Top 25 Learning Management Systems

I love the eLearning Brothers. First, I love their name (they really are brothers!), their look, and their style. Their branding is seamless, tight-knit, and does not waiver or change. Plus, they keep an updated blog and their free templates are totally worth a look-through.

This blog post is from October of last year, but it is so relevant every day! The Top 10 Articulate Storyline Games of the Year make me smile because they prove that eLearning is fun and games are NOT just for kids. However, I’m noticing that the KISS method is applied here, generously. Especially if you’re taking handfuls of time and energy to develop something so engaging. In my line of work, these engaging and playful tools are never mandatory (aka they do not count as a grade if you play around with it) and always supplemental.

Think about using these games if you fall into a hairy situation like I did in my last course! In this project management course, students have to take a final exam that is 10% of their final grade. It sounds small, but that 10% can make or break a student who needs a 70% or above to pass.

For studying purposes, they had their textbook and two pages of sample multiple choice questions at the end of each chapter.

a) If I am a student, I’m grazing over those question/answer pages as fast as possible. Why? The answers are on the same page…my eyes dart RIGHT to that answer key and it’s all over.

b) As a graduate student, I have a full-time job, possibly a family. Do I have time to read and take notes on every little detail of my textbook reading this week? Probably not…will my studying habits falter? You bet!

c) Regardless of what I’m doing as a graduate student, I am in need of immediate feedback. Once I get that immediate feedback and I’m not correct, I need immediate information to replace my misunderstanding of the right answer and actually absorb the correct information!

That’s why I made these:

Easy breezy PowerPoints quizzes narrated by yours truly. They live on Office Mix, however guess what feature is lacking in the playback and interactivity? The clicky COLORS! :

Office Mix said that with their new updated software that the slideshow of any Mix shown within PowerPoint would be the exact replica that you would find living in Office Mix cyberspace…(fourth bullet from the top)

They are wrong! You cannot click triggered boxes to make them change colors UNLESS you created identical slides that link to the clickable boxes. Those identical slides would need to have color differentiation. Too many slides, too much linking, too much wasted time. I was NOT about to add 40 more slides to each PPT. Baloney. 

Needless to say, I gave students the ability to download the presentations so they will be able to preview them on their computer and take the interactive quizzes themselves. Oh, and did I mention I made 13 of them? 10 questions each! Yippee!

All in all, Storyline would have been a better match for my needs. Lesson learned!

MOOCs at ERAU

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What I didn’t add on my Facebook is that none other than YOURS TRULY will be developing the October MOOC for ERAU! Yippee skippy! I learn all about it tomorrow! Select the image above to learn more!

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In OTHER awesome news…the WAVE OF THE FUTURE IS HERE LADIES AND GENTS!

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DID YOU SEE?? THEY DID IT!!! THEY ACTUALLY DID IT!!! Our world is changing, folks. After so long of just being able to Like a status, FACEBOOK unleashed new emotions! We’ve got Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry! I can’t even contain myself! This is incredible!

Okay, am I overreacting? I think not. The Like Button is a house hold term and phrase.

Did you like my photo?
Did you see ____liked it?
I just unliked and liked this again because I like it so much!

The controversy I am afraid of is the like vs love icon. Is someone going to have a hissy fit because their boyfriend only liked their photo and didn’t love it? Just imagine the controversy. I’ll just sit back with my popcorn and watch =)

Keeping promises, resolutions…

mooc

I was doing so well with blogging! Life gets busy. It truly does. Now, if my main job function was to blog post all day, I’d be DYNO-MITE at my job 🙂 I’m pretty great at the things I’m actually supposed to be doing, so that’s a plus.

I just started two MOOCs today: Instructional Design Service Course: Gain Experience for Good & Web Accessibility MOOC for Educators.

My main focus for these two MOOCs is to check out their structures, network, and find out how other people implement IDD-focused strategies and accessbility into their courses.

One of my professional goals is to create a MOOC – I’m building one at ERAU-WW! I am SO thrilled to be given this task! It’s important to be able to showcase what we do and how well we do it. Yippee!!

Fads in E-Learning: Microlearning

digitalchalk-what-is-micro-learningWhile reading Jennifer Yaros’ new post, it lead me to Microlearning: The e-Learning method taking off around the world. Then, I thought about my own learning and experiences.

I am a trivia geek. My husband and I can slay anyone in trivia matches. Not to mention I’m gaining momentum in the iOS app, Trivia Crack. I love learning useless (IMHO – not so useless) facts. I love nonfiction ANYTHING and thrive on the humanities and science as a way to live my life passionately. I take a lot of the knowledge that I possess and develop common sense strategies and answers for questions that pertain to any subject. I find that this way of info-blasting and microlearning has helped my overall well-rounded knowledge.

Microlearning defines learning experiences that are much briefer than a traditional course – referring to relatively small learning units and short-term learning activities.

Chunk it UP & dice it! Pick out only the best pieces and roll with it!

This idea of spewing a ton of information in a short amount of time has been going on for a few years now. Headings and subheadings with small paragraphs that get to the nitty-gritty are my most favorite pieces of literature, and I hope this style never goes away. I LOVE the idea of reading “just the facts” without any lingering details (which are always completely unnecessary). But that’s how my brain works! My brain does not have time or energy for fluff.

I have a feeling, though, that the world will eliminate the fluff sooner or later.

So, let’s transition from Buzzfeed-esque articles to e-Learning. Microlearning is a blast of information in a short amount of time. Isn’t that what everyone is given? A short amount of time? How appropriate! Translate this idea to all 9-5 job situations: “Mr. So-and-so…I need you to learn this new aspect of your job by yesterday. Can you do that for me? That’d be grreeaaatt.”

Yeah well, yesterday already happened…so…

From a business perspective, almost 90% of associations use some form of technology to enable or enhance learning and more than half (52.8%) of associations that use technology for learning have increased their organisation’s net revenue from educational offerings.

Fewer than a third (31.5%) of organisations that report using technology for learning say they use technology to repeat, reinforce, or sustain learning after participants complete an educational product or service. Another 29.4% say they plan to in the coming year.

Close to 50% of organisations integrate the data they collect in their learning technology platforms with the data from other technology platforms they use.

Well, I’m happy. Why? I am not too sure microlearning is just a fad- it could be here to stay!

#Simulations in #eLearning

I went to the I/ITSEC Conference back in November of 2015. I was able to witness and try a lot of physical simulators geared towards the field of aeronautics and military forces. Simulators from Lockheed Martin, Meggitt, and Engility are some companies that work directly with the department of defense.

In addition to these companies, there were many simulators that lined up directly with supportive e-learning. When I asked specificially if they could gear a program towards X, the cost went through the roof. How do universities combat the price of simulations just yet? Grants. Who has time to write grants when you’ve got a course to develop? When is it worth the time and effort?

Currently, I’m working with a course developer who wanted to add in a project management simulator to her IT-PM course. Awesome! So, where do we look for simulations that are cost-effective and worthy of students’ time?

Mind you, these are students will full-time jobs and families. They need to pass this class in 9 weeks to fulfill a degree to move up in their company and provide for their family! It is important that they receive worthy information and spend their time wisely to learn as much as they can.

I think it is awesome when someone can appreciate the free gems of the internet. That Project Management Game is a very simple tool that is free to use as many times as necessary. In our course, students will be using this tool to make notes on whether or not it would be a beneficial simulator for trainees. Is it comparable to the workplace? What could be added to make it better? What benefits or disadvantages do you see to this tool?

For a little more substance and rigor, we are also going to use the Havard Business Review’s Project Management Simulation v2 at an awesome price. With 90 minutes of simulation time, students can grab it for $15. For a masters degree program, that’s a pretty good deal!

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The second release of this simulation adds a new scenario with multiple unanticipated events and the ability to add prototypes to the project plan. In this single-player simulation, students take on the role of a senior project manager and manage a team tasked with developing a new product for an electronics manufacturing company. The primary objectives are to execute a project plan successfully and deliver a competitive product on time and on budget. Instructors can assign up to 6 scenarios that expose students to realistic challenges that project managers often face, especially when working in a highly competitive industry. Some challenges require students to react to unanticipated outside events, such as a staffing crisis, while others require students to respond to strategic changes mandated by upper management. A new project lever for specifying prototypes allows students to explore the benefits of this essential component of agile project management.

I am so excited for this course! I am thrilled to be working with my course developer. We have developed two courses so far and she’s a rockstar!

#Trends in #elearning

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Universities won’t survive. The future is outside the traditional campus, outside the traditional classroom. Distance learning is coming on fast.” – Peter Drucker, 1997

The article below is a great read. A lot of the trends listed are obvious, but the reasons behind them dig deep into that quote. Wow, 1997. I was just venturing into second grade at that point. Little did my brain know that my career would engage in the wild and crazy future of education.

IF, and only IF universities do not survive, what does that mean for the world as we know it? Forget freshman year on campus and Leadership Safari – I did not build my social skills from those instances.

My main focus and worry is the lack of human-to-human interaction. If universities do not survive, what does that mean for K-12 education? We are already glued to our electronic devices and human communication is dwindling- where do we go from here? Is this a world we want to be a part of 20 years from now? 50 years?

All these trends are great and will keep a nice cash flow in my bank account, but that quote is something to really think about. That means that it is OUR job as IDDers to incorporate as MUCH human interaction as possible.

How? What is the best method of including human interaction in e-learning courses? Do you think the quote is valid? Why haven’t universities crashed and burned yet? Will it ever?

The following article was created for my virtual presentation “Global Trends in the eLearning Industry” at the International Congress on eLearning 2013 organized by the Philippine eLearning Society.

Source: Future eLearning Trends and Technologies in the Global eLearning Industry

Resolutions

  It’s January 1st.

To say that I am going to do all of these magical things is far fetched. I like to be pleasantly surprised at my successes than completely disappointed that I didn’t achieve my goals.

I have to get my barings in place.

I am looking to enhance my craft, to do well always and do a better job every day than the last. I want to take up extra work and find myself meeting and working with new people. 

I want to collaborate, learn, present, and explore.

In terms of your career, what are your goals for this year? 

The Sway Way

SocialMedia_Logo_Sway_400x400x32If you have Microsoft 365, you have Sway. And it’s awesome.

Is Sway® going to replace PowerPoint®? No
Is Sway® better than PowerPoint®? No
Is Sway® worth the effort? YES YES and YES!

Sway is like if PowerPoint® and Instagram got together and had a little adorable, mostly easy-going, but sometimes stubborn, child.

Sway is something else on its own. You tell a story with Sway. With just a little wiggle-room for creativity, Sway builds your pictures, text, and social media into a collage of awesomeness. If you’ve got a bunch of stuff to upload and you don’t mind an algorithmic display, Sway is the way to go.

So many video tutorials and a suggestion box make this program incredibly easy to use. I would say if you’re going to use it for the first time, play with it THEN view a tutorial.

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  • Preset designs make me feel like someone else is in control of how my Sway looks – this is good because I can spend HOURS trying to figure out what colors and fonts go well together
  • Accessibility built RIGHT IN! How cool!!
  • Easy – no true learning curve here. Everything you’d like to do is drag and drop
  • Super duper easy to collaborate with others!
  • Fancy shmancy privacy and sharing settings
    • Did I mention the embed feature?? ^^
  • Instant save/Instant update – Cloud storage is the best. It’s kind of scary to not have to worry about a save button! For us and our LMS it’s great because wherever the SWAY lives it updates instantaneously – no more having to go back into copies of courses and adjusting any edits that need to be made!
  • Pretty tech savvy-looking without the coding. This will make your presentation just a bit more enticing- may give it the edge you need.

Thumbs Down

  • Images from Bing and Flickr  could be removed in an instant – I would suggest not including those kinds of photos in your Sway
    • If you do, down/upload them and insert – make sure to get your permissions!
  • The only social media site you can embed is Twitter, and you cannot embed a live feed, just single tweets
    • Apparently they’re “working on” adding social media sites to their catalog
  • Small vs Medium vs Large – Design needs tweaking
    • Any media ‘card’ can be placed on the Sway but the way it falls may not be as cute as an IG picstitch.
    • If you’re picky about how a presentation looks, Sway is not for you. If you’re easy going, make that Sway!

Office Mix: Trials and Tribulations

office-mix-stacked-logoHere is my sincere review of the new plug-in for PowerPoint® – Office Mix.

Good lordy loo, where do I begin? First, if you’re not sure about what I’m talking about, please add this plug-in to your already existing software and play around with it. You can get started with some small projects by viewing these tutorials. Oh, and if you forgo reading this entire blog post, and you come across a super problem, it probably isn’t your mistake or your computer but an error or issue with Office Mix that is preventing your I_love_cats.pptx from not working as a Mix.

There’s a saying somewhere that describes lazy people being the best workers, simply because they’ll find a workaround to anything to get the job done fast. Alright. If you mix super lazy, speedy fast and accurate task-completer, and über-ly meticulous professional together… you’ve got me. Let me explain…

The Beginning

Everyone and their brother use Articulate Storyline. Fresh out of IDD school and I come to find out they taught me ZERO about software. I was picked and plopped in front of my desk without any Storyline experience whatsoever.  Luckily, I am a super fast learner and all around awesome person so it doesn’t really matter ;).

During my first month of being an IDDer, I had a grand opportunity to take training courses and learn anything I wanted! My mind exploded! Then, all of a sudden I had my first course and needed to learn the basics before I could add my own creativity. That first course came out as basic as a mocha frappuccino; served its purpose, super generic, yet delicious.

Next came my second course – I teetered back and forth: How do I add some interactivity in here? Well if I create an interactive component I need to make sure that I have time to complete it before the course is due- let’s start with something small!

Baby Steps

A very basic presentation of content was created. Students had the opportunity to choose one of two final projects for the course. I showcased the overview of each type of projects and the components associated in a spider web form of instruction. It was cool, hip, and easy. Right? A different way to access information instead of a document? Great! I’m done!

Yeah right…Woopty do…

It just wasn’t enough sparkle and pizzaz for my crazy-filled brain that just wanted more, more, and more!

So then this whole big craze about Office Mix swept my office. My director is so excited about it that he’s actually piloting a few of us to push it in our March courses for use by our SMEs and students. Others feel like it’s just another presentation tool.

Let’s get to the review, please!

Do you know PowerPoint® like the back of your hand? Awesome.
Are you willing to narrate or use video recording to relay information in an interactive way? Great.
Are you incredibly patient? Hmm
Do you have a tablet and stylus? Me either…

Pros

  1. Great if you want a narrative walk-through of a presentation, similar to a .ppsx
    • Gives the narrator the ability actually to record their own video via webcam or use screenshot abilities – similar to drawing on a SMARTboard in front of a class.
  2. Your Mix lives in cyberspace
    • LOVE the idea of updating a “file” that lives on the internet because it will instantly update wherever!
    • I think Office Mix is stepping towards this idea of cloud storage (MS 365) that everyone is super gung-ho about (including me)
  3. FREE
    • No explanation needed
  4. EASY
    • Depending on who you ask. But no really, easy as pie. Very small learning curve if any.
  5. FAST and POLITE customer service
    • I actually received a response from a rep at Microsoft who is the leader in the Mix department – fast, friendly, and answered my question without a condescending attitude! Rock on!

Cons

  1. Big huge con for what I needed to do: No ability to record audio files and “slide record” while triggering my transitions.
        • Mix says, “You cannot record on this slide because there is another media file present.” What on EARTH?! This is such a simple thing! The makers of Mix totally did this on purpose too, especially since there is a little disclaimer!
        • So you know what I had to do?? Live record every slide and silently press my spacebar as I came to each trigger word in my speech so the content would show as I presented it. I know it sounds petty, but this was a big deal as I value chunking in these types of presentation. It took a lot more planning from my side, but looking on the bright side: I had developed a transcript without knowing I needed to make one for accessibility purposes! Score!
          • I tested it out before I threw away the idea: I created an audio file of narration. Then, what I inserted it onto a slide. I wanted to screen record while the audio played and as I heard key words I would tab through my transitions of making content appear. Oh, noooo I couldn’t!
        • Check this out –this first slide with the Venn diagram took me an hour to 1) read correctly 2) and trigger correctly  ALL in one take. That’s a waste of time.
  2. Cannot make a Mix with hidden slides
    • What if I wanted to make a trivia game?  Learners can see all of the slides! No fun at all!
      • It’s like seeing your Christmas presents under the stairs in the linen closet when you’re 12 years old, and you shouldn’t believe in Santa, but you kind of do, but you know it’s wrong and you just want to magic to stay alive forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (me)

ProCon

  1. Mark-up on screen recording.
    • While helpful and useful to point out important information, you better have a tablet and a stylus unless you don’t mind being messy. I don’t know about you, but my mouse capabilities are not as pretty as I’d like them to be. If I needed to write out a mathematical equation, you bet I willtype out each line of the equation before I write it with my mouse and marker on the screen recorder.

The Nitty Gritty

I like Office Mix. A lot of my colleagues do not. I know exactly why: They know there’s better software out there. The problem is my time was limited. My time may continue to be limited and I will not mind continuing to use Mix as long as I need to. There’s a lot Mix developers need to do, and they know there is a need for them to get a new update up and running quickly.

Another Sample Mix for your viewing pleasure!

I’m out