Monday, September 29, 2008

Your Massive Visual Memory!

Research recently published by Tim Brady and his colleagues, indicates that the storage capacity of your long term visual memory may be on an astonishingly higher scale than previously thought.

"One of the major lessons of memory research has been that human memory is fallible, imprecise, and subject to interference. Thus, although observers can remember thousands of images, it is widely assumed that these memories lack detail."

What is exciting about this research is that contrary to this assumption, they are able to show that long-term memory is capable of storing a massive number of objects including the details.

Their research indicates a "massive capacity-memory system, in terms of both the quantity and fidelity of the visual information that can be remembered," the researchers said.

Whilst, the full implications of their research has yet to filter into both the academic and corporate worlds, it is interesting to think about the importance of visuals in learning, and the power of an image to convey a thousand words. Visualisation, diagrammatics and information design have often been neglected in training circles, but perhaps this research will give it some much needed focus, because actually seeing the process (for example) may have a greater importance than we originally thought.

Friday, September 19, 2008

How do you outsource you elearning development?

There seems to be an emerging trend over the past couple of years for corporates to buy in specific expertise rather than purchase an entire elearning project. In part this has appears to have been driven by the growth of generic publishing tools. But there also seems to be much more significant re-evaluation of where vendors add value, almost on a project by project basis.

This fragmentation which coincided with the growth of Rapid elearning also suggests some interesting new potential. Will we see the growth of syndicates of development specialists dealing directly with corporates rather than operating through a standard elearning vendor? These hubs of expertise already work on a contract basis for many of the established vendors... so why have the middle man?

Socially Transmitted Education?

For those of you who haven't seen you may have been missing out on an interesting development in what they had considered calling Socially Transmitted Entertainment.

What is fascinating about this as you view the channels is how adaptable this medium would be for any organisation that was interested in Socially Transmitted Education.

Two thoughts occur to me.

If we think about LMS 2.0... is the viral sharing of learning content and embedding it in your "Corporate "FaceBook" an interesting way to develop an overt learning and knowledge sharing culture... You could see what your boss and his boss have been reading/learning and wants to share with you from your corporate education channels.

But perhaps what is more exciting is the opportunity this has for reseller and value chain education programmes, where you want advocacy and community from people who don't work directly for you. The opportunity to provide training, updates, news, chats, and product competitions is immense...

Afterall - what you want is for people to share learning and this seems to be one way to reach and excite your audience... with a little creativity using and some video expertise, even throw in some links to assessments, or Polls and.... you could have a lot of fun...


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Are you a corporate Spielberg?

Whilst many corporate networks groan and wither, and IT network managers visibly turn green at the very slightest mention of video, the winds of change are definitely blowing. In a paper released this autumn by Wistia, there are some interesting trends in the way video is growing in organisations, especially in the field of training and communications. One of the most telling statistics is that 52% of all video used within corporates is produced by internal teams... and that figure is likely to grow; this is especially true when you consider the ambient availability of video devices and the increased simplicity of editing tools.

This trend will obviously give many network managers sleepless nights, but for organisations that want to capture the passion of their people, share ideas, learn and communicate, this is going to become as much a part of the daily routine as conference calls.

And as we become immersed in the media age, developing the skills that enable you to be impactful in front of and behind the camera are going really important, because these skills will be critical to the influence you can exert within an organisation.

How long it takes for corporate networks to fulfil this aspiration it's difficult to say, but for those who are ready.... what are you waiting for? Solutions are evolving at quite a pace.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Google Video for Business - Revolutionising E-learning!

By announcing today that it is adding YouTube like video communications features through its business application suite, Google may well have instantly revolutionised what we think about collaboration and learning in organisations.

By making video-sharing among office workers as easy as trading e-mails or instant messages it may redefine our entire approach to internal communications and what it means to be a learning organisation.

In any democratic orientated organisation that relies on "The Power of We", this is certainly going to have a transformational, if not revolutionary effect in bring people and their knowledge closer together; and when combined with viewer ranking, comments, creativity and the search power within this Google App, it raises some very interesting questions about what LMS 2.0 may turn out to mean. And as content delivery formats converge the power of Google Video may be broader than they originally thought.;jsessionid=DYK24T50FSRFUQSNDLPCKH0CJUNN2JVN?articleID=210201551&pgno=2&queryText=&isPrev=

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Is Your Manager Your Biggest Obstacle to Learning?

Potentially yes!

A manager's own preconceptions about the power of nature over nurture appears to dictate how much training their people get.

Some research by Peter Heslin and Don VandeWalle shows that managers with preconceived ideas about people's attributes tend to be less likely to ensure they receive the training they need. Whilst another study found that managers who think people's attributes are fixed gave their staff less coaching.

Whilst this may not come as a big surprise to most L&D Business partners, perhaps the positive side of the research will be. The evidence also indicates that managers with these entrenched views can be persuaded of the error of their ways, through evidence and by encouraging reflection about why developing capability is important.

Helsin and VandeWalle suggest that in order to enhance workforce productivity, cues to help managers to believe that people can change could be built into performance evaluation systems.

"These cues might include written, verbal and video-based reminders to managers...that all employee skills tend to be developed over time with practice and helpful feedback."

So what could this mean for corporates. Overall it's great news. To some extent this research suggests that a culture of learning in an organisation can be grown if it is fed proactively.

But it could also has some consequences on how we view type and trait based diagnostic tools.

If they aren't handled properly they could well lock down managers' expectations - "She's an INTJ", "he's Low Detail Conscious, "their profile shows an inability to handle rapid change". If those labels re-inforce a percieved "limit" to your performance through a type or trait, then that may reduce your opportunity to develop the skills that would enable you to develop and change.

Spotted at:

Heslin, P.A., VandeWalle, D. (2008). Managers' Implicit Assumptions About Personnel. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17(3), 219-223. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8721.2008.00578.x

Thursday, August 07, 2008

SCORM 2004 or Let's See?

With the 4th version of SCORM 2004 due out later in the year just under 5 years after it was orginally released there seems to be less than a stanpede to adopt it as the defacto tracking mechanism.

Many large corporates still use AICC and SCORM 1.2 as their default?

With the benefits of navigation and sequencing through better support for branching, pre-test based learning paths, problem solving, optional learning paths, for example... is courseware and the complexity of tracking not important? Or are most courses still using very simple design models?

If you've moved on to 2004 as a relatively early adopter - what happened? And how is it making a difference? Or if you're laggardly following the majority... what's holding you back?

Or, are you waiting to see what LETSI start to deliver as they plan SCORM 2.0?

It's time to share your thinking....

Afterall - It's SCORM 2004 or lets see (if you can forgive the pun).


Remember you only have until 15th August 2008 to make your LETSI whitepaper submission.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How do we take Serious Games seriously?

There is something about the title Serious Games that always makes me feel uneasy. NOT because I have an issue with the intent behind them, but because they throw up too many layers of misinterpretation.

When I think about Serious Games I cannot suppress the peripheral thoughts of Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog and a mass shoot'em ups like Doom...

And this is precisely the sort of baggage that anyone not closely aligned to the Serious Game movement will also start to picture too. They will conjour up thoughts of immersive, thrill seeking, high-end graphics and "Hollywood" production values that are packaged for the High Street.

A laudable vision, but not necessarily that realistic to achieve for most organisations.

Without a shadow of a doubt CONTEXT is crucial to effective learning, and it doesn't require a Phd to appreciate that creating an accurate context for learning interventions that enables you to rehearse for "real life" will create a much more engaging and meangingful experince.

Without out a doubt learners want stimulating and enthralling learning experiences that are immersive and engaging. And those are goals we should all be striving to achieve.

I suppose my question to you is, would you talk to a senior business figure in your organisation and use the phrase - Serious Game? And my second question is would you expect to be taken seriously?

I think you might have struggled to get credibility and traction if you suggested that airline pilots were going to learn from a Serious Flying Game? Raised eyebrows and frowns but no nods....

So, does a rose by another other name smell so sweet...? Yes, but only if you let it near enough to smell it.... and the name in this case it may well be getting in the way.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

LMS - In or Out? Are you re-considering your hosting arrangements?

With the trend towards software as a service increasing its momentum, what is happening in the world of Learning Management Systems?

Corporate cost reduction pressures are increasing by the hour, the value chain and outsourcing is increasingly making learning solutions stretch beyond the immediate boundaries of internal corporate networks. Materials need to be available to partners and even customers. More often than not, they now need to be accessible 24/7 from a mobile, always ON and agile employee base.

So, are these pressures really translating themselves into fresh thinking in your e-learning team about your LMS? Or, have you already made the switch from internally to externally hosted to enable this to happen?

If you have, we'd love to hear your thoughts and reflections about making the transition and the challenges you’re continuing to face.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Managing Rapid - New Research Paper

We've just posted the next paper in the Rapid e-learning research series. This document focuses on the different approaches and considerations to managing Rapid e-learning, including:

  • Rapid e-learning management styles and team organisation
  • The “rapid “project life cycle and its processes
  • Managing course redundancy
  • How “rapid” effects your relationship with suppliers
  • The critical success factors for working through a Rapid e-learning project
The Managing Rapid paper, alongside the previous Core Insights paper and Executive Viewpoint are available immediately for download from Elearnity’s Knowledge Centre.

Managing Rapid - Link:

Monday, June 23, 2008

Epic post on Elearnity Symposium

Nick Timpson from Epic has posted a blog entry on the Epic blog about the Elearnity Symposium he attended in May, including comments on the roundtable sessions he attended.

We are planning to announce further information on the findings from the roundtables at the Symposium including summary mindmaps in the next week or so.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rapid e-learning webinar

Heads up on a webinar session David Perring will be running on rapid e-learning for Mohive:

Follow this link to register.

Event: Joint Webcast Mohive/ elearnity: Rapid E-learning: The Power of Rapid Thinking
Date and Time: Thursday, 3 July 2008 14:00
GMT Daylight Time (GMT +01:00, London) Change time zone
Duration: 1 hour

To help you understand and explore the key trends of the Rapid e-learning movement, Mohive has invited David Perring, Principal Analyst from Elearnity, to share their insights and analysis of what is, perhaps, the most significant development in e-learning of the last 10 years.
We will discuss:
- What is Rapid and its importance?
- How fast is Rapid?
- What are the key trends?
- How are corporate Managing Rapid e-learning
- What are the implications of applying Rapid approaches
Lars, CEO of Mohive invites you to join David & himself and participate in this special event.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Who wants to see an LMS anyway?

If you put me on the rack and asked me whether most large corporates need a Learning Management System (LMS) then I’d have to say yes. If you are a large enterprise that needs to organise and track formal learning activity then it’s practically a given.

The problem for most LMSs in corporate environments is that actually they are usually at least three clicks away from when they are most needed by the user, and even then, a learner isn’t usually that interested in the fact they’ve accessed the LMS. It’s part of the journey, but not necessarily the chosen destination. What they are really after is the right learning, at the right time, with the right context with the right impact to make a difference. Most of the time they want to be looking at the learning content, in whatever form, that comes. Not the LMS.

Alternatively, if they are interested in development planning – they want to be analysing development paths, getting insight into their unique attributes, their potential and creating the roadmap that will deliver their aspirations. Again, they are interested in the destination not the mechanism.

And for corporate learning technology managers this is a problem, because without making the outcome the most visible part of the development journey, rather than the system that co-ordinates it, there will always be an extra barrier to LMSs delivering their maximum value.

One way around this is to use portals and deep linking to, in effect, make the LMS invisible. These are inherently more user focussed. The LMS is still there, but doing its job in the background, rather than obviously in the foreground.

Afterall, with the exception of the LMS vendor and the team who put it in, who really wants to see an LMS anyway....?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The 7 Top Tips for Implementing Learning Technology. The Vendors View!

We recently brought some very well known and experienced learning technology suppliers together and asked them to list their top tips for implementing learning technologies.

This is what they came up with.

So, if you are contemplating a project this list might just be the difference between success and failure.

1) Internal Ownership
2) Clear Objectives
3) Clear Statement of Work
4) Small, Achievable, Bite Sized Steps
5) Constant Communication
6) Understanding of your own internal culture and what will work
7) Work together as a partnership

Their top 7 are enlightening not just because they will help you with your implementation. What is interesting about the list is it also plays a part in sustaining the ongoing success of learning technologies in organisations well beyond implementation.

As people, personality’s business direction and challenges inevitably start to change, then these seven tips actually become a continuous mantra to keep your solutions live and effective.

After all, what happens if your original stakeholder leaves? You can't ignore the situation; you need to align ownership to the business again so it delivers the ongoing business strategy. And often, that's not as easy as you'd want, especially if there is a fundamental change in learning philosophy or you lose a core business champion. That can be a death knell, especially if their replacement fundamentally don’t see appreciate its value.

It’s not just about the technology; it’s the e-learning structures too. Look at Rapid content... if you have a Subject Matter Expert who moves on, what will happen to their content if aren't replaced?

Each item in the list really does feed a whole thought cycle of planning and action well beyond the implementation. Without fresh objectives, and constant communication about how the technologies drive value for learners or stakeholders your solutions will eventually wilt. If you don't put energy into sustaining your solutions life, all the hard work of implementation will eventually unravel.

So, if you already have technologies in place, see if you can answer all those questions without, hesitation, deviation or repetition. Hopefully, it will only take you just a minute. If it doesn't, perhaps you should start drafting those answers now, or start planning how you’re going to get them answered. And don't just think about your back-bone solutions; think about the content solutions too!

Remember, implementing a solution is only part of the work... keeping it going, especially through turbulent situations requires even more passion, partnership and energy that putting it in the first place.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Myth of Rapid Authoring Tools

If you look at the debate around Rapid e-learning then a myth seems to be emerging it's all about rapid e-learning tools...

This is too narrow a view.

Now, I'm not against myths. They are very powerful stories that hold an inner truth; even if they don't always hold water when they're taken literally.

If you look at Rapid elearning objectively, there are two things that are fundamental to a rapid outcome - intent and processes . These are the two things that make rapid e-learning truly rapid.

Why intent...? Because if the project can stretch out for 10 weeks it probably will.

Why processes....? Because if you don't accelerate your process of scoping through to development and launch, then you still won't complete your project rapidly.

Sure the tools are geared up to work in a streamlined way and they are a pivotal part of the story, but if you think Rapid e-learning begins and ends in authoring tools, then you’re really not looking at the whole picture. It's not just about squeezing development.

So, where is the true power of Rapid e-learning?

If you look at Rapid e-learning as a philosophy and methodology as much as it is a tool set, then you are going to drive some really strong value. That's because the inner truth about rapid is it's relentless focus on the effectiveness and efficiency of every stage of production. And that has some very powerful overtones for all e-learning production - internal and external.

Goodbye scripting documents! ?!

But, the real story of Rapid e-learning is still being written. Leading corporates are using a wide range of ‘Rapid’ approaches and tools, but there has been no analysis of what really works best in different contexts.

There is a massive blind spot in the comparative effectiveness of materials, production models and implementation techniques. This means that most of them may not be realising their full potential.

Two of the most important questions have yet to be answered..

· How effective is Rapid e-learning?

· How sustainable is Rapid e-learning?

Whilst the market presence of Rapid e-learning continues to grow at an exceptional rate, the full ramifications of pursuing this strategy in the long term hasn't yet been resolved with some real research and tangible data.

Updated Elearnity website and knowledge centre

Just a quick note to say we've just updated the Elearnity website design to (hopefully) improve its impact and usability. We've also slightly redesigned the navigation around the Elearnity Knowledge Centre, our research knowledge base to hopefully make it simpler and easier to navigate. Hope you like it ...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rapid e-learning papers

Elearnity has just announced some new research on Rapid e-learning, including a couple of white papers and a new research project. See this press release for some more information.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tech play at HRD

A small observation.

Went down to the CIPD's HRD show at ExCel centre this week. Was its usual eclective self - manor house training venues, lots of leadership and soft skill trainers, and the occassional bloke sprayed blue walking around promoting something.

But something did strike me this year as being different - the reemergence of technology at HRD. Learning Technology and e-learning has never been a significant part of this show. Whilst CIPD flirted a little with it in the early e-learning years, it soon got dropped as a significant focus and the number of vendors dwindled. This year it seemed to have a quite strong presence, distributed around the exhibition hall.

Although many of the big vendors were still not there, there were a number of the serious emergent LMS companies including Cornerstone from the US, NetDimensions from UK/HongKong, E2Train from the UK and IMC from Germany. StepStone was there from the Talent Management arena accompanied by a raft of online 360 providers and similar. And there were lots of e-learning vendors; CrossKnowledge from France, Epic, Line Communications, Intellego, Information Transfer, and so on.

Not sure if this is a trend, but certainly I was encouraged that despite seemingly the best efforts of CIPD and many traditional training people to underplay the trend, e-learning and learning technology is clearly now part of the mainstream of learning and development.

Back in play

Apologies for the lack of blogging activity over the past few months. Life has been very busy and our focus on the blog has dropped off completely.

However, light is at the end of the tunnel and I hope to ensure this blog gets more activity going forward. There's a lot been happening. We've been working on some really interesting research which will start to be made available in the next month or so, and we also have more people and infrastructure to push the learning research forward.

Watch this space!

Regards, DAVID