New: Adding Prerequisites to Modules Within a Course

June 13, 2017New Releases, Tips and Tricks

You can now add sequencing to the modules within your courses through the user interface. Previously, you had to load a SCORM package to do this or get us to help you to do so.

Prerequisites page

We’ve added a new ‘Prerequisites’ page for items in courses.

From the page, you can indicate which other items in the course need to be completed before the current item can be accessed. One or more items can be selected.

You can also indicate the amount of time that the learner must spend in the course (across all modules) before the current item can be accessed. This is useful for courses that mandate that the learner spends a certain number of hours in training before starting the final exam.

Auto-sequence a course

The most common scenario for sequencing in courses is to require the learner to complete the modules in the order that they appear. We’ve made it really easy to do this.

From the course summary page, use the ‘Auto-sequence’ action. This will make each item in the course a prerequisite for the next item.

Of course, you can edit an item and remove its prerequisite, if needed.

Learner experience

As a learner, items that have prerequisites will be disabled until the requirements are met. A tooltip with information about what needs to be completed before the item is available is shown. We also suggest making any such requirements clear in an item’s description, along with other pertinent information to set the learner’s expectations.

We hope you find these changes useful!

Order Management Enhancements

May 1, 2015New Releases

We added some new order management capabilities to Firmwater LMS this week.

Firmwater LMS integrates with Shopify to give you a fantastic platform to sell your courses online. You can build a beautiful store, list your courses, and have the LMS automatically deliver courses purchased. Individuals can buy courses for themselves or multiple seat purchases can be made for a company.

We’re working on making the management of these orders from within the LMS better. This week’s enhancements include:

1. Orders list now shows each order’s status

The orders list page now shows the status of each order. This will help you quickly find orders that haven’t been acted on by the purchaser.

2. New order summary page

You can now drill into an order from the list to see its details.

The new page shows the courses that were purchased, the number of seats, and the status of each.

We’ll expand the actions available from this page over time but, initially, you can:

  • Resend the invitation to the purchaser if it hasn’t been accepted yet. The invitation can be sent to either the same address or to a new one.
  • Delete the order. This is useful for when you’re testing or if someone makes an incorrect purchase.
  • Add participants to a course on your client’s behalf.

3. Extended the life of purchaser invitation tokens

Initially, we thought that 30 days was long enough to give purchasers to click on the link in the email to accept the courses they purchased. Boy, were we wrong! We’ve learned that some people buy online courses and then sit on them for a very long time before going to use them.

We’ve now extended the life of purchaser invitation tokens to match the life of the courses purchased. If you don’t put a limit on when courses must be started by, we give purchasers a year.

This should help cut down on the number of requests you get to resend invitations.

We hope you find these improvements useful. If you have any questions, please get in touch with us.

Easier navigation between clients

March 30, 2015New Releases

Some of our customers have hundreds of clients and create a branded LMS site for each. For those especially, today’s release will be welcome news. We’ve made it easier to navigate between different organizations in Firmwater LMS.

The old ‘Administer’ organization drop-down in the top navigation is still there, but now it’s super-charged. You can still scroll through the list, but now you can search too — it will be filtered as you type.

The drop-down now also shows the organization tree for the current context, which you can use to change organizations too. For most of you, this means you have an easy way to jump back to your master organization. For those with re-sellers of your content (and so more levels of organizations), this is even more useful.

This is a small improvement but we hope you find it helpful. We certainly do!

Now optimized for mobile and tablet devices

June 4, 2014New Releases

Responsive design

The experience using Firmwater LMS on phones and tablets is now improved.

While our LMS always worked on these devices, it used to require a lot of pinch and zooming. The interface now adapts to the screen size that you are using, using a technique called Responsive Design. Those blessed with ‘Retina’ devices, now get the benefit of new, sharper icons too.

Our first goal is to optimize all the student-facing pages and we’re almost all the way there. We will finish off the few remaining pages and then start to tackle the administrative pages. This will be a longer term effort as converting some of the administrative pages present a larger challenge.

Your content needs to support these devices too

Of course, for your students to have a full mobile or tablet experience, your course-ware needs to be able to run on these devices too. Most of the popular third-party authoring tools (Articulate, Captivate, Lectora, iSpring) can now output to HTML5 (Flash doesn’t run on phones and tablets). They seem to be all battling to win your heart in this regard.

The key, however, is to test, test, test your content on different devices. While the state of the art is improving, we’ve found that the performance doesn’t always meet what is advertised. Some interactions work well in HTML5 and others don’t. Your success will be determined by the tool you’re using and the nature of your content.

Please get in touch if you’d like more insight. We hope you enjoy these improvements.

Send reminder emails

February 7, 2014New Releases

We recently added three new reminder emails to the system:

  • Due Date Reminder

    Reminds a participant about an upcoming due date for activities they have not completed.

  • Overdue Reminder

    Reminds a participant about overdue activities they have not completed.

  • Access Ending Reminder

    Reminds a participant that they have only a certain number of days before their access to activities they have not completed will end.

Reminder emails are sent once a day. If multiple courses that a participant hasn’t completed are due on the same day, they will all be listed in one email.

You can specify the number of days relative to the due date or relative to the last access date that the email will be sent. You can also choose to only send the reminder for activities of a specific type (eg. ‘Course’).

You may want to configure multiple instances of the same reminder. For example, you may want an email to go out 30 days before courses are due and, again, one week before they are due.

Like all our email notifications, the text of these messages can be customized for your organization. Users can opt out of receiving them if you allow them to.

How to enable reminders

We haven’t enabled any of these reminders by default for existing clients. Here’s how you turn them on:

  1. Ensure that you are currently administering the organization that you want to turn the reminder on for. Go to the ‘Configuration’ tab and click on ‘Emails’ in the menu.
  2. Click ‘Edit Settings’ to configure the email.
  3. Turn the reminder on. Click ‘Save Changes’.

We hope these reminders will help your participants to complete more courses.

New theme available

January 8, 2014New Releases

We added a new default theme to our system late last year.

The new theme provides a refreshed modern look to the clean and simple interface you know and love. We wanted our clients using our Shopify integration to start with a similar feel out-of-the-box across our LMS and their store so we based it on Shopify’s default theme.

If you haven’t already switched to our ‘Minimal’ theme, get in touch and we’ll apply it to your demo site so that you can give it a spin.

We’re continuing to make improvements to it and are moving in the direction of adding better support for tablets and mobile devices. Stay tuned.

New course assigned email

August 29, 2013New Releases

We added a new notification to the system this afternoon: ‘New Course Assigned’. This one has been on our list for a long time. It notifies an existing user that they have been assigned a course.

For single course assignments, the course description and a direct link to the course is included in the email. For multiple course assignments, the list of courses assigned is included and a link to the user’s training plan. It does not handle the case where the user is assigned content as part of a rule-based assignment (by job title, department, etc). We have plans of adding this capability in the future.

Like all our email notifications, the text of the message can be customized for your organization. Users can opt out of receiving it if you allow them to.

How to enable it

We haven’t enabled this email by default for existing clients. Here’s how you turn it on:

  1. Ensure that you are currently administering the organization that you want to turn the email on for. Go to the ‘Configuration’ tab and click on ‘Emails’ in the menu.
  2. Turn the ‘New Course Assigned’ email on. Click ‘Save Changes’.

We hope you and your clients find this useful!

Delete a client

July 12, 2013New Releases

Another small feature that we added earlier this week is the ability to delete a client. We’ve always allowed you to disable an organization’s access. This lets you completely remove an organization from the system.

We don’t recommend you deleting a client that has any real data associated with it. You’ll only want to make use of this if you’ve created an organization in error or if you created one temporarily for demonstration purposes.

We hope this is helpful.

Using your default logo

July 8, 2013New Releases
Default logo option

We added a little enhancement this afternoon that might make your life a little easier when adding new clients. We added a ‘default’ option when choosing a logo.

Many of our clients create branded sites for their clients. But some keep their own branding for some or all of their client sites.

If you do this, then this new option will save you a step. Instead of having to upload another copy of your logo, you can just leave the ‘Default’ option selected. And, if you ever need to change your logo, you’ll only have to do it for your own organization — all your client sites that use the default will be updated automatically.

We hope this saves you a little bit of time.

Richardson partners with Firmwater for online sales training delivery

May 1, 2013Firmwater

We’re thrilled to officially announce our partnership with Richardson to deliver their online training. Richardson is one of the leading companies in sales training and strategy execution.
Richardson released a nice press release yesterday to announce our partnership:

  • Richardson, a leading global sales training and strategy execution company, today announced a partnership with Firmwater, a specialized learning management system (LMS) vendor, for delivering their award-winning online sales training, Richardson QuickSkills.
  • The Richardson QuickSkills library consists of over 60 core selling, service, and sales coaching courses and is considered the most in-depth and proven web-based sales, service, and management curriculum in the industry.

Firmwater assisted Richardson in migrating all existing clients and historical data to the Firmwater LMS platform. The system will serve as the platform on which Richardson will continue to support and grow its online training presence.

We started working with them towards the end of last year. It’s been a great relationship so far and we look forward to continuing to support them and help them grow their online presence.

Read the full release which includes a nice quote about us from Joe Jacobs, Richardson’s SVP and Chief Technical Officer.