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DevLearn 2007 – Day 2 November 8, 2007

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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!



1. cammybean - November 8, 2007

Great recap, B.J.! Sounds like a great time, chock full o’ learning. (I’m attending vicariously through you….)

2. Tracy Hamilton - November 9, 2007

Thanks for recapping the events you attended B.J. I was unable to go this year and was eager to see/read what I was missing. Thanks for adding all the links so that those not able to go can still learn from the event and from one another. As you pointed out on “your first day” it does seem to be the number one way we learn – from one another.

Take care and have a great rest of your time there.

3. Tracy Hamilton - November 9, 2007

Okay…sorry….can you explain just a little further the ARG concept? Is NeverRest an example of an ARG? Is it an example of what a corporation could do if they hired Media Edge to produce something similar based on whatever they were trying to train their staff on….or is it a game that anyone (you, me, the guy next door) can play?

It looks to me like an example, but I’m just not sure.


4. Ryan Moore - November 13, 2007

Thanks for the great recaps B.J. I was at DevLearn and didn’t attend most of the sessions you covered, so it’s great to find out what I missed in the other sessions. I still need to capture all of my session notes in blog form, but when I do I’ll be sure to link it. Thanks again!

5. B.J. Schone - November 15, 2007

Thanks for the comments. I was lucky enough to attend, so I felt it was appropriate to share my experience!

Tracy, I’ll do my best to talk a little more about Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) and the newer Instructional Alternate Reality Games (iARGs). First, I think everything related to ARGs comes from the movie The Game, with Michael Douglas. If you haven’t seen it, go rent it right away. Not only is it a great movie, but it opens up your brain to some amazing gaming possibilities. An ARG is a game that involves other people, multimedia, telephones, email, or anything else you can imagine. You begin to live the game. One tag line for an ARG is, “Do you play the game? Or does the game play you?” Why are people interested in ARGs? How are they fun? They’re more immersive than any other type of gaming or instructional experience. There are often prizes or rewards for completing ARGs, too. I recently participated in “The Ultimate Search For Bourne With Google.” This ARG, like many others, promoted a movie (The Bourne Ultimatum). There were several rewards if you were able to track and find Jason Bourne in the game. Other ARGs may promote games, other products, etc. It sounds tacky, but I definitely enjoyed the Bourne ARG. I didn’t feel like I was being “sold to” while I was playing.

So how does all of this apply to the world of learning? Instructional Alternate Reality Games (iARGs) aim to replicate the ARG experience while also training the participant. As an example, several government agencies use iARGs to train newly-hired field employees. They use iARGs to teach problem-solving and investigative skills, among other things. I look at it this way: If you can more accurately simulate a real-life scenario by using an iARG, why wouldn’t you? The teacher or “puppetmaster” can monitor the experience on-the-fly, too. This ensures people don’t get too far off track (and possibly miss the point of the activities). And it’s important to remember, you don’t need a huge budget for something like this; you need a wide-open imagination.

Right now, this all sounds lofty and doesn’t apply to the normal training world. But I think it certainly opens up ideas (at least in my head) of how I can improve my learners’ experiences. The idea of total immersion really interests me – and I think learners could benefit from it as well. I’ll keep an eye out for more info on iARGs.

I hope this helps! If I see anything else about iARGs I’ll blog about it.

6. Free Whitepaper: Using Alternate Reality Games in Corporate Training « eLearning Weekly - December 27, 2007

[…] mentioned ARGs a while back in this post from DevLearn 2007. Check out the comments on that post. There’s good info […]

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