More iPhone Tech Talks

It seems like just a month ago (ok 2 months ago) that Apple sent me an email with information on the first iPhone Tech Talks. Now more iPhone Tech Talks are scheduled during October and November for Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Seattle, Minneapolis, and Atlanta. As a bonus, despite the proximity to his residence, I can assure you that my friend and anti-fanboy curmudgeon Jeff will not attending the Minneapolis session.

See Apple iPhone Tech Talks for details.

  • Boston, MA 10/09
  • Philadelphia, PA 10/11
  • Washington, DC 10/12
  • Seattle, WA 10/22
  • Minneapolis, MN 10/25
  • Atlanta, GA 11/05

I’m excited to be going to Learning 2007, but sad that the iPhone Tech Talk in Seattle conflicts with it.

PS: Yes Jeff, I do have an iPhone once again, even if I am not sorry that I returned my initial iPhone after 7 days. It did help that it was now $200 less. Note that unlike others, I am NOT whining about price slashing. I love the new price, and I paid activation twice and a re-stocking fee once– unlike the loudest whiners. Also, unlike them, I’ll cheer when the price goes down again. So there. Don’t complain about what you paid then or others pay now. The parable of the workers in the field strikes me as somewhat relevant. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? — see Mathew 20.

Cheat This Book- Gadgets, Games & Gizmos

I’m barely in "Gen-X." I’m about 12 years too young to truly appreciate the Abbie Hoffman reference I just made. I’m about 12 years too old to be a real "gamer." Nonetheless, here I am in my 40’s staying up late to write a book report on Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning by Karl Kapp. Sorry Mom.

I apologize to my mother, my beloved late-night term-paper typist, but NOT to you dear reader. This book is pretty good. I am going to apply a little gamer style that I learned from the book and mix it up with a little of my own Yuppie Yippie geezer pre-gamer culture jamming of my own. (Whew, too much social anthropology to parse there, no wonder one of the reviewers/contributors has a background in Anthropology.)

Learning Designer/Developer Cheating Tips for Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning: Tools and Techniques for Transferring Know-How from Boomers to Gamers

  1. Use the Corporate Card to buy it. It’s expensive, but you’ll come-off like a super-genius. Plus you’ll want to share this book with co-workers and clients. Boomers will be able to throw down some gaming terms, and understand what makes gamers tick. Gamers will even gain some insight into Boomers.
    Bonus tip: Independent consultant like me? Buy it anyway and "Stick it to the man." It’s fun, even if you are "the man."
  2. Read Chapter 1 first, and read it all. Well, duh. It’s like doing the tutorial at the start of a game, you’ll get further faster. This chapter has a lot of the background and research references that helped shape the book.
  3. Jump to Chapter 5, it’s about cheats Why? ‘Cause one man’s cheats is another man’s job-aid (or performance support tool). Besides this whole post is a cheat, right. Don’t hate the playa, learn to game the gamers.
  4. Now skip to Chapter to Chapter 10, it’s about the coin You’re going to need budget or at least time to do some interesting games, get some gizmos, design networked social learning and generally do other cool stuff. Chapter 10 gets right to the new math of explaining that not just playing, but designing games is critical and worthwhile. You’ll need to justify this stuff.
    Bonus tip: Now go back and read the "Workplace Implications" from Chapters 2-4 and 6-8– they’ll have some good fodder for the Exec Summary of that budgeting proposal.
  5. Refine and Polish Go back and skip around, read more in any order… don’t be so linear dude. Refresh some basic ISD in Chapters 2-3 and re-orient it to games and gamers. Think about recruiting them in Chapter 9. Think about how you obtain, train and retain across the board for boomer and gamers alike.

Not exactly a book report, but hopefully an interesting stop on this virtual book tour. I like the book for the anecdotes, data and scenarios. Those are things that resonate with me and I find memorable, repeatable and applicable. Right there at the front (p. 16-17), Karl pulled together a nice chart of the attributes of the games and gamers across 4 "generations" of gamers from Gen I Pong and Odyssey to Gen 4.0 Halo, The Sims and GTA3. I’m starting to use bits from this table like a mini Meyers-Briggs assessment for quickly sizing up and adjusting to gamers. Check out the book on Amazon, or do a little more recon and learn more about it via the current virtual book tour that is underway.

Learning in 2012 with the Masie Learning Consortium

As a Masie Fellow, I participate in monthly Masie Learning Consortium calls hosted by Elliot Masie. This month’s call was on Learning in 2012. I won’t give away the store and undermine the value of Consortium, but I’d like to share a few interesting thoughts from the discussion of what learning organizations and training will be like in 5 years.

I heard some trends on the call that people are both observing and hopeful for these trends continuing. One trend (or goal), is moving training departments from a cost center to a revenue & performance contributor; integrating what was “training” into performance, knowledge, collaboration & compliance integration. This may take a variety of forms.

An additional trend was the increasing role of leaders in leadership development. More organizations are seeing their own leadership as critical in being active participants, presenters and resources in leadership development training.

Another one of the many trends discussed was the move to shorter & tighter e-learning modules and transitioning of learning modules into performance support tools. I couldn’t agree more and I think this is reflected in all the Rapid Elearning and SME-authoring trends and tools we’ve seen in the last 4 years. That said, there will always be a need for fundamental skill development, and it is my opinion that performance support and SME-authoring are not the most effective approaches for fundamental skills development.

Elliott also made some predictions that he stands behind and are quite clear. The predictions focus on disruptive (to me, enabling) technologies that will undoubtedly impact organizations in the next 2-4 years. They are Multi-touch and haptic interfaces (like the iPhone uses), ubiquitous mobile device with parity in broadband connection speed relative to current desktops, and mobile devices with “big” high-resolution display capability (it may be in the form of wearable, virtual or projected screens or ???).

There was tons more talked about and it wouldn’t be fair for me to publish it all here. So if you are a Learning Consortium member and missed the call, be sure to visit the members site and check out the recording later (hint: login and scan the page or use search to find ‘podcast’). Who knows, your organization might already be a member as many big corporation are, or your organization can consider joining.

1 Million Hours of Coaching

I stumbled on to a great little untold story of a coaching success. In early August, I finally got around to watching the Walt Mossberg & Kara Swisher interview of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates from D5 last Spring (free iTunes video podcast here, but you can probably find it elsewhere too). First off, it includes some old video in the intro with a little skit from 1984 with Mitch Kapor and a very young Bill Gates. That said, the intro continues and it takes 8 minutes until the interviewing really starts. The fulll 90 minute video is definitely worth watching for anyone who spent 10 years or more working or playing in the Windows or Mac ecosystem… maybe some good history for Gen Y’s too.

For me, the interesting surprise came 01:26:00 (88 min) into it. Steve casually mentions the Apple one to one program, which I had never heard of before. For $99 a customer can register for a single membership that allows up to 1 hour of 1:1 training each week for a year. (OK, technically it is 50 minutes to 1 hour, but you can ask your lawyer or psychiatrist how that works.).

In just 1 year of operation the one-to-one program scaled up to an annual run rate of 1 million hours per year. ALL of that training is delivered in Apple retail stores. That is a LOT of 1:1 coaching. It also seems to shatter the myth that elearning is the only way to effectively scale training.

Here’s an exercise for the reader:

  1. How many hours of 1:1 coaching could or should your organization realistically scale to deliver?
  2. Would you consider 1:1 coaching formal or informal learning?
  3. How could collaboration tools, social networking and web conferencing help it scale even better?

Comments gladly accepted.

SALT Call for Papers

The Society for Applied Learning Technology (SALT) has a call for papers. Abstracts are due September 15, 2007. Authors of selected abstracts will be contacted September 30, 2007. Papers are due January 20, 2008 and the SALT New Learning Technologies Conference is February 20-22, 2008.

Paper/presentation topics include:

  • Mobile Computing, Handhelds & PDAs
  • Knowledge Management Systems
  • Gaming and Simulation for Training and Job Performance Improvement
  • New Technologies & the Marketplace
  • Instructional Systems Design

For more details see:

The SALT Conference for 2008 and several other events have also been added to the Elearning Events Calendar (See February 2008 for the SALT Conference).

Adobe eSeminar on SCORM- August 3, 2007 at 10am Pacific

I’m hosting an Adobe eSeminar on eLearning this Friday and my guest will be a good friend & colleague and a true SCORM expert/pioneer, Schawn Thropp of CTC. CTC has been a key contractor for the ADL to do the coding and development of SCORM, and Schawn has been there since the begining. Here’s the official session description from the Adobe site.

SCORM Solutions, Myths & Misunderstandings
In this eSeminar, Shawn Thropp will share solutions for common SCORM questions, from getting started to installing ADL software, dealing with metadata fielded and interoperability issues. Together with host Tom King, Shawn will dispell myths and rumors about SCORM development. Join us to discover how to work more effectively with SCORM.

Register for Luminary eSeminar Series: eLearning Events

Schawn will provide a high-level overview of SCORM and we’ll drill into some of the widespread misconceptions and challenges around implementing SCORM, including solutions to some of the most common issues addressed by the ADL HelpDesk. Good stuff.

Second Life and Wii: Are we ready for the Goldrush, Backlash or both

That last post on the Wii and SecondLife was supposed to be a quick puff-piece, but as I mulled it over it grew and grew until I split it into two with this opinion post as the second part.
Personally, I think something good is brewing with Second Life, but first we’re headed for (already in?) a goldrush that will be followed by backlash, similar to the era when companies rushed to establish a presence on dial-in line networks likethe Source, and CompuServe, and Prodigy, and America Online, (and others- anyone remember GEnie or Minitel or ) . It was relatively cheap and tremendously popular to build-out forums and email lists and knowledge bases there, but it all got eclipsed by the internet + the web.
Second Life also just feels too “siloed” for my tastes, with no good way to interact across worlds (yes, I am aware of various SL mash-ups). The virtual worlds and games reek of the multiple ID’s problem of the early 90’s. I remember when you were really cool if your business card has like 6 email addresses on it. I also agree with folks suspicious of the hype and over-the-top “me-too” crowd it is attracting now, again like the AOL-era landgrabs. Here’s some good quotes and interesting data I found on a quick web news search:

More often than not, you’ll hear that “Second Life” boasts millions of users. But the truth of the matter is that no one knows how many people are using the service other than Linden Lab, the company that hosts “Second Life.”

According to Clay Shirky, a faculty member in the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University who’s made a four-month study of Second Life’s audience, the number of regular users is well under 200,000.

Virtual worlds may indeed play a big role in the future of the Internet. But for the moment, the talk far exceeds the actual worth of these services– at least in business terms.

If fewer than 200,000 people are regularly using “Second Life,” it’s not the best marketing tool. And though virtual worlds are certainly a means of long-distance communication, it’s yet to be seen whether this makes sense — in the long term — for anything other than fun and games.

So many companies are entering “Second Life” because it’s the thing to do, because the press gives virtual worlds so much attention.

Source: Is Corporate Mania for ‘Second Life’ Just a Lot of Hype?
As for the Wii, pretty cool, but then so was the Magnavox Odyssey that Dad brought home in ’73 to spoil all 5 of us kids.

Does anyone else miss video games that included real dice, poker chips and plastic overlays you had to tape to the screen? We eventually got an Atari 2600, but never bothered with Colecovision, Mattel Intelvision, Sega and the lot that followe– including the very first PlayStation released about 21 years later.

Dang I’m old.