Marching toward release of an open learning system…

Posted by bryanzug - 2007/09/05

I’ve been marching busily during recent months toward release of a 200+ lesson web based training system for the new phase of a clinical information system at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.

Hope to release details soon on the site so those of you in the elearning space can take a look.

The architecture of the thing should be very interesting to those of you who lament with me how learning management systems (LMS’s) too often function as walled gardens — and cut off discoverability and content re-use as a result.

Stay tuned for the hard launch.



Gratitude as the driving force behind Google

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/09/28

Here is a cool quote about what drives Google engineers —

The thing that drives the right behavior at Google, more than anything else, more than all the other things combined, is gratitude.
It is well buried in this long articulate rant by Steve Yegge on why most Agile development hype is akin to sci-fi religion yoohoo — he frames the nice stuff by so much self aware BS detection that, well, I kinda believe it.

Definitely want to digest the whole thing as I have more time.



Adobe Captivate 2 Announced

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/09/06

Adobe Captivate 2 (aka RoboDemo 6 or 7 depending on how you count) was announced yesterday. Should ship in October. I’ve been a beta tester of it for the last few months though have not had much time to actively test it in daily production.

That said — this is definitely the most robust version of Captivate yet. Would recommend an upgrade for anyone using it regularly.

Silke Fleischer from Adobe has a good writeup here.

Notable new features include —

  • Visual scenario branching
  • Manage project interactions globally
  • Flash Video
  • Reusable content via project library
  • Zoom in or gray out
  • Custom skins and menus
  • Custom scoring slides
  • Better UI (yay layer locking!)

I think Captivate still stands up as the best mid-to-entry level tool for rapid development of interactive screen based demos/sims.

The downside to it’s model is that it is difficult to update/maintain/scale large projects over time because so many things are not editable. Things are, for the most part, cut-up screenshots with some interactivity overlayed for the single points of interactivity that are automatically captured.

Adding multiple points of interactivity involves manually creating a lot of interactions. While you can (and I have) do many amazing things by exporting to the Flash IDE as a FLA, it does require a lot of technical knowhow.

In my perfect world, Captivate 3 would be able to incorporate the object level richness that Knowledge Planet’s Firefly does.

I would love Captivate to be able to capture every object in the screen for each interaction in a way that is editable later (like change the text on a button) and that multiple interaction paths could be easily created by drawing relationships between screens and doing the required action.



Blog or Project Log: Selling disruptive tools on the inside

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/08/24

Jay Cross has a great post this AM about the need to find compelling language that can drive experimentation and adoption of blog, podcast, and wiki types of tools inside of organizations ––

It’s time for us to come up with a vocabulary that’s not an obstacle to installing learning technology. Take the word blog. For some people, the word sets off alarm bells. They envision amateurs, threatening hackers, neo-nazis, the Drudge Report, people obsessed with kittens, semi-literates, unverifiable nonsense, spammers, porno freaks, political extremists, teen age confessionals, MySpace flirts, people who are out of control and lawsuits waiting to happen.

It’s enough to give disruptive technology a bad name.

So let’s not speak of blogs or slimeheads. Let’s talk about Project Logs. Or Collaborative Project Documentation. Or Knowledge Logs. Or professional journals.

<bagoftricks>Project log –– hmm, that could work.</bagoftricks>

 



Teens self organize a learning experience in Second Life

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/08/09

Just heard about via the Second Life Education Mailing List –– teens have self organized a learning experience on creating awareness about Child Sex Trafficking. Happened in an area of second life called the Teen Grid.

Looks like they created a maze that users would move through, digest facts, answer questions in exchange for Second Life stuff, and were given the opportunity to donate Second Life dollars at the end.

Pretty inventive and striking in it’s informality and self organization.

Here’s some details from the Global Kids blog entry.

On the effectiveness of the design ––

The thing I found interesting about this was how, by trying to address teenagers from a route which many are more comfortable in, and spend quite a bit of time in, they’re also managing to educate them, quite willingly in most places. As I went round the maze I saw many people stopping at each of the case studies and fact cards and reading them.

On the self organizing nature of it ––

Also evident throughout second life are members educating themselves or each other. For example, a lot of items are created by the members, who have had to learn how to build them, then learn programming for more interactive elements. Many of the kids on Teen grid didn’t know how to programme when they first arrived, however, through tutorials and people willing to help each other, they have learnt enough to complete items they are building, or have learnt where to go to find out more so they can continue to educate themselves.

On the inventiveness of their methodology ––

Raising money was also another part of the event that seemed to be working quite well. It can often be hard to get teenagers to donate money, however, within the virtual world they were a lot more willing. The one donation box had raised about L$6500 within a few hours, which is about $22. Although it does not seem that much, If the same people had passed a donation box in the street for the same cause, would so much have been donated?

 



Article: ‘e-learning 2.0 – How Web technologies are shaping education’

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/08/09

Great article this AM from the folks over at Read/Write Web on emerging Web 2.0 (yeah, I know, but we gotta call it something) trends in eLearning.

Article is titled ‘e-learning 2.0 – how Web technologies are shaping education’. Here’s an excerpt –– 

The traditional approach to e-learning has been to employ the use of a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), software that is often cumbersome and expensive – and which tends to be structured around courses, timetables, and testing. That is an approach that is too often driven by the needs of the institution rather than the individual learner.

In contrast, e-learning 2.0 (as coined by Stephen Downes) takes a ‘small pieces, loosely joined’ approach that combines the use of discrete but complementary tools and web services – such as blogs, wikis, and other social software – to support the creation of ad-hoc learning communities.

This is the heart of what I will be going into detail on in ‘Blogs and Screencasts in the Quest for Training Attention’ for my Cerner Health Conference 2006 presentation in Orlando this October.



Creating Passionate Users: Organic creativity: the Roomba process

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/07/31

Kathy Sierra does it once again in Organic creativity: the Roomba process, this time summing up the importance of agile development methodology in a tight metaphor –– “the Roomba approach to organic design” ––

While this don’t-plan-every-damn-thing-in-advance model has started to gain popularity in the software development world, most, um, old-style programmers like me had an almost opposite model beat into us from the beginning. The well-intentioned concern for future extensibility, flexibility, scalability led us down the design garden path… skipping along assuming that WE were the smart ones who’d be ready when the dreaded yet inevitable Requirements/Specification Changes came in. With enough upfront design and extra coding, we could make our life down the road much easier. What we lost in time-to-release now would be more than made up for later. So we said.

But then the Extreme Programming and Agile Manifesto began to challenge that idea. While not everyone has drunk the XP koolaid (and oh how I hate forced pair-programming), most modern software development teams have been heavily influenced by at least some of the XP/Agile once-edgy, now more mainstream practices.

 



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