Friday, July 31, 2009

Will the Real eLearning Industry Please Stand Up?

When we talk about the “industry”, we (and by “we”,  I of course mean those of us in the industry) often refer to it as if it’s this monolithic thing that you can touch. 

The Industry.

Ummm.  Yeah.

So.  What is the eLearning Industry?

liverpool street station

Is it the vendors? --  The LMS companies, the custom content developers, the off-the-shelf content creators.

Is it the tools we use to create eLearning?

Is it the companies and people who create those tools? – Adobe, Articulate, Microsoft, etc.

Is it the pundits and bloggers? – the names we know and associate with eLearning – Jay Cross, Ellen Wagner, Tony Karrer, Brent Schlenker, [insert your  name here].

Is it the associations?  -- the eLearning Guild and ASTD.

Is it the research organizations that produce the industry reports?

Is it the companies that give out the awards?

Is it the companies who use eLearning to train their employees?

Is it the Learning & Development/Training departments within all of those companies?

Is it the little companies who don’t even have training departments but still have a lot of training needs?

Is it the schools who use eLearning to teach their students?

Is it the teachers at those schools?

Is it the non-profits who create eLearning for their members?

Is it the institutions that issue the certificates and degrees in ID and whatnot?

Is it the professors who teach at those institutions?  The students who come out of them?

[What did I miss?] 

The point is – and I don’t really know what the point is – the point is, that’s a whole heck of a lot of perspectives. 

The eLearning Industry.


This post  and a few others have been itching to be written for a couple of weeks now.  Since I had the opportunity for a nice schmooze fest after the eLearning Guild ID Symposium in Boston. 

I didn’t attend the sessions, but I DID get to eat a nice Arctic Char at Jasper White’s Summer Shack with the likes of Ellen Wagner, Brent Schlenker, Steve Martin and Kay Wood

And then Dave Ferguson incited me further.  He was going to talk about Canada in reference to this rant.  C’mon, Dave.  I dare you.

Photo credit:  Liverpool Street station crowd blur by victoriapeckham

Saturday, July 25, 2009

IPhone Test

Don't mind me. I'm just testing to see if I can blog from my iPhone. Which may not be a good thing, trust me...typo city.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Last Week's Kineo Product Knowledge E-Learning Webinar:

On Thursday Kineo's Stephen Walsh and I presented a webinar on Product Knowledge e-Learning. After having participated in and live-blogged many a webinar, this was the first I've actually helped present. It was great fun.

I was sitting outside at a picnic table overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Maine, while gratefully connected to a neighboring house's wifi. My weak connection probably contributed to my choppy audio delivery, but all in all things went smooth with DimDim.

Stephen's done a nice write up on the Kineo website and we've included the slide deck from the presentation.

In August, we'll be running another webinar: Rapid e-learning and compliance. Stay tuned for dates and more info.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Kineo Product Knowledge E-Learning Webinar

Kineo will be holding a free webinar on creating effective product knowledge e-learning on July 16th, 2009.

Product knowledge training creates major challenge for organizations, including:

  • Keeping content up to date: products change rapidly. For example there have been over 60 new versions of the Blackberry since its launch in 2002, that’s one every 5 weeks.
  • Keeping it short and focused: sales people who need product knowledge information work in challenging, fast paced and often noisy retail environments. The learning has got to get to the point, quickly.
  • Making it engaging: Delivering ‘just the facts’ about the product isn’t enough to increase sales. Learners need to know the benefits, how to recognize customer needs for a product, and how to close the sale.
  • Keeping costs down: Given the pace of change, product knowledge e-learning has got to be cost effective, otherwise the maintenance costs will be prohibitive.

The free Kineo webinar will use real case studies to demonstrate:

  • Effective designs for product knowledge e-learning
  • How to use sales scenarios as part of the learning
  • Prototyping effectively
  • How to use xml files to update product e-learning in a matter of minutes
  • How to use games and challenges to motivate learners
  • How to design and deliver a product portal

The one hour webinar will be held at 3pm UK time/10am Eastern on July 16th, 2009.

If you would like to reserve a place please contact Kineo at info@kineo.

[Seats are filling up fast so be sure to sign up!]

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Designing for Articulate: A Newbie’s View

I’m new to Articulate. Although I’ve been rhomeproducts_studio09eading Tom Kuhlman’s Rapid E-Learning Blog now for a couple of years, I’ve never actually designed (or for that matter, built) an Articulate course.

My canvas for the past four years has been custom Flash. I’d have an idea and then someone much smarter than me would go figure out how to make it work.

At Kineo, we often work with our clients’ tools of choice. That is, if a client uses Articulate in-house, they may ask us to build a few courses for them in Articulate. (We also do a lot of custom Flash, Mohive, etc.)

For the past few weeks I’ve been designing and scripting my first Articulate courses. I’m such a n00b.

I started off feeling a bit pegged in: “I have to design and write for a set of templates? How constricting!”

But now I’m starting to loosen up a bit, with help from my Kineo colleagues. (Thanks especially to Matt!). It’s a fun challenge.

Some beginning tips:

Keep variety. Don’t use an Engage Tab screen for every other page. Mix it up.

Intersperse questions throughout the content. Formative questions break the content up with momentary pauses for reflection and to reinforce the learning process.

Use Engage Labeled graphics as question pages. “Which of these widgets would you use to paint a monkey?” There’s no penalty for a wrong answer. Let the learner explore.

Spice it up with scenarios. This is true for any tool. Keep it interesting with a story. Compel the learner to want to find out what comes next.

Use interesting images. I’m lucky to have some graphic artists on my team who know how to turn a page into something quite lovely! That doesn’t hurt.

I uploaded a final script last night for the UK team (five hours ahead of me) to start working on. This morning, when I logged on to email, I saw a message that the course had been built! Holy cow. That’s rapid.