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Monday Oct 31, 2011

Tricks of the trade: Things your trainer never told you

By Deanna Reynolds

Here at KeyStone, we have relationships with the best trainers in the business. These people operate at
a high level of energy with a true passion for both the software and sharing their knowledge with you
(or, really, anyone who will listen).

So, we asked them:

Q. What are your absolute favorite, jaw-dropping, applause-rendering, show-
stopping tricks that bring the house every time you share them in your
classroom?

We were not disappointed with the answers and we don’t think you’ll be either.


Our first tip is from Nona, a trainer residing in Virginia, USA. Nona writes:


“The standard "Select All" key doesn't work the way you think it does. Experienced Windows users know
that Ctrl-A is the shortcut key that selects everything in a window or document; the A in Ctrl-A stands
for All. Ctrl-A works this way in every application you can find—except Excel. When you press Ctrl-A in
a worksheet with data in it, you select the current region (that is, all connected cells), not the whole
worksheet. But wait—if you immediately press Ctrl-A a second time, you select the entire worksheet—
unless the worksheet contains a table, in which case your second press of Ctrl-A will select the current
region and the summary rows (typically the headers) of the current table. And if your second Ctrl-A
selects the current table and its summary rows, then you'll need to press Ctrl-A a third time to select the
entire worksheet.”

Our next tip comes from Nicole, a trainer residing in Germany. Nicole writes:

“In PowerPoint 2010 you can now get rid of the background or better “cut out a picture “ as you are
used to doing in Photoshop or Corel Draw. But what is great that you don´t need to click around the face
anymore to cut the background out…you simply need to just draw a line into the area you no longer
need. I really love this new feature in 2010.”

Nicole also likes to show her students how to quickly pin documents they use on a regular basis to the
File tab, on their Recent Documents list. She offers that by just right-clicking any document shown in
the list, you can choose “Pin to list” to always keep the selected document at the top of the Recent
Documents list regardless of the last time it was accessed.

Our final tip is from Alva, a trainer residing in California, USA. Alva shares:

“I absolutely enjoy creating formulas in [Excel’s] Name Manager. [That way] students can use the name
provided for the formula to further manipulate their data in Excel.

Alva’s right on target with this tip. Excel 2010 now allows you to name tables, ranges, cells, and formulas

for future reference. This works fabulously on larger spreadsheets as a name seems far easier to
remember than a complex list of cell addresses and/or ranges.

I wish I could fit all of our trainer’s tips into this article. They are so full of great advice. We would love to hear your tips as well; send us a message

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Monday Oct 31, 2011

Now that you have your written outline, build your course

Implementing the course outline in the CourseBuilder

In a previous post, we discussed where to begin when authoring a course: create a course purpose, course objectives, an outline and an introduction.

Now, we will discuss how, once you follow the above steps, you can use the outline you created to build the course.


In KeyStone OnDemand, you have the ability to create an outline in the CourseBuilder before you officially add the content. The image below shows you an example of a new course outline in the CourseBuilder. You can use the written outline you created to form this outline. Keep in mind that this outline can be edited and the names can be changed at any time. So while this outline will help with organizing your content, it does not have to be the final form.


 

The CourseBuilder allows you to add a name and place for an article, quiz or video without actually adding the item itself. It is our suggestion you do so, then you know exactly where you will be placing all your content. Once you have created the outline, you can search for content you have already created to place in the course. If you create content after you create the course, you can assign the content to that course while you are creating it.


As you can see, building a course in KeyStone OnDemand is simple, especially if you take a few minutes to prepare a course outline.

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Friday Oct 28, 2011

Five ways to engage online learners (from an online learner)

Here are five simple suggestions for you when you start building your course:

1. Present with personality. If the instructor is not interested in the course, how can you expect your learners to be interested?

2. Answer all common questions. Especially if you are forming a course on software training, you need to think of all possible questions when going through a step. Answer those questions, to keep the attention of your learners. Your learners will be looking at the course, thinking of questions as you are teaching, so answer them without having them asked.


3. If you are teaching a course with a powerpoint presentation, don’t just read off the slides. Provide your users with additional information. Why should they listen to you if you are just going to say exactly what the slide says? In some cases, this may work, but in most instances, you can re-word what is on the slide or provide an example for better understanding.

4. Share the basics but throw in some detail. While the basics are important for the beginner, keep the learner engaged by throwing in one detail or example of what they will be able to achieve upon completion of the course. Show them this course is worth paying attention to.

5. Understand your audience. Sometimes courses include too much detail or go too fast for online learners. It can be easy to assume your learners understand you when you cannot physically see their reactions. Be sure to understand your main audience. If, however, the course is targeted towards advanced users, then go for the detailed and high-level tutorial. If your learners are new to the subject matter, be sure to guide them to understanding. Just because you know the information and learned it easily, it does not necessarily mean the information will be as easy for your learners to digest.

These may seem basic, but sometimes going back to the basics is just what you need. At KeyStone OnDemand, we are always looking to help our customers who are creating custom courses for their organization using our platform.

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Tuesday Oct 25, 2011

Where to begin when authoring a Course

Road block avoided with organization of course purpose and goals

When you create a course, you may have great content but if it is not organized with a clear direction, your learners may become confused rather than educated.

For this reason, taking a few minutes to organize your information and thoughts before you start formatting your course will be very effective.


The first step in course authoring is defining the course purpose. The purpose includes what you are trying to achieve through the course as well as what your learners should understand upon completion of the course

Be specific when defining the purpose. Don’t just say “to train users on platform.” Say something along the lines of “To train PowerPoint 2010 users, giving them the ability to understand fonts, embed items, print layouts and navigate the tabs on the ribbon.”

Secondly, based off your course purpose, create course objectives, which are the means to achieving the course aim. Objective examples for the PowerPoint course mentioned above are:

     -Adjust Font
     -Create excel document to embed
     -Navigate the ribbon

Creating the course outline is the third step to a successful learning environment for your learners. When creating the course outline, the following points are recommended:

     -Arrange objectives into logical groups to create a course outline
     -Title each main section
     -Assign each section your ideal content
     -Assign the section a quiz if you choose

Example
     I. Introduction
     II. Navigating the Ribbon
         A. The home tab (screencast)
         B. Formatting Tab (article)
         C. Insert Tab (upload video)
         D. Quiz

Then you can create your content around your outline, knowing exactly what you need for your course. Also, if you create a written document to use as a guide for content creation it will help you ensure that you are covering everything.

These initial three steps will guide you into an easy production of your course. After they are created, the next step is to create a compelling introduction. In the introduction, keep the following tips in mind:

     -Get your audience excited
     -Make sure it summarizes what will be covered in the course
     -It can be a PowerPoint, a screencast or another format of your choice but grab the learner’s attention
     -Know the objectives of the course and make sure the introduction sets out the objectives

These steps will give you confidence that your course will make sense and flow well.

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Friday Oct 21, 2011

Build Relationships for Retention and Adoption of your App

Customer retention is one of the most powerful indicators of a company’s success.  We just finished the third in a six-part webinar series called “Increasing Adoption & Retention of your SaaS App” and one of the things we've been discussing is building a relationship.

A lot of salespeople remain quiet between the point of sale and the time for renewal. What keeps a customer loyal to using your solution if he or she never hears from you?  You can bet the competition will reach out to them.


So how does a salesperson build relationships?           

            -listen, Listen & LISTEN!!!
 

To listen well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well.”
                                            - John Marshall,
Supreme Court Chief Justice, 1801-1835

Always be listening to your customers to find out more about them. Get to know them; find out about their likes and dislikes. This way when you are following-up with them you will have something better to say than “how’s the weather?” Also if you know more about your customers, you will ask the right questions and build more rapport.

Building the relationship includes being an advisor as well and helping the customer to be successful throughout the customer lifecycle.

Salespeople must continue to build relationships with their customers beyond the point of sale. Building relationships establishes you as an authority in their eyes. Being an authority leads to repeat business and repeat business will often earn you referrals.

So what are you waiting for? Go out and build relationships! 

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