In a typical organizational teaching and learning initiative, you can have hundreds or even thousands of learners at a time. When the number of learners is low, managing them is easy - you may even know most of them personally. But, what happens when you begin to have so many users that keeping track of them is difficult?
When this is the case, it typically becomes a good idea to classify your users. Your organization probably already has a reporting structure in place - John reports to Jane, Jane reports to Simon, and so on - or it may have other ways to distinguish between users - by their territory, the country they belong to or the nature of the job they perform, for example. These are formal, vertical relationships between users. Genius can be used to replicate this formal, vertical structure that you may already have in place through the use of a feature known as Affiliations.
In addition, you may also have informal, 'mentoring' relationships in place between your learners and other people in your organization. For example, when a new employee joins the company, a member of your HR department may guide them with the orientation they need to be successful. Or, alternatively, if your organization is making use of the e-Learning platform to provide paid learning opportunities, you may assign an Account Manager to oversee their development and make sure that they are getting a high-quality learning experience. These are informal, horizontal relationships between users - and Genius can be used to replicate these through a feature known as Coaches.
Why classify my users?
Classifying your users is not required to use Genius, but it is highly recommended. Why?
Affiliations - making your job as Admin easier
As we described earlier, there are two ways to classify your users. The first way is through Affiliations, which can be used to classify your users according to the formal, vertical relationships between your users. Affiliations can be used to replicate your organizational hierarchy, and many of Genius' power features depend on Affiliations to work properly. For example - if you want to enroll all users in the Sales department in an Introduction to Sales course, the Affiliations feature in Genius allows you to quickly select all users in the Sales department and enroll them in this course - in just two clicks!
Many of the advanced notifications, reporting and dashboards included with Genius also depend on affiliations in order to work more efficiently. By setting up Genius and classifying your users based on their real-life reporting relationships, you can streamline many of the user management, enrollment, registration and restriction workflows that are required to run a successful teaching and learning initiative - all made possible through Affiliations.
We should also note that classifying users using Affiliations also opens up many delegated administration workflows, such as allowing Managers to enroll learners into their coursework, letting them approve learner enrollment requests, and so on. These become challenges as your e-Learning initiative begins to scale - another reason why you want to make the best use possible of this feature!
Coaches - a way to ensure the success of your e-Learning initiative
In addition, Genius also makes it possible for you to create informal, 'mentoring' relationships through the use of Coaches. A Coach in Genius has visibility over the progress, performance and engagement of multiple users across your learning initiative - regardless of the formal, reporting relationships already in place at your organization.
Coaches can help you ensure that your learners receive the help they need in order to be successful in their courses. For example, suppose your organization charges learners for access to some courses. This is possible thanks to the e-Commerce workflows included with Genius.
However, the moment a learner pays for a course, he or she is not just a learner - he or she becomes a customer. By assigning a coach to a group of learners, you can have someone else watch over their progress, receive reports about their performance, and send them notifications if their engagement metrics are low - helping you take preventive action before an unsuccessful learner turns into an unsatisfied customer.
How to use these classifications?
We have already presented you with the two options available to group users in Genius - Affiliations for vertical, formal reporting relationships; and Coaches, for informal, mentoring-type relationships between users. In this Section, we present you with additional use cases about how to make the best possible use of both these features.
As a best practice, we highly recommend that you classify your users using Affiliations. Coaches are optional, but we also believe that organizations that charge for access to courses are generally well served by assigning your learners with a Coach.
Some use cases for the Affiliations feature included with Genius are described below:
- Replicating your organization's formal, vertical reporting structure, geographical divisions, or departments/team structure, directly within your teaching and learning initiative.
- In the case of a school or university, you can use Affiliations to separate users from one Faculty or School from each another - allowing you to keep track of which learners have access to and complete which courses and which do not.
- If your organization provides paid learning opportunities to a specific user population, you can use Affiliations to keep track of the 'home' organization of each learner, their country or their region. For example - if you provide courses with specialist knowledge to individuals around the world, you can use Affiliations to group your learners according to their discipline of interest - allowing you to direct them to courses that may be more relevant to them.
As you can see, it is possible to use the Affiliations feature flexibly. We highly recommend you contact the Genius Support Team if you have any questions about what Affiliations can do for you.
It is possible to assign a user to an affiliation as soon as that learner is created. This is possible even if the learner is created through an integration between Genius and the third-party systems in place at your organization. Genius also makes it possible for you to assign learners to an affiliation in bulk - allowing you to very quickly classify large groups of learners if needed.
Coaches in Genius are a way to provide your learners with an additional set of eyes watching over them and ensuring that their learning experience is positive. Some use cases for this feature include:
- Providing your learners with an Account Manager-type figure that can watch over their progress, performance and engagement and ensure that they have a positive experience taking courses with your organization.
- Replicating any mentoring relationships that may already be in place at your organization - for example, many professional organizations that offer courses also partner junior members of their organization with more senior members.
In general, the use of Coaches is less widespread than the use of Affiliations amongst our customers. However, we strongly recommend that if your organization has acquired experience with the use of our Solution when it comes to generating reports, automating notifications and tweaking dashboards to meet your needs, assigning Coaches to your learners may provide you with interesting results.
To learn more...
To learn more about Affiliations, we recommend that you learn how to set-up an affiliation. Once set up, you can add users to the Affiliations you define, enroll users into a course or learning pathway, restrict who has access to which courses in the Catalog, automate communications, and use Genius to report and provide dashboards displaying your learner's progress, performance and engagement - all based on a user's Affiliation in your learning initiative.
This article is part of the Introduction to Genius series. When you are finished, you can move to the next article in the series, Creating Courses and Sections.