Friday, October 30, 2009

Finding Good Photos for Your eLearning Scenarios

Do you struggle with finding good stock photos to use in your eLearning scenarios? You might find the right guy to play the role of the client in your story, but there’s only three shots of him and he looks like a goofball in one of them.

So then do you go do a custom photo shoot? Maybe you have the time or the budget.

But usually not.

eLearning Art to the rescue!

eLearning Art provides royalty free stock photos, images, and other assets to help you create some cool stuff in your own authoring tools.

Character packs include models in up to 75 poses, giving you lots of choices. They are normal looking people, dressed in business casual, shot from multiple angles. Images are removed from the background (transparent), and can be superimposed onto any background to interact with any other character.

They’ve also got cartoon assets and some animated flash characters.

Check out the little scenario I worked up in about five minutes. (Yes, it’s so easy, even I can do it!)

(I’ve been learning about zombies in preparation for the upcoming DevLearn!)

Images and assets aren’t free, but well-priced and worth the investment.

Check out the eLearning Art website and view this one minute youtube video to see an example.

(I was not paid or offered any favors to write this review, I just think it’s a cool service. And Bryan Jones, the guy behind it, is a nice guy. And it’s nice to be nice to the nice.)

Let me know what you think. Is this the kind of service you’ve been looking for? Or will you stick with free online stock photos?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kineo Audio Interview with Ellen Wagner "The Evolution of the LMS"

I love my job. I get to talk to really interesting people in the eLearning community and then share it with all of you. Is it work if it's fun?

Last week I got the chance to chat with Ellen Wagner about the eLearning Guild's LMS 2009 Report: The Evolution of the LMS: From Management to Learning.

The big story? The growing impact of Moodle and open source on the maturing LMS market.

Listen to my audio interview with Ellen Wagner over at the Kineo website.

You may already know Ellen from her blog: eLearning Roadtrip. If not, I suggest you join her on her journey.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

On Guerilla Design and Video

There's always the debate about whether you need to go pro for your audio and visual, or get right to the source in a down and dirty kind of way.

With easy-to-use tools at your fingertips, it's getting cheaper and faster to go guerilla style and get the subject matter expert speaking directly to your audience in a matter of moments. Skype, phone lines, iPhones/iPods, video cameras, etc. User generated content gets easier to generate by the minute.

"Even the most popular YouTube videos may totally fail the standard Hollywood definition of production quality, in that videos are low-resolution and badly lit, their sound quality awful and their plots nonexistent. But none of that matters, because the most important thing is relevance. We'll always choose a "low-quality" video of something we actually want over a "high-quality" video of something we don't."

Chris Anderson, Free, p. 194.

I've blogged before about going guerilla with audio. Audio in eLearning: When Rough Around the Edges is Better.

This morning, Dick Carlson's posted a link to this session being offered tonight in South Carolina: Gonzo Video - Why Less is More, Worse is Better, And Shaky is Believable. Drive on down if you're close by and learn a thing or two!

Kineo Top Tips

Although my blogging volume may be down, my writing volume certainly is not. Amidst client projects and presentations I think I'm actually writing more than ever.

Some of my efforts lately have been focused on the Kineo website, particularly around our Top Tip series:

Browse our complete Top Tips library and let me know if there's something you'd like to see more of!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mass Chapter ISPI November Meeting

I'm speaking at the next Mass Chapter ISPI Meeting, thanks to the always energetic Jean Marrapodi. (@jmarrapodi)

If you're in the area, come along and help me out!


e-Learning Tools Crash Course: Deciding What Authoring Tools to Use and When

So you've heard about PowerPoint, Articulate, Captivate and Flash. How about Lectora, Camtasia, Raptivity, Atlantic Link or Mohive? There are lots of eLearning authoring tools out on the market these days. How do you decide which tool to use?

In this crash course, we'll introduce you to a wide catalog of e-learning tools. We'll review examples of courses built in a variety of tools, look at pricing options, discuss appropriate uses, and review benefits and downsides.

To learn more, go to Mass ISPI

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

6:15-7:00 PM - Registration
7:00 - 7:15 PM - Chapter Business

7:15 - 8:45 PM - Program

Babson College

use this interactive campus map for the location

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Instructional Design Questionnaire

Dr. John Curry's looking for input from instructional designers.

Dr. Curry is an Assistant Professor in Educational Technology at Oklahoma State University. You may remember him from such posts as:

Essential Reading for Instructional Design?
How to Get an Instructional Design Education Without Paying Tuition

He's interested in the disconnect between academia and corporate design. He's got a short questionnaire on his blog and he's asked me to ask you to help out. Yeah, you!

Take the survey. It doesn't hurt at all:

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Interview with Brent Schlenker

A few weeks ago, I had a very Brent Schlenker kind of week. Have you ever had one of those?

First, I sat in on a Brent webinar: Marketers and Game Developers Know More About Learning Than We Do! hosted by Training Magazine Network. I posted my notes on Brent's session, in case you missed it.

Later in the week, Brent and I chatted it up a bit. A nice follow-on to the webinar, we talked a bit more about learning campaigns, emerging technologies and, of course, the upcoming DevLearn '09.

I think it's a nice addition to the ongoing Kineo podcast series and my first contribution.

You can listen to clips from our conversation or download the entire thing over at the Kineo website (we waxed eLearning for over 30 minutes!).

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Kineo Webinar on Webinars!

It's a Meta-Webinar!

Join Kineo's Mark Harrison for a free webinar on webinars: Building effective content for your online sessions.

Thursday, October 15
3 pm UK / 10 am EST / 9 am CST

To register:
Send email to

Thursday, October 01, 2009

What’s Your Max Learning Strategy?

I’m reading Chris Anderson’s latest book Free:  The Future of a Radical Price.

He talks about the what Google’s CEO Schmidt calls Google’s “max strategy.”

Take whatever it is you are doing and do it at the max in terms of distribution.  The other way of saying this is that since marginal cost of distribution is free, you might as well put things everywhere.

According to Anderson, Schmidt then jumps into a description of HBO’s launch of The Sopranos: 

  • Create a great show
  • Create a blog about the show
  • Do some PR
  • Make some ‘online buzz-generators’ like a Facebook page or viral video
  • Send plot updates via text message and Twitter
  • Web site tells even more about charcaters and show
  • Post extra footage to YouTube
  • Create a contest to drive even more attention

That’s the max strategy.  Maybe only the actual HBO deal generates any money, but all of the other contribute to its overall success.

So how can we translate that approach to learning and training?

(And remember, the goal of a max learning strategy isn’t simply about marketing the e-learning event.  That’s a marketing strategy.)

Think about a max learning strategy as a way to get your content out there in more ways than one.  It’s beyond a single learning event.   And it’s not just about formal solutions as tracked in the LMS.

It’s perhaps a bit of a scatter shot approach.  Providing more opportunities for learners to “accidentally” discover your content and get the information they need to do what they need to do.  It’s about combining formal learning events with social learning, informal learning, accidental learning, and whatever else it might take.

riskIn Brent Schlenker’s recent webinar, he started exploring the  concept of a “learning campaign.”  (Brent acknowledges that this isn’t necessarily a ‘new’ idea).

In the comments on my post on Brent’s talk, Steve Flowers suggests how he has been doing this in his workplace.  He calls it a ‘layered strategy’.  He says,

We stopped thinking 'this product' and started thinking 'bigger'. We built in things like message posters, and constructed brief PSA's that echoed some well shaped messages that could be reused throughout the organization for consistency. This was a concerted effort to carry the message. It's a campaign.

Julie Dirksen also provided some great ideas on how to create a campaign, including before, during and after activities.

So is it a learning campaign or a max strategy?  Either way are you doing it at your organization?  How?

Photo credit:  Risk! by junkmonkey

Interview with Tony Karrer on Informal and Social Learning

TonyKarrer Be sure to listen to the latest Kineo podcast with Dr. Tony Karrer. Steve Lowenthal interviews Dr. Tony Karrer to get his thoughts on informal and social learning in the enterprise.

And while you’re there, check out Kineo’s complete audio series, including interviews with such e-learning notables as Jay Cross, Laura Overton and Clive Shepherd.