Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pecha-Kucha

Perhaps I have been living under a rock, but until today I have not heard of Pecha-Kucha. I am not a big fan of PowerPoint mostly because of the abusive use of the tool itself. After all, PowerPoint does not bore people to death, presenters (or e-Learning designers) WITH PowerPoint do. Upon being introduced to the term Pecha-Kucha, I Googled it and was intrigued by the concept.

In a nutshell, it is a presentation that contains 20 images each displayed for 20 seconds (20x20). It was originally designed to reign in presenters who needed to be more concise in their presentation. Here are some examples. The first explains the concept further. You can also learn more about it at http://www.pecha-kucha.org.













Another good example of Pecha-Kucha is Failure by Bob Berkebile.

Oh, Pecha-Kucha is a Japanese term meaning chatter. It is pronounced "peh-CHAK-cha," here is a video that helps with the pronunciation.





Sunday, December 20, 2009

What Makes Yammer Different?

Yammer Logo

I have started test driving Yammer. For the last six months, I have been using Twitter and getting great rewards from using it. So naturally a similar application that is tailored more for use in a corporate environment would spark my interest. Thus, I have created an account and convinced a few of my teammates to do the same.

It is a microblogging application like Twitter and is a fantastic app for collaboration and knowledge sharing. So, what makes it different?

  • It is a social network for only members of your organization. Only staff within your organization can sign into your network (i.e. they must have company email address to sign in).

  • Groups can be set-up (e.g. the training and development department can have its own separate group within the organization's Yammer network).

  • You can go beyond the 140 character limit.

  • You can attach files (e.g. docs, presentations, etc.).

  • Detailed profiles for each member. This brings an important networking element. Like LinkedIn, it allows one to view a member's employment and educational background, skills, interests, contact information, etc. So much of networking is the ability to know who you are interacting with and what they bring to the table.


What Yammer does not have:

  • There is no search feature for member profiles. At least not yet that I can see. Hopefully they will develop that ability. Being able to search for staff with a specific expertise would add a great deal of efficiency in using it for networking.

  • It does not have a TweetChat or TweetGrid type app that allows using hashtags to have a synchronous chat among numerous members. I have searched for such an app and have had no luck. Maybe Yammer or a third party will create one soon. If you do know of one, please let me know.


I am not promoting Yammer over Twitter, quite the contrary. Twitter is one of my most cherished apps and Yammer is quickly winning me over too. However, I will use Yammer to network and collaborate within my organization because it is tailored for the corporate environment. When it comes to networking with the greater e-learning world and then some, Twitter is my app for that.

If there is anything I missed in regards to what makes Yammer different, good or bad, please add a comment and let me know. Thanks.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Green Screen Video Studio at CDPE

I have written about building my low budget video studio in the past, but today I was really amazed at what the Center for Professional and Distance Education at the University of Central Oklahoma (CPDE) has built for less than $2,000. Today they presented for the e-Learning Guild's DemoFest. They are doing a fantastic job using video to personalize their online courses, but in addition to that they shared the details of their amazing feat of building a green screen video studio.

green screen studio



Here is the final budget of the studio, which as you can see they really got bang for their buck.
Sanyo High Definition Camcorder – $349.95
Botero Chroma Key Green Background – $129.95
Smith-Victor: 4 Photo Flood Lighting Kit – $459.00
Shure Lavalier Microphone System – $299.00
Premiere Pro CS4 – Educational Price $190.00
Boris FX Chroma Key Software – $299.00
SanDisk 16GB Video HD SDHC Memory Card – $67.50
Slik 700DX Pro Tripod Legs –$99.95
Room Rental – $70.00
Cables - $50.00 – $80.00
Laptop Computer – $800.00
TOTAL: $2844.35
TOTAL (without laptop or CS4): $1854.35

Finer details of the studio set-up can be found in the PDF they were nice enough to provide, which you can download here.

In addition to CPDE's presentation, DemoFest included 4 other great demos. In case you missed it, a recording is available at the eLearning Guild.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

m-Learning e-Book "New Technologies, New Pedagogies: Mobile Learning in Higher Education"

SmartphoneA free e-book, New Technologies, New Pedagogies: Mobile Learning in Higher Education, is available for free download through the University of Wollongong's Research Online. This book provides examples of m-learning implementation and concludes with some recommended design principles for m-learning. For anyone involved in m-learning, this is a worthwhile read.

You can also download the e-book (PDF file) directly via this link.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Google Real Time Search

Google is launching its Real Time Search

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRkYmx4A9Do&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x2b405b&color2=0x6b8ab6]

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cloud Apps Page Added





While  recently reviewing my "best of" posts, I also looked at its top keywords. Seeing cloud computing ranked as the highest keyword inspired me to add a bit more about the Cloud. So I have decided to add a cloud application page.

Cloud App Page



The Cloud App page is a compilation of free cloud applications. Many of these are useful online learning tools. So far, I have listed 20 apps, but there are many more out there which I hope to add as I encounter them. Please feel free to recommend your favorite free cloud app and I will add it to the list.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Free Cloud Apps

Here is a compilation of free cloud applications. These have a slant towards learning tools and web development, but is open to any suggested cloud apps as long as they are free to all users. If you has an app to suggest please do so by posting a comment.

Blogging

WordPress

Documents

Google Docs

Graphics

Picasa Web Albums

ChartGo (creating charts)

Screencasts and Simulations

Screenr

Social Bookmarking

Delicious

Social Media and Networking

LinkedIn

Plaxo

Twitter

Yammer

Video

YouTube

Friday, December 4, 2009

Flash Player 10 on Mobile Devices

Here is a video from Adobe Max 2009 with Adobe's CTO demonstrating Flash Player 10 on numerous mobile devices including Nokia, Palm and Android. Plus, he runs Connect Pro on a mobile phone. I am happy to see more advances with Flash Players on mobile devices. After all, more Flash on mobile devices, more opportunities to use Flash in m-learning.







FYI: Flash Player 10.1 is available as a prerelease for PCs and netbooks at Adobe Labs.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Reflecting on 2009's Posts - Big Question

December Big Question

December's Big Question at the Learning Circuits blog is "What did you learn about learning in 2009," but they also suggest looking at your  top 2009 posts for "aha moments." So, here are my top ten 2009 posts according my blog's best of list found through eLearningLearning. I have simply added my thoughts next to each.

  1. Flash Accessibility (508 Compliance) I was surprised to see 508 Compliance top the list. It is good to see it is an important topic to many readers, as it should be. What I learned is that with effort Flash courses can be accessible.

  2. Storyboard Templates and Resources Storyboard posts showed up twice (#2 and #4). It is not only a practical tool that many people value, but the post opened up opportunities for me to see how others use storyboards.

  3. Adobe FlashTutorials In my opinion, Flash is the best tool an e-learning designer can possess, but it does have a steep learning curve. And there is no end to that learning curve. As long as I am using Flash, there will be something new to learn.

  4. It Came From Hollywood - Storyboarding See #2.

  5. Where Organizations Go Wrong With e-Learning This was chance for me to gripe about the crazy, frustrating things I have seen.

  6. Using Gagne’s 9 Events of Learning in e-Learning My favorite post among the list! Gagne works for me and I love sharing ways the events can be applied.

  7. Perceived Advantages and Disadvantages We should all be cognisant of how non-elearning designers see online learning.

  8. Interested in Creating an Alternative Reality Games (ARG) for learning? Can't go wrong with games and learning. They go together all too well.

  9. Quick Explanation of Google Wave - Video I, like others, was just trying to figure it out. FYI: I did get an invite shortly afterwards.

  10. Overview of Kirkpatrick’s 4 Levels of Evaluation Everyone wants to evaluate their courses as soon as they have the time.


I cannot speak about what I learned without mentioning that in 2009 my employer (Provident Bank) was acquired another bank. In 2009, I learned that I was extremely lucky to have been part of, and to have learned from, such a cohesive, talented and very effective team of trainers. Although it did not make the top 10, this was the most meaningful post for me - Farewell to a Great Corporate University.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Adobe Design Achievement Awards

Adobe Achievment Awards 2010

Adobe has announced it is now accepting submissions for the 2010 Adobe Design Achievement Awards. These awards celebrates higher education students who are creating amazing art with Adobe technology. Here is Adobe's description:
The Adobe® Design Achievement Awards celebrate student achievement reflecting the powerful convergence of technology and the creative arts. The competition - which showcases individual and group projects created with industry-leading Adobe creative software - honors the most talented and promising student graphic designers, photographers, illustrators, animators, digital filmmakers, developers and computer artists from the world's top institutions of higher education.

To learn more about the awards go to http://adaa.adobe.com.

Monday, November 30, 2009

TweetDeck and Adobe Air

Here is an interesting interview with Iain Dodsworth, TweetDeck founder, about his experience developing his now prolific Air application.

http://images.tv.adobe.com//swf/player.swf

Want to create your own Air app? The video below will show you how to convert a Flash project into an Air app.

http://images.tv.adobe.com//swf/player.swf

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hanukkah e-Learning Wish List

Hanukkah HarryMy kids are making their wish list for Hanukkah, which inspired me to make my own. I do not necessarily expect to receive any of these things, but if Hanukkah Harry reads this blog, which he may, their is a chance he will grant at least a few.

  1. Adobe CS4 eLearning Suite - I am still working with CS3.

  2. High end microphone - It will come in very handy for adding audio to courses, plus it will look great on my desk.

  3. OutStart Trainer - I am currently using another DHTML editor in which I am not enthralled at all.

  4. The not yet released, possibly mythological, Apple Tablet - It does not exist yet, but I am willing to take a rain check in case it ever does.

  5. m-Learning development tool that produces courses compatible with ALL mobile platforms.

  6. DevLearn 2010 conference -  It has been quite a while since any budget has allowed me to attend a conference.

  7. Supreme knowledge of ActionScript - To know it to a point that there is nothing I cannot do with Flash (that's on me isn't it?).

  8. Open access to all social media for the workers of the world - I am lucky to have access to such things as LinkedIn and Twitter, but not all do. Some organizations block social media sites from their staff. I wish this to end.


If you have your own wish list, please share it in the comments section or add a link if it is on your blog.  Of course it does not have to be a Hanukkah list, it can be for whatever holiday you celebrate.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Using Blogs and Social Networks to Engage K-12 Learners

Here is a nice video that shows good use of blogs and social networks in K-12 education.





Free e-Learning Additions

It has been a while since I have added anything to the Free e-Learning page. With a little extra time this weekend, I have added a history section, which includes the courses below.

History

An Overview of American History (video) - Digital History

Ancient History - BBC

British History - BBC

Native Words, Native Warriors (Codetalkers) - NMAI

The First Thanksgiving - Plimoth.org

The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization - PBS

The Roman Empire in the First Century - PBS

U.S. History Timeline - Digital History

If you have any free e-learning that you would recommend, please leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Need a Storyboard? Here's a Place to Get Them

The eLearning Coach now has the "Storyboard Depot," where you can download free storyboard templates. If you have a storyboard template of your own that you would like to share on the depot, you can do that too.

The Storyboard Depot



The eLearning Coach is also full of other great resources. Take a look around at http://theelearningcoach.com.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Video on SixthSense Technology

Here is a great video about the potential of sixth sense technology. It will be very exciting to see this technology take hold and certainly exciting to think about all the potential it will have in e-learning.







This was presented at TEDtalks, which after seeing this, I will be watching more often.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

On The Cloud

CloudOn occasion, I have written about the "Cloud" and have expected to use cloud computing more and more. So, it is time to reflect on how much cloud computing I do. Here are the tools that I use while on the Cloud, in no particular order:

WordPress - my blog

Delicious - bookmarking and sharing my bookmarks

Twitter - sharing my incoherent thoughts on e-learning

LinkedIn - professional networking, participating in e-learning/ISD groups and keeping an updated professional profile

Google Docs - occasionally creating docs and spreadsheets

Gmail - easy, simple e-mail

Picasa Web Albums - store, view and share my photos

YouTube - everyone knows what this is for... my videos

Screenr - creating quick, easy screencasts that I can Tweet and/or embed in my blog

ChartGo - this one is new for me, but I like how easy it is to make charts that I can keep on the cloud or save on my hard drive (yes, I have a hard drive too)

I think I have established a bit of a residence on the Cloud. Are there cloud apps that you would recommend? I would love to here about them.

Google Chrome OS Announced

Google has announced they will release the Chrome Operating System in 2010. This OS is for netbooks and takes full advantage of the cloud. Thus, less of a need for a hard drive and a much quicker machine. In fact, they are currently boasting of a 7 second boot-up time. The success of a Chrome OS can mean a huge leap in cloud computing and hopefully more e-learning tools and apps on the cloud too.

Here is a video preview of Chrome OS.







Not sure what cloud computing is?

Friday, November 20, 2009

LearnTrends 2009 Archive Videos Now Available



If you were not able to attend this past week's LearnTrends Conference, they have recorded the sessions and made them available at the link below.

http://learntrends.ning.com/page/learntrends-2009-november

The sessions were wonderful. Thank you to everyone who put it together. I learned quite a bit during these 3 days and plan to visit the recordings of the few sessions I was unable to attend.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Free and Easy Chart Creation Tool

Here is a free, practical tool for creating charts.

ChartGo.com provides an incredibly easy to use web-based tool for creating charts, including bar, pie, line and area charts. You can quickly create a chart, save it, and add it to a course, website or blog. They also provide numerous avenues of sharing your chart (URL, e-mail link to chart, social bookmarking, Twitter, etc.).

If you want something more sophisticated, stick with Excel. If you want something you can create in a matter of minutes, this is the tool for you. Here is an example of a chart I made.

smes_required_chartgo


Here are some more examples of the types of charts you can make.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Interested in Creating an Alternative Reality Games (ARG) for learning?

The elearning Guild's Learning Solutions e-magazine recently published an article by Brandon Carson, Dolly Joseph, and Enzo Silva tilted "ARGs Leverage Intelligence: Improving Performance through Collaborative Play."

It is a worthwhile read. It includes some great examples of ARGs and a case study of an ARG implemented by Sun Learning Services (Sun Microsystems). Plus, there is practical advice regarding designing ARGs for learning, who should be on an ARG design team and their roles, and design risks.

FYI: You will need to log-in to the e-Learning Guild to access the e-magazine. If you are not a member, you can join as an Associate Member for free.

Here are few more resources on ARGs and learning:

Alternate Reality at the Smithsonian

Innovative Learning (including examples and design principles)

ARGology.org - ARGs in Education & Training (contains resources for getting started and examples)

Series of video interviews regarding games and learning from Frontline (PBS)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Big Question - Presenting the Value of Social Media for Learning

Learning Circuit's Big QuestionLearning Circuit's Big Question this month is "How do I communicate the value of social media as a learning tool to my organization?" In response, I have put together a list of strategies I feel are important and if done right can be effective.

Management buy-in

  • Demo its use to decision makers.

  • Show them case studies (from your industry, if possible, and emphasize return on investment (ROI)).

  • Emphasize ROI again. Can it increase sales, reduce losses, limit errors, etc.?

  • Teach them how to use it and continually encourage them to use it.


Staff buy-in and prototyping

  • Get a willing group of staff to use and evaluate the prototype.

  • Make sure content/communications are relevant to its users.

  • Stay very involved in its implementation, facilitating discussion.

  • Get its users to help you market the course...creating a "buzz" about the initiative.

  • Document any success stories that come from the prototype and share with the entire organization.


Get IT buy-in early

  • We all now IT can sink your initiative quickly, so get yourself buy-in from a decision maker in the IT department.

  • Do as much leg work as you can before you bring it to IT. Not only will they appreciate any prerequisite work you have already done, but you will be that much closer to implementing the initiative.

  • Find numerous people in IT who are already using social media and ask them to use the prototype. They mayhelp you push the initiative through the possible IT bureaucracy and can provide additional evaluation and advice from a tech perspective.

  • Read more about Working With IT.


Communicating the value of social media and informal learning is far from an easy task and overcoming the challenges of getting management and staff on board differs with every organization...some are more open to it than others. Either way, communicating its value does not have any end point. Like any learning initiative, it needs constant encouragement.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hey You Rapid e-Learning Peeps, Slooow Down and Take a Little Drive on the ISD Side of Town

Lowrider

When I read e-Learning Magazine's article by Bob Little, Rapid e-Learning Polarizes Opinion, I was very irked by it.  Especially when I read the following excerpt.
"While purists sneer that e-learning produced via rapid tools may lack quality in terms of adhering to instructional design principles and may just be brain dumps by subject matters experts, if such e-learning materials improve workers' performance, who can criticize their place in the learning and development armoury?"

I will say this, if they are not adhering to instructional design principles, then they are far less likely to improve workers' performance. I have never been a fan of the term rapid e-learning. I believe there are some great rapid development tools, but these still require sound instructional design, which takes time and effort, starting with a needs analysis.

As stated, I am not fond of the term rapid e-Learning, but I do not wish to be negative or come across as bashing efforts made under only good intentions. Here is the reality, not all organizations have the luxary of employing an instructional designer or perhaps enough instructional designers. However, they do wish to offer their staff online training. So, the subject matter experts gets a hold of the new fangled software that says "create e-learning in only a matter of hours" or some such thing. They then do their very best, but because they did not identify the learner's needs and create an effective course design it falls short and does not result in learning or impact behavior.

So, here is what I suggest.

First off, be willing to dedicate more time to the analysis and design phases of your project. Learn as much as you can about instructional design, more specifically e-learning design. Here are a few ways to get started:

  • Follow e-learning blogs (the eLearningLearning blog community and eLearningPulse are chock full of great blogs)

  • Attend conferences (there are plenty of great e-learning conferences out there)

  • Join  e-learning and instructional design societies and groups (the eLearning Guild and ASTD both have plenty of books, articles, research, webinars, conferences and more)

  • Network with e-learning designers and ask for advice and reviews of your work (LinkedIn has plenty of e-learning and ID groups and Twitter is perfect for connecting with people in the e-learning world)


The more time you invest in instructional design, the more effective your courses will be and your audience will appreciate it too. And remember, sloooow doooown and spend some time in instructional design!

Monday, October 26, 2009

For Those of Us Who Didn't Get a Google Wave Invite

If you did not get a Wave invite, but would like to get a peek at it, here are few videos from those that did get invites.
























And here is the Google Wave team on launch day.






FYI: If anyone out there still has a Wave invite, I am still interested in receiving one. Thanks!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wanna Read Some e-Learning Horror Stories?

Edgar Allan Poe

Over at the PLS Online Course Development blog they have been posting e-learning horror stories and they have had some doozies so far. These stories are not only entertaining, but also valuable ways to learn directly from the witnesses of such ghoulish e-learning events.

Christy from the PLS Online Course Development blog was nice enough to include my horror story, but worked her magic and transformed it into a poem in the style of Poe's "The Raven." Thanks!

You can read the poem here. And read their other horror stories here.

Here is the original of my horror story. Although it may be more funny than scary, it was a horror to me went it happened.
Seven years ago, when e-learning was still new to my company, I launched an online course. My company, which provided health care to military personnel from North Carolina to Maine, had service centers throughout its footprint. Of course geographical distance was no obstacle to me, for I was a Distance Educator. Well, actually they called me an e-Learning Designer, but just the same.

As always, I marketed the online course. I included the title of the online course, who should take the online course, what they will learn
from the online course, the benefits of taking the online course, and how to access and launch the online course.

Several days later, while sitting in my cubicle in Baltimore, someone came a tapping. As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my cubicle door. Why is a co-worker from the far reaches of our Virginia service center here at my door?

She said, "I am here for my ONLINE COURSE."

Monday, October 19, 2009

LearnTrends Conference November 17-19 (free, online conference)

learntrends-2009 November 17 through 19

The preliminary schedule for the LearnTrends online conference is now available. Its focus will be Convergence in Workplace Learning.


 

Here are just some of the speakers you can expect to hear from at the conference:


  • George Siemens

  • Tony Karrer

  • Jay Cross

  • Tony O'Driscoll


  • Charles Jennings


  • Andy McGovern


  • Clark Quinn


  • Deb Schultz


  • Jerry Michalski


  • Jane Hart


  • Laura Overton


  • Christy Confetti Higgins


  • Janet Clarey


  • Pam Boiros


  • Harold Jarche


  • Jack Merklein


  • John Smith


This is an impressive group of people who will be providing great perspectives and conversations around innovations in workplace learning.


 

See you there.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Attention Span of e-Learning Participants - It Depends

alarm clockWhat is the attention span of participants taking a self paced e-learning course? A lot of different numbers have been thrown around out there. In my opinion, the attention span for an e-learning participant depends on many different factors, which I will list here:

Audience

  • Is the working environment conducive for learning online? Time given away from daily responsibilities to take the course, a location without distractions , etc.

  • Do they have a preference for learning online?

  • Are they encouraged by supervisors to complete courses? An optimum situation is not only where supervisors encourage participation, but where they also  discuss the course with staff (what was learned, how they will apply the new skills or knowledge, etc.).


Content

  • Is the content relevant to the learner and their job?

  • Is the content engaging and have an appropriate level of interactivity?

  • Is the content succinct?


Navigation and orientation

  • Does the course allow user control?  Adults like to direct their own learning.

  • Is there an ease of navigation? Difficult or confusing navigation is discouraging and certainly does not increase attention span.

  • Does the learner know where they are in the course at all times (orientation)?


When all elements are in place, I believe course participants' attention span is 30 minutes maximum. It has been my experience that longer courses, even with all of the above elements, do not maintain participants' attention. Courses I have developed that fall below this 30 minute threshold have higher completion rates and time spent in the courses are more reflective of the estimated course completion times.  I cannot say the same for my hour long courses.

Here are links to what others have said about this topic:

Sailing by the Sound blog

ZaidLearn

Clark Aldrich

I Came, I Saw, I Learned...

Please feel free to share your opinion on the attention span of e-learning participants and what factors may affect it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Searching Screenr



I am still exploring Screenr. While exploring, I wanted to find Flash tutorials... I can never learn enough about Flash. Am I missing something? Believe it or not, there is no search function on the Screenr site.  Luckily, I eventually found a Screenr tutorial on how to search Screenr. Thescreencast is below and was created by onEnterFrame.

http://screenr.com/Content/assets/screenr_0817090731.swf
Remember, if you are looking for Screenr tutorials, just use a search engine to  conduct a site search - site:screenr.com yoursubject. And yes I know one could search Twitter for Screenr tutorials, but keep in mind many companies still do not allow access to Twitter.

Thank you onEnterFrame for sharing this simple solution.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Using Screenr to Create a Video Post

With all the hub-bub around Screenr, I had to check it out. It is extremely easy to use. If you have not heard about it yet, Screenr gives you the ability to capture your computer screen, mouse movements and audio (e.g. software simulations).  Once you click done, it compiles it and sends it and your text description out as a tweet.

While I was playing around with it, I realized I can capture my webcam on it...what an easy way to create a video post that I can tweet.  Here is the result of a 2 minute investment of time.
http://screenr.com/Content/assets/screenr_0817090731.swf
If you would like to see it in my Twitter timeline, you will find me at http://twitter.com/minutebio (@minutebio).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My Top 10 e-Learning Tools

Jane Hart is gathering top ten lists for e-learning tools. Thus far, 203 people in the e-learning field have submitted their list. I have posted my e-learning toolkit in the past, but not what I necessarily consider my "top e-learning tools." So, here are my top 10 e-learning tools. They are not stand alone e-learning tools, but together allow me the ability to create effective e-learning courses. I have included how and why I use these tools.

  1. Adobe Flash - An essential tool for creating highly interactive elements, including animation, games, immersive learning simulations, and almost anything else you want if you can manage writing or finding the actionscript.

  2. Adobe Fireworks - It is my choice for editing graphics because it is user-friendly to non-graphic artists like me. And it worked very well with my Macromedia Flash when I was getting started in e-learning... old habits are hard to break.

  3. Adobe Captivate - Fantastic for creating simulations (software sims and branching sims), plus it does a good job recording audio for your sims. Being able to add quizzes and publish SCORM/AICC compliant courses is a big plus too.

  4. DHTML authoring tool - My preference is OutStart Trainer (TrainerSoft). Being able to create SCORM/AICC compliant courses that imports Flash SWF files and plays well with the LMS makes my ability to implement e-learning much easier.

  5. WordPress - I am using it right now to get my blog posts out. Writing my blog is a great way share, learn, and connect with others in the e-learning field. It gets me out of my e-learning vacuum.

  6. Adobe Dreamweaver - Still the best tool for creating web pages (I occasionally have to do that) and  jerry-rigging the HTML in courses.

  7. Windows MovieMaker - Editing videos prior to using them in courses.

  8. Twitter - Another way for me to share, learn, and connect with others in the e-learning field. I expect either it or Yammer to play a larger role for informal learning at my company.

  9. Notepad -  Editing XML, which is extremely useful in working with DHTML courses and sometimes Flash courses.

  10. SnagIt - Extremely helpful when making software  sims or getting screenshots for courses.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Learn About Tomorrow's Lunar Impact

LCROSSTomorrow NASA has a planned impact with the Moon. Here are a few resources to learn more about the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission, which if successful will identify water on the Moon.







And here are some LCROSS resources directly from NASA:

NASA's LCROSS mission website

LCROSS Flight Director's blog

Good luck NASA, if there's H2O up there, you'll find it!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Flash is Coming to Blackberry - Announced at Adobe Max

Adobe Flash Logo

Today Adobe announced they will be releasing Flash Player 10.1, which will extend the use of Flash on mobile devices. And RIM has added its Blackberry to the list of devices that will run this newest version of Flash Player. Read more about it. No exact date has been set for when it will appear on the Blackberry just yet.

And with Flash 10.1, we probably won't need, or hear about, Flash Lite any longer.

As stated in earlier posts, I believe that Flash's availability on Blackberries will be a boon to m-learning. Sad to say, Flash on the iPhone is still not on the horizon.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Adobe Flash in Your Car

Adobe Flash has continually been showing up in more and more places. Phones, TVs, Billboards (really just big monitors in airports and mega stores), now in your car. QNX has created the Connected Automotive Reference (CAR) platform, which provides interactive interfaces for dashboard displays and car entertainment consoles. And games, widgets and videos can be integrated into these systems. WARNING: e-Learning while driving may be dangerous, leave it to the passengers.







FYI: This is not a thing of the future. Cars are offered now with QNX based systems, including BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Jaguar, Mercedes, Porsche and Toyota.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Adobe Cookbooks

Adobe's Developer Connection has added Adobe Cookbookshttp://cookbooks.adobe.com/home.

Members can post Adobe code for Flash, Flex, Air, ColdFusion, Dreamweaver, and other Adobe products. At this point the majority of the code shared is ActionScript and Flex code. Anyone interested can browse the cookbooks and no registration required. If you are interested in contributing code and interacting with other members, then registration is required or log-in with your Adobe account if you already have one. The site has community moderators, who monitor and facilitate discussions and also have the ability to improve the content.

Adobe Cookbooks at http://cookbooks.adobe.com/home

Friday, September 25, 2009

Video - A Vision of K-12 Students Today

Here is a video created to inspire teachers to use technology to engage our "digital natives."







Created by B. Nesbitt

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Learning Executives Discuss Social Learning

Tonight I was lucky enough to attend a Tony Bingham (ASTD's CEO) presentation at University of MD, Baltimore County (UMBC). A very engaging presentation about maximizing learning in the workplace and informal learning. He also shared several videos including the one below that I would like to share here.







The executives in the video are Mike McDermott (T Rowe Price), Karie Willyerd (Sun Microsystems), and Walt McFarland (Booz Allen Hamilton).

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ordering Training is Not Like Ordering Pizza



All too often people request training and have already determined the delivery medium they want. Their decision is usually for various reasons, such as convenience or cost, but not because it is the most effective way to teach the content.

To borrow a phrase from a former boss,  "ordering training is not like ordering pizza." It is crucial to step back and begin with a need analysis, identifying the audience, their training need(s),  the learning objectives, etc. We must also conduct a content analysis. Only then can the best medium(s) of delivery be determined with confidence.  It may be e-learning, classroom training or blended learning.

In regards to using content analysis to make this determination, here is a very helpful article by Seung Youn Chyung and Armi Stephanie TreƱas, published in Learning Solutions e-Magazine - Content Design for Performance-Oriented Reusable Blended Learning. You will need to log-in to access it. If you are not a member,  joining as an associate member is free.

The authors provide a practical approach to analyzing instructional content with the purpose of determining the best media to deliver the content. They focus on teaching content in the cognitive domain. Here is a rule of thumb they provide that I agree with "As a rule of thumb, it would be cost-effective to use self-paced e-Learning for delivering declarative knowledge and some of procedural knowledge that can be codified fairly easily. On the other hand, it may prove rather difficult, although not impossible, to facilitate the development of situated knowledge via e-Learning alone."

If you want to get a better handle on determining what is best taught online, in the classroom or blended, this article is a great start. If clients are telling you the delivery medium instead of asking what the best delivery medium will be, follow the article's advice and you will save yourself a lot of time and trouble. And don't forget to tell them "ordering training is not like ordering pizza."

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Lot of Ingenuity and $148

Project Icarus photo near spaceTwo MIT students were able to accomplish a near space flight, capture images at 93,000 feet, track it with a GPS, and recover the equipment upon its return to Earth. You would think this would involve very high tech, expensive equipment. It did not. They did it with a weather balloon, cooler, a used digital camera, GPS enabled cell phone, and open source software. A total cost of $148.

I think this is very inspiring for those of us who may not have access to  high end technology and large budgets. These students truly demonstrate that with ingenuity and "can do" attitude a lot is possible in spite of limited budgets.





FYI: The time lapse video is shaky because the cooler that held the camera was not stabilized.

Go to their website to read the details of the Icarus Project and find links to pictures and interviews - http://space.1337arts.com. I am sure we will be hearing a lot more from these MIT students.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Feds on the Cloud

U.S. Federal agencies are utilizing cloud computing and now have an app store, Apps.gov, which provides federal agencies and their staff with cloud computing applications. This includes business apps, productivity apps, social media apps, and cloud IT services.

Here is the video Apps.gov provides as an introduction to cloud computing.

https://www.apps.gov/images/cloud/swf/cloud_flash.swf

Many corporations, and individuals, are still very hesitant to use the cloud, but hopefully the government's move to using the cloud will encourage others to use it. Especially if the government's use results in efficiencies, cost cutting, and being environment friendly.

How will cloud computing affect education? The Don't Waste Your Time blog just added a post on this very question. And he gives the "good" and the "bad."

You can also read how Google is playing a role in this.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Free e-Learning Page Hits 100

The Free e-Learning Page just reached 100 e-learning courses/tutorials. Here are the categories that have been established thus far:

  • Archaeology, Anthropology and Paleontology

  • Art

  • Compliance

  • Computer

  • Finance

  • Flash (Adobe Flash tutorials)

  • Instructional Design

  • K-12  (fun for adults too)

  • Public Health and Safety

  • Science

  • Sports

  • Wacom (graphics tablet)

  • Misc.


I continually added course as I find them. New categories are also added, as needed. The page contains plenty of great examples of e-learning and all are absolutely free, take a look. And if you have an e-learning course that allows open access, please let me me know and I will be happy to add it to the list.

Flash Accessibility (508 Compliance)

Adobe Flash Logo

I have been doing some research on making Adobe Flash SWfs 508 compliant and found some great resources I would like to share. FYI: Adobe has come quite a way in making Flash more accessible. Accessibility with Flash has been a challenge over the years and prevented many organizations, especially U.S. Government agencies, from using Flash.

Creating Accessible Sites in Flash - This Adobe presentation provides a great introduction on how to make Flash accessible to users with disabilities. It is also a good example of an accessible Flash site.

Adobe's Accessibility page - Resources for accessibility and Adobe products, including case studies and examples.

Flash Accessibility Tips - DoodleDoo's practical tips for making Flash accessible.

Flash Accessibility Requirements and Methods (FARM) - DoodleDoo's requirements guide along with an "Accessible Flash Checklist."

If you know of any resources for making Flash accessible, please share. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Big Question - Working with SMEs

This month's Big Question at Learning Circuits is on working with subject matter experts (SME). First off, thank you Tony at Learning Circuits for using my suggestion as this month's question. In my opinion, working successfully with SMEs is the most challenging part of instructional design. I have written quite a bit about this subject on my blog. Here is a link to my posts with SME tags and my tips on working with SMEs (pasted below from a prior post along with an addendum).

Originally posted November 16, 2008

When working with subject matter experts (SME), you must keep them involved and engaged in every step of the e-learning process. Here are some tips to accomplish this goal.

Lay the foundation

Introducing e-learning to the SME lays the foundation of a successful collaboration. E-learning is still new to many people and many misconceptions exist. Someone not exposed to quality e-learning may think it will be a page turner, which is not good e-learning. Explain what e-learning is, when it is appropriate, and its capabilities. Suggest they look at courses already available. This will provide some reference to what they may expect in a course.

Introduce their role in the process

Inform SMEs of your expectations of them, allowing them to schedule their time and prepare for the tasks ahead. They will not just hand over some form of subject matter and that’s that. They will help identify training needs, learning objectives, etc. Also explain other expectations you have of them as it relates to the different phases of the course’s creation (proofing prototypes, drafts, clarifying subject matter, etc.).

Ask the right questions (Analysis)

Never assume the SME knows the training need. A needs analysis is very important. Reality is that needs analyses are often informally conducted. If a needs analysis has not been conducted by you or anyone else then it will be your job to identify the training need. And your SME will be your first resource.

Share the plan (Design)

Unless your SME has worked with an instructional designer before, a training design plan will be new to them. So, prepare them on how to interpret it and make sure you explain the difference between terminal objectives and enabling objectives. Once you and your SME have identified the appropriate objectives and agree to the design, get their approval. Remember, write your design plan to a non-training audience. You do not want to confuse them with a lot of training jargon.

Put them to work (Development)

Keep your SME updated during the development stage. Development takes a significant amount of time and they may wonder, “Whatever happened to that e-learning designer?” Do not let SMEs forget about the project while you are busy creating it. Let them know of your progress. If possible upload what is available so far and call it a prototype. And get their feedback.

Provide detailed instructions for reviewing drafts. I also provide a checklist. They should not think they are to look at grammar or content only. Be sure they also look at the flow of the course, accuracy of questions, usability, and identify any technical problems. Also request SMEs to provide names of anyone else familiar with the subject well enough to provide useful feedback.

Market the course (Implementation)

You may release the course on your learning management system, but there is more to implementation. It must be marketed. Participation requires strong communication efforts and buy-in from supervisers. Have your SME help communicate the importance of the course. SMEs can help promote the course via e-mails, intranet announcements, employee newsletters, presentations, etc.

Is it effective? (Evaluation)

SMEs are subject matter experts because they apply the knowledge the course will teach, or work closely in some form with those applying it. Thus, they have an inside view of seeing the knowledge or skills applied and have a relationship with those applying it. This will be helpful in connecting you to the people that will provide evaluation data. SMEs can also support the process by selling the importance of working with you in evaluating the course.

In the end, effective collaboration with your SMEs will compliment your project. The key to this collaboration is keeping your SMEs informed, invested, and involved throughout the process. And always give them appropriate credit and a big thank you.

Addendum - September 1, 2009

I will add that recently I started a new position with the bank that acquired my prior bank/employer. One thing I learned during this transition is that when joining a new team of instructional designers it is very important to get a  good grasp of how they approach working with SMEs.  Although the team works well with SMEs some aspects of my approach created shifts in a process in which the SMEs had become very accustomed. However, using my new team's approach while introducing aspects of my own worked well, but I made it a point to explain to the SMEs why I was approaching certain tasks differently than they experienced in prior projects. SMEs can become very accustomed to specific ways of working with their instructional designers. So prep your SMEs well, especially if they already have pre-conceptions of the SME-instructional designer relationship. This is not to say one way is wrong or right, but it is what works well for each person and for the needs of the project.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Signals at Purdue U. - Increasing Student Success

Signals

To increase the success of their students Purdue University has implemented an intervention system called Signals. It combines predictive modeling and the data mining of their Blackboard Vista system to identify students who are academically at risk. Risk ratings are assigned, integrated with Blackboard and available on the student's Blackboard homepage. Signals also provides intervention e-mails from instructors and communicates available campus resources to assist the student.

See Purdue's description

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My e-Learning Toolbox

Every so often I see my fellow bloggers posting lists of what they have in their e-learning toolbox. These posts are always interesting and helpful. It is a glimpse not just into their development tool preferences, but it also provides some reflection into the approaches they take in creating courses.

Here is what I have in my e-learning toolbox and some notes on how I use these tools.

  • ToolBook authoring tool - this is the DHTML authoring tool used at my company, but prior to this I used TrainerSoft (now Outstart Trainer), which is my preference.

  • Adobe Fireworks - editing graphics.

  • Adobe Flash - creating interactive elements, including animation, games, immersive learning simulations, etc.

  • Adobe Captivate - creating simulations (software sims and occasionally soft skill, branching sims).

  • Sumtotal LCMS - already determined by the company I work for, but no complaints.

  • SnagIt - grabbing screenshots.

  • Adobe Dreamweaver - creating web pages and occasionally jerry-rigging the HTML in courses.

  • Adobe Acrobat - creating PDFs included in courses (e.g. job aids).

  • Notepad -  editing XML.

  • Windows MovieMaker - editing WMV files.

  • PowerPoint - creating storyboards.

  • Wordpress - editing and publishing my blog.


FYI: Most of what I make are asynchronous WBTs. Please feel free to share what is in your toolbox or any recommendations on tools I should add.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hurricance e-Learning Resources

Hurricane Fran

It's hurricane season, so I thought I would add a few hurricane resources to the Free e-Learning page.

Here they are:

Forces of Nature - National Geographic

Hurricanes - KidsKnowIt Network

Hurricane Motion Gizmo - ExploreLearning

Be Red Cross Ready - American Red Cross

Hurricane Preparedness - Propane Exceptional Energy

Monday, August 24, 2009

3-D Virtual Learning Environment - Right Here in Baltimore



This looks fantastic and is a great opportunity for students here at a local school in Baltimore (reported as a first of its kind in any U.S. high school). Johns Hopkin's Applied Physics Lab (APL) worked with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and the University of Baltimore to deploy a 3-D Virtual Learning Lab. This is a state of the art learning environment modeled after the facility APL uses for DoD and NASA projects.

The first project will be exploring and learning about Mt. St. Helens.
Peloff said the area around Mount St. Helens was chosen because the ecosystem has changed dramatically over the past 30 years and is a great place to begin integrating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts into the virtual environment.

And they are planning a Moon environment too!

I am very confident these high school students will learn a lot from this technology and have fun at the same time. It will be great to hear more about this project and the results of learning through games and simulations.

A big kudos and thank you to Baltimore County Schools, Hopkins ADL, University of Baltimore and their private sector partners for putting this together.

Read more about it - http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/index.cfm?i=60314

Flash on Blackberry Rumor...We will still have to wait for Flash on Blackberry

Quick update on my recent post regarding Flash players being added to Blackberry browsers next summer. This does NOT appear to be happening, sorry for any false alarms. Thank you Yogesh from Upside Learning for confirming that the reports are rumor. Here is the link he sent me for more info -  http://www.embeddedflash.com/?p=547 (John Dowdell of Adobe comments that these are only rumors).

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Flash on Blackberry... Next Summer

Adobe Flash logoAccording to the Boy Genius Report, RIM is planning to add full Flash support for the Blackberry browser by next summer (2010). This is not Flash Lite, but a full Flash player. It will also support Silverlight. This has a lot of potential for m-learning. A significant portion of the m-learning developed is targeted for Blackberry devices, especially in the corporate world.

If Flash does arrive on Blackberries it will mean opportunities to develop more  interactive m-learning for these devices and expand users' access to m-learning currently developed in Flash and Flash Lite. Because of the number of Blackberry users and the amount of m-learning targeted to Blackberry users, having Flash as a development tool will be quite a boon for m-learning designers and users alike. Plus, this may be a motivator for Apple to add Flash to the iPhone.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

m-Learning Devices

The Don't Waste Your Time blog posted a poll regarding the best devices for delivering m-learning. The list was comprehensive, but made me think about when is it not e-learning and becomes m-learning. There are gray areas such as laptops and netbooks. Technically they both should be included, being very mobile, but I am still hesitant to include these as m-learning devices. Probably because what is typically accessed on these are e-learning courses and not courses designed specifically for mobile devices. As far as the other devices like phones and PDAs, you must apply “m-learning” design due to such things as the small screen, limited processing speed, lack of Flash players (in some cases), etc.

I can be swayed a bit on netbooks due to some design considerations needed. However, if m-learning is defined by the design approach not the device, then laptops are off my list.

Here is the list from the Don't Waste Your Time...poll:
  • Phone / iPod Touch

  • MP3 Player

  • Mobile Phone

  • Smart Phone

  • Laptop

  • Netbook

  • eBook Reader (Sony, Kindle, etc)

  • PDA

  • Games Console (PSP, Nintendo DS, etc)

  • Thanks Don't Waste Your Time.. for this comprehensive list. Myself, I cannot think of any devices to add, but if anyone out there does, please feel free to comment. And take the poll too.

    Thursday, August 13, 2009

    If It Works in the Classroom...

    For many of my e-learning courses I like to make the content conversational. This is especially true if it is facilitated by a character. I also like to use humor, when appropriate and with great care not to offend.

    I have encountered on several occasions some resistance to delivering content in a conversational style and using humor. If the resistance is from a fellow trainer, my response is, "Do you speak in a conversational tone to your classroom audience and do you ever use humor in the classroom?" The answer has always been "Yes." Then why not online. Plus, online we can proof and test the content as to assure it is still effective and professional. So, I conclude if it is done in the classroom and can be "pulled off" online, then it is perfectly acceptable.

    Here are a few more things done in the classroom that should also be acceptable in online classes. They may have to be approached differently due to the medium, but can be engaging both for classroom and online audiences.

    • Games and puzzles

    • Role-playing (immersive learning sims)

    • Coaching/immediate feedback

    • Guest speakers (videos in an online, asynchronous delivery)

    • Flip-charting ideas, concepts, etc.

    • Group activities/"break-out" sessions

    • Use of Twitter


    Granted, some of these are challenging in an online environment, but not impossible. Bottom line, if it is done in the classroom and works well online go ahead and use it. What can happen? You end up with an engaged audience who know you put a lot of effort and resources into being an effective trainer.

    What else transfers from the traditional classroom to an online course?

    And what elements from online classes would work in a traditional classroom?

    Saturday, August 8, 2009

    Moodle Demo Site

    While  searching Moodle.org for ways to learn more about Moodle, I found their demo site. It is a great way to learn and explore this open source LCMS. They provide access to Admin, Teacher, and Student levels, so you can get a good feel for the system's features as they pertain to each role. And the demo system is erased and restored every hour, allowing you to do whatever you want without any harm. Also, the demo is offered in numerous languages. If you want to learn more about Moodle and like to learn by doing, this will be just the place. Here is the link - http://demo.moodle.org.

    Sunday, August 2, 2009

    August Big Question - Feedback

    The Learning Circuits' Big Question for August is to provide feedback on the "Big Question" itself. I have a high opinion of it and have always enjoyed reflecting on the questions posed and reading the responses posted.

    One of the goals of the Big Question is to "Get different perspectives on topics that are of interest to workplace learning professionals." I feel the Big Question achieves that goal. General questions are fine, but I feel it has really excelled when the topics address very specific challenges or solicit practical advice. This provides not just perspectives, but valuable solutions. Here are just a few some examples that I have found beneficial.

    Choosing Tools

    Economic Impact

    Getting Unstuck

    Where are the Examples

    ILT and Off-the-Shelf Vendors

    So, while I always enjoy the Big Question, my feedback is to focus on very specific issues and challenges we face in e-learning and less general questions. With all the people participating, it is a great opportunity to tap into the collective knowledge and skills possessed; all focused on solutions for a common issue.

    Here a few issues I would like to see addressed in future Big Questions.

    • Working effectively with subject matter experts

    • What is your approach to evaluating e-learning courses?

    • Making a highly interactive course in spite of low bandwidth

    • What should not be taught online?


    My apologies if any of these or similar topics have already been addressed. I must have missed that month.

    I always look forward to the Big Question. So, a big thank you to Learning Circuits.

    Tuesday, July 28, 2009

    Free Hot Lava Software

    Hot Lava MobileHot Lava, which was recently acquired by OutStart, is now offering a free version of their m-learning development tool. It is accessible at this link, Hot Lava download-registration. Here is also a description of Hot Lava.

    It is a full version and without any time limitations. My guess is that OutStart will be making significant improvements to the software, so why not offer the current version free as a teaser. If you are interested in creating m-learning, here is a free tool to get you started.

    Friday, July 24, 2009

    Adobe FlashTutorials

    flash_cs3_48x45I have been deep into numerous Flash projects. Some are WBT’s that contain Flash interactions, others are entire courses made in Flash. For some, I am delving beyond my current knowledge of Flash Actionscript. Thus, I have been visiting many Flash tutorials. Here are some of the Flash tutorial sites I found out there. FYI: These sites contain free tutorials.


    http://www.entheosweb.com/Flash/default.asp - Entheosweb 


    http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flash/ - Flash Development Center 


    http://www.w3schools.com/Flash/default.asp - w3schools.com 


    http://www.flashkit.com/tutorials - Flash Kit 


    http://www.gotoandlearn.com - gotoAndLearn()  


    http://www.flashandmath.com - Flash & Math (AS3 tutorials) 


    http://flash.tutsplus.com - Flash Tuts+ 


    http://www.echoecho.com/flash.htm - EchoEcho


     


    If you have any favorite Flash tutorial sites, please share. I am also adding a Flash Tutorial category on the Free e-Learning page.

    Tuesday, July 21, 2009

    NOVA's Interactives Archive

    I absolutely love seeing great examples of e-learning. While watching NOVA,  I took a trip over to their website and found their Interactives Archive. It has hundreds of educational interactives. They are organized by interest and range from anthropology to technology. Here is the link,  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/hotscience, take a look. It will be added to the Free e-Learning page too.

    I Carry My ActionScript Around My Neck

    Whenever I write new Flash Actionscript (that works) or find useful Actionscript, I make it a point to place it somewhere accessible where I can access it later. It may be years before I need that particular code again, but I want to access it quickly along with any associated notes I saved with it.

    Here has been my solution for many years. I have added a personal wiki to my removable flash drive. As I write or find new code, I add a new post on the wiki, add appropriate tag, and paste the code along with any directions for the code. When I need the code again, I pop in the flash drive, copy the code and paste in right into Flash’s Actionscript pane. This has saved me many hours of hunting down code from prior Flash interactions that I have made or needing to write anything from scratch a second time.

    If you need a personal wiki that can reside on your flash drive, TiddlyWiki provides one. There may be others out there, but this one works for me. Oh, get a nice lanyard to put your flash drive on too.

    Sunday, July 19, 2009

    The Eagle has Landed - Apollo XI







    One of my earliest memories as a child was the Apollo 11 Moon landing 40 years ago. With the anniversary upon us (7/20), I am promoting some of the great resources NASA has on the web celebrating this event.

    NASA - Apollo 40th Anniversary

    Explore the Apollo 11 Landing Site

    Interactive: One Small Step

    Restored Videos of the Moon Walk

    Real-Time Replay of Mission Audio (July 16-July 24)

    Thursday, July 16, 2009

    Simulations - Considerations

    Currently, I am involved in creating simulations for a new system application. This is something I have done a lot of over the years. And I have learned quite a bit, but the hard way. To avoid the problems I encountered in the past, I strongly suggest making the following considerations prior to developing software or system application simulations.

    • Have access to a “test” system to capture the sim's screens. If there is not a test system and you must capture screens in a live system, identify all the tasks you can or cannot do without adverse effects on the system or its data.

    • Is there sensitive data or information on the system (test or live) that should not be displayed on the simulation? Can dummy data be added for the sake of the simulation? If not, you may need to alter the captured screens with a graphics editor to eliminate and replace sensitive data.

    • Is the system you are using when capturing the screens exactly as it will appear when it is “live?” The graphic user interface (GUI) and functions should replicate what the user will actually experience when they start using the actual system.

    • Determine the end users’ computer specifications. What is their bandwidth, browser type, Flash player version, etc.? These will all determine how you develop the sims and what software(s) you choose for sim development. For example, some development software may require certain players or plug-ins your users do not currently have or they may have low bandwidth causing the very slow download of the Captivate sim you built, etc.

    • Timing of the course launch. Obviously training should occur prior to when people are expected to use the system, but retention can be an issue and I like people to be use the system soon after training

    • Keep the course accessible. Users will probably find the sims to be great refreshers at a later time, so make sure it stays online and is  easy to navigate. They should be able to launch the course on the fly and go directly to the sim they need. Make sure the course's menu and navigation are very user-friendly.

    • Provide job aids. If the system is not intuitive or the tasks taught are very complicated, the job aid can be a big help to the users after training.

    • Coaching labs. If geography and resources allow, I like to also offer "training labs." After attending the online training, system users can come into a computer lab and receive coaching on whatever issues they are having or still confused about.



    Tuesday, July 14, 2009

    Following the eLearningLearning Community

    If you have not been to eLearningLearning.com recently you will notice their redesign and new features. I am a frequent visitor and also member of this elearning blog community. It's a great collection of elearning blogs with a wide spectrum of perspectives.

    Here are some of the new features that make it easy to to follow:

    • Best of  link- Provides the best posts on eLearningLearning based on social signals.

    • RSS - The best of eLearningLearning or full list of blog posts.

    • e-Mail - Receive recaps of the best of elearningLearning or receive recaps of the full list of blog posts.

    • Twitter (elearningPosts) - An easy way to follow eLearningLearning's posts and when an interesting blog post appears you can zip right over using the tinyurl link.


    Outside of going directly to www.elearninglearning.com, my preferred way to follow eLearningLearning is on Twitter.

    If you are not following eLearningLearning, you do not know what you are missing. Go ahead, visit the site, explore and start following this wonderful elearning community.

    you have to fight for the right TO BE ENGAGING

    I just read a comment on a blog where a someone was very frustrated by bland, unengaging page turners. It got me thinking. How do you get a an organization out of the rut of making page turners and to start creating more engaging and effective courses? Here are my first thoughts:

    • Put on your instructional designer hat and do everything you can to educate all involved (SMEs, clients, managers, and audience too) on what effective e-learning is and how all involved can benefit from it.

    • Show all involved what effective e-learning looks like, actual examples. Here is just one place where you can find examples -http://minutebio.com/blog/free-e-learning/ (this my Free e-Learning collection ).

    • Find case studies, articles, evaluations, etc. that support your case.

    • Create a prototype to demonstrate the level of interactivity and engagement your organization can produce in a course. Get your co-workers involved so they will be vested in the "new approach." This will earn you supporters and people who can rally against the archaic page turners the organization still wants to produce.

    • When you launch your prototype/course and your audience provides positive feedback. Be quick to send that feedback to the powers to be along with any evaluation you have done. They will have a hard time arguing against more interactive courses then.

    • Continue to evaluate your courses even after you have been given the go ahead and resources to create more interactive courses. If you can demonstrate positive results for all 4 levels of evaluation, especially "results," they will have little argument for ever implementing a page turner again.


    What else can be done to address the organization stuck in page turner mode? Please feel free to make suggestions. Thanks.