Do Badges plus Compelling Content spell the end for Instructional design?

How do we get people to take training? is a question that is asked all too frequently, and the debate appears to be moving on from the importance of instructional design to deliver engaging effective e-learning ….will we need excellent instructional design to attract learners in the future? when we are seeing the development of badges to record and reward learners for taking courses….recognition is indeed a powerful mechanism. But is it powerful enough to overcome content with poor or no Instructional Design? This blog piece will however argue that there is probably an even more compelling mechanism than badges, and it is at the risk of repeating “Compelling” it is Compelling Content…..that will work with little or no instructional design. Why, well it has the most motivational reward mechanism known, going beyond (even) badges: the ability after completing the piece of learning to get on with the job….- i.e get the thing to work, help the customer, make the spread-sheet macro function….! But first a word about “badges” The recent interest in “badges” as a new mechanism to record and reward training….(is it bye bye e-portfolio?) and being actively supported by the Mozilla Foundation and the recent Innovate UK call for proposals illustrates this growing interest, to quote: “A growing community of educators, institutions, and employers are coalescing around the Open Badges Infrastructure – an initiative of the Mozilla Foundation – to create an open standards-based system for issuing and displaying badges such that badge systems of the world can be portable and interoperable. This allows for badges to work at an ecosystem level, where earners can collect...

Is the UK prepared for the growth of MOOC’s? And what is the attitude of the employer?

MOOC’s are here to stay, and they are going to bring a massive change to how and where students learn now and in the future, or it is certainly looking that way considering what we hear from the US.   HE Institutions in the US have been feeling the sweeping MOOC effect since Stanford drew in thousands of online students to their free computer-science courses in 2011. A recent survey by The Chronicle asked long established Professors if they believed MOOC’s were worth the ‘hype’ and 79 % said YES. Almost half surveyed also said that their online courses were as academically rigorous as the ones they taught in the classroom. A desire to increase access to higher education worldwide is often the motivation driving Professors to get online as is the opportunity to raise their profile and visibility to a much larger audience, not to mention the fear of being left behind if they don’t get involved.   The issues of accreditation and the financial implications of MOOC’s at the present time being a free resource, are still evolving and are likely to rumble on for a while yet, as is the issue of MOOC’s moving into the corporate learning space.   As the IPPR publication (Barber, Donnelly and Rizvi) an Avalanche is Coming, Higher Education and the Revolution Ahead puts it: “University leaders need to take control of their own destiny and seize the opportunities open to them through technology – Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for example – to provide broader, deeper and more exciting education. Leaders will need to have a keen eye toward creating...

Making Sense of MOOC’s (and other Open Content) with the great Degree Jail Break

Giving value to learning has always been a challenge especially for those of us dedicated to lifelong and workplace learning, and the options available to us all to learn from MOOCs and Open Education Content resources are becoming massive – pun intended. Here at Learning Light we have observed the rise of MOOCs, listing them and  noting them in our 2011 mid year market review as something to look out for on the near horizon. More recently we wondered how they would impact the world of corporate learning? ….will there be a cross over? As MOOCs have been largely focused on HE to date, and offering an alternate way of achieving a degree level qualification. It is evident that with the vast learner choice of content there comes a conundrum, conundrum part1: that learners will want to pick and mix from this huge choice. Interestingly, we are seeing high levels of student drop out on MOOCs, is it because of learner dissatisfaction? Or is it that the learner has decided they have discovered and learnt all they really wanted to know and are going to move on? More research is undoubtedly needed. What we do know is learners are changing, “knowing what I need to know when I need to know it” sounds positively   “Rumsfeldian” but it is the modern way of looking at learning, Jay Cross once described Workflow Learning ….learning aligned to the learners needs at the point of need, with smart IT systems serving up the learning. However, much of the Open Content and MOOC courses are not aligned to the workflow of an organisation, but...

Learning Technologies 2013

A review and our 5 picks of the show……. Busy busy busy was the common consensus of those exhibiting in the Learning Technologies area, a slightly less busy area in our view was the Learning and Skills area, as it was in its new located area adjacent to LTs. I missed the central arrival point of the escalators up to floor one for LTs, after first having taken in Learning and Skills downstairs. What did we see, and what interested us most this year…..well we had an attempt at predicting what we would see in an earlier blog piece, were we right? Well only in part. Mobile learning The excitement around tablets and mobile phones is very real, and lots of vendors were offering ways to integrate tablets and smartphones into the e-learning mix. Mobile learning is of huge interest at present to the L&D community, and will break through, though I am minded of the a great quote from Sharon Boller “mLearning is a lot like sex. Lots of folks talking about it. Far fewer actually doing it yet.” The key challenges to making mobile learning a success are not completely in the gift of the L&D profession, the complex eco-systems of Apps and the multiplicity of devices and operating systems to which is added the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) conundrum makes this still an area of great problem and potential  in equal measures  and don’t forget Tin Can. This industry is at a point of great change and evolution! Many solutions are emerging, with content developers building “authoring environments” to support the creation of learning that...

BETT or Learning Technologies Show

With Learning Technologies (LTs) and BETT overlapping for the first time in 2013, we took the opportunity to visit both in quick succession and offer some very real time comparisons. Location, location and organisation Why the  overlap, well LTs and its sister show Learning and Skills has stayed at Kensington’s Olympia, while BETT had by 2010 in our view outgrown that location, and indeed in 2013 it moved to Excel in London’s docklands. LT’s changed its format in 2013, with Learning and skills, its sister exhibition moving up a floor to be alongside LT’s itself. Was this a success, only time will tell, or next years bookings, but Learning and Skills appeared to us to be markedly quieter than LTs right next door. BETT’s relocation has undoubtedly worked, the Excel facility was vibrant and the layout and spacing of the exhibitors was much improved on 2012 at Olympia. By contrast and common agreement LTs felt more compact this year, with seemingly tighter gangways, and less space. Excel itself is an excellent venue, with catering a plenty, and enough spaces to sit and meet friends and associates and make new acquaintances. I wish the same could be said about Olympia. Both have transport challenges, Excel is certainly not in central London, but it is well served by the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), but is a 40 minute journey from central London. LTs this year was not served by London Underground via Earl’s Court to Kensington Olympia…..we know not why! Nevertheless both were very busy, and both suffered long cloakroom room delays….it should be obvious to organisers that events in January...

What we will see at Learning Technologies 2013

As my inbox fills up with invites to visit stands at Learning Technologies, and Training Press releases gets busier and busier with announcements of launches and seminars, we know Learning Technologies is fully upon us. As well as our usual review based on visiting what is probably Europe’s most exciting show for e-learning and learning technologies, it may be fun to make some not totally uninformed predictions of what we are likely to see  at LTs 2013. We anticipate a very busy show, with the new for 2013 “all one floor format” being particularly beneficial by integrating learning and skills zone with the learning technologies zone. The show has filled up with exhibitors and record numbers of delegates are expected….so what will they see…….these are Learning Lights predictions: Apps and apps and probably more apps, is a “run away” certainty this year, with i-pads a plenty, and other tablet devices no doubt being hugely popular. This new boost to e-learning will prompt discussions around HTML5 and Flash, Native apps and Web apps, and responsive web design as buyers look at the host of differing solutions to porting e-learning across tablets and smartphones. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) may be a term that will appear and prove an interesting conversation for many a buyer and supplier. Which suppliers will be offering virtualisation solutions to really allows a BYOD solution that fully integrates into the corporate intranet? In our view video will play a huge part in unlocking the true potential of learning on i-pads and smartphones, so we anticipate seeing quite an amount of video content, but probably not as...

The Rapid eLearning Blog

This blog has loads of incredibly practical and helpful tips on developing your own e-learning courses using Articulate powerpoint and other easy tools. I’ve used some of the tips over and over again. Follow Tom on...

E-Learning 24/7 blog

A very informative blog from Craig Weiss who offers his opinions around the wide range of e-learning and learning technology products but with an excellent focus on the LMS market and authoring tools. Not much gets past Craig’s eagle eye in the LMS world, and he is not afraid to say what he thinks. It is well worth looking at Craigs...

The Top 20 LMS – Infographic by Capterra

The 20 most popular LMS solutions   I was taken with the infographic produced by Capterra listing the 20 most popular LMS solutions. The Inforgraphic looks at the numbers of customers, numbers of users and gives an on-line score….a measure of the number of social media followers by product. So what does this infographic say: A little bit is mixed up in terms of markets…is our first reaction, and it is important to compare Apples with Apples. This analysis mixed corporate and education users by including Moodle (which in fairness operates in both markets) and pure corporate offers such as Cornerstone and pure education offers such as Schoology or Edmodo. In this infographic Moodle is classified as purely an academic market product, which is not strictly true, and Totara  gets no mentions…..is it included in the Moodle offer, or not yet in the top 20 LMS list. So what observations can we make, well the most startling observations are the ratios between users and customers…….it would be interesting to know the actual figures used for all vendors, but in an earlier blog we published we looked at the Moodle usage levels stating “Over 1.2 million teachers and over 57 million users have used the Moodle VLE in some way or another, in 218 countries and at 66,000 or more actual sites.” This infographic indicates Moodle now has 68,000 sites and 60 million users, while Edmodo has 100,000 sites but only 10 million users. So we can conclude that a lot of schools see classroom collaboration in learning is the next big thing….the Edmodo user numbers and Collaborize Classroom customer...

The UK needs a government led strategy for UK e-learning companies to win in growing market

I attended an ELIG (European learning industry group), a long established organisation now newly re-invigorated, you can read more about the event itself on Piers Lea’s Blog, which I have no need to duplicate. The event was sponsored by Enterprise Ireland and Intel, both of whom (for different reasons see e-learning and learning technologies as hugely important). Intel obviously see the next generation of devices emerging for learning as likely to incorporate their processors, and have always viewed e-learning as a huge market opportunity. Enterprise Ireland has likewise maintained a high level of support on a national and international scale for e-learning and learning technologies on behalf of Irish companies, and obviously sees e-learning as a crucial sector to the Irish economy especially given the number of US high tech companies domiciled in Ireland. In 2012 Enterprise Ireland has created the Centre for learning Innovation: “According to Gearóid Mooney, Director of ICT Commercialisation at Enterprise Ireland, today’s announcement is a significant step for the SMEs and multinational companies in Ireland’s learning technology sector. “The establishment of the Centre for Learning Innovation in Ireland enables Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland to focus on the opportunities for Irish companies in the global eLearning sector which is estimated will be worth €107 billion by 20151”.” What is perhaps even more impressive is the integration of effort Enterprise Ireland has achieved across industry and higher education: “Chairman of the Centre for Learning Innovation, Jonny Parkes said “through this centre, Irish eLearning companies are collaborating with research teams in Irish Higher Education Institutes to produce ‘next practice’ learning technologies. Our initial aim is to...