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Are Flickr and YouTube really good for training and education or are they just filling a need where eLearning has failed?

Flickr and Youtube are good media sharing technologies, however pictures and videos do not define the art of teaching. Also, in addition to the fact that Flikr and Youtube are blocked at most schools and corporations, they do not provide a sound learning environment based on instructional system design or appropriate content for learning.

Students today learn through many mediums such as the teacher, books, internet, videos, music, PowerPoint, digital photos, etc. So the issue has become not “what” but “how” can teachers and students easily combine and utilize all of these media assets in the classroom and online.

I have spent the last six years with organizations and public schools trying to solve this issue. The result is a technology that allows students and teachers in the classroom to quickly and easily mash (stitch) all media types into web presentations and interactive videos. This technology is called Scate Ignite and works directly with the web service www.ignitecast.com.

Many public school districts are continuing to incorporated this new technology into their computer labs and media centers. For example Waldon Middle School in Lake Orion Mi. is using this new technology to create book reports, science projects, and even recipes in cooking class.

If you are interested in learning more please feel free to comment or tweet me at www.twitter.com/stevesadler.

If you read my previous blog about eLearning, then you already know that I have been creating software tools for knowledge capture and sharing (i.e. SCATE Ignite) for over 15 years. Once a college adjunct professor and the Director of Engineering for a large automotive supplier, I have always been amazed by the disconnect between college education, formal corporate training, and on the job knowledge sharing.

All three of these approaches are required to produce the best employees, but unfortunately, due to our culture of empire building, bridging the gap between these elements has been quite difficult.

In addition to running a company I also coach team sports.  So let’s for a minute compare a company to an athletic team (i.e. football or my favorite ice hockey). To build a strong team, a coach must first find highly trained athletes that possess the fundemental skills. This is like hiring gradutes from college with good grades. Then these players are trained within a system, similar to learning a business process within a company. Finally they are expected to perform as a collective unit, passing (sharing), scoring (completing tasks) and finally winning (closing).

Unfortunately, many companies especially in the US do not run in this manner. It seems that we try to hire the best from college, train them on the business processes and then provide an environment where they build their own little empire. In many cases employees are afraid to share their knowledge with others due to the insecurity of losing their job. I have worked within many environments where one department would not provide adequate information to others just for the sake of losing control. This will kill a company’s efficiency and productivity.

Let me ask you this, how many athletes that don’t pass the ball or puck make the pros? This is simple..NONE. Successful teams do not often win on the shoulders of one person. It requires working together for the collective success of the team.

So if a business is exactly the same as a team, then how do we get people within a company to work together and share knowledge?

Well first you need to change the company mindset. This needs to be mandated from the top, just like the Coach of any team. If the Coach doesn’t push the issue of passing (sharing) the ball (knowledge and information) then the players (employees) will not respond in a coordinated team effort.

Secondly, once mandated, a company needs a process and system where employees can easily share knowledge. Wiki’s and Learning Management system’s (LMS) are good, however, with the emergence of social networking technology like the knowledge and media sharing sites igniteCAST.com, chrysler.ignitecast.com, the industry is raising the bar.

Finally companies need to recognize and reward employees that make conscious effort to contribute and share their knowledge.

Funny concept..rewarding people for working together, instead of just for their individual accomplishments!

I welcome your comments.

Steve Sadler
CEO/President
SCATE Tecnhologies, Inc.

Last year, I got the opportunity to play hockey against the Red Wing Alumni at Joe Louis Area. George Bowman, one of the goalies from the alumni helped to organize the event. My company SCATE Technologies, Inc. sponsored the event and we also launched a new piece of software called www.mysplake.com. I also invited most of my close friends and co-workers from (Canada, England and the US) to either play or watch us get smoked. Even though they beat us 13-11 (they were toying with us) we had excellent time of great hockey, good people, cold beer, good food and live music at the Olympia room.

With growing up in Ontario, Canada, I always supported the Toronto Maple Leaf (please no laughing). But let me tell you, after that experience I have to say the Red Wing organization is a class act. I actually supported the Red Wings for the first time this season (2007-8 season), but unlike the Leafs, they did not let me down. What a great season it was!

We will be launching new software products this fall so look out Red Wing Alumni SCATE and I want a rematch. HAHA

Steve

Steve Sadler
CEO/President
SCATE Technologies, Inc.

In November of 2006, I was asked to be on a panel at the Detroit ASTD. The topic was in “Using ELearning Internationally” and the panel was moderated by Detroit ASTD President Jerry Kaminski.  

The first question that was posed to the panel was… “How do we know that eLearning is effective?”

When it was my turn to speak, I had to the answer the question with another question, “What do you mean by effective?”

You see to understand effective eLearning we must break it down into the following four areas:

1. Effective Delivery – Did the student receive and understand the information that meets the
training objective?

This is usually measured using pre and post testing, however monitoring related Key Performance Indicators (KPI) can really take it to another level. For example, if the topic was “Sales Training” then the monitored KPI after training would include sales performance, profit performance, support call performance indicators. If these indicators increased within a defined time span of the training, then one could say that the increase was due to the training. From my past experience, KPI monitoring is a far better measurement of effective training than just testing.

2. Effective eLearning Development – Did you create the eLearning content so it meets the training need, objective and timing? 

ELearning is not effective if it takes over a week to create one hour of eLearning that contains content that changes daily. ELearning is also not effective if content gathering and course creation is rushed to the point that it affects quality and accuracy.

3. Effective Change Management – Are you able to change the content quickly enough to keep up
with our ever changing world?

4. Cost Effective – Did you meet the training objective and budget?

Summary

After 15 years of building on-line courses and eLearning tools (i.e. SCATE Ignite Professional) it has become very clear to me that creating effective eLearning is like running a successful business. It is a balance between speed to customer, quality of goods, reaction to change and cost.

In many cases, internal company training organizations do not operate in this fashion. For example, highly paid Instructional System Designers or ISD’s are quite often turned into graphic designers, Flash professionals and web gurus. ISD’s were meant to oversee the Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation (ADDIE) of the System Approach to Training (SAT). These types of individuals are very important to the overall process and should NOT be used for duties such as content building and SME interviewing.

In addition, many companies do not select the right eLearning development process or software tools required to handle the job. For example, using a corporate training group to capture tips, tricks and FAQs for departments, would not be very cost effective. In this case, rapid eLearning methodology should of been used along side rapid eLearning software tools.

Please remember the goal of eLearning is to get accurate and easy to understand information to the learner in a timely and cost effective manner. Therefore, eLearning can only be determined effective, if all of these objectives are met.

I would appreciate you comment on this subject.

Thanks for reading.

Steve Sadler
CEO/President
SCATE Technologies, Inc

Do you remember the mid-90’s? Come on, you remember when Al Gore invented internet LOL. During that time, I was the Director of Engineering for a large automotive parts supplier in Detroit, MI. In addition to managing large groups of engineers and designers, I was responsible to have them trained in CATIA and Ideas. To augment our internal training we would usually send a few designers and engineers for classroom training at local CATIA training providers. Unfortunately, every year they would return from the class with a binder that included a printed PowerPoint file that was useless without an instructor there to explain it.

I would watch them sit at their tubes fumbling with these books trying to remember what they had learned. This annoyed me because these classes were big bucks that sucked up weeks of time and expenses. I took action and developed an internal website to capture best practices in step by step format that was far easier to follow than those useless books. This was basically primitive eLearning.

Several years later (early 2000’s) I started a business that would train designers and engineers over the web within a simulated and narrated interactive training environment located at http://www.scatelearning.com. The company’s name was SCATE, an acronym for Simulated Computer Assisted Teaching Environment. In the first year we trained over two thousand (2,000) students online world wide. I was amazed at the degree of knowledge retention and student satisfaction. In addition, the designers had online access to the training material for 365 days for review purposes. In other words no more fumbling at the tube!

During 2002 I was teaching CATIA V5 classes at Oakland Community College in Auburn Hills, MI. Many of my students were Chrysler CATIA V4 designers looking to upgrade their skills to CATIA V5. I approached the Dean and with his permission, I introduced my students to SCATE’s interactive CATIA V5 online courses (AKA eLearning). To my surprise, within one hour of introducing the CATIA V5 eLearning courses I was no longer teaching the class…their computers were doing it for me, Hmmm.

This is when I realized the power of eLearning and ever since then, my mission as been to make online courses (eLearning) easier to build and more effective for the students to learn from.

If you want to get the most out of your CATIA Training I suggest taking interactive CATIA V5 eLearning courses or build your own using software such as Ignite Pro. You will be surprised at how easy it is. Here are some free CATIA V5 tutorials I developed in the same eLearning format.

If you have any questions feel free to comment.

Thanks,