Thursday, January 14, 2016

Vision 2016 - An Interview with Desiree Pinder's interview in the Vision 2016 series is with Desiree Pinder, Executive Director, Artisan E-Learning . She helps companies as diverse as government agencies, non-profits, medium-sized businesses, and Fortune 500 corporations, to get up and running with e-learning initiatives.

Below are excerpts from the interview:

What are some key eLearning trends that you think would surface, or pick pace, in 2016?
[Desiree] Courses that work seamlessly on all platforms (especially on mobile devices) is very important and a must have form and my clients.  In the past, I’ve seen very specific requests for iPad, but Android is becoming more important (to the point that clients are asking for both…ALL…now). 

Each year I give a presentation to my local ATD chapter where I try to “predict” trends.  This year was a bit of an anomaly. Instead of predicting, I shared my hope and dream. In the past couple of years, e-learning development tools are coming out with ways to help us make courses work more seamlessly on all platforms.  My hope and dream is that this trend will continue.  HTML5 makes my life easier, so I’m hoping we’ll see more options for HTML5/mobile publish.  We saw an increase in more of tools being available for making mobile publishing easier in 2015, and I hope that this trend continues in 2016.

Micro-learning is being talked about everywhere. How important or unimportant is it going to be in 2016?
[Desiree] I can see how this could be very beneficial to have shorter courses, but our clients aren’t asking for it…or say “no thank you” when we give it as an option when discussing what they want/need.  Many of the courses I develop fall in the 20-minute timeframe (or slightly less).  My clients want to get more information out than just a 5-minute clip would contain, and they are concerned that people won’t log in several times to get that information. 

On the other hand, all of our courses do allow someone to stop in the middle if they need to leave and come back and pick up exactly where they left off.

Interactive eLearning – how would that look like in 2016?
[Desiree] I have spent a lot of time at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center as a tourist and a mother of a boy who is determined to be a rocket scientist. Their programs give me a great look into the future of what e-learning could be. They have robots, interactive training tools which use your body language to do whatever an astronaut would need to do to survive wherever she is. You want me to go on a space walk to save the world? No problem…I’ve done it!  :)

Along with this, I’m seeing virtual and augmented reality closer than ever before with the release of new technology using cell phones as the center of the VR and AR experience (such as SpaceVR and Samsung Gear VR 2015 Virtual Reality Headset).  Even Facebook has entered the scene with its purchase of Oculus Virtual-Reality Company.

While I am thrilled with the possibilities and interactivities I see from these learning experiences, I think this year will be a year of making mobile experiences better, building courses that are instructionally sound, have  engaging graphics, and maintain the same type of interactivity we have seen in the past years. However, I have no idea where all of this will take us in 2017 and beyond.  What I do know is that I’m watching this technology very closely, and I am poised to jump into the arena at the first chance I get!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Vision 2016 - An Interview with Anne Mills

Today's interview in the Vision 2016 series is with Anne Mills, Director/Developer, Learning Solutions. Anne is a graphic designer whose skills have enabled her to produce appealing learning objects and engaging online learning experiences. Anne has created a range of learning and training courses for clients as small as a hospitality college in India, to industry giants like the Linfox Group in Australia.

Below are excerpts from the interview:

What are some positive changes that you would like to see in the eLearning industry as a whole?
Our industry is often perceived as technical rather than offering personal development and creative learning solutions.  Hopefully, as more people see good examples and understand the potential of eLearning there will be growth in respect as well as deeper adoption.
Reaching greater numbers of traditional teaching and learning professionals, without them feeling threatened by the means to improve their delivery of information, would be a good positive change that we must all work towards.

Micro-learning is being talked about everywhere. How important or unimportant is it going to be in 2016?
Micro-learning is a current term that refers to what has been developing over some years.  As online learning has been produced, it has been noted that concise segments of information with interaction that are easily accessed and absorbed make for better learning and training.
Our principal at Learning Solutions, Caryl Oliver, pioneered mobile learning on PDAs in the early 2000s –technology as well as the student users meant that very small lessons were constructed.  Feedback from learners was incredibly positive and set us on a course of strongly recommending clients to use small bites of information that can be picked up easily and quickly by learners.
A positive buzz is healthy for our industry, and 2016 opens the possibility that many people currently outside or unaware of the huge potential for online learning will want to know more about it and begin to think about how it can be used in a multitude of situations.

What are some challenges that your domain anticipates in the context of eLearning development and delivery?
The main challenge that we have found at Learning Solutions is guiding clients to understand that taking their traditional information and simply uploading it on to a server is not eLearning.  This is not yet consigned to the past and remains a challenge.
The perception that eLearning is not comparable to professional training and education is also a challenge and time spent in overcoming this block detracts from developing the best eLearning content.
That eLearning can and should be fun is also a challenge for many traditional training deliverers as online content is competing with a whole cyberspace full of entertainments and distractions.

Stay tuned for the next interview!