Corporate Training & e-Learning Blog


Corporate Training Through Drama

You may not think it, but a key form of training could be missing from your repertoire. If you are not using drama in your corporate training routine, then you should think about adding it immediately. Here’s how this form of training can be such a powerful tool – and what it will help your employees to learn.

Improved Leadership Skills

The first area in which your team can improve their skills is in leadership. When using a drama workshop, trainees are often encourage to form groups and create their own short plays or role plays. This means that someone has to take charge. If you are concerned that some of your employees already have enough leadership authority, then you can select other employees to take charge. When they have to organise something very different to the workplace environment, they can learn a great deal. They may also be surprised to learn that in fact, organising a short piece can be very similar to organising a project. They will learn delegation, how to assign tasks based on skills, and how to manage conflicts between team members. They will also take responsibility for the efforts of the whole team and the results that they come up with.

Increased Creativity

Creativity can be essential in the workplace. It can aid with problem solving, as well as helping more effective strategies to be developed within projects. It’s also a fantastic attribute to help manage the work-life balance. You need to help your employees to develop this creative side, and how better to do that than by helping them to act? With a short drama workshop, they can be encouraged to write and perform their own plays. This will allow them to work on finding inspiration and developing ideas. It’s also very fulfilling for them to be able to see the results of their work come to fruition. Many creative pursuits are longer term, but this format allows them to put in the work and get feedback within a short space of time.

Enhanced Teamwork

Especially if the members of your groups work together in the office, you can really strengthen their ability to work as a team. This is key to getting the finished piece organised and performed to the best possible standard. They will learn how to offer constructive criticism, and how to take it. They will learn to adapt, and how to take the best parts of everyone’s ideas to make an overall project that works. Working as a team to complete their drama workshop is essential for making a more cohesive and collaborative workshop.

Better Personal Development

It is also important to encourage personal development in your employees, as well as self-belief. Some of them may be shy at the idea of role play or drama, thinking that they would never be able to put together a good performance. This is a common belief for most who have never tried it before. Once they get into the swing of things, they can however prove themselves wrong. The ability to perform and do well in the exercises will astound them, giving them more belief in themselves. It may even spark a newfound interest or hobby! What is important is that your employees not only learn new things, but also have a good time. This will help the lessons to stick, which is great for ongoing development.

If you are interested in putting together a training experience beyond the norm, this is definitely an option to explore. Rather than the normal boring options, it creates an experience to remember.

Guest Blog Contributor By-line:

Jessica Gust is a Marketing Assistant at a new postcode finder. She is passionate about new marketing strategies, she is always eager to share her ideas through blogging.


Creating E-Learning Content: How to Personalize Your Course's Content

When most people think of e-Learning, they think of clicking through a boring PowerPoint slide, watching a dated video, and then taking a short 10 question quiz with a pass/fail outcome. People see “mandatory training” and groan inwardly, knowing they get to sit through one more course hoping to pass so that they can forget about it and get on with their day. Which, as it happens, is the exact opposite of what you want in a training course. If you take the time to personalize your e-Learning content, you will find your employees more engaged, more interested, and more likely to retain the information presented during the training.

Why Personalize?

The short answer is because people are unique and all have different learning styles. The issues surrounding learning styles are complex and as different as individuals are. While one person may do fine with reading information, another may absorb the information better while participating in a hands on activity, and still another needs information repeated in order to make it stick. When you throw the same lesson plan at 25 different people, you’re going to have 25 different outcomes. When you find ways to personalize the course content for each person, you can greatly increase the effectiveness of the course.

So Where Do We Start?

When you’re looking to begin personalizing your training, you need to take a look at your audience (your employees) and determine the variables. You may have a few employees that are experts in the subject matter, while some need a refresher course, and still others really do need an introduction to the basics. One of the ways that you can begin each training module is to begin with a pre-test. This can help you determine which employees need the most training, so that you can tailor the content to them. Mid-performing people could use a “light version” to reinforce key points, and those that did well may be able to test out of the training. This can boost morale by not making proficient workers go through the drudgery of taking a course that they don’t need. It can also help you as an employer figure out where to best invest your time and resources in your team.

Software Considerations

If you’re a large company with a strong budget, investing in quality e-Learning software can really help your business meet training goals. Each employee is given a record, and you can keep up with what they have done, what they need to do, and how they have progressed throughout their time at your company. Having an easy to use, interactive program that welcomes people by name is a great way to eliminate some of the dullness from training. It allows them to see their past training history, as well as see what other training might be available to them, to sign up, and to see where their weaknesses are. This type of program can also identify those weaknesses, and tailor training paths to suit individuals.

Ways to Personalize

There are any number of ways that you can personalize e-Learning programs. Aside from the content issues addressed above, you can also allow users to personalize their learning style by giving them options. This allows them to choose everything from fonts and color-schemes, to the voice used to deliver audio content, and even how they choose to interact with the program. Are they using a tablet with a touchscreen? A computer with a standard mouse? All of these things can be altered by individuals to give them a more comfortable learning environment without altering the course content. Many programs even turn the learning process into a game, where you earn rewards for reaching certain milestones or getting a certain number of points.
Using Personalized e-Learning Content will help to improve retention, and empower employees to take an active interest in their training and education. It can streamline your training processes, and help you as an employer identify those employees that are in need of some more focused training, ensuring that your full staff is well-qualified for the job.

Guest Blog Contributor By-line:

Mary Frenson is a Marketing Assistant at, a new source of information on UK companies. Mary is always happy to share her marketing ideas and thoughts on business issues. In her free time she enjoys handicrafts.

7 Steps to an Effective E-Learning Training Strategy

E-learning creates endless possibilities for new ways to help our team to upskill. In a world where business practice constantly evolves all of us need to be on our toes and up to date with the latest trends and technology relevant to our industry. It’s no use management being on trend if our staff are left behind.

Below we will set out 7 steps which will help guide you towards creating an effective e-learning training strategy to ensure that your staff are getting the most out of their training and development program at work.

1.  Decide On Your Objectives & Plan Accordingly
Planning is essential in ensuring that the resources you put into e-learning are well spent. Identify what type of training is most needed within your organization at this time. Is the training required uniform across the board, or do you have a need for various types of training?

Take into consideration what skills the course will develop, how it will do this and what theoretical frameworks it will be based upon. Next, you need to consider the learners themselves, what are their requirements? We all learn in different ways and to ensure that your staff get the most value out of the e-learning training, you should aim to personalize the training insofar as possible.

By setting out your objectives in advance, it will be easy to measure the success of the program at the end.
2.  Make It User-Friendly
Above all else an e-learning environment must be user-friendly. If the learner has difficulty in navigating around the website or accessing the webinar then everything else becomes secondary. Pay close attention to making the material accessible to all staff and giving an introductory tutorial to make sure that everyone knows how to access their course.

The language used should be clear and concise, learners want and need to be able to extract the relevant information without having to wade through extra academic style details which do not pertain to how they will use the skills they are developing.

3.  Give Students a Plan
Many learners feel more secure when they are given a clear overview of the course syllabus. Knowing what material they will cover in the coming weeks allows them to do preparatory work if they wish and relieves stress that may arise out of the unknown. This course overview should also outline what is expected of the students, and how they can expect to be assessed.

4.  Get Them Talking
Group interaction and collaborative learning is sometimes seen as not particularly relevant to an e-learning syllabus. However, overlooking this aspect of training may leave students feeling isolated leading to a lack of interest in the training. Not everyone enjoys group work, but it is a feature of most workplaces and even those who don’t enjoy it will probably expect some degree of collaboration during their training. Collaborative activities where students work together to solve a problem create a wonderful learning opportunity for everybody involved. Each learner can contribute the skills that they have been developing, contributing to the good of the whole, and students can identify different ways of approaching tasks.

Social media is useful for collaborating, as are forums where ideas can be exchanged.

5.  Set Up an Assessment Strategy
Any training program requires an element of assessment to ensure that the learners are processing and retaining the relevant information. It also allows the students to put what they have learned in the e-classroom to practical use. Some people will prefer to assess the students at the end of each module with a simple multiple choice quiz, while others opt for a collaborative group project at the end of a unit.

How the learners will be assessed should be agreed upon before they begin their course, and outlined to them so that they can prepare for it as they progress. Assessment not only gives you as the e-learning coordinator the chance to see how staff are progressing with their training, but it also gives the learners a sense of achievement which will drive them forward and keep them motivated.

6.  Solicit Feedback
It is important to ask for feedback to check that your e-learning program is actually delivering what you hoped it would. Be sure to discuss the learning outcomes with both the learners themselves and their team leaders, this will allow you to see if the both parties have derived benefit from the training. Where the learner feels that they have, but their team leader is not seeing it, then perhaps the training needs to be tweaked to ensure that it is more relevant to the worker’s daily workload.

You can solicit feedback using online surveys, face to face chats or online chats where the learners come together for a session.

7.  Keep the Learning Going
Many learners, and indeed, instructors can tend to see training and development as having a set start and finish date. While this may be strictly true, training within an organization should be approached as ongoing. Life itself is a constant journey on the path of learning, why should work be any different. Encourage your staff to engage with their career development in this light. Set up structures by which they can approach you with regard to continuing their learning once they have completed one e-learning course. Perhaps there is an advanced course you could run or a course of study which will complement the first one. Every time your staff upskill in a way that improves their productivity and sense of purpose at work you will see the return in spades.

I hope that this overview has given you a few ideas on how to get started implementing your own corporate e-learning training strategy. With adequate planning and a positive approach, you may find that e-learning can make a huge difference to staff morale in your workplace.

Guest Blog Contributor By-line:

David Grover is a Communications Manager at Timeo, a useful tool for businesses in the UK. He’s also a freelance career coach, who’s always eager to share his experience. In his free time, he enjoys traveling.


Benefits of Mobile Learning Programs for Your Employees

Employee training is a non-negotiable factor in reaching your business goals. An organization cannot grow if its workers aren't growing themselves – and there's no better stimulus for professional development than workplace education. Today's difficult economy motivates many enterprises to cut down on employee training expenses, but they're clearly unaware of the value of employee education to the health of an organization.

The National Center of the Educational Quality of the Workforce reveled in a recent study that a 10% increase in workforce education level results in an 8.6% percent gain in total productivity. ( This statistic proves that employee productivity is directly connected to the amount of training they receive. Employers who want to grow and efficiently operate their businesses simply must invest in employee training.

Fortunately, today's ever-present mobile devices offer many interesting opportunities for flexible and cost-effective worker education. Here are some key benefits of mobile learning for your employees and organization.

Employees find it easy to learn on mobile

To put it simply, employees like to use their mobile devices and once they see that learning can be as easy as glancing at a smartphone or tablet in a free minute, they'll be motivated to do it on a regular basis. Mobile learning allows learners to access content from any device and any corner of the world. Some mobile learning apps work in offline, so access to the internet is not even an issue. Mobile learning provides a great user experience and it's definitely user-friendly.

Mobile learning delivers key data whenever needed

It's clear that mobile devices are constantly on, connected to the web and within easy reach of employees, helping them to access relevant information at any time. Mobile learning is great for just-in-time (JIT) training – it can be refresher modules on product specifications, pricing details, and other kinds of time-sensitive information. By having all this information at their fingertips, employees can easily boost their performance, improving their decision making processes and ensuring better customer satisfaction. Additionally, mobile learning empowers people – just as stated in the 2012 report Mobile Learning: Driving Business Results by Empowering Employees in the Moment: "Putting learning in the palm of people’s hands — exactly what they need, when they need it — can have an immediate positive effect on the bottom line". (

Mobile devices can quickly distribute learning

The mobile age brings greater mobility of your staff and this impacts the ways in which enterprises train their employees. Investing in training opportunities onsite is rapidly diminishing. Many employees frequently travel or work on the move – this means that they spend lots of time without access to laptops or desktop computers. mLearning is a great solution here because it allows companies to easily spread learning materials to employees, full of practical knowledge about many areas of business. The power of mobile learning lies in the fact that it connects employees to all the knowledge and expertise they need, exactly when and where they need it. It addresses any potential learning need at any time.

Mobile learning is flexible

This is a key benefit brought by mobile learning. Flexibility offered by mobile learning solutions can be interpreted in different ways. First, there's the flexibility of time and space, where workers can choose the location and time of learning themselves. Moreover, they're also free to choose the device for their learning, as long as it can correctly display learning materials. The learning itself is also more flexible because it can integrate a wide variety of formats, including podcasts or videos.

Mobile learning helps to save time

This kind of learning will fit into the busiest schedules. It requires less time than instructor-led training or long eLearning programs. Instead of taking an entire course, learners can access training modules themselves to learn exactly what they need to know. This reduces the time which needs to be dedicated to training, minimizing productivity losses. Employees should be equipped with appropriate skills and knowledge as quickly as possible – and this is something that only mLearning can offer. Learners can consume small amounts of content every time, and study it whenever they like.

Improved completion rates and higher retention

Already in 2007, the Mobile Learning and Student Retention Report showed that mLearning brings higher retention rates. ( And no wonder – with its bite-sized or micro-learning approach, mLearning offers a learning environment which makes it easier for learners to initiate learning and motivates them to complete it, fostering their knowledge retention.

Mobile performance support

Today, mobile learning is recognized as a beneficial approach for providing performance support intervention. It's safe to say that mobile devices are a part of every employee's work environment. Delivering performance support solutions directly into their mobile devices, employers are facilitating easy access to information while at work and improving the probability of its usage and retrieval.

Higher engagement in mobile

The 2010-2011 Horizon Report has already shown us the value of mobile learning in fostering learner engagement with the learning materials. ( Mobile learning experiences are more immersive and countless statistics reveal that a higher number of learners complete courses through mLearning than through traditional training or even cutting-edge eLearning solutions.

Well-defined learning path

Mobile devices offer an excellent measure to help learners see and update their learning path, showing learning as a continuous process. Many employees organize their lives through their mobile devices and by integrating links to these apps, mLearning solutions help learners to save time and accurately plan their learning. This is also relevant to alleviating the impact of the so-called Forgetting Curve which defines the exponential nature of forgetting. According to experts, we tend to forget 80% of what we've learned during the last 30 days. A short training period once a year cannot be expected to hold real impact over employee performance for a long time. Having regular access to a variety of mLearning materials works against the Forgetting Curve and helps employees to make the most from the learning opportunity.

Mobile learning is a solution which brings lots of benefits to companies that decide to invest in learning programs organized on mobile devices. It improves knowledge retention rates, boosts learners' engagement with materials, empowers employees to develop new job skills and appeals to all those talents who are constantly looking for non-traditional learning opportunities to help them grow. mLearning creates a swift learning process which is bound to positively affect employee productivity at an enterprise.

Guest Blog Contributor By-line:
Carol Williams is a team member at Honeybells - a fruit shipping firm from Florida. She has an intense background in mLearning which she combines with her passion for anything tech and mobile related.

6 Tips for Designing Effective M-Learning Apps for Your Corporate Training

Mobile learning makes everything a little easier. Schedules are more navigable, and you don’t have to plan for an instructor to deliver real-life training. This new standard changes the playing field. With the advent of mobile training, employees are able to learn from anywhere, and have easy access to information if they need to look something up. As long as the app is designed properly, you’ll get more from mobile learning than you ever could from traditional training.

1. Know what you want to cover
It’s useless to have a corporate training app just for the sake of having one. If the information is too general, no one is gaining anything. If it’s too specific, employees may lose sight of the big picture. Break down the elements of your training into blocks. Each block should have a main point that shows its relationship with smaller points. Breaking things into thorough but bite sized pieces is the best way to go.

2. Figure out how you’re making it available
What platforms do you need to reach with your app? If everyone has a company phone, you’ll want to design your training app specifically for that platform. If your employees use their personal phones, you’ll have to adapt your app for a variety of platforms. The content should read the same on every app. While there may be some aesthetic differences, the key is to make everything cohesive across the board. Everyone should have access to the same info.

3. Add some social elements
The only downside to m-learning is that users typically work within the apps independently. You’re losing the element of discussion you could get at a face-to-face training table. Discussions promote knowledge and are necessary for exchanging ideas. People may have questions and no one to answer them. Work social elements into your app to build a sense of community among employees and instructors.

4. Create video content
There’s more to mobile learning apps than fun graphics and comical sound effects. Working video content into your training app can help people understand complex processes, such as how to work certain pieces of equipment or software that may be pertinent to their jobs. Whether you want to utilize videos of real people or cartoon animation, having a moving representation of what you’re trying to explain will help visual learners perfect their knowledge.

5. Let the learner become the instructor
Role playing exercises are common in corporate training, especially when it comes to customer service situations. We use these techniques because they work by giving everyone a chance to showcase and strengthen what they’re best at. Utilizing features such as user submitted quizzes and polls in your app is great for engagement, and it allows everyone to showcase just how much they know.

6. Encourage feedback
If your app isn’t working for someone, they may not speak up – and that’s especially true if they believe everyone else understands it just fine. Always seek feedback from your employees about how your mobile learning programs are working for them. If you find people are having difficulty, it may be time to redesign the interface or simplify the information. People are willing to tell you how they want to learn, as long as you’re willing to listen.

It can seem overwhelming and confusing at first to throw away a traditional method in favor of an innovation, but the results are worth it. Once you implement mobile learning in your workplace, you’ll never want to go back to training the old way. 

Guest Blog Contributor By-line:
Monique Craig is interested in digital marketing and branding. She’s part of the team at Oneflare [], Australia’s online marketplace for local service providers.


Why Cloud Based Learning is the Next Big Hit in Corporate Training

Smartphones can do an amazing amount of things, and educating employees is only one thing on that long list. Since nearly everyone has a smartphone, more employers are choosing to offer education to their employees through this medium. M-learning, the trend of education via mobile devices, has really taken off in recent years, and it’s no wonder why.  M-learning utilizes the cloud to distribute information to employees, and an increasing number of businesses are eager to jump on this innovation.

Excellent Savings

Cloud based learning is far more cost effective than traditional training. Instead of having to hire a trainer, print up tons of training materials, and work out schedules to get everyone together at the exact same time, cloud based learning eliminates many aspects of this process. All you have to do is establish one set of training material, upload it to the cloud, and have your employees access it. You’re not going to incur any additional costs along the way.

Enable Remote Learning

Training doesn’t have to be scheduled around business trips. With cloud based learning, your employees have equal access to the material, no matter where they are. They’ll be able to reference the material if they need clarification in a business situation, and that will streamline processes. Everyone is able to get on the same page at the same time with remote access.


As soon as you compile your training material, you can place it on the cloud. Cloud Learning Management systems are simpler than traditional systems. The cloud host manages everything you upload to it, and you won’t have to deal with any technical aspects. In the blink of an eye, everyone will have immediate access to their learning materials. Should any maintenance be required or any technical hang ups occur, the cloud staff will handle them immediately. No one’s learning experience will be interrupted due to any down time.

Full Integration

The materials can be accessed on any device. HR, upper management, and all other employees can access the same material across any device. Whether it’s their personal smartphone or tablet or their work computer, the lessons will exist on all platforms. No one will have to bounce back and forth between systems to get the most of their lesson.

Size Flexibility

Not every employee will need the same training, and cloud learning takes that into account. Whether you’re attempting a small and generalized training lesson, a series of moderate lessons, or specific lessons for certain types of employees, the cloud can accommodate it. Even if a single employee needs extra help in a certain area, cloud learning makes the process easier. Small or large, simple or complex, the cloud can handle anything you throw at it.

Simplicity of Learning

When corporate learning systems are on the cloud, the process is made infinitely easier. Having that wealth of information at your employees’ disposal will ensure that they’re adequately informed. Training is one of the most important things you can offer to your employees, and no employer can pass up the opportunity to educate their employees. If everyone is adequately trained, they’ll be able to do their jobs with maximum efficiency, which will lead to a boost in productivity.

With cloud learning, innovation is on your side. Taking advantage of technological advances to better your workplace is a no-brainer. Educated employees are more likely to succeed, and your business will go where your employees take it.

Guest Blog Contributor By-line:
Jasmine Cooper is a tech-savvy marketing specialist working at Get Qualified Australia, a company providing skill recognition & RPL services. In her free time, Jasmine enjoys self-improvement literature. 


5 Ways to Convince Your Boss to Spring for the Online Training You Need

Times are tight. Though you may have found an online training program that will teach you the skills you need to get to the next level in your career or at your company, your boss may not want to pay for the training. With so many companies cutting their budgets and freezing spending, not many managers are open to what they see as "unnecessary" spending for employee training.

No matter how reluctant your boss is to spend the money, you can convince him (or her) to pay for your online training if you are persuasive enough. Here are a few tips:

Show How It Will Improve Your Performance

Online training is an investment -- for you and for your boss. In order to convince your boss to make that investment, you need to show what the reward will be. Make a case for how the training will have a direct impact on your job. Perhaps it's an SEO training course that will help you to improve your company's site ranking and increase traffic. Or maybe it's a training course on effective communication that will help you improve department relationships and provide better customer service.

The more specific you can be in showing how the training will improve your performance, the better the likelihood that you will get the approval you seek.

Offer to Train Others on What You Have Learned

You can provide more bang for your company's buck by offering to train your co-workers on the education that you get. You can present the concepts you've learned in a summary of your training, or you can create your own training module based on the knowledge you've gained.

Be careful that you do not violate any copyright rules. Do not use proprietary information or materials in your training. Focus instead on creating your own training.

Ask to Do the Training at Home

In addition to the financial investment, time may be an issue. There may be projects that require too much of your time to allow you the free time to complete the training. You can get around this obstacle by offering to complete the training on your own time at home. While you may not be getting paid for the time, you will be doing something that will pay off later.

Show Why the Program Is a Savings

There are usually many options for your online training. You can show that the program you have chosen offers savings over the other options available. In comparison to what else is available, you can make it seem like the program is a bargain-basement savings. You can make it seem like you'd be losing money if you didn't sign up for the program.

Secure Discounts

Some online training programs may offer scholarships, grants or discounts to some students. Find out what's available, and apply for whatever you can get. Whatever reduction you can get will help you to make your case more easily.

Training for workers may be tight in many companies, but you can use these tips to improve your chances of convincing your boss to let you get the online training you need. Start looking for opportunities today and get your pitch ready!
Guest Blog Contributor By-line:
Alexis Bonari contributed today's post.  Her website is  She also writes guest posts for other websites and blogs.


Skills the Online Classroom Builds for Corporate Success

The online versus traditional classroom debate has been going on for some time now. You can't get through one blog on eLearning or modern education without finding a discussion of the pros and cons of the digital classroom and online degree programs. The debate has been going for some time now and has seen many different facets and opinions. While online schools were shunned from the start, today they have grown and flourished into highly regarded institutions for higher learning. Today, rather than simply disregarding online learning as a lesser option to brick-and-mortar schools, people are beginning to see the two entities as options for different learning styles and lifestyles. There are many people who can benefit and really grow from their experience in the online classroom. Online learning facilitates many of the same skills traditional learning does, but has a few added elements. As our society becomes more and more married to the online and digital world, a comfort and ease in these areas becomes very important in the professional world.  The following three skills, essential in the corporate world today, are established and perfected in the online classroom.

Text-Based Communication

As text messaging, online instant messaging, and emailing become expected methods of communication, the ability to communicate clearly through text is vital in business. Proper etiquette in professional emailing and professional communication is very important. Though it might sound silly, text-based communication can actually be a very challenging thing for many individuals. There are those who struggle with communicating their thoughts in writing and who struggle with natural communication through text. Face-to-face communication is a very different game than text-based discussion. Online classes and online learning can actually provide a really strong foundation for text-based communication. Students have to use email, text, and instant messaging to convey any of their thoughts, ideas, or questions to professors and classmates. Online students gain an important familiarity with text communication and non-traditional discussion.

Flexible Learning Style

Above almost all else, online learning promotes a flexible learning style. Students are thrown into a very foreign way of learning and taking in information. The online classroom can take a lot of adjusting to conform to. This ability to quickly adapt to new atmospheres and methods can be extremely valuable in the corporate world. In business, there is a lot of fluidity and change. Individuals who are able to flow with change and new approaches easily tend to succeed in the professional business world. As an online student, you'll have to learn new technologies quickly and easily. New platforms are introduced and new classroom techniques are used depending on the professor's preferences. This ability to quickly adjust and learn is extremely useful in the corporate world.

Self-Motivation and Drive

Pursuing an online degree is often done completely solo. In many cases, students who embark on the path of an online degree do so on their own accord. Online students do not have the traditional built-in support system of a campus full of other students pursuing the same goals. This means that online students typically have to demonstrate significant self-determination and motivation to succeed in an online program. While you have the support of your school, professors, and classmates, the support is not as immediately available and apparent at times. This self-motivated drive is an invaluable trait to possess in the business world. Corporate leaders are individuals who can motivate themselves to really go the extra distance and succeed. Self-motivation and drive are essential in the corporate world and often found within online students.

Guest Blog Contributor By-line:
Patricia Garza is an education blogger and freelance writer. She is passionate about all things education related and regularly writes about regionally accredited online schools. Patricia uses her knowledge of the online education world to help students and graduates make the most of their degree experience. You can reach her in the comments below.

15 Free Learning Sites You Haven’t Heard of Yet

It can be hard to keep up with the ever-growing list of free educational sites out there, much less distinguish which ones will best meet your needs and help you learn skills you really need without shelling out big bucks. New sites are always being launched and even those that have been on the scene for a while sometimes don’t garner enough attention to make it onto your radar, often getting overshadowed by more high-profile sites. As a result, even those who are in the ed tech loop can miss out on some seriously helpful free learning sites. Here we highlight just a few of these under-the-radar free learning sites, that run the gamut from providing full degree programs to simple job-skill training tools, offering a little something for every kind of learner. 
  1. Scitable:

    Scitable, created by NatureEducation, is an online collaborative space for science learning. Visitors to the site can browse or search through science articles and ebooks, ask experts science-related questions, build an online classroom, or even share their own content. Materials on the site are focused on the life sciences, but there are also numerous resources that can help learners start or accelerate a career in science.
  2. TVO:

    Similar to PBS, the Ontario-based television station offers many of the same educational resources and opportunities for learning. Even if you can’t tune in live, you can take advantage of dozens of videos on topics like science, nature, business, tech, education, and culture. Connected to TVO is Big Ideas, a site that offers videos that touch on important and engaging topics like mathematics, economics, and even urban design. Other resources include educational tools for parents and kids, civics education on Canadian government, and access to loads of compelling documentaries.
  3. Saylor:

    While sites like Coursera and Udacity have been drawing the most attention on the free education front these days, Saylor has largely flown under the radar. Created in 2008, the site offers nearly 250 free courses online, with topics centered on the 10 highest enrollment majors in the U.S. In addition to taking classes, learners can participate in discussion forums (organized by topic), track courses and print transcripts, and may soon even be able to access free textbooks.
  4. GCF

    This North Carolina-based site is produced by Goodwill Industries and focuses on helping people from all walks of life build skills in technology, literacy, and math that will help them find work. All classes offered by the site are entirely free, and even come complete with mobile apps that make it possible to learn on-the-go. Currently, there are over 750 free lessons that teach everything from how to use Microsoft Office to basic addition and subtraction.
  5. University of the People:

    The brainchild of educational entrepreneur Shai Reshef, University of the People is a tuition-fee, nonprofit, online academic institution that offers access to undergraduate degree programs in business administration and computer science. It maintains relationships with Yale, NYU, Hewlett-Packard, and the Catalyst Initiative to supply students with opportunities for research, future study, and internships. While the site focuses on helping learners in developing nations, students from nearly 130 different nations have been accepted (tuition is free, but you still have to apply).
  6. Engineering for Change:

    Engineering for Change isn’t a traditional learning site with videos, courses, and lessons. Instead, it’s a live, interactive webcast that allows participants to learn and interact with others in engineering. It’s also a chance to play an active role in helping to solve humanitarian engineering issues. A new topic is addressed every month, and anyone interested in becoming more involved or learning more about engineering is encouraged to sign up.
  7. The Faculty Project:

    Through The Faculty Project, learners can get access to professors from prestigious schools like Dartmouth, Vassar, Duke, and Northwestern, to name just a few. There are dozens of courses and lectures to choose from, covering a broad spectrum of topics. Launched just this year, the site is slowly building up a great collection of resources that can help students learn through video, PDF, PowerPoint, discussion boards, and educational articles.
  8. Textbook Revolution:

    There are a growing number of sites out there that are dedicated to providing users with access to free textbooks. Textbook Revolution is among them, and while it hasn’t received as much attention as some others, it’s still a solid place to look for free educational resources. Currently, the site offers up access to dozens of textbooks, ranging in topic from accounting to chemistry.
  9. Learnthat:

    Learnthat is an excellent place to explore tutorials that cover business, technology, and finance. Visitors to the site can learn how to improve their skills in Excel, digital marketing, or even management, through hundreds of helpful articles, videos, and photos.
  10. University of Reddit:

    Most web-savvy individuals have heard of Reddit, but many may not be familiar with the University of Reddit. The site offers anyone the chance to share their expertise through class lectures and videos with others in the web. Currently, the site is home to educational materials in art, computer science, general studies, language, math, music, philosophy, science, and social studies, which means most things are covered. If they’re not, learners are always welcome to add their own educational content.
  11. MentorMob:

    MentorMob doesn’t supply any educational content of its own, but is an excellent tool for bringing together resources from other sites, organizing them, and sharing them with others. Users can create their own “playlists” of educational material or browse through existing collections compiled by other users. While it has been featured in a number of major publications, the site doesn’t have the widespread attention that others generate, but that could change as the Pinterest-like functionality helps users to create incredibly useful lists for learning.
  12. Memrise:

    Memrise promises to help users learn through a combination of brain science, fun, and community. Much of the content is game-based and highly visual, offering visitors to the site the chance to boost their skills in a variety of languages, or even to learn more about topics like cheese, herbs, and fish.
  13. LearnersTV:

    LearnersTV brings together videos, audio lectures, science animations, lecture notes, online tests, presentations, and publications to offers visitors a wide range of material with which to learn. Those looking for an in-depth experience can find entire courses, while those just doing cursory research can browse through short articles and PowerPoints.
  14. Grovo:

    Knowing how to use technology is an essential skill in today’s job market, but with so many new technologies popping up all the time, it can be hard to keep up with them all. That’s where Grovo can help. The online learning site specializes in offering video lessons on top Internet products. Visitors to the site can expand their knowledge of sites like Twitter, Gmail, Facebook, and WordPress, or just learn a bit more about netiquette and online marketing.
  15. Alison:

    Alison offers free online courses and certification through 400 different courses in 10 different course categories. Launched in 2007, the site helps people from around the world earn certification in topics like legal studies, psychology, health studies, project management, and human resources. All content is free but to get a copy of your certification, you’ll have to shell out about $20.
This post was originally published on  Thank you Online College for sharing this great information with us!


3 Types of e-Learning Courses That Benefit Most New Hires

You may already provide your new hires with some sort of technical training to help them perform their specific jobs according to your standards. You may not, however, provide them with any sort of training that will enhance their general performance as staff members. There are numerous e-learning courses and online training options available to employers that help employees gain the essential professional skills they sometimes lack. If you're deciding or re-evaluating which e-learning courses you invest in for your new hires, you may want to consider these useful types of courses:

1. Business Writing
Numerous recent studies indicate that employees often lack crucial business writing skills. In fact, one study indicates that around a third of employees don't meet their employers' expectations when it comes to written communication. Knowing how to write memos, emails, and technical documents is a critical part of what most people do at work. If they can't successfully execute these basic writing tasks, they simply can't perform their jobs as well as they should. As an employer, you can help equip your new hires with the written communication skills they need by providing them with access to business writing e-learning courses and training.

2. Interpersonal Communication
Employers frequently lament the fact that their employees lack certain important soft skills, including interpersonal communication skills. While most workers start a new job with basic interpersonal skills, not all are prepared for the amount of teamwork and collaboration that will be expected of them at a truly innovative business.

The more professional communication skills your employees have, the better they'll be able to work together to meet your business's needs. Interpersonal communication training and courses can definitely inspire your new hires to think meaningfully about the ways they communicate with each other on the job. Investing in interpersonal communication education for your new hires often just makes sense.

3. Leadership
You probably aspire for all of your employees to become business leaders. A staff that's comprised of talented leaders with vision is inarguably the best kind of staff to have. Even if your new hires aren't taking on leadership roles, online leadership courses and training will prepare them to act as leaders on their teams and allow them to inspire other staff members to produce their very best work. Plus, leadership training often boosts morale and is an indication to new employees that you're dedicated to their career development.

E-learning courses that help your employees become better writers, communicators, and leaders may seem like superfluous expenses, but they can have a huge impact on how effectively your business runs. So, consider the types of e-learning courses listed above, and remember that investing in your employees' professional development almost always pays off!

Guest Blog Contributor By-line:
Kate Willson is a professional writer and blogger. Well-versed in all topics pertaining to e-learning, Kate frequently contributes to top online education sites, including Please leave your comments and questions for Kate below!

3 Important Teaching Strategies for Corporate Training Newbies

When someone studies to become a teacher, they learn a number of different teaching strategies that help them effectively impart knowledge to students. Corporate trainers with advanced degrees in adult education are also often exposed to similar strategies as a part of their academic preparation. In contrast, many internal employees who take on training duties at their companies aren't familiar with effective teaching strategies. Many of them are selected to train new and current employees because they are good at their jobs and not necessarily because they're skilled educators. Unfortunately, this can mean that their training efforts don't quite achieve the desired results.

If you've recently been assigned the task of training staff members at your company, and you don't have much prior training experience, here are three important teaching strategies you may want to consider:

1. Differentiation
This strategy essentially involves tailoring your instruction to the specific needs of your trainees. When differentiating, a teacher might present information to a class orally, then show them a video of the same presentation, and end the lesson with a hands-on activity. This would, in theory, give auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners a chance to grasp the information, since the information was presented in ways that are compatible with the different learning styles of individual students. As a trainer, you should try to differentiate in the same way by orally explaining concepts, providing visuals to support your oral instruction, and facilitating hands-on exercises.

Another part of differentiation is changing up your instruction when some part of it isn't working. If you notice that a particular PowerPoint slide or video doesn't quite get the point across well enough to your trainees, it may benefit you to ditch it and find a different way to communicate the concept you're trying to teach.

2. Assessment of Understanding
One of the most critical things educators are taught to do is to check for understanding. Inexperienced teachers and trainers will often present information to students and trainees without asking them questions about that information. Think about all those quizzes and tests you took in school. You took those for a reason: so your teacher could assess whether or not he or she taught the material well enough. As a trainer, it's a good idea for you to assess how well your trainees understand what you're teaching too. So, ask them questions after you present new concepts and teach them new skills. This will help you figure out if you need to adjust how you're presenting the information.

3. Relationship Building
Learners are more likely to stay mentally engaged with what they're learning if they like and respect their teacher. This is something that's true of K-12 students, college students, and adult students in corporate environments. And it's something first-year teachers who are too distant and stern often learn the hard way. When you're training staff members at your company, it's helpful for you to establish a rapport with them. You can do this in simple ways, such as telling jokes, praising them when they participate, and peppering your lessons with personal anecdotes. Once you win them over, they'll be a lot more receptive to what you're trying to teach them.

Inexperienced trainers sometimes feel uncomfortable during the first few training sessions they lead. Don't be too hard on yourself if everything doesn't go as you plan in the beginning. If you're an expert at what you're teaching as a trainer and you use effective teaching strategies like the ones listed above, you'll become a skilled corporate educator in no time.

Guest Blog Contributor By-line:
Nancy Wood is a former educator, freelance writer, and blogging enthusiast who writes for and other e-learning related sites. Please feel free to leave comments for Nancy below. She loves hearing from her readers!


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