Long road to ruin

I’ve borrowed the title for this post from Messers Grohl, Mendel, Smear, Hawkins and Shiflett … more commonly known as Foo Fighters.

Why? Well, over the 2018 festive break I’ve read more than a few reflective pieces from those in my extended network about the direction and increasingly intrusive nature of technology in our lives, and this song title leapt to mind. The ‘long road to ruin’ here is how we are ‘letting’ tech companies access and control our lives.

This control may not be actual control, however the trend for app-enabled and ‘smart’ devices like watches, fitness trackers, toothbrushes, weighing scales, light bulbs, door locks, etc. certainly is trending towards this. Whilst we are paying for the devices, sometimes with contactless payment, we are handing over the data of what we do with these devices (personal, location, health, etc.) to an organisation we know nothing about. Nor do we know what they’ll do with that data. Or who they’ll share/sell it to?

From the data we create and hand over one of these purchased devices to the data we create on free services like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc, we have the illusion that we are in control, using features such as how private we keep our account, opting in or out of different settings, yet we don’t have the control we think we have. Amazon is using our browsing and purchasing habits to tailor itself to what it’s algorithms think we’ll want next. Not to mention what we ask Alexa or what we watch or listen to through your Prime membership. Whilst you can link accounts between these services, and the cross-analytics you generate there, you think you’re being clever by not doing it and preventing that kind of access/data control over you, it turns out it doesn’t matter anyway, these organisations are sharing your data/control anyway.

I now have too many devices in the home that have the ability to listen. With only one device actively set up to do this (Amazon Echo) the others all have microphones that could, if hacked or otherwise taken control of, listen without me wanting or knowing it. I hear you cry ‘if you’re that paranoid, don’t have them!’ which I’ll agree with, but I’m also a sucker for making my life easier, or access to information or family or news or games or a good deal on Lego easier. I have chosen to enable these devices and have chosen to bring them into my life. But what they do, that’s the device itself and the organisation that ends up collecting the data I create, with that data still troubles me.

Apart from these devices that collect data on what I do, where I do it, who I’m with, there are also devices and organisations that know more about me than probably I do. Devices with fingerprint or facial recognition. Companies that use voice recognition or voice-stress analysis in an attempt to root out hacking in an attempt to keep us safe, even from ourselves.

So, why a ‘long road to ruin’? Unless we have a full and very frank understanding of this data we create and precisely what is being done with it, by and with whom, then I believe we are all in for a very hard lesson to learn when it comes to light exactly what we’ve allowed to happen in the name of simplifying our lives – “we are entering the post-privacy age.”

Image source: Alan Levine (CC BY 2.0)

The way I learn

When thinking about what kind of course I want to create and what kind of learning experience I want my students/learners to have, I think about the resources and technology I can use. I also think about how I learn. Or rather, what learning experiences have had the impact on me that I want others to have.

This isn’t about learning styles (in the sense of the published research and/or theories). This is about me. As someone who has taken classroom and online courses, read books, watched videos, etc. I’ve learned about myself.

  • Learn by doing – show me how to do something and I’ll be able to repeat some of it. Show me what I’m doing as I do it and I’ll be able to replicate it quite accurately, quite quickly. I (hope) I also learn from my mistakes this way too.
  • Learn by watching/listening – I like listening to music and watching TV and films, and I can remember lyrics and scenes and what happens as part of the story. This doesn’t mean I can learn that way – videos and audio files as part of a course are great but I find myself distracted and/or bored quite quickly.
  • Learn by discussing – Put me in a room with other (face-to-face or online) and I can learn by being an active (or passive) participant in the conversation. I can learn from others’ background and perspectives, and from voicing my own perspectives.
  • Learn by reading – Give me a book to read (fiction) and I’ll devour it in a couple of days if I like it, and I’ll remember characters, events, plot lines, etc. Give me an article or non-fiction to read as part of a course and I’ll dip in and out as my interest waxes and wanes.

What I’m trying to say here is that the above is MY learning style. It changes. Frequently! I don’t fit into a defined learning style, nor do I want to, and how I learn changes with my mood, the availability of time, the level of interest in the subject, etc. I’m not interested in the theories, at least when it comes to MY learning, I’m interested in finding a course and delivery method that I can relate to and invest time and effort in. This is difficult as it’s not usually until you get in to a course that you find out what this is.

How about you? Do you fit any defined earning style or, like me, it changes based upon many different inputs.

Image source: Alan Levine (CCO 1.0)

Making the most of Lynda.com

I’ve been using the institutional partnership Coventry University has with Linkedin/Lynda.com and have been taking a few short, video-heavy courses to further my understanding in a few area. In light of this I took the opportunity to attend a ‘making the most of Lynda.com‘ course too, presided over by a LinkedIn representative and someone from the DMLL (Disruptive Media Learning Lab) here at Coventry.

I had three goals I wanted for this one hour session: firstly to see if I ‘understood’ of Lynda.com or could get better at using it, for my own personal learning. Secondly I wanted to see what I could do with it in relation to my management responsibilities, and lastly I wanted to explore what LinkedIn (and Microsoft by relationship to company/organisational ownership).

Notes from the 1-hour course:

  • Access Lynda.com for free using your Coventry [institutional] access (select ‘use organisational sign in’ on the login page and enter username/password. This will be remembered the next time you visit.
  • Lynda.com will be rebranded as LinkedIn Learning (already accessible, but content behind a paywall on LinkedIn Learning) within 12 months. All data (login, courses, playlists, etc.) will move across.
  • Access to Lynda.com (and subsequent to LinkedIn Learning) is free when a staff or student of Coventry university.
  • Very keen to highlight benefits of using Lynda.com with students (and staff) as flexible learning, just-in-time learning, micro/macro learning, self-directed and mobile learning.
  • Develop new skills within the workplace according to immediate or anticipated skills, use courses or individual videos accordingly.
  • Certificates available on course completion, not credit or qualification bearing.
  • Courses categorised into
    • Education
    • Technology
    • Business, and
    • Creative
  • Currently staff use outweighs student use.
  • “What’s in it for me?”
    • CPD
    • Blended learning or supplementing existing learning opportunities
    • Tutorials
    • Best practice (depending on the course creator/SME)
  • ‘What’s in it for the student?’
    • Supporting campus-based CU learning
    • Study skills / professional skills
    • Time- and self-management
    • Career management
    • Interview skills
  • ‘What’s in it for managers?’
    • Recommended course based on algorithms and other institutional users
    • Watch & reflect
    • Engage & retain
    • (Productivity related CPD?)
    • Skills and competencies learning (measurable?)

Reflection:

The purpose of the course was mainly to highlight the possibility of using Lynda.com materials as part of an academic’s teaching and learning strategy. Each academic would need to evaluate each video and/or course before being certain it is of the right ‘message’ and tone to fit into their learning, but the presentation quality is extremely high. Individual course authors and presenters are invited to write and deliver the course, these are the ‘leaders’ in their field, but anyone can can apply and suggest course idea for LinkedIn consideration. Videos are created at one of two LinkedIn studios.

The LinkedIn representative was keen to try and get Lynda.com used as part of the student learning, but I think this has more potential as an on-going and informal opportunity to team members to keep skills up to date and learn new skills, just by nature of offering a free course (Lynda.com) as part of a purchased course. By installing an on-going objective in ClearReview (Coventry appraisal system) each team member could keep track of their own personal development, and act as a reflection on their own development. This can be shared, should the individual want to, with other team members who are doing the same or similar courses, the opportunity for team collaboration is here should individuals want it.

The search function on the website is extremely good, with the platform ‘learning’ about your preferences based on activity in courses and matching new courses with your history, and that of the wider Coventry University audience. Courses are split into functional areas of ‘speciality’ (as above), you can ‘save’ courses to playlists and share certificates on your LinkedIn account (or download as PDF).

Lynda.com courses are typically 50-70 minutes in length, 100% video based, and may have a pre- and post-quiz. I don’t know what happens if you fail either one, but the courses I’ve done you get a certificate for your effort. The quizzes are not typically very difficult or time consuming.

Demonstration courses that may be of use:

Image source: Zeev Barkan (CC BY-2.0)

Free Webinar: Successfully Implement Your Learning Management System (LMS)

I’m doing a free virtual session on November 29 for anyone implementing a new learning management system! Content is based on my book LMS Success. Come join our awesome, always energetic audience.

Register here: https://elearningindustry.com/webinars/successfully-implement-your-learning-management-system-lms

Here is the session description:

Congratulations! You’ve selected the perfect Learning Management System. Now what? Join Katrina Marie Baker in this 60-minute webinar for a lively discussion and some amusing war stories from past implementations.

Our agenda will cover how to:

  • Complete your implementation so smoothly that executive leadership is in awe of your project management skills.
  • Avoid common pitfalls that cause your implementation to stretch out longer than originally expected.
  • Work effectively with your LMS vendor to determine a timeline, set expectations, and get everything done on time.
  • Assemble an administrator team that is excited, knowledgeable, and well organized.

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Free Webinar: Trends In Training And Learning Management

On November 21, I’m doing a virtual session covering the biggest trends in training and learning management! Just in time for the new year. The audience is always super involved, which keeps things entertaining.

Register here: https://elearningindustry.com/webinars/training-trends-and-learning-management?utm_source=presenter&utm_campaign=adobe_webinar_nov21

Here is the session description:

Join Adobe’s Senior Learning Evangelist Katrina Marie Baker for this lively conversation about the latest trends in training & development. Based on recent studies and research, the session will explore what people are doing in organizations around the world, and how organizations can achieve great results with modern learning programs.

Katrina Marie Baker will discuss the:

  • Impetus behind creating and developing virtual universities
  • Growing demand to encourage learner immersion and ongoing engagement
  • Rise of mobile learning
  • Role of skill-based learning in business training
  • Use of gamification for learner engagement and motivation
  • Ongoing expectations of learners for video
  • Proving the value of your learning program through more relevant reporting

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Recommended Reading Summary: A Chapter from “How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School”

I recently posted some recommended reading that relates to a virtual class I recently taught on gamification.  (Here is the recording.)

This is my own summary of the first chapter on the list.  I highly recommend the entire book, which is available for free from the National Academies Press.  It was written in 2000 but it contains some great foundational information.

Chapter 1: “Learning: From Speculation to Science,” from How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School, by Bransford, Brown, and Cocking.

The current methods we use to deliver learning have been shaped by research within the field of education, as well as related fields.  In recent decades, teachers and researchers have discovered approaches that assist the learner in understanding and retaining new information.  Learning professionals now design curricula from a perspective that is more focused on the learner’s needs.  Research related to child development, cognitive psychology, and neuroscience has molded the current approach to early education, and has influenced how emerging technology is incorporated into the learning experience.

In the past, there was less focus on the teaching of critical thinking skills, as well as the abilities to express concepts persuasively, and solve problems requiring complex thought.  Learning experiences were focused on developing basic literacy in fields such as reading and mathematics.  Today, humanity’s knowledge is increasing at a faster rate due to globalization and rapid development of technology.  It is still important that learners develop fundamental understanding of certain subjects, but that is not enough.  Learners must be taught to self-sustain, meaning they must learn on their own by asking meaningful questions.  Using new teaching methods will help instructors connect with those who were once considered “difficult” students.  New teaching methods will also provide a deeper knowledge of complex subjects to the majority of learners.

There has been extensive research regarding how to teach traditional subjects, such as writing skills, with a non-traditional approach.  These research efforts date back to the nineteenth century and have influenced a new school of behaviorism, which in turn led to changes in how psychological research is performed.

Learning is now thought of as a process to form connections between stimuli and responses.  For instance, hunger may drive an animal or person to learn the tasks or skills necessary to relieve hunger.  Even if complex trial and error is required to learn a skill, we will perform whatever process is necessary, as long as the reward we seek is desirable enough to warrant the effort.

Cognitive science approaches the study of learning in a multi-disciplinary fashion, incorporating research from many fields and using many tools and methodologies to further research.  Qualitative research methods complement and expand earlier experimental research efforts.  An important objective within this research is to better understand what it means to understand a topic.  Traditionally, the learner’s ability to memorize is assessed in order to determine competency.  While knowledge is necessary in order to solve problems, facts must be connected to each other in order for the learner to draw conclusions.  An organized framework of concepts and ideas will give the learner the context necessary to solve problems and establish long-term retention.

Our prior knowledge, skills, beliefs, and concepts influence how we organize and interpret new information.  We exist in an environment that consists of competing stimuli, and we must choose which stimuli to focus on based on what has been important or meaningful to us in the past.  Therefore, it’s important that our foundational knowledge be accurate.  Incomplete and inaccurate thinking needs to be challenged and corrected early so that the learner doesn’t build upon which is essentially a weak foundation of knowledge.  For example, it’s common to believe our personal experience of physical or biological phenomena represents a complete and correct knowledge of that phenomena, when in fact we need more information in order to understand what we’ve experienced.

It’s important that learners have some control over their learning process so they have the opportunity to gauge their own understanding of the topics being taught.  The ability to self-assess and reflect on areas of improvement leads to metacognition, which is the ability of a person to predict their own performance on various tasks and monitor current levels of mastery and understanding.  Learning can be reinforced through internal dialog, meaning a learner may choose to compare new information with old information, explain information to themselves, and look for areas where they fail to comprehend what has been taught.  Teaching a learner how to monitor their own learning is therefore a worthwhile investment in the building of deep knowledge.  An active learner is more able to transfer skills to new problems and challenges.

The difference between a novice and an expert within a subject matter is the depth of knowledge commanded by the expert.  Depth of knowledge allows a person to recognize patterns, relationships, and discrepancies that a less experienced or knowledgeable person might miss.  An expert has a better conceptual framework, and is able to better analyze what information they need to draw forward in their memory to solve a problem.  Understanding what information is relevant to a problem is key, because it allows a person to focus only on the information they need at that moment.  This makes the problem less complex.

In order to build understanding within a subject, a teacher may provide in-depth understanding of a few specific topics, rather than giving a superficial overview of many topics.  This allows learners to better digest defining concepts.  Assessments must reinforce this model by providing instructors with an understanding of the learner’s thought processes and testing in-depth, rather than superficial, knowledge.

Learners should be encouraged to reflect on what has been learned before going on to additional topics in order to support metacognition.  Teachers should be encouraged to consider the many tools and methodologies available to present new information, and select what is best for the learner and topic.  Building a community of learners who work together and accept failure will allow individuals to take risks and challenge themselves in the classroom.  There is no one “right” way to design a classroom environment – but there are ways that are more effective than others depending on the learner’s culture and expectations, and how competence is defined.

 

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Free Webinar: Implementing a Gamification Strategy for Your Organization with Adobe Captivate Prime

Last week, I had an awesome time discussing how to implement a gamification strategy. If you missed that virtual class, I’m offering one more on November 15. You can check out the presentation or read the session description below.

Register here: https://www.trainingmagnetwork.com/events/1545?gref=calendar

One of the biggest challenges faced by organizations is generating consistent buy-in from trainees in the face of constant distractions and competing priorities. There are a variety of methods that can be used both to communicate the importance of training materials to the team, and to increase their likelihood to complete and retain the ideas and information from the training.

Join Katrina Marie Baker, Senior Learning Evangelist of Adobe Inc., for this one-hour demonstration focused on how to implement gamification within Adobe Captivate Prime.

You will learn:

  • How and why gamification can enhance completion rates for standard and compliance training
  • The fundamental principles of gamification for learning programs
  • How learning cohorts play a role in deployment of gamification
  • How to create and implement badges
  • How to establish points and parameters for achievements
  • How to add time-based motivation points to excite your audience
  • How to implement the new learning program aligned leaderboards

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Rerun of a Popular Virtual Session: 15 Ways to Market Your Training Program & Learning Tech

On November 6, I’m teaching one more virtual session of the popular class, “15 Ways to Market Your Training Program & Learning Technology.” It’s free! Come join our sassy audience, hear new ideas, and share your own.

Register here: https://elearningindustry.com/webinars/market-your-training-program-and-learning-tech-15-ways

Here is the session description:

Trying to get your learners’ attention? You may have the world’s best training program, but that doesn’t mean much if your learners don’t show up for class! Join Katrina Marie Baker for fun, simple ideas that ensure learners are as excited as we are about learning and development.

This 60 minute webinar provides fifteen tips that will help you:

• Reach learners who are geographically dispersed, incredibly busy, or in need of individualized coaching

• Introduce new learning technology, such as a learning management system, in a way that is engaging and beneficial to your overall training program

• Creatively promote learning and development within your organization

• Use cases, best practices, and humor included free of charge.

We look forward to seeing you!

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Rerun of a Popular Webinar: Social Learning & LMS Gamification

In July, we offered a webinar called Beyond The Buzz Phrase: Social Learning & LMS Gamification In Real Life. The webinar was attended by over 170 people from all over the world who contributed a ton of great ideas. And the discussion continued on social media even after the session!

Given the interest in this topic, we are going to rerun the webinar. Training Magazine will host our session on August 23 at 9AM Pacific. You can register here. The description and slides are below. Hope to see you – a second time!

Katrina

They are the two of the most popular buzz phrases in the Learning and Development industry—social learning and gamification. You’ve likely heard about the benefits of both in terms of learner engagement and retention. This webinar goes beyond theory and focuses on what gamification and social learning LMS features can do for your training program.

Join Katrina Marie Baker and explore how to:

  • Effectively blend social learning into existing courses using an LMS
  • Align gamification initiatives with business objectives so they contribute to your organization’s goals
  • Use learning technology to drive engagement using badges, leaderboards, and rewards

This webinar includes examples of gamification and social learning features found within Adobe Captivate Prime.

Look forward to seeing you!

The post Rerun of a Popular Webinar: Social Learning & LMS Gamification appeared first on eLearning.

It’s not a race

Two tweets have stood out for me this week that I want to connect. One from Seth Godin (my tweet, his blog post – please read it). Seth is “a teacher, and I do projects”. The other tweets was from Alejandro Armellini, Dean of Learning & Teaching at the University of Northampton.

Here are the tweets. 

Why, I hear you ask, these two? Well, for me, they both link back to the same thing … the appropriate and considered approach to using and implementing new technologies or new systems for learning. That learning can be a classroom, a library, online, coffee shop, etc. It doesn’t matter.

Seth wrote about giving up when you get behind, about never reading as many books as someone else, about website traffic so just give up:

“Should you give up?
There are people who have read far more books than you have, and you will certainly never catch up.
Your website began with lousy traffic stats, in fact, they all do. Should you even bother?
The course you’re in–you’re a few lessons behind the leaders. Time to call it quits?”

Linking this to Ale’s tweet, about technology enhancing learning. About the default setting of always looking to the new, the shiny, the different, the ‘cutting-edge’ or ‘leading research’ in designing and delivering meaningful or quality learning. For me these two are linked … we should not always look ahead at new ideas, ideals, or technologies, just as we should not always look back at try and stay 2-steps behind everyone else. We, the learning technologists, the instructional designers, the learning and development managers, the content delivery teams, should look both forward and back – learn from our journey to date (successes and failures), learn about where we are, learn about where we could be going.

More importantly, we should also be learning about how to get there. How do we take an existing course, module or unit and make it better. Who defines what ‘better’ is? Who decides whether it’s to strip out an activity because it didn’t’ work (was it the activity or the students? Let it run again and see if a different cohort has a different experience) or to update an activity because it relies on ‘old(er)’ technology. How do we decide what to take out or leave in? Do we rely on our knowledge of what is pedagogically ‘sound’ and ignore what the students didn’t ‘like’? Is liking an activity or it being popular enough of a motive to keep it in the course if it’s not getting the results? 

Ultimately, we (faculty, learning technologists, instructional designers, etc.) have to make many of these decisions based on our experience of what works (or not), and of what is good pedagogical practice (or not). New technology solutions, be they hardware or software, should still be rigorously tested and trailed to make sure it fits the learning, the policies for 3rd party tools, data compliance (who mentioned GDPR?), etc. 

It’s not a race. We’re not trying to do something before someone else does, or we shouldn’t be, and we’re not trying to beat someone to the finish line … in fact we’e all got different ideas of what the finish line is anyway. The key is and always has been to find a good use of technology that fits the intended purpose or intended learning, that is appropriate for the audience and their technical competence, that is appropriate for the time for study and subject to be studied. 

Let’s not rush to force technology, of any strand, into the learning. It’s better to understand both purpose and implementation, work on the foundation to build a solid stable solution upon, get them both right and the technology will take a backseat for the actual learning.

Image source: Chrissy Hunt (CC BY-NC-ND-2.0)