CAT | Mobile

We’re doing a webinar  with our colleagues at Claro.  Here’s the scoop:

Thursday, October 17, 2013
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT

There’s no way to guess how someone is going to consume learning. They may use a desktop, a tablet, or a smartphone — or they may use all three. Will they access it over the internet, or take it offline? And in what size, form factor, orientation, or context will they use it?

eLearning authors can’t anticipate all the potential possibilities, let alone create versions of their content to satisfy them. Thanks to two emerging mobile learning innovations — responsive HTML5 conformant content and open API eLearning players — they don’t have to.

In this webinar presenters Bill Bruck and Paul Schneider will show participants how two innovative companies are supporting the diverse needs of a mobile workforce through the tight integration of best in class content creation (Claro) and best in class content delivery (Q2 Learning System 6).

Register Now

About Bill Bruck

Dr. Bill Bruck is the lead solutions architect of Q2Learning LLC, where he designed the technology that has been used in deploying over a hundred social learning solutions for Fortune 500 corporations. Bill has written over a dozen books on the effective use of technology, which have been translated into five languages. He serves as a luminary for media and industry relations, and provides keynotes internationally on new technologies and their impact on organizations. His accomplishments have been recognized by his listing in Marquis Who’s Who in America.

About Paul Schneider

Dr. Paul Schneider has worked in the area of distance communication technologies in academia and corporate for over 18 years with his primary focus on distance learning. In this capacity he has provided services in the areas of instructional design, web design, product development, distance instruction, technical support, project management, network administration, and course development. He has presented at a number of eLearning conferences and authored publications in various trade magazines. Dr. Schneider currently oversees operations and business development at dominKnow.


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Mobile Learning: Beyond the Hype

Bill Bruck will be delivering this awesome webinar:

Click here to reserve your Webinar seat for Thursday, March 14, 2013!

Too much eLearning replicates the worst practices of education electronically – lecture and multiple choice test. It was hateful in college, and it’s hateful in corporations.

Are we getting ready to repeat this mistake on our tablets and smartphones? If we’re not careful, the answer will be yes.

Years ago, Marshall McLuhan insisted that “the medium is the message.” mLearning opens up two new media to us – smart phones and tablets. How should we package the message in order to maximize value to the organization?

In this interesting and informative webinar, you will learn:

– Where to start in developing a mobile strategy
– How to leverage the critical distinction between instruction and performance support
– Requirements you MUST discuss with your learning technology vendors
Title: Mobile Learning: Beyond the Hype – a free webinar
Date: Thursday, March 14, 2013
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Mac®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer

Mobile attendees
Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet

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Mobile learning pulse is still a little weak

The Masie Center recently released its Mobile Learning Pulse Survey. Taken in the Fall of 2012, It’s a worthy read, taken from responses from 823 organizations.

The headline finding is that implementation is at its very beginning.

Approximately 80% of organizations reported at least a moderate interest in mobile learning. So far that interest has primarily translated into projects to explore and test mobile learning and developing some content designed for mobile devices. At the same time, less than 30% of organizations have an enterprise strategy for mobile learning.

Without a plan, it’s sort of unsurprising that thoughts about WHAT to put on mobile devices are all over the place…

While there was no single stand out element, 5 had the highest percentage of “strong interest”: access to eLearning modules, access to corporate internet content, access to video and audio content, and access to checklists. Second to those areas, organizational aspirations for mobile learning include making greater use of social media.

Masie suggests:

Overall, these responses demonstrate the interest in many responding organizations to be more effective in providing on-the-job performance support and shorter, more focused learning activities.

I wonder what’s driving what, here.  “Micro-learning” is a trend (my exploration of it is here)  – are we looking for tools on which to implement micro-learning because we think it’s good pedagogy? Or trying to figure out how to squeeze stuff onto these new platforms we think look cool?

It’s a little tricky, because “mobile”  appears to mean both tablets and phones in this context, but often refers to very different use environments.  The needs of the phone user on the bus pose more constraints than those of the tablet user on his/her couch.  The small form factor of the phone demands the reformatting of text-based information into shorter pages with fewer words.  The gaps in connectivity which phones face on-the-go means that any streaming content needs to be short in order not to be entirely annoying.

Masie points to the lack of a proven mobile pedagogy as an inhibitor, alongside the usual cost and security issues.  I doubt we’ll have that proven pedagogy until there are some experiments which are great successes, and others which are colossal failures, and it’s not surprising that enterprises are not lining up to create those case studies!

It seems to me that the modality most likely to pass into the “proven” realm soonest is performance support. We’re already seeing printed references in airline cockpits and sales vehicles being replaced by tablets which can access the up-to-the minute version of procedure manuals and catalogs.

I wonder, as tablets become more affordable, whether the demand for access via smartphone will fade.    How many of our workers will need to use something they can carry in their pockets, vs something they carry in small case? What’s it worth in terms of usability to have a larger screen, with more information?

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Mobile Learning Update

I’ve been keeping my ear to the ground on the explosion of mobile internet, trying to get to what’s really going on, beyond the hype.  Because I think, at a high level, what’s really going on with mobile is a whole lot of just-in-time informal learning.

I hear from news reports that people are using their phones to comparison shop while in brick and mortar stores.  I’m sure this is happening in some places, but my experience is that I often don’t actually have signal when I’m in a store.

My friends at , where volunteers are creating free audiobooks from the books in the public domain, report that 44% of the access to their site is via mobile browser these days.  They are planning a web site redesign, and will be taking this change into account.  Happily, the design considerations for a mobile interface align closely with those for creating an interface which is accessible to the vision-impaired, so there’s a double-win there.

Is snarfing a listenable copy of Hamlet or Emma while on the bus to work the consumption of entertainment, or learning?  I’m not sure, but I really like it!

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Which Interface?

I made an executive decision on a recent vacation to leave my ultra powerful /ultra geeky Windows 7 laptop at home.  This is a HUGE step forward for me — my kids figured out long ago that I carry my primary laptop the way other people carry security blankets.

But I figured that between my Android tablet and my Android phone and my husband’s shiny new Windows 8 convertible laptop/tablet (It’s a  Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13, a very sexy machine for anybody who wants laptop and tablet functionality in an ultrabook format)  and my critical files accessible via dropbox,  and the ability to remote desktop my way into various servers, I really didn’t need my workhorse, much as I love it. And, yes,  I could leave the mac laptop behind, as well.

I learned a lot on this trip about how hard it can be to try to do familiar tasks when the interface changes, even when the tools are nominally the same.

I was pretty comfortable on the tablet. Mine has a real keyboard for when I need it, and I’ve had it for a few months now, so it’s tricked out with a wide variety of apps so that on the off-chance I need to ssh in to do some sort of esoteric unix magic, I’m all set.  Jellybean makes moving between apps fairly straightforward, so I almost have a rhythm for doing so.

This vacation required no emergency unix magic at all. Mostly, I used a few apps (Kindle, of course, Facebook, Skype) and a range of web browsers.  But even with my abnormally large collection of browsers (which include such standards as Firefox and Chrome)  there were browser compatibility issues, so some things were just more annoying to do than usual.

You would think I might have been more comfortable on the Windows 8 machine, which can run full versions of my fave browsers.  But it was kinda painful, too.  First of all, if you run things in the “Surface” shell,  (the pretty tabletty interface) they have to run full screen.   Which makes sense, I guess, on a tablet or a phone, (I’m sort of used to it on the android tablet)  but it’s really not the way I work on a 13 inch laptop – I like to have windows tiled on top of one another so I can easily switch between browser, Skype, and say a word document or a spreadsheet.  Not being able to reshape things to take what I see as their “rightful” place on my screen is annoying.

So I bailed to the more pedestrian “Desktop” which is where full Windows 8 installations hide all that boring-but-necessary stuff (like Outlook) we’re carrying over from previous versions of Windows. It’s better, but again I ran into browser compatibility issues, (not everything supports IE 9 yet),  and because the Windows 8 version of skype is optimized for the Surface shell, I had to keep flipping back and forth between Surface and Desktop mode if I wanted to check a calendar date or an email message while on a call.  (There is apparently a “snap” mode to Skype for Windows 8 which allows it to appear alongside some apps.  I haven’t quite figured out how that works yet, or if it works on the desktop.)

None of this prevented me from doing what I needed to do, but it did make it uncomfortable and slow.

Way back in 1995, the Java programming language promised  to bring us into the world-wide-web full of write once applications which run anywhere, across multiple platforms. Clearly, we’re not there yet.  We’re still figuring out how to optimize new tech like the touch-screen.  Things do run very differently on different devices.

As we think about optimizing our training activities for tablets and smartphones and laptops, especially in environments where trainees bring their own device, we’re going to need to be very thoughtful about how we do it.  To keep our training “near task” we’ll want to present it in an interface similar to the one in which the work will be done.  And we’ll need to develop and launch it quickly, before the interface changes again!

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