Help needed: what are the correct terms for learning elements


At Easygenerator we use terms like Learning path, course and assessment. But we are not sure everybody understands these terms in the same way. We concluded that these terms are probably not the same in a corporate or educational environment, and it looks like that they are different per country as well. We are able to change these terms and even make them flexible. But we need to know which terms to use for whom. Therefore we have created a survey. It will just take you two minutes for you to complete and it would be a great help for us. Just click here to start. Thanks in advance!

Naming survey

 

 

 

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Seven musts for creating effective elearning


Many new eLearning authors create eLearning with a presentation (PowerPoint) mindset. But creating a course is very different from creating a presentation. This article contains seven tips that will help you to create more engaging and effective eLearning modules. I also created an eLearning module with more background information, There is a link to that full free module at the end of the page.

Goal

Define a goal and objectives before you start.  This is the first and probably the most important tip of all. You need to set a goal for your course or assessment! What will your learners be able to do (or know) after they have taken your course. I’ts a must have! Based on your course goal, you can create one or more (learning) objectives.
order

Do things in the right order. Most people that want to create eLearning will start with writing content and add some questions at the end as an assessment for the learner. This is the wrong way. The problem is that you will get content heavy “PowerPoint like” courses that are not engaging or effective.

The proper order is:

  1. Create your goal and objectives
  2. Determine how to assess these objectives (create the questions)
  3. Create the content, but only the content that you can link to one of the questions.

Your courses will be shorter, more to the point and much more attractive

story

Tell a story. One of the best ways to involve your users in your course is to tell a story. It is one of the most difficult things to do, but it is also one of the most effective. Books have been written about storytelling, but here are a few tips. It will be almost impossible to create an eLearning course that is completely story based. But you can use the story as an extra. Start your course with the story and come back to it later as an example. A good story will follow these rules/guidelines:

  1. Each story has three main elements:
    1. The introduction of the characters
    2. A problem or conflict
    3. A resolution
  2. Make sure your audience can relate to the story and the characters
  3. Make sure your goal comes back in the plot
  4. Keep it short, attractive and interactive

Smaller is betterbite. In eLearning smaller is better. It is the same as with eating. You don’t put all the food for a week on the table on Monday morning. You divide that in to three meals per day and over the days of the week.

Rule: Don’t make a course or assessment bigger than what people can chew in one session. A 15 to 30 minute course is best.If it is not possible to reach your goal in 30 minutes, split it up. Create a series of courses.

brainBeat the forgetting curve. There is a second reason why you should create small chunks of learning. It allows you to spread the learning experience over time. That is necessary to improve retention. In 1885 Hermann Ebbinghaus discovered that we will forget 90% of what we have learned within hours after learning it. It is the way our brain is wired. In the eLearning module there is more detailed information on this complex but interesting topic.

Use Learning paths. As you have learned by now, it is better to create a series of small field-path-388913_640courses and quizzes instead of creating one big course. The question of course is, how to present this series of learning activities to the learner. The answer is a learning path. It allows you create a series of learning activities, allowing you to create bite sized elements, spread them out over time and build in repetition as well. Easygenerator has the ability to create learning path, but a lot of Learning Management Systems will do that as well.

 

mistakesLearn from mistakes. When someone makes an error, he has the maximum motivation to learn. You want to correct it. This is something you should use in your eLearning. Use questions in your eLearning not only for assessment, but for a learning purpose. When a learner answers a question incorrect you can show him feedback. Make sure that feedback is accurate and will allow the user to answer the question correct after reading it.  The  rule is:

“Trick your learner in making errors, provide proper feedback and he will learn.”

 

There are many website with much more details on all of these topics.  I have added them to these tips in a free eLearning module. Feel free to check it out.

 

An eLearning revolution: From professional development to knowledge sharing


Internet has changed everything and it is changing eLearning fundamentally. It has become so easy to publish information instead of just consuming it. Posting information on the web doesn’t require any technical knowledge anymore. Now all of us can be creators. Sharing your knowledge is as easy as sharing your latest picture through the social media. This trend is revolutionizing the eLearning industry. I will try to illustrate how fundamental this change is by telling you what happened over the past 18 months at Easygenerator

What is happening?

The creation of eLearning was the domain of instructional designers. Specialized, complex and expensive software allowed them to create bespoke eLearning solutions. These eLearning solution would run in an enclosed LMS owned by HR or L&D, which was focused on Management instead of Learning. And that is changing, now anyone can create eLearning with simple web based tools like Easygenerator and share it via the web with anyone, anywhere.

What will happen?

I foresee that bespoke eLearning will be replaced for a large part by ‘user’ generated content. A HR department will create an onboarding course, trainers will create course to move their business to the web, interactive eLearning modules will replace old school text books and the authors will publish and sell them without the big publishing companies, teachers will create their own materials. We are talking about a revolution in our industry. As a vendor we need to be ahead of the curve. This means these changes affect eLearning software companies like Easygenerator before they will affect the eLearning users. Therefore I can best illustrate how fundamental this change is going to be by describing the changes that Easygenerator went through in the past 18 months.

Old school

18 months ago we launched the first version of our web based eLearning authoring solution. Nothing special you would say. Let me give you some background. Easygenerator is one of the oldest eLearning companies, it dates back to 1996. This new web based tool is our third generation of eLearning software. We started in 1996 with a CD-rom version, that was followed in 2006 by a windows based edition. Our software aimed at professional eLearning developers. We sold our solution through a global network of partners to instructional designers, competing with tools like Articulate and Lectora.

New school

Our latest solution aims at people who do not have an eLearning background, but do have a need to share their knowledge. We are no longer competing with the Articulates of this world, we stopped the rat race for more fancy features. Easygenerator has three new goals now:

  1. Make it possible for anyone to share their knowledge on any device
  2. Make sure that they can do that without any training
  3. Support them in making more effective eLearning

 

What does it mean for us?

This caused my company Easygenerator to make a 180 degree turn in everything we do over the past 18 months. Our new goals and our new audience are very different from the old one. It changed our product development, marketing, sales and customer support. And being on the web means there are new possibilities in being connected with our users and by using big data.

Product development

Simplicity, usability, onboarding, and ease of use are the keywords that have replaced the keyword ‘more features’. Anyone should be able to sign up and create a course or a quiz within an hour, without any training. User testing and interface and usability design became leading. Our new software is now updated every week, we went from two releases per year to 52 releases per year. This allows us to put in small changes, get a response from our users and improve based on that. It is a world of difference with 18 months ago. It is connected, more agile, faster and much more efficient and much more fun.

Sales

We were selling the old Easygenerator trough a global network of partners. 99% of our sales was made through partners. In 2015 98% of our sales were direct sales, generated by our website and product, or via our own Easygenerator sales agents. A dramatic shift. Needless to say that nothing stayed the same in our internal processes and approaches. But it is really great, being in touch with our customers directly, getting their responses and feedback and responding to that. It actually connected sales directly to our product development. One third of our development work is now based on user requests. It even made us cross the boundaries of an ordinary authoring tool. Based on user requests we added course hosting and result tracking to our solution. Making Easygenerator a one stop shop for starting with eLearning. In 2016 we will even add the option to sell courses.

Marketing

We supported our partners in marketing efforts, we did campaigns and had booths at major eLearning conferences all over the world. That has changes completely. We don’t do booths anymore and the goal of our marketing team is to drive traffic to our website and have people signup for a free 14 day trial. In 2015 we had an amazing conversion rate of 11% (new visitors that signed up for the trial). The next step is to make people convert into a paying customer. That onboarding and activation process is now a shared responsibility of the marketing team and the product development team. 18 months ago there was no real connection between marketing and product development, they were separate islands. Now they have a shared goal and interest.

Customer support

The first line customer support was done by our partners. Our development team delivered second and third line support (fixing bugs and solving problems). We almost never had direct contact with the end user, only with our partners. Now we have an application (Intercom) integrated in our product that allows users to engage with us directly. We do the first line support by ourselves now and also second and third line support will interact direct with our customers through that application. The other great thing is that we update our product each Thursday. So when people report a problem or a bug or even a change request it can be in the product within days. For serious bugs that can even be hours. This brings a whole new dynamics to support and product development.

Big data

Being on the web means that you can collect data that allows you to better serve your customers. Here are some examples. Of course we have Google analytics showing us where our web site traffic comes from and how our website performs. We have similar software (Mixpanel) build in our application. It will tell us what our users are doing, where they struggle and how our improvements are paying off. Really cool. We even use this data to identify hot leads. Based on their trial behavior an application will filter out potential buyers that our sales department can pro-actively engage. We now also have a dashboard integrating information from Google analytics, Mixpanel, our product, Stripe (online payment provider) and more, giving us an accurate insight what is happening real time.

And does it work for us

Yes it does. After one year we now have paying customers in over 30 countries, free users in a 160 countries and in 2015 our revenue grew with an incredible 300%. We are expecting to reach the same growth percentages in 2016.

Meaning

Easygenerator is a frontrunner in the changes that are happening in the eLearning industry. The reason I have described how fundamental these changes have been for us is to give you a heads up what’s coming your way. I will end with our 30 second new simple product video.

Free eLearning software (Easygenerator) for teachers as of today!


A lot of teachers and professors are using easygenerator to create courses and quizzes. But most of them are on the limited Free Plan. As an individual teacher you very often simply do not have the budget to buy tools.

Get easygenerator (eLearning software) now for free

But from now on we have this offer for you:

The first two teachers from a school that sign up with Easygenerator will get a life time Academy Plan (our most extended plan with a value $59 per month) for free. 

What is the catch? There is none, we give you are eLearning authoring software and you will create cool things with it. We do hope that your management notices how it helps you to save time and improve the quality of your lessons, and that they will consider buying Easygenerator for all your colleagues. That’s it.

What do we offer?

Easygenerator is an online eLearning authoring tool. It is cloud based, so you don’t have to install anything and you can create courses, quizzes and exams with it. On top of that we offer course hosting and result tracking as well. All integrated and now all for free. No charge for you as an author, or for your students.
Why would you be interested.

Save time

Think of all the time you spent correcting the work from your students. easygenerator can do that for you. We have built in result tracking with a report function. No corrections by hand anymore. Students can take the assessments and courses on any device, a school computer, their smart phone, a tablet. No more printing as well!

Improve quality

The other thing is that you can increase your lessons quality.

Flip your classroom

The ‘old school’ method that the students prepare the lesson at home, followed by a lecture in the classroom and a homework assignment after the lesson.
Flipped classroon - traditionalWith the flipped classroom the lecture is done at home and the assignments are done in the classroom. You can do that by replacing the lecture with an instruction video or eLearning course. This frees your instructor led time for working on the assignments. Assisting your students by helping them solve problems they encounter doing assignments, turns out to be a much more effective way of learning.
Flipped classroon

Use e-Learning to flip your classroom

eLearning gives you the ability to raise the level of the home lecture. A course with video and quizzes will be much more effective than just a video recording of you explaining something. Creating eLearning used to be technically challenging and expensive, but that is in the past. You now have elearning software like easygenerator that you can use. You don’t need any training, you don’t need to code anything. It is simple, intuitive and not expensive (there is even a free version). eLearning will not only raise the level of the home lecture it will also give you tracking and tracing. You can see how much time your students have spent and how they did. That is a nice check before class but even more important is that it will give you insight which elements they are struggling with. That is important information in the preparation of your face-to-face lesson.

Use e-Learning to increase retention

You probably have heard about the forgetting curve. In order to protect itself from overload, the brain will forget the majority of the information that is receives.

In order to prevent this to happen you need to repeat things, the more you repeat the better it will stick. Just plain repetition is one thing, but the retention will increase significantly if your brain has to process the information, if you have to think on it. Flipping the classroom in itself already offers a big advantage here, you have time to make your student think in the classroom, because you don’t have to lecture. But you can do better. by applying repetition. But if you repeat the same thing over and over again, it will be very boring. eLearning allows you to follow-up the lesson with a whole series of small courses (learning nuggets or learning snacks) and quizzes. You can offer the content over a period of time, so you repeat it, but you change the form all the time. From video, to a question, to a learning nugget, a small case, to an assignment. This will have a huge effect on the retention, you can increase it from 30% to 80 or even 90%. This is a form of spaced learning, where you spread out the learning over time with the right repetition (repeat something at least three times). Easygenerator now has a special facility for this, called a learning path.

How to apply for a free subscription?

Go to live.easygenerator.com and sign up with your school email address. You will automatically get a free 14 day trial. Email us at info@easygenerator.com. Please supply the email address you have used to signup and a link to a LinkedIn page or something similar that allows us to verify that you are actually working in an educational institute. When you are the first or second person from your institute to apply, we will authorize your account for the rest of your professional educational life.

Learning path in easygenerator: beta testers wanted!


At easygenerator we it is our goal to help our authors to create more effective eLearning. That is the reason we have implemented Learning objectives as part of the flow of the course creation, it is also the reason we have our learning objective maker by easygenerator, based on Blooms taxonomy. And now we have added Learning paths, the way to better retention, byte-sized mobile learning and adaptive learning; in short to better and more effective eLearning

Learning paths

Become a beta tester of the Learning paths in Easygenerator

Become a beta tester!

But now we set the next step on the road to better eLearning. We have launched the beta version of our learning paths. It is just the first implementation, but we will build on this in the next few months. In order to make it spot on we are looking for people who want to beta test this and give us feed back. During the period of the beta test we will give you free access to easygenerator. Interested? Contact us at info@easygenerator.com if you want beta test our application.

What is a Learning path?

A Learning Path is a list of courses that you can publish as one learning experience. In easygenerator you can now add courses to a learning path and change the order.

So why is this a big thing? In our future additions you will be able to use learning path for:

  • Spaced learning
  • Byte sized mobile learning
  • Adaptive learning

Learning path beta 2

Learning paths and spaced learning

You are probably familiar with the work of Ebbinghaus and his forgetting curve. What is comes down to is that when you learn something one time, you will forget 80 to 90% in a month time. In order to increase retention you need to repeat a number of times over a period of time, preferably in different forms and shapes.

the forgetting curve

We will add the option to put dates next to the courses in a learning path. For example:

  • Day 1: Intro video
  • Day 2: small intro course
  • Day 4: Quiz

You get my drift, a very easy way to space out your eLearning and increase retention.

Learning paths and mobile learning

Mobile learning is an important trend in eLearning. We do know that big, content heavy courses do not work on mobile devices. A learning path is the ideal way to offer your eLearning in small byte size chunks and deliver them to mobile with our 100% responsive publications. Right now you can only publish a Learning path in HTML, but we will add other options shortly and we will add a cool design ideal for mobile devices.

Learning paths and adaptive learning

The addition will be adaptive learning. Instead of a straight path we will offer options to split the learning path into seperate paths. There will be two options.

  1. The learner can choose a specific path himself through the interface of the learning path
  2. You can create rules as an author, using the outcomes of previous steps as an indicator which learning activity will be next.

And more…

And there will be more. We will make it possible that you can only do a next step (or the final exam) when you reach a certain score, there will be certificates and more. This is one of the reasons we invite you to become a beta tester. Not only can you help us improve the current application, we also love to hear your ideas and your priorities for the further development.

Join me in a Q&A session on easygenerator and eLearning


Do you have questions about easygenerator, how to get the most out of it? Do you have ideas or requirements that we do need meet? Do you have questions in general about eLearning? Join me at one of my weekly Question & Answer sessions. from now on I will be available each Thursday 5 PM CET, 11 EDT to answer your questions on this topic.

What?

I will answer any questions regarding our authoring tool easygenerator. Please note that I will not do a full demo, if you want that please watch our demo video. If you need something that we don’t have yet, we will discuss the requirements and consider your request to our road map. And finally I love to talk about eLearning so try me out.

When?

Join me, just click the map at the right time!

Join me, just click the map at the right time!

How?

1. Send an email to support@easygenerator.com

  • Please mention the date that you want to join the conversation.
  • We really appreciate it if you could also add the questions/topics that you would like to discuss.

2. Join the meeting

You will receive an invitation for the meeting. In the details you will find a link. Click the link a few minutes before the start of the session and that is it. You need:

  1. Internet connection via your computer or tablet in order to join
  2. A headset or microphone/speakers
  3. If you don’t have a headset you can dial in via one of the phone numbers that are also in the invitation details and on the bottom of this post.

Login from this page

You can also login directly from this page just click here  to join the session.

Need to dial in for audio? Call one of the numbers below. You will be asked for an access code (976-706-957)

United States: +1 (571) 317-3129
Australia: +61 2 8355 1020
Austria: +43 (0) 7 2088 1047
Belgium: +32 (0) 28 08 4368
Canada: +1 (647) 497-9353
Denmark: +45 (0) 69 91 89 28
Finland: +358 (0) 942 59 7850
France: +33 (0) 170 950 594
Germany: +49 (0) 692 5736 7317
Ireland: +353 (0) 19 030 010
Italy: +39 0 247 92 13 01
Netherlands: +31 (0) 208 080 219
New Zealand: +64 9 280 6302
Norway: +47 75 80 32 07
Spain: +34 911 82 9906
Sweden: +46 (0) 852 500 186
Switzerland: +41 (0) 435 0167 13
United Kingdom: +44 (0) 330 221 0088

I hope to speak to you soon.

Book review: Corporate universities. Drivers of the learning organization


Corporate universities are surrounded and affected by change in a fast changing corporate landscape. The economic crisis and fundamental changes in eLearning are threatening them and forcing them to change in order to stay relevant. Martyn Rademakers has a refreshing view on the position of corporate universities, focusing on their role in strategic change.

According to Martyn the main challenge of organizations is to stay aligned with the rapidly changing outside world; it is the survival of the fittest. In order to do this and to stay current, corporate universities have to make dramatic changes. In this book Martyn and his co-writers give a great example of the Metropolitan Opera. In order to survive they had to change their complete value proposition, which led to change in every part of their organization. The book focuses on the role a corporate university can (must) play in this kind of processes.  CU book cover
Corporate universities Image adapted and republished with permission of the authors: Meyer & Rademakers, 2014. Click it to enlarge it He works this out in an interesting way. The changing market system forces the business system to change which has impact on the organizational system and in the end the personal system of the employees. This way he connects people development (or learning) to the corporate strategy. This means that strategy implementation leads to a continuous learning process of exceptional learning: “acquiring new insights, skills, routines and behaviors that help to re-establish the fit between market, the business and the organizational system”. It is in this transformational process that Martyn positions the corporate university. A corporate university is in his mind driven by the strategy of an organization. He makes a distinction between three types of corporate universities: School, College and Academy.
Strategy goal Business system Learning Type
Optimization Optimization Reactive  School
Implementation Transformation Hybrid College
Renewal Rejuvenation Pro-active Academy

A corporate university needs to choose one of these approaches in order to maintain focus. The choice between them will be decided by the nature of the corporate strategy. Martyn researched 21 corporate universities around the world and found that the most common form is the school type but with an ambition to grow towards college or academy types. He also found that a lot of the corporate academies do have a mix of all three types. His advice is choose one type and focus on that (thus supporting one strategic goal). In practice some corporate universities do have a mixed approach, while others decided to split up in several parts, each with their own strategic goal and focus. Martyn goes into more detail in Chapter 4 of his book; working out possible strategies with different learning goals and audiences. He offers some clear concepts for value creation by corporate universities and on learning formats. Chapter 5 to 10 describe in-depth cases of corporate universities. It is a description of his research were he based his findings on. It does make an interesting read and it provides a better understanding for his concepts. I do like this book but there is a but. In positioning the corporate university as a tool for strategic change, it gives them mostly a top down approach (except maybe the Academy type). This contradicts with a lot of trends in the world of learning where the learner is taking more control, where workplace support and integration of learning into the workplace play a dominant role. These are all bottom up processes corporate universities also play a role in. I do advise anyone who plays a part in strategic change or corporate universities to read this book, it does provide new angles and approaches. The other take-away is that it becomes clear that the Academy type of a corporate university is most needed given the trends in e-Learning, yet it is the type that is found the least.

Easygenerator has just launched an action. The first ten people who will by an Academy Plan will receive a free copy of this book. For more information see the easygenerator website.

Track and trace Learners results. What do SCORM compliance, AICC, XAPI and CMI5 mean?


Do you want to buy a LMS or an authoring tool and are you wondering what the best option is for tracking the results of your learners? Or are you just confused by all the abbreviations like: SCORM, AICC, XAPI, and CMI5? Here is an overview that will help you out.

SCORM and SCORM compliant

SCORM is a standard in e-Learning that makes it possible to track and trace the results of your learners in a Learning Management system (LMS). A course is SCORM compliant  when it meets the requirements of the standard set by the ADL. It makes it possible to create an e-Learning course in any authoring environment and run it in any SCORM compliant LMS and report your learners results to that LMS.

SCORM compliant

How does SCORM work?

How does SCORM work?

The basic set up of a SCORM compliant course is simple, here is how it works:

  1. You create a course in an e-Learning authoring tool (like easygenerator) or in a LMS
  2. You publish the e-Learning course as a SCORM package (something like save as SCORM)
  3. You upload the SCORM compliant course in your LMS and invite your learners
  4. All results of your leaners will be stored in your LMS

Which results will be stored?

If a course is SCORM compliant it can store almost everything:

  • End result of a course (failed passed and end score)
  • Questions answered correct or incorrect
  • Which answers where given
  • Which pages are viewed
  • How long a page was viewed
  • Total time spend
  • Score per Learning objective
  • Incomplete results and progress (so the learner can resume a course later)

You name it, it can be registered and stored.

Does SCORM compliant always means the same

No it doesn’t. SCORM has a compulsory part (basically all the results) but also elements that can be added optionally. Bookmarking (the storage of incomplete results) and results per learning objective are optional. This means that if you want to buy an authoring tool or a LMS you should check if they support the elements that you need!

And there is a second but: reporting. If the results are stored in the database of your LMS it does not mean you can get them out in an easy way. That depends on the reports the LMS is offering. Some LMS have very complete reports or allow you to create your own. If you want to make sure that the LMS does what you need, just check the reporting function!

SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004

Yes there are two version of SCORM: SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004. The latest version is SCORM 2004 but both are still in use. In fact the oldest version (SCORM 1.2) is the most popular one. So what is the difference? In fact if you just want to have a report on your learners results both will do. They have the same reporting elements for that. The main difference between the two is that SCORM 2004 adds options for complex navigation and sequencing. If you need that, choose make sure both your authoring environment and your LMS are both SCORM 2004 compliant. If you just need the learners results SCORM 1.2 will do as well.

SCORM and XAPI / Tincan

The latest version of SCORM dates back from 2004 (although there where updates). That is a decade ago, it is ancient. In the meantime we have seen the rise of mobile learning (with smart phones and tablets) and the world of learning has changed fundamentally. Is there noting more up to date? Yes of course there is. We now have XAPI, formerly known as (project) TinCan. It can do what SCORM can but there are major differences.

SCORM and XAPI compared

So what is new, what is the difference? The big limitation of SCORM is that it can only track and trace your learners results if your learners are learning within your LMS. One of the big trends in e-Learning is that e-Learning is becoming more informal and is moving to the workplace and to mobile devices. In short people are learning more outside a LMS than in a LMS. XAPI allows tracking and tracing from anywhere. So you should choose an authoring tool or a LMS that supports XAPI. This makes it possible to publish your course or quiz on a website, a blog, in an app on a smart phone. XAPI will still track and trace the results.

Tracking experiences

But there is more. XAPI is short for ‘eXperience API’. An API is a technique that allows software to exchange information. XAPI is not created to capture formal learning results, it is meant to exchange and capture learning experiences. That makes a big difference. When you are performing a task for the first time, you will learn. That is something that happens in the real world and not within the boundaries of a LMS. SCORM cannot help you here, but XAPI can. It allows the learner to record this learning experience and the result. It is stored in a database that is called a Learning Record Store (LRS).  XAPI reports through statements that have a specific structure: I (actor) did (verb) this (activity). So a statement could be: Kasper Spiro wrote a post on XAPI. In fact I did and you can read it here.

What does this mean to you? Not that much yet I’m afraid. Almost everybody loves the idea of tracking learning experiences from everywhere. But how do you use it in a way that is simple and that it adds value to your learning. That is more difficult. It is for Vendors like easygenerator or other authoring tools to come up with simple and useful applications of the XAPI.  An example is that easygenerator will add the ability to add assignments to your courses. These assignments need to be performed in the real world. In the assignment the learner will have an option to report on the result of this learning experience by simply filling in a simple field. We will use XAPI to store and report that. It will be in our product somewhere in 2015. In short, if you want to be future proof, make sure your authoring tool and LMS both support XAPI.

XAPI, SCORM and CMI5

As said SCORM is ancient. There is a new standard in development that will be the next generation of SCORM. It is called CMI5. It uses the technique of XAPI, but it will add default statements to track and trace the learners results in a formal e-Learning course. They are recreating SCORM based on XAPI. It will be more flexible in the sense that you can track and trace learning results outside an LMS, but it will be only useful for formal learning activities like a course, a quiz or an exam.

AICC

And yes there is yet another standard in the e-learning world. It comes from the aviation industry and it is called AICC. In fact this standard is older than SCORM, it dates back to 1993. But it is mainly used in the Aviation industry and some technical industries. You can consider it as a competitor of SCORM. The good news is that both Scorm and AICC will merge into CMI5, the new XAPI based standard.

Do I need SCORM?

That really depends on your requirements. The big advantage of SCORM is that you can use an external authoring tool, so you don’t have to create your courses in a LMS. The big advantage of that is that your courses willnot depend on your LMS; You can use them in any LMS. When you want to switch from LMS or publish your courses on the web, that is possible from most authoring tools. Courses created in a LMS are locked into that LMS. If you leave that LMS you will leave all your courses behind, creating a real undesirable ‘vendor lock in’.

If it is just for the tracking and tracing of results you do not need SCORM. Easygenerator for example is an e-Learning authoring tool, but it offers also the possibility to publish the courses to one of its servers and to track and trace the results from your learners.

My first visit to China:The keyword is control


This week I was in Beijing for the launch of the Chinese edition of Easygenerator. It was my first visit to China and I will try to reflect on all the impressions I had; not on eLearning but on the country.

Kasper Spiro presenting on the e-learning conference in BeijingWe launched Easygenerator at an e-learning conference in Beijing. I had the honor of being one of the keynote speakers. I talked about trends in e-Learning in Europe and the USA. One of the trends is that the learner is taking control over his own development, and the learning department is losing control. The word control was probably the keyword for the week; both in my speech and in my China experience. The government in China controls a lot of things. I knew that I would not have access to Facebook, Twitter and Google because they are blocked by the Great Chinese Firewall, but it goes much further than that. China is not a socialistic plan economy anymore and it is obviously not a democracy. I would describe it as a controlled society. The government clearly indicates boundaries where you have to operate within. Within these boundaries you do have ‘freedom’, although that freedom is mostly economically defined.

Tiananmen Square and the access gate to the Forbidden city

Tiananmen Square and the access gate to the Forbidden city

This became most clear when we visited the Tiananmen square. The square is located in the center of the city. The Forbidden city, Mao’s tomb and a bunch of important buildings are located there. We know the square of-course as the place that played a key role in the democracy movement of 1989, ending in the Tiananmen massacre. Now more than ever this square is the symbol of China. If an incident would occur here, it would show that the government doesn’t have complete control. The square is fenced of completely, you can only access it from one of the four corners via a pedestrian tunnel. In those tunnels you are checked as if you are entering an airport.

The firemen at Tiananmen Square

The firemen at Tiananmen Square

On the square there is a lot of police. I also noticed that people in civilian clothes are standing watch, they are equipped with a fire extinguisher and a shield. All I can come up with is that this is due to the incident in 2001 when 5 members of the banned movement Falun Gong set themselves afire in front of the entrance to the forbidden city. The police has a strange habit by the way. They always have their flashing lights on, making sure you will notice them and stressing the fact that you are being watched. When I walked passed the square I asked my Chinese companions: “Are these security measures still necessary, is the government still afraid for a new upraise like in 89?” That was clearly a question I was not suppose to ask. After some hesitation they explained that nobody ever talks about the events of 89, but that at the same time everybody knows it. This is an indication that the control of the government extends into the minds of people (but of course that is also the case in our society).

China has a very different and also much more ancient history than Europe or the VS. The written history dates back to 2100 BC. And even then they had an emperor and and a long lasting dynasty. The last dynasty ended in 1911, it was followed by The Peoples republic of China; so no democracy at all in 4000 years of history. In the West we always asume that democracy is the best way to organize your country, but if you just look at the numbers you can have some doubts if it is the most effective way; the economic growth in 2014 in China was 7.3%, compared to the US (2.5) and Europe (1%). I found it very interesting to talk to people who do have this very different background. The cool thing was that in these conversation it was not a contest (who has the better solution?) but an exchange of thoughts. It is clear that we can learn a lot from each-other. The other thing I concluded was that China will not try to copy our capitalistic model. The will look at it, take the things they like, but apply it in their own manner. China is not a copycat, they will do it their way.

History
In a way Beijing is a city like any other. 20 million people, a lot of traffic-jams and bad air. But if you visit some of the relics from the past it is something else. I had the opportunity to visit both the ‘Forbidden city’ and the ‘Summer Palace’. At both places the old emperors would dwell. And these places are incredible. I did not have enough time to really see a lot but already I do not have words to describe it. So I will just share some pictures and videos.

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#LSCON John DiMarco creativity 101: Integrating high level cognitive objectives in learning


Great session about using creativity and focusing on the higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. I wasn’t able to capture all learning activities for each level of Bloom’s during the session. I will update the mind map when his presentation is available.

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