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Managing Your Online Reputation March 30, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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I’ve seen several articles over the past few months about online reputations, and why it is important for you to always be aware of how you are represented on the web. Michele Martin over at The Bamboo Project Blog has a great post titled With Web 2.0, You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide: Tools and Resources for Managing Your Online Reputation. The main idea is that you should be increasingly more aware of how you represent your self, both personally and professionally, on the web. It’s becoming easier and easier for people and companies to track down every last thing you’ve done; anonymity is becoming a thing of the past.

I especially wanted to call attention to Michele’s post because she links to some excellent resources toward the bottom of the page, and this is a great place to catch up on the subject if you’re not familiar with it.

So why is this important to us in the field of eLearning / learning and technology? I see two main reasons:

First, it’s important for you to build-up and monitor your own online reputation, from a professional development standpoint. You know, double-check that you don’t have too many crazy party pictures on Flickr. 🙂 It’ll help your credibility and your career down the line. And participate more with professionals in your industry. Blogging has helped me tremendously; it is a huge part of my online reputation.

Second, we are in the field of professional development. We look for ways to help people learn. We help them build their knowledge and increase their understanding. I think it’s helpful to make people aware of how important their online reputation has become and explain why it is important. You can also use this time to encourage ways they can build their reputations online. For example, you may recommend they participate more with their industry (ex. professional societies), write articles, blog, etc. As noted in Michele’s post, with your online reputation, "You have to be on top of your game because if you aren’t, then people will know it. You have to keep learning, because if you don’t, your outdated skills will show."

(And one last time – make sure you check out Michele’s post!)

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Flash Player Coming to the iPhone March 19, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Well, here’s another reason why I may consider getting an iPhoneAdobe‘s CEO, Shantanu Narayen, recently spoke about developing a Flash player for the iPhone during the Adobe Q1 investor relations call. Narayen said:

“Well, you know, we really believe that Flash is synonymous with the Internet and frankly anybody who wants to browse the Web and experience the Web in all its glory really needs Flash support. I mean, we were very excited about the announcement from Windows mobile adoption of Flash on their devices and the fact that we’ve shipped a half billion devices now, non-PC devices — so we’re also committed to bringing the Flash experience to the iPhone and we’ll work with Apple. We’ve evaluated the SDK we can now start to develop the Flash Player ourselves. And, we think it benefits our joint customers so we want to work with Apple to bring that capability to the device.”

Now, I won’t claim the iPhone is the ultimate eLearning/mLearning tool, but the addition of the Flash player certainly gives it TONS more possibilities. I just hope they find a way to make it easy on developers (ex. no special licensing). And I hope it’s a full version of the Flash player, not a lite version.

Found via Silke’s blog. Read the full scoop at the Flash Devices blog.

25 Free Tools Every Learning Professional Should Have March 13, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Jane Hart recently put out a list of the 25 (free) tools every learning professional should have in their toolbox. The list contains everything from development to time management tools. I’ve used two-thirds of the tools and I can vouch for their usefulness. Jane describes the list like this…

Whether you are a corporate trainer, a Learning & Development manager, a learning designer or developer, or an educator in a school, college or university, these are the 25 must-have tools. What is more they are all free, which makes them very useful for those on a low (or non-existent) budget or simply for experimentation and exploration of the widening e-learning space.

Check out the list and try something new! Several tools caught my eye. I’m going to take a look at these in the next week:

Jane has also compiled the Learning Toolbox 2008 (Top 100 Tools – By Type of Tool). Thanks, Jane!

Rapid eLearning: How do we organize this stuff? March 8, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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I keep an eye on several eLearning blogs, and I noticed a convergence between a few posts this week that relate to something I discussed not too long ago (Short Bursts of eLearning).

First, Clive Shepherd wrote a post (Rapid e-learning means more than quick tutorials) where he talks about using a variety of tools for creating rapid eLearning. He emphasizes that we now have a multitude of development tools which allow novices and professionals to build job aids and other just-in-time learning materials. These tools are generally easier to use and more available than our more traditional tools that are used to create courses or tutorials.

Second, George Siemens wrote a post (A World without Courses) that has generated a good discussion. He notes that people still gravitate toward the traditional eLearning course model, and wonders aloud if this is still the best approach for all situations. He asks an important question, related to smaller chunks – or short bursts – of learning, that is still bouncing around in my head: How do we organize this stuff? In a large organization, I could easily see scores of job aids and performance support tools. How do we make all of this easily accessible for learners? Not all of these tools would talk to the LMS, I imagine. And I’m not looking for a way to track individual usage and scoring; I’m looking for a way to organize these resources for the learner. When they need help, where should they go? Is it as "simple" as creating an in-house centralized repository to house these resources? (Wow, that sounds eerily similar to an LMS.)

Do we need to apply the Google search approach to learning, and allow the learner to search for what they need? I’m guessing this is an (untapped?) area for a vendor to step up and address. If there’s a product or service that offers something like this, please chime in and let me know…

Click Next to Continue March 1, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Cathy Moore has a great blog post about the (in)famous Next button that is ever-present in eLearning courses. She suggests and demonstrates several ways to build tension and interest so that the learner wants to continue by clicking the Next button. This makes the experience much more interesting, and learner will want to continue to the next screen (rather than us forcing them to the next screen). I think the main idea is to use an element of storytelling (suspense) to drive the learning. It’s much better than the "read something, click Next, read something, click Next" rut that can occur. Of course, in an ideal world, we should all be much more inventive and creative to break out of this linear model of learning. Yes, ideally. 🙂

Read Cathy’s blog post here.