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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Suprise!


So for my 40th Birthday (yes, I look 20 in my profile photo...). My wife surprises our family with a cruise. So we all headed to the Caribbean.

Therefore, posts on this blog have been delayed and I might still be a little intermittent in the near future, I haven't been able to get the best Internet access from the ship.
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Today's Toys, Tomorrow's Tools

This week over at TrainingDay, my post Today's Toys, Tomorrow's Tools is a little bit of a rant. But I think it is important to continually remind ourselves that the upcoming gamers are going to learn differently than us digital immigrants and we need to adapt as well as help them adapt...we can't dictate terms to these digital natives...it won't work.

Cooperation is the answer.
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Friday, March 30, 2007

Book Related Developments


As Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning nears it release day of April 14, 2007. A number of book related developments are occuring.

First, Training Consultant Steve Woodruff's on his blog Impactiviti has done a nice and thoughtful review of the book (scroll down to see it.)

Here are some quotes (positive):
A very helpful snippet from the book is a chart (on page 16) showing how games have evolved in four different stages, with ever greater levels of interactivity, immersion, complexity, and collaboration. This was an eye-opener for me, as the level of mental dexterity has ramped up over the years, requiring higher-level thinking and learning patterns.

From a corporate training perspective, the case study of visual job aids as a replacement for printed SOPs (pages 136-138) was a fascinating application of technology to a real training problem. This was one of many illustrative stories sprinkled throughout the book that increased its practical value.

For any serious training professional dealing with the issue of incorporating the newer generation of workers into a company, I highly recommend this volume. It is not overburdened with academic abstractions; in fact, the book is loaded with practical suggestions, including ways to introduce these new styles of learning into a resistant corporate culture.

Here are is a negative quote:...I'm trying to be "fair and balanced"
I found only one frustration with the book, which is that its overall length and thoroughness (a real strength!) may restrict its readership. That’s a shame, because there is some very valuable insight here.

Sure it may be a little long but I advise you not to read it all in one sitting and use the many examples as a reference for you as you build an argument in your organization of why Gadgets, Games and Gizmos are important as a strategic advantage. Also a great read for a summer vacation, just read one chapter a day...really the chapters are not that long and filled with many illustrations and even...cartoons (as shown above).

Second, my publisher has released a great product sheet describing the book that you can download and share with your friends and relatives.

Third the book made the cover of Pfeiffer's spring catalog...however, it was the wrong book cover (the green one that didn't make it). The blue one over on the right side of this blog is the cover that will ultimately be on the book as I have been told.
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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: Virtual Reality is Back

When I was in graduate school many moons ago, the big thing was virtual reality. The concept was that the learner would immerse him or herself into an environment and then interact with the environment. It was really over-hyped and never went anywhere.

It appears to me from recent events that virtual reality is back...in a big way.

First I run into the idea of a helmut that reads your mind and sends commands to the video game you are playing, Interface Be Gone.

Then my friend, Gordon Snyder sends me this article from Business Week titled, The Mind-Bending New World Of Work. You need to read the article. There is also a podcast if you would rather listen and a great set of photographs and a video to accompany the article.

Here are some highlights:
  • Soon, anyone making a PowerPoint presentation to colleagues or business partners could operate the same setup as Tom Cruise in the Minority Report to control the slides and move through the presentation. The set up uses cameras to track hand movements and translate them into computer instructions. The presenter will have his or her hands in the air and the slides will progress. Not unlike the work by Jeff Han which I highlighted in What Interface?

  • Intel (INTC ) Corp. is developing a more advanced version of motion capture that will let people wave at their TV sets from across the room to turn up the volume or change channels—no gloves or sensor dots required. Within five years "you could use gesture recognition to get rid of the remote control," predicts Intel Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner.

  • At the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Adidas has an electornic ad that perks up when people walk by. It responds to movements with a shower of shoes. The more people move, the bigger the deluge of shoes. "People don't ignore the ads—they want to play with them," says John Payne, president of Monster Media, which created the campaigns for adidas, Clorox, and Target. "It's like Willy Wonka."

  • At Lockheed visitors can be equiped—up to four at a time—with Virtual Reality headsets and suits dotted with motion-capture sensors. As the visitors enter a darkened 15-by-20-ft. area where 24 cameras track their every move, they "see" through their head displays the fighter prototype and lifelike avatars of one another. (can you say Holodeck?)

  • If you want to experience the beginnings of virtual reality, check out Nintendo's Wii system. The tennis, baseball and bowling are highly realistic and provide a great deal of fun and interesting game play.It is the first video game console system that my wife actually enjoys playing.



As designers of learning experiences, we are going to be busy determining the best instructional design strategies to apply to these exciting, seemless human/computer interfaces and when we combine these interfaces with 3D software, the instructional implications are staggering.
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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Design: Inside the Interface

With a few modifications, this video could be used to teach about computer viruses, 3D authoring systems, desktop icons and other elements of the basic desktop envrionment all through the use of an interesting video and unusual perspective. Sure beats traditional software training.

This short video takes the learner inside the interface and allows them to view the software from a completely new perspective and it tells an interesting story with no words. A great way to introduce concepts and ideas in a short adventure film. The film could easily be outfitted with instructions on deleting viruses, selecting the right items from a pull down menu and instructions on how to use the windows Recycle Bin (played by a Garbage Can in the video.)



Thanks to Vince Basile for point this out to me.
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Gadgets, Games and Gizmos April Webinar

If you have some time on Friday, April 20, 2007...join me for an Adobe Luminary eSeminar Series: eLearning, Sales & Marketing from 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM US/Pacific.

My topic will be Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning: Transferring Knowledge to the Gamers

Here is the description:

Learn how the incoming, techno-savvy gamer generation will turn traditional training programs upside down. Discover what drives and motivates gamers and how to design instruction to appeal to the gamer ethos. This session covers iPods for teaching machine maintenance, simple games for teaching acronyms and concepts, and full-blown simulations for teaching the upselling of banking services.

You can register at the Adobe web site by following this link.
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Monday, March 26, 2007

Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: Interface Be Gone


Interfaces, or the lack of interfaces seems to be a theme lately. I thought the posting, What Interface? provided a provocative glimpse into the future but...it was nothing compared to the concept of a helmet that reads your thoughts and then controls images on the screen to help you play video games without a controller. No joystick or controller, just put the helmut on your head and begin playing...with your mind.

Emotiv System, Inc., a company with offices in San Fransisco, CA and Sydney, Australia plans to utilize electroencephalography (EEG) technology to release a helmet containing electrodes that read brain signals. The technology will distinguish between patterns of brain activity in order to correspond with specific commands in video games. Commands are currently limited to a predetermined set of actions, but players can teach the sofware by associating repetitive thought patterns to individual commands.

Think of it, no need for even a Wii controller, simply think "jump" and your character jumps...visualize swinging a bat and you hit a home run. Think the word "Enter" or "Submit" and your information is entered into the database. You can now control software with your mind (instead of software controlling you.)

Read Project Epoc Brings Mind Control to Games to learn more or see the photos at Cnet news.

This takes user interfaces to a whole new level.

Thanks to my student Brian Seely for pointing this out when he did his Wall Street Journal Review assignment for class.
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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Design: Bullets Be Gone

This week over at at TrainingDay, the post is about how to rethink the traditional use of bulleted lists in PowerPoint and other similar programs. The post discusses a few ways to avoid the use of traditional and boring bulleted lists.
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Friday, March 23, 2007

Design: Are You Designing Elementary Instruction?


Somehow I end up watching the show “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?” Amusing show focusing on information to be memorized. The type of stuff presented in most corporate training programs (This is our policy on customer wait time. Here are the three features of product x.ARM means Adjustable Rate Mortage.)

The game on TV is being played by a blonde, energetic real estate agent named Avis. She is doing well but does get some assists from the fifth graders in her “class.”

Then she runs out of assists and the next to the last question is asked, “How many months of the year have 31 days.” It is a 2nd grade measurement question worth $300,000. She says she knows the answer because of “that rhyme.” If she gets the answer wrong, she wins nothing. If she is right, she wins $300,000 and a shot at the million dollar prize.

Jeff Foxworthy looks at her and sarcastically says, “So you are betting $300,000 on a rhyme you learned over 25 years ago in elementary school?”

“Yes,” Avis responds and after a long pause... “The answer is seven.” She is right and wins $300,000.

I challenge you to name one piece of information you learned in a corporate training program over 25 years ago which you would be willing to bet $300,000 that you can still recall in a stressful situation.

My guess is that you can’t name one. Yet, the use of a simple rhyme helped Avis encode information that she was able to recall, under stress over 25 years later. Remarkable.

Think of the training and e-learning programs you are developing today, any chance they will be remembered 25 years from now? Why not?

Perhaps you should consider putting some rhymes or songs in your instruction…or perhaps you think that's too elementary.
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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: What Interface?

This video comes courtesy of Mike Qaissaunee's blog Frequently Asked Q. It really provides an excellent glimpse into the future of computer/user interfaces. When the interface is this simple and intuitive...what will happen to software training courses?

I've always said that one of the reasons instructional designers have a job is because programmers create such HORRIBLE user interfaces that employees need training just to figure out what is going on. However, if Jeff Han's work takes off...no more horrible interfaces.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: You Go Girl

Over at Learning Visions, Cammy Bean posted an entry titled Games for Girls… there she discusses the fact that it seems that girls aren’t really gamers. I encounter that thought a great deal when I talk to groups about the gamers and how they like to learn.

So much so that I carefully researched and wrote a piece about female gamers for my upcoming book Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning that specifically addresses that issue. Here is an excerpt:

Unfortunately, female involvement in video games tends to go unnoticed—even among themselves. As Kirsten Kearney, a video game industry journalist puts it, “I started off playing Pong 25 years ago, then I had a GameBoy and played SuperMario. There are plenty of girls who did this but when you ask if they are gamers they say no," Nikki Douglas, founder of www.grrlgamer.com, a site dedicated to girl gamers adds, “We know that women do play games…we have played hundreds upon hundreds of [video] games.”

While not being as visible as their male counterparts, females are no strangers to the video game world. Seventy percent of the players of the social interaction game, The Sims, are women under 25. The computer game that held the number one position in the Children’s PC chart from May 2004 until July 2006 was designed specifically for girls age six to eleven. In that popular game, Princess Fashion Boutique, a player chooses her favorite fairytale princess and dresses the princess in a variety of outfits mixing and matching colors and textures until everything is just right.

A game that has been a hit with older females is Nintendo’s Nintendogs. This game allows players to “pick out a puppy, name it and then watch it interact with other dogs." Forty-two percent of Nintendogs purchasers are women, with over 700,000 copies of the game sold over the first two months in Japan. When the game hit the United States, it sold 250,000 copies the first week and sold out of two major computer game store chains within a month.

Increasingly, females are playing first person shooter games as well. In fact, there are several female-only game tournaments started by women for women. Web sites such as www.womengamers.com, www.ladygamers.com,and www.grrlgamer.com have sprung up to eliminate the stereotype of girls not playing video games.

Females are active participants in video games; they are learning the same traits, concepts and behaviors as their male counterparts when it comes to the influence of video games. While females tend to gravitate toward different types of games, the lessons learned; problem-solving, the benefits of exploration, the advantages of multiple attempts are all the same. When discussing the traits of gamers, the traits cut across genders because young girls play video games and are growing up in a culture influenced by those games.
So, we as designers of educational or training games for learning need to remember that females like video games as much as males, they just tend to like different game play and different content. When designing instructional games, we need to keep this in mind and overcome the large mis-perception about females and video games.__

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: Build Dangerous 3D Environments

One effective method of using 3D worlds like Second Life, Active Worlds, ProtoSphere and others for education is to build environments and 3D models for the students to learn about places they could not otherwise visit or inhabit. Build a dangerous or deadly environment and let them freely explore to learn in a realistic manner just how dangerous the particular environment can be.

Build naturally inhospitable locations like the Antarctica or Death Valley or many made structures like the topic of high tension wires or oil refineries or a metal forge or chemicals plant. These virtual tours can provide some type of insight into the environments in which students may consider working.

Create 3D buildings that are not build safely or correctly and then ask student pre-architects to identify unsafe or poorly created 3D spaces.

Create a mock airport terminal and let the employees identify suspicious people and items.

On a less dangerous note, create a room with a horrible d├ęcor, then let interior decorators conduct a “walk through” and make suggestions for improving the space.

Or have them design a create space using just the elements in the room. Or have would-be designers create unique buildings, cars or even products virtually. Have a clothing designer create a line of fashion and have him or her conduct a fashion show with avatars serving as models.

Here is an article titled 3D Online Learning Environments for Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security Training that explains more on the topic.
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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: Learning in 3D

My post this week at the TrainingDay blog is a little late since I was stuck (and still am) in San Diego since the East Coast got the huge storm which shut down teh airport I was to fly into.

As I play with 3D worlds more and more I think that they are going to be standard software in organizations in 5-7 years. One that breaking some ground is ProtoSphere. Read my post Social Learning in 3D to learn more.
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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Out and About: The Changing Face of Learning


Today I am in San Diego, CA speaking to an enthusastic group of clients of Eduneering. We are discussing how the gamer generation is beginning to influence learning and knowledge management and how changes need to be made to training programs to properly transfer knowledge from the boomers to the gamers.
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: Fun with Learning

I've been a fan of Jellyvision's You Don't Know Jack for a while, my first CD of the game had the following system requirements:
  • 486SX/33 or better microprocessor
  • Windows 3.1x or Windows 95
  • 8MB of RAM
  • 15 MB of Free Hard Disk Space
  • 2X CD-ROM drive
  • Video display capable of at least 640x480 resolution with 256 colors
  • Sound Blaster 16 or compatible multimedia sound card
In fact, I remember playing You Don't Know Jack online in 1997 (in my office at school) complete with commercial breaks right in the middle of each game. It was low graphics but high entertainment.

So the other day my youngest son and I go on the Jellyvision site to check it out. We go to the iCi showroom and play the CompassLearning games.

Wow! Every topic my 9 year old says..."hey we are learning that in school." "Alright, I know this." "This is fun!"


Now my two boys are put through a lot of "educational games" a hazard of being children of a mad learning scientist. Many they like, some they think are horrible and a few they love. The educational stuff by Jellyvision is in the "love" category.

The secret to Jellyvision is...sound.

Jellyvison products lead with sound and voice. Really, there is nothing as "one-on-one" as a conversation. A discussion with a friend, speaking with a colleague, getting advice from a mentor. The iCi interface captures this. In most e-learning, sound and voice overs are an after thought. Not with the iCi interface.

Sound can be a powerful tool for learning. The reason podcasting is so powerful and can be an effective tool for learning is that a mentor or a colleague can speak directly to you as you listen to the podcast. You can learn so much by listening to the tone, pacing and pitch of a person's voice.

The power of voice must be placed into e-learning. We need to maximize the sense of hearing to impact the learners. It is one tool that can lead to humor, emotion and a sense of fun and with high levels of retention.

Next time you sit down to author an e-learning course. Start with the audio script. Everything else should simply follow.
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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

School House Rock, School of Rock

Remember School House Rock? It was a fun, interesting way to learn the boring aspects of conjunctions, how a bill becomes a law and multiplication tables (remember 3 is a magic number.)

This type of knowledge is known in academic circles as declarative and conceptual knowledge. Information that must be memorized as well as concepts to be understood…like what is a bill (listen to song). The powerful thing about School House Rock is the impact it had on my memory (and others). I can still sing “conjunction, conjunction…what’s your function? Hook’n up phrases…”

Interestingly, I find few memories of learning anything in a formal classroom setting that even comes close to having the “staying power” of the jingles, songs and rhymes of School House Rock. Perhaps, as designers of learning events, we need to re-think the stale, static nature of our presentations and focus on adding music, rhymes and “catch phrases” to our learning events.

Are you using words on a screen for your PowerPoint slides or e-learning modules? Consider creating a “story” or theme with your presentation, add some royalty free music to your e-learning module, add audio of sounds, not just your typical stale, static narrator but bells and whistles. Add life to your e-learning. Follow the lead of the School House Rock folks…they knew how to conduct training.

Another person that knew how to conduct effective training is guitarist Dewey Finn (played by Jack Black) in the movie School of Rock. Dewey is anti-establishment rocker who lands a “gig” teaching students in a prep school. The school is typical, desks all in a row, highly structured activities and kids bored out of their minds.

Dewey tells them they are working on a project called “Rock Band.” Each student is assigned a task based on their individual strengths. They are given homework like “listen to Pink Floyd.”(talk about discovery learning)

They work together as a team to create a final product. They evaluate themselves on the quality of the product and not on how they stack up to one another. A one point, a grade grubbing student cons someone into allowing the band to play and Dewey says, “Hey summer, you get 12 gold stars and an A+” She replies, “I didn’t do it for the grade.”

What an education for these kids. They learned about working together, cooperation, playing to their strengths, intrinsic motivation and how to integrate learning and fun….this movie should be required of every school teacher, trainer and instructional designer.

Take a cue from School of Rock and School House Rock to move your learning events to a higher level in terms of fun, retention and learning experience. Check out the School of Rock Trailer.


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Monday, March 12, 2007

Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: 1994 was a Milestone Year

In 1994, Time Magazine named the "Internet" the person of the year. In that same year, Sony released the Playstation One in Japan and the next year in the United States and Europe.


If you were born in 1994, you have grown up with the Internet, video games and the cell phone. To you, these are not new inventions, they have always been around.

As you turn 13 this year you have been surfing the internet, collaborating with friends, and playing video games your entire life.

In fact, 44% of you own a computer AND a cell phone or PDA. Thirteen year olds call "email" snail mail. They even wonder aloud if land line phones aren't "obsolete."

Designers and developers of instruction are not digital natives, we have not grown up with this technology, we learned it along the way. We have trouble thinking like digital natives, we try but are not always successful.

To better create instruction in the future, we need to immerse ourselves in the gadgets, games and gizmos of the digital natives while simultenously enlisting them to help us create learning events and assets that they find relevant.

Look at your learning and development team. How old is the youngest member? Can you get an intern from college or better high school or middle school to help you think about the future of learning?

At 13, in a mere five years the first all-net, all-video game, all-cellphone connected generation hits the workforce...is your organization ready?

See Defining a Gamer for more information and discussion on this topic.
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Friday, March 09, 2007

Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: Second Life Class Project

This semester as part of a larger class project where students are required to respond to an e-learning Request for Proposal (RFP), my students are going to need to create some spaces and areas in Second Life.

To faciliate this process, I have created wiki (at the suggestion of Barton)to provide information and to answer student questions. The wiki is called MSIT Second Life and is designed to provide information to students. If you want to stop by and provide some assistance or help, feel free to do so.

We are in the process of purchasing an island and setting up for the class project.

Here is my land for you to check out.

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Online Case Study Development

My post this week at the TrainingDay blog is titled Developing an Online Case Study

Too many times, the technology takes over when developing an online case study or a branching story. Really, what needs to occur is a careful focus on the design to ensure that regardless of the actions of the learner (right or wrong) learning occurs.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Definition: Mnemonic

Mnemonics are word tricks to help enrich and encode information to be memorized and then help to maximize recall. A mnemonic is when a meaningful word is created from the first letter of each word that is to be memorized or learned.

Mnemonics work because learning research indicates that the more richly we encode information, the more easily we can retrieve that information when needed. They also involve chunking and organizing of content (also effective techniques.)

An example would be ROY G. BIV as a term for remembering the order of the colors in a rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet)* Or the word HOMES to represent the names of the great lakes in the United States—Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior.

An example from industry is the word “whip” which is “W-I-P” formed from the first three letters of the words Work-In-Process. Another example is the word PERT which is the first letter from each of the words Program Evaluation Review Technique. PERT is a method of project management using a project network diagram. In instructional design we talk about the ADDIE model of instructional design—Analysis, Design, Development Implementation and Evaluation, sometimes we call it the MADDIE model by adding Management to the beginning of the acronym.

Using mnemonics is a simple technique and backed by research. They are effective. You probably still remember mnemonics from grade school. Unfortunately, the technique is severely underutilized. In a study of 14 different pharmaceutical training programs created by six different vendors, no mnemonics where found in any of the courses. A link to the whitepaper is contained on AXIOM's Evidence-Based Training page. Why aren't they used? Are they seen as too childish or too difficult to create?

I am not sure why they aren't used but I do know from research and anecdotal evidence that they are effective. Try creating and adding a mnemonic to your instruction today. You will aid your learners in recalling key information using a simple, low cost technique that is shown to be effective for recall.

If you have time, leave a mnemonic in the comments, let's see how many we can gather.

*You can see awesome images of rainbows here.
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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Develop: When Does Collective Wisdom Make Sense?

Interesting article over at cnet news about the future of games called Future games to harness player’s collective wisdom. The article describes a talk given by alternate-reality game developer Jane McGonigal at the Game Developer's Conference in the serious games summit portion. She stated that she believed computer games can teach collective intelligence. She defines “collective intelligence” as many people coming together and using technology to solve problems or advance knowledge. Here is fellow blogger Barton's take on her presentation. (He also has blogged on other aspects of the conference as well, the lucky man is there.)

She gave several examples including Wikipedia which was interesting since that very day, faculty at Bloomsburg University were having an email discussion about the value of Wikipedia to students and for research.

The normal debate raged on, spurious information (especially since Essjay turned out not to be who he claimed)is contained in Wikipedia, it can’t be trusted, it is not a good source of information.

On the other side are people who claim that it is as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica. You know the story, a research study was done and published in the referred journal, Nature . The journal contained a study that revealed that Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia had approximately the same number of errors in a random sample of articles. Read Internet encyclopedias go head to head to learn more. Of course, Encyclopedia Britannica fired back stating that the study was fatally flawed.

To me, the accuracy debate is important but misses a serious advantage of Web 2.0 tools for gathering collective intelligence. As soon as Wikipedia knew what the errors were, they were fixed. For Britannica, the process takes much longer (trust me, as someone going through the process of writing a traditional paper-based book, the production process is painfully slow).

As instructional designers we need to consider when to use certain tools, when is the wisdom of crowds appropriate for a wiki-delivery mechanism and when is it appropriate to take the time to deliver well crafted e-learning? So here are some thoughts I have on the subject. (By the way, I am working on a wiki to accompany my book since the "publisher" ran out of room for the glossary.)

Considerations for choosing a wiki:
  • Large enough critical mass (need the "crowd" concept)
  • People feel free to contribute
  • Some structure is already in place (template for adding entries)
  • Speed of information is important (maybe even more important than accuracy)
  • Real-time collaboration is not necessary but serial collaboration is needed
  • Some level of expertise exists in different pockets within the "crowd'
Am I missing anything? Are these accurate?
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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Games, Gizmos and Gadgets: The Value of Games

On Wednesday, April 25, 2007, I will be presenting with Greg Walsh and Steve Sugar on the topic The Power of Play: Effective Training Through Games and Simulations

The neat thing is that Greg and I are the techie guys and Steve Sugar is a game guy who has been doing learning games for years without incorporating technology just games and learning. So the discussion will be interesting to see how the prinicples discussed by Steve Sugar will translate into online games.

Steve is owner of The Game Group and is author/co-author of five books that focus on the design and use of classroom games, including: Games That Teach, Games That Teach Teams, Primary Games, Games That Boost Performance, and Training Games.

Steve agreed to share with me (and allow me to post)his top ten reasons to use learning games...without even considering technology. I think you will find his insights interesting and help you to build the case of why you should be using games within your classroom.

Ten Reasons to Use a Learning Game

1. Games are Fun…with a Purpose. Games “celebrate” your topic and reward individual and group achievement. Games bring fun and energy into a buoyant learning zone, but with the focus on learning.

2. Games Provide Feedback to the Learner. Learners want and need feedback on their performance. Games give them immediate feedback on the quality of their input—their successes and their errors. With the appropriate feedback, this can become an invaluable learning opportunity.

3. Games provide Feedback to the Trainer. Games provide a practice field where learners interact with the topic, demonstrating their knowledge and ability to apply the information. By observing this real-time demonstration, the trainer can adjust the subsequent level of lecture, readings and interventions, as required.

4. Games are Experiential. Today’s learner needs to do and try things on her own. Games provide an environment that transforms the passive student into an active part of the learning process, connecting her own dots and experiencing her own ideas. Games remind both player and trainer that energy in the classroom is a good thing.

5. Games Motivate Learners. Games engage players and then motivate them to interact with the topic. This interaction drives players to demonstrate their understanding of the topic in a friendly contest where successes are memorable moments of shared triumph, and mistakes mean only that the learner is being stretched to his own limits.

6. Games Improve Team Work. Games are real-time activities that bring players into teams, demonstrate the rules and roles of working together as a team, and underscore the value of team collaboration. Games give your learners a chance to know their peers as they share the same real-time experiences, allowing for strong networking and bonding.

7. Games Provide a Less Threatening Learning Environment. Because the game format is playful, the challenge of the material—even new or difficult material—is less threatening. During game play seemingly difficult questions and scenarios are “just part of the game.”

8. Games Bring Real-World Relevance. Games allow you to present real-world information in the form of questions, scenarios, role-plays, and so forth, allowing players learn not only the “what,” but the “why,” of the topic from a real-world perspective. Players also observe their own behavior and that of others during game play.

9. Games Accelerate Learning. Games allow you to compress your topic and demonstrated learning into shorter periods of time, accelerating the speed of learning. The visual presentation, oral interactions, and active participation of game play appeals to all of the learning styles (visual, auditory and kinesthetic), involving both the rational and experiential mind so that players remember more of what they have learned.

10. Games Give You Choices for Your Classroom. Games allow you to add variety and flexibility to your teaching menus. Games allow you to vary the level of learner involvement, introduce new topics, mix theoretical and practical, and vary the level of skill and knowledge.

List taken from Primary Games, 2002


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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Shout Out: Will Thalheimer


Will Thalheimer just announced that he is transitioning from independent consultant to once again working within an organization. He is turning Work-Learning Research into a hobby.

I would just like to say that any organization that is smart enough to hire Will is going to have a great employee on their hands.

I know Will from presentations, email exchanges and a fairly long interview I did with him once at a conference for E-Learning Guru. He is a dedicated professional and has done so much to help the field make informed decisions regarding learning and learning development. He has really raised the awareness level and made an impact.

I wish him the best of luck in whatever he does because I know it will be good!

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: Learning about Web 2.0 with Web 2.0

This has been around the blogosphere but, if for some strange reason, you haven't check out this great list of Web 2.0 exercises, you should. It is called 23 Learning 2.0 Things.

It makes my punny list of 4 items in my post This Weekend Go High Tech look a little anemic.

Thanks to Brent Schlenker for point it out to me.
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Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: Create Your Own Lego Model

So there has been much talk about DIY learning in the blogosphere lately. I have even entered another salvo over at TrainingDay Blog so you can check it out. It is called Design of Learning.

However, the entire DIY got me thinking and exploring and coincidently, I am reading Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything and came across the section about DIY Legos and so I went to the web site to check it out. Awesome!

First some background, as I kid, I grew up with the large Lego kit where I had to use my imagination for everything, no pre-set houses or cars or castles just me and 150 non-descript Lego pieces. I wasn't a master builder by any stretch but I did have fun.

When my younger brother, younger by a number of years, got into Legos. He got all the cool kits. Star Wars ships, houses, firetrucks.

Now Lego has combined the two. You can go to the Lego Factory, download software to design your own unique Lego model and then upload the model and order a custom kit to build whatever model you designed. The kit will come with all the pieces you need to design your own model. Did I say Awesome! And the cherry on top is that you can even design your own custom box. Awesome.



Here is what Lego says "Design your LEGO model, share your design with other LEGO fans and purchase the exact pieces to build it!"

Now there are certain parameters you need to follow to make sure you can order your kit and that it can actually be built. To me this is a great model for DIY learning. You get a certain number of designed learning assets that you can connect to build your own learning. Those assets are designed by instructional designers to be complete and structurally sound. Like the fundamental Legos you order. However, you can combine those pieces however you would like. You learn from a collection of assets built according to certain rules. It makes sense to me.

Then, to futher build community. Lego allows you to upload your image and others can then purchase the kit as well. So whenever I create my awesome model, you can select it and order the kit and build the model. Now imagine doing the same thing with an online course or wiki where a learner sequences content, adds his or her own comments and then others can choose the best learning sequence or course design for their own DIY learning.

What a great way to build a learning community. Lego Factory, a great model in so many ways. (oh, yeah, that pun was intended.)
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