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AG08 Presentation – Working Harmoniously with your IT Department (Yes, It Can Be Done!) April 25, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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I’m attaching the handouts from a presentation I did at the eLearning Guild Annual Gathering 2008. The presentation is called Working Harmoniously with your IT Department (Yes, It Can Be Done!). We had a great discussion with everyone that attended. Most everyone (including a few IT people!) shared stories and we discussed ways to help bridge the all-too-often communication gap between HR/training departments and IT departments. Enjoy the handouts!

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AG08 – Day 3 – Summary April 18, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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The AG08 conference wrapped up nicely yesterday with a great keynote from Stefan Sagmeister (of Sagmeister, Inc.), who discussed several of the concepts from his book, Things I have learned in my life so far. Here’s a quick run-through of the things he’s learned:

  1. Helping other people helps me.
  2. Having guts always works out for me.
  3. Thinking that life will be better in the future is stupid. I have to live now.
  4. Organising a charity group is surprisingly easy.
  5. Being not truthful always works against me.
  6. Everything I do always comes back to me.
  7. Assuming is stifling.
  8. Drugs feel great in the beginning and become a drag later on.
  9. Over time I get used to everything and start taking for granted.
  10. Money does not make me happy.
  11. My dreams have no meaning.
  12. Keeping a diary supports personal development.
  13. Trying to look good limits my life.
  14. Material luxuries are best enjoyed in small doses.
  15. Worrying solves nothing.
  16. Complaining is silly. Either act or forget.
  17. Everybody thinks they are right.
  18. If I want to explore a new direction professionally, it is helpful to try it out for myself first.
  19. Low expectations are a good strategy.
  20. Everybody who is honest is interesting.

While Stefan didn’t tie these much back to learning, he focused on the overall importance of good design and good practice, while emphasizing what’s important: exploring creativity, doing the right thing, being brave, and working hard. His book is described on Amazon as "a complex blend of personal revelation, art, and design—an eclectic mix of visual audacity and sound advice." This was certainly inspirational stuff.

I was only able to attend one session Thursday morning, and it was David Metcalf‘s Instructional Design for m-Learning. David has done some great work in this area, but I think the true impact of mLearning will come in the next 2 years or so. And I still have several questions related to mLearning such as: If an organization wants to roll out mLearning, how can they ensure all employees have a cell phone (without purchasing phones for some individuals)? Will organizations require all employees have a cell phone? If an employee has a personal cell phone, will they be required to pay for a data plan in order to be able to access mLearning? Or would the organization pick up the tab for the data plan? (This would definitely increase the rollout and maintenance cost for the organization.) I’m anxious to see how these decisions are made. There’s so much potential.

Again, this was a great conference. I met tons of smart people and had plenty of intriguing discussions. Now I’m looking forward to the next eLearning Guild Annual Gathering, which will also be hosted in Orlando, the week of March 10th, 2009. Now, I just need to think of a great idea for a session to present at AG09…

AG08 – Day 1 – Summary April 16, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Day 1 of AG08 was busy and completely wore me out – but it was all worth it! The day started with an early discussion at one the Breakfast Byte sessions and ended with dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant with some great newfound friends.

Here are the sessions I attended:

  • Positioning your Careers in Social Networking and Collaborative Learning (Ray Jimenez)
  • Learning 2.0: Harnessing the Potential of Contextual Informal Learning (Janhavi Padture)
  • Mobile Learning Today and Tomorrow (Judy Brown)
  • (Briefly attended) Tips & Tricks for Adobe Captivate and Presenter (Silke Fleischer)
  • (Briefly attended) Storyboarding for e-Learning Video Production (Steve Haskin)

Here a quick wrap-up of the various thoughts I picked up throughout the day:

  • Keith Sawyer’s opening keynote was pretty good, but I think many of us were expecting more specifics. He discussed innovation and how we can better hone collaboration efforts to be more innovative. Much of his discussion covered high-level education concepts that I think many instructional designers have mastered. I wished we could’ve seen more examples or heard more tips for applying this to our organizations. Still, it was pretty good. And he is a professor at Washington University in St. Louis (not too far from where I grew up ).
  • I twittered about this, but I get the feeling that the overall world of eLearning is shifting more toward learning and performance, with technology in the back seat. We’re no longer as thrilled and ecstatic over the latest tools. We’re now looking more closely to see how tools can better help us achieve our goals. And we realize that technology won’t solve every problem. I think eLearning is maturing, in a good way.
  • I found out there’s an Enterprise version of Facebook. Interesting. I know many companies are interested in Facebook, but are afraid to let their employee data outside of their firewall. If the enterprise edition can be installed locally, I think this’ll interest many people. (Note: I didn’t have time to verify or research this, so take it with a grain of salt for now.)
  • Many people are wondering if the LMS is dead, or will die soon. I think the role of the LMS will shift to become less important in the next few years, as people realize the value of social learning tools, such as wikis, tagging, social bookmarking, blogging, etc. We’ll probably have LMSs around forever to track important training, such as compliance, legal, and safety training. Legal departments have to have that information somewhere.
  • I visited with Judy Brown and David Metcalf. They’re both doing great things with mLearning, and I would love to somehow work with them. Judy has many of her presentations posted on her web site. Great stuff!
  • One interesting note related to mLearning: People will scroll vertically on their mobile devices, but they hate to scroll side-to-side. Simple observation, but impactful. Need to keep that in mind… Also, check out this mLearning page validator: mr.dev.mobi.
  • I keep running into Mark Chrisman of the badsquare blog. We’ve yet to sit down and have a good conversation. I’m hoping we can meet up soon.

(Don’t forget – I’m micro-blogging about the conference on Twitter…)

eLearning Guild Annual Gathering 2008 – Day 1- Social Learning Discussion April 15, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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(Whew – longest title ever. From here on, I’ll refer to the conference as AG08.)

We’re off to a great start! I attended an excellent discussion group this morning – one of the Breakfast Byte sessions on Tips & Tricks When Implementing Social Learning. The session was led by Kevin Jones, GTS. About 15 people attended and we had several great thoughts flying through the room for about an hour. Here’s a brief summary.

  • First of all, social learning is a broad term. We used it to discuss any type of learning that takes place via discussion, sharing, or collaboration. It is not based on technology; however, technology may play a key role.
  • Oftentimes, when social learning is discussed at an organization, some workers shy away. They see their knowledge as their power, and they’re afraid to give up that control. How to overcome this? Emphasize their ability to help others and play a bigger role in helping the organization, instead of hoarding the knowledge. (Sometimes easier said than done.)
  • If you’re getting pushback on social learning technologies (ex. blogs and wikis), you may want to have evangelist(s) at your organization who take lead and emphasize the potential of these tools, show examples, etc.
  • Great discussions about group/department blogs. Have different people contribute on a loose basis, or assign each person their own week to participate.
  • Always "seed" wikis with content when they are first created. Empty wikis tend to "die on the vine.".
  • Internal RSS readers are important to find, so you can aggregate internal blogs. Many users try to use an external reader (ex. Google Reader) and run into issues.
  • "What is the perfect social learning implementation? There is no such thing. Use whatever tools and methodologies that help your teams collaborate best."
  • Company culture mirrors the sharing of information. For example, if your organization has loose work hours and a relaxed environment, information sharing will be common. A stuffy, strict 8 to 5 organization will tend to resist new technologies and keep information in silos. Interesting observation. There’s some truth there.
  • Take any company directory at an organization, add some bio information for each person, and you have the makings of a social network. Then, just provide some type of instant messaging tool. That’s an easy way to get started, rather than implementing some big, expensive software package.
  • These links were discussed – I’ll have to take a look later: sociallearning.ning.com and learningtown.com (Elliott Masie’s new project)
  • Here are several tools that were discussed: Beehive, Workplace, Quicker, ClearSpace, and *several* flavors of wikis. Sorry – no time to track these down and link them right now. Just search for them on Google and I’m sure you’ll have luck.

I’m also micro-blogging about the conference on Twitter

I’m late to the Keynote – gotta go! 🙂