The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for May, 2018


how to preview responsive courses and mobile learning in your browser

Here’s a simple way to test your published courses when building responsive mobile learning. While each browser is a bit different, most have some sort of emulation features.

Preview Your Published Responsive Courses

During your course production you can preview the course using one of the responsive preview options. This gives you a very good approximation of how the course will respond to different devices whether they’re in portrait or landscape orientation.

After you publish the course and upload it to your LMS (or web server) you can also preview it via the browser. Open the course and right click to access the developer tools (see tutorials below). From there you can access the device emulator to test how the course will respond to different devices or screen resolutions.

For example, here’s a responsive e-learning course I published in Rise. I want to see how it responds to other devices after it’s published. Some people scale their browsers to do this, but it makes more sense to use the browser’s feature instead.

Responsive Courses mobile learning demo via Chrome browser

Get the Aspect Ratio of Popular Devices for Responsive Courses

One side benefit is that in Chrome and Firefox they expose the resolutions for different mobile devices. Even if you don’t use the responsive emulators, it’s still an easy way to get the aspect ratios and resolutions of the popular mobile devices. I use these to to set the story size dimensions for my mobile Storyline courses when I build for specific devices.

Responsive Courses mobile learning device aspect ratio

Unfortunately, Microsoft’s Edge is a bit myopic and behind the times as they assume that people only use their devices. Of course, it doesn’t really matter because you can choose the orientation and customize the resolution.

 Responsive Courses mobile learning aspect ratio emulator Edge browser

How to View Responsive Courses Tutorials

Here are some quick tutorials where I go through this feature in the following browsers:

Each browser is a little different, but it is a handy feature to access when building responsive mobile learning. One thing to keep in mind is that what you get via the browser is an emulation and may not be an exact representation of how your course will really behave, but for the most part it should be fine.

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.

 




future of learning technologies

Here’s an excerpt from a recent presentation on the future of learning technology.

I went to school to be a video producer. Right after I graduated, the video industry changed from analog to digital. At the time digital video technology was cutting-edge and super expensive. And I was stuck in a job with an organization that had no money, so I felt that everything was was passing me by and I’d never catch up.

I see a lot of the same things in our industry today. So much is changing and it’s hard to keep up. It can be quite stressful.

We’ll look at some emerging technologies and how they impact our jobs and then how it really impacts you.

E-Learning Democratized

future of learning technologies e-learning democratized

A few years back, it was expensive to build e-learning courses. That changed with the PowerPoint-to-Flash tools like Articulate Studio. Those tools let all organizations into the e-learning world and made it possible to bring course content to the masses.

Over time, the tools evolved as we went from PowerPoint to Storyline.

E-Learning Made Easy

e-learning made easy future of learning technologies

It took a lot to build web pages a few years back. Now you have sites like Wix where you can build a pretty sophisticated site in minutes. The same thing is happening with e-learning. Look at how easy it is to build a course in Rise.

There are the naysayers who complain about this. I actually had someone tell me that we should limit access to the software to only people with the training to build courses. That may have worked in the Soviet Union, but I prefer a less elitist approach. Give them the tools and then help them learn to use them better is a more charitable approach.

Besides, organizations will always opt for quicker, cheaper delivery (especially when most of their courses are explainer-type content).

Virtual Reality is Virtually Here

One emerging technology is virtual reality (VR). When done right it can create truly immersive experiences. I’ve seen some really cool demos and it’s definitely going to create opportunities for different ways to learn.

With that said, many of the virtual reality demos I see are simple 360° videos with clickable hotspots. They’re not much more than labeled graphics. There is a novelty to them, but it seems like a lot of work to create video labeled graphics. Not sure how much more valuable they are than static images once you get past the novelty of viewing them.

future of learning technologies virtual reality made real

The real value in virtual reality is being able to interact with the environment and not just move around and click for information, like in the images above where you work in a simulated dental office.

The reality (that’s not virtual) is that building an immersive virtual environment is cost prohibitive for most organizations. Until the costs to produce come way down, for most organizations virtual reality will be a pipe dream.

Augmented Reality is a More Affordable Reality

With augmented reality (AR) a lot of the cost of production is reduced. Instead of trying to create a virtual world, we augment the real world with additional content and experiences.

future of learning technologies augmented reality in the real world

Ikea and other sites allows us to put furniture in real rooms to see how it will fit.

future of learning technologies augmented reality to translate content

We can use our phones to translate content in real time or learn what’s around us.

future of learning technologies augmented reality to train new skills

And we can learn new things, just in time at our point of need.

If you want to play around with augmented reality, check out HP Reveal and learn more about what some of the tech leaders are doing:

The Technology That Will Really Change Your Job

Virtual and augmented realities are cool and obviously have a role in our industry, but the technologies that will really change your jobs are artificial intelligence (AI) and big data.

future of learning technologies chatbots to deliver training

future of learning technologies automated response

Most of what drives e-learning is compliance and regulatory training. Often, we’re just rehashing content that already exists someplace else. Soon, that’ll all be automated. Organizations will be able to pull custom content together to meet the needs of its learners. They’ll be able to create chatbots and other tools to push what you need when you need it. This emerging technology will create articles, documentation, guided instruction, and probably even videos. In that world there won’t be much need for instructional designers.

While it’s exciting to see and anticipate these emerging technologies, it does induce a bit of stress. Can we keep up? Will we be out of work?

I’ll leave you with this one thought.

Twenty-five years ago when I created custom presentations using Harvard Graphics (pre PowerPoint) I thought that one day people will know how easy this is and I’ll be out of work. Today, close to three decades later, not much has changed. Sure we’ve got a lot of cool technologies and all of that. But the presentations and the courses are still mostly the same quality (for good or bad).

So take heart in knowing that you’re part of an exciting industry with emerging technology, but don’t fear being out of work anytime soon.

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.

 




role of today's trainer

The other day I was at Costco about to buy something. But before I made the purchase, I got online to do some research….right there in the store. I learned enough to make an informed decision. In fact, I was so “informed” that I was able to provide some assistance to another shopper. Despite all of that, I’m no expert on the product, but I am expert enough to meet my own needs.

And this is the world our learners live in, as well. As they have a learning need, they can access what they need when they need it because technology has changed the role of today’s trainer (or at least part of it).

At the start of my career in training, most of the content required to learn wasn’t always easily obtained. Thus it did require some research, meetings with subject matter experts, and a formal training plan to build and deliver training. Otherwise, those on the other end wouldn’t be able to access what they needed.

Today, a lot of that has changed. With the Internet, we have access to all sorts of information. And we can get it at the time we need it. Gone are the days for much of the formal training we used to build. They took too long to build and deliver. And often were hard to maintain.

Does it mean there’s no need for trainers? No! But it does mean the role is a bit different.

I like to think the new trainer has two areas of focus to ensure the training mission is complete:

  • Structured training
  • Convenient training

The Role of the Structured Trainer

the role of trainer structured

I see this as more of the traditional role of trainer where you meet with content owners, understand their needs, and put together a training plan. It’s designed to create a specific learning experience to meet a specific goal.

There’s a lot of value in a formal training process. A well-designed training plan can speed up the time to learn and mitigate potential issues. For example, many people have access to content, but it doesn’t mean the content is vetted or compliant with the organization’s needs.

On top of that, compliance and regulatory training often has to have specific content and be delivered a certain way. In those cases, the structure is important.

The Role of the Convenient Trainer

role of trainer convenient

This is where most people are. They have needs, they research them, and then do something with what they’ve learned. Does it means they’ve become experts? No. But it does mean they’ve gotten enough to do what they need to do.

So what’s your role in this world?

  • Curate content. Just because we can find information doesn’t mean it’s always relevant. And it takes time to find it. The trainer is a conduit to the content expert. Curate important information and make it easily available to those who need it.
  • Build a network of learners. A community is built around a shared interest and desire to grow in expertise. Find ways to connect learners so they can communicate, share, and learn from each other.
  • Keep it informal. This is usually where it breaks down. Organizations (and trainers) want structure and control. Thus, it’s hard to let things flow without imposing a bunch of organizational mumbo jumbo.

There’s a place for formal, structured training (see above) and there’s a place to keep it more organic. Organic allows people to choose the content that best serves their needs.

The two roles aren’t an either-or proposition. It’s not one way over the other. It’s just the reality that formal training doesn’t always have to be the plan. And a good training initiative builds on the informal aspects of learning and sees its trainers as part community managers who bring content and people together.

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.

 




To quote the famous bumper sticker, “Learning Happens!”

I use that quote all the time with the entry-level instructional designers I train. It’s a reminder that people learn regardless of the training plans we put in place. And often they learn despite them.

Learning is innate to being human. It’s part of our nature and we’re never in a mode where we’re not learning something. It doesn’t mean that we always learn the right things or make the right adjustments to what we learn, but we are in a continual process of learning.

In that sense, learning hasn’t changed much over the years.

Training Today Versus Yesterday

What has changed is how we acquire and use content to learn. In the past, training teams (or the content owners) controlled access to most of the content. In a sense, they were the knowledge brokers. They organized content into “training” and provided “certification.”

Learners Today

Today, it’s a bit different. Learners are empowered in ways they weren’t a few years ago.

  • The Internet (and internal networks) make it easier to catalog and find content.
  • Online communities connect peers who can extend the one person’s realm of expertise.
  • What they find, they can save, curate, and share with their community of learners.
  • Mobile devices mean people can access content at a point of interest or need. It gives them information at the right time, and often at the right place.
  • There’s an app for everything (or so it seems). And in the same vein, there’s a YouTube video for everything, too. Thus, you may not gain a deep understanding of the content, but you generally can get a functional understanding.
  • Do you need to be a certified expert? Seems people are more inclined to become micro experts with their fingertip learning.

Trainers Today

What can today’s trainer do to respond to these changes?

  • Focus less on formal training programs that tend to be too long and provide more content than is needed.
  • Lean more on bite-sized learning modules that are chunked to focus on single objectives.
  • Learn from online tech and marketing. They track people and know what to deliver and when. I’m not a big fan of online ads, but I will have to say I’m always impressed with the ads that Facebook serves. Usually, they are things that interest me. The same with when I travel. Google knows where I’m at and serves up relevant information, often before I need it. Seems that training could implement similar ideas.
  • Build a community and let it be organic. There’s a place for formal training. But there’s also a place for learning communities where people can curate and share. And they can do that with little formal oversight.
  • There’s still a need to vet content, but what’s vetted can be packaged differently in formats more flexible to meeting real needs.

The reality is that people learn. And they don’t always depend on what we put in front of them. In fact, often they learn faster than we can teach. Are we adjusting to the needs or still relying on an old-school model?

How are you addressing the changes in our industry?

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.