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Thursday Sep 29, 2011

Help your Helpdesk

Of all service desk contact volume, as much as 40 percent could be solved through IT self-service, but only 5 percent of issues actually are solved by IT self-service, according to an article by Gartner, Inc.

Your helpdesk has worked hard to solve both minor IT issues and major issues. It is now time to give back to those that have been so helpful and offer them some help.

This is the power of on-demand training. Whether it is through the quick search facility to solve  singular issues or through an entire course to meet solutions, your end-users can now help themselves with their minor issues and your helpdesk can focus their efforts on more important issues than the common Outlook questions. So how do you do this?


Start with capturing your FAQs:


1. Compile a list of your most Frequently Asked Questions
2. Create some content such as step by step articles or video screencasts to enable users to solve those problems themselves

These steps will result in a quick response to learners, and they can easily find solutions on their own without waiting for a support technician. Now the support team can concentrate on more difficult support issues.

Using your FAQs as a base, will help start the creative and organizational process of a course. Most organizations already have FAQ pages with content begging to be in a course. Once your custom course is created based off your FAQs, you can move into other subject matter. We posted another blog about how to create your course. It said to start the process with the following:

Step 1: Define the Course Purpose
What is your course trying to achieve? What should your learners go away being able to
do now that they could not do before?

Step 2: Creating your Course Objectives
Now that you have a proper Course Aim you can begin to set the Learning
Objectives. The Learning Objectives are the means to achieving the aim. So Learning Objectives for the Report example might be:
  

    •    Set up page margins
    •    Format text
    •    Add and delete text
    •    Add Headers and Footers
    •    Create a Table


Step 3: Adding your Course Outline to KeyStone OnDemand
Once you have your Learning Objectives you can see quite easily which of them go
together to create a fluid section and which Learning Objectives are worthy of lessons of
their own.

Once you have decided this, you can create a Course Outline to act as your guide
through the process. This helps the course flow well and allows the author to have a
clear direction throughout the process.

By using the offerings of KeyStone OnDemand, your help desk will be more focused on major issues and your users will be able to self-help and have a feeling of accomplishment when solving their minor issues.

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Tuesday Sep 27, 2011

Training 101: Give your learners what they need

As we’ve discussed in our webinars and blog posts, training is a key element in increasing adoption and retention. While it is evident that training is vital to the success of your product and/or service, the learners will only gain from the training if the information is relevant to their needs and roles.

You may have 20,000 end-users in your LMS, but just say you only want 450 of them to take a course titled “Detailed History of the Company, Policies and Procedures.” The information may contain details intended for only a select number due to security, or the content may only be relevant to a certain amount of users or employees because the subject matter is specific to a region or role. For this reason, KeyStone OnDemand has created an easy way to manage where content is distributed so your users have access only to the courses and content you want them to have access to.


KeyStone OnDemand achieves this by using categories and groups. Categories are containers or buckets for content. A category can contain one course as well as unlimited articles and videos. When created, each category is assigned to a single or multiple group(s).

Some categories are licensed from KeyStone. For example, if you licensed Access 2007 content from KeyStone you will see an Access 2007 category. Inside the category is a course by the same name. There are also articles in the Access 2007 category that are not a part of the course. Regardless of whether the content is inside the course, all content is available by searching or by using the browse option.


In addition to licensed categories, custom categories can be created. You could, for example, create a category called New Hires. In the New Hires category you might create an article titled, "Company Security Policies," and a screencast called, "How to connect to the VPN." A category doesn't have to contain a course. Below is an example of how users see categories on the homepage (notice the category on the top has a "Launch Course" link).

    


In terms of groups, when created, each user is given a specific role and assigned to one or more group(s). Depending on which group that user is assigned to, certain content and courses will be assigned to him or her. Groups are a vital part in training because it allows administrators the ability to easily manage content.

For example, if Gregory is a project manager, you could assign him to the project manager group. Then, when you create a new course in Agile and want to assign it to the project manager group, you know Gregory and all of those in the project manager group will have access to the new course. Only those within the groups you assign the category will have access to the content in the category. Users can be assigned to groups based on location, position or the criteria of your choice.

This is just a short glimpse of how you can make sure your training efforts are effective for your users. Providing content specific to your users will better allow them to focus on learning and searching for the skills they need and solutions relevant to them.

 

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Friday Sep 23, 2011

What roles will your users play in training?

Within KeyStone OnDemand, each user is assigned a role when created. There are five roles that can be assigned: viewer, helpdesk, contributor, report viewer and the administrator. Each role has a specific function within the platform for training success, and these roles are discussed below.


Viewer

This user can view content and take courses.
   
Helpdesk

 This role is the same as a viewer with the additional option to add items to another user's quicklist. This role is important to eliminate the amount of support the organization’s IT Helpdesk has to put in to solve software issues. For example, you wont have to focus on helping your employee with creating a query in Access because you can just assign that user an article or video lesson in KeyStone OnDemand. That user will then see the article in his or her quicklist, and the solution will be one click away. Now critical IT tasks can have more time and focus.



Report Viewer

This user is the same as a viewer but can also generate reports. We recently wrote a blog post on reporting, and in this blog we show how easy it is to run reports within KeyStone OnDemand. The report viewer has an important role because with these reports, you can track the user’s course progress as well as overall platform usage.  Each report can be easily customized to meet your needs.

Contributor
   
This user can create, edit and delete content (articles & videos) in the library of courses. The contributor can also upload content from PowerPoint, Word and related items.
   
Administrator
   
The administrator has access to all functionality. The administrator can play the roles of all of the above as well as assign users to groups.
        
Assign a user to a group

How do groups work? What kinds of groups should I create?
   
Groups are extremely flexible. An organization may have a group for each office location or for different job titles (Executives, IT Staff, Office Managers, etc.)

 

Refer to this example:

 

Joe belongs to two groups:Staff and Denver. The Staff group has permission to view the Access 2007 category. The Denver group has permission to view the category called Working Remote. That means that through his groups Joe has access to those two categories.

Cindy belongs to one group, Executives. The Executives group has permission to view two categories: Access 2007 and Lean6sigma.Through her one group she has access to those two categories.

That's a simple example, but it should give an idea of how you can set up groups to meet your needs. Categories are the buckets of content, and each category is assigned to a specific group or multiple groups. This is how you can easily manage which content users have access to. Take note that each user must be assigned to at least one group, and a single user can be assigned to multiple groups.

A final note. By default there is one group called "Everyone," to which all users automatically belong. If there are categories that all users should have access to, assign those categories to the Everyone group.

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Thursday Sep 22, 2011

Upload your content to KeyStone OnDemand

We recently wrote a blog post on how to create a screencast within our platform, and this built-in feature makes authoring courses and creating training videos easy. But what about that content you already have?

In KeyStone OnDemand, administrators and contributors have the ability to upload already-created content, and here are some helpful tips in using the content you want to add to the platform.

Upload a PDF file or a file from Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Project, etc.


If you created an article or video and would like to add supplemental material as a resource for your learners, any type of file can be added as an attachment. Just click the "Attach Files" link when in editing mode of the article or video you would like to add materials to. This option is located on the bottom right side of the screen.

 

 

Optimal format for uploading videos

When uploading a video, the common formats include .AVI, .MOV, and .MP4. If you have a choice we recommend MP4 format encoded as H.264.

Please note that videos must be less than 150MB. For smoothest playback on all computers, consider making your video 800 x 600 resolution or smaller. For long videos, to minimize file size, produce screencams at 5 frames per second (fps); on-camera video should be encoded at 15fps.

Hint for transferring content from a Word document to the platform

Maybe you don't necessarily want to upload a Word document, but you do want to create an article using content directly from Word. Well if this is the case, don’t forget about our “Paste from Word” feature. Sometimes you will notice when you paste from Word that extra tags come into your new document or everything is re-formatted. In order to ensure a successful transfer from your Word document to our training platform, we created the below button. Now you can maintain your formatting with one quick click.

 

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Tuesday Sep 20, 2011

Add your brand to the KeyStone OnDemand learning portal

As an administrator, on KeyStone OnDemand you can upload your logo, place your company name on the home page and place up to three internal or external links to fit your environment. Here are the steps to complete all three options in branding the platform:

1. Scroll over settings on the menu bar, and click on general settings;


2. Under the “Title, Subdomain” section, type what you want the site to be called;


3. Under the Logo section, browse for your logo and open it. (Note: It should be a PNG, GIF, or JPG with a maximum size of 200w x 50h. You do have the ability to check the option for taller logo space--logo can be up to 200w x 100h).


4. Under the Links section, title the link and place the URL in the URL box. (Note: The URL should be the full address including http://);


5. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and click save settings.

You have now customized the home page to fit your environment. For more customizable options, our team can help. We want to make sure we give end-users seemless integration from your site to their training needs.

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