Wednesday, June 1, 2011

ASTD ICE 2011 Recap

What a conference!. Huge, I mean really huge in terms of attendees and vendors. This is my second conference within a months time after being to the LS 2011, and this is the mother of all elearning conferences. The orange county convention was one of the biggest convention centres I've ever been to. Well organized and more iPad giveaways that you can think of. Freebie seekers had a field day.

I had a great time at ASTD International Conference & Expo 2011 in Orlando and once again great chance to meet up with friends. Networking among attendees reached new heights. Meetups, tweetups you name it!.

Social learning, mobile learning and game based learning are the hottest trends in this expo.

More sessions than you can attend. So many interesting ones happening parallely and it was difficult to choose which one to go to.

Falling in love all over again with instructional design and educational pshycology by Allison Rossett was spot on - How to get into minds and hearts of the learner with various techniques. Social Media at Work by Mary Ellen on what we can learn from trail blazing organisations, Social Networking by Dennis Mankin was the other interesting ones I attended.

So many interesting vendors strutting their stuff. See interesting ones below:

Social learning is the new cool. Interactyx Social learning platform is really cool way one in the new breed of social learning solutions. I am not sure the uptake in organisations still, but watch that space, it may explode in future.

Authoring - Allen interactions Zebra had a bigger presence than LS 2011 with Zebra Apps. Looked good, but again when people are moving to HTML5 not sure I want to learn a new Flash based authoring system. Articulate Storyline looked promising and its support for iOS is exciting.

Saw many of the same vendors for authoring tools and there were some improvements across the board but there was one that I am pulling for and that is Zenler. They are set to go into the final beta phase of the Pro version of their Zenler Studio. They showed me game based learning, as well as video, audio and flash tools that are all in one program and it seemed easy to use from the demo I saw. I will be putting them on my watch list.

Game Bases learning is coming back big time. Lots of game based custom developers, virtual worlds. See above for Zenler review as it supports tool based development of game based courses development now.

Mobile learning - Lots of vendors started supporting mobile and that includes NetDimensions, and Kineo's mobile service. Again mobile is as hot as it can get.

I have blown my budget attending two conferences within a month. I need a break now!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lectora Releases Snap!, PowerPoint to Flash Tool

One of the easiest ways to generate Flash especially for eLearning is by converting PowerPoint to Flash. This cuts down costs of flash e-learning content development hugely and I can see why there are so many tools in this.

In the crowded PPT to Flash market which already has established players like Adobe Presenter, iSpring Presenter, PowerFlashPoint, Articulate Presenter another brand new product breaks in. Its called Snap! by Lectora ( I have played with the trial, after initial glitches I finally managed to get it working.  Interface looks simillar to existing tools. Simple PowerPoint converted fine without issues. But did not work quite right for many of the animations. I know its the first release, long way to go to reach the heights and quality of existing tools available.

Do we really need another product  for PPT to Flash tool, I don't know. In no way its a replacement to market leading PPT to Flash products like Adobe presenter, PowerFlashPoint or iSpring. This might trigger a pricing war as what I like about the snap product is the price if it does what it is supposed to do correctly. Will others follow?, we have to wait and see.

In my opinion it would have been better if Lectora came up with the revamp of its current authoring tool set rather than something else as I haven't seen any changes since years. Key to maintain customer loyalty is to innovate continuously. I really hope they are working on that as well as that will benefit me and others.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Learning Solutions 2011 - Recap

Every year Learning Solutions attracts the best in the training industry and this years LS 2011 conference and expo at the Hilton Orlando was no different. Much bigger than last years. Wherever you look sessions going on, people wanting to learn and engage in different aspects of e-learning.

Most of the sessions were great. Keynotes was outstanding. John Medina who took us on a tour of our brains, Nancy Duarte on visual stories that engage audiences and Michael Wesch about new learning environments - I salute you for your breadth of knowledge. My other favorite’s sessions include Patti Shank's Scope Creep, Chris Sawwa's session on courseware, simulation & games and Brandon Carson and Enzo Silvas Potential of augmented reality in learning.

LS 2011 had some very interesting vendors. Lots of great and promising tools. One of my favorites was OpenSesame, they were giving away hoodies. Great marketing. Each one came with a key and during second day social drinks session the people who were in thier hoodies could try thier keys on a boxed gift and if they can unlock the gift box, an iPad was up for grab. Sadly i didn't win :(.

The vendor that stands apart is Zenler. I was stunned with the power and simplicity of this brand new platform. They already have a version out, but the new version that’s coming up and its beta being demo'ed there is what am talking about. Zenler is a game changer and blows the socks off any other authoring tool in the market. Move on legacy authoring tools. It turns the tables, and it has everything i wanted as an instructional designer and now they are introducing for the first time a new concept in fully game based learning as a new feature - took my breath away. Its e-Learning but not as we know it. It’s refreshing to see someone look at eLearning for another perspective. Watch out for this, sure to scale greater glories. Zenler disrupts the eLearning market with its innovative tools.

I liked the CodeBaby stand for their use of avatars in e-Learning. Articulate was giving a sneak preview of a new product StoryLine with support for iOS. Looked promising. DominKnow and BreakThrough Performance had some nice stands.

Greatest thing I found was that I was able to catch up with lot of people who I communicate on social networks. Altogether this was an unforgettable experience. The camraderie among delegates was great and sadly we had to leave pledging to meet up at the next conference.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Learning Solutions 2011 Exhibitors

The Learning Solutions 2011 Expo offers you an outstanding opportunity to explore a highly-focused collection of key e-Learning vendors offering leading e-Learning tools, products, and services – all conveniently aggregated under one roof. See the latest technologies and services, attend Master Classes offered by the exhibitors, and meet the people who can help ensure your organization's success with e-Learning.

Some of the e-Learning suppliers you'll meet this year...

NexLearn Logo

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Disadvantages of eLearning


One disadvantage of eLearning is that learners need to have access to a computer as well as the Internet. They also need to have computer skills with programs such as word processing, Internet browsers, and e-mail. Without these skills and software it is not possible for the learner to succeed in eLearning.

eLearners need to be very comfortable using a computer. Slow Internet connections or older computers may make accessing course materials difficult. This may cause the learners to get frustrated and give up.

Software and Files

Another disadvantage of e-learning is managing computer files, software comfortability  and learning new software, including eLearning. For learners with beginner-level computer skills it can sometimes seem complex to keep their computer files organized. The lesson points you to download a file which the learner does and later cannot find the file. The file is downloaded to the folder the computer automatically opens to rather than a folder chosen by the learner. This file may be lost or misplaced to the learner without good computer organizational skills.


Another disadvantage of e-learning is that students may feel isolated and unsupported while learning. Instructions are not always available to help the learner so learners need to have discipline to work independently without assistance. eLearners may also become bored with no interaction.

High Motivation

eLearning also requires time to complete especially those with assignments and interactive collaborations. This means that students have to be highly motivated and responsible because all the work they do is on their own. Learners with low motivation may not complete modules.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Advantages of e-Learning


The major benefit of e-learning is Flexibility. E-learning has the advantage of taking class anytime anywhere. Learners can proceed through a training program "at their own pace and at their own place." Education is available when and where it is needed. Learning program can be done at office and on the move.

E-Learning programs are more attractive compared to traditional learning method. Learners have the advantage of learning at their own pace and with different types of learning styles. Learners can fit e-learning into their busy schedule. If they hold a job, they can participate in eLearning right at their desk.

Focused Learning

E-Learning is more focused on the learner. E-Learning is more interesting for the learner because it is the information they want to learn. E-Learning encourages learners to peruse through information by using websites on the worldwide Web. Learners are able to find information relevant to their interest. E-Learning allows selection of learning materials that meet their level of knowledge, interest and what they need to know to perform more effectively in an activity. E-Learning is flexible and can be customized to meet the individual needs of the learners.

Cost Effective

E-Learning is more cost effective than traditional learning because less time and money is spent for traveling. Since eLearning can be done in any geographic location and there are no travel expenses, this type of learning is much less costly than doing learning at a traditional institute. No separate distribution mechanism is needed. E-Learning courses are accessible from any computer anywhere in the world, which keeps delivery costs low.

Ease of Updates

Ease of update help the learners to get the fresh information’s from trainer. After the e-Learning course is released, any changes can be made on the eLearning program is instantly accessible to everyone. This means trainer can transfer updates to learners in much faster and easiest way.

Develops Knowledge

E-Learning helps develop knowledge of the Internet. This knowledge will help learners throughout their careers. E-Learning encourages learners to take personal responsibility for their own learning. When learners succeed, it builds self-knowledge and self-confidence.

Instant Feedback

Most of the eLearning programs provide instant feedback to the learners. At the end of each of e-learning modules or after completing eLearning program users can undertake training assessments on the information they have just learnt. The feedback from this assessment is instantly available and can provide the user with information on where they need to re-study or congratulate them on passing the assessment.