The LMS is from the Past – The web is the future

The LMS is in the Past – The Future is the Cloud

A Learning Management System (LMS) offers tons of functionality. At the same time it sets strict boundaries for learning, often requiring a substantial investment in time and money which is hard to maintain.

We are proud to offer a modern alternative to the LMS: a flexible best of breed, fully web-based (SaaS) solution created by a unique collaboration of three organizations:

  • Aim 4 You
  • Saltbox
  • Easygenerator

What do we expect from a LMS?

  1. to deliver content to the learner,
  2. to track and trace learner results and
  3. to create courses and learning content.

web lms alternative

Let’s start with authoring courses. Easygenerator offers a completely web-based authoring environment that can be used for free or with a subscription ($19 per month). It allows you to create instructionally sound eLearning courses based on learning objectives. The courses are responsive (they will run one very device) and can be published to the web or an LMS.

The second function is displaying and delivering content to the learner. Aim 4 You offers an unique global eLearning catalog that aggregates learning from all over the world. It allows developers, designers, IDs or anyone to showcase content or courses, invite people to follow it, provide more information and / or sell it directly. Aim 4 You takes care of the back office, so no implementation is required, and you get the benefits. And if you don’t want your learning displayed globally, with one simple click you can secure your content to only invitees. It’s as simple as that. Try our service free of charge.

Saltbox offers tracking and tracing Based on Tin Can (Xapi). It offers a hosted solution for the LRS (the Tin Can database) and it adds reporting to it.

So what did we do?

Each of these three companies is a best in class company in their own field; together we simply joined forces to create a complete and flexible solution: we connected our solutions for you.

How does it work?

It’s easy. When you create a course in easygenerator, include the Saltbox (Tin Can) settings and credentials. Then when the course is used, it will report automatically to the Saltbox LRS. Next, you can publish the course into the eLearning catalog from Aim 4 You, with a few simple clicks. Done – that’s all there is to do. No installation, no IT, no coding. This can all be set-up on your own in a few minutes.

Try it for free!

Go to and sign up for easygenerator. From easygenerator you can activate accounts at both Aim 4 You and Saltbox. You can also signup directly with Saltbox or Aim4you.

Day 2 @LSCON, Nice keynote and I finally understand TinCan, Experience API, Scorm, ADL, IACC and CMI-5……..

Day 2 of the conference. I started the day with the keynote session, before the keynote some announcements were made. Joe Ganci received a guild master award from the eLearning guild and rightfully so. Great guy, always presenting, writing, reviewing and moderating.

Eric Berg of Lingos got on stage to announce the 2013 global give back competition, I’m an ambassador for Lingos, it is a great organization that helps non-profit organizations that work internationally with eLearning facilities. They help people who do well, do even better. This year there will be an global give back competition again (, your chance to contribute to this great organization. Get involved, donate your time and talent, it is a course and an organization worth supporting!

Key note: Daniel Coyle, Author and Contributing Editor to Outside Magazine
What makes high performance, what bridges the space between being bad and being great are the questions he started out with. We are told that becoming great is about your talent, hard work and passion. In order to find out if this is true he visited ‘hot beds’ that develop high performing people, looking for patterns.

What have high performers in common? They have all spent 10.000 hours learning their craft. Practice is magical and trans formative. What makes people learn? You learn when you have to struggle. When you present someone with all complete crystal clear information, they will not learn. When the information is not complete you are challenged to process this info, which enhances retainment. Making mistakes will make you learn, you need to push yourself to the limits, forcing mistakes. When you correct your mistakes they will trigger your brain into learning. Learning happens in a space where you are pushed to your boundaries and are allowed to make mistakes and fix them.

In your brain neurons will grow when used a lot, building better ‘wiring’ in your brain. This is why practice is so useful. It will deliver signals much faster when they have grown. Practice grows broadband connections in your brain! It will take 10.000 hours to make it perfect.

Daniel has three ‘habits’ that enhances great learning, we  can learn from this.

Habit 1: Maximize reachfulness

  • Ruthlessly eliminate passive learning
  • Aim for the 60-80% sweet spot
  • Check reps Gauge
    • Reaching the edge of your ability and repeating
    • High level of emotional engagement
    • Is there purposeful action?
    • Is there swift feedback?

This takes a lot of energy, how do you motivate someone to put in the work? Does passion comes from the inside? Fast runners all are the youngest of their family. Because they were always challenged by their older siblings that were older and faster. You are motivated if you can make a connection to a role model.

Habit 2: Fill the Windshield

  • Promote staring
  • Encourage stealing
  • Create a mistake club

The world is a learning contest and we are the coaches. What makes a good coach? Coaches know a lot and talk a lot. Coaches are older, are able to connect to student. Great coaches don’t give long inspiring talks, but they will give short burst of inspirational information

Habit 3: Communicate like a coach

  • Connect
  • No speeches, sent short vivid information to individuals
  • Praise for effort, not ability

CMI-5 and XAPI (Tin Can API), Bill McDonald, Kris RockwellIt took me a while to figure the meaning of TinCan and I understood the impact it can have on our learning community, but I never understood why we have two competing standards (Scorm and AICC), and now there is a new standard emerging CMI-5 based on TinCan. So I was lost again. I attended this session and now I finally understand how it all fits together and where it is going. here is the story, I hope you can follow it, if you can it will help you.

The AICC developed in the early 1990 the AICC standard. Later on the ADL was formed and they wanted a more extended standard, based on the AICC specs. But they got into a technical argument (http vs API or something like that). So the ADL developed Scorm in a different (technical) way and we ended up with two standards. Both the ADL and AICC where working on a new generation of standards. ADL announced TinCan (version one will be out shortly) and the AICC worked on CMI-5. The TinCan announcement got a lot of attention, because it is more open and it facilitates the recording of learning experiences outside the LMS (mobile!). The problem with TinCan is that while it is very cool we don’t now exactly what to do with it. How will the fact that we can record learning experiences influence our learning design?? Tincan supports a learning model that we can envision (a bit) but that we don’t have yet. Scorm and AICC support the current model with reporting through a LMS. And this is where CMI-5 comes into play. The AICC will build CMI-5 based on TinCan but it will expand TinCan with the in-LMS tracking and tracing we are used to, replacing both Scorm and AICC standards we are currently using.

Pfff a whole story.To cut a long story short, we will end up with one standard based on Tincan and it can do reporting on learning inside a LMS and outside a LMS. That seems to be a very good thing (I think). Sometimes I feel a bit stupid not understanding all of this at once, but I guess I’m not the only one.

#DevLearn retrospective: Start dreaming about the future of eLearning

This year more than ever DevLearn addressed the future of eLearning. The message from the keynote by John Landau was that imagination precedes the technique. The stories in movies like Titanic and Avatar were impossible to realize with the techniques available at the time the stories were written. So they created the techniques in order to be able to create the movies. Our current situation is reverse. Thanks to the TinCan API (now renamed into ‘experience API’) the technique is ahead of us (learning developers and vendors). Instead of us challenging the technique, the technique is challenging us. There was another keynote by Allisone Levine at DevLearn. She draws all kind of lessons from her experiences as an adventurer. Unfortunately I was in meetings during her presentation. I stepped in for 5 minutes and heard her say: “Fear is ok. It’s normal. Complacency will kill you. You can’t afford to do nothing in an environment that is rapidly changing.” It applies to us. Our environment is rapidly changing and we need to step up to the challenge and we can’t afford to wait and see. (By the way in the back-channel I found a post by Tracy Parish who has captured a whole bunch of great lessons from that keynote.)

So what to do? It will be a mutual challenge for the people who are developing this standard, for vendors and for eLearning developers. Let’s take a closer look at our challenge.

Our challengers

I took this Photo at the TinCan panel session at DevLearn. The guy sitting on the left is Aron Silvers from ADL. He is the driving force behind the experience API. The third guy is Mike Rustici from Rustici software (the company behind Scorm cloud) the company that developed the TinCan API. They are the ones challenging us. What they did is in principle very simple. They changed the standard from a tracking and tracing system (Scorm) into a learning experience facilitator. All we need to do is to figure out what that means.

The vendors
It is time for the vendors to step up to the challenge and develop solutions that will unleash the power of TinCan for you. It is not about implementing TinCan as an extra publish option; enabling tracking and tracing via a new standard is the easy part. No, we need to facilitate new forms of eLearning where you can include real live activities into your eLearning. We need to come up with forms where learning is centered around experiences instead of  information transfer. It is about connecting learning to the workplace, combining informal and formal learning and all that stuff we have been talking about for years but could never really do in a Scorm course. Another big thing is feedback. TinCan will inform your course on what people are doing and your learning needs to be able to respond to that. The tracking will change in a feed back mechanism that you can use to offer proper learning experiences, real adaptive learning based on real life outcomes. Will this happen in an LMS, in an formal course, or somewhere else? It will probably be a combination of all three. And the truth is that I don’t have the answer. We do have some ideas but we know we can’t figure this out without our partners and the users of our authoring tool.

We are aware of the fact that we as a vendor should engage our users more and start joining forces with them. And we will. A small example is the feedback button we build in, in the latest edition of easygenerator. Any user can click on it and can come up with a suggestion or an idea. All ideas will go direct to our product owner who is responsible for the product development. We will to do more like organizing a series of webinars to discuss the effect of TinCan for eLearning development and open up a community. We plan to have support for TinCan in easygenerator in February and the great thing is, we don’t have a clue how it will look and what it will enable. I’m looking forward to this process and you are all invited to join in.

From eLearning developer to Learning experience director
So what do you need to do? Just follow the advice from John Landau and start dreaming and follow the advice from Allison Levine and start acting. Dream about what it would mean if you can include real life activities (of any kind and in every place) into your learning, what you could do if you can respond to the outcome of these learning experiences from your learner and figure out a first step. Make sure that your vendor enables you, by telling them what you need. Our (vendors and eLearning developers) mutual goal is to come up with so many new ideas that we make guys like Aron and Mike sweat in order to catch up with us.

#Devlearn TinCan panel: #Tincan is rocking our world

I attended the panel discussion on TinCan this morning; great session. I have tried to capture the session in a mind map. It is clear that TinCan is a major change. It is not only a shift from tracking and tracing to enabling learning experiences, it opens op a whole new world of possibilities. We have to redefine what (e)Learning is or could be. Some remarks at the panel triggered me into this observation:

There is a lot of confusion about TinCan and the impact on our (learning people)  day-to-day activities. I believe this is because the TinCan guys invented a combustion engine. And the public is trying to figure out what is means for their every day live. But there are no cars yet, no roads, no gas stations, no drivers licenses so it is hard to imagine what it means. But the vendors are already stepping in and create the cars, roads and gas stations, new learning theories will emerge and it will become clearer in the future. Best suggestion from the panel: Start dreaming of all the new possibilities (what could you do if you had a car, roads and all). Start dreaming and doing it and request (or force) your vendor that they will enable it (in the spirit of the keynote from John Landau.)

In the session it also became more clear what the AICC adoption of TinCan really means. They will develop their standard CMI5 upon the TinCan API, making it an extension of TinCan. And this is big! All the standard dinosaurs are transforming into new agile forms. And this is great news because they will stop creating boundaries for us but instead they will offer us new opportunities to create great learning experiences. These are revolutionary times!

Click to enlarge

Devlearn conference day one: an exhilarating day

So we are off to an excellent start with DevLearn. As always at the first day of a guild conference it was an exhilarating day. I was able to attend some sessions and keynotes and talked to lot’s of people. Here is my wrap-up.

I try to spot the emerging trends at conferences like this, for this conference there are two. One is SaaS or cloud based solutions, the other is the future of the Learning Management Systems. Acceptance for cloud based solutions is definitely growing, almost all the vendors have plans in that direction.

TinCan and IACC
The other trend is that the LMS market is changing rapidly. The big thing here is TinCan. I wrote about it before. Yesterday it became even bigger. Before the second keynote there was an extra unplanned presentation by Aron ‘TinCan’ Silver. He showed a video where AICC announced that they will adopt TinCan. I don’t think that the entire audience grasped the meaning of this announcement. We have two main standards in our industry SCORM and IACC, both of them enable us to track and trace results, both of them confine eLearning within the borders of the LMS. TinCan will free us from this, it allows you to track and trace any learning experience, anywhere. I don’t know what the adoption will actually mean but it sounded like TinCan will be the next version of IACC. This leaves us with one standard and but more importantly it ‘frees’ eLearning from the boundaries of the LMS. This really is a big thing and it will affect the way we use any LMS and in the long run it will change the market completely. We will see how this develops, but I’m exited.

Way to reinforce learning
A morning buzz session I attended, presented by Art Kohm. It was about how to improve memory retention.

His story was along the lines of the keynote of last year by John Medina at the Learning Solution conference. The brain filters information (to prevent information overload), in principle you forget the most information that you encounter, you need to reactivate the facts in order to really store them in your brain. He refers to research by Rodigger. His solution is Booster training. Two days after the learning event you have to trigger the information by asking (multiple choice questions). It forces you to retrieve the information and that will enhance the retention. After two weeks you have to do that again. The interesting here is that in this phase he will ask open questions, that not only require retrieval but also processing of the information. I believe that memory retention is a sort of blank area in eLearning, there are some tools but the notion isn’t widely spread. Ans it is important it determines the effectiveness of your Learning experiences.

Brent Schenkler
Brent opened the first session. He is the driving force behind DevLearn, but he has accepted another job. So this conference is his last one. It will be interesting to how this affects future conference. He spoke briefly about all the elements of the conference.

Keynote: John Landau

John is the producer of many movies, the most famous ones are Titanic and Avatar. Great presentation. His message is that the story precede the technique. The technique to shoot the scripts of these movies wasn’t there when the scripts were written. They just developed the techniques they needed. According to him the same goes for eLearning. Make the learning experience leading and then just make it work. Great keynote.

Easygenerator Free edition launch
After the keynote I presented the launch of easygenerators free edition. I had a good turnout and great responses. It is great to see how the story about better eLearning courses catches on. More info at our website, you can register and start working within minutes.

Xtranormal scenarios
I joined this session because I am a scenario based learning fan, but this turned out to be a session about the posibilities of a product that let’s you create animated video’s with Lego images and text to speech voices. Looked ok, but is really not my thing.

Learning objectives concurrent session
My second presentation of the day about learning objectives and how you can use the in many ways, but most importantly how to use them to connect learning to your business goals. I really enjoyed giving this presentation. Good crowd, good responses.

Organizational Learning with agility
A session by Jenet Clarey of Bersin. I was triggered by the term agility. It turned out to be something very different. She was talking about trends in the LMS market. She says that the trend is that it is changing rapidly. The core function of LMS was track and trace and course management. In the ‘Agile LMS’ it is just one of the functions. It grows to become a broad talent management system or even a corporate portal where learning is just a part of. I have two photo’s of interesting slides. I think they tell a large part of the story, again a story about the changing LMS market.

Brian Bushwood, how to scam your way to the top.
This was interesting. He is a ‘sort’ of a magician. But his story turned out to be a marketing story, he told us how he build his internet brand. He is hugely succesfull with his ‘Scam school’ he had great stories how created fake Ibooks and made them top-ten hits in Itunes and his Scam school is very successful. Some of his lessons:

Identify one niche and own it, be first at least in your category or in the minds op people. His niche was internet magician and it is great to hear and see how he made it to the top of his market.
And he is funny:

More to come tomorrow. Make sure you check out the curated backchannel of Devlearn by David Kelly.


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