Archive for January, 2007

The Future of computing…and perhaps online learning.

tedtalks_splash.jpgEach year, Technology Entertainment Design (TED) hosts a series of fascinating seminars. Thankfully, the TED team has decided to stream these presentations to a wider audience off their website.  The cast of speakers over the past three years is amazing and their presentations are full of ideas to spark your thinking about learning and development. 

Highly recommended is Jeff Han, a research scientist for New York
University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. In this talk, he demonstrates his intuitive, “interface-free” touch-driven computer screen, which can be manipulated intuitively with the fingertips.

This is the learning interface we all dream about.  

And while you’re on site, check out Bono discussing our moral obligation (and economic incentive) to help lift Africa out of poverty. Powerful and passionate as ever.

TED Talks 


Web Quests – an old idea still proving its worth.

istock_000000172111small.jpgDeveloped in 1995, before the internet ‘took off’ in popularity (and when we enjoyed 14.4 dial up modems!), the Web Quest was designed as an enquiry-oriented learning activity in which most or all of the information used by learners is drawn from the internet.   Web Quests are designed to focus learners on using information rather than looking for it, and to support their thinking at the levels of analysis, synthesis and evaluation.  

We recently created an e-learning program with a Web Quest component where the learner had to review a range of collated sites to complete a range of activities. It proved very popular and a great way of encouraging learners to continue their knowledge development through accessing a range of carefully selected sites. Its worthwhile considering the idea if you’re looking for a way of extending your program’s reach.

The model was developed in early 1995 at San Diego State University. The key elements to consider and include in a Web Quest are listed below:

  1. An introduction that sets the stage and provides some background information and sets out the required task.

  2.  A set of information sources needed to complete the task. These can be embedded in the WebQuest document. The sources can include internet sites, pod casts, wikis and databases.

  3. A description of the process the learners should do to accomplish the task. Some guidance on how to organise the information acquired. This can be through questions or directions to complete frameworks such as timelines, concept maps, or SWOT analysis.

  4. A conclusion that brings closure to the quest, reminds the learners about what they’ve learned, and encourages them to continue their experience.

For more background on the concept and some examples, head over to the San Diego Web Quest site.


The art of visualization – in 100 ways

table.jpgNever again will I be stuck for an approach to visually represent a concept or idea in an e-learning program.  

This remarkable ‘periodic table’ of visualization methods can be used to spark ideas on how you can depict information in a way that is conducive to helping learners to acquire insights, develop understanding or communicate experience.  Point all instructional designs this way. 

What lies ahead on the e-learning journey?

j0401286.jpgWhile e-learning has its origins in being a new and efficient channel to deliver training, that framework can no longer support all the learning needs of individuals and organisations by itself. We need to recharge e-learning’s format and purpose and move toward informational and collaborative approaches that focus on the specific jobs people do. It must move beyond courseware, modules, simulations and into work itself. 

Marc Rosenberg’s “What Lies Beyond E-Learning?” report focuses on this theme and convincingly argues that:

 E-learning will become more than “e-training.” E-learning will move to the workplace. Blended learning will be redefined. E-learning will be less course-centric and more knowledge-centric. E-learning will adapt differently to different levels of mastery. Technology will become a secondary issue.

Check out his article.


Don’t click it!

istock_000000287531small.jpgTry to break a habit of a digital lifetime and work through this fascinating interface design without ever clicking your mouse. It’s learn by un-doing and a terrific way of shifting your mindset about how a learning interface can work.

Take on last click at dontclick it….