Going to TechLearn in September?

I’m very excited to be going to TechLearn for the first time!  And it’s in New Orleans!!  The main conference runs from September 17 to 19.  More information here.  Will you be there?

I’m teaching two sessions on September 18.  Descriptions below.

Engaging Social and Blended Learning Experiences in Adobe Captivate Prime (10:30AM)

Want to know what’s new and unique in Adobe Captivate Prime?  This session will take you on a tour of Prime’s fluidic course player and new social learning features.  Join Katrina Marie Baker to learn how the new features can support your blended learning program.  We will cover:

  • How Adobe Captivate Prime allows learners to share web-based and user generated content on topic-specific discussion boards
  • Ways learners can create their own videos, audio, and screenshots directly in Captivate Prime
  • The new social learning browser add-in that allows learners to share web content easily
  • How the fluidic course player helps you deliver a variety of content on mobile devices and web pages outside of the learning management system

(If you’re interested in this topic but can’t join the conference, check out this recording of a similar virtual session.)

Successfully Implement Your Learning Technology Platform (2:15PM)

Congratulations! You’ve selected the perfect learning management system (LMS). Now what? Join Katrina Marie Baker in this 60-minute session for a lively discussion and some amusing war stories from past implementations.

This class 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.

(If you like this topic, you might also be interested in this recording of a similar virtual class, and this LMS implementation task list.)

Hope to see you at the conference!

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[Webinar] Introducing Hot New Social And UGC Features For Informal Learning From Adobe Captivate Prime

Creating a culture of learning is dependent upon engaging learners in all aspects of your learning and training programs. One powerful way to facilitate a culture of learning within your organization is to provide opportunities for learners to share informal learning materials, contribute their own content and to provide an architecture that can support ongoing discussion, evaluation and promotion of those learning materials.
Unfortunately, informal learning materials contributed without opportunities to review and curate those materials based on their potential credibility and value to the organization can create legal and ethical barriers to the adoption of such an open culture of knowledge sharing within an organization.
Join Katrina Marie Baker, Senior Learning Evangelist, Adobe to learn how these challenges can be easily addressed with Adobe Captivate Prime. You’ll discover how gamification, social learning, informal learning and user generated content may be implemented easily in your organization – while still maintaining ample opportunities to review, track and curate those contributions.
During this session, the attendees will learn how to:
  • How do informal learning and user generated content support an active culture of learning?
  • How can you provide an architecture for tracking and moderating user generated content?
  • How does social learning enhance ongoing informal learning in your organization?
  • How can an automated system help your non-specialists classify and align informal contributions to industry established skill / competency definitions?

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Demo of Adobe Captivate Prime’s New Social Learning & Compliance Features

Adobe Captivate Prime just released some great new social learning and compliance features!  You may have seen Dr. Allen Partridge’s recent post that breaks down some of the great new items you can explore.

Allen and I also presented a 60 minute demo today, hosted by Training Magazine Network.  (Click the link to watch the recording.)  We spent twenty minutes discussing how to deploy social learning and user generated content effectively.  And then Allen provided a step by step demonstration of the new features.

If you’d like some quick two minute videos on the new features, you can find them on the YouTube channel.

Check it out!  And please comment below if you have questions or suggestions.

Try Adobe’s learning management system, Captivate Prime, for free.  Connect with the author on Twitter or LinkedIn, and follow me on Adobe’s eLearning blog.

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Give Learners a Voice by Incorporating Social Learning

If you’re a fan of Adobe Captivate Prime, you may be aware of the new social learning features that were just released.  My favorite new feature has to be the discussion boards, which allow groups of learners to share web based and user generated content easily.  You can find out more in the below video.  (Videos on the other new features can be found here.)

Social learning is an important developing aspect of the learning technology industry.  So much of what we learn comes from informal interactions with the people we know, whether we’re interacting in person or through social media.

Sometimes we as learning professionals don’t need to have “the answer” for the learner.  Sometimes we instead help learners connect with people who can support their learning experience.  Here are some ways we can do that:

  • Create communities of practice that either meet in person or virtually
  • Create a mentorship program and provide a framework for mentors and mentees to collaborate effectively
  • Ensure self-paced and e-learning courses have at least one collaborative component where learners interact through a discussion board, virtual session, or classroom session.  See this article on blended learning.
  • Find ways to actively involve the learner.  Allow learners to share their knowledge and problem solve through project based learning.  Incorporate elements of constructivism into learning experiences.

Learning technology is making it easier to manage a global classroom and provide the social connection we all crave.  What are some ways you’ve used technology to connect learners?  Please share in the comments section.

Try Adobe’s learning management system, Captivate Prime, for free.  Connect with the author on Twitter or LinkedIn, and follow me on Adobe’s eLearning blog.

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Adobe’s LMS Amps up Engagement & Compliance in New Release

Adobe Captivate Prime, the learning management system from Adobe has been carving out new ground since its initial release in 2015. Today’s enhancements continue that trend and are marked by a clear milestone for the industry in Social Learning, User Generated Content & Gamification.

Social Learning

With a keen eye toward engagement, Adobe’s LMS has always demonstrated visionary leadership. Adobe began by delivering the universal HTML5 based content player that delivers courses, documents, videos & more all in any modern web browser. All of this is accomplished without the need for any plugins or proprietary players. By providing an immersive course viewer and removing all proprietary document formats, Adobe gave us a simple, hassle free learning experience.

Fluidic Player Image

This update goes well beyond the engagement level of the fluidic player. This version introduces common-sense social & user generated content tools that incentivize participation by adding integrated gamification features. Think of your learners – they are all over the Internet today. They identify articles, videos, blogs & more. They share these learning assets with one another using various social media apps, emails, IM’s and casual conversations. Unfortunately, there is virtually no way to track those asset shares, and no way to vet them to discover their value and veracity.

Check out the video overview of these new social learning features.

This release of Adobe Captivate Prime (LMS) provides solutions for learners to share materials that they discover online, to share their own, user generated content – via videos, audio recordings, postings, polls & more – and it provides the tools to create those user generated contributions. It provides an architecture to align those postings to skills / competencies within your organizational framework and it delivers a solution for the moderation problem – how do you ensure that posts are relevant, true and appropriate, that leverages the skill experts you already have in your organization. People who share content are incentivized to do so with gamification points, and people who review / approve posts are similarly incentivized.

  • Share the stuff you found online
  • Share your own tutorials, thoughts, and other creations
  • Use simple tools built right into the LMS
  • Easily align the posts to skills / competencies
  • Moderation is simple, fun, distributed by expertise & incentivized
  • Sharing is rewarded

The net result is an out of the box solution for social learning that is ready to go for virtually any organization.

Social posts are organized around conversational topics – or discussion boards in Adobe Captivate Prime. If, for example, I wanted to add some thoughts about ‘Diversity & Inclusion’ I could simply go to the Social Learning tab in Adobe Captivate Prime and select the option to ‘Post.’   If I didn’t find a board that seemed appropriate for my post, I can simply click the link to ‘Create a New Board.’

When you post, you will have an opportunity to post using a variety of media. You can simply type your message and add to the board in text, or you could mark that post a question – or even add a poll. You can also post via video recording, audio recording or screen capture. When you select one of these options the Adobe Captivate Prime app will open. (If you haven’t used it before, it will prompt you to download and install.) With this extension you can record web cam, microphone, and screen capture. This will allow you and your team to easily create quick tutorials, demonstrations and more to share ideas and information with one another.


Check out Katrina Baker’s post on Discussion boards

You can also upload files to share on the board or select files from the gallery of files you have created previously. Finally, you can leverage the browser plugin in Adobe Captivate Prime’s Social Learning tools to share a web page, article or other online asset with your internal team. Simply drag the icon into your browser’s bookmark bar, and then click the item in the bookmark bar when you are viewing the online resource that you want to share internally.  A small window / dialog will open and ask you some basic information about your post, like onto which discussion board you would like to share the content.


See Katrina’s post on the new Adobe Captivate Prime App

These expanded tools also add some cool potential uses to your LMS. I’m particularly excited about the private discussion boards. It is possible to use boards that are set to private to review submissions of skill demonstration video & audio recordings, either to monitor employee progress 1:1, for things like sales presentations, or to work with small groups – enabling teams to react and respond to one another’s work. This creates an opportunity to support mentoring and team collaboration within the social learning architecture.

In this new social learning architecture, each learner may be followed, creating a platform for social networking within your organization – and an opportunity to expand each employees connections to others within your team.  Posts may be up/down voted and subject matter experts actively evaluate the veracity and relevance of shared content to help minimize the workload for administrators, and maximize the value for your personnel.

Administrators have a dashboard to monitor the activity of boards, easily see who is actively curating content, and monitor the overall state of learning as well as the interest & activity aligned to organizational skills.  It provides an architecture for rapid response to changes in your industry granting quick information about trending topics of interest for the people in your organization.


Check out Katrina Baker’s overview of the Team Dashboard Feature

Another great enhancement in this update to Adobe Captivate Prime is the Team Dashboard for managers. Compliance training can be painful for everyone involved. Learners are often resistant to participate, and administrators generally abhor the chore of tracking down delinquency. Adobe has added a myriad of new tools to simplify compliance tracking and placed them where they add the most value.  Managers now have actionable dashboards with easy instant overviews of compliance completion rates whenever they log in.

The new skill tracker report in the Manager ‘Team View’ Dashboard.

This expands the role of managers to simplify compliance monitoring and improve overall awareness about skill gaps / progress toward skill achievement of every member of their direct and down line teams. Managers can easily identify teams and team members who are lagging, and even use the new predictive chart to identify skill / competency achievement – compared to their own expectations. This sweet new chart let’s you track skill accomplishment vs. your own timeline for skill achievement. If you planned to have 90% of your team up-skilled in machine learning by Fall, wouldn’t it be helpful to know if you were on target toward reaching that goal. Now you can monitor that progress at a glance and see both your expected target and the projected progress based on actual skill completion. It provides a simple mechanism to warn you if skill achievements are below your expectation, and simple tools to reach out to your team managers and prompt additional work if the progress is falling behind.

You can check out all of the new features in Adobe Captivate Prime today, just sign up here to try it out for yourself. There are quite a few additional features in there that I didn’t mention above. (New support for audio in the fluidic player, support for tracking outcomes of multiple quiz attempts, and awesome new QR code feature that adds the ability to instantly enroll and mark completion for a course – enabling some very cool use cases, like documenting informal huddles.)  As usual, we love to hear from you – so don’t be shy, share your thoughts and questions below.

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6 Unexpected Benefits Of Social Media Live eLearning Events

Which benefits can your organization draw from social media live eLearning events? Are they really a viable training tool, or should you focus your resources elsewhere? In this article, I’ll highlight 6 unexpected advantages of hosting live eLearning events on popular social media platforms. This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

How To Use Social Learning In Your Corporate eLearning Program

Social learning is quickly being assimilated into the corporate eLearning programs of various organizations. This is owing to the fact that employees learn better when they learn socially and collectively. This article investigates the use of social learning in corporate eLearning. This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Continuous Learning: Why Is It Essential For Future Survival In The Market?

Times are rapidly changing, and so are the technologies and skills required by employees. Many present jobs will cease to exist in the coming decade. Thus a culture of continuous learning is required in organizations in order to help employees adapt to this change. This article discusses its need. This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Top 5 Highly Discussed eLearning Trends So Far

As time goes, in the field of eLearning industry new trends will take place or any new updations take place in the existing technology. So, to catchup with the technology, eLearning vendors accustom these changes in the technology to provide the learners the best learning experience. Let’s have a look on such trends. xAPI :…

Recommended Reading Summary: A Chapter of “From Practice Fields to Communities of Practice”

Last October, I posted some recommended reading that complemented one of my classes on gamification.  I’ve since started writing chapter summaries (here is the first one) so people can “preview” some of the great books out there and hopefully end up reading them!

Here is this month’s chapter summary.  The full chapter is available for free on Sasha Barab’s web site and I highly recommend it.

Chapter 2: From Practice Fields to Communities of Practice by Sasha Barab and Thomas Duffy (2012).

There are a range of opinions and positions within the constructivist and situativity communities regarding even the basic concepts laid out in this text. The term situativity is now more commonly used than constructivism, and it alludes to the fact that knowledge is situated through experience. There have been radical shifts in thinking in recent years that have resulted in the study of social and cultural factors that influence learning.

Situative perspectives typically consider the practice of and learning of a subject to be closely related processes, rather than two independent focuses. The text explores how to create a more supportive learning environment for students and what it means to learn as a member of a social group or community. These concepts are considered within the school environment, and it is assumed that the learner’s perception of the school environment will influence their overall learning experience.

Past learning approaches were built with the assumption that learning allows the learner to acquire knowledge, which is essentially a series of symbols. Cognitive activity utilizes the symbols to perform computations, which we define as thinking. Current learning approaches consider the value of social participation and the influence of anthropology on the overall learning experience. The framework provided by social interaction creates valuable context for knowledge.

Without context, learning provides abstract knowledge that is not easily applied to problems outside of the classroom. Rather than teaching abstract concepts, it is more effective to engage a learner in authentic tasks that use the skills and concepts being taught. It can be helpful to group learners in terms of the practice fields that apply to them, and then engage them in working on real-world problems within that field.

Problem based learning (PBL) focuses on capturing a real world problem that can be analyzed and solved by the learner. Cognitive apprenticeship is an approach related to PBL that involves a learner working alongside and observing how an expert in their field approaches and solves problems.
For a problem solving exercise to be fully useful, the learner must be actively engaged, feel the problem is worth solving, and the associated thinking skills must be coached and modeled. The dilemma must be ill structured and not overly simplified. The setting must be social and collaborative. It’s important that the learning environment not over emphasize scoring and grades. If student success is purely measured on the individual’s ability to perform well on exams, learners may form communities of practice (“nerds,” “burnouts,” etc.) based on levels of performance rather than academic interests.

According to the text, communities of practice should focus on the development of self through engagement in the community. Communities should be comprised of individuals who share practices, beliefs, and understandings. They should work together over time in pursuit of common goals. Because the group stays together long term, incorporates new members, and solves many problems, shared experience is established and an ecology of learning comes into existence.

Senior members influence and pass along knowledge to junior members, who have the opportunity to absorb not just information but the processes used by senior members to solve problems. Once a group member becomes versed in a task, they are able to pass knowledge along to more junior members, and the junior members may pass their opinions or findings back to the person who taught them, creating a cycle of learning. It is healthy to bring in outside experts to enhance the group’s knowledge and provide outside views, so that the group doesn’t become overly invested in a specific set of opinions and skills. There is a distinct difference between a group of people who come together temporarily to solve a specific problem, and a community of practice, where individuals receive value from long term shared experience.

Community members should depend on each other, work together, and recruit new members so the community is able to continue over time. It is sometimes necessary to negotiate the meaning of the group. If community members disagree over the purpose of the community, evolution may occur. This is a constructive process that ensures the community of practice continues to be of value to its current members.

A member’s participation in the community will eventually influence and become intertwined with their sense of self. This means the community of practice may provide the learner with much more than knowledge – it may in fact provide the learner with self esteem, confidence, and a sense of belonging, which may positively influence the learner as well as their ability to contribute to the group. If a community isolates itself from the rest of the world, its framework and influence may become weaker. A community that regularly interacts with the outside world will recruit new members and benefit from ideas developed by other communities.

The process of learning can influence an individual’s sense of identity if the process takes place within a community with which the learner identifies. In addition, learning within a community of practice allows a student to understand what it may be like to work in a related field, and decide whether that is something that would appeal to them as a career. The problems or assignments provided to the learner are a means to an end in the sense that they allow the learner to fully explore the subject at hand and its value to them as an individual. The goal of learning should be to produce knowledgeable users rather than usable knowledge, as the text states.

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