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…

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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!

Structured Day

Organization-skills-can-help-you-juggle-2-jobs-NRIAJ07-x-largeHow do you structure your day as an Instructional Designer? What are your organizational approaches to starting and ending the day? Do you get the most important emails answered or do you take on the smallest tasks first? Does every day look the same or are you constantly having to juggle different responsibilities as you move through your week?

I feel like I am still new to the game even though I’ve been learning and working for five months. To be honest this is the first time I am working in an office and in charge of my own projects. It is the first time I have had creative control of the material that I develop.

It’s difficult to have so much free range and then attempt to make every day as structured as possible. The difficulty is such a gift. I’m glad to have this challenge because I am excited to have this flexibility in my career, day in and day out!! When something is difficult, it doesn’t mean that it’s bad – it’s just something new and challenging that pushes growth!

My senior instructional designer sent us all this email from Getting Things Done‘s Newsletter. There’s a ton of great motivational aspects to the newsletter, but I feel as though there is a bigger message. The message is that nothing will ever get done unless YOU make them happen. We are the sole contributor to our day-in-day-out functions and we create those conclusions at the end of the day.

So to me, to get myself organized and structured is my own doing. I am reponsbile for myself and my actions. It’s time to get started!

#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? 

Opinion: How Do We Know What They Know?

In my past life, I was a middle school math teacher. As I am still in the field of education, I keep my experiences close to my heart as I have witnessed the issues multiple families are now experiencing.

Your children are coming home with good grades and they don’t know anything. Okay maybe they know something, but not everything on that assignment sheet – I promise you.

Math is the easiest to fake since K-8 is all about the repetition of memorizing procedures and 9-12 takes those memorized procedures are the backbone of more memorized procedures. I did not understand the “why” and the “how” of math until my undergrad. I made up rhymes and songs to get myself through high school Calculus because there was no tangible sense to the subject.

I was one of those students where memorization and little tricks came easy to me, so I decided to major in mathematics for my undergrad. I liked math and I was good at it. Yeah, I was good at memorizing and making sense of it all! Was I truly learning? Could I apply my skills to real world situations? How many word problems were on assessments or included for homework? Hardly any. Why? Because my teachers didn’t know how to explain applicable math in the real world either.

I could go on for days about how our education system is royally messed up, but I’m here to talk about something a little bit different. Once I started my undergrad I had incredible professors that taught me how to study the learning process.

The article, Knowing What Students Know: The Power of Documentation -By Angela Stockman & John T. McCrann describes the advantages to study the learning process by documentation and even includes 8 Steps in a Recursive Process to aid in the shift. 

Hilda Borko, Brian Stecher, and Karin Kuffner  suggest that when scientists want to study the earth’s crust or the ocean floor, they don’t require our planet to stop spinning in order to produce lab samples. Instead, they simply scoop up what they need in order to examine it. Likening learners to planets and teachers to scientists, Borko, Stecher, and Kuffner challenge us to assess learning in process through the use of scoop notebooks rather than disrupting it in order to test. Much can be learned about the power of documentation from their work.

How do you know what your students know? This article raises some questions- how is this possible in our system of underpaid teachers who are highly skilled, yet bogged down by the ever demanding standardized tests. Oh, and teaching math, among other subjects, in the most ridiculous way possible?

So now, is higher education any different? I am so fortunate that the SME that I am working with is an incredible person: she loves project-based learning and structures her learning outcomes and objectives to meet those requirements. In their graduate courses, students create something that is valuable to the career they want.

As I’m reading these steps from the article, wouldn’t it be amazing if there was time to meet with students to mull over the documentation and feedback? What if we could truly sit down with our students and display, interpret, and theorize the evidence?  Students need feedback. They need relevant and meaningful goals towards learning something new is a crucial step to this process just as making the learning process as real as possible. When students are involved in the way they learn, where their struggles and strengths lie, they will be more apt to actually learning instead of regurgitating information that is completely meaningless!

My favorite:

Good scientists know that the findings from their documentation work serve as catalysts for different and perhaps deeper investigations far more often than they provide clear answers. Similarly, great teachers use what they learn from their documentation efforts in service to students, but more importantly, they use their discoveries to define what they want or need to learn next. This renewed commitment to learning, sharing, theorizing, testing, and relearning often ignites enthusiasm, inspiring them to seek company among professionals who share their passion for this work.