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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: Beyond iPoding

Click on the link if you'd rather listen to the podcast of this post, Beyond iPoding, you can find it here. (don't need an iPod to listen, just your computer.

Moving Beyond Music or Voice

As with any new technology, at first there is unbridled enthusiasm or irrational exuberance quickly followed by fear and loathing and then the technology settles down into an every day tool. One example is podcasting for learning. It was first thought of as great way to train but now some pundits are warning that “telling ain’t training” and that podcasting isn’t all that it is cracked up to be.

The answer is that podcasting needs to be thought of differently than just recorded training. Podcasting can be used for far more than just listening to a lecture. Podcasts is appropriate for a variety of purposes.

Often a short audio narration provides the information and coaching needed to help an employee solve a problem or deal with a customer issue. The wide spread adoption of MP3 Players like Apple’s iPod products has lead to an entire ecosystem of tools, accessories and content providers. You can literally subscribe to a podcast on any topic via iTunes or other subscription services. A podcast (for those few who may not know) is a web-based audio file distributed over the web. The file can be downloaded onto a handheld device that plays audio files. The most popular of which is Apple’s iPod family.

The concept is just getting started and has room to move in exciting directions. One appealing concept in this area is the creation of of corporate Napster-type software for the exchange of audio files among experts and members of an organization.

Originally, Napster allowed for the free exchange of audio files among a virtually limitless group of internet users, now imagine a corporate Napster where you upload audio files of information about competitors, new product launches, corporate directions and other valuable information all easily searchable and downloadable by members of your organization. Once loaded onto a portable MP3 device, the information can be listened to anywhere at the exact the time of need. Creating files could be easily done with a handheld digital recorder.

Imagine a scenario where a pharmaceutical sales representative, waiting in a doctor’s office, accesses a corporate audio server and downloads the necessary information and listens to the drug detail recording just prior to meeting with the doctor. Or imagine a doctor downloading an audio file of a patients’ medical history. The doctor listens to the file while preparing for the patient to arrive or fast forwards through the audio file to learn key patient information.

A strong advantage of audio is that it provides the proper tone of voice, inflection and other information necessary to assist sales representatives, doctors or others. Audio can provide information with relatively little bandwidth requirements as opposed to video.

Drexel’s University’s LeBow College of Business has 150 online students all over the world enrolled in its MBA program. LeBow College is using podcasting for both presenting class information and distribution of administrative information.

Students can view a slide presentation of an economics lesson along with the audio or download just the slides or just download just the audio. This gives the learners the flexibility of how they would prefer to receive the information. The podcasting allows the MBA students to learn at lunch, after work or when they are exercising. It provides an opportunity for them to multitask.

LeBow College officials like the podcasting of administrative information. It helps to ensure that the students get the right information and are able to navigate requirements, scheduling and other tasks critical to their successful completion of the program. At least every two weeks, the college issues a podcast explaining everything from course schedules, to scholarship rules and regulations to upcoming events.

The students can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes or listen to the information online via a Flash player interface. Erik Poole, associate director Online MBA Programs, explains. “The students are receiving the administrative information they need. They are responding to the podcasts and are incorporating both the administrative podcasts information and the lectures into their MBA experience here at Drexel.”

Not only is sound important for lectures or giving administrative instruction, sometimes sound itself contains important information. An experienced production employee may be able to hear when a machine is running out of spec. They can hear the abnormal vibrations of the equipment or the sound the die makes when it is hitting the raw material. A newer employee hearing the same sound or change in sound may not know what it means or even be aware of a sound change. If the various sounds of the machinery can be recorded and placed onto an iPod or other MP3 player, a newer employee could learn, through repetition, the different sounds of the machinery and what each sound means.

A similar process is being used to teach young doctors how to distinguish between the different sounds of a heart. After hearing a recording of different heart sounds about 500 times, young doctors reliably discriminate between different sounds made by various heart problems. Before listening to the recordings, the young doctors only correctly identified 50% of the heart sounds; after the test they could identify 80% of the sounds correctly.

Nike, the athletic footwear, equipment and accessory company, has even created an iPod enabled shoe. The shoe has a built in sensor that “talks” to the runner through an iPod receiver. The runner can receive real-time audio feedback about his or her time, distance traveled, calories burned and pace. Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO states that "the result is like having a personal coach or training partner motivating you every step of your workout." It even has a feature that plays your favorite running tune when you are near the end of your workout—so download the Rolling Stone’s Start Me Up or Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger and run off those boomer pounds. (although there does appear to be some security concerns.)

Another innovative use of an iPod or MP3 player is a game called iGAMEz. Each player plugs their iPod into a hub and gets ready to “face the music”. The hub selects the first DJ who, in turn, chooses a song from their library for everyone to hear. Then the players have to buzz in…and name the artist and song title. Could this be adaptive to the sounds of machinery or failing harddrives or any other sound that is important in a manufacturing or business process. What a great learning opportunity, in a class, a person listens to the sounds of a machine running and describes if it is in spec or out of spec.

Another application would be to listen to competitor’s web sites or any web site for that matter. A company called Textic has a product called Talklets that actually allow you to download an entire web site or certain web pages as audio files (see previous post). Imagine asking your assistant to download a competitor’s web site and then you could listen to the information while driving or exercising or on a plane. It gives you the ability to shift-time to listen to something that you normally need to read. This can be a tremendous time saver.

So in summary…

Podcasting has the potential to provide audio-based instruction anywhere. A mechanic can play the sound of well tuned engine vs a not-so-well-tuned engine. A sales representative can listen for the proper enunciation of the name of a complicated medical procedure, a novice trial attorney can listen to the proper inflection of questions during a cross-examination by a seasoned attorney.

These are the types of applications we need to envision for iPods, not simply automating a lecture but using the ability to have sounds, any sounds in a simple, portable format that can be listened to anywhere. We need to think outside of the lecture and expand the use of this new tool instead of being stuck with our old paradigms.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

RFPs and Proposals: E-BAP-E-Learning Business Acquisition Process

Often I am asked to comment on how business is conducted in the e-learning field. How do new companies (or even existing companies) bid on new business? How should I structure the Request for Proposal process? What are the steps in this process?

Here is an outline of a process called the E-learning Business Acquisition Process (E-BAP). If you are looking for a vendor to create e-learning or if you are a vendor looking to find business, this is a generally accepted process and works well in structuring the purchase of e-learning.

The process consists of nine elements. Each of the elements contains supporting sub-elements.

It should be noted that many organizations follow this process when soliciting and evaluating proposals for the solution of learning needs within their organization, but not all. As with most processes some variations occur.
For example, in some competitive situations, e-learning companies first present a presentation with information about corporate capabilities and past projects and then, if they “win” the presentation portion, an invitation to bid is given. Then a proposal is written and submitted.

Regardless of the order of the steps, the same functions occur within the majority of competitive e-learning bid situations. The purpose here is to list the steps of the E-BAP and to understand their impact on winning a proposal.

Each of the steps in the E-BAP is important for ultimately winning the e-learning business. The steps of the E-BAP from the vendor's perspective are:
1. Receive RFP
2. Analyze RFP
3. Ask Questions to Clarify Problem/Bidder’s Conference (optional)
4. Write Proposed Solution
5. Client Accepts Proposal (or not)
6. Gather Work Samples/Develop Working Prototype
7. Sales Presentation to Client
8. Client Accepts Solution (or not)

The steps of the E-BAP from the client's perspective are:
1. Analize e-learning need
2. Create RFP and Determine Evaluation Criteria
3. Contact Vendors and Distribute RFP
4. Respond to Questions of Vendors during a Bidder’s Conference (optional)
5. Receive Proposals
6. Evaluate Proposals
7. Ask Vendors to Present Solution
8. Evaluate Proposed Solutions
9. Select Vendor and Negotiate Statement of Work and Contract


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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

ROI: E-Learning on a Shoestring

I talk to many clients who wonder how they can afford to develop and deliver e-learning when budgets are being cut, staffs are being reduced and the cost of e-learning development software keeps rising. One answer is the work done by Jane Bozarth. She has written a book titled E-Learning on a Shoestringwhich describes how you can implement low cost solutions to cover basic e-learning needs.

Here are several free resources you might want to check out:

My interview with Jane at

A summary of her book from

My review of her book at

Her web site at

Her blog at

You can even purchase her reasonably priced book below:


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Monday, November 27, 2006

Industry Update: First Millionaire in Second Life

It is official, Second Life (which I have written about in two previous posts, Get a "Second Life" and More Second Life) has just created its first virtual millionaire (actually, it has created its first real world millionaire with virutal assets equal to real world assets of a million dollars.) Check out the press release--Anshe Chung Becomes First Virtual World Millionaire: Parlays $10 investment into million dollar corporation in 30 months.

It is an interesting concept that an actual millionaire was created with virtual wealth.

It now appears that virtual assets are as valuable as physical assets. What does that mean for trainers? How can we leverage virtual assets and knowledge of virtual assets to assist our learners in organizations and schools? These are interesting questions.

One company dealing with teaching others in Second Life is Wells Fargo. You can read an article, Wells Fargo launches game inside 'Second Life', which describes how the game can be used to teach about savings and spending using the virtual economy within Second Life to teach people how to navigate an actual economy.
As the article states:
...players are given $30 in imaginary money with which to buy clothes, pay for rides and the like. The idea, though, is to teach the players to save money--they earn 10 percent per day on "deposits"--and to learn new things about money management through a series of quizzes that, when completed, reward players with $5 of new funds.

What a great way to learn about a virtual environment but also, what a great way to make a virtual environment.

Are the lines blurry for anyone else?

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Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: Army's Future Force

An interesting article over at Wired talks about a new real time strategy game developed by the US Army called Future Force Company Commander. The game is based on the US Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) Networked Weapons.

The article, Army Game Proves US Can't Lose describes how the US Army is using games as a recruitment tool but indicates that the game might not be as realistic as it could and that the artificial intelligence (AI) should learn from the players (it currently does not).

As instructional designers who are considering the development of games (for Algebra or Spanish for example), the idea of characters or AI that learns is important. When designing a game, you need to think about what co-workers might learn during the process of the game and consider including that logic in your design. If you make a move that trumps a competitor, the competition may counter that move in the next season or quarter. If you handle an angry co-worker a certain way, he or she will remember your previous action and behave accordingly.

Will it take longer to program a "memory" into your game? Will it be more difficult to develop? Yes, but it will be much more realistic and better learning will occur, more transferable learning will occur.

If you want to check out Future Force Company Commander, you can get a copy by clicking here and downloading a copy.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Informal Learning: Tools for Informal Learning

Here is a whitepaper I wrote about informal learning. It explains some thoughts I have about informal learning as it relates to wikis, blogs, IM and RSS. You can read it here.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: More Second Life

Basically Second Life is the Matrix, as in, “Wake Up Neo, the Matrix has you.” You can learn a little more by checking out my previous entry on the subject, Get a "Second Life."

Second Life is a virtual world in which people can act, react and function as if they were in the actual physical world. You can buy, trade and barter for virtual goods and services within the virtual world. There are even people who make a living buying and selling virtual land, clothing and other items.

The implications for training are that people will be able to act, interact and learn from each other in this virtual world. The world itself is not a training environment but training events and situations can be created in this environment.

For example, you can fly around the solar system to learn about planets and their orbits. You can create a building and learn about traffic flow and the habits of visitors. You can create a 3D object and teach about that object via a distance. You can conduct role-plays online and have people interact differently. You can even have people adopt genders or nationalities to see what it is like to literally “walk in another person’s shoes.”

Here is an article about the business implications and another article about university’s who have gotten into the act.

Over on ASTD’s Learning Circuits there are a number of discussions on the topic and Tony Karrer’s eLearning Technology has a discussion on Second Life as a Teaching Tool as well.

Also, Tim Wang's eLearning Blog has a great entry on the UBC's Art campus. Check it out. (you have to click through a filter message to get to the entry.)


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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

eLearning Technology: Great Example of Group Collaboration - e-Book: E-learning Concepts and Techniques

Here is a link to an ebook that was created by Pam Berman of Bloomsburg University, one of my colleagues. She had a great idea for an online collaboration effort and made it work with a great bunch of students. Checkout the reactions in the blogosphere, great job Pam.

eLearning Technology: Great Example of Group Collaboration - e-Book: E-learning Concepts and Techniques

Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: Learning Spanish in a Game

In addition to being in Algebra (see Algebra Game), my 12 year old son is also in a Spanish Class. A gentleman named David Dunlap has spearheaded an incredible effort to create a game which immerses the learner in the Spanish language by virtually dropping him or her into a Spanish speaking town and letting that individual fend for themself.

The game requires a microphone because the learner is required to converse in Spanish and then the game analyzes what the learner says and how he or she pronounces the words. It then indicates if the leaner is right or wrong using speech recognition. The learner can determine if they want to see the English equivalent, phonetic punctuation and Spanish spelling. Or the learner can turn off all “balloons: and simply converse with a virtual person on screen.

It is an interesting and effective approach. Visit and download a free demo today, you will then want to return and purchase a reasonably priced module (or two).


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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Subscribe to This Blog

Subscribing to a blog is easy.

Do you want a handy way to consolidate all your blog reading in one place? Do you read a lot of blogs? Do you forget the URLs of all your favorite blogs?

If you answered Yes to any of these questions, you might want to consider creating a single location where you can view all the blogs you read on one convenient web page. You can easily do this by signing up for a blog aggregator like I’ll explain how to sign up for Kapp Notes as an example using MyYahoo.

Here’s how: (first you need a Yahoo account, you can get that by clicking here)
1. Once you have a Yahoo account, go to

2. Click on the tiny words "New User Sign Up”

3. Click the big “Save” button (you can first click your interests if you want or add them later.)

4. Then sign in.

5. After you have signed in, go back to my blog, Kapp Notes (or any other blog for that matter) and click on the RSS feed button. It might look like this or some other variation as shown with the Yahoo feed button below or even just an orange button with the letters XML.

6. Then click on the “Yahoo” button. You will be given instructions to add it to your web aggregator (in this case Then you can go to your other favorite sites and add those blog feeds to your MyYahoo site as well.

7. You can use your My.Yahoo page to add content and to see all your blog feeds in one place. It is really simple and well worth the effort.

8. When you want to see the latest updates to all your blogs, go to, sign in and see the latest without having to bounce from site to site.

Let me know if you have any problems, be glad to assist.

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Content Guide

Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: Learning Algebra in a Game

Here is a game where you navigate to a specific location using coordinates displayed on a graph. It is designed to teach about the X and Y axis to students taking an algebra class.

I have a 12 year old son in an Algebra I class, so I was excited to find a game designed specifically to teach algebra concepts using a first person perspective. A mixing of video games and algebra. The game demo is interesting in terms of combining a fundamental subject like Algebra with a video game environment.

The game is developed by a group called Tabula Digita. The 3D Algebra game called is Dimenxian. You can download a free demo and play yourself.

My 12 year old son says it is a good way to learn Algebra but he is used to game-play that moves a little more rapidly. Judge for yourself--share with your kids. It is a good step toward attracting the gamer generation to math and science. Using a language and genre they understand.

Once you have located all the weather stations, you need to plot points on a graph. Be careful you don't confuse the X and Y axis.

It really challenges instructional designers to combine the teaching of dry information in a more thought provoking and exciting way for the upcoming gamers. Can you make a game out of compliance training? Can you have the learner be a virtual inspector? Can the learner be a virtual character who has to avoid sanctions? What other ideas could be incorporated into what we traditionally think are "dry" subjects?

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CAC Digest: Recap of Corporate Advisory Council

The Spring 2006 CAC Meeting was a great success. We had over 50 individuals representing 40 different companies in attendance. We had three generous corporate sponsors (Booz Allen Hamilton, EduNeering, and Weatherbee Media). We had four fantastic presentations by a very talented group of students who gave presentations that were, in the words of several CAC members, "better than most vendor presentations."

Deals were made, information exchanged and networks strengthened. Thanks to everyone who made this event such a success. Below is a quick table of contents so you can find all the CAC information you may have missed.

Day One

Kickoff and First Corporate Presentation

Blended Bliss

Innovative Technology vs. Real World Restrictions

Leveraging Optimal Software Training

Video in e-Learning

E-Learning in the “Real World”

The Phoenix Group

Day Two

Student Presentations (All Four in this One Entry)

Day Three

Students showed their work on a more informal basis and Dr. Doll talked about new web technologies such as Spry and Flex.


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Thursday, November 16, 2006

CAC Conference: Student Presentations

I teach a class called “Managing Multimedia Projects” in that class students are given an RFP for an e-learning based proposal and they have to develop a solution. This semester the idea came from an alumni, Chris Chappell who has created a site called Four student teams are presenting this semester and are focused on Web 2.0 tools.

His concept came from his memories of his best day. He describes this as a day on the lake with his wife – a good time with good food and good memories. Originally he intended to compile the best day memories for many different people into a book. This original concept gradually evolved into an idea for an online community based on Web 2.0 technology.

Four student teams created and presented proposals to 40 representatives from various organizations including Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb, United HealthCare, and many other organizations.

The first team was White Paw Learning Solutions with team members - Scott Paull, Travis Kline, Ryan Reilly and Lauren Ferrett. This team won the “Best Presentation” category for their sales presentation.
Their solution included a variety of tools such as a member questionnaire, tips & fun ideas, and links to blogs & discussion forums. In addition, members will utilize formal and informal learning modules. Communication between members of would include instant messaging and uploaded podcasts. The team presented a comparison of different hosting options and demonstrated their site design.

The proposal also included a marketing plan. The marketing plan focused on the generation of traffic and revenue. They discussed their “Viral Marketing” strategy. Examples included awarding random prizes, such as one flower bouquet per week for best posting and t-shirt giveaways. They also recommend affiliations with other popular websites and organizations.

The next presentation was by Raptor Training Solutions which consisted of etam members – Linda Backo, Toby Baltzer, Chontel DeLaney, Sarah Little, and Richard Price (who played the CEO).
They presented their idea as a site that would be accessible from any platform, fixed and mobile. They discussed a “Smile Campaign” which included contests and innovative ideas to drive traffic to the site. They also included a dynamic method of adding member profile.

They presented the idea of a Bliki which is a combination of a blog and wiki (thus bliki). Edits to an entry in the bliki can be made then approved by the originator of the entry.

The next student group was eElements and it consisted of team members – Chris Carro, Shannon Linn, Megan Loughney, Angie Torres, Jeffrey Border. They won the “Best Prototype” and best overall.
They presented a prototype with a start-up page that offered continually changing content. They give several examples of sites that inspired them including and

For their instructional portion of the site, they used the ARCS model for its motivational properties in drawing people into the site. The model consists of Attention, Relevance, Confidence and Satisfaction. There solution also included podcasting to draw people to the site.

They also discussed hook-ins with Google, MySpace and iTunes. Product tie-ins also apply when someone finishes the training courses.

The final group presenting for the day was Train2Grow this group consisted of team members – Todd Hartzel, Danial Hoffmaster, Joseph Shipe, Kim Shipman, Walter Shultz. This group won the “Best Written” for their written proposal.
The marketing elements were a large part of their solution. There theme was: “Find what makes you happy.” They focused on search engine optimization. And a marketing game and MyBestDay eCards. The solution they offered included a discussion board, wiki, blog and a chatroom.


CAC Digest

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Blogcast Bloomsburg: The Phoenix Group

Cliff showed some examples of the work his company does to help clients meet their performance needs.

Cliff gave examples of how his company designed a postcard telling the learners about a learning event that was going to happen, then they sent out an email and then they sent out a "movie trailer" to link the learner into the educational site. The movie trailer provided mystery and intrigue that attracted learners. The learning center has "Easter eggs" all over the place to keep the learners interested in the learning that is happening.

He also showed a project targeted toward professional photographers they did for Canon. The product allows the learner to drag and drop items to create what appears to be a hi-resolution photograph allowing the photographer to view different types of papers and make a decision about which paper makes the most sense.

CAC Digest

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Blogcast Bloomsburg: E-Learning in the Real World

David Cerreta and Chris Deluca from LeanForward presented their thoughts and experiences with the needs of clients and client expectations. They discussed the needs of younger learners (18-23) in terms of how they expect to learn online.

They highlighted a number of projects they have created. They talked how a client hired technology only company who didn't get the instructional design aspects of e-learning, then the client hired an instructional design only company that didn't understand technology and finally hired a research based company that had the content but neither the technological acumen or the instructional design acumen. finally LeanForward was hired to address the client's need which they did.


CAC Digest

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Blogcast Bloomsburg University: Video in e-Learning

Rachel Vazquez and Pete Mitchell (alum) presented on how they used video in e-learning and how they had to convert video to an e-learning format. They also discussed how they are delivering training via video iPods.

Captured content via Centra, sent playback to vendor to transcribe and converted it into a minute script in aCNN-type presentation for delivery via an iPod.

They are contemplating the development of the a monthly vodcast to send to all of the employees. People initially thought the video iPods are cool but really didn't know what to do with the iPods, they are still working on getting more buy in.
CAC Digest

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Blogcast from Bloomsburg: Leveraging Optimal Software Training

Alum Scott Fisher and Shawn Rosler talked about how they are using Captivate to create user training on a software system used for electronic medical records. The training they create are e-learning modules that emulate the software system but they use those modules in class to make the training easier and more effective for the learners sitting in class.

Scott and Shawn develop the training used to teach doctors and others how to navigate the medical record system. So the doctors can spend less time with the software system and more time with patients.

The use of Captivate has saved time in stand up software training classes. When the software e-learning modules are done in class, it reduces training time from 3 hours to 45 minutes. Learners don't get lost on a different screen, don't hit the wrong buttons and don't end up on a screen that no one knows how to return back from.

Also Geisinger has saved milage payments to attendess and they have reduced the administration efforts substantially.


CAC Digest

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Blogcast from Bloomsburg: Innovative Technology vs. Real World Restrictions

David talked about Innovative Technology vs. Real World restrictions. Dave focuses more on the technology side of the business than the instructional design aspects.
He talked about what types of technologies people have on their computers. Most people see Flash 8 players materials and think they are awesome but in many corporate environments (especially largers ones), they have not yet deployed Flash 8. They still have Flash 7.

He cautioned that in many times you need to "calm down" the client in terms of technological wishes because they want more than their current environment may be able to handle.

He showed a project he did for Symbol technologies in which the learner meets characters and follows the character to different areas of an organizaton to hear how they use bar code equipment.

David recommends that you talk to the client to see exactly what they want instead of trying to do high-end video. Stop looking at the technology and start thinking about what the client wants to do it.

David recommends and as good resources.


CAC Digest

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Blogcast from Bloomsburg: Blended Bliss

Next, Kate Wartchow from Performance Development Group presented Five Steps to Blended Bliss.

She started with a discussion of what are the challenges designers faced when working with blended e-learning. Audienc members mentioned that learning is sometimes though of as either a "workshop" or e-learning module. Clients don't understand that learning is a process that occurs over time. Not a one time event.

Sometimes clients don't really pay attention to their learning programs, they hire vendors to "take care" of training. Others mentioned that trainers need training in technology skills because they don't understand how the tools can contribute to the overall learning process.

Sometimes people view e-learning as one thing and classroom instruction as something else.

Kate explained how Performance Development Group applies a model for determing the the most feasible blend of stand up and online instruction. The model is used to set the expectations of the client in terms of what needs to be trained and in what media should it be delivered. She handed out a document to guide the CAC attendees through the blended decision process.


CAC Digest

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Blogcast from Bloomsburg: Corporate Advisory Council

During the next three days, we are having our Corporate Advisory Council (CAC) meeting at Bloomsburg University. It is a unique opportunity for corporate professionals in the learning and e-learning field to mix and mingle with pre-professionals in the field, Master's students who are studying to become instructional designers.

We are going to blogcast this event, during each of the presentations, we are going to take some digital pictures, post some comments and seek comments from CAC attendees. Hope you enjoy the blogcast.

CAC is always a good time for alumni and others to get together.

John Stone and Angela Nichols from MountainTop technologies talk about a virtual medical training simulation they did for Regional Anesthesia.

They have included a virtual nerve simulator game. The students needed to play with the nervous system to learn where movements are being triggered. The client "loved" the activity. They then wanted to create an entire program based on the game that they developed.

They used the 4C ID model to use to develop their simulation. The model talks about recurrent and nonrecurrent tasks. Some tasks that occur the same way every time and some that are different every time. The model helped them to create the web-based simulation they were developing.

So they developed a prototype of the learning simulation with a game like interface so they worked hard to avoid a "page turner" lesson. They created a 2D needle that actually looks 3D as the needle is drawn.

CAC Digest

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Definition: ADDIE

There are many times in many industries when acronyms are used as if they were "real" words and everyone assumes everyone else knows what they mean. Soon, no one even remembers what the acronym stands for. This posting is to define the term ADDIE.

ADDIE is an acronym for the process of designing and developing instruction. Actually, the ADDIE process can be used as a process methodology for many projects but let's focus on instruction. ADDIE is typically depicted as a linear process but, it does not need to be done in a strict linear fashion.

Here is what the acronym means:

A-Analysis. You need to analyze the situation to determine the learners, the tasks to accomplish and the environment in which the activity you are teaching needs to occur.

D-Design. This is when you design the instruction to meet the learners needs. You apply instructional strategies to the situation and determine the correct sequence for the instruction.

D-Develop. This is when you actually create the instruction.

I-Implementation. This is when you introduce the learning you created into the environment in which it is going to be used. This needs to be considered because often e-learning is developed but no one in the company uses it. So, you need to have a plan to implement the learning.

E-Evaluation. This is the evaluation of the learning. Did it do what it was supposed to do? Also evaluation can, and should, occur throughout the process to ensure that you are always on the right track.

Wikipedia has an entry on the ADDIE Model.(although it needs some more detail)

Here is a link to some additional information (I did not create) about the ADDIE model.

Here is a link to a paper describing different instructional design models (all a variation of ADDIE.)

Sometimes it is called the MADDIE model when the concept of M-Management is introduced. Certainly the process of designing and developing instruction requires careful management.

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Analysis: You Need a Needs Analysis

We had a beautiful audio track for the online module but only a handful of the learners in the field had speakers…so, basically no one could hear the audio. --Training Director of Large Fortune 500 Company
Unfortunately this situation, and hundreds like it occur every day because the "Analysis" step of the ADDIE model is ignored.

There are many reasons to conduct a Training Needs Analysis, some are obvious, like when a new software program is being introduced into an organization. Some are not so obvious like when customer orders are declining. Sometimes a needs assessment will tell you that, indeed, a learning intervention such as a training class or the development of an e-learning module is needed

Other times, the solution will not involve learning at all. Perhaps a process is flawed and needs to be redesigned or the individuals involved within the process are given incentives that are not congruent with the goals of the organization or the environment in which the work occurs is not favorable to the desired results (too much noise or not enough light. Or, more likely too fast-paced)

The value of conducting a needs analysis is that it helps ensure that any instructional solution that is proposed will be designed and developed to meet specific knowledge and skill needs of the organization.

The time taken to conduct the needs analysis is returned to the organization over and over again in terms of faster development and less “false starts.” If you do not conduct a needs assessment, you may run into one of several problems:
  • Designing instruction that doesn’t match the learners’ needs
  • Designing training for something that is not really needed.
  • Reconfiguring poor materials for a new media
  • Designing training when the problem is based on bad incentives or poorly designed forms or some other non-training issues.
  • Developing materials that do not fit within the current learning environment
  • Designing instruction that doesn’t fit the current technology (see block quote above.)
So, make the time to do an analysis, even a one hour focus group is better than no assessment at all. I find that if you ask learners why a certain behavior is or isn’t happening, they tend to know the answer and are often more accurate and insightful than management who, sometimes, only thinks they know the answer.

Use interviews, reports, questionnaires and surveys, assessments, and observations to get to the heart of the matter. Don’t take it on “faith” alone that training is the answer, do some investigating.

Recommended Games and Gadgets
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Content Guide

Monday, November 13, 2006

Industry News: Get a "Second Life"

Want to visit the future of the web? We already saw the example. Now is time to check out Second Life. It is a social networking site that allows you to be an avatar and roam around a virtual world created by its residents.

Here is an article from the web site that talks about the future potential of Second Life from a web and market perspective. It is an interesting read.

Also check out Tony Karrer's post on his blog titled Second Life and Learning. He has some good links. Follow these links to get up to speed on the whole "Second Life" concept. You might think you don't need to be up-to-speed on this...but you do.

Here is my Second Life alter ego, Abbott Bundy...(although, he doesn't get out much.)

If you want to try it yourself, go to


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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Out and About: Video Conference

The other day, I had an opportunity to speak to some folks involved with various training functions at regional banking institution. I spoke about new learning technologies such as blogs and casual games. The meeting was with people in Rhode Island, PA and at various other locations so we used a video conference call to connect everyone. You can see the two television screens in the background of the picture. One shows the group in RI and the other shows the PowerPoints I was presenting.

While video conference calls have been around for a while, as a training tool, they seem to be under utilized. You can accomplish a great deal when you have video contact with your meeting participants.

It is a great group of people to work with and hopefully, they will be able to use many of the ideas we discussed.


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Content Guide

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: Cool 3D Browser

Here is a bit of interesting technology. It is a 3-Dimensional browser. You create a 3D space (called a village) and then you get a person (avatar) to walk through the space looking at "billboards" of all the web sites you have choosen. So you "walk around" looking at your chosen web sites each day instead of having to surf individually to each site and clicking. With this you get an instant visual of the site. You can also have friends join you in your virtual space and then chat with them via a text chat.

Imagine using technology like this for new employee orientation. The new employee is dropped, as an avatar that they choose, into this space and told to explore all the company web sites...for benefits, travel reports, PO requisitions, and other information all in one place all very VISUAL. Great for the visual gamers who are quickly entering the workforce. You could have some "mentors" wondering around the space answering questions, you could even have a group of new employees exploring the company web sites together.

View a demonstration I recorded using Captivate showing the interactivity. (Warning, it takes a little time to download and there is no sound except some annoying typing sounds, but it does give you a rough idea of the technology.)

Or check out the web site for

If you can think of other uses for this technology in terms of training, let me know via a comment on this blog.

Recommended Games and Gadgets
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Industry News: Online Students Increasing in Numbers has an interesting article titled Report: Number of students taking online courses rises

The article indicates that one in six students enrolled in higher education took at least one online course this fall. In fact, 850,000 more students were enrolled in online courses this fall than last fall--an increase of 40%

Also, the same article reports, 62 percent of chief academic officers surveyed said they felt students learned as well or better from online courses as they did in face-to-face courses.

Yet, right outside of my window on the Bloomsburg campus, they are building a new building for more and larger classrooms. It seems to me that colleges and universities are out of touch with the reality of the educational shift occurring in this country. The current cost structure of the physical plant of colleges and universities is too high. Therefore, tuition is too high and many parents can't afford to send their kids to college...yet colleges keep building more physical spaces while students keep taking more and more online classes. (can you say...disconnect?)

It kinda reminds you of Ford. Who, in spite of the obvious signs of impending increases in gas prices, kept building bigger and bigger SUVs believing that consumers would buy them forever.

Many industries like manufacturing, healthcare, stock trading have had to retool because of the disruptive force of technology--Academic institutions are next!

Colleges and universities are going to have to retool to deal with the impact of technology, the current situation is untenable in the long term. The same crisis that besieged manufacturing, healthcare and retail is going to take a bite out of academic institutions...sooner rather than later.

Something else on the Web some people find useful are online dating websites, such as those who want to start dating after they just moved to a new area and don't want to have to go buy some personals in a newspaper. Going online and searching for things like NY personals streamlines the process a lot.

Recommended Games and Gadgets
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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

ROI: Calculators for Determining E-Learning ROI

Here are a number of links to sites that contain calculators for determining the ROI of e-learning. Sometimes it is e-learning vs. stand up training and sometimes not. Some required an email to obtain and some do not. If you know of any others, please inform me and I will add to the list.

E-Learning Guru has some resources on the ROI Topic with some calculators as well, scroll down the page a little.

This calculator is very interactive and is not a spreadsheet. It is from KnowledgeAnywhere.

Here is one from William Horton Consulting, Inc. This page contains ROI calculators and some additonal information as well.

Here is Learnativity's Calculator section. You will find several calculators listed. Note: Not all are still active. It seems many calculators are no longer calculating ROI for e-learning.

Avatech has a Training and Support ROI calculator which is interesting.

For fun. Here is an ROI Quiz you can take to measure your understanding of determining ROI for learning interventions.

There are a couple of whitepapers describing ROI at my web site. You can check them out in my Archive section.

Recommended Games and Gadgets
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Design: Advantages of Games

The international software thinktank Gartner, Inc. has made the following statement about game-based learning in one of their recent reports (March 2006)

Games can reduce the time to competency and increase the depth of competency. Students can play a game repeatedly and learn from their mistakes. When designed properly, a game will enable students to experience on-the-job situations that they can deal with effectively in real situations. Studies have shown that games can make students proficient in skills four to six months earlier than students who took training classes but had no way to apply the knowledge.
While I tend to think that this quote may actually be discussing simulations of the work environment, I think the point is well taken. It is possible to shorten traditional learning curves through the use of a simulation-type game or interaction.

Just make sure that when you create the simulation-type game that you include three levels.
  • A demonstration level or tutorial to show the learner what he or she is supposed to be doing.
  • A practice level that allows the learner to rehearse what they should be doing but with guidance and assistance when needed or when a mistake is made.
  • A play or test level that allows unbridled access with no intervention except natural consequences.
For those of you not familiar with computer games or simulations, make an early new year's pledge to buy and play some games and deconstruct how they can be used for learning. A list of recommended games is contained in the footer of this post. Find a game, go to a teenager and ask him or her if you can play the game, I am sure they'd be glad to show you. Then play it yourself and see what happens.

While some people might feel that games for learning end in elementary school there are many advantages to educational games to be used all the way up through high school and college. Not online do people often learn through games with more interest since they're having fun, there are also educational games that anyone can use, such as to improve your golf game electronically.

Recommended Games and Gadgets
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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Yes, We Should Keep ADDIE, HPT and ISD Models

Here is my response to the Big Question at the Learning Circuit's Blog.

We need these models! In fact, we need these models now more than ever. The problem is that, as a profession, we are too eager to throw away the fundamental models on which our profession is based. We do this when:

  • technology out strips our ability to adapt.
  • we receive pushback from management or others.
  • the models become inconvenient.

Technology Out Strips Our Ability to Adapt

Blogs are a wonderful way to convey the “stream of conscious” thoughts of an expert in an informal format but are horrible from a learner perspective. They typically have no organization, limited navigational tools and no instructions for our informal learners. We just assume that they will “get it.” Even a basic term like "trackback," used in many blogs is not defined for a new learner.

Applying the instructional design principles of organization and information chunking would make many of our blogs easier to read and more efficient for our learners. These elements don’t have to take a lot of time (I don’t buy the best vs. quick argument..see below), establishing some templates, creating a few properly placed links and thinking about the overall organization of our blogs would solve the problem at the beginning. (See Tony Karrer’s post and subsequent comments on the subject.) Yet, we as instructional designers have generally failed to apply our models to the informal learning we keep cranking out every day, week or month.

How many of us has done any type of audience analysis of our blogs, written any type of goal or objective for our blog, designed an interface that is easy to navigate, has consciously built in any instructional strategies such as analogies, mnemonics, examples and non-examples? It is for these reasons that we need to stick to the proven models now more than ever…especially for informal learning tools like blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc.

Do we fault accountants who take weeks to do an audit, can’t that be speeded up? Can’t we speed up a surveyor? Or a road crew or a sales person. Yes, technology has helped to speed up all of these processes but the fundamentals are not thrown out. A surveyor does the same type of process. Only now he or she is aided with technology, the road crew builds the road with basically the same method, just the tools and materials are different. In the learning profession we seem to want to use technology to supplant our models.

That strategy doesn’t work, I’ve seen too many classes built without following the instructional design process and the result is almost always failed learning.

We Receive Pushback from Management or Others

This insecurity with our own models is dangerous. It shows when we talk to executives. At critical moments we fail to “stick to our guns” and because the technology allows us to “throw up” stuff on a screen and declare it “e-Learning”...we do it. We throw away good design in favor of fast design and then have the guts to declare that we get no respect from executives and that they don’t understand training. Hey, these people have taken the PowerPoint on steroids e-learning that you’ve created in one day and they know its crap…we fool no one with our shortcuts. (Except maybe short-sighted managers.)

Our customers (internal mostly) think to themselves, hey, I know PowerPoint, I could do that...what makes a designer of instruction so special? and since designers are not special, why do we need them? The answer? What makes a good designer special is the application of ISD, ADDIE and HPT. Without those models, my 9 and 12 year old sons could design the stuff that passes for e-learning and classroom instruction in many organizations.

It always amazes me when a client or a student is “forced” to follow the ADDIE model and then declare “hey, this stuff actually works.” Yes, these models work! We’ve only decided to abandon them because they are inconvenient and are perceived as slow. Would you ask a builder to skip the design step for a building? No need for the architect, just build the building. We've been building buildings for hundreds of years, its easy. We got it.

Sure, the building might last forever or, more likely, it might fall down tomorrow, you don’t know. You are working on faith. Employees might learn from your rapid PowerPoint lesson or they might’ll never know. (In fact, it’s even worse for the learning profession because we don’t have time to evaluate the learning least we can see when a building falls down.)

Also, the process of bulding a house is relatively linear...the process for filing a motion in court is realitively linear...I don't buy the arguement that the model is too linear...many models are linear...we don't throw them away...we apply them in a non-linear fashion when needed.

The Models Become Inconvenient

In the quality world, everyone thought ISO 9000 and the quality procedures would slow down production and cost organizations millions of extra dollars. It was inconvenient to put a quality process in place...too much work, too much effort and not enough perceived payback. Instead, the opposite occurred. Quality processes have helped increase production, decrease throughput times and created a better product. (See Toyota.)

If we instituted quality processes using the ISD, ADDIE and HPT models, we would get the same results. The process to move to ISO 9000 and other overarching quality methods was daunting but once done...far outweighed the level of effort. We need to redouble our efforts to enforce these models and not abandon them.

A Word About Time

Often one of the most compelling reasons given to abandon our models is because “we don’t have time.” Or “It takes too long to follow the model.” I think that is baloney.

First, you need to push back. Products typically aren’t designed, built and marketed in a day. Why should training for that product be designed, built and marketed in one day? Same with software systems that take years to develop and then they want training created and delivered in a week...?What are they thinking and what are we thinking when we AGREE to the unreasonable demands?

Second, if the model is established as a framework, then it becomes a natural part of the process and doesn’t require more time.

Third, you can do the model in an abbreviated format. For example, for the analysis phase of ADDIE, hold a one hour focus group. Yes, one hour for analysis. Now, will you get the best analysis in the world? No, but you will get some insightful information. Instead this step gets skipped, even just doing a one hour analysis can save learners hours of time in terms of focusing the instruction.

Often learning professionals don’t even do simple things like putting a Level One evaluation at the end of an e-learning module. We need to apply all elements of the model even if they are abbreviated.

As another example, if you take time up front to apply one or two instructional strategies to the content, overall learning time will be reduced. Instead we just put words on a screen because we don't have time to design the instruction. We need to use all the elements of the model in one fashion or another.

Fourth, where are we saving time? If we design rapid but ineffective learning (which we eagerly do) then when does the learning occur? The learner presumably needs that information and will get it somewhere? So they learn on the job...on someone else’s time. We really don’t save time when we skip our models, we just displace time. Rather than taking the time to develop efficient learning, we develop inefficient learning and let the learner find the information on his or her own. We don’t benefit the organization, we suboptimize. Yes, our times are shorter but at the expense of other groups in our organization who now are not as productive because they are learning what they should have learned from the training or learning event. Hey, if I have to learn what I was supposed to learn on my own, then why go through the formal learning process?

We have to stop SHAZAMING e-learning…we know it doesn’t work. We have to stop giving in to unreasonable demands. Lawyers don’t abandon the fundamentals of law when it takes to long to look up a precedent; they take the time because they view it as critical.

We need to stick to our models or loose relevance as a profession.


Recommended Games and Gadgets
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Content Guide

Monday, November 06, 2006

Design: Six Word Lesson Plan

Mark, great idea. Here is my contribution.

This plan is based loosely on the learning hierarchy put forth by Robert Gagne’s Five Learned Capabilities, with specific emphasis on Intellectual Skills, Cognitive strategy and Verbal information. (I know not everyone likes his work but hang with me.)

These six word objectives move the learner up from basic knowledge to complex knowledge and problem-solving, one step at a time. I used a sales context but, really, any context will do.

Use sales jargon in proper context. [Declarative Knowledge]

Apply sales concept to proper situation. [Conceptual Knowledge]

Apply sales rules for overcoming objections. [Rules Knowledge]

Correctly complete a CRM entry screen. [Procedural Knowledge]

Apply principles of good sales communication. [Principles Knowledge]

Solve sales problem, customer won’t buy. or Create successful new sales strategy. (now we are talking business results) [Problem-Solving]


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Friday, November 03, 2006

Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: Recommendations

Whenever I give a presentation about Gadgets, Games and Gizmos, a boomer always asks me for a list of games they should play or gadgets they should buy to help understand the educational potential of video games and gadgets. They are always curious as to how to get up to speed.

To address this question, I have created a list of over 40 PC games, video games and assorted gadgets that I think represent the technology and the game play that need to be understood when developing "serious games" for use in corporate settings.

Here is the list of recommended Gadgets, Games and Gizmos.

(I used the Amazon feature so I could easily obtain an image of each item without the work of trying to go out and find a graphic of each item I wanted to recommend.)

Let me know if I missed any that you'd like to see on the list.

Content Guide

Shout Out: Waleed Jameel

Shout Out: Waleed Jameel

Every once in a while I am going to do a “Shout Out” to a person who has influenced me in one way or another. The Shout Out will be a recognition and a Thank You to that person. In fact, for my first "Shout Out" I should have recognized this person sooner especially on this blog but…

Anyway, a special thanks to Waleed Jameel who taught me about blogging. Many years—long before anyone was really blogging—Waleed was a student in the Instructional Technology program at Bloomsburg University. He came to my office one day and said, “Dr. Kapp, you should be blogging.” To that I replied, “Waleed, what is blogging?”

He carefully explained it to me and I carefully and politely listened and then said, as only a professor can say, “thank you for the information Waleed, but ALL I need in my life is one more thing I have to do every day.” I then promptly forgot about blogging. Yes, a professor of instructional technology failed—when first introduced to it—to see how powerful and effective blogging could be. Waleed knew but I did not.

Well years later, here I am blogging. I feel a little behind the curve. If I had followed Waleed’s advice, I would be a wily veteran of thousands of blog entries, instead, today I have less than one hundred. However, not a blog is written by myself that I do not think of Waleed. The student who could have taught his teacher…if only the teacher had listened.

Thanks Waleed and a big Shout Out to you!

Content Guide

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Design: The Difficult Subject Matter Expert

This post is a result of a comment left by one of my blog readers. I hope it helps

We have all encountered Subject Matter Experts who are less than helpful or less than expert. There are a couple of ways to deal with SMEs who might prove difficult.

One method I have found is to provide them with an overview of the instructional design process before you start asking them questions. Often times they will have no idea about the process and be a little uncertain as to what it is that you are trying to do. “Why are you asking me so many ‘dumb’ questions?” Or “Are you trying to take my job away?” Or “Are you trying to see where I make mistakes”

Also, do not always speak with the veteran SME--the person who has been on the job for years and years. Often, it makes more sense to speak with the newer employee—the person struggling to do the job. He or she will know what they don’t know and be keenly aware of the shortcomings of any learning event they participated.

If a one-on-one isn’t working the SME, try a focus group. Sometimes having several people discussing a process is more helpful than just trying to get one person’s view on a particular issue. Plus, getting a focus group means that for a period of time you will have the undivided attention of the people from whom you are trying to gather information. You don't always get the undivided attention of a single SME as he or she is probably struggling to get their "regular" work done.

Finally, make sure you ask Clarity Questions, Precision Questions and Depth Questions for each area of content you are trying to understand.

Clarity Questions
  • Could you elaborate further?
  • Could you give me an example?
  • Could you illustrate what you mean? (yes sometimes having them draw or sketch a process is extremely helpful)

Precision Questions
  • Could you be more specific?
  • Could you give me more details?
  • Could you be more exact?

Depth Questions
  • What factors make this a difficult task/procedure to perform?
  • What are some of the complexities of this task requiring special attention?
  • What are some difficulties an employee encounters when performing this task/process/procedure?

Content Guide