Here we are at the end of the 2019. For many of our clients this means that it’s time to wrap up annual training programs and make sure everyone hits their last due date of the year. Nestled in winter, we can take a few minutes to look back on the challenges and accomplishments of our past year and maybe glance forward to the opportunities awaiting us in the spring of a new year.
My plan for this article was to provide a comprehensive list of all the improvements that Accord has implemented this past year organized by each of the seven 2019 releases. I was about halfway through writing it and I realized that there was just too much. It’s been a very productive year. Instead, I’ve decided to share my top-ten list. If you want to review all the details, please feel free to visit our release notes.
In no particular order and with apologies to Mr. Letterman:
Top Ten Accord LMS Product Improvements in 2019.
10. Bulk Learner Import Speed Improvements
Accord’s clients are growing and we’re keeping up with them. In the spring, we made performance improvements which dramatically improve the performance of the Bulk Learner Import for files containing more than 10,000 learners.
9. Historical Attempt Import
This feature is used by the Accord LMS support team to import historical records into the Accord LMS. This is often required when moving from a legacy LMS to Accord. We’ve made an improvement that makes it easier for our clients to prepare for the import. Learners no longer need to be enrolled in the content being imported. So long as the appropriate folder exists in your catalog, the LMS will automatically create any needed enrollment. This reduces any work required to import historical learning records.
8. User Enrollment (The Clipboard Icon)
Teams > Team > Learner Management got a new feature earlier this year. The clipboard icon will show the LMS Admin a list of all enrollments for a specific learner. Selecting one of the enrollments will also show any enrollment details. It’s now a matter of 2 clicks to see all enrollment details for a specific learner. Admins with limited permissions only see any enrollments they may hold privileges for.
7. Catalog Learner List
This feature can be found on the context menu within Learning Catalog Folders or any contained Learning Elements. It is similar to the User Enrollment feature as described above. The learner list allows an Admin to examine any folder or any Learning Element to see enrollment details for every learner enrolled within that content. This feature allows for filtering and grouping the same as with our Reports Module in order to facilitate finding a specific User, Team, Role or Folder quickly.
6. Remote SCORM
This feature is currently in testing and will be available in 2019.07, our final release of the year. This feature will be of particular interest to our clients who sell content. It provides the framework to package created SCORM courses to sell for third-party usage. The Accord LMS continually tracks course utilization and prevents non-authorized usage.
More details to come.
5. Quick Report
Early 2019 featured the new Quick Report. Accord has a very robust and flexible reporting system but sometimes you may desire to quickly obtain answers to simple ad-hoc type questions without taking the time to design a full report. Accord Developers implemented a new technology which dramatically simplifies getting basic completion data. This Quick Report feature simplifies the report creation process. The new technology reduces the amount of time required to pull data from the sever as well as being able to instantly apply filters and grouping. To see it in action, check out this recorded webinar.
Figure 1 - LE Activity "Quick Report"
4. Folder Imports
The Accord LMS User Interface makes it easy to add folders (e.g. Courses and Learning Paths) to their catalog as needed. Sometimes it may be more efficient to import a large hierarchical content structure in one action rather than repetitively using the User Interface. Now the Accord LMS has this covered. The new Catalog Imports feature lets you set up a .csv file using your favorite spreadsheet program which can be used to import an entire catalog folder structure or modify an existing folder hierarchy.
3. Learning Element Imports
Once the folder hierarchy has been built out, you will want to populate the folders with Learning Elements. Learning Elements contain the actual content (e.g. SCORM Modules, Videos, Presentations, PDF files, etc.) for your learners to complete. By creating an import file, you will be able to create specific types of Learning Elements and place them in folders of your choosing. This import does not load in the content, but rather provisions each LE so that it is ready to receive your content. After you have imported the LEs, it is a simple matter to upload the specific learning content into each LE using the Catalog User Interface.
2. Team Imports
Similar to Folder and Learning Element Imports, it is now possible to import an entire Team Hierarchy or parts of a given hierarchy from one .csv file edited with your favorite spreadsheet. To learn how these three new import features can be used to save tedious data entry, please check out this recorded webinar.
1. Learning Role Management
Monday, December 16th will see the release of the most significant 2019 change to our user interface. Learning Roles are the heart of the Accord Learning Management System. We have spent months evaluating and updating Learning Role Management features and have essentially brought all of the aspects of the Learning Role together, under a single interface. While editing a given Role you can modify the Role details, set membership rules, manage members, add learners to the Role, make bulk changes to membership, expire the Role for all members at once, edit any dates for all members at once, modify a Role's assigned courses, contributions to the Learner Catalog as well as set notifications. The interface allows for admins to directly edit the Members grid to change enrollment details for an individual learner, a given group of learners or all learners. You now have a one-stop-shop to create and manage unique learning experiences. Check out Matt’s recorded webinar to see for yourself.
Figure 2 - The New Learning Role Management Page
A Consistent Theme
Considering the list above makes it clear that Accord's priority this year has been to simplify your experience as an LMS administrator. We’ve improved the performance of the LMS for larger clients, placed enrollment information where it is needed within both the Catalog and Learner pages, provided the ability to obtain a fast and simple report for day to day ad-hoc inquiries, offered time-saving ability to import files and refactored the Learning Role Management feature to make it both easier to understand and more efficient to use.
Accord will continue to make improvements while moving into 2020. Though unable to share our entire road-map at this time, we will provide a little tease. In the first half of 2020 look forward towards improvements with the Teams interface, improved search abilities and a notifications update which you’ve been waiting for!
It's All Because of You
All this work and much more that did not make the top-ten list was designed based on feedback from our current and prospective clients. If you have any suggestions, please tell your Solutions Engineer. They are your advocate and bring any suggestions to our development team for consideration.
On behalf of the entire Accord Team, I would like to wish you and yours a Happy Holiday Season followed by a prosperous and educational New Year.