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5 Things You Can Do Before Bed To Jump Start Tomorrow

5 Things You Can Do Before Bed To Jump Start Tomorrow

Ben Franklin told us years ago, “The early bird catches the worm.” But perhaps we can amend that now to say: The Worm that Gets a Jump Start Gets His Prize!”

It’s no great news flash to share that we all live in a very busy world. It slows down for no one and almost seems as if we’re in a constant state of playing catch up. Life, people and circumstances demand our time, energy and thoughts constantly – or so it seems. This state of always being in demand and constantly being at the beck and call of outside influences can be draining to say the least and overwhelming to put it mildly! How can we ever hope to get a jump on all of the things that we’re supposed to do and take part in? Is there a way?

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Well actually there is…and how you do it, can put you a step ahead of those who share your same burdens.

How you get that extra jump is very simple…you prepare the night before!

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Want to feel more in control of your time?

Take a look at your calendar. Whether you keep your calendar digitally or in paper form, spend a little time each evening actually consulting it. Take a look at what’s coming up. Is there a doctor’s appointment, you set a few months ago? A party coming up that you agreed to attend? A lunch date with a friend? When you look at your calendar on a regular basis, you are creating a mental stamp in your mind of time blocks that have been committed to a certain purpose. It helps keep you focused as to what’s coming up next that needs your attention. There are so many wonderful calendar tools that we have at our disposal to keep track of our time, use them and gain a sense of knowing what is going on in your own life and maybe you’ll feel a little less like you’re flying by the seat of your pants!

Want to feel more energetic?

Get the  gym bag ready! This is huge. I don’t know anyone these days who doesn’t complain at one time or another that they’d like to have more energy. We each have found some coping mechanism to get us through the day and especially the morning (if you’re naturally a night owl). Whether you gravitate to that morning “cuppa joe” or protein shake or energy supplement. We all are looking for that magic bullet to restore our energy and revitalize us. And while we may have moderate amounts of success with the above, the cold hard truth is, that we need to exercise. Our bodies, in addition to being fed, also demand being exercised. What better way to get a jump on the excuse, “I don’t have time to prepare” than to pack a gym bag the night before! Get your shirt, shorts, yoga pants, tennis shoes, water bottle, etc. and stick them in a bag and have it by the door ready. When you leave to start your day, the bag gets scooped up too!

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Want to sleep better?

Turn off your phone for better sleep – This really should be a no brainer, but sadly, there are those who are so completely addicted to technology that they have a sense of needing to be “plugged into” the world at all times. You’ve seen them. Those people who constantly have a cell phone in their hands. Texting, talking or downloading the next hottest app is a ever constant state of being. So, is it hard to understand that they actually sleep with the phone by their bed? This ultimately leads to being awakened with every subtle little blip or beep of the phone. Your body simply can’t shut down operations for the night and restore itself if it is constantly being alerted with every little message. TURN OFF YOUR PHONE! Or better yet, don’t even have it in the same room with you. Leave it in another location and come to it in the morning. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have legs…it’ll still be there!

Want to gain a sense of self?

Write in a journal. Journaling is one of the best ways of reconnecting to self. Since we are so distracted with the needs of others and demanding circumstances that we find ourselves involved in, it becomes very easy to lose one’s sense of identity. When a person journals, they are taking the time to mentally clean their slates. Self examination of feelings, motives and plans for the future allows for mental preparation for what lies ahead.

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Want to relax?

Read a real book – Immerse yourself in a story. Go back in time or allow yourself to be propelled into the future. Perhaps, become an investigator or a world explorer! Anything is possible inside the covers of a good book. When we allow ourselves to be transported to another time or place or simply to be engrossed in a story, we are freeing our minds of the stresses of today and mentally preparing (whether we know it or not) for what is waiting for us when we wake up tomorrow. 

In summary,  we have more of a say so in what takes up our time and thoughts than what we realize. It’s truly as simple as making a decision as to what you actually consider to be a priority. Life doesn’t happen to you, you make it happen with how you choose to respond to circumstances and how you choose to prepare for those things you know are on the horizon. You can choose to put your head in the sand like an ostrich and hope they’ll go away or you’ll miss the hard stuff or you can be like that worm that Ben Franklin told us about years ago and jump start on “it” (whatever it is) …EARLY!

Featured photo credit: A Leaf in Morning Dew via picjumbo.picjumbocom.netdna-cdn.com

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Cathy Robinson

Cathy blogs about mental strength, motivation and happiness at Lifehack.

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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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