Wednesday, October 07, 2015

“Current Need-to-Know Tools and What’s Around the Corner” Nick Floro #olconf

These are my live blogged notes from a concurrent session at this year’s Online Learning Conference, hosted by Training Magazine and happening in Denver. Forgive any typos and incoherencies.

“Current Need-to-Know Tools and What’s Around the Corner” Nick Floro with Sealworks

  • eLearning community and what we’re doing is rapidly changing.
  • There are almost as many cell phone subscriptions (6.8 billion) as people on the planet (7.2 billion)
  • 70 billion apps were downloaded in 2013.
  • Over 10 apps per human.
  • In 2014 the average user has 95 apps on their phone.
  • On average, most of us create over 200 MB of data a day.

As an ID, designer, developer – think about shifting, realigning, being flexible.  Make sure it’s easy to update, replace, enhance. In the old days, we’d launch a course and it would be up for a few years. But today a typical shelf life may only be 3 months. How can we easily swap out data?

In the old days, we used to make big courses (a loaf of bread); today we think about chunk sized content (slices of bread).

When creating content, think about making it more flexible – tagging and organizing it so you can easily shuffle it together.

Tag things so they are easily searchable. Make sure your content is easily accessible/easily discoverable.

A system that allows the teacher/leader to create their own course (sort of like a play list) – from all of these small chunks/slices.

Each piece of content (each slice) can stand alone – it has a beginning, middle, and end. The teacher/leader can link to outside content. They can assemble a program from all of these bits.

Gamification/scenario based learning
Storytelling is so key. Can you start to build in storytelling – that flip things – that ask people to do things. Use humor, if you can.

Use characters if you can – find ways to pull people into your content.

Think about the tools. Think about golas/levels – can you add levels to your game or learning content.

Put the user into the play. Ask them to solve a problem. Have them make a choice and see what happens. Putting them into this context makes it more real…

American Red Cross example – Advanced Child Care (a course on babysitting) – all scenario based.  You work with different kids through a babysitting simulation – all done with 3D animations. Pretty slick example.

How can you advance the learning in the outside world? (Nick shares an example created by Koreen Pagano when she was at Tandem Learning – a fictitious person who had a FB page, etc. – they even hired actors to show up at a company meeting, playing these roles and the employees had to interact with them. IMMERSIVE).

How do we find things today? WE GOOGLE.  If your current LMS/learning system doesn’t have the ability to do accurate searching, it’s up to you to make sure your content is well-tagged and discoverable. Make sure everyone who’s creating courses is providing that level of data.

Break things up and tag them.

Personal learning networks. Exchange business cards, share. Find a peer network. Check out #lrnchat on Twitter ( - a team communication tool for the 21st century. Free tool. Text chat within your team and it maintains that content and is searchable.

Google Hangouts – great way to talk to your team, your SMES. Video sharing.
Check out the google hangouts page with video as  a background – a way to pull people into the content and engage them.

Create connections at the conference, and then connect with those people again in the next few months.

Share your experiences and share your data.

Check out the Backchannel – this is the online stream that often accompanies a conference as people share information on Twitter, through blogs, and more. Check out -- David does a great job curating the conference backchannel from many industry conferences. If you’re not doing a similar thing within your organization, please consider it!

Personalized learning. Give people diagnostic assessments to provide a customized learning plan. “Don’t just study for the test. Grock it.” You take some diagnsotics and then Grockit gives you questions at your level to optimize learning.

Khan Academy. Sign up for a free account. Check out how they’re delivering the content. Do you like how they deliver? Why or why not?

Google Analytics. Focus on your audience – what technology, what devices are they using?

Video. We all have amazing video cameras in our phones. Get a tripod – capture real video in the moment and get it out there.

Ebooks. Make ‘em interactive.

Web. Stop creating in Flash. Nick’s studio does everything mostly with HTML - makes it easier to access, update, swap out content.

Touch screens. How do we create interactions that take advantage of the touch feeling that goes with our current devices?

If you’re not experimenting with androids and ipad devices – you should be out there and checking them out.

How do we create experiences and make them more challenging for your users?

Master design. Design is about how something works. It’s about communication and problem solving. (Nick shared a really nice video done by apple about design and intention. This is the link he shared, but I’m not finding the video there. Keep searching, keep searching…)

Look and play outside of our field. See what’s out there – what can you bring into your courses to enhance them?

Microsoft HoloLens – “the era of holographic computing is here”

Autodesk 123D – an app on your phone that lets you take a series of pictures. He shows a video of someone taking a picture of his son. And then it turns the son into a 3D model – he can even print it out on a 3D printer.

Mobile – it’s a big thing. Continuity – if you start doing something on your phone and then move to your laptop, the experience should pick up right where you left off.

Google Goggles (different than google glass) – take a picture of something, then it pulls up information on that thing – e.g., the Mona Lisa.

Geolocation. Your smart phone knows where you are. How can you use your position? Captivate has geolocation now – based on where you are, it can give you different content.

HTML5 – explore that.

Yahoo Weather. A beautiful picture of your area with highs and low temps. When you scroll down, you find more data and info. Can we use that mobile movement in our elearning content? Can people scroll down to reveal more info?


(learn more about HTML programming – free training! Also a good example of online learning to check out) -- open source to create mobile apps

Google Chrome has developer tools. Open your content in Chrome then go to View > Developer > Developer Tools – it will show your content on multiple devices. It will also let you test network speeds – so you can see what it’s like to run that 10 minute video on a slow network. – show me my course on these different browsers. So you can see what works and what doesn’t. Great way to spot check content.

Sketch – prototype with pen and paper. The caveman did it! Doesn’t have to be pretty.

Built in Recorder on your mobile device. Take a picture, record some audio.

Capture & Analyze – take screen shots of your favorite sites and keep a folder on your desktop.

Books on design: slide.ology (duarte), resonate (duarte), presentation zen (garr reynolds)....

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Is Your Learning Anti-Social [Article]

Hot off the presses. An article I wrote for Training Industry Magazine's fall edition:
When you’re motivated to learn something new in your life, what does that process look like for you? Do you go online and take a self-paced eLearning course and consider yourself a master? Do you attend a two-day classroom workshop and emerge feeling “done” with the learning process? Do you read a book or an article, and then clap your hands and say, “I got this?” Maybe.  But not likely.

Read the full article on Training Industry Magazine.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Closing Keynote #DevLearn: Natalie Panek

These are my live blogged notes from the opening session at this year's DevLearn, hosted by the eLearning Guild and happening in Las Vegas. Forgive any typos and incoherencies.

Natalie Panek: Learning without Boundaries

How do you grow from what you learn?


She describes a long process of rejection -- she applied year after year for a NASA internship. After the fourth rejection, she decided to just call them. And she got the internship. She made her own way there.

Peak moments. What was a time working on a project that you felt full of life? What were those conditions? Was that a peak moment? Are you moving towards or away from those conditions? What do you need to do to get back to those conditions?

Reflecting on peak moments feeds you going forward - go out with a friend and ask these questions. 

Peak moments are often projects that don't go according to plan.

Embracing failure.

Working outside of your comfort zone.

Learning to fly (quite literally - she learned to be a pilot).

Understanding how things work. Being competent in our tools.

The importance of teamwork.

Mentorship. Connecting generations of people, hear lessons learned, forge one-on-one relationships. And you can be both mentor and mentee at the same time in your career.  Mentorship is different than a role model or hero.  A mentor is someone who you're in one-on-one contact with on a regular basis.

Go home to a young woman in your life and introduce them to one woman in technology. Not every girl will go into science and tech, but it's important they know they have a choice. And choice is empowerment. 

Anthony Altieri @aa_altieri "Analytics: What You Want to Know" #DevLearn

These are my live blogged notes from the opening session at this year's DevLearn, hosted by the eLearning Guild and happening in Las Vegas. Forgive any typos and incoherencies.

Anthony Altieri @aa_altieri "Analytics: What You Want to Know"

I got here late so my notes are partial...he seems to be talking about the difference between using Google Analytics vs. xAPI for capturing data.

Google does some gross aggregates and averages. For specific user date on devices and more - you need to enable what they call "user tracking" -- although google terms don't allow you to send personal informaiton e.g anything that identifies you and you. You can give a unique token to each user and it will track those users (although not personal data).  So you can track things like which device someone started a program on and if they moved to a tablet and then if they moved back…you can see resolution and pixel depth.

[Google Analytics embedded in Captivate courses)

xAPI - you need your own LRS you need your own reporting -- there's a cost here. But you can see all kinds of things. To see resolution/pixel in xapi you'd have to add some code.

Using this data you can find out things like:
Where are you users coming from?
What devices do they use?
Which browsers or OS?
What parts of the content do they use most? Are they watching some videos more than others (could be because they're great or because they're terrible)
When are they using your content?

Google just dropped java support -- He says, "anyone using skillsoft courses? Not anymore!"

Dos and don'ts with data:

  • Do start with a question -- how many students are taking my course?
  • Don't start with a conclusion and try to prove it -- "everyone passes my course!"
  • Do look at your content and find out where the data is hiding.
  • NEVE base your strategy on what your tool allows you to do
  • Do figure out what you need to show, hen see if that tool can do it.

Used to build xAPI statements you can copy and paste into your code
He shared a bunch of other links for tools to view testing statement results, tutorials, examples of how to use xAPI for reporting test answers and results.

xAPI can be more powerful that GA, but it requires more coding and work

Interesting fact: He's wearing a wearable LRS: using ADL's LRS and beacon software. Check out his Twitter feed for more on that.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Re-Ignited! Meme-ing the Innovative World of Learning #DevLearn

These are my slides from this year's #DevLearn ignite session -- 20 slides, 20 seconds a slide -- on the topic of innovation and learning. And all told through memes. My premise? Let's look to the past for what works and not simply chase shiny objects.

Donald Clark: Algorithmic/Adaptive Learning #DevLearn

These are my live blogged notes from the opening session at this year's DevLearn, hosted by the eLearning Guild and happening in Las Vegas. Forgive any typos and incoherencies.

Donald Clark @donaldclark “Learning Prediction for 2015 and Beyond: Two Small Letters”

Algorithms and predictive analytics – Netflix knows what you want to watch. It’s time to do the same for learning.

Learning styles don’t exist. Don’t build your adaptive learning system based on them. They have no scientific validity. Same with Myers Brigg.

Aggregate data let the machine algorithms kick in so the data gets better and better.

Learning to Adapt – Adaptive Learning – this is what the Gates Foundation has pumped a lot  of money into this area.

Create a network of learning objects – adaptive sets you free from A to Z. It understand you and finds the best way through. Adaptive learning gets you back on course – it spots your misconceptions. It knows you’ve failed and tries to identify why you’ve failed.

In the real world using Google – we’re in charge. Unlike in eLearning.

University of Edinburg is piloting this for courses and now rolling out to even more.
ASU is doing massive adaptive learning courses with American History and Biology -- 101 courses.

Good adaptive platforms that can understand the structure  and network of American History objects – that’s good.

Ask questions, ask your confidence level as you answer those questions – that helps with predictive.

Hitachi Data Systems – let’s scrap courses and instead have one big knowledge base with lots of competencies. The future for this company isn’t the traditional L&D course – instead it’s competencies that every learner vectors through in different ways. The algorithms keep an eye on what’s next.

Look at – highly algorithmic.

Could algorithms create elearning from scratch? 

Roger Schank’s PhD systems went

Journalism: algorithms more powerful than news editors. The algorithms are smarter than the journalists – they have data back for 100s of years.

WiQi -- -- cloud based system – you type in some content.  It creates some eLearning with a semantic engine. All open response questions – not MCQs which are just about picking from a list.  ( You can put your compliance documents into this – This works right now and no cost.  It pulls up copyright free images from Wikipedia – you can do it with any text document you want.

(Check Donald's slides for a link to WiQi)

Automated Essay Marking.

Spaced Practice
Ebbinghaus – we don’t learn a damn thing without repeated practice.  Every student has  a mobile phone – you have an umbilical cord for spaced practice.

With spaced practice – do lots of repetition in the first few weeks and then you can scale that down.

Interleave: things we get right are called knowns; those we get wrong are unknowns. But we forget everything, so we have to reinforce both the knowns and unknowns and the half knowns.  If we want automaticity – we have to interleave the knowledge going forward.

Hopping: hoping between levels from easy, medium, hard

Cognitive spread – items spread on next few days to smooth out workload…if you miss a day of work, then it spreads that out over the next few days, it doesn’t just shove your mixed work into the next day.

9 things algorithms do that teachers can't:
  •       ignore gender, race, social background
  •       free from cognitive biases
  •       never get tired, ill…
  •       do things that brains cannot
  •       personalize learning
  •       personal reporting
  •       prevent failure and drop-out
  •       automatically improve courses
  •       scale

AI Robots

Bloom wrote a paper showing that 1-1 tutorial provided massive results – it’s incredibly powerful. What if we can use that fact to embody that with a robot…

Introducing NAO – working with autistic children using robots.

Teachers find it really hard to do formative assessment -- computers do formative really well.

Day 2 Keynote: Adam Savage from #mythbusters #DevLearn

These are my live blogged notes from the opening session at this year's DevLearn, hosted by the eLearning Guild and happening in Las Vegas. Forgive any typos and incoherencies.

Adam Savage "Curiosity, Discovery, and Learning"

He opens by talking about his dad, who was a painter. "I paint for the same reason I splash in the bathtub."

The uselessness of academic expertise in the face that we're all going to be plant food.

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts." Richard Feynman

We might say, I don't really get this piece of art, but I like it anyway. We do the same thing with science. 

We often talk about things that are complicated: It's both an art and a science. And when we do that, we often put are hands far apart to show the distance. 

Adam things they're not that different. We think of art and science as things best handled by "experts." Adam disagrees.

We see think that Art and Science as separate. Art as loosey goosey and science is something we suffer through in high school.

When we believe we can't understand something, we don't even try. 

But ignorance does not equal bliss.

So why DON'T we try to understand things? 

People look at the work of Jackson Pollack and say, "my kid could do that." The history of art -- art trying to break down the forms of substance and objects, while still trying to tell a story. And so Jackson Pollack's work still tells a story. 

We do the same thing with science. We put it off someplace else as separate.

We're all conversant in science. It's not just something that's happening over there.

Think: every day in sports, we talk about science -- trajectories, and air flow etc. 

Why do we art and science as separate from us? We see artists as either geniuses or charlatans. Adam's dad said "art is ONLY what we like." About science we say, "I'm not all that good at math..." 

The art of editing a film is all about rhythm and pace and algorithims. It's about math and not numbers.

We see the scientific method as the opposite of the creative method. 

Scientific Method:

1. Come up with a question (Is it better to walk or run in the rain? is not a good question...forming a question is a complicated act.)
2. Form a hypothesis (So what is happening when you're running or walking in the rain? Forming a hypothesis is a self generating act - the more you generate, the more you can come up with. And forming a hypothesis is non -trivial. The more you come up with more you can come up with).
3. Design an experiment to test that hypothesis (how do you pull away variables to make sure the test you come up with has some validity? 

The scientific method is a deeply creative process. They did an MMR of a mathematician's brain - as he was looking at equations, the same part of his brain lit up as did an artists.

Art and Science are just two methods of storytelling.

Stories are the reason we have language, they are what enabled us to form larger groups and what made us the most successful species on the planet. We evolved language in order to tell each other stories. This is the single most important thing we do. It's culture. And culture is a conversation.

[Adam has a high school diploma and that's it.]

We can be better of stewards of our culture:

1. Pay Attention 
"It's not even wrong." -- when a question is science is so below par that it's not even wrong...

Listen enough until you can form your own opinion. Paying attention is really important.

2. Speak your Mind
Once you've investigated something until you actually have an opinion on something, it's important that you put it out into the world.

3. Stay Curious
Curiosity tends to leave people.  Stay curious is a great moniker for life. If you're curious, then things stay fascinating.

4. Ask Questions
We have all pretended to know sh*t. The smartest people are the ones who ask question -- admit they don't know.

5. Tell your stories.(but listen too)
Are you a listener or a wait-to-talker? Stop waiting to talk. Listen to the person in front of you, they've got something to tell you. That's how we push ourselves forward.

Art and science are the twin engines of how we improve ourselves as a species and a culture. They make us all better. And neither is beyond our understanding.

Adam Savage Q&A with David Kelly

The show Mythbusters -- they've been filming 40 weeks a year for 13.5 years. He came to entertain from behind the scenes - he'd been doing special effects stuff after 5 years as an actor and other stuff.

Adam: "I'm a storyteller. When I was building models for Star Wars and the Matrix, every detail has a story/a meaning."

Mythbusters is about a narrative and a story. 

Stories and science -- we want a linear cohesiveness. All we have to do is hold to the scientific method and we tell an interesting story -- because they're the same thing.

5 week Mythbusters tour November/December around the US this year - like a magic show, but instead of illusions it's science. 

"We don't stand behind our results. But we do stand behind our methodologies." -- They typically have 8 days to complete an episode. They often do something once and that's it.

David asks if they think of the show as learning. Adam says, "Oh no, we don't think of the children." It was only a few years into it that they realized that people were learning from it. He gets emails from people who got into science because of the show.

David asks -- how do you learn and research before a show? 

Adam says, you ask a lot of questions. "What's actually going on?" Jamie and Adam then go off and read and research and then come back and talk about it. "We both build things in our head before we build things with our hands." We use a process that we call arguing. It's a high integrity process, because it means someone is always checking. You go back and forth until you DO understand. And when you get that common understanding, you can smell it. 

"Make it clear to me and then I can make it clear to the audience." Often we talk to experts, and it turns out they're not very good at explaining. And so we talk to another expert.

David asks -- how do you work with those experts? 

Adam will say, "is it accurate if I say it this way?" And then the expert will push back. And so he refines his understanding. A myth isn't about a specific science - it bridges across other branches. So experts will know their area, but not everything that pertains to that bridge. Polymaths -- experts who have an interest in more than one thing. Polymaths make connections across more than one thing. It's only when you look at how things connect to each other that you really understand.

Adam says, "I'm not great at anything I know how to do except maybe storytelling. I'm mediocre at welding, painting, etc. But because I can do all of those things - they're like arrows in my quiver. I can pull those skills into my problem solving and make connections...."

David asks -- a lot of people don't react well to being wrong. Has your experience on myth busters changed how you feel about failure?

Adam: The only experiment that is a failure is the one that yields NO data. Failure is always an option. As long as I'm learning something about the process, I can apply it to the next step in the process.

I try to model my failures for my kids. And I try to model this in the public spheres.

Exposing myself to failure is one of the key stories I have to tell.