The association marketplace has caught my attention as a promising avenue for eLearning services. The market is as large and diverse as it can get— an association exists for almost all types of interests and businesses from the American Bar Association to the Knitting Guild Association. There are associations for associations, with ASAE being the most well-known, and there are associations for companies providing management services for associations (AMC Institute). No matter how you try to break down the association market, whether by size, staff, industry, trade or professional, the sheer size and variation of the market presents challenges much like a Rubik’s Cube.
The ASTD ICE Conference from May 31- June 3rd in Washington DC will be the training and development event of the year. There is still time to register and receive both low-fare tickets and reasonable accommodations if you use Priceline and the subway system. Based on my personal poll of those attending the workshop on game and learning object design presented by myself and Joe Rheaume, I would estimate that attendance numbers are stronger on a percentage basis compared with the ASTD Technology Conference this past January. Yes, optimism in the spring air! A nice option on the conference website is the ability to develop your own personal schedule. Here are the people and events I found most interesting:
A colleague asked for advice prior to an interview for a training and development job. She was selected for the interview phase in part because of her eLearning experience. Here is a summary of my advice:
- Prepare to ask questions so you understand what the job entails. This will enable you to position your expertise, e.g. “Can you describe a typical day and explain the types of tasks I will be doing?” Usually there are tactical tasks (day to day duties) and strategic tasks (long range general goals) such as helping to develop a distance education curriculum.
- Translate your training and development experiences into eLearning. If you have been a classroom trainer reflect on how you organize the course and how you plan activities to engage students. The same techniques can be translated to eLearning. Scan Bill Horton’s book: eLearning by Design for cross over language, e.g. instructional design, learning objectives, testing, and levels of learner engagement.
Since I started writing a blog in early January, I have been surprised and impressed with the effect it has had on my own education. First of all, you can imagine the sheer number of eLearning blogs out there is pretty daunting to keep up with on a regular basis.
Then comes the issue of focusing my own blog—I’m interested in serious games, learning management, and self-paced eCourse development. Not to mention the ACTUAL theme of my blog is supposed to be the management of eLearning and being an eLearning entrepreneur. On one hand, I know I need to focus more, but then again I feel I could do more in the eLearning blogosphere to stimulate conversation and garner more comments if I broadened the scope.
Today happens to be a special day for Wisconsinites — Earth Day was actually founded by one of our own, Senator Gaylord Nelson. Senator Nelson, who also used to be our Governor, would be very proud of the current “cool factor” in going GREEN. The original idea, according to the deceased Senator, germinated during the Kennedy presidency.
Earth Day has had an enduring impact on my psyche. The pollution of a local Wisconsin creek inspired me to create my first 8mm film. Nowadays it’s common to see footers at the bottom of emails asking you to refrain from printing to save the environment. And it’s also pretty likely you have received that email lauding electronic learning as the next green move. The growth of electronic learning utilizing the Internet for education does indeed have a green flavor. We do significantly save in fuel by conducting a Webinar instead of a face-to-face meeting or traveling to a workshop. Now if we could only figure figure out a way to power our computers without electricity…
Karl Kapp’s blog mentions of Wisconsin Online Resource Center’s (Wisc-Online) practically free game templates inspired me to check in with the learning object project leader, Kay Chitwood, Director of Learning Innovations, at Fox Valley Technical College. What impressed me about what Kay’s group is doing in Appleton, WI. is that they stuck with the Learning Object concept long after it stopped being popular. Learning Object (LO) design and the inevitable LO repository is still a viable strategy—best served when applied to a local eLearning eco-system.
Here are some highlights from my enlightening conversation with the Queen of Learning Objects, Kay Chitwood.
Spring is finally here—and it usually means a busy period for eLearning developers who are productively delivering on 1st quarter promises. I have been following Clive Shepard and Elliot Masie’s posts on the economic condition in the training and development field. Both report a promising outlook for eLearning compared with face to face training.
We are receiving several jobs and inquiries for converting face-to-face workshops (one or two day events) into mostly asynchronous eLearning seminars/courses/eWorkshops. Not quite sure what to call this type of eLearning event, especially when it has an introductory synchronous activity.
I attended the eLearning Guild’s Annual Gathering in Orlando last week, and I was very impressed with the generally optimistic atmosphere. Unlike other conferences I have attended this year, staff members freely acknowledged, albeit unofficially, that attendance may have decreased compared to years prior but not as much as feared. The collaborative and congenial atmosphere created by leaders Heidi Fisk and David Holcomb has propelled the eLearning Guild to the top of pack— association and conference wise. It helps that there is a “free” level of Guild membership. Secondly, the Guild’s singular focus on eLearning makes for strong workshops and sessions. Thirdly, since the group is privately owned, leadership and management are passionate about maintaining the mission and the vision. I hope this dedication can continue, but I am starting to sense a drift.
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.
I do not have statistics, but I would venture a guess that the amount of activity on LinkedIn must be escalating during this recession. My network of 300 people has certainly increased their usage. Do we have more time on…