Friday, December 22, 2006

A course for us!

If you browse the elearning blogosphere you won't have missed the Open University's decision to offer up content for free. There's the best explanation of what they are trying to achieve here.

Okay, so everyone has already waxed lyrical about what a great thing this is, but what does it mean for me personally? Well, there's no Japanese unfortunately, but never mind, I have enough of that to be going on with. What was far more exciting in fact, as there seems to be very little content out there on the process of developing learning compared to the keystrokes spent theorizing about learning, is the realisation that there is an entire course there that could be very useful to one wanting to get some real background to how to design the look and feel of learning.

This course on Designing the User Interface could well be valuable. I'll have a look at it over the Winterval break and report back (if is as good as it sounds).

Thursday, December 21, 2006

(Fre)e-learning

I recently met up with old colleagues who are carrying on the elearning project I left to take up my current position. Nearly nine months later, they've just had internet access (a fundamental pre-requisite) rolled out to a proportion of their staff (on the sly, no less). This was the same internet access that was imminent for six months prior to my departure and the delay of which was an aggravating factor in my decision to leave.

At the same time, another organisation I deal with as a ID struggles because, although they are in the comparatively enriched position of having an LMS, the content we can produce is limited by their tools, the hosting arrangement and the fact that things like Flash are off limits.

Technology based learning is something that all organisations should be able to benefit from, but for a variety of reasons, organisations big and small (but usually in the public sector in my experience) are left out.

The solution is to look at existing tools and see how we can make more of them. This article about game based learning via email is ingenious. The coin the term "guerilla elearning" which is something I'm disappointed hasn't caught on.

It's sharing ideas like this that could end up making a profound difference to people's working lives. Now you've only got to figure out a way to get those emailophobes to engage with you...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Free Stuff - and it's about learning too

At our company we have been aware of the movement that is Moodle. Quite a worry when you are developing an LMS (not really as ours is really impressive). If you've not heard of it, a) you don't use the net much do you, or you're reading the wrong site, or b) you work for PeopleSoft or SAP.

However, free software, as I've often said to people in the IT department, is good because it doesn't cost very much - important when said IT dept (outsourced naturally) is likely to slap a bill on installing anything that will be equal, if not greater, than the cost of buying the shrink-wrapped commercial offering in the first place.

So imagine my delight at unearthing this little treasure trove, courtesy of one Jane Hart.

I'm heartened to see it includes the excellent Wink, something I have used in the past (I sent an IT request to the IT goons, just to follow procedure, and they offered to check and install one copy of Wink (cost = nada, zip, zilch) on my machine for 350GBP - I'd been using it for a month, not a glitch. Go figure. Then get frustrated when you realise I worked in the civil service and that was 350GBP of honest taxpayers' money...)