Day one: My agile eLearning development presentation from #DevLearn


Day one of DevLearn was not an ordinary day. We launched our new free eLearning software and our booth had so many visitors that I haven’t been able to attend a single session at the conference, no sessions reports from me this time. I even missed both keynotes. So for day one I will limit myself to my presentation on agile eLearning development.

For us at easygenerator the day was mostly about our new free web edition. We launched it successfully, you can check this new eLearning software out by yourself. The Learning solution magazine published an article on our new edition. A very positive piece by Jennifer Neibert.

As promised to the people present at my presentation here is the presentation itself.

In the prezi you can’t click the links to the references, so here they are:

For those who are interested, here are the links to the related blogs I posted earlier:

Easygenerator to launch new free web based eLearning authoring software at #DevLearn


This Wednesday (October 23rd) we will launch a completely new web-based free eLearning authoring tool. This launch will be at the DevLearn conference in Las Vegas.

This web edition will be the start of a whole new generation of solutions by easygenerator. We will take all the experience we have built in the past 15 years on eLearning authoring and put it in a brand new product. You can register and start working with this new eLearning software by clicking the link (starting on Wednesday 23rd).

I did show the tool in a preview to Joe Ganci, here is his feed back:

“I am excited to see what easygenerator has created. Here’s a tool that encourages proper eLearning design and development by tying together the important elements of learning: set up your objectives, deliver your learning in small nuggets, and test learners. The interface is inviting and simple and best of all, easygenerator is free! It takes into account modern needs, such as HTML5 and Tin Can tracking, and does a lot of the work for you. While it doesn’t replace more powerful tools at the moment, I welcome easygenerator’s new tool as a wonderful way of ensuring better learning occurs.”

In this post I will explain what the product will be about based on the requirements we have set.

2 Learning experience editor

Must run on every device

The world has changed over the past few years. People expect an authoring tool to work not only on a PC, but also on tablets and smartphones. The published content must run on every possible device with any operating system. Ans it does. The new web edition of easygenerator doesn’t require installation of any kind, it runs in any browser. Publications can be used on every device as well and the content will be completely responsive (adapting itself automatically to screen sizes and resolutions).

Must be an easygenerator publication

Our mission is to help you to create better eLearning. One of the things that set’s easygenerator apart from all the competition is that we placed Learning Objectives in the heart of the design process. We did that in our windows edition and the web edition is completely build around that approach. You have to create learning objectives. After that you create questions to assess the learner on those objectives and finally you add content to the question to help the learner answer it. That is it.

Must be easy to use (no training required)

We want users to use easygenerator’s web edition without ant training what so ever. Therefore we gave a lot of attention to the user interface. We hope that that shows.

TinCan enabled HTML publication

Since we developed this application for the future we choose for a TinCan enabled HTML publication. This first edition has no SCORM, but we will ad that later. The idea is that this web edition will grow over the next 12 to 18 months into a solution that can replace our current windows edition. We have the next major release with new functionality planned for the end of the year. We will keep you posted through this blog and through our easygenerator website

Free eLearning authoring with easygenerator, already over a 1000 users!


Reblogged from easygenerator.com:

We launched the free edition of our on-line eLearning authoring tool November 1st at DevLearn. This week we registered user number 1.000. This post is to celebrate that first milestone. This post also contains information on extra functionality we will make available to the users of the free edition in the coming period and some facts and figures about those users.

Easy Generator Logo _free

We had a lot of contact with the users of the free edition. We have a community in Yammer and we have at least two webinars per week to get them started. Based on the feed back we received we decided on some future changes for the free edition. The highlights are:

Branding
The free edition has a fixed look and feel, which is branded in the easygenerator style. We will change this and create a look and feel which is more neutral. In easygenerator you can set the look and feel by applying master pages. In collaboration with our partners we will offer a series of master pages. There will be a number of master pages with a fixed unbranded look and feel, we will have master pages where you can do limited branding (your own logo and background image) and we will offer the ability to use customized master pages. These options will probably be available in January or February and can be purchased for a one time fee.

Question types
The current free edition has three question types. We are currently rebuilding all question types from flash into HTML. In the first half year of 2013 these HTML based question types will become available and will be a part of the free edition.

Extra space
In the free edition you are allowed to create 10 courses and your repository is limited to a maximum of 250MB. Next year we will offer upgrade programs that allow you to create more courses and have a larger repository.

User base
I also want to share some information on the user base. At this moment we have 1077 users, spread over 6 continents and 71 countries. 51% is from the United States, followed by The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

Continent Graph

Markets
As far as we know about 45% of all users are from corporations and 20% has an educational background. About 10% of all users works for an eLearning company. The rest is from governmental organizations, Non Profits, Student or Unknown to us.

We are very exited about the interest in this edition. When we launched it we really didn’t know what to expect in terms of numbers and types of users. The response has exceeded our expectations and we are curious where this will take us next year. In case you are interested you can register and activate within minutes. Just click here to go to the form.

Devlearn conference day one: an exhilarating day


So we are off to an excellent start with DevLearn. As always at the first day of a guild conference it was an exhilarating day. I was able to attend some sessions and keynotes and talked to lot’s of people. Here is my wrap-up.

Trends?
I try to spot the emerging trends at conferences like this, for this conference there are two. One is SaaS or cloud based solutions, the other is the future of the Learning Management Systems. Acceptance for cloud based solutions is definitely growing, almost all the vendors have plans in that direction.

TinCan and IACC
The other trend is that the LMS market is changing rapidly. The big thing here is TinCan. I wrote about it before. Yesterday it became even bigger. Before the second keynote there was an extra unplanned presentation by Aron ‘TinCan’ Silver. He showed a video where AICC announced that they will adopt TinCan. I don’t think that the entire audience grasped the meaning of this announcement. We have two main standards in our industry SCORM and IACC, both of them enable us to track and trace results, both of them confine eLearning within the borders of the LMS. TinCan will free us from this, it allows you to track and trace any learning experience, anywhere. I don’t know what the adoption will actually mean but it sounded like TinCan will be the next version of IACC. This leaves us with one standard and but more importantly it ‘frees’ eLearning from the boundaries of the LMS. This really is a big thing and it will affect the way we use any LMS and in the long run it will change the market completely. We will see how this develops, but I’m exited.

Way to reinforce learning
A morning buzz session I attended, presented by Art Kohm. It was about how to improve memory retention.

His story was along the lines of the keynote of last year by John Medina at the Learning Solution conference. The brain filters information (to prevent information overload), in principle you forget the most information that you encounter, you need to reactivate the facts in order to really store them in your brain. He refers to research by Rodigger. His solution is Booster training. Two days after the learning event you have to trigger the information by asking (multiple choice questions). It forces you to retrieve the information and that will enhance the retention. After two weeks you have to do that again. The interesting here is that in this phase he will ask open questions, that not only require retrieval but also processing of the information. I believe that memory retention is a sort of blank area in eLearning, there are some tools but the notion isn’t widely spread. Ans it is important it determines the effectiveness of your Learning experiences.

Brent Schenkler
Brent opened the first session. He is the driving force behind DevLearn, but he has accepted another job. So this conference is his last one. It will be interesting to how this affects future conference. He spoke briefly about all the elements of the conference.

Keynote: John Landau

John is the producer of many movies, the most famous ones are Titanic and Avatar. Great presentation. His message is that the story precede the technique. The technique to shoot the scripts of these movies wasn’t there when the scripts were written. They just developed the techniques they needed. According to him the same goes for eLearning. Make the learning experience leading and then just make it work. Great keynote.

Easygenerator Free edition launch
After the keynote I presented the launch of easygenerators free edition. I had a good turnout and great responses. It is great to see how the story about better eLearning courses catches on. More info at our website, you can register and start working within minutes.

Xtranormal scenarios
I joined this session because I am a scenario based learning fan, but this turned out to be a session about the posibilities of a product that let’s you create animated video’s with Lego images and text to speech voices. Looked ok, but is really not my thing.

Learning objectives concurrent session
My second presentation of the day about learning objectives and how you can use the in many ways, but most importantly how to use them to connect learning to your business goals. I really enjoyed giving this presentation. Good crowd, good responses.

Organizational Learning with agility
A session by Jenet Clarey of Bersin. I was triggered by the term agility. It turned out to be something very different. She was talking about trends in the LMS market. She says that the trend is that it is changing rapidly. The core function of LMS was track and trace and course management. In the ‘Agile LMS’ it is just one of the functions. It grows to become a broad talent management system or even a corporate portal where learning is just a part of. I have two photo’s of interesting slides. I think they tell a large part of the story, again a story about the changing LMS market.

Brian Bushwood, how to scam your way to the top.
This was interesting. He is a ‘sort’ of a magician. But his story turned out to be a marketing story, he told us how he build his internet brand. He is hugely succesfull with his ‘Scam school’ he had great stories how created fake Ibooks and made them top-ten hits in Itunes and his Scam school is very successful. Some of his lessons:

Identify one niche and own it, be first at least in your category or in the minds op people. His niche was internet magician and it is great to hear and see how he made it to the top of his market.
And he is funny:

More to come tomorrow. Make sure you check out the curated backchannel of Devlearn by David Kelly.

Blogging about #DevLearn


I will be leaving for Las Vegas in less than one hour, visiting the eLearning Guilds annual conference. I will try to post a daily blog about my findings. I’m really looking forward to it, last year was great. Great keynotes, interesting concurrent sessions, lots of good conversations and contact and the official launch of easygenerator in the United States. This year looks very promising, I like the line up, attendance will be at a new record (approaching the 2000) and we will launch our free edition. Enough to look forward to.

Some figures
As I said attendance will be close to 2000, but there are more interesting figures to share with you:

10.580 – 6573
The number of kilometers/miles I will travel in the next 21 hours.

6/43 – 28/82
The temperature in the Netherlands (Celcius/Fahrenheid) and the temperature in Las Vegas. From drizzling rain and wind to Las Vegas sunshine!

421
Easygenerator’s booth number at the expo, please come and check us out.

204
The number of my concurrent session on Business objectives and Learning Objectives. (Wednesday @ 1.15 PM)

10
The time (AM) I will present the free edition of easygenerator at the Management Exchange Stage. I will present both on Wednesday and Thursday.

559 – 48
The number of users of our free edition (559) and the number of countries it is being used (48). We are very happy with this numbers. We quietly pre-launched our free edition prior to DevLearn to make sure we could build it up slowly and monitor it closely, in order to ensure a perfect authoring environment. But having 559 users in 48 countries in three weeks time, is clearly beyond our expectations.

Enough numbers, my next post will contain more content and stories and less figures.

My tips for the DevLearn conference in Las Vegas


DevLearn promises to be a great conference this year again.There is a very promising line-up of keynote speakers and other presenters. The eLearning guild has a reputation for inviting surprising key-note speakers and it looks like they have done it again. We have a movie producer, an entertainer, an adventurer, an author and a TV personality.

I’m looking forward to their presentations. I’m curious if they are able to make the connection from their background to eLearning. I also have been checking out the concurrent sessions. Here are some of my picks:

Session 102: Creating an Adaptive Content Deployment Strategy.
One of my other favorite subjects. In this case a case study form Canadian Tyre Corporation.

Session 110: PepsiCo: Bringing Learning to a Mobile Workforce.
Mobile is becoming more and more important. We are past the stage of pilots. Here an operational use case from Pepsi Co.

Session 201: The Evolution of Technology and the Future of Learning.
Presentation by Reuben Toznan on how the changing environment affects learning and learning professionals.

Session 211: Applying the “Flipped Classroom” Model for Business Learning.
I heard about flipped classroom for the first time at the MLearn conference in San Jose, interesting concept. This is a presentation on how to apply this concept in a corporate environment.

Session 303: Michael Allen: A New Agile Model: Leaving ADDIE Behind.
If you have read more post of me you will know that I’m a strong believer of an Agile approach. It’s great that a prominent expert like Allan is advocating this too. Looking forward to this session.

Session 401: Rethinking Learning Design for the 21st Century.
Should be interesting, a presentation on how all the 21th century changes effects learning design and methodologies like ADDIE and Agile.

Session 511: Putting “Design” Back into Instructional Design.
A presentation about designing courses instead of developing them. I couldn’t agree more.

Session 610: Curation: Moving Beyond the Buzzword.
I do believe that curation is one of the roles an eLearning developer should perform in order to stay relevant. This seems to be a very practical session about curation.

Session 611. Designing for Multiple Delivery Modes.
This session is presented by Eric Berg (Lingos). He will address some important issues based on the experiences of the Global giveback competition. From the Lingos organization he has a lot of experience with creating and distributing content across the planet. Should be interesting.

Session 613: Everything You Need to Know about TinCan.
I believe TinCan is the next big thing in eLearning, you need to stay informed!

Session 706: Curation Tools and Applications for Learning. A session by David Kelly (the master of the back channels) a chance to hear about curation from the heart of this development.

If you are not attending DevLearn you can follow it through the back channel or the curated back channel by David Kelly (). I will try to blog about DevLearn every day when I’m there.

If you are present in Las Vegas you might to visit one of my presentations. I will be presenting two times at the Management Xchange Schedule stage in the expo center about the launch of our easygenerator’s free edition (read all about it!) on Wednesday and Thursday at 10. I will also present a concurrent session at Wednesday 1.15 PM (session 204: Supporting Business Objectives with Better Learning Objectives). I wrote a blog post about that last week. And easygenerator is present at the expo with a booth (#421).

October 12: easygenerator to release the free edition of her authoring tool


Easygenerator has decided to launch the free edition of her authoring tool on October 12th. From that day on it will be possible to go to the easygenerator website, fill in a form and start working in easygenerator within a minute. This edition is completely free of charge and without any time limits. If you’d like, you may preregister now at www.easygenerator.com/free (you will receive your login instructions by email before the official launch). After the launch this page will become a subscription page where you can fill in your details, submit them and start working right away.

This blog post will give you an overview on what you can expect from this free edition. There is a lot more to tell than I can put in this blog post, so I placed some links to relevant pages in the easygenerator website with videos and presentations that provide more detail.

Click the image to go to the pre-registration form

Click the image to go to the preregistration form and read more about the free edition.

SaaS service
Easygenerator is a SaaS solution, all data is securely stored on web servers and is accessible anyplace, anywhere and anytime. There is already a lot of interest for this edition, there are hundreds of preregistrations already. There will be servers located in the USA, Europe, Asia and Australia to support all these users. The authoring interface of easygenerator is a Windows application, so you will need a computer with Windows to run it. That said, the courses you create with easygenerator can run on any kind of computers, browser, or mobile device.

Complete eLearning courses
This free edition will enable you to create complete eLearning courses. It will contain the ‘What You See Is What You Get interface’. With the free edition of easygenerator you can create publications in SCORM 1.2 and in HTML, allowing you to run the courses through your LMS and on mobile devices.

Didactical approach
Improving the quality of eLearning courses is easygenerators goal. Therefore the options concerning the Learning objectives, branching and adaptive learning are included.

PowerPoint import
The free edition will have the PowerPoint import tool, enabling you to import your courses made in PowerPoint into easygenerator and use the texts and images as a starting point for a ‘proper’ eLearning SCORM or mobile course. PowerPoint animations will not be imported, but you can build them in easygenerator with our timeline function.

External review
The external review option will also be included. From the authoring environment you are able to send an invitation to anyone through email and they will get access to your course through the easygenerator web server. The course will look and function completely just as the learner would see it, but the reviewer will have the ability to include comments on each page. These comments will automatically become available inside the authoring environment for the author.

Limitations
There is a lot more to discover. You can embed web based content such as YouTube videos, create question pools and mor and reuse content. The free edition has some limitations in comparison to the subscription edition. You can only have a single account (so you can’t use our collaboration options) and there is a maximum of 10 courses per author. An overview of these limitations can be found on www.easygenerator.com/free , this page also contains the form to preregister for the free edition.

In order to help new users to a quick start there will be a series of free introduction webinars. People who preregister for the free edition you will automatically receive an invitation for one of these webinars. You can see an overview of the webinar dates and time slots at this page.

Why Easygenerator will launch a free edition of her authoring software


In a few weeks’ time easygenerator will make a big step towards meeting her mission to change eLearning. We are in the final stages of launching a free edition of easygenerator; it will be available in the first half of October. The official launch will be at November 1st at the DevLearn conference in Las Vegas. In this post I would like to explain why this is such a big thing for us and hopefully for the e-Learning community.

The formal announcement of the launch of this free edition will be made through the easygenerator blog and website, so will all the details of available functionality. The table below shows you the main differences between the free and the subscription edition.

The main differences between the free and the subcription edition

You can read more details at our website, you can also preregister. If you register you will receive an automatic notification when the free version is available you will receive an automatic notification and instructions how to activate.

As said I want to focus on the reasons for bringing out this edition in this post. There are two main reasons.

Changing eLearning
Our mission is to change eLearning. With change we mean better and more effective eLearning. The free edition will have all of the adaptive features we developed in the past year. It allows authors to develop complex adaptive eLearning courses in a very simple way. Easygenerator’s approach places learning objectives in the heart of every eLearning course. This leads to better didactical design, courses that will adapt to the individual learning need of each learner and it has a big impact on the quality of your tracking, tracing and reporting. All of these are important things in improving the quality of eLearning courses. We are very proud of our platform and we believe that it can pave the way to the next generation of eLearning. On top of this we will release our new Flex-Learning approach in December. It will change the way eLearning courses look and how they can be used. It is the first step away from hierarchical book-like structures for eLearning courses.

Changing the business model
The eLearning authoring world is still ruled by ‘old’ business rules. We made a first step to change this with our SaaS based subscription system. This is the next step. What Moodle did for the Learning Management Systems needs to be done for authoring systems as well. This free edition is our contribution to this process.

Click the image to go to the pre-registration form

Click the image to go to the preregistration form and read more about our free edition.

What did 100 blog posts bring me?


WordPress pointed out to me that I have published 102 posts in just over 2 years. I decided that this is a good moment to look back and see what it has brought me.

Feedback
When I started my blog in December 2009 I was curious what it would be like to blog and I wanted to improve my English (I’m still working on that). The biggest change is that there are now people who read my posts and who respond to it. My blog now has an average of almost a 100 views per day. That of course is nothing in the greater scheme of things, but it is much more than the average visits that I had in 2010 (7 views per day) and 2011 (37 views per day). The fact that you have an audience makes a big difference, it turns your blog from a diary into a publication and most important: you get feedback. When I started out I just wrote about my learning experiences in my work and at conferences. But that has now shifted. I use my blog to try out ideas. With the responses I can improve my idea or decide to drop the idea.

The first time I used my blog for this purpose was when I became CEO of easygenerator. We were working on our Vision and Mission statement and I decided to publish a first draft of it in my blog. Scary to do on one hand but it paid off. I got a lot of comments on it and some people (like Jay Cross -thanks again!-) took the time for a real in-depth reaction. This enabled me to improve the statement and it gave me a better start at easygenerator.

A highpoint for me was a post on learning metaphors. The post got a thousand views in a matter of days and I got a ton of responses on it. It clearly was a subject of interest to many people. This inspired me to follow up on this with some more posts and I did a well-attended presentation at LSCON in Orlando. As a result the implementation of new learning metaphors has now become the major goal of easygenerator for 2012.

Writing on demand
In 2011 I was asked to contribute to the ASTD’s blog Learning Circuit. A question was posted every month and we (5 ‘thought leaders’) replied on it with a post. The goal was to spark discussion. I found it an interesting experience to write about a given subject and compare my own thoughts with the others. I write posts too for easygenerators company blog. This is quite different. Although we try to keep the blog informal, you have to write mostly about concrete product related things. There is less room for loose ideas and opinions in comparison to this personal blog.

International contacts
I write my blog in WordPress and they recently added ‘Views by country’ to the statistics. It shows that my largest group of readers is from the US and it shows that since February 25 I had people from 98 countries read posts on my blog.

Visits from 98 countries

Visits from 98 countries!

Quit cool! Although the map shows that I have still some work to do in Africa and Asia. Fact is that I gained a lot of international contacts from the blog. This is very helpful in my work.

More feedback
ELearningLearning (an aggregator site on e-Learning related blogs) brings out lists with best e-Learning post of the day/week/month and year. One post I wrote for the Learning Circuit blog made it to the top of that list for 2011. That is a nice form of feedback!

#LSCON Day 1: people, new scorm, leadership, Lingos and more people


How do you capture a 19 hour day in a post? That is the challenge of today’s blog. I had installed myself yesterday evening in the pool area of the hotel. Laptop, wireless (sponsored by easygenerator!) and a glass of whiskey. I was just starting to write this post, when two guys (Drew and Marc) joined me. We ended up talking until quit late. That’s one of things I really like about guild conferences. There are so many interesting people working on and thinking about the same stuff as I do. I spoke today to dozens of them. Really inspiring.

Project Tin Can: new scorm standard!
In fact I have to start on the day before the conference. I had a meeting with Aaron Silvers (from ADL) and Tim Martin (from Rustici software) about Project Tin Can. They had exiting news, the work they did on project TinCan will actually become our new Scorm standard and it will in a few months time. It will actually focus on learning experiences. Allowing collaboration on courses, include social media; giving us a language to talk to learning management systems, in short it will lift the limitations that Scorm gives us. This is great news, we have a ton of ideas for ‘next generation learning’ that we couldn’t implement because of scorm limitations. Now we will get a next generation standard. Read all about it at scorm.com!

Keynote by John Maeda about leadership
I liked this keynote, but I was not blown away by it. He didn’t really make the connection with learning. On the leadership topic he had interesting remarks. One was that as a leader you have to get dirty hands (literally). You should have passion, get to the core and be about the why.

I liked his thoughts on how you start out with directional knowledge that makes your identity, then you will get conceptual knowledge (the how) and when you apply this you will get experimental knowledge. But these experiences will change your insights, your concepts and your identity. This means that nothing is written in stone, there is room for doubt and failure. he calls this ‘Fail productively’. These are things that aren’t very often connected to leadership. I believe he is right. Innovation comes from a mix of passion and doubt. If you are not willing to discuss the things you know, there will never be any change. John writes a blog called creative leadership.

People, people people
There are 1300 participant at this conference and I think I spoke to a fair share of them. I did two presentations and was at the booth for a large part of the day. I have to say that the traffic at the expo was a bit less than expected. Last year the expo was next to the ballroom where the general sessions were. This year they moved the general sessions to another building (just across the pool). This makes it less obvious to wander into the expo after a general session.

Kasper presenting at LSCON on learning maps

Me presenting

Lingos
I went to a LINGOs dinner in the evening and I really enjoyed it. Again more interesting people (Lingos staff, members from ngo’s, participants in the global give back competition and sponsors). It really is a special organization. Doesn’t  LINGOs ring a bell with you? Please check their website and start participating. Help them to help ngo’s to make this world a better place!

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