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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Remember Story Problems? Let's Animate Them!

Remember those algebra or physics story problems...if a train left the station traveling 70 mph at 1:00 pm on route to the next station 3.4 miles away, what time would the train arrive at the next station?

Well the folks at Edheads have done it again, last time I discussed their virtual knee surgery simulation. Learn About Knee Surgery

This time they created a Virtual Crash Scene. It is a combination of physics, algebra and a video game. Collect evidence, interview witnesses, calculate forces and then draw conclusions. Check it out.

And then when you are done, you can run through some "What If" scenarios. This is a great piece that can be used in a class on a variety of topics. For English class you could even have students write a news article about the incident.

But what I want you to think about is the "What If" element of the Virtual Crash Scene. Do you have anything in your e-learning or online simulations that allow learners to run various scenarios, can you think of ways that you can ask your learners to consider or experiment with different versions of an idea or concept you are trying to teach them? If you can think of some examples, post them in the comments.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Avoid the Energy Hogs!

In terms of "going green" there are lots of efforts to help people learn to use less energy and conserve our natural resources.

One fun way to teach kids about conserving energy is to have them become Energy Hog Busters. They can learn methods to conserve energy by playing a series of fun, educational games explaining the value of conservation.

Check out the Energy Hog Buster web site and become officially licensed to hunt hogs, not quite like having a 007 licence to kill but close (ok, not even close).

What I really like is that they took the concept of several mini-games and strung them together via a common theme and the fact that you earn a badge. This allows the game/instructional designer to create a series of related mini-games without having to develop a huge educational game with complicated plot, characters and graphics. Having concept of "earning a badge" underneath the game play of several games, you can create simple games but all related with an ultimate reward. Consider this type of design strategy next time you are creating some games for e-learning. (you are creating games for e-learning aren't you?)

Kids can customize their badge and earn points toward a higher level by successfully completing the mini-games.


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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The High Art of Reusability

We often talk about reusing "knowledge objects" for elearning but seldom do organizations really take it to heart. Every course is "special" and the content needs to be "modified" each time to ensure that it has the right meaning.

One organization that has taken reusability to a high art is Disney. Their ability to reuse a song, an image or a character is impressive. This drawing is from 1957 and shows how even then, ole Walt Disney himself, was thinking about maximizing content and reusing it where ever possible.

Take for example a simple flow from Disneyland to TV. The image shows that Disneyland provides article material for Walt Disney Magazine which, in turn, feeds Publications (Books and Comic Books) which plugs films which feed into the Creative Talent of Studio Theatrical Films which feed 16 mm films which then feeds Television which uses TV revenue to pay off the costs of creating their own films while plugging merchandise and creating licencing revenues which, in turn, promote Disneyland. Your head might be spinning but Disney leverages the content for high profits while building incredible brand loyalty because you know and are comfortable with the brand images because you see them all the time.

What a great concept! Now think of how you might use and reuse materials (information, knowledge, ideas) within your organization.

Try this...look at the diagram and imagine substituting in corporate or academic stuff:
A research scientist's blog provides material for an idea which is then critiqued and expanded as it appears in a collaborative wiki. The results of this "fine tuning" are fed to the marketing department who runs the ideas by focus groups, who then feedback to the product development team, who, in turn, writes the results on the collaborative wiki for the research scientists to view. The scientists tweak their work based on the feedback and, again, post the changes to the collaborative wiki. The product development team takes the refined information and creates the new product. After the product is in the field for a bit, customer service and product use information is fed back into company, compiled and posted to the wiki for future product enhancements and re-designs. Scientists and others are notified via an RSS feed of any changes.

Or, on an academic level:
A science teacher assigns the students the task of learning about polymers, the students post information on a wiki, then in history class the students learn about the history of nylon and the pioneer scientists who worked on creating plastics from polymers and post pictures and other information onto the wiki. Then, in a math class, the students learn how to graph different melting points. While the English teacher requests that the students take the information aggregated on the wiki and create a report about the history and use of polymers in the last century.
The interconnectedness of events, ideas and concepts is what leads to knowledge and ultimately wisdom. Instead of teaching things in isolated silos, let's think of the connections and leverage those connections for our learner's success...just like Disney leverages those connections for financial success.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Gamer Rater: New and Improved

A while ago, I posted an assessment tool developed by Heather G. called Gamer Rater. The post Gamer 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 or 4.0? asked a series of questions to which one could answer to determine what level gamer you are. We had some issues with age so we have modified those elements, added some menu item information and made a few other cahnges.

Thanks for all the suggesttions and is the new and improved version. Give it a whirl and let me know what you think.

Play Gamer Rater! (again?)


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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Library of Learning Objects

I do a lot of work with organizations funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). My work as an evaluator provides me the opportunity to see the high quality work these organizations produce.

One of the NSF funded organizations, Wisc-Online has created a large database of online, multimedia learning objects on dozens of topics. There are even social networking aspects such at "write a review" and "tell a friend" built into the library. You need to register to view the items but their is no cost to check them out and see if they would be of value to you.

As the web site states:
The digital library of objects has been developed primarily by faculty from the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) and produced by multimedia technicians who create the learning objects for the online environment.
These objects can be used by other organizations. Currently they have 2093 objects online and about 90 under development.

These learning objects cover topics such as:
  • Math
  • Science
  • Health
  • General Education
  • Technical Subjects (HVAC, Plastics, Welding, Forklift Safety)
  • Business Subjects (Quality, Accounting, Business Law)
  • And many, many more

You can gain access to other learning objects developed under the direction of Terry Bartelt of Fox Valley Technical College on the topic of Electromechanical Devices, Systems and Applications.

If you are involved with creating online technical training or educating students in technical topics, you owe it to yourself to check out this web site and sign up to use these objects. Even if you teach other topics, there is probably at least one object that will meet your needs.

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Scripting a Virtual World Learning Event

Building an environment in a metaverse and turning the learners loose to go “learn” without guidance, goals or objectives will not lead to effective learning. One mistake organizations make when first creating a virtual world for learning is failing to script the instruction. They create a space but have vague learning outcomes or even no plan for assessment.

When designing instruction in a virtual world, the basic tenants of instructional design still apply. Instructional designers need to develop measurable learning objectives, apply appropriate design strategies and create assessment items to measure whether or not the learners understand and can apply what they learned during their time in the virtual world.

This means you can’t just put people in a virtual space and say “explore” you need to tell them what to look for, what to do when they find a specific item and how that applies to what they should be learning. You can’t create a role play without giving the learners some guidance in terms of what they should say and how they should interact. You can’t have an event without a debriefing to ensure learners understand what happened and how it is related to their job. You need to create a method to evaluate their ability to apply what they learned in the virtual world to similar real world situations.

Scripting the learning event by specifically explaining to the learners their tasks and expectation through verbal commands or other learning aids like note cards or information embedded on in world billboards or signs is important. Thinking through the interaction between the learners, the instructor and the environment is what makes learning in a virtual world effective. A lack of preparedness will cause confusion on the part of the learners and they will quickly become frustrated with their experience.

One the other hand, do not script every single minute within the virtual world. Provide plenty of time for the learners to interact with each other and to share information. It may even be a good idea to require learners to work together to accomplish goals.

When scripting the instruction take advantage of the social networking capabilities and features of the virtual world to encourage the learners to interact and to build bonds in world just as you would in a physical classroom.

The time taken to build a social network in world will be returned to the organization when these learners interact and share information outside of the world and inside of the world to solve common issues they encounter on the job.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

eLearn Magazine 2008 Predications are Out!

Lisa Neal has compiled her annual list of expert predication's. You can see the entire list of predication's--Predictions for 2008. There are some really interesting ideas so check them out.

Here is my predication based on a number of projects I am currently working on:
Content within corporations and universities is going to become more and more disaggregated and learner created. Truly valuable content will be found as short videos on YouTube, entries on blogs, or a favorite page on a wiki, none will be housed in a Learning Management System. In fact, I predict a corporate version of YouTube will emerge just as the academic version, TeacherTube previously emerged. Formalized "instructional design" will begin to look more like "instructional assembly," in that what is traditionally thought of as a course will really be the efforts of an instructional designer to assemble disaggregated pieces of related content into a coherent flow for novice learners or learners who are not comfortable with assembling the content themselves for whatever reason.

You can see a longer list of predictions I made for 2008 at 2008 Predictions, Remembrance and Challenges

Also, there was a little more pressure than usual this year as Stephen Downes evaluated last years predictions in an interesting blog posting Last Year's eLearn Magazine Predictions.

You can see a discussion we had about the evaluations at 2008 Predictions: The Pressure is On! Also, if you are following that discussion check out Ben Hamilton's post Value of Predictions.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Gadget for All Presenters

Ok, so I have dreamed of such a device for years.

Check out Mike Qaissaunee's post about pocket projectors.

I've got to have one. Think of the ease and level of comfort any trainer or academic would have knowing that they could do an impromptu lecture at any time...a presenter's dream.

Believe me, I've carried around enough heavy equipment to seriously covet one of these devices.

Thanks for the find Mike!

Here is another story about a pocket projector. It is from Gizmodo.


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Monday, January 21, 2008

Winning E-Learning Proposals

The other day someone asked me if I knew any good resources concerning the writing of a proposal for an e-learning project. It just so happens I do know a few resources that can help in that area.

In fact, I have spent a great deal of time writing, critiquing and developing proposals for e-learning. I even teach a class on the it is something near and dear to my heart. So much so that I have written some articles and even a book on the topic.

If you are looking for some "how to" resources on writing e-learning proposals, here a few you should investigate:If you would like a comprehensive book on the topic, check this out:


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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Game Teaches Life Saving Skills: Accidently

Screen Capture from America's Army Game which Helped Save a Life.

The power of games for learning is that they can teach lessons that the learner doesn't even realized she or he has learned until the time comes to apply those skills.

A player of the Massively Multiplayer Online Role Play Game( MMORPG)American's Army was able to aid a victim because knowledge he learned from the game.

As the article states:
Paxton Galvanek, a twenty-eight year-old helped rescue two victims from an overturned SUV on the shoulder of a North Carolina interstate. As the first one on the scene, Galvanek safely removed both individuals from the smoking vehicle and properly assessed and treated their wounds, which included bruises, scrapes, head trauma and the loss of two fingers. His medical background? None - other than what he's learned playing as a medic in the computer game America's Army.
He credits his experience playing the game for teaching him how to handle himself in an emergency situation. Read the article for yourself at Gamer uses virtual training to save lives or read the Army's version America's Army Medic Training Helps Save a Life.

Games can create a virtual memory and provide real-life practice of real-life skills which can be applied outside of the game. What skills would you like to teach your employees or students that they could apply outside of a game and in a real life situation?

Thanks to K.R. For the link to the article.


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Friday, January 18, 2008

Web Stats Meme Answer

Tony Karrer tagged me for a meme while asking fellow training and technology edubloggers to post their stats for compariative and research analysis purposes. 2007 Traffic Stats - Hopefully a Meme : eLearning Technology

So I am posting mine, they are not as high as some and are not as low as others. However, my primary purpose of blogging is to keep a virtual "memory" of what is going on and the neat things I run into (I then review my blog whenever I am asked to keeps my presentations up-to-date.)

Also, I use my blog as an example for students and audience members when I speak. So like many bloggers, while I'd like to have a high readership, that is not the primary goal of my blog.

Anyway, here are the stats> Some of which I had to gather when I took the Second Annual Education Blogosphere Survey which is now open for business!

The survey only has 4 screens and 25 questions. It's fun. Take it and add to the knowledge of what is going on in the blogosphere (as Tony's meme does).

And, if you want to see a high ranking blog, check out Vicki Davis's (aka Cool Cat Teacher) post called My Answers to this Year's Edubloggers Survey. She has some impressive stats.

So here are some things that may or may not be of interest to you.
Technorati Authority: 82
Rank: 85,297
Blog Reactions: 359
Average views per day: 190

Subscribers (according to Feedburner): 144

Here are the links to the most popular postsI'd also like to take this time to thank Rupa of Writers Gateway who named me one of her Top 6 E-Learning Resources.

And to E-Learning India who mentioned me under Great elearning blogs and sites

Also, cjescribano of LifeLongLearningLab who called me one of the top two favorite blogs.

Posts like that are the "icing on the cake" to my personnel learning and growth that comes from blogging. Any time I can help anyone in some small way, it is worth it...that's why I am in education in the first place.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Kindle Bound--3G4L

Just found out from my publisher that Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning(aka 3G4L) is bound for Amazon's Kindle. Very exciting news as I think the Kindle is the perfect vehicle for a book like 3G4L which needs constant updating. We don't yet know the exact data but I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, you can keep up with all the latest on the Kindle from an insider in the publishing world by reading Joe Wilkert's Kindleville blog. It gives an interesting take on what is happening in publishing. We in the blogosphere tend to complain about the publishers not "getting it." Well now we have some publishers blogging about potential game changing technologies and it is interesting to read what they are saying and how they are reacting. Good and interesting read.

Joe also has a blog called Publishing 2020 which he calls "A Book Publisher's Future Visions of Print, Online, Video and All Media Formats Not Yet Invented." Again worth checking out in this blog he talks about how technology is impacting books and publishing.


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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Games as Rewards in School

When it comes to video games, one school has taken the motto "if you can't beat them, join them" to heart and allows kids who do well in school to play video games as a reward.

They decided that one way to motivate kids is to allow them to play video games and, indeed, if you want to see a motivated group of kids, watch them play a video game. so they decided to apply a little behaviorism and reward good kids with video games.

Check out this quick little posted titled School Offers Game Time as a Reward. I'd like to see the games more integrated into the curriculum as tools for learning rather than an extra (and the question, how intrinsically motivated are the kids if no games were involved).

But contrast the above with schools that ban games and things like iPods altogether as I wrote about in Hire that Kid!. The ideal situation is, of course, somewhere in the middle.

Thanks to Chris C. for sharing that link. Keep the links coming.


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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Thinnovation-MacBook Air

Big announcement by Apple is the MacBook Air. Check it out.

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Elaboration Aids Learning

Lately, I’ve done a few instructor-led seminars and wanted to share a technique I use. I've also use this technique in a virtual classroom with the breakout room features (you can break students into private sessions) and whiteboard functionality.

This method, I call it the “re-teach” method, involves engaging the learner by having them “re-teach” content to their fellow learners. The first time I saw this method I thought it was silly but it really works for both reinforcing learning and pointing out to the learner gaps or holes in their understanding of a concept or idea.

To begin this process, you, the instructor, need to be teaching a model of some type or a process. Something with defined steps. You might teach Steven Covey’s model of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, or teach the ADDIE model of instructional design or any other model.

When you have completed the lecture portion of explaining the model, have each learner draw the model (this is the first level of elaboration), then have each student choose a partner and explain their model to their partner (this is the second level of elaboration), then have each group explain the model to the class (this is the third level of elaboration). This process provides three opportunities for the leaner to engage and interact with the model and the content surrounding the model.

When explaining the model, learners will add new information to it every time they explain it and/or hear about it. They will elaborate on the model—each time adding a new dimension to their understanding of the model and solidifying their learning or seeking clarification on certain aspects of the model or process. Once learners have elaborated on the model, it makes it easy for them to recall the steps of the model and to understand how the model functions.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Online Games and Pharma

Check out this well researched article by Robin Robinson titled Let the Games Begin. She interviewed a number of experts in pharma and computer gaming and has developed a comprehensive look at the past, present and future use of video games as they relate to training in the pharmauetical industry.

To read the article go to the article abstract section of PharmaVoice then scroll to the bottom and click on the button labeled Download PDF and a pdf of the article will appear in your browser for you to read.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Kapp Family World Tour!

Kapp Family Rockers

This is the second in my "Games I Got for Christmas" blog postings explaining how games can be used for learning or how they are becoming easier to use or...just how much fun they are to play.

The first posting was for Uncharted Drake's Fortune. The game was a lot of fun and very cinematic but it was only a one player game. Not much family involvement.

Rock Band on the other hand got the entire family involved.

The game (for those non-rockers) involves each person having a specific instrument. In our case, one person plays the drums (color coded to match our PS3 controller), one person on guitar and one person sings.

All three band members work together to successfully complete a song. If one person fails, another band member can help save the song but if two people fail, then the song is not successful. What a great way to teach teamwork. I spoke to a musician who said that guitar playing in video games is NOTHING like playing a real guitar so no learning transfer there...too bad....but, he said that the drums are not too far off.
Kapp Family Rock's Basement Arena

Implication for Learning Professionals

Imagine a scenario where an organization takes a complex piece of machinery and creates an interface and controllers that are similar to the actual machinery and a new employee learns using that type of simulation. What an effective learning tool.

Or, if you are doing a team building exercises, introduce Rock Band and use it for teaching a group to work together. All types of interesting uses can be developed for these types of interfaces.

While the field is not quite there yet, we are getting closer. In fact, last year I went to a medical device manufacturing company that used haptic devices to help train surgeons how to implant medical devices.

The surgeons watched a video game-type interface and used an "instrument" to virtually perform the surgery. When using the instrument, the learner/surgeon feels resistance and vibrations as the haptic device is used. In fact, I could feel the grinding of the bone as I overused the grinder.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Presentation to Research Working Group on Multigenerational Knowledge Transfer

So last week I was speaking at Huntington Beach, CA (and it was cold) on the topic of "Learning in 3D" and this week I am in New York City (and it is warm) talking about Tools and Techniques for Transferring Know How from the Boomers to the Gamers to a group from various companies all struggling with the knowledge transfer issue.

Here are some links to blog postings I've done related to the topic and other related links. These postings and links support the presentation and provide additional information on the topic of "Tools for Transferring Know How."

Blog PostingAggregator (here is an example of an RSS Aggregator)

Training Blogs

Three-Dimensional Worlds

Second Life


Active Worlds


Social Networking




Social Bookmarking

Article about Blogging in Corporations

Blogging to Learn and Learning to Blog

Online Assessment (What Level Gamer are You?)

Gamer Rater

Link to Book's Web Site

Gadgets, Games and Gizmos web site.

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The Real Reason LSU Won the Championship!

Well the big game is over. LSU defeated (some would say humbled Ohio State) in a 38-24 victory. You can read about the game at Sports Illustrated's Web Site. But the controversy is not over.

In fact, an informant told me that LSU may have had an unfair advantage. One of my blog readers through the back channel of e-mail (we'll call him Steve B) sent me this provocative article about how LSU trains it's quarterbacks for victory.

The scandle is not as big as the Roger Clemens story but close.

The article titled LSU quarterbacks use video game to prepare for BCS national championship game reveals the real reason for the win.An image from the video game version of LSU.

Here is some of the information from the article, you can judge for yourself about the impact of a mere "video game" on a national championship victory:
LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton has used a custom-made video game to help his quarterbacks learn to read defenses....LSU and Tennessee were the first schools to use it this season..."The video game is an excellent resource we have," Ryan Perrilloux said. "Whenever we hit a play, that play would automatically match up with the defense that we would see or blitz we would see. "If you make the wrong decision it's an automatic interception or it's an automatic incompletion."

Crowton is able to customize each quarterback's video game playbook.

"You can make it faster and harder for my experienced guys; more experienced people running the offense and more experienced guys who know how to play the games," Crowton said.

So when Matt Flynn, LSU's fifth-year senior starter, sits down to play, he's got an extensive selection of plays from which to choose, compared with Perrilloux, the No. 2 quarterback whom Crowton usually limits to about 10 plays per game.

When Flynn plays, the game forces him to make decisions faster than say, third-stringer Andrew Hatch, who's in his first season and not as adept at running the offense.

"It definitely helps you make the right reads and get to the right spot," Flynn said.

The game doesn't take the place of practice or film study, but it's probably a little more fun.
So there you have it, video games can be used as effective training tools, they can even contribute to winning a national championship...yet the use of "games" for learning is still shunned in many academic and corporate settings...hey if its good enough to win a national championship then its good enough to train...anyone.

The game is a modified version of Madden 2008 created by a company called XOS Technologies.

Thanks to my confidential informant and blog reader Steve B. Keep up the good work!

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

2008 Predictions, Remembrance and Challenges

The ASTD Big Question for January is "What are your Predictions for Learning in 2008?"

First, I am going to borrow from the December 2006 Big Question which I really liked. The three questions, now modified for 2008, are:

  • What will you remember most about 2007?
  • What are the biggest challenges for you/us as head into 2008?
  • What are your predictions for 2008?
These are not easy questions to answer but here they are:

What will you remember most about 2007?

What are the biggest challenges for you/us as head into 2008?

  • Try to keep up with writing books, book chapters, blog entries, articles, presentations, letters of recommendation, grading papers, recruitment of students to our program, evaluation, consulting and everything else that seems to occur all at the same time. Time management is a big issue that I need to get some more control over in 2008.

  • Of course, it would always be nice to..."get in shape." Not always so easy as a "computer jockey" sitting at a desk all day but something worthy of effort. It is important but not urgent...I need to up the urgency.

  • This year it looks as I may be confronted with the issue of whether or not to accept corporate sponsorship of Kapp Notes. I like the idea of having "no strings attached" to my blog but there are some perks to sponsorship.

  • I hope to continue to make good friends through blogging and the blogosphere.

  • I need to publish some more peer reviewed articles (didn't I say that last year?)

  • I think the field needs to focus on intelligent use of technology by concentrating on specific learning strategies that are successful for learning and helping people take more responsibility for learning.

  • To continue the momentum built up around Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning.

  • Continue to help students understand, appreciate and become excited about the field of instructional design and technology.

  • Contribute to Michael Allen's 2nd e-Learning annual.

  • Write another book and create some products useful to people as they struggle to make sense of the fast and furious world of e-learning, learning and training.
What are your predictions for 2008?
  • Dis-integration of course materials. I see a lot of material being developed by end users (learners) via the Web 2.0 technologies and then instructional designers acting more like instructional assemblers.

  • Some type of corporate YouTube-esque product is released, professional videos for professional trainers. Not sure if free or a subscription model.

  • Continued focus on mobile learning...I envison something like GeekBrief TV as a great use of mobile. TrainingBrief TV perhaps? Maybe this is really related to the prediction above.

  • Introduction of a highly popular "Second Life"-esque product focused specifically on training industry takes training industry by storm through the introduction of some serious money and one or two big names behind the effort.

  • Several easy-to-use game development tools will be introduced along the lines of Articulate's Engage product making interactive games available to instructional designers at all levels.

  • If economic recession becomes a reality as spoken about...layoffs in the e-learning and training field will hit toward the end of 2008.

  • I will continue to blog and enjoy the online community of bloggers, lurkers and others.


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Friday, January 04, 2008

Second Life Resourses: Supporting NCTT Opening Address

This morning I am giving an opening address the the National Center for Telecommunications Technologies Information and Communications/Convergence Conference at the Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, CA on the topic of Second Life so I wanted to provide some resources:

Here is the book that I recommended in my presentation.


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2008 Predictions: The Pressure is On!

Stephen Downes has upped the ante on predictions for 2008 by creating a report card on predictions of 2007. Here is his post. Half an Hour: Last Year's eLearn Magazine Predictions If you want to see most of the blogs referenced, see Darren Draper's Bloggers Make Better Predictions.

I am within him for most of the grades but the one thing that bothers me a little is that he graded himself and, subsequently provided himself with the second highest grade. I am uncomfortable with Stephen grading himself. I think he should have submitted the grades for the other bloggers and then let the blogosphere grade his prediction. It is like, as a professor, I grade my students and then completed my own faculty evaluation giving myself high, but not too high a ranking.

But I do thank him for the time and effort and it has made me more careful with my 2008 prediction which will be released soon. I tried to be more specific. In fact, I am predicting the emergence of something like a corporate YouTube. A site that does for videos of small training pieces what TeacherTube did for videos for education.

Also, I think once you start grading activities, you tend to suck the "fun" right out of them. So is it really a good idea to grade the predictions of the blogosphere, how do people feel who gave a prediction in 2007 for fun and then, a year later, unbeknownst to them, they get a D based on criteria that appeared retroactively.

Or is the argument made that since you made a "public" prediction, you are now open to any and all critiques. Not sure.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Uncharted Drake's Fortune

I received a number of interesting games and gadgets for Christmas, didn't spend nearly enough time playing them but I did want to give, over the next few days, some impressions of the games and gadgets.

First the game Uncharted Drake's Fortune from developer Naughty Dog is impressive. It reminds me of the first time I saw Myst and was drawn into the word. This game is the same way. It just draws the player into the world of the game, you scream, wince and react to what is happening around you. The adventure is engaging because the story is interesting and filled with twists and turns.

It makes me think of a well designed learning simulation because the same elements are needed. A good story (no, an excellent story), compelling content, interesting twists and turns and specific goals that can be reach more than one way. Can a business simulation ever be that good. I think it can.

Look at the business lessons (maybe pseudo lessons) of the Apprentice. I think that shows with a business topic can have a "mass audience" appeal and that a video game build along those same themes can be successful and some clever video game company will figure that out.

In the meantime, play Drake's Fortune and, while having fun, focus on the elements that make it engaging and interesting and consider how they can be added to your online learning in 2008.


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