Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Online Learning's Day Has Come!

We are perplexed when people talk with us about how they think online learning or e-learning is dramatically inferior to in-person training. "It will never be widely adopted," they scoff!

In many cases, e-learning has become commoditized and quality does tend to suffer. But we have seen a dramatic shift in technology that allows for the development of high-quality online training. So, when will online learning be categorized as anything other than sub-par?

  • When live online instruction can be as engaging as that done live in-person? [click for proof]

We believe the tide has turned and that online learning is quickly becoming recognized as more powerful, more engaging and more accepted than face-to-face instruction.

Use technology and save the planet!

As I was checking onto a flight a couple of days ago I realized that at that moment I was doing my part to save the planet. No I wasn't planting a tree, but I was in a small way contributing to saving one. I was checking in via my Delta app. i.e. No paper was used.

Then I started thinking. If everyone that had a smart phone used it to check in instead of printing off a paper ticket...that would have a huge impact on the environment. Literally. Especially if the over 530 billion mobile cellular users worldwide (according to ICT Facts and Figures 2010 report) did NOT print their tickets. That is a lot of trees saved.

This little epiphany also led me to take stock of all the other ways I was, or could be, saving the planet. For example, I take notes on my phone or tablet, instead of using paper. I no longer print my photographs. everything is digital. And each year I help tens of thousands of people worldwide attend virtual classrooms, or take self-paced courses online, instead of flying to a brick-and-morter location to attend a workshop. Online learning is substantially decreasing our carbon footprint. To get a better of idea of the carbon footprint you are leaving check out The Nature Conservancy or Sustainable Travel International.

So, how is technology helping you save the planet?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Where is the puck going?

Hockey great, Wayne Gretzky, when asked why he is such a good player, is famously quoted as saying,. "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been."

While attending the ASTD conference this week (The American Society of Training and Development) we've been hearing what we've known for sometime. The training industry "puck" is headed more mobile and online. In fact, in recent research, they were overwhelmingly selected as the training modality of choice.

The Learning Explosion is happening! Get on board or get left behind.

[SHAMELESS PLUG: The press release for our new book was sent over the wires this morning. Check it out here.]

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Forget about global warming! How about global shrinkage?

In case you haven't wondered, the world is getting smaller. As proof, jump on an airplane and see how long it takes you to get to Paris, Hong Kong or New Delhi. You can travel to amazing places in just a few hours. Or try this: pick up your phone and dial someone in London, Buenos Aires, or Honolulu. It takes seconds.

We just returned from a conference in Europe where global shrinkage was very evident. Business leaders from Africa, the Middle East, and Europe gathered to discuss training and learning trends in their areas. One of the highlighted discussion points was how the need for training is crossing geopolitical borders more and more rapidly. And these leaders are looking to online learning to help meet this need.

Here are three points to help you understand the importance of globalization when designing your learning solutions:

1. Understand Infrastructure
Before you start building your online learning solutions be certain to match the technical requirements for each location. In some locations you'll find that the Internet is really slow...we're talking "dial-up" speed. But in others it will be screaming fast!

2.  Understand Localization
We learned long ago that to get the right translation for our training content, you should go local.  Only then will you truly get the right examples for your session and the correct translation of key words. A good quality translated product will help advance your project further and more efficiently.

3. Understand Flexibility
Every market is different. Some have very serious issues around piracy (our friends in India say that the word "copyright" means that someone has the right to copy). Some have complex laws governing content on the web. Some have complex economic issues where pricing will need to be adjusted to meet local requirements (sometimes higher and sometimes lower). The best thing we can say is plan to adjust your plans.

As the learning world continues to shrink, you'll have more and more opportunities to create and experience global content. We encourage you to think global in everything you do!

Monday, May 16, 2011

eLeven Publishing and eBook Learning Fragments (Issue 3)

1. eBooks see triple digit growth as paper book sales dive.
2. Learn how Amazon and Seth Godin are changing the publishing landscape with a new movement called, The Domino Project.
3.  Watch interview of Amanda Hocking, who after being rejected by NY publishers, decided to self publish, and now makes millions on ebook platforms.
4. What is the future of books? Kindle lending library, piracy, and more!
5. New study: you read slower on Kindle, iPad than with print.
6. Can writers do on their own what the big six publishers can't?
7. Why ebooks failed in 2000, and what that means for 2010 . While we don't agree with the entire article, it is an interesting counter argument.
8. Get 36 free eLearning books via  eFrontlearning.net.
9. Is the New Yorker iPad app the beginning of the end of print.
10. How to self-publish an ebook.
11. How to self-publish a printed book.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Next Big Thing!

We've discovered that the general population and pundits alike are  already speculating about what the next best learning gadget, tool,  application, or invention will be. Just recently we heard a keynote  speaker ask the audience how they thought we would be learning in five  years. We looked at each other and both said, “Who cares about five  years?!” The next best thing is happening right now!

Thanks to the Learning Explosion  we have the next best learning innovations flowing to us daily. Don’t  misunderstand us, we expect technology to continue to leap forward, but  we enjoy living in it and experiencing it as it grows.

The moral of the story is that if you keep  looking forward 5 or 10 years, you may miss what’s happening  today.

The  exciting challenge we have now is finding new and creative ways of  organizing learning fragments, and experimenting with new ways to  include them in our virtual classrooms and other learning platforms.  This is how you apply this new learning mind-set.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Create Your Own Learning Lab

Unless you have been studying tribes in the Amazon for the past few years, you know that you can learn pretty much anything online.  Learning has exploded. The good thing about this Learning Explosion is that there is so much material to which you have access. However, this is also the bad thing about the Learning Explosion.

So, how do you take advantage of all the great relevant information online without being completely swamped? You create your very own controlled learning environment, or Learning Explosion Laboratory™.

It's in this customized learning lab where you organize and utilize relevant learning fragments for your personal learning needs.  Where you continuously discover new knowledge, try it out, apply it, experiment with it. And where you take these learning fragments and mix them together to create a unique learning experience. In so doing, you create a hybrid...a mutated form of learning.

This new mutation may or may not work for your situation. It could turn out to be a Frankenstein. But if it works you’ve succeeded! You can to use it. If it doesn’t work, you’ll go back into your Learning Lab and find other elements to assemble in an effort to create the perfect learning creation.

Get over the notion that you’ll find the perfect solution mixing in just one learning fragment. Validate your experiment with several more. Don’t ever stop with the first one. It’s about trial and error. It’s about creating multiple mutations and pulling the best pieces from each one to continually learn.

Your personal Learning Explosion Laboratory is based on how you prefer to learn, influenced heavily by the learning fragments you have been introduced to. The fact that your Learning Explosion Lab is different than your friend’s is what makes this experience so much more efficient than the traditional classroom. It does not prescribe just one or two ways to learn about something--it literally opens up a world of infinite learning fragments.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Good Brakes, Good Horn, Good Luck

The first thing that you notice when you land in India is the traffic. There are cars, bikes, whole families a motor scooter, turned over trucks, cows, buses, three-wheeled scooters and the occasional elephant -- all maneuvering through the same intersection. Miraculously, you see very few automobile accidents. There is rarely, if ever, a policeman pulling someone over for speeding or driving on the wrong side of the road. Yet everything seems to flow...almost organically!

Perhaps it's innate--just part of the Indian DNA. Regardless, it works for them and they seem to get from point A to point B without any stress or road rage. In fact, drivers are quite calm. However, for people not familiar with Indian driving laws (or lack thereof), it will be a very unnerving experience.

When you try to conduct or participate in online learning, you'll feel the same way. You'll see thousands of companies out on the elearning highway zooming around you, offering a vast assortment of training options. Big ones, small ones, complex and simple. You will discover that it's not always easy to find exactly what you're looking for.

So, here are some simple steps to help you get what you're looking for:
Step 1. Figure out what point B is before you start out on your journey. In other words, be clear on what you are trying to learn. If you don't you will be swept away in directions that are a waste of your time. For example, if you want to be a better leader, you should identify who these people are and follow their blogs or tweets.

Step 2. Stay focused on what's around you. Remember, you don't need to look at everything on the road. There are great learning opportunities in close proximity to you all of the time. For example, look at online versions of magazines in your industry. Most have a great online presence.

Step 3. Use your horn. When you find a great resource be sure to share it with someone else! Post it on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog. And, of course, don't forget to bookmark it in your browser so that you can return to it often.

The best part about the Learning Explosion is that we can almost guarantee that you will find something to help you. It's all out there just waiting to be discovered and consumed.