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Many years ago, I worked with a guy who was in great physical shape and was obviously a fitness buff. Since I also wanted to get back into shape, I asked him which piece of gym equipment he felt was the very best for quickly making the fastest gains. He leaned in and whispered (as if it was a trade secret) “Okay…I’ll tell you the single, best piece of equipment. This one machine is far superior to any other machine you’ll find in the gym. Far and away, the single best machine is … the one you’re actually going to use.” And then he walked away. A simple answer but one that I never forgot.

Do you know someone who bought the “best” among a field of products or services, but it wasn’t really the best one suited for them? Do you know this person intimately? Was this perhaps’YOU’? You’re not alone. When it comes to choosing an e-learning solution, there are over 160 vendors in that vast sea of LMS/LCMS platforms. How are you going to distinguish one from another? You’d be surprised how many solutions buyers make their choice by mass mailing requests for RFPs and then comparing features side-by-side with vendors’ solutions in order to find the best value for the money. This is a baaaad way to purchase an e-learning solution for your organization. Here’s a better way: Continue Reading »

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Here’s an excellent resource to get you started with understanding and using Wiki technology. What’s a “wiki?” It’s a collaborative website you can easily build which can be directly edited by anyone with access to it.

This link to the wikimatrix.org website lets you go through a wizard to find the perfect wiki for you and then shows you a great comparison table with all of the features listed out. Pretty cool.

http://www.wikimatrix.org/

This morning I had an interesting chat with “Chris from Tweeter”:

We had the opportunity to discuss ways of improving course compliancy among corporate learners.

Chris: Curt, some folks just don’t see the benefit of taking time from their busy schedule to do their e-learning courses.  Do have any suggestions on how to keep course compliancy high among our salespeople?

Curt: Chris, I’ve heard every excuse as to why folks won’t take their dose of e-learning.  Do any of these sound familiar?

  • I don’t have time.
  • I don’t see the benefits.
  • I don’t know how to access the platform and launch the course.
  • I don’t like the content. (It’s boooring!)
  • I already know about the topic.
  • I don’t have easy access to a computer.
  • I need to be out on the floor, selling; not standing in front of a computer, taking courses.

Many organizations face the same problem: Their instructional designers build course offerings that receive little or no interest from the field. Of course, the IDs and management cannot understand this dilemma: “Why would anyone NOT want to retrieve additional knowledge necessary to improve their success in the workplace?” Well, in addition to the points mentioned above, many learners may not see the direct benefits that online training can offer. It simply is not visible to their personal bottom line.  So, how do we turn this around? The answer is quite simple…

Continue Reading »

Podcasting is one of the great, albeit not-so-new technologies for distributing information FAST!   If you haven’t already dabbled with it, I encourage you to get your feet wet and try it out.  Here are a few good resources to get you started:

Now, get out there and start distributing content, you crazy Podcasters!

Not all content that is intended for reuse is created equal.  Before deciding upon the destiny of your content, it makes good sense to understand and plan how it will be used (and reused).  To this end, I was recently contacted by RAND Corporation to participate in a study entitled:  “Reusable Digital Training Content:  Obstacles and Enablers.”   In order to prep their respondents, RAND Corp. provided a list of questions to help us solidify our thoughts about the topic at hand.  They insightfully acknowledge that reusable content falls into the following different camps: 

  • Redeployed content: Reusing content “as is,” but in different contexts or for different groups (e.g., making a course available to a wider group, or use content not only for training, but for an on-line “help” system”).
  • Rearranged content: Reordering learning objects to form a new module (e.g., In a refresher course, moving much of initial course to a backup section).
  • Repurposed content: Updating an existing module, or producing different “versions” of a learning module for different audiences.
  • Rewrite: Borrow assets from different learning objects to create new learning objects for a substantially new module or course.

If you are evaluating a new LCMS (Learning Content Management System), or re-evaluating your existing system, it is vital that you understand these four channels of content reuse listed above.  Further, it is critical to understand how your organization creates content, and how it would prefer to distribute that content so that you can clearly evaluate which learning object model and platform best suits your organization’s needs. 

If it is true that we learn more from our mistakes than from our successes, we can say with certainty that we’ve learned tons since e-learning first made its mark in the digital landscape.  It hasn’t always been a pretty sight:  The initial efforts towards learning, adopting and using standards like AICC and SCORM were proof of that.  Still, we accepted that the industry was in a phase of growth and maturation, and  that the impending fallout would reveal a pretty good path we could all confidently follow, and that this path might be colloquially referred to as ‘e-learning 2.0’.   That day has arrived, and hopefully you now understand the loosey-gooseyness of my e-learning 2.0 definition.  For me, e-learning 2.0 is all about using what we’ve learned from e-learning 1.0 that works, filtering out that which didn’t work, and then spicing it up with methods, practices and technologies that encourage user acceptance, robust knowledge acquisition, rapid authoring and delivery, synergy and community.  That’s it; it’s not rocket science.  And if we try to make e-learning 2.0 rocket science, we’ll be back we’re we were in the early 90’s, futily trying to add self-importance to a practice and principle that need not be made excessively complex.  The goal, after all, is simply to facilitate learning.

The answer to this depends upon whom you ask.  You see, “e-learning 2.0” (as a defined and accepted principle) doesn’t really exist.  Not yet, anyway.   Oh sure…you’ll find a few pretty good definitions floating around out there in google-space, but each of them will tell you that a, b, and c are e-learning 2.0, but not x, y and z.  The next definition will be similar, but will state that a, b and z constitute ‘e-learning 2.0’ but not c.  Everyone seems to be hungry to place borders, parameters and constraints on this poor, unassuming term that doesn’t yet even have a home on Wikipedia.  Well, I say, by God, let it be free!  Let e-learning 2.0 be what nature intended:  the natural, organic progression of everything that worked in the original flavor of e-learning with an added mix of new, collaborative, community-building technologies and tools and innovative new-millenium business practices. New ways in which we analyze, quantify and value-add our business can also take root in e-learning 2.0.  If we are truly dedicated and passionate in integrating our learning platform to performance management or talent management initiatives, so be it.  Give it your best shot!   Call this ‘e-learning 2.0’ and we’ll check back with you in a couple years to see if it “made the cut” and became a part of ‘e-learning 3.0’