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REN nyhetsbrev nr. 19, 2004

30. september 2004
Innhold:
1:  Neste REN Medlemsmøte 10 november
2:  Interactive University - Skottene klarer det en samlet britisk satsning ikke klarte
3:  ELearning Interview: Interacting with elearners via Blog - Applied Knowledge Co.,Ltd.
4:  Workflow Learning
5:  Nytt og nyttig
6:  På kalenderen
1: Neste REN Medlemsmøte 10 november 2004.

Vi har selvfølgelig ikke glemt at neste REN aktivitet er studieturen til Boston I perioden 17. til 20 oktober. Siste oppdatert program kan leses på våre medlemssider. Det blir meget god deltakelse på turen og med et godt program I Boston området ligger alt klart for en lærerik studietur.

Vi har imidlertid begynt planleggingen av neste medlemsmøte. Datoen er 10. november og stedet blir på Fornebu, hos Telenor. Møtet blir en rekke presentasjoner og utstilling av leverandører. Vi er imidlertid avhengig av dere for å få med så mange leverandører som mulig slik at vi får vist frem et bredt spekter av leverandører. Vi skal gjøre plass til alle typer e-læringsleverandører, både innholdsproduksjon, verktøy for egen produksjon og systemleverandører.

Vi vil og gjøre plass for leverandører som ikke er med i REN for å gi alle en god mulighet til å vise siste nytt. Møtet vil også være åpent for ikke medlemmer. Vi vil som vanlig fakture ikke medlemmer for deltakelsen.

Det vi håper å få til er fortløpende korte presentasjoner av hver leverandør. Alle leverandørene vil i tillegg få mulighet til å ha en liten stand på utsiden av møtelokalet, slik at de får muligheten til å presentere seg og sine tjenester gjennom hele dagen.

Leverandører som ønsker å være med kan melde seg på til Veslemøy Barnes på e-post veslemoy.barnes@invanor.no innen 10. oktober. Vil vil etter denne dato sette opp programmet og distribuere det ut for påmelding til møtet.


2. Interactive University - Skottene klarer det en samlet britisk satsning ikke klarte

Vi har før beskrevet og sett hvordan £50-millioner-satsningen UKeU gikk på grunn etter kun å ha fått 900 studenter. Nå ser det ut til at skottene klarer å få til det UKeU ikke lykkes med. Siden oppstarten i 2002 har det som heter Interactive University (IU) fått 60 000 studenter og går allerede med et lite overskudd. IU startet som et spin-out fra anerkjente Heriot-Watt University i Edinburgh, men har nå flere skotske aktører med på laget. Det viser seg at denne linken til etablerte institusjoner er nøkkelen til å få troverdighet hos studenter. Blant annet inkluderer IU ”Scholar”, som de beskriver som verdens største e-læringsprogram. IU ser også ut til å ha fått hull på det viktige asiatiske markedet. Selv om volumet ikke er på høyde med det man kan vise til i USA, er IU et eksempel på at det går an å få vind i seglene både når det gjelder vekst og økonomi fra en litt mindre europeisk base.
http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=799972004
http://www.pressbox.co.uk/Detailed/17547.html
http://education.guardian.co.uk/elearning/story/0,10577,1291416,00.html


3:  ELearning Interview: Interacting with elearners via Blog - Applied Knowledge Co.,Ltd.
 
Many people question, “How actually does elearning effectively work for learners?”  They are typically concerned with whether elearning system works for corporate trainings or to enhance individual performance.  Mr. Masayuki Kojima, President of Applied Knowledge Co., Ltd. (http://apple.akj.co.jp/e-skillup/) proposes for a web-log (blog) solution as a tool to effectively interact with learners in an effort to further practically apply training level knowledge and skill gained from elearning-based studies.
 
What do you describe the corporate elearning market in Japan?
Kojima:  It is true that many companies here are complaining against elearning systems, saying that they do not see actual effects from studying activities achieved through elearnings.  The learners also say that they can’t actually apply what they have learned from the elearning courses to their daily works.  On this point, elearning solution providers could not demonstrate enough about actual effects of elearning, either.  The way I see it, these such and such have been dragging behind Japan’s corporate elearning market so far.  What we have to recognize is that adopters of eleaning systems cannot measure the effects of studying.  We have to lead them how to find out how much the learners have actually improved.
 
Would you say the current elearning systems do not work quite well?
Kojima:  If you consider language courses or IT trainings, you will find much easier to see how learning activities help, because these subjects deal with basic skills and knowledge.  However, in practice, there are a lot of occasions that you cannot immediately apply what you have learned from studying.  Until you can make it, no one will perceive that you have obtained associated skills or knowledge enough.  So, we really need to think about how to fill in the gap between fresh-learn and practical worlds.
 
So, elearning is not enough unless you go on to the practical trainings, is that what you say?
Kojima:  Not quite.  As a matter of fact, many eleaners would take OJT (On-the-job training) right after completing the courses.  But such freshmen would rather become burdens to the skilled staff who work with them, because they cannot work efficiently even though they have knowledge already.  Likewise, even if you include OJT elements in elearning programs before trainees complete, it does not work because you have to send skilled staff to elearners programs extraneously.  OJT is a key-concept for post-elearning programs, but in the actual work place, trainees might not easily try what they have learned because they are more likely be forced to give priorities on rather usual daily tasks and hardly get a chance to perform the things that require special skills they learned.
 
How would link the freshmen’s knowledge and practical works?
Kojima:  We have come out with a solution called EPSS (Electronic Performance Support System) in order to let learners perform for today’s work, rather than for tomorrow’s businesses. One client company said to me, “I have a feeling that we can have more to do after finishing the training programs.  We want some tools that we use to collaborate between trainees and instructors.”  So, we created an “arena” where they can collaborate after completing elearning programs.  We imagined something that links between training fields and practical work fields on the Internet.  That intermediate arena can be something like the place where post-elearning trainees can discuss with professional level staff.
 
What’s that?
Kojima:  That’s web-log.  We rather regard this as a business collaboration tool, and we named our solution the “TeamPage.”  It is a blog-based technical solution, where the trainees, professionals, or slready0-skilled staff can give advice, questions, or any opinions on specific subject matters.  If you look at OJT, how much can you expect the senior workers could evaluate trainees’ performance?  How fairly enough they could tell what trainees need to improve?  Actually, nobody can guarantee.  But in the blog-world, your questions will be answered by someone who knows the subject really well.  There participated are the people who want to talk, suggest, and answer questions based on their special knowledge.
 
That sounds like a virtual OJT where knowledge and know-how accumulate.
Kojima:  We call it “an open OJT.”  In this smart OJT world, any one can be the trainees and the instructors unlike the actual OJT where instructors are assigned with many extra burdens and they do not know what other instructors told the trainees.  Because many people openly speak up on the subject, materials, textbooks and learning resources, you will eventually get ideas what kind of improvements are called for.
 
Why do you use blog?
Kojima:   Users will find blog system useful because they can easily post questions and answers.  They also have a function like ‘track pack’ that links to other postings and articles.  Our “TeamPage” can also categorize the postings and links by paragraph, and also allows you to post messages via emails so that you can do it away from the desk.  The blog was very convenient in many ways when it comes to collaboration opportunities.
 
Why not using the ‘forum’ (bbs) or group-ware?
Kojima:  Such bulletin board systems or electronic-conference systems don’t categorize the postings, and ultimately mess up the discussions.  They are not easy to extract necessary information, either.  By no means, the search engines.  So, the users will finally become dull and only reading through postings without much thinking.
 
Do you think rewarding for the posting do further betterment?
Kojima:  There are many people who don’t wish to disclose own knowledge, especially if they paid a lot of energy to gain that knowledge.  So, such an idea might rather cause internal conflicts within the company.  We are just a coordinator or a consultant for the companies who use elearning systems.  But we will propose whatever seem to work.
 
Thank you very much.

  
(News source: Mainichi Interactive News: http://www.mainichi-msn.co.jp/shakai/edu/elearning/interview/news/20040903org00m040204000c.html)


4: Workflow Learning

I ended up last time heading in the direction of personalization.  I want to talk this time about a particular spin on that.  Workflow Learning is a concept that is getting a lot of attention (e.g. http://www.trainingfall.com/workflow_learning.cfm).  The question is, just what is workflow learning?
The concept arises from the business implementation of workflow.  As TechTarget (a business IT information site: http://www.techtarget.com/) has it, workflow is “the tasks, procedural steps, organizations or people involved, required input and output information, and tools needed for each step in a business process” (http://searchcio.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,290660,sid19_gci213384,00.html).  The important point of this comes from this implementation approach: “workflow automation products that allow a company to create a workflow model and components such as online forms and then to use this product as a way to manage and enforce the consistent handling of work”. 
One interpretation of what workflow learning is comes from the following concept.  In this approach, you use a software tool that lets you model your business processes in business modeling terms, and there are object-oriented software implementations of those terms so that while you model your business, you are building your software! I’m not an expert in this area, so I can’t tell you who actually has this software (or whether it’s really ready for prime time), but if it’s not here yet it’s coming, as the concept is sound and I’ve been hearing about it for several years now (e,g. http://www.informationweek.com/702/02iuprc.htm). It used to be that you would model your business to conform to your enterprise software, then it was the other way around with expensive (and usually disastrous) consulting engagements, now you model your business and the software is built.
If this is possible, it’s also possible to associate learning content with the component objects that represents the knowledge about the component (http://www.elearnmag.org/subpage/sub_page.cfm?article_pk=11924&page_number_nb=1&title=COLUMN).  So, as you model your business, you not only build your software, you create your learning environment.  It’s not traditional learning, however, as it will be attached at the point of need.  So that’s one interpretation of workflow learning.
The problem is that there are several interpretations of workflow learning and it’s not necessarily quite here yet.  In addition to the one above, it’s also been proposed that the software environments of the future won’t be templated by software, but instead will be customized portals (http://www.learningcircuits.org/2004/jul2004/geek.htm), where task and performance tools are integrated by your job role.  The notion of learning coming from a unified environment, or an implementation cobbled-together from a variety of sources, aren’t totally incommensurate, but it is worth being clear. 
Note that there are implementation hurdles to get there.  For instance, how do we integrate learning into a portal in consistent way?  The learning standards initiatives, SCORM for instance (http://www.adlnet.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=scormabt) may be required to allow learning content to be pulled from a variety of sources.  It may also require web services, a way for different software capabilities to be cobbled together to create new applications, (http://webservices.xml.com/pub/a/ws/2003/09/30/soa.html) to allow it to be integrated.  In fact, web services was a driving force behind the move to workflow learning.
I must admit here (and you’ve no doubt realized) that my colleague, Jay Cross, has been promoting workflow learning.  To be fair, I thought that it was much ado about nothing, but increasingly I’m beginning to ‘get’ what he’s talking about, and believe.  There is some dissent (http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/archives/001694.html)…
Of course, I don’t think workflow learning, as touted, meets all our needs.  There are strategic decisions we make that aren’t supported by software (and may never be).  We’ll still need traditional training and/or education (my distinction is the degree of transfer, the more it’s specific to a particular context, the closer it is to training). Yet it is clear that this approach begins to implement the blending of knowledge management, performance support, and elearning I’ve talked about before.  Attaching learning at the point of need is a goal we’ve often hoped for, but systems were too brittle and resources too few.  Now, however, we’ve turned the corner to where this is possible. 
As a side note, interface designers have had problems with the notion of performance support since their argument is that they’ve always been designing software environments for successful performance.  And, yes, the best have, but sometimes it takes a new phrase to really help a concept penetrate, and performance support helped people move to a new level of thinking about the integration of learning and task-oriented environments.  However, there’s more to the issue than just claiming credit…
The point I want to make is that there are many ways in which interface design (really, interaction design, another topic is this distinction), or usability, is a field that has a lot of importance to elearning, and I don’t mean just that elearning requires well-designed interfaces (and it does).  I taught interface design at a university back when I was an academic, and learned that not only the outcome is important, but also the process, and the organizational context. 
For instance, I think usability has been ahead of the game in terms of justifying their work as a business need.  Learning is finally getting on board (e.g. http://www.learningeconomics.org/), but back in 1994 the seminal book was out for the usability field (http://user-experience.org/books/display.isbn/0120958104.html).  I think the interface design field has been ahead on a number of things that’re now becoming of interest in elearning, such as paper prototyping (http://www.paperprototyping.com/) and engagement (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0201550601/102-3513232-4188913?v=glance). It’s worth the effort to get your mind around some of the underlying thinking behind interaction design, as there is powerful synergy between that field and learning.
  

5: Nytt og nyttig

Developing Content to Deliver Results

Developing high-value content that advances your business strategy and tactics presents two key challenges. The first challenge is to determine what existing content provides the greatest value and, just as important, what does not provide value. The second challenge is to determine what content doesn’t exist, but should. Certainly the highest-value content is that which directly impacts business execution and performance. An optimal filter to help gather and evaluate content requirements is a better understanding of key business processes and the knowledge needed to perform them. In other words, to figure out what content you need, it’s best to focus on where you are going and how best to get there.
This article provides a step-by-step method for using organization-specific business processes to build a flexible, strategy-driven taxonomy that identifies and qualifies existing content, as well as crisply defines requirements for content creation and development.  Les hele artikkelen her: http://www.clomedia.com/content/templates/clo_feature.asp?articleid=646&zoneid=29

Collaborative Tools in the Learning Continuum
I recently guest-lectured on trends in workplace learning for a group of students studying for higher degrees in human resources. The students were working adults who enrolled in an evening program. I started my talk by asking the students to tell me about a recent learning experience and what they liked or did not like about it. I had intended this exercise to be an enthusiastic transition into the boundless possibilities offered by technology-based learning. Instead, it became a litany of complaints. Les hele artikkelen her: http://www.clomedia.com/content/templates/clo_feature.asp?articleid=652&zoneid=32

SoL Reflections 5.9: Insight and Wisdom
Dette nyhetsbrevet kan du lese på våre medlemssider.

SoL Flash: Volume 8, Number 5, September 2005
Dette nyhetsbrevet kan du lese på våre medlemssider.

6: På kalenderen

World Class e-Learning content.
½ dagsseminar på Hotell Opera i Oslo, 6. Oktober 2004. Benytt anledningen til å se BBC, Auralog og Skillsofts nyeste e-læringspresentasjoner.
http://www.edvantagegroup.com/roadshow

Online Learning Conference & Expo, San Francisco, California, October 11-13, 2004.
http://www.onlinelearningconference.com/ 

European ASTD Conference in Copenhagen 6. til 8. oktober.
http://www.astd.dk/

ePortfolio: Transforming individual and organizational learning.  Konferanse La Rochelle, Franrike 28. og 29. oktober 2004. De er også interesert i mulige foredragsholdere. Konferansensens språk er engelsk.
http://www.qwiki.info/projects/Europortfolio/ep2004/index_html

For mere informasjon ta kontakt med:
  
Veslemøy Barnes
Prosjektkoordinator
Research and Educational Network (REN)
Innovation Norway
20 California Street 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111-4833
Tel: +1 415 986 0770
Fax: +1 415 986 7875
E-mail: veslemoy.barnes@invanor.no
www.invanor.no/ren