May 31, 2011

How to Create Visual Step-by-Step Instructions, E-learning Modules, Knowledge Base Articles With an Android Smartphone

Business users drown in text.  We read and write manuals, knowledge base articles and blogs, use wikis and participate in forums to exchange information. Smartphones can be used to reduces amount and volume of text documents and increase clarity and quality of communication, be it workplace instructions, e-learning or technical support.

The built-in ability to take images, video and install applications allows users to create step-by-step visual instructions on the spot using an Android smartphone or tablet, share them, upload to the cloud and publish to corporate wiki / knowledge base / LMS. In order to create visual documentation you need to install AHG Cloud Note (https://www.cloudnote.net/) - you can download it from android market at https://market.android.com/details?id=com.ahg.cloudnote

Step-by-step instructions on how to create visual documents can be found at https://businessmobileapps.blogspot.com/2011/05/how-to-create-visual-step-by-step.html

 

May 18, 2011

When we say "M-Learning" do we mean only one side of the equation?

Let's start with the basics. Wikipedia says that mobile learning is distinct "in its focus on learning across contexts and learning with mobile devices," and then quotes definition of mobile learning from mobilearn: "Any sort of learning that happens when the learner is not at a fixed, predetermined location, or learning that happens when the learner takes advantage of the learning opportunities offered by mobile technologies."

I think that where we learn is only one side of the equation.  The second, no least important, side is where and how do we create materials used in learning.  Creating flash cartoons or using Captivate might work (and does work) well in many cases. It is probably not be the best way to document a real-life process.  Take, for eaxmple a task as simple as clearing a paper jam in a copier. Suppose you need to create a lesson teaching users how perform this task. Now, let's say that you don't have a copier (or that particular model) in your office. It's somewhere "in the field," but you still need to create this lesson asap. And it should be good. You probably think about a team of video and audio techs you need to assemble, about scheduling editing time and so on.  How about you grab your phone and get out of the door, get to wherever that piece of equipment is located and document all the necessary steps employee would need to take to fix the problem. Take a picture, add text, add another picture or shoot a video, add more text ...  Create step-by-step guide right on your phone, edit it,  upload to the cloud (or to your company's server),  share, publish to your knowledge base, web site, FAQ section or e-learning module, use it as information exchange module with clients or students, enhance your tech support, publish to your facebook page. You can do it today with AHG Cloud Note.

At the same time, using  AHG Cloud Note we are getting closer to informal or semi-informal, peer-to-peer learning, where immediate help is as close, as your smartphone.  The good news is that these informal training sessions do not disappear. They continue life in your searchable knowledge base, FAQ section, or tech support section of your web site or intranet.

October 05, 2010

Absolutely! Enterprise Wiki Live Demo

By now everybody knows that wiki and social media foster collaboration.  The sad truth is that these tools also lack framework and structure needed in the corporate world. They also lack motivation to stay the course and NOT to turn work- and learning-related communication channel into a virtual water cooler spot.  At the same time, traditional knowledge management software is great for organizing, preserving and distributing knowledge, but lacks incentives to contribute and collaborate.  

Can we have the best of both worlds?  Absolutely!

I want to invite you to take advantage of a free trial / live demo offer of Absolutely! --  a new type of software that combines benefits of enterprise wiki and KMS. I think it is great for today’s business environment and would appreciate your comments.

Absolutely! Enterprise Wiki Live Demo

September 14, 2010

Enterprise Wiki for Effective Knowledge Management

Traditional Knowledge Management Software is great for organizing, preserving and distributing knowledge within the enterprise, but often lacks incentive for employees to contribute information and collaborate. Wiki and social media tools foster collaboration, but lack framework and structure needed for the enterprise, incentive to collaborate on work-related issues. Is there a middle ground? Absolutely!

September 02, 2010

Knowledge Management Using Enterprise Wiki, Collaboration And Social Media? Absolutely!

 

Few people would argue that to be effective knowledge management must involve collaboration and engagement techniques. Using enterprise wiki, social media and other already existing tools might be an effective way to win over employees and build a reliable knowledge management environment. However, there are problems with using popular social networking and collaboration tools, be it TypePad, Twitter, YouTube, Zimbra or another “general purpose / general audience” software in a corporate environment.  These tools were never intended to work here and might actually hinder productivity by allowing discussion veer away from the work topic.  They often lack structure and user control, as well as granular security and privilege control essential in business. At the same time, traditional knowledge management software provides little incentive for employees to share knowledge, collaborate, provide peer feedback and advice.

Recently we ran into a situation in my company and for a lack of an existing solution had to create our own “dog food” that we now can share with the world at large. The problem was inside our production department. The company that services rather complex electronic machinery to my surprise had no KM system to speak of outside cell-phones with push-to-talk capability. Whenever something rare or unexpected happened, a more experienced technician had to be located and walk his less experienced colleague through a procedure. One day, when it turned out that the more experienced technician had retired three years prior, it became apparent that
1. This “KM system” is unsustainable; and
2. The situation is not unique in the business world.

That day we started developing a knowledge management system that would allow organizations to create structured knowledge base, at the same time providing opportunity for workforce collaboration. Given mobility of todays’ workforce, it is imperative that such a system could be accessed from a mobile phone, as well as a computer. Today this system is working and as one of the first users I am fairly satisfied with the result.

Absolutely! is entirely new enterprise wiki style knowledge management software which combines benefits of a traditional knowledge management system (structured categorized framework for entering and finding information) with the collaboration and engagement features of wiki and social networks. Authorized users can contribute information, discuss it, collaborate with the peers, seek and give advice and feedback.  It works on top of Google Apps, which turned out to be very convenient – users can select, mix and match existing information from various documents / web pages without the need to re-enter it again. If information is changed in Google Docs, it changes in Absolutely! automatically, making information maintenance much easier. And, mobile access comes very handy.

 

January 12, 2010

Rethinking Traditional Constructs with New Media

In this age of "new media" new approaches to old constructs need to be developed. 

One example is that the classroom experience...or some part of it has moved online as a virtual classroom. Another example is that texting has now replaced voice mail messages as the number one use for cell phones. As learning and development professionals, our goal should be to leverage technologies available to create new and enhanced experiences for our learners.

For example, it is possible to teach an online course using a Facebook page as the central location for posting information and ideas.

Yet, another, more recent example is that of a virtual book tour replacing a physical book tour. In a virtual book tour, the stops are on different blogs instead of different cities. 

In the elearning blogosphere, Tony O'Driscoll and I are conducting a virtual blog book tour for the launch of our new book about a new technology for learning and collaboration. The idea is  to build a discussion around the topic of virtual worlds for learning and to get feedback on the topic and subject through the tour. You can learn about the Blog Book Tour here. The idea of a blog book tour could be extended to a virtual book club in which members share information about the book via a Facebook page or a series of blogs. 

As an example, we've created a Facebook Fan page for Learning in 3D where readers can exchange ideas and information about their impressions of the book. Imagine the value of having employees within a large company read a business book and connect for a monthly book club meeting virtually...perhaps even in a 3D virtual world.

The real benefit of newer technologies is that they can enhance and contribute to the learning we provide our colleagues if we use them in new and innovative ways. For example, use Twitter to engage learners in discussions about specific topics mentioned in class. Use a hashtag so that learners can search on the results of the conversation after it is over. Again, as an example, we are using the hashtag #lrn3d to aggregate the discussions around the book "Learning in 3D" you can view the results by going into Twitter and searching on the #lrn3d hashtag. 

This simple examples of rethinking traditional learning and developing constructs with new media provide a rich toolkit from which we learning and development professionals can provide our learners with the right knowledge at the right time.


Karl Kapp is the Assistant Director of Bloomsburg University’s Institute for Interactive Technologies and a professor ofSignature2  instructional technology. See his own blog, Kapp Notes for information on the convergence of learning and technology. He is the author of the book Learning in 3D: Adding a New Dimension to Enterprise Learning and Collaboration. 

January 08, 2010

Virtual Worlds Development Trend

            As virtual worlds are making inroads into enterprise programs, their use is shifting from relatively simple programs, accompanied by multiple announcements, blog discussions, and other media buzz to more sophisticated, internal, more productive and unannounced programs.  The first generation of virtual worlds' adopters was eager to share their experience with the world.  The second generation is putting this experience to use creating more targeted and sophisticated programs.

            This trend is accompanied and helped by the creation of new generation of tools.  The buildings for corporate meetings give way to instruments that allow you to conduct the meetings effectively and receive tangible results.  Lectures and conversations with students near a virtual campfire give way to simulations that facilitate learning by doing - something that you cannot achieve by other e-learning methods.  Excitement about 3D-world gives way to 3D models helping trainees to understand complex concepts, processes and procedures.  Some of most interesting tools are listed at https://work.secondlife.com/en-US/worksolutions/

            One of these new productivity tools is Collaborative Knowledge Management (cKM).  It is built to facilitate synchronous collaborative work with any type of information by visualization and providing shared team access. Using cKM, a team of employees can create and/or review flow or deployment chart, mind map, and just about any diagram of a business processes, procedure, or structure.

            Unique technology allows employees to access cKM both in Second Life and on the web. Both interfaces are completely compatible. Second Life part works best for synchronous collaborative work. This effect cannot be achieved by using competing entirely web-based knowledge management and collaborative software and platforms. At the same time, web interface can be used by individuals without Second Life access to review information and make quick updates.

            More information and real life examples of cKM use can be found at https://www.ahg.com/Second_Life/knowledge_management/Enterprise_Knowledge_Management_and_Collaboration_Solution.htm

January 05, 2010

Training and Collaboration with Virtual Worlds

    Training and Collaboration with Virtual Worlds: How to Create Cost-Saving, Efficient and Engaging Programs (published by McGraw-Hill) is now available in the bookstores and online.

            If you have read on virtual worlds, you will find this book to be quite different.  There is no hyper-excitement about the new and "cool" media, discussions on how to change your clothing, appearance, or how to build corporate campus.  There are no suggestions to rush in and "establish presence" until it is too late -- something that still dominates "positive" articles and presentations on virtual worlds.  At the same time, you will not find angry outbursts about complete worthlessness of virtual worlds for corporate use -- something that dominates the "negative" end of the spectrum -- either.

            Instead, you will find objective material and hard data that will help you understand the new media.  You will learn in what areas virtual worlds can add significant value and where the use of virtual worlds can be counterproductive, how to start your corporate program, what do you need to make your project a success.

            The book sums up best practices and recommendations from real life corporate experiences in virtual worlds. Experts from Cisco, EMC, IBM, Intel, Michelin, Microsoft, TMP Worldwide, University of Kansas Medical Center, World Bank, and CEO of Linden Labs hold nothing back frankly discussing their corporate Second Life projects, methodology, financials, timelines, and results.  The authors pay special attention to security issues and concerns, as well as real-life implementations and use of simulations to achieve competitive advantage and high ROI.

          Finally, you will find a lot of practical information: which virtual world to use, available entry options, recommendations on contents creation, existing tools, and programs.

            Virtual worlds develop fast. They change corporate training and HR even faster. The book site and wiki at https://www.TheVirtualWorldsBook.com/wiki will help business and training professionals stay abreast of new virtual worlds developments.

November 03, 2009

Do you collaborate?

We are assembling a group of companies with existing active Second Life programs interested in collaborative training / collaborative applications of SL.
If you have an interesting project in one of the following areas:

    * company's knowledge base
    * development of e-learning modules
    * personnel reviews and testing
    * new hire orientation program (organization's structure and possible career paths)
    * brainstorming meetings (collaborative thinking and mind mapping)
    * project management
    * and, perhaps, other interesting applications

that will benefit from collaborative work and availability of graphical interactive representations of a concept, procedure, process, or structure you may qualify for
evaluation program of the new Collaborative Knowledge Management tool.
Please, see details at https://tinyurl.com/collaborate-in-SL and contact me via LinkedIn or SL (AHG Hallard)
(if tinyURL does not work, here it is in the full form: https://second-life-training.ahg.com/knowledge_management/Enterprise_Knowledge_Management_and_Collaboration_Solution_evaluation.htm

Here is also a full description of the Collaborative Knowledge Management:  https://second-life-training.ahg.com/knowledge_management/Enterprise_Knowledge_Management_and_Collaboration_Solution.htm The best thing about cKM in my not-so-humble opinion :-) is that it is accessible both from Second Life and the regular web interface)

November 02, 2009

Social Media in Corporate Settings

Several consumer-based technologies can be leveraged for using social media in a corporate setting.

  • One idea is to use a wiki as a replacement for the cumbersome and out-of-date course manuals. The information can be easily updated, available to anyone who has permission to view and is time and date stamped.
  • Another ideas is to use Twitter (I know, I know, you don't care what I am having for lunch). Don't use twitter in the traditional way where someone answers the question, "What are you doing?" Instead use it to have a conversation with co-workers and ask the question "What are you thinking about?" or "What problem are you trying to solve?" 
  •  Use a virtual world to conduct a role-play over distance. These worlds allow you create characters, dress those characters and place them into realistic situations. Authentic learning in authentic situations.  
  • Use a blog to have experts give briefings on how they problem solve or how they approach customer interactions. 
 Here are some other valuable links

Karl Kapp is the Assistant Director of Bloomsburg University’s Institute for Interactive Technologies
Logoggg_2 and a professor of instructional technology. See his own blog, Kapp Notes for information on the convergence of learning and technology. He is the author of the book Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning.