Tag Archives: ideas

Liquid Learning Blended Learning Conference 2013

So, I went along to the three day Liquid Learning conference last week, my first big L&D industry event.

It was a real eye opener. There were a number of heavy hitters speaking at the conference, and it was really pretty impressive. I thought it was great how a mixture of public and private businesses were represented, from government services like the IRD to huge private entities like Vodafone.

There were a few key learnings I took away from the three days, so bear with me while I try and explain it.

1. I ALREADY HAVE A PRETTY GOOD GRASP ON WHAT BLENDED LEARNING IS: I know I go on and on about eLearning, and I certainly love developing eLearning modules. But that hardly means the classroom is dead… and this conference helped me see there will always be a place for face to face training delivery. So PHEW. I really enjoy developing/making engaging training materials – workbooks, puzzles and games, handouts and the like – and I think I’m pretty good at it too, so I was pleased to hear that going forward there’ll still be a need for these sorts of materials. Yay for variety!

2. THERE’S NO ONE ‘FIT’ FOR TRAINING: There really isn’t. Some sessions were interesting, but I couldn’t see how the information I was taking in could be applied in my work… and from chatting with others during breaks it seemed this was a common feeling among attendees. Interesting. But we all seemed to have key points we’d be taking back to the office – just different points. This was also pleasing, because it promises future contracts with different points of views and needs. Bring it on!

3. GRADUAL RELEASE OF ‘COURSELS’: There was much talk over several sessions about how L&D peeps all seem to love creating content (usually in eLearning form), taking the time necessary to make it perfect, and releasing large-form modules at once. But what about the chance to engage learners in the time it took to develop the material? This was REALLY interesting, and I could all but see lightbulbs going off above heads all around the room.

What if you released material in draft form, throughout the development process, so learners could pick up the training piece by piece as you developed it? Once it’s completed, release it in it’s final format, but who’s to say that up to that point of ‘perfection’ the content wasn’t capable of teaching learners something?

The idea of also keeping modules bite-sized and unpacking large modules in order to provide ‘just in time’ training was also intriguing. And it makes SO MUCH SENSE. Once a module is unpacked into 5-10 minute chunks, it makes it easier for the learner to hone in on specific material that relates to the work they’re currently doing… and giving the training that contextual dimension undoubtedly helps the information stick.

I’ll definitely be working that into content I’m currently developing.

4: INTERACTIVE PDFs: I’ve been daydreaming about this for the best part of a week now. I didn’t even know PDFs could be interactive, so this was super exciting for me. Apprently this is a function of InDesign, which I definitely need to investigate. So basically you can take a smallish-document (5-6 pages at most, I’d say), and create buttons that move to different pages of the document. Hyperlink all the buttons and save it as an interactive PDF and VOILA – you’ve got yourself a mini-eLearning module that’s in document form. This would be a really versatile format that’s also really accessible. This has MUCH potential for future projects, I reckon (but don’t worry, I still love PowerPoint).

 

So there we go, just a few of the key points I took away from what was a great conference. The rest may follow in a few days time when I finish processing everything that I took in! Three days is pretty epic in learning terms, so we’ll see.

Sorry for the fortnight of silence! I’m sure you all missed me BIG TIME 😛

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The Case For PowerPoint… episode four

I’m still at it! As you can probably tell, I’ve been on a bit of an imagery bender this last couple of weeks, and now I’m about to continue along that thread with…

Part Four Custom Clipart

Did you even know that you can pull some clipart images apart and just grab the bits you like? Yeah, I just caused a brain explosion, didn’t I?

This only applies to illustrations, and not all of them – but if you find an image and you like one piece of it, it’s worth a go.

SO HOW DO I DO IT? It’s so easy it’s embarrassing. Just select your clipart picture, paste it into your powerpoint and right click it. From the Group category, select ‘ungroup’. You’ll probably get a message that looks like this:

Clipart Message

Click yes, then repeat the ungrouping – right click, group, ungroup. Your image will now look like a bunch of little bits. Click away to deselect all the parts, then start deleting the bits you don’t want. When you’re left with the remaining parts, just regroup them and you have yourself a custom clipart image!

Here’s some examples I pulled together from an eLearning module I made a few years back.

Beer and Pizza

Repairs Combo

Pretty cool, right? Here’s a few tips to bear in mind though:

  • Not all illustrations can be altered, it’s just a case of tough luck if you can’t.
  • If you want to save your custom image as a new file, I recommend saving it as an Enhanced Windows Metafile (that’s an option alongside your standard jpg, png etc…). The bonus of a metafile is that when you insert it into a PowerPoint presentation, you can still alter the parts; i.e. it’s an image file you can still ungroup.
  • Always try clipart before paying for imagery. Really! The image tagging used in clipart is great, meaning you can get great returns on a basic search, where just a part of the illustration relates to your keyword. You might want a picture of a pencil, for example. If you search for ‘pencil’ your search will return images of pencils on desks, in cups, maybe next to a book etc. And now you know how to ungroup the illustration and snatch the pencil from it’s setting!
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If you liked Amy Webb, you’ll love…

“Why can’t we make a computer to match lonely people with one thing in common: to fall in love with each other?” – En Vogue, 1992

 

Great news, En Vogue! Since 1992, we’ve actually built pretty robust computers that can do just that! I really enjoyed this video that looks inside the math of dating, take a peek for yourself this weekend.

TED Blog

For the past week, Amy Webb has been inspiring people to calculate their own algorithm for love. Her laugh-out-loud TED Talk, about reverse engineering her online dating profile and, essentially, data-ing her way into her perfect relationship has gotten a lot of attention, including on The Frisky and Pop Sugar. As Webb’s talk continues to take off online, here is what to watch next if her talk intrigued you and left you wanting more.

[ted_talkteaser id=307]
Helen Fisher: The brain on love
Love: it makes the world go ‘round, and has been found in 170 societies. But why? In this talk, Helen Fisher shares how she and her team put new couples, longterm couples and those who’ve just been dumped in MRIs, and what they’ve learned about our need for love based on this brain activity.
[ted_talkteaser id=1194]
Kevin Slavin: How algorithms shape our world
Algorithms are, basically…

View original post 364 more words

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Friday Infographic: 14 Wild Ways People Soothe Their Sunburn

Infographic List is ‘for those who love infographics’, so it makes sense I follow them, right?

They put this beauty up the other day, and it couldn’t have come at a better time – the weather is getting warmer here, and I’ve been spending more of my weekend hours in the garden. I have the worst possible complexion for someone who lives in NZ, where we have little ozone protection from the sun. Seriously, on a summer day in NZ you get sunburnt in about five minutes. Skin cancers account for 80% of new cancers diagnosed each year, and we have one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world.

So, yeah. I have a pasty complexion with freckles to boot – not ideal for being out in the sun. I’m pretty good with my sun protection, but sometimes I’m not good enough. Would I use these methods to soothe sunburn? Not all of them, some are pretty out-there! But I DO highly recommend having a supply of aloe gel or cubes in the freezer; in my experience it takes the burn right out of the skin – even bad burns.

The idea of putting vinegar on a burn kind of scares me. Take a look at these weird and wacky solutions:

Infographic credit: via Infographic List

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My Own Personal Image Collection

I don’t consider myself very good at social media – I’m too verbose for Twitter, too informal for Facebook (I friended too many family members and now I think that anything funny I have to say will offend someone) and I don’t have the attention span for Pinterest.

I’m pretty good at Instagram though. I always enjoyed photography class at school, and getting an iPhone with a decent camera in it was pretty exciting. I’m still impressed by the quality of the photos I can take using my phone. It occurred to me a few weeks back that I’m starting to form a pretty great personal image collection too. I’ve developed the habit of trying to take a photo myself before trawling the internet for a free version too – especially for photos of surfaces, textures and the like, which are pretty easy to pull together right here at home.

Below are a few PowerPoint slides I pulled together* using some images from my phone. They’re pretty good, I think!

Eat Fresh

Parks

Prints

*I pulled these together using my imagination. I love Auckland parks but I have no idea how many people go to them compared to pre-2011, and I’m not fashionable, so don’t wear stuff because I said so. Really.

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The Emotional Highs and Lows of Email. Yes, Email.

I totally understand where Domics is going with this animation about Email Etiquette! I often find myself scratching my head over the shortest replies, wondering if I’ve appropriately matched the tone, enthusiasm and content required by the receiver.

When I’m creating learning materials for clients, of course it’s important to match tone and language to the resource I’m developing, because it helps the content resonate with the learner. But when it comes to sending emails to colleagues and clients… maybe I should chill out a bit and stop over thinking it?

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A Player in the Local Democracy

It’s local election time in Auckland, but according to the NZ Herald, only 12% of Aucklanders have sent back their voting papers, which is really such a pity. Not only are we lucky to live in a democracy, we’re extra lucky to have a voting system that’s so easy to accommodate – all you need to do is tick some boxes then pop your voting paper in the post!

So this has gotten me thinking. Why don’t we vote? I think it’s too easy to just write it off as a mass of apathetic citizens… in fact, I’m starting to wonder if part of the problem is that not everyone understands civics and how our city is run. I’m not sure if it’s taught in schools. I only know the very basics myself, which I’ve picked up from here and there as an adult.

So when I came across this great little video about local elections and why it’s important to vote, I just had to share!

From an instructional design point of view, this is a very simple concept that would be easy to replicate in powerpoint or in Flash if you were so inclined. I found it engaging – moreso than if I had switched onto the 6 o’clock news and saw this as an opinion piece. It’s so easy for political issues, big and small, to become bogged down in detail, and become less accessible to the everyman, that I found this truly refreshing. Well done, Matai Media and 60s Civics!

PS: 60s Civics actually have a series of great videos that serve as introductions to government processes and structures (civics, a term not used all that often in NZ), a great starting point if you want to bone up on local government.

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Lost In Translation… Where There Is No Translation

Untranslatable

This post of ’11 Untranslatable Words From Other Cultures’ from Maptia Blog first appeared in my Twitter feed a few weeks back, and I just think it is wonderful. It really got me thinking about the relationship between words and their meanings – I think this piece actually celebrates the idea that feelings can transcend the most base elements of language. A feeling is more than ‘happy’ or ‘sad’, for instance. Rather, it might be Waldeinsamkeit!

You might be familiar with some common (and mostly German) words similar to these ones – zeitgeist, schadenfreude and the like – but there are many untranslatable words in many languages. Maptia did us a solid and put together 11 of the sweetest untranslatable words and illustrated them for us. If you’re looking for something to smile about today, make this it.

Image Credit: Maptia Blog

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Why I Shouldn’t Eat McDonalds: Three Messages, Three Methods

Don’t get me wrong, I totally eat McDonalds. If I’m doing to eat a burger, McDonalds is my number once choice. I love a good ‘ol cheeseburger, preferably the deluxe cheeseburger, because it comes with lettuce and mayo. Should I eat less of it? Yes, absolutely. Am I eating less of it? Yes, I actually am. Well, since this July just past.

What changed my attitude? I already knew it made me fat… I had an idea that it wasn’t so great for the environment… It had occurred to me before that it was a community issue that needed to be addressed by society.

What caused a change for me was that, in my infinite need to find new examples of teaching and presenting information, I came across enough well presented information on the topic to sway me. Here’s the three messages and the three methods by which that information passed into my (thick) skull. Each piece was compelling enough to start the cogs turning, but together they created a proper, informed notion that I shouldn’t eat McDonalds very often. In fact, hardly ever.

Message One: I’m not built to eat this stuff (i.e. it makes me fat), and it’s not good for the environment.
Method: The always excellent Michael Pollan at PopTech 2009.

Pollan Burger

I first clamped eyes on this presentation when it was used as an in Nancy Duarte’s book Resonate (an excellent resource, get yourself a copy NOW), and in a book it was convincing. When I finally got around to watching the video earlier this year, the tables turned. Engaging speaker? Tick. Polished and effective Powerpoint presentation? Tick (you can thank Duarte for that one). A demonstration that will leave your mouth agape? TICK.

If you haven’t already, check it out. The demonstration blew me away, but for you it might be one of the images in the presentation, or one of Pollan’s jokes. My point: there’s a tonne of opportunities to get the viewer onside in this talk.

Message Two: This is a social issue – it isn’t good for my community, it doesn’t make my neighbourhood better.
Method: Interactive map at the Guardian.com

McDs Map

This article was mostly about how McDonalds is charging its way into South East Asia now, with their first restaurant opening up in Vietnam. But there were two things that really caught my attention:

1) This interactive map which shows the number of McDonalds restaurants in 2007 compared to 2012 by country. Twenty more McD’s have popped up in New Zealand over the last 6 years, and I’m pretty sure FOUR of them are within ten minutes drive of my house. New Zealand is small, but it’s not THAT small. 20% of the new restaurants in the past 6 years so close to my house? No thanks!

2) The graph of people per restaurant (per capita) graph. New Zealand is fourth?! That’s a little high for my liking.

This combined with regular articles in the paper about increasing obesity rates, it was enough to get me thinking that perhaps I need to ‘vote with my fork’ as Pollan says, and vote NO to so much of this stuff being in my community.

Message Three: Food waste is appalling, especially in the western world. Who am I helping by eating this stuff?
Method: Infographics at thinkeatsave.org

burger infographic

The Green Party of New Zealand posted a link to these rad infographics on their Facebook page last week, by which time I’d already been burger-free for well over two months, but it was a nice motivator to keep up the good work. While I’d never throw out a hamburger (phew, I just saved a 60 minute shower), I have been known to throw out other food I’d purchased in my weekly shop because I paid an unplanned visit to the drive through. So I’m still being unnecessarily wasteful. In fact, this is the infographic which cut closest:

fish infographic

Being wasteful isn’t necessarily a middle-class or western problem, and this was a great reminder that I could be better (and to be perfectly honest, I think my waste is modest compared to some friends and family). Regardless, I could definitely work on this – and I reckon not eating fast food so often could be a good starting point.

So there you have it, three messages and three methods. There are lots of ways to present a piece of information, so don’t limit yourself by mastering just one – you might just find that a new method and new approach to your content can rejuvenate it entirely, and open it up to a new audience.

Image Credits: Amazon.com (how convenient, it’s a link to Resonate!), theguardian.com, thinkeatsave.org

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48 Things You Didn’t Know Had Names

I feel properly clever right now, because I had heard 31 of these words previously. Could I recall the words to use them in conversation? No. But did I recognise the words, so that counts, right?

As a card-carrying trivial hound, it goes without saying that I love the folks over at Mental Floss, and I just wish I could get a subscription to the magazine in New Zealand. Oh well, I’ll just continue to live vicariously through the lengthier Mental Floss posts at Neatorama.

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