Mobile Learning

LIVE on #LearnHaus: Using Periscope for Learning Indian Cuisine

If you have been following me on social media, you’ll know my latest hobby is growing my cooking skills with Indian cuisine. I find it exciting since I haven’t been exposed to it much and still in the honeymoon phase. As I work through the different recipes, I’ll share photos on my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages, but what I would really like is to educate those who have not experienced the cuisine. Anyone that asks me about Indian food will know that I rattle off like a SME. I am going to start a blog soon to start to share what I have learned. I wanted another way to educate people and I actually found this solution by accident. Enter Periscope.

I first used Periscope at ATD ICE 2015 during Erik Wahl’s performance/keynote and found it great to share what I was experiencing with people all over the world. I thought about how streaming apps like Periscope and Meerkat could help leverage learning and extend reach. Soon I realized I would be using it for my own purposes in my Indian cooking when I decided that I would share some recipes I was working on.

Before I share my experience with Periscope, a little about how to use it. Periscope is an app that connects to your Twitter account and allows you to stream live to your folks on both Periscope and Twitter mobile apps. You can also view through web browsers on Twitter. When you load the app the first thing you see is live streams of anyone you are following. You can also explore around the globe what other top streams are. Lastly, you can start your own stream of course!

Before you actually start your broadcast you can give a title to your stream, enable chat for people so they make comments or ask questions, and even tap the screen to give people “hearts” to show you enjoy the broadcast. I think preparing for it somewhat, depending on what you are sharing is key. I had to figure out how I was going to have my phone standing when I would need two hands to cook with. I came up with turning a drinking glass upside down and putting a coffee mug on top and had my phone sitting in there. It was great because you saw the whole landscape of the kitchen and exactly what I was doing. If there was a certain cutting technique I turned the mug upside down and laid the phone flat on top of it so the camera would be down on my hands.Preparation is a good idea before you start streaming so you don’t lose your audience.

During the stream I quickly realized that for cooking at least, you want it to be as streamlined as possible because something that normally takes 30 minutes to do  might take 45 because of the attention to the stream. Also, there are times when you are waiting for something to cook that might take 10-20 minutes. How do you fill empty time up? One thing you can try is to end the stream while you are waiting and then start a new broadcast to continue. Another way is to use that time to answer questions or educate the audience. I decided to teach about the different spices that are used in the dishes and the different kinds of chilis. Overall it went pretty well for a first try. One major tip: just because it’s a live broadcast doesn’t mean you should fly by the seat of your pants, you should have an overall idea of how the broadcast will flow so there is some structure. You want it to be casual in conversation too. This is not a recorded training session!

What I think is most important is after the stream you can see the total time the broadcast was, which is easy to forget about and also the retention rate. You can see what the average time someone spent viewing your broadcast too. The retention rate is really helpful because you can benchmark your training to keep people engaged. I plan to improve my retention rate as I plan the broadcast out better.

The next thing I’ll try is giving folks the recipe to be broadcasted a week or two in advance so they have time to get the ingredients and then we can all cook together during the broadcast. Take it from just being a viewer to being involved in the broadcast and actually learning something new. Can’t wait to share!


Let’s Get Serious About Mobile Learning and Performance Support!

One of the amazing ways to learn is mobile learning. I think it’s great that someone who is 200 miles away from their desk can easily go to their smartphone and learn or get the support they need from it. The implications for performance support are staggering for so many professions, not just the typical corporate sales, marketing, etc. So many people can benefit from mobile learning as a performance support tool.

Here’s a thought: an electrician who has been in business for 15 years has a challenging job today. He must change a bulb that if not done correctly, will blow the breaker for an entire warehouse that is producing retail items for stores causing a major production loss. Instead of that electrician taking a chance on memory he can go to his mobile device and watch a video of an electrician change that exact bulb correctly and then he can change it himself. Or he can view steps to replace the bulb successfully. The great part about this piece of performance support is that it’s right there when he needs it, at the moment of need. Additionally, once he watches the video or views the steps, he might not need to access that content again because now he remembers how to change that bulb because he has completed three replacements already.

If we go about our day and start to count how many times we Google something we don’t know whether it’s a recipe or a fact about a person in the news, or how to get rid of fruit flies (personal experience), we access this content at the moment of need. Once we get what we need, it is unlikely that we will need to access the content again once we have encoded this knowledge into our working memory. So I start to think about what forms does this come in? I can say that when I didn’t know something that I needed to complete my job I did Google it. But for more specific and organizationally mandated content, companies will have to develop this in-house.

One of the ways we as learning professionals can start deciding on whether mobile will be effective is knowing what the context of this support or learning the performer will need and how they get it. Mobile is great as a performance support tool, but that’s not all! We need to decide if mobile is the right solution to the problem. We should’t start investing in making all of our content mobile ready because probably half of it will not be used. That being said, mobile is anything that is not a desktop in an office and stationed. So a laptop, tablet and smartphone are all devices for mobile. But the context of what the learner will need and how they are going to get it is more important than how it’s being delivered. Once we know what context the learner will be in, we can then decide the appropriate medium for the solution.

I think when an organization says they are mobile-ready this should mean they have identified several opportunities where mobile can be a successful solution. It should’t mean that they are going to take all the eLearning courses in their LMS and make then accessible from a smartphone through an app. They should have a plan of how the content will get to the learner and quickly.

Their are some great opportunities for mobile to be integrated into a learning solution. Mobile can also be just one component of the learning solution. What it really comes down to is making sure that we identify gap in performance or the learning opportunity. If mobile doesn’t fit the bill then that is ok, as long as we are doing our due diligence to the learner by giving them what they need to succeed and not just creating a solution for mobile’s sake.

We recently had a #lrnchat last Thursday and the topic was on the Forgetting Curve. A great way to reinforce learning is the use of performance support. Due to the fact that training is viewed as an event, the forgetting curve kicks in and the learner cannot recall what they have learned during the training session. Another great implication for not just mobile, but performance support in general is that it now becomes part of the learning “process”.  Instead of having the single or 3-day training event with no follow up, we can give our learners performance support to combat the forgetting curve and also give more value to how we provide solutions. They can continue to build on what was learned during the training event or course. A entire training event may not even be needed!

As a side note, wearable technology is another great opportunity for performance support and learning. The Apple Watch was unveiled this month. It will be exciting to see what this will bring to our profession. I promise this is not the beginning of “wLearning” (Sorry David Kelly, I used it!) I am still so amazed how quickly everything is changing with how we gather and learn information, perform, and share curated content.

I would love to know what everyone else is doing and talking about in the mobile area and performance support. If you have a comment or would like to add your thoughts, please add to the comments below or tweet me and we can open up the conversation.