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eLearning User Groups September 29, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Last week I went to the Metrics That Matter user group in Chicago. During my trip, I started thinking about user groups related to learning and technology. Other than conferences, where do learning and technology professionals get together to discuss ideas with each other? Conferences are great; I attend them and present at them on a fairly regular basis. But too often these events are more focused on presentations than collaboration and idea sharing. We can learn a ton from each other simply by trading stories and experiences, and we should do this more often. What other ways do we have to interact directly with each other? I came up with a list of ideas below. Please chime in with your thoughts. (Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the Metrics That Matter user group meeting was excellent.)

Ideas for connecting with eLearning peers


I’ve written about #lrnchat before. It’s an online discussion that happens each Thursday on Twitter. Dozens of learning and technology gurus join in to have open discussions and share ideas. This is a great way to interact with some of the top thought leaders in our field.

LMS user groups / conferences

Several LMS companies offer user groups and conferences, and I would highly recommend that you check one out if you work closely with an LMS. Most of the well-known LMS vendors have user group meetings and/or conferences, including:

  • Blackboard
  • Cornerstone
  • GeoLearning
  • Inquisiq
  • Learn.com
  • Mzinga
  • Plateau
  • Saba
  • SumTotal

Technology / Development-focused user groups

Adobe has an active user group community, with over 700 groups that meet regularly to discuss products such as Captivate, Dreamweaver, Flash, and much more. Visit the Adobe Groups page for more info. (In fact, a few Captivate-specific user groups have popped up.)

Separate from the Adobe Groups is a user community for Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro.

Many of the “social learning” tools (ex. blogs, wikis, etc.) have user groups or strong online development communities. A few quick examples:


Tools like TweetGrid allow you to track keywords related to your niche of learning and technology. This can help you find others who are working on similar topics or projects, and then you can reach out to them directly.

What else?

What am I missing? Are there other ways you directly connect with peers to exchange ideas and discuss your work? Blogging, definitely. What else…?


Free Online Conference: LearnTrends 2009 September 23, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Tony Karrer recently announced the LearnTrends 2009 Online Conference, which will be held November 17-19, 2009. Here’s a description of the conference, straight from Tony’s blog:

The theme/focus this year is on Convergence in Workplace Learning. We will bring together people who look at different aspects of learning and knowledge work to understand better what’s going on in those areas and how we should be thinking about this holistically. I’m particularly looking forward to discussions of how:

  • Enterprise 2.0
  • Communities and Networks
  • Knowledge Management
  • Corporate Libraries
  • Talent Management

come together to form a cohesive picture. What should L&D managers be doing relative to these related efforts? How does this impact our eLearning Strategy?

You can join the LearnTrends community and keep up with the conference happenings on the LearnTrends web site.

LearnTrends 2009

Make Your eLearning Suck Less September 17, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Christy Tucker posted a message on Twitter earlier this month about a presentation called “eLearning Sucks” (see below). This presentation is a good reminder that we should continue to innovate and experiment with ways to keep our learners engaged. Check it out. Oh, and yes, it’s a bit ironic that this is a linear slideshow. 🙂

(This presentation was created by a company called Red Magma in London. I spent 5 minutes on their web site and I still don’t have a clear idea of what they do!)

My Peripheral Learning Resources September 11, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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One of my favorite things about my job is the variety: Some days I find myself playing the role of a consultant, sometimes I act as a project manager, and other days I find myself tinkering with code or troubleshooting the LMS. I’ve been known to build fully functional web sites and web applications, and I’ve coordinated enterprise-wide programs, all in the name of learning and performance improvement. Being in this role requires me to stay sharp in several areas; I wear multiple hats, so to speak. I wanted to share some of the web sites and blogs that help me stay up to date on all the areas outside (or on the edge) of learning and technology. Check out some of the sites below. They may spark an interest for you, or help you peripherally on some of your current projects. (And please leave a comment to share sites that you find useful…)

Business / Leadership / Innovation / Productivity

Achieving Business Excellence
Emerging business trends and insight from thought leader John Spence

Great Leadership
Opinions and information on leadership and leadership development by Dan McCarthy

Harvard Business Review Blogs
A collection of really sharp people blogging about business, innovation, leadership, and more

Read It For Me
The world’s most engaging business book summaries

Seth Godin’s Blog
Thoughts from an exceptional business and marketing guru

Ideas worth spreading, all related to Technology, Entertainment, and Design

The Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) – Workforce productivity and Human Resource productivity research

Coding / Web Development

Web development and design tutorials

Script & Style
Links to help you grow as a designer and developer

New articles and fresh thinking for web developers and designers

Smashing Magazine
Expert design and development resources


Enterprise Web 2.0
A blog about social technologies and their impact on business (and everything else)

Web apps, web technology trends, social networking and social media

Social media news and web tips

Elgg, Ning, and SocialText September 2, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Several social media platforms have emerged over the past few years which allow you to create your own social network. Organizations are using these platforms to aggregate some or all of their social learning tools so employees don’t have to keep jumping from application to application. These platforms generally have user profiles, status updates (pseudo micro-blogging), collaboration tools (ex. wikis, blogs), and more. I personally haven’t had a ton of experience with these platforms, but I’m anxious to dig in and learn more. Please chime in and comment on your experiences if you’ve used Elgg, Ning, and/or SocialText.


    "Elgg empowers individuals, groups and institutions to create their own fully-featured social environment."

    Elgg software is licensed under the GPL version 2 from the Free Software Foundation. The full license is here.

    You can download and run Elgg on your own servers or you can pay to have somebody host it for you (see hosting information).



    "Ning lets you create and join new social networks for your interests and passions."

    Ning hosts your social network(s) for you.

    Ning has both free and paid options. The free version has ads. For some reason I was unable to find the exact pricing details on the Ning site.



Again, please chime in if you have experience with any of these platforms. I’m curious to hear feedback!