Monthly Archives: December 2012

Online Learning Time Management: Staying on Track

Online learning is well-known as a rewarding, successful, and effective alternative for students who may otherwise have conflicting schedules with their professional and personal life, or who may be unable to commute.

The discipline needed to succeed in any academic setting is even more crucial when you’re learning online, though, despite the formal classroom space and unstructured hours. The secret to success in online learning is to build your establish good work habits so that you can easily to meet the goals of your online coursework.

Same place, same time.

Each day, act as if you had to commute to a classroom.Pick the same time each day that is convenient for you to check in, online, with your class. This will enable you to see if the instructor has changed anything on the syllabus, with that week’s assignment, or if there was any problem with what you recently submitted. Set aside a specific block of time for this work — schedule it on your online calendar with a reminder, if needed — and you’ll avoid wasting valuable time throughout the day constantly checking in to see if any of your peers responded to your classroom postings or what’s new. That time can be better spent reading necessary materials offline and completing your assignments. Block time for these tasks too, by the way.

Online learning can be a wonderful solution to the challenges of attending a typical brick-and-mortar academic environment present – as long as you manage your time online and offline.

Are you currently an online teacher or student? If so, we’re interested in your experience and would appreciate your feedback in the comments section below.

Image: ncc


Computer Keyboarding Tips (or a Refresher Course for Sloppy Typists)

typingSloppy typing has a huge impact on your speed, making you far less productive than you could be with good practice. It is easy to fall into bad habits over time without even being aware you are doing so. Following the computer keyboarding tips below will help you improve your skills to help you use your computer with ease.

  • While two-finger typing can be adequate for those who are not spending a lot of time at the computer, touch typing with all 10 fingers will increase your speed to levels you could never reach by omitting the other eight fingers. If your hands are not in the correct position, you will never learn to touch type properly and other computer keyboarding tips are redundant. A number of online typing tutorials can help you learn ten-finger typing.
  • Place the fingers of your left hand over the keys “A” to “F” while your right hand covers “J” to “;”. Your hands move only very slightly to enable your fingers to reach the nearest keys. Your right thumb is responsible for the space bar. After you have learned the correct movement, you will be able to type without ever looking at your hands.
  • The combination keys were created to save you time and make commands simpler to execute. For example, the “Shift” key when used in conjunction with letter keys provides the vital function of creating capital letters. When used along with the “Function” or “Ctrl” key, you are able to command you computer to execute yet more functions. Take a few minutes to learn some shortcuts you may not have been aware of previously, but only learn the ones you’re bound to use frequently; otherwise you’ll spend time looking up rarely used functions again and again.

Do you know of any additional typing tips? If so, share them in the comments section below.

Image: everystockphoto


Need Computer Skills for a New Job? Learn These Two First

emailThe job market today is more competitive and fast-paced than ever. Applicants are expected to come in with relevant computer experience and the capacity to learn more. For job seekers who are transitioning from careers in which computers weren’t required, the idea of learning everything at once can be overwhelming. If you’re starting from scratch, email and word processing should be the first tools you learn to use.

The best way to learn to use email, as with many computer programs and tools, is to use it. Simply start by signing up for a free online account with Google or Yahoo, for example. While most people are comfortable searching online and texting, you’ll want to go beyond those basics by learning to send attachments via email and create contacts lists. The basics of email, such as composing messages, replying and forwarding, are common to all email programs. Sending messages to friends can help you get comfortable with shortcuts and the terms used in emai.

Word processing is another skill employers expect applicants to have. In addition to typing, job seekers should know how to use the word processing software to accomplish general tasks; this includes creating, editing, and printing documents.

Regardless of the job, these two skills are vital for nearly every position and industry. Fortunately, community colleges, libraries, and other community facilities offer courses on these topics, so help is not far away. You can also visit our website and check out the eLearning Tools we have available.

Image: GTD Times

Computer Training: Are You Maximizing Value to Your Clients?

How many times have you approached a class with a planned set of objectives, only to find out that it wasn’t the training that was needed? Has your client ever wondered whether your training effectively met its objectives? How do you make sure you’re delivering the right training and demonstrate the results to your clients at the end?

One answer is computer skills testing – both before and after your training.


Testing prior to the training allows you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your audience. Do employees have expertise in creating charts but need to understand pivot tables? Have they mastered formatting but need a refresher on integrating images? Testing these skills provides part of a needs assessment that allows you to design training to best match the needs of your client. Testing prior to the class also gives you a baseline report of skills for each individual being trained.


Testing again after training gives you definitive results that you can show your client – proof that learning has taken place. Making reports available to your clients that show before and after test scores for the group and individual employees increase the value of your offering by providing a clear picture of skills. If you can break them down by application and specific skills, better yet.


The end result for the client will be employees who are able to perform their tasks better and are more productive. The results for you will be a more satisfied customer.


Labyrinth Learning has testing solutions designed to provide an affordable testing solution for a variety of organizations, including corporate training firms. For more information, please visit our website or contact us for a demonstration of our eLab Skills Evaluation Tool.


Image from Google Images

QuickBooks 2013 Box

QuickBooks 2013…What’s New!

By Trish Conlon, author of Labyrinth Learning’s QuickBooks solutions.


Hello QuickBooks users! Here is a quick snapshot into the changes that you will see in the 2013 version.

The 2013 version of QuickBooks does not have many changes in regards to new features, but rather displays a huge change to the overall user interface. Users will still see the menu bar and a Home page that helps them to flow through the various tasks associated with Vendors, Customers, Employees, the Company, and Banking (see a screenshot of the new Home page below).

Quickbooks Homepage 2013 Screen Capture Thumbnail

But, seasoned QuickBooks users,will notice that the Icon Bar looks different and is docked on the left side of the screen by default (it can also be moved to the top of the window or hidden) and the color scheme has changed.

Another big change in QuickBooks 2013 is the use of a Ribbon and tabs in the transaction windows. Below you will see the Enter Bills window displayed with the Main tab of the Ribbon displayed.

Quickbooks 2013 Enter Bills Screen Capture Thumbnail
Enter Bills

QuickBooks users will see a new way of displaying information in a centralized manner in the Customer, Vendor, and Employee Centers through the use of tabs in the lower right section of the center. The new Vendor Center window is displayed below; note the Transactions, Contacts, To Do’s, and Notes tabs that organize the information for Hitchcock Property Management.

Quickbooks 2013 Vendor Center Thumbnail
Vendor Center

One of the new features unrelated to the user interface that has been introduced in the 2013 version is the ability of QuickBooks users to collect invoice payments online through the Intuit Payment Network.

Another change to QuickBooks 2013 is that users have more flexibility when it comes to customizing customers, vendors, and employees. There are now eight contact fields that users can customize by choosing from 17 different field options, as displayed below.

Quickbooks 2013 Edit Vendor Thumbnail
Edit Vendor

In the Labyrinth QuickBooks solution you will also see two new elements:

  • BTS Brief: this feature will assist students in learning the accounting concepts that happen “Behind the Scenes” in QuickBooks better
  • Visualize!: in this feature, students who are visual learners will be provided with tools to better understand the QuickBooks concepts they are learning

So, while the upgrade to QuickBooks 2013 does not have too many changes in regards to new features, it does require users to adapt to a changed interface that more closely resembles Microsoft Office® with the addition of Ribbons and tabs.

Trisha Conlon is Director of the Mid-Willamette Education Consortium at Chemeketa Community College. She is an experienced, career technical and adult education administrator and teacher who values an environment where all students can be successful.

You can now preorder review copies of Labyrinth Learning’s QuickBooks Pro 2013 Series.

Quickbooks Pro 2013 link to product page