Big Data and Learning — A Wild Goose Chase?

, ,

Geese are everywhere these days, crapping all over everything. Where we might have nourishment, we get poop on our shoes.

Big data is everywhere these days…

Even flocking into the learning field.

For big-data practitioners to NOT crap up the learning field, they’ll need to find good sources of data (good luck with that!), use intelligence about learning to know what it means (blind arrogance will prevent this, at least at first), and then find where the data is actually useful in practice (will there be patience and practice or just shiny new objects for sale?).

Beware of the wild goose chase! It’s already here.

Stop the Madness — Animated Screen Writing in eLearning

, ,

Is anyone else getting completely annoyed watching someone’s hand draw and write on videos and elearning?

OMG! It’s beginning to drive me nuts! What the hell is wrong with us?

Here’s the thing. When this was new, it was engaging. Now it’s cliche! Now most people are habituated to it. What we’re doing now is taking one of our tools and completely overusing it.

Let’s be smarter.

Testing for Instructional Designers — A Common Mistake

, , ,

Somebody sent me a link to a YouTube video today — a video created to explain to laypeople what instructional design is. Most of it was reasonable, until it gave the following example, narrated as follows:

“… and testing is created to clear up confusion and make sure learners got it right.”


Something is obviously wrong here — something an instructional designer ought to know. What is it?

Scroll down for the answer…

Before you scroll down, come up with your own answer…

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Answer: 

The test question is devoid of real-world context. Instead of asking a text-based question, we could provide an image and ask them to point to the access panel.

Better yet, we could have them work on a simulated real-world task and follow steps that would enable them to complete the simulated task only if they used the access panel as part of their task completion.

Better yet, we could have them work on an actual real-world task… et cetera…

Better yet, we might first ask ourselves whether anybody really needs to “LEARN” where the access panel is — or would they just find it on their own without being trained or tested on it?

Better yet, we might first ask ourselves whether we really need a course in the first place. Maybe we’d be better off to create a performance-support tool that would take them through troubleshooting steps — with zero or very little training required.

Better yet, we might first ask ourselves whether we could design our equipment so that technicians don’t need training or performance support.

.

.

.

Or we could ask ourselves existential questions about the meaning and potency of instructional design, about whether a career devoted to helping people learn work skills is worthy to be our life’s work…

Or we could just get back to work and crank out that test…

SMILE…

 

 

My Most Popular Blog Post Ever — by Far!!

,

I'm a bad blogger. I don't analyze my site traffic. I don't drive my readers down a purchase funnel. I don't sell advertising on my blog site. I'm a bad, bad blogger.

Two months ago, I set up Google Analytics to capture my blog's traffic. Holy heck batman! I found out something amazing, and I'm not really sure how to think about it.

Over April and May 2014, my most popular blog post–that is, the one most visited–was a blog post I published in 2006. How popular was this 2006 blog post? It accounted for 50% of all my blog traffic! Fifty freakin' percent! And April and May have been relatively busy blog posting months for me, so it wasn't like I wasn't creating new traffic.

What blog post was the envy of all the others?

It was this one, on one of the biggest myths in the learning field.

I guess this makes sense, (1) it's important, (2) the myth keeps resurfacing, and (3) by now the link has been posted in hundreds of places.

If I die today, at least I have made a bit of a difference, just in this blog post.

I'm a bad, bad blogger.  <<<<<WINK>>>>>

First Parody of the Serious eLearning Manifesto

My friend, Jonathan Kaye, elearning-guy-extraordinaire, has posted the first parody of the Serious eLearning Manifesto–and I am proud to share it with you. Read his dLearning Manifesto principles (in this blog post) to get a LOL experience.

DLearning-graphic-1024x400

 

Work-Learning Research highly ranked on search engines.

, ,

The Work-Learning Research website is ranked as follows:

  • #4 on Google
  • #4 on Bing
  • #7 on Yahoo

When searching for "learning research."

Interestingly, we hardly ever get paid to do research. Mostly we get paid to use research wisdom to make practical recommendations, for example in the following areas:

  1. Learning Design
  2. E-Learning
  3. Training
  4. Onboarding
  5. Safety
  6. Learning Evaluation
  7. Organizational Change
  8. Leadership Development
  9. Improving the Learning Department's Results
  10. Making Fundamental Change in Your Organization's Learning Practices

Research for me is a labor of love, and also, a way to help clients cut through opinions and get to practical truths that will actually make a difference.

But still, we are happy that the world-according-to-search-engines (WOTSE) values the research perspective we offer.

And here's a secret. We don't pay any search-optimizer companies, nor do we do anything intentional to raise our search profile (who has time or money for that?). Must be our dance moves or something…

Recommended Improvement for FDA, StonyField Farm Product Recall

,

Dear President Obama,

You're a technophile I have heard. So, I have an improvement to suggest for the FDA, particularly how it deals with food-safety issues.

Here's what the FDA does now.

In the age of web technology, the FDA's methodology is just plain laughable.

I propose a webpage with a database that would enable citizens to submit food-safety alerts.

This should be damn simple. The post office has a list of all addresses in the country. Why can't the FDA create a list of all foods sold in the U.S. plus a list of all food sellers (grocery stores, restaurants, etc.).

Consumers who suspect they have some bad food could go online and within a few clicks select their product and where they bought it from. They could describe the issue, etc.

In the background, the system would monitor products for unusual activities (larger than normal number of alerts) and create an alerting response when something looks wrong.

If the FDA doesn't have the wherewithal to design and create such a system. I would be glad to take this on with my strategic partner Centrax Corporation (they build high-premium e-learning and web programs and could whip this up no problem).

Seriously, the FDA could save lives very simply and at a relatively low cost. Let's just do it.

Thank you Mr. President for considering this.

Please let me know what I'm supposed to do with the yogurt in my refrigerator that tastes bad. If you think I'm going to call one of those numbers, you just don't get it.

–A worried citizen/consumer

Update Thursday April 16th

Yesterday I decided I should make those calls. I called the yogurt manufacturer and went to their website and I called my regional FDA hotline person (who called me back today, a day later). Stoneyfield Farm has posted the following recall information (their phone complaint line was horribly implemented with long wait times and no one has gotten back to me from their online complaint system):

Londonderry, NH – April 3, 2009 Stonyfield Farm is
conducting a voluntary recall of Fat Free Plain Quarts in Stonyfield
Farm branded containers limited to specific dates. The products are
being recalled because they may contain a presence of food grade
sanitizer.

Affected products are limited to Stonyfield Farm 32 ounce Fat Free
Plain yogurt UPC # 52159 00006 carrying one of the following product
codes printed along the cup bottom that start with the following date
codes:
· May 06 09 Time stamped 22:17 thru 23:59 (limited to these specific time stamps only)
· May 07 09 All time stamps

Approximately 44,000 quarts were distributed to retail accounts nationally.

We have received several reports of people noticing an off-taste
when eating the product. We have received no reports of illness of any
kind after consuming the product.

The issue was a result of human error in not following our Company's
standard operating procedures. Stonyfield has taken all the necessary
corrective action to prevent this from occurring again.

Consumers are advised not to consume the product and to return
opened and unopened containers to the store where it was purchased.
Anyone returning these products will be reimbursed for the full value
of their purchase.

Customers with questions should contact Stonyfield Farm Consumer Relations at 1-800-Pro-Cows (776-2697) or visit our website at www.stonyfield.com.

This is listed on their website when I checked today. I didn't notice it yesterday (they have a very busy home page), but it probably was there.

Note to Stonyfield Farm: 

I am not satisfied with your announcement stating, "We have received several reports of people noticing an off-taste
when eating the product. We have received no reports of illness of any
kind after consuming the product."

THAT IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH!! You should (1) tell us what we ingested, (2) get health experts to provide us with some expert guidance on what symptoms or dangers we might be subject to.

More:

I just called Stonyfield Farm Consumer Hotline again (and actually got through to them today) and the guy said it was a Food-Grade Sanitizer, FDA approved, organic, etc. He told me ingesting it wouldn't hurt me, but I'm not convinced. I told him I wanted to know what it was I ingested. He wouldn't or couldn't tell me. I asked him if I ate a whole container whether it would hurt me…He said no.

Hey Stonyfield. You can do better…

Will’s Video: Job Aids — Not Just Child’s Play

, ,

Video Overview:

The following video provides an entertaining and, I hope, enlightening look at the humble job aid.

Featuring:

  • This is only the second video that I shot and edited. See how I did.
      
  • Allison Rossett, co-author of the book, Job Aids and Performance Support (with Lisa Schafer) is interviewed.
      
  • Worldwide public introduction to incredible new talent, the incomparable Alena.
      
  • Brewer the dog has cameo role.
      

Video Notes:

Because of YouTube size restrictions, it is divided into 2 parts.

Enjoy in HD (if your computer can handle it) by:

  1. Starting the Video
  2. Clicking on HD at Lower Right, AND
  3. Clicking on the full-screen display (the box in a box) at Lower Right
  4. IF the audio doesn't track, your computer can't handle HD.



Part 1



Part 2

Purchasing (or learning more about) Allison's Book:

Elliott Masie Asks about Cooking

Elliott Masie asked a question last week in his blog/newsletter. It’s a fun question and because it is accompanied by the promise of food and public spectacle at his upcoming conference, a clever marketing device as well. If nothing else, Elliott’s got a strong stomach for this type of distraction, and he got me thinking.

Here was his question: Cooking and Learning. Are They Similar? Here’s what it made me think of:

How are cooking and learning similar?

Today, most of us don’t have time to do either of them right. We don’t have time to shop for the best ingredients or blend them properly. We take prepackaged crap and call it nutritious. We fall for false advertising, pretty packages, and recommendations from the well-coiffed and well-spoken. We’re suckers for celebrity chefs, even if our neighbors cook a better meal. Most of the food on the store shelves is filled with harmful ingredients. We reach for the latest concoction, not the greatest value. We measure the immediate pleasure and forget the long-term impact. Because we hunger so much to get smiles and kind words at the end of the meal, we’re willing to add butter and salt and whatever else it takes. We definitely wouldn’t think of challenging our guests with brocolli rabe, ostrich patties, or sorbet. We’re fat and happy, and when the meal is done, we think we’ve succeeded in grand fashion. Our guests leave satisfied into the darkness of the slow-moving night. They live under threshold. They die young.

There are lots of celebrity chefs, hash slingers, and short-order cooks. There are very few who can blend nutrition, taste, and world-class quality into a meal.

Come to think of it, learning and cooking have a lot in common.

Postscript: My wife and I once went to celebrate Valentine’s Day at Chef Ming’s Blue Ginger restaurant. We don’t have cable so we didn’t resonate with his celebrity, but we’d heard good things about the restaurant from trusted friends and colleagues.

The result. One Valentine’s Day ruined with food poisoning.

We now refer to Celebrity Chef Ming’s restaurant as the Blue Vomit.

Is this the way it has to happen? Are we in the learning-and-performance field immune?