Monday, October 28, 2013

10 Ways to Turn Your Learners into Zombies @kineo webinar Oct 30/31

It's going to be so very spooky!

Join me this Wednesday, October 30th at 11 am eastern for a session that's sure to give you nightmares.

Followed by a repeat performance that night at 10 pm eastern so we can horrify audiences all over the world!

More info and to reserve your spot...if you dare!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Talent Anarchy, Closing Keynote #DevLearn

This are my liveblogged notes from the closing keynote session on Friday, October 25 at the eLearning Guild DevLearn Conference, happening this week in Las Vegas. Forgive any incoherence or typos. I am in Vegas, after all...

Jason Lauritsen and Joe Gertstandt, @talentanarchy

Their breakthrough: the need to make work more human.

Innovation...this needs to be something that all employees contribute to all levels with in the org.

"Innovation is significant positive change." ~ Scott Berkun

The pyramid -- a reflection of how innovation actually happens. More often than not, innovation is an iterative thing that takes time. We tweak things and add on to what's there. After so long, we're sitting on top of a pyramid. Small improvements and experiments lead to innovation.

Hacking = innovation.

Today, people think hacking is a criminal activity. But hacking wasn't about stealing or breaking, it's about understanding how something works and trying to extend it's capabilities. There was a positive ethos around the hacking sub-culture. About sharing, openness, decentralization, free access to tools, world improvement.

Hacking is about building things, not breaking them.

Requirements: curiosity, experimentation, courage (to be a hacker)

Ask: Is it awesome? 

If the answer is Yes, then leave it alone.

If the answer is No, then ask "how could it be better?" Pull it apart, then hack. Then ask: is it awesome.

Ask: what does not-sucking look like?

When we take big, complex approaches to change that take 18 one can survive failure. There's too much invested in it. So if this thing fails, we can't admit it.

Instead, we need to play with change on a smaller scale. And failure instead becomes FEEDBACK.

The System = what you want to change
Aspiration - the way you want the system to improve
Components = the individual pieces of that system
Hack = taking an individual component and making a change - then we can see, did that hack move us closer to our aspiration

And now we're going to do a collaborative HackLab as part of the session...

Hacking is about finding small changes that you can take action on.  You have to stay inside the box. A hack is something you can take action on. You don't need to get additional resources, or ask permission, authority, ability.  Hack inside your box. What's the smallest thing that makes the biggest difference?

If it works, you keep it.

Example: Hacking staff meetings: aspiration to keep them under 30 minutes.  List out all the components...Hack: arrive five minutes early or don't come. Hack: remove the chairs in your room.  If it works, keep it.

Everyone is involved in driving innovation in your organization. This approach put change in the hands of the people who do the work, who have the real knowledge about their work.  Instead of a team of three trying to make things better, this gives everyone in your org a way to feed deviation from the norm. Make sure your organization is benefiting from small improvements every day.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Eli Pariser Keynote, #DevLearn "The Filter Bubble"

This are my liveblogged notes Eli Pariser morning keynote session on Thursday, October 24 at the eLearning Guild DevLearn Conference, happening this week in Las Vegas. Forgive any incoherence or typos. I am in Vegas, after all...

Eli Pariser, The Filter Bubble 

Facebook filters out what we say based on our perceived preferences. The sorting helps curate curate lots of data, but it puts us in a bubble where we only see things similar to us.

With only five data points, companies say they can predict with 80% accuracy some key things about you.

This shapes the products that are recommended to us...and what we see.

We don't all get the same Google anymore.

Google looks at 57 signals that say something about you: the computer you're using says something about your socioeconomic status, the browser you're using, where you're located...

Every major company is moving towards personalization and providing people with more relevant data.

This means we don't all see the same news...

There are three key problems with this:

1. The Distortion Problem
We get an inaccurate view of the world.

2. The Psychological Equivalent of Obesity

There's a pull within us -- we want great content but sometimes we just want to watch Ace Ventura a fourth time. It's a tug of war between our aspirational selves and our actual selves.

Great media sources help us balance our media sources.

We rely on these search algorithms more than we should -- there are still some things that human editors do a lot better:

1. Anticipation.
2. Risk-taking. (in restaurant recommendations, Chipotle always comes up. It's safe and we all mostly like it.  But it's not a risk.  These engines can't make that risk).
3. Provide the whole picture. Algorithms don't have that sense of how things hold together.
4. Pairing.
5. Social importance
6. Mind-blowingness. Think about the piece of media that most changed your life. It probably wasn't the most easy going. But it stuck with you afterward. Personalization doesn't give bonus points to things that stick with us -- Human editors are good with this.
7. Trust. I may not like football, but because I trust this magazine, I might read that article. This pulls us out of our comfort zone. Or friends make recommendations. Algorithms can't say "walk with me here because I think this might be something you find interesting.)

3. A Matter of Control
It's not really a choice if you don't know that you have it. A part of being human is knowing what choices you have so you can make your own decisions.  Right now, we're giving that choice over to code.

Eric Schmidt of Google: "They want Google to tell them what to do next." -- if that's true, then we need to make sure that these algorithms work in the right way.

The new gatekeepers are code. The code decides what information is most important. Without any sense of civic duty, which the best human editors have.

"Learning is by definition an encounter with what you don't know..." Siva Vaidhyanathan

The Google shields us from the radical encounters which can help us learn.

What can we do?

1. We need to make sure that the filterers are better. We need to make sure they're looking at a whole range of signals. That they're not just giving us what we like and what is similar to us...

2. We need to tailor data, not just based on what is relevant, but also other points of view and things that are challenging and uncomfortable.

We need to understand where the editor is coming from and what its point of view is.

Kranzberg's Law: "Technology is neither good nor bad, nor is it neutral."

3. Give students the tools to build better filters.

We create the Web. It is by no means finished.

The Web can be the technology that connects us to lots of new ways of thinking, that takes us out of our comfort zone.

You can turn off personalization on your Google search.  

If you google yourself, you'll get very different results than if someone else googles you.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ian Bogost, #DevLearn “The Real Power of Games for Learning”

This are my liveblogged notes Ian Bogost afternoon keynote session at the eLearning Guild DevLearn Conference, happening this week in Las Vegas. Forgive any incoherence or typos. I am in Vegas, after all...

Ian Bogost
Author of: Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Games

Working to expand the application of games in the world…trying to force games to do things we’re not used to them doing – games outside of traditional uses, outside of entertainment.

We associate games with childrens’ culture – with sloth – “isn’t there something better you should be doing with your time?”

And so while Bogost has been doing his work, out of nowhere came these consultants touting “gamification.” A lot of hype out of nowhere that has accelerated over the past three years.

Using game design in new applications (what Bogost is looking at) vs. gamification…

“Gamification” as a word is brilliant because it makes the process sound easy.  Makes it sound so simple: “We can just gamify this…”, “Insert coin to gamify your business.”

-ification makes it sound so very easy…

As a designer…Bogost things gamification doesn’t have much in common with game design.  Save maybe that it’s taking advantage of the mystery around games.

There is something magical about games; they have power over us.

Game Design vs. Gamification

We’re always really learning when we’re playing games…and in a particular way. It’s not just a skin deep layer, real game design is deep.

Seven different distinctions between game design and gamification.

Out of these, he’ll try to tease out a design pattern.

Game design vs. Gamification
Complexity vs. simplicity
Context vs. isolation
Conditions vs. authority
Transformation vs. engagement
Relationship vs. reward
Discourse vs. quantification
Understanding vs. compliance

Complexity vs. Simplicity

Simplicity: The Fitbit – an example of gamification and simplicity (“the quantified self movement”). It tracks your progress, catalogs your achievements and badges. It’s a clever accessory and a way to visualize your physical activity.

[The idea here is not to decry these things, but to distinguish them from game design practice.]

Complexity: Fatworld – a game about the politics of nutrition. An example of Complexity/Game Design. A game about the relationship between obesity and social class and politics and other predispositions. Your overall wellness is based on decisions that you make. 

Fatworld is an example of a design pattern: “Modeling”. A model offers an abstracted, simplified model of the world.

Context vs. Isolation

Isolation: He shows an example of a gamified training program at Ford.  It’s got badges and things.  This program is not about the learning content – it’s removed the content from the experience. The experience is how to get points and badges in relation to working through the course itself, and not the experience of the content.

Context: An example of a game he created for Coldstone Creamery, which provided lots of context for employees. Not just how to pull the ice cream, but also a model for the employees of how to keep the franchise afloat (by not serving too much ice cream!)

An example of the design pattern: world-building.

Conditions vs. Authority

Authority: Gamification usually just looks like a layer spread on top of another program. He shows an example of a leadership program with leader boards and badges and so on. And so what gamification does here is proxy authorities—by sneaking in the incentives of badges, we hope it gets people to actually do the learning.

Conditions: Plato from the 70’s – a game called Tenure. The premise of Tenure was: this is your first year as a highschool teacher. Can you get through it?

Design pattern: emergence. With simple building blocks and tools you construct something large than the usual parts.  Like Civ or SimCity.

Transformation vs. Engagement

Gamification hopes to capture more and more attention, while game design wants to capture a small bit of that attention to reshape the player’s behavior.

Engagement: Trying to build subscriptions and views to a small town newspaper through badges and such.

Transformation: Animal Crossing as an example. Learning about mortgages and earning income…

Design pattern: the importance of role play.  We are all constantly role-playing all the time, especially when we are learning. That’s where we role-play our future self. Good game design lets us play a version of ourselves where we know more than we do.

Relationship vs. Reward

Reward: Bluewolf as an example…extrinsic rewards that someone asks you to do.

Relationship: Bejewled.  Offers far more reasons to return to it – it’s always going to be there to give you a consistent and reliable distraction. That’s the promise of bejeweled.  It’s a relationship.  Chess—you could devote your life to it.  There’s always something new that the game gives back.

Loyalty programs are not really about relationship.

Design pattern: kinship…good games are things you have an affinity for, that you want to return to.

Discourse vs. quantification

Games are more about qualitative experience rather than quantification.

Quantification: Salesforce has a leaderboard and how much you’ve brought in for enumerating the experience of working a sales job.  Getting a number out of our actions to measure against ourselves, our coworkers or our competitors.

Discourse: Points of Entry Game.  Took the legislation (which was essentially a points incentive program for immigration) – so in the game, you would pit immigrants against each other. So  you could experience what it would feel like to be an immigrant. The aim was to enter into your world-view and give you something to discuss.

Design pattern: deliberation. Give you something to consider and then decide how you’re going to incorporate it into your world.   That’s how you know if a game is good—if you want to talk about it.  If you play the game and have a conversation about immigration…games are not measurement tools, they’re more like creativity and films and novels…to consider the topics they present in different contexts.

Understanding vs. Compliance

Compliance: Hygenix – a wrist band in hospitals to get workers to comply with frequent handwashing. Feedback loops to drive compliance. Like the Prius dashboard that helps us drive in a more fuel efficient manner.

Understanding: Killer Flu game – game about the spread of the flu and how the seasonal flu operates. When you play a game like this, it’s helping you understand the underlying decisions—why your choices matter regarding washing your hands frequently.

Design pattern: Process. Games give us an experience of the depth and not just the surface.  Feedback is only useful if you understand what it really means. The game shows you the operation of the system and how it really works (e.g., a game on congressional redistricting).

The Design Patterns represent some of the key properties underlying game design—and what to consider with learning.  Something worth pursuing.

Don't sugar coat our work with games….we don’t want to sweeten the taste of our work, we want to treat them seriously.

The principles/design patterns – give us a way to express this and pursue different aspects of our jobs. To deepen our understanding of our work, not sweeten it.  

He shares that people from the general public have emailed, wanting to play the Coldstone Training Game. They want to experience it.  We are genuinely curious.

Koreen Pagano #DevLearn: The 80:20 Rule of Data Analysis

This are my liveblogged notes from Koreen Olbrish Pagano (@KoreenPagano) session at the eLearning Guild DevLearn Conference, happening this week in Las Vegas. Forgive any incoherence or typos. I am in Vegas, after all...

There's data out there, in everything we do -- on your phone, your websites, etc -- how can we use the data that's available for learning?

Metrics that don't matter...learning orgs spend a energy tracking metrics that don't matter: time spent, courses completed, passing scores, # attempts...these metrics show the costs of the training, but not of the value. This data is about how much time people spend away from their work, but not their performance. This completion data doesn't really mean anything to the business - -in terms of what it's measuring.

This isn't data about whether they learned anything or changed behavior.

Typically, learning & dev is seen as a cost center.

For most orgs, the metrics that matter: are we fast, cheap, good?

Stakeholders, employees, customers -- the three buckets of people you need to focus on. Try to balance the happiness and satisfaction of those three groups.  Stakeholders might care about money, employees about coming into work every day and liking the culture, and customers getting good service (for example). 

Who do you really value? And how do you capture data and metrics that matter?

As training professionals, can we create training solutions that impact those metrics? Those are the metrics that matter to the business. We should be supporting those business objectives.

80% of the sales skills needed for success at pharmaceuticals are the same across all companies; it's only 20% that's unique.  (Koreen cites research from Andy Hartnett on this...)

Think in terms of business and performance metrics and not just learning metrics.

As a learning person, can I communicate the value of what I do back to the rest of the business?  If we're working for the organization, we need to interpret what we've done and share it back to the business---this is what it means for you?

What is the business problem you're trying to solve?

For each person, how do you measure their success? (what are the metrics that matter to that person to help motivate them to be better and to change their behavior?)

Learning & dev people are usually only brought in at the design stage. We miss the analysis stage and miss an opportunity to show our value.

Performance metrics and not learning metrics.

If we're just putting out content and not looking at performance, then we're just content pushers.

80% common business success metrics. (money, the base things that make everything successful)
20% snowflake metrics. (what is your org's core value -- how do they look to promote their core value -- look at those metrics).

How do you translate the learning programs you're creating back to those business metrics that really matter?

You need to know what's really valuable. And then design learning that supports that business value.

Julie Dirksen, #DevLearn "Interface Design: Tips and Tricks for Designing for Learning Environments"

This are my liveblogged notes from Julie Dirksen's (@usablelearning) session at the eLearning Guild DevLearn Conference, happening this week in Las Vegas. Forgive any incoherence or typos. I am in Vegas, after all...

How do you make an interface that works for people?

Stephen Anderson -- her favorite UX guy.  He says, at base the UI needs to be functional, reliable, needs to be convenient (easy to use -- it works like I think it should), pleasurable and meaningful.

The purpose of good interface design: makes it usable, keeps the user from getting frustrated, making the interface invisible -- it needs to reduce your cognitive load.  

If a user interface is really hard to figure out, you're maxing out the learner's cognitive load.

Intrinsic cognitive load: the content, what you want people to worry about.

All the UI, etc -- that's extraneous cognitive load -- it's taking up time and attention that your learner should be spending on the content. So how do we reduce that cognitive load? How do we make the user interface invisible -- so the learner can focus on the content.

A good UI makes the user feel like they are in control.

Donald Norman, The Design of Everyday Things and Emotional Design (asks the question do attractive things work better? in fact attractive things do produce positive affect in people. A learner who is pleased is more open)...

So hopefully, if we do this right, we get learners who are more open and get better learner outcomes.

UI Design...what are the rules? Not that many...

Fitts' Law -- big buttons take less time to figure out than 
Don't put red and blue text alternating against a black background...
and not much more than that..

Jakob Nielsen's Usability Engineering book -- says it's all about the testing...

There aren't a lot of rules because they really don't exist.

Three big chunks to your elearning interface:

  • Learning content
  • Local navigation/instructions
  • Global navigation
Some tips...

Reading patterns:
People (in the west) -- read from top left to bottom right...your content layout should support that.

(A big issue out there is that a lot of elearning designers don't get to see real people going through their courses.)

Print out your screen and draw a line to show where the learner's eye/attention needs to go.  Are you taking them on a big zig zag route or is it a good pattern?

Screen instructions:
Purpose of them might be to set up the situation and the scenario/context; tell them what they're going to need to do; then what they need to do next.

Screen instructions = cognitive instructions -- where do I need to go -- how can you bring that down to the fewest words possible (that you could read in one eye blink).  So for a drag and drop exercise have: Read:, Click:, Drag Here.

Fitts' Law: "The time to acquire a target is a function of the distance to a size ....'s_law

Make the things that are annoying easier and the things that are important easier.

If the learner has to stop and think about what they're doing and get their mouse to a very small click area, that's taking a lot of their mental resources.

Create high context interfaces
"Embed the triggers for behavior in the interface itself."
The environment in which we learn something because embedded in the memory of the content itself.

Put yourself in the context in which the memory was formed so you can trigger it again...

Set up triggers -- if you are faced with this trigger, use this your learning environment, create association between stimulus and response...

Text bullets on a screen are very low context and don't match the environment at all...

UI Design Patterns
Jared Spool --

Templates are a problem...

Prototyping is your friend
Prototype in simple tools:
  • Use PowerPoint to hyperlink -- build a prototype in 10 mins.
  • Storyline can be good. 
  • Balsamiq mockups good for webstuff.
  • Axure
User Testing
Find out how people are really using your learning.
Steve Krug book: Don't Make Me Think

You can find 80% of the issues with the first five or so users. You don't need twenty testers. One hour or so...

Do NOT help the learner figure it out -- let them bump into things and have them talk out loud.

The five second usability test: where am i? what do i do next? how do I get out of here?

Unlocking Cool: Jeremy Gutsche, 2013 #DevLearn opening keynote

This are my liveblogged notes from the opening keynote at the eLearning Guild DevLearn Conference, happening this week in Las Vegas. Forgive any incoherence or typos.

Jeremy Gutsche, MBA, CFA, CEO, – author of “Exploiting Chaos: Spark Innovation During Times of Change” - @JeremyGutsche

You are not selling a product. You are selling an experience.

Brand and creating a cultural connection are important between you and your end consumer.

Human nature is to communicate and teach things in a way that’s specific.  We think in terms of bullet points.

But what supersedes everything is the cultural connection…it’s not just listing the bullet points of what we do.

“The world has changed and it never returns to normal.”

Brands that were founded during times of chaos – very successful (e.g., Disney).  In times of chaos, our minds are changing.  We have to adapt.  Chaos = opportunity.

You’re here at this conference to push yourself…so how are people in our companies changing?

Success leads to complacency.  Encyclopedia Brittanica example…they didn’t want to adapt.

People want to protect what’s working now and resist trying something new. 

Popular is not cool – cool is unique, it goes viral,…

If your job is to help your orgs adapt, how do you find what the next cool thing is?

When you look for new technologies, there’s micro-trends and innovation all around us.

Chaos makes inspiration distracting….it’s overwhelming. So instead we skip steps and rely on gut instinct to innovate. – looking for patterns of opportunity.  Crowdsource and crowd filtered – lots of people out there spotting new trends.

How can you find what’s new? Knock on doors. Ask people.

Some rules:
  • Family comes first
  • Be genuinely interested in other people
  • Be ambitious
  • Make people feel like they’re part of what you’re doing   
  • There is always upside in times of difficulty

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”  What matters is whether you can make it happen.

Perspective, intentional destruction (destroy what worked in the past to try something new), be tolerant with experimental failure, be obsessed with your customers.

Don’t look at your competitors to see what you should do and what people want…look to your customers.

Situational framing dictates the outcomes of your process…think about the grander experience, not just the features.

Customer obsession:

Functional (tell)
Benefit (motivate)
Emotional (connect)
Cultural (empower)

E-learning often falls into the first three categories. We need to make that cultural connection.

To figure out how to stop littering – you need more than the crying indian PSA (The Keep American Beautiful  The problem with that campaign was not understanding who actually litters. Turns out it’s males, 18-30, who drive pick-up trucks.  Instead they came up with the “Don’t Mess with Texas” campaign…(which reduced roadside littering by 72% between 1986-1990).

When you make a cultural connection, you’re not speaking TO someone, you’re speaking WITH someone. They’ll endorse you, your team, your product, they’ll share it.

Think about your next big e-learning endeavor. Don’t get caught in the trap of trying to make something that just works for everyone. Instead, if you focus on getting it right with a core group.

In all industries, innovation starts by observing CUSTOMERS.

How deep in their mindset can you get? In all industries, even CEOs need to observe customers.

The more immersive we can get, the more obsessed we can get with our customers…the better.  People who use our products care about different things…typically more simply. Communicate with your customers the way they communicate with each other.

“Infectious communication” – 3 ways to cultivate infection: 
  • Viral creations (your product needs to be so good that people talk about it)
  • Viral mediums (in a powerful way)
  • Well packaged story (portray your product as AVERAGE, and that’s all it will ever be).

How do you become irresistible to people? 
Why should people choose you?

Give people an answer to the question “what do you do” – in seven words.  Make it highly memorable.

Relentlessly obsess about your story. The same story might get 1,000 views or 1,000,000 depending on the headline.

Story obsession:
  • Make it SIMPLE
  • DIRECT (why should I choose you—something that makes it grand and big and why I want to work with you)

Trendhunter’s story: “Find it better, faster”

For info and resources:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Adapt Open Source eLearning: Join the Community!

Are you interested in open source? Want to see an elearning authoring tool that does responsive design really well? Not sure what I'm talking about? Find out more...

The Adapt Learning Community site is now open at

Here's a note on the Adapt Community from Sven Laux, who leads Kineo's technical team:

We have been working on turning our very successful Adapt e-learning framework into an open source project. As part of this, we have created a community site, where the founding developers will now be engaging with anyone who is interested in getting involved and adding to the discussions. This site also contains various pages, which explain the thinking behind Adapt and how the project is structured.

This is a great time to get involved for people who are interested in helping to shape this project or simply want to follow our discussions. It’s early days but we are blown away by the level of interest and commitment from our founding partners and the marketplace we are already seeing. Our timelines are quite ambitious and we want to build up the initial codebase for the framework by the end of the year, with an authoring tool following quickly.

We will be using the new community site to discuss and shape the project as we go along. The community site has already been established as the primary channel for communication among the project team. Our aim is to make our decisions in the open and with the community.

Please bear with us, as the appearance is still a little rough and ready.

Thanks and hopefully see you on 'the other side'.