Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Replacement for Classroom Learning

So often when I talk to people about eLearning I am asked if it is going to replace classroom learning.  My reply is always the same...no, and here is why I believe that to be true.  People learn through different ways, some are visual learners, some are auditory, some are kinesthetic and for this reason I think that there will always be a place for different ways of presenting material. 

As a classroom trainer and eLearning designer I also think that there are ways these two methods can compliment each other.  For example, a person attends a classroom session and learns material and isn't able to put it into practice for several months after the class.  When it is time for them to apply what they learned the material may have been forgotten.  An eLearning module that complements the classroom session can provide that just in time refresher that they need to apply all the material and achieve the desired training results.

Here are a couple of blogs I read this morning that provide further illustration of my belief:

E-Learning vs. Classroom Learning
E-Learning modules are not the complete replacement

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Scatterbrained or Creative?

I was in a meeting last week during which we were discussing ideas for storyboarding courses.  I commented that there are some great tools out there for those of us who are scatterbrained.  While I didn't think much of the definition of what I truly believe my thought pattern to be many times, there were others in the meeting very willing to defend me (against myself).  It got me to thinking further about the actual process I use when approaching a project and how it gets from my head to the finished product on the screen.

I mentioned that we were discussing different tools for storyboarding and there are some that I've found that help contain the process (whether scatterbrained or creative). The first I like to use is Prezi and if you haven't used this yet I highly encourage you to do so. One of the big selling points for me is that I'm able to just throw the ideas that come into my head onto the screen without worrying about where they fit into the puzzle until I'm ready. I recently used this for a presentation I gave and it was great, every time I remembered something I wanted to cover I put it out there and then when I was ready to formulate the speech I had all my ideas/pictures/etc. captured and I could easily put things in order. Another tool that is out there is Bubbl.us and it is great for brainstorming and goes along with the mind mapping method. It is also good for collaborating with various subject matter experts and all the information stays in one place.

Often when I receive a project it lands on my desk in any number of raw states.  I've gotten things as simple as a business card with a diagram on the back to fully developed PowerPoint's.  With this wide range there are of course variations on my process to get that finished product.  I will often times take a "once over" of the material and try to digest the information before I even start to think about the design of the course.  I've often found that after I've reviewed the material I need to set it aside for a couple of days until the ideas start to come forward in my head.  This is what leads me to feel a bit scatterbrained, especially when I've got several projects at various stages (for example I currently have 3 projects just about completed, 2 I'm at the digesting stage, 1 just came across on my email, 1 that needs updates - you get the picture).  I love it when I get that out of the blue "aha" moment for a project and then everything just starts to flow.  It is when these creative ideas start to flow that I also wonder if there is a method to the madness and I'm not scatterbrained but rather using a creative process that just seems that way.  Whatever it is, it works for me.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Learning Technology for 2015

So the big question this month is "What will workplace learning technology look like in 2015?"  That is a great question to ask and got me thinking about the longer range plans for the elearning that I am producing today.  Not only will the content be outdated by 2015 but quite possibly the delivery method as well. 

I've been doing some work recently with some elementary children and the imagination that they have is wonderful.  They are very creative and resourceful which leads me to believe that they will demand that their workplace in the future will also need to be creative and resourceful.  So for predictions on learning technology in 2015 here are my thoughts....

I think we'll see more mobile learning and less learning tied to the PC.  People want to be able to access their learning at anytime from anywhere.  Look at the popularity of the iPhone, etc.

I think that there will be more informal learning incorporated into the training/learning programs.  This is something that is already done by learners, I see the trainers getting on board with it and utilizing it to maximize results.

I think that there will also be more of a focus on alternative learning - such as elearning.  With tight budgets we are feeling this demand now, however, I think that in the future this demand won't be as a result of budgetary demands, rather it will be a result of employee demand.  They'll want to be in control of their learning experience rather than have it dictated to them based on class availability, schedule, etc.

We're going to have to get creative to meet the demands of the future employees.  I personally look forward to learning new ways to use technology to meet these demands, unfortunately, I find I tend to get roadblocked by my own lack of creativity when it comes to ways to utilize the tools available.  With the ever changing field of learning technology I think we'll see more people involved in different ways to keep things interesting and engaging.