DevLearn08 Recap * Learning in a Web 2.0 World

November 17, 2008

Just getting back from San Jose and a million thanks to Brent and the Guild for an absolutely amazing DevLearn08 (#dl08). The event was held in the beautiful Fairmont hotel near Adobe headquarters and was jammed packed with inspirational keynotes, deep dive concurrent sessions and physical + virtual connections with fellow bloggers, tweeters and learning professionals.

What were your favorite presentations? I was able to catch excellent conversations and sessions on mobile learning (Judy Brown, BJ Schone, Barbara Ludwig, David Metcalf), immersive learning (Mark Oehlert), instructional design using the semantic web (Rueben Tozman), micro-blogging trends (Michelle Lentz), new work literacy (Tony Karrer)…and many, many others. Of course, there was a lot of tweeting going on and informal aha moments. Special shout out to my new T-Mobile teammate Jeff Tillet, who I am excited to dive into new media learning solutions with.

Keynote Highlights

Tim O’Reilly – follow the alpha geeks, early adopters and people who need training the least (high performers). Reach out to them and turn them into mentors, as well as provide convenient resources, reinforcement. Then study successes.

Dan Roam says – break every problem into Who, What, Where, Why and How…all you need is a napkin and sharpie. By the way, I tested the PowerPoint slideshow drawing feature, which is cool and can even convert to a slide object.

John Medina – covered a few of his 12 Brain Rules and how the education system counteracts how the brain has evolved to process and store information.

LinkedIn, da Vinci and Qik dinner

The days and nights were crazy busy, and in a few cab rushed evenings, I was also able to meet up with Jackie Danicki from Qik in beatiful Palo Alto for dinner, see the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit at the Technology Musuem, drive around Google-land and get a tour of LinkedIn headquarters, where we rocked out to Guitar Hero and got free snacks and fruit drinks in the LunchedIn kitchen. Special thanks to my co-presenter George Aston’s cousin Scott (LinkedIn web developer) for the dinner and tour…look forward to further tech discussions.

Thanks to everyone for coming to our 402 session on Using Rapid Video…it was almost a full house, which was cool. After quick hitting brain and film theory fundamentals with video examples, we broke the session into a hands-on video workshop with three groups tasked with props, storyboard and a Flip camera to rapidly create content. George and I were stoked by the amount of participation and levels of creativity. Please find what the groups created below on YouTube, as well as our slide deck in SlideShare. Also, if you are interested in current trends in user generated video, check out my article in Training Solutions Magazine.

402 Workshop Videos

Group 1 | Using paper props

Group 2 | Using real props

Group 3 | Using a flip chart and markers

Note: First few audio seconds for each video have a slight delay…not sure why…maybe a Vista issue with Flip software???

Presentation SlideShare Deck

Do learning styles exist? * Brain Rules

September 4, 2008

Do learning styles exist?


Dr. Willingham, Cognitive Psychologist posted a video, which shares his thoughts on how learning styles don’t exist. I discovered it from Brent S. who discovered it from Clive Shepherd who discovered it from Stephen Downes.

I am certainly on board with challenging the existence of learning styles and am very interesting in finding out more information about what “something close to the theory” is. Please forward resources my way!

“Good teaching is good teaching…teachers do not have to adjust their learning styles.” Dr. Willingham says. I agree on the strength of good analogies and stories, whether auditory, visual or kinesthetic. Although, teachers will obviously need to consider adjustment for special needs.

Browsing through Dr. Willingham’s articles, I wanted to share a Q & A related to the use of stories.

Question: I have read that the mind treats stories differently than other types of information. It seems obvious that people like listening to stories, but it’s not obvious how to use that in the classroom. Is it really true that stories are somehow “special” and, if so, how can teachers capitalize on that fact?

Answer: Research from the last 30 years shows that stories are indeed special. Stories are easy to comprehend and easy to remember, and that’s true not just because people pay close attention to stories; there is something inherent in the story format that makes them easy to understand and remember. Teachers can consider using the basic elements of story structure to organize lessons and introduce complicated material, even if they don’t plan to tell a story in class.

Brain Rules Rocks

I agree with Brent about John Medina’s Brain Rules, which I am listening to as I write this. I am excited to check out his keynote at DevLearn08. Check out his Rules tutorials.

EXERCISE | Rule #1: Exercise boosts brain power.
SURVIVAL | Rule #2: The human brain evolved, too.
WIRING | Rule #3: Every brain is wired differently.
ATTENTION | Rule #4: We don’t pay attention to boring things.
SHORT-TERM MEMORY | Rule #5: Repeat to remember.
LONG-TERM MEMORY | Rule #6: Remember to repeat.
SLEEP | Rule #7: Sleep well, think well.
STRESS | Rule #8: Stressed brains don’t learn the same way.
SENSORY INTEGRATION | Rule #9: Stimulate more of the senses.
VISION | Rule #10: Vision trumps all other senses.
GENDER | Rule #11: Male and female brains are different.
EXPLORATION | Rule #12: We are powerful and natural explorers.






New School eLearning * SEO Rapper

August 13, 2008

eLearning is a term that is applied to a wide range of content delivery. Some are page turner “click here to continue” modules, some are interactive simulations and others are well crafted rap songs, such as “Design Coding” performed by rapper Poetic Prophet, aka SEO Rapper, which can be found on the YouTube channel m0serious TV, in the How to Style category.

But can Robert Mager dance to it…

With a running total of 324,979 views, the Design Coding video is an example of a new school of eLearning design, which thinks outside of the box and takes the “B” out of boring and it turns it into “beat”, as in 4/4 time signature.  The content is well scripted and covers the basics of web design in 3 minutes, 22 seconds, all executed in a body movin’ tune that your younger sister and even your grandfather can dance (or code) to. When is the last time you had a web design course in less than five minutes that you can rock out to with your iPod?

Other SEO rapper videos (songs) include Link Building 101 and Social Media Addiction. Here is an excerpt and embedded video of Design Coding:

Call to action to increase the temptation
use appealing graphics they create motivation
if you have animation
use with moderation

…describe your doctype so the browser can relate
make sure you do it great or it won’t validate
check in all browsers, I do it directly
gotta make sure that it renders correctly
some use IE, some others use Flock
some use AOL, I use Firefox

A|G 2008 – ILS Symposium & Day 1 Highlights

April 17, 2008

The eLearning Guild 2008 Annual Gathering (Orlando) has been amazing with so many new ideas, fresh perspectives, amazing case studies, actionable approaches and social connections. I look forward to staying in connect with everyone I met to continue the conversation. I tried to take as many notes and plan to synthesize and post. Below is a collection for the a pre-conf symposium and Day 1. More to come…

Immersive Learning Simulations (ILS) Symposium

This was a very, very impressive session with ILS experts let by Mark Oehlert, which was an awesome blend of theory, group discussion and plenty of awesome examples. Life and learning looks different through the glasses of ILS. The coolest thing is that they started a wiki for continue the conversation.

Here are my random notes and examples.


Simulation – model of reality (an engine that drives everthing)

Scenario – initial conditions, goal, story

Game – tuned (being in the zone, tuning the scenario) adding time, pressure

Frame game – uninteresting, content irrelevant, glorified quiz

  • “Play in the beginning of knowledge” – baby animals, kids. Learn how the world works.
  • People do things for two reasons (Have to, Want to)
  • Congtive science research, learning should be “hard fun”…play is better learning
  • “A good game is a series of interesting decisions” Sid Meier
  • “People make mistakes in patterns” bring models in from their experience
  • Every wrong answer should have a different set of feedback
  • Mark asked a question about compliance training….Clark, ethics – have high stakes for story, law suit will shut company down. Mark O. said he does this, even with simple quiz, they are making results public to add competitive element.
  • “Tuning is nine-tenths of the effort.” Will Wright
  • Book: A Theory of Fun for Game Design
  • Book: The Game Design Reader
  • NY School The Game School – tell Cinnamon about this (public) Katie Salen
  • Tip” Provide a social outlet with the release of a course/game (i.e. a wiki), even better is a built in comment, feedback mechanics into the training…unmoderated.
  • Term: Adver-games
  • Choosing the right metaphor for your game content
  • (Mark C thought) – Are toys valuable in learning?

Day 1

Keynote: Keith Sawyer

To be successful we need to create a culture of collaboration and learning (environments).

How to learn to be creativity:

  • Research says, build on learners knowledge
  • Encourage reflection, meta-cognition
  • Carefully scaffold authentic situated practice
  • Combine inquire and project-based activities with information delivery
  • Foster learning in collaboating group

Challenges for eLearning:

  • Identifying a good problem or design challenge (ideally come from learners)
  • Support active learning
  • Fostering effective collaboration
  • Supporting the creation os shared artifacts and effective critiques

Positioning Your Careers in Social Networking and Collaborative Learning

Ray E. Jimenez

Social networking jobs are increasing and will continue to a vital part of the learning ecosystem and job market. Some up and coming job titles are: social learning analyst, social networking analyst, toolkit guru, resident expert, gaps consultant.

This ain’t your Mama’s training. Implementing learning 2.0 at eBay

This was a most impressive example of how eBay has strategically incorporated collaborative web tools (blogs, wikis etc.) in their work environment. The heart of their presentation was using an organized matrix to look at what they are doing with information, where they are doing it and the flexibility and “able-ness” of the tool(s).

Here is a bunch of other random notes:

  • Millenials are primary employee base
  • 90% of people say carrot when asked to name vegetable.
  • 3 weeks average time to develop a program
  • Speed, lean teams, change, trends, location
  • Survival forced eBay to think differently, are we relevant to the organizations
  • Have you ever thought of declaring training bankruptcey, get rid of everything…give freedom.
  • How we can deliver in a different way.
  • Moving from called training professionals to learning professionals.
  • Call themselves knowledge farmers
  • eBay “assign learners to use a blog as a personal training journal” – great idea
  • Turn learning objectives into “challenges” individual and teams
  • Applied Learning 2.0 to formal first with success, than they tackled informal…they found other islands of employees already using informal learning 2.0
  • Build “digital knowledge artifacts” feedable, searchable, taggable, linkable…

10 Principles of Design * Plus the Diigo Hive

February 14, 2008

Check out this Smash Magazine article on 10 Principles of Effective Web Design, which can really be applied to all aspects of design and especially eLearning. Here a few that I want to call out.

Highlights and thoughts

4. Strive for feature exposure  – A colleague and I always (Jimmy B.)  go back to conversation around the best ways of building form around function. What is your site and/or content’s objective? What do you want people to do? Is it obvious?

6. Strive for simplicity – Less is more” right, but do we actually apply it to our content? I would like to tie this back to principle #4. For the most part, every design element and object should align with the function. As mobile “just in time” content continues to become king, users only want what they need. Anything else is an obstacle or distraction.

 Hey, is that Diigo?

So I just signed up for Diigo, a new way to annotate, highlight and bookmark any content on the web, (thanks Ed Tech), and while reading the article above, I started noticing the presence of Diigo notes with relevant and interesting perspectives. I am really excited about these types of tools and how they foster the “hive” collective intelligence that new web tools enable.

Another Lunch 2.0 * Zumobi

January 21, 2008

Thanks to Josh Maher for another exciting Seattle Lunch 2.0., which kicked things off with Buzz Bruggeman and a thought provoking presentation on getting seconds back in your life by using ActiveWords.

The host, with prime office space on Pike Street, Zumobi informally shared the good news, bad news and more good news about their launch. It sounds like things are really getting started for them (globally), so keep your eyes on them. They are here to give mobile users a “unique, lush and engaging” way of accessing content and their user interface is based on many years of Human-Computer Interaction research, which is device neutral and open for developers. Good (smart) move.

I am continually excited about how light-weight, easy to use and motivating mobile access will help everyone collaborate more effectively, as well as offer just-in-time information…performance support anyone? We have been chained to our workstations or to either clunky laptops, or clunky interfaces for too long. If any developers out there are interested in using Zumobi to collaborate on a ‘thin’ learning management application, feel free to comment.

Learning management made fun! * Edu2.0

December 21, 2007

Have you seen Edu2.0, which calls itself ‘next generation education’? If not you should seriously check it out. It gets five stars from this guy and here is a summary w/top five big wins.

Free web-based education site with comprehensive features for teachers, students and parents. Anyone can teach and/or learn using the system, whether it’s at school, at home, or on the move.

It’s mission is to “make teaching and learning more efficient and enjoyable”, which is refreshing for learning professionals, who have been struggling with clunky purchased or home grown LMSs or lack there of.

1. Facebook-like dashboard – Your Home ‘Welcome’ space gives you a quick snapshot of how many classes you created, and/registered in, messages, contributions and even friends. Talk about ease of use for teachers, administrators and students. This is one of the reasons that people are really getting into Facebook. This type of high level connection helps us easily manage all the people we know, things we’ve done and things yet to do.


2. Web-hosted & Easy to Use – Besides being FREE, which is a BIG, BIG plus, it is web-hosted, so I can take this LMS anywhere with an internet connection, whether workstation or portable device, office or coffee shop. This is the exact reason I started using Google Docs, so I am not tied down to a location and my information can be with me at all times, when I need it. No need to install anything, just create an account and go. It is also extremely user friendly, and is similar to the WordPress model, which makes creating and organizing content simple and fun, which can 100% motivate you.

3. Private or Public, you decide – It has growing repository of free (open) content, which would make Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams proud. As more and more organizations are opening up to leverage external resources, open content is key. At the same time, if you want to keep your (proprietary) content private, you can easily choose to do so, and not risk putting a wall around your learners because they still can access all the other open content along side.

4. Useful Tools – It includes everything you need for your virtual learning environment at your fingertips including wikis, forums, feeds and gradebooks. Besides helping instructors stay on top, it helps learners stay connected and facilitates. participation.

edu 20 tools

5. Excellent design – With a pastel color palette, simple icons and round tabs and buttons, it makes navigation quick and fun. Instead of being in a rigid, clunky ‘system’, it feels like you are in a virtual IKEA office, which certainly makes for a comfortable learning environment.