Thursday, June 14, 2007

E-Learning Guild event: Note To Attendees

Greetings to those who participated in today's live online event: "It's About Design, Not Software". With over 150 attendees many chat comments just flew by, and some of you were left with unanswered questions. Here are some questions and my comments:

Q. How do you make a screen shot with new data fields more interesting?
A. Don't focus so much on the individual shots. How can you put the entire training program into a more interesting context? Realistic problem, scenario? Airplane engine assembly isn't very interesting... but Karl Kapp suggests creating the "Case of: Why Won't This Engine Start?"

Q. What about learners who don't have their own computers?
A. Well, we don't all have our own photocopy machines, either. Users will likely only need access to e-learning programs for half an hour (I hope!) at a time. Set up a shared station or otherwise arrange short-term access for such users. Michael McGinniss, when he was at Jabil,Inc, began his first organizational e-learning program with surplused machines set up in the corner of the employee cafeteria.

Q. Does ELearning consist of a chat response like what we have here or is there some other interactive component?
A. Depends. Most of the participants here seem interested in developing asynchronous e-elearning programs, so no, there likely wouldn't be a live chat component. Today's session was a synchronous presentation more than "e-learning".

Q. Can you suggest sources for art?
A., ,

Q. What about global training? Don't you have to be careful that pictures, etc. are universally recognized?
A. At some point you may decide to have more than one version of your programs for use by different audiences. I love the add-in characters from VoxProxy; voices can be set to, for instance, American, British, or Australian English. Be careful of making something so generic for all that it becomes relevant to none.

Q. We will be training faculty and they will not want to play games. What other ideas do you have for interactivity?
A. "Interactivity" is not just clicking or playing games. Try using scenarios, cases, etc. Also, be careful of too many blanket assumptions about faculty--- people are more amenable to games than you may think. AND NOTE TO ALL: Please refer to the chart of different activity types-- it's in your handout.

Q. What about a topic like "Professionalism"?
A. Well.... without knowing more about your objectives: a first-person tour of day one on a new job, showing desirable and undesirable on job behaviors (NC has a great classroom program on this, with a great video we're going to convert for the online version); 'what's wrong with this picture' scenarios; quick photo-supported-by-audio examples of good/bad behaviors in a job interview/customer service situation/telephone troubleshooting; photos of dressing for success, or not, offered as multiple choice quiz w/ feedback...

Finally: There were lots, and lots, of comments on what Legal, or management, or SMEs, or somebody, will and won't allow: no scenarios, no humor, nothing interesting.... This is analagous to the classroom trainer who cannot set up a classroom in a way that promotes interaction and collaboration because management ordered heavy unweildy tables that can't be moved. Regardless of whose fault it is, or the rationale, the learning experience -- and the learner -- is ultimately what is hurt by it. If all we are allowed to do is load content onto slides, then what is the point of "doing e-learning" in the first place? Work to educate those around you (and work 'around' when you can). Keep fighting the good fight.

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