Friday, November 21, 2008

Does education need to change?

George Siemens asked a really really big question. Does education need to change? This question will, hopefully, help me clarify my personal vision of what I want to accomplish over the next 5-10+ years.

The aspect of professional education that has always bothered me is the multi-hour / multi-day sit-in-a-classroom model of "training." I hate teaching that way and I hate training that way. It is grueling for all parties. And, in the end, I never got the feeling that anything we talked about stuck.

Much of the online courseware we purchased is of the same model. Multi-hour sit-at-the-computer and hope you don't get too distracted while working on the tutorial. At least in a classroom, there are fewer opportunities for distraction. (If you lock the door, collect all cell phones and lock down the computers).

We talk about moving away from the notion that education is an "event." Instead, creating an environment where folks get the information they need when they need it and in the appropriate context. I see that creating this environment requires the following:

- MUCH shorter chunks of information. 5-15 minutes max.

- More focused / contextual information. i.e. "How do I DO x" or "Where do I find information on x."

- Emphasis on designing an ongoing support structure. Where can someone find help when they need it?

- Classroom / synchronous interaction time designed more for allowing an opportunity to focus and talk. Fantastic for introducing new material, implementing new processes, the personal touch of change management.

- Providing processing tools for knowledge creation / management. This is where I am seeing wikis and blogs becoming a valuable resource.

I personally have 2 projects where I am trying to implement this model.

- A classroom series (mostly Captivate workshops) for those wishing to put their materials into our LMS for reporting. (BTW - just because it is in an LMS doesn't mean it has to be 3 hours long....or even a fancy interactive movie.....I'm just saying.....)

- A major upgrade to our enterprise higher education administration system.

Some of the ideas I am working on / kicking around:

- Short online courses and quick references will be made available for general tasks and broad training. These are proving to be quite popular, even without broad advertising. Just knowing that something is easily available and out there seems to help.

- Most of the classroom time for the Captivate project will be focused on individual projects. As a result, the classes will be very small - 5 people max. I'm having them bring their own projects rather than creating a "general" project. Kill 2 birds with 1 stone. They get work done and trained at the same time.

- For the upgrade project - larger classes will be created and team-taught with the local experts / managers. The managers can answer the procedural questions that I am not in the position to answer. Most of the questions that occur during implementation training tend to be of that sort anyway. I'm expecting some of the managers to balk at having to be there.

- During the design phase for both projects, I am focusing on processes and tools for ongoing support after the class. For the Captivate project, I am looking at cohorts. For the upgrade project, I am going to be working with the local "experts" and creating cohorts between them as well based on their most common tasks (cohort for payroll, cohort for student administration, cohort for student billing etc). That one may be trickier.

- For both projects, I am looking at implementing a wiki for the cohorts. I'm still researching how best to implement and administer this. We've had some success within individual IT teams - particularly among the Help Desk and Operations staff.

- Since what I do is technical training - I'm getting the help desk involved during the assessment phase. Particularly for the upgrade project. Where are people having problems with the application currently? What are the most frequently asked questions? What technical problems are they running into the most? In exchange, I've been introducing them to Captivate (because the help desk staff like new toys) and including special training for them as part of the plan. A closer relationship with the people who can help with support can be nothing but a good thing.

This is not a radical change, per se. More of an evolution. Trying to retain the best characteristics of what we do while trying to meet the current needs of our audience. Shorter chunks, more context, ongoing education rather than event education and greater support "post-learning." That's how I want to change education in my world.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

So How Do You GRADE It?

In the comments to my last post, B.J. asks:

How can we officially say that Person A did everything correctly, and Person B failed. How do we create grading criteria for such loose concepts?

Man....I knew that Instructional Technology degree would help some day....


Grading Rubrics is one of the techniques we are given in Education school. Rubrics help objectify (to a certain point) subjective exercises (like writing, wiki participation, etc).

I haven't seen this technique used much in a corporate environment (at least, not in the corporate environments I've worked in), but it makes sense. An education version of some of the more thorough HR Job Evaluations.

I did some digging around and found a couple of examples for fun Web 2.0 activities (like Wiki participation).

Here's one example,from homemadetextbook,of a grading rubric for Wikis.

Lots of other examples of Wiki grading rubrics. Thanks Google! has a grading rubric for both Blogs and Podcasts. (PDF)

Once I get my own wiki started (sometime next year - I'll be using it as a support tool for my Captivate / LMS course series), I will see whether I can actually APPLY the grading rubric idea to my corporate environment.

If anyone is using something akin to grading rubrics in your corporate environment - can you pop me a comment and let me know? I'd love to share your experience!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Do It Yourself FIRST

Chris Lott gave one of the most eloquent descriptions of the role of trust and risk in education.

When we ask students to blog, collaborate, participate and present, we are asking them to perform. Meaningful performances demand taking risks. Is it any surprise that students doubt us– resenting and even pushing back– when we demand performances that there is no evidence we understand?

During DevLearn 08 it dawned on me that many members of our profession still need to prove that they understand the tools we are asking them to use. And in my mind, the best way to understand the tools is to use them yourself for an extended period. For your own purposes.

At the Work Literacy session - I heard a number of questions about "how do I get other people to do this stuff" where the real question still needs to be - how do I get MYSELF to use this stuff.

I struggle with that question with Wikis, Twitter, Second Life, Facebook and LinkedIn (for starters). Until I get more comfortable with these technologies, there is no WAY I am going to force my students to use them. As Chris said - "Gotta walk the walk."

Remember: so much of what we do is sales. We just sell ideas. And if we are not familiar and/or don't like the thing we are selling - we are NEVER going to convince others of its value. No instructional design in the world can help that.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Reflections on Thinking / Doing

Mark Sylvester rightly pointed out that I was being unfair when I blanketly stated some think and others do.

You ... said that we 'talk' and you 'do' - that's partially true, from my POV it is my doing that informs my talking and being extremely closely connected to my 'doers' (clients), I learn so much about what really works, and not what I think works....

At first, I was thinking it was a matter of control. Control over which projects you select, control over timelines, contril over priorities, etc.

Then I was thinking that maybe the difference was internal vs. external. Consultants can just walk away. Professors and many speakers lecture on the theory without actually reflecting it in their own teaching.

That's not quite it either.

The thinkers v. doers may be more of a reflection of a personal bias towards the seemingly practical. Taking the ideas of the folks with more time / inclination to think and theorize and explore and seeing whether those ideas / new technologies work in the environment I find myself in.

Many thinkers still teach classes and attempt to apply their ideas - even if it is on their clients. Many doers try to carve out points in the day / week to reflect on what is working and what isn't, find new ideas to make their product better.

It may be a matter of balance. How much of your job description is based on thinking, researching, planning and theorizing? How much of your job depends on concrete "results" (i.e. number of tutorials built, number of classes designed, number of students in seats)?

For me - the bulk of my job is based on production. Hence - the "doer" designation. And I personally like being able to point to something and say "Look what I did!" I find it more satisfying than wondering if any of the students in the seats really got something out of the course or whether my navel-gazing is of any use to anyone.

Thinking happens in the occasional still points. The processing occurs on the blog and in the production that occurs after the time spent thinking. The attempts to apply the thoughts.

Thanks Mark for forcing me back to the grey areas....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New Stuff on the Home Blog

For those of you who visit me on the home blog, and even for you feed reader folks, you will see some changes.

New link to all of the DevLearn posts.

New look for the blog (which I will be toying with at some point to make it more "me").

Very cool new eLearning Learning widget that allows you to search the content of this blog via keywords. Very useful since I am ridiculously lazy about tagging my content.

For those of you playing with Twitter, if all continues to go well my new blog posts will be announced on my Twitter feed. That feed will also show up in my Facebook status. I think I have most of the bases covered.

Further recommendations for improvement most welcome.

Thoughts at the Airport

I didn’t get much of a chance to reflect after Clark Quinn’s session. Found a bunch of troublemakers (you know who you are) and stayed out (much) later than I intended.

Made getting up 4 hours later to catch a Red Eye back to DC painful.

What happens at DevLearn…….

BEFORE the trouble started, I meandered around DemoFest. My personal favorite was a collection of training courses for factory workers produced by Oxygen Education. A few things that impressed me about their offerings:

- VERY interactive. Much of what they showed me was equipment operations training / resources. Turn the knobs, flip the switches.

- They provided a concrete example of what Clark Q talked about in his lecture. Their drill down went – process to machine to section of machine to button location and appearance, then reversing the process. Creating the model…..

- Love how they chunked the training – you can do the WHOLE training, or find the specific piece of information you are looking for at the time you need it. Training as reference. I do that too (when I can get away with it), and it’s validating to see training organizations take that approach.

- The goal of the entire collection of offerings was to provide factory workers the information they need not only to do their jobs (equipment training, safety training etc), but also professional improvement. They had some fantastic offerings (the one they demonstrated was game-based) on group dynamics and professionalism. They also offered some contextual mathematics and English courses.

- I didn’t catch whether they are working on or received the ability to provide college continuing education credits for their work. You are dealing with a student population who is probably holding down 2 jobs, has a 9th grade education, family and not only does not have the TIME for going to the local community college god knows how many miles away, but also does not have the inclination due to bad experiences in K-12.

- The gentleman I was talking to had incredible passion for the product and work. He WAS that audience – the factory worker, then supervisor, who lived the education challenges from both sides. I had the impression that most of the company came from the trenches of the manufacturing industry. As a result, their tutorials demonstrated a fundamental understanding of their audience – straightforward, to the point, not talking down to them, and highly contextual.

For those who have never had the pleasure of working in a blue-collar job, Sprint’s ad - “If Roadies Ran the World” captures how this audience works nicely.

The pyro is a nice touch……

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mystery of the Missing Friday

The great thing about crossing coasts is that you get to wake up way too early in the morning on too little sleep.

And you wind up missing an entire day of a conference because all of the flights leave early.


Thankfully, Brian Dusablon, one of the other attendees, has notes on some Friday sessions.

And don't forget BJ's DevLearn Blogger list!!!!

I've got a final post on another computer that I just don't have the energy to set up right now. I promise it will be up tomorrow.

And for all of the cool people I met during DevLearn - thank you for making this the most fun conference I've ever been to.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Deeper Instructional Design

Presentation: Deeper Instructional Design: Cognitive Science and How People Really Learn
Presenter: Clark Quinn

(yup...blogger...hiding in the corner...near the power....)

Elements of Enhanced ID
- Objective
- Intro
- Concept
- Example
- Practice
- Summary

How do people really learn - use that to design system.
- And what technology affords us.

Doing more strategy. More people looking for 5 year roadmaps in his practice.

Current wipeouts - Missed Opportunities
- Focus on knowledge, not skills
- Over produced, under designed
- Lack of emotional engagement
- Uninformed by research

Advanced ID
- Learning Grounded
- Skills-focused
- Emotionally engaging

Brain characteristics
- Pattern matchers - good at detecting discrepancies, bad at rote memorization
+ Folks can put rote details in the device, focus on pattern matching

- Learns - compiles knowledge, inaccessible
+ We start with explicit - then compile. Gets into format not examineable
+ Experts have a hard time describing what they do. Gap between what they say they do and actually do big.

- Build explanatory models
+ Explain and predict. If you don't give them model, they will create the model anyway.
+ Hard to extinguish. If the model is wrong, and proven to be wrong, people still hang onto the old model.

It's about learning? Not really
- It's really intellectual self-gratification
- It's about DOING.
- Stuff you do for you LEARN about that? Avidly? Courses?

2 goals of learning
- Retention over time, between learning experience and when application needed.
- Transfer. Broader the applicability of the skill, less likelihood we are able to address ALL appropriate situations.

We gotta engineer that and support the abstraction.

We can't "create" learning
- We can design environments conducive to learning.
- We design learning experiences.

Don't design CONTENT, design EXPERIENCES
- Design the "Flow".
- Start bringing in emotions and the actions they take

The Nueremburg Funnel.
- Huge manual to train people to use it.
- Got 19 cards and put minimal information on them to get the learner through tasks.
- Principals - let's give people credit for what they already know. What is the smallest amount.

Principal of least assistance - what is the least I need to do to get them over the hump.

Can't dump a bunch of knowledge on people and expect anything to change or retain.

Respecting our learners
- Meaningful goals
- Most effective learning - don't waste their time. How fast can we do this.
- All dimentions - Cognitive (what retain), Affective (learning styles) and Conative (intention to learn - commitment, resistance, anxiety, motivation)
+ Most instructional design really addressing Cognitive component
+ Don't design lesson differently for different learners. Design for the message.
+ Motivation and anxiety. A little bit of stress you perform better, but varies greatly by person.

Ways to improve

Objective to Aligned Objective
- Do NOT assume that it's about a course
- Information update? Job Aid? (like a checklist?)
- COurses are for when you want a significant skill set shift
- Do NOT accept what the SME tells you.
+ Experts don't know why or what they do. They don't have access to the reality of it. It's a story. "Gotta know x,y,z,a,b,c...."
+ Focus on KNowledge (the knowledge dump)
+ Gotta make sure that it's a meaningful decision change.
+ Gotta be able to access and APPLY the information
+ What can the DO differently. Not just what they KNOW
- Make sure it's a meaningful decision change!
+ Having organizational impact
+ Skills, not Knowledge. I reserve the right to raise the level of the objective.

The role of the SME and Instructional Designer changes
- SME is still expert. But - what can the student DO DIFFERENTLY now.
- Use the SME to see what the difference is in the ACTION and RESULTS.
- Focusing on decisions instead of knowledge help them refocus what the SME is talking about.
- Ultimately, what is the bottom-line impact to the organization.

Intro to Motivating Intro
- Motivating example - hook viscerally.
+ Exaggeration of the consequences of NOT having the knowledge for many
+ What do they care about (fear, greed, sloth great motivators)
- Overview - connect from context to content
+ Drill-down to show where you are and why doing this.
- Learner-centered Objectives - NOT designer-centered
+ Want to reactivate the relevant knowledge when introduce the new knowledge.
+ First have to open them up emotionally BEFORE open them up cognitively
+ How is this training going to help THEM (WIIFM)
- Experience expectations - What's coming
+ Let them know when it is short. Or long
+ People who succeeded with a goal, set reasonable small expectations.
+ Big mismatch between expectation and experience - higher anxiety for the student.

Concept to Multi-Concept
- Model-based.
+ People reason with models
+ Group trained with model could still fire the phaser. If SO rote only do it one way - automate it.
- At least text + diagram
+ pictures provide conceptual relationships
+ pictuers map conceptual relationships to spacial relationships
- Multiple representations
+ different ways to look at it
+ different media
+ more models, more examples, more opportunities to resonate with the learner, get to see the pattern, other examples make more sense.

Hardest part - get people to see the importance of the underlying models.
- Models that explain how things work allow you to muddle through better
(Hey! I'm already doing this in my Application training!!!!!)

Example to Story Example
- Stories are better processed
+ We are well architechted to understand stories (see anthropology and cultural myths)
- Worked examples - provide steps
+ with each step, you provide the step AND the example
+ See where the expert make the mistake AND how they fix it.
+ See where the expert deviates from the step....and WHY.
+ More models (experience) = more stuff to bring to bear to solve it.
- Cognitively annotated
+ Make apparent the underlying thought process.
+ Remember: experts no longer have access to what the real thought process is.
- Backtracking
+ Get to see the Expert's perfect process
+ Shows how expert self-monitor and self-correct
+ Self-esteem, self-repair
- Cross-context
+ Transfer by domain
+ The context you show in example and in practice will constrain the distance in which they will transfer.
+ Pick representatively disparate example and context - will help with application transfer
- Explicit link to the Concept
+ Have expert talk to the model
+ Build the expert self-talk within the model / example

Practice - Event-based Practice
- Context they see in Example and Context in Practice
+ Start with similar practice seen in example then spread the gap
- High-enough level
+ Make sure what doing in practice what they need to do in the real world
- Meaningful Decisions
+ Give context
+ Meaningful to domain
+ Meaningful to Learner
+ Active - this does not include RollOvers
+ Concept based feedback - link it back to the concept / model.
+ Goal - have model help them become self-monitoring
+ All of the above is defined as a game
- Misconceptions
+ This is not random
+ People make Pattern-mistakes.
+ The pattern-mistakes are based on their existing model that they are bringing to the table.
+ Take the opportunity to address the mistake they made as a result of the model.
+ What is the most common thing people do wrong and GUIDE THEM TO IT.
- Aided
+ Give them easy-to-access job aids and performance support

Game best used when either hard to change model and/or a skill that really really needs to change.

Learning can and should be hard fun

Summary to Enhanced Summary
- Emotional Closure - acknowledge the emotional commitment and effort.
- Individual Performance. Relate THEIR performance to the material,
+ Give them space to enter their answer. Then give model answer.
+ Give them rubrics to compare what is IMPORTANT in their answer.
+ Deeper thought without having to process the open-ended answer. Did you consider...
- Further directions
+ Type 1 - you are now ready to do...... (hey look, you accomplished something)
+ Type 2 - "If you want to learn more about this subject...."
- Keeping active - supporting beyond practice
+ Encourage using it other places (family, kids, etc.)
+ Learning follow-on. Mobile one option for this.
+ Give them hints. (so how close is MY design to date to this ideal)
- Drill back up
+ Reverse of what you did early on.
+ Put it back in the broader context

Clark loves to start with the emotional hook.
- "You are not going to care about the objective if you have not hooked them emotionally."

Keep your ideas simple. What can you trim down to make your point?

- Real opportunities
- Many cultures have comics as part of their popular literacy. Easy to communicate just enough context without overwhelming.
- Low bandwidth
- Low cost
- Easier to change
- If you leave enough space, not to hard to internationalize
- Watch the humor - may not translate.
- Resistance because not "professional." But it WORKS
(Google with Chrome)

Scott McCloud - Undertanding Comics

Cognitive Apprenticeship- All of these disparate fields will probably converge on this.

Maybe you should separate out the concept from the example.
- Semantic lab allows you to chunk further, tag and find later.
- Stream out multiple examples, not necessarily at the same time. Very valuable if the time between learning and application is large. Can do this mobile, even after face-to-face course.

(One thought - Export Control or other compliance training. You are not going to use the knowledge all the time, but what if you provided small example chunks......)

- Be more regorous in your design
+ Proper elements, properly elaborated
- More flexible design
+ emotionally engaging, minimalist, alternate paths
- More flexible in notion of learning event
+ Little bits more often
+ broader view of learner
+ Broader view of learning

Exaggerate more than SME will tolerate. Make them reign you in.
- The learners will thank you

What is the LEAST I can do
Assume intelligence in your learner.
Assume people have interests and passions. How do you hook them
Why is the SME so turned on by his or her field too?
Not just about the course. About opening up mind and heart.

Have FUN!

Authority from Blogging

I'm going to quote Christy Tucker's comment on one of my DevLearn post because she brings up a good point. That and I'm ridiculously flattered. Not often I get my name mentioned with Stephen Downes in the same sentence.

For those not familiar with Christy's blog, she has been blogging almost as long as I have and finds the greatest stuff in her daily bookmarks.

By the way, my lack of comment on any post from anyone is more a reflection of my continued struggle with trackbacks and reporting. If you send me a comment with a link, if I haven't found it already, I will check it out. Promise.

Still have some work to do on the ol' blogging infrastructure......

From Christy:

Way back when I first started my blog, I linked to you from a post about synchronous and asynchronous learning. I linked to "The Downes" too. I remember being very disappointed that I didn't get any responses from that. I wasn't surprised about Stephen not commenting, as I knew at that point that he was a bigger name. I figured no comment from you meant you were just too big of a name in the field to pay attention to lil' ol' me.

Now, of course, I am less naive and figure you never got a trackback from my post (and I didn't know enough to come here to comment and let you know about it). But I do very distinctly recall at the time thinking you were out of my league.

To some extent, blogging and social networking and the rest of these tools do make the playing field more even, and they give us access to people at the top.

But the reverse is also true; our blogs give the people at the top access to us. Tony has access to your unique perspective all year round, not just at the conferences, because he can read what you're thinking about and working on here. People who are theorizing can have easy access to people in the trenches, and the theorists and the practitioners can learn from each other. I know that's idealized and optimistic, but there is some hope of that happening.

Don't think that your thoughts don't matter because you're "just a (now occasionally) harried, low-level Instructional Technologist / Trainer." Tony and Brent and Jay and everyone wouldn't be here in the blogosphere interacting if they didn't see that value; they'd just be presenting at conferences, not engaging people with these tools.

When in the company of rock stars I respect, and eLearning is one of the very few fields where I have had overwhelmingly postitive experiences with meeting the "stars of the field", I sometimes forget that feedback from the trenches can only improve what is going on in the clouds. Particularly when those in the clouds listen.

Implementing Immersive Simulations

Presentation: Best Practices for Implementing Immersive Simulations
Presenter: Corti

(Came in late - first person networking)

- The 'big idea' (what is your hook)
- Defining it
- Project team
- Vendor Selection

- Design it
+ Paper mock-ups important, incl. storyboarding. Mistakes on paper cheap

- Build it
+ Build to work, then build pretty
+ 20: 80 rule. For immersive learning, at least 80 percent of the project needs to be done before you can show the client.
+ Build for learners, not gamer
+ Make sure you have time to do iterative process.

- Manage it
+ Beware of feature creep. Once see it - people's imagination going.
+ Document and sign off everything
+ Disciplined change management processes important. Make very clear implications of changes.

- Test it
+ Define testing regimes at start
+ Test logic before coding (because this is what the end user sees)
+ Test from usability, learning design, IT compliance (incl. LMS)
+ Run through QA separately - typos, visuals, branding, compliance.
+ Final testing - very important to get fresh eyes

- Pre-sell it
+ Launch that it's coming.
+ Posters
+ Video (coming soon - around 90%)
+ Competitions and high score chart (if fits corporate environment)
+ Identify internal advocates

- Support it
+ Dummies guides

- Deploy it
+ Is it going into LMS
+ Access control?
+ Compliance reporting issues
+ Level of data needed for assessment?
+ Remember: IT needs to protect the IT infrastructure. TLC required.
+ Online preferred, but CD/DVD may be one option.

- Review it
+ Project post-mortem

- Measure it
+ What was the success factor? Did it meet it>
+ Use industry standard measurement approaches. Esp the ROI!!!!
+ Get the proof to justify the next project.

Cardinal Sins
- Decision by committee - avoid like the plague
- Skimping on the design
- Diluting the design - accomomodating too many viewpoints creates confusion and waters down the results
- Treat sims as 'content' - there are fundamental differences between the 2. Simulation is how you bring the content together.
- Changing design during development - project suicide
- Failure to communicate
- Not allowing time for testing - VERY important to see whether it behaves the way you want it to.

Some white paper resources from Pixelearning.

Random Thoughts Between Sessions

So Kevin Sigel is around here somewhere and blogged about Captivate 4.
Closed Captioning through Slide Notes. YAY!!!! I put my narration there anyway!!!!!

Interesting conversation with Mark Sylvester before the keynote. He's the CEO of IntroNetworks. Mark O. and Tony K. have convinced him of the value of Blogging. I gave him Ted Leonsis as an example of effective CEO blogging and 2.0 technologies. Mark's big concern (and mine too) is how the written word can and will be used against you.

What is the appropriate level of transparency anyway? Will it vary based on your position or business interests?

I have interest in this as a historian since historians use the written word as the foundation of our tools.

I wonder what all of this blogging / twittering / commenting will say about us 20 / 50 / hundreds of years from now.

Maybe I don't want to know.....


If you want to find the conference bloggers, look at the back and sides of the room....near the power outlets.....


The Great ILS Challenge

(No Wendy - it is NOT ILT challenge, as you regularly freudian slip. Bad Wendy, Bad. And in front of Mark too.....)

Presentation: The Great ILS Challenge
Host: Mark Oehlert

ILS Challenge - the whole idea is that ideas regarding what you can do with design can be stretched.

We help people do their jobs better. Mark wants to stretch the design of what we do. Let's take our usual - what can we do to make it better?

This challenge - Design a game to get to the ethical truth of a person. Predict ethical behavior.

And the very cool thing after one of his speakers left, when he asked for help and submissions on his network - he got dozens of responses from people he didn't expect would even be interested. And got a very high level game designer to do the challenge courtesy of Clark Quinn (1 degree of separation).

A great example of how web 2.0 works!
Deb and Bob Holm (get name from Mark)

One example of background - training CAD Engineers using a first person shooter. (Wow!) Result - a 4th grader got a hold of it and started designing CAD.

They do a lot of the Discovery Channel and PBS Kids games too.

The creative process - bring the designers in EARLY.
- Look at the property from the early early stages.

Bob - one area of interest, how to make games more adaptive.
- What makes commercial games so addictive, the game changes as the user plays it. More challenging.

They are a big fan of rapid prototyping (me too).

The way design is really done, people work together.
- Decided to tackle it collaboratively.

SO what is ethics?
- Took the usual assessment questions. (Mult choice, click Next)

Hey - look at the Ferengies

So the approach
- Gotta be fun. remember - people learn more if they have fun.

What is your message?
+ Let people discover a performance-based strategy based on the message.
+ Any virtual world that is a game has a set of rules implicit in that world. Those rules are the basis of the gameplay.
+ in this case - Karma. What you do has ramifications. Can build a game around that.

- You can twist the message - would you screw someone if you could get away with it?
- Maybe try the middle - what goes around comes around.

Next conversation - what are the game mechanics?
- Casual game - easy to learn, hard to master. Low initial investment, short duration, repeatable. "You can play it while you are watching TV"

- Twitch game - something where someone is doing something quickly (First person shooters, lots of clicking really fast, lots of rapid decision-making).

- Role playing game

What came up with based on Ultimatum
- 2 player game, split $100
- Player 1 offers a split (50/50, 80/20)?\
- Player 2 accepts or rejects
- No negotiation possible
- Reject - everyone loses

So to adapt the game
- Multiplayer? With history? What if played as part of a team? This will manipulate how people will react.
- What really happens if you know who are playing against? Would the response change if you see them? Would the response change based on the history?
- Would they respond differently as an avatar? Realistic or graphical?

Games as research tools. We can use the game to see how people behave based on how they interact with the game.
- We can learn how people are learning through the information we obtain through the game. (This is a whole different level of data gathering when programming).

Remember - online is not just to disseminate information, can also gather information.
- PBS Kids - get LOTS of information as the kids play the game.

The Twitch Game part - assembly line.
- You want so that as someone gets "too good" - the system declines.
- You want to build in an optimum. Force someone who overdoes it to back off a bit.

2 impt. questions
- Who IS your audience?
- What is the message?
- Get the above 2 things nailed, can build around those 2 elements.

Can see how people behave around character / story / environment.
- Where can you get people access to a lot of money that we can develop shady things around?
- Skimming without ramifications that will throw you into jail?

Ethical dilemas - you want conflict between 2 impt. principals. The shades of gray.
- Honesty / Loyalty
- Personal Gain / Integrity

To tune the game
- Find the main ethical principals of the character
- Steer them towards places where those principals will be challenged.

Visual style - they decided Film Noir. Nugget of the story idea.
- looked for other examples for inspiration.
- Exposition pulls you in. Challenge is clear (don't have to be straight-on).

Goal: To get you to think outside of box. Use different approaches to do something fun, interesting and engaging.

When doing brainstorming - have a 20something in the room. The ideas are nice, but you are also looking for thought-process.
- "Why not make it fictional" That opens up more options.

You don't know where the good idea is going to come from.

Thinks to think about (pick any two)
- Time
- Budget
- Quality

So what would you build?

There is transfer effects for any instructional material.
- Build in a pre / post. Based on those measures, did they get it. (Hmm...can't you do it within the game? Scoring?)

So how DO you measure the interaction?
- I'm going to give them x information, did they get it?
+ (So, for example, you are looking for how much time / attempts to figure out how to deal with the new variable. I.e. how long will it take the kid to figure out to flush the microbe)

More is happening on the simulation side than branching.
- Not a big fan of branching because it explodes
- (so how do you go about building simulation vs. branching)
- Advantage of simulation - try out things in a safe environment.

Ultimately, in the end, did they learn what they needed to learn?

What are you trying to convey?
- Knowledge - drill and kill fast
- Skills and concepts - other methodologies work better.
+ Winning strategy demonstrates concept mastery.
+ The rules and heuristics that an expert in a field uses to make decisions faster.

Video - Did you know
- 8x more words in the English language than Shakespeare.

Video games is a LITERACY (Mark O.).
- To gain that literacy - play
- Example - immersive language simulations

2 usable game concepts
- Grow your cube
- Escape the room

Kongregate - lots and lots of user flash games
- A game where you can argue
- Facade

Looking at a concept and how it moves forward.
- Example - look at the science concepts in school by grade. Your level in science maps to the concepts you learn in the grade.

(Mark O) - great games are immersive and engrossing even without the visual elements.
- Story is more important than theme.
- Don't mistake the visual for the dominant. It's easier to create visuals than to write and design the story and game play and learning.

(Bob) Be wary of - uncanny valley
- As you increase the fidelity of the representation of the human, you hit a point where people are looking for the problems in the representation.
- "We are faithful enough to be creepy."

What Mark found with the submissions

Lots of themes of Karma
- One idea - single and multiple lifetimes.
- The game can build on itself. Multiple casual games into a role-playing game.
- No extremes - the middle way works best over the long term.

If people know if they are being tested about ethics, will behave in an ethical manner.
- So wanted to be sneaky about it. (Which is unethical too)
- Teach them that you are testing them about leadership and diplomacy.
- Karl Kapp - up the stakes and make it real.

(Audience) Another part of great is the need? Would the ethical rule change?
- If we are learning from their gameplay, what other variables are we also discovering that we didn't consider in the initial design?

Eve Online - built around horribly unethical behavior in business. In space.

Emergency - try to save patients. The kids found the coolest way to kill people.
- I wonder if they learned the science behind it too!

BJ's Blogger List

BJ Schoen is compiling a list of active bloggers during DevLearn 08.

If you are blogging the conference, send a comment with a link to BJ.

Or just go to the list to see the range of experiences.

How to Create a Napkin with PowerPoint

Dan Roam reminded us that we shouldn't be a slave to our tools when thinking. So...PowerPoint provides a great blank board on your laptop. (Hope this works)

The Back of the Napkin

Presentation: The Back of the Napking Presenter: Dan Roam

We can solve our problems with pictures. When someone thinks visually, they are able to become much more clear about what the problem is about.

Which problems are we talking about? – we can solve any problem we can think of.. If we can articulate it, we can solve it.

What pictures are we talking about? – simple shapes + stick figures + smiley faces

Who is “we”? (Who is going to do this?) – us. You.

75% of your brain is processing vision. - Tells us that vision is pretty important if we are using that much of our brain to process. After kindergarten, we quit teaching pictures.

Help us discover ideas. If can spend a few seconds mapping out with a picture, you will discover ideas in that kernel that we wouldn't have discovered if we do bullet lists, etc. - Triggers different parts of the brain.

Fastest to develop the idea. Once you have created the picture, can share with others. Can this work virtually - heck yes! (Many synchronous meeting tools allow you to collaborate in this way. Elluminate for one).

3 fundamental unwritten rules of visual thinking
- Whoever best describes the problem is the one most likely to solve it.
+ Whoever draws the best picture gets the money
+ Explain something that may be complex in the clearest way. This is not about oversimplification.

Examples: - Creation of SW Airlines - Cuban Missile Crisis - Laffer Curve

(So I've got Mark O's live blog going in one of my other windows and I keep hearing the typing clicks and switching over to see what he is typing.)

(Oh yeah - best us of tablet EVER for a presentation. I wish / hope someone is videotaping this....)

There is a broad range of abilities and talents and ways we think about pictures. - In any given business meeting / setting there is a spectrum.
- 25% Black Pen people - can't wait to run up to whiteboard and start drawing.
- 50% Yellow Pen people (highlighters) - the folks who will stand up and go to the white board and clarify the ideas already drawn.
- 25% Red Pen people - the person who is thinking the whole drawing thing is BS and that the folks at the whiteboard are oversimplifying / misinterpreting the problem.

The Red Pen people probably HAS the greatest grasp of the problem.

The way to get the Red Pen people to participate is to piss them off so much that they erase everything and draw it themselves (because the rest of you morons just don't get it).

Powerpoint is just a tool (hammer) (Here here!!!)
- Enables us to be lazy and turn off ways to process the information differently.
- From a cognitive perspective, if you need to convey information in real-time, this is the WORST way to do it. People will get the first and maybe second page to start. By page 7 , forget the first 2 pages. No time to digest the information.

The napkin sketch is the future. - Think and practice "how do I explain my concept in a picture"
- Replaces the elevator pitch (picture worth ......) Pictures transcend language and culture.

How to create an eNapkin (to share)
- Take 1 laptop computer running PowerPoint.
- Take 1 meeting tool - WebEx, Adobe Connect, GotoMeeting, Elluminate etc
- Take over the desktop and put PowerPoint on the meeting
- There is a great online drawing tool in PowerPoint (that most Microsofties don't know about)
- Go into presentation mode. Icons at the bottom. Look for the pen.
- Can switch the host in the meeting tool and allow them to move.

(If the video doesn't work I will try to post it separately)

Unwritten rule number 2 - The more human the picture, the more human the response.

Certain types of pictures work better than other.

6 ways we see (Who, What, Where, When, Why, How)
- Eyes are pulling zillions of points of data and brain is processing.
- Both a serial and a parallel process.
- the "What" pathway. The part that is able to process what objects are. That is Brent.
- the "Where" pathway. Tells us where things are. That something is about 3 feet down, slightly to the right.
- the "How Many" pathway. Tells us the number of things. There are more than 3, maybe more than nine, therefore "a lot". Mostly process small, medium or large.
- the "How" - We see the passage of timme through the change of location of the objects we see. We can start putting together how the world work.
- If I ask enough times and can put together cause and effect - can think about causality.

So any problem can be broken down into 6 pieces Then draw the solution
- Who/What - draw the person or thing
- Where - Map
- When - Timeline
- How - Flowchart
- How Much - draw a chart
- Why - (multi-variable plot) diagram with multiple dimentions of data mapped on top of each other

Some examples - the Wong Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale.

Those loops / cycles - tend to be a bit more confusing. Do a timeline, then add a hook at the end.

3rd unwritten rule - problems have multiple layers.
- We are in a position to slice the cake
- We can slice it horizontally and vertically - through our pictures.
- Different pictures for different problems.

Breakfast Byte with BJ

I'd give the name of the session, but it was 3 of us and we didn't need to cover the topic he planned.

So we talked instead.
Matt (Indiana University) showed off his Drupal-based Content Management system. It's still in development. What we saw was a tool that forced interaction when entering content. Great work Matt!
Matt, BJ and I talked a bit about Tony K's Work Literacy session. BJ and I agreed that the value of the session was in seeing a fully formed draft of the ideas Tony has been discussing on his blog. Since we've been seeing the idea from its infancy - it's hard to pick out and combine the bits and pieces. Especially when you don't have the bandwidth to concentrate.

After sleeping on some of the ideas that came out in the session, I realized that Work Literacy is really about amping up some of the practices that we already have.

- Scan - we're scanning more information. So we need the tools to do it better. Hence - RSS feeds.

- Process - So we need to make it a point to PROCESS some of this information we are receiving. The processing, ideally, can be public for feedback. More quality feedback, more learning. Tools available - Blogs and Wikis.

- Network - LinkedIn and Facebook allow us to network over distances. The face-to-face, however, doesn't go away. You can make yourself available as a resource. You can ask questions of your direct network or 2nd level (since they are likely to respond if you both know each other.

Again, all 3 things are activities we already do as professionals - we just need to change our processes a bit.
Cool resources - Thanks BJ!

Discovery through eLearning - Tracy Hamilton. She's in the throes of an LMS implementation and is journaling her thoughts. She's looking for help and advice. We're with you!!!!!!

ELearning Development News

Running out of time - Keynote time!!!!

Thoughts on Dinner

Last night, I had the privilege to join some of the luminaries in our field for dinner.
- Mark Oehlert
- Brent Schlenker
- Tony Karrer
- Jay Cross
- Alica Sanchez
- Mark Sylvester(IntroNetworks)
- David Metcalf

Among others…..

I realized that I go to a conference for different reasons than the rest of the folks around the table.

They go to a conference to network. Meet folks they have had online conversations with, contact folks who are experts in areas where they may need help. They decide on which conference to go to based on who will be there and do preliminary research on people they intend to meet for talking points.

I go to a conference to collect information. Oh yeah….and I meet people too…..

This difference in approach may be a result of my lack of participation in the greater professional world of eLearning (at least, up until recently). It’s also a reflection of the small number of conferences I attend. This past year was busy – I went to 3!

The eLearning Guild conference is different because, for the first time, my main purpose is to meet people that I have read and corresponded with in the Web 2.0 world (Tony K, B.J.) and touch base with other fellow bloggers I have run into before (Mark O., Brent S.). Oh yeah, and perform (minimal) face time with some vendors who participated in an RFP with us for game development.

The session list, in many ways, is secondary to my purposes here. (Don’t worry boss – as you can tell, I’m still attending stuff!)

I wonder if my change in purpose is a result of going to more of these conferences, blogging (and having folks reading it), and seeing familiar faces.

Witnessing the “networking” part of Work Literacy in action.

One member of the table is doing research and asked the others whether they knew some experts. 3 people grabbed their phones.

I have Singapore on the phone – wanna talk to her?
I know contacts in Uganda and Turkey – you want their information?

The in-person networking has its parallel in LinkedIn and Facebook. The food is not as good.

Before dinner, I talked to Mark O. about how he manages all of the technology he works with. (Paraphrasing – Mark was a LOT more eloquent).

It’s like a fish in water. The fish didn’t create the water. It’s just the environment it works in. I was so frustrated before all of these tools came out. They solve a problem. Just like the water does for the fish.

What he leaves out….he’s aware enough to realize there is a problem long before the rest of us. Case in point: we went to graduate school in History / Anthropology about the same time (early to mid 90s). I didn’t see an issue with the way we worked then. He did. That’s why he is an “Alpha Geek” and I am a “Gamma Geek.”

I admitted to Tony K. during the reception that I felt a bit intimidated by these fantastic people that I’m meeting. The speakers at this conference are the big wigs in the field. Clark Quinn, Will Thalheimer, Jay Cross…. Plus, Mark O and Tony K have been kind enough to let me tag along on some of his conversations. More luminaries… Avron Barr, LETSI/SCORM guru; Ellen Wexler, former muck at Adobe…..

Wendy, we need a voice like yours in these conferences. Look at the list.

They are experts!

Yeah – but you have a unique perspective that is refreshing.

I’m guessing what Tony K meant was that they talk, I do. I’m not a high level muck somewhere or a consultant or an evangelist of anything. Just a (now occasionally) harried, low-level Instructional Technologist / Trainer who diaries about her experience in the trenches.

Tony’s right. Maybe I do need to get out more…..

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Day 1 thoughts - while the brain still works

I may do a second round of this after the evening. Or in the morning since I am on east-coast early bird time.

- So happy to finally meet B.J. and Tony (Dr. Karrer). Tony has been a huge supporter since practically day 1. B.J. has a great blog that has pride of place in my feed reader.

- Tony's explanation of what Work Literacy is now makes sense (Wendy's AhHa moment of the day). Apparently, it is a collection of practices that I have been doing all along. The challenge, as both B.J. and one of the other audience members put it, is to figure out how to transition the learning practices we do for ourselves to others who may not be so motivated.

My thinking, however, seems to center on the "model it first" worry about spreading it later. I am just not a fan of trying to implement / force practices that I haven't worked with first. Furthermore, few things agitate me more than having folks force stuff on me that they won't do themselves. (i.e. don't ask me to blog if you won't).

- I don't know if TwitFeed is working or if it's just moving really slow. I suspect there will be a whole mess of New Blog post items appearing on the Twitter feed sometime tonight. Or maybe I broke it.....

- Finally ran into Brent as I was setting up for these final thoughts. Dude - I don't know how you do it....

- The experiment with the conference infrastructure has been interesting. This is a time where I wish I was better at texting. I feel like I've got way too much stuff going on - pictures, blog, Twitter, keeping up with other stuff, AND paying attention to the sessions. Thank goodness I am a habitual compulsive note-taker.

- Best quote I've heard all day, from Mark O as I complained about how I'm having a tough time with short-form Twittering.

Wendy - just let go....Let us discover how dark you really are.

I need at least one editing step before my dark thoughts becomes permanent record.

It's best for all of us.

Using Simulation in the Classroom

Presenter: Ken Spero, James Allen

This was more of a quick in and out thing for me

Essentially, the presenters argue that we can use some of the higher tech simulations as Instructor-facilitated classroom tools. The simulation he developed made a point of getting rid of the best and worst options. Still complex, decision-based branching.

The strength of this approach, he argues, is that it allows for more immediate conversation during the decision process.

The entire session modeled what he was talking about. Folks were informally put into groups (I was talking to some guy in the back since I walked in so late). The group then had to come up with a unilateral decision - since there was only one computer. This way, you can facilitate conversations about the pros and cons of each decision.

Cribbed from their handout - the process in the classroom looks something like this:
- 10 minutes of an Instructor led intro
- 20 minutes working with the simulation in teams of 4 (they suggest a combination of 3-5 people)
- 10 minutes of feedback and a small group debrief
- 10 minutes of a large group debrief
- 10 minutes of Q and A

Just a little reminder that "eLearning" development does not strictly need to be solely on a computer, but can be used to support / supplement instructor-led courses.

No-Compromises Rapid eLearning

Presentation: No Compromises Rapid eLearning
Presenter: Tom Kuhlmann

Rapid eLearning tools have democratized learning.
- Everyone is an expert at "something."
- Empowers people to share their expertise.
- Ultimately Communities of Practice center around expertise.
+ Before - to build, it was a hassle (Authorware anyone?)
+ If you don't have connection to "Training" - you need to do something, right?

2 types of tool
- Form or freeform
- Form - software does stuff for you - you dump in content. (like Sealund's offerings, Raptivity)
- Freeform - blank screen and you can do whatever with blank screen (Flash, Authorware)

PowerPoint is a nice authoring tool. millions of people use it. It's easy.
- But you have to look at it from an eLearning perspective.
- Templating also nice - can provide form element.

Pros - Form-based tool
- Speed
- Consistency / Uniformity
- Easy to use (one hopes). Place to add text. Button to add audio. Looks great.

Cons - Form-based tool
- no flexibility
- redundancy
- visuals / branding issues

Form-based tools are great for brand new person. Now you have first generation of rapid e-learning authors who want to do more....
- The form-based tools can't do the new stuff they want to do.

Pros - Free-form
- Very flexible / creative
- More control
- Power

Cons - Free-form
- Can be very hard to use - high learning curve
- Speed of delivery. May take (a lot) more time to develop.

Rapid eLearning - because using a form, most think isn't interactive beyond the Next button.
- Even though you are still using a form, it can still be interactive.

In our industry - there is an unspoken hierarchy
- Complicated Custom is best
- "Level 1" (basic reading - created in form) is "lame".

But the hierarchy should be based on your content. Not the tool.
(Because you can build really lame content with really complicated tools.)

(at this point, he demos Articulate Engage)

Many form-based tools let you use various interactions - just a matter of using those interactions creatively. Rollovers, click boxes, etc. that come with most form-based tools.

Michael Allen - his books highly recommended.

(at this point, as interesting as the tool is, I left. Other stuff that I need to look at)

Work Literacy 2.0

Presentation: Work Literacy 2.0
Presenter: Tony Karrer


What's changed in knowledge work and learning?
How does this relate to eLearning, eLearning 2.0
Implications of these changes on learning professionals.
Specific actions to build competence.

(Note to self - take another look at del.i.cious. Need to do more with social bookmarks)

(Tony showed how his son performed historical research on Google. Boy, my experience would have been soooo much different today. AND his 11 year old son edited the wikipedia article on the CA Gold Rush.)

Today - many of us start with Google (after a requirements meeting).
- Save the information - save in Bookmarks
- Then open up PowerPoint with information....

If I've done the Google search - did I miss something? What's really going to happen when I adopt it?
- How important are the issues that I am basing the decision on?
- Is my answer reasonable?

Concept work task.

We've moved from card catalog, microfiche readers etc to Google.
- Accessibility!!!!

School - about teaching metacognition and metamemory.
- Notetaking. Every study - you learn more if you take notes (like this one!!!)
- Books
- Organizers
- Laptops change things. Has pretty different characteristics. Can NOW perform search.

Now we have over a trillion web pages. Theoretically, almost all info in the world is available to you.

I can now go to LinkedIn and there are experts available to me (even only 2 degrees removed).

The shift is so huge - hard to wrap your head around.

How are we handling these changes?
- Tons of new books, emails, new blogs
- A weeks work of NY TImes contains more information than a person living in the 18th century would encounter in a lifetime.

Brains wired so that when you encounter new info - like new Opiate. Want to seek more.
- In time of info abundance, could be problematic.
- Barrage of info reduces IQ by 10 points - double pot-smokers.
- Reduces ability to focus.
- Interruptions take up 2.1 hours of average worker's day.

We are not adapting well.

Older people don't search as well as younger people.
Over 50 - better able to remember telephone numbers and dates than under 30s.
The under 30s have a place to store that info outside their head.

~ in Google - synonym operator
(Yay B.J.!!!!)

So allows you to search including synonyms.
(Time to go figure out some of the "new" to me operators in Google. Google Guide)

Should we have done something different?

The most important skill is to learn how to learn.

Work Literacy
- Find - include search, evaluate, narrow, adjust
- Expertise leverage (networks and communities)
- Keep, organize, refind, remind
- Collaborate
- Scan (stay up to speed)

New tools and methods to accomplish the above tasks
- Google - maybe use the tilde or another operator in Google. Help to refine the filter.
- LinkedIn - using this to reach out and contact folks with specific expertise. How would that expert do it? Search from degree away from you - 2nd degree, I can usually get to.) May be time to work on my LinkedIn)
- Can also generally ask question on LinkedIn.

Talking to other people helps to evaluate your own answer.

Bookmarks - very good for sites that you use all the time. Save it because it's informational, use a bookmarking tool.
- Can tag link in different ways for easier retrieval.
- Anything seen in the web, can use Google History. Between desktop search and Google History, can find almost anything.

Blog - puts yourself in a continue work mode.
RSS reader - keeps you up to date. You find you are less interested in generic publications. (I like the immediacy). Only problem - unless it's REALLY interesting, won't spend much time on it.

Google Docs also good where people can access at the same time (esp. outside of the org, my employer already has some collaborative tools. The "spycam" works pretty well too!)

For a knowledge worker - learning and work inseparable.
- Choosing an authoring tool - doing both, learning about authoring tools and working.

Concept worker - Daniel Pink.
- Choosing an authoring tool - pure conceptual work. The task is very nebulous.
- The evaluation is "what would another concept worker with more experience do."

What does this have to do with eLearning?
- 1.0 - Us being publishers. Formal learning. We define content. We track in LMS.
Content must be known, understood and stable. Need common base (and novice).
Big complaint - the timelines are getting progressively shorter. Increasing overlap.

First attempt - SMEs and "rapid authoring tools". We can produce stuff faster now, but still can't keep up.

- 2.0 - Unique, Advanced, Unknown, Unchanging. Small numbers. Learner-centered.
What is being provided to me to help me do this? What kind of support mechanisms can we put in place.

Common eLearning 2.0 scenarios
- Alongside formal learning. (Blogs, Wiki)
- Wikis as replacements - editable reference tools. FAQ, process info, online reference etc. Can eventually allow edit of content outside of organization.
- "How does Wikipedia work."
- Wikipatterns (B.J.'s comment - cool site.) Help get wikis successful in your organization.
- Experience capture - blog, maintaining lab or project notebook.
- RSS Reader, Podcasts - steady drip

These are small, tactical adoptions.

We have an interesting opportunity.
- We have been trained to go in and analye a performance situation.
+ High performers, see what they are doing, then what can the rest of us adopt from that.
+ We generally do the 1.0 thing. But we can do more.

- Look at ourselves as the people who create opportunities.
+ Show people how to create wiki, blog, other tools.
+ Skill Builder for others.
+ Practice Leader
+ Analyst and Coach.

All of this is growing fast.

Remember - the other stuff is not going away.

What's driving adoption? - Use the tools themselves, see benefits, will drive.
- Also large numbers of individual functional areas driving adoption.

How to lead
- Build your OWN skills.
- Find tactical opportunities. Adopt first with self, then spread.
- Conduct workshops.

This stuff works great with peer mentoring.

Hardest part about all this stuff - gotta do it.
(So my homework, start reaching out more among the networks).

Right now - much of this is "ad hoc" in organizations. May need to force this conversation as an organization.

Trying to Chase the Big Brothers

Had lunch with Mark Oehlert, Mark Christiansen and B.J. Schoen (among others). Thrilled to finally meet B.J. in person too!

I watch the way Brent Schlenker (who I have not run into yet) and Mark O. maneuver around the technology space.

It seems so effortless
- Look Wendy, here's a video on Twitter!
- Here's 5 new cool aps I found!
- I can Tweet into the future! (Yup, Mark's discovered time travel!)

Me, I'm happy if I can get the damn camera on my phone to work. I'm thrilled if a text message makes it to its destination. I still can't post a pic directly to Blogger yet.

One thing I was looking forward to during this conference was being able to see folks more technology savvy than myself (who I happen to respect and like) function 2.0 style during a conference while being stupid-busy.

I feel like their baby sister trying to catch up.

Wait for me.......

Designing and Rolling Out Serious Games

Presentation: Designing and Rolling Out Games for eLearning Outcomes
Presenter: Ravi Ramakrishman

(This session will give a European / Indian perspective on this topic)

HSBC Ad Campaign at Global Airports

How do you make learning fun?

Fun = more real learning.
- Hook the learners
- Sustain interest (drop-out rates even higher).
- Ensure course completion
- Improve retention

Some fun, some hard work. The important part is the learning agenda.

Serious Games - the basis.
- Historically games have been frowned upon. Nothing has really changed.
- Game seen as not equalling "learning"

"Game" - Activity engaged in for diversion or amusement.
"Serious Game" - voumtary activity pled within a specific time / place according to rules linked to a well-defined learning objective.

Games good for learning in certain contexts
- Learn rules
- Create strategies
- Risk Reward

Learning process playing game
- Understand - Encounger a new activity / screen. Understand rules behind it.
- Solve - Identify a solution - by iteration, if required and Internalize
- Learn - Too difficult to internalize, learning dismissed. Too simple, file away as solved.

Powerful element of learning from games - Failing

Downside - some dissonance in learning agenda
- Challenge may decrease with time - game becomes boring
- Successful completion of game = Winning. May not be graceful in multi-player format.
- Development cost ($$$ and time). Game for JP Morgan - very interactive - took 10x more time than standard tutorial.

Games are the way forward. (Especially as they become more available on mobile phone. See the time I spent at the airport with Scrabble and Poker).

Factors that affect Game-based learning
Case Study - Investor Education, JP Morgan

Did "Jargon Buster: (I hope they provide the slides / presentation material)

Issue - range of audience
Need - ID existing Knowledge level of learner to create adaptive tracks
Approach - Play a game and score points to cross threshholds.

Figured out where the gap was - in this case, what is a mutual fund
Can select sectors and companies to invest in.

Tried to mimic the real world in the game board.

The rationale
- How an Mutual Fund invests in the stock market
- Learner need context, why focus on stock trading
- You are competing against a mutual fund.

Factors that affect learning - what good games contain.

Motivation - good games trigger motivation
- Challenge - throw dice, show changes to variables. Learner makes decisions
- Fantasy - give $25,000
- Curiosity - how does it work? Some guessing involved. (Student makes the important decisions)
- Control - student buys and sells.

Interpersonal factors for motivation
- Competition
- Cooperation
- Recognition

Fidelity - how true to life can you get on a psychological level
- The stocks - real stocks from the market from different segments
- The prices - real prices from the stock market for an entire year
- The news - daily real news clippings that affect the scripts for the entire year.

But - build too much detail, too much distraction. What is the learning agenda you want.

Authenticity - If it doesn't parallel real life, will treat this as a "game" but not fully absorb.
- You want to be as close to real data as possible.
- In this instance, moved back one year. Too close, cognitive dissonance that will hinder learning.
- Graph the data from 25 stocks, 5 industries. The real data anchored. Wound up with 4660 combinations. All tracking to stuff that really happened.

Playfulness - Gotta find a balance.
- Why they brought in the dice for randomization.

Ultimately, used combination of simulation and game to educate.
- Had to keep checking the goal (which was pretty well defined in regards to what the game was supposed to accomplish. He moved too fast for me to write it down)

This particular game was intended to be played multiple times.
- Problem with SCORM compliant version - repeatability
- Now put on thumb-drives. The students then look at it at their leisure.

After evaluating the reaction from the game, realized missing the Investment / Advisor relationship. Thinking role-play - new game.
- (The evaluation piece after roll-out still key. Step for next game or next version to fine-tune the variables)

The investor game - 3000 hours, just programming. Not including design or research.
- User takes 1 hour to play

For standard game
- Can be as low as 600 hours, depending on complexity of the interaction.
- 1/3 Instructional Design - 1/3 Content Creation - 1/3 Programming and packaging.
+ Highly approximate, this is what he starts with time-wise. Depending on what is available for content and the Instructional Design capailities of the client.
+ Will leave 20-30 percent of effort "in-store" to account for post-roll-out evaluation and re-design.

Case Study #2 - On-boarding for new employees (RPG)

Given some limits by client
- 3 hours for end-user max
- Analyzed what works and what doesn't in current learning environment
- 2 pieces - the history of the company and Navigate through the Businesses.

For navigating through the business - similar to "Where in the World is Carmen Santiago"
- Has a story - The business plans for the company stolen. Follow around the world and leave clues. Each clue leads to different company in the group.
- This one not nearly as concerned with Authenticity and Fidelity
- Made them work against the clock.
- This is tracked on LMS. Could see whether they did it multiple times.
- There were issues with connectivity with some groups.

Again - combination of simulation and game

Training problem
- Try to get consistency of knowledge across the new employee base
- Bosses want people on job quickly.
- Extreme diversification. New hires got only their own company perspective
- ILT onboarding boring. Sitting through hours of lectures (didn't tell HR this)

- How do we make learner understand variety of businesses (not a real actionable objective, in my mind)
- Make learner proud to be involved in group

- 1000s of learners
- High intensity engagement. Gave some drill-down options.
- Goal of high retention during training and, ideally, during employment.

(He did a few more case studies. Some cool stuff and various models for games - such as short modules, etc. Most important - motivation, fidelity, authenticity, playfulness.)

Warning - retrofittng games from old customer into new customer - didn't work so well. Due to needs and context of customer.

(He made it a point to separate "Game" from "Interactivity" - like the Raptivity interactions or Sealund interactions)

How they work:

When they design - get parameters from customer. Brainstorm (not very structured). Many of his customers have VERY strong ideas about what they want (after an initial draft).
- Senior person engages with senior person of the client to understand big-picture agenda.
- Do research - what does the company and target audience have / know
- Brainstorm
- Sketchy draft to see if on right track. (Does this very quickly and early in the process).
- Get feedback (usually very strong at this point, in my experience. They have to see something first) from client.
- Use mind maps to continue brainstorming once get feedback.
- Repeat the brainstorm / draft / feedback loop.

When doing game - think ground-up. If something you already have works, bonus. But don't try to fit what you have to the problem at hand.

They use Flash as primary development tool.

For case study 1 (JP Morgan Chase game with the complicated database) - $25,000 per hour.

Generally - for $10,000 ground-up, get something pretty nice. (The prices are for the presenter's company. Interesting there is some of the "competition" in there asking questions - I guess looking for points of comparison with their own business).


This was a much more informative session than I expected from the description. I'll admit to being a little intimidated by the complexity of his projects.

Always interesting to see the gap between where I am and where I want to be. Had a preliminary conversation with Mark and Tony during the break on this. I'm thinking in terms of ALL technologies (my blogging infrastructure, communications), not just games.

Other resources for the conference.

Mark O is using LiveBlogger for the sessions he attends.
Clark Quinn will be posting Brain Maps during the conference as well.

Hopefully, they will have caught what I missed.

Big takeaways from O'Reilly's session:
- Talk to the folks that don't need you.
- Make them mentors to those that do.

They are the ones who would know about the pros and cons anyway.

Web 2.0 - Tim O'Reilly's Keynote

(As usual, my comments in parentheses)

Web 2.0 and the Enterprise - Keynote
Presenter: Tim O'Reilly


(BTW - Here is the Pageflake for the conference, so you can see a whole bunch of opinions and the very cool twitter feed, real time.)


Brent's intro - Learning in a 2.0 World

(Group participation, What I (they) learned in Breakfast Bytes) - user assistance, link audio and video to online help.

Google Case study - open access video on "Going Green". (Having a hard time finding this. Finding a speech by a Google guy instead).

(Note to self - make sure you check out the Serious Games Zone)


Tim O'Reilly

- Biases
- What is Web 2.0
- What does it tell us about the "new literacies" needed
- How to best teach them

What we really do "Change the world by spreading the knowledge of innovators."
- Finding technologies developed outside of mainstream, write the book.
- Book develop legitimacy. We can then move on. (Funny process, but true. Hard paper still seems more legitimate)
- Help people learn from the people on the edge
- Examples - Linux and Pearl (1991), First book on internet (1992 - only 200 sites on WWW)

(Mentioned the Open Source conference he organized in 1998. This may be the most important thing that live conferences do - help people meet each other who may not "know" each other. New level of intimacy after meeting someone in person and talking to them vs. remove).

Another "big parade" forming - brain-family(?) learning. Lots of things happening in neuroscience that can help learning.

Watch the Alpha Geeks.
- Those who are so comfortable with technology, they don't need "training." Just do.
- Watch, then extract.
- Examples
+ Wi-fi. WIreless community networks predict universal wi-fi. Seeking out wi-fi anywhere - pringles can antennas, hanging on rooftops
+ Screen scraping predicts web services and the internet as platform
+ "Pedal-powered internet" - setting up local internets with energy from bikes - predicts new focus on energy.

(Look ma - the technology adoption curve!!!!)

The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet.

Look ahead and understand where it is going.
- People we best learn from are those who do not need our services.
- Our job - capture what they know and transfer to others. (Being the interpreters between the IT / Tech folks and non-tech folks).

We look at people having fun with technology and figure out what it means
- Pattern recognition!!!!

Example - Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Wikipedia.....What is in common
- Internet
- Built on top of open source, not open source itself
- Services, not packaged apps
- Data aggregators, not just software
- Network effects from user contributions key to their market dominance (esp. eBay)

The Open Source Paradigm Shift
- The platform is becoming the services over the internet. NOT the computer in front of you (look, Blogger!!!! Not my computer notes, Word, or even pencil and paper. This is not hosted on my computer!)
- Most of the apps that matter to you today use Linux

The Network is the Platform

Those that failed - think the network is a broadcast medium.
Those that won - understood that the network is the platform. New types of applications possible. Ones that got better as more people use them.

User contribution system (YouTube, Digg, etc)
- Corporate example - Ideastorm (IBM) Customers making suggestions.
- Lots of us equate Web 2.0 with wiki, blogs, twitter,

Social media is great, but not the heart of the matter. Data is!
- Harnessing collective intelligence.
- Every successful Web 2.0 company is building a database whose value grows in proportion to the number of participants.
- Google's source of lock-in - Data. Has lots of it, and is harnessing it. Why they are successful.

Don't just teach people social media. Teach them about data.

Web 2.0 is about finding MEANING in user-generated data and turning that into real-time, user-driven services.
- Before, brute force data.
- Google, meaning in the structure of the links themselves. Central to success.
- See more deeply into the data.
- Yahoo, MS - top ad position to highest bidder. Google - can predict likelihood that someone click on add. They sell to person with most likelihood of click-through + price. Better results = more advertisers.

What you have to teach and incorporate into thinking.
- What turns web 2.0 is being better at data.
- Real-time, user-facing services created based on data.

Example - wesabe. Personal finance startup (like Quicken online).
- Certain types of analytics can be used against data collected.
- Will make recommendations - advertisers buy in.

Web 2.0 for the enterprise means letting users into your back-office.

What would Google do?
- If they were phone company, bank, FCC, ran your supply chain, factory, IT Dept
- Training Dept?

Testing on the toilet.
- Google - techniques and learning posted in the stalls. Testing on the toilet

New competencies - what you need to train.....
- Programming Collective Intelligence - machine learning
- Techniques for extracting meaning from large data-sets. Core competencies of data age.
- Get away from old model of data. (Hadoop) Shift in computer science area.
- Statistic
- Design - even something simple like default icons (Flickr v. 37 signals). 37 signals was smiling. More likely to keep the icon. Flickr - most changed (which was a desireable behavior for Flickr)

Designing a system that cause people to do the right thing is a powerful way to get people to participate.

Ex. Flickr - default Public rather than Private. Make it EASY to encourage people to do what you want them to do. Flickr wants you to SHARE your photo. Why went past Shutterfly.

2 books on Design
- A Pattern Language - Design things so it works
- AirGuitar - esp. Birth of the Big Beautiful Art Market essay

You sell products based on what they MEAN, not what they do. see Apple

Instrumenting the World - we are miving out of the world in which people typing on keyboards. Applications driven by new types of sensors. Your device is doing things for you.

Where coming from - Feral Robot Dogs.

Google - flu-tracker app based on where people are typing the keyword "flu" in their search engine.

How do you teach the right skills?
- Follow your own pioneers and alpha geeks. Look for the folks that don't need you. What are they doing?

(he was still talking... I really had to go)

Made it to San Jose!

Cross-country travel is grueling, and it just dawned on me I'm not here very long. Got in very late last night. Leaving super-early in the morning Friday. Bummer.

Idle thoughts:

- Thank goodness for phone scrabble. I wasted an entire 3 hour layover in Atlanta (except for food and a brief twit) occupied with whether Xi is an acceptable scrabble word. It is.

- Krystal isn't nearly as bad as I remembered. Or my taste-buds are more shot than I thought. Nothing like slightly onion flavored grey fluffy meat-like product in a soggy bun to satisfy the appetite.

- The egg nog shake Krystal is serving for the holidays is the bomb. Where's that rum......

- They stuck me on the top floor at the Fairmont. All I can say is Wow! Right now, I am banking that the accounting department isn't reading this blog......

Going to fuel up with more coffee and find my spot in the back corner of the ballroom. Let's see if the wireless is stable.....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Going to DevLearn 2008

Yes.....they've let me out of the dungeon again!

I will be the one lurking in the back corner of sessions typing like a mad-woman. Please feel free to interrupt me if you see me.

Links to blog updates should appear on my Twitter feed.

I'm going to be experimenting with using Twitter in a conference setting. (I'm taking bets to see how long it's going to take for me to throw my spiffy new phone across a room to make it stop beeping.)

And, finally, an opportunity to meet Dr. Karrer in person!

For those of you going to DevLearn 2008 - see you there!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Needs Assessment via Observation

One of the great things about blogging when your employers read it (and support what you are doing) is that they give you ideas for posts.

Before starting our recent staff meeting, the Director looked at me and said

Hey Wendy - why don't you blog about how you determine training needs through your training requests and phone calls.

I hadn't thought about it before.

I get questions concerning how to do the same thing from different corners of the organization. I dig around for resources and find none. If its a simple task, I make a few phone calls, clarify what the right process is, and create a quick reference. Something more complicated, maybe an online tutorial. If its a standard process that affects a lot of people and fits nicely into one of my courses, I incorporate it into the standard introductory classroom course as well. I've done this unconsciously for years. This is the first time I've given any conscious thought to this process.

I'm going to hack out an example in an attempt to describe the way I work.


Recently, I've been getting requests for custom training on our main Enterprise administration system from all corners of the University. In only the past 6 months. It never happened with my predecessor. The only reason we could find for this uptick in requests is turnover among the departmental experts in this product.

I am seeing a trend in the questions asked during the design and delivery of these custom sessions.

- How do I find student demographics?
- How do I find a student's current course schedule?
- How do I find student transcript information?

Understand that my entire audience for the enterprise administration system performs all 3 of these tasks regularly as part of their day to day activities. Every class I've taught since I started my new job (custom and regularly scheduled) has asked some variant of these 3 questions.

The students are obviously not able to get the information we (both the training group and the Enterprise system administrators) assumed they were getting from elsewhere.

Seems to me it's time to revamp the Enterprise administration course.

With demonstration examples covering the basic questions I get, I give the students more context. More context = more comfort with the system walking out of the classroom. More comfort = less time that the student spends staring at his or her computer feeling incompetent, helpless and more than a little angry instead of doing the job.

So my next task, during next year's major end-user upgrade, is to see what ELSE the audience isn't getting from the current training resources.

And I figured all of this out from informally keeping track of trends. No fancy tools needed.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sometimes you can be TOO cutting edge

Prepping for DevLearn 2008 this weekend.

Blogger to Twitter to Facebook link - check.
Know how to mobile post to both blogger and Twitter - check.
Know how to work the spiffy new phone - check.
Laptop configured and charged - check.
Sessions decided (with feedback from the Manager and the Director) - check.
List of folks to meet - check.

QR code reader installed on the phone............ummmmmmmmmm.........

Seems that my phone model is so new, none of the existing QR Code readers work.

So if anyone knows where I could find a QR Code reader for an LG Dare (tried Google Search and looked at all of the QR resources at the DevLearn site), if you could send a comment on this site or message me on Facebook, I would be very grateful.

Because Brent has been talking about this for almost a year - and I wanna be in the QR Code scavenger hunt too!!!!!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Beginning Ed Blogger Tips

Chris, over at Ruminate, forwarded a request for help from Tammy, a new EduBlogger.

Looks like she was inspired by her time at the WCET conference. And it looks like she doesn't suffer from the fears I had when I started blogging.

I've been at this 2 years now (Yikes!) and the only advice I have (beyond "Just do it") is to write about what interests you. I personally use this as a diary / therapy tool for my professional life. Within certain boundaries (yes, my current bosses read this blog), I talk about projects and interactions within those projects because I felt there wasn't enough of-the-moment, in-the-trenches case studies available. The ones where the person is writing from within the project and has no clue whether what they are doing will succeed or fail.

That and writing it all out makes me feel better.

Other bloggers in the edublog space talk about cool new toys, or new research, or provide advice based on their own experience. Some are more personal than others.

Your blog will morph and shift and take on a life of its own. Your blog may spend moments neglected and unloved, then suddenly be smothered with attention from you and your commenters. The edublogging space is incredibly friendly and an awesome source of feedback.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Playing with Spiffy Widgets

Dr. Karrer was kind enough to think of me when he looked for volunteers for his new eLearning Learning widget.

By the way - I stand by my opinion that the gadget is "cool."

Because I have a killer command of the English language.

See...what Dr. Karrer DIDN'T tell you is that my top keyword is Help. As in, I need lots of.....

BTW - Cammy got her hands on the cool new widget too. She has sophisticated, professional keywords like "Instruction" and "Blog" and "Course" in her top 3. Welcome back to the fold, Cammy!

I used the widget installation as an opportunity to update my Blogger template (long overdue). My old advice on how to change templates from March 2007 stands up nicely.

The only recommendation I would make is to make full use of the HTML gadget. This reduces the amount of time you need to spend in the hard-code. Screw up the code in the gadget, no big deal. Delete the gadget. Screw up the code in the did save a text version of your original template, right?

This is what the layout tools in the new (to me, at least...the functionality has been there almost a year now) Blogger templates look like.

If I select an HTML gadget, I can just pop the old code into the gadget. MUCH easier to move it around than cutting and pasting code. I've pictured the code to my custom links below.


If you are a feed reader junky, please come visit me and let me know what you think of the new look. And play with the widget, let Dr. Karrer and I know what you think.