I’m amazed at how often someone tells me that their organization’s knowledge, skills, and attitudes are sitting there in a bunch of PowerPoint presentations, just waiting to be extracted for juicy eLearning modules. The proposition isn’t that simple, so a tactical approach to using this content is helpful.
First, let’s consider what Captivate can do for you if you have a great deal of existing PowerPoint content. Here’s how Adobe puts it in the help file:
“You can import and edit Microsoft PowerPoint presentations in Adobe Captivate. Imported slides can be edited in a Microsoft PowerPoint environment from within Adobe Captivate. You can choose to link to the source PowerPoint presentation to keep it in sync with the Adobe Captivate project.”
What does all of this mean? First, it’s easy to import a PowerPoint presentation (or individual slides) into a Captivate file. Hint: this is the magic bullet (note: you can also start a new Captivate project from a PowerPoint).
Second, you can link up your PowerPoint presentation with the corresponding Captivate file and perform round-trip editing; the Captivate platform is smart enough to help maintain any edits in both files. This function is deceptively powerful: it will help you maintain version control (and your sanity).
Also, you can update PowerPoint presentation changes made outside Adobe Captivate. Time-saver: you can send the PowerPoint file to a subject matter expert for a sanity-check or updates. After the file is returned, you can use the synchronization function within Captivate to maintain the integrity of the content. In the old world, you would have had to go through an iterative process with lots of emails, gnashing of teeth, and general frustration.
The point is that you can get a lot of content into usable eLearning format pretty quickly. The trouble is that you can’t just convert PowerPoint into eLearning and usher in a new golden age. You’re going to have to tweak stuff. Here come the caveats, veiled threats, and suggestions.
- Garbage in, garbage out. We’ve written to excess about having an eLearning philosophy. Many presentations are death-by-PowerPoint. Page-turners. Too many bullet points. The unspeakable horror of comic sans. Check out Garr Reynolds’ excellent Presentation Zen blog for ideas on how to make your presentations sing/shine/soar. Follow him on Twitter — @presentationzen.
- Learn about the art and science of using PowerPoint as an eLearning artist’s canvas. Buy Dr. Jane Bozarth’s book, Better than Bullet Points. Jane is on Twitter, too.
- Get down with some theory. Here’s an amazingly lucid post from Dave Ferguson on Ruth Clark’s principles.
- Follow the practitioners; they’re in the trenches. Heed Cammy Bean‘s maxim to avoid clicky-clicky bling-bling in eLearning. Heed it.
It’s a paradox. PowerPoint can be an incredibly valuable tool, but if you rely on preconceived ideas of what a presentation “should look like,” you’ll probably create ineffective eLearning.
Practice, and test your output in your LMS. Contact the Litmos team if you have questions about testing.
I was really surprised to find that an eLearning / learning technology conference I’m attending in Sydney in June does not have a presence on Twitter. In fact, the very same event must have just announced the winners of their 2010 awards on their website but the only way I found that out was by doing a hashtag search on Twitter for the conference name. Luckily, a few proud vendors had posted their victories which then led me to the results page of said conference’s website.
So I wrote to the conference’s email address today asking if they plan to be on Twitter before June because it would be a great opportunity to get the word out about what should be an awesome, action-packed two days. Not to mention the wonderful speakers who deserve some build up and a little exposure. Plus, there’s all the live session tweeting that can go on during the conference if there’s already some kind of hype built up around it. I should note that them not being on Twitter won’t stop me tweeting about it, but imagine the potential if they had more of a social media strategy in place and had been listening to the chatter online! Such a great way to get the inside scoop from your paying attendees before your event even begins.
Hopefully I will hear back as to why they aren’t on there but these days it seems almost ridiculous that an Asia Pacific-wide brand would not have a presence on one of the largest social networks in existence. It’s not really a big job running an event-focused Twitter account, someone just needs to check in once a day (if that) to answer questions, re-tweet a conference related tweet or put out an event update, a count down, speaker bios or some session titles. Then ramp it up a little before the actual event begins and voila! You will have some attendees who have already met online and organized to meet up at the event or at their hotels, attend dinner groups together to continue the session discussions and build lasting friendships. What a great opportunity to create community around an event and make it all the more memorable so that when the next year rolls around the word of mouth promotion kicks off without any help.
*They should take a leaf out of the eLearning Guild’s book – these guys really know how to ramp up to a conference, months in advance and get everybody wishing they were going! Just search for the hashtag #mLearnCon on Twitter and you’ll see what I mean.
There’s a lot of pressure when it’s your first blog post of a new year! So, I’m just going to take the pressure off by mentioning a post (or many posts to be precise) that I was reading earlier today and found to be very interesting and useful.
- Google Wave in Education – Dont Waste Your Time, November 16, 2009
- 12 eLearning Predictions for 2009 – eLearning Technology, January 26, 2009
- Twitter in the classroom: 10 useful resources – Social Media in Learning, August 12, 2009
- Should Educators be Afraid of Having a Facebook Profile? – Learning Putty, November 20, 2009
- eLearning Conferences 2010 – eLearning Technology, November 19, 2009
- ZaidLearn: 75 Free EduGames to Spice Up Your Course!- ZaidLearn, December 11, 2008
- Top 100 Learning Game Resources – Upside Learning Blog, June 24, 2009
- Twitter Tips: for Teachers & Educators – Dont Waste Your Time, May 9, 2009
- Top 100 eLearning Items – eLearning Technology, April 7, 2009
- 9 Free Tools That Help Me Build Better E-Learning – Rapid eLearning Blog, May 5, 2009
I’ve been saving a bunch of the links to blog posts / articles / video and thought I’d post them all here in one place, as sort of a collaborative, shared summary of an event that is well-deserved of it’s awesome reputation. If you didn’t make it to DevLearn this year, then these resources are the next best thing to get you up to speed with whats going on in the learning tech, corporate training and eLearning spaces.
- All #dl09 DevLearn Notes
Cammy Bean @cammybean
- DevLearn 2009 Write Up
Aaron Silver @mrch0mp3rs
- DevLearn Report
Brian Dusablon @briandusablon
- Notes from DevLearn and the Adobe Learning Summit
Steve Howard @stevehoward999
- Reflections on DevLearn 09
Koreen Olbrish @koreenolbrish
- My thoughts on DevLearn 2009
Michael Allen, Allen Interactions @customelearning
- Twitter, My DevLearn Conference Companion
Terrence Wing @terrencewing
- All DevLearn2009 posts
B J Schone @bjschone
- DevLearn ’09 Recap
Chad Udell @visualrinse
- DevLearn 2009 eHandouts
Mark Chrisman @badsquare
- All DevLearn related posts
- DevLearn 09: Show Report
- DevLearn Video of Day 1 and 2
- DevLearn 2009: Building the Future of Learning
If I’ve missed anyone off the list (sorry!) please do post any links you have in the comments section below.
Mark Oehlert is running the Social Learning Camp at DevLearn 2009 and I just attended his session on ‘The Big Three of Social Media / Social Learning: Fear, Control and Trust’.
Here’s a few takeaways from his talk which surrounded corporate culture and their objections to adopting social media, why they exist, and how to work around them:
- People don’t hate change, they hate how you’re changing them
- It’s not an I.T. problem (as in, security objections to social media are not the problem) it’s a human or culture problem
- Companies worry too much that once their people have access to social media they’ll say bad or inaccurate things. But social media doesn’t create idiots, in fact, it can expose them.
- One way to get around the fear, control and trust issues is through policy development
- IBM has the gold standard for social media guidelines
- It’s not an I.T.issue, it’s not a money issue – many social media tools are too affordable – it’s just fear, control and trust
- Being an eLearning professional means being a psychologist, anthropologist and counselor, because you’re constantly having to overcome and work around the human and emotional issues people have
Oehlert spoke about his experience with the Department of Defense and other government agencies and how Facebook and Twitter are not allowed because of operational security. There is a fear of exposing vulnerabilities within their community. He says this is a valid concern, but then went on to ask ‘does this mean that they then block access to these networks at the soldiers’ homes’? No. At the end of the day, it is corporate culture that’s the real problem.
The excitement is building for one of the eLearning industry’s biggest annual events DevLearn which kicks off next week in San Jose, California.
The week begins with the Adobe Learning Summit on Monday, followed by Pre-conference Certificate Programs Tuesday, then DevLearn Wed/Thurs/Fri. I’ll be there from Tuesday afternoon so please let me know if you’d like to meet up at some stage for a coffee and a chat, I’m really looking forward to meeting some fellow eLearning enthusiasts.
If you can’t make it along this year there are many ways you can keep on top of what’s happening (even if you are coming, you can get caught up in the hype by checking out these resources too):
- Follow the hashtag #dl09 on Twitter and look for photos tagged with it on Flickr during/after the event
- Check out the #lrnchat group as it will be running live on the bigscreen during DemoFest this year
- Join the DevLearn Live site for the latest news & feeds, and just to watch everything unfold
It sounds like the DevLearn team are very interested to hear how it looks from the outside for those virtual-attendees so make sure to send through any feedback to @devlearn on Twitter.
Following the conference is another event that I’ve already posted about and this time everyone can join in because it’s online, and free! Here’s more information about LearnTrends 2009.
*Please add any more DevLearn 09 resources that you know about to the comments section.
Contact me on Twitter:@Schnicker or Email: nicole [at] litmos.com
It’s from the same people that brought us ScreenToaster and it allows you to record and share short screencasts. You can capture 3 minutes of screen content (video & audio) which you can then tweet out a link to or you can use the link to put content in to your Litmos online courses.
There’s a great group on Twitter called #lrnchat that meet every week to talk ‘learning’. Learning technology, instructional design, semantics – you name it, it gets discussed.
Each week questions are submitted to the Lrnchat blog and one is chosen to be the topic of discussion for the chat time which happens every Thursday night 8:30-10pm EST / 5:30-7pm PST.
If you’re on Twitter and interested in learning, eLearning, online learning or anything related, make sure to visit their blog and find some of the key organizers and follow them. That way you’ll know it’s on when you start seeing your Twitter stream filled with the #lrnchat hashtag.
Although I haven’t been actively involved in the chat yet, I really enjoy reading their discussion comments as they sail by and always make sure to catch up on the conversation at a more convenient time for me by using the Twitter search function. Sometimes the conversation gets pretty heated and other times it’s downright hilarious.
Whatever happens, you’re bound to learn something.
Oh and I’m on Twitter here: @schnicker
You’ll probably be hearing a lot more of the term ‘electronic water cooler’, if you haven’t noticed it already. It’s a reference to the ideas and discussions that come up while hovering around the office water cooler, that are now happening online. Any social media tool (blogs, wikis, Facebook) could represent an electronic water cooler, but most often these days I’m hearing people talk about it in terms of Twitter – a million ideas buzzing around, conversations happening all over the globe, and you can choose to tune in to the ones you want to hear and discussions you want to be a part of.
If you’re already using social media tools (and have successfully managed to filter out the ‘noise’) then I’d imagine you know exactly what I’m talking about. They allow you to meet people and discuss topics that you could never find within the confines of your company, friend group or even locale.
So in the midst of the buzz of ideas, the thought has arisen that the electronic water cooler should be harnessed as a tool to ‘manage’ Gen Y and tap in to the new thought-pool, because it’s a perfect way to encourage development without actively telling anyone what to do (because that just equals rebellion). In a recent article called Five Ways Gen Y will Change the Way You Work, Nick Heath of silicon.com explores a new approach to training, recruitment and retaining staff which is well worth the read.
Some of Heath’s ideas sound pretty theoretical, and so I wonder how they would actually work in reality. But he sites some valid examples (Best Buy, Proctor and Gamble) where the ideas are proven to work. I like the image the electronic water cooler conjures up, and I agree that with such a wealth of information out there, the learning process needs to integrate the more interactive and collaborative features of social media if we want to remain relevant to the Gen Y audience.
To be totally honest, I didn’t like Twitter when I signed up. I didn’t understand the point of it. To me it was just another social network to waste my time. But now I know that you can’t grasp the full potential of what’s going on in Twitter using just the Twitter website.
You have to have a way to manage and understand all that information for it to be useful.
I’d recommend you get straight on to downloading a desktop ‘Twitter Client’ like Tweetdeck. For me it’s ‘message/info management’ central; a filter that separates out the ‘noise’. It enables you to focus in on certain groups of people, specific topics people are talking about, plus see all your direct replies and @replies on one screen so you can respond quickly.
Following lots of people is the way to go because you pick up on all sorts of things you wouldn’t normally. But it can be overwhelming when the tweets are whizzing by and you’re just getting bits and pieces of conversations, but never the full story.
Tweetdeck allows you take the control back over what you want to read and who you want to follow. By creating groups and searches, and by seeing all the information laid out right there, you can gain a better grasp of how Twitter can be used as an awesome networking and educational medium, as well as an excellent viral marketing tool for businesses and individuals.
I’ll show you what I mean. I’ve broken my Tweetdeck screen down in to 6 vertical columns:
- Everyone’s tweets – this is the feed you see in your normal Twitter account (the only feed!)
- Just @me replies – so I know who’s talking to me and can reply quickly
- Just Direct Messages to me – only I see these
- Tweets from anyone in my geographic area – I created this group & add to it all the time
- Tweets from people in eLearning & training – another group so I can follow these 2 topics
- An updating search on ‘Litmos’ & ‘online training’ – anyone mentions these words, I’ll see it!
The toolbar at the top left above the text box is what you use to control your Tweets, create Groups, Searches, Reply, Send Direct Messages, Favourite tweets etc.
The Settings icon in the top right corner is what you use to control the width of your columns, notifications, how often your screen updates, colours and other technical aspects.I can’t emphasize enough how useful the search and groups functions are. Without them I don’t think I’d be interested. Tweetdeck makes Twitter make sense..
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