DocuMedia Learning Group Blog The Official Blog of DocuMedia Learning Group, Inc.

In memory of Louis Parks

by Jake June 7, 2011

In memory of Louis Parks
Louis was a very accomplished programmer and worked for DMLGroup for several years before accepting an offer to work for Microsoft in pursuit of his dreams. Although he left DMLGroup several years ago, his code is still in use today. Our deepest sympathy to family and friends. —Colleagues and friends at DocuMedia Learning Group

Tools and Strategies

by David November 24, 2009

"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance", is the first line in a whitepaper introducing our JARIS knowledge management system many years ago. It is still applicable today. Much of the efforts in organizations of all sizes revolve around reducing costs, becoming more lean, and working smarter. Although it is hard to consider a training department as a revenue stream, there are ways to empower Learners to transfer some of the direct costs (time) of training. Besides, there usually isn't any alternative to training, especially if you have a workforce with high turnover. To be successful, you must provide training resources over the full lifecycle of an employee.

By understanding and applying the correct strategies and tools, you are more likely to quickly realize a return on investment (ROI) as well as a reduction in future costs. It has really amazed me that large companies (some our clients now) have spent millions of dollars licensing tools and implementing systems without having an overall roadmap strategy for how the tools and systems fit in their environment and what problems they address; then, because of the cost, there isn't enough budget to create learning resources and training content to be successful.

As illustrated in the image below, certain challenges arise over the lifecycle of an employee, from the initial new-hire stage to attrition. The employee’s needs will change over time also. You wouldn't send all your seasoned employees through new-hire training after they return from vacation—they don't need that type of training anymore. Also, many companies train employees in batches rather than delivering training just in time.

The strategies we use address a specific stage of an employee and a specific gap as illustrated by the darker blue overlays in the Tools and Strategies image. The larger the cross-section, the more applicable the strategy and tool is in providing a solution.

One specific solution is illustrated by the wedge, which is the second object from the top that is smaller at the new-hire side and largest before attrition. This strategy and the associated tool is the knowledge management system JARIS (Job Aid Reference Information System). By training a new hire how to use JARIS and publishing the necessary knowledge therein, you empower the employee to find and use information as needed and reduce the need for additional training over the remaining lifecycle. Another, more common approach is to provide web-based training (WBT), which is represented by the top-most dark blue object. These are just two of the strategies for solving training gaps, and DMLGroup uses these strategies to reduce training time, increase employee contribution, and add value to our clients.

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Business Case for Using Technology in Training

by David October 7, 2009

With technology advancing and new options and approaches available, many organizations are holding fast to their "old and true" traditional stand-up or lecture training without considering advantages that technology can offer. The following list is compiled to provide forward-thinking management assistance in developing a business case for implementing technology solutions into an organization's training and development functions.

Each of the following concerns lead to undesirable situations. Determining the time, cost, and lost resources for the situations below can be used as the foundation of the return-on-investment within your business case.

  • Training delivery is compressed due to time constraints or an over dependency on classroom space and instructor availability resulting in poorer quality instruction or missed topics.
  • Training occurs when a training group can accommodate the Learners instead of when business needs direct the requirement.
  • Business demands force postponing or even cancelling training sessions.
  • The training content and methodology are based on an academic model instead of a business model.
  • Instructors use methods directed to help and teach to the slowest learner restricting those that could become competent faster.
  • Training durations are determined by the speed of the Instructor and how long it takes to cover the content, not how long it takes to internalize the content to become competent.
  • New hire training is restricted to specific dates/times, a certain duration, or a quantity of Learners to match a schedule instead of actual demand.
  • The time to acquire skills or knowledge takes longer to complete than the pace at which change is occurring.
  • Trainees drop out of the training program in large quantities due to the length and the content of the training programs.
  • Trainees are more technologically skilled than instructors and are being trained to use technological applications on the job.
  • Insufficient instructors or facilities are available to meet the demand.
  • Training is updated and provided many months after the need and is never quite up to date.

The above list illustrates challenges, circumstances, and conditions when training can be a burden to the business. Technology can provide solutions to the above challenges. A future blog will explain some of these technology solutions that are provided by DMLGroup.


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Tech Support

by David September 23, 2009

DMLGroup has been providing specific clients and projects technical support on some of our software and custom applications. The tech support experience is one that almost every large company has to provide -- some enjoy it and others disdain it. Part of that reaction is due to the variety of questions posed and the trouble folks can find on their own. (We have found that there really are dumb questions).  In honor to all those that provide tech support - in any work environment - the following software tech support scenario is provided for your enjoyment. The application is:

GirlFriendPlus 1.0

Last year, my friend upgraded his GirlFriend 3.1 software to GirlFriendPlus 1.0 (marketing name: Fiancée 1.0). Just recently he upgraded Fiancée 1.0 to Wife 1.0 and it's a memory hogger, it has taken all his space; and Wife 1.0 must be running before he can do anything. Although he did not ask for it, Wife 1.0 came with Plug-Ins such as MotherInLaw and BrotherInLaw. Given this situation he has experienced, I am requesting features for my next upgrade.

Some features I'd like to see in the upcoming GirlFriend 4.0...

  • A "Don't remind me again" button
  • Minimize button
  • Shutdown feature
  • Renew cache resources subroutine
  • An install shield feature so that GirlFriend 4.0 can be completely uninstalled if so desired (so you don't lose cache and objects).

I tried running GirlFriend 2.0 with GirlFriend 1.0 still installed, however, they both used the same I/O port and conflicted. Then I tried to uninstall GirlFriend 1.0 but it didn't have an uninstall program. I tried to uninstall it by hand; but it put files in my system directory. Another thing that is very concerning with all versions of GirlFriend that I've used is that it is totally "object oriented" and the only supported hardware requires gold plated contacts. Cache and resource logs are systematically deleted each maintenance cycle.

***** BUG WARNING ********

Wife 1.0 has an undocumented bug. If you try to install Mistress 1.1 before uninstalling Wife 1.0, be aware that Wife 1.0 will delete MSMoney files before doing the uninstall itself. Then Mistress 1.1 will refuse to install, claiming insufficient resources. 


Tech Support Note:  Tech Support does not recommend any version of Mistress (installed, demoed, downloaded) or similar entertainment applications, as they are completely open source and subject to a variety of viruses, trojans, as well as system crashes – cache deletion and memory leaks are only two of the millions of symptoms . The sanctity of the operating environment is threatened by such and as it states in the ULA “use at your own peril”.

NOTE:  Mistress (any version) or similar virtual entertainment applications are not WYSIWYG.


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Welcome to our new blog!

by Jake August 20, 2009

Along with a minor website redesign (notice the new header?), we're launching this new blog, which will cover current happenings in the e-learning world as well as our company news and events.

Note that we've moved all the old "News & Events" articles into the blog archive for your browsing pleasure.

Check back soon...