Posts Tagged "book"

Book Review – ‘Remote. Office Not Required’

Regulars Twitter followers will know the fun and games I’ve had since October of last year with my daily Peacehaven – London commutes to undertake a 6 month contract…

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Designing #mlearning Book Review – Chapter 4

  As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I intend to provide a brief synopsis of each chapter of ‘Designing mlearning‘, but more importantly I intend to answer the questions that Clark poses at the end of each chapter and then pose those same questions back to you ‘Dear Reader‘   Chapter 4 – The technology it’s not about We start this chapter with a nod to the fact that the iPad (1) was announced during the writing of this book. Given that this is still considered a ‘recent’ book, this shows very clearly how dynamic this market is. From looking forward we take a look back at a brief history of mobile devices commencing at the Palm Pilot, skipping ahead to mobile phones, through media players to smartphones. From there we review the advent of handheld games, tablets and recording devices, before acknowledging that by the time many readers pick up this book some of the descriptions will already be out of date. We then take a look at a trend that gives a fairly clear indication of how things are going at the moment – “convergence”. More and more devices are providing a 1-stop shop for much (if not all) of the functionality that we used to associate with multiple devices. Towards the end of the chapter we are reminded just how quickly this field is developing as Clark suggests that we may even be moving towards wearing glasses with a Heads Up Display – imagine that! We finish off the chapter with these questions being posed (along with my responses): How can you take advantage of any of the dedicated devices (media player, camera, PDA, phone)? I’m not sure that we really need to go out of our way to take advantage of the plethora of dedicated devices, after all our learners are already using them within their day-to-day lives to take pictures, record video, access the web, read novels etc. Given that dedicated devices are in my opinion “High Street” what I think we need to do is to tap into learner’s familiarity with them and start to drip-feed examples of how they can use them within a workplace environment. Why not model some good examples using dedicated devices? Often when I facilitate face-to-face activities, I make a point of recording audio feedback, video voxpops and photographs of interactivity using dedicated devices in order to model good practice for the attendees to (hopefully) follow. How can you capitalize the increasing ubiquity of the converged devices? Let’s be honest most organisations (even now) are not providing converged devices (read phones and tablets) to support learning programmes or ‘overtly’ to maximise performance. I believe they are providing them so that you have little or no excuse for not responding to emails! But let’s not let this worry us, instead let’s leverage the growing distribution of mobile devices for our own ends and start to offer resources, assets etc that can benefit from the functionality of the converged device. Have you considered the tradeoffs of providing (devices) versus supporting devices ? I guess the provision of devices ensures (to a certain degree) greater control and in turn ‘peace of mind’ (wrongly in my opinion) to organisations, but hey, if it  increases the chances of mobile uptake then maybe it’s worth it? Of course, this approach no doubt brings significant expense with it in terms of providing the devices, however I’ve no doubt that it is easier to support 1 x device type as opposed to trying to support learners own devices. Of course allowing learners to use their own device means that...

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Designing #mlearning Book Review – Chapter 3

  As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I intend to provide a brief synopsis of each chapter of ‘Designing mlearning‘, but more importantly I intend to answer the questions that Clark poses at the end of each chapter and then pose those same questions back to you ‘Dear Reader‘   Chapter 3 – A brief history of learning and cognition Confession time! I’ve struggled somewhat with this chapter, having had to read it 3 or 4 times in order to be able to internally process its content for this review. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing at all, but it did feel a little awkward for me having breezed through the first 2 chapters and seeing them as confirmation of my current thinking. In chapter 3 Clark starts off by reminding us (I’m liking the fact that he is drumming this into the reader) that mLearning is, by and large, not about learning, but about augmentation. About letting us as human beings get on with what our brains do well and providing support for what our brains struggle with (rote learning), rather than trying to ‘drill’ the information into our/others heads! Let the mobile device remember the facts and allow yourself to make decisions or detect nuances in the many variables we base our decisions every day. In case we haven’t got the point yet, he reminds us that mLearning is not about putting courses on a phone (I’m hoping he raises this point again, as it seems to be something of a common misconception in my opinion) Clarke then takes us on a whistle-stop tour of media psychology, that I’ve got to be honest, wasn’t any clearer on the 4th reading as it was on the 1st – perhaps I’m not of the target academic demographic for this book, perhaps I’m reading it at the wrong time of day; I don’t know.  What I’m hoping is that this lack of comprehension doesn’t impact upon my understanding of the rest of the book….. we’ll see…. We finish off the chapter with these questions being posed (along with my responses): Are you considering more than just courses and including performance support? As a member of the vendor community, I have seen a fairly respectable number of mobile solutions being provided to clients and I have to say that the vast majority fall into the ‘course on a phone/tablet’ category. We could go into the whole “who’s to blame for this?” debate, that we’ve all no doubt contributed to in some way, shape or form in the past, but on this occasion I’m not going to, maybe you’d like to in the comments section? What I will say is that I’ve seen a few good examples of performance support apps for the NHS (detailing drug dose calculations) and for some areas of retail (providing ‘just-in-time’ support for a new season range of products), as yet I’ve still to see any solutions that make use of the phones native functionality. Is your pedagogy advanced beyond the basic “event” and content presentation learning approach? I think the answer above goes somewhere towards answering this question. Some organisations are obviously only seeing mobile as a portable desktop solution, whilst others are grasping the potential for it to ‘augment’ their people. I’d say that it’s probably (based upon a Sophisticated Wild Arsed Guess) less than 3% who have spotted this. Do you include social learning as part of your learning solution? I’ve seen a growing number of clients who are currently/planning to include social learning as part of their solution. My fear is the assumption...

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Designing #mlearning Book Review – Chapter 2

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I intend to provide a brief synopsis of each chapter of ‘Designing mlearning‘, but more importantly I intend to answer the questions that Clark poses at the end of each chapter and then pose those same questions back to you ‘Dear Reader‘   Chapter 2 – The Details In this chapter Clark shares a small exercise he undertakes when speaking on the subject of mobile devices, in which he allows people to acknowledge that cell phones, PDAs, iPods are ‘mobile learning devices’. I have to say that I’m surprised that there is anybody left on the surface of the planet that wouldn’t recognise those devices as mobile learning devices and wonder whether that is an exercise that may have lost its impact since the publishing of the book? Some blisteringly high figures are shown as to how many hours a day the average American spend accessing the mobile web (and let’s not forget that these figures are 2-3 years old!!) Next we take a look at, and dispel, some popular misconceptions around mlearning including (amongst others) such classics as “we can’t provide mobile devices” “courses on phones doesn’t seem like a good idea” (the response to which is thankfully used to introduce performance support) “mlearning is limited to smartphones” We then take a look at the business case for mobile learning and Clark explains that he believes that it should be the role of the learning function to take on the role of designing mobile performance – a point which I disagree on. I believe that it should be the function with the clearest understanding of mobile learning and greatest passion to succeed that should take it on. In my previous organisation I spent the last 12 months as a member of the Comms team driving forward the organisations understanding of what mlearning was, wasn’t and how it could add value. I even pitched to the L&D team themselves and was met by some of the misconceptions that are included in this chapter. So I’m far from convinced that L&D should be the only potential champion of this. We finish off the chapter with these questions being posed (along with my responses): How many mobile employees are you supporting? This question raises an interesting point in my mind which is “what is a mobile employee”? Surely, unless you eat, sleep and live in your work environment then you are ‘mobile’? Admittedly there are some roles (such as mine) that have a very overt mobile nature to their role and as such attract the term ‘mobile employee’, but surely we should start to consider the effectiveness and value that all employees can add if they can maximise their mobility? Anyway, to answer the question we deploy 43 smartphones throughout the organisation. How widely distributed are mobile devices across your employee population? 43 of ‘em, making about 30% distribution. What are the opportunities for improvement in mobile worker performance? Being able to complete web forms for various parts of our processes from mobile devices as opposed to Office docs from lap/desktops.  Accessing client data immediately prior to a meeting.  Accessing of network based data via VPN  What are the benefits of mobile access to content for the employee population at large? Flexibility of working arrangements.  Maximising ‘desk time’ by better utilising ‘dead time’ i.e. travelling, waiting for meetings to start etc Potential for less stress as they can call up info ‘as and when needed’ as opposed to waiting for ‘desk time’ So folks, why not take a look at the questions above provide your own responses in the comments below? Chapter...

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Designing #mLearning Book Review – Chapter 1

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I intend to provide a brief synopsis of each chapter of ‘Designing mlearning‘, but more importantly I intend to answer the questions that Clark poses at the end of each chapter and then pose those same questions back to you ‘Dear Reader‘ ; Chapter 1 – Overview OK, so I’m off to something of a false start here as I’ve just realised that there are no questions asked of ‘The Reader’ at the end of this short introductory chapter, but we are provided with a list of very realistic and pragmatic situations in which a range of ‘everyday’ roles and occupations can/could/do harness the benefits of a mobile device to increase their performance and value. And guess what? Only one of the examples is to undertake a compliance ‘course’! This (thankfully) fleeting mention of a ‘course’ provides me with a warm, fuzzy feeling that the rest of the book won’t be trying to convince me of the benefits of shrinking down desktop learning onto a smaller screen. He also provides us with a definition for mlearning that he admits the eLearning Guild mobile learning research team struggled to come up with: “Any activity that allows individuals to be more productive when consuming, interacting with, or creating information, mediated through a compact digital portable device that the individual carries on a regular basis, has reliable connectivity, and fits into a pocket or purse” (eLearning Guild 360 Mobile Learning Research Report, 2007) He finally reminds us that the pace of change in this area is so fast that any suggested, specific solutions would be unlikely to stand the test of the publishing process time, so instead explains what the book is really about; preparing the reader to take advantage of the mobile revolution. I’m hooked. I’m reading...

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