Thursday, 6 February 2014

Free trial year for reviewing #cloud #training option

After having a quick look at a new training platform LearningStone I got quite excited. The new Cloud based platform (self-promoting as supporting training professionals with an instant, flexible online platform to support class based training groups) is developed by two experienced EdTech people (which is already a bonus). Sjoerd Boersma and Michiel Klonhammer just released their two year effort and it looks promising. Even after a first look the platform seems to make sense in terms of training options, quick group overviews, focused interaction spaces... Though admittedly I will need more time in order to really review the total package and see whether the ubiquity really works, the tools are truly intuitive and the centrality of the platform (bringing all course components together into one place) feels like a total package that would fit any trainer or course tutors agenda. LearningStone has offices in USA (Princeton, New Jersey) and Europe (Amsterdam, the Netherlands). 

A great thing is, the LearningStone visionaries offer a one year free trial (IF you share your review after that one year)! That is what I call trusting your product. During that one year they offer personal Skype tours, help you set up the LearningStone workspace and course if you want to, and be available for chat support. Okay, I am surely going to try the platform. I already received their review-coupon so I can start my one year trial. If you want to have a look and feel, you can ask them for your review-coupon here. I will try out the mobile options first, as this is one of my main foci and challenge Michiel's proposition that within the hour trainers feel so comfortable with the course interface they actually focus on the course content (would be nice!). 

For all of us geeks: the platform is built using the Erlang programming language, a technology that is on the rise (e.g. Facebook, What's App), and an open source framework called Zotonic.

Adding a bit from their press release:

All over the world, instructors and trainers are struggling to support face-to-face groups using a combination of online tools. Trainers have been juggling email (too much email!), Google apps, SharePoint, Moodle, and other cumbersome tools to let their trainees know when to come to courses, where to find material,  and how to learn, as well as for offering a private platform to communicate with each other during and after training.

Sjoerd Boersma, founder: “We talked with many trainers and combined their knowledge with our own experience and with a broad array of learning and collaboration tools. We developed this platform from scratch using a brilliant team of developers who gave us the freedom to focus on usability. We didn’t set out to build every imaginable feature, but instead concentrated on a set of functionalities that you really need and can easily use. We found that a Course Timeline editor containing all sorts of apps, a simple content management feature, a survey tool, and an easy way to invite new users were the killer features we needed. Now it’s up to the world to tell us if we did it right.”

Michiel Klønhammer, founder: “We saw that training agencies often struggle with systems like Moodle. Moodle is great if you have the time and technical people available in house, but we wanted to offer something that you could prepare in an evening or two. We’ve been seeing trainers working with LearningStone and we’re thrilled with the results. It’s great to see how creative people can be if you give them the right tools. We see that people start focusing on the actual course within the first hour of working with LearningStone. That is certainly not the case with systems like Moodle.

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