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Online Learning for Trade Associations

Posts Tagged ‘professional development’

Quick Clicks

Posted by Ellen on October 10, 2011

A big THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to the recent aLearning Association Survey… while we compile the results into readable posts for you (watch for new posts with the results)… here are some quick resources for you.

eLearning Glossary

ASP? CMS? CMI? ILS? Looking for a great glossary of common elearning acronyms and terms? Look no further than the e-Learning Guild’s Learning Solutions’ magazine glossary, found here.

Tutorial Tools

And here’s another great article from Learning Solutions. If you’re considering a tool for creating your own tutorials and asynchronous, online courses, don’t assume Articulate Presenter or Adobe Presenter are your best choices. See “Making Sense of PowerPoint Pandemonium” by Mark Simon in the September 14 issue for a great summary of these tools, plus iSpring’s Presenter (aLearning’s choice) and Lectora’s Snap.

Should You Charge for a Webinar?

If you haven’t read Jeff Cobb’s great post, “Webinar Strategy — The Inform/Perform Distinction,” you’re missing some great advice on how to decide whether to charge for a Webinar or not. What’s even better, his recommendation for those you should offer free should cost you less (if anything) to provide than it will cost you to offer those you would charge a fee for. When the financial numbers make sense, the instructional design makes sense, and the strategy makes sense, then you know the idea is sound.

Thinking of Producing Your Own Webinars? Here’s Help

See Susan Kistler’s summary of some “Low-Cost Webinar Production Tools” at the AssociationTech blog — note that she isn’t comparing different Webinar platforms but describes GoToWebinar by Citrix and the tools one organization uses for editing, archiving, and hosting. I’ve not used GoToWebinar, but if it requires post-production audio editing, you’ll want to try it out before you commit to it so you can reduce the amount of extra work involved in making the session available in recorded format.

More on Learning from Webinar Recordings

What are the advantages to recorded/archived Webinars? Take a look at this post from Donald Clark. His point is related to higher ed lectures, but the same likely holds true for our purposes as well.

Encouragement for Starting Your Social Learning Initiative

Looking for inspiration about how easy it is to get started with social learning? See “Implementing Social Learning: Start Small, Start Now” by Bill Cushard.

Want more specifics on how implementing social learning can be accomplished? See Cushard’s post, “Practical Ways to Design Social Media into Your Training Programs” at his Mindflash blog.

Ohhh… and there’s so much more, but that’s all I have had time to review for now… !


Posted in aLearning Strategies, aLearning Trends, Asynchronous Learning Types, eLearning Marketing, eLearning Resources, Financing eLearning, Social Learning | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What Would You Require in a Social Network?

Posted by Ellen on September 23, 2011

Planning to implement a social learning network? What requirements do you have for it? Need a starting place?
Here’s a list of 30 of the 40 items Joe DiDonato, editor-in-chief of Elearning! Magazine says you should consider:

1. Social Learning Network >> Profile Search
2. Social Learning Network >> Social Learning Games
3. Social Learning Network >> Photo & Image Uploads
4. Social Learning Network >> Audio Uploads
5. Social Learning Network >> Profile Viewing Log
6. Social Learning Network >> Video Sharing
7. Social Learning Network >> Video Chat
8. Social Learning Network >> Employee Store and Kudos Shop
9. Social Learning Network >> Groups
10. Social Learning Network >> Photo Albums & Images
11. Social Learning Network >> Events
12. Social Learning Network >> Forums
13. Social Learning Network >> User Points
14. Social Learning Network >> Blogs
15. Social Learning Network >> Invitations
16. Social Learning Network >> Preference Page
17. Social Learning Network >> Guest Book
18. Social Learning Network >> Violation Reporting
19. Social Learning Network >> Polls
20. Social Learning Network >> Classifieds
21. Social Learning Network >> Blocklist
22. Social Learning Network >> Contact Import
23. Social Learning Network >> Referrals System
24. Social Learning Network >> Ratings
25. Social Learning Network >> Friends and Circles
26. Social Learning Network >> Audio Player
27. Social Learning Network >> Send Noteworthy Profile to Friend
28. Social Learning Network >> Banner Management
29. Social Learning Network >> Syndication and Newsfeed Management
30. Social Learning Network >> Skins Management

This list is part of what he’ll be covering at an Enterprise Learning! Conference & Expo preconference workshop on September 27 in Anaheim, California. For information on the conference, click here. Cost of the workshop is $295.

The workshop on defining your requirements for learning management system (LMS) includes a 130-page handout with example requirements “to help you and your project team prepare your next RFP.” Interested in just the handout? watch the Elearning! website for information on purchasing it (be warned: they’re saying it will carry the cost of the workshop).

Have other ideas about what you’d require in your organization’s social network?!? We’d love to hear them!

Posted in aLearning Strategies, Social Learning | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Quick Clicks – August 2011

Posted by Ellen on August 31, 2011

As ever, aLearning is happy to help you save some time by providing you with some direct links to valuable stuff by other people. If you haven’t seen these yet, they’re worth your time or they wouldn’t be here.

Have links to posts, articles, sites and other online stuff that helped you in your association learning management? If so, drop me a line with the link so we can all benefit from it 🙂


Jeff Hurt, over at Midcourse Corrections, discusses why learners’ brains need to “release pleasure chemicals” during your educational events (I’m not kidding — but the point he makes is serious and a good one). See his post, “Mission Possible: Engaging Event Attention.”


Here are a couple of related posts… both work taking a look at.

First, Steve Woodruff posted the “Twelve Most Important Questions About Your Identity,”  and although it’s geared to for-profit corporations, you can easily adapt his questions for a quick assessment of your organization’s overall vision or plans for its learning component… Either way, great brainstorming starters.

Steve’s post inspired Michele Martin over at the Bamboo Project to post her PD adaptation, which is great for individual introspection about one’s professional direction… and maybe worth sharing with your members so they can consider educational offerings they might not have thought of before… See her post, “12 More Professional Development Questions” here.


Michele Martin has so much great stuff, you should just subscribe to her feed and read her all the time. But, assuming you don’t have that kind of time, here’s another post worthy of special attention, “Future Skills 2020 and the Implications for Professional Development.”


Clive Shepherd at Onlignment has offered up a great four-part series of posts, “A practical guide to creating learning videos.” Worth your time if you’re considering including video in your elearning curriculum:

Part 1.
Part 2.
Part 3.
Part 4.


Craig Weiss at the E-Learning 24/7 Blog has done it again — here’s a must read for those of you looking for an LMS.


Don’t know if this works, or how well it does what it says it does… but if you design training, educational events, or generally do instructional design for your association, you might want to check out DesignJot, “the first app developed to help…build better training.” I wouldn’t include it here without reviewing it myself except that I trust the folks at Allen Communication, who have an outstanding elearning reputation. See more info on DesignJot here.


Finally, if you’re thinking “gamification” (!) — using games within your educational sessions (especially online learning) to enhance engagement and retention, take a look at Karl Kapp’s “Match Content to be Learning with Right Game Type.”

Posted in aLearning Strategies, aLearning Trends, eLearning Resources, LMS | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Can We Learn from Information?

Posted by Ellen on July 29, 2011

In a recent blog post over at Midcourse Corrections, Jeff Hurt wrote that “Information isn’t education.” While that may be true in the purest sense, we shouldn’t conclude (as I posted in my comment) that it means people can’t learn from information.

According to George Siemens, a greatly respected thought leader and educator, “Learning is now happening through communities of practice, personal networks, and through completion of work-related tasks.” He goes on to write: “know-how and know-what is being supplemented with know-where (the understanding of where to find knowledge needed).” (You can see these comments in context in this article on Connectivism.)

I’ve called this “the Einstein method” for many, many years. “You don’t have to memorize all the rules of grammar,” I used to tell my college students, “you just have to know where to find the rules.” I taught them how to identify the kinds of grammar problems that plagued them and where to locate the info in their grammar book. In this way I provided individualized training to 25 students rather than forcing all of them to slog through a lot of stuff they didn’t need. I called it the Einstein method because one story about the genius goes that when he was asked for his phone number he said he didn’t know it but they could look it up in the phone book. He believed that keeping his head free of stuff you could find in other places meant he could focus on other things. It certainly worked for him, didn’t it?!?

People are doing this all the time, every day: need to learn how to change that tire on your Gary Fisher bicycle? There’s probably a You Tube video on that. Want to brush up on your high school Spanish? There are podcast feeds for that.

How many times have *you* Googled a question so you could get an answer that helped solve a problem?

Thought so.

It’s true that information is static. Information is data.

But here’s the thing: we are learners. We have learned to learn. We know how to access that information and apply it to our needs.

Here’s another example. My husband and I travel all the time. We’re constantly in new environments. We’re weather fanatics. We have a NOAA radio that has occasionally startled us with its ear-blasting tone and a warning about severe thunderstorms and tornadoes (!). That’s information.

I grab my road atlas. I look up the state we’re in, find our location. I check the county and neighboring counties. This is information, too. It’s just sitting there, print on the page, not doing anything except letting me look at it.

But I’m doing more than looking at it. I’m processing it. I’m going through all kinds of mental steps: “This is where we are. This is the county we’re in. These are the counties nearby. The NOAA warning said the storm is in that county and it’s moving in this direction at 25 miles per hour.” I’m thinking about whether we’re in the same county or one nearby. Whether we’re in the direct line of the storm or of anywhere near it’s expected to pass. I’m creating a mental picture of how that storm is moving, based on the NOAA report. I make a decision about whether we’re in danger or not.

Did I learn anything? Yes. I learned what county we’re in and the counties nearby. I learned there was a storm in a certain county of the state. I gained knowledge from the information from the NOAA broadcast and the road atlas.

Did I act on what I learned? Yes. I might have reacted by closing windows, checking the ceiling vents to be sure they were closed, too. I might have decided to go on a bicycle ride because the storm was in another part of the state and moving away from us. I applied what I learned to my situation.

Am I belaboring a point? Probably.

We shouldn’t make assumptions about the value of certain types of content. Information is a type of content. We learn from information in various ways. To ignore the role “information” plays in training and education is to miss a big chunk of how we process and use data within our learning, assimilation and application of knowledge and skills.

Do we still need to create learning events that promote active learning? Discovery? Construction of meaning? Eventual application of skills? Of course! Just be careful not to throw out the education baby with the information bathwater.

Should associations still put smart money behind their educational efforts? Absolutely!

Should they have a professional educator on staff — someone who brings expertise in adult learning, instructional and curriculum design, e-learning, and training methodologies? Of course!

Should organizations implement “train the trainer” types of programs to provide volunteer content leaders, education committee members, and others with the skills and knowledge they need to develop and lead effective educational events? No doubt about it.

There’s a place for those white papers and research reports that association execs love to tout as part of keeping their members “educated.”

It’s up to us to help them recognize the information that should be redesigned for delivery in a learning environment, and information that’s valuable reference information.

We have to be clear. We have to be consistent. We have to be patient. Eventually they’ll come around.


Posted in Learning in General | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Welcome to the Learning Decade!

Posted by Ellen on July 24, 2011

So says Sam Herring, writing for Fast Company  in his article, “Moving Toward 2010: The Learning Decade” (3/21/11) .

Bravo! I’m all for that. Of course, I wouldn’t limit the value of learning to just one decade, but if we must, this one is as good as any.

Better, says Herring. All because of the Great Recession. “…[M]ore and more organizations recognize that learning can help solve the most vexing economic and financial problems of the day. As a result, we predict that the years leading up to 2020 will be known as ‘The Learning Decade.'”

What about that?!?

He goes on to note the key drivers behind increases in corporate learning investments:

  • Top-Line Innovations
  • Disruptive Technology (especially social media, digital games, and mobility)
  • Competitive Pressures
  • Increasing Speed
  • Beyond Commodity (determining “how to efficiently synthesize this fungible data in order to obtain the incisive clarity required to drive genuine innovation and growth” — yep, that’s what it says)
  • Virtuous Circle (“Knowledge will become the new value-add, and the ultimate growth differentiator, as we approach 2020.”)
  • Emerging Markets
  • Industry Change
  • Industry Consolidation
  • Brain Drain
  • Failing Grade (we’ll come back to this one)
  • Return to Growth (and we’ll come back to this one)
  • Future Jobs (this one, too)
  • Knowledge Workers
  • Leadership Vacuum
  • Culture Change
  • Unanticipated Conditions

All of these offer tremendous opportunities for associations and professional societies’ learning departments. Read the article. Brainstorm all the ways you could fill the gaps that Herring notes amidst this list — you’ll probably even think of a few specific to your industry that he might have missed.

I’ll get you started. Take another look at the three items I promised we’d come back to.

Each of these are very specific to education in general. Some employees (and potential association members) will hire on with gaps in their education we could be filling (Failing Grade); others will have been out of the workforce during this long recovery and will have some educational catching-up to do (Return To Growth); and still other industries will see jobs emerge and change as a result of the shifting times (Future Jobs) — again creating gaps we can fill.

Okay… now that your brain is working, go read that article and start your own list of possibilities.

Posted in aLearning Strategies, aLearning Trends, eLearning Resources, Justifying aLearning, Learning in General | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »