Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Coming to Training 2008?

Lots of famous training folks will be in Atlanta next week for Training 2008. I hope to see you at my "E-Learning on a Shoestring" session, to include material from Better than Bullet Points. Also be sure to look for workshops from Patti Shank, Karl Kapp, Jennifer Hofmann, Saul Carliner...

And this year marks the return of the fun "99-Second Presentations". With emcee Thiagi, I'll be joined by people like Lou Russell, Marc Rosenberg, Donald Kirkpatrick (yes, that Donald Kirkpatrick), and Ray Jiminez.

I'll be signing books on the Expo floor at noon on Tuesday, so if you're coming please be sure to look me up! Hope to see you there--

Monday, January 28, 2008

Top 100 FREE Tools for Learning

Last year Jane Hart of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies asked learning professionals to submit their recommendations for top training tools. She's configured the answers in several ways, including
Top 100 Free Training Tools.

Watch for the results of her 2008 poll!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The problem with most e-learning # 471

So how often does this happen? A trainer or instructional designer comes up with a great idea for making online content engaging and interesting-- something better than bullet points-- and by the time management and marketing and the Policy Police get through with it it's turned back into a dry, cover-every-possible-contingency-CYA-and, yes, bullet-ridden mind-numbing, learning-less online presentation (not "training").

I've heard from people who've been told games are "too much fun", "we aren't allowed to have anything light", and my favorite, to the student who knocked it out of the park on his final project for one of my e-learning development courses, "It's too entertaining". HUH? Time to push past the fear and give something interesting a try for a change. Stand your ground!

"Death by Risk Aversion" image used under creative commons license: Kathy Sierra/Headrush.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Finally! A FREE virtual classroom tool

I've gotten many, many questions about this and finally have an answer.

Here's a product with much of the functionality as the big boys:
Chat, VOIP,video, and an object-oriented whiteboard (one of my favorite features, and one missing from several commercial products).

Check out www.wiziq.com (pronounced Whiz + IQ like the test). Live demos scheduled regularly.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Driving School

Yesterday's "Zits" comic pretty much sums up much of what's wrong with most training...e-learning...presentations....

See the left side of this panel.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Storyboarding with PowerPoint

Readers of Better than Bullet Points: Creating Engaging E-Learning with PowerPoint will have noticed all...all...all...the artwork in that one. With 400 images there were bound to be some glitches. In the section on storyboarding with PowerPoint there's a discussion of sending PPT files to Word to create a printed "script", and figure 2.20, page 50, needs a correction. See the Bozarthzone, "bullets" link to access a printable pdf with several sample screens showing the side-by-side image with text result. (One screen is shown above).

Monday, January 07, 2008

Evaluating E-Learning

Happy new year!
Students in my facilitated multiweek "Online Trainer" course look at lots (and lots) of examples of e-learning, good, bad, and ugly. One of their final assigments is to apply their new learning in developing criteria for evaluating an asynchronous program. One of the groups in the Fall 2007 class came up with this excellent list, with items not seen on many existing checklists or tools. Thanks to the members of the "Red Group" for letting me share this.

And: "Better than Bullet Points" ships on Wednesday! Order early and often!

Evaluating an E-Learning Program
by Stephanie Freeman, Steffi Adams, Deanna Sevits, & Freya Brannon

What criteria would you use to evaluate the quality of an e-learning program, either one a vendor is offering or one you were developing in-house?

Objectives: Does the course clearly state the objectives up front and does it deliver, does it provide the amount of information required, does it provide too much information?

Instructional Strategies: Are they varied, are the strategies appropriate given the subject matter and backgrounds of the learners, are different learning styles addressed?

Appearance (Graphics/Concept/Theme): Is there enough white space or does the course look “busy”, are the graphics of good quality, do they enhance the subject matter and are they consistent throughout the course? Does the course have a concept or theme – does it engage the learner, does it work with the subject matter and enhance the experience or detract from it?

Functionality (Organization/Navigation/Accessibility Issues): Is the material well organized, does it need to be provided in a specific order, are the modules too long or too short? Is the navigation easy to follow; is it consistent throughout the course, does the interface work? Are accessibility issues addressed, are accommodations made for hearing and vision disabilities – audio transcripts, color blindness, captions on graphics?

Language: Is the reading level appropriate for the intended audience, are unfamiliar terms explained, are acronyms spelled out, are neutral terms used regarding age, sex, race and religion, are there grammatical or spelling errors?

Interactivity and Feedback: Does the course allow for interactivity for the learner, does it provide positive reinforcement and is it helpful when the learner is incorrect, does it allow for interaction between learners and with the trainer, does it allow the learner to give feedback to the trainer?

Evaluation & Measurement: Does the course allow the learner to evaluate its effectiveness, does it allow for measurement of the learner’s progress - can they apply what they learned, does performance improve?

Delivery and Updates: How will the course be delivered, will more than one method be used, will it be a blended course, will the course require changes to keep it up to date, if so, how will they be delivered and will delivery be in a timely manner?

Technology: Is the required technology and software available, do the links work; are the file sizes acceptable for downloading or viewing, will there be support if the learner has a problem?

Cost and Copyright: Is the course cost effective to deliver, to maintain and update? Is the course material protected, are the resources referred to in the course properly cited? Will copyright issues increase the cost?

Additional Resources: Are they chosen so as not to overwhelm the learner, will they aide the learner and are they easy to find, are web-base resources reliable, trustworthy and kept up-to-date?