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 ( - you can download it from android market at

Step-by-step instructions on how to create visual documents can be found at


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!

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

            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

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 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 and contact me via LinkedIn or SL (AHG Hallard)
(if tinyURL does not work, here it is in the full form:

Here is also a full description of the Collaborative Knowledge Management: 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)

October 22, 2009

Corporate Training and Collaboration

I just completed a video trailer for a mine and Gary Woodill's book. We, at AHG, do a lot of simulations and general Second Life projects (including shooting video in Second Life!), but when it comes to editing video I will not pretend to be a pro. Hope, you still enjoy the show! More info on  




November 06, 2008

Effective training in 3D learning worlds – doing more with less.

If you are thinking of how you and your team will survive current downturn, you are not alone.  Over the last couple of months this became a theme of many conversations I heard and for a good reason.  Training is not going to be immune to this round of belt tightening.  Regardless of the level of your optimism, budget slashing seem to be the inevitable next item on the agenda, or perhaps it already affected you and your organization.  This is exactly the reason why AHG created a new training tool that allows you to cut budget without jeopardizing your work and future growth.  Trying to preserve budgets in current environment is a loosing battle. The better strategy is to concentrate on a solution that saves significant resources while improving training results – KPI’s, time to ready and durability.  Immersive Communication Training System (ICTS) can create uniquely-effective training solutions in 3D learning worlds, such as Second Life.  But this is only half of the story.  The second half is that you do need to hire or involve inside or outside programmers and training designers do not need to have technical background.  You create training simulations using intuitive Graphic User Interface.  If you are capable of using computer mouse to move color rectangles on a screen, clicking them to interconnect rectangles with arrows, then you can create a training simulation as simple as short sales call, or as complex as equipment handling lesson.

Prior to the age of personal computers, professionals would hand-write their notes and then have them typed by typists.  Similar situation still exists in training where instructional professionals design training and have programmers implement it using computer technologies.  It certainly looks like a silver lining of this downturn might be in the 3D learning environments (i.e. Second Life), and technologies, such as ICTS, to get rid of intermediaries.  Doing this might just be the key to preserve and position your team for better future in the times of slashed budgets.

You will find more information on (click on the Immersive Communication Training System button, or click on the direct URL:


August 12, 2008

Virtual Worlds Training for Corporate Executives

Corporations researching virtual worlds as a training platform quickly realize that they lack expertise to fully capitalize on the benefits and avoid costly mistakes.  If they don’t, quite often they become a good candidate for me to talk about during the next seminar “Avoiding Costly Mistakes When Starting Corporate Virtual World Training Program”.   Steve Prentice, VP of Gartner recently noted that early attempts [working with virtual worlds] suffered from a lack of clear objectives and a limited understanding of the demographics, attitudes and expectations of virtual-world communities.  As a clearer understanding of the dynamics of this new media channel develops, Gartner expects this situation to change.  Despite understandable concerns about investment during a time of growing business uncertainty […] the internal deployment of virtual worlds offers most enterprises significant benefits in cost savings and improved productivity. 

To help corporations realize this potential to its fullest, AHG started a series of new courses taught by a team of experts who have real life experience creating, consulting, and supervising successful Second Life / Virtual World programs. We share our expertise in a series of hands-on courses that encompass corporate training, HR, marketing and other activities as related to corporate use of virtual worlds.  AHG offers two separate tracks: Executive and Instructional Designer / Developer. Instructional Designer track provides hands-on training focused on day-to-day development and maintenance of Virtual World projects. After the courses are completed, students are able to design and build Second Life environments, create simple scripts, implement and modify scripts developed by others. They also develop an understanding of human factor issues that affect productivity and quality learning in virtual world environments, techniques to "flatten" learning curve, importance of standards, methodologies, and life cycles in the management of Second Life projects and resources. 

Executive Track courses provide in-depth understanding of virtual worlds from an executive perspective as a tool for the creation of a sustainable competitive advantage. These courses offer up-to-date information on theory behind successful Second Life implementations, practical approaches, promising new developments, successes, and problem areas in other companies’ implementation of virtual worlds in corporate environment.  As an added benefit, AHG shares audio recordings from our Second Life round table where executives of companies such as Accenture, Michelin, Philips and others describe their experience with Second Life projects.

You will find more information on