Monday, May 30, 2011

Next Generation Content Authoring - From LearnX, Sydney

LearnX 2010 in Sydney, Australia was a special occasion for Raptivity because of the Best e-learning tool award. Here, I also had the opportunity to deliver a session on the next generation content authoring. The goal was to outline the various aspects trainers and educators need to consider while designing their training material for next generation learners.

Content authoring has moved way beyond creation of simple textual pages and assessments. Today, learners are exposed to variety of high-end digital experiences and they expect the same in their learning. Learning interactions such as learning games, branching simulations, virtual worlds and social interactions are becoming key elements to keep learners motivated and engaged in the training material.  Here is a recap of the key points in the session.

1.    Next Generation Learning
The new generation of tech-savvy learners has grown up with mobility, net browsing, games and social networking. These learners have a low attention span. Yet, they are prepared to interact, and they expect great experiences.

2.    Types of Interactive Elements for Next Generation Learning
There are five types of interactive elements that I highlight for this discussion, that characterize the next generation learning. They are: games, simulations, 3D artifacts, social interactions and active learning. Examples of games would include mini games, word games, TV game shows and strategy games. Simulations could include software simulations, branching scenarios or exploration exercises in an immersive experience. 3D artifacts include virtual worlds and 3D navigational objects. Examples of social interactions that can aid in learning include polls, discussions, chat and collaboration. Finally, scenario-based learning and activity-based learning round out the active learning repertoire.

3.    Tools for Creating Training Material
Raptivity, YawnBuster and TeemingPod are examples of tools that allow you to create interactive learning quickly and easily.

Soon I plan to post a quick look-up table for locating some great examples and  templates for such interactive elements cited above.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

7 Fun Ways to Get Participation and Collaboration Going in Classrooms

Yes, I hear you. Preparing to teach a class is hard enough. Who has the time to add fun activities? Well, you do - given these no-frills group activities that only take minutes to build, whether you use a board, a flip chart or an interactive software like YawnBuster.

Show of Hands
Conducting a quick poll is a perfect icebreaker in the beginning of a class. Start with a question like 'How many of you know that..' or 'Who wants to ...' and watch the hands go up.

Invite ideas, and get your learners' creative juices flowing. You can combine brainstorming with a poll - first get all the ideas out there, and then have people vote on them. Or you can have them prioritize those ideas collaboratively. See an example here.

Express Brainstorm
Add excitement to brainstorming by creating teams, by limiting the time for ideation, and by assigning a score. Check out this example.

Whenever you have two sides to an issue (as in a debate) or two aspects to compare (as in pros and cons), use a T-chart and have learners come up with bullet points on either side. It encourages thinking and creates a useful visual comparison. Here is a T-chart built in a class.

Mind Map
Ideas are understood better when learners understand their relationships. Mind-map is a powerful graphical technique for representing relationships. Introduce ideas and ask the learners to help build a mind-map. For a mind-map building example, click here.

Parking Lot
Get distracted by too many questions? Create a parking lot and park the questions away. At the end of the class, answer each question. Want to see how it works? Click here.

Key Takeaways
Every now and then during your presentation, ask your learners to summarize  their understanding and write down a line of two on an online memo pad for everyone to see. At the end of the class, your key takeaways are ready! Click here for an example that shows how key takeaways are collected.

To get a free white paper titled 'Adding Fun to Learning with YawnBuster' click here.