Mobile Learning and Visual Tags

August 4, 2008
eLearning Guild QR Visual Tag

eLearning Guild QR Visual Tag

We first discussed visual tags a couple of years ago as Web 2.0 technology initially emerged in mobile devices such as cell phones. Referring to two visual tagging techniques available at the time, we noted:

Shotcode and Semacode make mobile information seeking over the web work like scanning a bar code to determine the price of an item. They make offline media interactive. It is pure pull, unless you consider the offline advertising “pushy”. The metadata necessary for accessing relevant information is largely in the context, the embodied situation of the user.

Take a look at the following video for an overview of how visual tagging works, in this example it is for advertising services.

So, how does this relate to mobile learning, or m-Learning as the eLearning Guild refers to the practice? Read the rest of this entry »

The Community Gap

July 27, 2008

Rachel Happe, over at The Social Organization, recently posted an entry titled Social Media is not Community, outlining the broad differences between what distinguishes community from the conversations characterizing social media. Rachel’s general point is that even though social media can support community development, several key traits of communities make them distinct.

They are continuous, not temporal – this is not to say that people don’t drop in and out but there is a core membership that interacts together over a long period of time.

Communities gather around a concept or common goal not around a collection of content (although content does plays a major role, it is not the impetus for the community).

Communities take on various conversations and activities, led by different members over time – it is not one conversation but many.

People within communities get to know each other and interact regularly without centralized facilitation and not necessarily in the context of what the community is discussing as a whole.

Community leaders emerge over time as they continue to take proactive roles in the community and rally other members to their causes. These leaders are community members and they self-select because of their interests – not because they are told to do so…although they can be encouraged to do so.

Rachel adds that enterprises can take advantage of two opportunities relative to social media and community. The enterprise can use social media to start conversations among their stakeholders around content, initiatives, and goals. Or, enterprises can develop communities and sustain them over time in order to impact business processes. She believes enterprises don’t yet understand what is entailed in developing communities.

The points offered in Rachel’s post are provided empirical support in the recent 2008 Tribalization of Business Studysponsored by Beeline Labs, Deloitte and the Society for New Communications Research. Read the rest of this entry »

Flowgrams: A New Way to Screencast

July 8, 2008

Screencasts are effective ways to share ideas, images, concepts, experiences, and a range of information for a variety of purposes including eLearning, collaborative problem solving, or just fun. I just ran across a new technique for doing screencasts called a Flowgram.  Eric Schonfeld over at TechCrunch describes it as,

…a full-screen player with what appears to be a screencast with a voiceover. Except that you can control the pages by scrolling up and down, watching any videos that might be on the page, or clicking on the live links (which takes you out of the Flowgram to that Website, but if you hit the back button it picks up where it left off). You can also add comments and share the Flowgram via a widget…It’s an interactive screencast, a way to synthesize the Web by pulling different pieces together The voiceover acts as the glue. It can be used for slide shows, travel guides, tutorials, sales pitches, or just to explain something to a friend.

I’ve signed up for the private beta access program so I can build a few Flowgrams of my own to get a better sense of how this tool compares to applications like Captivate or Camtasia. After briefly interacting with several of the Flowgrams available it looks quite promising. I like the ability to scroll pages as well as play videos embedded in pages presented in the Flowgram. I’m not sure why the developers decided to navigate out of the Flowgram when you click on a link that takes you to a page outside the Flowgram, rather than opening a window to view it, but when you click the back arrow the flow of the Flowgram seems to pick back up where you left it. Take a look at Flowgram for an overview.

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Demographics, Innovation, and Enterprise 2.0

June 30, 2008

As a member of the boomer generation, a recent post by Stewart Mader on the use of Enterprise 2.0 at Wachovia  caught my attention because it relates to a range of ongoing discussions on the relationship of age and innovative uses of technology in supporting collaboration.

Stewart points approvingly to a recent InformationWeek article on Wachovia’s use of wikis, blogs, and social networking to develop mutual mentoring between younger workers and senior staffers. Wachovia is assigning younger staffers to mentor senior staffers about the benefits of using collaborative networks. However, Stewart goes on to qualify the point of such mentoring with the following insight:

We often talk about how the millennial generation has an advanced grasp of these social and collaborative tools, but just half of the story in my opinion. I see enterprise 2.0 tools not as the exclusive domain of youth, but as a better connector for multiple generations, so that wisdom, tacit knowledge, and business know-how from the experienced can be shared with younger workers.

The point is bolstered by recent research, though with a couple of crucial caveats. Read the rest of this entry »

Visual Wikis: Forbes’ Corporate Org Chart Wiki

June 28, 2008

Wikis are largely about creating, organizing, and sharing knowledge. Most people think of textual and static graphic information created, organized, and maintained by groups of people when they consider what makes up a wiki. The integration of visualization tools is one of the more interesting developments in wikis recently though. As an example, the Thinkbase tool provides an ability to visually navigate and explore Freebase, an open, shared database of the world’s knowledge. The Thinkbase Blog is a good resource for learning about Thinkbase.

In fact, John Hosking recently provided an overview of how to use visual wikis. Read the rest of this entry »

E-Learning 2.0 and Learning Management Systems (LMS)

May 19, 2008

Back in the late 1980s, I worked in the telecommunications industry as a methods analyst, a euphemism for a technical communication staff member who primarily analyzes business processes. One of my assignments involved work on the design team for a records management system. The company served a regulated industry with regular audits from both federal and state agencies. It, therefore, needed to make sure it retained all paper records only as long as regulations required, and no longer. In other words, records management was essentially a risk management function. Well, you may ask, how does this relate to e-Learning 2.0 and LMS?

Before getting to that discussion, we need to clarify the terminology used here. The term e-Learning 2.0 refers to implementations of Web 2.0/social networking technologies to complement traditional learning processes managed by the training or human resource functions in organizations. Blogs, wikis, and other social software are useful in nurturing e-Learning communities of practice and enabling knowledge sharing in new ways. The eLearning Guild’s recent 360˚ Report on Learning Management Systems 2008 offers a few unique insights into the relationship between e-Learning 2.0 and LMS. Read the rest of this entry »

Onboarding, Social Capital, and Wikis

April 16, 2008

All organizations face a similar challenge when new employees come onboard. The new employee needs to learn the ins and outs of the organization. HR typically provides them an orientation packet and a point of contact for information. Their team, or department, management gives them an overview of their job and, if they are lucky, walks them around to introduce them to their co-workers and provides any virtual introductions, i.e. email announcements, needed to other members of the organization. However, providing new employees with access to the information needed to understand how to do their work is always a daunting challenge. Referring them to policies and procedures, whether manuals or online, remains the most common first step. Sometimes the new employee even receives on-the-job-training for a few days.

Making the first few days of a new employee’s orientation smoother and making the curve of their time to performance steeper are challenges requiring ongoing innovation in the management of human capital, but also social capital. Read the rest of this entry »

Forget Tags and Folksonomies, Try Place-Based Stories

October 10, 2006

From the first time I heard the work folksonomy I really liked the concept. The idea of building meta-data about places and things from the people who experience them really seems cool if you have an appreciation for sociability. However, I must say that the new twist on the concept offered by [murmur] provides people moving through places with thick descriptions rather than tagged information aggregated by collaborative filtering software. [murmur] is available in Toronto, San Jose, Vancouver, and Montreal. It is really an oral history project that allows you to access stories about places you pass through while you are there. But, the basic concept is much more than oral history. Read the rest of this entry »

Tangible Information Exchange

September 29, 2006

Yanko Design  just showcased an intriguing design for a futuristic ring that exchanges information.

This product is designed to exchange basic information with new people in the first meeting by shaking hands….When people first meet and shake hands, the rings on the fingers get close enough to operate. The rings exchange their users information and stores them while they are shaking hands. So, the more people they meet, the more information they have. When the users browse through the people they meet, the card displays their basic information that was stored in the ring. The power source is provided from human temperature, so it doesn’t need any plug.

Treat yourself and go on over to look at the full-size images in Hideaki Matsui’s design.

It is worth the trip!

Museums and Folksonomies

February 2, 2006

A folksonomy results from distinct ways of organizing cultural categories developed from the tags, keywords, people use to describe specific content, or services, on the web. The emphasis in folksonomies is on organizing data, not making friends. As Ellyssa Kroski notes, a key difference between Flickr, 43Things, and, when compared to LinkedIn and Friendster, is that the former are focused on organizing data from individual users for the user public, with social relationships arising as users share and seek out others of like mind. The approach is attracting numerous efforts to make accessing information needed to find things easier. I recently came across The Art Museum Community Cataloging Project, called Steve for short. It is an effort to use folksonomies to help visitors find art in museums. Read the rest of this entry »