Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bringing in the Backchannel

If you’ve not already read my previous blog posts ‘Getting Beyond Bullet Points (visuals only)’ and ‘Getting Beyond Bullet Points (with audio) then I’d strongly suggest having a read of them before you read any more of this post.


Well for 2 reasons really:

1. The earlier posts will provide you with the context behind this post.

2. The purpose of this specific post is to expand upon the subject of the backchannel that is only briefly mentioned in the earlier posts.

The reason that it is only briefly mentioned is due to the fact that I used Prezi to facilitate that particular element of my session. I guess I could have used PowerPoint just as effectively, but I wanted to demonstrate an alternative to traditional slide-ware software.

So grab your sickbags…. here’s the Prezi…….

Don’t forget, this is Part 3 in a series of posts surrounding my LSG11UK session.

Part 1 – Getting Beyond Bullet Points with visuals only

Part 2 – Getting Beyond Bullet Points with visual and audio.

Part 3 – Bringing in the backchannel

Part 4 – The Learners Voice

Part 5 – Getting Beyond Bullet Points live recorded podcast

Part 6 – Tools and resources


Here’s Dan Roddy’s thoughtful blog post on the use of Twitter as a backchannel tool.

Did you get anything from this Prezi?

Do you promote/participate in backchannel debate or do you think it dilutes the experience for you?

Why not let us know in the comments section?

View the original article here

Podcast #3: Project Management… what’s that all about then?

Craig chats with Jane Brotchie on the subject of Project Management. This podcast will count as a piece of evidence towards a group activity within the Certificate in Web Content Creation & Management programme.

Download podcast in mp3 format: Project Management, what’s that all about then?

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.


Music Source.

View the original article here

Some simple ideas on how to redesign the conference experience

Yesterday I got caught up in (or to be more accurate, butted my way into) a Twitter conversation that Sam Burrough was engaged in that was part of the great work he’s involved in around ‘rethinking/redesigning’ the conference experience.

Part of that exchange involved this tweet

I had a think about it overnight and have come up with these ideas

I’ve spoken at quite a few conferences/workshops etc over the past couple of years and always strive to produce ‘something’ (blog post, podcast, video etc) for the attendees to access prior to the actual session itself to help them prepare, add context and ultimately help them get the most out of their investment in the session. Unfortunately the majority of organisers don’t allow that sort of material to be included in the official conference webpage – I know, I’ve asked! Instead they suggest that I market the material via Social Media (d’uh, hadn’t thought of that!), of course there are several short falls to this approach, some of which are:

Not everybody follows me via Social MediaNot everybody uses Social MediaNot everybody will be aware of hashtags

For me the almost guaranteed place that you will find attendees will be on the conference website and in particular on the session overview pages. So come on conference organisers, don’t hinder those speakers who have gone the extra mile – let them include a ‘link out’ in their session overview, maybe even an embedded video?

I’ve been to many conferences that had a conference app. I’ve only been to one that had a good conference app and that was Devlearn. If you’re planning on having a conference app for your next event, pleeeeeeeease make it a decent one!

I’ve never researched this, but I’d be happy to concede that a full-on video recording/slide sync recording is an expensive matter, particularly if you’ve got a lot of sessions taking place, however in this age of affordable HD video recorders, tripods and editing software why not set up some DIY recording of each session? An even simpler option might be to record the audio of each session and then ask the facilitators to sync it with their slides (Hey, if they want to speak at your conference make them work for it!). Here’s one I prepared earlier (won’t work on an iPad/phone)

Let’s be honest, when your conference attendees have a number of concurrent sessions to select from, other than previous experience/recommendations of the facilitator, all they’ve got to go in is the session overview on the conference website. Why not invite each speaker (and potential attendees) to participate in a 10 minute online session in which they pitch their session and take part in a Q&A. It may also give the potential attendees an insight into the presentation skills of the speaker (AKA are they going to rattle off a load of bullet points at me?)

If you decide to conduct a ‘pre’ conference online session, why not go the whole-hog and think about a ‘post’ conference session. This could be a 15-30 minute session in which session attendees (I think ‘only’ session attendees) could follow up with any reflective questions and share any experiences that they have had in relation to trying to implement the speakers subject (if applicable). I’m sure this would help to break down the perception of the conference/workshop being a stand-alone event.

I’m sure that Sam and the rest of the guys ‘n’ gals that have been thinking about redesigning the conference experience will have tonnes more ideas, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled on their blog as I know that Sam is about to produce a write up on their thoughts.

Do you attend conferences/workshops?

How would you change things to maximise the experience?

Do you plan/host conferences/workshops?

Have you tried implementing any of the ideas above?

Did they work?

What have you tried in the past (regardless of whether it worked or not)?

Image source

View the original article here

Podcast #1: Action Mapping

In this, my first podcast, I am joined by a small number of my organisations elearning authors, Steven Mahay, Geoff Owens, Andrew Pilkington & Chris Hyndman to discuss an Action Mapping session that I had just facilitated. The purpose of the conversation was to further promote the thinking that elearning is not just the traditional ‘click-next’ type of elearning that many of us are used to and that podcasting is a relatively simple (and far quicker way of producing a learning resource) whilst also providing a period of reflection for the attendees themselves. The podcast was also a great learning curve for me as I had failed to set my Samson GoMic as the default recording device so I was reliant on the internal laptop speaker, hence the poor quality…. but I’ve learned my lesson and hope that you will join me in my next podcast in which I will have resolved my ‘teething problems’

James Clay’s elearningstuff blog

Cathy Moore’s Action Mapping blog post

View the original article here

A few bits and bobs from #LT13UK

Here are a few of the bits ‘n’ bobs that I created during my recent attendance at the Learning and Technologies Conference 2013. The videos are probably worth watching first as they may well add some context to the detail (or lack of) within the mindmaps.

I have made the mindmaps into ‘Wikimaps’, so please feel free to add to them for the ‘greater good’.

Day 1

Making learning a memorable experience

Mobile Performance Support

Day 2

Understanding Learning

(Whilst reviewing this mindmap, it dawned on me that it is the ‘poor relation’ of a mindmap that @britz spearheaded a few months ago which a number of us contributed to – I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a better map)

How to make games-based learning work for you

I hope you find these to be of use and hopefully you’ll be able to add to them….

View the original article here

Monday, April 7, 2014

Podcast #4: I wanna tell you a story(board)

This image is a close up of an attendee completing a storyboard.

Waaaaay back in the mists of time that was Learning Technologies 2010, I attended a workshop on the subject of storyboarding facilitated by @juliewedgwood.

This session came a little late in my ID career as I had spent the previous 6 months putting together rapid elearning module with NO storyboard process – oh well, better late than never!

I recently asked Julie to facilitate that session again with a number of my colleagues which culminated in them producing a podcast to reflect upon the session’s content and what they were going to do with it. Apologies for the sound quality in parts of this podcast, I was using a portable Zoom recorder for the very first time and should have practiced with it beforehand (as you’ll hear)

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.


Music Source

View the original article here

Podcast #9: QR Codes? Sounds like something out of a Bond film!

This podcast sees Craig being joined by Kate Graham, Kim George and Paul Simbeck-Hampson to (hopefully) dispell any misgivings or musunderstandings relating to QR codes, how they can be used to not only enhance learning activities but also as a marketing tool.

Download podcast in mp3 format: QR codes? Sounds like something out of a Bond Film!

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.


Music Source.

View the original article here

Once bitten…

I’ve spent the last few nights putting together a few slides to underpin my session ‘Getting started with Learning Technologies’ at the Learning Technologies Conference 2011.

I was the using approach cited by Cliff Atkinson in his book Beyond Bullet Points, to develop a slide deck that uses full screen images to graphically underpin my story.

Whilst the sourcing of appropriate quality images took some time to locate, it took nowhere near as long as setting up the Auto-Tweet function which would allow me to autotweet during my session. So you can imagine the language in my office when I discovered that this presentation had ‘disappeared’ from my USB stick – and for those of you are thinking

“what’s the problem Craig, surely you had backed it up on your laptop or on Google Docs”

Erm… (embarrassed silence)… no I didn’t.

Like I say, once bitten…

View the original article here

My Top Ten Tools 2012

Every year Jane Hart runs the Top 100 Tools for Learning survey over at C4LPT. Here is my personal 2012 Top Ten which I have submitted, in no particular order.

Google Reader – one of the first things I do every morning is get updated on the news via Google Reader, with which I subscribe to a range of RSS feeds and pull in Google Alerts for certain keyword combinations. A major source of learning for me, most of my feeds are related to learning technologies and bloggers I follow.

Google Alerts – I have about 10 alerts running for certain keywords relative to my field, which I monitor through Google Reader. The Alerts service is one I’ve been using for some years and I find it indispensable.

Moodle Docs – a superb resource on all things Moodle. If you want to know something about Moodle, consult the Docs first!

Twitter – my biggest source of learning. I only use it for professional networking and keep Facebook for all the personal stuff, Twitter is my number one source for keeping up to date with industry trends and thinking.

Evernote – this is where I keep my notes on useful things I find on the internet, collate my thoughts, form blog posts and articles.

Smartphone – a huge amount of my learning is done out of work via social networking, web browsing, Twitter, Google Reader, etc. Most of this is done from my smartphone so this would be one of the most important learning tools in my ‘toolkit’!

Google Search – probably my number one learning tool, used constantly throughout the day.

Wikipedia – where many of my Google Searches invariably lead! I got a chance to work on a Wikipedia research project at Epic this year, one of the highlights of my working year!

Moodle – it’s always amazing how much more there is to learn about Moodle. As a Moodle practitioner, this tool is the subject of a lot of my learning, but as a lot of this learning is performed by simply using and exploring the system and using it’s contextual help, I have to list it as a learning tool as well.

MobileRSS – The only mobile app in my list apart from Evernote and Twitter, this basically provides an interface to Google Reader from my home and work phones, and synchronises read/unread statuses nicely between the two. One of the few ‘special’ apps that has travelled with me through all my phones over the last 3 or 4 years or so.

View the original article here

Virtual Learning Show 2013 – Day 2

As mentioned in a previous blog post, I’m participating in the 2013 2-day Virtual Learning Show. Whilst I was directly involved as a panel chair on Day 2, I also attended as a participant .

Here are my reflections on Day 2 and in particular each session, with a particular focus on:

A key ‘take-away’ from the sessions content itselfThe way in which it was facilitated (in part or in whole) with a view to what can I re-use/build upon for myself.

 Presented by Matt Turner
 11.00 – 12.00 UK BST

In many organisations, Virtual Classrooms are accepted as an efficient, powerful and flexible way to deliver learning. However, the tipping point has not yet been reached and some decision-makers still appear fearful, confused, or even downright scared of adopting VC, leaving L&D practitioners puzzled at the challenge of the internal sell-in.

“Fear and Loathing in Las Virtual” will be an enjoyable and frank look at why some are slow to move into the Virtual Classroom and what others have done to introduce it successfully.  The session will use a variety of examples, scenarios and tips on what works well, touching on content, communication, attitudes, terminology, sell-in and more in the process. As part of a collective responsibility to ensure VCs reach their potential in the UK, your experiences and contributions in this session will help its success!

My key content take-away

There was a great deal of discussion around what we ‘call’ this approach to delivery. There seemed to be a split between those who thought we shouldn’t worry about the language we use to describe it and those (myself included) who thought that it was worth the effort to get the ‘language/terminology’ correct.

I’m always conscious over the language that I use when talking within my organisation, but I’m going to check with the rest of my team to gain their perspective.

My key facilitation take-away

Matt asked us to post any links we had to the host ‘privately’ so that she could put them up at the end of the session. I’m not sure that I’d ever ask this…. surely if a person posts a relevant, contextual link into the slide panel there and then it provides an opportunity for people to immediately take a look ‘outside’ of the session and potentially bring a different perspective into session?

There’s also the distinct possibility that some people may leave the session early, so any links that are dropped into chat at the end of the session will be missed.

 Presented by Claire Line
12.30 – 13.30 UK BST

Claire_Line_125Claire Line is Learning Technologies Manager at global law firm Hogan Lovells. As part of that role, she has carried out extensive research into virtual classroom and online learning technologies.  Since 2004, she has introduced a number of learning technologies for IT training and legal learning, including virtual classroom, web conferencing and video production.

In this discussion-based session, Claire will take you through her journey of how virtual learning was implemented at Hogan Lovells and will discuss the successes, the barriers she encountered, and some of the key points she has learned that will help you in your project to implement virtual learning in your organisation. Be sure to bring your questions to ask!

My key facilitation take-away

No matter how much you are rushing for the start of the session ALWAYS undertake any audio setup process. Claire was very muffled at the start of the session which led to me stepping away for some time and by the time I got back the microphone issue had been resolved and I’m missed a good chunk at the beginning.

 Presented by Julie Dirksen
 14.00 – 15.00 UK BST

Julie Dirksen

Game designers have been using concepts like a structured flow of goals, levels, and accomplishments to create a sense of engagement and efficacy in players. One of the key elements in creating fully engaging game experiences is the psychological concept of flow-creating game environments that keep players in tenuous balance between their level of ability and level of challenge. Learners should have the same sense from learning experiences. The speaker will take a look at the way games and other forms of entertainment media create flow states, how to create that in learning environments, and why the act of learning is crucial to this type of engagement.

In this session, you will learn:

What we know about attracting and maintaining learner attentionHow game designers create sticky and compelling experiencesHow to structure learning experiences that will engage learners

My key content take-away

People’s personal challenges will ALWAYS be better than anything I can come up for them. I need to make sure that this is carefully woven in to the upcoming ‘campaign’ that I am working on.

My key facilitation take-away

Julie invited us to tell her what the ‘most boring subjects’ were that we had been asked to create training on. She then (bravely) used those topics to craft a significant chunk of her session around. This is something that I’d be keen to explore.

I found that there was a lot of talking at the beginning of Julie’s session and limited interaction, coupled with the somewhat scientific content and it being immediately after lunch led to a reduced level of concentration on my part. I need to think about the scheduling of any online sessions in the future taking part immediately after lunch (just as I should in a f2f environment)

Chair: Craig Taylor
Panellists: Bianca Woods (Canada), Koreen Olbrish (US), Barbara Thompson (UK), Ryan Tracey (Australia)
15.30 – 16.30 UK BST

Craig TaylorYou’ve probably seen, attended or perhaps even participated in ‘panel discussions’ before, but how many of them have been online? That’s why we thought it was time to extend people’s perceptions as to how online classroom tools can be used. In this session you’ll have the opportunity to participate in a live online panel discussion which will include workplace L&D practitioners from 4 countries and 4 time zones!

This is your opportunity to hear the thoughts and opinions on how emerging tech can be used to enhance and enrich our offerings and ultimately add value to our businesses? Perhaps you’d just like a second (or third!) opinion on a plan you have. Maybe you’re struggling with a particular aspect of a solution and would like to hear how others have approached it or would approach it.

My key content take-away

Here’s a blog post from Jo Cook who’s done a great job of capturing the essence of my session.

My key facilitation take-away

Don’t be put off by what other people tell you can/can’t be done. The use of 5 webcams simultaneously, across 5 countries and 5 time zones is something that many people will tell you is a foolhardy exercise within an online classroom. Well we did it today and it worked! Admittedly there were 2 occasions where there was a short ‘freeze’, however I’ve been in sessions that are faaaaaaar less webcam dependant and the same thing/worse has happened, so it’s not going to put me off in the future.

Did you participate?

What did you take away from the day / each session?

View the original article here

Bringing elearning back ‘in’house

During the early part of 2009 my organisation made the decision to bring its ‘self-paced’ elearning back ‘in house’ after a number of years of outsourcing.

The interview below was conducted earlier this month to celebrate 12 months of the system being ‘live’.

The interview was then broadcast over the info-screen system that we have around our site in order to celebrate the efforts of everybody involved, to maintain the profile of elearning and to provide a glimpse of what the future may have in store for us…

During the interview I mention some research that I have done into the use of Learning Technologies within schools, HE & FE, a real eye-opener for me was when I attended @jamesclays Mobile Learning Bootcamp.

It is my intention to give a little more detail over some of the modules we have created in forthcoming blog posts.

Keep your eyes peeled….

View the original article here

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Virtual Learning Show 2013 – Day 1

As mentioned in a previous blog post, I’m participating in the 2013 2-day Virtual Learning Show. Whilst I am directly involved as a panel chair on Day 2, I am also attending both days as a participant .

Here are my reflections on Day 1 and in particular each session, with a particular focus on:

A key ‘take-away’ from the sessions content itselfThe way in which it was facilitated (in part or in whole) with a view to what can I re-use/build upon for myself.

Presented by Colin Steed
10.30 – 11.00 UK BST

Colin Steed
Chairman and organiser of The Virtual Learning Show, Colin Steed welcomes you all to this unique event.

During his Keynote, Colin will report on the headline findings of the ‘Live Online Learning in Europe’ survey he conducted over the past two months. There are some revealing findings that you’ll find invaluable when planning your live online sessions in your organisation. There will be plenty of discussion in this session so bring your questions!

My key facilitation take-away

Colin commented when he could see the ‘multiple people typing’ message appear above the chat pod and informed people that he was going to pause until those responses had come in. I’ll keep an eye on that area above the chat panel in the future and moderate my delivery accordingly.

Presented by Elaine Giles
11.00 – 12.00 UK BST

Elaine Giles

If you think webinars are the epitome of a desk-bound sport – think again!

The major web conferencing services all provide feature rich Apps for mobile use. You can be forgiven for thinking these are limited to providing a second class way of just attending a session. The truth is very different – these Apps provide a feature rich experience including access to chat, slides, polls, audio, video and whiteboards.

In this session, Elaine will cover:

Present from an iPad?Monitor your audience with just an iPhone?Deliver an entire webinar via your Android device?

All is possible! In this session you’ll find out just how far virtual training has come in recent times.

My key content take-away

Look into how I might be able to use Reflection to upskill people on using their mobile devices via our Adobe Connect platform/

My key facilitation take-away

Don’t get caught up in the demo at the expense of the attendee interaction. There was a lot of talking from the facilitator but I felt very little interaction with the audience other than ‘feel free to chat in the chat panel’ comments.

Presented by Phil Green
12.30 – 13.30 UK BST

Phil Green“If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck“. To some trainers and teachers, working live online may seem less daunting than other forms of eLearning. It does, in most cases depend upon the teacher to be present. It can easily support the model of “sage on the stage”, and presenters can deliver elegant and beautifully illustrated lectures very close up and personal. If it looks like a lecture, sounds like a lecture and works like a lecture then…

Many examples of ingenious interactions have been developed to exploit the features of virtual classrooms, or to overcome the constraints. Lectures and intricate interactions have their place, but in a spirit of “less is more”, how can a skilled facilitator mount truly participatory sessions? In this webinar Phil Green shows some examples of how “a little technology and a lot of creativity” can engage learners live online in meaningful activity without over-elaboration.

My key content take-away

I was only able to attend the first few minutes of this session so I’ll update this once I’ve listened to the recording

My key facilitation take-away

I was only able to attend the first few minutes of this session so I’ll update this once I’ve listened to the recording

Presented by Karen Hyder
14.00 – 15.00 UK BST

KarenHyder_new_125Once you calculate the time and travel cost savings, the decision to offer training online using virtual classroom software is easy. Choosing the right software to support your content, trainers, and learners isn’t as easy. There are many tools on the market, and the features and licensing fees vary dramatically.

In this session, you’ll see three different virtual-classroom software tools demonstrated, and you’ll discuss the features you’ll NEED, as well as the ones that are really NICE to have.You’ll also learn some simple methods you can use to ensure successful sessions, regardless of which tool you use.

In this session, you will learn:

What to look for when shopping for a virtual classroomWhich features make premium products worth havingWhat you can do to ensure your virtual classes are successful from the start

My key content take-away

If I’m totally honest, I took very little content away NOT because it wasn’t there, but because my Org has recently settled upon using Adobe Connect and as such I undertook a LOT of research into the pros and cons of each tool, which Karen essentially covered in this session.

My key facilitation take-away

I plan to use a poll at the end of my session to ask ‘what do you need next’. This would serve as a great way for me to identify who needs what sort of support and will help me concentrate my efforts.

Presented by Cindy Huggett
15.30 – 16.30 UK BST

Cindy Huggett

Engagement is the best way to create an effective learning experience for your participants. And engagement stems from your training class design.

In this session, Cindy Huggett, author of the best selling book ‘Virtual Training Basics’, will explain five techniques to design an interactive virtual training programme.

You will leave this final session of the day with some practical tips that you can immediately apply when designing your next live online session!

Design techniques for virtual training programmesSelect activities to effectively engage any audienceEstablish interactivity from the start of a session

My key content take-away

There was a lot of talk around providing ‘intro’ sessions to the online classroom tool BEFORE the actual ‘real’ event commences. I’ve been running some ‘hidden’ intro sessions under the guise of ‘getting to know’ sessions about our intranet, however these are due to finish soon. This session has reinforced my determination to get some more of these ‘intro’ sessions into the diary…..

My key facilitation take-away

Cindy spent a lot of the session responding to attendees questions and used them to steer her session, rather than the questions being ‘in addition’ to her content/intended direction. I’d like to think that I’ll do this in the future.

Did you participate?

What did you take away from the day / each session?

View the original article here

Gearing Up For Learning Live

A few months ago Don Taylor  asked me to facilitate a session at the IITT’s Learning Live conference, a request that (as always) I jumped at  for a number of reasons; there are the obvious ones:

An opportunity to meet up with colleuages who I have only ever interacted with onlineTo meet new people and further enhance my networkTo attend (for free!) some fantastic looking sessions facilitated both by people I know, trust and respect as well as some people who I do not (yet) knowTo showcase my skills amongst the wider industryBut there is an additional reason that may not be obvious and may not be everybody’s ‘raison detre’ for speaking at conferences and workshops and it is this
It challenges me to ‘do‘ and ‘be‘ something different. As regular readers will know the opportunities for me to show my passion and interest in this area are restricted within my organisation so any opportunity to do so to a like-minded group of people is not only seized upon, but I guess it also acts as a testing ground for all the things that I am unable to do within my normal working day.Not only do I want the content of the session to resonate with the attendees who have (very often) paid good money to attend these conferences, but I also want the audience to leave with some additional ideas as to how to facilitate sessions and workshops in a different manner, a ‘meta’ session within a session if you like. I always find that a reliable way of doing this is to add a great deal of interactivity within the session and in particular within the navigation of the session. Now this can be a little tricky to do as you are essentially stepping away from the linear type of presentation that we all know, that is easier to put together and to a large degree is ‘safe’. I have in the past even managed to tell a story using a non linear approach and allowing the audience to choose wether they wanted the beginning, middle or end bit and in what order – and it worked!!!For Learning Live I have once again chosen to take a non linear to the session but this time I have decided (or as I have never done this before it may be accurate to say ‘gambled’) to take the navigation  off the screen as I have previously done and bring it physically into the classroom, but to then take any decision that the audience makes and put it back onto the screen……  Well actually it isn’t and if you’re attending my session at Leaning Live then you’ll see (fingers crossed) how it all works – who knows it may give you some ideas in the future???As a little clue as to how I’m going to work the navigation aspect here is a short video that I have made to ‘set up’ my forthcoming session

See you in Brum?

View the original article here

WANTED: Blogging Discipline


I get the benefits of blogging…

I get that it enhances the learning experience by providing an environment in which to reflect…

I get that it provides others with an opportunity to learn from me, as I do on many occasions from them…

I get that it is a wonderful networking opportunity…

I get all of this and yet, despite the promises I made myself to blog on a fortnightly basis (as a minimum) I have failed to do this!

Is it down to a lack of time?

No! I spend a significant amount of time online, idly browsing my life away so I can’t use ‘lack of time’ as an excuse.

Is it down to being paranoid over my digital footprint?

No! I regularly Tweet, post vids to YouTube, send photos to Picassa & Flikr so I can’t huddle under that paranoid blanket.

Is it down to a lack of content?

Hmmm, probably not. I’m heavily involved in L&D on a daily basis, I work in a challenging environment, I’m starting to get more and more involved in Learning Technologies so I feel I’ve got a lot to Blog about (whether anybody wants to read it, is another matter!)

Is it down to a lack of personal discipline?

Probably! I just can’t get myself into a routine to push this content out. I’ve got the time, I’ve got the content, I’ve got the skillset so I’m turning to you

Dear Reader… if you are a regular blogger, how do you manage it, how do you discipline yourself to put fingers to keyboard and push your valuable content out?

Please leave any and all suggestions below and I hope you’ll shortly see an improvement in my Blogging activity.

View the original article here

Another bandwagon I’m avoiding…

… is the annual ‘Learning at Work Day’ (I’m not linking to it out of principle)

What I can’t wrap my head around is that in recent years we, as L&D professionals have (and are) taking considerable steps in:

So why, once a year, do many of us jump on this particular bandwagon and before you say

“it’s nice to give it its own space”


“it’s good to concentrate and focus on it”

know that my response will be

“what are you doing for the other 364 days of the year”

“why aren’t you/your organisation concentrating on embedding learning and performance in every day life and if you are, why the need for this ‘focus’ once a year?”

Hell, why don’t we have an annual ‘Performing at Work’ day? (can you imagine how that would go down with your leadership team?)

I know it’s ‘fashionable’ to get on these sorts of bandwagons and with many ‘trendy’ names backing this, I’m sure that I’ll get some flack for these thoughts…….


View the original article here

Happy Twitterversary to me!!!

I am typing this Blog from a hotel room in London where I am staying during my attendance at the Learning Technologies conference 2011; I tell you this because it is entirely relative to my Twitter history…..

Twitter logo

I had heard of Twitter prior to attending LT10 but admit to having dismissed it as a celebrity ‘fad’, LT10 was the catalyst that I needed to pop my Twitter cherry!

So here I am 12 months later with over 2600 tweets under my belt, over 200 followers and following over 1oo other people. Everyone one of these people is in some way shape or form involved in L&D, Learning Technologies, Social Media or more usually all 3!

Twitter has enabled me to attend Jane Harts Masterclass on Using Social Media for Learning, James Clays Mobile Learning Boot Camp, the eLearning Network 2010 showcase (which subsequently led me to joining the eLN) It has provided me with some excellent contacts and some fantastic learning opportunities.

So if you haven’t yet set up a Twitter account then please don’t let this fantastic opportunity pass you by. If you don’t know how or where to start, then you could do a lot worse than checking out these resources which will help you on your way…

Image source

View the original article here

Small Chunks…

Wednesday of this week saw me fortunate enough to attend the IITT National Conference & Exhibition.

As always these ‘physical’ activities provide me with a great opportunity to further cement friendships made online as well as to make new acquaintances.

I have been guilty when attending previous conferences and workshops of trying to absorb as much of the content as possible, only to find that when I return home that I have a mass of notes and scribbles that even when deciphered produce an almost insurmountable ‘to do’ list. So I decided to take a slightly different tack with this particular conference and that was to limit myself to 1-2 action planning points/quotes per session, this I hoped would allow me to stand a greater chance of transferring any learning back into my workplace.

So here we go…

The New Blended Learning – Clive Shepherd

Your chosen method(s) will maximise the effectiveness of the learning. Your chosen media(s) will maximise the efficiency of the learning.

Create all elearning as either a Story, Scenario or Simulation. Ensure that I consider the Affective Context Model when creating any future learning activity.

Break up online synchronous activities by asking delegates to move out of the virtual classroom and undertake ‘other’ related activities before returning.Ask my IT Department to provide any facilitator with ‘admin rights’ to the virtual classrooms website to allow them to update any settings without creating a burden on the IT Department.

All in all, some great ideas and wonderful conversations coupled with my new approach to gathering ‘small chunks’ provided another wonderful CPD opportunity.

View the original article here

Saturday, April 5, 2014

So there I was, wandering around YouTube, minding my own business….

…. when I stumbled upon the ‘edit video detail’ toolbar at the top of the page. Now I had seen this previously and had chosen to ignore it as my video editing is done in either Flipshare or more recently in Windows Movie Maker.

What an oversight on my behalf!!!

Within the video editing options there is an option to add annotations. Now this in itself is nothing startling as many video editing tools allow you to annotate on top of the video footage, but what this allows you to do is to add a ‘spotlight’ on top of anything that is being shown in the YouTube footage.

This spotlight (imagine a hot spot) will then allow a URL (including another YouTube video) to be added to it.

This then allows your YouTube video to become interactive in so far as the viewer can be steered towards making a choice which then jumps them from one YouTube video to another to another etc etc depending upon their choices. For a far more in-depth account as to how to do this then check out this blog post.

Of course I almost fell over myself in an attempt to try this out so I hope you’ll all be able to see past the poor lighting and dodgy camera angles to the real potential that this approach to using YouTube can bring. My only niggle at this moment in time is that upon completion of the clip it  jumps (as any YouTube clip does) to a ‘related videos’ window, this in turn stops the viewer from making any on-screen selection at the end of the clip, so it prevents the viewer from being able reflect upon the available choices.


Then try watching the following short clip without making any selection and you’ll see what happens at the end of the video. Then you can replay the video and start taking part for real…

So what do you think?

Is this something you could use?

If so, what for?

View the original article here

European Health & Saf..Zzzzzzzzzzzz

….Don’t fall asleep on me; for a change this is going to be something H&S related that was fun, engaging and memorable. (you heard it here first folks)

My organisation is understandably H&S focussed and always strives to support initiatives such as the recent European Health & Safety week, despite maintaining a keen focus on H&S, regardless of any external initiative. However this year my boss suggested to our Compliance Department that perhaps we should do something ‘different’, alongside the more traditional email/intranet/poster etc campaigns in relation to the importance of maintaining equipment.

This is what he came up with…

Whilst the video clip doesn’t show it too well, each of the tricks had an underlying safety related theme such as:

Not undertaking tasks you aren’t trained to do (a cash in an envelope trick)Checking equipment thoroughly (using a piece of PPE that went from being serviceable to unserviceable… whilst an audience member was wearing it! along with the guillotine trick that you can see in this clip)Following instructions clearly (a simple hand grasping trick, which didn’t provide the desired (safe) outcome)

The feedback from the multiple shows that took place around site (to fit in with working patterns/geography) was very positive with comments such as

“refreshing” “memorable” “fun“

being in great abundance with the most obvious sign of approval being that people were arriving ahead of the performance times and were even phoning us to ask why the magician hadn’t been yet….. can you honestly say that your learners have ever had that response to a Health & Safety event?

This whole approach fits in with a ‘one liner’ that @larshyland mentioned at the last eLN event “think campaign, not course”

Think about it..

Many thanks to Constantia Artiste Management for allowing this footage to be used in this blog.

View the original article here

Never assume…. that the idea you have had (that you think is ‘obvious’) is obvious to everybody!

This was a lesson that was reinforced yesterday, during an exchange of tweets, allow me to explain.

Over the next few years my Organisations is planning to relocate its ‘Training Centre’ (don’t blame me for the name) to a new building. I had a few ideas that I thought might be of benefit during the initial planning/design stages.

Here is an extract from an email that I sent to the building area owner yesterday:

I am aware that the current Training Centre will be relocated to the ‘new building’ at some point in the future and I have some ideas that you may be interested in.

Lose the ICT suite. This only serves to isolate technology from current learning activities as opposed to embedding it within them. It also stands empty for the majority of the time, which is a waste of space and resources. IT access could still be gained by……Provide netbooks/laptops to each learner attending events. These can be kept in purpose built storage/charging trolleys. Coupled with a WiFi connection this will allow learners to connect to the outside world as opposed to relying solely on the knowledge that is being shared amongst the facilitator/delegates, a great example of social constructivism. A modern approach to learning which fits with a modern building.I have also made contact with Professor Stephen Heppell from Bournemouth University who has done some amazing work in redesigning physical learning spaces, most recently for Air Traffic Control training who I know would be able to consult with us.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you require any further clarification on any of these points.

Once I had sent that email, I thought I’d send this tweet

Just contacted L&D team to suggest they 'lose' the ICT suite when the new building is built and provide laptop/netbooks to learners + WiFi.

Which resulted in these tweets in response

@CraigTaylor74 revolutionary. Brings a whole new meaning to 'get out of the classroom' No classroom? RT @CraigTaylor74: Just contacted L&D team to suggest they 'lose' the ICT suite & provide laptop/netbooks to learners + WiFi.

So I thought it might be a good idea to clarify what I meant from my initial tweet and email.

We currently have 3 x training rooms, 2 of which are ‘conventional’ rooms and 1 that is a dedicated ICT Suite

Students PCs

This ICT suite stands empty for approx 95% of the time as truth be told we don’t actually deliver a lot of IT systems training, of course when we do, we need a suitable area in which to deliver it.

We also have a couple of conventional rooms

Projector set up

in which non-IT training takes place and are usually utilised day-in and day-out.

My suggestion of allowing the conventional rooms to absorb the ICT is based upon the following:

As the ICT suite is unused for the majority of the time, it is a waste of not only resources (not least of which is the physical space itself), which is unable to be easily repurposed for other events.The separation from IT and the internet from the conventional training rooms, I believe, exacerbates the opinion that learning and IT are separate from one another, a view that I suspect you Dear Reader do not share?By providing 15-20 laptops/netbooks per room with a WiFi connection (stored in one of those storage/charging trolleys) every room could be quickly repurposed into an ICT suite whenever needed.Most exciting of all however, is the fact that when you place 10 learners and a facilitator into a room you are relying on 11 people’s accumulated knowledge on a given subject. Provide each learner with an organisation approved, WiFi enabled device and all of a sudden that 11 people’s knowledge is now supplemented by access to the internet. Learners can start to realise that learning and personal development need no longer solely rely upon a formal event and a ‘sage on the stage’. Digital literacies can start to be formed and refined.

No cost to the learner in terms of data charges from personal devices, no exclusion based upon the learner being unable to afford a personal device, no waste of physical space by allowing an ICT suite to stand empty, further embedding of learning technologies into what many people consider face-to-face activities.

So what do you think?

Is this another one of my pipe dreams or does it have legs?

Would this work in your organisation?

Why not share your thoughts in the comments box below?

View the original article here

All you ever wanted to know about Personal Learning Environments/Networks…

… is unlikely to be answered by me or my Blog…

Yet again Twitter has provided me with a CPD opportunity. The other day I spotted a re-tweet by Steve Wheeler (@timbuckteeth) relating to an Open Course on Personal Learning Environments, Networks and Knowledge.

Now I believe that I have been operating within a PLE/N for approx 8 months now (since my attendance at the Learning Technologies Conference in Jan 2010), I had just never labelled it as such or realised what I was involved in. Steve Wheelers tweets during his ‘European Tour 2010'! brought my attention to the subject.

Subsequent research has revealed the subject to be a little ‘academic’ for my poor brain, so I have decided to enrol on the open course to discover a little more about the subject.

Maybe I’ll see you there???

Image: Source

View the original article here

Mobile Learning Boot Camp

Twitter provides me with many benefits, one of which is a forecast of events that are taking place that I might be be interested in. Several days ago I picked up Tweet from @James Clay, who was conducting a Mobile Learning Boot Camp. One email later and I was buying my train ticket to Gloucester. I was a little reticent over attending the event as I work in neither HE, FE nor a work-based learning provider; I do however work for an organisation that delivers an incredible amount of training due to compliance and regulatory driven needs. Upon arrival at the College my rather tenuous attendance was greatly reinforced by seeing a National Skills Academy Nuclear plaque on the wall in the foyer…

what better justification behind attending (at least that’s what I convinced myself).

The day kicked off with James explaining that we would be looking at some current and emerging mobile technologies, before creating some content for ourselves. He even offered a tour of the college to view the approach that they had taken to implementing learning technologies. We then went on to review a whole host of mobile technologies. Of particular interest to me was an application called audioBoo and Posterous. I hope to introduce these free tools to my organisation as a small step towards implementing podcasting and blog. My first attempt at an audioBoo can be heard here.


I hadn’t expected to be asked to create my own content during the day, so I hurriedly decided to put together a short movie using my Flip HD camera that I would then push out to my colleagues via YouTube in the hope that it might spark their interest in using mobile technologies to enhance the learning events they deliver. The whole movie took approx 10 minutes to film and put together and probably the same time again to upload and publish. All from a network and Flip camera – very mobile!

Whilst the ‘technical’ side of the day was extremely useful, for me the overall impression  that the day left me with was one of concern over how disconnected my organisation is in terms of utilising technology (let alone mobile technology) for learning activities. This concern has led me to commit to the following when I return to work next week:

Provide feedback to relevant personnel as to the ‘disconnect’ that people would experience when leaving a college such as Gloucester and entering our workplace, in specific relation to the learning tools/materials/environment that are (un)available.Liaise with our IT Department as my organisation will shortly be purchasing new phone handsets for all employees and I hope to be able to convince them to consider additional functionality beyond just ‘making calls’.Push the YouTube video (above) out to our internal Learning Facilitators in the hope that they will consider a greater use of technology (mobile or otherwise) within their learning events.Investigate and promote the use of QR codes around my organisation.

All in all, another great learning experience which will undoubtedly add to my effectiveness within my new role as a Learning Technologist and once again… Cheers James!

View the original article here

Designing #mLearning Book Review – Chapter 1

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I intend to provide a brief synopsis of each chapter of ‘Designing mlearning‘, but more importantly I intend to answer the questions that Clark poses at the end of each chapter and then pose those same questions back to you ‘Dear Reader‘


Chapter 1 – Overview

OK, so I’m off to something of a false start here as I’ve just realised that there are no questions asked of ‘The Reader’ at the end of this short introductory chapter, but we are provided with a list of very realistic and pragmatic situations in which a range of ‘everyday’ roles and occupations can/could/do harness the benefits of a mobile device to increase their performance and value.

And guess what?

Only one of the examples is to undertake a compliance ‘course’! This (thankfully) fleeting mention of a ‘course’ provides me with a warm, fuzzy feeling that the rest of the book won’t be trying to convince me of the benefits of shrinking down desktop learning onto a smaller screen.

He also provides us with a definition for mlearning that he admits the eLearning Guild mobile learning research team struggled to come up with:

“Any activity that allows individuals to be more productive when consuming, interacting with, or creating information, mediated through a compact digital portable device that the individual carries on a regular basis, has reliable connectivity, and fits into a pocket or purse”

(eLearning Guild 360 Mobile Learning Research Report, 2007)

He finally reminds us that the pace of change in this area is so fast that any suggested, specific solutions would be unlikely to stand the test of the publishing process time, so instead explains what the book is really about; preparing the reader to take advantage of the mobile revolution.

I’m hooked.

I’m reading on…..

View the original article here

Friday, April 4, 2014

Homework time… Rapid eLearning Design Text Assignments

Regular readers will be aware that I am currently undertaking an online Rapid eLearning Development programme which is being facilitated by @robhubbard. One of the assignments this week relates to the use of text within elearning and requires a number of assignment to be undertaken and then posted to the blog section of the Ning site that acts as the portal to all the other brilliant content. However, as I have my own blog I prefer to post my assignments here as it:

a) provides more opportunities for wider feedback

b) helps to promote what is a fantastic online learning programme.

There were 3 assignments this week, the first being:

Find some text that is difficult to understand and that contains jargon and or acronyms. Ideally this should be some of the source written content for your final assignment. Alternatively Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page is a great source of content written by experts for experts. Click on the ‘Random article’ link on the left-hand side until you find some content that would benefit from rewriting.Follow the Plain English guidelines to rewrite about 200 words of it in Plain English.

Here is my submission for assignment 1:

The original article is below:

Social bookmarking is a method for Internet users to organize, store, manage and search for bookmarks of resources online. Unlike file sharing, the resources themselves aren’t shared, merely bookmarks that reference them.

Descriptions may be added to these bookmarks in the form of metadata, so users may understand the content of the resource without first needing to download it for themselves. Such descriptions may be free text comments, votes in favour of or against its quality, or tags that collectively or collaboratively become a folksonomy. Folksonomy is also called social tagging, “the process by which many users add metadata in the form of keywords to shared content”.[1]

In a social bookmarking system, users save links to web pages that they want to remember and/or share. These bookmarks are usually public, and can be saved privately, shared only with specified people or groups, shared only inside certain networks, or another combination of public and private domains. The allowed people can usually view these bookmarks chronologically, by category or tags, or via a search engine.

Most social bookmark services encourage users to organize their bookmarks with informal tags instead of the traditional browser-based system of folders, although some services feature categories/folders or a combination of folders and tags. They also enable viewing bookmarks associated with a chosen tag, and include information about the number of users who have bookmarked them. Some social bookmarking services also draw inferences from the relationship of tags to create clusters of tags or bookmarks.

Many social bookmarking services provide web feeds for their lists of bookmarks, including lists organized by tags. This allows subscribers to become aware of new bookmarks as they are saved, shared, and tagged by other users.

As these services have matured and grown more popular, they have added extra features such as ratings and comments on bookmarks, the ability to import and export bookmarks from browsers, emailing of bookmarks, web annotation, and groups or other social network features.[2]

My reworked article:

Social bookmarking is a method for you to store, manage and search for bookmarks of online resources. Unlike file sharing, it isn’t the resources themselves that are shared, just the bookmarks that reference them.

You can add descriptions to these bookmarks so that other users can understand the content of the resource without having to download it for themselves. These descriptions could be free text comments, votes in favour of or against its quality, or tags which are words or phrases that generally describe the resource.

i.e. a bookmarked website on ‘implemeting social media policies within Blue-Chip organisations’ would probably be tagged with the following

By adding tags both you and other users can search for different websites, all on the same subject just by selecting a tag of interest.

In a social bookmarking system, you would save links to web pages that you want to remember and/or share with others. You could make these bookmarks open to the public, save them privately, share them with specific people, shared them only inside certain networks, or a combination of public and private areas.

Many social bookmarking sites have added extra features such as being able to import and export bookmarks from directly from a web browsers and the emailing of bookmarks to other.

The 2nd assignment asked us to:

write two SMART learning outcomes for your final assignment.

One of the many elements of the ReD programme that I have found to be quite innovative is the way in which Rob has used the Mindmeister mind-mapping tool to visually portray the learning outcomes, but to also use the linking features of it to link to the various resources that are in place to help achieve that outcome.

So here is my attempt at writing the learning objectives. (quite blatantly borrowing Rob’s idea!)

The 3rd and final assignment required us to:

write two multiple-choice assessment questions based on your learning outcomes

I’m still not sure whether these questions will be pitched as a stand-alone multiple choice assessment (not my preferred option) or as part of a scenario (my preference), but either way they will look a little something like this:

1. Which of the following is the correct web address for the Diigo homepage?

a)     www.diigo.co.uk

b)    www.diigo.net

c)     www.diigo.com

d)    www.diigo.gov.uk

2. What is the user name which you will need to log into the Diigo account?

a)     Tayloring.it

b)    Tailoringit

c)     Tayloringit

d)    Tayloring it

So over to you Dear Reader, what are your thoughts?

Was the reworking on the Wikipedia article clear enough?

Were the objectives SMART enough?

Were the multiple choice questions relevant and challenging?

As always, any and all feedback is greatly appreciated…

View the original article here

Moodle Mobile Apps

iActiveMoodle has a new official HTML5 app due out in the coming months. it looks like it will do some pretty interesting stuff including:

select or capture an image, audio recording or video from your mobile device and upload them into Moodleview their fellow course participants and associated contact informationuse Moodle messaging if it is enabledaccess to push notifications

While we wait for that though, here is a roundup of what’s already available in the App Stores.

mTouch is available for Apple iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad only, supporting iOS4.3 and above. It is for student use only. It costs a couple of dollars to download and is under active development.
http://www.pragmasql.com/moodletouch/home.aspxMoodleEZ (MoodleEasy) is available for iPad only, supporting iOS 4.3 and above. It is from the same makers as mTouch. It is for student, teacher and administrator use only. It costs a couple of dollars to download and is under active development.
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/moodlez/id449138373?mt=8iActive (previously mPage and pictured above) is available for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, supporting iOS 4.3 and above. It works with Moodle 1.9 and above and seems quite fully featured in its scope, including blocks, files, assignments, forums, glossaries, quiz, SCORM and more. It costs under a dollar to download and is under active development.
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/iactive/id577359069?mt=8Droodle is available for Android only supports Android 2.2 and above. It is for students only and centres around the ability for students to view their assignments and setup calendar reminders for assignments. It is free to download and does not appear to be under active development.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ivoid.droodlemDroid is available for Android only and supports Android 2.0.1 and above. It is for students only and gives access to all the Moodle courses, files and forums. It is free to download and is open source. It is under active development.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=in.co.praveenkumarMoodle for Android is available for Android only and requires Android 2.2 and above. It requires Moodle 2.2 or above. It is free to download and is open source. It is under active development.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=moodle.android.moodleuMM (Unofficial Moodle Mobile) is available via the Moodle plugins database and supports Appple, Android and Blackberry deices. It is intended as a clone of the official but now unsupported Moodle Mobile iOS-only app that was launched by Moodle HQ in 2011 and subsequently pulled in 2012 before HQ embarked on a new HTML5 app direction. In fact, Moodle HQ hired the developer of this app, Juan Leyva, to build upon UMM as the foundation of the next official Moodle Mobile app.

I’ve added this list to Moodle.org wiki too, but please post any other additions as comments here or email me and I’ll keep both lists updated.

View the original article here

Podcast #13: A bit of banter with some brand-new bloggers

Craig is joined by podcast panel regular Kate Graham along with some new voices which belong to Mandy Randall-Gavin and Niall Gavin. Today they are chatting about their recent journey into the…… “Blogosphere”!

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.


Music Source

View the original article here

I’m off to #DevLearn – would you like to come with me?

Question mark made out of coloured poins on a cork board

Weeeeeell not exactly come *with* me, more of a ‘would you like me to ask any questions on your behalf whilst I’m there‘ (let’s be honest, you probably wouldn’t enjoy it and I’m sure you’ve got better things to be doing next week) ;-)

Why not take a look at the sessions I’m attending and let know via the comments section below (please include the hashtag #DevLearn) if there’s anything you’d like me to enquire about on your behalf.

Of course I can’t promise to ask every question or indeed guarantee a reply, but I’ll do what I can….

Evidence-based Training: No Yellow Brick Road

Taking Video to the Next Level

Building mLearning for iPads Using HTML5 and iBooks Author

Super-charging Google Sales Readiness with Gamification and Social Media

Developing a Multi-year Learning and Development Technology Strategy

Measuring the Impact of Social Learning

Image source

View the original article here

Homework time… CWCCM Task 2.3

As part of the Certificate in Web Content Creation & Management (CWCCM) programme I am undertaking, I have been asked to expand upon the following in relation to the Internet or intranet website on which I am working/intend to work.

The goals for website.Describe the important characteristics of the target audience for this site.

Given that I am interested in developing both this blog and my organisations intranet pages, I have provided responses below for both areas:

My Blog


Having reviewed the stats for my Blog since I launched it in April 2010, the average views per day has been 10. It is my goal to increase that figure by 50% to an average view of 15 per day by August 2011.

Important Characteristics of Target Audience

My target audience for this Blog are Learning & Development professionals, with a slight bias towards those who are involved in using and promoting current and emerging technologies. I surmise that this group of people are looking for content which will provide them with an initial perspective on a subject or an innovative approach to undertaking an activity. I also suspect that they are looking for content that will showcase the tools that are available in an integrated manner. i.e. Twitter feeds, embedded media, tags etc

My Organisations Intranet site


The goal for this site is a little more difficult to define as I am not the ‘owner’ of the site, this is held by an individual within our overall Group. I am also unable to define simple, low-level goals such as ‘increase site/page traffic by ?% as there isn’t a hit counter/statistics functionality within the platform. Instead I have taken it upon myself to offer what advice and support I can to the intranet authors within my organisation by way of forming peer support groups, arranging formal training on the platform for new authors and creating an online library of screencast ‘how to’s‘ as a performance support tool. I am also investigating the possibility of the CWCCM programme (or similar) being delivered as a closed programme to my target audience.

Important Characteristics of Target Audience

The target audience for this intranet site are employees within my organisation who work on my geographical site. They are aged between 17 up to statutory retirement age and have varied levels of IT competency.

View the original article here

Get your foot in the door – Key Skills

In the run up to Christmas last year I met with a potential client and suggested (as I am now doing in this blog) that they take a look at what is going on in their business and then trawl the app stores looking for any free/low costs apps that could help to achieve their business aims.

The organisation in question was doing a great deal of commendable work to upskill elements of their workforce in the key skills of literacy and numeracy by offering them GCSE tuition and examination(s).

If your organisation also offers development opportunities in these key skills areas then you’ve got a wonderful opportunity to ‘get your foot in the door‘ and prove the worth of performance support via mobile devices.

Why not take a look at these apps and consider whether you might want to direct any of your learners who are undertaking any form of key skills to them.

GCSE English revision app (iOS) – £1.99p

GCSE Maths revision app (iOS) – £1.99p

GCSE English revision app (Android) – £FREE

GCSE Maths revision app (Android) – £FREE

Inevitably there will be some people who do not have a mobile device and will bemoan the fact that you are offering their colleagues who do have a mobile device something that they themselves are unable to benefit from, or they will complain over the fact that the apps cost money – don’t let this put you off.

Simply tell them to carry on using whatever tool or process they have always used – simples!!!

And you know what? Even if people don’t opt for these apps, you may have just sewn the seeds for them to look for an alternative….

Good luck and let me know how you get on

The blog post that started it all

Image source

View the original article here

Thursday, April 3, 2014

How to Create Killer Content for Your Blog…

… is the name of the online programme that I commence tomorrow.

Like Spinning Plates

I am currently undertaking the Web Content Creation & Management programme, so was a little uncertain as to whether I had the time to commit to another concurrent piece of CPD which took place over 5 concurrent days , however when I noticed that the lessons will remain active for 12 months, I was a little less concerned over my ability to juggle several online programmes.

What has really attracted me to this online programme is the professional curiosity as to whether an ‘intense’, 5 day, mostly asynchronous (there is a webinar) programme can actually work. If it does and I can replicate their approach for subjects within my organisation then I believe that both communications and learning activities within my organisation can greatly benefit.

I’ll let you know how I get on..

In the meantime, how about you? Does your organisation use such an approach, if so for what subjects and how successful has it been?

Image source.

View the original article here

I have another cap to wear…

… and that is of Social Media correspondent for Nuclear TV.

This is a ‘title‘, I hasten to add that I have not bestowed upon myself but as the nucleus of Nuclear TV sits within my immediate team (and I never stop harping on about the benefits of engaging with Social Media), I guess it was inevitable that I was going to end up with that role!

This interview was the first (of what I hope will be many) insights into how a highly-regulated, security-conscious sector such as the Nuclear Industry is engaging with Social Media, the challenges that it brings and the rewards that it can bestow.

I must admit to being slightly nervous about conducting this interview, not about appearing in front of a camera, but about speaking on a subject such as Social Media, when there are far more knowledgeable, influential people out there who are already commenting on Social Media far more eloquently that I could hope to do..

… what do you think?

… did I get it right?

… did I miss anything?

…would you have done things differently?

If you have any feedback, it would be great if you could provide it in the comments area below, as this will allow me to ensure that future commentaries really do reflect ‘current thinking’.

View the original article here

Get your foot in the door – Salary Calculator

As many of you will know I’ve been job hunting over the past few months as a result of losing my job in mid-July. There are many challenges with job hunting one of which is figuring out what each salary will actually provide in terms of ‘take home’ pay.

That’s why I was very pleased to discover the app below. It allows you to enter a monetary figure, choose whether it’s an annual, monthly, daily or even hourly figure and then provides you with a ‘take home’ figure taking into account the usual deductibles, you can even input any pension % deductible and it will take that into account.

Screenshot from iPhone of salary calculator app We can dream eh?

If you suspect that people within your organisation would find this of benefit then you’ve got a wonderful opportunity to ‘get your foot in the door‘ and prove the worth of performance support via mobile devices.

Why not take a look at these apps and consider whether you might want to direct your colleagues towards them.

iOS app (iPhone) – £FREE (I’m personally using this app)

Android app – £FREE (I haven’t used this app myself, but its features very closely resemble the iOS app I use)

Inevitably there will be some people who do not have a mobile device and will bemoan the fact that you are offering their colleagues who do have a mobile device something that they themselves are unable to benefit from – don’t let this put you off.

Simply tell them to carry on using whatever tool or process they have always used – simples!!!

And you know what? Even if people don’t opt for these apps, you may have just sewn the seeds for them to look for an alternative….

Good luck and let me know how you get on

The blog post that started it all

View the original article here

My review of #LearningLive 2013 Day 2

As mentioned in a previous blog post, I’m participating in Learning Live 2013. Whilst I was directly involved as a speaker on Day 2, I also attended as a participant throughout the 2 day event.

Here are my key takeaways from Day 2 (Day 1 can be found here)

Session: Connecting & Collaborating – Building a Network Oriented Workplace

Presented by Rob Brown

Relationship and collaboration are crucial for today’s top-functioning organisations. The ability to network and build networks is critical for organisational performance. More than that, the leveraging of those networks is a massively unexploited competitive advantage. With 90% of learning coming from relational and experiential sources, the power of a network is clear. What organisations struggle with is creating a culture of connecting and networking that facilitates greater learning. Who knows what and who knows who are just two simple metrics that are rarely measured. Yet networking capability is both coachable and measurable, creating a much more collaborative, sharing and connected culture that positively impacts the bottom line.

Likely takeaways from this session:

Why a connected culture counteracts low engagement and information overload.The 7 biggest networking mistakes employees make.How to foster trust, thereby increasing innovation and productivity.Mapping out networking capability for employees – spotting the best networkersThe role of likeability and why it’s more important than technical competence6 corporate strategies for building an internal network at any level.

My key content take-away

Rob was a very fun, engaging and informed speaker, however I was somewhat disappointed in the session content as I was unable to see where any of the above ‘likely takeaways’ came out during the session. Now I know that the word ‘likely’ is contained there, but I’d like to think that if the above session outline is being used to attract people to the session (as it did me) then it would explicitly cover those items.

I was under the impression that this session was going to be about how to ‘Building a Networked Orientated Workplace’ however it seemed to be more about personal networking skills as opposed to how to build an internal network. Don’t get me wrong, there was a section towards the end of the session ‘3 phases for building a networked orientated workplace‘ that touched on the subject, but I’d expected something far more focussed.

Session: ‘Building a Business Driven Collaborative Learning Culture

Presented by Ron Edwards

Like many organisations, QA has a distributed workforce with a desire to keep staff informed, engaged and continuously learning how to best meet customer needs with new products and better services. QA chose a mix of formal learning reinforced by social media based learning to improve Sales education efficiency while increasing sharing of best practices. This approach was recently recognised with an LPI Gold Award for Social Media Programme of the Year and has resulted in an increase in new business wins by 17%.

This session will explore:

Business drivers behind adopting a collaborative learning approachSuccess factors in planning, launch and engagementGetting the mix of face to face, virtual, elearning and social media learning rightHow a more collaborative learning culture is emergingMeasurement and business resultsWhat’s next in terms of refreshing the approach and increasing engagementThoughts on gamification as a way to increase valuable contributions

Delegates will learn:

Six principles of effective use of social media to gain business resultsTricks of the trade for successful online community launchesThe value of video sharingGamification challenges and opportunities

My key content take-away

QA utilised the platform that they already had in place for their clients. Whilst I can understand the rationale for this, I’ve yet to see a single platform that can match the efficacy of using multiple ‘best of breed’ platforms.

Think, plan and think again about your content architecture. How can we group or information, do we even need to group information if we ‘tag’ it well enough, provide a good search functionality and allow related results (as Amazon does)

Their story about distributing Flip cams to their workforce reminded me of the BT Dare2Share story – it’s a oldie but a goodie!

Compliance Training – From Course to Campaign!

Presented by me!!!

Compliance training is often seen by many L&D practitioners as a ‘thorn in their side’; a necessary evil that despite their best efforts, remains low-down on most learners list of things to concern themselves about. If this applies to you and/or your organisation and you’d like to ?nd out how to take a signi?cant step change in the delivery of your compliance training, then this session is for you!
Craig Taylor will guide you through his journey in turning compliance training from a selection of stand-alone courses to a series of ongoing campaigns. He’ll share his background thinking, hints and tips to obtain that critical ‘buy in’ from stakeholders and the research to back up his campaign approach along with those all important ‘lessons learnt’; AKA the bits that Craig got wrong!

Why the move from course to campaign?
How to obtain that all important ‘buy in’ from stakeholders
How to ask for what you want from external agencies.
Why you might consider a campaign for a campaign.
Share Craig’s lessons learnt

That’s right folks, I was facilitating my session at the end of Day 2 which revolved around the work I had done in my previous organisation to move compliance training away from ‘stand alone’ pieces of content to an ongoing 2/7 series of campaigns, you can read some of my posts on the subject here

Here are the slides from my session:

View the original article here

Getting your foot in the door

Whenever I meet people who are still in the tentative stages of considering utilising mobile technologies I always suggest that rather than initially invest in a bespoke mobile app or a mobile authoring tool, that they instead consider promoting existing apps to their workforce from within the various app stores.

I believe that this has several benefits

a ) almost zero cost to the organisation (the only cost I can see is the time to search for, identify and promote the apps to the workforce)

b) almost zero risk. The developer has taken the risk with the development of the app itself and as long as you have identified and then tested the suitability of any app, then the risks are reduced even further. The reason I said ‘almost‘ no risk, is that there is always the potential for the app to develop bugs or for the content to go out of date, which obviously has the potential to sour the experience for the learner and in turn for your plans to develop things further.

In order to help you with identifying suitable apps, I’m planning to start a ‘foot in the door’ section of this blog which will highlight some of the apps that I have identified as having the potential to add value to many workplace learner’s workflows and allow you to get your ‘foot in the door‘ with little or no risk/cost.

Some of them will be apps that my employer has produced; some will not.

Some will be free, others will have a cost attached.

Some of them I will have demonstrable experience of using personally and/or of others using, others will rest upon a gut feeling.

I will always try and add context behind my reason for choosing that app with some of them being apps that I have actually recommended to ‘real’ clients – as I’m sure you’ll appreciate I’ll be unable to reveal who the client is, but I will indicate that is was a ‘genuine’ recommendation.

So keep your eyes peeled for the first

“foot in the door”

blog post.

View the original article here

Think campaign…

Regular readers will know that my previous Organisation made the transition from outsourcing it’s self-paced elearning modules to bringing them ‘in house’ almost 2 years ago.

Once we had sourced the software my Head of Department insisted that we launch the system with a fanfare etc and advertise it’s existence. Now I must admit that at this stage I was a little reluctant to follow this course of action because self-paced elearning was nothing new to my Organisation, it was just that we had decided to bring the development in-house; I even quoted the old “YouTube was never launched line“, but he was having none of it….. so it was off the the PR & Comms department (which is ironically where I ended up working) to ask for some advice.

Rather than waffle on about the advice that they provided, I thought it would be far more interesting to show you….

They advised that I should ‘brand’ the elearning. Not from a screen layout, fonts etc perspective but from a ‘logo type’ angle; this is what we came up with

It plays upon the ubiquitous ‘e’ that many people associate with online activities as well as the ‘swirls’ which were a part of that organisations branding.

We then discussed how we could use the info-screens that are situated around site to enhance our campaign and settled upon what my colleague  called a ‘sting campaign‘. If you are unsure as to what this is, then think about the run-up to Big Brother every year. Channel 4 ran a ‘sting’ campaign consisting of 1-2 second pieces of footage showing the Big Brother eye, usually with a few beats of the Big Brother music.

I decided that I also wanted to take this ‘teaser’ approach too, but more importantly wanted to get people talking about the campaign whilst still maintaining an air of mystery….. very much like the British Gas “tell Sid…..” campaign from yesteryear.

This is what we came up with, as you can see we have used the elearning logo to maintain the ‘branding’ of the campaign…

and I don’t actually mention what the hell it is that is coming. This was something of a gamble, however it really got people talking about the ads and what it was and when it was coming.

Our campaign was working.

Towards the end of the campaign we started to reveal a little more about what it was via a poster & flyer campaign.

The posters were placed in all the usual places

stairwellsnotice boardsKitchen areasBack of toilet doors…………. Above the urinals

I was shameless!

I also took a leaf out of McDonalds book and placed the posters on the trays in our on-site, self-serve restaurant to…. well… ram it down people’s throats even more (pun intended)

Once we had launched the system we then followed it up with an interview to fill in the gaps that the marketing campaign had been unable to do (this was one of our first recorded interviews and we were still learning the ropes (as you’ll be able to see), but it got the message across)

So folks, that was how we launched the in-house elearning system in my previous organisation.

Would I have chosen to do it that way?


Am I glad that I did it that way?



Because it taught me a great deal about thinking about the bigger picture around a single initiative. Although this was a piece of software and subsequently multiple self-paced elearning modules I would still choose to take this ‘campaign’ approach to the implementation of almost anything.

Granted, the effort involved may vary, but certainly from the perspective of a learning resource I’ll always try to ensure that it is only ‘part’ of a much bigger picture.

So that’s what I did, but what about you?

Have you ever mounted a campaign as part of a learning initiative?

Did it work?

What did you do?

Have you tried this but found it to be a waste of time?

Why not let us all know via the comments box below……

View the original article here