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December 6, 2012

Learning Zone wins Innovation through Technology award

We are delighted that Optima Training won in the ‘Innovation through Technology’ category at the 2012 Newark Business Awards, held at Kelham Hall on Tuesday 4th December.

The award was received for our ground-breaking online Learning Zone and Virtual Classroom, the result of a collaborative project with two of our strategic partners: Design by Distraction and Mizaru.

Design by Distraction developed the Learning Zone as part of the recent refresh of our website. They fully understood our brief and developed a Learning Zone that is both visual and user friendly, providing improved search functionality and compatibility with a wider range of devices.

Newark Business Awards 2012

Optima's Jo Small gives her acceptance speech with Tom 'the bodyguard' Clark from Design by Distraction

The Learning Zone is accessed from within the Optima Training website and provides access to a range of language and education resources including:

  • Audio summaries
  • YouTube clips
  • Videos
  • Quizzes
  • Cultural tips
  • Learning activities.

Another enhancement to the site allows clients to have access to their own password protected Learning Zone area, which allows access to client specific materials and enables HR managers to monitor learner progress.

All Learning Zone materials can now be filtered by type and a ‘tick’ highlights those resources that you have already viewed – making it easier to find new content, and to help learners keep track of their progress. The site and Learning Zone materials are managed in-house by the Optima Training team using a WordPress Content Management System, adapted by Design by Distraction to offer easy administration of the learning platform.

The Learning Zone provides access to the Virtual Classroom. Once inside the virtual learning environment, you can interact with your trainer, other learners and your course materials – just like in a real classroom. It has great features such as:

  • An interactive whiteboard – allowing you to collaborate with the trainer and other learners on documents
  • Share Pods – where you can view training presentations, watch video content and upload your own content for review by your trainer or peer group
  • A knowledge repository – providing you with easy access to recordings of past sessions for reference and review.

The collaboration with Mizaru produced a real innovation as the tight integration between WordPress with the Adobe Connect system is the first of its kind. The system delivers high levels of user convenience by allowing direct access to rooms and recordings through the use of a Single Sign-On (SSO) mechanism. This means that users need only sign in to Optima's Learning Zone to gain automatic entry to the web conferencing platform, creating a robust, easy and secure solution to our Virtual Classroom needs.

Team Award

Optima Training's Rea Edwards, Mark Small and Jo Small celebrate with Tom Clark from Design by Distraction

The Adobe Connect system is widely available but Mizaru have adapted the platform as part of their services – their experience and knowledge of the teaching and learning sector makes their version completely compatible with Optima’s needs.

We would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to both Design by Distraction and Mizaru. The Optima Learning Zone and Virtual Classroom are the result of collaboration between partners delivering innovation in our training approach. We are looking forward to working together on other successful projects in the future.

About Design by Distraction

Design by Distraction are a full-service, creative graphic and web design agency. That means that they create and develop logos, brands, illustrations, websites, apps, Facebook pages, online marketing & PR campaigns, e-shots, digital brochures, exhibition displays, shop fronts, signage, window graphics, vehicle graphics, t-shirts, mugs, bookmarks and, even on the odd occasion, good old fashioned printed brochures, leaflets, posters, business cards and stationery.

To find out more, visit the Design by Distraction website.

About Mizaru

Mizaru is a new company specialising in web-based learning and collaboration solutions. Their team consists of teachers, designers, developers and programmers with one shared vision: to embrace the future of online communication and make it more accessible for everyone.

To find out more, visit the Mizaru website.