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Wanted: An eLearning All-Star February 22, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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An opportunity has opened up for an eLearning Specialist at Ferrellgas in Kansas City. It’s a great position and Ferrellgas is an excellent company; if you’ve got the skills and you’re in the Midwest, you should take a look.

From the Ferrellgas Career Connection web site:

eLearning Specialist

Key Accountabilities:
This position is responsible for creation of e-learning courses. The incumbent will produce highly complex training initiatives to be delivered online, through CD or in the classroom. This position requires a minimum of a 4-year degree, 5+ years of experience in training and development and 1+ year experience of e-learning development.

Essential Functions:

  • Maintain LMS and other online tools.
  • Research and recommend appropriate e-learning development software.
  • Design engaging, interactive and effective instructional materials that can be used in a web-based, computer-based and/or distance learning format.
  • Ensure the instructional integrity of course development projects through defined standards, systematic design and clear, concise writing of scripts, narratives and storyboards to ensure continued quality and speed of delivery.
  • Produce highly complex training initiatives to be delivered both online, through CD or in the classroom. These programs will prepare employees to provide exceptional customer service, promote Ferrellgas products and services and operate company systems and software applications.
  • Plan projects and establish schedules for projects with aggressive deadlines.
  • Create and execute test plans.
  • Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum by creating and implementing measures to track outcomes and to ensure alignment with business objectives.
  • Communicate frequently and effectively with Manager to ensure that goals and objectives are being achieved.
  • Partner with and maintain strong interaction with subject matter experts and other team members.
  • Other job related duties and projects as required.

Ideal candidate will have:

  • Minimum 4 year degree, preferably in Graphics, Interactive Media Design, Instructional Design, Communications, or Organizational Development.
  • 5+ years experience in training and curriculum development.
  • Minimum of 1 year of e-learning development experience required.
  • Experience in project management, training, and curriculum development preferred.
  • Excellent communication and organizational skills required.
  • Applicant must be energetic, reliable, creative, deadline-driven and able to multi-task in a fast-paced team environment.

Benefits
We offer an excellent compensation and benefits package, Employee Stock Ownership Plan, and bonus program.

To learn more, go to the Ferrellgas Career Connection site and click Corporate Opportunities.

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Knowing Your Audience February 16, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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In the next few weeks, I will be transitioning to a new job where I will be designing, developing, and implementing learning solutions. This is pretty similar to my current position, but my audience is changing drastically. At my current job, my audience consists of everyday working people. They often don’t have much experience with technology, and most of the training revolves around system tasks (ex. entering a delivery order in PeopleSoft). At my new job, my audience will be highly-technical, highly-educated professionals (ex. engineers with PhDs). I’m trying to be proactive and anticipate some of the differences I’ll see with this new audience. I think I’ve broken it down into the following chunks…

  • Writing Style
    Content should be written for the right audience (ex. using technical jargon vs. writing content at a 6th grade level).
  • Motivation
    Does the learner just want to know how to complete a task to do their job? Or are they dedicated to learning, knowing that it is beneficial for their career?
  • Devices
    When working with a more technically-savvy audience you may be able to use newer technologies and utilize a wider variety of devices (ex. iPods, smartphones).

Am I missing anything? What other considerations are there for an audience’s learning preferences?

Free eBook: Learning 2.0 for Associations February 7, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Michele Martin over at The Bamboo Project Blog recently posted about a free eBook titled Learning 2.0 for Associations (PDF). The eBook was written by Jeff Cobb over at the Mission to Learn blog.

Michele puts it best, so I’ll let her tell you about it:

In a little over 100 pages, Jeff does a fabulous job of describing the tools of Web 2.0 and how they can be used for various learning activities. He also has some nice concrete examples and a long list of resources at the end. Definitely something to check out and add to your reading list.

And Jeff’s summary of the eBook starts like this:

This report considers how approaches to learning have evolved and what impact the new technologies dubbed “Web 2.0” are having. In it you will find examples of ways in which associations are using these new technologies and what possibilities they may represent for your organization’s professional development and other learning initiatives.

I’m always anxious to hear more people discuss (e)Learning 2.0, but I really like how Jeff goes into detail about how people interact, collaborate, and learn together. It also looks like this eBook is a great intro for people who are relatively new to the learning 2.0 world; Jeff’s writing is very clear and easy to understand. He also uses simple, but effective, graphics to illustrate his points. Great stuff!

Short Bursts of eLearning February 2, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Several people have written about their predictions for eLearning in 2008. Many predictions are the same as last year: more use of open source LMSs (especially Moodle), more use of immersive learning simulations (games), the continuing rise of eLearning 2.0 tools, and more use of mLearning. I agree with these predictions for the most part, but one prediction has really stood out for me. Jane Hart submitted her predictions to Kineo this year – and I really think she’s on target. Jane predicts that we’ll see more "short bursts" of eLearning:

(We will see)…more embedding of these “short bursts” of e-learning into the workflow for performance support – really making them “just-in-time” and “on demand”

I see the industry moving further away from the traditional course model and more toward this on-the-fly model (which basically means job aids and electronic performance support systems). Sure, this is related to rapid eLearning (using simplified tools that are aimed toward non-techie developers), but we’re providing support to the learner at the time of need instead of placing the final output an LMS. I won’t say this is a revolutionary idea, but it’s an idea that makes sense and it feels like a natural progression in the evolution of eLearning. I think many of us assumed that the longer an eLearning course takes to build the more effective it’ll be. Of course, we know this isn’t true, and I think we’re ready to flip this idea on its head. Sure, tracking usage of these short bursts may be an issue because they’ll operate outside of an LMS, but as long as it helps the learner, should we care?

Good prediction, Jane. I’m anxious to see where this goes.