Day 2 of the Foundations Intensive was just as information-packed as Day 1, if not more. Marc Rosenberg kicked us off with a brief review of Day 1 and then we jumped right into breakout sessions. Bob Mosher (@bmosh) talked about “Performance Support and Learning at the Moment of Need” in one session and Brent Schenkler (@bschenkler) talked about “Serious Games, Virtual Worlds, and Immersive Simulations” in the other. The hardest part of these two days was making a choice during the breakout sessions as both were on my top list.
I chose to listen to Brent (with no disrespect to Bob). We’ve heard a lot about Serious Games and all that it entails, however Brent knew his audience – new comers, and he knew how to present the subject at a level that was digestible. Brent started out talking about where most see games as “If it looks like fun, it can’t be learning.” He then went on to talk about business and competition and shared a quote from Deborah-Wince Smith on competiveness. Brent explained this world at a level all newcomers would understand with his insight and entertaining way of presenting. Of all that was covered, he asked “…if games have been proven to be more powerful and impactful, and they’re better, faster, and cheaper to build than ever before, then why haven’t organizations adopted them yet?” Not sure the answer was ever revealed!
After a break we all regrouped in the main room to listen to Cammy Bean (@cammybean) and Ellen Wagner (@edwsonoma) on “How eLearning Instructional Design Differs from Classroom ID.” Two powerhouse ladies in the biz for sure! They did kick it off with a disclaimer that what they were presenting was an overview. Planned strategy or not, it was a teaser that worked to get folks to attend their session later in the week! They talked about of the hundreds of models out there, they are meant to be used as heuristics (rules of thumb) and that ID models are often used as checklists. In all the layers of instructional design and eLearning development, personally my world revolves around the visuals. When Ellen explained there is the big “D” and the little “d” in the Design phase, that hit home and made perfect sense to me! The big “D” is the overall design of the instruction whereas the little ”d” is all about the visual design and all the development that goes into a course. In general, they explained how the research shows eLearning can be superior to face-to-face classroom instruction.
After lunch we split into breakout sessions again. Bob Mosher this time talked about “Blended Learning into Your Learning Mix” and Will Thalheimer (@WillWorkLearn) talked on “Research Answers: What is the Value of eLearning? What Designs Work Best?” Again I was torn but decided to listen to Bob this time. Bob talked about the task analysis. We did an exercise where we relabeled the task labels of an analysis. Where task labels may be native to the environment, they may not be necessarily native to the learner’s language.
Next up was Harry Melon with Dazzle Technologies where he talked about “An Overview of the eLearning Project Management Process.” No disrespect to Harry as I had attended his session the day prior, but I had a womper of a headache and retired to my room until the next set of breakout sessions.
Karen Hyder talked about “Transitioning from a Classroom Trainer to and Online Trainer” and Sheila Cook partnered with Harry Melon on “Outsourcing or Insourcing: Creating the Ideal eLearning Team.” These two weren’t has hard to decide as in our workplace, we’re not faced with the challenge of transitioning classroom trainers, so I sat in on Sheila’s and Harry’s session. This was fairly straight-forward and I have my own opinions on this subject. Each project ‘should’ always have that little decision tree in the planning phase that makes the determination if the course should be outsourced or insourced. As I write this on a Monday, I was faced with this decision on my first day back to work after LS2010. The project expected launch is at our company’s annual National Sales Meeting which is typically in mid-September. We were shown several examples of other company’s similar projects where they used an eLearning platform as a commercial to launch a new product service. The demo was very well done and probably had at least 60 hours of work into it at a minimum. We have the tools and the talent to produce such a project, but we (as a company) tend to drag our feet. I’m all about insourcing when we can, but I always suggest we add at least 20% to the development cost due to overlapping projects. Not to mention project team members are more than likely going to have about a dozen other projects they are involved with at the same time.
The day wrapped up with a panel discussion led by Marc Rosenberg with Vanessa Goodrum (@vgoodrum) from the Poynter Institute and News University, David Anderson (@elearning) with Articulate, and Sheila Cook with St. Joseph’s Health Care. Marc engaged the audience with a great interactive exercise that sorted audience-generated questions by relevance and importance. He asked that we write down that one burning question we wanted to ask the panel on a 3×5 card. Then we exchanged the cards with someone other than at our tables. At this point Marc asked us to rate the question with a single number 1-7 with 7 being the most relevant. We did this (exchanged with others) four times at which we were finally asked to add up the four separate numbers. The cards with the highest numbers were questions the audience “voted” as the most relevant to ask the panel. Very interactive exercise that resulted in a lively discussion!
In closing, the eLearning Foundations Intensive was a hit. As I mentioned in my summary of Day 1, my intention of attending these two days was to get a pulse to what newcomers to the business are looking for and overall curious to learn what the heck they got themselves into! The eLearning Guild has a hit on their hands with this workshop and I hope the collective feedback will allow for its return. If so, I for one will certainly recommend it next year!