The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for August, 2016


cons of social media negative

Social media is what you make of it. For the most part it is valuable and offers a number of ways for you to succeed. We discussed this in the previous post on the pros of social media. Today we’ll look at the cons of social media and the potential impact they have on you, your job, and our industry.

Cons of Social Media: Too Much Noise

I have this routine where I read my elearning news feeds on a tablet (usually at night). I have a goofy process. The ones I like, I tag for later reference. The ones I think are really valuable, I’ll email to myself to make sure that I can spend more time on them when I get to my desk. But I never do because I end up occupied with more important things.

Eventually my inbox fills with a lot of those “important” links so to clean up my inbox, I created a filter to put all of the emailed links in one place. The other day I looked at all of the important content I’ve saved over the past few years. I have almost 11,000 links that I still haven’t read (but found to be really valuable). That’s about 916 hours of reading.

cons of social media full inbox

Here’s the deal: your social media connections deliver a lot of good content, but there’s just so much of it…and it doesn’t stop. I liken it to standing on a rock in the middle of a river. At best, you can put a net in to scoop something out, but the river continues to flow. And so it is with social media content, it just keeps coming with all of its alerts and beeps and constant notifications. Throw in the additional correspondence via Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and that’s a ton to parse.

This stream of content is not only distracting it can also cause some anxiety as you see the world slipping past you. I experience it myself. There are many days I feel like I’m out of the loop and losing touch with what’s going on in our industry. I was just getting used to SCORM and now I need to learn about TinCan xAPI. Come on!

If only WUHPF was a reality; I could use the Dog Pack today.

Turn this into a positive:

  • Find a single solution to manage the content you value. There are all sorts of tools like Pocket, Feedly, Flipboard, Diigo, Evernote, OneNote, and even your browser via add-ons.
  • Set a specific time to review the important content. And then leave it at that. Don’t worry about missing anything. It’s not as important as you think anyway.

What do you use to manage the content from your social media stream? Do you have a way to stay on top of what you are most interested in?

Cons of Social Media: Where’s the Social?

Sharing with your social network is valuable, but how social is it really?

It seems that for something that begins with the word social, there’s not a lot that’s social about it. Instead it’s more like we’re conduits of pushing content to our connections. And a lot of that content is manipulated by advertisers, marketing teams, and social media services.

cons of social media negatives

While social media does give everyone a voice, I wonder how much real dialogue actually happens. It seems like we’re just taking turns standing on the soapbox?

Social media and the mobile devices that we use to consume it are changing how we interact with each other. Here’s an interesting article on how social media is making people less social and a thought-provoking photo essay by Eric Pinkersgill where he removed all of the mobile devices from his subjects. It really makes you think about how we connect today.

Turn this into a positive:

  • In addition to pushing content, actually connect with a person. Use social media to build relationships. Ask or answer questions. Participate in one of those social media chats.
  • Make time to unplug. It doesn’t hurt to step away for a bit.

Cons of Social Media: Professional Life Beware

There are all sorts of laws that protect you from discrimination during job interviews. There are things you can’t be asked and you aren’t required to disclose. However, if someone did want to learn more about you without violating the law all they need to do is an online search. Odds are they’d find more that you want to share.

Your online profile with its pictures, political memes, and comments creates a perspective on who you are and what you value. It may not be totally accurate, but people will draw conclusions based on what they see. And that may impact your professional relationships and potential business opportunities.

Which is another issue. The line between business and personal is getting a bit blurry.

Today, we’re connecting in ways that may not be appropriate or professional. Should I really be looking at your family vacation photos and what you had for Thanksgiving? Do I need to know your religious and political views?

Professional services like LinkedIn are good because they do separate your business social profile from the personal one. However, I will add that LinkedIn seems to be a source of some of the same nonsense you’ll find in less professional social networks. So I’m not sure how that will evolve.

Turn this into a positive:

  • Determine how you want to frame your online presence.
  • Create separate accounts for your professional and personal networks. Keep your personal accounts private (or recognize that it becomes part of your professional persona).
  • Create clear guidelines on what you post and how you respond.

Generally, social media is neutral and controlled by what you consume (and share) and how you’re connected. It can be positive or negative, or both. The main thing is that you see it as a tool that helps you learn more about the industry, your job, and build a network of peers. And then of course, be careful what you share as that does partially determine how you are perceived.

How are you using social media today? And how has it changed the way you work?

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • October 6: Amsterdam. 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges by David Anderson. Register here.
  • October 21: Sydney. 3-Hour Articulate Virtual Event: 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges, Creating Engaging Software Training in Rise 360, and more. Register here.
  • October 29: ATD Nashville. Here's Why You Need an E-Learning Portfolio.

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 




pros of social media positive

The training industry is changing rapidly and technology plays a big role in that change, especially social media. However, like any change, there are positives and negatives that come with it.  Today, I’d like to discuss a few pros of social media as it relates to our industry and then I’ll follow it up with a post on some of the cons.

What is Social Media?

Wikipedia has a good detailed definition of social media. I see it as technology that allows people to connect and share information.  To be more specific, it’s about being connected to a community that shares interests and has a desire to share expertise around that interest. The social media technology just facilitates the connection.

The Growth of Social Media Technology

Most people in our industry probably see the following three services as their core social media tools: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Many organization are also using internal social media services like Yammer and Slack .

However, everyday there seems to be a new tool and people in our industry willing to hype it up. Look at some of the recent raves about Pokemon Go by the same people who were peddling Second Life just a few years ago. New technology can be both positive and negative. New ways to connect and share are good. But if you use a service and no one’s there, what good is it? Remember Google Wave or even Google+?

Many of the new and novel social media tools will be gone soon enough or they’ll be consumed by larger organizations. Sticking with the three above is probably more than adequate for our needs today.

Does your organization use a social media service? What do you think about it? How have is it helped your job?

Pros of Social Media: Curated Content

One of the biggest values of social media is the content stream. There’s a lot of really good information being shared everyday by all sorts of people in our industry. The challenge is knowing what’s out there and then sorting it by what’s important.

  • Find content curators. Some people are really good at curating and staying on top of things. They’re the curators and you’re the beneficiary. For example, David Anderson is one of the elearning people I follow on Twitter. Even though I work with him, I’m always amazed at how well he curates and posts a lot of relevant links and lots of cool elearning examples—just the sort of practical content our community needs. The same can be said for organizations. Articulate does a great job highlighting it’s customers, free downloads, templates, and cool elearning examples.

pros of social media connected to content

  • Follow topics not people. Another way to stay on top of the good content is to track topics is via hashtag. Instead of following a person, or everyone in an industry (which can be overwhelming), follow topic-specific hashtags like #elearning or #training. You will stay on top of all posts relevant to that topic.

I use Hootsuite to manage what I do, but there are other apps out there, too. Do you use a social media application? Which one?

Pros of Social Media: Connect with Experts

Quite a few years back I wrote to a well-known author in our industry. I actually had to write a real letter, mail it, and then hope for a response (which never came). Things are different today because we have access to experts (and what they know) via a few clicks. And I find most of them to be responsive.

pros of social media lrnchat

A good example of access to experts is something like #lrnchat where people post questions, answers, and discuss learning related topics. Not only can you share your thoughts, but you get to dialogue with well-known experts in our community. This can lead to building your professional network and often meeting them face-to-face at workshops and conferences where you can continue the dialogue.

And on the flip side, social media allows you to establish your own expertise by curating content and sharing what you know. In the past you had very few outlets to build your professional reputation. But today, you can easily connect and contribute to build your reputation and expertise.

Pros of Social Media: Get Help from Others

Social media is powerful in the connections it can foster and in turn the help those connections can provide. Just recently, I got to witness an excellent example of how broad our social media connections can be and the access we have that we didn’t a few years ago without it.

Justus is a young boy who was rushed to the hospital with a very serious medical condition. As people rallied around the family, they used social media to keep everyone up-to-date. To do so, they created #TeamJustus as a way to share what was happening but also to pass on encouragement and kind words. It was amazing to see how the network rallied to support the family. They even received encouragement from unlikely participants like former President, George Bush, and NFL quarterback, Andrew Luck.

pros of social media

We may not all have connections to celebrities and famous people, but you can be sure that your connections are broad; and odds are that if you need something, there’s someone in your network who can help. And if they can’t, they’re connected to someone who can.

The good news is that we are members in an overly generous industry where willfully helping other seems to be the default disposition. I see this all the time in the E-Learning Heroes community. In a sense, being connected to a community of peers is like an expansion of your cubicle and there’s all sorts of help for you. Your team of one can become a team of many. This is a point I made in this post on why the community brings real value.

There’s a lot more to say about the pros of social media. It provides practical value that will help you in your job today and in your future prospects. The key is to get connected and then to participate. If you’re not currently active in social media, perhaps these tips will help you reconsider your participation.

What do you see as some of the pros of social media?

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • October 6: Amsterdam. 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges by David Anderson. Register here.
  • October 21: Sydney. 3-Hour Articulate Virtual Event: 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges, Creating Engaging Software Training in Rise 360, and more. Register here.
  • October 29: ATD Nashville. Here's Why You Need an E-Learning Portfolio.

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 




interactive video example

Earlier I shared a nice example of a gamified elearning course. Today I’d like to share a really neat example of an interactive video scenario. This example comes via the fine folks at SpongeUk who do some really cool work and said I can share it.

View the Interactive Video Example

interactive video

Click here to view the video interaction.

What I Like About This Interactive Video

  • I like the real life decision-making that they use. The situation is relevant, the choices are legitimate, and the consequences of the choice leads to more choices. It has a game-like feel to it and the timer adds a sense of urgency.
  • I really like the way they did the email treatment. It’s a clean design and novel. And overall their visual design has a simple elegance.

interactive video email

  • There’s something about video that’s much more engaging than reading slides of content. Setting up a quick video shoot like this doesn’t take long and the scripted dialogue is short enough to keep the home grown talent in check. My guess is they kept it simple and used a head-mounted GoPro camera (or a smart phone) to create the first person perspective. And it doesn’t sound like they used any special mics. Besides, you can’t go wrong with monkeys and bananas.

interactive video Go Pro

  • Despite how much we try to complicate things, interactive scenarios are essentially glorified multiple choice questions. I like the 3C model for scenarios: give the learner a challenge (what to do with employee), provide viable choices, and the choice produces a consequence (which could be immediate feedback or another challenge).

interactive video decision

  • I also like the way they pulled the feedback together to identify what type of manager you are and tips on how to be better.

interactive video feedback

  • Finally, I get a lot of questions about how to do this or that in elearning. Often people start by showing me examples of popular multimedia content they find online. I believe that was the case with this example. If I recall, it’s not a real project but a quick prototype based off of this popular Deloitte recruitment video.

Kudos to the folks at SpongeUK. They did a great job showing how Storyline can be used to create interactive scenarios that use video. They also did a great job reinterpreting the interactive video and creating something uniquely theirs. And as a bonus, once you build the foundation for this type of interactive, you can save it as a template and re-use it for other courses.

What did you like best about this example?

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • October 6: Amsterdam. 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges by David Anderson. Register here.
  • October 21: Sydney. 3-Hour Articulate Virtual Event: 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges, Creating Engaging Software Training in Rise 360, and more. Register here.
  • October 29: ATD Nashville. Here's Why You Need an E-Learning Portfolio.

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 




free animated .gif

Most software training is done using screencasting tools like Storyline or Replay. However, you don’t always need a full video to show procedural steps. Sometimes, it’s easier to create animated .gifs. And here’s an easy way to create them for free.

Create Animated .GIFs for Free with Screen2Gif

Screen2Gif is a free open source application available here for download. It’s created by Nicke Manarin, so be sure to give him props or send him a few bucks for his efforts. You can find his contact info and a link to PayPal (if you want to help him out) in the options tab.

Here are a few quick pointers if you’re using the application to create animated .gifs:

  • There’s no installation required. When you click the .exe file it opens the application.
  • You can record your screen, a webcam, or whiteboard. It defaults to screen recording, but you can change it to open in either of the recording options.

animated .gif recorder

  • You can set the quality settings for the recording as well as change the DPI and resize the image.

animated .gif quality

  • There’s no formal community with the animated .gif software, but there is an active Reddit group where you can get all sorts of help.

Play Around with Quality and Recording Size When Creating Animated .GIFs

You’ll need to play around with the quality settings especially if you want to resize the recorded window down. Here are some examples recorded at different quality levels:

  • Default 10 quality setting: 1355 x 762 (328 KB) and here’s the same recording resized down to 500 x 281 (125 KB).
  • The highest 20 quality setting: 1355 x 762 (366 KB) and resized down to 500 x 281 (136 KB).
  • You can play around with the DPI settings as well; but you should probably learn more about DPI and how it relates to images.
  • Ideally you don’t want to scale the recording size down. Often people record the entire screen when they only need to record a portion. By recording a portion you can maintain a nice crisp image and smaller file size.

Personally I find the default settings fine. The key is to record at a resolution where you won’t need to scale the image so that you can retain a nice crisp image.

Animated GIF Example for E-Learning

animated .gif

Click here to view the demo.

Above is a simple example of an animated .GIF used with a static image. I did a screen grab of a software screen and then inserted markers for specific areas. This allows me to skip recording a video and instead focus on key areas where I need to show specific steps. This is a good approach when you have features that are still in flux and if recording the full screen is problematic.

Animated .gifs are great for simple steps. They’re easy to create. And now you can do it for free.

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • October 6: Amsterdam. 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges by David Anderson. Register here.
  • October 21: Sydney. 3-Hour Articulate Virtual Event: 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges, Creating Engaging Software Training in Rise 360, and more. Register here.
  • October 29: ATD Nashville. Here's Why You Need an E-Learning Portfolio.

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 




gamified e-learning example

At a recent conference I ran into Ken Haas and John Kostrey who work for Sodexo. They were showcasing a nice gamified course they built as part of the training program for facility management. What I like about the course is that it’s more than the typical linear, click-and-read course. They used a lot of the core building blocks for interactive elearning.

The course is part of a blended program where it’s combined with live facilitated training. Check out the course below.

Gamified E-Learning Example

gamified e-learning example

Click here to view the course.

Key Points of Gamified E-Learning Example

Here is a list of a few of the things that stood out to me.

  • This a good performance-based demo that allows the learner to explore and make educated guesses. They’ll easily figure out what’s right and wrong. And they get more specific feedback later in the course.
  • They also provide some distractors and incorrect choices that may appear to be initially correct. This forces the learner to focus on their specific task rather than merely identify issues out of context.

gamified e-learning example gate screen

  • Use of gate screen to provide starting instructions. The gate screen stops the learners to orient them on what they need to do.

gamified e-learning example menu

  • Created custom navigation rather than use the default player.
  • Timer based interactivity to create a sense of urgency.
  • Progress indicators.
  • Point system.

gamified e-learning example contextual menu

  • Contextual map to show where you are in context to what you see.
  • “I give up” is an option. However, the learner doesn’t get the points, but they do get the information.

gamified e-learning example summary

  • Summary allows you to go back to review what you may have missed.
  • The course also included a leader board so that others in the organization could have a friendly competition. They used a JavaScript trigger to send the player data to a MySQL database.

Go through the course and see how you do. One of the best ways to build better elearning is by looking at different examples, deconstruct them, and then apply what you learn to your own courses. What do you like about this elearning example?

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • October 6: Amsterdam. 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges by David Anderson. Register here.
  • October 21: Sydney. 3-Hour Articulate Virtual Event: 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges, Creating Engaging Software Training in Rise 360, and more. Register here.
  • October 29: ATD Nashville. Here's Why You Need an E-Learning Portfolio.

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.