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Make eLearning for the iPad for FREE July 14, 2011

Posted by Eric Matas in eLearning Tools.
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I feel some guilty pleasure when other trainers and elearning developers become jealous of my elearning app for the iPad. Because the Mac iOS doesn’t support Flash, many of my colleagues haven’t been able to take advantage of the best elearning tool ever: the iPad.

My app did not cost that much ($7,000 developed in 2010 and $4000 for upgrades in 2011). Still, even those costs are not readily available to many training teams. So, I will share my first efforts making elearning for the iPad. It still works very well and gets “oohs and ahhs” even though it is simple and FREE.

There are many tools for doing the small bit of work involved, but I will focus on the easiest method I know, using the word processing program on my computer. It’s three steps and then you are elearning:

  1. Make a simple document in Pages.
  2. Export as an epub file.
  3. Put the epub file in iTunes and sync your iPad(s).

Learners can view the elearning module in iBooks, the free app from Apple. The reader app is the key, really. It has interactive functionality built in, so you just need to focus on good content.

Step 1 — Pages. Pages is the word processing program on a Mac. It is simple to use, like Word. Simply add text, images and video. Formatting must be simple so the epub file can adapt to various sizes when viewed. Still the content can look great, and with multi-media, it reads more like a digital magazine than a book. It helps to make a visual cover page (your page 1) that looks like a book cover. Play around with headers and styles — because these will help the learner navigate.

Step 2 — Epub. In Pages, just click Share > Export and choose the epub option. Check the box that makes your first page the cover art. You will have an epub file in seconds. If you get errors, it is probably related to formatting that epub files don’t support. It is best to keep the formatting simple — let iBooks do the work of making your module look great.

Step 3 — iTunes. On a Mac, just drag the epub file you just saved onto iTunes and then sync your iPad. Like Forrest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that.

In iBooks, your module will have an interactive table of contents — created from your headers and styles. The table of contents works as nicely as a menu in a Flash elearning course. Learners can change fonts or font size to their liking, read portrait or landscape, and bookmark and annotate the module. The video content plays right on the page or can be expanded to full screen.

I’ve had success with small, three-page mini-books. That’s three pages in the word processor — once in iBooks, the page numbers vary for each learner depending on  their font choices and orientation they prefer for their iPad. Learners found the content engaging and appealing, and as elearning it was refreshing to have a mini-book instead of the typical rapid elearning thriller. I’ve also made longer modules, around 10-11 pages. They were well-received, but I made ample use of white space, and I wouldn’t recommend pushing much more than that. I don’t have data on it, but the iBooks format seems to suit concise elearning efforts. If readers can page through within 15-20 minutes, they seem pleased. If you have more content, make a separate epub module and call it a sequel.

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My New Year’s Resolutions For 2010 December 26, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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I’ve come up with a few ideas for my New Year’s Resolutions for 2010. Next year, I will…

Experiment more with technology
I usually do a decent job with this, but I’m going to do a better job in 2010 of trying lots of new software, tools, web sites, web applications, etc. I don’t need to be an expert in all of these technologies, but I find that a good awareness of everything is very important.

Succeed (or fail) fast
I will use quick prototypes when evaluating new tools / technologies for projects. I’ve learned over time that lengthy trials take too long and are often unnecessary. I usually have better luck when I set up something that is ‘good enough’ and then improve it iteratively.

Listen better
In the past few years, I fell into the occasional bad habit of not listening closely enough to clients / internal customers. I would sometimes shortcut conversations in my head and diagnose their situations before I even knew the whole story. I’m aware of this, and I’ll do my best to listen better moving forward.

Read more
I love to read, but I sometimes get too busy…or at least that’s what I tell myself. In 2010, I want to do a better job of reading on a regular basis. I usually prefer books on business, performance improvement, and sometimes suspense / mystery thrillers.

Travel more
I want to travel internationally at least once next year, along with several trips to different states. I’m always open to suggestions, so let me know if you have any ideas.

What are your resolutions? Oh, and in case you need it, there’s a good article on eHow called How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions. 🙂

Five Words To Describe Corporate Learning in 2010 December 18, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Jeanne Meister, author of the New Learning Playbook blog, wrote a post yesterday on the five words she predicts will describe corporate learning in 2010. I think she’s right on target… Here’s a brief summary, but be sure to check out her full post for more info.

  • Social
    The word ‘social’ is overplayed, but what it represents is still relevant and will continue to be in 2010 (i.e. collaboration, information sharing, etc.). I still think we need to come up with another word besides social; it isn’t a good business word – but we’ll save that for another time.
  • Mobile
    Our mobile devices are becoming more and more powerful. It only makes sense that we will have more opportunities to use these devices in a learning context.
  • Collaborative
    None of us is as smart as all of us. Collaborative technologies such as wikis have proven to be very useful for learning and information sharing.
  • Engaging
    If I’m bored, I won’t learn. Learning solutions need to be challenging and as thought-provoking as possible.
  • Fun
    As Clark Quinn says, “Learning should be hard fun.” It isn’t always easy to make learning fun in a corporate setting (ex. compliance training), but it’s our job to give it a shot.

Are any of the concepts above ground-breaking for 2010? No, they aren’t, but I believe they put us on the right track to continue to improve our learning solutions and experiences for our end users. Hey, at least we’re trying! 🙂

Introducing the SCORM Cloud December 9, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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I had the pleasure of meeting Mike Rustici this year at DevLearn. Mike runs Rustici Software and he’s a total SCORM ninja. In our conversation, Mike mentioned a new service that is offered by his company – the service is called the SCORM Cloud. It was easy to see Mike was pretty excited about this, and after hearing some of the details, I think it definitely provides us with some interesting new ways to deliver and track learning content.

How to describe the SCORM Cloud…

If you didn’t have to use an LMS to offer learning content, where would you want to do it? A Facebook page? Your WordPress blog? Via an iGoogle widget? Maybe, but you’d lose the ability to track and record and assess, right? Enter SCORM Cloud, which lets you take learning outside the LMS and put it pretty much anywhere you want.

How does that happen? Essentially, your course content sits out on the cloud (much like your Google Docs or your Flickr pictures), and SCORM Cloud lets you deliver it wherever you want. SCORM Cloud tracks and records the same things SCORM 2004 (or 1.2 or AICC) would in your LMS and reports them back. So you can score quizzes, track interactions or set sequencing for any content you upload to the SCORM Cloud. No LMS required.

As of now, Rustici Software has already integrated SCORM Cloud with several open source LMSs such as Moodle and Sakai. And they tell me that they are close to having it ready to work with WordPress and iGoogle. The current integrations are open-source and flexible enough to allow for customizations, and you can even build your own integration if you want to use SCORM Cloud somewhere they have haven’t considered yet.

(There’s a fee for using SCORM Cloud and it is priced based your usage and needs. And it is far cheaper than going the whole-LMS route.)

I’d recommend that you check out the SCORM Cloud if you’re feeling overly constrained by your LMS; it will help you break out of the traditional eLearning model and take advantage of some of the new 2.0 tools that are now available on the web. Kudos to Mike and his team for thinking up an innovative solution like this…

Check out the SCORM Cloud web page to learn more, sign up for a free account, and view pricing information.

Hot Topics in eLearning for 2009 December 4, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Tony Karrer posted a list of the trending hot topics in eLearning for 2009, based on stats from his eLearningLearning.com site. Nothing is too surprising, but it’s very helpful how Tony linked to some of the more popular articles and blog posts related to each topic.

Below are the hottest trending topics we saw in 2009, but be sure to visit Tony’s full list to see even more great info.

Hot Topics in eLearning for 2009

  1. Twitter
  2. Social Media, Social Networks, Social Learning, and Informal Learning
  3. Google Wave
  4. SharePoint
  5. Video
  6. Mobile , Mobile Learning and iPhone
  7. Changes in Design and Instructional Design and our Roles
  8. Webinars and Virtual Classrooms

Any predictions on what we’ll see as the hot topics in 2010?

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!

A Case Study of Micro-Blogging for Learning at Qualcomm November 19, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Below are the slides from my presentation at DevLearn 2009. I co-presented this session along with my colleague, John Polaschek. The presentation had two main areas of focus:

  1. How micro-blogging can be used to help facilitate discussions and knowledge-sharing between employees
  2. How Qualcomm is using Yammer to help employees connect across divisions and geographic regions

I hope you enjoy it, even though you won’t have our charming personalities to accompany the slides! 🙂

Please leave a comment if you’ve worked with micro-blogging at your organization. I’d be curious to hear how it’s going and any tips you can provide to others. Thanks!

DevLearn 2009 – Day 3 Recap November 13, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Ah, the final day of DevLearn 2009. It’s been so much fun! But all good things must come to an end…

If you haven’t caught up yet, be sure to read recaps of Day 1 and Day 2. And don’t forget: You can view photos from DevLearn, too!

Keynote: Why New Media Matters – Leo Laporte

Leo gave a great keynote without using any slides at all. How refreshing is that?! His stories were engaging, and it’s clear why he’s been so successful as a radio/technology personality for so many years. Cammy Bean did an awesome job (again) of live-blogging this morning’s keynote. You can see her notes here. Thanks again, Cammy!

I was only able to attend one session Friday morning, but it was a really good one:

Session 706: Sharing Knowledge for Training: Social Networking in Action at Toyota

Rodolfo Rosales presented his story of introducing a social network within Toyota to help encourage employees to share subject matter expertise (ex. product information, car comparisons). Rodolfo and his team used Ning as their social network and it flourished in the first 3 months….until their internal IT department found out about it. As I’ve seen in many cases, IT isn’t always comfortable with rogue installations of software, and they shut down the initiative (booo!). However, there was a happy ending: IT began to see the value of the social network and the resulting data, so they are now working to create an enterprise-wide social network that will be supported at Toyota. Rodolfo’s slides will be available on the DevLearn Resources page. Be sure to take a look.

Side note: Has anybody else noticed that many of the Learning 2.0 / Enterprise 2.0 tools seem to cause disruptions (ex. politically and technically) within the enterprise? I’ve seen it several times. There’s a research project in there somewhere…

Nice to meet you!

I had the pleasure of meeting all kinds of new people at DevLearn. I was also able to catch up with old friends, which is always great. I will attempt to list a bunch of them here, but I know I will forget several. (I’m sorry if I left you off the list!)

Thank you!!

A big Thank You to the eLearning Guild for doing such a great job with DevLearn!! I look forward to attending another Guild event soon.

DevLearn 2009 – Day 2 Recap November 13, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Day 2 of DevLearn kicked off with a keynote from Eric Zimmerman on Serious Game Design. Cammy Bean did a fantastic job of taking notes during the keynote, so I’ll defer to her on this. You can see her notes here. (Thank you, Cammy!)

Session 401: Overview of Latest Learning Trends: What’s Hot, What’s Not, and Why

This session was presented by Lance Dublin. In Lance’s typical style, it was full of interesting discussion and TONS of open (and often uncomfortable) questions. He covered everything from eLearning basics to all of the new “2.0” technologies. Some of the questions include: “Why would we use this? Does it really help? What really motivates us to use this tool? Are we over-complicating things?” When covering each iteration of technology, Lance broke items down to their core functionality to reveal their true advantages/disadvantages. Interesting stuff.

Session 506: Exploring the Benefits of Using WordPress for Learning

I presented this session along with my colleague, John Polaschek. We covered all things related to WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Our slides will be available on the DevLearn Resources page next week.

Session 613: Mobile Gaming Models – A Google Case Study and More!

This session was presented by David Metcalf. Julie Clow (from Google) was unable to co-present. (Feel better, Julie!)

Some quick gaming statistics:

  • 65% of households play games
  • Average player is 35, 40% female
  • Teens: 99% of boys, 94% of girls play games
    • 73% on desktop/laptop PCs
    • 60% on portable gaming devices
    • 48% on cellphones or PDAs

David showed several phone-based mobile learning games running on Java, BREW, and Flash. Next, he showed a few hybrid games, which integrate mobile with a full experience that includes full video, a web site, etc. Good examples, including one called MySportsPulse.

Google Leadership Game
Google worked with David Metcalf to create a leadership training program that was a mash-up with 7-8 Google tools: Gmail, YouTube, Google Docs, Google Talk, etc. They called it gLearning. Google used David’s MovingKnowledge engine, which provided a game engine, leader boards, curriculum tracking, and reporting. The MovingKnowledge engine bridged the gap between Google apps to provide a cohesive learning experience. The game element of a leaderboard led to higher retention and completion rates (and added the element of competition). What a cool case study… I would love to learn more about this.

One more day…

Notes from the final day of DevLearn will be online soon!

DevLearn 2009 – Day 1 Recap November 12, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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DevLearn 2009 is off to a great start! Yesterday was the official opening day of the conference, and it was jam-packed with a fantastic keynote by Andrew McAfee, several great presentations, and plenty of breakout sessions/bootcamps (ex. the Social Learning Camp). So much good stuff!

Social Learning Camp

Mark Oehlert has dedicated 99% of his time at DevLearn to the Social Learning Camp, and we should all say a huge THANK YOU for that. Mark is leading (almost) non-stop sessions on all aspects related to social learning and social technologies. Crowds gather around for each session, and I’ve heard a ton of great conversations there. Here are some of the key points I picked up in discussions yesterday:

  • Within organizations, most issues around social media and social learning are directly related to fear, control, and trust. Companies fear new technologies (especially ones that they don’t understand); they try to control every aspect of the user experience; and they don’t trust their employees to use the tools (ex. they try to implement approval processes, instead of just letting employees use the tools).
  • Related to the trust issue, Mark gave a great example: Companies trust their employees to make critical decisions, use expensive equipment, interact with customers, etc., but they’re terrified of having them use tools like Twitter and Yammer. Too funny.
  • Social media and social learning destroys hierarchies of knowledge (not management). Upper management often hoards information, and new tools flatten the organization, knowledge-wise. People find that they can get answers from each other instead of having to work up the chain.
  • Mark posed an excellent question, and he asked us to keep it in mind for the rest of the conference. Related to our work in learning and training, "How would you design things if you could start with a blank slate?" Then, when we get back to work (and back to reality), we should start to reverse engineer things until we can get as close to that new state as possible.

Enterprise 2.0 Keynote – Andrew McAfee

Wow, this was a great keynote. Andrew spoke on a few key themes:

  • Things have definitely changed; new technologies have drastically improved some of the ways in which people work/collaborate.
  • A key concept of Enterprise 2.0 is altruism. People want to help each other.
  • Our role is to give people the tools/technologies to do this. If we do this, good things happen.

Here are my notes from the keynote:

Enterprise 2.0 means that there are new ways in which technologies are being used, but (oftentimes) people on the business-side don’t care. They just want things done better, faster, cheaper. You don’t need to paint a grandiose picture of technology transformation – just get the work done.

Altruism
People want to help each other. We need to stop obsessing about risks when deciding on the uses of new technologies. (People deciding on technologies jump to this too quickly: “What might go wrong??!!”). Seriously, what’s the worst things that can happen? “Somebody tried to sell a used car on the discussion forum.” Big deal. Bottom line here: Lower the barriers to altruism.

Process
When it comes to capturing and sharing knowledge, beware of the ‘one best way’ approach. Build technology that lets people improve on their own. Ask: “How much workflow is necessary?” Usually, not much. Keep it that way. Use tools that let structure appear over time (ex. linking, tagging, voting/rating mechanisms).

Innovation
Innovation is the new strategy. Example: Innocentive is a clearinghouse where people can complete to solve complex problems for large companies like Eli Lilly and Procter and Gamble. Expertise is emergent. Don’t limit yourself to only certain sources of expertise. Consider crowdsourcing, both internally and externally. Question credentialism! Nobody cares where you went to school! Anybody can help solve a problem, and unique perspectives can be a huge help.

Intelligence
Crowds can be very wise – but you should enable peer review (ex. Wikipedia). Experiment with collective intelligence and see if it is a good fit for your organization (internally and externally).

Benefits
So, with Enterprise 2.0, what do these technologies allow you to do that you couldn’t do before? The tools help you make connections with people that you did not know existed. Better collaboration is not the only goal: Now you can also find new people to collaborate with. Advice: You should narrate your work via blogging or micro-blogging. This makes it easier for others to find you and connect with you.

Impact
We need to continue to look at technology with fresh eyes. We’re not going back to business as usual (economy-wise). Things have to change for us to be successful, and it’s important that we understand what’s going on.

Keynote Summary

  • Don’t declare war on the existing enterprise. That will end badly. You won’t make friends this way. Organizations need structure, we need to figure out ways to work around/with this.
  • Don’t allow walled-gardens. Otherwise they’ll stay ‘walled’. You lose the possibilities of great connections between divisions, departments, locations, etc.
  • Don’t accentuate all the bad stuff that can happen. Maybe you can point out issues, but don’t dwell on them.
  • Enterprise 2.0 technologies won’t replace email!!! Don’t tell everyone this will replace email, or they’ll think you’re crazy.
  • Don’t fall in love with features. It’s not about bells and whistles. People just want things to work (simply and well).
  • Don’t overuse the word ‘social’. It has negative connotations for most executives. People don’t want business to be more social. People want it to be more productive. Execs: “I’m not running a social club.” Social = hippie-talk. Think and talk in business terms and you’ll get much further.

Be sure to check out…

Session 114: Delivering Low-cost Mobile Learning Solutions

This session was presented by two guys from T-Mobile: Mark Chrisman and Jeff Tillett. Here are some notes from their session:

  • They use the approach of “Dream big, but stay scrappy.”
  • We need to be ready for Millennials. They use their mobile phones ALL the time, and they’ll likely be more willing to use mobile learning.
  • Mobile learning offers more accessibility, availability, and adaptability.
  • T-Mobile uses mobile learning for Pre- and Post-training at the moment. This may change with time.
  • The mobile web is the easiest way to reach a variety of devices. Consider building content in Dreamweaver using HTML, basic images, and .3gp video.
  • More and more user-generated content is coming. How can we tie this into training?
  • Have a heart-to-heart conversation with your LMS vendor about mobile learning. See if they’ll ever integrate mobile learning into their product.

Session 207: A Case Study of Micro-blogging for Learning at Qualcomm

I presented this session along with my colleague, John Polaschek. Our slides will be available on the DevLearn Resources page next week, and the lovely @julieastd took great notes during the session.

Session 315: Hacking SCORM to Gather Social Metrics for Online Resources

Gary Hegenbart presented a great session on how to use a guerrilla method of SCORM-hacking to record user opinions about eLearning tutorials and courses. Gary walked through steps to show how he added the following questions to his eLearning:

  • Did you find this tutorial/course helpful? Yes | No
  • How would you rate this module? 1 2 3 4 5
  • Would you recommend this module to co-workers? Yes | No

Gary had the interesting idea of storing answers to this information in the existing SCORM data model, using these elements: cmi.score.scaled, cmi.score.raw, cmi.score.min, and a few others. If all this SCORM-talk hasn’t scared you away, be sure to take a look at his examples/code. It’s definitely a clever approach.

Ok, I’m going back for more…

I’ll post an update about Day 2 soon!