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2015 Portal Newsletter #1

We like to keep you up to date on advances in technology, innovative ways to use existing technology and how your portal can enhance your training. Keep reading for interesting new work, updates you should know and news from our end.

In Case You Missed It

In our last newsletter, we announced a few new features. These are available to any of our enterprise portal clients; let us know if you’d like to learn more about using these in your implementation.

  • Full LTI support
  • Friendly-named URLs (virtual redirects for registrations)
  • Track results through spreadsheets
  • Pulse report

Solution Showcase

We like to bring you our Solution Showcase to talk about the new, innovative customizations we’re doing for clients. While they’re not necessarily part of Allen’s core feature set, we like to show interesting work that may spark a great idea as you think about where you’d like to go next with your portal implementation. Our goal is to help you find the best solution to apply to your company as you think about new ways of delivering training.

This time we want to show you how we’re blurring the lines with technology, in three distinct ways, to create an outstanding learning experience.

  1. Blurring the lines between technologies
  2. Blurring the lines between instructional design and the technology
  3. Blurring the lines between the course and the technology

Portal1Blurring the Lines between Technologies

Sometimes access to training needs to be set into a specific context to provide the best learning experience. When that context is another site or system, we can integrate right into the site so the user has a seamless transition from the larger site into the learning portal. In this example, everything above the menu line is the other site’s navigation, and everything below that line is the learning portal. This means that the learner doesn’t have to transition from site to site, whether it’s going to another site or even opening another window. The less navigation and fewer clicks your learners have to make, the more likely they are to engage with your content. This type of seamless integration can help increase participation and engagement with your course.

Blurring the Lines between Instructional Design and Technology

When learners do well and score points in the courses they are taking, the points roll up and are reflected in the “Your HP Brand Impact Score” meter in the learner’s dashboard. This meter is part of an instructional design strategy to motivate and incentivize the learner. We use our API to aggregate the scores from all of the courses, which are then reflected in the meter. This gives learners a feedback loop of their progress, and helps tie all courses together for a more cohesive learning experience.

Portal2Blurring the Lines between the Course and the Portal

When users take a course, the course calls our portal for information to create an improved learning experience. For example, there is one course that asks for information about the learner that has already been collected in the learner’s profile. To avoid duplicating steps that may deter a voluntary learner, the course makes a call to the learner’s account in the portal and populates the course with that information so that the learner doesn’t have to enter it again. Conversely, if the learner takes that course before completing their learner profile, the portal simply pulls in the information from the course so the learner doesn’t have to enter it again.Portal3 Blurring the lines between course and portal like this, recreates the seamless experience that we have all come to expect. Having the course and portal interface in this way seems deceptively simple, but is the kind of polish that adds credibility with your learners and takes out steps so the focus is on the information.

“Providing my audience of employees, creative agencies, sales partners and business partners with brand training in the same place that they find everything else brand related is invaluable. It’s always difficult to get people to take training that isn’t required, so I know that providing it in context, and with minimal navigation and clicks means that more people learn about the HP brand.”

– Victoria Baumgart (formerly Naffier)
Brand Manager, Education, Immersion, and Engagement, HP Marketing

If you’d like to provide a seamless experience across your content with Allen’s Blurred Lines technology, contact us!

Avon University

In early February, we worked with Avon to launch the first phase of their redesigned employee and representative learning solution, Avon University. Avon is also the recipient of Allen Communication’s first ever AllenComm Learning Innovation Award for their work on Avon University. The success of our external awards is one way we’ve worked with customers to get recognition for the thought, strategy and design of their solutions. We chose to launch the AllenComm awards to provide additional recognition for clients who are creating extraordinary learning solutions.

Tech Updates

Server Migrations Coming Soon

Windows Server 2003 will reach its extended support end of life on July 14, 2015, and SQL Server 2005 will follow with its extended support end of life on April 12, 2016. Currently, our SQL Server 2005 servers reside on Windows Server 2003 platform. Consequently, we will be migrating away from both at the same time. We plan to complete this migration between May 1 and June 15, 2015. There will be some scheduled downtime as we make the change, and if your environment will be affected, we will coordinate with you on the best timing for that.

Some of you may have infrastructure for your internal backup and restore that will need to be changed along with this migration. Please get in touch if you have questions about how your infrastructure might be impacted by this change.

Allen Updates

Building The Trophy CaseTech-2014-Silver-PNG

We are thrilled to let you know about our two latest awards:

  • Top 20 Learning Portal Companies, 2014
  • Brandon Hall: Best Advance in Unique Learning Technology, 2014
    This award was for our Blurred Lines technology that you can read about above.

As with all of our awards and recognition, we share these with you not because we like to blow our own horn, but because you are the reason why we get these awards. Your partnerships enable us to create award-winning learning technology.

We always want to hear from you! What do you think of the Blurred Lines technology? Can you think of any other ways it can be valuable to your learning programs?

Let us know what you’d like to hear about in the next newsletter, and if you have a use case or case study you’d like to share with other Allen portal clients, drop us a note!