Category Archives: technology

How do I change the toner?

A recent tweet by Craig Taylor and a company called Wistia got me thinking about video for learning.  Video has been gathering pace over the last few years and more companies are introducing this as part of their learning strategy.

The Wistia blog has some very good ideas, and I think that for a company who deal with video every day, it’s both refreshing and honest of them to chart their journey with video as a marketing tool.

How do I change the toner?  – was the question that prompted the video below.  I thought that this would be a great opportunity to demonstrate how useful video could be in the business so within half an hour I’d created this video about how to change the toner in the printer.  I filmed it on iPhone and edited on iPad with the iMovie app. At the time we were using Jam as our social platform and I could upload the video from my pad.

So if you are just starting off with introducing video, try with something that is necessary but infrequent – or even something that you are always asked about.

Chances are that if more than two people ask you how to do something more people want to know how to do it but won’t ask.

Then when you are asked again – point them in the direction of the video which will get them used to using/searching for video.

What else would be ideal for a short video tutorial?

Have you found resistance to using video as a reference tool?


Another string to our bow

As a learning designer I seem to be asked to do more than just design online learning or other ‘learning’ interventions.

As part of a large project at the end of last year I was asked to create a video that would be shown to the business which would give a high level view of the new system that was to be introduced.  This provided me with a couple of problems – I’ve never worked in marketing/PR – so how can I make something as dry as a new system interesting and engaging?  The brief was – make it upbeat.

So I thought that it would be good to get an authentic voice from people who had already used the system, and maybe get them to answer some questions or concerns from the people who were getting it.

I also wanted to show the interface and how to navigate around it.  Here is the first part of the video (I took out the bit with the system!)

To any of you who have developed video as a demo/into to a concept etc. I’d love to hear your feedback, as I think I may be doing more of these this year, and would like to get better with each one!

I filmed this on a Canon D600 and edited in iMovie using Keynote for the text.

I do not own the copyright to the music  M83 – Midnight city.

When people just don’t get it…

We see it time and time again, and no one seems to learn from past mistakes.  To all directors out there – LOOK and LISTEN to what is going on!

We have recently been using Jam as an internal platform for communication and social interaction at work.  This has only been rolled out to the HR function at the moment, and L&D being aligned to that division has also had access.  Needless to say, the Curriculum department has embraced this new platform and is contributing to some good conversations there.  Our team were contributing heavily to our Sharepoint platform as well, so we are already a far way down the road compared to some of our HR colleagues.  However….

Our directors are behind this.  Our HR director is enthusiastic about this.  But oh dear…the practical reality is far from exemplary.  I am trying to think of a reply to one of our director’s blog posts.  This post was a ‘newsletter’ which had already gone out to the division by email.  It was if they had suddenly remembered Jam and copied and pasted it over.  This must have been about 3000 words.  The heart sinks and I never got past the 4th paragraph…

Since then, there has been two replies to this post…but nothing from the author.  There has been no feedback from her, or comment on any other posts. I tried to look the other day to see how she is interacting with the division on Jam – what did I find?  Nothing.  So for all the enthusiasm about everyone else using this platform, our leaders don’t see this as a way forward or in any way important (please – don’t use the ‘busy’ excuse..)

By thinking about this strategically, she could have done so much more, and raised her profile with probably little more effort than penning the ‘newsletter’.  These would be simple steps to show how to use the platform effectively..

  • Split this ‘newsletter’ up into bite sized pieces.  If you are too busy to contribute, I can guarantee that other people will be too busy to read a great big post.
  • By spreading these out over a period of time, people get to see your name on Jam, and that you are contributing.
  • Reply to people to take the time to comment on your blog.  It shows you are listening.
  • Liking a comment that someone has posted takes no time at all.  Why not go in when you’re having a coffee and comment on a few posts?
  • Post short bursts of whatever is on your mind.  Throw a question out there – you could get some interesting and innovative replies

Most importantly, this will eventually be rolled out to the business.  Your contributions will be used as a template for other directors/managers in the business.  If we are not demonstrating the behaviours, then what incentive is there for the them to follow?

Are there any more ideas I could suggest to get more interaction?

Thanks to John Stepper’s inspirational blog for these ideas..


Captivate quizzes – a quick workaround! Part 1

Having finally decided on Captivate as our e-learning software of choice, I am getting to grips with its functionality and quirks.

We have had an influx of projects recently which have needed assessments, and as we are now using our LMS (finally) then we are creating quizzes with Captivate.  One of the annoying things with creating quizzes is the results page will not display with your chosen font.  I’ve tried using the global default settings for ‘score’, ‘attempts’ etc but although I can change the ‘You scored’ text, the actual score always appears in Times New Roman.

However our team has come up with a way of getting the right font and the result to match.

  1. Remove all of the result information off the result slide.  Don’t delete it, just move it off the stage.
  2. Insert the text you want in a text box e.g. ‘You have scored – ‘ and then insert the system variable for the score.  It should start in the list ‘cpquizinfo….’
  3. Insert the quiz variable that you want to insert into the rest of the text.
  4. Tip – the variable for the percentage attained does not start ‘cpquizinfo..’ but is simply ‘cpinfopercent’.  The quiz variable for percent only offers you the pass mark percentage.

And that’s it!  Once I started inserting the system variables, my results page looked so much better.  You can then display the text that you want by using advanced actions – but I’ll cover that in part 2!

With thanks to @alanbarnfather, @P_Daykin & @nickemmett

LearningLive – virtually!

Autumn is here –  and the conference season is upon us.  Unfortunately I was unable to attend LearningLive in person this year, but was lucky enough to take part in Mike Collin’s session ‘Live Online Learning’.   He has included a link to a recording of the event in his blog post on the day.

In my organisation, we have been using Webex for a couple of years now – Webex was introduced by Mike and had a small but regular take up.  At first our trainers didn’t really know what to do with this tool, apart from showing a presentation and people using the chat function.  With budgets ever on the squeeze, the benefits of using a tool like this are becoming more apparent, both for meetings and virtual training.  More and more trainers in our department are enquiring and using some sort of virtual tool.  Unfortunately, our licences for Webex have not been renewed, and so we are currently using a tool called ‘Genesys’ which is not really a virtual classroom tool.  We will hopefully have something more interactive in the near future.

Having already used Webex before, I was familiar with its functionality, but joining Mike in his session opened up a new slant on using the tool – using it live during an event where people were in a room.  The LSG conference was done completely online this year and was a great event – it allowed people to log in, where ever they were in the world and participate in the sessions.  This reminded me a little of these sessions but with a difference.  We that logged in online could hear the reaction of the audience in the room and I felt like I was participating in the whole atmosphere of the event.

This could be used not only in conference situations, but also for training situations where the possibility of reaching far more people than are ‘attending’ or physically in the room is possible.  This would also mean that courses would need to be designed with this in mind – how do you engage ‘virtual’ people as well as the people in the room?  There was one point in Mike’s presentation where we tried to see the audience, but somehow the technology did not respond as we expected.  I know that Mike is considering this for other situations, but these are just a few points that I am considering and suggesting to our learning team.

  • Get an assistant.  Mike would not have been able to control the session as he did with out the ‘flip chart fairy’ @ColinSteed. (I’m afraid the moniker is going to stick for a while Colin!)  Someone who is on hand to deal with the technology, field questions from the virtual audience and generally keep things on track.
  • Technology – of course this will need to be checked and made sure that what you want to do will work.  A microphone for people in the room who are asking questions and a camera set up would be good.
  • Bring in both audiences – Mike did a great job of this, getting us virtual people to interact with the presentation and take part in a few ‘games’.
  • I’m sure that some of the technical blips were to do with bandwidth of both the venue and we who were online.  Perhaps this was the problem with the video – I was viewing from work which has a low bandwidth.  I don’t know how this could be overcome – unless a session was built with the lowest common denominator in mind (here goes the corporate mindset….)

The final point I wanted to make was that more conferences would benefit from having this functionality included.  People could sign up for the sessions they want to attend and could participate either online or attend ‘live’.  However, there must be some benefit from attending live especially if you are paying to attend.  I know one of the major benefits of attending conferences like this are to network and meet up with other L&D professionals or members of your PLN, but if you could get the same information from the session by not physically attending, then everyone would want to attend online.  Maybe if there was a cost involved in attending, but was not as much as attending in person, this could help pay for some of the peripheral services which are attached to staging these conferences – such as the free wifi, internet access etc..

This has certainly given me something to think about and suggest to my team.  Has anyone used something similar in their learning design? I’d love to hear your thoughts – or take the brief poll.