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Posts Tagged ‘Emerging Technologies’

by Rich Mesch

I’ve been following the so-called Mobile Learning revolution for some time now. The reality is, Mobile Learning was something that a lot of people talked about,  few people did, and even fewer did well. There are a number of reasons for that, including the fact that most folks were repurposing e-learning courses to tiny smartphone screens without acknowledging that mobile was a new paradigm that required new rules.

But the reality is, not many companies even go that far. You know why? Because their mobile learning initiative ended at their IT department.  Few organization issued smartphones to their employees. There were a laundry list of issues, from cost to security to platform choices. Never before in history has American business been so concerned that a bit of technology might be left behind in a bar.

Some organizations had a “bring your own device” policy, but due to a lack of interoperability, confusion over LMs issues, and the dramatic chasm in capabilities between the newest and oldest smartphone platforms, any sort of comprehensive mobile learning strategy usually withered on the vine.

I’m writing this during the 2012 Summer Olympics, so I’ll use an Olympic metaphor. While a lot of people were focused on whether Michael Phelps would break the record for most medals won, Ryan Lochte quietly came in and ate Phelps’ lunch, then drank his Thermos of milk for good measure. (edit: Okay, Phelps proved me wrong on that one. So sue me.) Similarly, while a lot of us focused on the smartphone wars, the iPad came in made that conversation dramatically less relevant. The iPad is now making Mobile Learning a reality.

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by Rich Mesch

Please join Reni Gorman and I at mLearnCon 2011 in San Jose, CA from June 20-23. Reni and I will be speaking on June 21; our topic is “Mobile Learning is SO 10 Minutes Ago… Mobile Performance is NOW!” Here’s a summary of our session; we hope to see you there!

Imagine going out and buying a shiny new sports car. Now imagine hitching up a horse to it, and having the horse drag your car to work every day.

Sound crazy? Sure it does. So why are people still using mobile devices to deliver e-learning courses?

Years ago, Nicholas Negroponte insisted that in the not-too-distant future, we would all be wearing our computers. He was envisioning complex eyepieces and finger sensors with wires running up your sleeves. He had the right idea but the wrong form factor; he didn’t foresee that we’d be carrying our computers in our pockets and calling them “phones.”

Mobile learning is on everybody’s to-do list, and why not? Who wouldn’t want learning that could follow an employee no matter where she went? But like so many emerging technologies, we need to look past the gloss of the possible to the reality of the useful. Today’s smart phones have nearly as many capabilities as our desktop computers, but that doesn’t mean we use them the same way. And when we try to deliver learning to a mobile device the same way we deliver it to a desktop computer, we miss the point of having a mobile device to begin with. (more…)

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by Reni Gorman

We all intuitively think in a linear fashion because the brain can only really focus on one thing at a time, then another, and another. Therefore, even when we think we are jumping around in our thoughts, we are still thinking one thing after another. Perhaps as a result of this, many of us also write in a linear fashion. Therefore, it is not surprising that many instructional designers create course content linearly; it is difficult to think of a course or a story any other way.. However, when people use newer technologies, they tend to be very non-linear, be it surfing the web, using mobile devices or (especially) performance support systems. You never know where learners are coming from when they land on your web page—or your module. You also don’t know how much they already know. So, how do you to anticipate all of this when creating content, and, ideally, create content that addresses multiple learner types who arrive there from any place without any pre-existing knowledge?

When the web first went commercial (.com), I teamed up online magazine web producers with instructional designers and together they were able to create very interactive, instructionally sound, non-linear content. However, that was in the 90s, the stone age of interactive technology. In today’s world, we need to run as lean as we can. So let me share some of the techniques that worked for me when teaching how to design non-linear content; which, remember, is totally counterintuitive to what many instructional designers have been doing for years.

Ask your instructional designers to create a storyboard with modules that are truly context independent (in other words, that can be accessed from any path with any existing knowledge and will still make sense). Tell them to try to create the smallest possible modules; think online magazine publishing: one article is usually one page. Once they come back with their storyboards, pull out a module from the middle and see if it makes sense out of context. Does it indicate where you can go to “backtrack” and catch up?  What would happen if a learner would go into just this piece of content without the benefit of the previous content? Then, think about modifying the content in a way that makes it easy for anyone with links to go backwards in the content for explanation (if needed), and links to get more deep/advanced. This is commonly referred to as a layered design—once again, very non-linear. You will not know who the learner is when you design; she may be the target audience or a manager of the target audience or an assistant. No matter who the learner is, the content should make sense, and guide the learner to other content where they can catch up or explore further.

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Simple Steps to Help you Think Like a Genius by Michael Crosson

Inspired by the bestselling book “How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci” by Michael J. Gelb

 “The only real failure in life is the failure to try.”  – Anonymous

 “Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

I have an eight-year-old daughter. Like most eight-year-olds, she is at an innocent age of discovery. Often times I find myself telling her “Don’t do that because…” or “Not that way; you should do this.” All the time, trying to provide experienced instruction; trying to help her learn how to do things “The Right Way.”

 More often than not, she will ignore my direction and push forward with whatever she was doing. This usually leads to me getting a dustpan & brush to clean up the situation.

Recently, I applied a little bit of “Curiosità” (curiosity) to this situation. Why did she do what I told her not to do? Was she being disobedient? Did she not understand the outcome I explained? Does she have a special hearing problem that prevents her from hearing my voice specifically?

 I’ve come to the conclusion that she is employing one of Da Vinci’s life principles: Demonstration.

When I warned her not to balance the four cat food bowls (yes…we have four cats) one-on-top-of-the-other, brimming with food, because they may fall…

…she wanted to see them fall. She wanted to see what would happen.

And how did I know they would fall? Perhaps a similar situation in my youth? Did I learn something from it?

Thus is the power of Demonstration.

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Simple Steps to Help You Think Like a Genius, by Michael Crosson

Inspired by the bestselling book “How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci” by Michael J. Gelb

cu·ri·os·i·ty  (kyoor-ee-os-i-tee) 

 –noun,

1. the desire to learn or know about anything; inquisitiveness.

Have you ever stopped and said to yourself “Gosh, I wish I knew a lil’ something about everything.”?

I have. About 30 years ago. I guess that would put me in the “naturally curious” category.

Take a moment and think about all the things that you know about in life:

  • cooking
  • cleaning
  • working a computer
  • driving a car
  • building a paper airplane
  • playing a musical instrument
  • finding the right place to scratch behind your cat’s ear
  • knowing the wrong thing to say when your significant-other is in a bad mood

 

The list could easily go on and on and on….and you wouldn’t even scratch the surface of what we could learn in the span of a lifetime.

When Da Vinci lay on his death bed, he asked for forgiveness from God and man “for leaving so much undone.” This coming from a man whose combined life work and contributions have never come close to being replicated. Even at the end of his days, Da Vinici’s insatiable curiosity for everything drove him on.

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by Paula Jayne White, Ph.D.

A few months ago, I received a video featuring a fictional conversation between Philadelphia Phillies greats Cliff Lee and Jayson Werth.  Unlike most joke emails, this one made me stop and watch, despite my normal instinct to skip or delete.  (Because of strong language, I don’t include the clip here, but interested adults can easily find it on YouTube.) 

I knew instantly that I was hooked.  The more videos like this that I found – with their lego-like characters and flat computer voices—the more I wanted to watch—no matter the content.  This one, for example, gives new meaning to the concept of the home makeover show:

http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/4851011/

Even insurance giant Geico uses them in their ads:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3vTNJ7Ym6Y

The text-to-video technology enabling these videos, created by xtranormal.com, is simple—“if you know how to type, you can make movies!”  Intriguing and fun, but not really a learning tool, right? 

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by Michael Crosson

 Inspired by the bestselling book “How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci” by Michael J. Gelb

In 1994, Tony Buzan and Raymond Keene put together an objective list to rank history’s greatest geniuses. They based their ratings on categories such as “Originality”, “Versatility”, “Vision”, “Strength”, “Energy” and “Dominance in their Field.”

The final list is, of course, an assortment of well-known minds: Einstein (#10), Thomas Jefferson (#7), Michelangelo (#5) and William Shakespeare (#2).

At the top of the list is a man who was simultaneously one of the greatest thinkers, scientists, artists and inventors that the world has ever known: Leonardo da Vinci.

Da Vinci lived his life as a gigantic quest. He never shied away from asking questions and embraced his natural inquisitiveness. He never accepted “conventional wisdom” as the only answer. Simply put, he always wanted to know more.

Author Michael J. Gelb has analyzed and dissected Leonardo’s thought process and methods. From his research, he has devised the “Seven Da Vincian Principles” – principles that guided Da Vinci’s life and can easily be applied to your own. The seven principles are: (more…)

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