The word curriculum (pl. curricula) refers to the lessons and academic content taught thru a specific course or program. In the Accord LMS, curricula can take many forms. At it’s most basic, a single course can contain several separate Learning Elements containing content, quizzes, etc. Larger amounts of training content can be organized in multiple Learning Paths. Learner flow can be controlled with prerequisite settings and Learning Roles. This article reviews some of the tools currently available to guide learners through their assigned curricula.
This article examines three specific features which can be used to provide a cogent learning experience; Folders, Prerequisites and Role Awards.
Content Organization – The First Step
When faced with a large amount of training content, this content should be organized into meaningful sections. Imagine a library with different sections for children’s books, adult fiction and research materials. Within these sections, shelves contain books on related subjects and these books contain chapters further organizing their content. This model exists to make it easier to find and process the information contained inside a library. A large training library can be very similar.
The Accord LMS uses a folder metaphor for organizing learning content. Folders are hierarchical and can contain child folders in addition to the actual learning content (Learning Elements). When building a curriculum, it is important to understand the various types of folders which are utilized to organize all the learner content.
There are several commonly used default folder-types. Custom folder-types are easy to create. For an overview of the various Folder-types, please visit Folders – Introduction through our online help documentation.
This article will demonstrate the following folder-types:
- Learning Path – A parent folder containing multiple related courses.
- Collection – These folders exist only in Learning Paths and used to organize courses within the Learning Path.
- Course – Contain Learning Elements. In this example these Courses are placed within Collections in a Learning Path.
- Chapter – Child Folders of a Course used to organize Learning Content within this Course.
Fig. 1 – Courses organized into Collections within the First Aid Certification Learning Path
A sample Learning Path is shown in fig. 1. The First Aid Certification Learning Path is a type of Catalog Folder called a 'Learning Path' and can contain other Catalog folder-types called Courses or Collections. In this example we present two Collections: Primary Assessment and Emergency Care. A third Collection, 'Basic Wound Care', is not shown.
Each Collection is a folder that contains a series of related courses. Primary Assessment contains three Courses: Intro to First Aid Assessment, Preparing Your First Aid Kit and Arriving on the Scene. Each of these Courses contain a number of Learning Elements containing the actual learning content which will be used by your Learners.
Fig. 2 – Circulatory Emergencies Course with Chapters and Learning Elements
Drilling into Circulatory Emergencies present a list-view of Learning Elements. In general, any folder containing Learning Elements will present in list-view rather than tile-view (as shown in fig. 1). This example shows a Course containing several Chapters. Each Chapter is a Chapter folder-type containing related Learning Elements.
The purpose of these folders is to organize your learning content so that it is presented to the Learner in a meaningful and logical fashion. It is not necessarily recommended that all folder-types are regularly used. For example, a Course containing one or two Learning Elements will appear less-cluttered without Chapters.
The image below (fig. 3) shows what the above example will appear like to an administrator from the LMS Admin Catalog.
Fig. 3 – Admin Catalog view of First Aid Certification Learning Path and contents
Assigning the content – Learning Roles
There are several ways to assign content within the Accord LMS. It is generally considered a best practice to use our Learning Role feature to assign content and electives to any Learners who might qualify for this specific type of LMS training material. For more information on Learning Roles, please review the Learning Roles articles in our documentation or speak with your Solutions Engineer.
Using Learning Roles to assign content will facilitate the Role Award feature discussed below.
Flow Control – Dictating Course Sequence
There are several approaches to getting Learners to access content in a specific desired sequence. We will consider three of these approaches.
By using a learning Role you can enroll a Learner into a series of different Courses with staggered Start or Activation Dates. If you want a given Learner to access new sections of curriculum every three months, you can assign each section through it’s own Learning Role. Staggering the Activation Dates will prevent the Learner from seeing or accessing this material until it's activation date. Staggering the Start Date will allow a Learner to see what’s coming, but prevent further access. There are several settings options available to present future material to Learners on a limited basis prior to an assigned start date.
Staggered Activation Dates
- Role 1 - Activation Date: Immediate
- Can be accessed as soon as the Learner is added to the Role.
- Role 2 - Activation Date – Delay 90 days
- Can be accessed 90 days after Learner added to Role.
- Role 3 - Activation Date – Delay 180 days
- Can be accessed 180 days after Learner added to Role.
Assuming that this Learner is added to all three Learning Roles at the same time, this approach automatically allows access to new content every 90 days. This scheduled oncoming content can be accessed on it's Activation Date, regardless if Learner accessed any earlier content.
Fig. 4 – Role Dates settings within a Learning Role
Prerequisites - Requirements Applied to Assigned Content
Various prerequisites can be set for Folders or Learning Elements. Prerequisite setting options can be located inside the Folder Details or the LE Details. When prerequisites are set for a given Folder or Learning Element, a Learner cannot access this content until they have satisfied any prerequisites.
The example below shows the Final Exam Chapter with prerequisites set, requiring the completion of all Chapters within this Course before the Final Exam can be accessed.
Fig. 5 – Prerequisite settings for the Final Example Chapter (folder)
Role Awards – Future Assignments Based on Passing or Completing Content
Role Awards are a way to execute several actions when Learners complete or pass specific Learning Elements.
There are some important distinctions between Role Awards and Prerequisites. Prerequisites are more limited in scope and can only deny or allow access to specific content or folders. Role Awards can have a broader impact by assigning, removing or updating one or more Learning Roles for those Learners who complete or pass their required Learning Elements.
Role Awards vs. Prerequisites
- Content having Prerequisites are assigned but cannot be accessed until prerequisites are satisfied.
- Role Awards do not enroll a Learner until this Learner has satisfied any requirements.
- Role Awards have several action options available when any set requirements are satisfied.
- Role Awards are only available for Learning Elements. Prerequisites can be placed on LEs or Folders.
- Role Awards can add Learners to Roles, Expire existing Roles, remove Learners from Roles or update Role dates. Prerequisites will prevent or permit access to a specific Folders or Learning Elements.
A Role Award is added to a Learning Element and can be triggered by the following LE conditions:
- Completed and Passed
- Completed or Passed
When criteria is met, a Role Award can do any of the following:
- Create – Add a Learner to a new Learning Role.
- Create or Update – Either add the Learner to a new Learning Role or Update their Role Dates if they are already a member of this Role.
- Create or Add – Add the Learner to a new Learning Role or extend their expiration dates. This will have no effect if the expiration date is not a set delay . If the date is set to a specific delay, this amount of time will be added to the expiration date.
- Expire – This will set an expiration date for a given role. If the Role is set to Archive, then any associated attempt records will be archived. The learner will still be a member of this Role and appear on any Role-based reports.
- Delete – This will remove a learner from this Role. This will affect reporting. Attempt records are still available, but only for any reports specifically set to include any unenrolled attempts. There will be no direct record that this Learner was ever included in this Role.
Please know that multiple Learning Roles can be included in a Role Award. The example below is tied to the Final Exam Learning Element within the First Aid Certification Learning Path. Upon Completing and Passing the quiz, the specific Role responsible for assigning this content will expire and a Learner will be assigned a refresher course which will start one-year from the date they passed the final exam in order to meet the award criteria.
Fig. 6 – Final Exam Role award to expire current Learning Role and add new Role.
This article has only scratched the surface on the myriad of different ways to guide your Learners thru any complex curricula. Please remember; it is not always necessary to use any tools as described above to assign any training. A process should be as simple as possible. These Accord LMS tools help simplify complex learning plans while maintaining organization and flow control, but not necessary in all cases. Keep these tools in your back pocket for the day they’ll make your Learner’s lives easier. For more information about how the Accord LMS can facilitate your training strategy, please contact your sales team which includes your Sales Consultant and Solutions Engineer. Specific questions can also be sent to our top-notch Support Team through your support portal account.