Can Khan Academy Scale to Educate Anyone, Anywhere?

Die Case Study-Methode ist ja das Herzstück von Harvard. Bill Sahlman hat jetzt eine Case Study über die Khan Academy geschrieben, gegründet 2007 von Salman Khan und eine der erfolgreichsten Lernplattformen weltweit. Ihre Mission: „… to provide a free world-class education for anyone, anywhere.“ Es ist die zweite Case Study über die Khan Academy. Die erste wurde 2012 veröffentlicht, und die zweite beschäftigt sich mit der Entwicklung eines kleinen Teams von enthusiastischen Pionieren, allen voran Salman Khan, zu einer Company mit 180 Mitarbeitern. Kurz: Es geht um „Scaling“, um strategisches Handeln und die Einführung von Strukturen und Prozessen. Dafür kam Ginny Lee an Bord, erfolgreiche Managerin in einem Software-Unternehmen.

Die Case Study kostet 8,95 Dollar, aber das ausführliche Interview mit Bill Sahlman steht als Text und Podcast offen im Netz.
Brian Kenny, Interview mit Bill Sahlman, Harvard Business School Working Knowledge, 18. Juni 2019

Four Things to Consider Before You Build That E-Learning Course

4 things to think about before building e-learning courses

It costs money to build e-learning courses and it costs money to take e-learning courses. Considering the cost, it’s important to ensure that you get the most value out of the courses you create.

One way to get value is to not create a course. Seriously. We don’t want to admit it, but many courses are pointless and a waste of time.

However, if you do need to create e-learning courses, then consider the following points below:

Create a Resource Hierarchy

You have limited resources and you want to make sure you use them wisely. In a recent post, I shared how I’d determine which e-learning application to use and when. This type of approach will save resources and help you get the most out of the e-learning software you use.

Move Content Offline

A lot of e-learning content is content that already exists in other formats. And most of that content is text-based. If the course is mostly reading and lots of text, why not take it offline and create PDFs or some other medium that’s easier to read? If you need a course, make it an abstract of the resource content with some activities to demonstrate understanding.

Teach How to Find & Use Resources

Since a lot of content already exists in other places, perhaps it’s better to teach them how to find and use those resources than it is to copy and paste that content into e-learning screens. Create real-world activities and then design the courses so that the learner is accessing resources and using that content to solve the activity.

Make the Courses Smaller

Do you need big courses? That seems like something from the 1990s and not the YoutTube generation. Instead of one big course, perhaps it makes sense to create a series of mini courses. They can always be bundled to create a cohesive learning path.


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4 Ways to Move Past Click and Read E-Learning

move past click and read e-learning

It’s easy to make a list of things one needs to know and create courses focused on that information. That’s why we have a lot of click and read content.

However, knowing information and understanding the information are two different things.

Most e-learning is designed to present information through a series of screens. Then the course ends with a simple quiz to confirm a rote understanding of the content. However, a good course develops understanding rather than merely present information.

Here are 4 ways to move past information sharing and create courses that present a deeper level of learning and understanding.

Present Clear Learning Objectives

What is the expected outcome of the learning? This seems so obvious; but most courses I see are a little weak on clear objectives. And with fuzzy objectives there’s path to learning and then no way to measure success or prove understanding.

Learn to build meaningful objectives.

Prove Understanding

With clear objectives, the course can establish how to know they’ve been met. What evidence can the learner present that demonstrates how well they understand the content?

Create objectives that are measurable and prove understanding.

Provide Information within a Learning Experience

Build the course to provide content AND create a learning experience. Courses start with content. But learning and understanding is demonstrated not by consuming but by using the content. I like to craft the course around real-life activities. This allows the person to see the content in a real-world context. And then demonstrate their understanding by using the content in that context.

How to build real-world interactions.

It’s All About E-Learning Emancipation

Every day I get questions on how to lock course navigation. I get why it’s a question. That’s what the client wants. But it still makes me cringe because it has little to do with learning and more about controlling the experience.

Free up the course design and let the person navigate the content the way they choose. If you need to lock it, lock it at a point of decision where they need to demonstrate understanding before they advance. Don’t lock it thinking that’s how they’ll learn.

Find ways to move past the locked navigation.

Click and read content exists because we tend to focus on pushing information out. A good learning experience focuses on using the information to craft a desired level of understanding.


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How to Build Meaningful E-Learning Courses

meaningful e-learning courses

We spend hours building courses that look great and have rich interactive elements, but often we’re missing the key component to an effective course: tapping into the learner’s motivation.

When you frame the e-learning content into a meaningful context, you’ll not only tap into the motivation of the learner, but there’s also a good chance you won’t be tempted to stuff the course with meaningless interactivity (that has the appearance of value).

When building courses, can you answer the following three learner questions?

Meaningful E-Learning: Why Am I Taking This Course?

Good e-learning courses start with solid, actionable learning objectives. The goal is to help the learner to see the value of the objectives. Sure you can start with a bullet point list of objectives and what they’ll learn.

But you really want to convince them that this course has value. And once they understand the value, their more motivated to succeed. And learner motivation is the foundation of a great learning experience.

Meaningful E-Learning: What Am I Supposed to Do with All of This Content?

There are three main parts of e-learning course construction:

  • What content needs to be in the course?
  • What does the course look like?
  • What does the learner do?

Not only does the course need clear objectives that convince the person of it’s value, it also needs clarity around the action required to use the content. What is the person to do with all of this new information?

A real challenge with e-learning is that we’re good at pushing content out. And the reality is most e-learning is rooted in some sort of compliance or regulatory training with little focus on more than a final quiz to certify course completion. But even those courses are rooted in performance expectations.

Help the learner to see the value in the course and then create a means for them to use the new information to improve or enhance their performance.

Meaningful E-Learning: How Can I Prove I Know it?

If you don’t answer the two questions above, the incentive is to click through the course to get to the final quiz and get back to work.

Quiz questions are fine for simple assessments, but do they really measure true understanding of the content and the ability to use it in real life?

Ultimately, the course mimics real world experiences and expectations. In that environment, the learner gets to learn meaningful content and practice using it in a way that demonstrates their understanding. That’s how they prove they learned the information.

It’s easy to build content heavy courses with simple quizzes at the end. That’s why there are so many. And maybe it’s not always wrong. Let people take a course, quick quiz, and get back to work. However, if we want course to be effective we need to engage the learner and create meaningful learning experiences. And that starts by answering the three questions above.


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E-Learning Example: Leadership Training Template

We all like to see good e-learning examples. That’s one reason I really enjoy the e-learning challenges. They’re little nuggets of creativity. They’re usually not full-fledged courses, but they often have some interesting elements.

In a recent challenge on course starter templates for leadership training, community member, Andrzej Jabłoński, shared a really nice example. Check it out below.

e-learning example leadership template

Click here to view the demo.

Here’s what stood out:

  • The visual design is fun and clean. I think often our e-learning courses look too formal or corporatey (if that’s a word). We think because it’s a serious topic that the visuals need to look serious. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. I like this design because it doesn’t look like a typical corporate course. Yet it’s professional and engaging.

e-learning example

  • The subtle animations work well. They get your attention, but they’re not gratuitous. Break down the course and look at how he used the animations.
  • Leverages existing illustrations. He used an image from freepik to create the visual elements for his demo. As he says, “I mainly work on redesigning and adjusting images for my projects. It’s also a good way to learn how to design when you have to work on ready-made elements. I often try to add something more from myself to develop graphic skills.”
  • Andrzej also shared the source file so you can open it up to see how he created the animated effects and other slides. You can find it in the recap post.

Look at what he did, find an image, and see what you can do to apply similar effects for your own template design.


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The Evolution of an Interactive Scenario

interactive scenarios for e-learning

Here’s some content that spans the past decade or so of rapid e-learning. Originally, the interactive scenario started as a PowerPoint file that was published with Articulate Studio to demonstrate how to create simple branched scenarios in PowerPoint.

Interactive Scenario: PowerPoint

interactive scenario in PowerPoint

Click to view the interactive scenario create with PowerPoint

Since PowerPoint is linear and doesn’t offer tracking logic, it requires a lot of slides to create the illusion of movement and branching complexity. The slide number increases exponentially with each additional choice and gets to a point where it’s not manageable.

In those cases, PowerPoint isn’t the best solution for interactive courses.

Interactive Scenario: Storyline

The same content goes from 154 slides in PowerPoint to just 18 slides in Storyline. That’s a dramatic decrease in slides and the production time required to create an interactive scenario. It really shows off the power of Storyline and why it’s so well received as a preferred authoring tool.

interactive scenario built in Storyline

Interactive Scenario: Rise 360 Content Blocks

When we launched the Rise 360, I wrote about the new approach to rapid e-learning. Rise 360 is form-based so the authoring process is different than PowerPoint or Storyline.

I played around with how to convert the PowerPoint scenario into Rise 360, a completely different type of tool. Here’s the first attempt using content blocks.

interactive scenario demo 2

Click here to view the interactive scenario using content blocks in Rise 360.

Interactive Scenario: Rise 360 Scenario Block

The content block scenario works, but with the scenario block in Rise, I am able to create something that is visually more in line with what I want and it’s a lot easier to build. Here’s an example of the same content in the Rise 360 scenario block.

interactive scenario Rise 360 scenario block

Click here to view the interactive scenario using the scenario block in Rise 360.

Interactive Scenario Resources

It really is interesting to see the evolution of rapid e-learning through this scenario content. It started with PowerPoint, passed through Storyline, and now it’s part of Rise 360.


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eLearning Journal: eLearning AWARD 2019

Bevor ich es vergesse: Mit dem eLearning AWARD zeichnet das eLearning Journal jährlich „innovative Projekte mit Vorzeigecharakter“ aus. In diesem Jahr wurden von einer Fachjury, über deren Zusammensetzung ich keine weiteren Informationen gefunden habe, Projekte in 57 Kategorien (!) prämiert. Man darf deshalb vermuten, dass zuerst der Preisträger da war und anschließend die Kategorie geschaffen wurde. Denn erst mit der Dokumentation der Gewinnerprojekte fallen für die Bewerber Kosten an.

Aber zur Sache: Die Kategorien reichen von „360°-Lernwelt“ bis „Workplace Learning“, die Projekte sind kurz und übersichtlich (Ausgangssituation, Projektziele, Projektergebnis) beschrieben. Die E-Learning-Beispiele stammen unter anderem von Rewe, BASF, TUI, ERGO, Bayer, Commerzbank, Miele und vielen anderen Unternehmen und Organisationen. Die Liste der aufgeführtem Anbieter bildet einen repräsentativen Querschnitt der deutschsprachigen E-Learning-Branche. Und die Lösungen? Vielleicht nicht immer die Innovativsten, aber für die beteiligten Unternehmen und ihre Zielgruppen sicher in jedem Fall eine neue Erfahrung.

Kurz: Wer wissen will, wie E-Learning jenseits der Trends und Buzzwords heute an vielen Orten gelebt wird, findet hier einen guten Überblick.
eLearning Journal, 2019

500 Days of Duolingo: What You Can (and Can’t) Learn From a Language App

Ein Artikel, den ich mit einem kleinen Augenzwinkern hier verlinke: Natürlich kann niemand ernsthaft glauben, (heute) nur mit Hilfe einer App eine Fremdsprache erlernen zu können. Aber der Autor wollte zumindest schauen, wie weit er kommt. Ein Selbstversuch also. Dafür hat er sich drei Apps – Duolingo, Memrise und Babbel – ausgesucht. Und er hat sich wirklich näher mit den Funktionen dieser Apps auseinandergesetzt und beschreibt sie im Artikel ausführlich. Das ist wirklich interessant. Die Erkenntnis, zu der ihn das Experiment geführt hat, ist wiederum wenig überraschend:

„The short answer is that you can definitely learn some things from an app, but if you want to become fluent in a language — or even conversational — they won’t be enough.“

Wobei er aus meiner Sicht, die Möglichkeiten von Apps (bzw. Online-Angeboten generell) unterschätzt, die Kommunikation und den Austausch mit anderen zu unterstützen.
Eric Ravenscraft, New York Times, 4. Mai 2019

Bildquelle: sgrunden (Pixabay)

 

How to Create Animated GIFs for a Process Interaction

create animated gif

Animated .gifs are great for e-learning. Often, I like to use them instead of videos for e-learning interactions, especially process interactions that go through a sequence of steps.

Today I’ll show a simple way to convert a video of a process into smaller animated .gifs that you can insert into a slide, article, or process interaction.

Demo of the Animated Gifs in a Process Interaction

Here’s a demo I created using Rise and the Process Interaction.

 

animated gif example

Click here to view the example.

Animated Gifs Tutorials

Below are a couple of tutorials that go into it in more detail:

Animated Gifs: Create a Procedural Video

Record a video of the process. Don’t worry about the audio as it will be removed. To keep the edits to a minimum, make sure to be clear on the steps and to not waste a lot of movement. Get to the point quickly.

At our workshop in Milan, David and I quickly recorded the process to make an espresso with the machine in the back of the room. While we pretended to be working, it was really a way for us to sneak in a few more shots of espresso.

Here’s the original video.

Click to play the video on YouTube.

Animated Gifs: Convert the Video to Gif

There are a number of ways to convert video to animated .gifs. I like to use Screen2Gif because it’s free (which is always good) and it is really easy to use.

The conversion process is simple: import the video and convert it. However, there are some key considerations.

The original .MP4 video is 159 MB at 1920 x 1080 resolution. Animated .gifs can be large, really large.  Without any significant edits, the 159 MB video becomes a 470 MB animated .gif. That’s just not manageable.

There are a few things you can do to decrease the file size of the animated .gifs:

  • Scale the video down from it’s original resolution. There’s no need for an HD quality .gif. In this case 1920 x 1080 will be sized down to 500 x 281.
  • Crop the video to just the critical pieces of info. The fewer frames the smaller the file size. You can always duplicate frames to keep something on screen longer with minimal impact to size.
  • The less difference there is with the pixels from one frame to the next, the smaller the file will be. Unfortunately, video isn’t static and those millions of pixels are changing from frame to frame. You could try to shoot against a solid background and with a tripod. That may help, depending on your subject.
  • Video runs at about 30 frames per second (FPS). When you convert the video to .gif, you can modify the frame rate to something like 10 to 15. It just depends on how much motion is in the video. The less motion, the more you can lower the frame rate.

Animated Gifs: Edit to Individual Steps

Unless the steps are very short and can be shown in one file, it makes sense to break the steps up to individual parts. That helps reduce the file size and keeps the focus on very specific parts of the process.

  • You can import the entire video and then cut it down. Or cut the video into smaller videos first and work with them individually. It’s probably easier to edit the videos first and then import the smaller videos. This is more manageable and less strain on your system.
  • Get rid of what you don’t need, cut out extra frames.
  • The animated .gifs loop, so it may make sense to add a little buffer at the front or back end to let the user orient to the start and end of the process.

The original video was 1 minute long. Converted to an animated .gif without edits, it was 470 MB. After cutting it into pieces and creating four smaller gifs, the total ended up being about 15 MB. That’s a pretty significant difference and the output works well for the demo.

That’s basically it, shoot a video and then convert it to animated gif.


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

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

 

Dem Anschein nach

Gabi Reinmann, Professorin für Lehren und Lernen an Hochschulen an der Universität Hamburg, fragt: „Wo bleiben Begriffsarbeit und Theorie in der Forschung zur Digitalisierung im Lehren und Lernen?“ Anlass zur Frage sind zwei aktuelle Artikel: im einen wird ein Theoriedefizit in empirischen Beiträgen konstatiert, im anderen die Unterscheidung von „learning“, „teaching“ und „education“ vorgeschlagen. Mehr bei Gabi Reinmann oder in den Artikeln selbst.

„Mir scheinen diese beiden kritischen Beiträge auch für die aktuelle deutschsprachige Auseinandersetzung mit der „Digitalisierung“ etwa in Studium und Lehre treffend. Mit der Verdrängung von Begriffen wie E-Learning oder Blended Learning (siehe dazu allerdings auch hier) und deren Ersatz durch „Digitalisierung“ ist zumindest für didaktische Fragen letztlich nichts gewonnen außer dem Anschein, dass man sich nun auf einen neuen bzw. innovativen Weg begeben habe.“
Gabi Reinmann, Hochschuldidaktik, 5. Mai 2019