Thursday, March 16, 2017

Play to Learn! (Book Tour Stop)

Karl Kapp and Sharon Boller have been banging the drum about learning games for years. In fact, one of my favorite ID-books back in 2007 was Karl Kapp's "Gadgets, Games, and Gizmos for Learning." 

Well, 10 years later, games have not gone away, in fact, they've solidified their place in our industry as clients and learners continue to ask for and expect modern learning experiences. At Kineo, we hear more and more from our clients a requirement for gamification, games for learning, serious games -- and all the many ways that need is expressed.

So, if gaming is on your dance card these days and you're looking for some tips on how to get started and what to do, be sure to add this book to your required reading list!

Karl Kapp and Sharon Boller
ATD Press, 2017

Why I like it:
  • Easy to read!
  • Great balance of theory with a focus on practical how-tos
  • Informative and practical -- with roadmaps to help you with defining game goals and instructional goals, learner personas, learning objectives; creating prototypes; play-testing; development considerations; deployment and more.
  • Great table mapping bloom's taxonomy to different types of games
  • Examples, examples, examples

My favorite chapter (Chapter 3) has some great tidbits and insights. Consider these teasers for the rest of the book...

Learning games need to be "fun enough":
"Learning games need to be what we call “fun enough.” A mistake made by many new learning-game developers is to try to design an entertaining game. Unfortunately, that often makes learning harder rather than easier. Remember, you are not creating the next great commercial game to entertain your learners; you are creating a learning game whose success will be measured by the achievement of learning outcomes." (page 23)

Remember the bigger system and design a game that's part of something larger:
"Commercial games such as Angry Birds, Assassin’s Creed, or Monopoly are usually played without context: A group of friends simply start playing a game, either online or in person. However, for a learning game to be the most effective, it needs to be part of a larger instructional plan and include instructional support elements. You can’t simply create a game and expect the players to learn from it without providing any context or guidance. For learning games to work, they need to be an integral part of a larger learning design." 

Don't make it so hard that people lose heart. Keep the emphasis on learning:
"The second principle is that both a losing state and a winning state need to lead to
learning. You need to design the game play to encourage learning throughout the game, and consider what happens when a player is not successful." (p. 24)

Check out the Table of Contents to see why this book is a must-read for learning designers.

Table of Contents:
Section 1. Playing Games to Learn About Games....The Basics....
Playing Entertainment Games...
Exploring Learning Games...
Section 2. Making Game Design Choices That Support Learning ....Setting the Right Foundation for Your Learning Game...
Linking Learning With Game Design...
Two Game Design Case Studies....
Matching Scoring to Learning Goals...
Section 3. Putting Game Design Knowledge to Work....Creating the First Prototype....
Section 4. Development and Implementation...Development Considerations...
Deploying Your Game..
Final Thoughts....
The Final Word

This is an easy to read, accessible book, chock full of practical ideas and tips for helping you make the leap from learning designer to learning game designer.

Be sure to add Play to Learn to your essential reading list! 

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Job Opening: @KineoUS seeking Lead Instructional Designers

We are hiring!

Are you a sharp, sassy, instructional designer with at least five years experience?

Can you inspire a client, lead a project team, and design fantastic learning experiences?

Find out more about this Chicago-based (or remote for the right person) position!

L&D Disruption Debate: Shifting the Titanic with @totaralearning @larshyland

I had great fun chatting with Lars Hyland (@larshyland) of Totara LMS last month.  We talked about disruption in the Learning & Development industry, ticking off boxes, and selecting toothbrushes.

It's now an article, available for your reading pleasure....
Real life vs work 
“There is a fundamental disconnect,” said Cammy, “between the technologies we use in our real lives and many of the technologies we use at work. This gap is particularly bad, with regard to learning technologies. Old school e-learning courses and learning management systems give e-learning a bad name because they don’t meet people’s needs.”
Read the full article Disruption Debate with Cammy Bean: Shifting the Titanic at the TotaraLMS site.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Training Conf 2017 Keynote:Temple Grandin, Anant Agarwal, Ken Blanchard #trngcon

My live-blogged notes from the opening keynote at Training Conference 2017, happening this week in San Diego, CA. Forgive any typos or incoherencies.

Three keynotes speakers in this morning’s session: Temple Grandin, Anant Agarwal, Ken Blanchard

Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin was non-verbal as a child, autistic.

Through great teachers, mentors, she now has a PhD and is a professor in Animal Science at Colorado State. She’s designed humane cattle systems used at 60% of slaughterhouses in the US.

She’s written loads of books about autism.
(I got two of them at the conference!)

Her advice for getting jobs/building skills of students/adults with autism:
  • Get in the back door
  • Get early job experience.
Creative geniuses – didn’t follow conventional educational path…

Autistic Brain (her book)– different ways that people think. These labels are half-science and half squabbling in conference rooms.

  • Photo Realistic Visual Thinking – Object Visualizer – poor at algebra
  • Pattern Thinker Spatial Visualizer Music and Math – poor in reading              (engineers)
  • Verbal Facts Language Translation – poor at drawing
  • Auditory Thinker – visual perception fragmented

You need all of the different kinds of minds in design….

Get away from being abstract.

Visual thinkers are associative thinkers – keywords trigger visual associations.

Lots of our talented visual thinkers are getting screened out.

AI will replace super specialized tasks – it can’t do tasks that require generalized knowledge.

Top town visual thinkers tend to overgeneralize.
Lots of people tend to go too abstract.

Skilled trades are good ways to go and they’re outsource proof.

“Beef Plant Video tour with Temple Grandin”

Take the thing the kid is good at and build on it.

A good boss will know how to work with these quirky guys. Train ‘em like being in a foreign country – you’re standing too close, you’ve told the Star Wars story five times and they’re bored with it.

Keep the projects very concrete…make it well-defined.

Project loyalty – my job was to get the project out. So I just corrected technical mistakes. Don’t get lost in the personality of things…

Keep it simple – five things that they measured for the cattle plants.
For safety – what are the critical safety concerns? Don’t focus on the coffee cup lid, when it’s the bigger stuff that matters.

Engineers do the super abstract things…

Industrial mechanics.

Different people think differently. They have different skills and they complement each other.

Apple: an artist made the interface; engineers had to make it work

“Get the job done, don’t be abstract, get out in the field.”

“Drag the suits out of the office” – get the senior leaders out into the field so they can really see what’s going on They may be kicking and screaming.

Anant Agarwal: “The Digital Education Disruption”

Anant Agarwal is CEO at EdX and professor @ MIT

Think ahead to 2030 – it’s not that far away.

What fraction of jobs today will still be around in 2030?

50% of today’s jobs will go away.

By 2030, 1 out of 2 people will not have a job due to automation, AI, technology.
We need a planet-wide upscaling of skills…technology has changed so much – transportation (uber), theater (Netflix), hospitality (airbnb)

Every single industry has been completely disrupted, but we haven’t changed education.

Education is too costly and of poor quality; tech is building too fast (whole new fields are emerging – e.g., data science – how do we train people that quickly?), scalability, turnover

For education – who is your customer? Your employee (in corporate education) – who are they?

In 10 years, 75% of your employees will be milennials.

Tomorrow’s learning will be digital:
  • On-demand (fits into busy lifestyles)
  • Connected (social, peer recommended, global)
  • Personalized (experiential, fun, self-directed)
  • Flexible (anytime, anywhere)
  • Mobile (learn on-the-go)

Milennials rank professional development as the highest thing.

We need to disrupt education as we know it. 

Median age of a learner on EdX is 28; Age range from 7-90+

Microsoft – 6,000 employees from MS taking EdX courses (just based on email addresses)

Lots of employees from lots of orgs learning on EdX.
  • 43% say they’re getting career advancement opps.
  • 47% including EdX certificates on LinkedIn
  • 45% included EdX certs on their Resumes

More than 1,300 courses; 10 million global learners 120+ global partners; 35 million course enrollments; 28 median age of EdX learners

Learning has to be different. Using techniques from Big Data & Neuroscience to rethink how we do things

Active Learning is proven to work for corporate learners – study by John Gabrielli at MIT of corporate employees – studied them to see what was most impactful:

  • Learn from video (learning outcomes at 55% - post test accuracy)
  • Interspersed video with discussion (outcomes better at 60%)
  • Interspersed with interpolated testing (68%) – this is active learning and the foundation of the EdX platform.

Why does interspersing videos with interactive exercises improve outcomes? They looked at EEG – the video EEG shoes more consistent/passive brain waves; Interpolated testing/active learning - -shows a lot more engagement with the brain. The brain responds differently to these techniques.

Using Big Data in learning – capture all the mouseclicks etc to improve learning. 

What’s the right video length?  The answer is SIX MINUTES. Philip Guo (University of Rochester) – video length vs. engagement – maximum engagement shows when video is about six minutes in length. Done by analyzing over 5,000,000 videos.

EdX is seeing huge demand in soft skills content – aka “power skills” – negotiation, critical thinking, etc.

On average – a millennial will be at a job for TWO YEARS.  So why should I invest in my employees? Because they see prof development as the # one ask – they want credentials. So EdX has come up with a new form of credentials.  “MicroMasters” – a smaller masters that you can learn completely online.  MOOCs where you can learn for free.

If you want the certificate, then you pay for that. About $1,000. You can learn for free, but you pay if you want the cert.

With online learning, you can pretty much teach anything. So much you can do through virtual reality and simulation. They have virtual labs on physics, chemistry, etc.

Ken Blanchard, Author “The One Minute Manager” (Cornell class of 1961 – Go Big Red! Masters from Colgate, PhD from Cornell)

Leadership can change the energy.

We need planet retraining in leadership. The world needs more than self-serving leaders.

Leaders think that they know everything. But “none of us is as smart as all of us.”

His wife, Margie, said: “Write a children’s book for managers.” – out of that came the One Minute Manager. Only three secrets,. It’s about keeping it simple.

The only way to get great results is through servant leadership.
  • Keep the message simple
  • Wander around
  • One minute reprimands

Servant leadership: “just as I have done for you, do to others” – this isn’t about the inmates running the prison.

Southwest, Nordstrom, Wegman’s, Disney – they all think leadership is all about your people and not about you.

Leadership = vision, direction, goals. People need to know where you want to go and what that vision is…”people without vision perish” – need to have a sense of what business you’re in, where you want to go, what your values are.  That’s the role of the hierarchy – make sure people know what they’re being asked to do and why they’re there. If your people don’t know why they’re there, then shame on you.

[The # leadership style in the world is Seagull Leadership – the manager only swoops in when something goes wrong and makes a lot of noise and dumps on everything and then flies off].

Turn they typical pyramid upside down.

Lead with Luv (a book he wrote with the head of Southwest, Colleen Barrett)

Leader: meet with your direct reports for 30 minutes every two weeks. Let them talk to you about whatever they want to talk about. Your job is to be in constant communication with them. Your goal is to help them win.

The key = loving relationships.

(He tells the story of the end of the movie Ghost: “The amazing thing, Molly, is you can take the love with you.”)

Servant leadership is love in action. Get with the program and take the love with you.

(What gets in the way of leaders doing this? The human EGO).

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Trends in Learning - No LMS Left Behind [LSG Webinar Notes]

These are my live-blogged notes from a Learning Skills Group webinar, hosted by Donald Taylor. Forgive any typos or incoherencies.

Nag Chandrashekar, VP Products Learning Mobile and Assessment, Saba 

1. Learning where you work:
  • Embedding learning launch points – in company portals, crm apps (salesforce, support portals (zendesk)
  • Access learning at the point of need – through apis/web services
  • Capture learning activities of theuser – wherever they may occur (bookmarklets, learning record stores)
  • Tie learning access to skill assessment – workflows

“The rule for Learning Management Systems is we shouldn’t call them Learning Management Systems.” Do it at the point of need. Don’t even call it learning anymore.

A learning platform used to do – it had the ability to target a specific group of learners and provide a nice catalog, dividing into groups of courses and targeting groups of people to push out the right content. That can be accomplished very well from today’s learning systems.

The “invisible LMS” – the engine for learning stays, but the way it manifests to the user is key. If you can decouple the back end engine from the front end interface, then there’s a lot of benefit.

Learning can be delivered where you work.

Accessing learning at the point of need – for performance support or general knowledge discovery.

xAPI/Tin Can – takes people away from the notion of packaging content. Lets the creators of the learning – the catalogs – let them be where they are. Learners can go there – just make sure you capture that activity.  Activity capture – making sure as a company you should understand where people are going to find what they need.

Tie learning to skills assessment. Some done formally, some on the job, some informally. Learning tied very specifically to skills assessments makes for immediate prescription for the learning need.

Notion of an Invisible LMS (Bersin) going from:
  • In your face à stealth
  • Creating à enablement
  • Programmatic à systematic
  • Event-based à infrastructure based

2. Personalization:
The key to the success of many learning initiatives. It’s not enough to just provide a great content to learners and say “go figure out what you want…” That won't meet your objectives. With every learner – there’s a few things your department/manager expects of you, then there’s also the learner’s own innate curiosity to keep up with what they need to do. Marrying these two is so important.
The paradox of choice – we use smart or intelligent systems when choosing movies and shopping. Why not for learning? How can we provide intelligent recommendations for learning?

You have to USE the system. E.g., the more you watch Netflix, the more it understands what you like and can provide recommendations. And they’re not perfect, but they make an attempt. And it’s better than having nothing at your disposal…at Netflix, we tend to lean a lot on the trends and recommendations on the home page. And then it suggests things that you might like based on past choices.

For this to be effective, you have to have usage in your system. The goal of intelligent recommendations is really personalization. The more people use it, the smarter it gets. Making systems easy to use and consumer-grade experiences – that just enough notion – these are key to driving usage.

This is very much a work in progress. Hopefully we’ll see solutions getting better and better at this.

Intelligent learning platforms matter: the system works for you. It’s proactive, dynamic, personalized (no two learners get the same recommendations), engaging. The more you interact, the better the system works for you.

3. Mobile Learning

It’s not about taking ALL of your content and resources and shoving them onto a mobile device.

How can mobile learning reinforce? Draw people into the system? It maybe isn’t always about content consumptions.

Let’s look at mobile NOT JUST for content consumption. Let’s complement the courses you’re taking elsewhere. Instead let’s go bite-sized.

Mobile devices provide endless learning possibilities:

  • Livestreaming for coaching and mentoring
  • Push notifications to trigger learning behaviors
  • Location based searches for specific classes (built in GPS in our mobile devices)
  • QR code scans for document search or attendance tracking
  • Allow user to share links, articles, and docs easily
(not a complete list, by any means…)

4. Content Aggregation & Curation

the job of the learning platform to start providing curation – these are the systems that know about the employee/the learner.

The consumerisation of education – a slew of different generations of platforms doing aggregation – democratizing content – making training available to different orgs (MOOCs, etc.)

Curation, personalization, a rich profile – these are all related. The more you know about learners and their usage patterns, you can make that learning more prescriptive and specific to them.

And managers have a role to play here. Who knows better about the employee than their manager?

5. Actionable Insights & Benchmarking

Analytics – have moved from operational reporting to more advanced/predictive analytics.

Predictive analytics = development of predictive models, scenario planning.

Benchmark – compare, act, improve.  A lot of data available to managers where they can benchmark many talent management processes. And they can take action to improve company performance and organizational objectives.

Many companies do have enough data at a higher level to compare against other companies in the same space.

Need to start with better reporting and dashboards.

6. The Engagement Gap

Employee feedback and survey tools – and the talent management platform on the other side. However, the feedback tool has been disconnected from other systems and processes.

Need to have feedback tools that are tightly connected to organization and employee performance (according to Brandon Hall).

Collect feedback à diagnose problems à take action à prove impact  à (loop back to feedback…)

Most orgs don’t have a lot of time to create content, push it out, send a survey after six months or a year and then revamp content. We need quicker creation and authoring. We need smaller loops. Ways to tailor and calibrate faster.

Employee engagement/pulse systems will get simpler, more personal – leaders at every level will be able to target this. And then connect learning back to employee performance.

Make the connection of continuous learning and development with engaged, high performance business.


The recording, slides, and web chat will be available afterwards at:

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Join me Dec 8 @ ATD Boston Shark Tank: The LMS Edition

Boston Area! Are you swimming in a sea of LMSs? Are the feeding chum to all the vendors out there and the waters have started to churn around you? Want to make some sense of these treacherous seas?

Join me at ATD Boston Shark Tank: The LMS Edition on Dec 8. (I'll be one of the sharks and I promise to make a lot of corny shark references).

December 8, 6 pm
Babson Executive Conference Center

More info and to register.

In case you haven’t heard, ATD-Boston is closing out the year with a big splash and you WILL NOT want to miss this one!  Three of our local sharks will be sinking their teeth into presentations from three very popular LMS vendors -- then you’ll get a chance to wear the shark hat as well.  All this takes place at a brand new venue (Babson College) and at this prestigious institute of higher learning, we promise that you will leave with an excellent education about the world of LMSs.
  • Cammy BeanVP of Learning Design, Kineo eLearning: A premier thought leader in the eLearning industry, frequent presenter at local and national events, and author of the Learning Circuits and Learning Visions blog.
  • Barry RichmanSr Manager of Global Learning Systems, Dunkin Brands:  A veteran in the eLearning industry with a deep background in LMS operations who has most recently helped Dunkin Brands with their deployment of a new LMS for their 100,000+ users.
  • Jean Marrapodi, Illumina Interactive:  Winner of a 2016 eLearning Guild’s Guild Master award and 2014 awards from Brandon Hall and USDLA for best learning team and best learning program, frequent presenter at local and national events, and recent addition to the staff at Illumina Interactive.
You and the sharks will be figuring out a way to attack:
  • Cornerstone on Demand:  An industry leading LMS that has rapidly become one of the most popular learning environments in the world.  Cornerstone is used by almost 30 million people in 191 countries.
  • Grovo:  An “edgy” LMS that focuses on modern learning in today’s workforce by embracing micro-learning and customized packaged content that is delivered in bite-sized chunks.
  •  eLearning Tool LMSs:  LMS environments that are already at your fingertips if you use eLearning development tools from vendors such as Articulate, Adobe, Lectora, and iSpring.  Do they have enough power to meet your needs?  That will be up to you to decide.