Monday, December 21, 2009

Great Projects, High Energy

Every once in a while you get those projects that you love to work on. These are the projects that really get the creativity flowing. There is just something about the project maybe it is the subject, maybe not but there is just something that makes you want to keep working on it regardless of the time or how many hours it will take. You loose all sense of time and get excited each time you pick it up. You know that you'll be sad when you complete the project because it will be over.

I'm working on one of those projects now and it is perfect timing. With the holiday's and all that they involve it is wonderful to be able to loose myself in a great project and get that wonderful energy and creativity flowing.

I've been thinking how to transfer some of this energy and excitement into other projects. I've come up with a few ideas but am also wondering what ideas you might have?

Monday, December 14, 2009

A different way of looking at things.

I really enjoyed this post "Are we thinking differently?" that I read the other day and thought it illustrated well what I'm talking about. I've come to believe that those of us who are instructional designers look at things differently. We approach problems from a different angle and find unique solutions. That is what makes us good at what we do. I don't believe that there is a box to think outside of when it comes to instructional design. In fact, the less constraint we place on ourselves the better the product we create.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Getting things going

So many times when I talk with people about creating web-based training or other types of non-traditional training opportunities I can see the "wheels" turning and the ideas coming forth about all the things that they can do with the resources available. Unfortunately those wheels can tend to come to a screeching halt when it comes time to put the ideas into practice.

It is a great thing to be able to see the potential and possibilities but I think that at times that might be the easy part. The hard part is actually getting things going. Picking a project and starting, that's tough. Sometimes it is difficult because there are so many projects it is tough to pick on, sometimes it is difficult because formulating the actual product from the idea can be overwhelming, and sometimes it is difficult to just start when you aren't sure how it will turn out.

Right now I've got one project in particular that is a challenge but one that I'm excited to take on and see if I can make it work, however, I've also got others that are more "routine" and less exciting that have to be completed first so I'm allowing myself time to work on the exciting project only after I've completed one of the other ones (my own reward system). As I look at the growing list of projects that I've got in the works and trying to prioritize what I'll work on next I wonder what some of you do to keep yourself motivated and your ideas fresh.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mixed Messages

I've recently seen a lot of posts in blogs and on twitter about mixed messages. One I saw this morning on Twitter was "What message does it send if your co has a Facebook page and YouTube channel but you're blocked from it at work? (via @moehlert) " and it made me think about the various mixed messages that get sent in pur eLearning efforts.

One such mixed message is that we want our learners to be independent thinkers and adopters of knowledge and technology and then we "dumb" down our courses so much that we are insulting our learners.

Another such mixed message is when we advertise our courses as engaging and interactive and they are really just page turners with no opportunity for interaction or engagement.

I think it is important that our messages to our learners are consistent one way or another. There may be times when a page turner course is appropriate, we should advertise it in a manner that accurately represents what it is. If we don't we loose the trust of our learners. If we loose their trust we loose their participation.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Walk in their shoes

With Halloween tomorrow many (myself included) of the people in my office have dressed up in their costumed alter ego's. As much fun as it is it also made me think about putting yourself into the shoes of others...more specifically our learners. If we don't take the time and put ourselves into the place of our learners and see the training through their eyes we risk missing some information. We also risk missing the point which is to make the training interesting and engaging for our learners so they will use them.

"Dress Up" as your learner and then take a look at your presentation and see what you think...it will be an interesting experience and help you create better eLearning!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Why do I get out of bed and go to work?"

Have you ever looked at a job description and wonder "What makes the person in that job get out of bed in the morning and come to work?" What about those days when you hit the brick wall and wonder "Why do I want to get out of bed this morning and go to work?" We've all been there, we've all had days where we are just warming the chair and not being our most productive selves. We still carry on through meetings, webinars, training, etc. but on these days are we learning? How do we as designers engage our learners on these days?

I don't know about you, but when these days are around for me if something doesn't catch my attention within the first 5 seconds I'm gone and on to something else that might provoke my interest and engage my attention. So there is an answer for designing, it needs to grab your attention immediately, no big long lead in about what you're going to learn, no pages of text telling you what is coming next, you need to get the attention of the learner NOW or you won't get to later.

There is a lot of information out there about designing attention grabbing graphics and those are great but they also need to be followed up with continued attention grabbing content. In this fast paced world, were it is admitted that most people don't read past the first three lines of an email, if our learners aren't interested and engaged they are gone and our work has been for nought and we begin to wonder "why do I get out of bed this morning to go to work?". It is up to us to get our learners engaged and then keep them that way so we ourselves can stay motivated and know why we get out of bed in the morning.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

To Market, yes but how?

So you've spent time and energy creating your eLearning program and presentations and you've published them to your company website. Now you've got to get your audience to participate and utilize them. The question that you have to answer now is how do you get the word out? What is the best way to make sure that your employees and audience know that they are out there and available for them to use?

I'm asking you for your ideas, what has worked for you and what hasn't. Please leave your opinions, thoughts and ideas.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What is good eLearning?

I've read several blog posts lately that all tie together in my mind to help us define what constitutes good eLearning programs. As we all know there are many things that work together when we are creating our programs to produce something that the learners will actually want to take part in so lets take a look at a few areas.

Content - Content is vital to any eLearning (or any learning) presentation. If there isn't quality content being presented, then what is the point? All you are doing is wasting your time and the learners time and creating frustration in the process. Ellen posts about this in her blog "What makes online learning effective?" and I completely agree with her.

Resources - With so many tools that are available to us to create our programs it is important that we manage the resources we use and don't just throw in more tools and techniques than we need to. Sometimes it is more appropriate for focusing on one or two techniques and resources to create a better program rather than a more confusing one with several techniques and methods. Here is a blog posting with "Top Five Tips for Managing Resources." that provides helpful tips and tricks.

People - With the technological advancements that make eLearning such a real and useful possibility I think that we can often forget that we are ultimately designing our programs for people to use and learn from. With the distance from the learner we get caught up with the resources and tools and forget what learners what and need and that whatever we provide them with has to be interesting in order for them to be engaged and using the programs. Not only did I like the title of Michele Martin's blog post "It's not the tool that's boring, it's you." I also like what she said. We can't just throw something out there and expect learners to accept and love it, if I wouldn't enjoy participating in the program presented like that then why would my learners?

Bringing all three of these things together and remembering them as I am preparing my presentations helps me to produce programs that people are using and learning from. I think it's a good thing though to remind myself of the basics every once in a while as well and these are the building blocks for quality programs.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lights, Camera, Action

In several recent posts I have discussed video production projects that I'm working on. I find it interesting that I have come to a point in my career where I spend so much time taking and editing video into quality projects that are used for a variety of purposes. To give credit where credit is due the only reason that I am able to easily produce quality work is through the Camtasia Studio program that I use. Thankfully it is easy to use and provides me with the ability to combine my video, still pictures, audio and other sound files with transitions and closed captioning to create professional looking projects. We've been able to update our websites and provide a more "real" feeling to the jobs that we do which has been received well by both our employees and our customers. The other nice thing that I like is that there wasn't a large financial investment to get these types of projects off the ground. We bought a video camera, a microphone and the software and were ready to get to work. That's my kind of budget and my kind of timeline.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Video production - what works?

Ever have one of those days where you feel like for each forward step you take you end up taking about 12 backward? I've been stuck in that cycle for the last month or so with a project I'm working on and I look to you for input and advice.

I'm working on publishing video to the web and finding the right combination of file type, size, encryption, etc. has been rather elusive. These video's are approximately 1 minute in length and are high motion. We have tried a variety of frame sizes and as a result of course gotten a variety of file sizes. I've done some research but cannot find that there are "standards" to make this a bit easier and not being a technically minded person this hasn't been an easy task so any input would be appreciated. Have you found something that works?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Specific Tools for Specific Jobs

I feel like I fell off the face of the earth with not having been in the office or near a computer for over a week. Good news is I'm back and beginning to un-bury myself from emails and other things that came in while I was gone. Before I left I posted about some of the tools that I use in my eLearning creation process and I wanted to go into a bit more depth on some of the tools and how I use them and what I like about them.

The first one I'll talk about is the one which I use the most often and that is Articulate. This was the program that started it all for me with regard to elearning. I immediately liked the program because it was easy for me to use and followed an intuitive path for rapid creation of programs. I liked that I could use all the powerpoint creations that I've already put so much time and effort into creating and convert them with little difficulty into a web-based training program.

Now that I've been using it for over a year I find myself in a position where I am constantly challenging myself to think outside of the box and use the tool in new and creative ways to make engaging and fun programs. There are many tools that are part of the studio and they can be used in a variety of ways to meet your needs. There is also great support within the Articulate website and blog posts constantly come out to give you new and creative ways to do things.

All things being said, I cannot say enough about Articulate. I really enjoy using the project and although my current projects have not allowed me to utilize it much I look forward to getting back to using it in the very near future.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tools of My Trade

I've been thinking recently about all of the tools that are used in creating elearning courses. Each tool of course has it's own purpose and when you are able to use them correctly they can help you create something fantastic. I thought I'd share the tools of my trade that I use and how I use them.

Articulate Studio is what started me on the path for eLearning creation. It is one of my standard tools and the more I use it the more flexible I'm able to be with presentation creation. I've had some of my co-workers use this tool to create their own elearning courses with much success.

Camtasia Studio has become my best friend and constant companion recently. I'm in the middle of working on several different video projects so this has been the tool sitting on the top of my tool box for a while.

Audacity is a tool that I've used for audio recording and editing for many different projects. It is very easy to use and I've published podcasts with it as well as used the audio files I've created from it with my video files in Camtasia (I love it when things work together).

Adobe Flash CS4 this tool has been by far the most difficult one for me to learn how to use. I'm not a computer expert and my technological expertise is non-existent. With that being said, I am proud to say that I've taken some on-line courses and learned how to use it and my first eLearning presentation using this tool will be published shortly. I can see many possible uses for it in the future.

Cartoon Solutions is a tool that I love. It enables me to add additional interesting elements to my presentations whether I'm utilizing PowerPoint or Flash. These characters really help bring the presentations to life.

Then of course there are various other tools I use to incorporate pictures and music into presentations but they are too numerous to list.

As I have used these tools I've learned some shortcuts and easier (for me at least) ways to work with them and those are what I'll be sharing in future posts.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wonderful Surprise

Whilst in the middle of a major case of creativity block I was looking through the various blogs that I read and to my wonderful surprise I found that my blog was listed as an additional workplace elearning blog on Tony Karrer's eLearning Technology Blog.

Now if only I could figure out the best way to publish video files for our website.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Subject Matter Expert's(SME) & Instructional Designer's (ID) Working together

The big question on the Learning Circuit this month is about Working with Subject Matter Experts. This is an interesting subject for me as often I have been both the Instructional Designer and the Subject Matter Expert and the roles can clash with each other. As the Subject Matter Expert I want to make sure that all the "necessary" information is presented as I would present it in an in-person class however, as an Instructional Designer I know that there are things that need to be changed in order to present an interesting and engaging course that people will actually watch and learn from.

When I've worked with other SMEs to create eLearning and I've been the ID it has been interesting to step back and replay the conversations that we have. As I am looking at the materials from a design perspective the SME is looking at it from the content perspective. These two perspectives can work together, however, I think that each side needs to educate the other on the perspective that they are coming from. For example, recently I was working with a SME on a project and we were reviewing the first draft of what I'd put together from his materials. Overall he liked the project, however, he didn't understand were some of his information was included and how learners would know to find it. He was wanting more of a "page turner" experience where I was proposing more of a learner based interactive experience where they were in control of what they learned. After explaining the purpose behind the design and listening to his concerns about the information being included we came to a compromise and what I feel is an interactive course that will provide ample information on the topic. This was a success since both sides were willing to listen and ultimately the learner benefits.

I think that both of the sides of this relationship are necessary and they can work together to produce quality eLearning programs that will benefit the end user.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Has it been a year already?

As I looked at the September 1st date on my calendar I was amazed. No, it wasn't just the amazement that summer is gone - as well as a good portion of the year - or that there are only 115 shopping days left until Christmas. I was amazed that we have been implementing and utilizing our eLearning program for a year. We have come a long way and I thought I'd reminisce a bit.

May 2008 - I started with my company and was assigned as project lead for looking at alternative training delivery methods. I began research to establish baseline cost information for the "as is" picture or our training delivery.

June 2008 - Project kicked off and the real work began. Through the month of June we evaluated many options to meet our needs of delivering training and reducing travel costs.

July 21, 2008 - Made recommendations for alternative training methods. This was the start of our current blended training delivery and the beginning of utilizing eLearning solutions for our training programs.

August 2008 - Developed our implementation plan. This required the purchase and installation of rapid development software and learning how to use it.

September 8, 2008 - First eLearning course completed!!

This timeline makes it look simple and without the bumps in the road (which there were many). It is nice to look back now and see where we are compared to where we were.

Today our training delivery looks a bit different. We have 17 web-based training courses published. We are utilizing web-based meetings and webinars for trainings on a regular basis and have trained many employees through these options and I have 7 web-based training projects in the works for additional training opportunities. These numbers don't include any of the video projects I'm working on for use in our recruiting efforts which has been another interesting development for us. The most exciting thing for me is our cost savings over the past year of ....(drum roll please).....more than $11,500 while still providing quality training to our employees.

It has been quite a year!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The future of web-based learning.

It's fall and school is back in session. This is a time of year that parents love and children dread. As I was walking through the classrooms talking to the teachers at my children's school I was impressed by the level of technology that they were using in the class. The classrooms have SMART boards and ceiling mounted projectors. The students are more familiar with computers and PowerPoint than some professionals I know. Gone are the days of blackboards and chalk, and overhead projectors (most kids don't even know what these are).
These observations then got me to thinking about the future of training and specifically web-based training. These kids who will one day be the employees that I'll be designing web-based training for. What will they be expecting? What will be the standards? How will training be delivered? There are many questions rattling around in my head but they all have a common theme of amazement at the technological savvy of these kids (our future employees) who seem to have an ingrained understanding of technology without it even being explained to them. If you doubt this just give a 9 year old a cell phone and see how long it takes them to figure out how to change the ringer, alarms, and any other feature of the phone.
This is the future (not necessarily distant) audience that we'll have to engage with our programs. I'm curious and excited to see what skills I'll need to learn to do that. We know about mLearning, eLearning, Web 2.0, etc. what will we know about and use everyday 5 years from now? That's one of the reasons I love what I do, it's never a dull moment and I'm constantly learning something new.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Value of online education

I've seen a lot of posts lately about the value of online education. As a former student of online educational programs I have to say that they provide value different than classroom learning, which is one of the reasons that I enjoyed it. Stephanie Coleman discusses "Why Do Students Like online learning?" and I have to agree with the points that are made. One of my favorite benefits through this method of learning was the variety of students that were in my class. The students came from a variety of geographic locations as well as bringing knowledge from a variety of professional fields. Both of these factors would probably not have been available to me through a traditional classroom environment. As a working professional who was attending classes online I enjoyed the fact that I could attend class based on my schedule, but also it was great to be able to utilize my classmates when I had questions in my "daily" life that I would like varied opinions on. This provided me a well rounded educational opportunity.

An April 2, 2009 report in U.S. News discusses the increase in popularity for online educational programs because of improvements in the programs. Having participated in online programs for my Bachelor's and Master's programs I would advise a word of caution of course, for anyone interested in online programs and that is to do your research and make sure that you are attending an accredited program that will provide you with a solid education. Don't just go for the least expensive program you can find. You'll want to find out how their courses are structured, what the expectations are for attendance, testing, etc. There are many different structures, find one that suits you and your needs.

Online education is a wonderful opportunity to further your education while you meet the demands on your time as well as other restraints (such as geographical location). Good luck with your educational pursuits.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Development Time for eLearning

This is a question I often ask myself. In the effort to manage my time effectively I need to know how much time I need to allot to projects that is realistic and not just a random number that I picked out of the air. Reading the blogs that I follow I found Kapp Notes: How Long Does It Take to Develop One Hour of E-Learning-Updated for 2009 this morning. I've seen a variety of statistics that give me an idea of if I'm on track with how long it is taking me to create my courses. Additionally on this blog there are comments that I agree with, especially the one regarding the expectations that I have for my trainings that have increased since I first started creating these presentations. I have to fight the temptation to go back and redo those presentations that were my first ones. If I gave into this temptation then I would be stuck in a vicious circle that would never end. You learn more and get better each time you publish a presentation. You see other presentations that give you more ideas and ways to do things differently. That's what I consider one of the greatest parts of my job and what makes it fun each and every day. I get to learn and experiment and tap into my creative side. Knowing some figures for how long this process can/should take gives me some time of reassurance and permission to take the time necessary to do this and to do it well.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Video projects....useful.....Yes!

As I shift my full attention to several video editing projects that will take me the rest of the month to complete I've wondered if the end result will be as useful as I hope. Then I came across this posting from ERE on "Why Recruiting Has to Go Video" and I am reassured that the hard work will not be wasted. I've looked at many company websites and seen more and more of them move towards utilizing video in their recruiting efforts. There is something extremely valuable about being able to see what the job or company would be like before you apply and go through the recruitment and interview process. As I work on the video, I find that one of the big challenges I face is capturing the culture of the organization in a manner that accurately reflects why the organization is a great place...that is my focus for the next several weeks....wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What about interaction for the designers?

Big projects for me this week are mainly focused around webinar's and video productions. Which translates to many hours in front of the computer screen in editing. As I get into my "zone" with my new best friend - the computer screen - I wonder about the personal side of the trainings that I am working on. I've done a couple of webinar's at this point and have found it oddly isolating (especially when you use VOIP). Of course editing video is also pretty isolating. While designing any of the web-based training courses we of course, make sure that they are interactive for the learner, however, for the designer I usually work by myself with little interaction. What about the interaction for the designers? How do we make those important connections with other people, especially our learners? There are the social media channels that we all turn to so we can make the connections with others "like us" that we can learn from and share our knowledge with. If you are in a company that focuses on eLearning you have co-workers who understand the lingo and stresses that you face with your work, if not you do a lot of educating so you can brainstorm solutions to the problems you are facing. So, I ask you....how else can we as designers make those connections and gain the interactivity that we work so hard to ensure for our learners?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Information Overload??

After returning to the office this morning from three days of vacation I found 63 blog posts on my reader, 50+ emails, voice mails to answer and three new books to read. Just one hour away from my computer resulted in 19 new emails to read. It makes me stop and think about all the information that is being shared out there through emails, blogs, newspapers and other channels of communication. How do we keep up with it all? Are we going to reach a point where our brains are going to be "full"? It then led me to think about how different people handle multiple channels of information and the volumes of information that can come flying at you all at once. Some of us handle it better....why? Is it due to the generational differences as some articles might suggest? Is it due to the fast pace we all lead and how we adapt to that pace? Then I began to wonder about the eLearning programs I produce. How can I prevent information overload in those courses? I was working with a colleague last week on a presentation and what I viewed as a "given" regarding course navigation was not a "given" to them. In this case I need to provide additional information to ensure understanding amongst different levels of users but balance that with the desire not to overload or over explain concepts that others may consider "givens". So how to strike that balance.....that's a good question. It's also a moving target as more of the presentations are published and become part of our training culture more of the navigational and other format issues will become "givens" for the participants. For now to strike that important balance and avoid the overload I have to develop a method for explaining to those that need additional assistance but ensure that the method is able to be skipped for those that don't need the additional assistance. I'll let you know what I figure out for that balance. If you've got any thoughts I'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Feedback on the Big Question?

Feedback on the Big Question? The Big Question for the month of August was of particular interest to me. There was a request for feedback on the big question which I have found to be very helpful especially being a newbie in the eLearning field. But there was also the re-birth of a former question about learning professionals blogging and I have to say that yes, I think learning professionals should blog. I have learned so much from the blogs that I read that I have been able to apply to my job I can't imagine where I would have been able to gather the information without the blogs. Learning professionals by nature want to share the information that they have gathered with others and blogs are a great way to do this. With the variety of the blogs that are available out there I have been able to learn different viewpoints and expand my knowledge of this enormous body of knowledge we call elearning. So from on newbie I say....keep those blogs coming.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Searching on eLearning....

Recently I thought I'd do a bit of research on eLearning and see just how bit it really is. What I found amazed me and confirmed that overwhelming feeling I get sometimes when I try to comprehend what exactly eLearning is.

Searching through Google here is what I found:

108,000,000 pages for eLearning
25,857,158 blogs for eLearning
41,615 books for eLearning

Changing the search a bit I found:

110,000,000 pages for web-based training
9,480,737 blogs for web-based training
2,244 books for web-based training.

Of course, I did this search a few days ago, I'm sure that these numbers have grown since then. Imagine where they will be next month!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What makes a good eLearning Course?

What makes a "good" elearning course? I think that is a good question to ask and one that has been rattling around in my head for a while. Is it one that has all of the technical information that the subject matter expert has provided? Is it a fun game that the learner wants to play multiple times? Does it include video? Audio? Is it long or short? My answer to the first question would be a combination of all the other questions. While as an instructional designer I need to include the information provided by the subject matter expert, I also need to make sure that it is engaging for the learner (or what's the point). This may include the use of games, video, audio or other multimedia elements. These elements can provide a great deal on interest and interaction with the learners and can be done so without a lot of effort. There are many video sharing sites (youtube, google video, etc.) that provide good information as well as sites that provide game templates (e-learningtemplates.com, rapidintake, etc) that can add that extra umph to your presentation. For me, creating good courses has been the result of stepping outside of the process and brainstorming alternative ways of presenting the information that gets the learners to interact and learn, and hopefully have a little fun while they are doing it. I think that the real answer to the question of what makes a good elearning course is - one in which the learning occurs without the participant feeling like they are learning.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How do I know my eLearning audience?

Following up on my previous post that talked about the importance of knowing the audience for your eLearning programs. The natural question that was left was "How do I know my audience?" When I am designing my classes they are for a variety of people that range in their occupations, locations, generations, abilities, etc. There is no "one audience" that needs to have the class designed to meet their needs....or at least none that I've found yet. In the ThirdForce blog there is a post entitled Being aware of e-learning gaps... that discusses the accessibility needs for eLearning for the audience. Still the question is how do I know my eLearning audience so I can make the training as accessible as possible? We can survey potential participants, conduct needs analysis, interviews, etc. but does that help us know our audience? I think it has the potential to if the surveys and questions are correctly created and are based on relevant information that is needed by the designers. Follow-up is important with any training program, however, I believe it is even more important with eLearning since we cannot see the participants to judge their reactions. This follow-up give further insight to knowing our audience as well as improving the programs being designed. I think that the more varied the audience the more channels we need to utilize to get to know them both before and after their participation in the programs we've designed.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Can I please take that eLearning class???

As my children ask me for the 50th time in the past 20 minutes if they can get on the computer and "play" their typing games it makes me think about the eLearning programs that I produce. Do I produce programs that people are excited and eager about taking? Probably not. Then I ask myself...Why not? Why can't I design my programs to be more entertaining and engaging so that people would be excited about taking them? To get ideas and inspiration I started to look at more eLearning programs geared towards teaching children. My kids favorite website is full of all kinds of games to teach math, science, typing, logic and other types of topics and as I look at them (and yes play some of them) I realize that the reason they are fun is because you don't realize you are learning...you are playing. The designers know their audience and design their courses to be the most effective for them. If you were to ask a child to take a page turning course on math they could care less and it would be similar to getting them to do their homework, however, ask them to play a game...and p.s. they are learning about math....and they don't want to stop. We as designers need to know our audiences well enough to figure out how to engage them with our programs...and p.s. they are learning too. Steve Pena contributed a guest post to eLearning Weekly that illustrates the difficulty we have with knowing our audience. This may be one of the bigger hurdles we have to jump when designing courses. Once we figure that out we can move on to the design and programming. So the question is, how do we know our audience?

Friday, July 24, 2009

It's a big eLearning world out there.

As I was reading through my list of "followed blogs" the other day I came across this one E-Learning Curve Blog: The Problem with Web 2.0… in it Michael Hanley quickly and clearly illustrates the feeling I often have when trying to navigate through the world of eLearning, Web-Based training, social networking, etc. As I was looking at the diagram I was hoping that when I scrolled to the bottom there would be a wonderful explanation of everything and I would have an "aha" moment and everything would become crystal clear...that didn't happen. Don't get me wrong, I do have moments of clarity about what I'm doing with eLearning but when I step back and thin about all the possibilities out there and all the available technologies and other tools it is amazing - and overwhelming. In wanting to do a good job on every project I work on I often find myself second guessing what I'm doing and if I'm doing it in the right way and this is compounded when I see posts about mLearning such as this post by Jeanne Meister titled "Mobile Learning Re-Visited" . There is so much to learn and things are constantly changing. To me it's exciting and who knows what learning will look like next summer?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Learning Visions: Designing for Articulate: A Newbie’s View

Cammy Bean makes some great poins in her post Learning Visions: Designing for Articulate: A Newbie’s View . Articulate is one of the main products that I use in developing my eLearning courses. I chose it because of the ease of use. I've created many presenations with the program and each time I use it I learn more and am able to "think outside the box" about ways to create learner centric courses and scenario based courses. I am amazed how easy it is to use, and yet the versatility it gives me in my course design. Another benefit is most trainers are pretty familiar with Powerpoint and this program works in conjunction with that. You don't need to re-invent your training content which is something I like a lot - we are all very busy so why duplicate your workload? You don't need to be a technical person to use this program - another plus in my book - and you get a very polished looking program that impresses.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Not alone out there

As I've been reading various posts and discussion boards this morning I've come to realize that I'm not alone out there when it comes to being confused about eLearning. Many people are wondering how to get started with eLearning, what are the best tools to use, and where to go to learn more.

When we started looking at eLearning I new the basics of on-line classes through personal experience while attending higher education programs and obtaining my Bachelor's and Master's Degrees, however, I had no idea what platforms were being used or how they created and managed the courses. Now that I understand some of this I better understand the education I received.

I think that one of the best things that someone new to eLearning can do is to figure out what you are trying to do before you figure out how you want to do it. Clearly understanding the end result helps you work backwards and determine the steps to get there.

Monday, July 20, 2009

How did I get here?

Have you ever had one of those moments in the middle of a project were you wonder “How did I get here?” I’ve been having one of those moments for the past year. When I came to work for my department a year ago it was as a Human Resource Specialist – which is in line with my background and experience. Little did I know that by volunteering to lead a team to determine alternative training delivery methods that my career path would change.

Now, as the eLearning Designer for the department I am responsible for creating content as well as guiding the way for web-based training and my days are filled with all types of technical issues and solutions.

In this blog it is my intention to chronicle the journey we as a department have taken to be one of the leaders in our state government for eLearning as well as chronicle the journey that I am taking to continuously learn and apply all that I can in this field.