Technology is like the flame to which otherwise rational
learning professionals are drawn like moths. I witnessed this phenomenon once
again last week while attending a session on e-learning at the ASAE annual
conference. In the midst of a discussion of e-learning strategy, Second Life
was mentioned. The next several minutes were then spent on an explanation of
this amazing technology, though regrettably with little connection back to the
topic at hand (again, strategy).
Still, it would be a bit disingenuous for the average
blogger to complain too loudly about this fascination with technology. The
array of tools now available is indeed amazing, and it is no wonder that the tools themselves–rather than the results they are intended to achieve–often become
the focus of conversation. Today’s Mission to Learn posting certainly leans in that direction—though I hope with a little
insight into why the particular tools mentioned might be of strategic value.
First up, I want to mention two new resources from
Articulate Global, makers of Articulate Presenter, one of my personal favorites
among e-learning authoring tools. Articulate recently launched The Rapid
E-Learning Blog and simultaneously published a new, free e-book by its
host, Tom Kulhman, titled An Insiders Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning
Pro. For those unfamiliar with rapid
e-learning, my personal definition of it is that it takes advantage of
easy-to-use authoring tools and a well-defined, templated development process
to produce reasonably high quality e-learning experiences in a short period of
time. For organizations that must supply a constant stream of new knowledge and
learning to an employee or membership base, a “rapid” approach to e-learning
can provide not only speed but affordability.
If you feel that some of the terms within my definition above
are vague, I am certain you are not alone. “Rapid e-learning” is a somewhat
slippery term, and in recognition of that fact, the current posting on the Articulate
blog (August 21) is titled “What’s the Definition of Rapid Learning? You
Decide.” There is only one comment so far, but readers from the nonprofit world
may appreciate that part of the definition offered in the comment is “…no need
to wait for a bunch of committees.”
The blog looks like it will be a good resource. As for the
book: I have not yet had time to go through it thoroughly, but it too looks
good—particularly given that it is free. Like most resources of this type, it
is geared towards internal-facing e-learning initiatives rather than the
external-facing initiatives that are more common among membership
organizations. Nonetheless, most of the advice in it can be applied in either
scenario. To get a copy of the book, you have to subscribe to the blog (a bit
annoying for those of us who prefer RSS, but hey, it’s a small price to pay.)
Both the blog and the book can be found at http://www.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/.
On other fronts, I became aware last week of a posting by
Rosetta Thurman on her blog, Perspectives from the Pipeline, titled “Blogs as
Online Learning and Low Cost Nonprofit Professional Development.” In her
posting, Rosetta addresses the merits of online learning, explains briefly what
blogs are, and offers her perspective (naturally) on why blogs can be effective
learning tools for nonprofit professionals. A sampling:
…they are a very accessible entry
point to begin learning about particular fields and topics using a
non-intimidating Web 2.0 tool. Blogs are a fantastic alternative to traditional
classroom learning because most bloggers are publishing content that is on the
leading edge of the field, not old techniques found in outdated textbooks.
Readers are getting the best, real-time information on a topic with the
opportunity to further engage the blogger through comments or email to learn
even more from their expertise.
Take a look at Rosetta’s blog for more. It is well worth the
A couple of closing items:
For those interested in learning management systems (and if
you are interested in measuring the outcomes and strategic impact of the
e-learning you are offering, you should be interested in learning management
systems), Talent Management magazine will be offering a free Webinar on September
12 at 2:00 PM eastern titled Selecting an On-Demand LMS: A Litmus Test for Separating Hype from Reality in the World of SaaS. The session will be lead by
well-known e-learning consultant Josh Bersin of Bersin & Associates. (For
those unfamiliar with the acronym “SaaS” stands for Software as a Service.)
Finally, since we have talked about various other tools and
resources today, I thought I’d mention one that has been popping up on other
blogs lately. Jane Hart of the Centre for Learning & Performance
Technologies has been asking learning professionals to contribute a list of
their top 10 tools. At last count, more than 100 learning professional had contributed.
See the results at http://c4lpt.co.uk/recommended/index.html#1.
Please use comments to contribute any tools, resources, or
opinions about the above that you think other readers would find valuable.