Mission-critical 24/7 targeted online courses and testing
Simplify your training life: Utilize a robust set of FlexTraining templates for rapid course development and assembly.
This framework is the newest and best simplified online training system available.
One Stop Shopping
We respect your time and your budget. FlexTraining provides a complete portfolio of integrated E-Learning Software tools.
It is not necessary to buy a complete training platform
from one vendor, an authoring tool from another, and a tracking system from a third.
Re-use Your Existing Learning Materials
It is likely that you have already invested in creating operational materials that you use in classroom training
and informal information distribution.
Now, use our built-in templates and learner exercises to create a powerful E-Learning user experience.
On-demand Training For Large Groups
This kind of training is student-guided. A learner accesses the system when he or she is able to, from various locations and time zones.
This means 24 hours a day, seven days a week availability.
For large organizations, FlexTraining and our Login & Go service are an excellent fit.
1. Consider performance and processing speed. A dedicated server has only your FlexTraining copy running on it, with no other customers and
no other web sites. So performance should be noticeably improved, particularly during peak periods of
training, and especially when multimedia content is in use.
2. Separation of critical resources (rack server, memory, disk space, operating system) from everyone else.
A dedicated server allows for much easier trouble-shooting, simplified firewall configuration and it yields better
and faster support. If the system runs slow on a given day, we don’t have to perform extensive analysis and diagnostics
to determine which customer’s FlexTraining site is the cause. We know right where to look and how to start
resolving the problem. It's a win-win as the course delivery system can be quickly adjusted.
3. Eliminate impact of activity spikes from other large customers. In one case a few years ago, a huge video-based training
project was peaking, and the system load was pretty intense for a week or two, and other customers noticed an impact on their response time.
The next time, it is possible that spikes in the activity of other customers will impact (or have impacted) the
delivery of several courses. A dedicated server removes this potential problem.
A Complete Learning System
For nearly 20 years, e-learning has been praised as the single most important trend in organizational training. Yet many companies are still trying
to figure out how to make it work. Dis-satisfaction rates run high. One factor which may lead to complications is the lack of executive support, which may be reflected in a lack of
budget and staff resources.
But just as inportant is the ongoing concern about ease of use. While developers continuously claim that their systems are easy to use, evidence seems to run the other way.
As training systems seek to provide more and more features, they do so as the cost of simplicity, and e-learning course development seems to take alonger and longer.
In a manufacturing setting, the goal is to ensure that every employee is effective at the minimum set of tasks that he or she performs.
In a services firm, the goal may be to make sure everyone is familiar with every operation or service provided. Should the customer adapt, or should the learning system adapt?
FlexTraining is the only streamlined online education system which quickly adapts to your unique learning and collaborative model.
You can easily tailor the system to match your company's specific needs without programming or complex setup. For exaplme, Skill Groups may be defined,
assigned, and tracked, or they may simply be disabled with a single mouse click.
FlexTraining is an end-to-end E-Learning solution, providing all the components needed:
Interactivity for better knowledge retention
Course templates, Exercises, Certificates, and Exams
Instructor-led or student-paced training
Engaging content, text, multimedia, video support, images, and narration support
The ability to re-use your classroom learning content or create new learning material
Robust but simple planning, tracking, reporting and analysis
User-driven choices for course design, formats, policies, and behaviors
And you always have the option of licensing the FlexTraining system "behind the firewall" or simply using our "Login & Go" program, a SaaS model.
An E-Learning Software License
Many companies in yhe past hosted their own web server, and simply loaded the FlexTraining software platform directly
onto their internal network.
The customer handled hosting responsibilities like security, equipment
provisioning and data backups. Now, all FlexTraining customers will have their private system in the cloud, as self-hosting is no longer supported.
Some companies are not interested in licensing a server-based technology sich as an E-Learning system.
In these cases, our Login & Go service is the optimal solution.
Login & Go subscribers enjoy a complete development, management and training system with all system features built-in.
Login & Go is a streamlined option that eliminates technology and support costs, and is an economical way to
deliver on-demand training to hundreds or thousands of users.
This describes a training site where extra precautions have been taken to keep the data secure. Data may refer to course
material and/or student records and test scores. Care must be taken to consider exectly what training information needs to be protected.
Security techniques include passwords, role-based authorization for course authors and training managers, and encryption.
Recall that Phase 1 strategies were essentially Planning strategies and techniques.
The Create Learning Content phase of course development is where you create actual online learning material. You may decide to use HTML/text and images only. Or you might use other formats, such as video files, YouTube videos, PowerPoint files or audio narrations. Or you may decide to enter your material directly into the course-builder, which may be sufficient for very simple courses. A few years ago, Flash was the most popular format for creating engaging content. But those days are gone - Flash is quickly fading from the scene.
If you use multimedia files and image files, you will want to organize and back up these files into folders (with meaningful names), and eventually load them into the FlexTraining libraries.
Steps in the Creating Learning Content Phase
1. Understanding File Formats
Learning content may be developed and presented in a number of formats. Some formta sre useful for online training and some are not.
There are many options, and the choice of format is usually a tradeoff between ease of development, ease of delivery, and effectiveness. And yes, you can simply build PowerPoints, export them into image files, and import them into FlexTraining lessons using the PowerLesson tool. But there are many other options.
Below is a brief, non-exhaustive list of file formats commonly used in e-Learning projects:
Learning Content File Formats:
1: .htm .html asp, aspx
Fast delivery, easy to create. Easy to test.
2: Images such as .gif .jpg, png
Keep images fairly small for fast delivery. PNG format tends to be very large and slow. JPG is the most common format used.
3: Flash/HTML5 - .swf, html, htm
Dynamic, interactive. Difficult to create from scratch, but many tools can build Flash and from other formats.
Flash is essentially dead as a format, but it is still in use in some places.
4. Video/Audio Files like .mp4, .mp3
These are the best formats for video/audio. MP4 videos can be uploaded to YoiTube or Vimeo, and can also be downloaded from these services for use locally.
5. Streaming Video/Audio like YouTube, Vimeo
Faster than using raw files, works with all browsers, but some see security issues.
6. PowerPoint - .ppt .pps
Quick and easy development, but not suitable for delivery. Need to convert or save and import slides.
7. Word or Excel files - .doc, docx or .xls or .xlsx
Easy development. But content can be dry and "textish", and students will need Word/Excel to view.
8. PDF files - .pdf
Easy development. Content can be dry and slow, but can also be clean and professional. There are some nice-looking PDF files out there!
As a modern, flexible learning system, FlexTraining's course-builder (authoring tool) is not a file format, but rather a means to pull together content of various formats (especially text, images, video, audio and Flash/HTML5) into a consistent delivery and tracking interface with built-in navigation and bookmarking.
2. Subject Matter Determines Format
Your subject matter will often determine your choice of file formats and how you will actually build your learning content. For example, if you are training an audience on sales techniques and methods, you might choose a mix of text, images and audio narrations. MP4 video files or YouTube streaming video would be other good choices. In another example, training customers on how to use a new software product might best be initiated with a screen-capture tool, and then exported to video.
In some cases, your priority may be to get your training up and running quickly.
Iterative developmen can be a strategy that pays off over time and gets you some quick successes.
Thus you would develop content using text and images, where your long-term choice might have been narrated video files or streaming video. Fortunately, you can make gradual changes to your content after your project is launched without starting over or rebuilding an entire course.
3. Keeping it Simple
If you are like most FlexTraining course developers, the primary goal is to deliver and track effective training in a timely and cost-effective manner. Most developers need to take a realistic look at the people and resources available to them as they begin the task of developing learning material.
Sometimes people strive for complex, elegant training content where cleaner and simpler material would get the job done. Here are a few questions to ask yourself about the content you are developing:
Does the content make sense and flow logically? Ask a co-worker.
Is it clean and error-free? Typos and bad grammar can distract learners.
Is it interactive? FlexAuthoring's Learner Exercises make adding interactivity simple and easy.
Multimedia is a great way to spice up your content, but for many companies it is a luxury and might just as well be added in a subsequent development phase.
4. Shared & Re-usable in FlexTraining
Many people are concerned about spending time and resources to develop multimedia files for use in one training system, and then having to recreate everything if they change systems. This is an issue that should never come up. All your image and multimedia content should be completely re-usable once it is created.
FlexTraining uses built-in libraries to manage your images, audio, video and other multimedia content. In fact, your content files remain in these libraries at all times and can be used by as many courses as you like without creating additional copies or undergoing any type of conversion. This is a great benefit and is important to understand.
This architecture provides total re-usability for your media files, both within FlexTraining courses and outside of FlexTraining if you should decide to use another training system at some point in the future.
5. Software/Document/Forms Training
Online courses covering computer software, business forms or specialized documents would normally be best developed using a "screen-capture" tool such as Adobe Captivate, or Camtasia or even Movavi. These tools capture movement and data entry from your computer screen and produce video files as their output. These video files can then be placed in the FlexTraining Media Library and combined with the built-in navigation tools in the course-builder to create professional-looking training lessons.
As a simpler but less effective alternative, you could take "still images" of your documents or software screens and save them as GIF and JPEG files, using FlexAuthoring to combine them with text and built-in Learner Exercises.
6. Soft Skills and Streamlined Video Production
A course on phone-answering skills or sexual harassment might be termed a "soft skills" course. These courses would not likely utilize screen-shots or document images. More likely, you would shoot video clips of certain realistic scenarios involving your subject matter and use the videos in combination with text and navigation in FlexAuthoring.
Like a development process that starts with screen-capturing, direct video creation also ends with a collection of MP4 format files. And these can easily be loaded into YouTube for streaming delivery, or loaded into the FlexTraining libraries.
In this example, the production steps would be as follows:
Capture videos with a common digital video camera or even a mobile phone (or use a high-quality video camera, using a tripod and good quality microphone).
Edit your video using an inexpensive desktop video editor, such as PowerDirector or Movavi. Cut into segments of reasonable length.
Add transitions and titles for a professional look.
Publish or export the videos to MP4 format.
Load the finished videos into the FlexTraining Media Library (or upload to YouTube) for use in the courses you will soon be developing.
7. What you should have when you are finished
As you complete this phase, you should have a significant collection of media items at hand, including:
Images relevant to the subject matter being taught. Images should be cropped and resized to properly share the screen with headings, text, and/or learner exercises.
Larger images are OK because they will be shown at the relative size you specify in the learning screen that uses them, but they may slow delivery somewhat. Small images cause fuzzy-looking display.
Media item files, captured, converted and edited as needed.
Media files in your FlexTraining media library, uploaded from your computer.
An updated content development plan document, indicating what formats (text, image, audio, streaming video, video files) you plan to use for each course and section.
8. Success tips for the Create Learning Content phase
Most customers begin with modest ambitions for content formats (text and images, for example) to build their initial courses.
Consider your audience and the software they have on their computers. If your students won't have speakers on their computers, narrations will not be effective.
If you have the time and experience to develop audio narrations, they are a low-cost and easy way to add another dimension to your training.
If you decide to use video, consider less-than-full-screen dimensions like 800 X 600 or perhaps 480 X 360. This keeps file sizes manageable and leaves room for some text on the screen as well.
For Audio, an MP3 format is a good delivery format which uses small files and provides good quality. A WAV format sounds good, but uses very large file sizes.