Thursday, May 5, 2011

6 Atlanta Learning-Industry Events You Shouldn't Miss - May 2011

The Atlanta area learning industry associations are busy this month; here are five of the events that look especially strong. Plus, for those of us not going to ASTD ICE this year, we're starting a new gathering -- an eLearning discussion over coffee. Hope to see you there.

Do you Evaluate and Measure?

May 9

This ASTD Atlanta Corporate Training SIG meeting is a follow-up to March's Best Practices to Align Training with Strategic Goals panel discussion. The focus this time will be on evaluation instruments and strategies in the corporate training environment. Evaluation and measurement have been hot topics in the Atlanta events lately for both ASTD and ISPI; we're all trying to get it right.

Click here to register for the Corporate Training SIG.

No More Slackers!!! - Building a Culture of Accountability within Teams

May 10

The ASTD Atlanta Organizational Development SIG will look at effective techniques for preventing slackers from dragging down the productivity of the whole team. This is always important, maybe more so these days where so many organizations are trying to do more with fewer resources. Dana Brownlee of Professionalism Matters intends to provide tips that attendees can put into place immediately.

Click here to register for the Organizational Development SIG.

Best Practices for eLearning Simulations

May 17

The Home Depot's Mike Law and Chris Rogers will overview authoring tools for simulations at this ASTD Atlanta Technology-Based Learning SIG meeting. They will also discuss best practices needed to truly create high-end simulations that increase the competency of learners. I've worked with Chris in the past and am really looking forward to this one.

Click here to register for the Technology-Based Learning SIG.

Predictive Evaluation - Ensuring Training Delivers Business and Organizational Results

May 18

The learning evaluation topics keep coming, which is a good thing. Dave Basarab, a seasoned expert in training evaluation and learning transfer with roles at such places as Motorala, Ingersoll Rand, and Pitney Bowes, will use a case study from a Fortune 100 company to demonstrate his own Predictive Evaluation Model. Attendees of this ISPI Atlanta chapter meeting will learn how to predict the value of training and conduct their own predictive evaluations, such as intention evaluation, adoption evaluation, and impact evaluation.

Click here for more information and to register for ISPI Atlanta.

SharePoint 2010: Get It Right The First Time

May 24

SharePoint is now widely used for online knowledge bases and support systems. But implementation can sometimes be messy and adoption difficult. Ron Jones of Computer Technology Solutions will present a webinar to the Technology Assocation of Georgia defining a roadmap to avoid common pitfalls and instead implement SharePoint 2010 the right way in order to gain the best long-term efficiency for your organization.

Click here to register for this TAG webinar.

eLearning Discussion and Coffee

May 24

Several local practitioners (that are missing this year's international ASTD conference) are meeting at 4:30pm at the La Madeleine’s by Perimeter Mall to informally discuss eLearning tactics over coffee. Those are two of my favorite things. That same night the ASTD Atlanta INC SIG is holding an event on e-newsletters right around the corner, so many of us will go from the coffee to that.

The intent of this coffee meetup will be to hold an attendee-driven discussion around a certain theme. We have a poll going on the ILS Facebook page for the topic,, or you can put a comment here. Topics currently under consideration are Learning Analytics, Is rapid design really rapid?, and instructional design tips.

The idea for this came from the frequent coffee meetups David Anderson, Brent Schlenker, and other eLearning professionals seem to do in Phoenix. Why should they have all the fun?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What Does Mobile Learning Mean to You?

By: Clay Duda

When Robert Gadd, President at OnPoint Digital Inc., kicked-off the discussion at Technology Association of Georgia’s recent workshop “What Does Mobile Learning Mean to You?” he offered a few words of caution:

“Learning mobile is like drinking from a fire hose,” he said – pointing out the fact he had about 70 slides and less than a minute to spend on each. “There’s going to be a lot of information.”

Now here’s my warning: you’re about to get the short form of the “fire hose” version. Brace yourself.

The gathering was one in a year-long series hosted by TAG’s Workplace Learning Society (WLS) to examine the past, present practices, and future of learning.

Mobile learning continues to be a hot topic for a number of reasons: 
1) Its current state is one of “rapid change.”
2) It's a technology shift in training that doesn’t require much encouragement.
3) It's pretty dang cost effective.
4) It has the potential to re-shape business relationships with customer without changing how business is done.

“This is certainly an exciting time for mobile learning,” said Jason Cohen, Sr. Account Executive at Element K. “Over the past six months we’ve been seeing a lot of adoption.”

By 2014 millennials will account for 30 percent of the workforce – and millennials expect mobile training, Cohen said. By his own prediction mobile learning will become an accepted industry practice within the next few years.

What’s more, by the end of the year (2011), 51 percent of the general population will have a smartphone and many will have more than one device.

“Everybody will have one of these devices in the near future,” Gadd said.

There are still some technical drawbacks when it comes to implementing mobile learning strategies across a diverse set of mobile operating systems and carriers. Namely, apps must be programed for a specific operating system and screen size, taking time. Cloud computing technologies are still 24-36 months away from being “everything you want it to be for mobile learning” Gadd said, but even then still requires a carrier signal or Wi-Fi connection to access (unlike apps which are stored locally).

But Gadd was also quick to point out that multi-device communication was indeed the way of the future. Soon (hopefully) you’ll be able to share files – and training courses – from your BlackBerry to your iPad without skipping a beat.

Deborah Thomas of SillyMonkey presented on how to use text messaging to add interactivity within a classroom environment.

One of the most eye-opening presentations was Margaret Martin’s, CEO of Merlin Mobility Corporation, demonstration with augmented reality and it’s potential to reshape the customer experience (literally) from the ground up.

While it’s a little difficult to explain in detail without demonstrating the technology, the big picture looks at improving a user's experience by accessing the world through a device. Can you imagine in-store directions to find the product you picked out online? How about a real-time 3D rendering of a product on your mobile device? Or scanning a part or instruction booklet during the assembly process for a 3D illustration of how it fits together?

Believe it.

Augmented reality may very well reshape general concepts of business and convenience, but it doesn’t mean businesses have to restructure to take advantage of the new technology. Rather, the augmented reality technology relies on various tactics already being used in business – barcodes, illustrations, instruction booklets, etc. – as a trigger for the software.

Whew. I'm out of breath.