Answers to questions posed by the ADVISOR Users are now available online and will be updated regularly. Whether searching for a technical answer to a current problem, tips on how to perform a specific function or tricks to minimize effort needed to carry out a task, check out BNH’s responses below. If you cannot find what you are looking for, then email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org:
How do I delete modules within a course?
By deleting instructional goals within the module. The Instructional Goals within a module can be viewed by clicking on the Instructional Goals within Module folder under each module. To delete, click on the Instructional Goals folder, place checkmarks next to Instructional Goals you wish to delete and click Submit.
How do I increase the length of a module?
By increasing the length of the instructional goals within the module. The Instructional Goals within a module can be viewed by clicking on the Instructional Goals within Module folder under each module. To modify the length of a module, click on the instructional goal under the Instructional Goals folder, modify the Length field and click Submit.
Does ADVISOR support coaching or mentoring as a delivery option?
Yes. Coaching and mentoring is equivalent to Instructor-led (On-location) with a student to instructor ratio of 1 to 1.
Does the Instructor with Computers delivery option imply one or multiple computers in the room?
The Instructor with Computers delivery option implies a computer lab. It does not necessarily mean that instructor and students computers can interact with each other.
How is the Feasibility Analysis rating under ADVISOR computed?
The Instructional Design Factors as well as Requirements under the Feasibility Analysis folder are primarily used to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of using alternate options for the delivery of training. Some of the data is critical, for example "Access to Computers". If trainees have no access to computers, then all delivery options that require computers (including synchronous and asynchronous delivery options) are eliminated - i.e., assigned a 0% rating. In some cases a combination of factors may lead to the elimination of delivery options. For example, "Web Based Training" and "Internet Virtual Classroom" are eliminated if the "Internet Connection Speed is 56,000" and "Full Motion Video is Required".
In other cases, the data is not critical. In this case, ADVISOR assigns values based on the ability of the delivery media in meeting this requirement - for example, 2 = fully meet, 1 = partially meet and 0 = does not meet. The rating of each delivery option is computed by determining the % of requirements met by each delivery option. For example, if 10 requirements are specified and a media fully or partially meets 9 with a score of 16, then the rating is 80% (=16/20).
Moreover, the reasons for the rating are provided- by clicking on the delivery option title under the Rating node under the Feasibility Analysis folder. These indicate the requirements that the media did not fully meet.
Once the effectiveness of various delivery options is determined the life cycle costs of plausible delivery options are computed - including design, development, delivery, administrative, management, maintenance and support.
The final recommendation is based on the Cost Effectiveness Rating of various delivery options - computed by dividing the effectiveness rating by the cost. In other words, options that provide the highest effectiveness (meet most requirements) at lowest cost.
What does Most Cost Effective approach means?
If Y axis is your Feasibility and X axis is your cost, ideally, you are looking for a solution that is highly effective (approaches 100%) and cost the least (approaches $0). Since it is unlikely that we will get this solution, we prorate the media with the highest effectiveness to cost rating to 100% and the other media accordingly.
This ratio is the slope of the line (Feasibility / Cost) which indicates Productivity or Efficiency (Output / Cost). So in these terms, the ratios indicate the relative Efficiency of the media.
Where can I find the definitions of various media/delivery options?
The definitions are presented by clicking the Help button while on the [Delivery Options Supported] tab under Training Division, [Rating] node under Feasibility Analysis and [Recommendations] node under Module Summary. They are also available in Appendix A of the Module #3 User Guide "Select the Right Blend of Delivery Options".
Why I cannot specify a blended delivery option for my course?
You need to have at least two instructional goals within the course assigned to two different modules. Only one primary delivery option is recommended for each module.
How are the Currently Used delivery options under the Course Summary set?
The current delivery method (Instructor-led (Classroom), for example) is specified under the Delivery Options node under each module.
What does the ** asterisks after the delivery option title 'did not meet critical requirements under the rating' means?
It implies that the delivery method has a zero rating under Feasibility Analysis.
Why does the Development Hours per hour under the Development node under Cost Analysis keep changing?
If the Development Hours per hour field is unlocked, then the data is automatically undated from the Rating node under Feasibility Analysis folder. In other words, as the Requirements under Feasibility Analysis change, the Development Time is updated accordingly based on industry averages, and the Development Hours per hour field under the Development node under the Cost Analysis folder is updated accordingly. If you prefer to keep the Development Hours per hour fixed, then the field should be locked.
Why does the Development Hours per hour vary for each module?
Since the effort needed to develop training varies in accordance with the complexity of the subject and level of competency needed, and the modules within a course may have different levels of complexity, the Development Hours per hour can be different for each module.
If we know our Development Hour per hour ratios, is there a need for Development Time Analysis?
There is no need for Development Time Analysis in this case. It is either or. Development Time Analysis is only required if you do not how much effort is needed to develop the course - or want to compare to industry averages.
If we know our Development Hour per hour ratios, is there a need for the Technical Capability Template?
Since Technical Capability only impacts the effort needed to develop the course, there is no need for it in this case. It is either or. Technical Capability is only required if you do not how much effort is needed to develop the course. If you are not planning to use the Technical Capability - it is best to hide it under the Analysis Required tab under the Training Division node.
How do you interpret the 'Delivery Hardware Capabilities' under Technical Capabilities?
It refers to the effort needed to develop the CBT or WBT courseware to run on different types of equipment that the target audience might have. For example, if you are in charge of a media lab, we could specify the equipment in that lab and design the software for it, resulting in a rating of HIGH - no additional 'programming' effort is required.
Should the number of trainees per class for asynchronous delivery options be defined?
Although at first glance the number of trainees for asynchronous delivery options may appear to be irrelevant, keep in mind that this number is used to compute the "frequency" of the course. Since the effort and in-turn the costs needed to administer, manage and support training is based on the number of days per class (i.e., frequency), the number of trainees per class is therefore important in computing the frequency and in-turn administrative, management and support costs.
How do you estimate the number of instructor per class for asynchronous delivery options?
Two examples are provided below to illustrate how the number of Instructors per class for asynchronous delivery options can be computed:
Example #1: If a class of 20 students will be taking WBT off-site and a single instructor is expected to answer e-mail questions and grade assignments submitted via the internet, then the number of instructors per class is 1.
Example #2: If a class of 45 students will be taking WBT off-site that is completely self contained with feedback and remediation and the test scores will be sent directly to the Training Management System, meaning that there is no direct instructor involvement, then the number of instructors per class is 0.
How do you estimate the % of Instructors that Travel?
Three examples are provided below to illustrate how the % of Instructors that Travel can be computed:
Example #1: An instructor teaches 10 classes of a course in a year. One of these classes is off-site. Therefore, 10% of the instructor's classes involve travel.
Example #2: A 36-week course has 2 classes each year with a different instructor for each class. One of the instructors is a contractor and must travel from home to the training center, a reimbursable expense. Therefore, 50% of the instructors travel.
Example #3: A class has 10 sessions. Two of these sessions are off-site. Therefore, 20% of the instructors travel.
Why does ADVISOR default to 30% reduction in training time for CBT/WBT?
Self-paced instruction encourages the trainee to take the most efficient path to content mastery, skipping areas of strength while focusing on areas of weakness. Interaction and immediate feedback provide constant, highly effective reinforcement of concepts and content. Personalized instructions accommodate different learning styles to maximize trainees learning efficiency. The reduction in training time is supported by the following references.
Bahlis, J. and Corneau, Daniel (1994), Case Study: Development and Implementation of Interactive Self-Study Training Program at National Defence
Headquarters, Directorate of Civilian Training and Development, paper presented at the Washington Interactive Multimedia 94 Conference, Washington, D.C.
Bunderson, C.V., and Olsen, J.B. (1984), Instructional Effectiveness of an Intelligent Videodisc in Biology, Machine Mediated Learning.
Ketner, W. (1982), "Videodisc Interactive Two-Dimensional Training", paper presented at the 4th Annual Conference on Videodisk Training System, Warrengton, Virginia.
Kimberlin, D.A. (1982), The U.S. Army Air Defense School Distributed Instructional System Project Evaluation, paper presented at the 4th Annual Conference on Videodisk Learning System, Warrington, Virginia.
Miller, Rockley L. (1990), Learning Benefits of Interactive Technologies, the Videodisk Monitor, pages 15-17.
Reeves Thomas (1988), Effective Dimensions of Interactive Videodisk for Training", Computer Assisted Approaches for Training, Elsevier Science Publishers, pages 119-132.
Reeves, Thomas and Marlino, Mary (1989), An Evaluation of the Emergency Medical Condition Interactive Videodisk", American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting.
Weinstein, Stuart (1987), Training and Cost Effectiveness of Interactive Videodisks for Technical and Maintenance Training", Research Report, SWL Inc., Multimedia Products Group, Vienna, Virginia.
Wright, Elizabeth (1983), Aid to Families with Dependent Children", University of West Florida, Pensacola, Florida.
How is compression in Trainees training time accounted for?
Gained productivity that may result from compressing training time is accounted for under the Trainees Cost - Salary and Trainees Cost - Lost Opportunity fields under the Trainees node under the Cost Analysis folder.
Based on Trainees Annual Salary, ADVISOR computes the cost of time spent in training. If CBT requires 50% less time then instructor-led, for example, then Trainees Cost - Salary for CBT will be 50% less then instructor-led.
Why the Development Costs are not shown under the Up-Front tab under the Summary node?
Each cost field within ADVISOR has an indicator [D] or [I] that specifies whether the cost is direct or indirect. If the cost is set to Indirect, then the time [person-days] needed to develop the content is presented under the Resources tab under the Summary node. To display the actual dollar amount under the Up-Front tab, change the indicator for the Avg. Daily Cost for Developer field under the Development node to [D] (by clicking on it).
How do I compare our own development costs with industry averages or a competitor's development costs?
1. Create 3 Development Costs Templates to reflect the 3 options that you wish to compare, namely "Own Development Costs", "Industry Standard" and "Competitors Development Costs".
2. Create a Course under Course Analysis and set-up required parameters including Trainees per Year and Instructional Goals.
Depending on how you want to view the data, you may either:
* Create two additional copies of the course
* Rename copied courses to reflect the different development models
* Import relevant Development Costs from Templates using Import Module Template
* View results of each course under Summary under Cost Analysis folder
* Generate a side by side comparison of the three options using Compare Training Budgets/Resources report under the Generate Reports folder
* Import relevant Development Costs from 1st Template (own development costs, for example) using Import Module Template
* View results of each course under Summary under Cost Analysis folder
* Generate Report using Course or Executive Report function
* Import relevant Development Costs from 2nd Template (Industry Standard, for example) using Import Module Template and repeat procedure.
Why are the instructor costs treated differently then the administrators, managers and support staff?
Instructor Costs are directly related to the "length" of the course and instructor preparation time - in other words, the more time needed by the instructor - the higher the costs.
Administrative, Management and Support Costs are not necessarily related to the "length" of the course - but the "frequency" of the course - since it may take the same amount of time (effort) to book room, register trainees, arrange equipment, etc., for a 20 hour course or a 10 hour course. For this reason, Administrative, Management and Support Cost Templates capture the cost per class versus hour.
Why does the Module Allocation (%) under Hardware and Facilities under Cost Analysis keeps changing?
If the Module Allocation (%) field is unlocked, then it is automatically computed based on the module length, frequency and the availability of hardware or facilities. If you prefer to keep the Module Allocation (%) fixed, then the field should be locked.
The Module Allocation (%) under Hardware and Facilities is over 100%. What does it mean?
Based on the length and frequency of the course and availability of equipment or facility, the Module Allocation (%) is computed. If one piece of equipment or facility is not sufficient to carry out the training, then the Module Allocation (%) would be greater then 100%. In other words, you need to increase capacity - provide more equipment or facility.
How would you account for hardware or facility that is used by more then one course?
The percentage of the cost allocated to each course is indicated under the Module Allocation (%) field. If a piece of equipment is shared equally by two courses, for example, then the Equipment Module Allocation for each course should be 50%.
How can I minimize time needed to input cost data?
Time and costs needed to administer, manager, deliver, maintain and support various types of courses can be setup under the Templates folder under each Training Division. Once created, templates can be shared with others and imported within each course and module that belongs to the training division.
Why the Adjusted Module Length (hours) is not the same for different delivery options?
The Adjusted Module Length refers to the time needed to complete the same training material using different media. Since training can be completed faster with some media such as CBT/WBT then instructor-led, the Adjusted Module Length for CBT/WBT in this case should be less then the Instructor-led approach. The compression rate [Time Required by Trainee [% of classroom] for each media is specified under the Course Variable node under the Cost Analysis folder. If 100% is specified for all delivery options, then the Adjusted Module Length for all media would be equal.
How are the Total Trainees Cost (over life) computed?
Trainees Cost - Salary is computed as follows:
Trainee Daily Cost x Days Required by Trainee (per class) x Number of Trainees (over life)
Total Trainees Cost (over life) is computed as follows:
Trainee Cost - Salary
+ Trainee Cost - Lost Opportunity
+ Trainee Cost - Per Diem
+ Trainee Cost - Travel
+ Miscellaneous Costs x Expected Life of Course (years)
Please note that this info is available in the context sensitive online help, by clicking the Help button as well as Chapter 6 of the Module #3 User Guide 'Select the Right Blend of Delivery Options'.
Why is the Trainees Per Diem and Travel Costs $0?
If the Trainee Per Diem Costs or % of Trainees that Travel is 0, then the Trainees Cost - Per Diem will also be zero since it is computed as follows:
Trainee per Diem Costs x Number of Trainees [over life] x % of Trainees that Travel x Module Length
Similarly, if the Trainee Travel Costs or % of Trainees that Travel is 0, then the Trainees Cost - Travel will also be zero since it is computed as follows:
Trainee Travel Costs x Number of Trainees [over life] x % of Trainees that Travel
When should computer costs be considered?
If new computers, equipment or software licenses are needed for the delivery of training - then Hardware Costs can be significant and should be considered. If the other hand, trainees are using their desktop computers - then its allocation to training is minimal.
When should maintenance costs be considered?
Since maintenance (i.e., review and update) costs of asynchronous CBT/WBT courses can be significantly higher then the corresponding synchronous delivery options, they should be considered. Maintenance costs can be accounted for by simply estimating the % of Content that Changes under the module node under the Module Analysis folder. In other words, although a course may have a life span of three years, 15% of the, for example, may require updating each year. The change should be indicated as a percentage of the initial development effort [15% each year, for example].
What does Attrition Rate mean and how does it impact costs?
Attrition Rate is the % of trainees that are not expected to complete the course on the 1st trial. Attrition rate can greatly impact costs, since it implies that more individuals would have to be trained or retrained in order to successfully train (graduate) the required number of individuals.
Let us assume that our objective is to successfully train 225 individuals. If the attrition rate is 0%, it implies that all trainees will successfully complete the course on the first trial. In this case, 225 individuals will require training to meet our objective. If, on the other hand, the attrition rate is 10%, it implies that 10% of the trainees are expected to dropout or fail the course on the first trial. In this case, 250 (= 225 / 0.9) individuals would have to be enrolled in the course in order to meet our goal - (i.e., successfully train 225 individuals.
How are the Break Even Points computed?
Break Even Point is the point in time (or dollar amount) in which the initial investment has been recovered and savings commence. The Break Even Point between two delivery options is computed as follows:
Net Up-front Cost:
Upfront Cost of Delivery Option #1 - Upfront Cost of Delivery Option #2
Net Recurring Cost:
Recurring Cost of Delivery Option #1 - Recurring Cost of Delivery Option #2
# of months needed to break even:
[Net Up-front Costs / Net Recurring Costs] x 12
Dollars needed to break even:
Upfront Cost of Delivery Option #1 + Recurring Cost of Delivery Option #1 x (Break Even Point Months/12)
How are up-front and recurring costs computed?
Up-Front costs also referred to as Start-up costs =
Hardware Costs + Development Costs
Recurring Costs per year =
Administrative Costs + Management Costs + Trainees Costs + Instructors Costs + Facilities Costs + Transmission Costs + Maintenance Costs + Support Costs
How is the Days Required by Instructor (per class) computed?
The easiest way to find out how each number is computed is by clicking on the Help button.
Days Required by Instructor (per class) is computed as follows:
Length of Module (days) x Time Required by Instructor (% of classroom)
+ Instructor Preparation Time (days)
+ (% of Instructors that Travel x Instructor Travel Days) / 100 %
The Length of Module is indicated under the Module node and the other variables are specified under the Course Variables node under Course Analysis folder.
After selecting the Target Audience for my course, the Trainee Annual Salary and Fringe Benefits Factor (%) under the Cost Factors node appear to be low. Why?
When dealing with multiple Target Audiences for a course, you can specify how the data is combined in the Criterion for Combining Data field under the Course Title node. If the Criterion is set to the Lowest Common Denominator, then the lowest salary and fringe benefits factor is used. You may select Average Value to verify if the salary and fringe benefits are reasonable. If not, the data in the Target Audience Templates could be wrong.
When I change the criterion for Combining Data field from Lowest Common Denominator to Average Value, the Trainee Annual Salary and Fringe Benefits Factor (%) under the Cost Factors did not change. Why?
To reload the Target Audience Data, you will need to deselect or select at least one target audience and click Submit.
If Trainee Annual Salary is set $0 and the Fringe Benefits Factor (%) to (30%), would this have any impact on the costs?
Since Fringe Benefits Factor is a % of the salary, it will have no impact on the costs.
Where is Trainees Attitude data used?
It is used to assess the Risk of introducing a new delivery media. Target audience can be specified under the Risk Analysis folder under the Training Division. The Risk can in-turn be applied to any course
If I re-import Instructional Goals, will ADVISOR overwrite current goals?
No, ADVISOR will simply add the instructional goals to the current goals in the course. This is true for all import functions within ADVISOR.
How do delete Instructional Goals that have been imported?
There is no simple (undo) procedure. Click on the Instructional Goals folder, place checkmarks next to instructional goals you wish to delete and click the Delete button. Another alternative is to delete the entire course. This may be appropriate if not much data has been populated within the course.
When I remove options such as Administrative and Management Costs under the Analysis Required tab under a Training Division and click on Templates, they are still there. How do I refresh the screen without existing the system?
Once you make changes to the Administrative or Management Costs under the Analysis Required tab and Submit, click on the Training Divisions folder to refresh (i.e., reload new data from database). This is true for every node within ADVISOR. You click on parent folder to refresh.
Why does the Trainee Financial Data screen have 5 fields while the corresponding screen under Module Analysis has 10 fields?
The Trainee Financial Data is imported under the Cost Factors node, which has the same 5 fields. The additional fields under the Trainees node under Module Analysis are related to travel expenses. These are saved separately under the Travel Costs Template under each training division.
Can I add notes to my data?
You may add a note for any screen under the Course or Template by clicking on the Notes button, typing in the note and clicking Submit to save. A yellow indicator appears in the top right corner of the tab and screen title to indicate that that a note is attached to this tab - when 1st added, you will need to refresh the node, by clicking on it one more time for the yellow tab to appear. Anyone who has access to the course can view and add notes.
I modified the title of a training division, course, instructional goal, etc., but the title in the tree did not change?
Since all data is stored in a centralized database, to maximize performance, data in the tree is only refreshed when the parent node is clicked. In other words, to refresh Course title, you would need to click on the Course Analysis folder.
How can I change the dollar ($) sign in crystal reports to pounds (£)?
The $ signs can be easily converted to £ by exporting the Crystal Report to an RTF file (Export Function is in top left corner of Crystal Report) and using MS Word find and replace function.
I can no longer find the Lessons in ADVISOR. What happened to it?
ADVISOR can be easily configured to hide any data or analysis not required by the Training Division. To modify the settings, click on the Analysis Required tab for the Training Division under the Training Divisions folder, place checkmark next to the Lessons field and click Submit.
This is also true for other data functions within ADVISOR including Feasibility Analysis, Development Costs, Hardware Costs, Administrative Costs, Management Costs, Trainees Costs, Instructor Costs, Facilities Costs, Transmission Costs, Support Costs, etc.
Is it better to create data in Templates or course?
Whenever possible, data should be created in Templates first since it can be imported in multiple courses/modules. Data in a course, on the other hand, is difficult to share. It is limited to a specific course/module.
How do I zero Development Costs after a Template has been imported?
The simplest way is to create a Development Cost Templates with zero values and import, whenever you have a need to zero the Development Costs. The concept can also be applied to other Templates as well.