Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Kineo Learning Insights, Naturally...

Every year at Kineo, we interview a group of our customers – taking a slice of the market and sharing those insights back with you. This year’s Learning Insights 2015 report, has loads of nuggets. But rather than recap them all here, I want to dig into the one that I’ve been thinking the most about, which was our very first question. We asked, “What’s been the biggest surprise in the last 10 years?”
The big game changer? Why technology, of course. Over the last ten years, with the rise of search engines, smart phones and tablets, and access to the wisdom of the crowd through social media, we find answers to our burning questions very differently than we did just ten years ago.  As one of our interviewees said, “It’s much more about now. I want to learn this and I want to learn it now.” (Shades of Veruca Salt, eh? I want some candy and I want it now!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

eLearning Today [Slides from #LSCon]

OK, so I'm no Bill Nye the Science Guy , but I did have fun presenting today at Learning Solutions, happening this week in Orlando.

My session, "eLearning Today", took a personal look at the evolution of tech since 1996 to today. And then we dove into the tech trends of today.

Coolest thing ever? Having my session live sketch noted!


Slides from today's session available for your viewing pleasure:


Thanks for the great conversation.

Bill Nye the Science Guy: Opening Keynote at #LSCON

These are my live-blogged notes from the opening keynote at Learning Solutions 2016 happening this week in Orlando. Forgive any typos or incoherencies.



What about our perception of the world is wrong?

Bill Nye's parents -- his mother's father wouldn't let them get married until she graduated from college. His dad went off to the Pacific to build an airstrip. 1941. And then Pearl Harbor happened. And then he was captured and became a POW. "If you ever have a chance to be a POW, don't do it."

His mom was at Goucher (?) College. She got recruited by the US Navy Cryptographers and she went off to work on the Enigma Code. In 1992 they were declassified -- and still these women wouldn't talk about what they did.

44 months his Dad was a POW.  His parents lived through the war. 

There are 88 constellations in the sky (from the western perspective). And the darkness of Japan prison camp, his Dad learned them all. And he learned about sundials. "Sundial people want everything to be a sundial." His Dad invented the sand dial. "We'll make dozens of dollars on this thing!"

Bill thought, as a teenager, that he was unaffected by this sundial thing. And then, he was at the beach...and he found himself making a sundial. 

If you look at a shadow outside in the sun, there's a blue-ish tint. This is the color of the earth's sky. There are other sources of light than the sun. Cerulescence.

He was in a meeting for the Mars Rovers....and they were looking at a metal post that did something and it had a shadow with a yellow-ish tint. And Bill wanted to turn that metal stick into a sundial. And so there are 3 sundials on Mars now!

And if you look at the Mars sundials, the shadows have an orange tint. From the dust in the Mars sky.

And why does he tell us all this about sundials?

Science and learning starts with observation.

He went to work at Boeing out of college. People talked about this mythical guy - Tex Johnston. He shows a video of Text flying an early Boeing jet -- a huge one -- and doing a barrel roll. This is the Boeing "Dash-80". No one told Tex Johnston to roll the plane upside down. "What are you doing, Tex?" said the Boeing staff.

"One test is worth a thousand expert opinions." ~ Tex Johnston

The upside down pyramid of design:

  • At the bottom is design -- where you've got a few # of people. No matter what you're designing, a car, a plane, a piece of learning software. It's a few number of people. You're not paying that much.
  • As you start making the thing, you go up to quality assurance and material planning -- you're talking more money. And you've got to write a check. You start spending ore money.
  • Then the welders, the painters, the delivery. (when you're building an airplane, there's no truck - you have to build your factory next to a runway!)
  • Then you get to the customers and you've spent a lot of money. Every step of the pyramid you spend more money.

You can have a great design. And you have great people. But if you're starting with a Ford Pinto (the car that exploded) -- on the best day, all you're going to get is a Ford Pinto. If the design sucks, the car is going to suck. If it gets hit from behind, it's going to blow up.

The more time you can spend at the beginning, at the design, the better chance you have of coming up with a good product. If the design is good, you have a shot at making a good product.

When making the Science Guy: they put science education into 3 buckets and within each category there are two things:
  • Life Science (biology, human body), 
  • Physical Science (physics, chemistry), 
  • Planetary Science (astronomy, earth)

These fundamental ideas led to 100 shows.

Once you figure out the design, you can expand it. You've got a shot. It started with these 3 ideas -- not 100.

His first kids' book was written in 1993. He was talking about climate change.
Educational Public Outreach is now from the point of view of outer space. He took Astronomy from Carl Sagan! (Hey -- I didn't know Bill Nye went to Cornell!)

A couple of years ago he did a debate with this guy Ken Ham who believes the earth is 6,000 years old. Bill Nye thought he must've been in on it, but the guy really believes it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6kgvhG3AkI

"Bill Nye the Science Lie" was the mantra in town after that.

And now Ken Ham is selling the idea that the "earth is cooling again." Bill Nye says, "Noe, this is wrong." These climate deniers are wrong.

Florida Governor Rick Scott instructs his staff that they are not allowed to discuss the term "climate change."

Going back to fact based presentation -- 2015 was the warmest year on record.

We have a huge opportunity right now to change the world. The enthusiasm for science is extremely high and building. 

The Big Bang Theory is the most popular show on tv right now -- a bunch of geeks talking about science and being human in the background.

The Martian

(If we had more kilometers, we'd sell more things overseas. We're the last country on the miles and inches.)

Day before yesterday, they launched exomars. It's on its way to Mars to look for methane. The main way you get methane is via living things. If the occasional plumes of methane that we've sniffed on Mars -- if those turn out to be the result of living things..it would change the world.

Two questions we all ask:
  1. Where did we all come from? How did we get here and what are we doing here?
  2. Are we alone in the Universe?
If we can detect methane on Mars - then we're not alone!

marsexo was launched by a collaborative effort with a russian rocket and the european space agency. He shows the Canadian 5 dollar bill -- with an astronaut - the space program is important to them.

Space exploration brings out the best in us. It's inherently optimistic. There is a future. 

We are stardust. When we send missions to pluto to take photos of Pluto -- we spend millions, but it's a worthy investment. We find out more about ourselves.

We cannot let the earth be hit by an asteroid. There is no evidence that the ancient dinosaurs had a space program. You just don't want that to happen.

So people have proposed different ways of dealing with it. (Hint: don't send Bruce Willis. The fragments after you blow it up will make it worse.) 

You need to nudge the asteroid ever so slightly so it misses the earth. An astronaut has a patent to build a gravitational tug boat. The mutual gravity of the spacecraft and the asteroid would pull the asteroid off course. But you would need tons of fuel. That's the challenge.

The laser bees -- shine sunlight on the asteroid to burn it up!

You only need to give it the tiniest of nudge to make an asteroid miss, if you had enough time.

This is important. This may come up in our lifetime.

And the more technically literate our students are, the better our chances of getting through it.

Scientists confirmed that in the summer, there is water flowing on Mars. On Earth, every place we find water, we find life. We may find life on Mars! For the cost of lunch for the US military.

I hope some of you or your students go to Mars. And go up to one of those 3 rovers. Those rovers costs billions of dollars, and they're just sitting there -- they're not even locked. One of the rovers is still running well beyond its warranty period -- that's your tax dollars at work!

On each rover is the Mars dial.

Science and learning is all about the JOY OF DISCOVERY. Our ancestors felt that joy. 

We're all from EARTH. That little speck in space. That's the whole deal.

There about 100 times as many stars as there are grains of sand on the earth.

It's easy to feel insignificant -- we're each just another speck, standing on a grain of sand, which is a speck.  "I'm a speck on a speck, orbiting a speck, with another speck! I suck..."

But then with my brain...you can imagine all of that. And with your brains, we can change the world!















Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Creative Courage with Welby Altidor, Cirque de Soleil #trgconf

These are my live-blogged notes from the second day keynote session at Training 2016, happening this week in Orlando. Forgive any typos or incoherencies.

Creative Courage with Welby Altidor, Executive Creative Director at Cirque de Soleil 

Unccovering innovation through engagement, collaboration, and controlled failure —  and how it can apply to, and change, our approach to both training and business.

In most of us, creative super powers are there, but often dormant.

When we think about geniuses, we think Picasso, Rosa Parks, Einstein, Emmett Brown ;) -- we think of the cliche of the lone genius. And not to diminish the genius of these people, but we can also tap into our own genius superpowers.

"The future of innovation is no longer in the hands of the scientists, artists, or designers working alone in a lab, loft or studio...It is a creative, collective, humanist enterprise that seeks to find new solutions to the problems of our planets and its future." ~ Lucas Dietrich

The world in which we live is constantly evolving.

How can we start to co-create? How can we enlist the people we're trying to reach out to? How can we pull them into the creative process?

There's a huge taboo when we talk about collaboration. When we talk about creating true collaborative culture, we're talking about egos, power struggles, red tapes...

Our ability to create collaborative culture impacts our entire life.

The mindset he tries to practice or apply: "If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original." ~ Sir Ken Robinson

This is the root of creative courage. And you can practice this.

Creative confidence is the ability to believe that you can change the world around you (the guys from IDEO said this).

Let go of perfection. Put things out there and iterate on them.

What it means to be creative -- to be faced with absolutely complex and near-impossible problems and to realize that to solve those problems, there's no instructional manuals and you'll need to make it up.

Place the bar where it feels a little bit impossible.

At Cirque, his role is to push people farther in their roles and their designs as he works across many teams. So how does he do that?

Ask the DUMB questions; make the DUMB comments. Don't squelch the voice that says, "don't say that idea -- that will sound ridiculous." Very often, it's those seemingly silly ideas that trigger the chain reactions that lead to great ideas. Putting that out there encourages the rest of the team to adopt that behavior."

IDEAS love to hang out together. They love to mingle, make love, and create new ideas. Whenever you can, put out a number of ideas. Put stuff out there that might sound silly but could be really powerful.

The more you let really talented people around you GROW, the more it will let you grow. Think about the people on your team, your projects -- how can you make a more fertile ground for that genius to be expressed. Create space to allow people to grow. Constantly recruit people that have amazing skills and who could potentially replace you.

PROGRAM FAILURE.  Put yourself in a situation to get early feedback in order to make it better.

ABOUT WHO? WHAT STORY? Don't forget what the project is about. When we started this project, what was it really about? Are we still connected to that objective?

BREAK RULES. But not your principles. You need to know what your principles are; you need to know what matters to you. Rules have an expiration date. They had  rule that it wouldn't take less than 36 months to put on a show. Are you clear what principles are driving that rule?

In every project, add an element that pushes the boundaries. He calls this PUNK ROCK (even though, as he says, he's not wearing a mohawk or chains). Can you add an element of punk rock? Put some of that attitude into the project - your audience will feel it and be grateful.

TRANSCEND SIGNATURE. Do we want to push out things that are new or meaningful? When we do our best work, there's often something at the end that surprises us.

"As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people's ideas are often better than your own..." ~ Amy Poehler

Create space to let teams shine as much as possible. 

You have very little power to control things. But you do have infinite power to influence. That force of influence is really based on your ability to foster this notion of creative courage in others. 







Behind the Scenes: Jay Shuster on The Creative Process at PIXAR #trgconf

These are my live-blogged notes from the second day keynote session at Training 2016, happening this week in Orlando. Forgive any typos or incoherencies.

Behind the Scenes: Jay Shuster on The Creative Process at PIXAR #trgconf

The story is central to Pixar. Jay's in the art department as the production designer – his team designs everything you see on the screen.

“make it great.”

Pixar goes into a film without a locked script. Art and story work so closely together. Art informs script.

“We never finish a movie. We just release it.” ~ John Lasseter

They have a big team with a lot of nerds, and people who are really good at what they do. 

“Hire people smarter than yourself.” Everyone becomes a designer of a film.

PU Tube – find people talking about their projects. Mistakes Made, Lessons Learned. Always access this stuff to learn from what we’ve done along the way.

“art challenges the technology…technology inspires the art."

And always have fun doing what you do.

Design of the building – the left wing is the left brain – “the smartests” and the right wing is the right brain -- “the artists”. With a place to connect in the atrium.

Toy collections at Pixar are like a status symbol.

“Fail forward – bad ideas are fuel for good ideas.” Andrew Stanton (making mistakes!)

Trust – he spent months working on drawings for Wall-e.

Owning what you do.

Keep it loose. At Pixar, what impressed him was how loose things were – napkins with stains become the main drawing. Communicate the ideas however you want.

“Do your homework.” – go to Toys R Us and buy a ton of toys. Go study mars rovers. 

Storyboards are the currency – how ideas are bought and sold at Pixar. Even if they’re super loose, they all communicate stories.

Over 100,000 storyboards on every project. One guy pitched the same sequence 32 times.

In the early stages, they get all their employees to watch the film and take notes and ask questions.

“No” gets said after months of work. But the story dictates…

Things flow as people contribute their own skillset.

“It turns out, it’s a beautiful film.” [Wall-e]

“Pain is temporary. SUCK is forever.” – this is the overarching ideal. We’ve got to everything on the screen kind of perfect, because it’s going to be up there for a long time. That’s where the neurosis comes from.

Everything we do comes from that quote by the founding fathers: “make it great.”


Friday, February 12, 2016

Cammy at Training 2016 #trgconf

Check it out! I'll be at Training 2016 next week: February 15-16 in Orlando, Florida.

This is Training Magazine’s 39th annual conference & expo, and it’s sure to be magical given the proximity to the Magic Kingdom.

I'll be speaking twice on Tuesday, February 16:

The Accidental Instructional Designer: Designing Better eLearning
8:00-9:00 am, Session 312

Chances are, you didn’t dream of becoming a designer of eLearning when you grew up, did you? Most instructional designers in the eLearning business got here by accident. So now that you’re here and doing this work, how can you become a more intentional practitioner? You’ll take a look at four key areas to focus on in order to become a well-rounded eLearning designer, talk about ways that you can take your practice to the next level, and share some quick tips for better eLearning design. 

Avoiding Clicky Clicky Bling Bling: Top Tips for Making eLearning that Shines from the Inside
1:45-2:45 PM, Session 501

Clicky-clicky bling-bling is eLearning with lots of whiz, lots of bang, lots of clicky-clicky in a lame attempt to add pizzazz to dry content and to make it more engaging. Don’t mistake clicky-clicky bling-bling for “engagement.” It’s just shiny wrapping paper covering up a pair of crummy socks with holes in them. Don’t get caught with crummy socks! Get top tips for making eLearning that rises above the bling, looking at strategies for writing, graphics, games, and interactivity.

Both sessions are part of the conference’s Boot Camp track, and are open to all conference attendees.


Stop by, learn a few tidbits, and be sure to say hi!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Shades of Instructional Design [Slides from eLearning Guild #OLF]

Today I got to kick off the eLearning Guild's latest online forum, Instructional Design Approaches for Project and Learner Success.

I talked about one of my favorite subjects: the many shades of instructional design and shared some tips and ideas for designing better eLearning along the way. Enjoy!