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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Presentation Resources

Great presentation last week to a group of enthusiastic trainers.

Group Three

Group Two.

Group One.

Today I am doing a presentation called "Innovations in Technology And What it Means to Learning and Training"

Here are some resources related to the presentation;

List of Recommended Books

Definition of Mnemonic

Here is a copy of the presentation.
Learning Technology
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

Mentions in the presentation
Jelly Vision
Performance Develoment Group
Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning

Catalog of Recommended Books, Games and Gadgets
Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We have 2D Virtual Classrooms, Why 3D?

Sitting around a conference table for class.

Another question and this one is simple...why 3D? We've got plenty of great 2D platforms for communication, what does 3D add?

Here is a short answer.

In a 3D world, the interaction with the students feels more intimate than with a 2-D distance learning application such as Centra, Horizon Wimba or Adobe Connect. One reason is because I can see the personality of the student but, also, there is a sense of presence and connection because two humanoid people are standing face-to-face with proper social distance having a discussion. We are relating as two people as opposed to disembodied names on a screen.

When students talk to me or sit around a table and provide input to the group, it feels as if we are all actually in the same room. We can refer to elements in our environment that we can all see. It is important because it brings together the students from distant geographical areas to one central location where we are actually seeing the same thing and interacting as if we were all in one physical location. Additionally, it is important because I have students work with each other in teams and the closeness of the virtual world helps foster trust among the students and they work well together virtually because they have a sense of one another.


Catalog of Recommended Books, Games and Gadgets
Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Teaching Higher Order Skills in a Virtual World

Students standing outside of green building on MSIT island.

Another question about virtual worlds and learning.

How do you get learners to engage in higher order cognitive skills (e.g., abstraction; synthesis; evaluation; experimentation; reflection) in a virtual world?

Virtual worlds are ideal for placing a learner into a problem solving situation. For teaching higher order skills it is always good idea because it requires the learner to apply multiple levels of thought to a situation.

For example, a learner can’t decide the best method of running a business without synthesis of concepts, without experimentation or reflection. Running a business in something like Second Life is inexpensive and better way to teach business concepts than having students run an actual business in Real Life with big bucks. Another example is putting out a fire or arranging traffic flow in a building or a city street.

Student interaction is another great way to foster higher order thinking skills. When students interact with each other, they have to engage in higher order skills, especially if the students are involved in a thought provoking discussion or solving a problem. Here are two exercises that provide some opportunities to apply higher order skills.

The first is to ask the students to create a “green” structure within some cost and time constraints. They then must research what it means to have a “green” structure and how to solve some of the problems with the concept of “Green” in an economical fashion. Where to put solar panels? How to deal with wind power when it can mean an ugly structure in an otherwise beautiful setting? Does the initial cost off set the long-term savings. The students need to make trade-offs, compromises and synthesize different information to come up with an effective structure and then defend that structure while giving a tour of it. In this case, through the application process (building the building) they are actually applying higher order skills to solving the problems and trade-offs that arise from the creation of a truly green building while balancing aesthetics.

As mentioned before, another activity is to give students money in a virtual world and let them run a virtual business. This exercise requires many higher order thinking skills.

Additionally, I was recently told a story about a Spanish teacher who immerses her students in a 3D Spanish town for the class period. She indicated that her students became better writers in Spanish because the writing was richer and more personnel than previously with the virtual world because the students were engaged in the Spanish environment and had a richer experience. The richer experience was reflected in their richer writing (in Spanish). This obviously enables higher order skills such as reflection and synthesis.

Catalog of Recommended Books, Games and Gadgets
Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide

Monday, October 27, 2008

Complaint? Students Don't Hang Out in Virtual Worlds After Class

In the course of a week, I get asked many questions about Virtual Worlds, an interesting one that keeps occurring goes something like this.
It seems that students find virtual worlds boring. None of my students “hang out” in-world except for class activities, and my students rarely go into virtual worlds after the semester is over. How can I get them more into virtual worlds beyond the classroom?
It is interesting to me that we often require a higher standard of new teaching technology than we do for existing teaching technologies. Let me give you an example.

In the physical world (real world), not many students hang out in my classroom when class is not in session! So why do we expect it to happen in a virtual world?

The same is true of Adobe Connect, Horizon Wimba and other 2D classroom software. When class is not in session, no one hangs out in the virtual classroom looking to have “fun.” I don’t think virtual worlds are much different. If there is not a compelling reason to be in the virtual world, people will not go to the virtual world that is not a "problem" it is a fact of human motivation. In fact, many young people leave small physical towns when they are old enough because they claim "there is nothing to do." The problem is not confined to virtual worlds.

We can’t expect students to hang out in the virtual world if we don’t have anything for them to do in the virtual world. If we want them to hang out in the virtual world and have “fun” we need to create engaging in-world environments that are asynchronous so they have activities to perform in the virtual world (and this takes some work.) Instructors must remember that virtual worlds are first and foremost social spaces. Virtual worlds are synchronous tools which means you need more than one person to really make it work.

To make virtual worlds work as an instructional environment, I have found you need:

  • An instructor or facilitator who is present to guide the activity and set the parameters for interaction.
  • Other learners who are also engaged in the activity
  • The activity is supported by the 3D environment (meaning the environment matches the activity, like teaching security checks in an environment in which the security guard will be working)
  • Teamwork is an essential element in the instructional process. Or one-on-one role-plays add to the learning of the student.

Notice, for the most part, more than one person is needed. Yes, you can create an interactive "click through" environment" that works in a virtual world and it does engage students individually but those environments will continue to be rare until more people learn to comfortably use the software of virtual worlds.


Catalog of Recommended Books, Games and Gadgets
Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide

Friday, October 24, 2008

Death and Dying in a Virtual World

Here is an intriguing story about killing another person's avatar...and going to jail for it. The story Online divorcee jailed after killing virtual hubby tells of a 43 year old Japanese women who hacked into a computer system and killed her virtual husband.

The woman, who is jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data, used his identification and password to log onto popular interactive game "Maple Story" to carry out the virtual murder in mid-May, a police official in northern Sapporo said on condition of anonymity, citing department policy....The woman had not plotted any revenge in the real world... if convicted could face a prison term of up to five years or a fine up to $5,000.

*Thanks to Fernando over at Cultura Inglesa for the original post on that.

I wonder if virtual CSI solved the crime.

Also, this posting gets a little deeper into death in virtual worlds, called Death in Virtual Worlds: Play, Magic, Grief and the Search for Meaning

The line between the virtual and real is blurring more every day.

Catalog of Recommended Books, Games and Gadgets
Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Notes, Videos and Slides from Virtual World Presentations

One of the things that I love about the Internet (Cue the violins) is the life that presentations and information after the live presentation is over and begins to fade from memory. Because we now have blogs, wikis, podcasting and Web 2.0 the presentations can add value long after the presenter has "left the building."

This sharing of information and its longer shelf-life is exciting and reminds me of an old saying.
If I have a penny and you have a penny and we exchange pennies, then we each have a penny. If you have a thought and I have a thought and we exchange thoughts, then we each have two thoughts and in some cases three because thoughts are cumulative and build upon one another.

In that spirit here are some resourses from some recent presentations I've done where the content is living beyond the presentation.

1) My slides from my Penn State Presentation on Virtual Worlds.
Why3 D2 Penn State Presentation
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: second life)

2) Bart took some great notes on the presentation. You can see them at his blog entry Karl Kapp Visit.

3) I presented virtually at the Eduverse symposium held in De Balie, Amsterdam. The host of the event posted dozens of presentation videos from live and virtual presentations. In addition to my presentation, there are presentations by David Williamson Shaffer from Epistemic Games, a Conversation with Philip Rosedale, a panel discussion and a presentation by IBM's Chuck Hamilton. Good presentations worth checking out.

4) Here is another entry on the presentation along with a great video done by a summer student in my Learning in 3D Class. Dr Kapp at Heritage Hall at University Park. Click around the blog a bit as well. Good stuff. Check out the Welcome Page and click on the gentleman you meet.

Catalog of Recommended Books, Games and Gadgets
Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Great Time at Penn State

Why 3D Presentation at Penn State.

Today I gave a presentation at Penn State called "Why 3D?" The presentation was a lot of fun and I had a great audience and met some awesome people. The great thing about the presentation was that I got to see a number of alumni of our program and meet a few readers of Kapp Notes and some really interesting people doing some really interesting distance learning work.

It is always great to see alumni being successful and hearing what they are doing. They are involved with some very interesting activities. From developing online programs in a number of topics to creating exciting learning areas in Second Life around the topic of network security.

Also, meeting readers of the blog and talking to them about learning and elearning, it is a lot of fun and interesting especially since often a blogger doesn't have a chance to meet readers in "real life."

I always hope that the entries are helpful and I really appreciate all of my readers and the feedback in person or whether they comment or just "lurk" on the blog itself. Although I encourage everyone to comment, especially if you haven't commented on a blog before. It's easy.

Anyway, a great deal of fun and Penn State is such a huge school especially compared to Bloomsburg University.

So thanks everyone for being such great hosts at the presentation.

So here are a few pictures taken by Amanda.


Catalog of Recommended Books, Games and Gadgets
Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide

Monday, October 20, 2008

Estimating Client Time on Projects

Received a very thought provoking question the other day in email and thought the concept was too good not to share, plus I'd like to get some feedback to see if I am on track.

The paraphrased question:
"Are there any estimation guidelines for determining the amount of client time required on an eLearning project. For example, if we estimate 300 hours on a project in terms of our efforts, should we expect the client to budget 30 hours or 10% of their time as their expected level of commitment? Should the number be higher or lower?"

My answer: depends.

If the client provides excellent documentation, detailed speaker notes and a step-by-step, indisputable process then 10% works well. However, I say the norm is closer to 30-40%. Here is why, often times e-learning is developed for a process that is not universally understood or applied. Then you get two Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in the mix and they disagree with the exact steps. Then the time explodes as they and others try to decide the "real" or "official" process.

Here is how it most often happens, you work with one person from the client's organization and that client signs off on everything until the end when they just have to show it to their boss or a representative from another department who wants to "just take a look" is just a formality...then chaos. The person disagrees with the steps, the content is not right and things need to be changed. Boom, the 10%of the time from the client team ballons and 3-4 or more people are involved and the time to completion goes up.


If detailed and universally agreed upon--10% for review, minor clarifications and normal correspondance.

20% if a little less detailed but not disputed. You sit with SME and she knows the exact steps and is the only authority on the process.

30% if really vague and obscure but their is some process in place and the disagreements are minor.

If gray and uncertain with major potential disagreement and disputes--40%

Typically amount is probably 30%

Your Input:

So what do you think? Does that sound right? Any input or comments. Is 30% right, are my assumptions accurate. What do you think?

Catalog of Recommended Books, Games and Gadgets
Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Speaking at Penn State University Park on Virtual Worlds

This upcoming Tuesday, I will be speaking close to home in State College PA...home of Penn State on the topic of "Why 3D Worlds for Learning?" It promises to be a lot of fun since many alumni from our program are working at Penn State in various departments and capacities. I look forward to seeing them all.

The group is pretty savvy about 3D worlds and how they function so I will focus on the pedagogical aspects of 3D worlds and some considerations in desgining and developing virtual learning experiences for distance learning.

Here is a link to the description of the talk.


Catalog of Recommended Books, Games and Gadgets
Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Storytelling and Instructional Design

Story telling and instructional design have a lot in common and perhaps they are not thought of as having any overlap but they do. In e-learning we have instructional strategies, in a story we have a plot. In e-learning we have objectives, in a story we have a morale or an underlying theme or symbolism (good ones anyway, i.e. the Christ references in the original Matrix). In storytelling we have characters, in e-learning we are teaching people to perform certain roles (order entry clerk, salesperson).

But there are differences which impact the ability to include storytelling in learning.

In ID we break everything down into compent pieces, in storytelling, we integrate everything together. In storytelling we take the time to provide the context and environmnent in which the story takes place, in ID we usually just plop the person in the middle of the content to be learned (we are not supposed to but...that happens more often than not). In storytelling we aim to create connections to the audience, in most e-learning...we just tell the learner stuff he/she needs to know (like policies and procedures).

To highlight some differences, here is a blog entry I wrote which I think does a good job (at least in the compliance world) of pointing out some problems. Design: Compliance Complaints

So the question might be asked, how do we help instructional designers become storytellers. Here is one idea, have the designer create a lesson entirely in pictures using PowerPoint or some other slide media and force them to "tell the story" to an audience complete with characters, plot and setting--no words on the slides...none. It really forces the analytical side of a designer over to the "story telling side" and requires some real thinking about stories and e-learning.

Some related articles
A Unique Perspective on Video Games and Storytelling
Tell Me a Story__

Catalog of Recommended Books, Games and Gadgets
Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What We Can Learn From The Blue Man Group

Having recently been invited to speak in Las Vegas (see Keynoting in Vegas--Not the same as headlining but...), I took some time to see a few shows and one of my favorites was the well known creative and innovative act know as the Blue Man Group.

As the Blue Man Group's web site describes;
Blue Man Group is a creative organization dedicated to creating exciting and innovative work in a wide variety of media. Blue Man Group is best known for their wildly popular theatrical shows and concerts which combine music, comedy and multimedia theatrics to produce a totally unique form of entertainment. The blissful party atmosphere created at their live events has become the trademark of a Blue Man Group experience.
The Blue Man Group (BMG) never speaks a word and always have a slight look of confusion and wonder on their faces. They play PVC piping, drums which emit a colored liquid and provide a variety of information through a large screen with words and images along with rhythmic drum beating and audience participation. They even educate the audience on the topic of animation and the Rods and Cones of the human eye.

The one hour and forty-five minute show really got me thinking about how the creative energies of something like the Blue Man Group could be used to enhance classroom and online learning and to aid retention, application and utilization of learning and knowledge.

First of all, the BMG gets the audience involved right away. As we were waiting for the show to start, a scrolling red-LED board provided information about specific audience members, one person had a birthday, another was an Olympian and another was "late for a credit card payment." Each person stood up and was cheer. Interaction with the audience as established immediately and maintained through out the entire show even to the point of bringing two audience members onto the stage. Not to mention the many times the members of the Blue Man Group ventured into the audience. Interaction is a key element of the Blue Man Group (as it should be with classroom and online learning.)

Second, the Blue Man Group used a variety of media from film clips, live interaction, music, and even tissue paper as part of their show. It was a "blended" show. They are not confined with one method of interaction. Learning and development professionals need to use a blended approach as well. How about job aids, an e-learning module, a face-to-face role-play and reminder email messages. Using a variety of media keeps it interesting and focuses the learner's attention.

Third, the BMG maintains audience enthusiasm. How enthusiastic are your learners? Think you teach compliance so you can't be enthusiastic...Southwest Airlines takes the boring compliance requirements of airline safety and makes it fun as compared to other airlines. With a little effort, you can add some enthusiasm to your instruction.

Fourth, during the show the BMG creates a couple of Spin Art pieces that are available after the show (for purchase of course). But the idea is that you should have your learners create "works of value" during the learning session. If you are teaching about budgeting...have them create a budget. If you are teaching about sales strategies, have them create a strategy. Learners need to create artifacts in the learning session that are of value and usefulness to them during the course of their work routine.

So if you get a chance, go see the Blue Man Group and consider it an instructional design workshop.


Catalog of Recommended Books, Games and Gadgets
Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide

Monday, October 13, 2008

Keynoting in Vegas--Not the same as headlining but...

Tomorrow is an exciting day for me, I will be keynoting the Inforum Conference in Las Vegas. Inforum is the conference of the software company, Infor.

Infor is one of those "big software companies no one has ever heard about"...but you should check them out.

Infor is the world's third largest business software company. We develop and acquire proven software products that have rich, built-in functionality. Then we make them better. We invest resources into product innovation and enhancement. We work hard to simplify and shorten implementation times. We enable our software, services, and support globally. And we provide more flexible buying options.
They are doing some really innovative work with Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) to provide a method of incrementally updating portions of your enterprise software. Being a former ERP software training/implementor, I find this stuff facinating because ERP upgrades were always a headache.

I will be speaking on how to teach, manage and train the gamers. My presentation is titled From Boomers to Gamers: Bridging the Manufacturing Knowledge Gap.


Catalog of Recommended Books, Games and Gadgets
Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide

Friday, October 10, 2008

Er...Happy to Make the List?

Last night I am on Cammy Bean's Learning Vision's blog and I see that she has posted Zaid's new list. It is called 27 Inspiring Women Edubloggers which was motivated by the backlash of the female edublogosphere against his original top 25 list which included mostly males which, sadly I was not one of them.

So, I start paging through to see who I know and recognize. I see many familiar faces, Christy Tucker, Lisa Neal, Cammy Bean, Jane Bozarth, Cathy Moore, Janet Clarey, Vicki Davis, as well as a number of new blogs I will be checking out and then...the shocker as I came upon this page...

Now, sure, I am honored to be on the list with so many distinguished female bloggers many of whom I read regularly...but really I don't deserve to be on the really...this isn't false modesty...I am a male. I have XY chromosomes, I think that disqualifies me from the top female category for anything.

So, Zaid...thanks, er I guess.

Anyway, check out the great list by Zaid, he always puts together great visuals and fun lists.

I told my wife and two boys about being on the list and they laughed. And then as my younger son was leaving for school he says "Bye Mom" to my wife and then turns to me as says "Bye Mom."...very funny.

***Actually, I think Zaid was really just trying to acknowledge my comments on Janet Clarey's blog, On Growing Facial Hair (which I have) about the topic of lists and female edubloggers and I am pretty confident he does not think I am a she.

Good amusement for a Friday...Thanks Zaid!!!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

New Games Institute Unveiled

A new effort to create games for middle school students has recently been announced.

Games for Learning Institute, a $3 million research effort at New York University that was publicly unveiled on Tuesday. The institute, a partnership between the Microsoft Corporation and six universities (N.Y.U., Columbia, the City University of New York, Dartmouth, Parsons the New School for Design, and the Rochester Institute of Technology) will study games used in middle school classrooms and then create prototypes for new ones.
Check out the entire article Video Game Helps Math Students Vanquish an Archfiend: Algebra

Not an new topic on this blog, check out:
Learning Algebra in a Game

Catalog of Recommended Books, Games and Gadgets
Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

It's Not Gibberish, It's Learning as a Process

Too often learning and development professionals (and practically everyone else) treats learning as an event. The assumption is that a person attends one class or takes one online course and SHAZAM, they instantly know everything they need to know about a topic, software application, new corporate policy or product.

This is a lie.

But we all buy-in.

For example, you might ask "How do I fill out my expense report again?" and someone will respond, "You should know that. You just went to the training." Even though it was a one time, 2 hour event, you are expected to know everything there is to know about completing expense reports and when you ask questions you are accosted.

Other than highly emotional or dangerous events like touching a hot item, we humans need repetition to learn. In fact, sometimes even after a traumatic event we still burn our hand by touching something we "know" is hot. We need several instances to understand, we shouldn't touch hot things.

If we want to change behavior...I mean really change behavior in an organization let's say ethics or compliance or diversity acceptance or selling style or machine operation. Or if we want to create a person who is a "Master" at their craft (sales, negotiation, leadership). Then we need to design a learning process and not a learning event.

A great example of a learning process is how a child learns to master language. They might one day speak their first word and a few months later suddenly speak their first sentence and all of the sudden, they won't stop talking. These language events don't just happen...even if it seems that way. In fact, children are learning all the prerequisite skills to "instantly" say their first word or sentence all the time.

Let's break down the process of learning to speak.

Less than 1 month. Babies listen to the rhythm and melodies of speech. Usually can pick out their mother's voice.

1-4 months. A baby gurgles, babbles and makes noises in a speech-like way, including sound like “p,” “b” and “m”. He or she also vocalizes excitement and displeasure and observes the reactions by the parents. Baby begins to learn that making certain noises leads to predictable responses from parents. At about 3 months, make cooing sounds back to someone who is talking to them.

5-6 months. Baby makes sounds like "goo" and blow bubbles at the same time. At about 6 months, start to babble, repeat sounds, such as "ma-ma-ma" or "bah-bah-bah" to get attention or express feeling.

7-12 months. Baby's babbling now includes both long and short groups of consonant and vowel sounds, such as “tata upup bibibibi.” Baby can now use speech or sounds other than crying to get and hold your attention. Baby imitates different speech sounds and incorporates them into the baby's babbling. Says first words such as “mama,” “night-night” and “bye-bye.” Mimic the rhythm of the way others talk to them. They "pretend" to be caring on a conversation with someone by babbling the correct cadence and pausing with of a conversation.

1-2 years. Baby can follows one- to two-step commands, such as “Bring your book” or “Come here and sit.” 25 percent of the baby's speech is intelligible. Asks two-word questions, such as “What that?” or “Where’s dog?” Combines two words to make simple sentences, such as “Daddy go” or “More push.”

2- 3 1/2 years. Has a word for almost everything, and vocabulary increases from a few dozen words to 300 – 1,000. Utterances are usually one to three words long. Baby asks for something by name or draws attention to it by naming it (“book”) or one of its attributes (“big”) or by commenting (“wow!”).Speech is understood by familiar listeners most of the time. Follows two-step commands, such as “get your pail and put it next to the door.”

3 1/2 - 4 years. Baby makes sentences up to four or more words long. Speech is usually fluent and clear to non-family members. Talks about activities at friends’ houses or preschool. Begins to ask questions using pronouns and plurals. Baby usually talks easily without repeating syllables or words. Approximately 75 percent of speech is intelligible.

4 -5 years. The child's speech is clear and fluent. He or she can constructs long and detailed sentences. Child can tells a long and involved story and sticks to the topic, using “adult-like” grammar. Still, may have trouble pronouncing l, s, r, v, z, j, ch, sh and th sounds. May tell imaginative “tall” stories.

5 - 7 years. Child rhymes words. Shows pre-reading skills, such as identifying words that all start with the same sound (ball, bat, bacon). Recognizes that words can be broken into parts or syllables. Can manipulate words, such as “p at = pat,” “m at = mat.”

7-12 years. Children master the nuances of the language but still keep learning new words and vocabulary.

Yet, we learning and development professionals continue to treat learning as a one time event, we continue to perpetuate the myth that one well designed class or e-learning module will magically elicit a desired behavior that a person hasn't exhibited in years but will now suddenly, because of our learning event, exhibit flawlessly.

What we need to do is stop designing courses and modules and start designing LEARNING PROCESSES. Studies show that distributed learning is effective, personnel experience shows it is effective and observation shows it is effective. So, next time someone asks you to design a course or a module tell them, "no" its much more effective and will elicit far better results if you design a learning process. Distributed learning in different formats delivered to the learner over time.

It works for a complex, cognitive and physical task like learning to speak, it will work for complex compliance policies, sales techniques and any another topic you need to teach.

Baby Language Sources:
Major Developmental Milestones to Speech

Speech and language development, birth to 1 year of age

Catalog of Recommended Books, Games and Gadgets
Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Logistic and Transportation Industry Training Needs

A few years ago, I co-conducted a study to determine the training needs of the Logistics and Transportation (L&T)industry in Northeastern PA. What I found was an interesting list.

Even with the recent climb in gas prices, I think these expressed needs are all current. Many of these needs cut across industries and even job levels. I think many of these skills are needed at the executive and hourly levels. What does it say when almost every job requires "better communication" than what the existing communication process happens to be? Better communication is a universal training need.

The training needs assessment consisted of a survey and number of focus groups to gather the data.
  • Properly trained workers are a critical need. As is the need for on-going training in a number of areas such as diversity, technology, communication, driving and mechanical skills.
  • One skill set that was highlighted strongly in focus group meetings was that of basic worker skills. This ranged from interviewing skills to work place skills such as showing up on time, not bad-mouthing the boss, not taking 2 hour lunches, not asking for a raise on the second day of work. These are basic employability skills.
  • Good written and oral communication skills. For example, when to use email and when not to use email.
  • Few companies have customer service training but it is a big need.
  • There is little computer training. The training that is needed is in the area of trouble-shooting basic problems. New workers know a minimum amount of computer programs (MS Office Suite) but don’t know what to do if they have a problem or how to figure something out on their own.
  • Most of the mechanic training is on-the-job while driver training is primarily focused on safety but there is a need to deal with driver paperwork and customer service issues as well.
  • Forklift training is a critical need in many L&T firms and most of the training in that area is done in-house.
  • Managerial, supervisor training was indicated as a need in many firms.
  • Finding and locating CDL drivers is an issue.
  • Train-the-trainer is an area of need. Since much of the training is done internally, these organizations would like to know how to prepare people who know the subject matter to present it to new and existing workers.
This is also a shout out to Stan. Keep hanging in there. We'll find you something.

Catalog of Recommended Books, Games and Gadgets
Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide

Monday, October 06, 2008

Overheard Discussion

Here is a snippet of a discussion I overheard between a manager of instructional design and her supervisor.

Customer: So what are you doing about getting this curriculum on-line? I want 100% on-line.

Developer: This is a radical change and we need to think about the audiences' needs to see if this is the best method for them. Are you asking that the entire curriculum be converted to e-learning?

Customer: Yes. I want it all on-line. How long will that take?

Developer: Well, we need to redesign the materials, add instructional strategies, check with the IT department, add visual elements and interactivity and then roll out the training. The ratio of development time for conversion for online training is anywhere from 40 to 100 hrs to 1 hr of delivery depending on the level of interactivy and current state of content, and for a 6 week curriculum - that's a very long time.

Customer: What? Can't you just scan it all in? I thought you could just scan it into the computer. I am sure I saw somewhere that you could just scan information into the computer.

I hope you've never had a similar discussion but I bet you have...

It reminded me of my posting Instructional Design Clients...Gotta Love'm


Catalog of Recommended Books, Games and Gadgets
Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide

Friday, October 03, 2008

Help, I have an Instructional Design Master's Degree and I Can't Create E-Learning

This month's ASTD Big Question relates to a person who graduated from a theory-only program in Instructional Design and was not provided with the experience of actually creating instruction using any of the latest tools. So the question is:

What advice would you give to someone who has no experience with e-learning development tools? Where do you start?
  • Particular tools you should explore?
  • Resources you should read? Videos/screencasts you should watch?
  • What would your "To Learn List" look like?

Holding myself back, I will calmly answer the question as per Tony's request to not comment on the content of the Master's program...but my tongue is starting to bleed from biting it so hard.

My first suggestion is to take an online course that offers hands-on experience using some of the tools. Bloomsburg University's Department of Instructional Technology offers many online courses that include, as a standard part of the program, instruction and hands-on experience with development tools. These courses can be taken without being enrolled as a full-time Masters Student. Any one who is interested can leave a note on my blog and I will contact them.

Here are two such courses.
  • 57.584 Online Course Design -teaches Blackboard, Centra, Captivate, Adobe Presenter, Snag-It and Hot Potatoes.

  • 57.588 Learning Management System Administration requires students to develop and deploy an actual course using the LMS Plateau (Why Plateau? because they donated it).

If that doesn't work...

I agree with one of the comments on Tony's Site. Have a specific course in mind that you want to build that will provide you with the motivation and focus needed to learn the software.

Then download the software (free demo version) and build something that you will post on the web. Forcing yourself to build it to a quality level good enough to post in public will motivate you to put the time and effort into the project and increase your learning. That focus will also give you a better understanding of the software than if you were just "fooling" around with it.


Purchase one package and dive deeply into it. Once you master something like Lectora or TrainerSoft, you will have the basics needed to master similar programs. You might even want to learn all the ins and outs of MS PowerPoint because PowerPoint is now the foundation for several quality e-learning development tools such as Articulate and even Adobe's Captivate can utilize PowerPoint slides (just make sure your PowerPoint slides don't look like typical PowerPoint...see Avoiding Death by PowerPoint.)


Go to YouTube and search for "Learn Flash." You will find a bunch of videos on how to use Flash. You can do the same with "Learn Captivate" as well.

If worse comes to worse...

You can always get a book about the software...while it is not exactly the same as having the actual software, it can provide some help. And if you are using the software with the book, so much the better.

Now I have to go clean up the blood dripping down my chin...

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Blog Field Trip: Cognitive Technologies

Today I thought a blog field trip would be fun. What is a blog field trip?

Well, if you regularly view this blog and leave a comment or just lurk (which is great as well). Today, I thought you could spend your time at Cognitive Technologies and leave a comment there or lurk on that site. Like an actual field trip, visiting another blog will give you a new perspective and something to think about. New surroundings.

I left a comment on post e-Learning is more than an online presentation. Currently it is awaiting the meantime, I encourage you to leave a post on that entry as well. See you over there!


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Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Time to Learn Basic Physics? Then Time for an Online Game

An image from the physics game LunarQuest.

For those of us who struggled to learn physics, here is a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) teaching the fun of physics in an interactive way. Check out the description of the game called Lunar Quest. The game is not yet ready for release but is on a busy development schedule. And you can keep up with what they are doing in their blog about the development process. They are calling it the LunarQuest Developer's Diary.
Here is the vision:
Lunar Quest is an NSF-funded project that seeks to examine the effectiveness of a massively multiplayer game for teaching introductory physics. It is our hypothesis such an educational tool will yield greater understanding of physics, which will improve their testing and classroom performance in the area of physics. It is our contention that in order to study how and why game play can be a serious tool for education, or serious gaming, we must build a game bridging the gaps of entertainment and pedagogy.

Lunar Quest is a serious-game experiment that is an MMOG for two main reasons: MMOGs are built modularly which behooves experimentation of which features contribute to or hinder the learning or the physics content contained within, and MMOGs are communities that allow designers to reach classrooms of prospective students at one time.

We (or our kids) can learn basic multiplication, algebra, spanish and now physics with interactive games.

Here is a list of other educational games.

Catalog of Recommended Books, Games and Gadgets
Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide