Updates from January, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • The Technology Guy 10:30 on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: instructional experiences, rapid development tools, technology   

    The controversial changing face of training 

    For over 15 years I have been delivering in class events for eLearning designers, developers, managers and Instructional Designers. I spent years teaching groups how to develop eLearning that works. That has all changed and today we offer ‘live’ tutorials online rather than eLearning courses. Need to know why I decided live was better than eLearning? E-mail me at neil.l@thelearningcoach.co.uk or comment here and I will happily get into that discussion.

    For many years we had full classrooms every month, we ran courses in our office suite and in fabulous places like Williams F1.

    The recent financial strain put on business by the world’s financial mess saw a downturn last year of budget available to attend such learning events as many companies cut back training in huge swathes. Try as a training person to tell companies that this is short sighted as the skill level will not be there when business returns has been an uphill struggle as many of you know full well. Todays offering can be found at http://www.thelearningcoach.co.uk/tutorials.html

    Along came rapid development tools, with them the latest in the long line of buzzwords and gizmos, with the promise of quickly developed eLearning to solve all your problems.

    What this has generated is a new generation of eLearning developers who have coined the title of Instructional Designer with very little Instructional Design knowledge. If you think that an Instructional Designer is a person who creates eLearning by converting ppt slides to online delivery with a few few clicks in a software program, then unfortunately, through no fault of your own,  you may fall into this category.

    For me an Instructional Designer is exactly as it is defined in Wikipedia.

    Instructional Design, also called Instructional Systems Design (ISD) is the practice of creating “instructional experiences which make the acquisition of knowledge and skill more efficient, effective, and appealing.” The process consists broadly of determining the current state and needs of the learner, defining the end goal of instruction, and creating some “intervention” to assist in the transition. Ideally the process is informed by pedagogically (process of teaching) and andragogically (adult learning) tested theories of learning and may take place in student-only, teacher-led or community-based settings.”

    If you want to create learning that engages, teaches, informs, excites, empowers and changes behaviours, you need to know more about instructional design, assessment design, screen design and layout, building lesson plans, understanding the psychology of what the learner wants, needs and will do.

    As 2013 begins to see a vast increase in business activity, there is no time like now for those calling themselves Instructional Designers to gain the skills they really require to make these changes happen.

    • Ian Sharp 21:05 on January 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Neil.. I certainly agree that creating a great elearning experience requires a range of different skills.

      I’ve some experience in creating and delivering classroom training and well as some eLearning courses.

      More importantly, I’ve attended many live training courses and also numerous online courses in several different formats. My own conclusion is that I much prefer the online learning experience and certainly thought it delivered great value and that I also gained a deeper understanding of the subject area too. The fact is that with elearning, I can learn at my own pace and also ‘rewind’ and go through chosen sections again and again if necessary. It provided me with a deeper learning experience. This is my own experience of training over the last few years.

      I’m very interested to know about your thoughts on why you decided that live training is better?

    • The Learning Coach 08:19 on January 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Ian, I suppose I have to be clear that ‘live’ is better in this type of training but there are very many places where ‘e’ works.

      However it is not where ‘e’ does not work but how badly it has been designed and rolled out. Let me explain.

      I made the decision that to train people how to create better elearning courses, I could not get the same personal intervention in ‘e’. In cases where each individual has a different expectation of the course or requires an individual output to their own concept and view, there is no way to deliver in a generic content method. The people who have attended my training over the last (x) years on instructional design, all come to the event with preconceived concepts, often these require to be changed for them to move forwards. Everyone I meet has a different view of what eLearning should and could look like. So in this case I made the decision to deliver this ‘live’. This way I can facilitate. If I was training to push a button on a machine after making 5 checks, I would use ‘e’.

      I spent many days considering how I could move this instructional design training to ‘e’ and every time returned tot he view that I could never deliver the same experience. To find the halfway house, I now deliver these online in a virtual classroom ( http://thelearningcoach.co.uk/tutorials.html ) and deliver live. You can go back and review by watching the recordings and take them from your location. So the cost is reduced in the same way. But the end user gets the personal experience, the networking with others with similar but different issues.

      As for other learning online and why ‘live’ is sometimes better…

      Our designs to date have been too information based. We have introduced many ideas like scenarios and serious games but we need a rethink, like the ‘environment model’ I posted earlier to really engage the user into the system. It should not be a course or set of courses or an event or set of events, but if we want to change behaviour we need to create something ongoing, something we flit in and out of and get drawn back to, something we maybe are only using for 5 minutes at each visit but become a part of.

      For example take this blog. You read it, you commented (thank you), I have left a reply and you will get a mail to pull you back to read the reply and hopefully enter into a conversation again.

      If this was a learning event you would get something new, comment back or do something and then get more later….. This we do in many things all day long in our work. We send an email, we got a reply at a later date, we respond and so on and so forth until the conversation is finished. eLearning needs to be that conversation.

      • Ian Sharp 09:51 on February 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Neil, that makes a whole lot of sense. I guess that pure elearning often means a ‘one size fits all’ approach which certainly has its place and benefits, but will fall short for some topics when conversation is what is needed.

    • The Learning Coach 10:05 on February 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Ian, you hit the mail firmly on the head when you say conversation.

      But conversation does not have to be speech on the way we know it.

      Send an SMS with the word Start to 0786 0022919

      Enjoy the conversation.

      Check out my new website too. Neillasher.com

    • The Learning Coach 10:07 on February 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Excuse my lousy typos today. iPhone has a mind of its own!

  • The Technology Guy 09:15 on January 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Tin Can: Caution may make aggravated reading! 

    So what’s all the fuss about? You think I am going to tell you that you need a new management system or some expensive upgrade to the one you already have? No, actually I am not, unless of course you care about the work you are doing as a learning professional.

    For all the years I have been involved with eLearning we have skirted around the truth, which is that the vendor has always failed to deliver what he promised. Before the web we had CBT and we told our clients that we had this fantastic system to deliver training at a fraction of the cost. No, not true. In those days, the cost was about $25-40k for an hour of learning.  Historically when we look back and see how many people actually attended this learning, and if we are honest to ask ourselves how many came away with a changed behaviour, we have to own up and say it was pretty expensive and the delegate did not have a very good time!  That early CBT was bordering on awful.

    Since then we have seen many new promises with something new being offered with a latest buzzword every year or so. 15 years’ worth!

    So why would I expect you to believe me when I tell you that the latest, newest, biggest, greatest, most spectacular thing to come out of eLearning is happening around you right now? Well, you believed all the other ideas, so why would you not!

    But to be truthful, I am not a vendor, I have no product to offer and like you I have been duped too. However, this latest and greatest is so exciting I am struggling to contain myself.

    For me it began back in about 1994, when I started to import the first systems we called authoring tools from the USA to Europe. I got screwed a couple of times on the way by greedy manufacturers and took the decision a few years ago to drop the sale of all product, to concentrate on being a knowledgeable consultant in the industry with many years of experience. I dedicated myself to the design of learning and helping other people understand how to create great learning. I made a name for myself along the way as one who is not scared to say it as I see it and who will work to break as many rules as possible to ensure success for the learner.  I think you may have already got that idea.

    Once we moved online and the web learning we know became known as eLearning (C.2000), the new game in town was the management system. It was simple in the early days; it told us who did what and when, and if we gave them a test, we knew whether  they had passed or failed.

     So what happened? We gave it to the DOD and we created a behemoth of a system that tells us everything and nothing.  We actually can store who clicked what, how long it took, capture metatags of information including…..  Well. including what? If the truth be told, we still only care about who did what, and when, and if they passed or failed. By default we can tell who didn’t do what!! A whole set of useless numbers that gives us a history in metrics.

    The challenge was, and is, how can we make this better? How can we get some data that tells us something we can use?  OK, I hear you screaming we can use these metrics, we can show our boss how well we did, that we got all 1500 staff through a course and we ticked the boxes. If this is you, please stop calling yourself a learning professional–you don’t deserve the title!

    What we need is a way to see who does course B after being prompted to do so by course Z.  We need to watch where people go and the decisions they make, what prompted those decisions and the consequences of those decisions.  We need to see who goes where after our course, what makes them decide to do so. And we need to see if there are patterns of groups of employees all doing the same and decide if we need to change these patterns to create a change in behaviour.

     We need to create material not called a course–I call it an Environment–one that mimics our workplace where people can test their ideas in safe areas and see the consequences of their behaviour. We need to understand that courses go from A-Z and we need to discard that idea [which idea?] and replace it with a free-form flow [?] of information and decision-making. But to do this we need to be able to watch the paths the user takes, where they go, from which point to which and understand where they are likely to go next.

    Pipe dream? No reality!  Hail ‘The Experience API’ project named Tin Can. Created by the very people who created the behemoth SCORM, but this time they got it right straight out of the gate. Here is a system with few rules, other than those you build. Databases that will collate whatever you throw at them and redesign themselves itself to suit. It’s just data; collate enough and you will have ‘Big Data’. Learn how to understand the data and the Holy Grail of learning takes a step closer to you.

    How does this work? Well, ask 10 designers who understand XAPI and you will get 10 answers. But the bare bones are that at points decided by you, a set of data called a statement is sent to the database in XML. This data contains a set of verbs (that you designed) and the data that goes with them. Collate enough of these and you will begin to see patterns.  The term is Analytics.

    Amazon is pretty good at recommending books and items to buy based of this type of analytics. Based on who you are and what you have done before, they can predict what you are likely to buy next. So, using the same type of data and based upon who you are, what your role is and what learning you already undertook and the decisions you made whilst doing that learning, we should be able to predict what you are going to next. If that prediction says you are about to make a mistake that is going to be costly to our organisation, we can intervene—

    a good old intervention by a training professional who is going to create better value by changing your behaviour.

    Simple to implement? No, not at all. To do so, you are going to need a new set of talents in designing learning content that creates the data you know you can use and want and need.  Reuben Tozman said, “SCORM technology tells us here is the data we collect and here’s how to build web content that spits that data into our buckets. Tin Can is, what data points do you want to create, how do you want to collect that data and you decide how that data is meaningful.”

    If that is not an exciting prospect in the world of learning, then you are never going to hear one. This is not a pipe dream; it is real. During 2013 it will be at every conference you attend, you will find it in all the magazines and in all the blogs and forums.  Get on board early; understand what is coming and how the design of your learning is about to have the biggest shake up since you got that job.

    Check out my sites http://www.neillasher.com http://www.thelearningcoach.com

  • The Technology Guy 09:03 on January 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    2013 the year to get truly proactive with learning 

    I decided that 2013 is going to be a year where I concentrate on blogging properly. Continue to curate great stuff via Twitter @neillasher, and generally turn up the steam on telling it as it is!

    I have not posted since August last year on my own site but have posted on many others. So the time has come to right this wrong. I will transfer some of my better posts from other sites and start to post lots of new stuff..

    What else is happening this year?

    Here is my list of things for you to watch out for.

    • The eXperience API (Tin Can).
    • My new live on line mentoring network (more news when it’s launched)
    • Live on line courses broken into smaller packages. No longer will you have to attend a two day course to lear about eLearning, mLearning and Learning design, you will be able to attend from the comfort of your own office or home.
    • Watch out for some new collaboration systems I will be talking about.
    • Deliver learning to the mobile device using simple Text and Voice systems.

    It’s going to be an exciting 2013… watch this space…

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