posted by | Comments Off on Aura Software in the eLearning Guild’s ebook: “53 Tips on Using the Cloud for eLearning”

The nice people over at the eLearning Guild asked us to contribute some tips for their ebook:

“53 Tips on Using the Cloud for eLearning”

Here’s some of our quotables:

ELearning systems are useless if there’s no content to put in them. Develop your con- tent strategy first, and then decide where to host it.

To those who regularly use cloud-based services, it’s quite familiar to use online provid- ers for tooling around business functions like training and competency development. But some IT departments, and potentially other parts of your organization, may oppose these initiatives for a variety of reasons. Be prepared for some internal IT politics. You may encounter resistance because your solution is “different,” “scary,” or because it shifts jobs out of the company. If you have incumbent systems, your cloud-based initia- tive is sure to kick up some dust.

Launch a pilot before you get in too deep on a cloud-based system. Generally this involves creating an internal working group assigned to use the system for a month or two and give feedback. Of course, this only works if the working group is actually working. That said, if you have disgruntled users by the end of the pilot, you are prob- ably digging in the wrong place.

Although it’s not exclusive to the cloud, maintaining your user lists in an eLearning sys- tem can be quite a chore. Therefore, the functionality provided around maintaining and segmenting your users will become very dear to you, so try to find a system with pow- erful management features in this area. Ultimately you may want to just “sync” your master user list into your learning system, which means adding users who don’t exist and deactivating users who have left the organization. Sounds easy, but it can be quite complex in practice.

While your new cloud-based eLearning system may have some compelling features, remem- ber that if you decide to switch vendors later, extensive use of those features may lock you in to a place you no longer want to be. Using a transportable content format like SCORM helps en- sure that you can at least migrate your content should you decide to move along.

Putting your eLearning in the cloud means some of your content and data now resides in systems you don’t completely control. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to identify and implement basic security procedures. Simple things like using hard-to- guess passwords and deactivating unused accounts can go a long way. Have a secu- rity review before you launch.