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eLearning / mLearning Domain Names For Sale June 30, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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2 comments

I used to go out and buy domain names whenever I had an idea for a start-up or a new project. Over time, I’ve accumulated several decent domain names, but I haven’t followed through with all of my ideas… So I thought I’d post all of them here. Please leave a comment on this post if you’re interested in making an offer for any of these. I’ve highlighted the ones that I think have the most potential. (I hope this doesn’t come across as slimy; my goal isn’t to gouge people. I’d rather see these names be put to good use.)

You’ll see that all the domain names are just place-holders at this time; no sites have been built.

eLearning Domain Names For Sale

mLearning Domain Names For Sale

Apple / mLearning Domain Names For Sale

Again, if you’re interested, just leave me a comment and I’ll get in touch with you privately.

Podcast Fast with GCast June 28, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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1 comment so far

Yes, that’s probably the cheesiest title I’ve ever used, I know… But I recently found out about GCast, a free service that lets you record messages using your phone and then converts them to a podcast. Sure, this is kind of similar to Jott, but I like the simplicity of GCast. It does one thing, and it does it well.

Here’s how it works: Once you set up an account (again, it’s free), you can dial into a 1-888… number, enter your PIN, and record a voice message. After hanging up, your message is immediately available as a podcast online. People can subscribe to your feed and get updates whenever you record new messages. It’s quick and easy. Go here to hear an example. (WordPress won’t let me embed the Flash widget that plays the podcasts… Grrr.)

So, how might this apply to eLearning? GCast could be used in these ways…

  • Management could record soundbytes or motivational tidbits for employees.
  • Sales managers could record coaching tips for their sales staff that are out on the road.
  • Executives can use it to keep in touch with employees, make announcements, give weekly updates, etc.
  • You can capture those "A-ha!" moments while driving in the car.
  • You could produce a weekly podcast featuring tips and tricks for employees at your organization. You could interview senior-level workers and get them to share their wisdom with the rest of the organization.
  • …you tell me! I’d love to hear your ideas.

Here’s more info about GCast, straight from their site:

We offer many ways to add to your podcast channel:

  • Record messages by phone (never touch a computer!)
  • Upload MP3 files from your computer
  • Add “podsafe” songs from GarageBand.com (Note: Gcast is run by the same people that run GarageBand.com.)
  • Mix all the above with our online playlist manager

Whether you’re podcasting a 30-sec phone message or a 30-min radio show, you can publish it with Gcast for FREE. We’ll store your media and automatically generate the “RSS feed” that enables listeners to “tune in” to your podcast channel.

Give it a shot… It’s free and very easy!!

mLearning Lessons Learned June 18, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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8 comments

I’m in an interesting position right now: I get to work on designing our organization’s mobile learning (mLearning) strategy and I get to develop mLearning applications, but things aren’t working 100% as I would’ve imagined. I’m finding there are more roadblocks that I expected and they’re popping up in unusual places. I want to document my experience here…and I appreciate any feedback / tips you can provide.

So, here’s what I’ve recently learned:

  • If you’re thinking about implementing mLearning, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Don’t use mLearning because you think it would be cool, or because somebody else is doing it. Otherwise you’ll find yourself wandering around with the proverbial hammer, looking for nails to hit. I recommend that you research mLearning a bit and then see it as another tool in your toolbox. Use it when it is the best solution for the situation.
  • The hardest part isn’t the technology. The hardest part has to do with politics, logistics, and security. Be prepared to involve several departments and get ready to face barriers. Just stay creative and look for ways to work around these road blocks. Read case studies to see how other companies have overcome obstacles and seek out blogs, articles, etc. Share the info with peers (ahem). 🙂
  • To SCORM or not to SCORM, that is the question. When developing mLearning applications, decide early on if you need to track usage in your LMS. If so, you’ll need to research something like Pocket SCORM or OnPoint’s CellCast Solution. Fair warning, though, this definitely adds complexity to your project. You may even want to consider the SCORM tracking to be the second phase of your mLearning deployment.
  • Know your audience and the devices they own. Create your mLearning solutions based on this info. If your learners have a wide array of devices, aim for the lowest common denominator: Use voice and text-based solutions rather than fancy animations, web-based content, and downloadable applications. There are podcasting solutions that allow for delivery via phone call, and there are SMS text-based learning solutions that can be quite effective, too. Remember Occam’s razor: "All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best."

I hope all of this doesn’t come off as being too negative, but I’m trying to be very open about my experience. Please chime in – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Learning and Technology Conferences June 14, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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5 comments

This happens to me every few months: I’ll hear about a great conference that took place for learning and technology professionals just a few days after it occurred. Bummer. So I wanted to open up this week’s post to get your input (please!). What learning and technology conferences have you attended, and would you recommend them?

I’ll go first: I made it to the Training Magazine 2006 conference and thought it was great. They had fantastic keynote speakers and the sessions covered a wide spectrum of topics. I’ve also been to several of the eLearning Guild’s conferences (Annual Gathering 2007 and 2008 and DevLearn 2007). These have been my favorites, especially in terms of networking with colleagues and seeing excellent example/case studies. I don’t plan on missing any of these going forward.

Now it’s your turn: I look forward to your input!

(P.S. – I wrote this blog post on my phone, so please excuse the lack of links in the post and any weird formatting issues.)

Starting Slowly with mLearning June 6, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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9 comments

Over the past few weeks I’ve built a few small mobile learning (mLearning) applications and I’ve learned several lessons along the way. Here’s a brief recap:

  • First, as I’ve mentioned before, the point of mLearning is not to create a 45-minute course that can be accessed on a cell phone. mLearning is best used for performance support: quick, easy look-up tools for your learners are a good place to start.
  • Second, it’s easier than I originally thought. I’ve found that a small web page – when formatted properly – can be the simplest way to start with mLearning. Give it a shot: Create a basic HTML page, put it on a web server, and then go to it using your phone (if the phone is web-enabled). That’s it. Of course, if you add images and Flash, things get more interesting. Take it one step at a time and you’ll see that it’s not too bad. (Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some parts of implementing mLearning that get complicated, but I’ve found the hardest parts are related to politics and logistics.)
  • Third, people get really excited when you demo what you’ve created. After doing a demo of your work, ask people to start thinking of additional mLearning tools that would be helpful. I got some great ideas from colleagues just by giving them a quick demo and then following up with questions. I kept hearing, "It would be really cool if you could (do XYZ)."
  • Finally, Adobe’s Device Central is very helpful for testing. Device Central is an emulator that allows you to test your mLearning apps on your PC and see how they’ll render on a variety of cell phones.

Have you tried building mLearning apps? If so, share some tips here!