The WCITCA2015 promises to be an interesting and exciting scientific event. Researchers from around the globe are interested in sharing their unpublished, fresh and in-depth ideas.

The science and technology of concrete are undergoing revolutionary change due to developments in computer and information technologies that are enabling concrete researchers, engineers, and practitioners to develop, store and retrieve, integrate, and disseminate knowledge on all aspects of concrete including formulation, processing, testing, and inspection, prediction of performance, repair, and recycling. The rapid growth of computer-based systems such as simulation models, databases, and artificial intelligence decision-support systems, is evidence of the impact of computer and information technologies on concrete science and technology.

The WCITCA2015 is dedicated to cutting edge research that addresses scientific needs of academic researchers and industrial professionals to explore new horizons of knowledge on various computer related applications and research and in information technology.

An important goal of the congress is to provide a solid platform for a diverse gathering of scholars, researchers, developers, educators, and practitioners where they can discuss ideas, innovations, applications and systems. This hub of scientific activity leads to more developments and research breakthroughs.

The congress makes concerted effort to reach out to participants affiliated with diverse entities (such as: universities, institutions, corporations, government agencies, and research centers/labs) from all over the world.

Make sure you are part of this strong event!

The World Congress on Information Technology and Computer Applications 2015 (WCITCA2015) will be held in Tunisia on June 11 – 13, 2015.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

The eLearning Ecosystem Metaphor: Key Characteristics And Basic Components

Key Characteristics Of An eLearning Ecosystem

The term “ecosystem” is usually associated with the scientific community. However, in recent years the eLearning industry has begun to view the eLearning environment as a self-sustaining ecosystem that provides learners with the tools and surroundings they need to achieve their learning objectives. But what, exactly, are the characteristics of an eLearning ecosystem and how can eLearning professionals create such an ecosystem that encourages change and inspires learners?

What Is An eLearning Ecosystem?

In many respects, an eLearning ecosystem is very similar to a scientifically-based ecosystem. Science defines an ecosystem as being a community where organisms interact with one another and with their physical environment. Every organism has a role to fulfill and there must be a harmonious balance between all aspects of the ecosystem in order for the organisms to flourish and evolve.

In the world of eLearning, an eLearning ecosystem is an eLearning environment wherein educational technologiesauthoring tools, and resources are all present, for the sole purpose of instilling knowledge and developing skills for all learners within the eLearning setting. Every member of the eLearning environment must contribute and participate in order for all learners to get the most benefit, just as every learner must utilize the resources available to achieve goals and objectives.

For an eLearning ecosystem to be successful, all participants must be empowered to learn and feel as though they are part of the overall ecosystem. While eLearning professionals can create an eLearning ecosystem that offers learners all of the tools and resources they need, as well as a setting that is conducive to learning, if the learner is not a willing participant the ecosystem will fall apart. In other words, learners will only acquire knowledge and fulfill their role within the ecosystem if they choose to do so.

Basic Components Of An eLearning Ecosystem

There are a variety of elements that come into play within the eLearning ecosystem. All of these elements must be present if both the learners and the entire eLearning ecosystem as a whole are to thrive. According to the scientific definition, in every ecosystem there are three main components: organisms, a physical environment, and relationships between the organisms and their environment. Likewise, an eLearning ecosystem must also have these three main components in order to be successful:

  • learners/facilitators, the actual “organisms” of the eLearning ecosystem,
  • the eLearning space and resources, in other words the eLearning platform where learning will actually take place and the eLearning content learners will access, respectively, and finally
  • the eLearning culture, that sets a positive attitude towards the overall eLearning process and participants’ interaction with the eLearning course.

There are also a number of other core ideologies that are part of a thriving eLearning ecosystem, such as:

  1. Engaging eLearning content.
    One of the most important aspects of a successful eLearning ecosystem is high quality eLearning content that engages and emotionally connects the learner with the eLearning course. This eLearning content may be in the form of text, branching scenarios or interactive multimedia presentations. Regardless of the format, the eLearning content should always be geared toward achieving learning goals and changing learning behaviors, so that learners have the power to improve their lives outside of the eLearning ecosystem.
  2. Continual assessment.
    Assessment is the key to any learning process. However, learners can only truly benefit from assessment if they are offered on a regular basis, such as upon completion of each lesson or module. This not only gives eLearning professionals the ability to track learners progress and assess how much they have acquired, but also allow learners to reflect and review key concepts so that they can commit them to long term memory. These assessments can come in the form of eLearning scenario questions, online exams, or simulations.
  3. Modern technologies.
    Modern technologies and learning tools allow learners to fulfill their specific roles in an eLearning ecosystem. In essence, they give them access to the knowledge and skill set development they need to achieve their goals and offer them the chance to interact with their peers in a virtual environment. Likewise, eLearning professionals can use technology to fulfill their roles by supplying learners with the information and resources they require to meet the learning objectives. For example, mobile devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, are invaluable tools that can help to create an engaging and immersive learning environment for every member of the eLearning ecosystem.
  4. A solid support structure.
    A solid support structure is at the heart of every successful eLearning ecosystem. If learners do not have access to the help and feedback they need throughout the eLearning process, then they are less likely to achieve the desired outcome. They are simply not able to be active participants in the eLearning ecosystem, because they lack the motivation and support to do so. This is why a support structure is of the upmost importance, in addition to a supportive eLearning culture.
    Learners must feel as though they have access to supplemental online resources that they can use to further expand their knowledge base and broaden their understanding of a particular topic. They must also be able to reach out to either their instructor or peers if they are in need of assistance. For example, if they are unable to complete an assignment because they do not have sufficient resources, they can collaborate with their peers to receive the help they need to progress through the eLearning course. Above all else, an eLearning ecosystem must offer learners encouragement and motivation in order for them to become active members of the group.

Creating an eLearning ecosystem that encourages behavioral change, performance improvement, and skill set development is key to the success of your eLearning course. Use this guide to create the framework for the eLearning ecosystem for your next eLearning deliverable, so that you can give your audience the opportunity to get the most out of their eLearning experience.

Speaking of experience, are you interested to know how to create eLearning experiences that your learners aren’t soon to forget? Read the article 7 Tips To Create eLearning Experiences That Stick where you can find tips on how to develop eLearning experiences that stick, giving your learners the opportunity to put their knowledge to use outside of the virtual learning environment.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

What’s is our Conference Session Vendor Ratio?

I just read a great blog post by Dave Lutz of Velvet Chainsaw, a conference, meeting, and trade association consulting firm.

He makes the point that many vendors/suppliers don't attend the conference-education sessions in the conferences for which they exhibit their goods and services.

This really intrigues me because it cuts to the ideational health of an industry. Vendors control a large part of the information bandwidth in an industry. They’ve got sales people out talking to folks, they do a ton of content marketing, they produce the most webinars, white papers, and conference sessions in many industries. If they’re not learning and up-to-date, if they’re not hearing how ideas are connecting to practitioners, if they’re not hearing pushback from those who are debunking faulty information, a whole industry can suffer.

How Are We Doing?

How are we doing on this in the workplace learning industry?

I'm going to investigate this at the conferences where I speak. I'd love to hear what others know about this. Please let us all know in the comments below.




So lernen wir morgen

Wer diesem Blog regelmäßig folgt, kennt die Entwicklungen, Trends und Beispiele, die die Autorin hier unter dem Stichwort “Bildung von morgen” zusammenführt. Die Rede ist von der “Flexibilisierung der Bildung” (”alles überall und zu jeder Zeit”), der “Omnipräsenz des Wissens”, den Lehrern als Coachs oder Partnern und MOOCs. Lokal konkurriert mit global, kostenlos mit Zusatznutzen, Bildungsstars verdrängen den Durchschnitt, und Weiterbildungsinstitutionen werden zu “Omni-Channel”-Anbietern.
Daniela Tenger, GDI Impuls, 5/2015

Phase C: A High Level Application View

From the Technology Reference Model,  the Integration SWAT Team guy then began to drill down into the architecture.

“I’ve been working mostly in the Applications, Data and Technology Architectures.  I haven’t touched the Business Architectures.”  He smiled.  I think he’s leaving that for me.

I wanted to give you an example of what this looks like from our perspective.

Below is an Archimate version (as best as I was able to put together) of a typical basic setup for a training group.  This is a high level Application and Data view.  I used Archi to put this together.

The top level is your high level application service – ie: what you need your tools to provide.
The second level is the actual functions that the tools deliver.
The third level are the actual tools and applications you are using
The fourth level is the data the tools are producing or accessing.

From here, you start putting together how these things are related.
(Warning, still learning, so you may see an edit to this after I talk to our Archimate guru)

The solid line with the dots = “assigned to”. 
If you look at the Online tutorials and LMS link, that would read “LMS is assigned to online tutorials”  I added “Trackable tutorials” since we are only putting tutorials that require reporting into our LMS.

The dashed arrow pointing to something = “realizes”. 
Look at the dashed arrow between LMS and Content Delivery. 
This reads “LMS realizes content delivery”.  Or, in more human language, I (the user) can find content in the LMS.

The dotted arrow pointing to something = “access”.
This doesn’t seem quite right and will likely need some review, but it means “LMS accesses LMS reporting”.  Which is true in a sense since to allow a user to go back to a bookmark in a tutorial, the LMS will look at the records in its database to determine where that person is.

The nice thing about this view is that it begins to relate what you are actually doing to the tools you are using.

More importantly, it provides us a way to start speaking the language of the folks who need to help us.
A more detailed introduction to Archimate can be found in the Open Group ArchiMate page.

Again, this is just my attempts to apply it.  “Learning out loud.”
Any recommendations for improvement are highly welcomes.

4 Tips To Help You Spring Into Blended Learning

Here are 4 tips to help you spring into blended learning:

1. Create something new.
One of the challenges that learning leaders face is “to find a way to marry structure and freedom to create something altogether new,” according to Doug Thomas and John Seely Brown in A New Culture of Learning. Learners enjoy—and need—both structure and freedom. Blended learning allows you combine structure and freedom to customize a training program for your organization’s specific needs, whether that’s adding more games, social learning, discussion-based activities or face-to-face components.

2. Make your learners care.
Often the formal online course portion of a blended learning program gets a bad reputation for being boring. It doesn’t have to be this way! Here’s a tip from the eLearning Brothers: “Often what makes content boring is that there isn’t inherent relevance or connection between it and the learner. You can establish that connection by helping them get emotional about the content in a productive way (like with humor, music or stories).” Blended learning is an opportunity to combine all kinds of different learning avenues, like video, music, narratives and more.

3. Allow them to experience training.
Use scenarios as part of your blended learning program to put employees in a particular situation and get them engaged in the training. Scenarios are another solution to making lifeless online training more personal, active and effective. Check out this example of a cool zombie-themed scenario: Engage Your Learners with a Zombie e-Learning Scenario.

4. Choose software that saves you time.
If you use the best tools, you can quickly create a blended learning environment that will start benefiting your organization—right away. First, you’ll need an authoring tool that lets you create training courses the most efficient way, without sacrificing quality or interactivity. For example, Lectora® Inspire now comes with eLearning Brothers Lectora Template Library, Cutout People Library and Interaction Builder. You can try it for 30 days to see how easy it is to quickly create professional e-Learning courses!

Want to read more about blended learning? Here’s an article on the Lectora e-Learning Blog: 5 Best Practices for Blended Learning.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Machen soziale Medien das Lernen sozialer?

… fragt Christian Spannagel, Professor für Mathematik und Mathematikdidaktik an der PH Heidelberg, und feuert die Diskussion gleich mit einer Aufzählung von Argumenten und Aspekten an. So fragt er zum Beispiel, ob etwas dran ist an der Klage, dass Social Media das gemeinsame Lernen stören. Oder warum in Online-Kursen die Foren verwaisen? Oder ob Lernen nicht zuallererst ein individueller Prozess ist?

Viele gute Punkte, die in den Kommentaren um weitere ergänzt wurden. Zwei Dinge, die mir bei der Frage ein- bzw. auffallen: Zum einen würde ich den Begriff “soziales Lernen” mit Blick auf einige begriffliche Untiefen vermeiden und lieber von vernetzten Lernprozessen sprechen, die durch das Internet und Social Media möglich sind. Das lenkt den Blick auch schneller auf neue Konzepte und Methoden, die heute möglich sind.

Und zum anderen würde ich die Antwort nicht nur im klassischen Unterricht, sondern auch in unseren alltäglichen, informellen Lernroutinen suchen. Da geht heute viel, was früher nicht möglich war. Und vieles ist … okay: sozial.
Christian Spannagel, cspannagel, dunkelmunkel & friends, 29. April 2015

International Education Conference 2015

International Education Conference 2015 will be hosted by The Clute Institute.

TheInternational Education Conference 2015 provides a forum for faculty and administrators to share proven and innovative methods in teaching at all levels of education. Topics include, butare not limited to:

  • Accreditation
  • Arts & Humanities
  • Blended Education
  • Business Education
  • Contemporary Issues in Education
  • Curriculum
  • Distance EducationE-Learning
  • Early Education
  • Engineering Education
  • ESL
  • Health Education
  • Higher Education
  • International Education
  • K-12 Education
  • Language Education
  • Professional Development
  • Science Education
  • Secondary Education
  • Special Education
  • Social Sciences
  • Teacher Education
  • Teaching Methods
  • Tenure

In addition to the Education Conference, we are also hosting a Business Conference that will be held on the same days, at the same venue. One registration fee will allow you to attend both conferences.

International Education Conference 2015 will be held at the Kensington Close Hotel (London, UK) on June 7-11, 2015.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

6 Benefits Of Vicarious Learning In eLearning Courses

Vicarious Learning Benefits in eLearning

Every day we are given the gift of knowledge. Even if we may not be receiving direct instruction, through observation we gain the ability to expand our personal and professional knowledge. But what are the advantages of incorporating a vicarious learning approach in online learning environments, and is it a truly effective strategy, especially given that vicarious learning often takes place outside of the virtual classroom?  In this article, you’ll learn about a few of the most notable benefits of vicarious learning in eLearning courses.

  1. Makes the eLearning experience fun and engaging.
    Often in vicarious eLearning environments, learners simply forget that they are actually learning. They are able to explore a topic or task by observing it, first hand, which immediately creates a sense of interactivity and immersion. They learn new tasks and expand their knowledge base in a fun and engaging way, rather than just listening to a lecture or completing a page in a workbook. In some instances, learners may not even realize they are involved in an eLearning activity until after the fact, when they must apply the knowledge they have gathered in real world situations. Their brains perceive it as a form of entertainment, rather than a traditional learning activity, which eliminates the boredom and frustration that can stand in the way of effective eLearning experiences.
  2. Takes risk out of the equation.
    There are some challenges in life that we must face on our own in order to learn and gain new personal experiences. We make mistakes but we grow as a result of them and end up learning more about ourselves and the world. However, there are many obstacles and challenges that we can overcome by engaging in vicarious eLearning experiences. Vicarious learning allows learners to collect eLearning experiences and insight without having to go through costly trial and error. For example, if employees need to know how to deal with a customer service issue, they can watch an instructional video that outlines every step of the task, so that they learn how to interact with customers confidently and equipped with the information they need to get the job done, without the risk that something might go wrong.
  3. Improves knowledge retention.
    When learners watch someone carry out a task or can learn about a particular topic through observation, they are more likely to retain the knowledge they are being given. This is because they are able to see it firsthand. Instead of simply being told how to do or reading a step-by-step walkthrough on the screen, they have the opportunity to watch and then mimic the process. They can absorb the information at their own pace and ensure that they completely understand every aspect of the task before committing it to their long term memory and performing it on their own when the need arises.
  4. Simplifies complicated subject matters.
    Even those who may be well versed on a particular subject will find certain complex tasks or complicated ideas difficult to comprehend. In these instances, vicarious learning can be an invaluable tool, as it simplifies a subject matter that may be more challenging to grasp. For example, if there is a task that involves a myriad of steps, learners may watch a video or live presentation of someone going through the process. They can watch how the presenter carries out each step, the mannerisms and what skills need to complete the task. As a result, even a complicated subject matter has the potential to be easily absorbed and imitated by the learners.
  5. Learning can take place when it’s most convenient for the learners. 
    Vicarious learning is, by nature, a social and informal learning approach. It gives learners the power to learn whenever it is most convenient for them, and on their own terms. If they want to learn more about a topic, they can simply watch a video walkthrough or presentation to expand their understanding. Every day they have the opportunity to become more informed and better educated. When creating your eLearning course, you can offer them spontaneous self-guided vicarious learning online experiences by including links to videos and tutorials learners may find useful.
  6. Stresses real world benefits and applications of the subject matter.
    When learners can see the subject matter in action, they have the ability to see not only how it will benefit them in the real world, but how they can apply everything they’ve learned in their personal or professional lives. It makes the information relatable and real, because they now know how to use it most effectively when they step outside of the virtual classroom. Rather than just reading about the topic, vicarious learning stresses how every idea and process can better their lives in some way and makes them aware of why it’s beneficial for them to actively participate.

Vicarious learning in eLearning courses can provide your audience with a myriad of benefits. However, it’s also important to note that vicarious learning goes both ways. Negative learning behaviors can also be acquired. Therefore, eLearning professionals must always ensure that the eLearning content is accurate, motivational and gives learners the information and tools they need to get real value from the overall eLearning experience.

Another indirect instructional design approach is social learning, wherein learners can benefit from the experience and insights of their peers. Read the article 8 Top Tips To Create An Effective Social Learning Strategy to find social learning tips, advice, and techniques for creating a successful social learning strategy that engages learners and encourages collaborative eLearning.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.