Do you really need to create an entire training (or elearning) module for that?

Over the weekend, I read this post from Trina Rimmer about how she had just purchased an electric sander and was so pleased with how it worked she wanted to use it everywhere. Her point was that sometimes we get so caught up in our favorite tools that we try to use them even when they’re not the right tool for the job. She went on to offer 10 alternatives to elearning.

One of my favorite alternatives to creating a training session or elearning module is the explainer video, and my favorite tool for developing short explainer videos is PowToon. If you’re looking for an alternative to entire training sessions or elearning modules and something that’s just a little different (and in my opinion more engaging) than a pdf handout or flier, you may want to check out PowToon.

Don’t just take my word for it; following are several examples of what you could create fairly quickly:

Example #1: Business Powtoon Continue reading

Using Your Downtime to Increase Skills and Knowledge

Today is President’s Day in the U.S. and many of us do not need to work. At least officially. I find that using downtime to read an article I otherwise wouldn’t have the time to read or play around with a new skill that I’ve been wanting to try using Articulate Storyline can be surprisingly invigorating.

I’ve also found Twitter to be a great source of articles or videos I otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to as well a place in which people from my network are forever sharing new tips or tricks or work-arounds.

If you’re looking for some new sources of inspiration or just some places to begin finding new information during your downtime, here is a list of ten people you may want to begin following on Twitter:

1. David Anderson: If you’re looking for new inspiration for an eLearning project, David facilitates Articulate’s Weekly eLearning Challenge. Check it out. Heck, if you’re inspired, go ahead and submit your own eLearning experiment to share with Articulate’s online community.

2. Clark Quinn: Clark focuses on technology, learning and brain science. He’s the author of a book called Revolutionize Learning & Development: Performance and Innovation Strategy in the Information Age and you’ll also find him participating in various Tweet Chats.

3. Lauren Hug and HugSpeak: Looking to up your game when it comes to how you’re using social media and applying your own communication strategy? These are the things Lauren tweets about. She shares helpful tips and interesting articles. She’s also the author of The Manager’s Guide to Presentations.

4. JD Dillon: JD is the author of the Just Curious… blog and just seems to have his hands on the pulse of learning and development – in terms of technology, classroom and personal knowledge management.

5. Will Thalheimer: Will is a first class myth buster when it comes to what works and what doesn’t in learning and development. I’m not talking about fads, I’m talking about research and science. Will has a passion for sifting through peer reviewed research in order to explain in plain English why things like learning styles have little impact and how learning objectives should actually be framed. He just launched a new website called debunker.club. His learning audit website is also super helpful with things to keep in mind while designing learning experiences.

6. Jim Kelly: Need I say more? I’m not all about learning and development, after all. Plus, he’s the only quarterback to lead a team to four straight Super Bowls. What’s not to like about this guy?

7. Jane Hart: In addition to passing along interesting articles throughout the week, I especially appreciate Jane’s “Not to be missed” compilation of articles at the end of the month.

Jane’s Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies also publishes the annual list of Top 100 Tools for Learning.

8. Matthew Guyan: eLearning is at the center of Matthew’s posts, so you’ll find samples of his eLearning work (via eLearning Challenges in the Articulate online community) as well as a smattering of information he’ll pass along from other authors. Plus, he’s in Australia, so if you’re in the U.S. and hit with a bout of insomnia, you can read his tweets all night long!

9. Jane McGonigal: Definitely the smartest person on gamification I’ve followed. She’ll post research about game design from time to time, she’ll post about her successes and struggles in writing her next book, and she’ll remind you who’s still in the mix during major tennis tournaments. Jane also has several TED talks to her credit and is the author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.

10. TED Talks: Perhaps there are times when you’re not in the mood to read another article. I find TED Talks valuable not just because of the fascinating mix of topics I can learn about, but also the way in which the speakers deliver crisp, engaging presentations. Finding a newly released TED talk in my Twitter feed is a handy reminder that I don’t always need to read an article to be exposed to a new or interesting concept.

And if you think this blog is pretty good, you should also give me a follow on Twitter.

Think someone else might find this list of resources handy? Why not send it along? Or hit the Twitter button below and Tweet it along to your followers!

 

 

5 Predictions for the Future of Learning and Development

Have you ever wondered what the future of workplace learning will look like? As I look around, here are five things I think will happen within the next five years:

Xbox will transform classroom-based delivery

It’s been several years since I first saw this TED Talk and it unleashed a million ideas for me in how it could be used in the classroom. Can you imagine harnessing the power of augmented reality in the classroom? Simulations! Case studies! Even role plays would be fun.

Of course, I’m sure some presenters would smother this technology’s potential by simply throwing a bunch of augmented reality bullet points at their audience, but I think overall this type of technology will benefit classroom-based learning (and even webinars!) by replacing rote lecture and theory with more content based in real-world applications. With photo and video apps for smart phones, tablets and PCs becoming more interactive each day, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll see this at an ASTD conference near you.

Storyline will be the PowerPoint of the future

Unfortunately, as I look ahead, the future isn’t completely bright. Rapid elearning authoring tools have been around for a while, but I’ve never seen anything as intuitive or easy to use as Articulate Storyline. This software is exciting because individuals or teams responsible for an organization’s learning and development initiatives can now produce professional quality elearning at a fraction of the cost.

Storyline’s ease-of-use and intuitiveness, however, also turns my glass half empty as I look ahead. I see organizations rapidly loading up their learning management systems with bullet point-laden, click-through elearning modules. Yes, way too many of these exist now. In the future, they will be so easy to produce and clog up an LMS that the “good old days” will be a time when learners only had to spend 3 hours in the classroom, sitting through a presentation with 152 slides and 537 bullet points.

You won’t be able to discreetly check your email during a webinar

In the early 90s, I remember a commercial for some company (GE? AT&T?) that talked about fiber optics and the future and it had images of an American college lecture hall and toward the end, the professor called on someone in some distant land, and the camera panned out to see a bunch of students on the projector screen, and then there was a shot of a whole other classroom someplace in Asia that was attending this lecture.

This kind of exists today with video conference services and Skype and Facetime the like, but I’ve seen it primarily used for staff meetings or meetings across geographic locations or friends talking to one another. There’s been a movement in the webinar business to make webinars more engaging by broadcasting a live video feed of the facilitator. I envision a web conference interface that will soon come along and make it much easier for everyone to see one another, creating greater facilitator-to-audience and audience-to-audience connections.

You’ll still be able to “multi-task”, but others will see you doing it.

The “flipped classroom” will be right-side up

While not a brand new concept, it’s still novel to find a training program in which learners are asked to learn the content on their own prior to an in-person training session, and then classroom time is spent in various activities challenging the learners to apply what they’ve learned. In higher education, however, this is becoming a more regular part of instructional design and recent graduates are much more accustomed to this style.

There have been a lot of not-so-nice things written about Gen Y (apparently there’s an entire generation of young adults Snapchatting naked selfies and Tweeting their lives from their parents’ homes where there is barely enough room for their adult children because of all their kids’ trophies cluttering up the place). When it comes to designing effective and engaging learning experiences, however, I think Gen Y has a thing or two to teach old school Corporate America.

50% of all presentations will be engaging and lead to change

In 2010, McKinsey released a study saying that only 25% of corporate training dollars actually led to anything being done differently or better following a training session. In the next five years I think that number is going to double.

While some current big names in the learning and development field spend their time Tweeting snarky comments about the fact that there is a transfer-of-training problem, I’ve met a lot of folks beginning to break into the thought leadership of the L&D professional who are action-oriented and patient enough to meet presenters and SMEs at a skill level where they need to be met in order to improve their presentation skills.

Presentations will be engaging and lead to change when people who don’t attend ASTD conferences (indeed, people who giggle at the acronym ASTD because it sounds too much like “an STD”) take an interest in how to engage their audience and how to move their audience to act. In the next few months, I’ll be sharing specific ideas (and maybe even an online tool or two) in how I plan to do my part to transform every presentation into something that’s engaging and will lead to change. Want to join me in turning this prediction into a reality?

Is your mind blown? Do you have doubts about any of these? Maybe you have a prediction of your own. Look into your crystal ball and let me know what you think in the comment section below.

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