iMoot15 is an event for a meeting of minds to share the best of each of us with the others.

This web based event engages a global audience of Moodle practitioners, administrators and decision makers in one event for an online e-conference with a difference!

The core aim of iMoot15 is to ignite the sense of community and sharing for which Open Source and in particular Moodle is famous.

iMoot15 is aimed at educators, moodlers, developers and managers, in education establishments, businesses and government agencies. Presentation sessions are accessible to those just starting out with e-learning, to those who help to build the software.

iMoot15, the iMoot online Moodle conference, will be held on line between May 28 and June 1, 2015.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

eLearning Translation: 8 Top Tips For eLearning Professionals

Tips For Effective eLearning Translation

Translating content for your eLearning course is rarely an easy task. However, it can offer you the opportunity to reach an entirely new international audience and make your eLearning company a globally recognized brand. To make the process more effective and less resource-draining, here are some invaluable tips and tricks for eLearning translation.

  1. Think about localization when you’re creating content.
    Long before you actually begin translating your eLearning course, localization should be a consideration. In fact, when you start developing your eLearning content, think about the translation process that you will have to go through at some point. For example, when crafting content, avoid lengthy paragraphs and break text down into bullet points. Also, try to avoid common translation mistakes, such as using acronyms, if at all possible, and never use expressions as each language, country, and culture have their own common sayings.
  2. Leave plenty of room for translated text.
    Bear in mind that translated text could take up more room than the original version. For example, if you are translating from English to French, German, or Spanish, text can be up to 20 percent longer. On the other hand, character-based language, such as Chinese or Japanese, may take up about 15 percent longer. This means that you will want to maintain a text/white space balance, so that you won’t have an abundance or shortage of empty space when translating. So, if you are translating your eLearning course into French, and you find that you just don’t have enough room on the screen to fit the text, then you’ll have to devote precious resources to reformatting.
  3. Decide whether to use subtitles or voice overs.
    One of the most important decisions you’ll have to make during the eLearning course translation process is whether you’ll go with subtitles or voice overs. While subtitles may be more cost efficient, voice overs may be more effective. Ultimately, the needs of your international learners, your instructional design approach, and, clearly, your budget will be the deciding factors.
  4. Enlist the aid of a subject matter expert when narrating translated text.
    If you are planning on narrating your text in the local language, you may want to ask your subject matter experts for help. They can give you an idea of how to pronounce problematic words, as well as pointers on which subject matter highlights you can exclude or add. For example, if you are designing a compliance online training course for an Italian company, they will probably have different rules and regulations than their English branch.
  5. Acronyms and jargon: when in doubt, ask!
    There are going to be instances wherein you may be in doubt as to whether the text you are working with is going to translate well. Whenever you are in doubt, ask the client, a translator, or the subject matter expert. For example, if you are dealing with an eLearning course that includes acronyms or technical jargon, these terms may be completely different in the local language. As such, you will need to replace them with the appropriate terms in order to make them understandable and relatable to your audience. If at all possible, speak with a local who is well versed on the topic to get a sense of what terms may commonly be used; there are some terms that may be in the dictionary or Google Translate, but they may not be the most popular or widely used.
  6. Keep the text on the page and out of graphics.
    If you are using images in your eLearning course, be sure to keep text out of them and strictly on the screen. This will save time and resources down the line, thanks to the fact that you won’t have to add the translated text to the image itself and re-upload it into the system all over again when localizing. Also, be careful about cultural references when choosing your free stock images. For instance, while a handshake may be perfectly acceptable in most parts of the world, there are some regions that may opt for other forms of professional greetings. Last but not least, try to avoid using images that include region-specific items, such as street signs or money, as these simply will not be relatable to your new audience.
  7. Choose the right font.
    It’s best to use a universal font that can easily be converted to the local language. For example, if you use Arial, or another type of Unicode font, the text will show up correctly when translating it to languages that don’t use the Latin Alphabet, such as Chinese or Russian. Also, avoid using elegant fonts or those that may be too distracting for the learner, as this will take away from the overall eLearning experience.
  8. Timing transitions is essential.
    This is a golden rule if you have audio or video included in your eLearning course. You need to time the translated text, whether you use subtitles or voice overs, to sync up with the multimedia that you have chosen. To do this, you may want to create a script that includes transitions, so that you can identify timestamps for the translated audio. You can also create a detailed outline that maps out every screen of the eLearning course, as well as its current display time, so that you can figure out how much text you can fit into the page without going over the allotted time. Last, but not least, pay attention to line breaks and figure out where you will need to cut the words by speaking with a translator or a subject matter expert.

Follow the above eLearning translation tips and you will be able to successfully localize your eLearning course in order to offer your global audience an effective and engaging eLearning experience.

Want to learn more about the advantages of eLearning localization? Read the article eLearning Localization Benefits and Tips, which highlights the most significant benefits you can expect to receive by localizing your eLearning course.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Video and Online Learning: Critical Reflections and Findings from the Field

Nicht nur in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), aber hier ganz besonders, ist Video das zentrale Medium der Inhaltsvermittlung. Und wird als solches kaum noch hinterfragt! Also haben sich die Autoren aufgemacht, verschiedene Online-Plattformen und -Kurse einmal näher zu betrachten, die eingesetzten Videoformate zu untersuchen und Hintergrund-Interviews mit Experten zu führen. Abschließend halten sie fest:

“Video is by far the most common content format for online learning, even though very little is known about its effectiveness as a pedagogical tool. … To this point, we offer three main recommendations that will help optimize the use of video in an online learning context, and also go a long way towards reducing costs.
- First, think carefully about whether video is the most appropriate medium for accomplishing your learning goals.
- Second, if you use video, make sure to take advantage of its strengths as a medium, and make a deliberate design choice about what video production style(s) to use.
- Third, consider producing online learning video using lightweight or DIY production tools and techniques, emphasizing media literacy.”

Der Report liefert eine Reihe interessanter Informationen zur Produktion, zur Qualität und zur Effektivität von Video als Lernmedium. Er erinnert auch an das Potenzial von Live-Sessions, das heute nur in wenigen Online-Kursen eingesetzt wird (”Live Video can help to foster social learning”). Und im Anhang findet sich eine nützliche Übersicht über 18 Videoformate!
Anna Hansch u.a., Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet & Society Discussion Paper Series, 13. März 2015 (via SSRN)

Nachtrag (04.04.2015): Andreas Wittke (Oncampus, Lübeck) hat mich auf diese Diskussion auf Google+ aufmerksam gemacht, die sich im Anschluss an diesen Beitrag entwickelt hat.


Gerald Lembke: Sinnvolles digitales Lernen statt digitaler Dauerbeschallung

Digitales Lernen in Schulen und Hochschulen – Fluch oder Segen? Prof. Dr. Gerald Lembke ist Studiengangsleiter für Digitale Medien an der Dualen Hochschule Mannheim und Präsident des Bundesverbands für Medien und Marketing. Für viel Diskussion sorgte vor kurzem u.a. sein Interview in der SZ, in dem sich kritisch zum digitalen Lernen an deutschen Schulen äußerte…. weiterlesen →

The post Gerald Lembke: Sinnvolles digitales Lernen statt digitaler Dauerbeschallung appeared first on Wissen in Bewegung | Blog.

Learner Dashboards: How Effectively Can It Increase LMS Utility?

Learner Dashboards Create Learner Centric LMS

Modern LMSs not only provide the learners access to training content as per their needs, they also make sure that the learning remains relevant. They do so by extensive content catalogues, which are searchable and make sure that the learner can quickly arrive at the required information. The reporting function of new age LMSs makes sure that there is room for customized reports that the learners can also utilize to take control of their learning. Thus the LMS is not just a passive platform any more, but strives to be more learner-centric in order to be truly effective.

Learner dashboards are an intuitive way of providing the most important set of information on the LMS interface – so that the learners are aware of their progress every time they log on to the system. Here is how a Learner dashboard looks (see image below), encapsulating the progress of the learner through multiple courses, showcasing cumulative progress as per the entire learning curriculum, as well as presenting a learning calendar to plan for trainings as per individual schedule.

An effective LMS dashboard enables learners to visually grasp the relevant and current learning content as well as keep a close eye on their performance. It helps them manage their time to be spent on learning and thus achieve learning objectives better. For administrators and managers, it provides an added way of making sure that the learners are duly motivated for learning. For the organizations, it is a step closer to achieving business goals out of the LMS and attaining a positive ROI on the learning initiative.

Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts when designing a learner-centric dashboard for an enterprise-wide LMS.

  • Choose relevant metrics.
    There is a lot of information that is captured by the LMS. It is important to choose the metrics that truly benefits the learner and positively improves their experience. Insufficient information does not quench the learners’ expectation from a dashboard and too much information creates unnecessary clutter. Also, the chosen metrics should be aligned to the learning objectives and help the overall aim of the learning initiative.
  • Updated and current information.
    It is also critical that the information is updated real time. Then only can a dashboard be utilized effectively. This is not a tough task as the chunk of the information displayed on the dashboard is churned out of the LMS itself. Even if some of it is linked to other systems within the organization like the HRMS, make sure to keep information channels open for current and relevant information display on the dashboard.
  • Visuals are important.
    Good and effective dashboards are easy on the eyes. When designing dashboards, it is important to use the right colors, shapes, lines, shading and any other tools that heighten visual perception. The things to be avoided include inappropriate or frivolous graphics that take away from the learning experience or use visuals types that are not commonly seen. Effective dashboards usually have a lot of visual representation of data like bar graphs, line graphs or scatterplots. They are informative and everyone knows how to read them. So resist using other types which are not so uncommon, as many learners may not be able to understand them at all.
  • Simple accessibility and use.
    Also, the learner dashboard should be displayed at a prominent section of the interface – preferably the homepage — so that the learners get a quick recap of where they are and their preferred routes within the system. The learner may not spend quality time going through the metrics every time, but a quick look on upcoming training events or new content on the system can be helpful in deciding their preferred learning path.
  • Build in interactivity.
    With filters and different views, the learners can be given the option of customizing the data presented as per their needs. This will increase the utility of the dashboard and increase the learner’s engagement with the platform as a whole. If the option of customization of data seems too much, simple things like customized skins and different color options can also make the dashboard more appealing to the learners and help remove any resistance that may arise due to the ‘newness’ of the initiative or its perceived worth among the learners.

A learning management system brings along with it size-able investments, and proactive efforts towards making it learner-centric is a step towards achieving a positive ROI. Learner dashboards are definitely a step towards making a LMS more learner-centric and useful for all stakeholders within the organization.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Meaningful Living and Learning in a Digital World 2015

Join the conference on Meaningful Living and Learning in a Digital World 2015 for three days of inquiry and peaceful rejuvenation in a scholarly environment.

As we embrace the conveniences of emerging technologies in the classroom and beyond, we will explore ways to employ them with a people-centered approach that includes balance, compassion, healthy living, mindfulness and relationships.

The conference is sponsored by The Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration and the University of West Georgia.

Topics of Meaningful Living and Learning in a Digital World 2015

  • Reconciling Humanity and Technology in the Classroom
  • Humanistic Instructional Design
  • Work-Life-Learning Balance
  • Health & Wellness in the High-Tech Workplace
  • Minimalism and Simplicity
  • Coaching and Mentoring Distance Learners
  • Sustainable Technology Solutions
  • Social Equity and Educational Access
  • Learning Science

Who should attend Meaningful Living and Learning in a Digital World 2015

  • Online teachers and leaders
  • Instructional designers
  • Librarians and media specialists
  • Psychologists and social scientists
  • Education administrators
  • Nurses and wellness providers
  • Adult learning leaders

The conference on Meaningful Living and Learning in a Digital World 2015 will be held at the Savannah Hilton deSoto (Savannah, GA, US) on May 27 – 29, 2015.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Present-focus or Future-focus?

From Techfellows – University of Alaska Anchorage.

As I put together the architecture, I have to decide whether my efforts are going to be present-focused (ie. capturing the current baseline) or future-focused (ie. documenting where I want to be – also known as Target First).

Unless you work for an organization that has clear, centralized configuration management and everyone (you, your IT group, the stakeholders) has a solid understanding of the current architecture, chances are you will be documenting Baseline first.

This is a really good exercise.  I personally find it hard to do any system improvement if I don’t know what the system is in the first place.  Not that I haven’t tried….

There are three main “architectures” I will be documenting during the course of this process.

  • The Business Architecture (Stage B) – ie What people do.  Focused on what they REALLY do vs. what we THINK they SHOULD be doing. Warning: Danger lurks here.
  • The Application Architecture (Stage C) – ie What tools we use.
  • The Data Architecture (also Stage C) – ie What we are trying to get out of it and where that information is housed.

So what about the Technology Architecture (Stage D) you ask? 

Chances are, your team (talking to mostly trainers and educators etc) is not responsible for the infrastructure of your tools (servers, the network, whether or not it is in “the cloud”etc).

This will be a good opportunity to make friends with your IT folks who have knowledge of these things. We’ll talk about the questions to ask later….
As you’ll notice throughout this series, I am doing a number of these phases in parallel vs. in the correct “order”.  Again – taking advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.

Besides, there is nothing in the TOGAF manual that says I HAVE to do things in order.
And anyway, so much of this process for me is a “fact-finding” mission to see what we have and what we are working with.

My goals for this process are:

  • Figure out what is lying around
  • Determine how to optimize what is lying around
  • Identify gaps in functionality (and, ideally, avoid duplication)
  • Identify knowledge gaps and fill them
  • Identify stakeholder gaps – now is a good time to do the “people work” to minimize political surprises later.
  • Share what I’ve learned with the organization. 
  • Put TOGAF through its paces to see what works. 

None of us have really done this before.  And the best way I learn something is by doing it.  And if I have something concrete – I can see what modifications need to be made.