Wednesday, November 29

What are your strategic goals in 2007

Even more so than saving my Wikipedia entry, I would like to ask something more of you.

What are your strategic goals for 2007? As part of that, what are your learning goals for 2007? And finally, how much time do you plan to spend in either classrooms, online courses, or conferences?

Monday, November 27

What simulations are good at capturing that books are not

I wrote a two-page piece for Brown University's Conduit magazine, on page 8 and continued to 15, downloadable for free here:

Here's a quote:

"The next breakthrough will be when simulation and game design is not taught as a vertical skill, like Russian History, Clinical Psychology, or Biblical Archeology, but a horizontal skill, like researching, analysis, writing, and public speaking.

The philosophies of simulation design permit different types of knowledge-capture to augment linear approaches such as writing, taking pictures, and making films. And the full assimilation of post-linear content will change every aspect of universities, from research agendas, to which will be the most influential, to the critical issues of what is taught, how, and why.

There are at least four major constructs – situational awareness, understanding of actions, awareness of patterns over time, and conceptual dead reckoning – that are as natural to simulations as internal monologues and narratives are to books."

Friday, November 24

Two Chasms, Training and Life, and the Invisible System

Here are two sides of the same coin.

1) The Training Chasm is "how do really change people's behavior in a formal learning program?"

2) The Life Chasm is "how do some people accomplish so much more than other's, even when they don't work harder, and really only make slightly different uses of the same basic tools and options?"

I think about both of those when I struggle to discuss the most critical part of a simulation.

There is the interface. There are the results. And then there is something in between - an invisible system. By mastering this invisible system, your actions in the interface lead to success, often through making unconscious trade-offs. By ignoring or fighting this system, you actions, ostensibly similar to the successful user, lead to failure.

Meanwhile, a lot of training talks about models, doing the right things in the order. They might even talk about how to theoretically attach actions to the model. But without practicing using this system, the concepts just as flat as with a tennis student who learns in a classroom, and then is forced to play without internalizing through action.

Wednesday, November 22

Second Life Redux

I have been getting some grief around the web for my post suggesting that SL is not a training tool. May I beg the community for some help?

Please respond to this post with use cases, examples either real or theoretical, of people learning in Second Life.

Is Level 1/Smilesheets BAD for training?

It is commonly referred to as Kirkpatrick Level 1. Did the students enjoy the program?

1) Quality advocates say that such feedback is important. Buzz marketers would say that the students are your best advocates, so you want them to be happy. It keeps the instructor on their toes.

2) There are plenty of people including Kirkpatrick who say that the information is fairly worthless.

3) Also, I have seen many situations where training groups use it because it is the easiest metric. It lets them off the hook from doing other evaluations.

But I heard an argument yesterday from a 30 year veteran that had me thinking beyond the 2) and 3).

4) Does it put the students in the wrong mentality? Does it, as the instructor described yesterday, put the students in a mindset of learning back and saying, "OK, show my what you got? The lessons are your responsibility to teach, not mine to learn? Entertain me! Make it fun?" Does it position too much training as entertainment not training as responsibility to shareholders?

What do you think?

Monday, November 20

Second Life is not a teaching tool

Every week or so I hear about a company looking to Second Life as a teaching environment.

First, I have to say that Second Life is a great Web 2.0/massively multiplayer environment. I respect the ability of people to make money in Second Life. I respect the ability of people to "hang" in Second Life. I think it is great that companies are prototyping visual and structural designs in Second Life. I suggest everyone listen to the Business Week podcast.

Having said all of that, Second Life, as is, is not a teaching tool. It is content free. It is closer to a virtual classroom tool, or even a real-world meeting room or water cooler (without the actual water). Any content has to either bubble up from spontaneous conversations (great when they happen, but not predictable or scalable enough to provide an intellectual payoff), or be "brought in."

From a teaching perspective, it is like grabbing a bunch of employees, putting them in the middle of Times Square, each with a laptop and Internet connection, and maybe a box of Lego, a pad of paper, and some crayons. Will magic sometimes happen? Absolutely, as Jay Cross will point out. Will it be a program that is continued and expanded over the years (my own primary metric of success), either bottoms up or tops down? No.

And mostly, I worry that educational simulations will be lumped together with Second Life. When the "Second Life as Teaching Environment" fails due to randomness of value and experience, people will say, "Ah, avatars! Not so good after all."

The reason for my Simword series here is to highlight that the opportunity for educational simulations, and even perhaps subsequent versions of Second Life, to help people rethink
  • their own interface with the world,
  • their own situational awareness,
  • where they are versus where they want to be,
  • and nurture a greater awareness of patterns.

Only by thinking in this new way do we realize why our ability to teach the most important skills, like leadership, relationship management, stewardship, and innovation has been unnecessarily hobbled by an invisible context of linear content.

Having said all of that, maybe the best of all models will be a structured educational simulation front end experience to drive more focused behavior in the virtual worlds. Now that would be blended learning!

P.S. Speaking of Web 2.0, someone showed me Virtual Leader on YouTube! I don't know who put it up, but freaky!

Sunday, November 19

Typical Sim Conversation

Training Person: I can't do simulations. They are too expensive.

Me: Not necessarily. There are many simple models.

Training Person: Could you show me some?

Me: Sure. Here they are.

Training Person: And are these more effective?

Me: Yes. They have very impressive long term productivity benefits.

Training Person: Those are great. But how about multi-player? Do you have any examples of multi-player?

Me: OK. Here they are.

Training Person: Those are cool. But you have any with better scoring and coaching built in as well?

Me: Sure. Here are a few other examples.

Training Person: Animation is really important to me. Do you have any examples of sims also with really smooth animation.

Me: Yup, I have a few right here.

Training Person: The interface still seems a bit rough. Can I see one with a seamless interface on top of everything else?

Me: Sure - how about this?

Training Person: Our corporate colors are blue and red? Is it possible to customize it?

Me: Yes.

Training Person: Wow, that is so fantastic. That really blow me away.

Me: It is impressive.

Training Person: It's too bad, really.

Me: What is?

Training Person: I can't do simulations. They are too expensive.

Thursday, November 16

Learning from Fox News

Quick question:

If you had a training program that took participants 15 hours to do (let's say a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous), and
  • half of the participants increased their productivity by, say 20%, in a way that endured over months and even years,
  • but the other half hated the experience, and thought it was a waste of time,
...would you champion it?

My sense is that even though the ROI of such a program would be through the roof, most training people are so uncomfortable with the negative press that they would not want it in their portfolio.

Am I wrong? What are your thoughts?


Here's a podcast on simulations that I did a few days ago that I hope some of you might find interesting called Immerse Yourself - Increasing Learning through Simulation... Gaming Style.


I have been gathering more simwords - descriptors inspired by computer games and simulations that describe the knowledge and wisdom that book, magazines, and lectures have left behind. Let me know if you want them here.

Monday, November 13

Internet access alone raises test scores

Post by Donald Clark points to a study that says: Donald Clark Plan B: Internet access alone raises test scores.

The findings were consistent across both genders – the more time the children spent on the web the higher their academic achievement as measured by standard test scores.

Monday, November 6

November's The Big Question
Are our models (ISD, ADDIE, HPT, etc.) relevant in the future?

October’s The Big Question was great fun and a great success. We had 38 posts regarding the topic “Should all Learning Professionals be Blogging?” There were over 70 comments made to the posts and we had 60 votes in our mini survey.

November's The Big Question is:

Are ISD / ADDIE / HPT relevant in a world of rapid elearning, faster time-to-performance, and informal learning?

The procedure is the same as last month. For details, please see the sidebar.

To follow The Big Question, click on any of the links to participating posts below. Please feel free to comment on this post or any of the others. The aggregated list of all the comments to participating posts can be seen by hitting the MySyndicaat button below.

Enjoy the Conversation!

Tony Karrer
eLearning Technology
Significant Work Needed to Help Instructional Designers
Matthew Nehrling
mLearning World
Choose the Right Door
Tom Haskins
growing changing learning creating
Vetting our use of ID models
Anil Mammen
Tata Interactive Systems
The future of instructional models
Clive Shepherd
Clive on Learning
Is instructional systems design still relevant?
Jay Cross
Internet Time Blog
Jay says, "Sometimes"
Karl Kapp
Kapp Notes
Yes, We Should Keep ADDIE, HPT and ISD Models
Phil Charron
Learning Simulations
ISD, ADDIE, HPT relevant?
Clark Quinn
Not your father’s ISD/ADDIE/HPT
Dennis Coxe
Sailing by the Sound
Is ISD / ADDIE / HPT Relevant?
Dave Lee
are we forgetting the forklifts?
Anol Bhattacharya
Big Question: ISD / ADDIE / HPT: Still relevant?
Karyn Romeis
Karyn's blog
The future of learning design models
Jacob McNulty
What Fate Awaits the Models (ISD, ADDIE, HPT) of Traditional Training?
Geetha Krishnan
Simply Speaking
Not ADDIEing up?
Russ Crumley
Make the Moment
Absolutely Yes
Harold Jarche
Harold Jarche
Wither ISD, ADDIE & HPT?
Wendy Wickham
In the Middle of the Curve
Clark Aldrich
Learning Circuits Blog
Web 2.0 and the changing face of editorial content
Dave Lee
addie? isd? hpt? - adapt or die!
Tony Karrer
eLearning Technology
The Big Question for November - Future of ISD / ADDIE / HPT?

Web 2.0 and the changing face of editorial content

The pure premise of Web 2.0 is
  • let's get rid of editors;
  • users submit the content, including primary entries, feedback, ratings, and even clicks.
  • recency is absolutely necessary to the value of content;
  • a critical mass volume is necessary in the tens of thousands, if not much higher
  • the value of content is best determined by the wisdom of the masses through user rating, user volume.
  • meaningful 1:1 relationships can come from participation in communities

What does that change, if anything, the training model?

Friday, November 3

eLearning Technology: How Do People Interact with Blogs?

This is a slightly different topic but relates to The Big Question for October: Should All Learning Professionals be Blogging? Some interesting comments are being left about How Do People Interact with Blogs?

Thursday, November 2

LCB Busts a Move

Last week I surfed on over to Technorati to do a quick check on Learning Circuit Blog's ranking. We've generally been in the 40,000 to 60,000 range with some a great degree of consistency. Well you can imagine the double take I did when I saw the listing you see on the left here.

25,173! That's way cool. Obviously, The Big Question had the impact we had hoped it would have. 28 of you posted a response to your own blog and came back here and told us about it. 5 of you participated in The Big Follow-up Question. On top of that just nosing around Tony and I uncovered several more posts and references to The Big Question that had not been reported back to LCB. That's at least 38 people who took part. Of particular note was that 11 of the 38 participants were folks who had never posted a comment to LCB before. While they may have been lurking previously, this was a new level of participation for them.

We also had 6o responses to the mini quiz. See the final results in the sidebar.

The Big Question definitely says something about the power of networks. Just what is something I've decided to take some time and figure out. I've collected much of the participation and reaction to The Big Question. But I could use the help of those who participated by posting a response to your blog. Did you see a change in your Technorati or Alexa ranking? (or any of the other ranking services is fine.) Do you have actual numbers say from the end of September and from mid- to late October. If you do and wouldn't mind my adding them to my data, please drop me an e-mail at dcleesfo (at) gmail (dot) com. I'd like to see if there was a consistent change or was the change limited to a few people's blogs. I'm planning on doing this analysis for at least two more months, if not longer. So if you either didn't participate by posting a response to your own blog or or you didn't check your rankings before and after, but you'd like to moving forward, check your technorati, alexa and/or other rankings this weekend and either jot it down or send it to me. Then make a note to check again around the 20th of November and send the information on to me.

I'll share my findings with the LCB community whenever it seems appropriate. It is also my intent to report data in the aggregate. I'll only use screen shots or specifics about your blog in public reports with your knowledge and consent.

Get ready. The next The Big Question launches on Monday!

Wednesday, November 1

If you aren't piloting, you aren't doing your job, and you probably won't keep your job

I have seen hundreds of situations in the last 36 months where a training group had a training experience they said they wanted to consider for implementation.

  • Around 25% did not evaluate the program at all.
  • Around 25% evaluated the program by skimming it.
  • Around 20% evaluated the program by asking a few friends to skim it.
  • Around 20% evaluated the program by putting in a small group and asking the participants if they liked it.
  • Finally, around 10% evaluated the program by putting a group through it and measuring the effectiveness.
As a bit of a post script, when re-engaging training professionals a year later, there seem to be a significant correlation between those who didn't pilot well and those that did not have a job. Those most afraid of bothering people with a pilot became those most vulnerable.