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eLearning Jobs November 29, 2007

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Note: There is a newer post related to eLearning jobs, with more links and resources.

eLW moved to eLWmag.comIt’s always a good idea to keep an eye on what types of jobs are available, no matter what your field or specialty. Here are some of the best resources I’ve found for eLearning jobs. Take a look – you may find something that grabs your interest. And please feel free to comment if you can suggest other resources.

Happy hunting!


Stock Photos for eLearning November 26, 2007

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Tony Karrer has a great post where he lists several resources that have high-quality images you can use in your (e)Learning materials. This list is a great find. I’m getting bored with my current subscription over at PhotoSpin.com. Don’t get me wrong – PhotoSpin is very good, but I need more selection. And I have a ton of new ideas for using images in eLearning after viewing work by Cathy Moore.

Please note that not all of these resources offer free photos (but many of them do). Here’s a tip: If you’re using Firefox, search for the word ‘free’ on Tony’s blog post, and then click on Firefox’s Highlight all button. This is a quick way to sort out which ones are free.

eLearningPulse.com Gets a Facelift November 21, 2007

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eLearningPulse.com was recently redesigned, improving its overall look-and-feel. Ben Edwards and I continue to work on eLearningPulse, and we’ve got several ideas in motion to add (more) functionality to the site. Currently, it’s a great resource to help you stay up on eLearning news, trends, and job postings. There are discussion forums and a searchable archive, too. We plan on adding features in the coming weeks, including a featured blog, eLearning videos, and more. Stay tuned!

Using Audio in eLearning November 16, 2007

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Cathy Moore has a great blog post about using audio and narration in eLearning. It’s worth a read. I’ve discussed narration in eLearning before, but Cathy does a better job of breaking down the different ways audio and narration can (and should) be used. I admit that I fall into a rut in this area: Once I start building courses a certain way, I tend to stick to the same model for too long. Sure, I always try to get feedback from users, but I need to be better about investigating when and where to best use audio and narration.

Cathy also references an article on Tom Kuhlmann’s Rapid eLearning Blog about the use of visuals and audio in eLearning. Tom offers up a great demo where he shows 4 possible combinations of text, audio, and images. I think it’s easy to tell which of the four is most effective. Take a look for yourself.

These articles are a great example of how the simplest things can greatly improve the learning experience. It’s easy to think that you need the latest and greatest development tools, but that’s not the case. Good design skills and a solid understanding of human-computer interaction can take you far…

DevLearn 2007 – Day 3 November 8, 2007

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Ok, so I’m cheating a little. Today is a half-day at DevLearn, and I’m writing this before I attend the events. I’m headed out for a few days of vacation right after the conference, so I thought I’d go ahead and put up a brief post…

This morning’s keynote speaker is Frans Johansson. After the keynote, I plan on attending a session by Jay Cross titled Informal Learning – A Management Guide to Strategic Planning. That’s it! It’s been a great conference…and I’ll definitely be back for the next one. The Adobe Learning Summit takes place over the next 2 days, but I wasn’t able to attend. Maybe next time!

DevLearn 2007 – Day 2 November 8, 2007

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Holy cow – today went by FAST! It was a blur but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Here’s a recap:

  • I began the morning by dropping in on a discussion led by Clive Shepherd on the use of Facebook and social networking applications in learning. It was a great discussion and Clive is quite knowledgeable on the subject. I don’t use Facebook myself, but I was surprised and encouraged to hear about the possibilities it presents. Just like wikis, Facebook allows learners to contribute their own information and collaborate with others, which shows good potential. We also discussed the fact that there’s still a definite generation gap with tools like this, but we believe that’ll fade with time. It was good to kick ideas around regarding social networking and learning. Many of us think there’s a lot to benefit from in this area, but I don’t think any of us know exactly how to use it in a training scenario (yet).
  • Paul Saffo gave an interesting keynote on the progression of media usage and how it may ultimately affect learning. He discussed a shift from media consumption (ex. watching TV, reading web pages) to media creation (ex. YouTube, Wikipedia, etc). Paul believes the eLearning world could strike big in this movement, especially as people begin to better understand the importance of learning-how-to-learn. He said our industry is "Standing on a whale, fishing for minnows." Hold on!
  • Later in the day, I attended Clive’s session, 30-Minute Masters for Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Clive, along with Cammy Bean, came up with this concept, and I’m already a big fan. They suggest that we (training professionals) spend time with SMEs and teach them basic instructional design skills and then provide them with rapid development tools such as Captivate and Articulate. Granted, you can’t get too deep into instructional theory, but you can definitely give them some high-level design dos and don’ts. This way, SMEs are able to quickly create training and (hopefully) address the basic needs of most individuals within the organization. This frees up the training staff to focus on more complex training solutions, high-end courses, immersive learning solutions, etc.

    Later in this session, we began discussing the management of content (ex. training modules, job aids) generated by SMEs. Clive suggested that their content could be dumped into a large repository and we could allow users to search it, just like they search Google or YouTube. He also suggested allowing learners to rate the content (ex. 4 out of 5 stars). This way, higher-quality content (training modules) float to the top and are featured in the system. This approach would weed-out (or bury) poorer quality modules. I like this idea, and I don’t think it’d be that hard to implement.

    Clive set up a wiki for the 30-Minute Masters – check it out.

  • Silke Fleischer held a session where she covered several (Adobe) rapid development tools and showed excellent examples of how they can be used to create podcasts, eLearning modules, audio clips, and short videos. Some of the tools included Captivate, Visual Communicator, Contribute, SoundBooth, and others. My big A-HA moment came when she showed how Contribute can be used as an editor for writing and editing blog posts. How cool! I’ve never been happy with WordPress’ editing capabilities. It’ll be nice to use the Contribute editor instead; it looks very intuitive.
  • Finally, I attended a session on Instructional Alternate Reality Games (I-ARGs), put on by the folks at Exceptional Software / Media Edge. WOW, this is cool stuff. They covered the ARG concept in full, which is just SO cool, and talked about ways in which it can be used for training. These folks are the first ones to tackle ARGs in the education/training world. I think there’s major potential here… I’m going to keep an eye on this stuff.

    Here are a few links related to ARGs and I-ARGS:

Oh – and then I went out for drinks with several other eLearning bloggers. Good times! Now, it’s time for sleep. Good night!

DevLearn 2007 – Day 1 November 6, 2007

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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I made it to San Jose and attended my first day of DevLearn 2007 today. So far so good! I’m staying at the Fairmont Hotel, where the event is being held, and I’m quite impressed. As always, The Guild comes through.

Here’s a recap of my first day:

Keynote: Sir Ken Robinson

What a great way to open the conference! Simply put, Sir Ken gets 5 out of 5 stars from me. His keynote focused on the premise that creativity is being ignored and even squandered by the corporate world. Unfortunately, I think he’s right. He cited several studies that show people "grow out" of creativity as they reach adulthood. How unfortunate… However, he encourages folks to snap out of this funk to ultimately improve how we live and grow. It probably sounds corny (unless you were there)…

Sir Ken has a book called Out Of Our Minds. Pick it up. Even though I haven’t read it, I can 99% guarantee that you’ll love it. Sir Ken gave a similar talk at the TED conference in 2006. Check it out here. He’s amazing. (Tony Karrer also blogged about Sir Ken’s keynote.)

I attended 3 sessions today. Here’s a quick wrap-up:

Session 1: Instructional Design for mLearning (David Metcalf)

I’m pretty new to mLearning. I think it’s a great idea (in theory), but I think it’s trickier to implement (in practice). David did a great job of showing examples and discussing ways in which mLearning projects have failed…in order to show what can be successful. He provided several great examples; I’ll post links soon.

Session 2: State of the eLearning Industry (Brent Schlenker and Steve Wexler)

Brent Schlenker and Steve Wexler discussed the findings of The eLearning Guild’s research staff over the past year. They covered everything from salaries of eLearning professionals to the effectiveness of simulations and mLearning. This is awesome info. These guys should be applauded for the work they’ve done. If you’re not a member of The Guild, you should join just so you can access this information!!

Session 3: Applying Narrative Storytelling Approaches to Instructional Design (Carolyn Lee and Laura Kratochvil)

This session focused on incorporating storytelling in eLearning. This isn’t a comfortable area for all people because it requires creative thinking and storytelling skills that aren’t always easy to come by. Carolyn and Laura presented several ways to structure a story, using methodologies such as the hero model, anti-hero model, and several other ways of structuring stories to enhance learning. Good stuff…

The best part…

Just like The eLearning Guild’s Annual Gathering conference in Boston earlier this year, I’m finding that most learning comes from mingling with colleagues during breakfast and lunch sessions (and everywhere in between). I met 10+ people in my first day, and I know that number will continue to grow. We’ve discussed pros and cons of different tools, vendors, and methodologies. This is why I come to these events… Great stuff.

(FYI – Clark Quinn is blogging about DevLearn here. Brent Schlenker is doing a good job, too.)

The eLearning Guild Announces (Great) Membership Changes November 6, 2007

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The eLearning Guild announced several great changes to their membership options at DevLearn today. I’m going to let Brent Schlenker give you the details. Thanks, Brent!

eLearning Blueprints November 3, 2007

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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I don’t know Cathy Moore, but I like her. A lot. I stumbled onto her web site while reading an article on Clive Shepherd’s blog, Clive on Learning. Cathy is a writer and eLearning expert that breathes fresh air into the too-often dull and boring world of eLearning. She takes an original approach by using common sense and humor when designing learning materials (this sounds easy, but it isn’t). Based on the work I see on her web site, I’m impressed and jealous at the same time. Sorry to use a cliché, but she takes things to the next level.

Cathy is introducing a new project called Elearning Blueprints, which looks very interesting. She describes as follows:

The blueprint is an online tool that teaches basic instructional design and walks you through the planning and writing process. It’s designed to be used while you work on an elearning project, though you can also use it as a standalone course.

Always available: Use the blueprint whenever you need to develop elearning materials.

Immediate results: Worksheets and other job aids help you immediately apply the process to your current project.

Works with any topic: Get the skills and procedures you need to tackle any subject matter.

Works with any tool: Use the blueprint with any elearning tool, including rapid development tools.

Elearning Blueprints is currently in beta; I haven’t seen it in action yet. But the idea is solid and I think it could be very helpful for subject matter experts, instructional designers, and almost anybody else developing eLearning materials. I’m anxious to take it for a test drive. (And I hope the blueprints help us further distance ourselves from Gagne’s Nine Dull Commandments, as described by Donald Clark.)

Cathy’s blog is great, too. Check it out.