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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thanks Google

Big thanks to Google, they were able to restore
Over the next few days I'll be able to redirect back there.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Choose the Right Door

(from our archives) This article was submitted to ASTD's Learning Circuits for their November Big Question- Are our models (ISD, ADDIE, HPT, etc.) relevant in the future.

Some recent projects have gotten me thinking about how to best balance eLearning 2.0, traditional instructional design models, customized learning content, users choosing their own learning path and measurable learning validation assessment. It seems many of these items conflict with one another.

eLearning 2.0 is truly about social learning bringing in the theory of eduChaos in that, if given a stated learning goal with an interactive group, learning will naturally occur. eLearning 2.0 is truly the ‘edge of chaos’ in that ‘students’ are self facilitating and learning comes from interaction and social networking. The result is sharing knowledge and groups ‘questing’ for the answer.

Of course, eLearning 2.0 comes at a price. In the corporate world, we generally see requests where all aspects of learning must be carefully controlled, planned, and measured. Moving to a complete Learning 2.0 model is far more of a cultural shift than it is new ‘development’ work.

Traditional Instructional Design Models, such as Gagne’s model fit corporate expectations in that it is a methodical, controlled, timed model that is easily evaluated on. Gagne is sound but does nothing for the modern learners if looked at in it’s purest form. Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials all have a unique learning style that has quickly evolved over the technology of the past two decades. From Gen X who demands self study, to Gen Y who demands choice in delivery and now to our newest generation of workers, the Millennials who demand social networking, traditional models often leave these learners with the feeling that something is missing or frankly, are bored.

What is the solution? When thinking about this quandary, I am reminded of one of my favorite eLearning gurus- Thiagi.

In Thiagi’s Four Door Approach to eLearning your learners choose their best learning style and can shift from one to another to meet their needs.

Thiagi’s Four Doors of eLearning are:

The Library- Performance support and reference materials available for self study- Perfect for Gen X and prior who wish to tackle problems with data at their own pace.

The Playground- Learning through gaming- for Gen X and Gen Y who grew up on Nintendo and Playstation, this door offers a way to learn though the channels programmed since childhood.

The Café- Learning 2.0 in it’s purest form. Learning through social interaction is what Gen Y and the Millennials demand. They have grown up on Blogs, Message Boards, and sites such as My Space. For Café learners, what we see as the Chaos in eduChaos, they see as the most profitable educational experience.

The Torture Chamber- Like it or not, all learning should be measured in some way. The Torture Chamber provides an opportunity to test your skill or knowledge at the big picture of learning. The Torture Chamber, however, is far more than an a,b,c assessment. The Torture Chamber should simulate the real life scenario the learning is based on. For many like myself, the Torture Chamber would actually be the first place we venture. If we pass the gauntlet, we have saved time learning. If we don’t pass the gauntlet, we go back to our preferred path of learning with the knowledge of what the end goal is.

I plan to look more at Thiagi’s Four Door approach and how to incorporate this into learning. I would love to hear from anyone reading if you have used the Four Door approach and it’s successes or lessons learned.

The Disadvantages of Mobile Learning (Only 5 years too late)

(from our archives) Once again, we are graced with another article touting the problems with Mobile Learning. eHow gives us "The Disadvantages of Mobile Learning". The main problem with this article, is it is at least five years out of date. Not only could this article have been written five years ago, it is pretty much a re-hash, word-for-word, of many of the same misconceptions.

Let's address some of these myths.

1. Cost- While an end-user does need to have a mobile device of some sort to participate in Mobile Learning, so would a user need to have some time of Web enabled device to participate in most types of eLearning in general. Properly set-up, a mobile learning strategy should not have to require all your participants to buy new devices. One of the first considerations it would take is what type of devices do your users already have. Even if new devices were required, the price ranges presented in this article represent the premium end of the spectrum. A good mobile learning strategy can take advantage of even simple devices that cost little to nothing from most wireless carriers.

2. Size of the Device- This is only a challenge if one incorrectly plans mobile learning content to be nothing more than compressed eLearning. If your users are already using their mobile device that you plan to push learning to, your strategy should be what content do they need in the context of using the device. Add to that, the greatly improved displays, such as the OLED display on the DROID Incredible, and size isn't a detriment any more, but an advantage.

3. Battery Life- The article incorrectly states that the battery life for mobile devices is 2-4 hours. This is further evidence that this article is outdated. Your average smart phone these days has at least 2-3 days of stand-by power and the battery will run 8-10 hours of continuous operation. If a learner needs a continuous learning experience that is mobile and lasts more than several hours, you should probably re-evaluate your mobile learning strategy.

4. Technology- Two major failure points in the article. First is the issue of limited storage capacity. Not even taking into account that common memory chips now can store well over 32GB of data- far beyond the needs of most learning curriculum, this fallacy assumes the learning content would be stored directly on the device versus accessed from a remote server versus streaming. The second error in the article is the limitation because of the different operating systems. While yes, there are some limitations that various mobile operating systems have, such as the iPhone's ability to run Flash content, this is only a limitation for poorly designed mobile learning programs. A good mobile learning strategy takes into account what the learners have and need and designs accordingly. This is much the same challenge eLearning developers face when it comes to just conforming to various IT and security standards of the learners' computers.

5. Usability- Simply watch any 12 year old with a mobile device and you can kiss this limitation goodbye. Again, a good mobile learning strategy takes into account these items before a single piece of content is developed. A good strategy accounts for how users already use their mobile devices and conforms course content to that.

Don't let these challenges deter you from considering a mobile learning strategy for your organization. Remember, it is all about how you develop your strategy that revolves around your user's experience. Mobile Learning is NOT just compressing eLearning down to a smaller form factor.

We were hacked

I apologize for any weird feeds you may have received last night but was hacked. Luckily Google caught it but I am having to re-create this completely from scratch.

If you visit the blogger address, that is now-

This may be a good time for me to decide what I want to do with this blog. I have had some offers in the past to sell the domain ( due to its high ranking on Google search results (top 5 for mLearning, mobile learning, and eLearning).

I may also make this a more holistic blog as I fee mLearning has become far more integrated instead of being a stand-alone skill.

Please comment if you have any suggestions. I doubt my feed will reach the thousand or so people I had on it from the old blog but maybe some of my old readers will stumble on this.