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Friday, January 30, 2009

Cool Level One Evaluation

As learning professionals, we are familiar with Donald Kirkpatrick and his four Levels of Evaluation.If you need to get up to speed, you can read an interview with him here.

However, Level 1 Evaluations which measure initial learner reaction to instruction are typically boring checklists or Likert-type scales which are painful to complete and don't provide much more information than how was the room temperature or donuts. Many of them could be better designed to ask more work relevant questions (but that's a different post.)

A few months ago when I stayed in a hotel in San Francisco (Hotel Diva)and like every other hotel I've ever stayed in, they want my opinion of the hotel and my stay. But, unlike the hundreds of other times, I actually completed the evaluation this time...why?

Because they had a really awesome Level One Evaluation which was fun to complete. Creative, inspiring and certainly not your "run of the mill" evaluation sheet even though many of the questions were familiar "Would you recommend this hotel to others?"

So if you are having trouble getting learners to complete your Level One evaluation sheets, perhaps you need to apply some creativity to your evaluations. And, when you have a creative evaluation sheet, it encourages the learners to be creative as well. The hotel actually framed and placed some of the more creative evaluation on a wall near the lobby.

So maybe one of your 2009 resolutions should be to develop a more creative Level One evaluation sheet.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Elements of a Virtual World/Metaverse

Using a virtual world or metaverse for training is not as science-fiction as it sounds. A metaverse or virtual world is simply the natural extension and convergence of several technologies currently used for online learning.

The first software element that makes up a virtual world is a synchronous learning tool similar to WebEx or Adobe Connect or Saba’s Centra. Synchronous learning tools allow for real-time interaction on a computer among learners separated by great distances. At a designated time, an instructor logs into the software as do the learners.. Then instructor and learners have the ability to speak with one another through text or voice-based chat.

The second software element of a metaverse is the ability to easily create content within the virtual world. This is similar to the Web 2.0 capabilities of wikis or blogs where changes, updates and additions are easily made to web sites without the contributor needing to know HTML or any programming language. In a metaverse, learners can build their own items such as houses, cars or even giant routers.

Another important element of a metaverse is the social networking capability. The social networking aspects of a metaverse allow learners to interact and share data and information with each other while in the virtual world. When a person, in the form of an avatar, creates an object such as a briefcase or laptop, they can share that item with other people.

While these software elements are available in many different programs, what pulls all of them together is the fact that the social networking, real-time interactions and creation of content is done in a world similar to video game interfaces where characters and the environment are rendered in three-dimension. This provides a realistic feel to the interaction and helps the learners feel that they are in an actual space working, learning and collaborating together.


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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Virtual World Brainstorming Session

One of the great things about what I do is getting to meet and work with really thoughtful and creative people and the other day, I got a chance to brainstorm with a group of great people on the topic of Virtual World Implementations.

The group included Clark Aldrich (who I have worked with quite frequently lately...its been great), Susan Hendrich (who I knew from her blog and virtual interactions and finally got to meet face-to-face), Eilif Trondsen, Director SRI Consulting Business Intelligence where he heads the Virtual-Worlds @ Work project, John Royer who I have worked with before on several projects, Matt Bruce who provided great insights and ideas about working through the implementation process, Tom Harvey who generated discussions about the places and activities in the virtual world that should be included and Dave Psaris who brought us all together for the session and helped to focus our attention on the task at hand.

We discussed the need to create a collaborative community within the virtual world and how to overcome hurdles associated with a first-time user's experience in a virtual world.

Some take aways included: Provide new learners with an experience in the virtual world in which they must to perform a task to learn about navigation and virtual world tools without giving them a list like "Ok, now press F2 to walk, then press F3 to go backward."

Instead the in-world training should be "Go to the corner store and purchase a trade magazine from the clerk." A directed task with real-world relevance will force the learner to experience and learn the tools without a didactic step-by-step instruction. It makes it more fun and more engaging.

Clark Aldrich, Karl Kapp and Eilif Trondsen on their way to lunch to continue the discussion on Virtual Worlds.

So then the question became...why is learning in 3D better than e-learning, classroom instruction or any other method. Why invest in 3D learning spaces? The group had great insights into this and, hopefully, I was able to capture the groups thoughts in this explanation below.
The real advantage of learning in 3D is that it allows the learner to be immersed in a learning environment that is as close to the actual environment as you can get without being there. The 3D environment is more realistic than page turning e-learning and even more realistic than a classroom environment which is typically nothing like the actual environment in which the behavior must occur.

When immersed in a 3D environment, a person is cognitively encoding the sounds, sights and spacial relationships of the environment and is behaviorally engaged. The person becomes emotionally involved and behaves and acts as they would in the actual situation. When this happens, it allows the learner to more effectively encode the learning for future recall and provides the cues needed to apply the experience from the 3D world to actual on-the-job performance. It is learning by doing.

So thanks to everyone at the brainstorming session, I look forward to more sessions like this in the future.

Also,for those of you not at the session. In terms of the explanation of the value of learning in 3D I ask "Are we on target with this?" Let me know what you think.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Learning Statistics

Here are some interesting statistics about learning. Of course, the data was collected before the great finanical meltdown but still interesting data

According to ASTD, an organization of professional learning and development practiioners:
ASTD estimates that U.S. organizations spent $134.39 billion on employee learning and development in 2007. This amount reflects direct learning expenditures such as the learning function’s staff salaries, administrative learning costs, and non-salary delivery costs (including outsourced activities). Nearly two-thirds of the U.S. total ($83.62 billion) was spent on the internal learning function, such as staff salaries and internal development costs. The remainder ($50.77 billion) was allocated to external services such as workshops, vendors and external events. These types of informative statistics appear in ASTD’s annual State of the Industry report.

According to a report issued by US Department of Education titled Distance Education at Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions: 2006–07, the following is true of education in postsecondary schools.

During the 2006–07 academic year, two-thirds (66 percent) of 2-year and 4-year Title IV degree granting postsecondary institutions reported offering online, hybrid/blended online, or other distance education courses for any level or audience. Sixty-five percent of the institutions reported college-level credit-granting distance education courses, and 23 percent of the institutions reported noncredit distance education courses.

Sixty-one percent of 2-year and 4-year institutions reported offering online courses, 35 percent reported hybrid/blended courses, and 26 percent reported other types of college-level credit-granting distance education courses in 2006–07. Among institutions that offered online courses, 62 percent reported that 100 percent of the instruction in those courses must be online.

According to an article titled Investing in eLearning Proves to be Lucrative, in India the market is large.
Even thought the Internet penetration is 4% in India, still the e-learning market size is $27 million or Rs 105 crore. It is projected to grow to $280 million or Rs 1,092 crore by 2012, according to an education sector report by the reputed brokerage firm CLSA Asia Pacific markets.

Says Vijay K Thadani, co-founder and CEO, NIIT Ltd, “In 1983, when we started offering e-learning material, we were using own network to deliver the material—so it was largely computer-based training at the time.” Currently, NIIT services 5,00,000 students in 32 countries and 750 centres. It has a library of 3,500 courses.

Additionally, the May 2008 article reports:
the current e-learning global market size is over $20 billion (Rs 78,000 crore)—grown ten-fold since 2000). E-learning market is expected to surpass $52.6 billion (Rs 2,05,000 crore) by 2010. Online tutoring is a $4 billion (Rs 15,600 crore) industry and is growing at a rate of 10%-15% per annum.

If you have any more up-to-date links on the growth of elearning or even its non-growth, please post.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Virtual Worlds...The rumors of their death have been greatly exaggerated

Articles like Second Life's death knell tell of the lack of interest in virtual worlds with a recant of the death of Google's Lively and the pulling of the Reuters Second Life in world reporter.

But, to mis-quote Mark Twain, The rumors of their death have been greatly exaggerated. According to Virtual Worlds Management, a leading virtual worlds trade media company, over $594 million was invested in 63 virtual worlds related companies in 2008. The number is significant but, in the spirit of fair and balanced reporting, the number does point to a continued downward trend for investment in the virtual world space but less investment does not equal death or the end of virtual worlds.

While $595 million is small change compared to the TARP $700 billion dollar bail out, it is hardly a death knell for virtual worlds. I've written about this before in The Metaverse Hype, Decline and Realism Cycle--We've Seen It Before

And while they may have slowed down in the consumer sector. Educational and corporate uses of virtual worlds and interest in using virtual worlds for learning seem to have increasing, at least in my personnel experience.

Virtual worlds allow for rich educational experiences like providing multiple perspectives on a subject, geography or situation; they provide situated practice and experimentation and they allow learners to practice skills that can be transferred to real life situations. They also allow for practice of coordination among multiple geographically dispersed individuals.

So, let's not set a time and date for the Virtual World Funeral just yet... In fact, virtual worlds seem to be just entering the Gartner Hype Cycle area of the Trough of Disillusionment but eventually, because some people will stick with it, the use of virtual worlds for learning, marketing, etc. will enter the Plateau of Productivity.


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Friday, January 23, 2009

President's Get's a Cool New Phone..Or Maybe Not

Sectera Edge and all its functions.

The new President of the United States is a self-confessed techno-savvy person who loves his Blackberry and until recently, rumors where he was going to have to give it up and that he would be using a Sectera Edge. The Edge is a high-tech, spy-resistent phone with buttons to access classified or unclassified information at will. All this according to CNN article titled Obama to get spy-proof smartphone.

You can check out the Sectera Edge for youself. While it has great functionality in terms of keeping secrets does seem a little big.

However, it seems that the Pres. will get to keep his Blackberry according to an article at Engadget called Confirmed: Obama gets his BlackBerry, no Sectera Edge in sight which shows a clip from C-Span indicating that The President will keep his Blackberry (apparently modified) to correspond with a few senior staffers.


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Thursday, January 22, 2009

My 2008 E-Learning Predictions...Not too bad.

Every year Lisa Neal Gualtieri of eLearn Magazine asks for e-learning predictions about the upcoming year. You can read the predictions in Predictions for 2009 and for the past few years Stephen Downes over at his Half an Hour blog grades the predictions. It really raises the stakes of the predictions but is a great exercise in reflection and revisiting ideas to determine validity and accuracy of scope. I enjoy his grading of the keeps everyone on their toes.

You can see his entire list of grades at Last Year's Predictions For 2008, Reviewed.

Here is my prediction and grade from Stephen.

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

Grade: B-

Content did become more disaggregated and learner created, continuing a trend that has been evident for several years. Penalty for non-falsifiability: if valuable content were housed on a learning management system, this would not be evident to the wider internet. No corporate version of YouTube emerged. 'Instructional assembly' did not emerge as a wide practice. Maybe in a few years.
So as any good student would do...I am going to take this chance to argue for a higher grade.

I do admit to the non-falsifiability of the disaggregation of content...although I see it happening in several organizations... also not as much instructional assembly is happening as I thought it would.

However, the point I want to hang a potentially higher grade on is the emergence of a corporate YouTube.

Recently, we have seen the emergence of sites providing video instruction focused on a corporate/professional audience. Here is a list of a few of the sites.

Wistia--This site allows you to share your videos inside and outside of company walls. This allows you to control who can view your content and to regulate the content. The videos can be used for training and sales and marketing. The videos even track who is watching them and what parts they've watched and what parts were not watched.

WordPress TV--This site contains many videos all some how related to WordPress but not just about the software. There is information about blogging and social media as well as other related topics. Sure it is focused in one area but it is professionally focused.

Adobe TV--This site is similar to WordPress but is all about Adobe products. Here the $100 laptop is discussed as well as every Adobe product from PhotoShop to Acrobat. There is an education channel, a How-To channel and many other topics. Again, corporate focused videos.

So, given the "evidence" (somewhat shaky but I think it makes the case) I'd like to know what you think. Is the grade appropriate or should it be raised a bit?


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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Blogosphere Happenings for Kapp Notes

Recently received some exciting news related to the Kapp Notes blog. First, one of my entries appeared on the eLearning Learning Content Community Hot List for the Week of 1/2/2009 - 1/9/2009. The post was 2009 Predictions, Remembrance and Challenges. And then, I was selected as favourite blogger of the week for the week of January 11, 09 to January 18, 09 over at e-Learning Planet by E-Learning Tyro. Recognition is great but I blog for many other reasons which, thanks to Dave Ferguson, are listed below.

Shortly after I received the two notices about my blog, Dave Ferguson who blogs at Dave's Whiteboard asked me for examples of how professionals in the field of Learning and Development can gain value from blogs. His timing is perfect, so here are some of the reasons why I enjoy blogging so much and how I use my blog.

One: My blog acts as my own personnel knowledge management tool. If I see an article that is interesting. I write a quick blurb about the article and link it to my blog post. When I go to give a presentation, I look through my blog, find relevant entries and use the statistics or other information in my presentation. So it is a kind of "memory box" or knowledge management system that puts all articles of interest containing statistics and such in one place. For example, I found an interesting article on the FBI hiring people, I wrote about it and then referenced that article in a presentation a few weeks later.

Two: It acts as a note card sorter. This is similar to number one but I don't see it as exactly the same. I am writing a book "Learning in 3D" Some of my blog entries are like note cards that I sort and review as I create the outline for the book. The entries serve as content for chapters and sub-chapters of the book. They are already organized and often I can use them word-for-word in a chapter.

Three: Presentation Reference Materials. Many of my presentations now are almost all images and diagrams with little words. Great for presentations, lousy for reference materials. My blog entry "Creating a Vibrant Learning Community" is a reference piece that attendees of that presentation (and others) can review after attend see my presentation and have the written notes they need.

Four: Keep in touch with colleagues and alumni in the field. The blog enables me to get reactions to my ideas and feedback from other professionals in the field and to see if my ideas are on track or not and allows me to keep in touch with alumni who write on my blog and make comments.I have a little online community of practice surrounding my blog of alumni, presentation attendees, fellow bloggers and others.

Five: It forces me to write. Writing takes practice and having a blog requires me to have the discipline and skill to write every day so it is a personnel reminder that "I need to write."

Six: Extends my class. I have used the blog to extend discussions in the classroom to the broader blogsphere. This allows my students to interact directly with professionals in the field. Creating a learning community.

So what value do you receive from blogging?


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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Blog or Wiki?

The other day, I received the following question in a comment on this blog.

I work of a medium size company (200 employees).I want to create either a Wiki or Blog to share training tips. For example, as a new system rolls-out, I want to set-up a place to share tips, questions, and discoveries, with search capabilities. Do you have any suggestions on the best method (Wiki or Blog) and what product?
To me, the scenario that you described would be best served with a wiki. The wiki allows for multiple people to share tips and to all contribute their discoveries and ideas in a single location.

I suggest you set up contribution "standards" so everyone understands the best method for contributing to the wiki. Include examples and start the wiki so people don't come to the wiki and see a blank page.

Also, when you do face-to-face training classes, go to the wiki and enter and look up information. Get trainees comfortable with going to the wiki to find information.

Your desire to use to share data within your training department and organization is similar to how it is being done at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through the use of a wiki. (here is some of the content taken from my book to describe what they are dong.)

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education, and patient service, is employing a wiki to share best practices. With 66 chapters spread across the United States and Canada, the Society has unique opportunities and issues in the dissemination and implementation of best practices.

In addition to the geographically dispersal of its operations, the Society also faces staff turnover, varying levels of computer expertise and the need to disseminate information in a manner compatible with existing computer systems.

The Society's eMarketing team, which consists of staff ranging in age and abilities from gamers to baby boomers, worked together to employ a wiki to share best practices among chapters. The wiki provides a central location for best practices and an easy-to-use interface that anyone with typing and some minimal search capabilities can master. It is paying off in terms of building a knowledge base and the ability to provide best practices and training on a dime, according to Marty Siederer, the Society's senior director of training and customer service, Siederer provides training for the organization's content management, mass email distribution and online fundraising systems.

“The wiki gives us a method to connect our staff to best practices and much needed resources. Staff can share feedback and techniques," said Siederer. “We can instantly post and share best practices or training information to all of our staff members simply and easily. With the implementation of the wiki, we are able to post our resources electronically and reallocate the funds that would have been used to print manuals and training materials towards the Society's ultimate goals: cures for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, and improving the quality of life for patients and their families.”
Also see, Adopting Social Media in Your Organization? A Few Considerations.

Also, check out Webinar Resources where I provide a number of videos and links to some of the wiki software I use.

I have used Wikispaces and PBWiki and WetPaint. My favorite for ease-of-use and layout is Wikispaces. My favorite for support materials and informaiton is PBwiki. All of these wiki software are similar in functionality and you can't go wrong with any of these choices.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Second Life Workshop

Heather showing some 3D moves in the metaverse of Second Life.

On Friday, Heather and I conducted a "Basics of Second Life" workshop for some folks at Raritan Valley Community College.

Here are some resources to accompany the class.

Video presentation "Why 3D Matters."

Slideshare of "Why 3D Matters."

Links to lesson plans for 3D learning.


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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Creating a Vibrant Learning Community

Today I am presenting at Immaculata University on the topic of Creating a Vibrant Learning Community as part of a faculty workshop.

Here are my slides (although SlideShare did something to some of the photographs on my slides...sorry about that.)

Communities Of Practice
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: academic community)

My presentation notes:

Faculty today are confronted with a very heterogeneous population of traditional and non-traditional students. All have been influenced by technology during their formative years in some way. Some remember nuclear drills and sitting under their desks, some have been influenced by automated manufacturing, others by the birth of the Internet, others by the mass audience message of television while others vividly remember watching the first astronaut land on the moon. They all bring a rich experience to class but the experiences are all different.

Regardless of the "age" in which these students have grown up and which technology was the greatest influence on those students, they all have similar traits that have spilled over into the classroom.

They are expecting "customized" education. "That day you have scheduled for a test isn't good for me." or "Can I study a different topic, I don't like that one."

They are under tremendous amounts of stress. At school, at home, everywhere.

They are all very busy. School is being fit into other activities. Work, social life, sports, caring for parents, kids, animals, etc.

They have a consumer expectation of education. "Hey, I am paying for this degree or my parents are and I should get an A." or "You should make accommodations because...I am paying your salary."

They are all feeling a bit isolated.

In addition to those traits and factors, students have grown up under different levels of technological influence as I indicated before. While others divide people into boomers, and such, one thing I have done that I have found helpful is to divide students and others into four different groups based on what types of video games they played while growing up. (it doesn't hurt that I like video games.)

See Gamer Rater: New and Improved for details on this portion of the presentation.

We aren't going back to the old classroom styles and formats where learning was in a community of different levels of students all in the same classroom. We have different levels of students but they are all spread out.

So if the goal is to take the current student population and create a vibrant community of learning, then the first thing we must do is to define it.

A Learning Community is a group whose members regularly engage in sharing and learning, based on common interests.
Learning Communities start in the classroom.
  • Begin with a policy of including each student in discussions.
  • Create small groups and allow frequent student-to-student interactions.
  • Have events outside of the classroom like "brown bag lunch and learns".
  • Create reverse mentoring by teaming up different students with each other for projects.
  • Use a problem-based learning approach to pull students together.
Now we can also leverage technology to expand the community beyond the classroom. But first we have to get over misconceptions about Social Media. This image is taken directly from Facebook and is the image many faculty have when someone mentions Facebook.

But Facebook, LinkedIn, Ning and IntroNetworks are all great tools for having academically focused learning communities in an online setting.

Additionally, blogs are great for activities like:
  • Clarification of Terms.
  • Posting a Collection of Valuable Resources.
  • Advice from alumni.
  • Tips and techniques based on the materials covered in class.
  • Extending discussions outside of class.
Even Twitter can be used.
  • Real-time access to students/alumni.
  • Sending yourself/students reminders.
  • Answering quick questions.
  • Mentoring.
  • Answering one question will lead to more questions.
  • Reach across silos of information.
  • Broadcasting thoughts and ideas.

Wikis are being used everywhere and can be create foundations for a learning community. See Pedia Palooza for information covered in this portion of the presentation.

You should even encourage students to create "YouTube moments" to extend the classroom and build a community.

But learning communities don't build themselves. You must create a structure, a framework and serve as an example and lead the way to help the community grow. You cannot expect to create an empty space in a social network and expect to SHAZAM an active, vibrant community. Actions must be taken, the faculty must serve as leaders. Consider linking a Freshman class with a class or graduate students or even with alumni. Think of how to create a community beyond the 4 walks of your classroom.

For example number one, see Tear Down The Walls: Web 2.0 Extends Class

Also see, Web 2.0 Lessons Learned

For a post related to creating vibrant learning communities...see Adopting Social Media in Your Organization? A Few Considerations

For example number two, see CAC Re-Cap with its links to related information that explains the event and the learning community involved in the event.

Finally, the questions might be "Why Create Learning Communities?"

The answer is simple:
  • They create a friendly and open atmosphere among students and faculty and facilitate learning.
  • They expand learning and interactions beyond the classroom.
  • They make for happier, better adjusted students which aid retention and helps with recruiting.
  • Makes for happier and more engaged alumni who welcome the chance to be a part of the community even after they graduate.
  • Creates fun, enthusiastic learners and is fun for the faculty member as well.
So, today I challenge you to create a vibrant learning community within your classroom and beyond.

For additional information on this subject and some of the topics covered see the web site for Gadgets, Games and Gizmos.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Implementing a Virtual World

Image from a virtual world created by Forterra.

Considering the implementation of a virtual world?

Below are a few tips from a interesting whitepaper by Forterra Systems, a company that provides private, virtual world technology for the corporate, healthcare, government, education, and the entertainment industry. The main product of Forterra is OLIVE™ (On-Line Interactive Virtual Environment). OLIVE is an open, distributed client-server platform for building private, realistic virtual worlds. The architecture scales from single user applications up to thousands of concurrent users.

The paper is called Recipe for Success with Enterprise Virtual Worlds written by Chris Badger, the VP of Marketing.

Lessons Learned: What Worked (small sampling from whitepaper)

Well defined "Use Cases" The creation of written example of how the 3D environment would work and the expected implications and outcomes enabled a discussion with the 3D world vendor experts (in this case Forterra)who could comment on what dimensions of the use case would be easy or difficult to prototype quickly. The Use Case allow allows managers who might be uncomfortable with a 3D implementation to visualize how it would work and the integration of the virtual world into the workflow of the organization.

Private, secure, hosted environments This allowed for a quick implementation and overcame several potential IT department obstacles or road blocks. One concern with virtual worlds or any Internet application is security. Having the virtual world hosted in a secure, private environment can be a huge advantage.

Branded facilities. Applying corporate branding and even building style guides to 3D meeting environments provided multiple benefits. First, they help assure senior management that virtual worlds can represent their image and culture in an appropriate way, which helps gain trust and confidence in the pilot. Second,the facilities can be designed to be fun without the constraints of real-world zoning ordinances. A well-designed set of facilities increases the excitement and engagement for users to want to participate in virtual training or meeting events.

Personalized avatars The use of realistic personalized avatars was cited by users as a major contributor to the immersive nature of their pilot. By “immersive”, we mean the perception that “I am really in a meeting room, three feet from a colleague with whom I am talking and interacting, even though it’s just their avatar and that colleague is really 5000 miles away.” Another benefit of personalized avatars is that users tend to become emotionally attached to their avatars, which is valuable when valuable when used with executives or other major stakeholders being courted in the pilot.

(Read the other What Worked well items in the whitepaper.)

What I really liked about the whitepaper is they also listed "What Didn't Work So Well." A great and honest element rarely encountered in corporate whitepapers. Here are some of the list items.

Lessons Learned: What Didn't Work So Well

Testing the PC, headset, and Virtual World (OLIVE) audio properties before an event. The audio experience in OLIVE or any virtual world can be a significant positive contributor towards recreating the experience of a live face-to-face meeting. However, not taking the time to test and tune the PC setup can impair this experience. Users who show up right at the start of the in-world event typically have a hard time following the agenda if they don’t take the time beforehand to test their equipment. In this case, I recommend having a prior "less intensive" meeting that is established really just so everyone fine tunes their PC for the event.

Working through corporate firewalls. Few corporate firewalls have the requisite TCP and UDP ports open that are needed for virtual world users to access a server cluster outside their firewall, or vice versa, for external attendees trying to access a server behind the firewall. Many corporations report that requests to IT for opening the needed ports can take weeks to resolve. Forterra has some great techniques for working through these technical issues to minimize the possible IT problems.

Getting IT support. Large-scale deployments require IT support, so it’s important that virtual world advocates in lines of business get buy-in from their IT colleagues. Some companies’ policies require IT blessing for any employee to access outside servers, which makes pursuing pilots extremely difficult to start.

Again, these are a few of the "gems" from the whitepaper. If you have some time, take a read. You'll gain some really interesting insights into 3D World Implementations.


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Monday, January 12, 2009

Predications for 2009

It is that time of year again. Lisa Neal Gualtieri of eLearn Magazine has issued her annual list of predications from elearning folks in academia, business and not-for-profit organizations. Take a look and let me know what your predictions are for 2009.

eLearn Magazine's Predictions for 2009

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Apple that one

Yes, I am in San Francisco and yes I am at a conference where a representative from Apple is the Keynote speaker but's not Macworld. I am at the Winter 2009 ICT Educator conference. The ICT organization is an expanding group of academic professionals and industry experts who share a common goal or ensuring a quality and industry-relevant education for all Information and Communication Technology (ICT)students.
Jon Burgess of Apple presenting to ICT Educators.

So the keynote was by Jon Burgess of Apple who did an excellent job outlining what educators should focus on for the future. He spoke a great deal about the disconnect between student technology expectations and the technology available in community college and university classrooms. He spoke about students feeling that walking into a classroom was like boarding an airplane where all the technology is turned off for the duration of the flight (or classroom). He indicated technology can be better integrated into the classroom. While it may seem a bit self-serving, I think it is wonderful that a major technology company is focusing on education.
Four types of people who are learners.

One of his first slides was right up my alley, it had 4 different types of people:
  • Boomers
  • Gen X
  • Gen Y
  • Tweens (10-12)
Jon indicated that Gen Y is more ethinically diverse than any generation before. Gen Y has 79 million individuals which is one million more than the number of Boomers. 94% of them use the Internet to do school work. They consume, on average, 20 hours of media a day--they do that in 7 hours--so, on average, they are looking at media from 3 different sources at a time. 45% of the jobs that they will obtain haven't been created yet. While Boomers see technology as a tool, Gen Y and Tweens see technology as an environment. Gen Y might not like to formally write but they do create 500 pages of email a year.
Technology expectations of students vs. academic technologies.

One thing that was particularly interesting is that Jon mentioned that it used to be that technology in universities and colleges used to be ahead of consumer technology but now, consumer technology has overtaken academic technology and students have far greater expections about technology than what is taking place in the classroom.

He also mentioned that traditionally, IT departments in schools and organizations had three purposes:
  • Protect Information
  • Perserve Investement
  • Minimize Risk
That is changing (or should be changing.) Now IT infrastructure in schools and companies are surrounded by software that is open, easy to update and accessible by many. Workers and students not only want that type of environment, they demand it. In fact, in colleges, on average each student has 3 wireless devices, a phone (hopefully and iPhone...according to Jon), a gaming platform (like PS3 or Wii) and a laptop. Some even set up their own wireless routers because they don't like the school's network. They are trully customizing their technology environment to suite thier own needs. Students and workers now want to personalize tools to enhance the quality of their work and save time.

Finally, Jon indicated that community college faculty are in a unique situation to impact the education of Gen Y and to make a difference.

All in all a great keynote and I am sure the other guy from Apple did a good job as well.

*Disclaimer: All pictures in this blog post were taken with an iPhone (however, the computer used for making this entry is not Apple-based.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

You Want a Job?...I Give you the F...B...I

One area of the United States economy that is hiring is the FBI. In fact, due to retirments of the boomers and attrition...they need more than a few good men/women. They need a lot! This is just the first of many agencies in the Government that are going to need a lot more people because of retirements.

The FBI posted openings for 850 special agents and more than 2,100 professional support personnel. Officials say it's the largest FBI job posting since immediately after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks....The lengthy list of openings includes positions in finance and accounting, security, intelligence analysis, training and education, nursing and counseling, physical surveillance, electrical engineering, physical and social sciences, and auto mechanics...everyone one of the field offices needs at least a person...the current block of openings end January 16, 2008

Of course, with all those hirings, you need a lot of training. So if you are a trainer or instructional designer who would be interested in an exciting career...the FBI might just be your answer.

Check out the entire article at Wanted: 850 new FBI agents


Check out the FBI's web site to apply.


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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

2009 Predictions, Remembrance and Challenges

ASTD's Big Question for January is, again, a series of questions.

  • What are your biggest challenges for this upcoming year?
  • What are your major plans for the year?
  • What predictions do you have for the year?
First a little reflection. This year has been a busy year I've worked on:
  • Analyzing Mobile Learning Opportunities within an Organizations
  • Researched Virtual World and MMOLE Learning Opportunities within an Organization
  • Researched Social Learning for Behind-the-Firewall Implementation within an Organization
  • Worked to designing a Game to Teach Middle School Kids Science, Math, Engineering and Technical Skills as part of a National Science Foundation Grant
  • Worked with US Intelligence Community
  • Presented on the topic of "Gadgets, Games and Gizmos" Around the Country
  • Conducted a Comparison of Two Training Methodologies for a PA State Agency
  • Wrote Serveral Whitepapers
  • Conducted Evaluations for National Science Foundation Grants
My three most popular 2008 Blog postings were (#1 being most popular).

#1: Bored?-Try Dissecting a Frog
#2: Top 5 Funny and Semi-Learning Related Videos
(My favorite)
#3: Help, I have an Instructional Design Master's Degree and I Can't Create E-Learning

What are your biggest challenges for this upcoming year?

  • Time management is becoming a bigger and bigger challenge. Very difficult to balance everything I am doing and still have time to breath.
  • Spending as much time as possible with my two boys and wife. Tough to be busy and balance family life but it must be a priority.
  • Plus, I'd love to get in better shape...yes I did say that last year and perhaps the year with time management.

  • Finding new approaches to teaching my RFP class. I teach a wonderful class but I feel it has too much lecturing even though I have been working to eliminate the lectures, we have group exercises, group assignments, student presentations, good discussions but still...can I totally eliminate lectures...not sure I can. So this is a big challenge for me this year.
  • I am writing a book this year called "Learning in 3D" about using virtual worlds for learning, that will be a challenge as all of my books have been. But they are so rewarding and I do enjoy it after it is over.
  • Finding the time to write a peer reviewed article (I have said this the last 2 years, I need someone to hold me to this. I even have great research, just need to write it up.)

What are your major professional plans for the year?
  • To write the book, "Learning in 3D."
  • To publish a peer reviewed article.
  • To continue blogging.
  • To continue presenting.
  • To enjoy being part of the field.
  • I'm giving a workshop to the Centeral Iowa Chapter of ASTD. I am really looking forward to that engagement.
What predictions do you have for the year?
  • E-Learning will grow at a rapid pace. With the economy in a shambles, one good way to reduce costs is to conduct e-learning.
  • The rapid pace of e-learning growth will create a bunch of garbage e-learning.
  • Organizations will struggle with too few staff and too much to do but will not want to hire more people.
  • Social Media or Knowledge Media will become a great resource within organizations.
  • I will continue to blog and enjoy the online community of bloggers, lurkers and others.



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Thursday, January 01, 2009

It's that time of Year Again, EduBlog Awards

For over six years, the great folks over at the Edublog awards have done a great job of collating the best of the edublogosphere and handing out awards to some of the outstanding folks writing and posting in this space.

If you are interested in participating, here are the categories and some awards that you can vote on in the near future. The nominations end on December 8th so hurry and get your nominations in...

Celebrating the achievements of edubloggers, twitterers, podcasters, video makers, online communities, wiki hosts and other web based users of educational technology.

Now into its 6th year!

And this year we’re going to run the nominations for each category just the same as we did last year :)

In order to nominate blogs for the 2009 Edublog Awards you have to link to them first!

Nominations: Close Tuesday 8 December!
Voting: Ends Wednesday 16 December!
Award Ceremony: Friday 18 December!
Nominations are now open… read on to find out how to nominate:

So, first, choose the sites that you want to nominate in the following categories (you can nominate for as many, or as few, categories as you like):

Best individual blog
Best individual tweeter
Best group blog
Best new blog
Best class blog
Best student blog
Best resource sharing blog
Most influential blog post
Most influential tweet / series of tweets / tweet based discussion
Best teacher blog
Best librarian / library blog
Best educational tech support blog
Best elearning / corporate education blog
Best educational use of audio
Best educational use of video / visual
Best educational wiki
Best educational use of a social networking service
Best educational use of a virtual world
Lifetime achievement

Step 1: Write a post on your blog linking to:

The Edublog Awards Homepage (that’s here :)
The blogs & sites that you want to nominate (must be linked to!)

Step 2: Email us the link to your nomination post

Use the form on The Edublogger Award page to contact us, please include a genuine email address (spam free, just in case we need to confirm identity) and the link to your nominations post.
For information on how to nominate a blog for The Edublog awards, go to the following link and be heard! The Edublog Awards 2009

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