In the most recent issue of the ProEd Quarterly, the Blackboard newsletter created for users of Blackboard’s Professional Education solutions, Senior Solutions Engineer David Rosenbaum shared strategies to increase end-user adoption of your Blackboard implementation. I think the nine tips he shares may help users in higher education and the International Blackboard community of practice, as well.
David joined Blackboard’s Professional Education group this year after working for more than six years with WebCT as a solutions engineer and director of product management. He worked with many of WebCT’s largest Vista clients and was particularly active with early adopters. David brings more than 20 years of experience in the software industry, having worked with startups to large corporations. In his current role, he works with users to identify client needs and determine appropriate solutions to meet your organizational goals.
Here is David’s helpful article:
TIPS FOR INCREASING ADOPTION OF YOUR BLACKBOARD SOFTWARE IMPLEMENTATION
By David Rosenbaum, Senior Solutions Engineer, Blackboard
Members of the Blackboard user community report that after they implement the Blackboard Learning System™ or the Blackboard Academic Suite™, usage in their organizations sometimes peaks at a certain level. This occurs most often because the constituency of early adopters has been satisfied and begun using their Blackboard systems, while less enthusiastic users (both learners and instructors) have not yet embraced e-Learning.
In this article I will offer some helpful strategies you can use to help increase adoption by your employees or members following your Blackboard® software implementation.
1. Provide Centralized Support for Instructors and Users
Everyone needs support once in awhile. E-Learning users in the twenty-first century have come to expect 24×7 support services, whether by self-service Web sites, e-mail or telephone. Blackboard partners with Presidium Learning Inc. to offer end-user help desk solutions for clients who would like to take advantage of an existing, reliable service rather than build their own. To learn more about the services offered by Blackboard Support, click here.
2. Offer Consistent and Flexible Training Options for Instructors
Even great classroom instructors sometimes need training to understand how to teach effectively online. Online instruction requires different skills from the classroom, not least of which is familiarity with the tools. You’ll be surprised at how greatly your instructors and learners will benefit from training.
Blackboard Training can help your instructors with a variety of instructional topics on a flexible schedule. By sharing best practices for teaching and learning online, we enable your organization to grow adoption while simultaneously decreasing your support and administration costs. For more information about Blackboard Training, click here.
3. Hold “Brown Bag Lunches” or “Lunch-n-Learn” Seminars
Many Blackboard clients help their instructors embrace e-Learning and build their instructional skills by providing a regular series of bite-sized learning opportunities over lunch. Have one of your instructors deliver a short talk on how she or he was successful in a certain area—nothing is more convincing than hearing from your peers.
4. Market Your e-Learning Solutions
Make sure your employees or members are aware of your convenient approach to e-Learning through posters, e-mail announcements and flyers. This will help you reach your potential audience, and let them know about your online offerings and the benefits of additional training. New employee and customer orientations are another great way to make sure they know about the e-Learning opportunities your organization offers.
5. Integrate with IT Systems to Lower Usage Barriers
Reduce the load on your own staff by automatically adding your employees or members to your e-Learning system. Automatically storing course completion information in-system keeps them current and ensures needed certifications are maintained as you go. Single sign-on ensures employees or members can access their courses without any extra effort, passwords or user IDs.
6. Provide Custom Learning Paths for Users
Often users have previous e-Learning experience and can test portions of a class for you. Other users will need extra help to use online learning tools or may require content in another language. The Adaptive Release feature of the Blackboard Professional Education Solution empowers users by delivering customized material and activities based on their needs and helps them learn more effectively.
7. Use Blackboard Building Blocks™ and Blackboard PowerLinks™ to Ease Course Development and Enhance the Learning Environment
The Blackboard Building Blocks Program is an open architecture initiative that allows clients to enhance the online education experience for their teachers and learners by adding new capabilities to your online courses, such as advanced group management, certificate generation and integration of other tools in your IT environment. The program supports a vibrant community of nearly 600 institutions who are developing, deploying and sharing their software and experiences with others. To learn more about Building Blocks and Blackboard PowerLinks, click here.
8. Enhance Your Courses with Publisher Content, Including SCORM Content
The Blackboard Learning System is SCORM 1.2- and SCORM 2004-certified. In addition, Blackboard offers thousands of publisher-created Course Cartridges on a wide variety of topics you can use to train your employees or members. Use this content to save time and enhance your organization’s e-Learning offerings. To read more about the high-quality digital content available to users of Blackboard solutions, click here.
9. Demonstrate the Value of Your e-Learning Offerings with Enhanced Reporting
Instructors can use the Performance Dashboard feature of the Blackboard Professional Education Solution to review the learning progress of your employees or members. You can report on progress across many courses using the advanced reporting interfaces. This data can also be used to demonstrate the effectiveness of your e-Learning programs to decision-makers and funding sources.