Vision Manawatu goes live

April 9, 2009 8:17 am, Published by

Vision Manawatu, the agency responsible for promoting economic growth in the Manawatu region, has now rolled out LearningSource.  They run an extensive number of events and training courses for local businesses and LearningSource has been implemented in an attempt to reduce administration time and cost.

Over the last couple of months we have worked closely with Nikki Mills from Vision Manawatu to scope and develop some of the unique functionality they required to go live.  This included a custom migration of all the data from their old system into LearningSource. It’s great to see all the work come to life.

More than just cost cutting however, Vision Manawatu plans to enhance and extend their current training services by offering online access to course resources and supporting online communication and collaboration. Part of the way this is achieved is through the utilisation of CourseSpace, an individual space that provides learners with easy access to course resources and opportunities to participate in online activities such as discussions, wikis, and the course blog. The CourseSpace;

  • Provides easy access to course resources
  • Facilitates online communication and collaboration
  • Supports a continual growth of course content
  • Allows for extended value to be added to class learning

We’re please to have gotten Vision Manawatu up and running on our platform, and are looking forward to seeing the difference truly collabortive features like CoureSpace can add to the training relationship.

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Tracking communication

April 2, 2009 10:04 pm, Published by

We do a lot of work behind the scenes to make LearningSource robust and scalable so that it will work for large numbers of training providers. Every once in a while we create a piece of functionality primarily to make our life easier, and then realise that it’s also a real boon to our customers. Our new "communication log" is a good example of this.

When internally testing software updates, and believe us when we say that internal testing is a massive component of what we do, we have to send lots of different emails to test various parts of the system. Previously there was no way of tracking all of these emails – the new communication log records all emails being sent from LearningSource.

Beyond making life easier for our internal testers however, the real purpose of the feature is to provide end-users with a simple list of all the emails being sent so that they can easily see when an email was sent and what information the email contained.  You can also also use the feature to resend an email – for example, resend Course Instructions if a customer missed the original email.

We’ve got a number of added features that will leverage off the Communication Log, we’ll be rolling them out in the months ahead – watch this space as we complete the remaining functionality.

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The Microsoft BizSpark Programme

April 1, 2009 8:00 am, Published by

We just received notification that LearningSource has been accepted into the Microsoft BizSpark programme. Microsoft introduced the BizSpark programme in an effort to give new start-up businesses access to their software resource, but more importantly, to give high-potential businesses an introduction into the network of business partners that Microsoft has.

In Microsoft’s own words;

BizSpark is an innovative new program that unites Startups with entrepreneurial and technology resources in a global community with a common goal of supporting and accelerating the success of a new generation of high-potential Startups.

So why is this important, and why should current and potential LearningSource customers be pleased with this move? Well acceptance to BizSpark entails a process where both the quality of the solution, and the quality of the business itself, are assessed. As well as this to be accepted a business needs to be recommended by an existing BizSpark partner. Both of these facts together show that LearningSource has been built on a robust foundation that gives certainty both about our product and about our company – a seal of approval if you like.

We’re really pleased to have been accepted to the programme – partly because of the ability it gives us to leverage both the products and the networks that Microsoft have, but also because of what it says about us as a company. It’s yet another validation for us that both our product and our business are heading in the right direction – exciting times indeed!

Calculating the Savings

March 27, 2009 9:57 pm, Published by

We had a good review meeting with New Zealand Trade & Enterprise Escalator last week.  They’ve been using LearningSource for nearly 3 months now, having been with us from the start.  One of the key questions asked at the meeting was their estimate on the savings LearningSource is generating through its automation of their processes. 

The figures even surprised us.  Ben Grant (Client Services Manager) estimates that the time savings LearningSource provides equates to a day’s worth of saved administration time each week.  He extrapolated this further and worked out that the cost savings were more than $700 per month.

What’s surprising is that Escalator only run between 8-10 courses each month.  Not bad going considering there are still a number of new features on the way that will reduce their course administration overheads even further.

Quick Statistics

  • Escalator run 8-10 courses per month.
  • Course administrators save the equivalent of one day per week in administration time by using LearningSource (equates to over $700 per month).

New Zealand Trade & Enterprise Escalator

Google Analytics

March 22, 2009 7:29 pm, Published by

Our new website was launched about three weeks ago and we have been doing all we can to get the word out and visits up. Our team were quick to setup the site with Google Analytics. While Google Analytics may be old hat for those in the tech industry, some of the training providers who use our software may not have heard of it.

This is a post for their information – Google Analytics is just brilliant.

It’s amazing the amount of information you can pull from the reporting, from a map of the world illustrating where visitors are coming from, statistics on the average time they spend on your site, right through to how they clicked through to the site in the first instance. You can use this information to understand your website visitors, and to ultimately improve your website content.

Google Analytics Dashboard example

Google Analytics Dashboard example

While the over analytic among us could possibly get too wound up in the detail and end up over analysing the information from just a month’s worth of data, for a new business such as ours (well newly in the open anyway) just being able to see how effective an email is by the number of hits received on the website after it has been sent is invaluable.

The other key statistic we monitor is the total number of unique visitors to our site. At this stage, a key focus for us is building awareness of what we do and spreading the word about our new services. Tracking the total number of specific individuals who visitor our site helps us measure our success.

If you haven’t setup your website on Google Analytics, I would highly recommend you do. It’s a really easy thing to do – if you have any problems feel free to contact us for some friendly advice.

And the best thing about Google analytics? It’s Free!

Keeping everyone informed when details change

March 21, 2009 11:36 pm, Published by

Customer feedback has time and again highlighted areas where automating services can make a big difference to training providers. In a nice case of the user being involved in the design of a product, LearningSource customers identify problem areas and then we use our design and technical knowledge to come up with the most user friendly solution.

A key ‘pain point’ highlighted to us by training organisations is keeping everyone informed when details of a course change. For example, updating the presenters, attendees, and venue contacts when the course venue is changes. In most cases this involves manually creating and sending emails to each individual involved which can be a significant inefficiency.  A new feature just released addresses this ‘pain point’. Now when an administrator changes the details of a course, the venue, the presenter, or the date, LearningSource automatically sends an email to everyone involved informing them of the change.

We thought hard about the best way to ensure the changes were obvious and that they’d be noticed by the recipient – to this end we’ve designed the notifications so that they clearly illustrates the specific details which have changed. Check out the images below as an example. See how the old information is crossed out and the new details highlighted in red.

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We’ve had some really positive feedback about this new feature from existing customers, what previously took them a significant amount of time writing and sending emails, making phone calls etc, is now just a click of a button.

Automatically builds your client database

March 10, 2009 10:18 pm, Published by

One of the benefit of web-based software, when compared to old fashioned installed software, is the ability for us to roll out new features quickly without worrying about users having to install new versions or update multiple machines. This benefit results in us being very nimble when it comes to responding to customer feedback and requests and helps in our aim to make the lives of training providers as easily as we possibly can.

A good example of this in action is with a new feature we have recently released. This feature sees all information entered during the registration process on the website automatically used to populate the LearningSource client database. For example, a new organisation record is created with the details provided during the registration process. Likewise, a new contact is created from the details provided from each course attendee registration. From there, any future purchases are tracked against the same organisation, and all future course registrations are tracked against the respective contact.  

The functionality is proving to be a success with our current customers. What used to be a time consuming process of manually entering new client information into their database is now fully automated. LearningSource is also capturing more information than they previously recorded, such as capturing and storing a record of courses each individual has completed.

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The information about past clients is a valuable asset for all businesses.  LearningSource is committed to giving training providers all the tools they need to not only capture of this information, but also use it to better manage and develop client relationships.  It’s all part of our focus to integrate important Customer Relationship Management (CRM) functionality training providers require within the LearningSource solution.  

The LearningSource Story

February 1, 2009 12:52 pm, Published by

LearningSource started with a simple idea, but we were inspired to deliver more.

Solve problems

Three years ago we set out to build a solution to solve a number of logistical problems associated with delivering training services. We recognised that current systems only fulfilled part of a training provider’s needs and only addressed a limited number of their problems. We knew we could develop something better.

Add Value

At about the same time we set out to build our training system, we noticed a changing trend in the way people were communicating with one another. The rapid expansion of social networks such as MySpace, Facebook and Bebo, meant people were interacting online like never before. Sharing their ideas through blogs, their videos on YouTube, and collating their knowledge on sites like Wikipedia.

We noticed that while some education institutions had recognised the opportunity to leverage this new trend in online communication, nearly all training organisations hadn’t.  Why? The reason was simple, it was just too hard.  While online collaboration systems were available, they were hard to implement and required further administration to manage.  This put them out of reach for most training organisations.  Those that had implemented them found that the additional overhead in management meant it was uneconomic to integrate them into short courses.

This left us with an opportunity.  If we were able to leverage existing collaboration technology and integrate it into our training management system, then make it easy to use, we were onto a winning solution.  A solution that didn’t just solve problems, but allowed training organisations to enhance and extend their classroom delivered courses. To add value to their existing training services.

Build Future

It has only been in the last 12 months that we identified the final key component that if integrated into our training system, would complete our system and allow us to deliver an end-to-end solution for a training business.

The missing component was a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool specifically designed for training providers, that not only integrated course information with client information, but also integrated directly with a training provider’s website, where online registrations and payments map directly with client records.  The power of such a system wouldn’t just be in its ability to eliminate duplication of information and double entry of data, it would be in its ability to deliver a clearer profile of a training provider’s clients.  Couple this with easy to use and effective relationship management tools and you have a system that allows a training provider to build their business for the future.

So here we are now, three years on from first conceptualising our ideas.  While there is still plenty more development to go, we have a system that’s now in use and already having an impact on the way a number of training organisations run and grow their businesses.

It’s a great feeling to reach a point were we can now start to market and promote LearningSource.  We look forward to sharing our journey with you now and in the future.