Monthly Archives: January 2014
The final session of the day is with Reuben Tozman of edCentre Training Inc. He is talking about why learning professionals should think of their work as science, then focus more on data as they design their learning initiatives…
In the learning world, we often don’t measure the effectiveness of our “learning”. Most of the people present today measure “participant satisfaction” for a specific training module or, at best, the knowledge those participants acquired, or can remember in a test. Some learning people will go further and evaluate (at level 4) to see if business performance has actually improved. But according to Tozman, very rarely do we actually evaluate if it was our “learning” that made the change in performance and if so, which part and how. If we could get that far with evaluation of the “learning” delivered, we could improve the minimum effective dose of learning (strip away what doesn’t have impact) and (more importantly) change the right things to make it work and ensure the performance results we seek.
Why aren’t we doing this already?
According to Tozman, part of the reason we are not doing this is that learning people do not always see themselves as “scientists” in the workplace. They don’t consider what they are doing as “experiments” and they don’t have clear data-models in mind when developing “learning”.
We tend to see ourselves as final solution providers that dump a “learning solution” into the world assuming it will just work. It’s like we are expected to bring solutions, rather than experiments. Half of the time we don’t even look to see if performance improved and the other half of the time, we don’t change anything even when the performance stays the same. We just “failed”.
Tozman suggests that we should change our approach to one where we, the learning professional, do some real science: State the problem, form a hypothesis, create an experiment to test the hypothesis, measure the experiment results and form conclusions about the hypothesis. And if we prove the hypothesis wrong, we move onto testing the next one.
To achieve that kind of scientific approach, we have to be able to design learning with data in mind.
What exactly do we mean by learning science?
If an experiment is going to effectively measure against a specific hypothesis, it needs to have a clearly defined data model, with measurable data point.
For example, imagine the following:
What does it mean to “design for data”?
In the experiment above , the “data model” gives us our definition of “engagement”: “People who are engaged proactively seek out information about company vision and values”. The “data points” we will measure might be “types of content chosen”, “time spent looking at that content”, “number of outbound links clicked from within one particular chunk of content” etc…
When we re-create the orientation program, we might chunk-down all the possible parts on company vision and values and allow learners the chance to self-orientate though the possible options (if they want to). What we are hoping to create is an effective experiment to prove our hypothesis true or false. If we can watch what they do and prove our hypothesis true, then we can do something about it and eventually see better bottom-line performance results (better retention and more satisfaction).
How will this help to create better learning?
If we do all this, we will firstly be able to know that we are working on the right things (because we took the time to validate our hypotheses about the cause of poor performance) and we will be able to design something that we know is effective enough to cause a positive desired change in performance (in this case, actually improving our people’s interest in company vision and values). We will use the same data-driven scientific approach to design learning initiatives with lots of measurable data points, so that afterwards we can make associations between what we did and how this impacted bottom-line performance improvement.
This is a different approach to the traditional design process. It will create real performance improvement and we will be able to confidently say that what we did had an impact.
If learning people get in the habit of creating small measurable data-points in learning that correspond to well thought out hypotheses, we will be able to start collecting more and more data to show the link between what people learnt and how it impacts performance. Using tools like “Tin Can API” we will be able to collect and analyse lots of chunks of data from different systems and draw effective conclusions about the link between learning and performance… leading to real improvement.
Dr Kella Price is giving us the low-down on the added-value of QR codes in learning. As an experienced user of many-things internet, I’m looking forward to seeing what’s new and how to get the best out of the QR principle. Everyone in the room has at least scanned a QR before, so we are all ready to learn more….
A QR code is basically a link. You’ve surely seen one before somewhere. They look like this. At my children’s school, all the kids have QRs on a keyring attached to their bags for 2 reasons: In the case of an emergency, it is linked to contact details of their parents; when they stay at the crèche late at school, it is used to automatically create invoices for the service, based on the check-in/check-out time.
Why use these QR codes at work? What is the real value? Where should I put them?
The first thing to know is that people do scan these codes. In 2013, 181 QR codes were scanned every minute. Training participants today have mobile devices and they like to use them. Letting them use their devices in a training environment should therefore be…. (wait for it) …. engaging.
And the application possibilities are enormous. You can give them resources and information and create real-time interactivity.
According to Dr Price, the biggest value in any activity we do with these codes is the conversion rate of request/action. For example, if you send an email to people asking them to do something like enroll for a training or take a survey (request) you might get a conversion rate (action) of “X”. Price says that if you to integrate QR codes in other media you will get more than “X”. What kind of media actions are we talking about? Where can we add QR codes?
- Add to a pay-check
- Put on a poster, flyer or newsletter
- Give new joiners in your company a key-ring with a QR code on it
- Put on a business card
- …or the photocopier
- … or anywhere else!
What kind of actions can these QR codes produce?
Here, Dr Price is quite clear: The possibilities are endless. If you have an internet resource to share, put it in a code.
Some learning examples include:
- Adding additional resources to training materials
- Running a survey with tools like SurveyMonkey or padlet.com
- Pushing people to your blog or YouTube channel
…what ideas can you think of to bring value to your training?
Where can I make a QR code? Can you do something special with your code?
There are lots of free QR code-creation sites online. Some are better than others because they create good value images or can be customized.
- Personally I use tiny.cc because its easy
- Today I found unitaglive.com in Dr Price’s session, which allows you to create custom codes including rounded-edges, different colours and even a logo or photo. It also has some templates with integrated logos for classic sites like Facebook, LinkedIn etc…
- We also discussed using bit.ly which when used with an account allows you to store all your QR codes for future use and (BIG added value) run analytics on the number of times your code has been scanned and via which sources
- With http://www.youscan.me you can create 1 code that links to various sites at once (cool!)
- When adding pictures to your QR code, do not make it bigger than 30% of the code size
- Never cover up the “eyes” in the 3 corners of your QR code and don’t add anything in the bottom-right corner
- Avoid light colours
- Use colours for meaning. For example, if you split training content into 4 sections, use a distinct colour per QR codes found in each section.
- When using the QR code in training materials, put a link underneath for those who don’t have a scanner
- …and customize that link to make it short and keyword friendly
Other resources and ideas can be found here:
- Book: “111 Creative Ways to Use QR Codes“
- Book: “40 Ways to Use QR Codes for Mobile Marketing“
- Book: “QR codes for Dummies“
- Book: “QR Codes for Education“
- A book explaining why you should NOT use QR codes: “QR Codes Kill Kittens“
Thanks for reading
“There is SO much possibility”
I’ve heard this message before.
I wondered why I would join this session. I was a non-believer. Finally, thanks to Chad, I get it…
For the last 2 or 3 years, Tony Bingham has been opening ASTD conferences saying that mobile is important. Personally, I didn’t get it. Today I realise this was my fault. There was I thinking that “the Americans were stuck in the past, over-focused on delivering more knowledge content via a screen”. I assumed that what was meant by mobile learning was “pushing mini e-modules and video with mobile screens”; my own investigation into what apps I could make myself showed only glorified websites with a few buttons and a few screens.
I could not have been further for the truth. And it is my own fault. I almost feel guilty for being so short-sighted. I had a limited vision. Mobile is not about screens at all…
Mobiles can do a lot of stuff.
Here are some functions that many of today’s smartphones contain…
…to really get the most out of mobile, you need to think of the different possibilities mobile affords us.
..and then ask: What can you do with these affordances?
During our awesome interactive session with Chad, the audience did a lot of brainstorming on possibilities per those functions. Literally, we came up with 100s of ideas and Chad has promised to release those ideas (capture with pollev.com) via the #astdtk14 Twitter hashtag later this week. (Watch this space, I will add to the comment section) For now, a few ideas of things you could do…
It was impossible for me during this session to capture all the different ideas and I wish I had, because without them here it is difficult to share my enthusiasm. So, try for yourself: Look at your smartphone or the list of functions above and just ask what is possible and what (and how) you could learn with these functions.
Mobile is awesome. And even if the “everyman” amongst us can’t develop very good apps ourselves today, the future is bright…
I believe in mobile learning!
Thanks Chad 🙂
How the Tin Can API could revolutionise the link between learning and performance, according to Tim Martin
Tim Martin has been working with SCORM for years, listening to people’s experience and problems and thinking about its limitations and future. Given his experience as a key player in Project Tin Can, Tim is here today to advocate the values of Tin Can, share a few concrete project examples and show us how the future of Tin Can is going to be awesome…
First things first: What is Tin Can?
Tin Can is the answer to SCORMs problems.
SCORM is a two-party system consisting of an LMS and some content, with standards about how it all fits together and how it works. SCORM is able to report in a simple way about the formal learning activities a formal learner undertakes. For example, tell us how many people followed a particular learning module. That’s it.
What is wrong with SCORM?
SCORM is limited because it can only tell us how or when one particular learner logged into an LMS to take a prescribed piece of training in an active browser session. If you read back the last sentence, you will see that it is fully loaded with all the problems of SCORM. That is not how we learn and that is not how we as organisational L+D people want learners to learn….
With all the hype around 70:20:10 and non-formal learning that takes place in the organisation, it seems clear that the majority of what people learn doesn’t come from classical training or formal learning solutions like the e-modules or video that SCORM has been measuring. The majority of learning is not coming from one person (alone) logged into one specific LMS system (if any) to follow a prescribed event (eg training) at one specific moment in time. People getting a lot of content from a lot of different places, sharing a lot of ideas and they are definitely learning in a less formal way.
And many L+D people today don’t want to oblige people to login to one particular LMS system to control their learning in a formal way. Martin cites the example of Google who told him “We don’t want an LMS. We don’t want people to have to do specific controlled things in a specific controlled way. We just want them to go out and learn.” But Google also wants to be able to see what is learnt and how it impacts performance. Enter Tin Can API…
How does Tin Can work?
Tin a Can API is a shared language for systems to talk to each other about the things that people do. It consists of an “activity provider” (whatever system it might be) telling what people did (whatever it was) and an LRS (learning record system) that listens and records. It does this with a simple noun-verb-object approach that records all activities and puts them in the LRS.
This modern web-service based system easily allows different systems to collect information. Here is a list of use systems that have already adopted Tin Can as their standard. Theoretically, Tin Can API can capture everything that is going on. And then correlate those activities, run analysis and give insights about what is going on. Across different systems.
The “activity provider” will report on (learning) activities across a variety of systems, which will then be stored in the LRS. This information can then be compared to data about performance from other non-learning systems. The LRS will be searchable (“bigdatable”) and could be used to draw all sorts of conclusions about learning and performance.
SCORM can only tell us a little bit about learning activities, mostly about completion rates, sometimes about test results (eg Tim followed training module X). Tin Can will go much further, allowing us to capture almost anything at any level. Martin gives an example, comparing to a SCORM system that can (only) tell us that 6 learners completed a CPR module and scored average 68%: Tin Can will be able to tell us how many times one learner compressed the CPR test dummy during the simulation, where he put his hands and the impact that had on the reanimation process. It will be able to produce a massive amount of (big) data and analyse everything, looking for trends and giving full reporting on the correlations between different learning activities/results and, eventually, performance.
But it goes SO much further than this still formal learning reporting…
It may be awesome, but give me a practical example of this awesomeness please…
Imagine the following: Google employees pick up content from across a variety of systems. They search, they consume and then they share content on platforms like LinkedIn, Yammer (or whatever Googley thing Googles use). Let’s pretend they are sales people. They then go out into the sales world and makes sales (or doesn’t).
Tin Can will allow the Google L+D people to run analysis at a very detailed level on all the different (learning) content that was picked up by all the different people. Add into the mix reporting on who searched and shared what, how, where and when. Who liked something they read or retweeted it. Tin Can will then allow us to correlate all that information with sales performance activities and data (again from different systems) in order to draw conclusions about the acquisition of knowledge and skills and the impact on sales.
Example: Do people who learnt how to ask specific questions in a sales meeting close more deals? Do people who called back their prospects within 2 weeks of meeting them close more sales than those who didn’t? What key words are top sales people searching on their browsers? Is there a correlation between the number or type of sharing on social media platforms and the sales closed. If so what?
The possibilities for data collection and analysis with Tin Can are endless, given the simplicity of the way in which the “activity providers” report on what is being done (see below…). With such information, learning people (and managers) will be able to focus more on the learning the organisation needs to bring the results it is missing.
Personally, I find this very exciting (others more cynical might imagine the scary dark-side applications of such systems). I already wrote about “Big Data for Learning in a Call-Centre” but didn’t realise the standards were there. Even though Tim Martin has repeated several times today that it’s not all there already and that we need to move slowly, it is clear to me that this will go very far…
Thanks for reading
Screen video is on the rise. As people flip their classrooms, use mobile devices and seek new ways to get knowledge, learning professionals will need to master the art of screen video. Tips from Matt Pierce at Tech Knowledge in Las Vegas…
First, what is useful to record?
If you go online and try to see how tools work, there is plenty of content about the basics. These “how-to” lessons tell us the basics and answer the common questions. Focus your efforts on the difficult stuff, the errors, the specific things your people are trying to achieve. FAQs.
Ask questions to define your audience
Before you start recording, think about who is going to watch, when, how, where. Take your time to think about how this will make your content and format different. Is there one good way to do things? No… Adapt to all this!
Storyboard your screen video
If you ask Pixar or the rest of the movie world where they put the most effort in making movies, the answer is the storyboard. Think about what you are going to do in what order.
Make a script… If you need to
According to Pierce, the need for a script is proportional to your level of expertise. If you are an expert, you might be able to “wing-it” a bit more. But if you are less sure of your content, write a script. As a disclaimer, Pierce notes that the better he scripts his screen video, the more likely he will be able to tell his 5 minute story in 2 minutes. Script leads to minimum effective dose.
Remember, length is an issue
There is no correct answer to how long a screen video should be. But as a general rule, the shorter the better (provided it is effective). Focus on key messages. If you need to make 3 short films, this might be better than one long one. If you can provide references in your video where people can get more info, this is also a good way to shorten the video.
Bad audio ruins good video
According to Matt Pierce audio IS an issue. If you have taken the time to capture the screen well, put effort into the audio too. Get a USB microphone for your PC to avoid the fan sound. If you are using a headset (and don’t need to listen as well) flip the microphone around so its underneath your mouth, not in front of it. And get rid of as much noise pollution as possible…
Don’t worry about the sound of your voice
Options number one is to simply get over it. This will be easier if you realise that what you hear is not what others hear. But there is another option: Get someone else to speak!
Don’t show big chunks of text in your video
People don’t expect a lot of text in screen videos. They like image and movement. If you must put text, keep it short and build it up. Whatever happens, avoid big text!
Use your voice as a tool
No-one wants to hear you talking like you read. Your voice has volume, intonation, speed and articulation. Use these elements to modulate your voice and bring attention to specific parts. This will create better understanding and keep attention. Just like in a presentation…
Be careful with humour… it’s subjective
The best way to gauge humour is to get pre-back or feedback. See what works with your audience. Ask them. Do a dry-run or publish for 1 or 2 people before you release for everyone.
Think about screen size
According to Pierce, most modern devices will have a wide screen. But in reality, people use different devices to look at different content. Again, there are no golden rules. You need to know your audience.. Whatever you do, start with good quality and be consistent in size-usage across the record/edit/produce cycle. Pierce suggests 1280*720 (or bigger) for all steps. You can always make it smaller later…
Be mindful of what you show around the things you are actually teaching
Get rid of other applications so people can’t see what else you are up to (Facebook!). Turn off any and all notifications – you don’t want to ruin all your best efforts by having an email pop-up while you record your screen. Pierce suggests even having another computer used only for screen recording to avoid any issues.
Balance translation efforts to expected ROI of the learning
If you work in a multinational environment, you might have different languages in your target groups. What are the options for dealing with this? What can you do to reduce viewer effort?
Be careful with music
Jingles are very popular for the marketing department, who want to put it at the start and end of every educational video. But the user will soon get sick of it. Transition music between main chunks of information is good to create and re-win user attention. But whatever you do, don’t fill the video background with music. It doesn’t work!
Change your mouse settings
Two simple tips: Make your mouse-cursor bigger and slow down the mouse movement speed. Both of these will make it easier for others to follow what you are actually doing.
Use transitions well
First of all: Use them. A visual transition helps to create and re-win attention. But what is most important is that the transitions you use should have meaning (they happen between topics, for example) and be consistent (use the same transitions to show the same structural changes).
Apply the rule of thirds, especially when filming people
Read about this here: http://digital-photography-school.com/rule-of-thirds
Thanks for reading!
Mark Britz is introducing the first TKChat at #astdTK14 on the topic of “Building Communities”. Armed with our 2 experts Jane Bozarth and Mark Oehlert it’s time to find out how to make those communities work…
To get the ball rolling @britz asks Jane and Mark to first clarify the meaning of “community”. What does this word mean?
Managers think of communities as another channel to force content top-down onto employees. Others are trying to create teams and better teamwork. But according to our speakers, community is really about purpose and common needs and objectives. With free will, people get together to share and make things happen. When you get started with building a community, you need therefore to first find that shared sense of purpose.
How do you get started with building an organisational community?
Oehlert says that the very first thing to do is to see what is already going on in the organisation. Does the community already exist? Learning people don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Take a look at the organisation and see what communities already exist. Then ask yourself: “How can we better support that?”
Once you are ready to go, it is important to be clear about the added-value of creating (or formalising) the community. If you can’t iterate the added-value of the community to people, they won’t use it.
What are the keys to making things work with a community?
First of all, Jane says that we must not just use the tool that comes with the LMS because it comes with the LMS. Look to see where people are currently getting in contact with each other and go there.
Secondly, realise that it’s not because you build it that they will come. Community building takes time. People are not going to be hyper-active with their sharing and asking just because you made a new tool.
This leads to the third point: Community management takes time as well. Someone needs to be there to stoke the fire, to encourage people and to show (online) community best-practice.
How can we encourage people to start using community tools, share and narrate their work?
Start by finding out what is going wrong in people’s jobs, where they have troubles and how community activity could help. This will give you a way in and direction for content-sharing.
It would be easy to say that the community doesn’t work just because the culture isn’t ready. Any ideas?
Despite the fact that young people obviously dig sharing in communities, that doesn’t mean that other people don’t. Oehlert says that everyone is in some kind of community. Maybe not online, but somewhere they are talking with like-minded people, whether it be on a mum-sharing site, a local town community organisation or elsewhere. They do know the value of a community and they probably know how to use one. We just need to get it working at work…
On the other hand, Jane adds that if your organisation doesn’t share already, having a online community is not going to make it happen. First work on breaking down silos and getting people willing to share.
Should we be controlling how communities function?
Mark Oehlert’s first response is that you have to let the community grow in an organic way. If it moves in one direction and that brings value, let it be. And even if people start sharing less business-valuable content, they are still sharing.
Secondly, it is important to realise that the new community tools we have today are not the issue when it comes to control. Control issues have always existed. If you have email or telephone, you have the risk of people sharing things in ways they should not. These new tools might make content sharing faster or larger (hence the risk is bigger) but if you had this “under Conti,” already and if people were professional, honest and useful already, they will be on the new tool.
To finish this answer, Mark Oehlert adds that the best way to help things go in the right direction is to “walk the talk”. Share the things you want to see shared. Act the any you want other people to act.
Should we have a big funky roll-out for the new tool?
Jane Bozarth says this approach to kicking off a new community tool is dangerous. If you are going to start, start small and build it up. Look for people who have the community spirit and ask the to get involved. Start with content and sharing around something useful, so that when other people come to the tool they will find good content. This will encourage them.
How can you create the best user-experience?
Don’t just implement the tool you bought. Think about how people want to interact with the tool. Take the time to customise menu possibilities … after you get lots of feedback from the users about what they want!
What should we be measuring in order to see if the community adds value?
If you did the first step well (defining purpose) and if you have a good sense of business acumen then you should already know what you should be measuring. In addition to the usual things to measure (traffic, content and continuity) try to think about what the managers are thinking about:
Other pieces of mine that might be interesting…
Thanks for reading