Tuesday 29 April 2008

join a WiZiQ free online session on mobile learning cases + discussion

Next Tuesday (= 6 May at 4.00PM GMT + 1 or 16.00u Brussels, Belgian time) I am giving a small WiZiQ presentation - an online presentation with chat possibility and limited interactivity - on mobile learning.

I will focus on three projects that we do in ITM and which are aimed at low resource settings. This session is organized on request of the renowned International Training Centre of Torino/Turin, Italy who organize a LifeLong learning training course for low-resource settings.

If you want to join this session, you need to register (make yourself a member) of WiZiQ. Once you are a member, you can join this session by clicking on this link.

Feel free to join and add to the discussion on mobile learning. This session will be recorded and will be distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License,

Friday 25 April 2008

art and controversy on the topic of Darfur

Today I will be immersed in recording movies, a colleague and I are going full throttle in a virtual dialogue to enhance the understanding of HIV/AIDS related topics. Fun and will keep you updated.

So I was looking for a short, yet vibrant post to put on my blog today and in comes Wilfred Rubens with an amazing story of consumption versus art. A Danish artist Nadia Plesner (now working in the Netherlands at the renowned Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam) was trying to do her two cents to make the world a better place. So she pondered on Darfur and how she could make an art piece that would be meaningful and immediately capture the imagination as well. So she came up with a t-shirt, depicting an black child with Paris Hilton dog and handbag.

After a couple of months - last February - the people from Louis Vuitton got hold of her t-shirt and campaign and they urged her to stop the campaign, because she was unlawfully depicting one of the really ugly Louis Vuitton handbags. The thing is, it is just a handbag image, you cannot tell which label it would be from. So... engaging art can truly trouble high-end posh handbags making manufacturers (that produce their material in low income countries, in many cases without insurance of any kind) . By this time the Dutch newspapers are on the story (in Dutch) and it begins to stir digg. Nadia risks having to pay if she keeps her t-shirt and campaign going.

Acting is easy: buy her t-shirt (or art) and boycot Louis Vuitton.

I wish eLearning could stir a good uproar once in a while :-)

Thursday 24 April 2008


NASA wants to start a MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online game) as an educational game. This certainly goes towards a full laboratory simulation if you ask me. It surely looks promising, or as they say it:

"The idea of the MMO educational game is to present NASA content in such a way as to draw students into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics learning and to spark interest in STEM-oriented careers." You've gotta love this idea!

The effort is a partnership between NASA Learning Technologies and the Innovative Partnerships Program, which is run out of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and acts as a go-between for collaborative projects between the space agency and private industry.

Interested to learn more? Look here.

At our institute we are working on a game that involves HIV/AIDS, but I will keep you informed on this one as we proceed with our plans.

Wednesday 23 April 2008

One of ITM's scientific flash learning instruments

At ITM we have been experimenting with Flash animations as learning tools. I just want to share one with you all, feel free to add comments or remarks.

Practice in veterinary diagnosis is essential and requires hours and days of intensive training in laboratories normally using expensive and high technological equipment. With the success of web-based and blended learning practice has never been more important because learners still need to be trained and prepared in diagnosis. New technologies both in software as well as photography-microscopy allow us to develop simulations and animations that imitate actions that are normally performed in laboratories. Even if practice is foreseen in curricula, learners can still prepare, educate or assess themselves with the use of these animations and simulations.

The simulation can be seen here.

For the diagnosis of tick-borne pathogens, such an animation was developed. The aim is to help learners identify a selection of the most important tick-borne pathogens by means of a virtual microscope. This virtual microscope offers most of the facilities a real microscope offers except for focusing. The use of the virtual microscope is explained in the simulation itself. No special knowledge for operation is required.

We are proud of this one, the brains behind this simulation is Maxime Madder, a great researcher and scientist at ITM.

Tuesday 22 April 2008

new webportal: Science without Borders launched

Yesterday the Science without Borders WebPortal was launched!

Science without Borders (SWB) initiates, facilitates and supports cooperation between higher education teachers and students, scientists, researchers and other stakeholders of the academic sphere between Africa and Europe. Science without Borders was launched in 2007 as multistakeholder network of organisations involved in higher education, academic cooperation and science based activities between the two regions, amongst others, supported by the European Foundation for Quality in E-Learning.

The initiative focusses on small scale, short term cooperations in order to provide quick wins for those who are usually not reached through big framework initiatives, the locally working researchers, scientists, teachers and students in universities, academies and colleges.

The initiative starts now - we invite you all to come and register:

We already have our first 'project': The CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (http://www.waterandfood.org) and the International Foundation for Science (www.ifs.se) asked Science without Borders to find mentors (junior and senior scientists) in the fields of watershed management and agricultural development to provide feedback on abstracts and papers submitted by young scientist from Africa, Asia, and Latin America.These young scientists are competing for stipends which will allow them to present their research at the Forum, and to participate in a training workshop on scientifi writing, to be hosted by the International Foundation for Science.

Interested? Then have alook: www.without-borders.org

What next? Let's hear about your ideas and feedback!

Science without Borders Founding members are from the following organisations:

Eco Innovations, Ireland, (www.eco-innovation.net) ESC Rennes, France, (www.escrennes.fr ) | Full Circle Association, USA,
(www.fullcirc.com) | European Foundation for Quality in E-Learning,
(www.qualitiyfoundation.org) | Kenyatta University, Nairobi,
(www.ku.ac.ke) | Lesley Boyd Consultant, South Africa,
(www.lesley-boyd.za) | MENON Network, Belgium, (www.menon.org) UNEP/Wuppertal Institute Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumptionand Production (CSCP), Germany, (www.scp-centre.org) United Nations University, EHS, Bonn, Germany, (www.ehs.unu.edu) University Duisburg - Essen, Germany, (www.uni-due.de) University of Pretoria, South Africa, (www.up.ac.za)

Friday 18 April 2008

AG08 breakfast bytes about managing knowledge, personal and team productivity

eLearning Guild's Annual Gathering also organizes breakfast bytes for the early birds.

The one I was moderating became a group happening and was a real exchange of ideas and pointers on how to manage the growing digital knowledge between the participants. Because we were with a very inventive group we started exchanging ideas about 'the water cooler' as well.

The things we talked about:
The amount of knowledge that we have to store becomes to big. Although we do save files, categories and folders just do not work. Ideally the information should be stored somewhere and be searchable, moving from a folksonomy (a personal, intuitive tagging system) to a more general tagsonomy (a tagging system that people agree is clear in its keywords).

One of the biggest problems in companies is the firewall if you want to work with social media. You need to ask permission and you seldom get it, so the latest (tagging) softwares sometimes just are not available to the knowledge worker.
This firewall attitude keeps people from innovating themselves, it keeps them from getting in touch with new knowledge. Management should be made aware of the surplus they get from employees that can focus some part of their business hours on retrieving and trying out new ideas/content (cfr the google managers model of the early years or the Semco management system (books on this topic Ricardo Semler).
One thing is for sure: the more you can explore new media and new ways of working, the more you learn, the more productive you will become (in the long run).

Another big problem is time constraints: personal organisation models differ, so in order to know a peer's logic, you should sometimes dive into their tagging logic to get to the needed information.

Search engines: If you use search engines, how deep do you go into the content? Who looks further then the 3 page? And you might think your keywords are relevant to find specific content, but do others think the same way? How do you make keywords that differ slightly match?
Will the third generation of search engines bring along the semantic web in which these feature will help us to find relevant content quicker? Refining the search engines would be a help (cfr pandora music approach)

Human filters: as a knowledge worker you rely on trustful information. This trust is based on human thinking: mouth to mouth recommendation, peers you know, profiles that are impressive and are backed up with solid documents.
Because there are a lot of knowledgeable people out there and because you can only keep track of so many people, you have to be severe in your ranking of peers.
Connecting to people that have a foot in different networks insures interdisciplinary knowledge and creativity (the term 'butterflies' was mentioned, because the visit different fields)

Team work and collaboration is becoming increasingly important, but how do we match this with firewall constraints and the fear of some to exchange their knowledge?
If you find people in other departments that are also willing to share relevant knowledge build in an informal or formal meeting moment, set up a new name to make sure the company allows these meetings: a Unit for the development of ....

As a researcher or as a company employee who has important information, it is difficult to keep a good balance between openness of knowledge <=> keeping intellectual property.

Building upon strong content: tracking the right information is increasingly important, if you track solid content, you can build on it and afterwards put it back out again.

A couple of solutions that were mentioned using humans/peers you trust to filter knowledge:
- think about who you want to be the busy <=> bursty worker? (the one that gets into work and does her/his hours, or the one that sometimes takes time to intelligently think things over)
- start your red hat ladies group (for 50+ women) or another informal lunching group to start networking cross-departemental.
- in one institution they kept track of interesting papers by applying a reader schedule: new research papers would be divided across the specialists in the institution and they would give feedback on the best papers they would have read. Kind of an internal continued research paper review process.
- work cross-cubical
- work out a mentorship model.

Tools that were mentioned:
citeUlike.com organize your academic work and share your knowledge with others.
zotero (keeping track of your knowledge: but not linked to others)
pandora (music linked to the genome project),(I found this really is intriguing and compelling).
dogpile.com: mixes search engines - cool stuff.

  • human networks are essential if we want to get to knowledge quickly and if we want to stay in touch with new things that are out there.
  • refined search engines that would tailor/customize to your own profile and needs would be very helpful.
  • it is all about personal nature/character and whether or not you want to be a knowledge worker.
  • as a knowledge worker you need to be resourceful.
  • make up new 'water cooler' meeting places.

Thursday 17 April 2008

Thank you to all the participants in the session

It was really nice to meet you all in the session this morning. Thank you for your kind and supportive feedback. It was a joy to hear of your (future) projects.

I hope you all have a safe trip home.

slides update impact of mobile media in developing countries

these are the slides of the presentation I am going to give in an hour's time at the eLearning Guild's Annual Gathering.
Feeling the nerves creeping up on me like always, argh.

Wednesday 16 April 2008

the great ILS challenge

(getting a bit tired so might be a bit limited).

jan cannon-bowers
clint bowers
peter smith
alan levine

game requirements
how might we do this
  • consult literature
  • teams and team training
  • learning science
  • game based learning

collect best practices
  • organizational
  • human

what does research tell us
  • shared knoledge /mental models
  • interpositional knowledge
  • cross training
  • back up behavior
  • closed loop communication
  • !implicit coordination!

looks at different cultures to go into gaming.
... suddenly realizing that Wendy Wickham is live blogging as well.... mmm, I will just sit back and link to hers :-)

AG08 session I'm Busy Enough ... What Do I Need a Second Life For? by Alan Levine

(For the live blogging info look below the AG08 synopsis)

Alan Levine's blog

the presentation that he gave

The Second Life wiki of the NMC campus

Second Life, and virtual worlds in general, are high on the hype curve this year. While it’s easy to point fingers at the well-known failed corporate attempts to use these environments, the sheer number of people actively involved, the time they spend in virtual worlds, and the intense nature of the experience suggest it has a place for e-Learning. Second Life is an easy target for shoot-from-the-hip media articles, and it’s proponents often come off as religious zealots. This speaker is an open-minded skeptic, and unsure if virtual worlds will ever even approach the ubiquity of the Web. At the same time, his experiences are that this is a compelling environment for role play, simulation, creative expression, extending a professional network, and developing new ideas.

Session participants will share the experiences and lessons learned from the New Media Consortium's activities in Second Life, starting in January 2006 before the media caught on to this technology. NMC has run a series of live events, including two full-fledged conferences (with paid attendance); has created a business and development arm, and is currently the largest Second Life education landowner (50+ sims).

In this session, you will learn:

* An inside look at Second Life culture and lingo
* Best practices for support systems built around a virtual-work effort
* The wide range of possibilities for interaction and creativity in Second Life
* How an organization can effectively conduct meetings and events in a virtual world space

Live from room Palm 4 at Hilton, Orlando, Florida
Alan is a fun person with critical thinking skills.

why do virtual worlds grow in this day and age?
  • because a lot of people are getting there: good networking
  • because it is cool
  • because of bandwidth
  • because of games
Alan is a dog (in SL he adds).

photographically lists virtual worlds

FAS tries to list the growing landscape of virtual worlds

gartner looks at the research on virtual worlds

Levine's law: start with the %%%% demo! (good one)

In second life 250 lindens = 1 dollar, linden is the currency, you can buy it with your credit card. So Second Life (SL) you can buy and sell things. You can design things, build... just like real life. Building is not for everybody, but there are free classes, there is also a scripting language to make things interactive.

10% of the people represent themselves as a different gender. You can change however or to whoever you feel like (aliens, glowing cubes, cats...)
But unfortunately you still need to choose a gender when you register for SL, which is a pity.

(Alan shows a fun collage - must be in his slideshare thing)

SL is about rich experiences by roaming the world where you interact with other people, it is SOCIAL. (mentions a couple of SL

It is easy to take podshots at SL, as long as you did not investigate SL in (virtual) person.

One of the reoccuring questions is 'where do people get the time to enter SL'

Henry Jenkins from MIT on fanfiction (not sure about the word, need to look up) he turned it around and asked where the anti-SL'rs found the time to podshot it.

it is visceral: you react in a very real and human way

It is demeaning to say why do people waste their time with it. It is good to be skeptical, but you must keep thinking.

some skeptical thoughts:
the graphics are okay, but not up to gaming standards.
gamers think: there is nothing to do (okay, not like game scenario's)
fearful people do not like the learning curve, the technology keeps people away, you need strong graphic cards.
How to be functional: clothing, walking, flying... you learn and evolve by doing
(humour: too weird! I was chased by a giant penis)
How do I make money

SL looses a lot of people after their first experience (he will get back on this)

The Horizon report (since 2004) look at the landscape of emerging technologies; things that will become commonly used in the educational sphere (f.e. serious games...)

In Jan 2006 they developed a SL environment (in the beginning nobody came) so they started asking people, started art classes, provided meetings... this got the community going.

International space center in SL is a place to visit!!

If people join a community and follow the same event, people begin to share their experience and knowledge. So it is really social.

(see vlog)
nmc started organising conferences
nmc started the educational landscape and developed all kinds of educational related spaces (harvard, mit... )

SL is Visceral

Question from the audience: where do you find out about conferences etcetera to get to know SL?
if you are in the educational realm there are a couple of SL options, there is a SL events calendar (contact him to learn about it).

If you do not do anything in SL your avatar starts doing things automatically (falling a sleep).

We go to virtual hallucinations (a simulation of what it is if you have hallucinations or are a schizofrenic, it is based on real research)
(I would record this, but my camera battery gave up)

SL is also very creative and experiential.

Alan shows retrievel, connecting with web content (live video streams, flickr, mapping...)
shows real time air traffic data (LA airport)
NOAH (an interactive weather map)

(another avatar is just flying in and looking at cogdog - funny)

If you enter orientation island you will see a lot of weirdos, just because orientation island is the first island where people enter SL. To avoid this organisations have build orientation areas.

Quackforms (not sure about the writing) is mentioned by Alan, it is a controlled environment, firewalled and everything. So you can share all your desktop activities. This is new technology and it is going to grow. Virtual worlds are really the thing to follow.

Conclusion: this was a very demo oriented presentation of SL and I really liked it. I - just like many other people apparently - joined SL just 2 and then put it aside. But thanks to a couple of educational friends and this presentation I want to go back in and really get active (I mean that in a passive way). And Alan has a lot of humour, so that makes it very pleasant as well. Mmm, I am definitely going to visit the nmc-landscape.

AG08 session Scanning the Globe: Connecting your Digital World to the World Around You by Brent Schlenker

(For the live blogging info look below the AG08 synopsis)

blog of Brent Schlenker (btw do not get scared while looking at the picture, he only showing his energetic soul)

It is still difficult to use mobile devices to interact with the Web and the world around us, but new technologies are being created to help solve that problem. There are many opportunities to incorporate digital data with learning events that take place in a physical, real-world setting. In 2007 this technology significantly expanded in Asia, and it is coming to the U.S. in 2008. Soon all cameraphones will have the application preinstalled, and you will want to use this innovative technology in your instructional design.

Session participants will learn about QR codes, barcodes that can be printed on anything. Cameraphones equipped with QR reader applications can snap a photo of the printed QR code to trigger events on their mobile device. The code could launch a mobile browser to a designated URL, or it might dial a phone number, or trigger the sending of a text message – there really is no limit to what this form of data entry can do. For example, suppose a museum or zoo simply had a printed QR code that would launch a video or audio clip explaining the exhibit? You will get many ideas for using this technology in your training programs.

In this session, you will learn:

* Basic QR code technology
* Examples of QR codes being used today
* Who might benefit from QR codes
* Ideas on how to incorporate QR codes into your training programs

Live from room Palm 4 at Hilton, Orlando, Florida
Brent looks a bit tired after a energy filled conference that has been going on for days. He groups us as high-geeks :-)

QRcode: quick respons code
two-dimensional code and the shapes define what the content is = barcodes.
you can load anything into qrcodes (phonenumbers, adds, contests...)

some interesting links
QRcode on wikipedia
mobile codes consortium MC2 (HP, Nokia...)
Nokia beta labs
zebracode from google (Android SDK from Google, the phones that have this will be able to scan qrcodes. )

2D barcode manifesto
1. The potential of 2D barcodes is limited only by your imagination
2. Mobile devices - formerly known as phones - will define the game
3. Barcode readers tightly integrated in devices
4. Free barcode generators
5. Avoiding fragmentation: emergence of global de-facto standards
6. Avoiding patent wars
7. Avoiding the “tragedy of anticommons”
8. Data Matrix and QR Code are currently the only feasible alternatives to emerge as de-facto standards
9. Unleashing user-driven innovation
10. Enabling 3rd party innovation

The great live blogger Tracy Hamilton is putting a post up, so I will just link to that post here. If you want you can see the session through a recorded ustream.tv-show below.

eLearning brainstorm with the participants, this is were my interest rises - but I found out we (at the institute) are already using a lot of these examples:
  • operating procedures that are pasted on instruments, machines...
  • because it is mobile, you do not need to type your url to be redirected to content information.
  • location based information can be delivered.
  • translation of signs
  • updates in manuals with qrcodes
Brent launches the possibility of getting a wiki going if any of the participants want to.

(suddenly realizing that with the other mobile apps, this does overlap sometimes)

AG08 keynote speaker John Patrick: the future of the Internet

(my own thoughts - if any - in itallics)

info on John Patrick

Up until now only 5% is being used of the Internet; and the Internet is about PEOPLE.

Digital music if the music managers would have listened to technologists, the music industry would have had no discussion about legally sharing music. The same thing will happen to all the other industries.

Local is the thing to look at on the internet now: it is both global and local.

In theory you can have one device that does everything, but what we see is divergence, more diversification of devices (mentions Amazon Kinddle).

power of the people, end-to-end, the power of the click (gives example of eBay that thought of everything insurrance etcetera look at vlog bit)

The website is for the learner/the client, it is here to empower the user (which ever role they have) => it is an ATTITUDE.

The net is never offline... ex-pats live global, so systems must be AVAILABLE at all times.

The compliance officer are the ones that have to open up: challenge them: what is the security problem EXACTLY, tell them you NEED this. The burden of prove needs to shift.

Killer app of the Internet: email remains the killer app. SMTP is the killer app. (I would think it is the search engine that is the killer app and I heard others say the same) Yet most emails stay unanswered by companies, that must change. (example of a company that replied that they could not reply through email - those companies will not make it in the future).
What about companies that ask you hundreds of questions before you can reach the information you need? What about incompliance on any digital level towards customers.

Spam: I get a lot of spam (82%) so I use a challenge response authentication, which allows human intelligent filtering.
From a personal point of view mechanical spamfilters work against a good communications flow. Read John Patrick's book for more examples.

Gives health care examples, because this is still old school (in US).

the internet goes lifelong learning, it is no longer about kids... its about all of us that want to learn and stay updated. Learning how to learn is getting increasingly important. Libraries are great places to collaborate, learn new digital learning.

So the conclusion is, that the internet is a HUGE opportunity for all of us and our companies or educational institutions.

A comment on the bubble. It was not a pretty picture: technology version of what is happening in economic and housing sector today. Nowadays entrepreneurs are much more savvy, so people are smarter.

the FUTURE (see vlog)
major carriers are the biggest threat to our digital growth. so deregulate broadband.
other challenge: power supply and can the backbone carry it?
Everything is connected to the internet and in a lot of cases firewalled. If you have the cash you can do everything at home while you are somewhere around the world (give people access to your home, access the dryer, ...). It can be as secure as you want it to be.

wifi and wimax: gives a small description of both. And mentions cantenna wifi-antenna (look it up)

Where is the internet: the internet should be where we are: with a mobile device the internet is everywhere. The mobile learner is the biggest thing, a great software is Opera mini (the best browser for mobile devices). Iphone has boosted the mobile industry and now other companies come with 'iphone-killers' based on what iphone launched.

Voice2.0: Jingle networks, look at skyfire, pcmobilizer, ribbit, tuktumi, maxRoam, PCMobilizer

The internet is NATURAL: user generated content, gaming exploding, let's play tag - the long tail, wikimedia - the writeable web. Gaming is the big deal, IBM is designing there new applications around game structures, it is BIG.

the internet is INTELLIGENT: ajax, global application web unfolding, everything at your service, semantic Web (lots of tags).

STANDARDS are emerging to make things easier: open standards - the grassroots win.

can we TRUST the internet? seurity redefined, privacy policy and framework essential, linkage of brand and digital ID, block bad things with technology - not laws.

conclusion: we have to THINK OUTSIDE IN, think big, act bold, start simple, iterate fast
anticipate the evolution of the internet, build a framweork for chaoice and services, partner to the hilt, get a taste of net attitude: talk to kids.

Tuesday 15 April 2008

AG08 session Mobile Learning Today and Tomorrow by Judy Brown

(For the live blogging info look below the AG08 synopsis)
The breakfast byte with Judy was already very motivating, so I am getting high hopes (she did mention she would speedtalk and speeddeliver knowledge... well, I am ready!)

The presentation of Judy Brown

Blog Judy Brown

(AG08 synopsis) If not already doing so, learners will be requesting mobile capabilities for learning. How does the growing mobile environment fit into your learning landscape? Have you implemented a mobile learning project, or are you planning one? Or you just don't see the need?

Wherever you are in this continuum, this session will update you on the state of the mobile environment, in relationship to learning and performance support.

In this session, you will learn:
  • Who is doing what in the mobile space (lots of examples)
  • What some of the future trends are
  • How to get started
  • A good overview of the mobile topic

Live from room Palm 5 at Hilton, Orlando, Florida
(how does she look, what is special about her, how does she speak...)

Judy tells us up front that she is really going to go QUICK, so I am ready to go. She comes from an educational background and... she comes across as a very knowledgeable mobile expert (impressive actually!).

Because she follows her ppt and because there are soo many slides, I am going to limit this writing to just a couple of ideas that I pick-up and is not mentioned in the presentation.

mobile: instant on, in the pocket, it has battery live that lasts a day, it is connected in some way is the definition of Judy Brown.

Judy is painting the bigger picture: we are learning everywhere and on demand. The demand is driving our learning.

the best example is Merrill Lynch (check out)

Good mobile learning community: LearningTown.com, another ning community.
Look at mobisitegalore.com
look at crisisresponse.mobi (developed in 3 hours!!)

Mentions 'new mother' courses in health management in developing countries.
Mentions CME (continued medical education) in developing countries.

I have made some vlogs about this session. Hope it will give you an idea of how inspiring, holistic and motivational her knowledge is.

Clickers used in schools to poll the students in the classroom (send this to Hiram Inge, possible solution for the attendance problem)

Mentions that a lot of companies are working on mobile solutions, so just ask them if they did not come out with something.

conclusion: this was a real mobile knowledge bomb! Okay, I want to work in her team, you do not have to pay me Judy, I will live and learn! You could feel the enthusiasm, the strong interest and in-depth knowledge.

Here you can find a couple of vlogs from the session:

AG08 session Evidence-based eLearning Methods to Build Creative Thinking Skills by Ruth Clark

(For the live blogging info look below the AG08 synopsis)

wikibook Ruth Clark

(AG08 synopsis) In a global economy, organizations must increasingly rely on adaptive expertise for innovative competitiveness. What evidence do we have on using e-Learning to accelerate expertise and build a more innovative workforce?

Session participants will join Ruth as she guides you through research and practice on creative skills training, drawing from the 2008 edition of e-Learning and the Science of Instruction. You will see examples, identify best-practices, review evidence, and apply a design template for problem-based e-Learning to accelerate expertise and build thinking skills.

In this session, you will learn:
  • The features of learning environments proven to build creative thinking skills
  • The research evidence on effectiveness of problem-based learning
  • To use your own content to plan a problem-based learning lesson
Live from room Palm 3 at Hilton, Orlando, Florida
(my thoughts are in italic)

You can download the handouts (ppt) at this link, look at session 206.

Ruth Clark is immediately diving into it and ... she is more active then I felt she would be based on the synopsis. She really gets people thinking right at the beginning. She uses visuals and humour, so really the advocate of what she is talking about.

well designed creativity training programs typically induce gains inperformance... What makes creativity programs stick?
there were between 100 and 200 different types of programs, but they can be divided in 3:
puzzle problems: think outside the box (or like Nicola Avery said last month: the box is bigger then you think!)
critical thinking skills: (brain busters creative programs)

The most effective creative thinking is domain based problems (so this is really good because it means problem based problem in a job-specific context).
meta analysis of 70 studies proved this (Mumford, 2004)

Weisberg studied what made creative, famous people creative geniuses.
We are building on the creativity of others. For example: DNA a lot of scientists looked at DNA, but nobody until the (three) scientists worked on a model DNA science did not have a break through.

Domain specific scenario-based learning environments (this is where the ustream recording starts)
a very simple example: a medical ethics example on life ending topics (she very nicely tells people that this is a very sensitive topic) the example is text based with the option to choose your role and/or sex. The example shows what people can be confronted with in case a relative is in a life threatening situation and the family has to decide on whether or not the patient will be taken of life suport. An American example with legal differences according to the different state legislations.
At the end of the module you can type in what you think would choose and you can reflect on your choice and if necessary change your choice.
This focused on a specific job focus and was job-focused, so good.

case based versus traditional example: 163 medical students in 3 week rotation in orthopedics. Test group: case based online plus faccetoface discussion from traditional didactic methods
Comparison group: traditional program based on lectures besides turorials.
Because the test group could look at a lot more (simulated) cases, that group scored better and was more motivated because it is relevant.

Sherlock: accelerating expertise sherlock (troubleshooting aircraft electronic troubleshooter). Gott & Lesgold, 2000 (exposed learners 25 - 20 hours on sherlock had the same knowledge growth as people with 10 years of experience) => so this can accelerate expertise.

Job-specific problem scenario: jot down a job role in your organization that involves creative problem solving, list some of the types of problems that workers in that role solve, describe the setting in which problems are solved.

metacognition is a priority for problem solving (see Allen Schoenfeld)

model thinking process: modeling the own learning skills
practice making decisions: practising making decisions on

put students in little groups and going around asking: why are you doing it, what other answers are there, what could you have overlooked... this approach (reflection) will augment learning outcomes.

next case: for your selected problem, sketch some ways you can use eLearning to
1 model thinking skills
2 give practice in thinking skills
3 give feedback in thinking skills
(everyone is using her or his brain to solve this next interactive question)

Ruth mentions virtual agents to guide you through simulations, collaboration, guidance worksheets (a plee for legal professionals)

think about: for your selected problem, sketch some ways you can use eLearning to provide guidance. (everyone is thinking again, only a few dropouts at this point, probably because they do not see why they should think if nothing is done with the thinking process - if Ruth would have told the goal in the beginning, I wonder if the dropouts would still be thinking at this point?)

building creative thinking skills
focus on a few specific skills - translate vague requirements into action items;
create job-specific scenarios that integrate ...

Now a high media example of simulations (again an army example, I think simulations were really done at first in the defense departments around the world - also a little bit logical as you cannot prepare for combat anywhere else, but ... still, it is a pity that violence is a technology boost) a multimedia simulation preparing people to be prepared in war zones... (a lot of macho, military talk, I just believe in peace and investing in peace - I am a gandhiïst) This approach allows inexperienced soldiers to be a bit better prepared in a foreign situation and it is .

- collecting job scenarios
- defining cognitive and metagcognitive processes
- training design trade offs (dollars and time)
  • scope?
  • interface?
  • media intensity?
  • complexity?

unknowns for future research
how realistic?
can integrate type 2 (brainstorming) into domain specific learning?
(and another thing, did not get this... phew what pace!)

conclusion: this was a knowledge packed session with a LOT of reflective moments. This made it more difficult to liveblog because... it took a lot of multitasking in my brain.

AG08 session The Secret of Delivering Outstanding Virtual Classroom Training by Frank Gartland

(For the live blogging info look below the AG08 synopsis)

Frank Gartland at LinkedIn

(AG08 synopsis): A primary challenge of any virtual event is successfully engaging the audience. Even skilled presenters often encounter challenges when bringing their presentations to a virtual environment. From getting the audience's attention at the start, to keeping them focused and engaged, to motivating them to participate – all are challenges for any on-line presenter. Anyone who has presented virtually understands the pressures and challenges inherent to this type of content delivery.

This session will provide practical advice and best practices on how to win the attention of a virtual audience and keep them engaged. Session participants will learn easy-to-implement techniques that will keep their audiences out of e-mail, and focused on the objectives of the event. These techniques will enable participants to focus on their day-to-day activities by providing them pragmatic and easy-to-apply approaches to leading successful virtual events.

Live from room Palm 4 at Hilton, Orlando, Florida
(My comments will be in Italic)
Frank likes to clap hands and he gets some questions at the beginning of the presentation (he is focusing on virtual classroom training) and uses bulleted ppt (not published yet, so I cannot link to it yet, but that is why I have bullet lists below based on the ppt).

techniques to focus your audience
  • be clear and concise
  • "grab your mouse"
  • walk them through every step
(okay, I thought this was an intro that would lead up to: DO NOT GRAB LEARNERS' HAND, but no, he means it: walk the audience through every step. I really do not believe in this, I believe that if you need to empower users and engage by intelligence not by training them like monkeys... euh... carried away, I do understand that you sometimes got to let learners do something specific)

use the participation meter to gauge interest

use features to engage
  • hand raise
  • feedback
  • chat
  • surveys
  • pass the floor
  • Q&A session
  • use video do not over use video
ask people to interact at least every ten minutes (with a way for them to know when they did not), ilink found that in virtual environments you need to engage your learners.

(agreeing - specifically the open floor, you learn a lot from others no matter what age or background if you give them the floor. It makes them think about what they are saying, makes them build arguments through discussion, gives them experience in speaking to a group)

  • Don't use one tool or one feature tool over and over
  • mix it up
(just thinking about adjusting the content you want to give in regard to the speed of the course when you decide to go interactive... that is one I sometimes have trouble with)

Common challenges / motivation (what the people say)
  • "our sessions are pretty long and people get tired"
  • "we don't have enough attendees to get creative"
  • "our audience might be too technical for this"
  • "it seems people drop off before we're finished"
Techniques to motivate your audience
  • know your audience, but take risks
  • try a contest...! try an open discussion
  • Ensure content is relevant and real-world
  • use the whiteboard for live brainstorming session
  • let students have shot at stumping you
If you use co-leader be sure to keep room for learners. Vocal variety is something to consider (Frank mentions female and male voices to keep the learners clear on who is talking - just thinking about a friend of mine who has a very low voice although she is a woman)

Discussion in the room (20 minutes left) quickly jotted down
give the learners feedback on how to mute their mic if they use open speakers.
depending on the pace put in some breaks in (10 minutes if you have a 3 hour session - max session 4 hours) a timer to let the participants know when to get back.
humour is content and culture related.
how to deal with people that follow an advanced course but did not follow the introduction class: depends on your learning model how you want to treat that person.

Frank did use the strategies that he mentioned (open floor, q&a ...) so virtual (as long as it is simultaneous learning) = face-2-face best practices in learning (mmm, that reminds me that I have a workshop with advanced teacher tactics coming up in May, jeej)

Any tips you have... add them!

What does the big room at AG08 look like?

Well here is a small vlog to get an idea of what the room looks like.
Keynote will start within a few minutes.

AG08 at the reception: people and how they come across

The eLearning Guild's Annual Gathering has started. Yesterday there were a couple of master classes and pre-conference sessions, but I limited myself to taking a swim (enthusiastic: there is a heated, big, outdoor swimming pool, hooray!) and going up to the VIP-reception in the evening.

The nicest encounter of the evening was with Alan Levine (of whom I am going to follow two sessions) he looked very open hearted and filled with warm energy. This was the person who new the most about technology and learning probably. Why? because he was just human, talking about casual things, he did not have to brag about anything. It must be really nice to be that secure. Wonder what I come across like? (less secure, I had my QRcodes around my neck in the hope someone would come up to me to scan me with her/his mobile - nobody did - I still have to learn a lot).

A couple of people I have met f-2-f in the past were there (Silke Fleischer from Adobe Captivate and the great Steve Wexler from the eLearning Guild - yes, a couple is to be taken literaly here). But then I looked around and saw a couple of virtual people there: one from the internettime community: Clark Quinn (who looks exactly like his picture at internettime, which means he looks a bit like a good friend of mine) and who is really friendly.

I also met chief learning officer of the
Fort Hill Company and co-author of the paradigm-changing book Six
Disciplines of breakthrough learning
and Will from the Thalheimer association, they gave a pre-conference research symposium on Measuring eLearning success. They were uptempo and funny, Roy seems to have explored the realm of formal learning, he has several degrees. Because Roy is so well educated I could not help myself to answer his jokingly stated question "so what is the difference between a live and a dead blogger" with a completely serious answer that he took for real, sorry Roy.

(in the vlog below you can see Alan Levine (with beard) shaking his head, Steve Wexler asking if I am videotaping and Will Thalheimer and Roy acting like a comic duo)

Monday 14 April 2008

a career guide designed as a manga illustrated book?! You gotta see this!

Brent Schlenker got me on to this book, I surfed to the net and ordered a copy, this looks like a great combination.

Daniel H. Pink (a NYTimes author) just published a book an how to change your career: "Johnny Bunko, the last career guide you'll ever need". Well, that in itself might be ok, but not that thrilling. The thing that made me come out of my chair was that the book is designed in manga form! Rob ten Pas (Dutch name, but born in Wisconsin) who created the award winning comic book "Bomango", designed all the manga's. It looks like a real thrill for both the brain and the eyes!

If you want to read a quick review on the book: here is one from Maya Frost: (also interested in education).

Friday 11 April 2008

AG08 presentation ready for your review

I just finished my well somewhat better then draft presentation that I am giving next week during the eLearning Guilds Annual Gathering and I have loaded it into slideshare (see below).

If you have any comments please let me know (rushing off to a meeting now).

PS @Nicola, I will add the Turkey/(Eastern) Europe one also but still need to paste it in.

Wednesday 9 April 2008

What would you like to do better as a Learning Professional?

This months The Big Question on Learning Circuits.

I would love to go interdisciplinary with people from other fields to see how or what this cross-motivation would come up with. More interdisciplinary action and discussion;

Losing less time with the change management’s angst and convincing people to dive into the change that Technology Enhanced Learning brings without too much of negativity (could you just say: “Ah, that looks really new, of course I would love to try it out!” – please just ones!);

Deciding on the ethical issue of free for all learning in relation to my own need for a pay check;

Having more time for TEL research;

Writing more stories and making more screenplays for comics (or movies, that would be great!);

Getting in touch with my theta brainwaves, which basically means giving my brain the time to come up with great ideas, which I can discuss with others from different areas of knowledge, that will lead to research topics, which in turn make eLearning stronger to sell and above all will make me a very lucky and motivated person and lifelong learner.

Ok, I am off now to do all these things... see you all later!

Tuesday 8 April 2008

CIDER online events: an ICT4D expert from Catalonia

The Canadian Institute of Distance Education Research, University of Athabasca, presents the next presentation in their series of free CIDER sessions. Their next session features a presentation and discussion with Ismael Peña-López, Lecturer and Researcher, Open University of Catalonia.

Title: The Personal Research Portal: The Virtual Faculty or the Net behind the Classroom.

He has an abstract of his presentation posted on his blog. If you are interested in ICT4D, you better check out his blog, he calls it a personal research portal and by Jove that is so true.

In this presentation, Ismael Pena-Lopez expands on his previous research into personal research portals to propose ways in which educators may use web 2.0 tools to build themselves a place on the net - a personal research portal where they may weave their own network of colleagues, share resources, and exchange experiences. The presentation will look at how these personal research portals may impact on the tasks in which educators engage in outside of the classroom, be it of bricks and mortar or virtual. In addition, the presentation will examine the possibility of a virtual faculty based on personal portals built with web 2.0 tools.

When: Friday, April 11, 2008, 11am-12pm Mountain Standard Time (= 19 PM London, UK)

Where: Online via Elluminate at:

Please make sure your Mac or PC is equipped with a microphone and speakers, so that we can use the Voice over IP functionality built into the web conferencing software. Please note that it is extremely important that you get your system set up prior to the start of the event. Please don't wait until the day of the session to do this. Information on installing the necessary software and configuring your PC is available at http://www.elluminate.com/support/ in the "First Time Users" section.

The session will be recorded and available for future playback from http://cider.athabascau.ca/CIDERSessions/
(which I will look at because I cannot make it to the live session - a real pity, because it will be inspiring).

Saturday 5 April 2008

at the crossroads of AG08

Brent Schlenker just added a blogpost were you can find all the interactive portal of the eLearning Guilds' Annual Gathering.

Yes, the people are gearing up for this event.

Friday 4 April 2008

publication on emerging technologies for TELearning

Becta has published a new research report on emerging technologies in technology enhanced learning. Becta is the UK government's lead agency for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in education. This annual report is the third in his kind and all the reports are worth a read.

I have written down a synopsis on the article: Mobile, wireless, connected: information clouds and learning by Mark van't Hooft
you can read about it below the overview of all the articles.

a quick overview of the rest of the articles:
Growing up with Google: what it means to education
Diana Oblinger explores the ‘net generation’ who can seamlessly move
between their real and digital lives.
Location-based and context-aware education: prospects and perils
Location- and context-aware systems are expected to become increasingly
pervasive in the near future, and here Adam Greenfield discusses some of the
potential issues and pitfalls around implementation and reliance on such
Emerging trends in serious games and virtual worlds
Sara de Freitas looks at the development of virtual worlds and ‘serious games’
and how we can make best use of these technologies to support better
‘If it quacks like a duck…’ Developments in search technologies
Emma Tonkin examines the problem of finding and searching digital content on
the web and the limitations of current systems. She explores the semantic web, data mining, multimedia search and context-aware systems.
Interactive displays and next-generation interfaces
Michael Haller explores the potential of some emerging display and
interface technologies to improve interaction with computers and facilitate
collaborative activities in more natural and intuitive ways.

A more in-depth look at the mobile article "Mobile, wireless, connected
Information clouds and learning":
Mark van't Hooft focusses on new trends in mobile learning or as he writes it: "Mobile and wireless technologies provide opportunities for learning to become more personal and customised yet collaborative and networked, portable and situated, ubiquitous and lifelong...In sum, as our environment is becoming more flexible and unpredictable, so is our learning."

The short highlight on the web-on-the-go applications that allow users to both get information on- and off-line together with synchronization which gives you the ability to access data offline when there is no connectivity, and when you get on-line they automatically sync with what you have stored was nice. Mark mentioned Google Gears and Oracle 9iLite as good examples for this type of hybrid use, also referring to (personal) cloud computing because of the use of shared web-based applications. I also liked his reference to Vander Wal on cloud categories.

I also like his focus on context and the fact that context is so related to the understanding of a topic or piece of information (a huge factor for global (TE)learning). He points towards technologies that use location as an anchor point for digital information (object recognition, geo tagging, user recognition) and then goes on to the influence of web2.0 on the mobile realm.
After which he puts everything he mentioned together mobility/connectivity, user control, and rich experiences and looks on how this affects learning and which are the issues and barriers (for example ownership of mobile devices, relevance of technology, assessment of learning).

Yes it is definitely worth a read because it brings a lot of factors together in a concise way.

This report was brought to my attention by Stephen Downes and Wilfred Rubens.

Image credit: “nptechtag”; cambodia4kidsorg’s photostream:

Thursday 3 April 2008

eLearning Guild Annual Gathering: my live blogging schedule

In preparation of the live blogging I have planned during the eLearning Guilds Annual Gathering, I list my schedule. If any of you are planning to blog on this conference, let me know your schedule, we could link to one another.

The tag I use for this conference is AG08.

Thursday 15 April:

Session 103 at 10.45 am: The Secret of Delivering Outstanding Virtual Classroom Training by Frank Gartland.

Session 206 at 01.00 pm: Evidence-based e-Learning Methods to Build Creative Thinking Skills by Ruth Clark.

Session 302 at 02.30pm: Mobile Learning Today and Tomorrow by Judy Brown.

Session 408 at 04.00 pm: Storyboarding for e-Learning Video Production by Steve Haskin and Joanna Miller.

Thursday 16 April:

Session 501 at 10.45 am: Mission Possible: Next Generation Content Transformation by Kris Rockwell and Ganesh Kumar.

Session 607 at 01.15am: I'm Busy Enough ... What Do I Need a Second Life For? By Alan Levine.

Session 704 at 02.45pm: Scanning the Globe: Connecting your Digital World to the World Around You by Brent Schlenker.

Friday 17 April:

Session 805 (my own, look further down)

Session 911 at 11.15am: 50 Web 2.0 Ways to Tell a Story by Alan Levine.

My sessions:

Thursday 17 April at 10 am session 805 The Impact of Mobile Social Media in Developing Countries” during which I will talk about social media, mobile social media use (eLearning and activism). Roaring to go on this topic!

Wednesday 16 April at 7.15 – 8.15 am (okay, this breakfast byte will hurt that early in the morning)
Topic: “How do YOU Organize the Exploding Digital Knowledge?” these ‘breakfast bytes’ are free for all and it is meant to be an informal discussion/learning moment.

If you would like me to interview one of these speakers, let me know (add questions) and I will try to schedule an interview.

Conference blogging tips (from others)

If I attend a conference, I blog, so I am a conference blogger. This enables me to rethink what is said (content seeps into my mind immediately), ask questions if something seems to have a discrepancy, give speakers the chance to correct my possible mistakes (interpretation is a useful yet dangerous mindset) and of course it offers me the opportunity to have a conference report ready in less then 15 minutes ones I return to my professional base camp.

There are a few rules regarding blogging however and thanks to Ethan Zuckerman and Bruno Giussani it is really easy to swiftly go through a few guidelines that will make your life easier as you broadcast almost instantly from a conference.

Something I regularly need: a universal adapter to enable international access (sigh for all the moments I forgot this small piece of kit).

In a nutshell some of the things to start with:

  • make sure your batteries are charged, put yourself in the back row so you do not disturb anyone, prepare in advance by looking up speaker information, use cross platform software,
  • capture the essence of the speech,
  • add additional information that is relevant to the speech or that captures the moment (quirks or gestures or ... from the speaker),
  • quote only when you are sure about what is said,
  • be clear in your writing,
  • link whenever possible to relevant (audiovisual) information,
  • tag consistently, publish asap,
  • be transparent about your mistakes,
  • collaborate whenever possible,
  • make it stick.

If you are (or planning to be) a conference blogger look at there quick PDF book (only 6 pages or the booklet version only 3 pages).

If you have any pointers, feel free to add, I will be very happy to use any advice you can give.

Want to know more, look at Bruno Giussani’s blogpost.

Wednesday 2 April 2008

Send your tips and get published

The eLearning Guild is gathering tips from eLearning experts. If you have tips that can enhance synchronous eLearning, feel free to contribute to the upcoming eBook that will be published in May by the eLearning Guild.

The nice thing about contributing to these eBooks is that they are offered for free afterwards. So in a way your knowledge will be spread around the world.

To contribute tips you do need to log-in to the eLearning Guild website, but that is just to make sure that they have an idea of who is contributing.

If you want to see some free eBooks for your self first, look here.

In the meantime I am getting my presentation finished for the upcoming eLearning Guilds’ Annual Gathering (14-17 April 2008, Orlando, Florida). I am planning to make my hand-outs available through QRcode and through a mobile wifi-setup.

As soon as my presentation is in beta (ahem) I will post it and ask you to give comments if you want to.