows us to capture training when and where it happens, now and into the future.

However, though Tin Can is a new and very exciting tool to capture learning events and information, it is not enough to simply “write it all down” in a big, unwieldy database of tasks. Somehow, that information needs to be turned into relevant learning data that can be examined, processed, reported on and applied to things like achievements and certifications. It is usually not enough to simply “capture” this information, we need to do something with it. That is where you can benefit from having a full featured Learning Management System (LMS) like EZ LCMS. EZ LCMS, with its integrated Tin Can LRS can turn your mountain of training data into useful learning information when applied to users, enrollments, certifications, learning paths and much more. Any old LRS can capture and display training information in its native form (think garbage-in-garbage-out), but it takes a sophisticated Learning Management Platform like EZ LCMS to turn your Tin Can “Data” into usable, beneficial, viable learning information that will help your company grow and evolve as a true learning-centric organization.

Stay tuned for part 2 of “Why should I care about Tin Can” which will discuss how you can put Tin Can to work for you, what a Tin Can language statement looks like, and what you get from an LMS platform that truly understands Learning. An feel free to check out EZ LCMS free for 15 days!

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Increase Learner Engagement with Gamification

We are very excited to announce the addition of a Gamification system to EZ LCMS. For those of you not familiar with Gamification in a Learning Management System, Gamification is the use of gaming and competition concepts in a non-gaming environment to increase engagement and participation.

Gamification in EZ LCMS includes the following new features:

  • Levels: As a student uses the Learning Management System they can accumulate points. Points can be granted automatically for completing certain tasks like completing courses, logging in a certain number of times etc. As the administrator, you will determine what activates grant points. You also have the ability to create “Levels” which allow the students to see a progression as they use the LMS more and more. For example, you may determine that a student with between 0 and 1000 points is at the “Beginner” level, and a student with more than 10,000 points is an “LMS Super User”.
  • Achievements: As the administrator, you can create any number of achievements. Achievements grant the student more points in their progression through the levels you have defined, and are listed on the student’s transcript. Achievements can be granted to the student based on:
    1. Logging in to the Learning Management System a certain number of times.
    2. Launching a set number of courses.
    3. Completing a set number of courses.
    4. Viewing a set number of resources in the LMS.
    5. Manually assigned by the Administrator or the student’s Manager

    Achievements can be granted a single time once the student accomplishes the criteria, or every time the student completes the task. For example, you may create one achievement called “New Trainee” that grants the student a bonus 100 points once they have completed their first course. You may also create another achievement called “Course GURU” that grants the student an additional 100 points every time they complete 5 courses.

  • Badges: Badges are granted for larger accomplishments in the Learning Management System, and show as actual customizable badge icons. Badges can be awarded to users for the performing the following tasks:
    1. Receiving a set number of points.
    2. Logging in to the LMS a set number of times.
    3. Launching a set number of courses.
    4. Completing a set number of courses.
    5. Completing specifically designated courses.
    6. View a set number of resources.
    7. Manually assigned by the administrator of the student’s manager.

    The EZ LCMS Badge creation process includes an intuitive and simple “Badge Builder” where you can choose a badge icon, color scheme and border scheme for the badge.

In addition to the levels, achievements and badges, a new Gamification panel is added to the student’s home page which shows the student’s current level, points, achievements and the badges they have received.

Also new to the student’s home page is the current leaderboard, showing the top four users in the LMS, with their total number of points, to encourage competition and motivation.

Gamification in EZ LCMS is a simple, rewarding way to encourage your students to stay engaged in their learning system and process. Current users of EZ LCMS can easily enable the new Gamification Features by going to the Admin > System page and choosing the “Advanced Settings” button to toggle Gamification on. Once Gamification in on, there will be a new “Gamification” tab available in the Admin role to set up the implementation for your organization. Users who create a new accounts in EZ LCMS will already have Gamification in place.

Gamification is just the latest in a long list of easy-to-use Learning Management features available to users of EZ LCMS. Try EZ LCMS for yourself Free for 15 days right here.

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EZ LCMS Celebrates 10 years of success

Ten years ago, a number of training technology experts broke off from their careers at Large Computer Software engineering firms to create EZ LCMS.  At the time, the only Learning Management Systems available were VERY expensive, very difficult to implement and quite unreliable. Large, bloated training software organizations were offering large bloated training platforms that required hundreds of thousands of dollars to license, lots of hardware to install, and thousands of man hours to maintain. Companies were forced to hire network engineers and software developers just to keep their Learning Management Platform up and running on a daily basis.

At the time, we saw a number of forward thinking small business owners and training managers going to Large Software firms looking to bring the efficiencies of a Learning Management System into their own company, only to be turned away because their budget did not have enough comas and zeros in it. It was at that point that the idea for EZ LCMS was born. Why wasn’t there an online Learning Management Platform that was affordable, easy to use and easy to maintain?

After a year of research, development and programming, the first version of EZ LCMS was implemented and offered to the public. EZ LCMS offered a robust, easy to use, standards-based Learning Management Platform to businesses of any size, with just about any training budget, with no maintenance costs whatsoever, and was an immediate success. EZ LCMS was so successful that a number of other companies began to try and replicate the success that EZ LCMS had providing Learning Management Solutions to smaller businesses with smaller budgets. Even the Large, bloated training software organizations have recently begun to try and offer small-business level Learning Management Platforms at affordable prices, but they have done so simply by stripping our features and functionality from their already-overcomplicated platforms.

Over the Years EZ LCMS has worked with a large variety of customers from numerous industries. Our customers have included companies of all different sizes, from local and state government agencies in a number of countries, fast food chains, schools and other public organizations to small businesses and single Subject Matter Experts selling their expertise and certifications in the form of online training products.

EZ LCMS has evolved with the times and has managed to stay on the cutting edge of training and learning technologies while still maintaining the core principals of affordability and ease of use. Some of the past enhancements to EZ LCMS have included a completely mobile-friendly and responsive interface design, video delivery (with video bookmarking), an Integration API, an improved (and still FREE) PowerPoint Plug-In, and up-to-date standards integration like the recently released Tin Can (xAPI) integration.

As we reflect on the our past success delivering an affordable, easy to use Learning Management Solution to companies of all shaped and sizes, we renew our pledge to implement many new cutting edge training technology features into the core of EZ LCMS without losing the elegant simplicity and affordability that have made EZ LCMS so successful.

To celebrate our 10th anniversary, for the remainder of 2015 we are offering a FREE iPad to EVERY customer who signs up for EZ LCMS before the year ends and choose the annual payment option. To learn more about this 10th anniversary celebration, click here. And to learn more about EZ LCMS and try it yourself free for 15 days, click here.