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Archive for the ‘Articles Relating to Courses’ Category

Learn Skills expands into Retail and Hospitality training with Didasko partnership

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

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23/01/2009 – Ireland – Learn Skills is delighted to annouce it’s latest partnership with Didasko, the Australia innovative learning solutions provider of engaging interactive multimedia resources.  For 11 years, Didasko has been a leading developer of high quality Learner and Trainer resources for the vocational, education and training industry.
They specialise in the service sectors of Hospitality, Retail and Asset Maintenance and their comprehensive resources and systems for the training provider, teachers and students delivers superior learning, operational and marketing outcomes.  Didasko Learning Resources currently provides resources to leading international universities, domestic and international colleges, training organisations, hospitality and retail groups, corporate sector and secondary schools with vocational programs.

Learn Skills shall spearhead Didasko’s expansions plans into Europe focused on both Retails and Hospitality Unit.  This comprehensive range of courses shall be made available both on-line and also when required in CD-Rom format.  With over 100 on-line courses each supported by both a Learner Guide and Training Delivery Guide to deliver the first complete solution for Retail and Hospitality education and training in Europe. These comprehensive resources and systems for training providers, teachers and students deliver superior learning outcomes and improved operational and marketing effectiveness.

For Education and Training providers:
• The full package – from curriculum to delivery and assessment
• Tailored ordering and packaging for each student
• Low flat rate / unit
• Customised branding of the materials
• Distribution options – CD-ROM, PDF, USB, on-line
• Easy online ordering 24/7
• Just in Time delivery – all orders despatched within 48 hours

For Teachers and Trainers:

• Comprehensive tools support teacher compliance and learner
management :
(Training and Assessment plans, Learner contact logs, Competency
Assessment Matrix, Employability Self Assessment, Skills Demonstration
Training record)
• Use of multiple “adult learning” principles
• Greater focus on delivery and student centric

For Students:

• Tailored customised packaging of learner units
• Engaging interactive multimedia (text, graphics, animation, sound,
video and self assessments)
• Underpinning knowledge is gained
• Extensive glossaries and recipe files within the units
• Self evaluation worksheets
• Supports all student learning categories – ESL or learning difficulties

ECDL Foundation launches Syllabus Version 5.0

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Barcelona, 18th October – Today ECDL Foundation unveiled ECDL / ICDL1 Syllabus Version 5.0 at a high profile gathering of the ECDL Foundation Licensees2 in Barcelona, Spain. The new features of Syllabus Version 5.0 focus on the evolving computer skills and knowledge areas required to meet the challenges of a digital society. Syllabus Version 5.0 lists the skills and knowledge that must be obtained by a Candidate to become ECDL / ICDL certified.

Syllabus Version 5.0 builds on the success of Syllabus Version 4.0 through a process of evolution. The essential structure of seven modules remains. New areas accommodated include personal devices and new communication technologies. There is an emphasis on accessibility with the ECDL / ICDL Syllabus and tests maximising comprehension and enhancing accessibility through the use of plain language.

The main principle underlying the revision of the ECDL / ICDL Syllabus was the need to accommodate technological changes in today’s fast developing ICT world. Key concepts of Syllabus Version 5.0 reflect the technology landscape that a Candidate inhabits. As such, Syllabus Version 5.0 reflects innovations in mobile computing and considers new emerging media, such as ‘podcasting,’ and new areas of communication, such as ‘Voice over IP’, ‘online chat’, etc. Syllabus Version 5.0 also provides a Candidate with answers on how to manage newly emerged security threats, such as ‘phishing’ and ‘spy ware’.

The official launch of Syllabus Version 5.0 was attended by professionals from national computer societies and international organisations in 148 countries around the world.   On a national basis the organisations that run the ECDL / ICDL programme will commence their localisation process and will announce the roll-out and availability of the new Syllabus in the coming months.

ECDL / ICDL is the world’s leading end-user computer skills certification programme. To date, more than 7 million people in 148 countries participate in the ECDL / ICDL certification programme. Syllabus Version 5.0 was developed by the ECDL Foundation through a rigorous development process that incorporated inputs from computer users and professionals from all over the world to ensure that the ECDL / ICDL programme remains the global standard in ICT certification programmes.

1 The European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) is known as the International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) outside Europe.
2 ECDL Foundation Licensees represent professionals from national computer societies and international organisations in 148 countries around the world.

Health 2.0 – Technology in the Health Care System

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

We will need to learn how to use technology in the health care system and not think that just because a hospital has digital data entry it is better then another. As Clay Shirky and Carol C. Diamond put it in the article “Health Information Technology: A Few Years Of Magical Thinking?“:

IT is a tool, not a goal.

Shirky also warns about the access to patient information, which company is allowed to have access to your Medical History?

We have a great amount of Medical Courses, for Nurses as well as for Individuals and Groups.

What is the Importance of Change Management in Your Organisation?

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

By Steve Grant

Change management is one of the most important disciplines of Information Technology Infrastructure management. The Wikipedia defines change management as “The objective of Change Management in this context is to ensure that standardized methods and procedures are used for efficient and prompt handling of all changes to controlled IT infrastructure, in order to minimise the number and impact of any related incidents upon service.”

Change management was always an integral part of business management, but with emergence of Information technology it gathered seriousness. Information Technology Infrastructure management is one broad term which encompasses all the elements necessary to ensure smooth functioning of business processes which may be threatened due to technological problems or other incidents. It’s the “change is rule” attitude (as coined by some experts) that forced these businessmen to change their attitude towards change management. Good change management techniques always help the businessmen to adapt and adopt new ways of doing business. Change management is not merely implementation of new techniques to cope up with a change within the organisation; rather it is a discipline of Information technology infrastructure managementwhere changes are managed with a more systematic, reliable, rigorous and disciplined approach. Changes are brought into system when the integrity of business organisation is challenged due to some incidents or customer requests or technological updates.

Process of change management unfolds through following steps

1. Identifying the need for change in organisation.
2. Designing need specific changes to curb with the requirement of the organisation.
3. Making others understand why change is necessary for the proper functioning of the organisation.
4. Altering the organisational process like processes, technology and performance meters to incorporate the changes.
5. Managing the production and changes to ensure that customer and the stakeholder continues to be bonded with each other over the long run.

According to Wikipedia Change management involves management of process related to Hardware, communications equipment and software, system software, and all documentation and procedures associated with the running, support and maintenance of live systems.

Project management is another aspect of change management, which needs to incorporate its values for proper functioning. There are some touch points between project management and change management. Project management is all about handling change with elance. It is defined as the discipline of planning, organising and managing resources in order to ensure the successful completion of projects. Aim of any project management endeavour is to attain the successful results despite of constraints like space, time, changes, quality, time and budget. Every project is developed around some permutation and combination methodology. Changes are made to the existing methodology in order to avoid potential failures. Identifying, managing and controlling changes become important for the smooth functioning of the Project. According to some experts “project is change and change is project”. So it becomes difficult to differentiate or draw a line between the inter reliability of project management and change management.

So change management holds utmost importance in the world of business where things are assessed on the basis of their perfection and capability to address the needs of customers and clients.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Steve_Grant

To learn more about change management check out our Change Management Course and if you are interested in learning more about project management, check out our Effective Project Management Course.
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Importance of change management in an organisation

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Change management plays an important role in any organisation since the task of managing change is not an easy one. When we say managing change we mean to say that making changes in a planned and systemic fashion. With reference to the IT projects we can say the change in the versions of a project and managing these versions properly. Changes in the organisation or a project can be initiated from within the organisation or externally. For example a product that is popular among the customers may undergo a change in design based on the triggering factor like a competitive product from some other manufacturer. This is an example of external factor that triggers a change within the organisation. How the organisation responds to these changes is what that is more concerned. Managing these changes come under change management. Reactive and proactive responses to these changes are possible from an organisation.

Change management is done by many independent consultants who claim to be experts in these areas. These consultants manage the changes for their clients. They manage changes or help the client make the changes or take up the task themselves to make the changes that must be made. An area of change that needs attention is selected and certain models, methods, techniques and tools are used for making these changes that are necessary for the organisation.

When there is a process in an organisation it is not an easy task to make changes to this process immediately. Sometimes a single organisation may have varied business entities and changes in an entity may be reflected in another entity. In such organisations changes are not so easy. There are different types of organisations which have many branches across the world with varied cultures. Implementing a change in such organisations is a task by itself.

The change process can be thought of a process which stops the current process, makes the necessary changes to the current process and the run the new process. It is easy said than implemented. Stopping a current process in some industry is fatal for that organisation. Hence it has to be done in steps which have the minimal effect in the process. These changes can not take place for a longer time in the organisation since that may also be a disaster for the organisation. The involvement of the staff concerned is also very important for the change process to be smooth.

The change process could also be considered as a problem solving situation. The change that is taking place could be the result of a problem that has occurred. You should know that a problem is a situation that requires some action to be taken positively to handle that situation. This positive action is known as problem solving. The change process could be problem solving for a particular situation. In this process there is a move from one to state to another so that the problem gets solved. The change process is leaving the current state and moving to the final state through some structured organised process.

Managing the changes in an organisation requires a broad set of skills like political skills, analytical skills, people skills, system skills, and business skills. Having good analytical skills will make you a good change agent. You should evaluate the financial and political impacts of the changes that can take place. You should know that following a particular process at that instant would fetch you immediate financial effects and start that process so that the change process is noted by the management. The workflow has to be changed in such a manner to reflect the financial changes that are taking place. Operations and systems in the organization should be reconfigured in such a manner that you get the desired financial impact.

Hence change management plays an important role in an organisation. This allows the organisation to give a reactive or a proactive response to the changes that happen internally or externally. Knowing the change management and its process would help an organization and it s processes to be stable.

To learn more about this process, check out our Change Management Course, which provides in depth change management training.  It further offers a detailed examination of the change process and how a leader overcomes resistance to change.

Ref: Managment-Hub.com

Everyday Body Language By Sherri Schaefer

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

We start forming impressions of people we meet from the moment we set eyes on them. A large part of the initial impression that you create comes from your body language. Your posture, facial expression, eye contact, and gestures speak louder than the words you say. We all interpret body language all the time on a subconscious level.

1. Face

The face is the most expressive part of the body. If you are feeling anxious then your facial expression may lead you to appear aloof, disapproving, or disinterested. You can break this misrepresentation by making a conscious effort to smile. Your smile is one of the strongest tools you have in meeting new people. It will help you appear warm, open, friendly, and confident.

2. Eyes

Our eyes give clues to our emotions. A direct stare implies intensity. It may also mean romantic interest, aggression, or fear. Making very little eye contact can either convey shyness or submissiveness. The middle ground of a gaze says that you are interested, secure, and at ease.

3. Hands

Your hands are also very expressive. Open gestures tend to make you appear open and honest. By pointing your finger, or moving your hands closer together, you can draw emphasis to what you are saying. Used in moderation, hand gestures can make you seem enthusiastic and committed to your topic. Making too many gestures can make you appear nervous and uncontrolled. Wringing your hands or touching your sleeves, face, etc. can make you appear tense, nervous, and sometimes dishonest.

4. Posture

The way you hold yourself, your posture, makes a big contribution to your body language and conveys your level of self-confidence. By orienting your body towards someone, you show attentiveness. By falling away from them or leaning back, you show a lack of interest and some level of reserve. When we are feeling low in confidence and want to hide away, we hunch our shoulders and keep our heads down. When we are feeling aggressive or are trying to defend our space, we puff ourselves up. A relaxed body posture will help you to appear and feel more relaxed and confident.

Your posture gives signals about your interest in something, your openness, and attentiveness. It also gives clues as to your status within a group.

In summary, our face, eyes, hands (gestures), and posture express what is going on inside of us. They give clues to others and to us as to whether the words we say are consistent with what we are really feeling. Being aware of our body language can allow us to send a consistent message. Smiling, making eye contact, using open gestures, and using good posture can bring up our level of self confidence.

Body language and the nonverbal dictionary

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

This page represents a considerable amount of research in body language. What we have compiled is a list of specific gestures and their likely interpretations. Please realize; however, that mood, behavior, and emotion are comprised of several non-verbal cues in succession or all at once and it is unrealistic to assume that one particular gesture in and of itself constitutes the mood or behavior of the other person.

Arm/Leg Gestures

· Crossed arms = Defensive, opposing thoughts

· Crossed legs or ankles = Competitive, defensive, or opposing thoughts

· Partial arm cross where one hand is gripping bicep = Lack of self-confidence

· Open arms, hands = Open-minded, approachable

· Leaning forward with closed arms and/or hands = Aggression, fighting stance

· Exposed wrists (female) = Courtship

Hand Gestures

· Clenched hands = Frustration, anger

· Fidgeting = Anxiety, apprehension

· Finger tapping = Boredom

· Hand-steepling (hands like a church steeple) = Confidence

· Hands on hips = Confidence or impatience

· Hands on table = Poise

· Finger Pointing = Aggressive

· Palms down = Confidence, assertiveness, dominance

· Palms up = Vulnerability, non-aggressiveness

· Handshaking with the other side’s palm up = Giving you the control

· Handshaking with the other side’s palm down = Taking the control

· Handshaking with the thumb pointed up = Shaking like a man

· Sweaty palms = Anxiety, stress, fear

· Rubbing the palms together = Positive Expectation

· Hands interlocked together behind the small of the back = Superiority

· Thumbs tucked in belt with fingers pointed down (males) = Sexually aggressive, virile

· One thumb caught in front pocket (females) = Sexually aggressive

Head Gestures

· Cocked head = Interest, attentive

· Frequent nodding = Enthusiasm

· Head tilted downwards = Negative attitude

· Head tilted back = Superior attitude

· Head toss = Flirting, courtship

Facial Gestures

· Tense jaw muscles = Anger

· Tense mouth = frustration, anger, determination

· Facial flushing (blushing) = anger, embarrassment, physical exertion, shame

· Lowered eyebrows = Disagreement, doubt, uncertainty

· Raised eyebrows = Adds intensity to facial expressions

Hand to Face/Head Gestures

· Eye rubbing = Indicates deception

· Nose rubbing = Dislike or disagreement with the subject or issue

· Ear rubbing = Listener subconsciously blocking words they don’t want to hear.

· Chin Stroking = Making a decision

· Chin resting in between thumb and forefinger pointing upwards = Critical judgment

· Hands or fingers blocking mouth = deceit or surprise

· Head propped up by hands = Disinterest or disrespect

· Face buried in open hands = Extreme emotional distress or sadness

· Both hands interlocked behind head = Show of dominance or superiority

· One hand touching the back of head = Uncertainty, conflict

· Fingertips to lips = Self-consoling gesture used to divert attention. Unexpressed emotion

· Fingertips in mouth = Person is under pressure, stressed

· Neck scratch = Signal of doubt or uncertainty

· The collar pull = Signals deception

Posture

· Leaning forward = Enthusiasm

· Slouching, leaning back = Challenging

· Standing erect = proud, angry

· Straddling a chair = Defensive, YOU against ME

·

Vocalics

· Throat-clearing = Nervousness

Eye Gestures

· Eye roll = Dismissive of the idea being presented, indicates superiority

· Side glance = Suspicion

· Perpetual eye blinking = Deception

Source: http://www.synergyinstituteonline.com

Check out our course Business Communications to learn more.

The need for leadership

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Employees need to develop their potential for leadership because it will be required in many of the contexts in which they find themselves – not only in business and the professions, where organisational change is fast and furious, but in the wider community and family contexts, where interpersonal relationships matter so much.

For decades, leadership was perceived as something that only those with certain backgrounds, qualities and capacities possessed, or could possess.  However, leadership is now seen as something that many can develop, given the opportunity and appropriate context or situation.  Much current literature on leadership argues, for example, that:  “Leadership qualities and skills can be learned and developed. Today’s leaders are made, not born.  Leadership effectiveness begins with self-awareness and self-understanding and grows to an understanding of others…Learning about leadership and developing as a leader is a lifelong process involving preparation, experience, trial-and-error, self-examination, and a willingness to  learn from mistakes and successes.”

Komives, S., Lucas, N., & McMahon, T.R. (1998).  Exploring Leadership:  For College Students Who Want to Make a Difference. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, p. 5 and p. 30.

For some people, however, ‘followership’ rather than leadership is more comfortable.  There can’t be leaders without followers, just as there can’t be followers without leaders.  The two are inseparable.  It is common for people to be leaders in one context and followers in others, as Lee and King (2001) argue:  “Leadership in family and community situations may allow you to try new skills, styles and levels of responsibility.  It often allows more flexibility in terms of the length of time you hold a leading role and how long you choose to do so.  For some individuals who love to lead, the best expression of their values may be to remain primarily individual contributors at work and leaders in a non-work setting.”

Lee, R.J., & King, S.N. (2001).  Discovering the Leader in You:  A Guide to Realizing Your Personal Leadership Potential. San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass & Center for Creative Leadership, p. 9.

The terms ‘leadership’ and ‘management’ are often used interchangeably, but they are two different things. It is important that students recognise the difference between the two:  “Leadership is different from management, but not for the reasons most people think.  Leadership isn’t mystical and mysterious.  It has nothing to do with ‘charisma’ or other exotic personality traits.  It is not the province of a chosen few.  Nor is leadership necessarily better than management or a replacement for it.  Rather, leadership and management are two distinctive and complementary systems of action.  Each has its own functions and characteristic activities.  Both are necessary for success in an increasingly complex and volatile business environment.  Management is about coping with complexity…Leadership, by contrast, is about coping with change…”

Kotter, J.B.  (1990). What leaders really do.  Harvard Business Review, 68(3), pp. 103-104.

Further, leadership and management are distinct, but complementary.  For example: “The manager asks what and when; the leader asks what and why.”

Bennis, W. (1989). Quoted in Sheldon, B.  Leadership in the Workplace.  Retrieved from the World Wide Web on 30 October 2006: http://www.txla.org/pubs/tlj75_4/work.html

“The function of leadership is to create change while the function of management is to create stability.”

Barker, R.A.  (1997). How can we train leaders if we do not know what leadership is?  Human Relations, 50 (4), p. 349.

It is crucial, then, that trainers and employees are very clear about what it is that is being learned – whether it is management, leadership or followership.

If you are interested in learning more about leadership and up-skilling check out our Leadership and Motivation Course

Ref: The Griffith Graduate Site .

The need for problem-solving skills

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Good problem-solving skills empower employees in their educational, professional, and personal lives. Nationally and internationally, there is growing recognition that if education is to produce skilled thinkers and innovators in a fast-changing global economy, then problem-solving skills are more important than ever. The ability to solve problems in a range of learning contexts is essential for the development of knowledge, understanding and performance. Requiring students to engage with complex, authentic problem solving encourages them to use content knowledge in innovative and creative ways and promotes deep understanding.

Employers in small, medium and large enterprises identified the following aspects of problem solving as crucial to success in their organisations:

  • developing creative, innovative solutions;
  • developing practical solutions;
  • showing independence and initiative in identifying problems and solving them;
  • solving problems in teams;
  • applying a range of strategies to problem solving;
  • using mathematics including budgeting and financial management to solve problems;
  • applying problem solving strategies across a range of areas;
  • testing assumptions taking data and circumstances into account; and
  • resolving customer concerns in relation to complex project issues.

Solving problems effectively requires students to identify, define and solve problems using logic, as well as lateral and creative thinking. In the process, students arrive at a deep understanding of the topic area and construct new knowledge and understanding on which they are able to make decisions.

There is an important distinction between solving ‘exercises’ and solving ‘problems.’ The former usually have predetermined solutions, with “a well-defined route to the solution and students must simply follow the formula” (Woods, 1985, p. 20). The latter, however, are often fuzzy, open-ended, unstructured and ‘one-offs,’ with no predictable outcomes:
“While these exercises make an important first step in helping students bridge the gap between theory and application, they do not provide the depth and complexity necessary to master problem solving skills… Students who train mostly in exercise solving tend to develop a serious handicap. They rely heavily on solutions they have seen before, rather than working from first principles. Thus a problem with brand new context presents a formidable challenge to them.”

To learn more about problem-solving skills and up-skill, check out our Creative Problem Solving Course.

Why we need written communication skills

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

We need to write effectively to communicate with their peers, lecturers, professional colleagues and employers.  Good communication skills are at the top of the list of what potential employers look for in new entrants. The vast majority of business transactions involve written communication of some kind. Employers often express concern that employees have inadequate basic written communication skills. It is generally expected that university graduates have good literacy skills that can transfer into various work contexts, but research shows that this is not always the case.

Written communication is the ability to use the conventions of disciplinary discourse to communicate effectively in writing with a range of audiences, in a variety of modes (e.g., persuasion, argument, exposition), as context requires, using a number of different means (e.g., graphical, statistical, audio-visual and technological).

The six ‘C’s of effective writing

“Effective business correspondence yields results because it achieves two basic objectives.

First, it conveys a clear and unambiguous message to the reader and second, it produces goodwill in that reader. To achieve these two objectives, the writer must write:

  • clearly:
  • coherently;
  • concisely;
  • correctly; with
  • courtesy; and
  • confidence.

These characteristics are the result of careful planning, writing in plain English, and critical editing.”  Dwyer, J. (1993). The Business Communication Handbook , (3 rd ed.). New York: Prentice Hall, p.186.

For those of you that would like to learn more about written communication simply click on the courses below from Griffith University.  You can also expand your knowledge of communication skills by trying our Business Communication Course.

Griffith online writing skills course:

This online course was developed by Dr Marilyn Ford to improve students’ writing skills. The course is broken into three self-paced components, which cover basic grammar and writing skills.

Ref: The Griffith Graduate Site