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Mozilla Ubiquity as an On-Demand Learning Tool August 28, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Earlier this week, Mozilla (the makers of Firefox) released Ubiquity – a small application that allows you to quickly perform web-related tasks without having to surf out to different web sites. Watch their video for a quick introduction.

So, can this relate to learning? My answer would be absolutely! My main job is to help people learn (acquire knowledge and skills) and then apply what they know on the job. Sometimes this is done by providing them with the right tools. Ubiquity is one of these tools. It gives learners faster access to a wide range of information; it empowers them.

Now here’s where things get interesting: Mozilla has built Ubiquity in a way that allows outside developers (you and me) to add commands and actions to the tool. Think of this scenario: You have a user who is interested in taking a class on leadership skills. Imagine if they could pull up Ubiquity and type lms leadership to bring up a list of classes offered at your organization related to leadership. Or imagine if they had to look up information that was specific to your organization: They could type widget XYZ to immediately pull a spec sheet for a product. Ubiquity allows them to grab information very quickly without having to surf around to different web sites. This is on-demand learning!

If you’re using Firefox, install Ubiquity and then take a look at the tutorial. (If you’re not using Firefox – get it now! It’s definitely the best web browser out there.)

Have you tried Ubiquity? What do you think?

(I plan on developing some Ubiquity commands in the coming weeks. I’ll report back on what I find. Please let me know if you do any work in this area. I’d love to know more…)

The Business Value of Web 2.0 Learning Tools August 20, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Jay Cross cracks me up (in a good way). When he’s not sharing gorgeous travel photos (including pictures of some of the most unique food you’ll ever see), he comes up with gems related to informal learning and educational technology. One of his latest offerings is a chart that outlines a variety of Web 2.0 tools, including a brief description of their business value. This is great! I appreciate that Jay is able to succinctly articulate their business value, especially because many people still don’t take these tools seriously.

Click below to view the table:

Found via: http://informl.com/2008/08/15/web-20-learning-puzzle-pieces/

Do your webinars stink? August 15, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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I certainly hope not! I like to think that readers of eLearning Weekly are far superior to the average webinar practitioner. You’re the brightest of the eLearning field. We hold webinars where people are engaged while learning. Right? Right.

Well, just in case you need a refresher, I’ve got a good resource for you: In a recent article in CLO Magazine, Allison Rossett, Antonia Chan and Colleen Cunningham take an honest look at webinars and reveal what works and what doesn’t. The article, What Stinks About Webinars?, presents several great examples where webinars stand up – and where they fall down.

Here’s a brief summary of the article:

The webinar is an undeniably popular tool for disseminating ideas and techniques in the world of business. Yet, for all its popularity, this modality often falls short of participants’ expectations. Where do webinars go wrong, and how can they be improved?

The article also offers tips for before, during, and after the webinar.

Take a look!

eLearning on a Global Scale August 7, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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I was presented with an interesting task recently: I was asked to recommend a learning management system (LMS) that can support 6 different languages (English, French, French-Canadian, Italian, German, and Spanish). This is new territory to me; I have only worked with LMSs and eLearning courses in English. So I embarked on many hours of research (thank you, eLearning Guild) and web surfing to learn about multi-lingual LMSs. I read data sheets and sales-speak until my eyes glazed over. (Side note: Why do most LMS web sites use so many buzzwords? Do we really to target seamless functionality while harnessing talent and performance management in order to align our metrics with a user-centered approach? Sheesh.)

I found a few LMSs that offer multiple languages, but it was a trickier search than I would’ve expected. LMS vendors tend to bury this information, which surprised me. So here are some of the LMSs I found in my search: IntraLearn LMS, Cornerstone OnDemand, Meridian Global LMS, and
SumTotal. These LMSs made my short-list for two reasons: First, they supported the required languages, and second, they all rated well in The eLearning Guild’s 2008 360-Degree Report on Learning Management Systems.

So, here’s where I’m a newbie: When purchasing off-the-shelf content, do vendors typically provide you with separate SCORM/AICC files for each language? How do you manage multi-lingual LMSs and multi-lingual content?

I’d love to hear from eLearning developers/integrators, as well as any vendors that may be listening. I doubt I’m the first person to tackle multi-lingual eLearning. And just maybe this info will be helpful to others who are tasked with researching, selecting, and implementing multi-lingual eLearning.