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YouTube EDU March 28, 2009

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

YouTube EDU launched this past week containing online lectures from more than 100 colleges and universities. The site lets you browse hundreds of videos by school or you can search by subject. The variety of content is amazing – everything from Advanced Finite Elements Analysis to How to Make Spring Cupcakes.

An internal site like this could be fantastic for capturing tribal knowledge in a corporate environment. Does YouTube have a version that companies can license? Are there similar video-sharing sites/applications that can be deployed in-house? Please chime in if you have experience with this, and I’ll do some research on my own.

(FYI – Many of the educational videos link over to the regular YouTube.com site, so it may be confusing for some users when the EDU branding and interface disappears when clicking back and forth between the sites.)

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Have LMSs Jumped The Shark? March 20, 2009

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

I constantly hear people (across many organizations) complain about their learning management system (LMS). They complain that their LMS has a terrible interface that is nearly unusable. Upgrades are difficult and cumbersome. Their employees’ data is locked in to a proprietary system. Users hate the system. It’s ugly. (Did I miss anything?) I think LMSs may have jumped the shark.

If LMSs are going to survive, they’ll need to change drastically. We’ve recently seen LMSs shift to include more functionality, such as wikis, blogs, social networking, etc. I think they’re heading in the wrong direction. I don’t really understand why LMS vendors are now thinking they need to build in every possible 2.0 tool. If I want a great blogging platform, I’m going to download WordPress (it’s free and has a huge support community). If I want a great wiki platform, I’m going to download MediaWiki or DokuWiki (also free and they have huge support communities). And when it comes to social networking, as a co-worker put it, “Do they really think I’m going to create a ‘friends’ list in the LMS? Seriously?”

Maybe LMS vendors are taking advantage of the people/organizations who don’t have the technical resources to install these free open-source systems on their own. I think it’s a big problem; by using these tools within the LMS, people are now locking even more data into a closed system. One of the few LMS add-ons that I think may have merit would be a talent management module, mainly because it could integrate well with the data in an LMS. That seems like a good fit to me.

Instead of adding all this new functionality, LMS vendors should concentrate on better connecting and integrating with open standards and technologies. User data should be 100% portable. RSS feeds should be available both ways: people should be able to subscribe to a feed to monitor when new resources are added in the LMS, and the LMS should be able to import and act on data fed to it. The systems and the data should be mashable. The LMS will need to become one of the building blocks within the enterprise, rather than remain as a standalone system that doesn’t play well with others.

I don’t mean to sound pessimistic; I’ve made a good living in the world of learning and technology working with LMSs. I think I’m most frustrated because other areas of software and technology seem to have progressed at a much more rapid pace in terms of usability and flexibility. I believe there is a future for the LMS, but only for the vendors who are able to see the changes on the horizon and adapt before it’s too late.

Spotlight On Anthony Montalvo March 13, 2009

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

This is the first post in the Spotlight On… series, where we feature learning and technology professionals who are seeking employment. Do you want to be featured? Find out how!

aamc

Meet Anthony Montalvo

Anthony is a native speaker of both English and Spanish, and translation comes naturally to him. Anthony has done freelance translation work for many years, specializing in many different business topics. His experience in the e-learning industry (selling and implementing projects, and leading content development teams) has led him to combine these two fields and start offering content translation and localization services. Anthony can work with pretty much any document format, including several graphic design and content authoring packages.

Experience
Anthony has worked in several industries doing sales, marketing and business development, and for much of this decade he has worked with e-learning and various Web technologies. Anthony was CEO of a small e-learning company in Argentina until it was purchased by a regional technology consulting firm (http://www.grupoassa.com). Since then he has led the company’s internal e-learning initiatives (using Moodle), as well as working on various corporate marketing and employer branding projects.

Example work
Anthony recently translated a few e-learning resources for his blog, including Cathy Moore’s Dump the Drone presentation and Will Thalheimer’s Job Aid on Building Measurement into Training Development.

Email address
aamontalvo@gmail.com

Blog
http://aamontalvo.blogspot.com

LinkedIn profile
http://www.linkedin.com/in/aamontalvo

Preferred location
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Professional interests
e-Learning, Web 2.0, technology in general, consulting, business translation, blogging

Something interesting/fun
Anthony has done a bit of everything in the last 20 years. Before landing in Argentina and immersing himself in technology, he lived in Mexico (his home country) and spent time manufacturing pajamas, selling roasted chicken, and working as a SCUBA divemaster.

Please contact Anthony if he can be of assistance.

Are you seeking work?

Submit your information to be featured on eLearning Weekly! Check out the submission details.

Spotlight On…You! March 10, 2009

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

Over the past few months, I’ve been excited to see traffic to my blog increase rapidly. However, it’s bittersweet because I’m seeing a large portion of this traffic going directly to two posts I wrote a while ago: eLearning Jobs and More eLearning Job Resources. This tells me that people are increasingly seeking employment (no real surprise, I suppose). So, in an effort to help job-seekers even more, I’m introducing a new feature on eLearning Weekly, called Spotlight On…, where I will feature a profile of a learning and technology professional seeking employment every few days. The featured individuals gets at least 3 days of face-time on the home page of eLearning Weekly, along with a detailed profile.

Advantages

There are a few big advantages for doing this:

  • You’ll get exposure on a blog that is read by thousands of people each month.
  • Your profile will be indexed by search engines, so your name may begin showing up when people search for certain keywords.
  • The right person may happen to see your information and give you a call.
  • It’s 100% free, no strings attached!

Submit Your Information

To be considered for this feature, please send the following information to me at , with the subject line Spotlight On…:

  • Name
  • Your picture (Optional)
  • Email address and/or phone number (Note: This will be shown in your profile.)
  • LinkedIn profile (Optional, but highly recommended)
  • Preferred location (city / state / country)
  • Professional interests
  • Description of your skills
  • Description of your work experience
  • Something interesting/fun about yourself
  • Anything else you feel is relevant

Disclaimer:
Participants will be randomly chosen, and not all submissions will be used.

Give Your Learners What They Need March 5, 2009

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

We’ve all done needs assessments to determine knowledge and skill gaps, but how do you know what information your learners need each day, on the job? It’s easy to assume that we’re giving them everything they need, but let’s be honest: we’re good, but we’re not perfect.

There are several key pieces of data to help you figure out what your learners need. Consider the following:

  • Is there a search box on your organization’s intranet home page, or in your LMS? If so, do you know the most commonly searched terms? How well do these popular search terms align with the learning materials you offer? If you have the materials, are they quickly and easily accessible to your learners?
  • Do you have a learning portal? If so, are you tracking what links people click, what documents they open, etc.? Analyze traffic on this site; it may reveal trends to help you better target what your learners need.
  • Do you use any social learning / web 2.0 tools? If you have wikis, blogs, or social bookmarking, you may be able to look at the information that has been written/tagged/bookmarked. This may also reveal trends.
  • Interview your learners (and their managers) on a regular basis; one-on-one interviews and focus groups work well. They’ll be vocal if they aren’t finding what they need.

Monitor the information above and be as responsive as possible. If you notice a gap in your offerings, do something about it. This will help fulfill the short-term needs of your learners. (Of course, you’ll want to continue to do needs assessments to try and anticipate the organization’s long-term needs.)

Most of the suggestions I’ve given come down to the old adage, “Know your audience.” I’m simply suggesting that you mine existing data (or start gathering more data) to better understand what your learners need, and then adjust your offerings accordingly. This process should be ongoing; don’t be lazy and address their needs on a quarterly or yearly basis. I’ve even thought about creating a dashboard that can aggregate all of these data feeds into one place. This would allow me to keep an eye on the data on an up-to-the minute basis. I don’t know that I would react to each and every item that came in, but it would certainly help me identify trends.

What other information should be monitored?