Learning Thursday #6: Track Classroom Attendance Using a Scan Gun (Includes Video)
Learning Thursday is a blog series that features a new L&D article every other week along with discussion points. Read and then share your own ideas by commenting below! Check out the last Learning Thursday here. The week’s discussion question is: What is your best time saving tip for those new to learning management system administration? Please comment below.
Yes, entering training data into your learning management system can be made incredibly easy. And it will cost you less than forty dollars! The idea has been published in both editions of LMS Success and has been used by several of my clients. It predates the QR code feature available in some learning technology platforms, which I’ll also touch on.
Before we get into barcodes though, let’s just acknowledge the popularity of QR codes in the corporate training space. Many instructors add QR codes to their presentations so learners can access supplemental resources on their mobile devices. Some learning technology platforms provide QR codes that a learner can scan to receive credit for completing a course. For example, Adobe Captivate Prime allows learners to mark attendance of classroom sessions using their mobile devices and the Captivate Prime mobile app.
Having learners scan a QR code is probably the most efficient way of marking course completion because the learner is able to do it themselves. However, some companies don’t allow employees to use mobile devices for work purposes. Some employees aren’t allowed to have mobile devices on premise for security reasons. And sometimes you may not want to rely on learners to mark their own classroom attendance.
Several of my clients and employers have faced these situations. So a few years ago, I created a different solution.
Here’s how it works. Let’s say there is a classroom full of learners who have just finished a session. The instructor uses a scan gun to scan learners’ badges into an LMS import spreadsheet, which is later uploaded into the learning management system to update learners’ transcripts. Each learner’s badge contains a barcode that corresponds to their LMS user ID.
You could also create a “barcode cheat sheet” of your learners’ user IDs. That way, you can scan the sheet any time you are entering course completion data. Scanning the barcodes ensures your data is accurate because there’s no chance of mistyping the numbers. And it saves you from manually typing every learner’s user ID into the LMS, or into an import spreadsheet, in order to track attendance. Every time you scan an ID rather than typing it, you save a couple of seconds. If you work for a large organization with lots of classes and instructors, this idea can save thousands of hours per year. I’m speaking from my own experience.
One final note… you will need a barcode font in order to generate barcodes. I use Code 128 (you can download it here) but you can use any barcode font that works with your scan gun. Also, please note that many scan guns aren’t capable of scanning a type 2D code. A QR code is a type 2D code, so if you are trying to scan QR codes, check the product description before making your purchase. (Here is an example of a scan gun that can read QR codes.)
If you are buying a bunch of scan guns for your organization, I would recommend calling the manufacturer to negotiate a bulk purchase because it has saved me a lot of money in the past. Also, think before purchasing the warranty as it is often more cost effective to simply buy more units.
What is your best time saving tip for those new to learning management system administration? Please comment below!
Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn. My books are available on Amazon: LMS Success, The LMS Selection Checklist, and Corporate Training Tips & Tricks. The LMS books come with a collection of supplemental resources and a private discussion forum to ask questions.