How To Increase ELearning Interactivity

How to Increase eLearning Interactivity

The term “Rapid eLearning” is often used to describe the conversion of an expert’s PowerPoint slides into Flash SWF files with a software package like Articulate Presenter. However, the phrase “Rapid Interactivity” hasn’t been as prevalent.

On Wednesday, March 11th at the eLearning Guild’s Annual Gathering breakfast, I will be heading a discussion on ways to increase interactivity. I am looking forward to learning from those bold enough to join me at 7:15 in the morning. Creating eLearning that asks the learner to first think and then do should be the goal of all designers and course developers. It is a journey that needs to travel beyond the matching, sequencing and other standard drag & drop exercises that have become common place.

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Serious Games Can Promote Healthy Behaviors

Serious Games can Promote Healthy Behaviors

I am helping a game-based learning client work on a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant (thank you for the tip, Anne Derryberry). My thoughts are connected to our Games Can Teach blog’s on-going discussions concerning the definition of game-based learning and the different types of gaming as well as the research needed. To be sure, there have been ample grants to universities for various studies on the aspects of video games and learning which has provided evidence based research to act on. This interest in video games and learning has had an influence on my practice. We recently developed a new version of an ATOD prevention curriculum, which in 2004 used arcade games to reinforce the lecture style slide shows. In the reinvented version, our team embedded the learning within one exploratory game that utilized video game design mechanics to promote higher level thinking on the part of students. Promoting higher level thinking (see Bloom’s Taxonomy) is a key differentiator between edutainment and immersive or serious educational games.

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Moodle Doodle & White Bread

Moodle Doodle & White Bread

I’ve had about a week to settle back in after giving a presentation at Training 2009 on the open source LCMS, Moodle. As I mentioned last week, I had a packed audience but received mixed reviews. We have been utilizing Moodle for over two years for several client projects. The Moodle pedigree stems purely from higher education, so it was not designed for corporate use as a generic LMS. Moodle.org seems to have little interest in adapting to fit the needs of companies that want to train thousands of employees using hundreds of courses (see threaded discussions on the site-wide grouping feature). Nevertheless, there are many specific corporate training initiatives that Moodle is perfect for. Click here for my presentation.

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What Is Good Interactive Writing?

What is Good Interactive Writing?

Tony Karrer asks a great question in his blog post: “What is good writing?” It is really all about context. Although I agree that concise and bullet-pointed writing can be worthwhile in certain contexts, I do believe that teaching fundamentals is the first priority of a K-12 writing curriculum.

This post has prompted me to muse about another important question: What is good interactive writing?Those of us challenged to develop good online learning activities realize that great eLearning starts with good information design and activities that engage learners. To engage a learner’s mind means that we must keep the learner’s attention with teaching activities that are interactive. This means writers must understand web techniques like hot spots, links, branching, dragging, graphic placement and the like. Sometimes it means a full blown simulation or game (See Karl Kapp’s discussion of building Math Games for Middle School Students). Good storytelling still matters, as does an understanding of the Chicago Style Guide.

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Training 2009 Conference Inspirational!

Training 2009 Conference Inspirational!

When you attend a conference you expect the keynote speeches to deliver inspiration. Training Magazine’s conference held this week in Atlanta did not disappoint. In fact I found myself laughing loudly and crying softly while listening to Tuesday’s keynotes.

First a note about economic impact: Yes, attendance was down, especially pre-conference participation. The headline of the Show Daily magazine read: “Game On or Game Over” Oops…double meaning? My article on project managing game and simulation development certainly came out at a pretty inopportune time.

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Managing The ELearning Team During A Recession

Managing the eLearning Team during a Recession

I am in a quick turnaround from speaking at the ASTD TechKnowledge ‘09 workshop and flying today to Atlanta for Training Magazine’s Annual Training 2009 conference for two speaking sessions. I am adjusting my two lectures (Managing eCourse Development, It’s a Team Approach and Moodle Doodle: Building Online Courses Using the Open Source CMS, Moodle) to account for people’s preoccupation with the current economic downturn.

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Laid Off? Think Like An Entrepreneur!

Laid Off? Think like an Entrepreneur!

As an eLearning entrepreneur, I want to address topics centered on managing projects and people. People are most definitely in the news this past week as we hit unemployment levels previously unseen by many in the workforce. I have had several conversations with individuals who have lost their jobs. My advice to them and all those currently employed is to always think like an entrepreneur. Here are my top ten quick tips:

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ASTD TechKnowledge Comments

ASTD TechKnowledge Comments

Did the first eLearning Conference of 2009 suffer the same fate as the consumer electronics show in December? Were the numbers down? I asked the conference administrators several times what the attendance numbers were at the annual TechKnowledge conference held last week at the Las Vegas Rio Convention Center. The answer was repeatedly a suspicious “We don’t know yet.” My favorite part of the conference? Tony Karrer’s keynote speech on day two.

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