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Using Twitter at DevLearn October 31, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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My eyes were very much opened to Twitter at the last eLearning Guild conference. About 15 of us used Twitter to…

  • Keep in touch with other conference attendees, co-workers, and friends,
  • Tell others about good and bad conference sessions (ex. “Come check out session 702, it’s great!!”), and to
  • Arrange dinner outings (ex. “Interested in dinner? A group of us will meet in the hotel lobby at 6:30…”).

I’m betting there will be tons more Twitter activity at DevLearn coming up in a few weeks. The official DevLearn Twitter page is here, my Twitter page is here, and as far as I know, these people will also be going to DevLearn:

Did I leave you off the list? If so, please add a comment and share your Twitter name! Also, check out Jane Hart’s Directory of Learning Professionals on Twitter. I’m guessing several of these people will also be at DevLearn.

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Let’s Meet at DevLearn! October 31, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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If you’ll be at DevLearn in San Jose in a few weeks, let’s meet up! I’m always anxious to meet other people involved with learning, technology, and performance improvement – and events like DevLearn provide a great venue for this. Get a hold of me any time at the conference if you want to chat. I will be floating around from session to session, and I will be pretty active on Twitter (http://twitter.com/bjschone). In fact, see my next post… 🙂

Using Metrics That Matter October 24, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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When it comes to measuring the impact of training events (ex. instructor-led classes and online courses), there are two main types of metrics: transactional data and user data. Transactional data is all about numbers. For example, it tells you how many people completed a class in a given time period. While this data is sometimes mildly interesting, it doesn’t tell you if your students learned anything. That’s where user data comes in. User data allows you to dig a level deeper to see the true impact of your training event. This is where we get into Kirkpatrick’s levels of evaluation, the Success Case Evaluation Method (PDF), and other classification systems. User data is more likely to provide us with information to help us make decisions. User data is actionable data. It shows us where we are succeeding and where we are failing. It helps us realize what we need to change. The tough part is that it’s difficult to collect accurate user data.

Over the past few months, I’ve been researching a product from KnowledgeAdvisors called Metrics That Matter®. To put it simply, Metrics That Matter (from here on, MTM) is a system that integrates with your LMS to automate the evaluation process for training events. It records the evaluation data and then it gives you several ways to slice, dice, benchmark, and review the data once it is in the system. (The back-end of MTM provides a customizable dashboard, scorecards, and 100+ reports.)

In the past, I’ve used paper and online surveys to collect evaluation information, but I will admit that it never felt right. I wasn’t getting the information I needed, which made it tough to make decisions. This is where MTM steps up to the plate: KnowledgeAdvisors has done a great job of not only building a system that can survey learners and collect evaluation data, but they can help you develop sound evaluation instruments that you can rely on to provide actionable data. Forget "smile sheets" – they have created some serious evaluation sheets that collect great data. We haven’t bought or implemented this system, but I really like what I’ve seen so far.

Here’s how MTM works, in a nutshell:

  1. An individual takes an online course or attends a live class.
  2. (That night, some magic voodoo takes place between your LMS and MTM to communicate the names of the learners that completed classes.)
  3. The next day, MTM sends an email to the person requesting that they fill out an evaluation.
  4. The person fills out the evaluation. (MTM can be configured to send out reminder emails to the learner if they don’t fill out the evaluation.)
  5. The system collects the evaluation data from the person.
  6. You are immediately able to view this information using the dashboard, scorecards, and reports. You can also do blind comparisons of other organizations (benchmarking) to see how your organization stacks up.
  7. Follow-up surveys can automatically be sent at whatever interval you prefer (ex. 30 days, 90 days, etc.) to collect additional evaluation information.

And I know I’m leaving off many of the features of MTM, because I’m not that familiar with everything it can do (yet). Surf on over to the KnowledgeAdvisors site to learn more.

Additional MTM information:

DevLearn 2008: A Case Study of Mobile Learning at Qualcomm October 17, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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I will be presenting Session 702: Virtually Anywhere: A Case Study of Mobile Learning at Qualcomm, at DevLearn 2008 next month along with a co-worker, Barbara Ludwig. Here’s a quick summary of what we’ll cover in this session:

Mobile technologies are transforming the way we work. But are we harnessing their potential to transform the way employees learn?

Discover how Qualcomm Incorporated, a digital wireless technology company, is extending the reach of training outside the classroom, using a variety of mobile devices including cell phones, iPods, and eReaders such as the Amazon Kindle. See how Qualcomm uses mobile technology to deliver learning resources employees need when they need them, and turns those "in between," otherwise wasted moments into micro-learning experiences.

We will look at how Qualcomm overcame challenges in implementing mLearning, such as designing for disparate platforms and devices, integration with the larger corporate learning infrastructure, security, and keeping ahead of rapidly changing technologies. In this session, we will conclude with a look at new trends in technology such as Web 2.0, social collaboration and networking, games and simulations, and location awareness, and we will examine their potential for mobile learning.

We’ve learned some great lessons while working with mLearning over the past several months. (In fact, Qualcomm was doing mLearning waaay before I got there.) I’m anxious to talk about our experiences, and I hope I can help others save some time and/or frustration. Stop in and say hello before, during, or after my session if you’re there. I’m glad to chat about anything (m/eLearning related or not) and meet new folks.

Dealing with Tough Times October 10, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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With the recent dramatic changes in the US and global economies, it’s natural for many of us in the learning / training industry to start looking over our shoulders. As we know, training departments are too often seen as one of the first places where organizations can "trim the fat." It’s ironic, really; we generally see ourselves as the ones that can help the organization tighten up to run more efficiently and effectively, especially in times like these.

Harold Jarche wrote an excellent blog post yesterday called "Opportunities in difficult times." It’s definitely worth a read. Harold explains that there are opportunities out there in tough times, it just depends on how you look at things. We can go for simple solutions first. For example, we may reduce costs by traveling less (both on the side of the instructor and by the learners). We may also see a trend toward using existing tools in innovative ways to solve performance problems. With so many great (and often free) tools out there, we should be able to tackle most anything the business throws at us.

Harold says…

For professionals with skills in analysing business problems and finding methods and cost-effective technologies to address them, this is a time of opportunity.

I couldn’t agree more. This is a time to sharpen up on all of your skills, and be ready to solve new problems with your huge set of tools. Flexibility and agility will be of even greater value in the near future.