Designing Blended Learning through LMS

LMS Learning Management System

LMS is a software application through which the diverse phases of E-learning processes such as delivering, recording, administering, tracking, and monitoring can be controlled effectively. During the initial time, Learning Management System was just intended to handle the basic training delivery and the tracking arrangements which many of the foremost organizations were looking for. That being said, it must be also pointed out that the elearning service platforms were also not fully developed as they are now during that particular period. The concept of LMS has changed over time and now, the same is utilized for a much broader section of e-learning activities. The present-day LMS is quite capable of delivering specialized training and monitoring the complete training programs such as doling out the elearning courses, managing the blended learning programs, classroom training, and the constructive reporting. LMS is also useful in gauging the practical progress of the E-learning participants, which in turn enables the course directors to provide them the proportionate future courses.

Design Your Blended Learning Approach Pragmatically

Blended Learning programs are adaptable, effective, inventive, and cost-effective, which means that practically the ROI (Return on Investment) will be great! To ensure the winning nature of your blended learning methodology, it is imperative that you must design it in an ingenious way. You should take into account the entailed aspects such as your related requirements, the mental capabilities of the group to whom the programs are planned, and also the resources that are on hand. In short, you should approach the task inventively and with a creative, as well as sensible vision. Likewise, you must make use of the available resources wisely; you should consult all the relevant departments which are involved in the process, so that overall consistency can be brought into the process of the blended learning course creation. You must also have practical awareness regarding the time needed to complete the course successfully and should break up the curriculum (ILT, Workshops, elearning, Virtual Training, etc.) effectively.

Careful Blending is Essential

Please note that the right type of ‘blend’ is crucial, and only through this way you can make sure of the success of the created blended learning methodology. Ensure to fix the elements of your blended learning courses in a prudent manner. You can include viable and effective modules such as ‘elearning’, ‘gamification’, ‘ILT’ (Information and Learning Technology) for classroom training, ‘virtual classroom’, and ‘mobile learning (Mlearning)’.

For elearning creation, you must use a useful ‘Learning Management System (LMS)’, through which you can easily deliver any form of contents such as ‘Tin Can’, ‘Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) objects’, ‘PPT’, ‘PDF’, ‘Word’, etc. Gamification is an excellent and feasible way to make the learners of the blended learning courses more engaged and allowing them to flow with the subject. Hence, due care should be given to this part of the program. ILT is practically effective and the participants will get the option to pick the practical classroom training programs in line with their work schedules. This is a good way to avoid extra expenses such as the charges for transporting, venue, trainers, etc. In the same way, ‘virtual classroom’ and ‘mLearning’ are appropriate in our time. Virtual Classrooms are practical necessities in our time, because the participants can shun travelling and can save time. Mlearning (mobile learning) has become imperative in the contemporary period, due to the influx and the high influence of mobile gadgets like smartphones and tabs. Hence you must incorporate them also in your blended learning programs.

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Is it Necessary to Implement Blended Learning?

Blended Learning
Corporate training programs have been implemented by most companies as a matter of investment. But, with technology advancing at such a rapid rate, it is not enough if you just leave all the training sessions in to just classroom training. It may not fulfil all the goals completely. Today, we see BYOD, next generation cloud computing, and all other pervasive technology. In order to enhance appeal, reach, and impact all in one, it is important to revamp the training program and move to a new strategy called Blended Learning.

Understanding the overall essence of the Blended Learning methodology is most important. A combination of several elements is contained in it. It includes teaching methods that are efficient and effective, powerful and rich content, and dissemination channels that are enabled using a Learning Management System that is efficient enough. You can sum it up by saying that blended learning solutions are much more than a simple classroom teaching methodology. You have all round techniques involved in it, like eLearning modules, face to face sessions by instructors that lead to games, and also learning programs employing the social media.

There are a number of things you need to keep in mind before implementing blended learning in to your organizations learning programs. Here are the most important questions you need to consider before making the big move:

  • Is your current learning program benefiting a geographically diverse workforce? Have you left enough room and space for flexibility? Have you implemented the concept of anywhere anytime learning?
  • Are your organization’s learning objectives effectively fulfilled using the current strategy and methodology?
  • Is optimal learning working out with your employees? Are they having a continuous learning process?
  • Have you made sure to set training touch points to appeal to the interests and requirements of the Generation C workforce? Are these methods interactive and modern? Do they align with the social media?

In case you find that at least one of these questions answers ‘no’, then you need to implement blended learning methodology in your learning program. This enables you to help your employees to excel in their roles and provide them the fuel to focus in their work and offer continuous learning programs to help them grow.

The concept of Blended Learning

The LMS enabled Blended Learning includes the core concepts of Mobile Learning, Online Learning, Social Media or Informal Learning, Games, and Classroom Training. If the Learning and Development function is able to regularly align the outcomes with the larger goals of the organization, then you can say that the learning is effective. Blended Learning is what is needed to improve the performance for the organization. You could create a vibrant learning environment with this. Using technology as the backbone and other channels to be able to disseminate the content, the employees will be able to experience flexibility and quality in all the learning processes.

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HTML5 is an Effective Authoring Tool

HTML5
HTML5 Has Boosted E-Learning Industry

The advent of HTML5 which is one of the most recent E-Learning authoring tools is indeed a boost to the eLearning industry and has created an overall easiness to the process of designing eLearning courses. The most enticing feature of HTML5 is that you don’t have to be an expert to create mobile-friendly and interactive eLearning content! But you can design effective eLearning courses like an expert! HTML5 is similar to ‘Flash’ in structure, because it is a single file item. However, it is different in application; there is no plug-in for the end-users, nor there is any specific need for local elearning tools. It will not be hyperbole to say that HTML5 has opened new doors for the creation of extremely expressive eLearning courses, and this is good as far as eLearning industry is concerned.

Plus Points of HTML5

  • The first and foremost advantage is that HTML5 is a free and open technological too and this gives you the freedom to use it in accordance with your own specific requirement.
  • You can make your web pages more representative and powerful. Attributes such as the ‘easiness of creation’, the ‘sharing’ feature, and the ‘reusable’ characteristic will empower you to build powerful elearning courses.
  • HTML5 will facilitate the process of mobile-friendly content creation, and this is simply great, because, in our time, mobile devices like smartphones, tabs, etc. have become par for the course.
  • HTML5 allows you to set up informative presentations and videos, and to edit them accordingly. This is applicable to both CMS and LMS platforms, which makes it all the more convenient.
  • There is no need for local software and end-use plug-ins, and this means client satisfaction.
  • HTML5 users will be able to share valuable data such as codes and contents.
  • The availability of various content types is another benefit of HTML5.
  • Updation process is easy, and this will make all users happy.

HTML5 Has Made Instructional Designing Easy

Though Flash, which was incorporated with numerous authoring tools, was the top mobile development support tool during the initial days, these days the scenario has changed a lot. Overdependence on Flash will not give you an upper hand in today’s competitive online field. A good section of the instructional designers and elearning content providers have started to hunt for different ways, other than Flash. It is here the resourcefulness of HTML5 will fit in.

These days, as elearning schemes are very much popular, governments, as well as private organizations are pumping huge amounts of fiscal resources to create numerous categories of elearning games, apps, and courses. Now, with the arrival of HTML5 the process of creating elearning courses and elearning games has become very easy and at the same time, highly effective also.

Available Content Types

Instructional designers who use different platforms such as Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla will be benefited by HTML5. Moreover, the availability of different content types will make their tasks easy. The available content types include Boardgame, Dialog cards, Drag and drop, Fill in the blanks, Flashcards, Iframe Embedder, Image hotspots, Interactive video, Memory game, Multichoice, Picture Slider, Presentation, Question set, Summary, and Timeline.

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Things to Test in Multi-Platform E-Learning Course

E-Learning Course These days, you get computing devices in all different shapes and sizes. Along with computers and Mac, there are laptops, smartphones and tablets, which have slowly become the most popular devices. As such, testing of devices has become very essential for all purposes, including eLearning. One requires the same behaviour and performance across all different devices and operating systems. Your authoring tool is not able to provide you this, so you need to check it yourself. Here are a few methods to ensure that it is functioning as expected on the various devices:

  • Is the text readable?
    You could use a larger font size to make sure that the text is readable on devices of any resolution. Easing formatting, and auto-resizing text boxes are also useful.
  • Content Alignment
    Check the content on all devices, platforms, and browsers to show how the alignment varies and adjust it accordingly. This is because of the different HTML rendering engine and JavaScript interpretation for each of them, and you need to adjust your material accordingly.
  • Area for target areas for touch and select
    Touch and select controls may be quite difficult on smaller devices. So, make sure you leave enough space for user controls. Also, leave space between the different elements so that mistakes can be avoided.
  • Layer and group the navigation controls
    Take out the different navigation controls and group them logically. Layer them according to the frequency of usage. You can also enable or hide any elements based on the devices used.
  • Offer visual cues
    Provide visual cues to help the users understand the specific gestures used as interactivities in your course. They need to be clear and explicit to help guide them with the functionality.
  • Use device appropriate instructions
    The functionality and user interface would change depending on the device. So, use specific instructions for every device. As an example, on laptops and computers one needs to use any key, whereas on touch devices, you just need to tap. You could also use generic instructions that would be common all through.
  • Use suitable interactivity for all devices
    Make sure the interactivities work smoothly on all devices. You can also use additional features absed on the kind of device used.
  • The relationship and meaning between all parts of the course need to be maintained
    The layout needs to be checked to ensure proper sequence is maintained on every device. The location and the references must match, and also enough space must be left to make everything clear and distinct.
  • Course Performance
    The eLearning projects must perform well irrespective of the device or operating system. You need to control all memory lag issues and make sure no crashes occur.

It is not possible to have a standard device. So, you need to optimise your content for every device available. Use the above tips and ensure that your course runs smoothly no matter what device is used.

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Creating Smart Linear model Elearning Courses

Elearning

Linear Type Click and Read E-Learning Courses

Though linear type click and read elearning courses have become par for the course of almost all present-day online training courses, some of such elearning courses are obviously mind-numbing. The participants of such elearning courses will not only feel a bit dull, because of the monotonous ways of handling the subject, but also will have a difficult time in grasping the essence of the course concerned. The primary reason for this dullness of some online training courses is the lack of creative thinking on the part of the instructional designers. They might have created the elearning courses without taking the learner’s interests into consideration and giving excessive significance to the content part.

This undue focus on the subject and the lack of learner’s interests convert such online training courses into a state of utter boredom, and obviously the learners will get a feel of stranded!

That being said, it does not mean that all click and read elearning courses are mediocre or inferior. This method of generating elearning course is not completely faulty. In fact, it is a great way to impart knowledge pragmatically.

Due Attention is Needed While Designing E-Learning Courses

Why some of the online training courses become droning? The basic fact is that when elearning courses are designed without underpinning the related contents with quality interactive visuals, there is a possibility of boredom creeping in!

Creating Smart E-Learning Courses

Instructional designers must make use of quality authoring tools such as operative e-learning software and effectual eTemplates for the same. In our time, high quality authoring tools such as Articulate Elearning software, Captivate Elearning templates, and Templates Lectora are available. Instructional designers must make sure that the created elearning courses come out rich in quality content; they must give top quality visuals to support the depicted topic. This approach of making use of effectual authoring tools will make elearning courses interactive. Such online training courses will get the desired approbation from the participants.

In fact, linear click and read content elearning courses are practically good; the only thing you have to take care is to present the content in a pragmatic way. You must not confuse the participants. The language used for conveying the topic is also significant. It is always better not to depend on confusing terminology; the participants must feel at ease while perusing the elearning courses. Instructional designers can also illustrate some worthwhile example so that the participants of the online training courses get the hang of it in a better way.

The Best Way to Create Interactive E-Learning Courses

While giving interactive visuals, the instructional designers must introduce some specific characters and related backdrops; this will enhance the clarity of the contents. They should put some effort to create brilliant layouts and visuals by making use of the varied resources to keep the participants of the elearning courses focused.

Of course, you can make use of a pre-built interactive model. You can build a typical interactive base and save it as a template. Use this template, and just put the created contents in it. One of the key benefits of using reusable templates is that you can make the process of elearning course creation cost-effective. These days, various resources are available from the online elearning groups; make use of these valuable resources and tips.

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How to Assess a Competent E-Learning Vendor or Service Provider?

ElearningE-Learning is a current trend in training and learning domain; it has become an obvious option for Learning Managers or Learning Officers. The four major advantages e-learning offers are;

  • easy development/update of learning content
  • anywhere-anytime implementation/access
  • effective learning results
  • effective cost

E-learning has plethora of options to provide for your unique leanings needs or requirements. The major challenge lies in selecting the right e-learning vendor or service providers. This discussion will help you to assess capable e-learning vendor for all kinds of learning needs.

Learning Managers or Learning Officers has three important areas to assess in an e-learning vendor or a service provider, they are:

LEARNING EFFECTIVENESS

This is the first and the most important among other two areas. A learning manager must assess a vendor company with respect to the capability of delivering effective learning solution. There is no use of other benefits if a vendor company is not competent enough to deliver effective learning.

Following are the key capabilities must be possessed by a competent e-learning course developer:

  • Analysis - A vendor company should be able to identity actual or real problem or learning need. They must talk to real/key stakeholder (the person who raised the learning need, not who is awarding the project). Best idea is to meet him personally and get answers to custom developed questionnaire as per your learning need; if physical meeting is not possible, at-least a call must be done between stakeholder and the analyst.Sample of questions to ask key stakeholder:

Q: What is the actual performance expected from the resource/student.

    •  This should be answered in detail; complete expected performance action should be described with corresponding verb, criteria and quality standard.

Q: Where and how resources/students are failing to perform?

    •  Answer to this question helps to identify the area or gap to fill.

Q: Is the failure is common in all or larger group of resources/students?

    •  This helps to understand or identify the relationship between performance failure and specific profile of resources/students (if any).

Q: Other than learner profile, is there any circumstantial/infrastructural issue related with performance failure?

    •  This helps to identify any unknown artificial conditioning affecting resources/students to stop performing in expected way.

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  • Design - Ideally, the person or Instructional Designer, who conducts the analysis phase, should design the required solution. If all the observations and responses are recorded and documented in proper procedure, then other instructional designer can devise an effective learning solution.Components of an effective learning solution design:
    • Scope – The subject matter/ the content includes texts, animations, images, audio etc. It also covers the expected level of performance.
    • Format – Which e-learning format is the most suitable? Such as Synchronous, Asynchronous, Blended etc.
    • Instructional Strategy – The instructional strategy is about how you create a learning environment/package (including Scope and Format) so that the learner understand and realizes the expected performance.Click here to request the best design for your e-learning requirement.

COMMUNICATION

This ability of a vendor company describes seriousness towards understanding client requirement and delivery of expected solutions. The communication component is to understand requirements and resolve issues. It is very important component to avoid work delay and review cycles. Click here to request a better communication procedure for e-learning course development projects.

COST 

Though cost is not a real component in designing effective learning solution, but it does have major role in decision making to select real components such as what level of instructional design to adopt. In industry there are three levels of instructional design modals, they are:

    • Level 1 – A basic design with content and images on screen.
    • Level 2 – Content chunking, illustrations, moderate interaction, 2D animations and learning avatars.
    • Level 3 – Excellent content chunking (less text on screen, much in narration), extensive used of illustration, interactive slides, 2D animations and if required 3D animation. All components required to make learning effective.

Note: There is a direct relationship between the above levels and the cost.

It is suggestible to bargain the cost factor after a vendor is shortlisted for Learning Effectiveness and Communication.Click here to receive the best price for your e-learning service requirements.

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E-Learning Course Development Standards

banner Today e-learning is a large industry; it has variety of solutions, approaches, strategies etc. for unique learning needs of organizations and institutions. E-learning is a proved methodology for its learning effectiveness, cheaper cost and less time of development. Globally e-leaning courseware developers are mushrooming with claims of providing the best quality in the least costs.

As a Learning Manager or any authorized person who is responsible for training and development of resources must have enough knowledge of certain basic standards of e-learning course development. This will help you to understand your learning need better and assess vendors who can provide it.

In this discussion we have enlisted few important areas of consideration and will come-up with more things in future.

Following are the basic modals, strategies or standards of e-learning courseware development:

E-Learning Course Developmental Procedure

There are modals which helps you execute an e-learning project in a systematic process. Among different models, ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation) is considered as base and the most perfect modal for an e-learning course development. Dick & Carey Modal is another one used by e-learning developers.

Course Enabling Objectives

These are the complete sentences to describe what learners are expected to do or should be able to do after completion of the course. Benjamin Blooms and Rober F. Mager’s had significant contributions in preparation of instructional or enabling objectives.

Content Chunking

Cognitive educational theories are followed in content chunking. Content should be chunked for easy assimilation and retention.

Content Flow

Each and every chunk of content should have logical flow to help learner know, understand, apply and judge i.e. From Known to Unknown, General to Specific and Complex to Simple.

Content Sentences

The sentences should be succinct and in constructive or progressive structure. Every learner has learning pattern (as I mentioned in my previous discussion) as stepping pattern. So, as a good trainer or instructor, identify these learning patterns and encapsulate subject matter into sentences so that they create aha effect in learner’s brain.

Learner Interactions

Learners are best engaged if they are prompted to interact with the subject matter of the course. Interaction for the sake of interaction doesn’t help learner to experience effective learning; interaction should help learner to establish desired pattern of connections in brain. Assessments and navigation are not such interactions.

Formative Assessment

These are the best opportunities to practice learned concepts. These activities help learners to strengthen the connections established during the content presentation.

Summary

A quick and a brief recap to help leaner to practice recall and retain what has been learnt in the course.

Summative Assessment

This is for the course designer to get confirmation on achievement of enabling objectives.

                                                                       Cont…

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An Effective E-Learning Course – Design Elements for An Instructional Strategy

E-Learning
Learning Managers are needed to understand their specific learning problems and corresponding requirement so that they select right vendor company to develop and deliver the most effective e-learning solution.

Learning or Instructional Strategy is not something which can be demanded or instructed to learning developer to adopt; it is devised based on certain elements or parameters. In this discussion we will be analyzing only design related parameters. The other parameters are commercials, development tool, delivery platform technology etc.

The design based parameters to decide learning or instructional strategy are:

  • Learner – All about learner profile; academic, cultural, personal etc. all which can affect his/her learning abilities
  • Objectives – Enabling objectives; specific abilities to be developed after course completion
  • Content – Type of content; process, procedures, principles, facts or concepts

The above elements are the three pillars for an Instructional Designer to decide about course instructional strategy.

Among these three, Learner and Objectives are defined by learning problem; you won’t get much room to change or modify them. Content is a depended variable, you can chunk or modify it in-accordance with the Learner profile and the Objectives.

Let’s Understand Objectives and Learner in brief:

  • Objectives –Objectives can be considered as 100% independent variable; once objectives are decided, then everything in instructional strategy has to fall in accordance to it. Objectives are derived values from your learning need or problem. Your learning need is your problem and objectives are the desired change or required solution to solve those problems. In most of the cases you won’t get alternative learning solutions; for example, if learner is to acquire ‘Apply’ skill, then he/she has to have corresponding cognitive ability; if learner is to acquire ‘Drive’ (a physical activity), then he/she has to have corresponding psychomotor ability.

    For several issues, always the learning environment won’t be conducive enough to achieve set specific abilities; in that case you can target to achieve a skill higher than to it. For example, if it is difficult for you to achieve ‘list’, then try to acquire ‘describe’ which is a higher skill to ‘list’. This target or objective shift will cost you more.

  • Learner – In general, learners are also considered as 100% independent variable. While developing a course you may face few challenges or constraints that makes difficult to develop or convert the content which suits learner’s learning style. For example, it is very difficult to convert theoretical subjects into pictorial forms; in this case, you can prepare or train learner to learn in other than his/her style. It is difficult to bring significant change in learning style but you can succeed to an extent.

Conclusion:

We understood that, Content is a dependent variable and Learner and Objectives are independent variables. It is an excellence of a learning developer or an e-learning company which can bring little change or modify Learner and Objectives and deliver an effective e-learning course. So the final suggestion for learning manager is to identify right learning need and required learning solution, then select the most dependable learning developer to deliver you the most suitable learning solution.

To make things simple, below table helps you to map learning objectives, learner style and corresponding content type.
Elearning

Note: If required, you can add more number of problems.

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Apple’s ‘Bendgate’ – E-Learning is a better strategy to avoid product failures

E-learning

Oooooh it is bending, it is Iphone, it is Apple, Steve Jobs.

It happens with any designer, manufacturer, developer even it has happened with Steve Jobs too in 2010 with Iphone 4 the ‘Antenagate’. To the world at large Steve Jobs is known as a meticulous product manager but still Iphone 4 Antenagate is a reality. In general, people bother about product looks from outside; Steve Jobs was a person who also cares about inside looks. So it is not just about how meticulous you are, how skilled full developers and designers you have and what quality of material you use; it is also about how much you and your entire team is aware of possible product failures.

Case: Let’s discuss a case of an e-learning course to educate chemical and physical characteristics of raw materials used in the development of various products.

Course Requirements - Client asked to develop a course describing chemical and physical features of materials to be used in product development like plastic, silicon, metals etc. This helps new executive engineers to enhance and recall their knowledge on materials that company may use in present and future product developments. It is like training Java to new software developers who already learned it in their academics.

Course Purpose - To enable learners develop products with least possibility of hardware failures.

Learning Solution - Following are the key aspects of the course requirement:

    • Implementation of training every time new designers and engineers are recruited
    • Hiring expert trainers to provide quality training
    • Establishment of Infrastructure to conduct training programs
    • Allocating required Budget
    • Managing training programs at various locations around the globe

Considering above list of requirement, an e-learning course is proposed; following are the list of benefits:

    • The course was developed with the help of experienced instructional designer, visualizers, in-house contract based SMEs and client side engineers.
    • It is posted on company LMS from where it is implemented to learners distributed at various locations around the globe.
    • LMS helps to track and grade leaners as per their performances
    • Greater control on content and quality
    • Cost effective

Scope of the course: It was purely a technical course dealing two aspects of each raw material i.e. basic chemical and physical features and their performances as per the specified product design.

Example: Basic chemical and physical features of silicon are described with the help of appropriate images and simple plain content using interactive presentation strategies. In next stage, course explains best possible dimensions and strength configurations of the material to be maintained in products to be developed and achieve business objectives like cost, durability and performance.

Learning and Business Results - The e-learning course has helped learners to increase their understanding on materials and develop cheaper and better products. In result, hardware defects has been reduced significantly and helped to build brand as one of the best product makers.

Conclusion - It is very important to understand basic details of raw materials for all decision makers who are directly related with product development. E-learning is considered as the best strategic tool to educate or train resources and achieve better business results.

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Achievements of Swift Elearning Services: A journey of success

Elearning Services

Swift Elearning Services Private Limited; An eLearning company based in Hyderabad, India. We provide eLearning solutions, for both educational institutions and corporate enterprises. Swift E-learning established in 2010 with only two people Syed Amjad Ali and Sudheer Panchumarthi. Apart from that swift has gain rapid development in the past four years and now a team of 45 members are working for the company. In Similar lines swift has tremendous increase in client base globally in Australia, US, UK, Saudi Arabia and India. Our elevated quality and reasonable price kept our customer to give us repeat business and retain a long term business relationship.

Swift has delivered many custom eLearning courses to various industries like Software, Banking, Financial, Insurance, Retail, Health care and education etc. We deliver a course with rich graphics, extremely designed and interactive templates to help the learners for easy access of content. We have an experience team of professional Project Managers, Instructional Designers, Graphic Designers, eLearning developers, Programmers and Quality Assurance leads working together to congregate the global client’s need with quality.

Swift has specialized in providing Custom eLearning solutions, Mobile learning solutions, and Translation and localization services. We use various eLearning authoring tools like Adobe Flash, Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, Articulate Studio, Lectora and HTML5 to develop eLearning courses according to the clients’ requirements. In additive to the eLearning we are also developing the mobile learning courses compatible to iOS (iPads, iPhones), Android and windows devices. Other than English we also construct the courses in various international languages Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and Russian & Regional languages like Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Marathi, Oriya and Kannada. We had recently started working on software projects using .Net technologies.

Swift has a mission to proactively deliver the error free, high quality and cost effective eLearning solutions to the clients and aims to become the pioneer in the eLearning Industry.

Check out the sample elearning courses at http://www.elearningserv.com/lms/login/index.php

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