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Exploring the Benefits of Using WordPress for Learning November 20, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Below are the slides from my second presentation at DevLearn 2009. I also co-presented this session along with my colleague, John Polaschek. The presentation covers the basics of blogging and describes the advantages we’ve found with using WordPress. We’ve used it internally at Qualcomm and we’re very pleased with the results. Check out the slides for more info!

Have you introduced blogging at your organization? If so, please share a little bit of your experience with us. I’d be curious to hear how it’s going and any tips you can provide to others. Thanks!



1. Craig Schoen - November 20, 2009

WordPress has come a long way in the past two years. The benefit wordpress offers to the educational community is a near free way for an instructor to build a community around a classroom with very little training required.

I am finding many instructors at the university level linking out of their slides or digital coursepacks, many times right to a specific blog post where they have posted videos and assignments. As well I have found professors using modules, which in the new wordpress you can drag and drop into your blog. You can search for and install modules right in your wordpress dashboard, everything is in done in one place.

One of the most interesting modules I have seen that can be used for managing a class is ‘easy comment upload’. By installing this in your blog which takes 15 seconds, students can hand in assignments by uploading them in the comments sections of the page the teacher created for the assignment. This is great to see in action because the students read the assignment on the page, do the assignment and then upload it using the same page for the teachers and t.a’s to mark.
It works seamlessly and uses less paper which is great.

As well there are a lot of twitter modules professors are using to encourage students to communicate, collaborate and learn from each other using their mobile devices on the class twitter page. The best part of the twitter module is that you can see the aggregate interaction of all the students in wordpress and track ideas and concepts as they are being discussed.

As I am meeting more professors and administrators I will send more great modules and applications being used at the university level.

2. weblearning - November 20, 2009

Pleased to see that Blogging is working at Qualcomm. I too am convinced that Blogs can be used within the enterprise, but you are preaching to the converted. I’d like to know a bit about the backstory. What process did you go through when introducing blogs to staff? What persuaded staff to participate? What support was available to satff? Nice to see some one talking about multi user blogs. Were you happy with what WordPress offers? If you had to do this again, what would you do?

3. B.J. Schone - November 20, 2009

Fortunately, because WordPress is free, it’s easy to install it on a PC and show it around to a few people. That’s how we were able to get people interested in it at the beginning. Qualcomm employees are generally willing to share information with each other, so blogging has been a fairly natural fit for many people.

I can’t speak for our IT staff who worked through the ‘enterprisification’ of WordPress, but I believe everything has gone well. Personally, I’m very pleased with WordPress.

Regarding support, we have a team of experts that step up to help users when they have questions and/or requests.

4. Jeanette Cates - November 22, 2009

Are you using any assessments in the learning? I’ve been searching for a scorm compliant plugin for wordpress.

5. B.J. Schone - November 22, 2009

Hi Jeanette – No, we aren’t using any assessments with WordPress. We use it as an information- / knowledge-sharing tool. In my opinion, blogs probably aren’t the right tool if you’re looking to formally assess knowledge. I would probably stick to a class/course with an assessment (a.k.a. ‘push’ learning). Think of blogs as an educational version of a newspaper or article: people will read them if they’re interested or seeking information on their own (a.k.a. ‘pull’ learning).

This is just my opinion – others may disagree. 🙂

6. Jeanette Cates - November 24, 2009

Actually, a lot of entrepreneurs are using WordPress as a CMS, using MyWishlistPlugin.com as the means to secure and schedule content. So that’s why I was asking about the assessments.

As an instructional designer in the educational and corporate world I always recommended a dedicated system; however, the entrepeneurial market is very different. The need low budgets and low maintenance. So wordpress is a great solution.

Thanks for sharing your information!

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