“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born – that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” – Warren Bennis
Great leaders share many common traits with you and I. For one thing they are human! They have made mistakes, failed, they have overcome disappointment, heartache, tragedy and grief. No great leader has ever been able to escape the roller coaster ride of life.
Becoming a great leader is a work in progress. There are a number of events that occur in the life of a leader where they were required to act on specific personal qualities or traits that enabled them to lead people to achieve successful outcomes. I believe that everybody has within them the potential to be a great leader.
Nelson Mandela is an example of a person who had a personal philosophy and mindset that enabled him to become a great leader. He didn’t think he was any one special however when placed in a situation where he would be tested and isolated from life, his personal philosophy became the mantra from which he became a great leader.
You may not know it but you hold within you the beliefs, attitudes and traits that are of leadership quality. Here are 13 signs that you have within you the mindset of a leader. If you “unleashed” your leadership mindset, there is no doubt that you would become the “great leader” you were born to be.
1. You Are A Realist and An Optimist
You accept that life is unique and it is what it is. You like to deal with the reality of life however because you are an optimist you have hope for the future and a positive outlook on life.
You believe that there will always be a way to sort out any situation you may face in life. Your optimistic view of life is contagious and a source of positive energy for those around you.
These are great qualities to have as a leader, as leaders need to be positive and hopeful and at the same time accepting what will be, will be.
2. You Love To Learn
You are always open to learning new things, in fact you actively search for new knowledge and information that can enhance your abilities to be a better person. You also love to learn from others and you will actively search out and connect with people who you can watch and learn from.
Your love of learning is definitely a leadership quality. A good leader never stops learning. They never turn down the opportunity to learn new things. Like you, leaders are open to the fact that the opportunity to learn can come at any time. It could come from a university lecturer, the person who makes their coffee or sells them a newspaper. Your love of learning sets you on the pathway to being a great leader.Advertising
3. You Are A Good Listener
“We have two ears and one mouth, using them in proportion is not a bad idea!” – Richard Branson
You know when you are a good listener because people come to you to ask your advice or to share their problems. They know that when they talk to you, you make them feel that they have been heard and valued.
You don’t like to do a lot of talking when you are listening to a person because that distracts you from getting to the core of the issue or problem that is being discussed.
The conversations you have with these people are not about you and you understand that. You may know the answer about how this person could solve the problem, however your focus is guiding and advising the person as to how they can come to their own solution or plan of action.
Richard Branson believes that a person who is a great listener has the ability to be a great leader. It is a key requirement according to Branson and you have it.
4. You Always See Potential In Others
You love people and you connect easily with all types of people. You also operate intuitively and will recognise very quickly the potential abilities of people you meet.
You see the potential for personal leadership in others and will encourage and support those people to take up any opportunity to unleash their potential.
5. You Are A Kind Person
You have empathy for people and you can very quickly tune in to how they are feeling. You do not believe that by showing kindness that you are being weak. In fact you see it as a strength because by being empathetic and kind to others means that you are living your values and that to you is very important.
Being kind to others is an integral part of your life philosophy and this is what makes you a great leader.
6. You Are Resourceful
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
You have this amazing ability to use what ever you are given to make the best of a situation.People look to you as the person who can take them out of a crises because you always seem to find a way.
You are prepared to ask for favours, work hard, stay focused, be honest and ask for help. You have an ability to see and prepare for the future because you embrace the concept of change.
To you change is a constant part of life and you just go with it. This is a key quality for a leader to have, because to be resourceful, you have to be motivated to act quickly – procrastination is like a swear word to you.
7. You Are A Good Communicator
You know who you are and what you stand for. You can clearly articulate to others your thoughts and opinions. Speaking your truth is important to you however you are also very aware of how others receive your message.
You are quite strategic in how you deliver what can be received as “unwelcome news”. Your intention is always to communicate even if it is a difficult message with heart felt intent and you strive to ensure that those receiving the message feel and clearly understand your intent and what you are saying to them.
There is no confusion, misunderstanding or unclear expectations when you are communicating with others because you work hard to ensure that all parties are on the same page.
8. You Create And Maintain Great Relationships
You enjoy being around people and you surround yourself with people who challenge, inspire, teach, support and encourage you. You are a great networker because you love connecting to people.
Family and friends are very important to you and you work hard to have flourishing relationships with all your family and friends.
People see you as someone who is reliable, honest and trustworthy – you keep your word and you are not into the drama of life. That’s just not your style. You avoid relationships with people who lead lives that are full of drama and negativity – their energy drags you down.
You love the positive energy that your relationships give you as it is this energy that fires you up, inspires and motivates you. This is such an important quality for a leader to have and you have it! Congratulations.Advertising
9. You Like To Have Fun And Celebrate
“If you aren’t having fun, you are doing it wrong. If you feel like getting up in the morning to work on your business is a chore, then it’s time to try some thing else. If you are having a good time, there is a far greater chance a positive, innovative atmosphere will be nurtured and your business will flourish. A smile and a joke can go a long way, so be quick to see the lighter side of life.” – Richard Branson
This is how Richard Branson lives his life and you follow a similar life philosophy. Enjoying what you do in your life both professionally and personally is important to you and you just love to have fun. You also love to celebrate your successes and other people’s successes.
Your optimism and outlook on life is a source of positive energy and its contagious. People really enjoy being around you because you inspire and motivate them with your energy, enthusiasm and love of life.
People always feel good when they engage and connect with you. A wonderful quality that sets you up to be an incredible leader.
10. You Are Self Aware And Confident
You know who you are, what you are good at and what you are not so good at. You accept that you are accountable for your own actions and behaviours.
You are not into the blame game and will admit you are wrong or have made a mistake with no hesitation. You spend a lot of time getting to know you so that you can be a better person.
You are really comfortable working with others who are more skilled than you because it means the job will get done – probably to a better standard than if you had tried to complete the task alone.
You know your strengths and your weakness and you’re not afraid to share with people these aspects about you. You know when you can help and when you need help and as a result you appear to others as a confident, articulate and empathetic person.
11. You Are Prepared To Take A Stand For What You Believe
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
You know who you are and what you believe in and you make sure that those around you know also. You are not afraid to speak your mind. You also believe it is important to do what you believe is right.Advertising
You are committed to your values and you live your life according to those values. You respect diversity and difference however you do not tolerate injustice, intolerance and the abuse of others.
People feel inspired by your commitment and passion and will seek you out to connect and engage with you. This is a key quality of a great and courageous leader. It takes courage to stand up and speak out for those who are too afraid to.
12. You Tend Not To Panic In Difficult Situations
“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” – Publilius Syrus
This quotes illustrates when good leaders shine – which is effectively leading in challenging and tough times. By staying calm in times of crises you demonstrate a key leadership quality. When you are able to stay calm in a crises situation you maintain the ability to reason, to be effective, to have empathy and to connect to how you feel.
An individual who panics can not act or respond with consideration. They can only react and respond in the heat of the moment. You do not operate this way because you know that irrational and reactive behaviour does not produce effective and reasonable solutions.
13. You Are A Solution Based Thinker Who Likes To Think Outside of the Square
You are future orientated in your thinking and that means that you like to look outside of the square to search for solutions. Forget the problem you say, lets look at what solutions are out there for us to consider on how we can solve the problem.
You have an ability to see and prepare for the future because you embrace the concept of change. To you change is a constant part of life and you prepare for it and you just go with it.
You enjoy the challenge of thinking outside of the square because it requires you to be creative and innovative and thats when you feel the most energised and inspired.
People feel your passion and energy – it is contagious and people love you for it! When you are in this space you are operating as the great leader you were born to be.
“I think leadership comes from integrity – that you do whatever you ask others to do. I think there are non-obvious ways to lead. Just by providing a good example as a parent, a friend, a neighbour makes it possible for other people to see better ways to do things. Leadership does not need to be a dramatic, fist in the air and trumpets blaring, activity.” – Scott Berkun
Last Updated on November 5, 2019
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, 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.
Companies also today expect employees to come equipped with razor sharp business acumen. 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.
Table of Contents
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Skillsoft is an online training and corporate learning platform developed by a two-decade old and billion-dollar company with the same name.
- D2L BrightSpace is a learning management system that has all the basics for delivering excellent, rich-media experiences for classroom or workplace training.
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
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