Mobile Accesible eLearning

Intelligent support that is accessible just-in-time at the point of need.

In a short time, our world has changed dramatically. No longer is knowledge and information bound to printed volumes or even desktops. We now have the ability to create interactive elearning content and publish it on mobile devices, including iPhones, making it instantly available anytime, no matter where we are.

Gone also are the days of memorizing vast amounts of information for instant recall.  We now have instant access to vast libraries of information, far more than we could have ever hoped to memorize in a lifetime.  Mobile accessible eLearning makes it possible for us to access just about any knowledge we desire wherever we are, just when we need it.   In this way, it represents a tremendous breakthrough for reference and performance support.   But having all of this information at your fingertips can also be overwhelming. The real breakthrough is achieved when learners are able to find exactly the right information, when and where they need it.

In the late 80’s and 90’s Roger Shank, then Dean of Northwestern’s Institute for Learning Sciences, pioneered research into expert tutoring systems using artificial intelligence.  That evolved into “ask” systems that let users access relevant help by simply selecting the question that they want to have answered.  As a practical matter, these systems were never really “artificially intelligent.”  They relied upon developers and programmers to develop hard coded pathways that they believed would best serve the learner.

Fast forward a decade… Google and others have made huge strides toward anticipating which website we are searching for when we enter a request into their search engines and serving up the information most relevant to us.  This technology has given way to a new generation of “ask” systems.

The latest generation of performance support pioneered by the Blueline team, leverages these new “ask” system capabilities. Search responses, relevant links and associated content are determined using a gaming engine model (rules and probabilities) to predict and share the most relevant content for each user. The engine “learns” from previous users’ choices and the designer’s intended objectives.  So in this case, you could say that the learner’s experience evolves “intelligently” based on the succession of choices they make.

Pair this next generation of “ask” systems with mobile delivery and you have an unprecedented business tool.   Intelligent support that is accessible just-in-time at the point of need.

Would you like to explore potential strategies for putting these exciting new platforms to work in your organization? Blueline is here to help!

Going Mobile: Learning’s New Holy Grail?

In a short time, our world has changed. We now have the ability to create interactive elearning content and publish it on mobile devices, including iPhones, using HTML5.  Within a few months I am absolutely confident that Blueline’s designers will be able to distribute our award-winning computer based elearning and esimulations via every mobile device imaginable.

But just because we can, does that mean we should? (That’s a great question that one of the characters posed in the movie Jurassic Park. You may remember what happened to them.)

Before I go any further, let’s define our terms. Learning delivered on your phone qualifies as mobile learning. Learning on your desktop computer is not mobile learning.

What about learning on your laptop or iPad? In terms of defining “mobile,” those are gray areas. Sure, I can take them all with me all the time, but I don’t.  I take my laptop on business trips.  I use my iPad when I am around the house. But not always.

However, I never – literally NEVER – am more than a few feet away from my iPhone. Any content that comes to me on my iPhone is, in the purest sense, mobile.

Mobile Data… or Mobile Learning

And here’s where I make my point: It’s easy to get caught up in the belief that all learning should now be developed for mobile.  That everything we create from now on should be developed in HTML5 or one of the myriad of publishing tools that promises to deliver everything that we create to our iPhones, iPads, BlackBerrys and Android devices.

But it’s just not true.  There, I said it.

But sift through the hype, and you’ll discover some important opportunities. Mobile Learning IS transformational.  It has already reshaped what and how we learn.  Gone are the days of memorizing vast amounts of information for instant recall.  I now have instant access to vast libraries of information, far more than I could have ever hoped to memorize in my lifetime.  The skills needed to effectively consume and apply that information are the real Holy Grail.

Mobile Learning makes it possible for us to access just about any knowledge we desire wherever we are, just when we need it.   In this way, it represents a tremendous breakthrough for reference and performance support. Which is where “true” mobile learning shines.

So what does that mean for designers and developers of training?  Your job just got harder on multiple levels. First, you have to tell the business leaders banging on your door that mobile learning doesn’t effectively eliminate ALL time away from the job dedicated to learning and development.  And second, you need to think through a multi-dimensional blended learning strategy that balances classroom, virtual classroom, online and mobile strategies to maximize impact on the business.

Well actually, that last part is really good news.  Because never before did you have so many awesome tools at your disposal to deliver value to your business partners.

And, if you have questions or want to brainstorm potential strategies for putting these exciting new platforms to work in your organization, Blueline is here to help!

Why Everything I Believed About eLearning is Wrong.

Part 2:

I stared at the number: 28%.

28% has long been established as a standard, an ever-present challenge to developers of traditional elearning programs. That’s the percentage of material that you can expect your learners to retain two weeks after your elearning program. Some refer to it as “the problem of forgetting.”

There’s a reason why I’m waxing philosophical about numbers and percentages. It’s because my world has been rocked.

What if I told you that I have uncovered a proven solution that is consistently delivering retention levels of 95%?

That’s right. 95%.

I will tell you what I said when I first learned about it: “I have dedicated my professional life to staying abreast of learning innovations. If this were true, I would already know about it!”

But that’s when things start to unravel a bit. Because, I hadn’t ever before focused on the “hidden truths” that I outlined in my previous blog entry. And without knowledge of those paradigm-shifting learning insights, how would I know that I needed to search for a better way? I wouldn’t, and I didn’t.

Until now, when I was faced with the two numbers. 28%. And 95%.

It seems that, in fact, a little-known company based in California, run by a PhD whose expertise is in the Neurobiology of Learning, is transforming Public Education in California by routinely delivering these results to his students.

“Ahh, well that explains it,” I mused, “because high school students aren’t the same as adult learners. Even if he has delivered these results they wouldn’t apply to what we do.”

But then I was presented with a third-party analysis demonstrating that surgeons prepping for board certification showed a 300% improvement with less study time than a control group made up of their peers.

I was hooked. I had to know how they do it.

Turns out, these secrets are not out of reach. They’re all hidden, right there in plain view, within the learning insights I described in the first part of this blog post.

Think of the solution as your very own “personal trainer,” whose job it is to isolate your weaknesses, and develop an exercise program just for you. The only difference is that in this case, instead of building muscle, you build connections in your brain.

Specifically, the fastest path to building those connections is an “exercise plan” that prioritizes exercises based on learner need, optimally spaces study sessions over time, and utilizes open-ended questions that the learner self-evaluates.

That’s the secret. That’s what you have to do to increase retention from 28% to 95%.

Sounds like a no-brainer, right?

Here’s the challenge: in the corporate environment, efficiency and scale dictate that these personalized learning plans are all but impractical. I’ve spent much of my career delivering learning solutions to hundreds or thousands of students at a time.

That’s why I’m so excited about a new solution that I am extending now to my client partners in some of the world’s most influential organizations.  It’s a digital personal trainer that utilizes an algorithm that borders on artificial intelligence to deliver custom study sessions. And it exists.

I’m a believer, and I’ve got a story to tell. And I’d love to share it with you.

Look at the long-term retention rates of your elearning interventions. Then, don’t get depressed. Instead, give me a call. I’ve got some ideas that can lead your people to the 95% winner’s circle.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Recorded Gamification Webinar Now Available

If you missed this interesting and informative webinar hosted by my friend and business partner, Brian Knudson you can watch it now. Brian is the Founder of NogginLabs and knows a thing or two about achieving learning transfer through gamification – and has 7 Brandon Hall gaming awards to prove it.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a huge budget or complex programming to design eLearning that’s as addictive as Angry Birds. If motivating your learners is a challenge, this webinar is for you. Learn the basic principles of gamification, and how best to apply them to your eLearning initiatives.

Watch the recorded webinar and see how gamification can take your organization’s eLearning to the next level.

Perfecting the use of “Gamification” Techniques to Increase Learner Engagement

Recently, we had to hold multiple sessions because demand for our webinar about Gamification was so overwhelming.  So what’s all of the excitement about?

The “gamification” of training designs isn’t new, it’s just newly popular and in more demand thanks to the highly publicized success of platforms like Facebook, Foursquare and Gowalla.

Let’s start with a definition (from Wikipedia):

“Gamification is the use of game-thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts in order to engage users and solve problems. Gamification is used in applications and processes to improve user engagement, ROI, data quality, timeliness, and learning.”

The most important word in that paragraph is engagement. Because in the field of learning, engagement translates to retention; retention translates into application; and application translates into results. So if you want to drive results, drive engagement, and if you want to engage: gamify your learning.

At Blueline Simulations, we have been perfecting the use of “gamification” techniques to increase learner engagement for more than a decade.  Examples of how we do that include:

  1. Utilizing progress bars or other visual meters to indicate how close people are to completing a training element.
  2. Embedding casual games or game elements into the designs of our Blueprint Learning Visuals and our Level II & III eLearning designs.
  3. Using virtual currency in our business strategy and finance simulations.
  4. Incorporating peer challenge and feedback mechanisms into YouTube style best practice sharing.
  5. Constructing leaderboards, awarding points and conquering levels are all foundational to the design of our Level IV eSimulations.

Want to learn more.  Give the gamification experts at Blueline Simulations a call today!