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Can We Learn from Information?

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In a recent blog post over at Midcourse Corrections, Jeff Hurt wrote that “Information isn’t education.&# While that may be true in the purest sense, we shouldn’t conclude (as I posted in my comment) that it means people can’t learn from information. “You don’t have to memorize all the rules of grammar,&# I used to tell my college students, “you just have to know where to find the rules.&# I taught them how to identify the kinds of grammar problems that plagued them and where to locate the info in their grammar book. There are podcast feeds for that.

Is the LMS Dead?

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Every now and then the blogosphere buzzes about whether the LMS (Learning Management System) is still the best way to manage training. Some say yes, we still need a way to track learners’ progress, especially for compliance training or grades tracking (for those in higher education). Others say the LMS is quickly being supplanted by the proliferation of PLEs (personal learning environments — where individuals construct their own mashup of Web sites, blogs, social network contacts, e-books and magazines, asynchronous courses, and other resources) which support informal learning.

Free eBook on Learning Strategies

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At over 100 pages, with eight strong case studies, the Masie Center has compiled an excellent overview of how learning leaders at major companies developed their learning strategies. Best of all, it’s FREE as “an open source eBook.&# You can find it (and other great ebooks) here. learning strategy develops the learning culture within the organization that helps make judgment calls that balance new and existing technology against what you can afford. “It is oriented toward action and requires visible outcomes&# that are endorsed by the those who will oversee its implementation.

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Oh, No!! It’s Back!!

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What’s back? The soaring cost of oil… which means increased travel costs… which could also mean fewer members having the funds to get to your face-to-face (FTF) learning events. I’m trying not to say “I told you so… I warned you to get your elearning act in gear… I cautioned you about ignoring the lessons we were supposed to learn back in 2008… &#. Okay, maybe your association wasn’t affected then and isn’t seeing an effect now. Here’s why. recent study by Elearning! and Government Elearning! Why should this matter to you?

New Brandon Hall Group report forecasts major shift in 2016 online learning trends

Companies are increasingly dissatisfied with online learning tools, prompting many to reinvest in technology that supports a modern training approach. Download the report from Brandon Hall Group to see how new investments are bringing real business results.

What Our Vendors Can Teach Us

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Awhile back, aLearning conducted a brief survey to get some insight into the biggest challenges association learning vendors face in our segment. Turns out, there’s a lot learning leaders in the nonprofit sector can discover from what they had to say. Who Participated? One organization reported their primary P/S as an association management system. Do their perceptions match your reality?

Content Curation

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All debates about using the terms “curation&# and “curator&# aside, figuring out ways of “finding, grouping, organizing or sharing the best and most relevant content on a specific issue&# * is something that all associations should be doing. Because we’re already doing most of it, and it’s a big (maybe even gigantic ) reason our members pay dues to belong to our selective group. Aren’t they?!? Of course they are. But let’s take this amorphous idea of “content curation&# and make it concrete and actionable. What’s the big deal?&#. Voila!

Off on a Tangent? Good!

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There are two types of travellers: those who plan a specific route and stick to it, and those who have a general idea of where they want to end up but leave themselves open to side trips. We’ve done both in our “on the road&# lifestyle — they each have their benefits and pitfalls. But you’re also missing out on a lot. No picnicking beside that picturesque river. or lunch.

What Corporate Trainers Can Learn from Associations

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In her reaction to our recent post, “Did You Feel That?” ” Adrienne Gross said, “One thing that technology can’t really help with though is motivation: ‘I want to do this training.’” ’” I responded by agreeing that we can lead people to training but we can’t make them learn. And that got me thinking about a key difference between corporate training and association training. Our problems are 180-degrees in difference. Corporate trainers struggle to get learners engaged. They aren’t always in the mood. Our very bad. Tools?

Why are So Many LMS Buyers Dissatisfied?

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Patti Shank, in her 2010 “Getting Started with Learning  Management Systems&# research report for the e-Learning Guild cites some important findings: Of the 909 survey respondents, “more than a third think that the LMS can be an “ impediment to learning.&#. “Only about 62% of respondents said that their LMS lives up to vendor promises.&#. “Almost 13% plan to abandon their LMS.&#. “On average, most respondents spent two to six months on each phase of implementation except for administration, which took longer.&#. Is it the fault of the vendors? The products?

Secrets to Successful eLearning Revealed!

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Jeff Cobb and Celisa Steele at Tagoras have been very, very busy these days… We recently noted their updated LMS for Associations Report ( see Tagoras On Target )  and now they’ve done it again. They’ve updated their 2009 State of the Sector report — with the all the insight and expertise you’d expect. They’ve renamed it the “Association Learning + Technology State of the Sector Report,&# which bears a bit of attention. We wanted to be clear in the title that we think expansively about the role technology does and can play in association learning.&#.

Why Your Board of Directors is Dysfunctional

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And it is, isn’t it? Admit it. Well, maybe things seem okay for the moment, but at some point, you’ll experience frustration with a board of directors that you’ll be convinced is off its rocker, in whole or part. It isn’t their fault. Think about it. They volunteer to run for the board of directors of your nonprofit organization, get elected or appointed, and voila! — they’re supposed to know what’s expected of them. “But Ellen! We have an extensive board orientation program,” you say. Sure you do. Stop a second and think about that.

Whitepaper: When The LMS Isn’t Enough

In this whitepaper, you will discover the main reasons why the LMS alone is no longer meeting the needs of the modern learner. More importantly, you will learn what you can do to enhance its value.

What Would Your Members Say?

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When you spend a lot of time in an RV on the road, visiting different places, staying in various campgrounds, parks, and RV resorts, you realize what your expectations can be, based on the name of a place. We’ve stayed at resorts that only allowed certain types of RVs (yes, it’s permitted by law), and cost more than a room at a bed and breakfast. Stay with me here. Membership benefits?

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Did You Feel That?

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We’ll call it a technological earthquake (because we’re currently in Soutern California; you can call it a tornado or hurricane or monsoon… whatever). The “seismologists” are the researchers at the USC Annenberg School’s Center for the Digital Future. They’re reporting on more than ten years of studies, tracking the emergence and use of technology and online activity. ( You can find a summary of the results here.). The article identifies some key takeaways from their work. According to Jeffrey I. ” Yep. ” Are you preparing for this shift?

Stealing from the Rich…

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Stealing what works in elearning from the rich corporations, that is… First, my usual caveat: we’re not corporations. We shouldn’t assume that everything they do is worthy of emulation by associations and other nonprofits. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from them, right? And because the series we did that dissected what the ASTD BEST Award winners did in 2009 had so many hits (and still does), I figure it’s worth our time to look at some other companies, what they’re doing, and what we can learn from them. Source? This happens at Google a lot.

Handy Learning

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Last fall Tagoras published an update of its “Learning 2.0 for Associations&# report and I posted briefly on it. Great research is worth more than one look, and this report is no exception. (If you haven’t taken a first look at it yet, stop here and go do that before you do anything else!). couldn’t help making some notes as I perused all of the great examples and the recommendations for various uses of Learning 2.0 options covered in the report. So, with a grateful nod to Jeff Cobb and Tagoras, here are a few more ideas related to Learning 2.0 for associations. Casting.

Welcome to the Learning Decade!

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So says Sam Herring, writing for Fast Company   in his article, “Moving Toward 2010: The Learning Decade&# (3/21/11). Bravo! I’m all for that. Of course, I wouldn’t limit the value of learning to just one decade, but if we must, this one is as good as any. Better, says Herring. All because of the Great Recession. “…[M]ore and more organizations recognize that learning can help solve the most vexing economic and financial problems of the day. As a result, we predict that the years leading up to 2020 will be known as ‘The Learning Decade.’&#. ’&#.

Storyboarding for eLearning

Storyboarding is a very important step for creating eLearning courses. But don’t you feel it’s a waste of time to start creating the courses from scratch and copy-paste text and other objects from the storyboard to the eLearning tool for course development.

Learn or Die

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… as an organization, that is (though some brain experts are also telling us that continuing to engage and challenge our brains is essential to staying mentally healthy as we age). Somehow I missed this report, which dates back to 2008, but it’s no less valid now (maybe even moreso) than it was then, so it’s worth a post. “In Search of Learning Agility: Assessing Progress from 1957 to 2008″ by Timothy R. Clark, PhD, and Conrad A. “We know that, Ellen,&# you’re thinking. “So what?&#. Are your programs prioritized? Do you have a learning strategy?

More is the Word

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We’ve all been watching what’s been happening around the world: from grassroots political movements that are changing who’s running a country to mass demonstrations with multiple themes. championed by thousands of passionate followers. Flash mobs have morphed into demonstrations lasting weeks and months. More people are connecting to common causes faster and more cheaply than ever before in history. But you knew that. So what does this have to do with learning? “Short but often” events must occur online. Period. More learning doesn’t have to be a nightmare.

You Ready to MOOC?

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All the recent discussion about how we learn from information has spurred me to post on MOOCs, before I’m really ready for it… but I do have a bit of insight to share, so that’s where we’ll start. Haven’t heard of MOOCs yet? MOOC = Massive Open Online Class. All the rage. Okay, maybe within some circles. The MOOC Guide on Wikispaces describes them this way: “It is a gathering of participants, of people willing to jointly exchange knowledge and experiences for each of them to build upon. You can find more info from this source here.). Topic? Plenty! Members.

Free Help for Session Facilitators

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We’re always grateful when our members volunteer to lead educational sessions and share what they’ve learned with their peers. Sometimes we just wish we had more time to spend with them as they prepare for those sessions. We know they’ll probably rely heavily on a lecture format using PowerPoint slides as talking points. That’s not always a bad idea, but we’d feel more comfortable if they had a better understanding of adult learning and the roles of interaction and relevance in learning. What if you had free access to a mini-course, a crash course, in adult learning? Of course you did. Thanks!

Evaluating Training - Capturing the Benefits Aspects of ROI

Training evaluation is necessary and, in many ways, critical to the success of a business. But because short term priorities always seem to take precedence, it is typically something we plan to do better in the next course, or maybe next month, or even next year. After all, we’ve managed pretty well up to now, so surely another year can’t hurt!

Why Tutorials Instead of Documents?

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One of the standard objections to simply done tutorials (like those you’ll find under the aLearning Fundamentals link on the left) is that they’re essentially page-turners. With minimal interaction, why not just post a document that covers the same content? I’ll be the first to admit that including more interactions is a great thing, as long as they contribute to the learning outcome. Instead, we focused on the few key decisions that will at least narrow the LMS field and get you started. Let’s be honest here. How interesting would that be?!? Be honest. Motions.

Getting to the Core

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“What Are the Core Competencies of a Trainer?&# This great question was posted by Ling-Huey on ASTD’s LinkedIn forum, and her question generated dozens and dozens of comments. Here’s a summary: Effective trainers … know the subject matter and can adapt key messages to learners’ levels of understanding while helping learners see the relevancy of the content. involve the learners. exude enthusiasm and passion. accept that it isn’t about them — it’s about the learners. understand how adults learn. model the desired behavior. are good listeners.

New! FREE aLearning Tutorials!

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An instructional designer at heart and always the advocate of DIY… I thought I would create a few stand-alone tutorials, offer them here FREE and accomplish a few things (other than keeping myself entertained by creating them): Provide some useful content on elearning and face-to-face facilitation topics. Show you some alternatives to expensive, outsourced elearning (though there’s a place for making that investment to be sure*). Give you a “behind the scenes&# look at how they were created using inexpensive, easily available tools (such as PowerPoint).

Indefinite Hiatus

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Regular aLearning blog readers have probably noticed a sudden drop in activity here. No worries! We’re fine. But we are involved in some other areas these days and providing up-to-date insight on association-related elearning topics hasn’t been at the top of the list, sorry to say. Previous posts on various topics continue to garner so many hits daily that the blog will sit, waiting and ready for new posts, when the time comes. Just click the image or button on the left for more information on how to order your copy. appreciate your support! Uncategorized aLearning

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Seven Simple Secrets to Off-the-Shelf Course Success

Off-the-shelf elearning is applicable for a wide audience, but it won’t address your organization’s unique situations or distinctive content. So are these courses all that helpful? For sure! Read on for 7 secrets to make off-the-self learning your own.

Get Latest Tagoras Report on Virtual Events — FREE

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For just this week, if you sign up for the Tagoras Research Community list — which is free to join — you will receive a complimentary copy of Association Virtual Events: State of the Sector. It’s a win-win! Don’t wait — the offer will expire at the end of this week (April 6 or so). For details and to sign up, see this page on their Web site: [link]. Tagoras does excellent research and is a go-to resource for association leaders. Check them out! aLearning Strategies aLearning Surveys eLearning Resources elearning strategy Jeff Cobb Tagoras virtual learning events

Cloudy About ‘The Cloud’?

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Don’t be. Here’s the easy-sneezy version of what you need to know to help your association or nonprofit. First, “The Cloud” is just another way of referring to the Web, the Internet, cyberspace. Services “in the cloud” are available via the Web instead of systems having to be installed on your server(s) or applications or programs being installed on your desktop. It means they’re out there — in cyberspace — and you connect to them. Yes, this is very good news. But here’s the best part. ” </blockquote. Here’s an example.

How Does the Money Flow?

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As we noted in our summary of the aLearning Survey results, we were surprised by the number of respondents who didn’t know what percentage of the organization’s overall budget is dedicated to education. Perhaps the organization is so small that there’s just one pool of money from which everything is dispersed.Or some organizations have an education budget but the education staffers don’t have eyes on the organization’s overall budget, so they don’t know what their portion of it is. And the data in this survey support this. Without Percentage Information.

2011 aLearning Association Survey Results Summary — Part 4

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If you’ve been following our recent posts that summarize our 2011  survey, you’ve seen that organizations of all sizes are leveraging online learning in some way or another. Click here to see part 1 covering profiles and budget , here for part 2 on elearning programs , here for part 3 on social learning.). But how are associations and other non-profit organizations making decisions about which programs to pursue? Do they have a strategic plan? Do they have a different method they follow? Again, results were scattered. See what you think. sure did. Probably.

Move Beyond Learning to Applying: A Modern Management Development Program

A better way to develop front-line managers !It’s well documented that people leave managers – not companies. Download this guide to learn how to shift the perspective from event to journey and how to take learners through Proficiency Journeys to get results.

Put Your Members in Jeopardy!

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The game, of course. Okay, not the real televised version, but one of the variations available for learning. It’s a great way to create interaction and excitement, especially in group settings, so if you’re looking for ways to up the ante with your face-to-face (FTF) educational sessions, this is an option you should consider. In this case, I used a template designed by Theresa M.

One Week Left!

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Wondering what other associations and non-profits are up to with their learning offerings? Anticipating a change for the next year, and wonder if others are making similar changes? Looking at increasing your education budget but need to prove other associations are investing more money in their learning programs first? Then you need to participate in the 2011 aLearning Survey. Ten quick questions. Less than five minutes. Valuable data — if enough of you add your voices! It’s free. No individual data is collected. Do it today. The survey is open until September 10. aLearning Survey

Empowering Subversive Implementation

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Odd title, eh? If you haven’t yet read Maggie McGary’s post over at Acronym (“Are you empowered to implement what you learn?&# ), you’ll get a head start on where I’m going with this. First, I completely agree with Maggie. I’d add that — at least in my case — I had piles of notes from books, magazines, conversations, social networking threads, blogs, etc etc, as well as those notes from conferences I attended. Of those, I managed to make a couple of changes, create one or two new inspired projects, and otherwise implement what I had learned.

Quick Clicks

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Once again, aLearning is pleased to be able to save you enormous time and energy by perusing hundreds of blogs and resources to summarize those likely to be of particular interest to you. If you have any links that have been especially insightful or helpful to you, please feel free to add them to the comments section or send them to me directly for inclusion in a future Quick Clicks post.  BTW, I normally embed the links but am pressed for time — cut and paste if necessary; they wouldn’t be included in this post if they weren’t worth it. What’s the Diff?*. Julien R.

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5 Unknown Ways You're Wasting Your Training Budget

In the US alone, companies spend over $70 billion on corporate training and about $1000 on individual employees according to Bersin by Deloitte. When it comes to training budgets, leaders struggle to pinpoint what impact (if any) their training programs are having. So what's the result? Companies end up wasting millions of dollars each year on ineffective training practices.

Measuring Level Four

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Sounds like something from a sci-fi flick, doesn’t it?!? But of course I’m referring to Donald Kirkpatrick’s four-level model for measuring learning outcomes. The first level, you’ll remember, is “reaction.&# We do a good job of measuring that by using “smile sheets&# — those feedback forms that we issue right after learning as occurred (for more on Smile Sheets, see the article “Smile Sheets To Smile About&# in the April 2010 issue of ASAE’s Associations Now magazine). Let’s start with why. The answer is because. …sales?&#.

How Willing Are You To Cut Your Losses?

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It’s one thing to recognize how important it is to just cut your losses and walk away when something isn’t producing the results you expected or the development/integration of a new system is taking more time and more money than you can afford. “We’re so far into it now,&# you say, “that we have to make it work.&#. Or really? Here’s a small example. Years ago, my husband bought me an expensive pen that was guaranteed to last a lifetime — not just the housing, but it would never run out of ink. How is that possible?!? Until today. They were right.

aLearning Tutorials — Now Improved!

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If you accessed the aLearning tutorials in the past but were frustrated by the awkward PowerPoint delivery mode, we’ve got great news! All current tutorial titles have now been fully converted to Flash using iSpring Free or iSpring Presenter! It’s easier than ever for you, your members, your staff — anyone! — to access and take these free tutorials. Watch for new titles coming soon, including one that uses the iSpring Presenter quiz function so you can see how it works. — in your organization. And — as always!

All A-Twitter

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Is it true that far more people initially register for Twitter than stay with it? Do you really have the number of followers you think you do? And what does that mean for using Twitter as an element in your social learning mix? For background: First see Jane Knight’s post, “How do you learn from #lrnchat?&#. Add some statistics. Mix in some naysayers. searched for an update on this data, but couldn’t find whether the trend is continuing. Perhaps people tune in, then out, then back in again. In any case… What does this mean for using Twitter in social learning?

Workbook: Gamification and Your Enterprise Learning Strategy

This workbook is a response to your need to understand how to strategically incorporate gamification into your learning strategy, in order to drive real business results. It’s designed to be printed, written in and used as a guide.

Why Conference Education Sucks

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Okay, maybe it doesn’t totally suck, but that word always gets attention, and it’s close enough to the truth to be a legit title for this post. You need to know that I served my association faithfully as its education director and organized my share of sessions for our national conference. So why would I say what I was doing sucked? wouldn’t. All of this, and — in the end — we were thrilled if we returned dollars to the association (in corporate terms, “make a profit&# ) and content when we broke even. So why did we struggle against those odds? Simple.

2011 aLearning Association Survey Results Summary — Part 3

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Once again, our sincere thanks to the many association learning leaders who responded to our request to participate in the 2011 aLearning Association Survey and to those who promoted it. While we had the best response yet to an aLearning Survey, the number of responses wasn’t high enough for us to confidently suggest that the results serve as any sort of benchmark. Every Online Event.