Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Day 2 - Concluding Thoughts

I think some of the more valuable information I picked up today was as a result of more informal conversations.

Rovy's explanation of a new model for continuing education.

Meeting a fellow university co-worker at Clark Quinn's session - there is apparently a group of Faculty and Staff that is interested in incorporating more sophisticated approaches to eLearning. Hi Eva - be forewarned, I will be following up with you next week. (Yes, it takes coming to Orlando, FL to meet people in DC).

Hearing everyone's Captivate wish list. Lots of stuff I want too and a few things I never thought of. Also picking up more tips and tricks in the meantime.

Finally catching up with Brent. He said something I forget when I start reading too many marketing blogs on branding and see what he, Mark, Clark Quinn and others have done to evolve their personal brand:

(I'm paraphrasing, Brent - you said it much more eloquently in real life)
It's about what you are passionate about. It's about YOU on the page. It's really not about "brand-building." YOU are the brand.

Mark said something very similar soon after lunch as we talked about guilt and blogging. (Again, Mark was infinitely more eloquent in real life than my memory).
Sometimes I feel guilty when I don't blog much, then I feel guilty about feeling guilty. But I have to remind myself that my blog is for me. I'm just airing my mental laundry. And if others want to read it, then bully for them.

That's just it - it's YOU. People will see when you are faking or trying to spin or be political.

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Of the more formal sessions - Clark Quinn gave some great advice that I'm taking back. Since my original post was so disorderly - I'm going to try to make more sense of it below.

There are 3 levels
- Simulation (what I've been doing for the past 5 years) - you are modeling a system. There can be some branching, but it is normally fairly linear. The baseline how-to.

- Scenario (where I hope to take more of our training) - take the simulation and put it into a story. Branch it out so there are more paths to take to the goal state. To make this level successful - you have to have a good, focused story.

- Game - a much higher level of complexity. Still have to have a good base story, but you have to add more variables, more rules, more randomness. Not a priority for my purposes for the immediate future.

Tweaking is really important at all levels. Good scenarios and games have the same characteristics of good learning. Novelty, challenge and feedback.

Most important of all is the story. In creating the story, think about
- What makes that topic exciting to the subject-matter expert. What is the turn-on?
- What is the appropriate level of engagement for the audience?
- How can I exaggerate the impact of the learner/player's decisions?

He confirmed an awful lot of what I suspected. It's really about the design and planning before the programming.

This idea played out in the ILS challenge. Love that they delved into the creative process of the participants - not the end-product. And they found one hook to center their story around.

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Off to spend quality time with some family in the area. See you tomorrow.

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