jump to navigation

Learning 2.0 Is Like Punk Rock September 12, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
11 comments

I had a fun discussion last night with several friends / colleagues. We were trying to hypothesize why so many (e)Learning 2.0 initiatives don’t get the traction we would expect, both at our organization and at other organizations. Several of us learning tech geeks see such great opportunities with learning 2.0, but it sometimes feels like others just don’t get it. We have fantastic tools at our disposal, like blogs, social bookmarking, wikis, RSS, etc. – and many of these tools are free. However, it feels like we’re pulling teeth when we try to make a business case to show the value and possibilities for these tools. To get around this, we’re seeing more grassroots movements take place. Instead of waiting for top-down direction, employees are installing learning 2.0 tools/technologies and experimenting with them on their own.

Peggy Gartin, a friend and colleague, came up with a great simile: Learning 2.0 is like punk rock. Punk is a music genre that defies the mainstream. It grows from people wanting to express themselves and share their work; they don’t wait for an executive at a record label to provide them with ideas. Punk embraces a DIY (do it yourself) ethic, with many bands self-producing their recordings and distributing them through informal channels (A bit of that definition was borrowed from Wikipedia.). This resonates with what I’ve seen related to learning 2.0. If you try to harness it, control it, and direct it, you’ll lose its magic. It won’t have the same effect. If you force people to use social bookmarking, they’ll ignore it. If you force them to blog, they’ll get writer’s block. On the other hand, if you provide these tools and let people run with their ideas, I believe you’ll see much better results.

Many executives are still in the early stages of hearing about learning 2.0 and they’re still trying to get their hands around it. From what I’ve seen, the key may lie in the everyday learning and technology professionals like you and me. We should continue to test-drive tools and technologies. Experiment on your own and find out what works best for you and your organization. Don’t wait for some suit in an executive office to tell you what to do. We need to be the rebellious ones. Now go forth and rock. 🙂

Advertisements

The Business Value of Web 2.0 Learning Tools August 20, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Jay Cross cracks me up (in a good way). When he’s not sharing gorgeous travel photos (including pictures of some of the most unique food you’ll ever see), he comes up with gems related to informal learning and educational technology. One of his latest offerings is a chart that outlines a variety of Web 2.0 tools, including a brief description of their business value. This is great! I appreciate that Jay is able to succinctly articulate their business value, especially because many people still don’t take these tools seriously.

Click below to view the table:

Found via: http://informl.com/2008/08/15/web-20-learning-puzzle-pieces/

A Speedbump for Social Learning May 24, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Whether you call it Learning 2.0, eLearning 2.0, or Social Learning, there’s a relatively new wave of tools and technologies that allow people to communicate and collaborate in a surprisingly easy and effective way. Some of these tools and technologies include wikis, blogs, social bookmarking, and social networking. Well…I’ve run into a situation recently that I believe will be encountered more and more by people who try to implement social learning at their organization: I’ve realized that you need to be very careful of how and where your organization’s information is stored. If you’re not careful, you may end up accidentally leaking confidential and/or proprietary information out to the public.

Most social learning tools are web-based, and the social (or sharing) aspect generally means that the information you submit is likely to be available to other users that may or may not be affiliated with your organization. So if you’re using these tools to store or communicate sensitive information, you may be in for a big (bad) surprise. Make sure you clearly understand all aspects of the tool before using it at your organization. I know, this seems like common sense for many people, but I think it’s important enough to bring it to light. People that aren’t technically-savvy may not think in these terms, and this is an area where one small mistake could lead to a large problem.

In terms of being ready for business use, blogs and wikis appear to be ahead of the pack. It’s very easy to find blog and wiki software to install behind-the-firewall, where your organization’s information will be safe. But social bookmarking and social networking tools are lagging behind a bit. This means that we may find wonderful social learning tools that we unfortunately cannot use safely at our organizations. Some examples are Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook; to my knowledge, these applications don’t have a separate, secure, option for private business use. I hope this is just a speedbump for social learning, and I hope we start to see more options for social learning tools that can be considered safe for business use. These may be open-source options, behind-the-firewall installations, or even protected/secure options for internet-based applications. But either way, just make sure you do your homework before rolling out any new tool that communicates out openly to the internet.

Does this ring true for anyone? Or can you suggest how we can use social learning tools without these risks?

AG08 – Day 1 – Summary April 16, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

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…)

Free eBook: Learning 2.0 for Associations February 7, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Michele Martin over at The Bamboo Project Blog recently posted about a free eBook titled Learning 2.0 for Associations (PDF). The eBook was written by Jeff Cobb over at the Mission to Learn blog.

Michele puts it best, so I’ll let her tell you about it:

In a little over 100 pages, Jeff does a fabulous job of describing the tools of Web 2.0 and how they can be used for various learning activities. He also has some nice concrete examples and a long list of resources at the end. Definitely something to check out and add to your reading list.

And Jeff’s summary of the eBook starts like this:

This report considers how approaches to learning have evolved and what impact the new technologies dubbed “Web 2.0” are having. In it you will find examples of ways in which associations are using these new technologies and what possibilities they may represent for your organization’s professional development and other learning initiatives.

I’m always anxious to hear more people discuss (e)Learning 2.0, but I really like how Jeff goes into detail about how people interact, collaborate, and learn together. It also looks like this eBook is a great intro for people who are relatively new to the learning 2.0 world; Jeff’s writing is very clear and easy to understand. He also uses simple, but effective, graphics to illustrate his points. Great stuff!

DevLearn 2007 – Day 2 November 8, 2007

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
6 comments

Holy cow – today went by FAST! It was a blur but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Here’s a recap:

  • I began the morning by dropping in on a discussion led by Clive Shepherd on the use of Facebook and social networking applications in learning. It was a great discussion and Clive is quite knowledgeable on the subject. I don’t use Facebook myself, but I was surprised and encouraged to hear about the possibilities it presents. Just like wikis, Facebook allows learners to contribute their own information and collaborate with others, which shows good potential. We also discussed the fact that there’s still a definite generation gap with tools like this, but we believe that’ll fade with time. It was good to kick ideas around regarding social networking and learning. Many of us think there’s a lot to benefit from in this area, but I don’t think any of us know exactly how to use it in a training scenario (yet).
  • Paul Saffo gave an interesting keynote on the progression of media usage and how it may ultimately affect learning. He discussed a shift from media consumption (ex. watching TV, reading web pages) to media creation (ex. YouTube, Wikipedia, etc). Paul believes the eLearning world could strike big in this movement, especially as people begin to better understand the importance of learning-how-to-learn. He said our industry is "Standing on a whale, fishing for minnows." Hold on!
  • Later in the day, I attended Clive’s session, 30-Minute Masters for Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Clive, along with Cammy Bean, came up with this concept, and I’m already a big fan. They suggest that we (training professionals) spend time with SMEs and teach them basic instructional design skills and then provide them with rapid development tools such as Captivate and Articulate. Granted, you can’t get too deep into instructional theory, but you can definitely give them some high-level design dos and don’ts. This way, SMEs are able to quickly create training and (hopefully) address the basic needs of most individuals within the organization. This frees up the training staff to focus on more complex training solutions, high-end courses, immersive learning solutions, etc.

    Later in this session, we began discussing the management of content (ex. training modules, job aids) generated by SMEs. Clive suggested that their content could be dumped into a large repository and we could allow users to search it, just like they search Google or YouTube. He also suggested allowing learners to rate the content (ex. 4 out of 5 stars). This way, higher-quality content (training modules) float to the top and are featured in the system. This approach would weed-out (or bury) poorer quality modules. I like this idea, and I don’t think it’d be that hard to implement.

    Clive set up a wiki for the 30-Minute Masters – check it out.

  • Silke Fleischer held a session where she covered several (Adobe) rapid development tools and showed excellent examples of how they can be used to create podcasts, eLearning modules, audio clips, and short videos. Some of the tools included Captivate, Visual Communicator, Contribute, SoundBooth, and others. My big A-HA moment came when she showed how Contribute can be used as an editor for writing and editing blog posts. How cool! I’ve never been happy with WordPress’ editing capabilities. It’ll be nice to use the Contribute editor instead; it looks very intuitive.
  • Finally, I attended a session on Instructional Alternate Reality Games (I-ARGs), put on by the folks at Exceptional Software / Media Edge. WOW, this is cool stuff. They covered the ARG concept in full, which is just SO cool, and talked about ways in which it can be used for training. These folks are the first ones to tackle ARGs in the education/training world. I think there’s major potential here… I’m going to keep an eye on this stuff.

    Here are a few links related to ARGs and I-ARGS:

Oh – and then I went out for drinks with several other eLearning bloggers. Good times! Now, it’s time for sleep. Good night!

Teacher Training Videos October 10, 2007

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

I ran across a great resource today: a web site that provides free tutorial movies that can help you better integrate learning and technology. The site is Teacher Training Videos, created by Russell Stannard. Russell is a principal lecturer at the University of Westminster.

Some of his tutorial movies include:

On the site, Russell says, “Look out for the new videos on Moodle, Facebook & social networks and 2nd Life.” I look forward to them. Thanks, Russell!