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11 Quick Steps to be a Super Productive Student

11 Quick Steps to be a Super Productive Student

Now that the first year or second year of university is coming to end, a lot of students are looking at their productivity system and considering reviewing it. Being able to balance your social, academic, professional and personal lives is a task in itself, but if you have the right tools in place this becomes simple. This post focuses on the tips and steps necessary to becoming the student you want to become. Be a more productive student today!

The first three tips: the top tools for your student life

There is a basic, three-part system to keep you organized: actions, information, and visualization.

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      Actions. Keep your actions (or tasks) up to date and assign deadlines to a task. Todoist is an online to-do list program that allows anyone with a mobile device, computer, tablet or email account to start managing their tasks. The benefit for students are that it is very easy to use, it is compatible on many devices (iPhones to Android Tablets) and has a great collaborative tool for when you are working on projects with others in your classes. The system is very easy to start up and everything will be explained about functionality when you download it. Todoist. Free (Premium available)
    • evernote_logo_center_4c-lrg
        Information. Keep your resources nearby all the time. Evernote is a service that allows you to remember everything. It is a great place to store and create information that will be useful for classes, meetings, events and more. Evernote is accessible through smartphones and will allow you to keep organized with all the images, PDFs, documents, details, audio recordings and more that you use throughout your day. This is perfect for students as it meets their needs for taking class notes and sharing notes with others easily, and is available on all devices. Evernote requires a little more attention, but if you check out the Evernote YouTube tutorials, they will be worth your time and save you hours of organization in the future. Evernote. Free (Premium available)
      • Screenshot 2014-05-29 at 07.58.11
          Visualization. A calendar is very important for making sure that you can visualize the events coming up in your life. It’s especially important for the student who wants to keep track of events, classes, birthdays and more. I would recommend using Google Calendar because you can import your classes into this using the school calendar system, and it is easy to use and interact with. Google Calendar. Free (Find iOS Apps through store)

        The top three steps to follow with your tools

        1. Actions. With tasks, make sure that you keep actively focusing on one task at one time (don’t multi-task), and always make your actions achievable. E.g., “Make a cake” is too general, set smaller and more achievable actions like, “Get all ingredients for cake,” then “Prepare oven and equipment.” This will help you get to your goal more effectively.
        2. Information. As I said, I recommend Evernote because it is everywhere. Storing information and creating information becomes a lot easier when you are organized for events and classes, and preparing for something. By making sure all your useful information is coming from one location, it makes the whole process more efficient.
        3. Visualize. Add events to your calendar, try not to input general information like when you are free or busy because the calendar gets overwhelming. Start by adding key events and details etc. Classes can be added by following your college’s or university’s instructions. 
          Screenshot 2014-05-29 at 08.38.02

          Five steps to being a pro-active and productive student

          1. Take a break from academia. I’m not saying don’t focus on studies. However, many students finish university with a simple degree but have no work experience, experience of working with teams and groups, or connections that they can utilize. My big advice is to become a President or VP of a society that you are interested in or passionate about. This will give you some invaluable skills in leadership, teamwork and public speaking, and are something you can add to your CV.
          2. Don’t read too much fiction. Focus your time on reading books with a purpose. There’s nothing wrong with a good plot and immersive storyline; however, look to improve your personal development by reading some books that will get you thinking about your career path or improve your general skills.
          3. Model yourself on pro-active students. Find some students in the university with your interests who have been achieving more than just academic results. Seek their coaching. If you find those students and listen to what they have to say, they will help inspire you towards being a driven individual with your time.
          4. Kill Facebook. I understand that Facebook isn’t dead yet, but kill it for yourself. Download Newsfeed Killer and start taking advantage of not seeing what people are up to and getting distracted by this. This will be a golden feature during coursework and exam time. Over time you will reduce your usage dramatically. 
            Screenshot 2014-05-29 at 08.23.42

            • Keep that inbox empty. Bring everything of importance over to Evernote. Don’t let it cause clutter – it is very easy to start doing. If you have a choked up inbox at the moment, have a big clear out and get rid of everything.
              Screenshot 2014-05-29 at 08.27.45

              Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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              Last Updated on November 5, 2019

              5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

              5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

              Businesses rely on talent to generate and sell value. Without skilled people to create its products, manage its operations and execute its strategies, a business would inevitably fizzle out of the game and leave better-staffed competitors to take the field.

              This is the reason why ambitious companies go great lengths to attract top talent,[1] shelling out millions of dollars in the process and bending traditional work policies just to bring highly skilled but demanding candidates into the fold.

              Clearly, the contours of business are changing. But so are the demographics of work.

              Millennials have become the dominant generation in the job market in terms of population, and some have already transitioned into leadership roles. Most millennials consider opportunity to learn and grow more important than overall compensation.[2]

              Companies also today expect employees to come equipped with razor sharp business acumen.[3] Unfortunately, there is an alarming discrepancy between the actual skills businesses need and those currently possessed by job candidates.

              To stay in the game, employers need to continually upgrade their training and skills development strategies to cover the entire employee lifecycle.

              What are Learning Management Systems (LMS)?

              Learning management systems are software-based solutions for authoring, presenting, consuming, storing, and tracking educational content and training materials. These systems aim to centralize all instructional content (e.g., lessons, training modules, instructional videos, presentation slides, worksheets, online quizzes, ebooks, takeaway notes, etc.) in one place.

              LMS enable instructors to design and deliver learning experiences to students, with the added capability of evaluating the effectiveness of the instructional materials and grading the learning progress of students.

              On the other side of the equation, learners use LMS to develop skills and acquire new knowledge virtually anytime and anywhere via the different channels and content formats made possible by digital technology.

              Over the years, a wide range of features and technologies have been integrated into learning management systems to help enhance the experience of training designers, instructors, and learners. These include cloud and mobile technology, artificial intelligence, responsive design, scheduling, gamification, data analytics, and interoperability with other applications.

              5 Best All-Purpose Learning Management Systems

              There are dozens of LMS vendors catering to the general market or to specific segments such as K-12 learning, higher education, and corporate training.

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              With so many options available, selecting the right LMS solution for your needs can be complicated and costly, especially when you end up adopting a platform that doesn’t exactly match your goals or requirements.

              Short of conducting a comprehensive audit of your needs and finalizing a learning roadmap, the safest bet would be to adopt full-featured but affordable LMS solutions.

              Based on user reviews, here are the 5 best LMS to help people gain knowledge, build skills, and achieve mastery:

              1. Canvas Network

              Launched by Instructure as an open source software in 2011, Canvas is an end-to-end cloud-based service originally engineered for the education sector.

              Widely adopted for K-12 and Higher Ed learning, Canvas can be repurposed for anything that involves an instructor, a subject matter, and a student.

              Used around the world by people of all ages and organizations of all types, Canvas arguably has the largest learning and support community in its class. It works on desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones.

              To get a glimpse of the platform’s fresh interfaces, you can visit the Canvas Network, a learning community that provides educational and instructional materials created by colleges, universities, corporate businesses, independent course developers, and other knowledge-sharing entities around the world.

              Hosting hundreds of interesting topics from data science to horticulture, the learning network also serves as evidence to the scope, capabilities, and popularity of the Canvas LMS platform.

              Canvas is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure, which enhances the platform’s reliability, speed, scalability, and overall online performance.

              Additionally, platform adopters enjoy a low-risk environment since cloud-based solutions require no hard stops for version updates, upgrades, or system migrations.

              The Canvas website does not show a price matrix but says the service adopts a simple formula for computing fees: a one-time implementation fee and an annual subscription fee based on total number of users. It also promises free basic services for teachers who want to use the platform.

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              In addition to Canvas, Instructure also offers Bridge (an LMS designed for corporate environments), Arc (a video platform for online learning), and Gauge (an assessment management system).

              Check out this video if you want to learn more about Canvas Network:

              2. Google Classroom

              This free service from Google aims to improve the teaching and learning process using cloud technology, web apps, workflow simplification, and seamless communication between students and instructors.

              Using Classroom, educators can easily create and schedule classes, distribute assignments, send feedback, and grade quizzes all in one place. By streamlining processes, Classroom helps teachers save time and organize classes more effectively. Both students and teachers can also work using any device anytime and anywhere.

              Classroom works perfectly with other Google tools, having been launched initially as part of Google’s G Suite for Education. This LMS solution taps Google Drive for content storage and distribution, as well as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for the creation and sharing of instructional materials. Meanwhile it integrates Google Calendar for scheduling and Gmail for communication.

              With G Suite, other communication channels such as chat messaging, video conferencing, and a dedicated website are enabled.

              Easy to set up and manage, Google Classroom is free to use. One of my very first courses was actually hosted on Google Classroom.

              Going beyond the classroom environment, Google offers G Suite Enterprise for Education for large institutions. This suite provides enhanced search and analytics capabilities as well as advanced tools for enterprise communications.

              3. Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment)

              If budget and capability equally top your list of LMS adoption criteria, then Moodle might just fit the bill. Which is to say there’s none (i.e., bill).

              Moodle is a free and open-source learning solution for distance education, workplace training, flipped classrooms, and other pedagogical environments.

              It is also a full-featured LMS supported by a robust community and a thriving developer ecosystem. Not surprisingly, Moodle is used in more than 15 million courses by more than 130 million users in 230+ countries.

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              Among other things, Moodle enables administrators and educators to create a dynamic and dedicated website to host organic, easily accessible, and highly customizable courses that can be experienced on desktops and mobile devices anytime and anywhere.

              Moodle provides a personalized and intuitive dashboard as well as a host of collaboration tools for content designers, teachers, and learners. A universal calendar, an efficient file management system, an automatic notification system, multimedia integration, and a progress tracking tool all come with the package.

              Check out this video if you want to learn more about Moodle:

              4. Absorb

              This platform recently bagged PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Award for Best LMS.

              Co-designed and built by former course authors, Absorb takes learning experience to the next level. This turnkey LMS solution is responsive, full-featured, and highly customizable for maximum impact.

              Course developers can orchestrate a wide range of experiences depending on audience or learning situation. In addition to surveys, polls, and e-commerce integration, Absorb supports formal online learning and certifications standards such as AICC, SCORM, and Tin Can.

              The user interface can also be modified to match the learner’s location, group, or department, allowing for a different look and feel for customers, channel partners, management trainees, and newly hired employees.

              Absorb supports all personal computing devices from desktops to mobile phones. There are also native or hybrid apps for iOS and Android.

              The only possible drawback to the platform’s powerful feature set is its pricing. The service reportedly implements a flat, one-time setup fee depending on your business and training requirements. According to the site, any plan comes with a dedicated success team for your account.

              Although small companies are welcome to try, midsize to enterprise-scale organizations are probably the best segment to readily adopt this LMS solution.

              Take a look at some examples of Absorb in this video:

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              5. Watershed Collaborative

              Created by a group of educators, this nonprofit rethinks the priorities of an LMS, asserting that too many systems miss the most essential elements of what makes learning stick. They promise a better user experience – emphasizing Learning before Management and System.

              Watershed aims to support an inquiry-based learning experience through an integrated mix of online and in-person learning strategies and interactions designed expressly for teams – including collaboration, reflection, and dialogue.

              While Watershed was founded initially to serve the K-12 education market, the company has since expanded its scope to cater to all types of teachers and learners with its video-rich, state-of-the-art platform.

              If you’re a mission-driven educator, content creator, institution, or business, this LMS may be the one for you.

              Watershed specializes in assisting you with the instructional design of courses and provides content production services to ensure top-quality video assets with lasting value. Their LMS makes it easy for course creators to continuously update and tailor content to support small and large groups, while ensuring the technology and instructional strategy supports communities of learners.

              Pricing varies based on products and services, but revenues support the nonprofit’s ability to make its platform and courses available at little or no cost for high-need educators and educational settings.

              Honorable Mentions

              There are dozens of LMS vendors in this growing market and the brands included in foregoing list are by no means the only viable options for companies or learning institutions looking to upgrade their learning infrastructure.

              Many other excellent services are worth checking out. These include:

              1. Docebo is an LMS designed for hyper-engaging students, employees, customers, and other learners. The system helps organizations identify and resolve competency gaps with strategic learning interventions.
              2. Cornerstone OnDemand is a talent, training, and performance management solution offered as an SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). This service enables learners to create personalized playlists of instructional content.
              3. Lessonly is an LMS solution that makes it easier to recall and reinforce whatever skills or knowledge you have learned through quizzes, coaching, and constant practice.
              4. Skillsoft is an online training and corporate learning platform developed by a two-decade old and billion-dollar company with the same name.
              5. D2L BrightSpace is a learning management system that has all the basics for delivering excellent, rich-media experiences for classroom or workplace training.

              Conclusion

              There are many ways to learn but some are more effective and meaningful than others. Whether you are a teacher looking to enhance classroom learning or an HR manager creating a long-term talent development plan for employees, the key to impactful learning is to understand and bridge the needs of learners, the goals of your institution, and the actual capabilities of the learning tools you are considering.

              Note that using multiple LMS platforms is possible although not recommended. On the other hand, adopting other learning solutions beyond LMS (such as podcasts, mentoring, and onsite in-person workshops) may significantly improve learning outcomes. Always go for products and plugins that seamlessly integrate into your core LMS tool.

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

              Reference

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