Sunday, October 31, 2010

Are You Playing e-Learning/LMS Help-desk?

Playing Helpdesk

My organization is just finishing up its compliance period and I have gotten my share of calls and e-mails from staff regarding their courses. For As long as I have been in e- learning, the majority of the calls I've received from users have fallen into one of the following issues:

  • A pop-up blocker on the user's computer is enabled.

  • The user does not have Adobe Flash.

  • A manager wants to confirm their staff took the course.

Whether you receive similar calls regarding your courses or other calls for assistance, here are a few tips to make things a bit easier for you and for those taking your courses.

  • Create concise job aids for common problems. Send the appropriate job aid via e-mail to staff in need. For example, directions with screenshots on how to disable a pop-up blocker will be well received plus they can use it again and again instead of calling again and again.

  • Provide clear information on the LMS, Intranet, course announcements of whom to contact if assistance is needed. Also provide links to help pages and job aids.

  • Give your organization's help-desk the heads up. Let them know certain courses are currently in demand and they may also receive calls. Give them information regarding the types of calls that might come in, solutions, and job aids they can also send callers.

  • When your are not available, add helpful information to your out-of-office message. For example, links to help pages and job aids.

  • Provide instructions to managers on how they can access their own reports and/or staff transcripts themselves if your LMS accommodates that ability.

These are some tricks I have been using over the years and some I picked up recently and will be applying going forward. Hopefully, these will relieve the influx of calls and also provide quicker resolutions for anyone taking your courses.  Please feel free to share your tips in the comments section. Thanks!

Monday, October 25, 2010

See What Adobe has Been Doing With HTML5

As my readers may remember from my past posts, I believe it will be quite a while before HTML5 becomes a practical means of delivering e-learning or a viable threat to Flash. However, Adobe has begun prototyping a tool for creating animation in HTML5. Still a long way to go, but a good start. The video preview from Adobe TV is below.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Adobe's Project Rome

Project Rome is the latest coming out of Adobe Max. Project Rome is available for download as a free preview. There is also a Project Rome for Education. Project Rome can be used to produce a variety things including publications, presentations, websites and even animation. The outputs include PDF, SWF, JPG, PNG, SVG, FXG or web files. I downloaded the Air application, but it can also be used as a web-based service. I plan on playing with it and seeing what this new tool can do. I will keep everyone updated. FYI: It also appears that for those involved in piloting the education version, there is some integration with Moodle.

Here are the FAQ pages for more info - Project Rome for Education FAQ and Project Rome FAQ. They also have quite a few tutorials too (tutorials for education version).

Monday, October 11, 2010

Music for Games and e-Learning

treble clef

If you are looking for music for your e-learning or educational games, I have a resource for you - mOsno. The right music can add great depth and emotion to e-learning and especially games. Just as any good instructional designer uses or creates graphics that support the learning, use of music and audio should do the same. However, it is not always easy to find the right music, or musician to create music, that will support the learning and design. Well meet mOsno. He creates some fantastic stuff including the music you are hearing now created for an educational environmental game, My Own Biome. FYI: He is not only a very talented musician, but has a game development background in addition to experience producing music for games.

If you are looking to connect with mOsno, here is his site - There are also more fantastic examples of his work on the site. Desert level by mOsno

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Needs Analysis - Help an eLearning Brother Out

My next big venture is training for an upgrade to Windows 7 and Office 2010. I have good grasp of my audience, how they use their software, and access to the new OS and Office 2010. This provides me with a solid start to identifying the training needs. I have also casually talked to a few people who use Windows 7 and Office 2010 and they shared valuable information about their transition and what they found easy and what was challenging.

I realized my readers probably also have great insight about the learning curve of upgrading to the new OS and Office. So, if you can provide any insight on the following, it will be greatly appreciated.

  • What challenges have you, or your staff, encountered transitioning from Windows XP to Windows 7?

    • What specific features in Windows 7 required assistance and/or people found frustrating?

    • What do you love about using Windows 7? FYI: I would like to motivate learners about its benefits.

  • What challenges have you, or your staff, encountered transitioning from Office 2007 to Office 2010 (more specifically Outlook and Word)?

    • What specific features in Office 2010 did you require help with and/or found frustrating?

    • What do you love about using Office 2010?

  • Have you provided training on Windows 7 or Office 2010?

    • Is there anything you absolutely recommend that I address in the training?

    • What questions did you repeatedly hear during or post training?

    • Did your help desk see any trends in the calls they received regarding the upgrade?

Any feedback on the above, or feedback in general, will be of great help. If you can also add a bit about your audience, for example their willingness to adopt tech changes and how tech savvy they may be, will be helpful in gauging the learning curve.

Yes, I know this may not be a typical approach to needs analysis, but I trust that there will be great benefit in learning from those that already experienced a similar transition.