For over a decade, SCORM standards and specifications have been at the heart of web-based e-learning. These standards have served their purpose and were well suited to the technology of the day, but they fail to capture the bigger picture.
Paul MacCartney speaking for Saffron Interactive at Learning Technologies Conference 2013.
What is crowdsourcing and what does it mean for your organisation? Paul MacCartney, former president of global talent development company MindLeaders, will answer this question when he speaks on behalf of Saffron Interactive at the Learning Technologies Conference on 29 January 2013.
This is a guest post by Paul MacCartney
150 years ago last week, London built the world’s first underground rail network to deal with the crowds flocking to work in the City. Managing the Tube well continues to be a key economic enabler – and a challenge – as London’s population grows. It is no surprise that booming mega-cities across the world are investing in metro systems. Dealing with the crowd as a ‘problem’ is essential for growth.
Thanks to tough campaigning by many key interest groups, successive Acts of Parliament and changing public attitudes, real progress has been made in the advancement of diversity, equality and inclusion in the UK. The effects have been felt particularly in the workplace, as employers have woken up to the fact that a diverse workforce offers real performance benefits and opportunities.
This year the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) tightened up its guidelines to prosecuting the Bribery Act 2010. This means that as Christmas gifts begin to arrive, so does the threat of unwelcome legal action. Saffron Interactive, a provider of premium Bribery Act training, is warning businesses not to be complacent.
It’s that time of year again. Good food, apocalyptic weather, spending time with the family and finally getting the tablet you’ve been dreaming about. But it can also be a risky time for many organisations. Putting the office party compliance ‘nightmare before Christmas’ to one side, there also is the issue of bribery.
Something is happening in the world of public policy and it ought to be happening within learning and development. Earlier this year, the government’s “Behavioural Insights Team” opened their report with something that should be learnt from and used to transform the way in which we evaluate training.
‘It’s about making a difference’ says Saffron Interactive designer shortlisted for Learning Awards 2013
Moira Nicolson of Saffron Interactive has been shortlisted for ‘Instructional designer of the year’ at next year’s Learning Awards for designing a course on mental resilience with Transport for London (TfL). The award recognises the instructional designer behind the most ‘innovative learning intervention’ which delivers a ‘demonstrable performance improvement.’
As U.S. political speeches go, many of us will agree that George Bush was never destined to grace us with the same public speaking prowess that seemed to come so naturally to individuals like Martin Luther King Jr. and Steve Jobs. Bush once proclaimed “You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test”.
What is it that makes 007 the suave, confident and cool agent that he is? As impressive as some of his gadgets have been – from dagger shoes and garrotte watches in his early adventures to his Sony Xperia T mobile phone in Skyfall – his outstanding array of personal communication skills have proved time and again to be a more effective arsenal of weaponry at disarming foes and lovers alike.
Why do companies offer compulsory compliance training to their employees? To meet the company regulations that are in place. When staff training is approached in this way, many individuals may have reservations before they even begin, because ultimately, they do not have a choice in how their learning material is delivered.
The review of employee engagement that was commissioned by the previous Government is an exciting initiative aimed at investigating the state of employee engagement in UK businesses. This initiative, currently being led David MacLeod and Nita Clarke, has been put in place in to contribute towards growth in the economy. After years of gloomy economic news, including a double-dip recession, the UK economy needs all the help it can get.
I was at a party the other day which involved meeting and speaking to lots of people I hadn’t met before. One of the guests, a tall unshaven man holding a plate full of buffet food, introduced himself and asked me what I did. I didn’t tell him that I was an instructional designer because most people, understandably, don’t know what this is – instead, I told him that I worked for an online training company. As this didn’t pique his interest, and his conversation looked to be drying up, I didn’t bother elaborating and fired back the same question at him.
In my former life, I was a bit of trade show junkie. Having worked for retail companies the Autumn/Winter round of shows, exhibitions, and supplier meetings started in August and finished in September culminating in the glamour of London Fashion Week! This season things are slightly different. Firstly I’m on the “other side” – selling rather then buying and secondly I’m not discussing hem lines or the ecology of bamboo as a material, but whether mobile technology has been harnessed effectively by the learning and development community.
Joining the Saffron Interactive team last week, I’ve quickly come to appreciate the significance of an issue that I’ve known has existed for many years concerning the use of learning technology.
Saffron Interactive is proud to announce that three of our e-learning courses have been shortlisted for the prestigious E-Learning Awards, despite stiff competition from over 200 other submissions. We have been recognised for the following categories.
Have you ever wondered why the US produces so many radical innovators like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Google duo Larry Page and Sergey Brin and why Germany produces expert business builders like the Samwer brothers? Or why people in the UK and the US tend to go to university or college to study general subjects like English, Economics, Engineering or the coveted MBA whereas people in Germany tend to study industry specific subjects like Technology, Education and Nursing at Germany’s professional universities? Have you considered how employment law might influence your employees’ incentives to develop skills that are relevant to your business? And what effect might this have on the type of products and services that these countries deliver as well as their capacity to innovate?
Olympic fever is truly taking over. Flags are waving from every window, the TV commentators are getting more and more excitable, and gym memberships are shooting up as people decide that they could be the next Michael Phelps. Winning twenty medals may be a bit out of the average person’s reach, but we can still take on board some Olympic inspiration to make our e-learning world-class.
Over the last few years there can be no argument that e-learning has come on an awful long way. What started off in many cases as animated PowerPoints has evolved to courses that include animations, branching scenarios, video and in some cases incorporates gaming mechanics and social drivers to increase user engagement.
What does innovation in e-learning really mean anymore? Is it merely a buzzword, just like all restaurant cuisine is ‘authentic and made from fresh produce’ all e-learning is ‘engaging, interactive and innovative’?
Imagine a world in black and white. While it might appeal to some, it definitely doesn’t sound too exciting to most of us. And that’s because colour plays an important part in our lives. Every colour has something to say; your brain reacts differently to different colours. Colours create ambiance, catch and maintain our attention and stimulate us.
e-Learning designers face many of the same challenges as designers of classroom training – they’re aspiring to a learning experience which is relevant, motivates, incentivises and inspires learners to change or improve certain behaviours or attitudes.
This year, the Learning at Work Day theme is ‘Learning for Growth’. The constant availability of mobile learning already makes it ideal for self-development, but are you making the most of this medium?
When we take a look at compliance training, we often try to “justify” the learning to the reluctant user by listing the all of the empirical stuff that provides the context for the business case. “Data protection is important for us at Compuglobal Hypermeganet because in <insert recent year> there were <insert massive figure> breaches of data for our industry resulting in <insert inordinately large amount of money> in fines.” And yeah, it serves a purpose, to a point. Examples like this are an attempt at what we like to describe as a “war story” – using the worst case scenario to illustrate what a breach in compliance means.
My dad used to explain astronomy to me using salt pots and oranges. The orange generally represented the sun, whilst the salt pots, ketchup bottles and whatever else was on the kitchen table stood in for planets and comets. He would then make them all ‘orbit’ each other, enlisting my help when he ran out of hands and demonstrating why the moon seemed to change size each night, or how a solar eclipse worked. Despite the side effect of my food often going cold as I turned forks into astronauts, I remember much more about distances between planets than I do about the floodplains I was forced to study in class. I am sure that this is mainly due to the teaching style – getting directly involved with a demonstration and seeing how my actions changed the situation was much more engaging than making notes from a PowerPoint presentation.
As the approver-in-chief of our blog is an Arsenal fan, I’m unsure that this entry will ever make it on to our website, but here it goes anyway.
Paxman’s sexy prime numbers – how they can help you to make the key messages in your e-learning memorable
Sky is great, isn’t it? Recording your favourite programmes, watching them whenever you want… except it gets a bit complicated when you’ve got more than one University Challenge fan in the house (yes, really) and two fiercely competitive housemates.
In the last few weeks at Saffron Interactive there has been a lot of talk about gamification. For those that attended the recent Learning Technologies Exhibition you may have have seen one of our seminars debating the pro’s and cons of looking to videogames to provide an example for increasing engagement in L&D. We have also developed a new mobile assessment game based on the Bribery Act. This lead to a lot of interest and also a lot of questions on what makes something an example of gamification and what practical steps can we take to bring this increasingly popular theory into the training mix?
Saffron Interactive is proud to once again be a main sponsor and exhibitor at the Learning and Technologies Conference, Europe’s leading showcase of technology supported workplace learning. Visit us at Stand 33 to meet the team and try the Bribery Act Challenge! The exhibition is free to attend on January 25th and 26th at Olympia 2, London, and there is still time to register for a ticket. Click here for more details.
I’ll start with a shameless plug: Learning Technologies 2012, conference and exhibition, takes place on Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th of this month at Olympia – and I’d love you to come and visit us on stand 33. We’ve brought together our ideas on serious games, learning on-the-move and assessment into a single engaging mobile app. If you haven’t yet registered for the exhibition, you can do so for free here: http://www.learningtechnologies.co.uk/register-now/.
Looking back on last year, it seems that 2011 saw the English usage debate heat up, with plain English advocators angling their bayonets against the mountain of corporate jargon that permeates the modern workplace. And as an e-learning supplier, this is a matter close to Saffron’s heart.
The Spirit of Christmas Plagiarism
I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little blog, to raise the Ghost of an Idea …*
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, 2012 is the year of Charles Dickens’ 200th birthday. Part of his enduring celebrity is due to modern readers being able to relate to themes discussed almost two centuries ago. Tiny Tim going hungry at Christmas still tugs on the heartstrings, while Pip’s love/hate relationship with Estella wouldn’t seem out of place on Eastenders. One of the most recognisable parts of A Christmas Carol is Scrooge’s unwilling journey of self discovery by looking at his past, present and future – I think we can all gain some insight by taking a step back and examining where we’re going and where we came from.
So, with my nightcap firmly in place (and no sign of the Muppets), let me persuade you to take a well-earned break from your mince pies and I’ll take you on a journey through the spectres of e-learning past, present and future…
It’s the office Christmas party and everyone’s taking their seats at the table. Who would you rather sit next to, the rather dull colleague in the lovely dress or the one with the great stories who you really get on with? An e-learning course’s ‘look’ is important… but its ‘personality’ is paramount.
Does a good-looking course qualify as good quality? What about an ordinary course that brings about great behavioural change? I’m sure the argument can be extended to both sides. But my argument is to take the middle-path (very Buddha-like indeed, except I see no chance of Nirvana!).
Some say you’ve got to take the good with the bad, and I guess that’s the theme of today’s blog. I’ve recently been working on a couple of courses in Articulate, a rapid authoring tool in which you can build professional online instruction and interactions such as multi-response, in Engage, Presenter and Quizmaker. From colour schemes on hotspots and drag and drop tabs, to personalised individual feedback on multi-choice quizzes, Articulate allows you to tailor every course to your needs, and for that, it’s brilliant. But every fairytale has its trials, and with its hidden file settings and disobedient applications, Articulate is no exception. ‘Simple’ interactions have sprouted several problematic gremlins in my courses – gremlins with a deft ability to escape a number of computers and baffle the developer. So with that in mind, here it is: a quick-fire review of Articulate – the good, the bad, and the downright ugly!
Next time that you go to a business presentation, stop for a moment and take a look at how many people are typing away on smartphones or tablets whilst the speaker is talking. Is this evidence of a more active listener contribution and a higher level of efficiency, or of a short attention span? I’d suggest that this phenomenon isn’t because people are distracted by new technology, but instead that the audience participation in the group business presentation is changing. In my opinion, three of the main technologies responsible are:
- Smart Phones
Now before you start thinking this post is going to be full of sour grapes, let me explain that I’m quite happy with the awards Saffron has won in the past. I’m also looking forward to pitching along with our client to win an LPI 2012 award for which we’ve just been short-listed. And that’s enough self-congratulation too.
What do we mean when we talk about assessment in the context of e-learning? Too often, I’d suggest, we mean the test at the end of an online course. Perhaps we’ll call it a ‘quiz’ in the hope of making it more palatable for the learner, but all that does, I suspect, is make the learner feel still more patronised. The purpose of such a test is to determine whether the learner has, or has not passed the course.