The Thin Mints of eLearning February 21, 2011Posted by Eric Matas in eLearning, Theory.
Tags: eLearning, Girl Scouts, InstructionalDesign, Learning Theory, Thin Mints
(It teaches them about business. About selling. Money. Honesty.)
I’d like to sell to you, for $3.50, a box of thin chocolaty-minty learning cookies. Learning that you would enjoy. Binge on. Freeze for later. And even share with friends and family.
(I am talking about elearning.)
I start to wrap up the tower of cookies and put it back in the box with its twin, when it occurs to me that these individual Thin Mints are really very thin. Super thin. Like, they’re barely even a whole cookie. In fact, it would probably take three Thin Mints to equal one regular-sized cookie. Which means if I eat two more, I’m really only finishing up one cookie, right?
That’s the truth according to the Didactic Pirate.
The truth about elearning: The experience of elearning needs to be so thin that it leaves learners wanting more.
That’s all folks. A thin mint this.
Easily Add Flash Interactions to eLearning February 16, 2011Posted by Eric Matas in eLearning.
Tags: Adobe Captivate, Articulate, eLearning Brothers, Flash Interactions, Tools, Training Games
Don’t worry: no Flash is required. You don’t need to know how to program in Flash, and you don’t even need to own Flash software.
You just need to head to eLearningInteractions.com and use the intuitive online tool. Once online, you are five steps away from having a beautiful Flash file (.SWF) to insert into your elearning.
- Click to launch the eLearning Interaction Builder.
- Choose a training activity template (from more than 70 like glossaries, process maps, pyramids or games).
- Add text, images and audio.
- Choose a theme (lots of colors and patterns, or make your own).
- Download the .swf file.
It’s really far too simple for what you get: amazing looking Flash activities for your elearning that add interaction and fun for your learners.
eLearning Interactions comes from the eLearning Brothers, Andrew and Shawn Scivally. They also offer elearning templates and custom Articulate skins as well as blog posts and good-natured ninja-tastic attitudes.
The interactions builder kicks out a Flash AS2 file, which easily scales to fit into your PowerPoint or your authoring tools. The games can be used in classroom training too. Since Captivate 5 has, questionably, limited support to AS3 only, these ineractions are not for Captivate 5, but they work great with Captivate 4, Articulate, Atlantic Link, and others.
For a nice, quick tutorial, watch their screenr video that shows the simple steps that result in awesome elearning interactions: http://screenr.com/y0F.
eLearning Thought Leaders: OpenSesame February 9, 2011Posted by Eric Matas in Interview.
Tags: eLearning, eLearning Start Up, LMS, Open Sesame, SCORM Video Player, Thought Leaders
They are changing the way elearning, module-by-module, is bought and sold online.
eLW: I go to OpenSesame.com and see that you are the elearning marketplace — what does that mean?
JB: OpenSesame has a simple mission: Make buying an elearning course as easy as downloading a song from iTunes. We connect elearning buyers and sellers in an easy-to-use online marketplace where developers publish and sell their courses and training managers find the off-the-shelf content they need to create an effective and up-to-date workforce.
For the first time, OpenSesame allows buyers to research, evaluate and purchase courses from a diverse set of publishers in a single location. OpenSesame is also a solution for elearning developers, who can use our marketplace to reach new customers. Developers can sell existing off-the-shelf courses, thereby leveraging work they have already completed, or create new courses specifically for the OpenSesame marketplace.
OpenSesame addresses another elearning pain point by solving the interoperability hurdle. Our technology connects SCORM or AICC courses to any learning management system, enabling developers to focus their attentions on creating great courses instead of resolving technical hurdles.
TT: Emphatically yes. We are proud that our platform technology enables any course creator to connect any content to any LMS. We’re solving the interoperability problem for course developers and end users, while making diverse courses trackable on a variety of systems.
We rely on the SCORM and AICC standards to act as the bridge between content authoring tools and end users’ learning management systems. When organizations purchase a course from OpenSesame’s marketplace, they upload a license file to their LMS just as they would with any other course content.
JB: The OpenSesame team has a deep background in the elearning sector. During our 10 years in the elearning business, we realized that the biggest impediment to the growth of elearning was organizations’ inability to easily find, select and deploy high quality elearning content. We decided to found a new company that would act as a platform for these connections.
Between us, we have software, business, design and communications experience driving our development of the OpenSesame marketplace solution for the content conundrum. We believe that in the long term, our open marketplace will make elearning accessible, easy to implement and rewarding for everyone.
TT: We believe in collaborating with our technology partners to solve problems and create elegant features for elearning professionals. We offer software developers the opportunity to add value to their elearning products by integrating with the OpenSesame marketplace through a read-write API.
LMS developers can integrate the OpenSesame catalog into their marketplace in two ways. First, developers can enable LMS users to purchase and deploy courses from the OpenSesame marketplace in one step. Our API will enable LMSs to automatically create and configure courses using files and metadata from OpenSesame. Furthermore, LMS developers can enable users to browse the OpenSesame catalog from within the LMS user interface — never needing to visit http://www.OpenSesame.com to access the elearning courses they need.
We are also developing an API for course authoring tools, which will enable developers to build authoring tools that publish courses directly into the OpenSesame marketplace, offering additional income and advertising opportunities to their clients.
TT: We are thrilled to welcome elearning course developers who are sharing their existing elearning courses or perhaps creating new, all-purpose courses on topics where they have created custom courses in the past.
Watch our Getting Started screencast to take a tour of our marketplace. Take the first step towards selling courses by visiting our site and clicking register in the top right corner. Once you have created a user profile, you can upload your course files, set the per-seat and site license prices and enter information about the topic, target audience and learning objectives.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
JB: A SCORM video player.
We’re making it possible for simple, YouTube style videos to be completed and tracked as SCORM courses in learning management systems. We’re excited about this for two reasons: First, making videos trackable like elearning courses will lower the barrier of entry for subject matter experts who have experience and information to share but don’t have traditional course design skills.
Second, videos are often the simplest and most straightforward way to illustrate a new idea or concept for learners. It’s the definition of rapid elearning to enable a developer or subject matter expert to make a screencast or other quick video to respond to new technology developments or demand in the marketplace. We’re making it possible for organizations to track and manage their learners’ participation in video-based learning experiences.
JB: There’s no place I’d rather be than here, making elearning accessible, effective and fun! But in an alternate universe, if I had to choose another profession, I would coach the USC football team.
TT: Like Josh, I enjoy this opportunity to start a new business focused on extending learning opportunities across enterprises but if I had to choose something else, I’d be producing children’s movies.
JB: I’m proud to sport my “hAPI hAPI Joy Joy” shirt.
TT: How about the strangest place on Earth that I will go to next week? My wife and I are taking our two boys to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, at Universal Studios Orlando. While I love reading with my kids and I love Harry Potter as much as the next Muggle dad, I can’t imagine that there are many stranger places on Earth than that.
JB: We are hitting the road this spring and we want to meet you! We love to meet new people, try new hotel restaurants and talk about the future of elearning.
- DrupalCon, March 7-10, Chicago
- SXSW Interactive, March 11-15, Austin
- Enterprise Learning! Summit, March 22, Washington DC
- Elearning Guild’s Learning Solutions Conference & Expo, March 23-25, Orlando
- ASTD International Conference & Exposition, May 22-25, OrlandoAlso, if you missed out on the OpenSesame hoodies at DevLearn, don’t worry. We ordered more.
Map Your eLearning Career Path February 3, 2011Posted by Eric Matas in eLearning Careers.
Tags: Career Path, eLearning, Instructional Designer, Job Search, Monster.com
Many people recognize the potential of elearning and want to know more about how to get into the industry. I get asked how I got into elearning. For me, it started with being a techy, then a writing teacher, then an online course designer and developer, then an instructional designer, and finally to an elearning specialist and LMS administrator.
I think it’s helpful to see career paths in case yours might evolve similarly. I recommend polling friends and colleagues in your networks to learn about their career paths. And you can map out yours, too, on paper or online.
Monster.com has a career mapping tool, in beta, that can help you visualize your career path–in elearning or otherwise. You simply plug in the job title you have and possibly the one you want to move to, and then interact with the tool to view the career mapping. I like the linear view, which I was playing with for this post, using instructional designer as the starting point.
The screenshot from Monster.com shows the moves an instructional designer might make as their career progresses. You can click it to see a larger view so you can see that the tool links to open job postings and helps you see how likely certain job transitions are.
I’d love to hear about your elearning career path. How did you get into the business?