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Liveblog #LT15UK: The value of MOOCs

Sam Burrough and Martin Couzins facilitate my last session on MOOCs and the value of it. The room had several round tables so it looked like this session will have a bit more interaction then the sessions 🙂

What can you use a MOOC for:

  • Personal learning and own development – why wouldn’t you do this?

  • Curating & Connecting – suggest MOOCs to other people. (Here a list of MOOCs, organized by Sam and Martin)
  • Applying MOOC approaches – scaling learning, social interaction around content, collecting data, reflection.
  • Running real MOOCs

MOOCs are an iteration on the path to more web-like learning experiences

How do you design a MOOC? Some learning experiences from Sam and Martin: Start with the end in mind. Sam and Martin used Curatr as the platform for their first MOOC. This platform allows you to use several game mechanics. (If you don’t know Curatr it is worth a try! And a great opportunity coming up.. on Monday 2 February a MOOC is started there on Social Learning!) Think about three C’s: content, conversation and connection (people connecting with each other).

What if you could collect useful data for all three c’s?

We had a short discussion around this question on my table. And I have to admit that I don’t have much with such a question around data. But there are a couple of people on my table, working in large corporate organisations. They all have a LMS and collect lots and lots of data… but lack the right capability to make good use of all these data. Same message as we came up with last evening, when we were talking about Xapi. New world to explore!


Liveblogging from London: Leveraging games for business impact

Lynda Donovan and Mark Reilly head this session about games together. Lynda is working for Learnovate in Dublin and has research evidence for the impact of games. We are scraping the surface of the technology innovation hence research is very important to know what works. The challenge for organizations in 2015 is dealing with the skills gap and identifying skills. The 21st century skills are multi-dimensional, hence we have to look beyond the traditional assessment methods. Enter GAMES – ilearn. While playing games, people get immersed and leave traces. iLearn is an immersive learning environment for collaboration and problem solving. Within ilearn there is a team task to improve the energy usage of Ecostreet. You can earn gold, silver or bronze levels and collaboration badges.

iLearn had various trials. The engagement evidence was very high, by statements like: “This is deadly”. “Brilliant”. “So much fun.” The task completion was 79% which was higher than expected. 80% was engaged in task related chats. The problem solving evidence showed that people were searching for the best solution “trying to see what the best buy is”. Collaboration evidence was also high, 95% voted more than 15 times, 89% tagged more than 15 times. Participants expected technology to work as social technology. Team 3c for instance was highly systematic, divided up tasks, focussed and driven.

The role of coaches

There was an in-world coach who provided scaffolding like monitoring the chats and having private chats. The effect of the in-world coach was evident because a higher percentage of the Gold and silver medal winner had chatted with the coach. The next step will be to go to the corporate world.

What are the implications for corporate learning? 

We have the practical example of McDonalds, the largest employer of young people. They way they learn is very different. They use technology which is part of their soul, and bombards them with lots of messages. The challenge McDonalds was facing was to introduce a new tool for orders and servicing customers. The subject is dry, it is technical and workers need just in time support. Shoulder to shoulder training would be too expensive. They searched for something fun and engaging. So the game ‘Crew challenge‘ was designed (see picture). You have to serve customers in the game, beat the clock and there is an individual score. There were 3 different levels and in every level the customers are more demanding/difficult. They should the games live to us, and we heard several orders for milkshakes :). We then had to choose the right answer for multiple choice. Feedback to the players comes from a customer score and visual customer expressions. The scores really kept people coming back, with 1200 daily plays. The crew starting using the score boards and posting it on Facebook for instance.

The business results

The results were extremely good. The service time decreased and customer complaints decreased, and the average cheque was increased with 15 pence. The game provided 90.000 hours of training and the players didn’t realize it was training. The beauty of the game is also that it is still up and being played. It was also relevant for older staff – we shouldn’t forget that the highest population in certain games are middle-aged women.


It is easy to get excited about gamification but don’t forget it has to be right. Gamification is an important part in the blend of learning. It can create a pull for learning rather then a push. Furthermore it is fun to develop too. You can play the game and test it if you like, just go to Kineo and play.


Liveblog #LT15UK: The evolutionary power of joined up communication

This is one of the sessions I’m really curious about: Euan Semple. I’m very charmed by his book ‘Organisations don’t tweet, people do’. Wonder what his session is about… three years later.

Euan starts with the question: who is using an online platform, which is not hijacked by Communication and Marketing? There were some very nice stories from participants. It’s not about technology, but it is about culture and attitude. It’s not about age, but about the willingness to join up communication. Internet is about the value of written words.

  • Written words;
  • Social;
  • Intimate (it’s my phone in my pocket);
  • Biological (I have ideas and I share them online);
  • Agency (It helps you to work smarter);
  • Technology (‘you can even do it with Sharepoint, I believe’);

It ’s all about learning. It makes you a sponge. You observe more carefully. You think about what is of value to you. You bring things one step further. Let’s step into it as an organisation. But it is a different way of learning we are used to.

Maybe if we write well enough and live a little better life will improve a bit just out of shame.

Working Out Loud… has huge potential doing this within organisations. “How does one manage to have an authentic voice in a stifling environment?”

  • Asking questions;
  • Offering answers (there is a lot to do with language in this – right words, right tone);
  • Curiosity and wondering (why is this happening? Why does this work like this? What is my role in this);
  • Self awareness, leadership, being thoughtful about your relationship with other people;
  • Trust
  • Tolerance (an online discussion might go into a totally other direction then you had in mind…)
  • Tone
  • Intent (people in your network will ‘steer’ your intent
  • Concision (I get bored after reading half a page…on an online platform)
  • Building networks (make judgements on who to follow)
  • Helping others get good at it (people need help)
  • Modelling behavior
  • Collective sense making
  • Challenging the status quo
  • Personal brand (how effective is your personal plan?)

Well, a nice list with valuable elements to get more knowledge sharing started in organisations. The content was a bit disappointing to me, but it was very nice to hear Euan speak. He ‘does what he tells’ and has many concrete and practical examples. And he expresses the value of blogging, not for the sake of informing others, but for yourself as a powerful reflection and learning ‘tool’.

Liveblogging from London: Mobile learning in Qualcomm

I decide to attend a session with one speaker – hoping that will allow us to dig a bit deeper than in the sessions with 3 speakers.. Geoff Stead is from Qualcomm – who make the chips in our phones – and will work with us on Enterprise Mobile Learning. Qualcomm is an organization with 31.000 employees.

Four things for today!

  1. Guerilla learners
  2. Moving to mobile
  3. App stores for learning
  4. New tools new tricks

Guerilla learners

These are the people who don’t have the patience to wait for L&D activities, they solve their own issues and find their way. The room recognizes these people. Currently they are not well served by L&D. They go to Google, use their LinkedIn groups and social networks. The guerilla learners and self-conscience, already mobile. See the graph about the modern learner below.

Moving to mobile

In Qualcomm content evolves very rapidly. “We used to teach aging things”. Qualcomm adopted BYOD (bring your own device) and new generations of employees and coming onboard. All these changes make it harder for L&D to keep up. The outreach of Qualcomm has shifted – elearning which does not work on mobile has been eliminated, so elearning has to be multi-device by definition. Shift from longer training sessions to smaller sessions with domain experts. When we talk about mobile learning we don’t talk about the older courses squeezed onto mobile devices. “Think beyond courses“.  The things people do on their phones is part of learning.

There are two approaches basically:

  • the approach of the Swiss army knife – there is one platform you go to with many functionalities
  • the approach of the toolbox – a distributed set of tools

Developing your own appstore

If you have an app developed it doesn’t really scale. Hence Qualcomm has developed its own appstore.It is important that apps in the store can be available through single sign-on to make it easy to access them. In the employee app store there is a wide variety of apps. Examples are compliance apps, video learning apps, performance support apps, games, performance support, social learning apps. It is up to the room to choose! The most popular game is flappybird which is just for fun… however, this helped to get people into the appstore. A more serious game is a car racing game. It helps to learn cultural things about the company. In the videolearning app there is the Lynda app, and a subscription for the whole organization was negotiated, half of the employees have used Lynda. Some apps were developed for Qualcomm. An example of social learning is Pathgather- a sort of internal Facebook where you can create paths. About 50% of learning is via mobile, yet their are also face-to-face trainers, or employees may go to an external training.

The most popular app is the map app, called Qmaps, which uses Google maps with a layer of data. QC Lingo is a company jargon learning app. In California every manager has to take two hours sexual harassment training. It doesn’t matter whether you learned anything as long as it is two hours long… :). It is now offered on mobile which is a huge success. There is another app with the faces of the top 15% people. Another example is Qspeaks to learn business phrases in languages, like mandarin, which is actually made by Chinese colleagues in the company.

Obstacles for mobile learning 

Organizations haven’t gone far with mobile learning. In groups we discussed obstacles for mobile learning in organizations. Some of the issues experienced are:

  • security issues – when the IT department doesn’t approve because they can’t put it behind the firewall
  • infrastructure – people need smartphone or ipads
  • cultural and generational issues – different generations and have different aptitudes and ideas about mobile learning

The largest obstacle is plumbing – the systems don’t easily work together. Geoff offers some Barrier-Busting approaches (I like that word!) like start small, with a small budget and grow into success; security models may need to be revisited; start new partnerships with IT- departments, in Qualcomm there is huge interest to go jointly into mobile. The new model for security goes from high via medium to low and NONE. Then you have to make smart decisions about what should go where.

New tools – old tricks or new tricks?

Think: What can mobile offer we can’t do at the moment? Knowing where people are.. iBeacon is a way of figuring out where you are in a store. This is an example of indoor positioning. Qualcomm developed an app for a museum sensing where you are and giving you information. Think augmented reality too with examples like hollow lens, word lens, etc. The photo booth is fun – it allows you to take a picture with a celebrity (fake) and very popular in South-East Asia. It is not the old serious learning – but it is helping employees to get excited about the app store.

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Liveblog #LT15UK: Why wearable technology will change learning forever

David Kelly, interesting.. sitting in the first row.. I was googling around on his website when I read this: “While the northeast snowstorm in the US has prevented me from attending in-person in London, we have made arrangements to have me share the session virtually.”. See how this will go!!

Great blog by the way, with all kinds of resources accompanying his presentation. To be found here.

David starts with a comparison.. going on vacation a couple of years ago: you made a plan, searched on a map, took mysterious pictures and wrote letters to Grandma. Now we use google, email and make digital photo’s and video’s. The technology is changed, but we still do the same things.

There is already more wearable technology available then we think. From watches to cloths. What are some examples of applications?

  • Monitoring the condition of your baby;
  • Recording experiences (for example by wearing Google Glass);
  • Responsive coaching;
  • Connect and communicate at a distance (e.g. virtual meeting with the doctor in a hospital);
  • Authentication (e.g. secure transactions);
  • Augmented Reality (e.g. translate written language to your own, using an app)
  • Physical Restoration
  • Environmental Alignment (think about the smart ‘thermostaat’)

Now, how can we use this technology for learning? David first mentions narration of work: watching an operation from a distance, and maybe even commenting on the way the operation proceeds? Second is virtual support: support from a distance while working in the field. Contextual learning…

..and we lost connection with David. Too bad. In a short wrap up by phone, he advises all of us to play with the wearables, try out new approaches. That is the way to develop this area. Because, it will definitely influence learning, work, life.


Liveblog #LT15UK: Expanding your mind

Second day of the conference. We were both a bit disappointed about yesterday. But we’ve started this day with fresh energy! Our key note is Robert Winston, professor Science and Society in London.

The human mind is developing so rapidly. Robert talks about: Hamlet, telescope, steam engine, portable computing, moon landing, synthetic biology. Where will we be with learning in 5 years from now? We don’t know.

What happens in our brain? The brain is the most complex object in the universe. He shows a very nice video about hoe we learn:

(If you are interested in more from Robert Winston, please check his video collection on YouTube. From ‘how can we get pregnant’ to ‘how to sleep better’).

He shows a picture of four nobel price winners. With his comment: every two of us have more brains then one of these nobel price winners. We should collaborate more!

We learn by watching other people. Imitating is so important. Think about small children who don’t have the ability to speak yet, but can ‘answer the telephone’ and ‘have a conversation’ 🙂

He introduces to us the example of Rebecca Still who needs to learn a new movement on the bar. The coach: I need to fill her brain with the new movements’. It shows the power of visualization: you can go through the new movement in your brain, and it helps to perform better. The pathways in your brain are already in place, before you start the movement with your body,

How do we remember things? How do we use our minds when it comes to creativity?

We copy the behavior of someone talking to we find friendly and nice. We want to belong to his or her way of communication. Robert showed a good video to illustrate this point, with a nice and nasty boy…

Well, this was a nice and inspiring start of the day! Especially the way Robert presented his story to us: with great video’s, music and his personal touch and style to the story. For me, the elements in learning: modeling, visualization, copying, experimenting, are in the picture again!

Liveblog: sharing (in-company) knowledge

After a bit of a disappointing session, I now hope for a very inspiring and innovative story. I have chosen this session because of my curiosity towards knowledge sharing processes (difficult to support!) and communities of practice.  This session promises to be practical in the sense that is build around one to two cases.

Edward Gallier (hotel group Jurys Inn) and Kandy Woodfield…

Beating the silo trap

Ed’s story starts with the aim of doing the work more consistently and efficient. Therefore they developed ‘Grow online’ as the online platform for new employees. Available 24/7. And we needed the ‘noisy’ ones to like it. We organized management support, and the opportunity for people to provide feedback. There also is a very close link with the Sharepoint environment we used.

The developed 2000 courses and it was a real success. What happened as well was that people had the impression that Learning & Development ‘had all the knowledge’. For this reason they started working with the people in de organization itself. Get more people involved in creating content. Start small. Pick the project. Pick the audience.

For example: How to make an excellent cup of coffee: Who is the knowledge holder? Who is really good at this? What was rather static content they translated it to video, online discussion, exercises. We have great consistency now. We have improved our culture.

Kandy Woodfield works for NatCen Social Research, and this organization is in a very competitive market. They had formal trainings, but were looking for knowledge sharing mechanisms, closely linked to the work.  How to get people out of the silos?

They introduced four communities if practice, with activities like action learning, presenting practical cases, asking each other questions. What made the communities a succes?

  • Let the members drive the agenda: what keeps them awake at nights?
  • Rotate the meetings
  • Ensure a good cross section
  • Set up a portal to share and continue conversation
  • Feeling “this is created for us”
  • “go and fish where the fish are”
  • Work hard!
  • Think about your role as L&D: facilitate, enthuse, engage
  • Support people in learning how to use social media tools (e.g. 23things)
  • Don’t make assumptions as if you know what the community wants.. ask questions!
  • Reach out. You don’t have to do everything by yourself. In this way you also bring different voices in.

Good tips to take home!

Liveblogging from London: Putting learning data to work for you

Phillip Price van PSA Peugeot Citroen, works there already 24 years and introduced a new way of learning in a period of 4 months.

The challenges faced in Learning and development in Peugeot were amongst others poor attendance, high dealer cost and lack of consistent network connections. Peugeot went from 4 physical training sites to one solution, the virtual academy. Are keen now to match every training to a virtual version via a webinar. Also used high definition broadcast (livestreams) and Academy app and TV. In 2013 32% of training courses virtually, up to 64% in 2014. The variety in sessions give flexibility in timing, for instance there are sessions within and after worktime. Furthermore a lot of it is recorded and hence available afterwards. The trainers went through the BBC academy to get training in presentation.

For example the 4-days classroom based course titled ‘Picasso consultant technician update‘ was transformed into 4 virtual training sessions and 2 days training. Some impact figures: prior to the training the response time to work requests was for instance 19 minutes, after the training 12 minutes. The employees are also happy with it, because if they sit in a 4 days training, they miss their sales bonuses. Now, they have the flexibility to do it virtually, continue working and when deals are closed enhance their income. Question: how do you deal with a variety in preferences? The answer is if you are really interested in the content – you will be willing to participate and overcome dislikes. The next move is into serious gaming.

The floor is then given to Rafe Ball from Colt technology services. Rafe has some good advice for using learning data effectively from his own experience.

  • Are we asking the right questions? See the usual questions in the picture (on the left) versus the most important questions (on the right).
  • Move beyond happy sheets (!) – you should track them, but you must set up your alarms, some issues must be acted upon promptly, otherwise the happy sheets are useless.
  • Measuring behavioural change – use questions that predict behavioural change and verify those on the job. Use this data to drive learning application. Use 360 feedback or peer assessments.
  • Measuring business impact – what does success look like? identify standard impact categories like sales, then ask en measure and use this data to demonstrate results.
  • Make sure the data is coherent, integrated and reliable. Keep for instance questions consistent. consider other causes of change and seek out benchmarking comparisons. Lastly when you present make sure it is short and relevant.
  • The challenge of ROI… Monetary ROI is complex, however can be useful for large learning investments. If you do use it, make it more robust by accounting for other contributing factors. Few in the audience are ever asked about ROI (about 10% in the audience have been asked this question).

The response rate for after event surveys is 45%. How did they reach this high response rate? We now give them a roll up survey to a manager for the team as a whole. We have changed the methodology from saying this is the after the end of the course survey to introducing it with how we are using it. We inform people about the changes made, this increases the chances of filling in out the next time. We have also set up some face-to-face interviews to get quality data. We only do this with high profile courses.

Liveblog from #LT15uk: Does instructional design have a future?

While we exchanged our programs for this conference, Joitske said “I would never go to a session on instructional design. That is so old fashion!” But with my master background in instructional design, we will see…

Patti Shank about building instructions… People learn on their own. Do we still need instructional designers? Is instructional design growing or shrinking? What do we do?

  • Audience analysis
  • Needs analysis: can this question be solved by a training solution?
  • Meetings with subject matter experts
  • Relationship building
  • Storyboards – structuring, scenario thinking
  • Building e-learning
  • Writing learning content
  • User testing
  • How it will be implemented

There seems to be a mismatch between today’s jobs and our work as instructional designers. We have routine skills and non-routine skills (different in each case). And this counts for much of todays’s most valuable work.

You cannot learn a complex skill by separate it into smaller blocks. You need to learn a complex skill in total, in their complex environment.

Many of our jobs are complex now. Jobs change, skills are lacking. This means that instructional design is becoming more and more important. But we need to be focused on: what are instructional solutions and which are not.

I could not get more out of this session. Joitske was right from the beginning?

Although, Patti did a great job. It was very nice to see and hear her. Something she did in particular during her presentation.. when you answer a question she asks, she gives you a card. It is strange, but it does simulate you to join the conversation and add something to it. You don’t want to end up sitting in the room without a card? And in the end.. the person with the most cards got a small present from the US…



Liveblog from London: Video techniques for learning through storytelling

Mark Davies from @seelearning is a visual anthropologist. He start by saying that the best job a learning professional can do is to make people cry.. This is proof that you engage people. In this session you will not learn how to produce hollywood films, yet you will learn how to creating stuff that is relevant for your organization.

What is a story?

A story must be found, when you find it you will know.. If the story doesn’t emotion and doesn’t stirr, it is not the right story. However, it should be real and authentic. Hasson put two people in a MRI scan. The scan resonated the brain of the storyteller, which shows the impact stories have upon us. Video stories can fill the gap between the emotions you experience in face-to-face training and online.

How to develop videostories?

Bad practice is just replicating the content of a face-to-face training. Don’t be afraid of emotions even though it doesn’t have to be a tearjerker of course. Sometimes an interview form may work or another person telling the story. Talking into the camera gives another dynamic and may be scary for people. It is important that the story is integral to the design of the learning content, in that case the video can also be longer than the 2 minutes recommended by the marketing department. A summary of the tips:

  • Find your story
  • Look for the right people to tell and ask
  • Plan how the content will connect to other resources


The best camera you’ve got is the camera in your pocket. You can even use smartphone if you want to use storytelling within your organization. However, audio is important. You may use a rode smarlav for instance with your phone, a cheap microphone. A Konig Tripod will help for stabilization. Stabilization can also be established with GLIF.


Think about the framing – camera position. Consider light, location and noise. Show what is there. Constant light is important so avoid moving clouds. Giving a sense of place helps for the feeling of authenticity. Don’t forget the music, can really take video the the next level. Search in The music bed and/or istock audio.


Gemma Critchley @gemstgem on storytelling. What do stories, social media and film have in common? Help people connect and have an emotional touch. As learning professionals we can learn from the marketing industry. People will forget what you said but they will not forget how you made them feel.

Affective context

Nick Shackleton Jones developed a theory of affective context. His definition: “Learning is the process by which people attach emotional (or affective) sense to information.” This is powerful in a learning context. For instance on a train journey, a fight might break out. In that case you may have a much better recollection of the journey. How does this apply?

The hub 

The hub is the video platform of BP. Under 3 years old. 3000 videos. Brought in some externally curated content as well. Half of the people in BP (40.000) have been to the Hub. People spend roughly 5 minutes on the site. How do you create an army of video storytellers? You have to enable people and make them feel they have something to say. Don’t be afraid to experiment since this is really new space. Google analytics has been integrated for data.