For quite a while I have been teaching a computer basics class in addition to developing online courses. The class is a traditional classroom course focusing mostly on basic PC and Outlook skills. Participants vary greatly in skill level and I encounter a fair number of people not familiar with what many would consider common computer tasks. Realizing many of these tasks potentially save computer users a lot of time and aggravation, I decided to also share these online via very brief video tutorials within the organization’s Intranet. The tutorials have been well received and I have decided to also make similar tutorials available to the general public.
I am happy to announce Right Click Rick’s blog. The blog is already off to a running start with Windows 7 and Office 2010 tutorials, all of which are very accessible and very free. By also having a strong social media presence, I hope to provide as much ease of access as possible for anyone wanting to learn a few new computer tips and tricks.
I appreciate you taking the time to visit www.rightclickrick.com or any of his SoMe pages which are linked below.
I just read an article in T&D Magazine titled “Beef Up Your Training Toolbox with Web Tool.” The author, Mary E. Green, offered suggestions for how you can use web tools to increase engagement in the traditional classroom. The article inspired me to look at what is on my Cloud Apps page that may also be helpful to the classroom trainer. Here is what I pulled from the page that I think would be great to use in the traditional classroom. Plus, they are all free.
Charts, Diagrams, and Data – Explain it in a chart using the apps below. Plus, you will be surprised how much supporting information you may find in the Google Public Data Explorer.
Cacoo (create diagrams)
ChartGo (create charts)
Google Public Data Explorer (Create charts and visualizations form public data)
QR Code Generators – Put QR codes in your manuals and on the classroom screen. They can contain text or URLs and is a great way to get additional information and resources to attendees with smart phones.
Screencasts – Software trainers, show them how it is done in a screencast that can be shared in the classroom and also accessed later at their convenience. Heck, give them the screencast’s link via a QR code while you are at it. Participants can create their own and use them to share their new skills with others.
Social Bookmarking – Make sure they have all your online resources by giving them one link to all your bookmarks. Plus, when you add additional resources at a later time, they will see them too.
Social Media – Get a back channel going in the classroom and keep it posted on the screen. Plus, what a great way to continue supporting learners by interacting via social media after the class ends.
Storify (create stories using social media)
These are just the apps I pulled from the Cloud App page. Do you have suggestions of where classroom trainers can find useful online tools for the classroom? If so, feel free to add them to the comment section.
Over at the Learning Circuits Blog the Big Question is “How do we break down organizational walls when it comes to learning?” So, here are some practical tips and advice on how to break down the organizational walls.
- First off, always be on the lookout for opportunities to bring external learning inside the organization. Whether online courses that can be linked to from the LMS or bringing a live training event into the classroom, potential opportunities should always be on your radar.
- Social media – Right now I am in the midst of encouraging staff to use social media as a learning and teaching tool. This is challenging especially when some staff are reluctant in embracing any new technology. Social media provides access to an immense amount of informal learning and direct access to experts outside the organization walls. My advice, be patient, keep encouraging its adoption, tout the positive results and give it time to catch on.
- Give staff easily accessible avenues to getting over the wall like links to social bookmarks that contain well organized, tagged, learning opportunities. I also like to plaster QR codes wherever I can that also take staff to these bookmarks or to specific sites relating to subjects relevant to staff.
- A big barrier for too many organizations is simply getting access outside the firewall especially access to social media. Start selling the powers to be on the benefits of more open access to social media.
- An issue I have seen at numerous organizations is time limitation for non-exempt staff. In other words, organizations encourage exempt (salaried) staff to take courses during whatever time is convenient to them, but do the exact opposite for non-exempt staff. The reason being organizations do not want to pay staff for possible overtime. Either set aside time for their development within the allotted 40 hours of work time or be willing to pay for their time beyond the 40 hour work week. Remember, your staff deserves, and is well worth, your organization’s investment.
- Coach staff on their job development. Coworkers should be open to giving advice and coaching fellow coworkers looking for opportunities for development including assisting with finding learning opportunities available outside the organizational wall.
- How many times has a coworker went to a conference and not shared what they learned or the resources they found? Make sure there are avenues and expectations for this information to be shared. Even if it is as simple as sending an email with links to resources and learning opportunities found.
- Less we not forget, tuition reimbursement programs greatly encourage staffs’ academic growth. If your organization does not have one, start asking for it. If they do have one, take advantage of it and encourage others to do the same.
Any other suggestions on how to assure learning is not restricted by the organization wall? Add them in the comments section or write a post and let us know at the Learning Circuits Blog.
This month’s Big Question at Learning Circuits is regarding assessing the impact of informal learning. Or more specifically:
How do you assess whether your informal learning, social learning, continuous learning, performance support initiatives have the desired impact or achieve the desired results?
The extent of my experience in evaluation has focused on applying Kirkpatrick’s model to classroom training and e-learning. Although there may be some elements of the model that lend itself to evaluating informal learning, I do not see the model as a whole working well for assessing the impact of informal learning.
I wish I could present a straight forward model that works well for assessing the impact of informal learning, but I do not have one to offer. What I do have are some off the cuff ideas on how to assess impact. Much of this will be anecdotal information collected, but none the less information that has value in assessing impact.
- Survey staff regarding what they have learned and how they applied it. It makes sense to use a social media tool to do this (e.g., use hash tags in Twitter). Please don’t think smile sheet, instead think individual questions delivered via social media.
- Participate, participate, participate and see first hand what they are learning. They will probably also be talking about how they apply what they learned… That’s some good anecdotal evidence of applying behavior.
- If you have identified specific things staff have learned and applied, look for how it has impacted the organization (results). Oops, easing into Kirkpatrick’s model, but if you can, you can.
- Measure the “buzz.” Are people talking about it and/or encouraging others to use social media and informal learning? What are they saying that is convincing others? Is it because it has made a difference in their abilities or lead to successes?
- Find the leaders. Who are leading discussions, being quoted, retweeted, yammed about, followed, liked, etc.? Recruit them to help you measure the impact. They have pull and can help you garner much of the fore-mentioned information.
Keep in mind, the above are ideas I “blue skied,” but if you have additional ideas, I would love to hear them in the comments section. Don’t forget to check the ever increasing posts and comments on the LCBQ blog and add your 2 cents there too.
I recently posted my 2011 predictions, but they are general predictions for e-learning and technology. So, here is my response to the Learning Circuits’ Big Question, which asks to be more focused on our challenges, plans and predictions.
First off, over my years in corporate training, I have explored many areas of learning and development. This ranges from classroom training to many facets of e and m-learning. What I am predicting for my own challenges and plans for 2011 is not delving into new technology or mediums of delivering learning, but rather a blending of many approaches and technologies I have in my current learning toolkit. A current example is a large software training effort I am designing that takes advantage of blending technologies and approaches. Believe it or not, this training program will incorporate the following:
- A web-based training (WBT) course that incorporates QR Codes and social bookmarking in addition to simulations, instruction and job aids.
- Blogging that also incorporates use of social media, social bookmarking and screencasts (thanks Screenr and DIIGO).
- Classroom training – not a traditional classroom format, but a “learning lab” with more advanced explorations of the topic and objectives driven more by the audience than the facilitator or course design. Hopefully also resulting in instruction/tips & tricks shared by the audience and facilitator.
- m-Learning and informal learning – I am using QR Codes and tweeting to also get content and additional resources out, but more importantly encouraging the audience to do the same. I will be really excited when I see the audience start setting their own objectives and teaching each other.
Yes, the above may look like a mishmash of technology and approaches, but it does support the learning design and the audience’s learning needs. There is a method to the madness and I am not using the technology without rhyme or reason.
Another exciting plan, and somewhat of a challenge, for 2011 is delivering more learning to my audience that is off the LMS. As you can see, much of the fore-mentioned is outside of the LMS. However, here are some more ways I am delivering learning without the need to log-in to the LMS.
- With few exceptions, my audience in corporate training has been internal. This has recently changed and will change much more in 2011. I have already begun providing training for our external customers, including developing educational games and software demos… not on the LMS.
- Tweeting and responding to tweets… not on the LMS.
- Posting job aids on Intranet pages… not on the LMS.
- Screencasts – These are great for brief, easy to develop, software sims and I have started adding them to our Intranet pages… not the LMS.
- Guess what, people still learn even when… not on the LMS.
Although these are my own challenges, plans and predictions for 2011, I believe we will see others embarking on similar challenges. So my overall prediction is much more blending of technology applications and more delivery OFF the LMS.
What are your challenges, plans and predictions? Be sure to share them at the Learning Circuits’ Big Question and tweet them too at #LCBQ.
I have been a big fan of social bookmarking and my preferred tool for social bookmarking has been Delicious. With the initial rumor that Yahoo will be discontinuing it and now the news they may be selling it, I imported my bookmarks to Diigo. It was a very easy process and retained all of my tags. This is great because I often share these tags on my blog, Twitter, e-mail and even in the classroom, so seeing them preserved was very important to me. Here are some of the tags I share the most, which are now available in Diigo:
I also added a Diigo widget to this bog. So, if you are a Diigo user you can bookmark my posts using the icon in the right column. I have also inserted a working example below.
Last Thursday, #lrnchat’s topic was “book talk” and question five was great fun. The question posed was “What are book titles you hope never to see?” Here is a list of just some of the responses. They are not just very amusing, they are also a great reflection on so much of what we should avoid, or at least rethink, in our industry.
Dave_Ferguson: “I Can Haz Smarts: Lolcats Guyd to Learnin Stylz”
JaneBozarth: “More Levels for Evaluation by Autopsy”
sillym0nkey: Rapid Oganizational Change
kelly_smith01: I’m OK, You’re my SME?
trchandler: “Mandated Learning Made Easy”
billcush: ADDIE for Dummies
Quinnovator: “Adapting Learning: Learning Styles, Generational Differences, and Brain-Based Learning”
susannahrl: How to outsource all eLearning design and development in 3 easy steps
Quinnovator: “Content and a Quiz: your guide to meaningful change”
moehlert: @lrnchat Compliance Training for Fun and Profit
sillym0nkey: how to bring back ppt lectures to the classroom
trchandler: “How to Squeeze More Bullet Points into your Presentations”
Quinnovator: “The LMS: your complete learning solution”
mpetersell: “101 versions of jeopardy for learning”
odguru: How to keep them guessing: Butchering the socratic method to make people feel dumb
Dave_Ferguson: Management Secrets of Donald Rumsfeld (a new musical)
kasey428: The Audio Book of Advanced Calculus
minutebio: “Incorporating Informal Learning into Your LMS”
jsuzcampos: Speak When Spoken To: Your Guide to Lively Classroom Discussion
mbr1online: Death by PowerPoint: A Manual
Dave_Ferguson Are you not a fan of lateral thinking or is it interpretive dance that annoys you?
Quinnovator: “Investing in Organizational Learning: The Cost Center Approach”
Dave_Ferguson: Take It to the River: How Hammurabi the CEO Dealt with Naysayers and Nitpickers.
TriciaRansom: The Complete Guide to Standard Clip Art
Dave_Ferguson: “How to Rail against Social Media while Maintaining Eight Twitter IDs, or, Easy Self-RTs”
kasey428: Improve the Classroom Experience: Adding Motion to Your PowerPoints!
Quinnovator: “Social Schmocial: Why Formal Is the only Real Learning”
NYChase: The Client is Always Right.
sillym0nkey: How to use smile sheets effectively
TriciaRansom: More Time in Training = More Learning
mbr1online: Idiot’s Guide to Organizing Your Files and Catching Up on Email while Watching Webinars.
trchandler: “Class Evaluation Questions that Guarantee a Raise”
minutebio: “Google Wave and How it Will Change Learning”
An important note: If you have not participated in #lrnchat (online chat via Twitter), you are really missing a great experience. It is great fun and a chance to interact, learn and share with many great instructional designers. They have both an early and a late version every Thursday. The schedule and helpful information on participating is available on the #lrnchat blog. See you next Thursday!
During #LrnChat it was mentioned that Captivate 5 will include integration with Twitter. I think this is good news and a good start for incorporating social media in asynchronous courses. Yes, I do think using social media tools directly for informal learning is a better option in many, if not most situations, but if a “blended” solution is needed then incorporating Twitter into Captivate is now an option. Here is Adobe’s description from their new features page:
In-context learner collaboration via Twitter
Leverage the Twitter widget from Adobe to create courses that let learners collaborate with one another as well as the author by just logging into their Twitter account. They can ask questions, get answers, and access pre-existing discussions. – Adobe.com
Another new feature that catches my eye is hosting, tracking and reporting integration through Acrobat.com
Hosting and collaboration via Acrobat.com
Host published or in-progress eLearning projects on Acrobat.com, an Adobe CS Live online service, and share them with learners and reviewers, who can access them from virtually anywhere. – Adobe.com
Tracking and reporting
Satisfy basic evaluation needs at no extra cost by tracking and reporting key performance metrics, such as average score and pass or fail rates, without having to invest in a Learning Management System. – Adobe.com
Keep in mind it is not nearly as robust as what you will get from loading the course to your LMS, but it may work for those without an LMS and limited reporting needs.
You can read about other top new features along with some video previews here.
Learning Circuits’ Big Question for May is “So what can, should, or will, we offer the digital generation by 2015?”
Five years is not very far into future, but in terms of technology things can change immensely in that amount of time. Just think of how learning technology has changed in the past five years. Off the top of my head here are a few things I think we will be offering in 2015.
- We are already seeing the impact of social media and informal learning, but we will see it blend immensely with both classroom and e-learning. Asynchronous e-learning will incorporate social media into courses allowing for more collaborative learning and formative evaluation by the course designer. As for the classroom, we already see a “back channel,” but it will be more prevalent and more accepted, even encouraged, by facilitators. More access and advances in smart phones, tablets and smart boards will help blend e-learning, social media and classroom training.
- The cloud has also grown, but I see in five years much more robust development tools on the cloud. There are already great cloud tools out there, but I think we will see more e-learning development tools at the level of Flash, Captivate, Articulate, OutStart Trainer, etc. on the cloud. Much of which will be courtesy of open source projects. Among the many benefits, it will increase mobility on the developer’s end. We designers/developers won’t be limited to working only on the computer in which we loaded our Flash CS10.
- Adobe Flash will be alive and well. HTML5’s full release is two years away. We probably will see it replace Flash for video/audio support, but it will fall short in its quality and level of interactivity and animation. HTML5 development tools will not provide the ease of creating rich Internet applications… at least not after only three years in. We will see Flash be the preferred medium of e-learning developers and a favored output (SWFs) of other e-learning dev tools. Upside Learning Blog has a good post on HTML5 and e-learning development that is a worthwhile read on this subject.
- We will offer even more edu-games. Again Flash will still be preferred as HTML5 just won’t be there yet.
- On the design end, the industry will focus much more on offering truly engaging, instructionally sound courses and our audience will demand it. Hopefully page turners will be extinct by 2015.
April’s Big Question from Learning Circuits is “How to Keep up?” This is in reference the immense and rapidly expanding technology tools.
It is tough to stay on top of all the emerging tools. However, being involved in an e-learning community is a big help. For me it is a blog community and following many experts on Twitter. Not only am I often made aware of new tools, but also get opinions, tips, and examples of their use. You can never keep up with it all, but access to many experts who are also finding and sharing the lastest tech tools make it much less daunting.
Many of the blogs I follow are part of the eLearningLearning community. So, I browsed “Tools” by keyword on eLearningLearning. Here are the results and the level of exposure to technology tools this community provides:
That is a lot of tools this blogging community has discussed and introduced to its readers. I also like to make occasional visits to Google Labs and Adobe Labs to “keep up” with the tech tools they are working on and to test drive any beta versions available. When I do find interesting tools I will keep track of them using my Delicious account. Tagged either under Development Toolsor Cloud. When it comes to free cloud apps, I also share them on my blog’s Free Cloud Apps page.
It is tough to stay on top of all the great stuff being offered out there, but the blogs and social media certainly help.
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