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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Everything is a Learning Tool!

In a recent article on Learning Circuits, Clark Aldrich proclaimed Second Life is not a Teaching Tool which then followed with the flame wars in Second Life Redux & The Ultimate MMORPG?

What I find disturbing about this entire conversation is how quickly people will dismiss something as not being a learning tool because it doesn't fit conventional models. I would like to propose the counterpoint to this debate- Everything is a Learning Tool!

Let's take, for example, the humble stick.

How can a stick teach something as complex as Customer Service skills?
Let's explore:
  • A stick can serve as a symbol for the perfect interaction path. In the example of this stick, if you get off the path, you hit a thorn.
  • A stick can be used as an interaction aid. Pass the stick around to answer questions.
  • A stick can symbolize a reward. Hand the stick to someone who achieves a goal, such as a customer kudo.
  • A stick can be carved with symbols that relate to the student's job goals. A stick can be a part of a word game that helps students remember skills. (S=Sell, T=Tell, I=Inform... etc..)
  • If all else fails, you can hit your students over the head with the stick if they do something wrong.
The fact is, it is not our place to say what is or isn't a learning tool. If we get into this debate, we miss the creativity of finding new uses for, well, anything. If a stick can be a learning tool, imagine what can be made of something like a MMORPG.

Instead of debating what is or isn't a learning tool, look at what your students relate to and find a way to use that as a learning tool.

Do your students use PSPs? How can you use that?
Do your students all like the movie Borat? Use it.
Do your students all play Half Life? Use it.

We should never force our students into our instructional models. Instead, we should look for how we can relate our education to our students.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Yiibu.com - Learning and Lifestyle for Mobile

For later reference:
Yiibu - Learning and Lifestyle for Mobile

This site is by some great mobile developers who successfully combine education with the mobile lifestyle. Their understanding of the mobile lifestyle seems to surpass most other mLearning developers and I have a lot to learn from them. One thing I love is their use of anime type graphics and avatars.


Good job Stephanie and Bryan! You've opened my eyes to a lifestyle angle I haven't really explored.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sony PSP as Educational Handheld?

To facilitate some fun inspiration for the new year, I broke down and bought a Sony PSP. I've never been much of a gamer, and only recently have I delved into Second Life, however, with more and more educational games being made for the Sony PSP, I've decided it's time to jump into the foray.

Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) Value Pack

Of course, programming for the PSP isn't as easy as Flash, but it can be done. I've also decided to check out some of the existing PSP educational titles available. I'll add links from Amazon once I find them...


While I know that this is only one mLearning platform, it is something that is popular among our next gen learners. We as education professionals need to stay one step ahead of our learners less we come to a point where we are unable to educate as their expectations have surpassed us.

Reference:

PSP Hacks, Mods, and Expansions

PSP Hacks: Tips & Tools for Your Mobile Gaming and Entertainment Handheld (Hacks)

Jozi college goes mobile- mLearning & Learning 2.0 w/ MobilED

IOL: Jozi college goes mobile


By Sholain Govender

While cellphone use is banned in most South African schools, a Centurion college has decided to embrace the technology and
use it to educate pupils. Cornwall Hill College, in collaboration with the Meraka Institute of the CSIR, is developing research-based models and scenarios on how cellphones could be used to empower pupils and aid teachers.

These models are being tested and evaluated in South Africa, Brazil, India, and Finland. This initiative, dubbed "MobilED", encourages teachers and pupils to use mobile devices in formal and informal learning situations.

It is also hoped that the initiative will improve scientific and technical know-how by noting how young people use mobile devices in everyday knowledge-sharing and problem-solving situations in and out of the school environment. "Cellphones are seen to be disruptive and distracting instruments and detrimental to teaching and learning in formal teaching environments," said Cornwall Hill College spokesperson Britt van der Knaap. "An alternative way of looking at this is to embrace these widely used and owned instruments.

"Even the most basic cellphones are powerful communication instruments and can be used to great advantage in the learning process to gain access to information as well as to manage, create and share content," she said. Using these microcomputers in formal learning environments can enhance and support existing learning strategies and benefit the advantaged as well as the disadvantaged pupil, Van der Knaap said.


She said Cornwall Hill College, a private school in Irene, had benefited tremendously from extended exposure to this new approach to
learning. Cornwall's executive director Leon Kunneke adopted the new initiative and encouraged the appropriate use of cellphones in the classroom
through values-based principles, instead of managing it on a rules-based system.

Cornwall Hill College is now collaborating with Irene Middle School in developing and testing mobile supported learning to determine its impact in a resource-limited environment. Teachers form Cornwall Hill recently gave a presentation at the 5th World Conference on Mobile Learning held in Banff, Canada.

This annual conference encourages critical debate on approaches, principles, and applications of mobile devices for promoting learning in formal and informal learning environments. Mobile Learning 2006 provided an opportunity for researchers, teachers, students, technologists and practitioners, as well as professionals
from industry, to share their knowledge, experience and research in the various areas where mobile learning is applied.

The MobilED initiative was the focus of three papers presented at the conference. Merryl Ford, of the Meraka Institute, presented a technical
paper on the server platform created in using cellphones to access content in Wikipedia (an online encyclopaedia) via text-to-speech technology.

Pupils of Cornwall Hill and Irene Middle School had the opportunity to address the issue of HIV/Aids among the youth and they could contribute their own perspectives to the growing body of knowledge by adding voice files to the existing Wikipedia.

Cornwall Hill College teacher Adele Botha's presentation, "When Wikis grow up and go for outings", documents the experiences of her Grade 10 science pupils in creating their own online textbook in the classroom and accessing it via their cellphones during an outing to Gold Reef City.

Fellow teacher Jacqueline Batchelor presented "Moving beyond a pilot", which focused on the implications of piloting and implementing mobile learning in a formal school environment and the catalyst for change brought about by the MobilED initiative. "It is encouraging to realise that South Africa and Cornwall Hill College in particular is on the cutting edge of developing and implementing mobile learning in formal learning scenarios," Van der Knaap said.


A tale of two experts on m-Learning - mLearning - Zimbio

A tale of two experts on m-Learning - mLearning - Zimbio

::snip::
EKL: Obviously IBM is really putting m-learning into practice. But where do you think the view that it’s been over-hyped has come from?
CK: I think what happened, and thank goodness we fixed things, was that everyone in the marketplace was spinning out this term m-learning. And it’s cool, but people don’t buy m-learning. You can take advantage of its capabilities for a business application deployment for a sales force, field force, and so forth, but people don’t buy m-learning. It’s a capability.
We gave it almost too much focus and drew attention to it, but pretty quickly we learned to back off and weave it through our existing offerings as a differentiator for us and a competitive advantage for the customers. We found that we need to get in the middle of these discussions with an important triad—the line of business (LOB) executive, the CIO, and then the CLO—and be the catalyst.
The LOB exec is the person who is going to drive an m-learning deployment. Clearly no one would ever deploy a device just for learning. But the LOB executives certainly would because they’re trying to give a competitive advantage or be more efficient. I use the term enablement. The CLO can say, if you have connectivity out to our endpoints, think about what you can distribute in a profiled fashion.
....
EKL: In 2000, you said we’re just on the cusp of achieving the potential of m-learning. Where are we now in 2005? To some people it may seem like not much progress had been made.
CQ: If we’re still on the cusp, that’s more due to the economic downturn over the past few years than a fundamental flaw in the logic. To be fair, there’s been a steady increase in the infrastructure (greater penetration of phones, increase in networks, and so forth), that makes it a more attractive and practical proposition now. I actually think we’re now past the cusp and on our way. After being on the stump for mobile learning for the last couple of years, we’re beginning to see some action: initial contracts, some experiments, and so forth.

Monday, December 18, 2006

m-Learning: Microlearning

Another 'M' for mLearning-
m-Learning: Microlearning

Microlearning deals with relatively small learning units and short-term learning activities. Generally, the term 'microlearning' refers to micro-perspectives in the context of learning, education and training. More frequently, the term is used in the domain of E-learning and related fields in the sense of a new paradigmatic perspective on learning processes in mediated environments on micro levels.Microlearning deals with relatively small learning
units and short-term learning activities. Generally, the term 'microlearning' refers to micro-perspectives in the context of learning, education and training. More frequently, the term is used in the domain of E-learning and related fields in the sense of a new paradigmatic perspective on learning processes in mediated environments on micro levels.

Source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microlearning
http://www.microlearning.org/

Directory of Free E-Learning Tools - mLearning - Zimbio

Good references just posted to the mLearning Wiki at Zimbio.
Jane’s Directory of Free E-Learning Tools - mLearning - Zimbio

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Windshield Time?

Looking down today while driving, I was thinking of a term I heard at an earlier mLearning conference called 'Windshield Time'.. this is the time your employees go to and from clients.. Initially, I thought this was an untapped field waiting to explore.. I even snapped a pic to show all the available learning modes available to me during a short commute... The challenge is.. your employee is driving to visit a client, how will your training get their attention? Why listen to training versus listening to the latest U2 album? mLearning, like all learning modes needs WIIFM- What's In It For Me... Without WIIFM, it is just another term or fad.....

Friday, December 15, 2006

mLearning World on your Mobile

mLearning World on your Mobile

MLearning-World.com now has a URL just for your mobile phone.

http://www.2mlearn.mobi

On your phone's browser, you simply can type 2mlearn.mobi and you will be directed to a news feed from mLearning-World that is formatted for whatever handset you are viewing this page on.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

eLearning DevCon 2007 - Dates and Call for Presentations

If anyone is interested:
eLearning DevCon 2007 - Dates and Call for Presentations

I have less than a month propose a presentation! Ouch.. Looks like I have a job for my Christmas holiday.

If you are interested in presenting at eLearning DevCon 2007, submit a proposal at www.elearndevcon.com. If your proposal is submitted and accepted by 1/9/2007, as a thank you we will provide you with a complimentary pass to the conference, pay for all of your meals, and we'll pay for your lodging at the residence halls at the conference.

We've had some great presenters in past years and I expect we'll have an equally
great lineup this for 2007. Registrations will open on 12/15. Check back at
www.elearndevcon.com soon for up to $150 off when you register early. And, check out who is going to be our keynote next year! Coming up soon!

Will at Work Learning: Assessment Mistakes by E-Learning Developers

This artcle stings:

Will at Work Learning: Assessment Mistakes by E-Learning Developers

While I don't fall into the category of those who only do L1 'Smiley' sheets, I know that often I could be going into L3 & L4 (ROI) studys a lot more. Generally, like most professionals, 90% of assessments seem to stop at the L2 level.

We've made it a goal next year to incorporate more L3 & L4(ROI) studies into our learning. Hopefully Will's results will be better next year.

Will at Work Learning's Storefront Learning Challenge

Will at Work Learning has an interesting challenge- the Storefront Learning Challenge

Explanation: One of our goals in the learning and performance field is to enable transfer, to help our learners minimize forgetting so that they can remember what they've learned over a long long time. This contest has no rules except this one: Try to capture in a storefront photograph, some insight, truth, or humorous notion regarding our field---the training, development, learning, performance, e-learning field(s). Give it a title, caption, and/or explanation if you like. Tell us the earth location of the storefront.

I humbly submit:
Closed Knowledge (Asakusa Japan)

Although many learning metaphors can be derived from Closed Knowledge, what stood out to me was that- Learning Will Happen. Even if we don't design or deliver the learning- aka, the Store is Closed, our students will find a way to learn. Our participants are hungry for knowledge and they will come to us for it. If we are 'closed' that doesn't mean learning stops, it simply means that our students will get knowledge from other sources.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

NLP in Education

This is something that most designers overlook, but is a great resource for eduction- NLP or Neuro-linguistic Programming.

From Wikipedia: The term "Neuro-linguistic programming" denotes a set of models and principles meant to explore how mind and neurology (neuro), language patterns (linguistic), and the organization of human perception and cognition into systemic patterns (programming) interact to create subjective reality and human behaviors.

Basically, NLP is the use of language techniques to program the listener to accept or be open to a certain message.

In the article, NLP in Education - A Magnificent Opportunity, Don A. Blackerby explores how we can use this in educational settings.

Some of the NLP modeling skills he uses are:


  • Spiritual/Greater System – Attempts to communicate or change at this level affects our experience of being a part of a much vaster system. Answers the question of, who else does this serve? Or, what is the greater purpose or vision?
  • Identity – Attempts to communicate or change at this level affects self-image and overall purpose. Answers the question of, who am I?
  • Beliefs and Values – Attempts to communicate or change at this level, affects the motivation and permission by affecting the reasons that we do it. Answers the question of, why do I do it?

  • Capabilities – Attempts to communicate or change at this level, affects behavioural actions through a mental map, skill or strategy. Answers the question of, how do I do it?

  • Behaviour – Attempts to communicate or change at this level, affects specific actions taken within the environment. Answers the question of, what do I do?

  • Environmental – Attempts to communicate or change at this level, affects the external constraints a person has to live within and react to. Answers the questions of, where and/or when and/or with whom do I do it?


  • Of course, this is the proverbial tip of the iceburg in NLP. Simple tasks such as using a students primary cognitive response to help clear communication paths provides the facilitator a great tool in overcoming barriers.

    The more we know about the psychology of the human mind, we can look back at our primary instructional models in an entirely new light.


    I would like to pose the question to my readers, have you used NLP or other psychological tool in your educational models? What were your results?

    The Learning Circuits Blog: Convergence Learning

    Great read, The Learning Circuits Blog: Convergence Learning

    Snip..
    Convergence Journalism: from the convergence of technologies that has taken place with digitization, to economic convergence in media ownership, through to the journalistic convergence that is seeing both a combination of media forms into one 'multimedia' form, and a multiplication of delivery systems.

    Wondering if the learning profession has such a term, I Googled it and came across this interesting definition from KERIS - the Convergence Learning Model is founded upon cognitive sciences and operates on three impetuses: the psychology of learning, pedagogical change, and technological advancement. From a psychological view, the model addresses intrinsic motivation based on Csikszentmihalyi's flow theory. From a pedagogical view, the model provides a link between formal and informal learning to the benefit of each. Finally, the model is implemented using ubiquitous computing technologies...

    Read the rest here:

    Friday, December 08, 2006

    learning elearning: Promise fo Web 2.0 for mLearning

    Selena has a great article here on mLearning & Web 2.0- or as many call it, Learning 2.0.
    learning elearning: Promise fo Web 2.0 for mLearning

    ..snip..
    Stephen Downes article on eLearning 2.0 summarises many of the developments on the WWW that have and will impact on how we learning takes place in both formal and informal learning environments. It’s a good article to read for background. Recent blogs by both Will Richardson & Derek Wenmouth lament the slow movement of the use of IT into the formal education area. Both of these bloggers also show the many ways in which the WWW could be used to held enhance learning. Will blogging recently on the uses of blogs in research, pageflakes as student portal and wikis & Derek with his thoughts on personal learning environments & ePortfolios.

    mLearn 2006 - Presentations

    For reference, here are all the presentions from mLearn 2006 this year. (Oct 22-25)
    mLearn 2006 - Keynote and invited speakers

    Will at Work Learning: m-Learning Tsunami

    Will at Work learning make some interesting points in his article
    m-Learning Tsunami

    As with many articles on the coming mLearning Storm, I argue that mLearning is not coming, it is HERE- NOW! As with the generation that is promoting it, it simply fights against having any label applied.

    Corporate eLearning Development: Podcasting with iChat and GarageBand

    Podcasting Note:
    Corporate eLearning Development: Podcasting with iChat and GarageBand

    Thursday, December 07, 2006

    The Learning Circuits Blog: Federation of American Scientists Bland Report on Harnessing the power of video games for learning

    The Learning Circuits Blog: Federation of American Scientists Bland Report on Harnessing the power of video games for learning

    How to Keep E-learners from E-scaping

    My boss sent me this yesterday and I thought it would be good to note it here for reference:

    How to Keep E-learners from E-scaping - Jim Moshinski, July 2001.

    • Objectives should be written that demonstrate the usefulness of instruction matched with authentic exercises and concrete examples directly applicable to their daily struggles in the workplace.
    • The course should contain goals with specific standards of performance that can be completed in a short time.
    • We should blatantly answer the question for the learner - what is in it for me.
    • When instruction is divided into compact 20 minute or less learning chunks the material can be effectively presented to the learner in a digestible fashion.
    • Practice ROPES - Review pre-requisites, Overview of job specific objectives, interactive Presentation of new material, job related Exercises, brief Summary.
    • Build on the familiar - Learners become motivated by lessons that incorporate their beliefs and examples of things they can relate to. Online learning should tie the instruction to the learners prior knowledge and experience.
    • Learners will accept moderate amounts of unfamiliar content but the designer should incorporate analogies with familiar content frequently.
    • Letting the employee know how well they are learning the content and performing the new task acts as an incentive for greater effort.

    Hacking Knowledge: 77 Ways to Learn Faster, Deeper, and Better | OEDb

    This is one of the more intresting articles I've read recently.
    Hacking Knowledge: 77 Ways to Learn Faster, Deeper, and Better OEDb

    Listing everything from Health to Learning Aids, there are a lot of ideas and concepts here that we as designers normally don't think about.

    Some examples:
    Health
    1. Shake a leg. Lack of blood flow is a common reason for lack of concentration. If you've been sitting in one place for awhile, bounce one of your legs for a minute or two. It gets your blood flowing and sharpens both concentration and recall.

    Perspective and Focus
    13. Turn out the lights. This is a way to focus, if you are not into meditating. Sit in the dark, block out extraneous influences. This is ideal for learning kinesthetically, such as guitar chord changes.

    Recall Techniques
    15. Listen to music. Researchers have long shown that certain types of music are a great "key" for recalling memories. Information learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled simply by "playing" the songs mentally.

    Visual Aids
    20. Learn symbolism and semiotics. Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols. Having an understanding of the symbols of a particular discipline aids in learning, and also allows you to record information more efficiently.

    Verbal and Auditory Techniques
    27. Cognitive enhancers: binaural beats. Binaural beats involve playing two close frequencies simultaneously to produce alpha, beta, delta, and theta waves, all of which produce either sleeping, restfulness, relaxation, meditativeness, alertness, or concentration. Binaural beats are used in conjunction with other excercises for a type of super-learning.
    28. Laugh. Laughing relaxes the body. A relaxed body is more receptive to new ideas.


    This is just a sample of the 77 way out of the box ideas. I look forward to seeing how I can use some techniques with my learners..

    Mobile Learning - Learn Chinese Online or Off

    From: TerenceOnline: An eLearning Resource Center: Mobile Learning - Learn Chinese Online or Off

    Keeping with the theme of foreign languages and online learning, I found a website that uses blogs, rss, podcasts, and other web 2.0 technologies to teach Mandarin Chinese . As China continues to be a huge player in the global economy, businesses and schools are rushing to learn the language. Chinesepod.com is a good place to start and may be an excellent resource for Mandarin Chinese language teachers to incorporate into their classroom. See the following information from their site to learn more.

    Wednesday, December 06, 2006

    Dave Mozealous: Why won't my FLV's playback when deployed via a server?

    Good info for Reference:
    Dave Mozealous: Why won't my FLV's playback when deployed via a server?

    One possible reason is that in IIS in WINDOWS 2003 FLV needs to be configured as a supported MIME type. I continually foget this, so I am posting here for two reasons:

    1. Maybe it will help someone else out
    2. Maybe it will help me remember to do this

    To setup IIS to support FLV as a MIME type follow the directions below:

    1. Right click the site in IIS and select Properties
    2. Select the HTTP Headers Tab
    3. Select File Types
    4. Under the MIME Map section and select New Type
    5. Type ".flv" as the associated extension and "video/x-flv" as the content type
    6. Select OK

    Your FLVs should now play back when viewed from the server. If you use a hosting company to host your files it is best to check with them about adding FLV as a supported MIME type.

    E-Learning Queen: The Thinking Person's Sims for Business and Education

    Reference on simulation tools & strategy for later reading.

    E-Learning Queen: The Thinking Person's Sims for Business and Education

    Tuesday, December 05, 2006

    Corporate eLearning Development: Corporate eLearning Podcast EPISODE1


    Recommended Podcast-
    Corporate eLearning Development: Corporate eLearning Podcast EPISODE1

    About-
    EPISODE#1 of the Corporate eLearning Development PodcastIn the first episode we discuss the Term Learning2.0. We had some technical difficulties during the live recording over at TalkShoe.com but most of it was "new user error".

    Sunday, December 03, 2006

    Top 10 Freeware Apps for M-Learning- from mLearning @edublogs

    Source, Leonard Low' s mLearning.edublogs.org.



    • NoteM audio recorder for Windows Mobile PDAs: unlike the standard audio recorder provided in Windows Mobile (in Notes), which records to WAV file format, NoteM records to MP3 format. This saves an enormous amount of storage space, and enables the recording of complete lectures or podcasts, rather than merely brief notes. It is also much more configurable than the standard Windows Mobile audio recorder.

    • iTube video downloader for iPods/PDAs/mobile phones: iTube videos range considerably in educational video, but it is still a superb resource of video content. Unfortunately, the Flash Video format used to package UTube videos isn’t really playable on anything, particularly not mobile devices. iTube allows users to download YouTube videos in MPEG and MP4 formats - the formet of which plays on most PDAs, and the latter of which plays on iPods and many mobile phones. Playability of video content on PDAs is considerably assisted by the following application. (previous blog post)

    • TCPMP video player for Windows Mobile PDAs: The Core Pocket Media Player (TCPMP) supports many more codecs than the standard Windows Mobile Media Player, making it much easier to download and use video content for mobile learning. It also has some excellent capabilities beyond what the standard player can achieve, such as stretched full-screen playing of videos, making videos both easier and more enjoyable to watch on a PDA. Another one to try out is SOMPY Media Player.

    • Opera Mobile web browser for J2ME (Java) Mobile phones: Usable on most mobile phones and some PDAs, Opera Mobile is the best mobile web browser I’ve ever used on any mobile platform. If you’re deploying mobile web content, encourage your users to try Opera Mobile. (previous blog post). PDA users might prefer Minimo, the PDA version of the Firefox browser with many features in common such as tabbed browsing.

    • ADB Idea Library allows the user to create and organise pictures, sounds, text - and other files - into collections. Great for getting learners to assemble their own ideas and demonstrate the construction of knowledge.

    • CERDISP screen sharing for Windows Mobile PDAs: the Windows CE Remote Display application enables you to put a copy of your PDA screen on a computer monitor or light projector to share it with other users. It includes a zoom tool for making the screen more visible, and uses your PDA’s standard computer cable and ActiveSync connection to do this most useful of tasks. (previous blog post)

    • XSForms/XSDesigner for Windows Mobile PDAs: allows creation of mobile databases, complete with user forms to make it easy to both add and search data. Enables students or teachers to remotely log data for research or learning purposes, and can be customised to synchronise with a desktop PC Access database. (previous blog post) Another database program to try is HotWax.

    • BUZZeeBee (formerly ProximityMail) for Windows Mobile PDAs: allows spontaneous, ad-hoc creation of wirelessly connected, proximal messaging groups, using free Bluetooth technology. I haven’t tried out the new BUZZeeBee version of the software yet, but the wireless, group-based text communication and sharing enabled by this product has many uses in education. (mentioned in this previous blog post)

    • SmartFlash Flash player for Windows Mobile PDAs: a much more flexible and powerful player than the standard Adobe Flash Player. Plays Flash files without needing to embed them in a web page, as they must for the standard Flash player.

    • PaintWinCE for Windows Mobile PDAs: not everyone’s a fan of doing things in text, or even audio. For learners with a visual learning preference, consider using Mobile Pencil - which turns a PDA in to a portable sketchpad/notepad - just draw with the stylus. Complete with a number of different pencil effects and colours to make it easier to communicate graphically, using a PDA. Similar applications include Pencil Box and Mobile Pencil.


    Other useful PDA applications I couldn’t fit into my top 10:


    Finally, while it isn’t really mobile software, but ratherm runs on a PC, Levelator makes the process of creating podcasts (for playback on pocket media players, PDAs and even mobile phones) so much easier it deserves a mention. Dropping an audio file on the application creates an output audio file with the volume optimised for playback, without having to fiddle with levels in Audacity. (previous blog post)



    Note: More mLearning resources to explore

    • QuizFaber - QuizFaber creates multiple-choice quizzes for the mobile web.
    • Flickr - features a mobile version of Flickr.
    • Mobilicio.us - Mobilicio.us allows you to remotely access your bookmarks, and Del.icio.us mona allows you to remotely save bookmarks.
    • Remote Podcasting - Gcast.com allows you to call a phone number to leave a message, which is instantly published as a podcast.
    • Create-A-Scape is a free resource for creating location-based learning experiences on Microsoft Mobile Pocket PCs called “MediaScapes,” and was workshopped at this month’s Handheld Learning 2006 conference in the UK.

    Saturday, December 02, 2006

    What your next generation of employees grew up on- mLearn: Toys=Tech

    Jonathan Nalder gives us an interesting perspective in his post:
    jnxyz eNews: mLearn: Toys=Tech

    If you don't believe that mLearning is coming fast, look at what your next generation of employees are growing up learning on.

    Christmas Wish List - The Ultimate mLearning Package

    I've recently run across what I consider the ultimate mLearning package from Sony- OK, so this isn't really anything to do with mLearning, but it has to be the ultimate tech gift for the geek like myself.

    The James Bond 007 UX Spy Gear Bundle-



    This ultimtate package includes:


    VAIO UX Micro PC (VGN-UX280P7)

    The VAIO® UX Micro PC is so small and lightweight even Q himself wouldn't believe it's a full-functioning PC. This remarkably compact dynamo features a 4.5" widescreen display*, an Intel® Core™ Solo Ultra Low Voltage processor and Microsoft® XP Professional.

    Cyber-shot® Digital Camera (DSC-T50/JB)

    Channel your inner spy as you capture spectacular photos—even in low light without a flash—with the ultra-compact Cyber-shot® DSC-T50/JB. This slim and sexy camera features a 3" touch panel, 7.2 megapixels and 3x optical zoom.


    VAIO® UX Bluetooth® GPS Receiver

    Hit the open road for your next mission and leave your maps at home. Using this Bluetooth® GPS receiver*, you can turn your UX Micro PC into a portable navigation assistant.

    Aluminum Attaché Carrying Case

    Originally home to a folding sniper rifle and ammo, the Sony version of the Bond attaché case contains custom foam cutouts that provide a snug-fitting, secure home for your non-lethal precious cargo. The attaché is constructed of black aluminum and features an embossed 007 Gun Logo.

    If the Micro PC isn't to your taste, a TX bundle is available with the TX series laptop.

    I suppose I can only dream... or hope for the ultimate development trade agreement :->


    Read more about the new VAIO UX Notebook here:
    Sony VAIO VGN-UX280P 4.5" Notebook PC (Intel Core Solo Processor U1400, 1 GB RAM, 40 GB Hard Drive)

    Friday, December 01, 2006

    ? mLearn: The Perfect Ed Tech Device?

    In this article, Jonathan Nalder explores if the new $100 mini-laptops or advanced handheld (or $140 depending on the model) are the 'perfect' mLearning device.

    jnxyz eNews: mLearn: The Perfect Ed Tech Device?

    While the prospect of a $100 laptop does expand the possibility of mLearning being widely accepted, in my opinion, this is not the seed of any sort of mLearning revolution.

    Many years ago, as mLearning was just beginning to sprout, Clark Quinn put it best when he stated that mLearning is (paraphrased):
    The Right Content
    delivered to
    The Right Device
    at the
    Right Time
    in the
    Right Context

    Where we as eLearning practitioners seem to fail is we keep looking for the perfect device to support mLearning. Instead, it is time to realize that the perfect mLearning device is whatever device our audience already has.

    This could be a cell phone, PDA, laptop, iPod, or other device.

    The mLearning revolution will take off when eLearning professionals undergo an evolution and start creating content that can be reused by all sorts of devices and formats, both mobile and static.

    As long as we wait for the right device, our audience will pass us by and the revolution will fizzle.

    Thursday, November 30, 2006

    (Ambient Insight) US Mobile Learning Market Reaches $460 Million in 2006

    Ambient Insight research identifies top revenue opportunities for m-learning suppliers.
    Seattle, WA (PRWEB) November 28, 2006 -- Ambient Insight today announced two reports on the 2006-2011 US Mobile Learning market. Executive overviews of the reports are available for free at http://www.ambientinsight.com/Reports/MobileLearning.aspx

    The market for Mobile Learning products and services across all the buyer segments is growing by 27.2% and will exceed $1.5 billion by 2011. There are now waves of new products hitting the market including language learning, test prep, training podcasts, personal learning tools, location-based services, device-embedded reference, wireless decision support, and handheld continuing education content."Unlike elearning which is dominated by corporate buyers, Mobile Learning is being driven by consumer, government, and healthcare buyers," said Sam Adkins, chief research officer.

    Packaged content will account for the largest revenues for suppliers throughout the forecast period. Adkins breaks out revenues for seven distinct types of packaged content in his report.

    ..read the rest here...

    eLearning Guild November Big Question- Are our models (ISD, ADDIE, HPT, etc.) relevant in the future?

    The November 'big question' from Learning Circuits is probably one that is challenging us all right now: Are our models (ISD, ADDIE, HPT, etc.) relevant in the future?

    I actually asked myself this question shortly before the 'big question' was asked.

    In my article 'Choose the Right Door' I explore the conflict of traditional ID modeling with the breakthroughs in Learning 2.0 theory. I found that the master of eLearning, Thiagi, has long before any phrase of Learning 2.0 or Web 2.0 found a way to balance these trends with his Four Door approach to learning.

    Click here to read the article.

    eLearning Professionals, Are you LinkedIn?

    LinkedIn has been called the MySpace for business professionals.
    If you are an eLearning, I would love to have you as part of my LinkedIn network.


    View Matthew Nehrling (mnehrling@alltel.net)'s profile on LinkedIn

    My profile is here:
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/mnehrling

    You can contact me through LinkedIn with the e-mail address mobilelearn@gmail.com or mnehrling@alltel.net.

    Intuition announces world first(sic) in mobile learning via PDA?

    I question the validity of the claim about this being a first, but it still is an interesting step forward..
    ..snip..
    Intuition announces world first in mobile learning via PDA

    Financial services institution first to use BlackBerry® for learning on the
    move Intuition, the technology-enabled learning expert, has announced the deployment of the world’s first fully trackable mobile e-learning course for PDAs such as BlackBerry®. The course has been developed for financial services institutions, and enables users’ progress to be tracked and recorded automatically, making mandatory training easier to deploy, more convenient and fully auditable.

    Read the rest here:
    http://www.bobsguide.com/guide/news/16707.html

    Wednesday, November 29, 2006

    Friday- Luminary eSeminar Series: A New View of eLearning Design: Reforming the Perpetrators of Bad Behavior

    Thanks to Tom King for sending me information on this seminar:

    Luminary eSeminar Series: eLearning, Sales & Marketing

    A New View of eLearning Design: Reforming the Perpetrators of Bad Behavior
    Friday, December 1, 20061:00 PM - 2:00 PM US/Eastern

    A New View of eLearning Design: Reforming the Perpetrators of Bad BehaviorPresenter: Michael W. Allen, Ph.D., CEO, Allen Interactions Inc.Borrowing from the psychology of behavioral change, we will talk about the kinds of learning events that can change behaviors. We will also look to change management techniques for guidance on developing highly successful performance improvement campaigns.

    10 Reasons E-Learning Initiatives Fail (and how to avoid them!)

    GeoLearning is hosting a webinar on December 6th, 12pm CST- 10 Reasons E-Learning Initiatives Fail (and how to avoid them!).

    From the invite:

    If you’ve ever headed up an enterprise e-learning initiative, you know the path to success can be fraught with pitfalls. This 1-hour virtual session will address the top 10 reasons e-learning initiatives fail and—more importantly—how they can be avoided. You’ll learn about the potential oversights and missteps involved in building a business case, identifying requirements, selecting technology and content, evaluating services, and launching a successful program. If you’re a stakeholder, manager or play a supporting role in your organization’s e-learning initiative, this session will arm you with the practical know-how to avoid the biggest pitfalls.

    This 1-hour virtual session will address:

    • How to build an airtight business case and align your e-learning strategy with your organization’s core business objectives.
    • How to identify “pain or gain” issues within your organization to win buy-in from executives, functional managers and front-line employees.
    • How to use a systematic approach to evaluate e-learning vendors, technologies and services.
    • How to plan the rollout of your e-learning initiative for maximum impact and success.

    Register for this complimentary webcast online at www.geolearning.com/10reasons.

    The Learning Circuits Blog: What simulations are good at capturing that books are not

    From The Learning Circuits Blog: What simulations are good at capturing that books are not.

    Follow up to read the paper on simulation constructs. http://www.cs.brown.edu/publications/conduit/conduit_v15n2.pdf

    Mobilemind

    Tom King @ Mobilemind has an interesting article worth a second look:
    Effective learning is more than Flash interactions

    ...snip...

    Too often we use ADDIE and elearning like a defibrillator-- perhaps rescuing the organization during the current "crisis," but doing little or nothing in terms of the big picture planning for preparation, ongoing "treatment", coaching/support and transition to sustained independent performance. Crisis solved. But what about the heart patient with an exercise-free, high-cholesterol, high-stress lifestyle? Would the medical community just move on and wait for the next incident?

    Tuesday, November 28, 2006

    Time really does fly.....

    I cannot believe it has been a month since I posted anything to mLearning-World. With a large pilot training launch that required 200% attention to taking a nice week long sabbatical from anything work and computer related during Thanksgiving, I feel very refreshed and ready to explore.

    For everyone who has sent me e-mails asking me to look at their projects or other issues, I promise to catch up shortly. For all of the open questions on LearnCircuits, some questions will have to come in small chunks.

    For myself, the past month has been a full learning opportunity, not always good. Some key lessons I have learned:

    • Those who believe in eLearning stand by it to the bitter end- Those who believe in traditional learning, likewise, stand by it to the bitter end- rarely do those on either side of the issue look at the benefits of blending those styles.
    • One cannot, in less than a month, rush out a pilot eLearning replacement program and expect it to be welcomed or immediately improve upon a blended solution that has been in development for years.
    • A pilot launch is, in itself, a learning tool- especially when trying something new or shaking up 'the system'.
    • sometimes it is good to be just a cog. A successful car has one engine made up of many cogs.
    • Brent may have the right idea regarding being a free agent.
    • Life goes on. A successful project is one you can grow and learn from, not one that always makes everyone happy.

    All in all, this seems like a vent but it really isn't. As you can tell, my recent project didn't go to the standard I like to achieve. While there are many factors for this, all we can do is learn lessons and move on. I still believe that this was a success in proving a concept, especially considering we are comparing a three week developed course to a course that has been developed, re-developed and perfected over the past several years. Considering the L3 results were almost identical- I am not completely dissatified with what happened.

    Tuesday, October 24, 2006

    How Can 'Mobile' Help Teachers?

    I have many posts in drafts, but I've found finishing my posts (including an answerback to eLearning Guild) often takes many hours of thought. Finishing is often on my mind in projects as they seem to go on and on with revisions after revisions......but.... something that has jumped out in the mLearning world is simply how mLearning can improve your average teacher.

    I am doing a personal study as to how mLearning is helping my wife- a music and Spanish teacher at a private school. She has embraced podcasts and other interesting teaching tools that involve mLearning, but my challenge this month is to help her organize.

    I purchased my wife a Palm Zire Z22- a PDA under $100 that any teacher could justify buying.
    I will document how this simple, cheap device can help her in her schoolwork and planning her classes.

    Challenge? YES? I have bought my wife many PDAs but the difference in the Zire Z22 is that it is SIMPLE- no games to distract her, no Bluetooth, no Internet browser.. sometimes you need to step back a few step sto get on the right path.

    mLearning is sometimes not about jumping ahead of the technology curve; sometimes it is about jumping backwards to get on the right path........

    TBC...

    Tuesday, October 17, 2006

    DevLearn 2006 Handouts

    For reference- here is a list of downloadable session handouts from DevLearn 2006.

    http://www.elearningguild.com/pbuild/linkbuilder.cfm?selection=doc.1232&templateid=2

    Many sessions also have downloadable podcasts.

    Choose the Right Door

    This article was submitted to ASTD's Learning Circuits for their November Big Question- Are our models (ISD, ADDIE, HPT, etc.) relevant in the future.



    Some recent projects have gotten me thinking about how to best balance eLearning 2.0, traditional instructional design models, customized learning content, users choosing their own learning path and measurable learning validation assessment. It seems many of these items conflict with one another.

    eLearning 2.0 is truly about social learning bringing in the theory of eduChaos in that, if given a stated learning goal with an interactive group, learning will naturally occur. eLearning 2.0 is truly the ‘edge of chaos’ in that ‘students’ are self facilitating and learning comes from interaction and social networking. The result is sharing knowledge and groups ‘questing’ for the answer.

    Of course, eLearning 2.0 comes at a price. In the corporate world, we generally see requests where all aspects of learning must be carefully controlled, planned, and measured. Moving to a complete Learning 2.0 model is far more of a cultural shift than it is new ‘development’ work.

    Traditional Instructional Design Models, such as Gagne’s model fit corporate expectations in that it is a methodical, controlled, timed model that is easily evaluated on. Gagne is sound but does nothing for the modern learners if looked at in it’s purest form. Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials all have a unique learning style that has quickly evolved over the technology of the past two decades. From Gen X who demands self study, to Gen Y who demands choice in delivery and now to our newest generation of workers, the Millennials who demand social networking, traditional models often leave these learners with the feeling that something is missing or frankly, are bored.


    What is the solution? When thinking about this quandary, I am reminded of one of my favorite eLearning gurus- Thiagi.

    In Thiagi’s Four Door Approach to eLearning your learners choose their best learning style and can shift from one to another to meet their needs.

    Thiagi’s Four Doors of eLearning are:


    The Library- Performance support and reference materials available for self study- Perfect for Gen X and prior who wish to tackle problems with data at their own pace.



    The Playground- Learning through gaming- for Gen X and Gen Y who grew up on Nintendo and Playstation, this door offers a way to learn though the channels programmed since childhood.



    The Café- Learning 2.0 in it’s purest form. Learning through social interaction is what Gen Y and the Millennials demand. They have grown up on Blogs, Message Boards, and sites such as My Space. For Café learners, what we see as the Chaos in eduChaos, they see as the most profitable educational experience.



    The Torture Chamber- Like it or not, all learning should be measured in some way. The Torture Chamber provides an opportunity to test your skill or knowledge at the big picture of learning. The Torture Chamber, however, is far more than an a,b,c assessment. The Torture Chamber should simulate the real life scenario the learning is based on. For many like myself, the Torture Chamber would actually be the first place we venture. If we pass the gauntlet, we have saved time learning. If we don’t pass the gauntlet, we go back to our preferred path of learning with the knowledge of what the end goal is.




    I plan to look more at Thiagi’s Four Door approach and how to incorporate this into learning. I would love to hear from anyone reading if you have used the Four Door approach and it’s successes or lessons learned.

    Wednesday, October 04, 2006

    Is mLearning Really 'The Future'

    I've once again stumbled across another presentation that decries mLearning as 'The Future' of learning. This time, this very detailed and well presented article by Marcus Ragus got me thinking...

    ...Is mLearning the future or is mLearning all around us already?
    I've seen many presentations over the past few years declaring mLearning 'the future'. I would like to challenge that not only is the future now, the uptake of mLearning is greater than most of us realize.

    The challenge is that the modern generation of learners are quick to challenge any label and to them, mLearning or Learning 2.0, or Social Network Learning, or any of the newest trend buzzwords is simply business as usual.

    In helping my wife with some Spanish language podcasts and a quick search we found hundreds of teachers producing podcasts for their students.

    mLearning is here now, it just has defied labeling- it is business as usual.

    Tuesday, October 03, 2006

    Learning Circuits Asks- Should All Learning Professionals Be Blogging?

    The Big Question is a new monthly feature on Learning Circuits Blog. Each month a new question is offered that is of interest to the learning community.

    The Big Question for October is:
    Should All Learning Professionals be Blogging?






    -My answer is a resounding NO. My main concern in this question is the qualifier 'SHOULD' as if this is a commandment. Although Blogging is one of the newest technologies to hit the learning scene, my concern is learning professionals will once again fall into the trap we always seem to, taking a technology and holding on too tightly. What once was the next big thing today, tomorrow will be yesterday's news. Just as you have learning professionals hung up on PowerPoint being the be-all-end-all of training, the next generation may consider blogs (or Wikis) the be-all-end-all.

    My second concern is that learning professionals will embrace blogging technology just because they are told it is the 'next big thing' in learning, and yet, it may not be the best for their circumstance. I've seen many cases where technology or software was embraced because it was 'cutting edge' only to sit on the shelf.

    I look forward to a time when all learning professionals are open minded to new technology not because they have to, but because they have determined that technology is best for their circumstance.

    We need to take a measurable and calculated path to ensure we don't pollute the technology with poor implementation.

    This may seem odd coming from a learning technology professional, but we all remember the day when everyone embraced PowerPoint for every learning solution, only to have the technology watered down by poor presentations. We now have the situation where the learning community cringes (or laughs under their breath) when anyone mentions PowerPoint.

    Monday, October 02, 2006

    More Podcasting Educational Resources


    My wife is a Music and Spanish teacher at a local private school and I've been working with her for the past few months on how she can enhance her teaching through mLearning and other technology.
    Recently, I've discovered a plethora of podcasts available for Music and Spanish education that anyone from elementary students to adults can use:

    Spanish Learning Podcast Blog - This is a great site that is full of podcasts and other resources to learn Spanish. Applicable for all levels. Download a sample podcast here-> Also check out Voice Genesis , a service that InstaSpanish uses to download podcasts to mobile phones.


    EdTech Musician has podcasts and video casts available for more advanced music students. Download the feed here. Or download a sample podcast here.


    Some more educational podcasting resources for teachers:

    The Education Podcast Network
    Podcast Directory List
    Podcast Directory for Teachers - from the UK
    Podcast Networks
    Podcast Alley
    Podscope - search on a specific word in a audio file
    VodStock - a vodstock directory

    The more I work with my wife on her lessons, the more I realize that mLearning is far more prevalent than once thought. Teachers, designers, and enthusiasts all around the world are creating mLearning tools without realizing it. I am beginning to think that once everyone gets over the stigma of mLearning being somehow cutting edge and out of reach, there will be a worldwide explosion.

    Texting Improves Literacy - lol

    Don Clark may or may not be serious with his new post, Texting Improves Literacy. This does have implications when considering mLearning in school systems. This does remind all designers out there to continually be aware of basic grammar and spelling rules. The intesting parts of this study where the improvements in phonetics- especially considering podcasts I've been working with my wife on for the Spanish class she teaches.



    Is texting responsible for all of this poor spelling and literacy? NO.

    In a study by Coventry University, Mrs Beverly Plester and Dr Clare Wood took 11 year olds and asked them to
    translate from text to English and vice versa, then put them through standards tests in spelling, reading and writing. The concluded that, “the use of text message abbreviations is linked positively with literacy achievements”.

    Regular texters strong in literacy

    The results showed that far from impairing spelling, reading and writing; texting correlates well with strong performance in the use of the English language. In fact, regular texters were strong readers and writers.

    Increased awareness of phonetics?
    It is thought that texting may increase their awareness of phonetics, which leads to better spelling, reading and writing. This is in line with the research that shows phonics as being far more effective in teaching literacy.

    http://www.coventry.ac.uk/latestnewsandevents/a/2341

    Sunday, October 01, 2006

    Break Out of the Box - From Breakthrough eLearning

    I wish I had a nickel for every time a client told me "we can't do that" when we suggest that they connect their learners in online discussion groups, or introduce audio elements to increase engagement, or add interactive Flash exercises to better explain complex processes. Usually, the reason they say that they cannot do these things is because of the limitations of the authoring software or learning management system that they happen to use. They feel they are "boxed in" by the technology choices they have made previously.

    It does not have to be this way. Sometimes the boxes in which we find ourselves are more real than imagined (kind of like the boxes that mimes indicate with hand gestures).

    You can break out of your technology boxes with a little creative thinking. Some strategies that immediately come to mind include:
    • Mixing and matching differing learning technologies that have different strengths to achieve desired results (e.g. seamlessly linking to discussion board software from a learning system that does not have this functionality)
    • Work-arounds to enhance the functionality of existing learning technology (e.g. using existing telephone bridges for audio when teaching with web conferencing technology)
    • Introduction of easy-to-use Web 2.0 tools (e.g. Blogs and Wikis) to provide missing communication elements
    • Doing away with ridiculous and over-zealous IT policies that do not allow for any flexibility concerning the introduction of new technologies in aid of learning (or having these hosted externally)


    Read the rest here->

    Saturday, September 30, 2006

    Gartner Names Hot Technologies With Greatest Potential Impact

    Researcher Gartner Inc. on Wednesday identified the technologies it believes will have the greatest impact on businesses over the next 10 years, naming such hot areas as social-network analysis, collective intelligence, location-aware applications and event-driven architectures.

    In its 2006 Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle report, Gartner assessed the maturity, impact and adoption speed of three dozen technologies and trends. The list was divided under three themes: Web 2.0, Real World Web and Application Architecture. Under Web 2.0, social-network analysis and Ajax were rated as "high impact" and reaching maturity in less than two years. Collective intelligence, on the other hand, was rated as potentially transformational to businesses.

    Source and the rest of the article here:

    Gartner eLearning HyperCircle Report- http://www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?doc_cd=141123

    Friday, September 29, 2006

    Save $$ Using iPods Instead of Binders- by Jenna Sweeney

    Jenna Sweeney of the Corporate Training & e-Learning Blog has found a unique use for the ubiquitous iPod- saving printing and binding costs.

    Here is a snip from her article...

    I was particularly struck by something in the article that related directly to corporate training. Someone he interviewed had "been working on an innovation program for a global financial services firm for the past six years. It was relatively easy to convince the client to try podcasting because prior to this year we had been distributing our course materials in a big black binder that included hard copy lecture notes and DVD videos of the learning materials. And this year, instead of doing that we gave every participant a video iPod. Doing this actually cost us $200 LESS per person to use the iPods than for the binders, and that was just for duplication costs."

    John went on to say, "(On a quick environmental side note, Wal-Mart recently reported that those big black binders also tend to be the main component in most major landfills. Hmmm... Video iPod and a $200 savings, or spine-wrenching eco-trash. Your call.)" All great information!


    Read the full article here:





    I know one of my department's challenges is to move towards a more paperless training environment. Who would have thought an iPod could be a tool that would help in that?

    20 Ideas: Getting students to use their mobile phones as learning tools- by Doug Belshaw

    20 Ideas: Getting students to use their mobile phones as learning tools


    I can still remember the excitement I felt after persuading my parents to buy a then-almost-top-of-the-range Pentium computer with its speedy 75mhz processor. Eleven years later, of course, my mobile phone has a processor at least three times as fast as that. One thing you can almost guarantee is that pretty much every student you come across will have a mobile phone. In my school they’re not even supposed to be in school but - as you can imagine - they are used surreptitiously in between lessons. In what follows I’m going to try to outline a few ways in which we can use the technology students already have to motivate them, make life easier, and enhance their learning!

    Over the last few months I’ve covered quite a few ways in which mobile phone can be used in the classroom. Here’s a quick recap of some of them…

    1. Learning slideshows for mobile phones and iPods

    2. QR: what’s that?

    3. Setting up an Educational Blog

    4. Using technology students already have for learning

    5. Podcasting/listening to educational MP3 audio

    6. Sharing files via Bluetooth



    Read the entire article @ teaching.mrbelshaw.co.uk




    How To Create Rapid and Cheap Mobile Learning- Text Messaging



    There are many challenges with setting up any sort of mobile learning program, not the least of which is the diversity of devices. A typical audience may have several types of PDAs, from Palm, to Windows Mobile, to Symbian. A vast majority certainly has a mobile phone, albeit, the platforms for mobile devices range significantly.

    There is one feature, however, that almost every mobile device currently has that can provide your group with a jumping off point to create a mLearning strategy- Text Messaging. In this article, we’ll provide two examples that you can successfully deploy today and the steps involved in creating these solutions.

    First- What type of content is best for text messaging?
    The challenges with using text messaging as a learning platform is limitations in message size, interactivity, and tracking.

    Message Size: Some pure SMS services and phones have character limits of 300 characters or less. This consideration means that you must plan carefully what content you deploy and how you use that content. In this article, we are going to use two types of learning content- Data Bursts & Game Show interactions. Both of these content types are tailored around the character limits and other constraints in Text Messaging.

    Interactivity: In the Game Show example below, you’ll see that text messaging provides a unique interactivity experience that often isn’t found in other eLearning methods. mLearning through Text Messaging allows two way interaction any time, any where.

    Tracking: One challenge in using a Text Messaging platform – especially in the ‘Rapid and Cheap’ method- is that SCORM tracking is mostly a manual process. In both of the examples below, consider this more of an enhancement on learning versus direct SCORM tracked content.


    Example 1- Data Bursts
    In this example, we are working with a working with a field sales force at a technology company. As with most companies, each day a sales consultant is training is one less day they are selling. A typical training opportunity usually consists of spending time on technical aspects of a product and not on soft skills.




    To improve her team’s sales skills, a sales manager polled her top sales consultants as to key aspects of different products that resulted in sales. She also gathered information from various sales training courses. Gathering all of the information collected, she organized this into 100-200 word chunks like the following two examples:

    Sales Tip: Use Examples- ABC corporation saved $100 a month by switching from RDI 750 to 1000.

    Did You Know: The RDI 1000 can handle 5 times the users as the 750.



    The sales manager then created draft messages in her Outlook, using the properties field to send a message each day for a month. A couple of hours of work has resulted in 30 days of learning content delivered to her sales force. Content like this can be customized to coincide with product launches, campaigns or contests.


    Example 2- The Game Show
    A customer service group would like to add more fun and interaction into their new hire classes but they cannot budget for gaming software. One trainer noticed that everyone had mobile phones, normally required to be off during class.

    The trainer set up two ‘Game Show’ contests. The first uses the mobile phone as a ‘buzzer’. On a PowerPoint presentation, the trainer displays a question or challenge and an e-mail address. All of the participants must access certain content in a reference system and text message the trainer’s e-mail with the answer.



    In this example, the trainer also went one step further and sent random text message questions to his class and students would respond with the correct answer. In both cases, the trainer could track who got the answers correct first and, by keeping responses, could track the effectiveness of various training modules by the number of correct vs. incorrect answers.

    The second ‘Game Show’ contest involved a survivor type scavenger hunt. The new Customer Service representatives were sent to random retail stores they supported. Challenges were sent to their mobile phones and the students would text back their answers.

    In one example, the students were challenged to find the price of a specific model of digital camera. The students would search the store to find the camera and either take a picture with their phone and send it or text the answer back. This gave the students a customer experience in searching for products their customers would want to find.



    Setting up your users and content.
    In both of these examples, the biggest challenge isn’t in the actual use of text messaging, but in the initial set-up.

    In the first example, the sales manager created a small web form asking her sales representatives to ‘opt in’ to using text messaging versus using an e-mail address. If the sales rep used their mobile phone, they were asked who the provider was. Almost every provider has an e-mail address linked to a mobile phone, such as Alltel, whose phone e-mails look like this- 9030000000@message.alltel.com.

    The sales manager then could create a distribution list in Outlook with either the phone e-mail or the users personal e-mail depending on their preference.



    In the second example, the teacher also asked for an opt-in, and if a student chose not to, either by not having the service or because they were concerned about going over their text package, they were offered the option of simply using e-mail.



    CONTENT IS KING- No matter what path you use when using Text Messaging as an mLearning solution, remember that your content should be brief, to the point, and powerful.



    In future articles, we’ll discuss more advanced uses of Text Messages including setting up campaigns and using SMS providers to send, track, and create branching content through Text Messaging.



    Why mLearning is Cheap- by Leonard Low

    With opinions like this, it is often surprising that mLearning hasn't caught on more:

    Why M-Learning Is Cheap.

    Many people I’ve talked to at various conferences, online events, and around my own institute have expressed concerns about m-learning being a rather expensive thing for institutions and learners to participate in. The issues I’m most commonly asked about are generally associated with either the cost of hardware (e.g. mobile phone handset, or PDA) or the cost of connectivity (e.g. SMS messages, mobile web data costs, etc.).

    People are inevitably surprised when I tell them that m-learning is actually cheap! It depends on the m-learning approach being used, of course… but there are a number of factors that make m-learning potentially quite affordable for both institutions and learners.

    For example - if mobile phones are used as the platform for an activity, then it’s possible that the cost of hardware will be zero. Current Australian telecommunications industry statistics are that over 8 million mobile phone handsets were sold in Australia in 2005, 98% of Australia’s population has mobile phone coverage, and around 20 million Australians (95%) own a mobile phone, with penetration among young people even higher.

    Read the rest here:




    My next 'how to' article will explore this in more detail as I describe how to set up a fast and virtually free mLearning platform using Text Messaging and Outlook.

    Thursday, September 28, 2006

    mLearn 2006, the 5th World Conference on Mobile Learning



    When:
    Sunday, October 22, 2006 - Wednesday, October 25, 2006

    Where: The Fairmont Banff Springs
    405 Spray AveBanff,
    Alberta, Alberta
    (Yahoo! Maps, Google Maps)


    Description:
    mLearn 2006, the 5th World Conference on Mobile Learning, will fulfill the need for stimulating critical debate on and research into theories, approaches, principles and applications of mobile devices for promoting learning. mLearn 2006 will provide an opportunity for researchers, educators, students, technologists and practitioners, as well as professionals from industry, to share their knowledge, experience and research in the various areas where mLearning is applied.