PDQ Training with QLMs from Cisco

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Cisco Systems now offers its quick-learning modules (QLM) – training segments that typically last between 15 and 20 minutes – on mobile devices such as PDAs. While the QLMs are designed as a performance support tool that provides just-in-time information on the job, it can be used in other environments, including certification training, said Christine Yoshida, learning and development manager at Cisco.

“They are teaching a very specific set of features and tasks that you would do on a device, and everything you would need to know about a particular task would be on that particular module,” she said. “However, they can be used as part of a more comprehensive training program, in that they kind of match up to the courseware out there that supports certification. For example, with our learning partners who are delivering our certification course, if we come out with QLMs that tie into those, we offer them the source code and we encourage them to have these QLMs available in the classrooms as a supplemental. It does give us a way to offer our learning partners the latest and greatest from Cisco.”

Cisco recently won a Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning award for the mobile delivery of its QLMs. Cisco’s major achievement in the development of the mobile adaptations of these training programs was that they still managed to retain much of the interactive and engaging qualities of the standard versions. “Our quick-learning modules are pretty interactive,” Yoshida said. “We have simulations and quizzes built into them. Finding the right platform to retain that interactivity is important. That was a challenge, but we were able to find the platforms that worked best for us. The other constraint is screen size. We had to reformat most of our screens so that they were legible on that smaller size.”

The mobile QLMs were implemented in order to provide greater accessibility in retrieving information on Cisco technologies, Yoshida explained. “The QLMs that we first released were developed for people to use on their laptops or PCs. But we thought that some of the content of our modules would very appropriate for someone if they were mobile, like a field engineer at a customer site who was going to install a new product with new features that they’re not familiar with. If there is a way for them to get their PDA device and connect to the Web and download exactly that configuration they need, that would be very convenient.”

For more information, see http://www.cisco.com.

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