Tag Archives: process

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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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…

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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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How Sesame Street Helps Make My Work Better

Over at Full Potential a week back, we were talking about the importance of self-teaching and team-teaching at the start of a new project to make sure we have a working understanding of the job at hand. Makes sense, right? Surely you need to know what you’re talking about in order for your work to be functional in the context it will be used in. You would think so.

When you think how many industries there are out there, and how many roles and tasks are at play in each industry… well, that’s a lot of information to take in. But if, as an Instructional Designer, you don’t take the time to understand the actual content that you’re working with, you’re doing both yourself and your client a real disservice.

Which brings us to my Sesame Street approach to new projects. My favourite clips growing up were ones that explained processes, or how things are made – for example, how a jar of PB is made (“it takes a lot of little nuts to make a jar of peanut butter!”). More recently, I saw an episode where Elmo was learning how the postal service works. When I think I have a decent grasp on new content, I consider how I would explain it to a kid, or someone with little working knowledge of the content. I don’t actually go find a kid, but I think about how I’d explain it, and fill in any knowledge blanks that fall out of my imaginary conversation.

I’m perfectly comfortable with the idea that I don’t know EVERYTHING. In fact, I find it challenging – and I’m often surprised at how seemingly ‘unsexy’ industries or ‘boring’ content turns out to be anything but.

I’ll leave you with the Sesame Street Clip where they go to the crayon factory to learn how to make crayons. It’s my absolute favourite.

Crayons

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