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20 Airport Hacks to Make Every Traveler’s Life Easier

20 Airport Hacks to Make Every Traveler’s Life Easier

When you hear the term ‘airport hacks’ you might think of something illegal. However, the following 20 tips aren’t against the law – they are designed to help make your next trips out of town a breeze. Use these tips to help your vacations or business trips sail along smoothly:

1. Get Cheaper Parking Before You Head to the Airport to Save Money

A little bit of research about airport parking lots might be the difference between paying $33 per day at a JFK International Airport parking lot and less than one-third of that rate via discount park and ride websites designed to help you discover better rates.

2. Buy Travel-Sized Items in Advance to Avoid Worrying About TSA Rules

Search for “travel” on a website like Ulta to uncover products like this “Travel Size Bed Head Hard Head Hairspray” to load up on properly sized toiletries that you won’t have to pour out or throw away at the TSA checkpoint if you’d like to pack them in your carry-on bag.

3. Use the Family Room in the Club Lounges to Watch TV and Use Wi-Fi

If you’re a frequent traveler with children who likes to arrive at airports early, the family rooms within lounges like the United Club lounge can be worth their weight in gold. Not only can Mom and Dad grab a glass of wine and help the whole family to fruit, hot chocolate, and other snacks, they can take those goodies back to a private family room that includes a TV, DVDs, Wi-Fi and more. It can make a big difference in calming down the clan prior to a long flight.

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4. Update Yourself on the Newest Items Designed to Make Travel Easier

Manufacturers are coming up with new products all the time to help travelers lighten their load. Whether it’s a strap to attach a car seat to rolling luggage or improved folding hair dryers to help you not over-pack, it pays to keep up with the latest inventions.

5. Get a TSA Pre-Check for Speedier Screening

Visit the TSA Pre-Check website to get through airports in the United States in a faster fashion.

6. Go for Global Entry for Faster International Travel

Use the Global Entry program when traveling internationally to experience expedited clearance back into America.

7. Check the “My TSA” App for Current Wait Times to Plan Your Trip

Pop on over to the My TSA app and place your airport information within the search box to discover that, for example, the Chicago-O’Hare International Airport currently has a security checkpoint wait time from one to 10 minutes, and general departure delays due to volume.

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8. Find the Best Seats on the Plane Before You Buy to Have a Better Flight

If you love legroom or sitting near a power outlet – yes, some planes have them and USB ports – use a site like Seat Guru to pick out your best spots before you book your flight.

9. Bring Booze in Your Checked or Carry-On Bags to Get the Party Started When You Land

Surprisingly, the TSA allows alcoholic beverages to be brought onboard flights, as long as you abide by their rules. The only trouble is, FAA rules mean you can’t drink any alcohol on the plane that’s not served by the airline, so you’ll have to wait until you land to celebrate.

10. Snap Photos of Your Parking Space to Help You Remember Where You Parked

Taking a quick series of photos with your smartphone to remind you that you parked in section D on level 3 of the airport parking lot can save you plenty of hassles when you return home from your trip and want to quickly find your vehicle.

11. Hydrate Inexpensively Before, During and After the Flight

“Bring an empty water bottle and fill it up after you get through security,” suggests Ben Mordecai, an automation controls engineer. While on the plane, drink orange juice and club soda to keep well hydrated.

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12. Move All Contents from Your Pockets to Your Carry-On Before Security to Prevent Delays

Instead of fumbling around with loose change, jewelry and belts, place all those items in your carry-on or purse prior to going through the security checkpoint to have fewer items that may cause the line to pause.

13. Ask the TSA for a “Hand Scan”

Inform security in advance if you have special health concerns, like an implanted defibrillator or any other physical conditions that necessitate not going through the magnetic scanner. They will direct you to the proper place.

14. Weigh Your Bags at Home to Prevent Extra Charges

Plop your packed suitcase on your scale at home and compare that weight to the limit imposed by your airline in order to avoid paying more fees.

15. Book a Private Jet to Avoid Commercial Flight Crowds

Apps like JetSmarter are being called the Uber of airlines. And although some flights are uber-expensive, others – like a flight to Arlington from Houston for eight people – cost only $365 per person.

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16. Secure Your Luggage with Trackers

Instead of just slapping a pretty bow on your bag to distinguish it from the other luggage in baggage claim, invest in advanced technology like Trakdot luggage tracker and crush-proof, locked bags to help avoid theft.

17. Bring Frozen Solids on the Plane to Keep Your Meds Cold

Don’t fret if you have medications or other health items that you need to keep cool while traveling. “Accessories required to keep medically necessary items cool are treated as liquids unless they are frozen solid at the checkpoint,” says TSA.gov.

18. Go to the Left Because Most Travelers Steer to the Right-Hand Checkpoints

Since most folks are right-handed, studies show that lots of people naturally veer to the right when choosing a security checkpoint line, leaving fewer people in line on the left.

19. Avoid High-Cost Airport Food and Pack Dry Snacks

As long as you don’t stuff your bag full of wet foods, you can place lots of good dry snacks like nuts or candy bars in your carry-on bag to prevent hunger headaches and overspending.

20. Take a Rest in the Chapel During Flight Delays

If you’re looking for a quiet, peaceful place to get away from the noise of busy airports during delays, hunt down the nearest chapel – but make sure to keep abreast of your flight changes whilst waiting.

Featured photo credit: CCAPix__11_.JPG By CCAYearbook via mrg.bz

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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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