eLearning Guild a True Community of Practice
The Learning Solutions Conference serves as the largest of the eLearning Guild’s yearly conferences and brings together professionals seeking to identify, deploy and manage technology-based learning solutions. I was unable to attend the event last week, but I caught up with Jean Marrapodi, eLearning Guild and Learning Solutions Conference veteran, who was willing to share some of her insights on this year’s conference.
Jean shared that what makes this conference different from others is the extent to which people are willing to share information. Attendees aren’t looking at each other like competition, they’re working together to develop best practices that they can leverage outside of the conference setting. It is truly a community of eLearning professionals. Jean noted that she personally came away from the conference with a lot of tactical information, particularly in regards to utilization of mobile learning as a performance support tool.
In my conversation with her, we discussed a few session topic highlights including: the evolving role of the instructional designer as content curator in an increasing “data wasteland,” the power of conversation in learning, and the role of video in education.
I asked Jean to tell me about the session about Avoiding Information Overload: Creating Conversation session. I asked her what did the speaker suggest about the goal of incorporating conversation into the learning environment and not settling for a lecture style?
At Web Courseworks, we make the most of our video production department in our course development. I asked Jean about the session “Making the Most of Video,” .
Roundtable on Evaluation
Jean presented a roundtable on evaluation in the Foundations Intensive portion of the conference where she posed the questions: What’s the difference between an assessment and evaluation? How do we determine why a learner isn’t meeting the course’s goals? I asked for her take on how to best convince management or sponsors to take time and money to develop courses.
Looking ahead, Jean will be taking a systemic look at some of the course offerings at the New England College of Business where she serves as an instructional designer and faculty member. As an undergraduate online course developer, she will be doing her own evaluation of their program to ensure, as she says, “that we’re doing what we say we’re doing… tweaking and improving what we’ve got. We should be continuously improving what we’re doing and if it’s not meeting needs than why bother [offering the courses].”
This year’s Learning Solutions Conference was a huge success to say the least. Learn more about the conference and Jean Marrapodi online.
The University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) began as an initiative at the University of Wisconsin – Madison nearly one hundred years ago. The association seeks to make education more available to adult learners and serves as an industry resource for continuing education institutions and affiliated organizations. Recently proposed reforms promote the incorporation of more technology into student recruitment and the classroom, solidification of the role of the UPCEA Center for Research and Consulting and development of new member association revenue streams.
The UPCEA will be hosting its 97th Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon later this month March 28-30, 2012. Described on its website as “the premier, international association for educators, administrators and staff working in [professional and continuing education],” the conference offers an opportunity to explore how UPCEA members can make education more resilient and sustainable. Penny Ralston-Berg, Instructional Designer at the Penn State World Campus and co-author of MindMeld: Micro-Collaboration Between eLearning Designers and Instructor Experts, will be speaking at the event on “Student Perspectives of Quality in Online Courses.”
I recently sat down with David Schejbal, Program Chair of the 2012 UPCEA Conference, to learn more about the upcoming conference and his thoughts on what association and non-profit distance education professionals can gain from joining UPCEA and attending the conference. As more eLearning management opportunities become available, networking with these types of associations gains steadier importance.
Click play to listen to the interview (approx. 5 minutes)
Jeff Cobb and I will be doing a session together at The Great Ideas Conference on eLearning Business Planning. Jeff is also holding a Leading Learning Breakfast meeting in Washington DC on April 5th. I caught up with Jeff to briefly discuss the important topics Association executives should consider when planning new educational ventures for online delivery. Have a listen…
Introduction (approx. 2 minutes)
This week I am excited to announce that Bill Horton will soon be publishing a new edition of his best seller, E-Learning by Design. This news came to me after having received a phone call from the Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter for ASTD, in which I was asked to introduce Bill Horton at their Milwaukee ASTD Legend Series during the week of October 10th.
Following the phone call, I had coincidentally received an email from Bill Horton, himself, explaining that his new edition of E-Learning by Design is coming out and that the Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter of ASTD has invited him to be a legendary speaker at their event later this year. Bill Horton was seeking to bounce some ideas off of me regarding topics in his new book, so I was pleased to have the opportunity to interview him about what is coming in the new edition. Read more…
First Lady, Michelle Obama’s interest in obesity prevention has put this topic on many educators’ radar screens. My company, Web Courseworks, has assisted the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s (CHW) efforts to teach healthy behaviors to children via eLearning since 2002. Now that I have made my disclaimer, I would like to introduce Dr. Richard Schafer of the CHW’s Children’s Education Center. In this interview, he talks about the success of the www.bluekids.org program and how their Obesity Prevention program is “technology-based, teacher-driven and student-centered.” And, can you believe it? It is delivered on the Internet for kindergarten through third grade! Take a listen:
Jeff Cobb of Tagoras Inc. recently released a report focused on learning management systems for associations. Find below my interview with Jeff, discussing not only the report but also his life as an entrepreneur and his quest for a balanced lifestyle. Full disclosure: Web Courseworks’ LMS called CourseStage is one of the featured systems in the report. I am writing about the LMS Report because it is an invaluable guide for associations considering a business model involving eLearning. I am also intrigued by Jeff Cobb, the entrepreneur.
Let’s start with Jeff. Often educators, especially those who achieve success researching and teaching in the higher education market, dream of private sector opportunity. Like Jeff, they can be torn between their passion for instruction and learning and their natural interest in financial acknowledgement for their contributions. It is also a challenge to succeed in the private sector educational marketplace. Jeff is one of my heroes because he did just that. In the interview featured below, he talks about how during the dot-com period earlier this century, he saw a need for a learning management system focused on serving the needs of non-profits and associations. He successfully sold his business in 2005 and formed Tagoras, a consulting and research firm in 2009 with his wife Celisa. This new venture stemmed from what he saw as an important need for information in the association sphere. Read more…
The Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin has been supporting youth health education programs through their Children’s Health Education Center (CHEC) for the past twelve years. In 2004 the Center started the www.bluekids.org program to focus their efforts on reaching youth, educators, and parents via the Internet. Over 12,000 students participated in CHEC’s teacher-facilitated game-based learning curriculum last semester alone. When tasked with quantifying the impact of interactive web-based programs on youth behavior and attitudes, CHEC and researchers at the Children’s Hospital have come up with very positive preliminary results. Watch a video of one teacher’s experience with the program.
In the following six minute interview with eLearning consultant and social media expert Jeff Cobb, we discuss the ASAE Professional Development Council and Jeff’s thoughts on the recent ASAE conference in Toronto.
I was particularly interested in his ideas on the intersection of eLearning and social media with respect to associations. Jeff shares his thoughts on the “owners” of social media efforts in associations and reasons education directors should consider including it as part of their online education efforts.
Here is Part II in my series of interviews with Clark Aldrich on his upcoming book The Complete Guide to Simulations and Serious Games. The book will ship sometime in October, and Clark sent me an advance copy. This book has the potential to become an instrumental resource for sponsors and managers of educational simulation and serious game development. It intrigues me because Clark Aldrich addresses those very issues that concern those of us who manage or fund educational games and simulations:
- The need for a common development language
- The need to quickly communicate about genres and what works
- The need to protect the integrity of the serious game
- The need to stay “on-time and on budget”
- The need to share expertise between subject matter expert and development team
- The need for models of development Read more…
I am planning to conduct a series of interviews with Clark Aldrich about his upcoming book (available for pre-order) called The Complete Guide to Simulations and Serious Games: How the Most Valuable Content Will Be Created in the Age Beyond Gutenberg to Google. This first interview explores a few general questions on the topics covered by the book, including why simulations and serious games do a better job of teaching the important “big skills like leadership, negotiation, stewardship and middle skills like directing people, probing and procurement” (borrowing from Jeff Sandefer’s forward to the book). As a manager of games and simulation development, I was intrigued with Clark’s views on how the book could help build communication loops and collaboration between game sponsors, subject matter experts, and designers/developers. As Clark notes, his new book should provide a basis for “common ground.”
Learn more about Clark’s recommendations for how various types of people can use this book (a good bathroom read?). I called Clark an entrepreneur, an assessment he seems to agree with in this interview. He also talks about his interests and what he enjoys most– whether it’s being an analyst, consultant, simulation designer or author. I hope you enjoy part one of what will be several interviews on this important piece of work.