October 31, 2005

Podcasting Taking Off

Steve Jobs' introduction of Apple's new Rokr and Nano is now available online. He reveals some interesting factoids on iTunes and iPods.

Steve Jobs Podcasting Is Taking Off Like a Rocket

More news on the iPod and podcasting. The addition of 1000 new podcasts a week is quite significant. Automobile integration is also a tipping point. Does this mean mainstream radio is the equivalent of a cassette tape? Probably not, but still interesting. This supports Adam Curry who has said from the beginning that this is about customer demand for better audio content. However, the economic or business model is still forming. Are these new shows about gaining as many viewers as possible? Some yes, some no. They are more about reaching like minded people, whatever the size. There are many who just want to create something, more like "art" then "business".

What does this mean for training developers? More infrastructure and acceptance.

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October 28, 2005

Learning Retention

Of what we know we learn approximately

1% through Taste

2% through Touch

4% through Smell

10% through Hearing

83% through Sight

Of what we learn we retain approximately

10% of what we Read X1

20% of what we Hear

30% of what we See X1 (We "see" what we read!)

50% of what we Hear And See

70% of what we Say

90% of what we Say As We Do

".....15 sites on learning retention.

SOURCE http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/hrdlink.html

Related links: "Average Learning Retention Rates" (Google_Search) 2005-07-21

I've seen or heard something like this for a long time. One of my professors from WVU put this slide up and he lectured about it for a hour or so...

What does this mean for podcasting? We need to start thinking about how we can get them (the learner) involved in the creation process. I find this to be a bit of a challenge. In many office environments, the idea of jumping behind a microphone is not one that everyone jumps at. However, by doing interview-based podcasts, you can lower the resistance. I sat with out HR Director and we did an interview while surfing our corporate intranet. It was ultimately a screencast but I think she and I both learned the most from the experience.

Some other ideas may be to allow employees to narrate process that they are knowledgeable about (or even responsible for), offering tips and tricks concerning the process. Then, release the podcast through the corporate learning feed, and direct the questions (or an aggregate of the key questions to reduce workload), back to the employee for clarity or explaniation.

Appropriate Uses of Lectures (Podcasts)?

The following is some information I found about lecturing. I have seen some other bloggers try a technique of inserting a new term in a block of text. I hope this makes you think. I'm not sure it is an exact fit, but interesting enough to think about.

The lecture (podcast) as a well-told story.

Think about what makes a lecture (podcast) interesting, the beginning captures your attention, the middle builds suspense or intrigue as the lecture (podcast) unfolds, and finally, the lecture (podcast) ends in some form of resolution. There are really two components of a lecture (podcast): 1) the content and 2) the delivery. First, a few rules about the content.

Appropriate uses for lectures (podcasts).

Contrary to popular belief, lectures (podcasts) are not good for teaching large amounts of information in a short amount of time. Information is better presented in a text where is available for review by the student. In fact one of the most effective learning strategies students can employ is to read and the reread their text assignment. Lectures (podcasts) are good for making information memorable. That is, lectures (podcasts) are good for providing elaboration of content, examples, and context. Also, because texts often lag current knowledge, lectures (podcasts) can also be valuable for presenting new information. Most of all, lectures (podcasts) are good for validating information from a respected source. That is, if the instructor says it then it's true (at least to the instructor), and that's what should be remembered.

One counterproductive lecture (podcast) activity is to read the text to the students. Now, most instructors might say I never do that! But in fact they do. A survey of the students at the US Air Force Academy, found that students employ a strategy that if the instructor is lecturing (podcasting) the material in the text, they don’t read the text. Instructors often feel that the students are lazy, and that they don’t come to class prepared to learn. But then they turn around and tell the students what it was they should have read in the text. It is probably never a good idea to lecture (podcast) from the text. It will be helpful to elaborate on what is presented in the text, assuming that the students have read the assignment, you are now providing what the text can’t provide, a context for use of the information, examples of when or how that information is used, and stories that illustrate the importance of the information.

We forget much of what we hear. Howard Gardner has a saying that in a lecture (podcast), less is more. What he is saying is that it is very easy to present too much information, such that the student quickly saturates and simply drops into role of passively listening. They may understand what is being said, but they aren’t “learning” it. It is better to teach a few things well than it is to poorly teach a lot of stuff. The decay of information learning is legendary, and unless the learner can encode the information in a rich context with good examples and a reason to remember, it won’t stay in memory very long. To aid memory, it is helpful to use visual illustrations during a lecture (podcast). Visuals are remembered longer than verbal information, and they can aid the recall of information that is associated with them.

Active Lectures

In this manual we have suggested many times that instructional activities that make the student an active learner are more effective than passive strategies. Is there such a thing as an active lecture (podcast)? Are the students leaning forward in their seats trying to catch every word, or are they leaning back, thinking about what they are going to do this weekend. In one case we have an active listener, and the other a passive listener. The trick is to create a desire in our audience so they want to hear more.

My thoughts on this last paragraph, if you've listened to Adam Curry's show for any period of time, you know that he has incredible interaction with his audience (students). They send in comments, information, just about anything he asks for. So don't get caught up in thinking... "well this can't be active."

session 2 MCG lecture skills

October 27, 2005

Examples of Podcasting in Training Discussion

Quick podcast on ideas of podcasting in training.

IBM using Podcasts to Educate Sales People and Investors

Ben Edwards – IBM Marketing / Corporate Communication Executive:

I think there are two broad areas that we and our colleagues at IBM are interested in podcasting. The first is just to take advantage of the utility and the economics of web distribution / web syndication. A lot of things have happened internally over very large, very expensive teleconferences for example it could be and are going to be transitioned to podcasting. Things like education materials for our very large, very mobile global sales force. That can go into it as well. The second broad area is really for our external audiences to dig into IBM and to listen to the wealth of experts we have here within the company.

Podtech.net: InfoTalk Podcast Series

An interesting podcast/blog that shows how IBM will use podcasting within their organization. A lot of interesting concepts from expensive teleconferences (learning 1.0) to podcasts (learning 2.0), how individuals can gain a voice within the company, and allowing (knowledge) to "bubble up."

"influence marketing" = "influence learning"?

Christopher Barger – IBM Marketing / Corporate Communication Executive:

I think that you will continue to see the idea of user generated content is only going to get bigger. To Ben’s point, about the main stream media, I think that’s the big adjustment that they’re going to have to make is to understand that everybody has a microphone and everybody can fact check them. They’re going have to adjust that everybody is a player now. And that they have, instead of fifteen or twenty competitors, they got a hundred million competitors. On the technology side I am particular excited about video-casting, vidcasting, or vodcasting, whatever you want to call it. I think that especially as that younger generation starts to come up that is where, they may not have, we were talking about this earlier, they may not have the attention span to listen to 15 minuets they may decide, “I’m used to songs, I want five minuet bursts of information and that is that.” If you add video to it, you double the attention span. I am excited about were that is going to go. I think that’s really going to be a big opportunity for both corporations and for the private side.

Podtech.net: InfoTalk Podcast Series

Very interesting...

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October 26, 2005

Micro Learning Need

I need a micro learning session. How do you convert your excel spreadsheet cells to time-based units. I am running 4 to 5 times a week and I log my time in a spreadsheet, but when I try to convert the cell to the time format, it tries to go to dates. This is not the result I need. I want to be able to calculate the average of my "splits".

If anyone has any thoughts let me know.

October 25, 2005

The Podcast Academy Curriculum

Doug Kaye has developed a Podcast Academy to support those developing podcasts for themselves. It looks like some great information. I'm not sure if they plan to release the audio, but I bet they will.

The Podcast Academy Curriculum
Here's the updated curriculum for the Podcast Academy on Thursday, November 10, in Ontario, California:

8:00-8:30 Registration
8:30-8:45 Introduction (Doug Kaye)
8:45-9:30 Podcasting from Mobile Devices (Josh Bancroft)
9:30-10:15 Recording Skype and Phone Calls (TBD)
10:15-10:30 break
10:30-11:15 Editing and Mixing on PCs and Macs (TBD)
11:15-12:00 Studio Geek-Out (instructors explain their setups)
12:00-1:00 lunch
1:00-1:30 Buidling a Podcast Network (Todd Cochrane)
1:30-2:00 Michael Geohagen
2:00-2:30 How to Get Noticed
(The Wizards of Technology, Marc and Bill)
2:30-2:45 break
2:45-3:15 Business Roundtable
(Todd, Michael, Marc, Bill and Tim Bourquin)
3:15-4:15 Recording Live Events (Doug Kaye)
4:15-5:00 Ask the Experts (all instructors)

Registration is still open: Only $50 for the whole day, including refreshments and a box lunch.


Blogging in the Classroom or From It

I did a quick working session on using EduBlogs at my kids classroom this evening. It was a really good session. They were very positive around the idea of a classroom blog and worked through the software. While the Edublogs site is nice, it still has some bugs and problems. I need to get back in there and find out how to remove the default blogroll links and how to set the timezone. These are to problems that I couldn't solve quickly.

Once the teachers get their sites up and running, I will provide some links. I really hope the teachers from my kids class will at least provide some basic communication through the blog. It would be exciting for me to learn a little more about what's happening in the classroom from time to time via this easy communication tool.

October 20, 2005

Examples of Podcasting in theTraining Field

I wanted to post some examples of podcasting in the training realm and see if I could generate some feedback. I will try elaborate more on these, but I just wanted to get them out there and see what you thought.

Training Examples

New Employee Orientation - Wouldn't it be great to create a sight seeing tour of you building or campus. It would be even cooler to had your new employee their new iPod with audio covering a wide range of topics. That's a company I would want to work for.

Sales Training - Let's imagine that your company has seven sales representatives, covering 4 states, that sell up to 1000 items from parts to suppliers for the mining industry. They currently live on the phone discussing the newest products, the availability of products, and the application of products. Developing a weekly podcast to support them would be obvious. But let's take it a step further and think about purchasing an iTalk attachment for $30 and having them develop podcasts, based on their experiences that could be posted back to the feed. A pilot effort might just have your highest revenue generator sharing tips and techniques. Also, ROI on this effort is some what measurable. Did revenues go up?

Location-based Safety Training - some large facilities require location-based safety training prior to going to the base. Could this be posted as a podcast? Additionally, could critical safety information be published timely?

Executive Announcements - it would seem that managers will begin to take advantage of podcasting in a big way. The ability to talk directly to each employee at a very low cost with minimal disruption to the workplace environment will be profound.

New Product Training - as mentioned earlier, the pressures of getting new products to market on an ever-tightening timeframe should push podcasts to the forefront in providing flexible information about the product. Some training insight... think about your goals. Do you want them to new the specs or do you want your audience to know how to use the product in a certain environment?

Customer Education - I would love to get a podcast or a series of podcasts with my (fill in any product here). I would love to hear how to calculate my resting heart rate based on data from the heart monitor I bought this summer, (It was in the directions, but I didn't get a chance to read them all.) I would love to hear how to do regular maintenance on my new car. Really think customization. A RSS feed for podcasts on the drug that I am taking, on the laptop that I am typing this on, the running shows that I bought. Again, I want it to be training, not marketing. Teach my how to use my new product better, I'll bet I buy it again?

Timely Tips - This can be anything. Almost any company could use timely tips, How to fill out your timesheet? How to renew your security code? How to anything? It would be interesting to see a company put these out and monitor behavior changes within 24 to 48 hours of the podcast release.

Capturing Events - finally, capturing all the events that happen around the workplace. Grab them with an audio record and post them to the web. This may fall under informal learning, but this could really improve the ROI of these events. Think about capturing brown-bag sessions, benefits review by the insurance company, team meetings (when appropriate), CEO presentations, any presentations inside or outside of the company. I would suggest that you open this up to anything employees want to post. Maybe the attend civic events, local concerts, whatever, develop a simple copyright policy and let them have at it....

What do you think? I'm sure there are many more and that these need to be broken down even further, but we need to start here and go.

October 19, 2005


This is an attempt to integrate audioblog. I really like the service and it seems to make things really easy. We'll give it a try. Once I get used to it, I'll try to provide some details on how we can use it.

New Look


I decided to try a new look with the blog. I hope that I can improve the readability of the site. It still needs work, but I think I like. Let me new what you think.

October 15, 2005

Room 208 Podcast


I haven't listend to an entire show, but if you get a chance checkout Room 208 podcasts. They are a bunch of second graders doing a great show!

Video iPod has improved Recording


Adam Curry mentioned in his podcast from yesterday that the new video iPod has improved recording features. The current iPod records at 8mhz (I think) and the new iPod records at 44mhz, which is good enough for podcasting quality. Also, some people are already developing video podcasts, I haven't checked it out yet. Adam also mentioned that the new iTunes can play the Sony PSP format. I'll have to dig into that as well. Could iTunes deliver those videos to my PSP? I doubt it, but the idea that they are playing well together is a good start.

October 14, 2005

Instructional Value of Non-Fast Food Training


I was reading a review in T+D magazine by Mireille Massue about a training offering and a couple of things struct me as interesting. One was a quote from the review
This is high-commitment for high-results training. In an era of learning on the fast food model, [This training] belongs in the fine dining category.
I'm not sure what the author really meant by this comment. Does it mean that companies are sending employees to short, low-cost training, that has consistent, but low quality? Or Does it mean that in general training is moving to shorter training sessions that do not produce high-results? Like I said, I'm not really sure the intent of the comment, but I took it to the extremes and thought it implied that informal type learning, 10 minute segments of content, and technology-based learning objects where somehow low-results. Which I disagree with.

The other issue that came to mind was the actual product rating. It was a four-star-based chart that had Presentation 3.5 stars, Value of Content 3.5 stars, Instructional Value 2 stars, Value for Money 3.5 stars, and Overall Rating 3.5 starts. Isn't interesting that the Instructional value of the training is only 2 stars, but the overall rating is 3.5? Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing the review, I'm just pointing out that there seems to be a disconnect between the overall quality of this training and the "instructional value". Since the product is a training seminar, wouldn't the instructional value be the sole purpose of the product? Does the quality of the presentation, content, and
value of money override the instructional value? I go around telling people that nothing else matters. If the instructional value is not there, why do it?

October 13, 2005

What Games Taught Me?

It seems that games are already having an influence on today's professionals.  In the first Ruby on Rails podcast , David Heinemeier Hansson talks about how his experience as a GM (game master) provide him with the experience to work in a very distributed environment and support the open source software project Ruby on Rails . David says,
"I was learning the skills that it takes to make a group of people mesh..."

I listened to all the podcasts and thought that they really helped give insight to those working on the project and it kind of personalized the process. 

I am still having a very difficult time getting to work for me, but I have never programmed before in my life, so I expected it to be a challenge.

We are starting to find integrated examples of how games are effecting and shaping current professionals.

Learning Games


Tim O'Rielly posted about Using Half Life in Academia.  The Microsoft Research Group and VALVe has released the Half Life 2 SDK that will allow developers to add artificial intelligence that can be run on the Half Life game engine. Basically giving students a state-of-the-art game engine to create their own games, environments, or whatever they want.  Microsoft is actually creating a tool to tie Visual C++ into the released SDK.  You can watch the presentation here. (IE only)  However, it's for colleges only.

Mark Oehlert has blogged about America's Army becoming a platform and the role of games in learning.  Could this another learning 2.0 seed?  It seems so.  Being able to remix Half Life 2 by controlling the objects within the environment using AI controls through an API is just cool.  I would love to dig in and build an adaptive learning environment where objects changed their behavior based upon your performance.  Could we develop problem-based learning scenarios and have the learner/gamer work through them? absolutely.  Could you imagine a leadership course through this?  (disclosure: I haven't played Half Life 2 or the orginal, my son's too young)

If there is a Higher Education Institution out there who wants me to pull together a team of programmers and build a Half Life 2 learning environment, contact me.   

Yet Another Merger


Yesterday, Blackboard and WebCT announced that they have agreed to merge. What this merger will mean to higher education should be interesting. I remember reading a blog not too long asking if Blackboard and WebCT would exist in five years? Well the answer is no, at least not in their current form.

Update: Numbers Here.

October 12, 2005

Podcasting Services

I got a question about available podcasting services through this blog and thought that I would link to this list here.

There are more and more services out there so there should be lots of options.  

October 11, 2005

Does Learning Get Better with Use?


Bryan Menell at learning20 posts an interesting blog entry asking the question, Does learning, specifically, elearning get better the more people use it?  What a great question to ask.  How could we do this? An obvious answer that Bryan points out is allowing the learners to review the learning module.  This is a pretty good first step.  What other frameworks might there be for encouraging learner participation?  I have thought of a few.

(1) I think that allowing the learner to engage in a learning activity, an interaction, and having that performance captured for future learners may be another way.  For example, when a learner takes a simple quiz, the immediately get their score compared to everyone who has taken the course. I used a service likek this for daily exercising called SportBrain.  It was really engaging.  It was also part of their premium services.

(2) Use an industry data source to keep content up-to-date and in context.  I ran across this idea a few years back when I was developing an elearning solution for the Mining industry.  The federal agency that monitors safety in Mining keeps detailed records of safety-related incidents and makes them available to the public.  We took the database and integrated it directly into the courses.  It was dynamically updated each quarter.  If you could take this example and integrate other community generated data then the courses would be improved based upon community activity.  Consider an example where corporate performance was integrated into a lesson on process improvement.

(3) Another thought comes from Stephen Downes and the idea of creating a recommendation service.  This goes back to Bryan's idea and I have been thinking about it since Launch, now part of Yahoo, launched their music service during the dotcom era.  The service would create a customized radio station based on your ratings of the music being played.  If we could allow learns to easily provide feedback as they navigate through learning content, the feedback could used to improve what types of content are provided in the future.  However, the divisity of learning content makes this a more complex system compared to listening to audio content.

I am sure there are a lot more.  Any thoughts?

October 10, 2005

Yahoo Podcasting


Yahoo Podcasting

Yahoo just launched a podcasting site. I'll have to dig in an take a look. There should now be some more options in pushing your audio content out. TechCrunch reported that Yahoo actually released a podcast prior to a press release.

October 7, 2005


I've decided to venture into unchartered waters (for me). I have been playing with Ruby On Rails. Although I have already spent many hours trying to get MySQL installed and working. For a true newby like myself I have had no success with getting the database connected to rails. It seems that MySQL 4.1 is too new for the scripts in Rails that access it or maybe I screwed up the intial database configuration? I'm not sure. I have uninstalled and reinstalled. Older versions. Newer Versions. Nothing seems to work. Again I am so new I am having trouble with understanding any of the support documentation for MySQL. I don't really know where to turn for support.

The book that I have Agile Web Development with Rails, just says install and go. It also shows programming MySQL from the depot> prompt or command line. I can't get it to do this in reality. Say I believe that I have a couple of problems working at the same time. (1)The username and password problem with MySQL. (2) The outdated database connection scripts between MySQL and Rails, and (3) poor documentation that has lead me to change too many things. I guess the other issue is that I am such a newbie that I can't solve the database issue on my own. It may not be a rails issue at all they would jsut say... fix you MySQL and it will work.

When I try to type in this screen, no matter what I type it goes away. Somehow I messed up the password and it won't go away.

More later...

Identity 2.0

This is a great presentation on Identity 2.0. The presentation is really well done and has some great information and insight to the web-based identity problem/challenge.

This is related to elearning in some very obvious and some not-so-obvious ways. If elearning moves to a service oriented architecture (SOA) of small pieces, loosely joined, then we will have to make it easy to enter into and escape from these services. Additionally, the presentation discusses the need to release the control of the identity from the organization who authorized it and give it to the individual who needs it. Can we do this with a e-portfolio?

web 2.0

iPod vs. Washing Machine


I so relate to this. I have lost a few thumb drives to the washing machine. Luckily my iPod is the large one. I rarely leave it in my pocket.