Friday, May 29, 2009

Join Me at ASTD ICE June 1&2

Are you going to ASTD this coming week?

I'll be hanging out at the Expo with the Kineo crew on Monday and Tuesday. We're booth #1926. Stop by and say hi!

And if you can't make it to the Expo, join us for Beer & Bloggers/Tweeters/eLearning folks: Monday, June 1st 7/8:00ish and on at the Dubliner.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

iPhone and the End of All Boundaries

I just got my very own iPhone on Friday. Well, my company's, to be more precise. But it's in my hot little hands and I get to caress its shiny sleekness.

I had an iPod Touch, which I loved and was hopelessly addicted to. But this just has me over the top and I can't keep my hands off it.

Which isn't necessarily a good thing. Trust me.

For one thing, I can now check email and Twitter wherever I am:
  • In the car (it was safe -- my husband was driving!
  • At Friendly's with the kids, while celebrating my son's 6th birthday (and, yes, I was drinking a giant fribble)
  • In the middle of the night after being woken up by some child
It's been the last thing I look at at night, the first thing I check in the morning. I now respond to work emails BEFORE I've even had coffee. Dangerous ground.

It opens things up in some very cool ways, providing flexibility and accessibility, which is great. I now work with a whole group of people across the pond in bonnie ole england-- a five hour time difference -- and it's really easy to be connected. (Hi, guys!) I can even use Skype on the iPhone when there's wifi around, making calls to the UK free and clear.

I love it. But I might need help. Fellow iPhone users, how do you keep yourself from going overboard?

Some of this may also be the ramblings of a new virtual office worker who has a lot to learn. My office is my home, my home is my office.

So here I am at 11:30 at night, in bed with my laptop, catching up on email, managing twitter, blogging. On a Saturday night. Maybe the iPhone isn't the problem?

eLearning on Alltop

Alltop, a venture of Guy Kawasaki, is an "online magazine rack" that aggregates RSS feeds about popular topics.

They've now got an eLearning page, which includes this blog along with a whole bunch of other great eLearning blogs. Check it out and let me know your thoughts. Might be a good place to point someone new to blogs who hasn't yet built up their own feedreader -- and a good place for the veteran to discover someone new.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

eLearning Brand Name Recognition?

The eLearning industry is a weird beast. It's not really one beast at all. Maybe it's a whole bunch of beasts. Or maybe it's a fruit bowl instead. Whatever your analogy...

A few weeks ago I did a very informal query on Twitter, asking people what were their favorite eLearning brands. Or maybe the question was, what brand names come to mind when you think about eLearning?

Responses varied, but this is what came back:
  • Captivate
  • Articulate
  • Camtasia
  • SnagIt
  • Ning
  • Fireworks
  • Adobe
  • Lectora
  • Google
  • And the eLearning Guild got a few mentions
Granted, this was a moment in time on Twitter, so we're probably talking about a particular sector of the universe that replied to my question...but...nonetheless...what stands out about this list?

I see a listing of products and tools. No service companies. No eLearning development houses. Clearly says something about the state of the fragmented eLearning market -- mostly small shops providing services or companies doing it in-house using all of the aforementioned tools.

What does this mean? What brand names come to your mind when you think eLearning?

Monday, May 18, 2009

eLearning Tip #23: Karmic Learning with Twitter

You probably already know that Twitter is the 140-character microblogging platform. It's where people talk about what they had for lunch. So what? But I have to tell you that sometimes it really is interesting to hear what Jay Cross is having for lunch in Palermo or Rome.

But Twitter is way more than that. Twitter is a powerful platform for resource sharing, community building and connection. It's a gift-giving economy: you give, you receive. Karmic learning.

In my first eLearning Tip for Kineo , I've created a short piece on getting started with Twitter. It's tip #23.

While you're there, be sure to check out the previous 22 tips -- all great articles written by Stephen Walsh, one of Kineo's founding partners.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Audio in eLearning: Cultural Differences?

What's your take on using audio in eLearning? For or against? Do you use audio on every slide because the client says people will think it's broken if you don't? (This has happened to me!)

We've taken this up before and many of us IDs know the strategies for using audio most effectively by now. We know to avoid narrating text word for word, for instance. (You do know that, right?)

As I'm ramping up in my new job, I'm talking with my new Kineo colleagues about everything under the sun. Really. It's quite fascinating, the conversations we've been having and it's only Tuesday!

I was talking with Mark Harrison, a Kineo partner with over 25 years experience in learning design, about some of the differences between eLearning in the UK and in the US.

In the UK, Mark tells me that audio is used sparingly. In the US, Mark sees (or rather, hears) a heavy use of audio.

So why this difference, if it's indeed true? Is there something cultural going on? Do Americans just like to talk way too much? Is there some historical background here that I'm missing, like computers in the UK didn't have speakers until 2002 so they never bothered?

What about eLearning in the US has led to such an excessive use of audio? What about eLearning in the UK has led to such an excessive lack of audio in their courses? What about in other countries?

For instance, you Canadians? What's up with audio up there?

Do I hear India?

Photo credit: Walls have Ears by laverrue

Monday, May 11, 2009

Free Articulate & Moodle Seminars in Boston and Chicago

Are you in Boston or Chicago? Want to learn more about Articulate and Moodle? Want to meet me?

Join the Kineo team in
Boston on June 9th
and Chicago on June 11th.

Delivering Quality at Speed - Articulate & Moodle

This seminar will focus on getting the best out of Articulate and Moodle with case studies from Motorola, BP, Apple and McDonald's.

The seminar will cover:

  • Rapid e-learning design with Articulate
  • Top tips for getting the best out of Articulate
  • Rapid development processes
  • Delivering engaging learning portals with Moodle

To learn more and sign up, visit the Kineo website. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Corporate Crush, Realized

Have you ever had a corporate crush? A company or organization that you've admired from afar?

Maybe you think Apple is awesome, or fantasize about giving up your day job to work at Chipotle because you think they're forward thinking and kind of cool.

It's not a romantic thing. It's admiration for a company's style and approach. A sense that maybe you'd fit in with them.

For the past three years I've had a crush on Kineo.

When I first started blogging, I stumbled on the Kineo site and their great free eLearning resources: instructional design tips, audio interviews, book reviews. Their stuff is smart, funny and useful.

My eighth blog post ever was about Kineo. (June 14, 2006)

In the past three years, Kineo has grown from a seed in a few guys' heads to an award-winning company with over 45 employees. In 2008, Kineo was named the e-learning company of the year in the UK by E-learning Age and has won awards for their work in the US, including an Articulate Guru Award.

I met Steve Rayson and Matthew Fox at the eLearning Guild Annual Gathering in Boston in 2007. We've stayed in touch. And, well, one thing has led to another...

Corporate crush, realized.

You got it. I've got a new gig. With Kineo.

Call me a blushing bride. Call me a happy honeymooner. Call me the new VP of Learning Design for Kineo US. Read the press release here.

We've got lots of exciting stuff planned. Stay tuned!

Photo Credit: Sparking a Crush by designbyfront

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Describing What You Do: Instructional Design

You're at a playground and you start talking to the mom sitting on the bench next to you. Eventually, she asks you what you do for work.  What do you say?  Are you met with comprehension or blank stares?

This was me yesterday:

Playground Mom:  So, what do you do?

Me:  I'm an instructional designer.  I create eLearning.

Playground Mom:  [blank stare]

Me: ...corporate training...

Playground Mom:  [weak smile]

Me:  I create training for companies that's delivered on the computer....

Playground Me: weak nod..."Oh, I see."

I see that she really doesn't see and I just don't have the energy to go further.  I'm sort of distracted by the naked boy who just ran by (not mine).  We move on.

Is it me?  Is it the rest of the world?

Ellen Wagner says, "IDs help transform intangible information assets into things of great business or epistemological value."

That's a great description, but it still doesn't help me tell the woman on the playground what it is that I do.

How do you explain yourself?  How do you tell someone who's not in the field what you do?

Friday, May 01, 2009

Name That Tool

I just got a FaceBook query from someone and I thought you all could help:

I'm looking for a tool you might have come across, but I don't even know what product/programming group it belongs to.  I want to be able to ask people a series of questions and correlate their answers with topic areas to indicate what courses they should take.

So if you say, yes I have signoff authority for travel vouchers, I could tell this tool to mark four courses.  I'd want to be able to do a couple things with the data before giving the user feedback.  I'm sure I could do a better job describing this, so let me know if I've been clear.

To me, this sounds like competence management as handled by an LMS.  But that's not really my expertise.

What tool do you think he's looking for?  Can you name any names?