Thursday, 1 May 2008

Learning Technologies part deux

The second part of the Learning Technologies was held this week. It is now rebranded as the Learning and Skills Group conference. There were very few academic institutions represented there, but there were a number of government, military and businesses that were heavily into e-learning. The overall feel of the conference was also better than the previous one with a much more relaxed, sharing environment being created. There was no keynote speaker and a mixture of sessions that included group meetings where like people/organisations could interact with each other and share good practice. I attended cafe sessions on creating and designing e-learning which gave us 7 principles of learning design, which were:
1.Design experiences not content (no one learns anything from content!).
2. Design top down and bottom up
3. Juggle constraints consciously (be realistic and honest with all involved).
4. Template comprehensively ensuring that it is based on sound theories of learning.
5.Evaluate(demonstrate value but not too much) and educate (sponsors and subject experts).
6. Build multi role, multi functional teams (This would be nice but often its the individual in our case! This also applies to pint 5 above as others have sepearte designers to do the work).
7. Make users drive your design
During the design process use users when practical where possible as it can shorten the development time. See for some evidence of this.
Where we are dealing with external providers we should ask "what theories they base learning on" as there have been changes in the last 15 years.
The cafe style workd in some ways as the session sparked conversation and sharing although possibly the numbers were too high in some sessions.
I also attended a number of practical sessions on Web 2.0 technologies and everyone should visit Centre for learning and performance tecnologies (if they havent already). I liked Polldaddy, slideshare and moodle! I am also pleased to see drupal in their list of 100 tools as we like it in the library and it was used by the conference to demo sessions! These were small group sessions ans were collaborative allowing real sharing and learning in a practical session. There were some hiccoughs with the practical sessions to do with availability of software and versions but overall it was OK.
Finally my faviurite session was the hands on PSP session where we were able to play with psps that had been pre-loaded with sample training materials. This could be a really interesting way of delivery if we were to try this and is less restrictive than an ipod and cheaper!!

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