Transforming your staff's potential

Thursday, February 26, 2009 Tidbits: YouTube

Here is the periodic sampling from my favorites list. This time I chose the tag "YouTube," as it is being broadly used for instructional ends. It is also a flexible tool. YouTube videos can be embedded into PowerPoint and SlideShare presentations as well as webpages, social media sites, etc. Here's what I found I have:

7 Things You Should Know About YouTube: From Educause Connect, this .pdf article describes what YouTube is, where it is going, and why it matters to teaching and learning.

How to embed high quality YouTube videos: From Download Squad, an article describing how to embed a higher quality version of YouTube videos than what is commonly used.

TubePress: TubePress is an open source PHP library that displays YouTube video galleries in your blog. It's available as a WordPress plugin or as a stand-alone PHP library.

YouTube videos inside SlideShare: A how-to SlideShare presentation on embedding YouTube vid's into SlideShare.

How to add or embed You tube videos into power point slide shows: From TechnoSpot, a step-by-step post on using the YouTube Video Wizard, a Power Point plugin.

How to Insert YouTube Videos in PowerPoint Presentations: From Digital Inspiration, another how-to on the YouTube Video Wizard, this time using video.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 Tidbits: Budget

Here is the periodic sampling from my favorites list. Given the state of the economy these days, this time I chose the tag "Budget." Here's what I found I have:

A Manager's Guide to Maximizing Training Investment: From, a laundry list of ways to trim training budgets. To read the full article, you will need to register on their site.

Six New Training Tactics for the Downturn: Again from, which is a community of practice for IT project managers, this article is a list of six training areas to focus on to get the biggest bang for the buck.

Ten Quick Wins in eLearning: A good laundry list by Clive Shepherd for responding nimbly in the economy while still thinking long term.

Learning and Development in a Down Economy: From The Learning Journal by Catherine Lombardozzi. This article discusses her four pillars of guidance for ensuring cost-effective impact in training through tough times: Alignment, Immediacy, Quality, and Applicability.

Estimating Training Design and Developing Time and Costs: From the "Performance, Learning, Leadership, & Knowledge" website, a how-to article with guidelines and instruction for building an accurate training development budget.

What’s a self respecting learning function to do in an economic crisis?: From Gram Consulting, a discussion of 5 things you can do during the downturn to get leaner and improve your value to the organization.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Finds: Agnotology

Stanford historian of science Robert Proctor has created a new word: "agnotology."

Agnotology: The study of culturally constructed ignorance, purposefully created by special interest groups working to create confusion and suppress the truth.

The word is derived from the Greek root agnosis ("gnosis", meaning knowledge , and "a-" indicating an absence).

From Wired Magazine's article, "Clive Thompson on How More Info Leads to Less Knowledge:"

As Proctor argues, when society doesn't know something, it's often because special interests work hard to create confusion. Anti-Obama groups likely spent millions insisting he's a Muslim; church groups have shelled out even more pushing creationism. The oil and auto industries carefully seed doubt about the causes of global warming. And when the dust settles, society knows less than it did before.

"People always assume that if someone doesn't know something, it's because they haven't paid attention or haven't yet figured it out," Proctor says. "But ignorance also comes from people literally suppressing truth—or drowning it out—or trying to make it so confusing that people stop caring about what's true and what's not."

After years of celebrating the information revolution, we need to focus on the countervailing force: The disinformation revolution. The ur-example of what Proctor calls an agnotological campaign is the funding of bogus studies by cigarette companies trying to link lung cancer to baldness, viruses—anything but their product.

Naming a thing (concept, emotion, idea) is empowering. It is easier to identify it when you see it. That awareness makes us less apt to be unconsciously influenced/manipulated by it. Now, how do we teach the critical thinking skill of agnotological literacy? What can be done to counter disinformation campaigns?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Visual Thinking and the Power of Context

David Carson's TED presentation: "Design, Discovery and Humor” illustrates the power of graphic design to inform and the importance of context in delivering information.

I don't want to give too much away before you watch the video, but here were some highlights for me that held implications for instructional and presentation design:

  • His comparison of two, nearly identical, "no parking" signs clearly convey the concept of design as context and its use in reaching the affective domain... the emotional impact of design.

  • His moving example from Time Magazine of the need to use design responsibly because of its emotional power.

  • The use of partial information to drive readers to “complete the sentence”…. to make sense of what they see, drawing them into deeper engagement.

  • This quote: “Don’t confuse legibility with communication," which begs the questions: Does your work really communicate?, and, Does your work communicate the right thing? The former question reminds us to confirm clarity, logic, relevance, etc of the content. The latter reminds us to ensure that context and delivery methods and style reflect/reinforce the messaging and values.

Monday, February 2, 2009 Tidbits: Authoring

Here is the periodic sampling from my favorites list. This time I chose the tag "Authoring." Here's what I found I have:

Nvu: Nvu (pronounced "N-view," for a "new view") is a free, open source software program that allows you to build websites and web pages using a simple WYSIWYG editor (what-you-see-is-what-you-get). Nvu makes creating web pages as easy as using a word processor and rivals such programs as Adobe's Dreamweaver and Microsoft's Expression Web, only for free! With Nvu's built-in site manager, connecting to your website and making changes is a snap.

Udutu: A free online course and simulation authoring tool.

CourseLab: CourseLab is a powerful, yet easy-to-use, e-learning authoring tool that offers programming-free WYSIWYG environment for creating high-quality interactive e-learning content which can be published on the Internet, Learning Management Systems (LMS), CD-ROMS and other devices.

eXe: Open Source authoring / HTML editing application to assist teachers and academics in the publishing of web content without the need to become proficient in HTML or XML markup. Resources authored in eXe can be exported in IMS Content Package, SCORM 1.2, or IMS Common Cartridge formats or as simple self-contained web pages.

A post from the Learning and Performance blog on authoring elearning for the iPhone.