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Learning design, Online learning, Technologies

Rapid authoring tools – they’re just dishwashers really!

Image by FotoRieth from Pixabay

If you haven’t already noticed (and if that’s the case, what planet are you on?), there’s vast choice of media tools out there. Increasingly in today’s climate organisations are looking at leveraging these tools’ abilities to learn and work more efficiently. In fact, organisations can see great potential with increased adoption of rapid authoring tools. These tools are helping them transfer training done in the classroom to a more flexible and efficient delivery.

I’ve certainly embraced any gadget that might make my life easier and to a quicker end result. Take the dishwasher for instance. Until I met my husband I never had one. It was a luxury for which I couldn’t justify the expenditure. Now, having had one for the past 8 yrs I can’t imagine not having one. Yes of course I could live without it but it washes my dishes so much more efficiently and on the whole does an excellent job of it too. And while it’s washing those dishes I can get on with something else or even do nothing at all.

But that dishwasher wouldn’t do such a good job without that something extra from us. To get sparkling dishes it’s important place the content correctly (and, yes, my husband regularly rearranges it after I load it). It’s important to know what is suitable content and not to over stack the content. But even then if you have done that correctly, there’s still more to consider. What temperature is needed? We could stick with the default setting but that might be the hottest. Does every load need that setting? Of course you can carry on regardless. Yes the result will be sparkling – but at a cost of wasted energy and a longer cycle.

Yet what if we we’re energy conscious and washed everything on the coolest setting? Yes some dishes will be clean but those pots and pans we cooked the Sunday lunch in didn’t come very clean at all. So what do we do? Either hand wash them or wash them again. Either way that’s extra time and energy.

And there’s still the question about the detergent! There are so many of them out there all claiming to give the best results. There are Eco friendly ones; power-ball ones; double, triple, quadruple action ones; some in packets that dissolve; some in packets you need to discard.

Fortunately, we more often than not get superb results. My parents, on the other hand, don’t. Is that the fault of the dishwasher? Well, of course there could be a problem but after some observation it was more about their stacking process; their refusal of following best practise because they ‘know best’ and the misguided thinking that cramming as much in as possible, using the coolest setting and cheapest tablets will give them good results. But no! Although if they’re happy with it, what’s the harm maybe? They might be ok with having to re-wash. It doesn’t affect anyone else. (I later discovered that, sometimes, my father merely put the thing on rinse!!!).

A dishwasher is a brilliant time-saving invention but it won’t wash the dishes without our carefully considered actions and procedures.

Similarly, although there are many rapid authoring tools out there, that’s all they are – tools. With careful consideration, you’ll choose the best for what you want but without the right input from us, without carefully considering the right content , without understanding the implications that over-stacked content has on the result (our learners’ brains); without careful consideration of your audience and making the right decision for them your time and effort may be wasted and you may be doubling (or tripling) your workload. This is definitely a case of one size doesn’t fit all.

So remember, when thinking about changing the way you deliver your training, there are lots of tools to help reach global audiences, they may help reach more people in a shorter amount of time but it takes more than just stacking content from your classroom courses.

Technologies

This new-fangled technology

I just had to share this presentation I came across the other day. Normally, I would just instantly share with Twitter but I still get frustrated with the 140 character limit (you’d think I’d be used to it by now).

The Slideshare presentation reminded me of a blog post I wrote some time ago about educating people in using these new tools and SatNav learning.

It also reminds me of regular conversations I have with people on my courses on banning collaborative tools in the workplace where I make a very similar analogy. Enjoy.

Technologies

What’s in a name? Let’s Huddle!

Photo by Nguyen Thu Hoai on Unsplash

It’s more than just a social gathering

On my travels through the blogesphere (looking for something else as it happens), I came across Huddle. Now the name intrigued me because of what it brought to mind.

One definition for huddle is “to gather together privately to talk about or plan something”. I often use it when facilitating in a classroom asking the group to ‘huddle’ around the flip chart to discuss a topic.

The people at Huddle describes it as follows: “With Huddle, you can manage projects, share files and collaborate with people inside and outside of your company, securely. It’s available online, on mobile devices, on the desktop, via Microsoft Office applications, major business social networks and in multiple languages. Simply: if SharePoint was built today, the would have built Huddle.”

Taking a further look around the website, it seems it has a lot going for it to encourage people to work together and learn together more easily and, they stress, securely. I haven’t taken a really close look or opted for the free trial but here’s a low-down on what Huddle offers:

    • File sharing and management
    • Collaboration
    • Real-time collaboration with web conferencing and phone conferencing
    • Project management features that sound similar to Outlook
    • Security features which allow you restrict or open up elements
    • Customisable for a corporate look and feel
    • Tracking activity of members and assign individual priviledges and permissions
    • Individuals have their own profile area
      • Mobile connectivity across various smart-phones with the ability t
      o access Huddle via other social networks such as LinkedIn

Huddle is cloud-based which means less strain on internal IT infrastructure

With the increase in emphasis on working and learning smarter by enabling channels for collaboration, sharing ideas and best practice, experiential and on-demand learning for improved performance from a bottom-up approach, Huddle may be one solution for organisations out there who see the need for such working and learning practises but are sceptical about using the open social tools.

I’m not so sure they’d be convinced by the name of the product alone. It does seem some social tools out there have been given some strange titles that do little to help sell their benefits to the more serious minded potential user. But that’s a whole different story. If we want to get past the quirky handle, we’re going to have to sell the benefits ourselves.

Huddle, themselves, have given us a good head start.

I was impressed by the list of testimonials and case studies on their site which include organisations who, from my own experience, are very strict about accessibility and security. I’ve taken the list from Huddle’s testimonial page.

    • Kia Motors
    • Akqa
    • NHS East of England
    • Dept for Business Innovation& Skills
    • Kerry
    • Liberal Democrats
    • Belgian FPS Social Security
    • Aggie-Lance
    • Berkshire Community Foundation
    • Boots
    • Rufus Leonard
    • Bright One
    • Care for the Family
    • British Institute for Facilities Management
    • Cheltenham Brough Council
    • East of England IDB Ltd
    • Distinct
    • Fulham Football Club Foundation
    • Inform
    • Government Skills
    • Plymouth Mind
    • Post Office
    • Traffic Management Solutions
  • University of London Computer Centre

So if you want to get past the sales pitch, how about checking out some of the case studies or even contacting their customers and find out what it’s done for them.

I’ll be very interested in hearing from anyone out there who has implemented Huddle, either tried it out on the free trial or is already up and running with it. How have you found it useful and any tips you might have to help others who are thinking of using this or any similar application.