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AG08 Presentation – Working Harmoniously with your IT Department (Yes, It Can Be Done!) April 25, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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I’m attaching the handouts from a presentation I did at the eLearning Guild Annual Gathering 2008. The presentation is called Working Harmoniously with your IT Department (Yes, It Can Be Done!). We had a great discussion with everyone that attended. Most everyone (including a few IT people!) shared stories and we discussed ways to help bridge the all-too-often communication gap between HR/training departments and IT departments. Enjoy the handouts!


AG08 – Day 3 – Summary April 18, 2008

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The AG08 conference wrapped up nicely yesterday with a great keynote from Stefan Sagmeister (of Sagmeister, Inc.), who discussed several of the concepts from his book, Things I have learned in my life so far. Here’s a quick run-through of the things he’s learned:

  1. Helping other people helps me.
  2. Having guts always works out for me.
  3. Thinking that life will be better in the future is stupid. I have to live now.
  4. Organising a charity group is surprisingly easy.
  5. Being not truthful always works against me.
  6. Everything I do always comes back to me.
  7. Assuming is stifling.
  8. Drugs feel great in the beginning and become a drag later on.
  9. Over time I get used to everything and start taking for granted.
  10. Money does not make me happy.
  11. My dreams have no meaning.
  12. Keeping a diary supports personal development.
  13. Trying to look good limits my life.
  14. Material luxuries are best enjoyed in small doses.
  15. Worrying solves nothing.
  16. Complaining is silly. Either act or forget.
  17. Everybody thinks they are right.
  18. If I want to explore a new direction professionally, it is helpful to try it out for myself first.
  19. Low expectations are a good strategy.
  20. Everybody who is honest is interesting.

While Stefan didn’t tie these much back to learning, he focused on the overall importance of good design and good practice, while emphasizing what’s important: exploring creativity, doing the right thing, being brave, and working hard. His book is described on Amazon as "a complex blend of personal revelation, art, and design—an eclectic mix of visual audacity and sound advice." This was certainly inspirational stuff.

I was only able to attend one session Thursday morning, and it was David Metcalf‘s Instructional Design for m-Learning. David has done some great work in this area, but I think the true impact of mLearning will come in the next 2 years or so. And I still have several questions related to mLearning such as: If an organization wants to roll out mLearning, how can they ensure all employees have a cell phone (without purchasing phones for some individuals)? Will organizations require all employees have a cell phone? If an employee has a personal cell phone, will they be required to pay for a data plan in order to be able to access mLearning? Or would the organization pick up the tab for the data plan? (This would definitely increase the rollout and maintenance cost for the organization.) I’m anxious to see how these decisions are made. There’s so much potential.

Again, this was a great conference. I met tons of smart people and had plenty of intriguing discussions. Now I’m looking forward to the next eLearning Guild Annual Gathering, which will also be hosted in Orlando, the week of March 10th, 2009. Now, I just need to think of a great idea for a session to present at AG09…

AG08 – Day 2 – Summary April 16, 2008

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Another successful day, but I’m so worn out! I’m ready for a 24-hour hibernation…

This morning’s keynote was great. It was John Patrick discussing the Future of the Internet. He didn’t necessarily apply the keynote much to eLearning, but it was very interesting and thought-provoking. I’ll let Inge de Waard fill you in. She did a great job of live-blogging the session, and she managed to grab some video, too.

I attended these sessions today:

  • The Current and Future State of SCORM and Other e-Learning Standards (Rovy Branon)
  • Scanning the Globe: Connecting your Digital World to the World Around You (Brent Schlenker)

My session, Working Harmoniously with your IT Department (Yes, It Can Be Done!), went well. We only had about 12 people in the room, but the discussions were great. Everyone(!) participated and we got some good thoughts out on the table. (Note: Many sessions were lightly-attended today. It was sunny outside and I suspect many people chose to hang out at DisneyWorld…🙂 )

Here are a few scattered thoughts from today:

  • When SCORM is discussed, people get out their pitchforks and start inching toward presenters. Evidently, there’s still some animosity over its inability to be completely plug-and-play. Too many vendors have implemented loose interpretations of the SCORM runtime, and eLearning developers are the lucky ones who have to troubleshoot the shortcomings. Rovy Branon from the ADL Co-Lab was brave enough to field some questions, but unfortunately there aren’t any big answers on the horizon.
  • SCORM sequencing is a bit too buggy and/or complicated to be easily used. I’ve felt this way for a while, but this was validated today.
  • SCORM will soon be taken over by an international non-profit organization called Learning-Education-Training Systems Interoperability (LETSI).

I promised to put my session handouts up on this site, but I probably won’t get to it for several days. If you’d like a copy, please email me at bjschone at gmail dot com.

I’ve been hanging out with Tracy Hamilton (from Discovery Through eLearning), Gary Hegenbart (from eLearning Development News), and Mark Chrisman (from badsquare). It’s nice to meet everybody in person… A few of us are headed out to an Irish pub tonight. Should be fun!

AG08 – Day 1 – Summary April 16, 2008

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Day 1 of AG08 was busy and completely wore me out – but it was all worth it! The day started with an early discussion at one the Breakfast Byte sessions and ended with dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant with some great newfound friends.

Here are the sessions I attended:

  • Positioning your Careers in Social Networking and Collaborative Learning (Ray Jimenez)
  • Learning 2.0: Harnessing the Potential of Contextual Informal Learning (Janhavi Padture)
  • Mobile Learning Today and Tomorrow (Judy Brown)
  • (Briefly attended) Tips & Tricks for Adobe Captivate and Presenter (Silke Fleischer)
  • (Briefly attended) Storyboarding for e-Learning Video Production (Steve Haskin)

Here a quick wrap-up of the various thoughts I picked up throughout the day:

  • Keith Sawyer’s opening keynote was pretty good, but I think many of us were expecting more specifics. He discussed innovation and how we can better hone collaboration efforts to be more innovative. Much of his discussion covered high-level education concepts that I think many instructional designers have mastered. I wished we could’ve seen more examples or heard more tips for applying this to our organizations. Still, it was pretty good. And he is a professor at Washington University in St. Louis (not too far from where I grew up ).
  • I twittered about this, but I get the feeling that the overall world of eLearning is shifting more toward learning and performance, with technology in the back seat. We’re no longer as thrilled and ecstatic over the latest tools. We’re now looking more closely to see how tools can better help us achieve our goals. And we realize that technology won’t solve every problem. I think eLearning is maturing, in a good way.
  • I found out there’s an Enterprise version of Facebook. Interesting. I know many companies are interested in Facebook, but are afraid to let their employee data outside of their firewall. If the enterprise edition can be installed locally, I think this’ll interest many people. (Note: I didn’t have time to verify or research this, so take it with a grain of salt for now.)
  • Many people are wondering if the LMS is dead, or will die soon. I think the role of the LMS will shift to become less important in the next few years, as people realize the value of social learning tools, such as wikis, tagging, social bookmarking, blogging, etc. We’ll probably have LMSs around forever to track important training, such as compliance, legal, and safety training. Legal departments have to have that information somewhere.
  • I visited with Judy Brown and David Metcalf. They’re both doing great things with mLearning, and I would love to somehow work with them. Judy has many of her presentations posted on her web site. Great stuff!
  • One interesting note related to mLearning: People will scroll vertically on their mobile devices, but they hate to scroll side-to-side. Simple observation, but impactful. Need to keep that in mind… Also, check out this mLearning page validator: mr.dev.mobi.
  • I keep running into Mark Chrisman of the badsquare blog. We’ve yet to sit down and have a good conversation. I’m hoping we can meet up soon.

(Don’t forget – I’m micro-blogging about the conference on Twitter…)

eLearning Guild Annual Gathering 2008 – Day 1- Social Learning Discussion April 15, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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(Whew – longest title ever. From here on, I’ll refer to the conference as AG08.)

We’re off to a great start! I attended an excellent discussion group this morning – one of the Breakfast Byte sessions on Tips & Tricks When Implementing Social Learning. The session was led by Kevin Jones, GTS. About 15 people attended and we had several great thoughts flying through the room for about an hour. Here’s a brief summary.

  • First of all, social learning is a broad term. We used it to discuss any type of learning that takes place via discussion, sharing, or collaboration. It is not based on technology; however, technology may play a key role.
  • Oftentimes, when social learning is discussed at an organization, some workers shy away. They see their knowledge as their power, and they’re afraid to give up that control. How to overcome this? Emphasize their ability to help others and play a bigger role in helping the organization, instead of hoarding the knowledge. (Sometimes easier said than done.)
  • If you’re getting pushback on social learning technologies (ex. blogs and wikis), you may want to have evangelist(s) at your organization who take lead and emphasize the potential of these tools, show examples, etc.
  • Great discussions about group/department blogs. Have different people contribute on a loose basis, or assign each person their own week to participate.
  • Always "seed" wikis with content when they are first created. Empty wikis tend to "die on the vine.".
  • Internal RSS readers are important to find, so you can aggregate internal blogs. Many users try to use an external reader (ex. Google Reader) and run into issues.
  • "What is the perfect social learning implementation? There is no such thing. Use whatever tools and methodologies that help your teams collaborate best."
  • Company culture mirrors the sharing of information. For example, if your organization has loose work hours and a relaxed environment, information sharing will be common. A stuffy, strict 8 to 5 organization will tend to resist new technologies and keep information in silos. Interesting observation. There’s some truth there.
  • Take any company directory at an organization, add some bio information for each person, and you have the makings of a social network. Then, just provide some type of instant messaging tool. That’s an easy way to get started, rather than implementing some big, expensive software package.
  • These links were discussed – I’ll have to take a look later: sociallearning.ning.com and learningtown.com (Elliott Masie’s new project)
  • Here are several tools that were discussed: Beehive, Workplace, Quicker, ClearSpace, and *several* flavors of wikis. Sorry – no time to track these down and link them right now. Just search for them on Google and I’m sure you’ll have luck.

I’m also micro-blogging about the conference on Twitter

I’m late to the Keynote – gotta go! 🙂

A Few Great Captivate Tips April 14, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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I ran across some great Captivate tips over the past few days. Even though a few of them have been floating around for a while, they’re still very useful. Enjoy!

Highlight Boxes in Reverse

Here’s a neat trick for drawing attention to an object on the screen in a Captivate simulation.

Multiple Levels of Feedback

Ever want to give a learner several levels of feedback when they’re attempting to complete a task in a Captivate simulation? A post on eLearningLive.com and on Silke’s blog. Yes, the tip has been around for a while, but it’s still very useful. Take a look if you’re not familiar with the idea.

Publishing Adobe Captivate files on YouTube

Below is a snippet of an article taken from Adobe’s site… Check it out here.

YouTube is the number one video sharing site and a great place to post educational videos and how-to tutorials. The only problem is that YouTube doesn’t support the SWF file format, which is currently the only format Adobe Captivate generates.

This article explains a simple and quick workaround to turn even interactive Adobe Captivate content into passive videos in a format you can post to YouTube.

eLearning Weekly Turns One! April 12, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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My, how time flies! My first post to eLearning Weekly was one year ago today. It’s been a great year, and blogging has been incredibly helpful for me, both personally and professionally. And of course, thank you for visiting! I would probably still write if nobody visited the site (it’s a great exercise in reflection), but it does help knowing people are following along.

These were the Top 10 most popular posts of the past year:

  1. How do you build eLearning courses?
  2. Assima Simulation Software: Initial Impressions
  3. Using Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional
  4. eLearning Jobs
  5. Tutorial: Build SCORM-Compatible Lesson (This was my first post!)
  6. eLearning Design Documents
  7. Large-scale Applications Training
  8. Managing eLearning Development
  9. Hands-on with Assima Training Suite
  10. Need an LMS? Look at Inquisiq EX.

Here’s to another year! I’m headed off to the eLearning Guild’s Annual Gathering in Orlando. I’m sure I’ll find all kinds of neat stuff to blog about. If you’re attending the conference, stop by and say hello. I’m presenting Session 609, Working Harmoniously with your IT Department (Yes, It Can Be Done!). Bye!

So, really, who is using Second Life for eLearning? April 2, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Is it a fad? Was it a fad? I finally made my way into Second Life this week. I know, I’m a (really) late adopter, but at least I finally made it in. I went in with a group of peers, and we were evaluating Second Life’s potential for holding training events. I wasn’t impressed. Sure, the graphics are decent, and you can do tons of things in the environment, but we ran into several roadblocks that hindered the experience. Here were the issues I experienced, and I received similar feedback from a few other people:

Weird names
Why do I have to take on some goofy alias/username in Second Life? It makes formal meetings and training sessions really difficult because everybody has to reintroduce themselves. I equate this to wearing a mask to a real live meeting; it hinders communication incredibly. (And how are you supposed to take somebody seriously when they’re named Flippy McButterbean?)

Down for maintenance
Within the first few minutes of our event, we found out that several users could not get in to Second Life; they were getting a message that Second Life was down for maintenance and it wouldn’t let them in. How can you plan on having events with large groups of people, and then have that happen? That’s a show-stopper.

Distractions, distractions
Throughout the meeting, people were changing their avatars, using gestures, and moving around. Sure, some of this was the newness of Second Life, but I wonder, do audiences eventually learn to sit still? Or does the environment provide too many distractions and too much fun?

Where are we meeting?
Even though a Second Life meeting URL was sent out to everybody prior to the meeting, people still ran into issues getting to the right location. Some people got kicked out and thrown into the ocean. Sure, that’s cute from a gaming perspective, but it loses its charm quickly when you’re trying to get in to a meeting and it keeps throwing you out.

Somehow, when I logged into Second Life for the first time, my tutorial/panel screens started showing up in Japanese. I went into the preferences and set English as my default language, but the panels persisted in Japanese. So I probably missed some important information from the very start. I contacted Linden Labs for assistance, but they wouldn’t help me unless I paid for support. It was a really bad support experience and I never got an answer. Eventually, the panels stopped showing up. Disappointing.

But I could be wrong…

I admit that I haven’t spent much time in Second Life (just a few hours), so please chime in if I’m wrong about any of the items above. And let me know if you have other suggestions. I’m not giving up on Second Life, but I didn’t have a good first impression. Hopefully, I’ll get some answers and assistance (without paying for it) that’ll set me on the right path.


Are you using Second Life? How’s it going? Would you recommend it? Or is it just a fad?