DevLearn 2014: The dead of the corporate LMS and WYSIWYG authoring?


DL14-badge-speaking_350DevLearn 2014 is approaching. Just three weeks and it will start. I have the honor of doing two sessions at DevLearn. One concurrent session about “Trends Leading to the End of the LMS” and one morning buzz session called  “The Death of WYSIWYG Authoring?”

Does this mean that I foresee doom for the eLearning industry? No it doesn’t. It means that we are in a period of fundamental changes. All changes will offer new opportunities, but will also make some victims. And I believe that the LMS and WYSIWYG authoring will be among the victims.

Session 206: Trends Leading to the End of the LMS (Wednesday October 29, 1.15 pm.)

There are many changes going on. They will lead to a lot of changes in our industry. In this presentation I will focus on why the corporate LMS is something from the past. The trends that I will be talking about are:

  1. The learner is taking control:
  • Self-directed learning
  • Personalization
  • Adaptive learning
  • Anywhere, anytime, any device
  • On demand
  1. Learning is moving to the business:
  • Informal learning, working smarter
  • Mapping learning goals to business goals
  • 70:20:10
  • Integration with performance support
  • Return on investment
  • Moocs
  • New Content
  • Curation

My presentation will be available for download at the conference website and app. But it mainly contains images and video. I will create a white paper with the full text. It will be available for download on the easygenerator website. You can also drop me a mail at k.spiro@easygenerator.com and I will send it to you after the conference.

MB29—The Death of WYSIWYG Authoring (Friday October 31. 7.15 am.)

I was really inspired by this years MlearnCon keynote Karen McGrane called “Content in a Zombie apocalypse”. She convinced me that we should move from WYSIWYG authoring to WYSIWYM authoring. At easygenerator we are in the middle of this transformation. Our old Windows based system uses WYSIWYG, the new web based authoring tool uses WYSIWYM. We should move to WYSIWYM because with responsive publications and the wide range of devices people are using you simply don’t know what your publication will look like. On top of that new devices are appearing (wearable’s like the smart watch and smart glasses) making this even more an issue. But if we ask users of the ‘old’ Windows edition what they like most about it they will very often answer the “WYSIWYG interface”. So this raises a whole bunch of questions:

  • Is WYSIWYG dead?
  • IS WYSIWYM the future
  • Should we offer both or maybe create a mix?
  • What does this mean for design

And much more. I hope to discuss these questions in this morning buzz session. 7.15 so bring your coffee.

As always I will try to post as many session reports as I can, so there will be much more about DevLearn on this blog.

A How to Guide on the Principles of the #elearningmanifesto: # 5 Provide realistic practice


 

150x150xSerious-eLearning-Signatory-line5-150x150.png.pagespeed.ic.DXeP5kemTe (1)This is Principle 5 of the manifesto: “We will provide learners sufficient levels of realistic practice; for example, simulations, scenario-based decision making, case-based evaluations, and authentic exercises.”

My response to this is, of course we do this. The underlying reason is simple. We should place the learner and the work context central to the learning, instead of giving the content the lead role.

Connecting to the Workplace
Currently, the biggest eLearning trend is connecting eLearning to the workplace. This leads to other learning experiences than only courses. eLearning continues to move into the area of ePerformance more and more, and it also integrates with knowledge management (curation for example). The goal is to support the learner (employee) during his moment of learning need on-the-job which lessens the focus on courses than previously. If you  decide to create a course, it must be ‘learner centric’ and not ‘content centric’, Simply put it is not about the topic you want to cover, but what the learner needs to do with the content  and how he can apply it in his work. The simplest way to make this happen is to use real life situations as the foundation for eLearning modules. There are plenty of options available: Simulations, scenario based, case based and authentic exercises. I will discuss each of them in this post.

Simulations
A simulation tries to recreate a real world process in such a way that the learner can take part in that process and learn from it. The ‘process simulation’ often comes in the form of an animation that places the learner in the ‘story’ or process. In order to complete the process, the learner must learn along the way, so additional information can be presented at the moment of need. Presenting information in the context of this process motivates the learner to read and learn the information much more than if you just presented it as an old fashion course. The problem with simulations is that they are often animated, cartoon like, but at the same time they need to be realistic enough to engage the learner. In my experience, only hand crafted simulations are engaging enough, while many simulations created with default tools are not attractive enough.

Here is a well done animated example of a simulation about collecting evidence at the site of an accident.

Scenario-based and Case-based Learning
From my perspective, scenario-based and case-based learning are more or less the same. In both cases you create a story that the learner  goes through. A difference between a case and a scenario is that with a case the learner needs to find information to come to a solution and in a scenario the learner often has to find the correct ‘golden’ path to get  to a solution. Case based tends to be a bit more complicated because the learner has  to gather information which  influences the  outcome. But if you look at examples of both types of learning, they very often are very much alike. The learner is in a situation and given several different choices where he needs to choose one, and based on the  choice he move ahead to the next situation and so on.

I’d welcome additional input and insight into the difference. If someone can explain it  in a better way, please let me know!

Scenario or case-based learning is a very effective way of creating learning experiences that come from a realistic situation, instead of focusing on content. And it is much easier to create these learning experiences than a simulation. A story told with images and text (or a self-made video) is easy to create and powerful for learners – we should use it more often!

I found the rules listed below on how to develop good case based learning from Clyde Freeman Herreid. Good case-based learning:

  1. Tells a story.
  2. Focuses on an interest-arousing issue.
  3. Is set in the past five years
  4. Creates empathy with the central characters.
  5. Includes quotations. There is no better way to understand a situation and to gain empathy for the characters
  6. Is relevant to the reader.
  7. Must have pedagogic utility.
  8. Is conflict provoking.
  9. Is decision forcing.
  10. Has generality.
  11. Is short.

(I found this list at the site of the Queens University )

Another great thing about these learning approaches is that someone from the workplace (not an eLearning specialist) is able to create such stories. The technique and didactics are simple, yet very effective.

Authentic exercises
If you decide not to tell a story through a case-based or scenario-based exercise, and want to put the content more in the lead, at least provide examples and exercises that are realistic and recognizable by the learner. This is the least you should do.

See the first post on this topic for the goals and other posts on the serious eLearning manifesto

#mLearncon recap: mLearning is growing up


I loved this mLearncon, I really did. But when I had to come up with a title for this recap it didn’t come to mind immediately. At first glance there was no leading trend or great news. I had to reread the posts about the previous mLearncon’s I attended before it came to me.Two years ago, there where some early adapters at mLearncon, most of them where publishing existing courses to tablets. The rest was thinking: ‘I need to do something with mobile, but what and why?’. Last year I expected a big step forward, but I was disappointed. There was no substantial progress that I could see. And that is the difference with this years conference. mLearning has matured. At first mobile was seen as a replacement for eLearning, and people where bringing their old courses to tablets. This year I saw many examples of mLearning that really take advantage of the unique features of the mobile devices and more and more on phones, not tablets. Smart phones are location and context aware and you have them always with you; this makes it ideal for performance support while you are on the go. Short nuggets of information pushed to mobile, especially short video’s. And people are beginning to use the other features of the devices such as camera’s. Design principles are more clear and more and more people have a proper strategy in place, ensuring the place of mobile learning in the total learning environment. Another sign of us catching up with the technique is that we are also looking forward. There already is a discussion on wearables (like Google Glass, smart watches and other sensors that we will carry in the near future). Last year we where still catching up with the possibilities of mobile learning. A great step forward.

About the conference
It was a great conference. I attended three keynotes and 10 sessions, and only one was disappointing. The rest varied from good to excellent. I learned a lot. The highlight of the conference was the keynote by Karen McGrane. Really great presentation and it put a lot of things for me in place. That is my biggest personal take away. I will use it in the product development of the new web edition of easygenerator and I believe I can solve that apocalypse. mLearncon is relative small, which makes it extra nice, and this years location was San Diego. Compared to Orlando (learning solutions) Las Vegas (DevLearn) a huge improvement. I loved it. Only the early bird sessions didn’t work well. Very low (to none) attendance and no moderation. For the rest a big compliment for David Kelly and his team.

And the score of mLearncon is …..
Before the conference I came up with the Spiro index. I’m looking for a way to compare conferences. The pre-conference score of mLearncon was 2.375 (the average number of sessions I selected per time slot). During the conference I rated all the sessions I attended, mLearncon scored 7.6 on average. The final score is found by multiplying these two and dividing them by two. mLearncon’s end score is a 9.0. This is the first time I did this so I have nothing to compare it with yet, but I will do this also for future conferences.

Blogging at mLearncom
Since mLearncon is about mobile, I decided to write all my post without using my laptop: Tablet and phone only. This worked out really well for me. I used my favorite app (mind node) for the mind maps, the conference app (really great) and the WordPress app (has room for improvement). I was able to post the blog most of the times before I left the session room. This worked for me better than writing all the posts on my laptop in the evening. I’m not sure how useful these posts and mind maps are for you. To be frank I do write them for myself. Making the mind maps is my way of organizing and processing all the information, it is my way of learning.  And my blog is developing itself as my extended memory, I check on old posts very often. Below you will find an overview of all the posts I did on mLearncon. WordPress doesn’t have hotspots so you have to click the links in the list below the image it to go to the posts.

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The posts:

 

 

#mLearncon closing panel: Exploring technologies, strategies and possibilities


The closing panel discussion with Chad Udell, Clark Quinn, David Kelly and Imogene Casebourne.

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#mLearncon Mark Schuster: Spaced Learning & mobile


For memory retention it is necessary to spread out learning over time, it will enhance retention. This presentation covered the principles of the forgetting curve and how AT&T puts this into practice. Good presentation.

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#Mlearncon Sarah K. Arkins: Mobile development: Elements and principles


A session on (mobile) interface design. Another crash course for me, she covered all key elements and principles. Good session. Key messages: only use what is really necessary and it is al about the tiny choices!

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#mLearncon Gary Woodill: How to apply design thinking to mobile learning


Not the best session of the day I’m afraid. I’m not sure I got the essence of design thinking. What I did get that it is an agile iterative way of problem solving. By exploring the problem space you get a better understanding of the problem, which can lead to better working solutions. The biggest takeaway probably is that we don’t have proven solutions for mobile learning yet and we should thing on good solutions instead of re-applying old solutions.

Here are my notes:

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#mlearncon Tim Wright. using empirical research to get MLearning right


This session turned out to be a crash course on instructional design, based on what has proven to be working. Eight great guidelines. More details on his website: http://www.timwright.guru

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#mLearncon session ebup3 and XAPI combined


This was a session on the potential combination of epub3 (an Ebook standard) and XAPI, this way adding the activity capabilities of XAPI to EPUB3 publications. It still in development, but will come available in 2015. Both presenters have a standard background, which made this session a bit technical. Interesting stuff tough. The question is, will a book metaphor be sustainable, shouldn’t we move to a different metaphor?

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#Mlearncon session David Wentorth A framework for mobile learning


A session where he reports on where the industry is on mobile maturity. He is from Brandon Hall and they have a model to measure the maturity of the mobile strategies of companies. Interesting model, they have six categories and each category has 4 stages. I was not able to capture the entire model, but it will be available next week. I will share that, nice way to see where you are and how you can develop your strategy.

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