Thursday, March 24, 2011

YOU can make a difference today!

Its never been easier to help a member of the human race thanks to the millions of opportunities afforded us through The Learning Explosion. With the web and apps you can donate, serve, volunteer, and even create your own cause. Its especially comforting to see how many youth are making a difference in the world, some one penny at a  time. Here are some of the thousands of great apps, websites, and causes you can participate in.
And there are SO many more...just Google a cause you wish to contribute to or volunteer for. No matter what you do, do something!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The NEW Roles Social Media Play In Our Everyday Lives

One new role, is being a source of information during disaster.

If you had told me even two years ago that the one place victims and helpers alike would turn for information and aide during a major catastrophe like the Japan earthquake would be social media, I would have called you crazy. Yet, this is exactly what happened (read about it at This was in part thanks to the fact that even one of the largest earthquakes we will ever see could not kill Japan's internet Service, thanks to planning and design (

Another reason people turn to these resources is because most of us walk around with a video camera in our pockets. and we have been conditioned to pull them out and record whenever something interesting happens, and then share it with our neighbors worldwide. We have all become unofficial members of the media in this respect. And in some respects we have become THE media. Just look at the blogs we read, the twitter accounts we follow, and the other social media sites and tools we tune into. Then take stock at how many traditional news sites we follow or tune into...if you are like me, not many.

Friday, March 11, 2011

E-Learning Globalization

For the past few years, we've traveled the globe to help organizations get set up with online learning.  Not surprisingly, in each location we discover a wide variety of differences in the way people do business, in the way they live, and in their customs and cultures.

Creating e-learning for a global audience can be very intimidating and time consuming. But if done properly, it can be very rewarding.

For example, we just returned from Hong Kong where we were teaching a couple of clients how to localize virtual classroom content on Adobe Connect. Although many people speak and understand English very well, their culture is to show sub-titles on all of the videos. So we compressed videos with the sub-titles and loaded them in. They also needed to localize some of the examples in the content so that they were much more relevant to their audience. So we taught them how to do this and modify it for their needs. In the end, we had trained them on the right ways to create great e-learning for THEIR audience.

One important point! One of the biggest things people forget before they go global with e-learning is to have good systems and processes. If you don't have these in place in advance, you'll get bombarded with one-off tasks that will devour your days.

Here is a great article that just appeared in E-Learning Magazine on some great techniques around building e-learning content for a global audience.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A polarizing debate

How long should your virtual classrooms be? This is a long running, and a polarizing debate. Some organizations keep their virtual classrooms as short as 20 minutes. Others have successfully facilitated three or four sessions of up to three-hours each, with breaks in between — breaks that range from an hour, to days, or even weeks. Some people build day-long experiences that are broken up into 90-minute chunks.

Our personal experience has shown that anything longer than two hours per session is too long--even with frequent and a varied interaction. We believe that 90-to-120 minute sessions are an ideal length for a virtual classroom experience. It allows you enough time to teach three or four main points and is short enough to keep people engaged.

We recognize that every situation is different. You should test various combinations and options yourself until you find the perfect amount of content and length of your virtual classroom.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The SOLID Process

After years of designing and developing highly interactive virtual classrooms we believe we have a sound instructional design knowledge transfer process. We call this process Simple Online Learning Instructional Design, or the SOLID Process. SOLID is an introductory ten step process that incorporates:
  • Our simplicity approach to learning.
  • Best practices from traditional and virtual instructional design theory.
  • Practices and procedures we have personally experienced and tested.
Step 1. Identify the ILT you wish to transfer to a virtual classroom.
Step 2. Pinpoint what current ILT course materials you already have. (Example: outlines, PowerPoint slide deck, participant manual, facilitator guide, course videos, etc.)
Step 3. Select the content approach you plan on using--Summarizing or Chunking
Step 4. List the virtual classroom tools you have on your chosen platform. (Example: chat, polls, whiteboard, break-out functionality, assessments, emoticons, screen sharing, etc.)
Step 5. Develop your virtual classroom outline with your web conferencing platform tools, your content approach, and instructional design best practices in mind.
Step 6. Adapt the current ILT course materials to the needs of your virtual classroom.
Step 7. Review your prototype with the content subject matter expert (SME) and make appropriate changes.
Step 8. Test with end users.
Step 9. Receive and apply feedback.
Step 10. Repeat testing and feedback steps until you feel it is ready for launch.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Everyone Has a Story...

And many of these stories are worth sharing.

Sitting at Toro Solao, a exquisite Spanish restaurant in Puerto Rico's Old San Juan district, we had the distinct honor of meeting and learning about a young lady who is literally changing the world. Andrea wasn't even our waitress. But seeing we had a question came over to help. What started as formal restaurant chatter soon turned into one of the most inspirational discussions. We soon learned that Andrea's waitressing gig was not her full-time job nor passion. Her joy and time was spent working on her not-for-profit organization, Silent Grace Foundation, helping those in need. To learn more go to You can also follow her on twitter @Andrea_Isabel.

It's amazing what you can learn when you listen to the people you meet. And there are a lot of people out there...all who can teach you something. That is one of the beautiful advantages of the Learning Explosion--the ability to learn from people all around the world without necessarily having to travel there. Sharing, learning, and ideation is taking place all the time. How we choose the participate is up to us.

Friday, March 4, 2011

e-Leven Learning Fragments (Issue 1)

Here is the first round of some of our favorite e-Leven Learning Fragments that we’ve discovered over the past few weeks. Learning Fragments are bits and pieces of information all around us that was made available via the Learning Explosion. You'll notice that they come from all over! Some are from popular news services and others from people personal blogs.

We’ll post these Learning Fragment lists regularly so that you can find them all in one spot. If you have suggestions for other Learning Fragments, please leave a comment with the URL and a short description. We’d love to discover more!

Need to learn something new? Try out Qwiki. It’s much more than just a wiki--it has great looking multimedia built in.

Sometimes you just need a little inspiration. Follow these tweets if you're looking for a great resource to get that extra motivation.

3. Visualizing Your Twitter Network
Have you ever wanted to get a graphical representation of your Twitter network?
Beth Kanter

iLeighanne's Blog: Cool Tools for Instructional Designers
We're all looking for cool stuff. On her blog post, iLeighanne has categorized some of her favorites -- from design, collaboration and editing tools.

50 Open Source Replacements for Really Expensive Software
Need some accounting software but don't have the cha-ching to pay for it? What about some business productivity or project management software? If your budget is tight, you'll like this solid list that put together.

22 Social Media Tools Worth Exploring
If Social Media is what you're after, you'll love In particular, take a look at this list of tools and services that their writers put together.

Difficult Conversations: Nine Common Mistakes
Harvard Business Review put together a great little slide show on how to hold a tough conversation with someone. So, before you open your mouth, review these simple steps.

Want to find your favorite bands on Twitter? This is how. Here's a
short article from

Google's Art Project
Are you curator at heart but can't get to the most popular museums? Well, Google is bringing the museum to you. Try zooming in to see how the detail of the brush strokes are on some of Van Gogh's paintings. Truly amazing.

HTML5 and IPv6
Does this sound like a snoozer Learning Fragment? Boring or not, the changes that are coming to the web will affect you. You might want to read about them in this article before you start your next big project.

How small businesses are using Social Media posted this great looking and very informative infographic created by
has written a fun little article on how to visualize it. with a bit more detail on how it works as well as some future upgrades.@amlamster on the topic.

Do you have any other great Learning Fragments? Leave us a comment or post it to Twitter with the hashtag #lfrag so everyone can enjoy them!