learndirect provides distance learning, online courses, part and full time classroom courses throughout the UK and is recognised as the premier provider of Functional Skills for colleges and Apprenticeships in the childcare, health and social care, hospitality, IT and retail sectors.
learndirect is all about helping people reach their goals. Its vision is to inspire people to realise their potential and every day around 10,000 people log on to learndirect’s learning to complete a wide variety of training and educational courses.
learndirect had been using a variety of eLearning authoring tools to produce eLearning for many years, but they were aware of the limitations of a non-HTML5 based solution, such as limited output for mobile devices and limited support for older browser versions.
With the demand for online courses increasing, and the way in which courses are accessed changing, learndirect sought to replace the use of various authoring tools with a modern, easy to use, fully featured eLearning authoring tool, which could produce eLearning courses for consumption on a wide range of device types, including tablets.
learndirect was also determined to select an authoring solution that provides excellent value for money and a readily demonstrable return on investment (ROI).
“As you would expect we underwent a rigorous evaluation process to select the right technology partner,” said Mark Marshall, Learning Technology Development and Implementation Manager at learndirect. “Following the evaluation of 12 eLearning authoring tools, we chose CM Group and its eLearning authoring tool as the ideal solution to meet our needs.”
CM Group’s eLearning authoring platform has been designed to enable organisations to create large volumes of high quality, engaging, HTML5 based eLearning courses. Because it outputs eLearning in HTML5 format rather than Flash, the eLearning courses are able to work on the widest possible range of device types, including mobiles. eLearning courses created can not only be accessed via traditional PCs and laptops, but also via mobile devices such as iPads, Android and Windows tablets.
Being able to create courses in HTML5 format reduces the cost of eLearning creation, as it removes the need to produce multiple versions of a single course. This was a key requirement for learndirect as it meant it could produce a single course version for customers whichever their chosen device and browser. learndirect also needed a fully collaborative authoring solution, which enables multiple authors, editors and testers to access a given course and work on it together. CM Group’s eLearning authoring platform optionally enables this collaborative effort by holding the course on a central server to allow multiple authorised workers to access either the whole course, or selected parts of it. Authors then download parts of the course onto their PC and the server locks the pages being worked on, preventing multiple versions of a course part. With full audit trail central back-ups and version control, CM Group’s eLearning authoring platform provides a powerful and efficient authoring environment for even the largest eLearning producer.
CM Group’s eLearning authoring platform occasionally connected architecture enables authors to make changes whilst offline, and then reconnect to check in the updates to the central environment. This ability to work both online and offline enables authors to work anywhere and anytime.
“We identified we required a solution which was easy to use, highly flexible and collaborative. CM Group’s eLearning authoring platform was the best fit,” said Mark.
With CM Group’s eLearning authoring platform, non-technical specialists are able to quickly and easily create eLearning courses, and can deliver high-quality results much faster. The platform outputs eLearning courses to any SCORM compliant learning management system (LMS) or virtual learning environment.
Mark commented, “CM Group’s eLearning authoring platform has enabled us to create and update our courses quickly and publish them to the highest production standards. It has also enabled our staff to quickly and easily create interactive and engaging learning materials.”
learndirect’s authors and a number of remotely based sub-contractors are provided a set of page templates and a set of custom HTML5 interactions, created outside of CM Group’s eLearning authoring platform. Authors then work alongside subject matter experts (SMEs) to produce the HTML5 based eLearning courses.
Mark added, “The ability to provide our authors with page templates was very important to us. It has enabled us to maintain a high level of quality and consistency over our courses. Using custom templates, we can ensure that each course has a same look and feel, and that each meets our standards. The security features are also very important features for us. We are able to restrict the access levels of our authors to view or amend courses defined by their user roles. We are also able to define timeframe parameters for our authors, this is particularly important during periods when associate authors are used.”
To ensure the quality of the eLearning courses meets the levels required, learndirect insists on strict quality control processes, which includes a comprehensive review process. Using CM Group’s eLearning review and feedback portal, learndirect is able to review the eLearning courses in a collaborative and secure environment. Reviewers can provide feedback and add review comments in tracked discussion threads. Unlike gathering feedback through email or documents, which is time consuming, inefficient and error prone, CM Group’s eLearning review and feedback portal provides an efficient and reviewer-friendly method to provide their feedback. This has accelerated learndirect’s review and approval process.
In addition to the capabilities of CM Group’s eLearning authoring platform, a key element for learndirect was CM Group’s expertise in delivering innovative learning solutions. Through the expert support provided by CM Group, learndirect can ensure both their current and future needs are met.
Mark concluded, “An advantage of working with CM Group is they produce eLearning courses for some of the largest companies in the world. They have been able to build their experiences into their authoring platform, making it an easy and efficient system to use. With their ongoing commitment to the product we know the solution will continue to evolve as our own business needs evolve.”