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What I Like About eLearning March 22, 2011

Posted by Eric Matas in eLearning, Theory.
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I was never really good in art class growing up. I’d immerse myself in the project of the day and be proud of what I’d made, only to look up at the end and discover that everyone else had glued their macaroni or painted their plate just a little better than I.

I particularly liked collages, I think, because they offered the less talented more room for error — mistakes just look like creativity in a collage. Maybe elearning is like a collage. Some text here, a photo there. Some images I cut and paste along the edge.

And then maybe I move everything around and try another lay-out.

I like that. I like strategy and learning by experience. So mapping out a template and building it 14 ways definitely floats my boat. Rapid-prototyping was practically invented for the strategist and activator (StrengthsFinder) in me.

And I like a lot of other things about elearning:

  • Likable elearningHaving all these programs, and multiple instances of some, open at once: Captivate, Photoshop, PowerPoint, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Word, TweetDeck, Handbrake, Dropbox, Excel, and Project.
  • The Rapid eLearning Blog and tips like how to make a PowerPoint template.
  • Cathy Moore’s dedication to language.
  • That elearning people are into Twitter and Facebook (community from Cali to London to Austrailia).
  • Creative elearning people coming up with cool logos like the awesome little Litmos monster and the ninja photo of the eLearning Brothers.
  • Cammy Bean.
  • The beautiful, sleek, amazing app machine known as the iPad.
  • Screenr.
  • Saying, “How about a hover over?”
  • The writers I’ve read the most: B.J. Schone, Jane Hart, Tom Kuhlmann, and Clive Shepherd.
  • Nudging assets on the screen.
  • Tahoma, Verdana, and Kristen ITC.
  • Articulate — the authoring tools, the company, the blogs, and the online presence.
  • Drop shadows.
  • PNG files.
  • Editing the Captivate files being discussed during the conference call.
  • Putting secret doors throughout my elearning modules, mainly so I can jump around quickly, but also the occasional surprise room I hope some learner finds.
  • Absorb, the best LMS on earth.
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eLearning Thought Leaders: Jane Bozarth – DevLearn Preview October 29, 2010

Posted by Eric Matas in eLearning, Interview.
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Jane Bozarth likes social media. She lives on Twitter and Facebook whether online at a computer or connected through an app on a mobile device. Her latest book is Social Media for Trainers. Bozarth will be at DevLearn, November 3-5, so we thought it would be good to interview her as a preview to such an industry leading conference, hosted by the eLearning Guild.

North Carolina governor Office Tweets about EarlWe had an eclectic conversation hitting topics from book publishing to SCORM to the future of the LMS, but she kept coming back to social media. Like me, she is amazed   and frustrated by all of the questions about companies blocking social media sites. In her work for the State of North Carolina, she is supposed to be using social Media. North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue used Twitter to update her state on Hurricane Earl in early september. The people and companies who have embraced social media are moving fast and finding innovative ways to sue the tools. In our interview, we focused on social media for training…and for other related business purposes.

eLearning Weekly Interview: with Dr. Jane Bozarth, Elearning Coordinator, North Carolina, USA, Office of State Personnel

eLW: In 2005 you published the book E-Learning Solutions on a Shoestring and now your latest book is Social Media for Trainers. Is there a common theme or themes with these books?

JB: I work for state government so will always face working with a limited budget and limited access to support staff like graphic artists or Flash experts.  A common theme in my books as well as my work is making good use of free and low-cost tools, and figuring out ways of doing things yourself. 

 eLW: Do you think social media tools serve better for classroom training or for online elearning?

JB: I think that’s something of a false distinction. Social media tools are useful anywhere we want to incorporate collaborative learning activities. 

 eLW: The social media tools for the classroom are great for collaboration, so do you see or want to see those tools used for other aspects of corporate work?

JB: We know that the preponderance of workplace learning occurs not in the classroom, but in those spaces between formal training events. Social media tools can provide excellent means of supporting social in-work learning. They are wonderful for performance support, mentoring and coaching, and peer-to-peer learning. 
eLW: So if social media tools are used in training practices and for other business processes, could you see social media tools causing traditional training to merge into the business processes?
JB: Yes, but I think that depends on workers, managers, and organization finally recognizing that most of what we call “learning” does not happen during training. 
eLW: What is your daily routine when it comes to internet use? Do you regularly visit certain sites? How long are you online every day?
JB: I am online, via a laptop or my iPhone, pretty much during every waking hour. I keep Facebook and Twitter up all day but don’t post much during work hours. I try to stay on top of blog feeds but find I often just have to make an hour a week to review everything. I’m also a Googler, though I find that I am now using Twitter more for getting answers. 
 eLW: What were you doing before working for North Carolina?
JB: I worked in retail and in the standardized-test business for a little while, but nearly my whole work life has been spent in state government. I was with NC Health and Human Services and the NC Justice Department before moving to my current job in the central personnel office. 
Now for a few personal questions that will really give readers a chance to get to know you.
eLW: Think rock-n-roll / pop music, specifically live music–what was the first concert you ever attended and what was the most recent?
JB: A mega show at Carter-Finley stadium with Aerosmith, Van Halen and Poco when I was 16. I went to the Asylum Street Spankers farewell Raleigh show night before last. The last big show was Heart a few months back.  
eLW: I know you love your iPhone as much as I love mine–do you have a favorite app?
JB: Oh man, that depends on what I’m doing. Lately it’s Netflix since I can now stream movies via iPhone. I like Shazam for music ID. For travel I love Gate Guru. I like Photogene for editing pictures. For mischief I love Fake Call.  I like Angry Birds and Rolando. I also prefer the Facebook mobile app to the desktop view.  

 eLW: What is your favorite sports team?

JB: How many innings are there in football?  

 eLW: What was your most unusual job?

JB: Running an upscale toy store. 
eLW: Thank you, Jane. And for our readers who like networking, one final question: Where will you be appearing and where can people find your schedule for conferences or events?
DevLearn 2010JB: I’m at DevLearn 2010 in November, Training 2011 in San Diego, the 2011 Learning Technologies Exhibition in London, and the eLearning Guild conference in March. My speaking schedule’s on my blog at www.bozarthzone.com. And folks can always find me on Twitter @janebozarth or on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/Bozarthzone . 

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?

#lrnchat August 8, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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If you’re looking for a great way to connect with other learning professionals to discuss experiences and share best practices, #lrnchat may be your new best friend. #lrnchat is an online chat that happens every Thursday night 8:30-10pm EST / 5:30-7pm PST on Twitter. Participants are people interested in the topic of learning from one another and who want to discuss how to help other people learn. (If you haven’t yet joined Twitter, this may be a good opportunity to give it a shot!)

#lrnchat is hosted by @marciamarcia, @quinnovator, @moehlert @koreenolbrish and @janebozarth. The official twitter account is @lrnchat.

You may want to consider using a free service like TweetGrid or Monitter to follow #lrnchat; these services make it much easier to tune into the conversation.

Transcripts are available if you are unable to attend the live #lrnchat sessions. Personally, this has been really helpful for me, because I can’t seem to synch my schedule to participate in the live chat sessions. Here’s an example transcript of #lrnchat from July 30, 2009.

Thanks to Jane Hart; her recent post on #lrnchat reminded that this would be an excellent topic to cover in eLearning Weekly.

Micro-blogging at Work May 30, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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I’ve been on Twitter for over a year, and I find great value in the ability to ask questions to a large group of people (ex. friends, peers, etc.) when I need to find information. I often get excellent answers and suggestions that have much more value than a Google search would have yielded. I also enjoy the ability to share helpful resources that I find, and I do my best to answer questions that other people have. It only makes sense that organizations are starting to bring the same concept of Twitter (micro-blogging) in-house to improve communication between employees.

What is micro-blogging?

Micro-blogging is the process of sending short text updates that describe what you’re doing and/or thinking to a web site or web application. The messages are available to whomever has subscribed to view your messages. There are many micro-blogging platforms (see below) that allow you to easily track messages from your friends and peers, and they also make it easy to search for messages that were previously posted. All of the information is saved and it can be searched. Read a more detailed definition of micro-blogging.

How can micro-blogging be beneficial at work?

Here are a few examples of how micro-blogging can be beneficial at work. Micro-blogging can be used to:

  • Ask questions
  • Share project updates
  • Make organization-wide announcements (for non-critical information)
  • Build a community (ex. have new employees communicate with each other and share their experiences)
  • Promote a culture of information sharing

We’re in the early stages of a micro-blogging trial at work. I can’t say much about it, but I am very pleased with what I’ve seen so far. I’m seeing employees making connections with co-workers in different divisions, and I’m seeing employees provide each other with assistance on a regular basis. While I can’t articulate a rock-solid business case for micro-blogging, this behavior screams success to me.

Selecting a micro-blogging platform

If you are concerned about your employees sharing confidential or proprietary information, you will probably want to be very careful when selecting a micro-blogging platform. You can use an internally-hosted micro-blogging platform, or you can consider using a solution hosted by a vendor. Some of the most popular platforms are:

Involve the right people

When considering micro-blogging at your organization, you’ll need to make sure to involve the right people. I highly recommend you bring in people from the following departments. Help them understand micro-blogging and why you’re interested in using it:

  • Corporate Communications
  • HR
  • IT
  • Legal

Run a pilot program

Consider running a pilot program, where you use micro-blogging for a small group of users (perhaps the training department?). This will let you get a feel for how the concept works, and you should be able to figure out its potential pretty quickly. (I would also recommend that you jump on Twitter, just to get a quick understanding of how micro-blogging works.)

Good luck, and please leave a comment below if you have experience using micro-blogging at work. I’d love to hear how it is going.

Social Learning Question of the Day February 19, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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2 comments

Kevin Jones, author of the Engaged Learning blog, has set up a Twitter account called Social Learning Question of the Day (@slqotd). David Wilkins is also a contributor on Social Learning Question of the Day.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Get a (free) Twitter account, if you don’t have one already.
  2. Follow @slqotd and it will follow you back.
  3. Each business day a new question is asked. Add in your two cents: Start your tweet with d slqotd.
  4. Your tweet will be sent to all those following @slqotd.

This is an excellent example of collaboration among a group of users. I will admit that I’ve only been a spectator of SLQOTD, but I think it’s fantastic and I plan on participating in the future.

You can see a summary of all questions and answers for December and January (PDF files).

Great job, Kevin and David. This is very cool!

Using Twitter at DevLearn October 31, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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My eyes were very much opened to Twitter at the last eLearning Guild conference. About 15 of us used Twitter to…

  • Keep in touch with other conference attendees, co-workers, and friends,
  • Tell others about good and bad conference sessions (ex. “Come check out session 702, it’s great!!”), and to
  • Arrange dinner outings (ex. “Interested in dinner? A group of us will meet in the hotel lobby at 6:30…”).

I’m betting there will be tons more Twitter activity at DevLearn coming up in a few weeks. The official DevLearn Twitter page is here, my Twitter page is here, and as far as I know, these people will also be going to DevLearn:

Did I leave you off the list? If so, please add a comment and share your Twitter name! Also, check out Jane Hart’s Directory of Learning Professionals on Twitter. I’m guessing several of these people will also be at DevLearn.