Poking around for a new LMS

Whilst doing something of a social media spring clean today for both myself and Willow, I came across a rather interesting article on the Learning Solutions Magazine.  Here, Terence Wing proposes the use of Facebook (by getting to grips with the Facebook Developers API) as a potential LMS (it is at this point that my entirely inadequate attempt at a pun in the title of this post becomes disappointingly clear!) It’s certainly not the first time the conversation has cropped up and Facebook communities have featured alongside a number of programmes we have created for customers in the past. It’s definitely worth a read and there are some very interesting ideas on how what I would term a learning community could be supported via Facebook and some basic tracking achieved.  However, where it’s likely to fall down is when you are seeking to create a learning scaffold around a complex subject.  By this I mean providing a number of selected learning resources (e-learning, e-books, core discussion topics, webinars etc) that form the formal learning path. It’s clear that the role of L&D must shift to facilitators of learning, but this requires a deft touch.  A combination of providing ways to access great materials that support the acquisition of knowledge and then sparking and provoking debate, sharing, action learning and knowledge creation through social means.  It’s here that Facebook will fall down and in many ways, rightly so.  It is great at creating a space where discussions, links, thoughts and experience can be explored in a very organic way. However, there are circumstances in which it is desirable and certainly much valued by learners for resources to be structured into a clear path to learning and understanding.  Complex or very professional specific skills acquisition, certification or programmes that encourage deep levels of personal insight and transformation are some examples of when it would simply not be productive or even possible to trawl the infinite resources out there to develop your own programme. So as a facilitator of sharing, exploration of ideas and even a way to identify new learning needs through the questions being ask, Facebook is a tool not to be ignored.  But the VLE of the future, probably not.

Online Educa publish conference info

Online Educa – one the world’s largest e-learning conferences is taking place at the Intercontinental Hotel in Berlin from Nov 30 to Dec 2 and this week, they have published the details of speakers at their very full conference programme. http://oecms.it-sg.de/programmeOEB-11chair.php Myself and Debbie Lawley are holding an interactive workshop on thursday afternoon on models of cultural and cognitive development, so if you are coming along we hope to see you there.

HTML5 for iPad – Adobe offering preview output

Adobe may be trying to answer the question that has consumed (frustrated, divided and generally been kerfuffle causing) the e-learning world – what’s going on with the iPad?  Well, if you pop over to Adobe Captivate’s facebook page, you can sign up for a peek at their early HTML5 output.

Social learning deconstructed – simple but effective

Clark Quinn’s recent post on social learning is a great reminder to all that work in instructional design on what we are trying to achieve by bringing groups of people together around a shared topic online. The technical means by which we deliver this and on what device is often the topic that shouts the loudest in the current buzz around social learning, but it’s real purpose is to create more opportunities for conversations! Conversations that lead to deeper insight, deeper processing and as a result, lasting actions. You can read Clark’s post on the Learnlet’s blog

The alternative to Moodle – decide for yourselves at our October Seminar

Social learning, mobile learning, learning on demand, bite size learning – the buzz words are seemingly endless which can make the search on how to actually deliver good online learning appear seemingly endless too! But here at Willow, we believe in good instructional design delivered in a simple, well designed way. That’s why we developed our own learning support system to offer the best social learning experience without the complexity of open source systems and the bloat of an LMS. If you want to know more about how we do this, then we have an event for you. Meet the team on the 4th October in London, where we’ll be exploring the key issues in moving from traditional training to World Class online learning. We will also take the audience through our unique approach to online learning supported by “Pathway”, the alternative business solution to Moodle. The sessions will be co-hosted by Patrick Mills, Director of Professional Development for the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising who will share their experience of partnering with WillowDNA. These sessions are aimed at Training professionals who wish to move from a traditional training solution to one which incorporates online learning. If you are from a professional body or specialist training company delivering complex or subject specific training, this event is particularly relevant. Some come along, it’s free and you can sign up for the morning seminar or afternoon seminar

Hold the front page!

Many thanks to Rob Moss at Personnel Today for publishing my article on e-learning as this week’s lead opinion piece. It looks at how L&D need to shake off the history of past e-learning experiences and embrace the possibilities great online learning has to offer. Would love to know what you think…http://www.personneltoday.com/articles/2011/07/12/57784/l-and-d-professionals-should-embrace-e-learning.html

The New WillowDNA Website

WillowDNA Homepage It’s here and we are very proud of it – the new willowDNA website.  Take a look around and let us know what you think and of course if you like what you see and think we could help you with your online learning needs, give us a call.

Bring back the L in LMS

Browsing around some of the other e-learning and online learning providers recently, I came across some rather disappointing promotional information for a new Moodle based LMS.  Now before it is suggested that I am gratuitously slamming Moodle, I am actually a fan…in the right circumstances.  I’ve seen some great deployments in education environments, where the open source nature means that there’s no barrier to entry and what it lacks in elegance, it makes up for functionality.

However, expectations in companies and customers of training providers is quite different and their current online experience sets the tone for the type of environment they demand.  A simple, clean interface that focusses on a great learning experience – seems obvious really.  Yet in the top five features listed of a recent commercial deployment of Moodle are; competency structure, management hierarchy, management of staff performance and development, classroom management and a dashboard.

None of these list Learning!

OK, now follows some gratuitous trumpet blowing, as we’ve worked hard to develop a better solution, because we know that ease and equity of access counts.  Our clients tell us that our platform has more L, enough M, no worries about the S!  We are very proud of it and you can find out more on our website www.willowdna.com.  Yes that was a cheeky little promotion but the debate still stands – the L in LMS needs to get a greater billing.  For too long the M has been given the most attention, which inherently leads to ‘control’ by L&D and Finance departments rather than exploration and creation by learners

With the strategic aims of most L&D professionals is to support self directed learning, collaboration and knowledge creation, it makes you take a step back and think about exactly what you should be looking for in your learning environment.  If you want to put learning into the hands of the learner, you need more L!

Is the answer to e learning on the iPad around the corner

So it looks like there could have been a very good reason why Articulate have been so quiet of late – rumours on their forums abound that this summer could see the launch of Articulate Storyline, a standalone e learning tool that will publish to flash AND html5. Exactly how it will work is unclear but early reports suggest it will now sit outside PowerPoint and operate as a separate programme, much like Quizmaker. We are waiting to find out more and will be sure to report back when we do…

We have launched our website!

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