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)

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: 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

The post Free Webinar: Implementing a Gamification Strategy for Your Organization with Adobe Captivate Prime appeared first on eLearning.

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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The Complete Learning Technologist Certificate Program – Coming February 2019

I’ve wanted to put together a learning technologist certification for a long, long time. Well, guess who had the same idea – Training Magazine! And they’re making it happen at Training 2019! Learning geeks will unite in Orlando for our three-day learning technology program February 22-24, 2019. You can register here.

  • Day 1: Creation and Authoring Learning Tools, presented by Jeff Batt
  • Day 2: Multimedia Planning, Tools and Gadgets, presented by Nick Floro
  • Day 3: Delivery and Emerging Technologies, presented by yours truly

I’m going to cover a variety of technologies on day three, in addition to discussing how to select and implement educational technology. And I’ll give you some free goodies to take home with you. Take a look at the program descriptions below and consider joining us at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort!

The Complete Learning Technologist Certificate Program

Whether you are a designer, developer, manager, facilitator, administrator, or executive, you need to understand what learning technologies are capable of today—and what their promise is for tomorrow. Through demos, hands-on experience, checklists, and rubrics, this program goes beyond identifying the latest shiny training tech objects — and helps you become a well-rounded learning technologist who makes the optimal selection, design, and implementation decisions for your organization.

Day 1 Creation and Authoring Learning Tools; Jeff Batt, Head Trainer, Learning Dojo

Authoring tools change quickly and often, so how do you keep up? We’ll begin by examining the overall principles of development (i.e., elements, properties, behavior). Then, using those principles, we’ll begin our exploration of specific authoring tools. You’ll learn:

  • About the basics of course authoring, regardless of what authoring tool you may be using.
  • How development principles apply to current off-the-shelf tools like Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate and more.
  • How to make the appropriate selection for authoring tools.
  • How to learn any new authoring tool.

Day 2: Multimedia Planning, Tools and Gadgets; Nick Floro, Learning Architect, Sealworks Interactive Studios

Looking to bring your skills to the next level? On day two, you will learn how to get started building and designing interactive learning. Learn the finer points, practical skills that you can apply, and best practices for delivering engaging learning. You’ll learn about:

  • Architecting your next project with collaborative tools.
  • Sketching a storyboard from paper to PowerPoint.
  • Improving brainstorming and feedback loops.
  • Creating a prototype with Marvel app.
  • Using Explain Everything App to create animated explainers and promos and to provide feedback.
  • Thinking Outside the Box: 5 activities and concepts to add to your next project.
  • Building an interactive chatbot for learning.
  • Strategies for designing for learning and your audience.

Day 3: Delivery and Emerging Technologies; Katrina Marie Baker, Senior Learning Evangelist, Adobe

You’ve spent two days learning how to create engaging training resources. Day three focuses on how to deliver your content using the latest in learning technology and features content from Katrina’s books LMS Success and The LMS Selection Checklist. You will:

  • Define common types of learning technology platforms.
  • Demonstrate how technology can help you engage learners through the use of gamification, mobile learning, social learning, and blended learning elements.
  • Explain how to use reporting and analytics to understand the learner experience.
  • Describe the process to select a new technology platform, including the features and factors you should review with potential vendors.
  • Discuss the process of successfully implementing and maintaining a learning technology platform.
  • Cover best practices that include how to internally market your platform, curate your course catalog and content, and build an effective administrator team.

BONUS! You will walk away with supplemental materials and a free trial of Adobe Captivate Prime.

BYOD:  Please bring a WiFi-enabled laptop with Storyline and Captivate installed (trial versions okay).

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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)

Reading: TEL strategies from the perspective of disruptive innovation

This, from ALT Research in Learning Technology:

The publication of institutional strategies for learning, teaching and assessment in UK higher education is practically ubiquitous. Strategies for technology-enhanced learning are also widespread. This article examines 44 publically [sic] available UK university strategies for technology-enhanced learning, aiming to assess the extent to which institutional strategies engage with and accommodate innovation in technology-enhanced learning. … The article argues that sustaining innovation and efficiency innovation are more commonplace in the strategies than disruptive innovation, a position which is misaligned with the technology practices of students and lecturers.

After being called ‘disruptive’ before I was drawn to this paper as I don’t believe the disruption is in the traditional sense of someone sitting at the back of a classroom being a distraction or taking up too much time of others. No, this ‘disruption’ is more about the desire to think about the work, the technology, the learning, the students, etc. in a different way or from a different perspective. Once something is written in a policy or set of guidelines, it becomes the providence that is recommended and thus ‘normal’.

Being disruptive is, for me, just about understanding the policy or guidelines and thinking “Hmm, is this in our best interest? Is this still valid? Can we still innovate and improve our teaching, our students, our work?” This, from Flavin and Quintero‘s conclusion sums it up (emphasis my own) …

The examination of UK HEIs’ technology-enhanced learning strategies indicates a willingness to adapt on the part of universities but a disinclination to disrupt. Universities can describe themselves in their strategies as innovative yet, in practice, they are often ameliorative, more likely to pursue sustaining or efficiency than disruptive innovation.

Flavin, M. and Quintero, V. (2018). UK higher education institutions’ technology-enhanced learning strategies from the perspective of disruptive innovation. Research in Learning Technology, [online] 26(0). Available at: https://journal.alt.ac.uk/index.php/rlt/article/view/1987 [Accessed 2 May 2018].

Image source: Fio (CC BY NC-2.0)

Get to know a ‘digital champion’

Earlier this week I read and shared a post on the Inside Higher Ed website: Online Learning Shouldn’t Be ‘Less Than’ and tweeted this:

The post was about the perception, for some, that online teaching was easier and somehow lesser, therefore easier, option than classroom-based teaching. Online is different, yes. Online requires a different set of skills to make it as engaging for the students, yes. Online can be more rewarding for both teacher and student, yes, for some. Online should replace classroom teaching, no.

Later I saw the same post was also shared by someone in my LinkedIn network with the associated text:

Teachers – buy your digital champions a coffee and see how they can help you with online/blended delivery. I bet their eyes will widen with excitement! (I know mine would)

This isn’t wrong, so I’m not criticising anyone here, but I disagree in that we should not limit ourselves to those already known to us as ‘digital champions’. The sentiment is spot on, I would rather have a far wider reaching approach, taking all contacts in to account, especially looking beyond My reply was:

Better still, take some time and talk to someone you don’t know very well and find out something new about them. You may just find that they are also a ‘digital champion’ in an area you didn’t even know about. Your network will surprise you, in a good way!

Let’s face it, everyone is unknown until we find out about them. Think back to all those who are currently in your network, either in your office, department, institution, Twitter, etc. I bet you didn’t know anything about them or how important they would be to your own development until you talked to them? Yes, we have to remember to keep our networks carefully maintained and continue to grow them, you never know when you find your next EdTech leader to follow and work with! You never know when they will find you and think the same about you!

PS. I prefer tea, don’t drink coffee, and a cake is a deal-breaker for me. You know, just in case we meet and you want a chat! [smile]

Image source: Danielle Chang (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Importance of e-governance and leveraging technology

It is quite important that the administration leverages technology to increase citizen participation in order to spread their programs among masses. And this is not just the government authorities to take up the entire responsibility. It is the duty of the corporate organizations to lend their helping hand in whatever means they can to increase…

What I’ve learned from my kids: Motivation

A while ago I started writing about things I’ve started to learn from watching my kids grow and how they see things. I’ve started to realise how much I take for granted. Or rather I’ve started seeing things through their eyes and realised that, for them, the world can be simpler, yet harder, than I thought.

Gamification is something I’ve used in my work (badges, progress indicators, social interactions, etc.) and i’ve used as part of my (old) social media activities. Remember FourSquare? However, the best way I’ve used it myself is at home, with my two boys aged 7 and 8. Whilst I’m sure there are some excellent ways to gamify the home for rewards for tidying up, being kind and compassionate, coming off screen-time quietly, etc. this one way I’m going to describe here has worked wonders … exercise. And by exercise I mean walking.

We’re not exactly an active family, in that we don’t play sport, but we are active in that we walk rather than drive if we can, we get the bikes out and go for cycle around our village, and we go for (longish) walks. While the ‘let’s get the bikes out’ is normally a good thing, in their eyes, we nearly always get a grumpy retort when we say something like ‘let’s go for a walk’. Even if we promise to stop off and get a snack on the way back, it’s not a very popular event.

Then we tried geocaching. Everything changed. In a nutshell, for us, geocaching is a means to make a country walk interesting, give the boys something to aim for and a small amount of competition between them on who finds the cache first.

“Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a GPS receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world.” Wikipedia

We look for caches that are part of a series and follow the cache around using my phone and Geocache app. Each cache site can be used using the GPS and map within the app, and each cache has a clue to help identify exactly where it is when you reach the GZ (ground zero). Sometimes the cache is magnetic and small (I mean really small, so it can take a while to find) and sometimes it’s a box or container where you can leave ‘swaps’ for others to take. All caches are well hidden so they’re not interfered with or removed, and some are hidden so well we end up flagging them as DNF / ‘did not find’.

What has changed is that the kids don’t complain when we say we’re going out. Whereas a short walk of a mile or so would’ve been met with complaints and grumpy shoe-shuffling a few months ago, now we’re doing 4 and 5 mile walks and going from cache to cache, finding the GZ and then seeing which of us finds the cache first. Some are easier than others, some are a nightmare to find, especially if they’re hidden in the undergrowth and it’s the sort that stings.

Link this to another app I use called Map My Walk we can see how far we’ve walked … very important as these walks are also being used for the boys and their Beavers/Cubs hike badge! See, it’s all part of the larger plan. 

Gamifying our walks has worked, and the kids don’t even realise we’ve done it. We’re slowly covering the areas immediately around where we live, but we’ve also met family members further afield and done some cache’s with them. We also found a few when in Austria a couple of weeks back, and it was the kids who wanted to try. The motivation is now there, they love what we do as they want to beat their friends, who are also geocachers, or compete with family members on who can reach the next milestone number of cache’s found. 

Geocaching Map My walk

Image source: Trevor Manternach (CC BY-SA 2.0)