Tag Archive | Classroom Training

Cool Tools to Liven Up The Classroom

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.

Cartoons (also suggested by Green) – A funny cartoon can liven up the class. The following allow you to make your own that you can use in the classroom.

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)

Video – Create your own video and post it, find relevant videos already out there, and/or get your learners to make and share their own video.

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.


My Big Question Response – Predictions for My 2011 #LCBQ

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.

May's Big Question

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.


Perhaps I have been living under a rock, but until today I have not heard of Pecha-Kucha. I am not a big fan of PowerPoint mostly because of the abusive use of the tool itself. After all, PowerPoint does not bore people to death, presenters (or e-Learning designers) WITH PowerPoint do. Upon being introduced to the term Pecha-Kucha, I Googled it and was intrigued by the concept.

In a nutshell, it is a presentation that contains 20 images each displayed for 20 seconds (20×20). It was originally designed to reign in presenters who needed to be more concise in their presentation. Here are some examples. The first explains the concept further. You can also learn more about it at http://www.pecha-kucha.org.

Another good example of Pecha-Kucha is Failure by Bob Berkebile.

Oh, Pecha-Kucha is a Japanese term meaning chatter. It is pronounced “peh-CHAK-cha,” here is a video that helps with the pronunciation.

Using Blogs and Social Networks to Engage K-12 Learners

Here is a nice video that shows good use of blogs and social networks in K-12 education.

Ordering Training is Not Like Ordering Pizza

All too often people request training and have already determined the delivery medium they want. Their decision is usually for various reasons, such as convenience or cost, but not because it is the most effective way to teach the content.

To borrow a phrase from a former boss,  “ordering training is not like ordering pizza.” It is crucial to step back and begin with a need analysis, identifying the audience, their training need(s),  the learning objectives, etc. We must also conduct a content analysis. Only then can the best medium(s) of delivery be determined with confidence.  It may be e-learning, classroom training or blended learning.

In regards to using content analysis to make this determination, here is a very helpful article by Seung Youn Chyung and Armi Stephanie Treñas, published in Learning Solutions e-Magazine – Content Design for Performance-Oriented Reusable Blended Learning. You will need to log-in to access it. If you are not a member,  joining as an associate member is free.

The authors provide a practical approach to analyzing instructional content with the purpose of determining the best media to deliver the content. They focus on teaching content in the cognitive domain. Here is a rule of thumb they provide that I agree with “As a rule of thumb, it would be cost-effective to use self-paced e-Learning for delivering declarative knowledge and some of procedural knowledge that can be codified fairly easily. On the other hand, it may prove rather difficult, although not impossible, to facilitate the development of situated knowledge via e-Learning alone.”

If you want to get a better handle on determining what is best taught online, in the classroom or blended, this article is a great start. If clients are telling you the delivery medium instead of asking what the best delivery medium will be, follow the article’s advice and you will save yourself a lot of time and trouble. And don’t forget to tell them “ordering training is not like ordering pizza.”

If It Works in the Classroom…

For many of my e-learning courses I like to make the content conversational. This is especially true if it is facilitated by a character. I also like to use humor, when appropriate and with great care not to offend.

I have encountered on several occasions some resistance to delivering content in a conversational style and using humor. If the resistance is from a fellow trainer, my response is, “Do you speak in a conversational tone to your classroom audience and do you ever use humor in the classroom?” The answer has always been “Yes.” Then why not online. Plus, online we can proof and test the content as to assure it is still effective and professional. So, I conclude if it is done in the classroom and can be “pulled off” online, then it is perfectly acceptable.

Here are a few more things done in the classroom that should also be acceptable in online classes. They may have to be approached differently due to the medium, but can be engaging both for classroom and online audiences.

  • Games and puzzles
  • Role-playing (immersive learning sims)
  • Coaching/immediate feedback
  • Guest speakers (videos in an online, asynchronous delivery)
  • Flip-charting ideas, concepts, etc.
  • Group activities/”break-out” sessions
  • Use of Twitter

Granted, some of these are challenging in an online environment, but not impossible. Bottom line, if it is done in the classroom and works well online go ahead and use it. What can happen? You end up with an engaged audience who know you put a lot of effort and resources into being an effective trainer.

What else transfers from the traditional classroom to an online course?

And what elements from online classes would work in a traditional classroom?