Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Techniq Online University-Citrix Online Integration

During our product demonstrations we often get asked about our integration with Webex Training Center and Citrix Online's GoToTraining product. Customers and prospects wish to know what it is, why it is important and how it can help them. In this blog post we explore these issues further.In this blog we will discuss our Techniq Online Platform's integratation with Citrix Online's Gototraining product/service. Firstly, this integration with Citrix Online products like GoTo Training helps our clients manage all their training under one integrated platform. It serves as an integrated custom portal for all forms of training courses including self-paced courses, videos, podcasts, live in-person traditional classes and Citrix Online Training sessions. This portal acts as a single point of entry for all end-users – customers, partners, employees, administrators, course authors, managers etc.

Overview of the Flow

The Techniq Online University acts as the front-end to the end-user while communicating with Citrix Online products at the backend. This is completely transparent to the end-user. A registered user on our platform can sign up for a Citrix Online Training session and later join the session at the Event start time from the Techniq Online University or directly via the email they receive on registration. Administrators can schedule GoTo Training sessions from within our platform. In other words, they do not have to login to Citrix Gototraining. The Admin can also

Monday, October 15, 2012

eLearning Software as a Service (SaaS): Integration is key

The last decade has seen an explosion of Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. The elearning industry has also been influenced by this paradigm shift. The elearning industry turned from being virtually non existent to a multi billion dollar industry catering to a wide variety of learning and training needs (both profit and non-profit) across the globe during the last couple of decades. This phenomenal growth was further helped by the introduction of a variety of new technologies. Video hosting and streaming services, online meetings and virtual classroom technologies, online hosting and collaborating on documents, presentations etc have transformed the elearning industry. All these can be used separately or in conjunction with other technologies to enhance the online learning experience. Even social networking has its fair share of contribution in enriching the learning experience of millions by providing ways to conduct group discussions, collecting feedback or even by conducting informative debates on the subject material.

Another interesting recent development is the rise of mobile computing. Even though the mobile platform has huge potential, many people still consider mobile elearning to be a "nice to have", but not mission critical to their training offering. A primary reason for this is that most mobile screens are not sufficiently large enough to properly enjoy the courses. Moreover until recently courses were created using flash. Such courses don't work on Apple's iPad or iPhone (though flash supported browsers are available). So most often courses will have to be custom made for the mobile platform or old courses will have to be converted to HTML 5. The success of a mobile solution depends essentially on the content provided, ease of use and its seamless integration with the online learning application. 

With such diverse training methods and solutions available in the market, choosing the right platform will be a nightmare for the uninitiated. The previous post talks at length about the factors that should be considered before picking the right delivery platform. In this post

Monday, October 01, 2012

Picking the delivery platform

Over a decade ago, the most used and perhaps the only form of training used to be traditional live in-person classroom trainings. In fact, in many parts of the world this is the only form of training available even to this day. In this method of training, the instructor and the students have to be physically present in the class while the training is delivered. Even though classroom training is still the most predominant form of training today, time and resource constraints always restrict the scope of training. The planning and scheduling involved just makes this so much more cumbersome. 

The last decade has seen an explosion of a variety of other delivery mechanisms. With the advent of the internet era and recent technological advances, it is now possible to deliver training using a wide range of delivery mechanisms. One of the most obvious developments is the boom of virtual online training technologies. In this type of training, the Instructor and students are remotely located and the training is delivered live through the internet. These sessions can even be recorded and can be used for future references or delivered to a wider audience. It is far easier and cheaper to do this than professionally record a training session delivered in a live classroom.

Another common trend with the coming of the Internet is the creation and delivery of self paced courses. These are courses created using desktop tools like power point slides with audio and may contain animations, quizzes etc. Dedicated course authoring tools are also used to create self paced courses. Once these courses are created, they are hosted online and the end users visit the site and sign up for these courses. Self paced courses may contain a high level of user interaction like filling out forms, attending quizzes etc.Self paced trainings have the added advantage that the learner can control the pace of the training which helps in better understanding of the course material.

With increasing bandwidths and faster networks, videos have become a popular medium for delivering training. Video recordings are made available online through Youtube and other video streaming services. Videos can be a recorded training, lecture, webinar etc. Pod casts are also used for delivering training.

Lets take a look at some specific applications of online training based on our personal experience of working with customers. Consider a training manager at a restaurant chain.