I attended the Chicago eLearning & Technology Showcase on August 5. My objective was to learn more about the marketplace of employers, contractors, services, and technology. I was looking for opportunities: for myself, by applying my skills or developing new ones; for our work at the American Library Association, new products and developing a network of contractors to help develop them.
I’ll mix and match ideas from these sessions:
Keynote: Cammy Bean, Careers in eLearning
Choose Your Own Adventure, Tim Buteyn and Stephania Buteyn of ThinkGap Learning Solutions
Free and Cheap eLearning Tools, Apryl Cox Jackson and Jennifer De Vries
Curb Appeal: Connecting Strategy & Engagement Through User Experience, Ed Roach and Gary Bersh
Using Mobile Technology to Mak On-the-Job Learning and Coaching Practical, Marty Rosenheck
Some tools I learned about:
Twine. Free tool designed for interactive storytelling, adapted to make branching scenario-based scripting, exported in HTML for review by SMEs. Then used in Articulate.
Articulate, simpler to use, easier learning curve than Adobe Captivate, also, it’s expensive, out of reach for the contractor.
The hub of elearning activity is the enterprise, particularly larger corporations, and the services they contract for, as evident in attendees and background of spekaers.
E-learning is a visual medium. Design matters. Think like a web designer. Look for interface examples from ecommerce or other sites outside of elearning. Make an effort to engage.
Best elearning is short videos available as needed, at the task, Marty Rosenheck has concluded. Cammy Bean calls it “spaced learning.”
Focus on performance, social element. Human. Space the learning, as opposed to the cram. Think like a web designer. Look for interface examples from ecommerce or other sites outside of elearning. Make an effort to engage.
Marty Rosenheck, from CognitiveAdvisors.com, calls himself a learning experience designer because that’s how people learn. Center for Creative Leadership survey showed that 70 percent of learning is experiential; 20 percent, informal and social; 10 percent, formal. The apprentice system was the best for learning, but it’s not scaleable. Technologies now enable it: Mobile, Experience API (works like SCORM instead of tracking courses, it’s experiences) analytics, the cloud, badges (based on a specific project or accomplishment). He talked about the nano-coaching model, citing Elliott Masie, an alternative to the learning management system, designed for formal courses.
The mix of skillsets–
Cammy Bean calls it pieces of a pie: 1) learning theory; 2) creative (visual and writing); 3) business 4) technology. When you try to do it all, you’re ineffective. Where’s your sweet spot? Where are your gaps? Similarly, Ed Roach presented a triangle: learning theory (ISD). Creative. Tech. Model for learning, presented by Rosenheck: Plan-Do-Reflect. The reflect component would encompass note-taking and journals, which has been of interest to me.
Rapid development tools means that anybody can do it, but it’s also lead to “elearning malpractice.”
Applying to my work and career–
I sensed that the elearning efforts in enterprise were marginalized and undervalued, and a challenge is to persuade management to use it, and employees to take and finish courses. Less convincing may be needed for our library customers, for whom larning is a core value; as vendors, our challenge is to offer enough value for it to be purchased. We could position our products as for the library as a whole, more than individual librarians, and build products, such as subscription-based platform, that can offer as-needed tutorials or videos, and tools for assessment that our customers, not our instructors would apply. Replace our certification with badges that are performance-based? Educause is using badges.
Give badges for real performance output, not just taking a course.
Both for me personally and in ALA Publishing, the creative skill set is our strength. We could benefit by learning from instructional design, learning theory skills. Technology as a core skill for career is a long-shot at this stage, and at the same time, at a rudimentary level, a must for “rapid development” or prototyping.