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My LMS vendor just got acquired by another company! Now what?! April 28, 2011

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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SuccessFactors Acquires PlateauThe landscape of learning management system (LMS) vendors is constantly changing. There have been dozens of acquisitions in the past decade, including a big one this week. This can be a scary time if your organization happens to be using an LMS that gets acquired by or merged with another company. After all, you’ve most likely invested thousands of dollars and many hours getting it set up and configured to work well. So, if your LMS vendor gets acquired by another
company, what should you do? What questions should you ask?

My first piece of advice would be: Just relax. The process of merging two business generally takes a while. You most likely won’t see any overnight changes. Take this time to think through several scenarios and prepare a list of questions for your account representative.

Below is a starter list of questions that you may want to ask. The account rep may not know all of the answers if the news is still fresh, but it’s good to start thinking in these terms. To keep things straight, I’ll use the terms acquirer (the company who is making the purchase) and acquiree (the company who is being purchased).

Question to ask:

  • Why (specifically) was the company acquired?
  • How will the roadmap for the LMS change?
  • Will the underlying technologies change?
  • What products, services, features, etc., of the acquirer will be made available to clients of the acquiree?
  • How will the support model change for the acquiree, if at all?
  • Will the hourly rate change for the acquiree? (ex. For customizations)
  • Will any of your technical or support contacts change?
  • Will there (still?) be an annual conference for the LMS and its users?

I’m sure I left off some questions. What else would you add?

The eLearning Security Leak November 11, 2010

Posted by Eric Matas in eLearning, Theory.
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Words and images spread fast online. Internet 2.0 offers many tools for sharing a status update or image with a network, which can then share with a larger network, and when something goes viral, it seems that everybody knows.

In elearning, we are in the business of putting images together to train employees and clients. eLearning images make great screenshots for an elearner to leak to the ever disseminating web.

Now That's a Screenshot!

Engadget ran a piece with a screenshot from VZLearn, the LMS of Verizon Wireless. The training, for employees, revealed what the public did not yet know: that Palm Pre 2 training would only be assigned if Verizon intended to roll that out soon. Now, you can Google “screen shot leak” and see blog post after blog post about Windows 8 or or the next iPhone. For all we know, those screenshots are “leaked” on purpose for publicity.

But what potential leaks could happen at your company? Could a disgruntled employee post screenshots of your internal only or proprietary data?

I’ve worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Federal Reserve Bank. These companies have serious needs to protect information and reputations. The elearning we made was scrubbed and re-scrubbed to eliminate any potentially damaging information. Still, if an elearner had it out for a company like those, or  yours, they could print screen and leak in a 2.0 minute.

I don’t know if elearning designers and developers can spend too much time planning for the potential threat of a screenshot leak. But maybe that is a key part of the projects. And what about the LMS systems that house the elearning–are they safe?

If someone were hungry enough for a story or had a big enough grudge, they just might hack into an LMS to get more than a screenshot: the whole module. Is elearning a hot spot for internet security and corporate privacy?

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?

LearnTrends 2009 Video Archive Available November 27, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the LearnTrends 2009 Online Conference, but I heard great things about it. Fortunately, I ran across a video archive of the conference, thanks to a blog post by George Siemens. (LearnTrends was sponsored by Jay Cross, Tony Karrer, and George Siemens.)

Check out the video archive.

There are tons of other details about the conference here, and you can get more info about LearnTrends on these social networks:

Enjoy!

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.