Sharing by Learning

For a little while now I have been trying to put together a learning technology portfolio that really showcases my skills in the best way possible. On top of that there is also many things that I wish to do deeper research on, (xAPI, UX, UI, neuroscience and learning) but I haven’t had the time to do any of it. Probably because my schedule is out of order now that I have client projects that I am working on. No excuses Will!

So last night I returned home from a NYC dinner with Trish Uhl and we had a great discussion about the state of the industry in learning and a various array of topics. I was a little wired from having two cappuccinos and the conversation so my mind began to wander. I had an insight to not only build my portfolio but also research deeper in the process: sharing by learning.

If we flip that phrase to learning by sharing it means we can learn from other people in the context of community-based learning or a PLN (personal learning network). By having open discussion we can learn from other people about not only how to make something better, but we also help others by sharing knowledge. Another resource for knowledge sharing and management is from Jane Bozarth’s Show Your Work.

So what is sharing by learning? The way I see it is you have a topic that you want to learn more about or a skill to learn. As you are learning, you not only keep track of how you learn the skill, but also keeping in mind that while you’re learning you’re going to share this with your network of people so they can learn from it. So not only do you learn the skills you need/want, you can also share your findings with your cohorts.

For example, as the upcoming president for Northern NJ ATD I conduct board meetings, naturally. One of the skills that I know I lack is following Robert’s Rules of Order or Parliamentary Procedure. I have a little booklet that tells me how to follow them, but it seems to be all over the place. So one of the ways I’ll learn to use the rules is by creating a mobile solution so I can access it when I need it during the board meetings. There is so much more that will go into that and as I begin to create I will show my work with everyone.

By creating this solution for myself, I not only will learn how to use the rules, but then I can share what I have learned through this mobile tool. As a second point, I also will build my skills as a learning technologist by creating this mobile solution.

This gives me a new perspective on learning in general because if we start to think about learning and how it is distributed this shakes the cage a little bit. Imagine starting out to learn a new skill or concept knowing that you will be sharing it with someone in the future. How will that change our attitude towards learning? Would this help knowledge sharing and performance improvement?

I have a bookmark in my browser that allows me to use xAPI to track everything that I am learning (That is if I remember to click on the bookmark!) and it will add the resource to my learning record store (LRS) for later review or analysis. That could potentially be where we source the content for the learning in which we are going to share. Alternatively, what if our LRS can be viewed by people other than ourselves? How does that fit into knowledge sharing?

It is an exciting time in our industry because we are shifting our thinking away from traditional methods that are a sign of the times and moving toward a more open and community supported learning network. There is definitely more to expand on and I will continue to share as I learn!




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.



HTML, CSS, JavaScript, HUH?!

For the past couple of weeks I have decided to jump into learning how to program. I realize that as an owner of my own company, it is important to make sure that I can do many different things and wear many different hats.

I came to this conclusion because I don’t want to not be able to perform for a client and this really only adds value to LearnHaus. It all started when I began learning how to use Adobe Dreamweaver. It wasn’t the kind of software that you design web content strictly using rapid development like adding drop down menus and images. You need to know how these programming languages work in order to really be effective and also make sure everything is packaged right. You also can do more with the software than just adding templates and colors.

In conjunction with Dreamweaver I am starting out with HTML. This is actually helpful because I can apply what I am learning in HTML to how Dreamweaver operates. Cool stuff. I started to think though, how does web design and code translate to eLearning and mobile learning? What are the implications?

I now realize that because we are creating solutions in the HTML5 space (since Flash doesn’t play well with mobile) that really it’s almost all the same. Creating a slide with video in a web browser is the same as creating it in an eLearning tool like Captivate and then publishing to HTML5 in the browser. The coding is probably close and it’s both being accessed in the browser which can work with HTML5. So in reality, the opportunities to really design and create unique learning and performance solutions is endless, well sort of. I want to learn Flash too but for now I think HTML5 is where I will focus.

I have more to learn like CSS and Javascript, plus I need to figure out to remember all the different tags and and making sure everything is coded correctly. This will take time I know. I am making the commitment to code to standards! I have also been spending some time in the programming community and I finally accepted the challenge of the Hour of Code . It really did only take an hour or less. I was able to see programming in a different context, in more of a gaming perspective. I actually was coding with Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies. It was simpler, but you have the opportunity to see the actual code and learn how you are creating the gaming interactions. It does challenge you to think about the interactions how you would code it.

For those who are thinking of whether learning code is beneficial to them or not, I would say even if you don’t want to be a hardcore programmer, understanding how it works is very beneficial. Knowing how your solution works on the backend is important for really creating solutions you want and what the possibilities are.

Here are some other helpful resources that I have found:

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

Lynda: Web Design Courses


There is so much more to learn and I hope to share more of my journey with you. I hope that I am also a resource as well. Feel free to contact me or comment on this post and I will be more than happy to talk more about this post and LearnHaus with you. Happy learning!



Adobe Captivate 8: Rollover Highlight Text Caption

I know I have promised this over the weekend, so here is the little nugget I have found.

While I have been learning a lot about the advanced features in Adobe Captivate and the new features in version 8, I am also learning that if you think outside the box just a little bit, you can make some great discoveries!

I was creating a rollover caption for one of the projects that I am working on and as I added the rollover caption, I noticed that the rollover area was supposed to be placed on an object and the caption would obviously appear. When I previewed the project the word was not to be seen until the mouse had rolled over the rollover area DUH! This took me a minute to realize.

Here is what I wanted: When the learner rolls over text, the text should change to a different color to alert the learner to begin the course and also to grab attention to a plain, clickable text caption. So I sat there of minute and thought about how I could do it and then suddenly AHA! I put the pieces together to form the text caption that highlights when you rollover it. It actually is quite simple but thinking differently about what you have at your disposal is sometimes what you need to make new discoveries.

So I figure why not share my discovery with everyone else? It may be that someone has discovered this before but I don’t care because this was a small win for me. The small wins matter. Below are the steps that I took to create a rollover highlight caption. Enjoy.

In Adobe Captivate, navigate to Objects and select Rollover Caption.

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 4.00.18 PM

Next add the text to the caption and set the size and the font color the learner will see when they rollover the caption.

Text Caption

Re-size the text caption to the desired position and  Copy the text caption.

Create a new Text Caption and paste the text from the rollover caption and change the color of the text to what you want the learner to see before they rollover the caption.

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 4.13.00 PM   Text Caption

Re-size the rollover area to match the size of the rollover text caption text captions

Rollover Area Size

Follow the same re-sizing for the copied text caption so all 3 objects are the same size and in the same position.

All 3 in Same Size and Position

When you preview the file you will see the color selected for the dormant caption and when you rollover you will see the color when active.

Before Rollover          Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 4.52.57 PM

It is a small detail that can add a catch your learner’s eyes and get their attention. I hope that I can share more of these with you in the future as I continue learning more ways to use rapid development tools and other programs.



I Lost My Job and I Am So Excited!

5:30pm on a Friday afternoon I was called into a conference room with my direct boss and the CEO  of our company. I knew something interesting was going to happen. The CEO started out by saying how he had hired me for a training position and since that time my job responsibilities have changed. I went from training to a training/IT mix and then at the stretch of 2 months wasn’t really doing much of anything. Now we were having this conversation. I knew that something was going to happen. Either I was going to have my role changed or I was going to lose my job. It was the latter.

Meanwhile, during those 2 months leading up to this conversation I was becoming increasingly anxious because I found myself focusing on what I really wanted to do outside of the works hours rather than doing them in the office. I had contemplated how I was going to try and end my job there, but all the while my employer and I were in sync the whole time.

So we parted ways in a very positive manner. I understood the needs of the business and my role was not part of that. They apologized because they were preventing me from my passion. They were exactly right. My boss and I left on great terms. We are still going to attend professional events together and will talk. We looked at it as the beginning of a friendship rather then an end to a professional relationship. This may sound weird to some, but the relationship I have with my boss is extremely positive and always honest.

When I left the office I was overjoyed because now I get to do what I want to do. LearnHaus for me is my jumping off point. I at first saw it as a way to connect with people in the L&D community but now I see so much more potential now that I can dedicate the time it needs. There is much to do to get this puppy up and running but I am devoted to it. One of the purposes of LearnHaus is not just to grow myself professionally but it is to help organizations be successful. On a recent lrnchat that took place we chatted about what we were not willing to compromise and we all agreed that we were not willing to compromise the learner. This is what I am devoted to. Learning and performance. This journey now has become so much more meaningful to me because I can ensure it’s success. I am very fortunate to be able to know what it is that I want and have a plan to bring it to fruition. I hope the same for all of you, that your dedication and hard work is a behavior of your passion to the L&D field or elsewhere.

As I continue my research about the brain and what we know about it’s implications for learning and performance, I hope to add value to my learning experiences I create for learners. As I blend learning and technology with the brain in mind, I hope to really challenge the skills gap and also the way we look at the learning profession. This is why I am excited. So much change is happening and I plan to be a part of it all. The best part is that I will be learning too. LearnHaus.

Welcome to LearnHaus

For years, professionals in the learning field have worked very hard to design and deliver training that is effective and increase performance improvement all while meeting the goals and needs of the organizations they serve.  Each professional has a different skill set that can help improve the deficit that is occurring across all organizations. We have been calling this the skills gap. As my career has taken me this far I have observed the different types of learning professionals. Some are coaches, some are facilitators, and some are talent managers. What I have been fascinated by is how we design and create learning. Instructional design has been around for quite some time and the different approaches to it are well founded. I would like to take these and use as the situation calls for it.  I also find that adding technology to learning can enhance the overall learning experience. eLearning and mobile are highly valuable. But something struck me one day that I think changed the way I view the learning profession: Neuroscience and technology.

To understand how the mind and brain function are somewhat of a mystery to us who are not a scientist or behavioral health professional. The impact of memory and learning is profound in our profession. The knowledge we intend our learners to use to perform to make the organization successful won’t be learned because we are forgetting the actual body part that makes this possible. It’s not just about knowing that chunking information is helpful for the learner, but it is also about how the different processes in the brain interact and can counteract the ability to effectively learn new skills and competencies.

Some of you like me are taking a leap into this area so we can make a difference in the learning and performance process of our learners. I am just scratching the surface on the brain. There is so much that we know and that we don’t know. I intend to use this information to create learning experiences and environments that will help our workforce to be better.

Along with the research that I pick up I also plan to apply this to a variety of mediums. Technology will be coupled with this research to create and construct these learning experiences. I think that eLearning and now mobile learning can enhance these experiences. I don’t think that technology alone is the solution. A blended learning approach is what I think will have the most impact. The important thing is that it depends on what the learner needs. This is what will unlock learning’s impact on performance. A 3-hour eLearning course will be  a waste of everyone’s time if that is not what the learner needs, if it’s even learning at all. We can actually make learning experiences personal by designing for the brains of the individuals that require it. Of course what someone might need is just a 20 minute course or a performance support tool on their device. For that 20 minute course it should engage our brains (learners will not be alerted that their brains are engaged, they will simply click through the course). Without the brain we would not function. The networks in the brain are the lifeblood of successful memory and performance. By re-enforcing these networks and creating new ones effectively, performance will increase. The secret is how we build learning that will foster the brain’s strength of these networks.

There is a lot to uncover and redefine in this profession. I will be learning a  lot about these areas and I intend to share my journey with you. I also hope that we can learn something through this experience as well. This is an exciting time in our profession and the engagement I am seeing in the field right now is incredible. I am excited to take this leap into the new age of learning and performance. The conversations that I hope to have will impact our field in many ways that will once again change the face of learning. Welcome to LearnHaus.

BRAIN                                         TECHNOLOGY                                    PERFORMANCE