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REN nyhetsbrev nr. 23, 2004

3. desember 2004
1: Refleksjon etter TechLearn konferanse i New York.
2: U. of Tokyo Benesse Seminary Workshop “Do You Study with A Mobile?”
3: Online Educa Berlin 2004
4: Ny IDC rapport
5: Nytt og nyttig
6: På kalenderen

1.  Refleksjon etter TechLearn konferanse i New York.

This past week I was at TechLearn (, the event Elliot Masie started and recently handed of to a professional conference organizer.  Consequently, for the first time ever, it was held not at the Coronado Springs Hotel, but in New York City (and maybe for the last time as well; next year, they told us, it will be in Las Vegas:  Interestingly, the themes I saw echoed things I’ve been writing about for the past weeks: workflow learning (; disclaimer, I now am affiliated with the institute), mobile (and not just my talk), and performance support (  That may have been my particular bias, and consequent talk selection. Overall, many of the topics seemed a little tired: ROI and performance support are a bit old, and few people seemed to be talking ahead of the curve like content models and services-oriented architectures.  I heard one talk about how concept maps mirror the human brain; that was new in the late 1960’s, and outdated in the 80’s!

The good news was the many case studies; you could probably pick several relevant to your vertical market, and your level of maturity.  I went to one on government finance compliance where they were rewriting their content to include performance support (a content model!) and they talked about the technical as well as organizational challenges.  Interestingly, their approach was similar to what attendees at the REN Study Tour heard from the Harvard Business School (who had a booth at the expo: (Tour attendees also would have already seen the future scenarios that IBM showed at the conference.)

Another session had a panel of CLO’s talked about their goals, and it became clear that mobile learning is on the rise, what with the increasing pressures to get closer to the customer, more telecommuting, higher costs of travel and training, and greater instances of high churn.  Marriot indicated that their cleaning staffs, for instance, don’t have a fixed office.  IBM noted that at any time, about 50% of their people are not at the office. 

The nice thing about TechLearn used to be the very controlled strictures about being informational and not commercial, and hopefully that continues under the new management (Elliot is stepping away and up to something else with his center: It still held at this conference (though others, such as VNU, make some effort to do so), though there were a whole stream of other sessions sponsored by companies.  Other topics included standards, blended learning, outsourcing, and integrating systems.  There was, oddly, little about elearning design.  When I last went to TechLearn in 2000, that was a big topic.  I guess people think they know how to do that now (though the evidence suggests otherwise).

One session I made a point to attend was the Games panel, where it was mentioned that the Serious Games summit (a conference on using games to accomplish meaningful goals: sold out.  They used that to suggest that interest was rising in the use of games to support learning, which is evident (and positive).  Disappointingly, they didn’t add any clarity to the confusion around naming.  What’s a game versus a simulation versus a scenario?  A simulation is the model, if you wrap goals and story around it it’s a scenario, and if you raise the challenge level to the zone where engagement (and learning) happens, it’s a game.  I don’t consider those drill and practice templates (e.g. quiz shows) as even worth mentioning.  OK, off my soapbox.

One interesting comment was that MMG’s (massively multiplayer games, think EverQuest:, or even multiplayer games, are not yet really tapped in.  The point being that there is still room for growth.  The panel attempted to use such an environment for the presentation itself, in that two of the presenters came in virtually.  All the presenters had presence in an online environment, There (, which was what they had on the screen. The interesting addition to other such tools I’ve seen was that they could speak (and audio waves appeared above the character’s head instead of speech bubbles).  When they weren’t speaking, interestingly, they were ‘chatting’ and it sometimes served as a great alternate channel of communication.  It worked, mostly, though I think in general I’d prefer to see the person as opposed to their avatar. 

I’ve previously been part of experiments in using online environments (e.g. Active Worlds,, and found out that, very quickly, no one paid attention to the characters and the only important point of interest was the chat window.  The virtuality wasn’t of value, we focused on the text.  Groove ( was better, in that you could share screens (ie someone could take control and navigate around their files, and everyone else would see the same thing) and archive files.  However, it had some limitations (platform being one; I’m a rebel and use a Macintosh).  I’ve also experimented with Raindance ( Elluminate ( which is nicely cross platform), and more, for shared conferencing. I use IM some, and really appreciate tools that let me work across standards (e.g. Fire for Mac OS X handles Yahoo, AOL, MSN, irc, and one other: since I have contacts on different standards.  However, I work with lots of different people, and if I were on a workgroup team within one organization, I think I could choose any of several and make it work.  For instance, certainly Microsoft is going to be pushing their Live Office (, though my money’s on Macromedia’s Breeze (, the demos of which are quite impressive (and it’s at least cross-platform from the client side).  I do believe, however, that these sorts of tools for virtual meetings are a great way to conduct business across virtual teams. Individuals will increasingly need to connect in different communities that represent their different hats in increasingly flat and matrixed organizational structures. 

As always feedback or questions welcome: 

2.  Event Announcement:  U. of Tokyo Benesse Seminary Workshop “Do You Study with A Mobile?”

Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies at University of Tokyo ( at its distant education study group, Benesse Seminary ( will hold a one-day open workshop on mobile-phone based e-learning in Tokyo on coming December 11.  This workshop is limited to 30 participants, and is titled, “Do You Study with A Mobile?”  Throughout this seminar, Benesse Seminary will discuss on histories of science educations practiced through mobile phone and computer platforms.

Having a clear picture how you are going to use it will be one of the most challenging factors to consider when planning a mobile learning platform (m-learning).  This issue will be addressed at the final section of the programs during the workshop.  This also leads the participants to think about how the mobile platform can possibly educate students about sciences.  The purpose of this part of the workshop is to share all the knowledge together with all the participants.

The lecturers will consist of the following faculty and specialists:
Etsuji Yamaguchi, PhD, Professor of Humanity at University of Miyazaki
Toshio Mochizuki, PhD, Assistant Professor at Information Infrastructure Studies at University of Kobe
Toshihisa Nishimori, PhD, Assistant Researcher at Media Educations Center (Germany)
Kiyoshi Nakahara, PhD, Assistant Researcher at Media Educations Center (Germany)
(Announcement made on November 19, 2004 by NAKAHARA-LAB.NET (

3.  Online Educa Berlin 2004

Online Educa Berlin 2004 har akkurat gått av stabelen (går i disse dager av stabelen). Med over 1600 deltagere fra over 60 forskjellige land er dette nok en gang verdens største e-læringskonferanse og utstilling. Følgende hovedtemaer var denne gang utpekt for konferansen:

Building and Implementing E-Learning Strategies in Companies and Public Sector Organisations
Building and Maintaining the Virtual Campus
Effective and Efficient E-Learning
Creating Interactive and Collaborative E-Learning Environments
Managing the E-Learning Process
Future Trends in E-Learning Technology including the Impact of Wireless Technologies
Large Scale Deployment of E-Learning
Improving the Quality of E-Learning through Evaluation including Online Assessment and Certification
E-Learning as a Tool for Social Change

Ut av ca. 320 presentasjoner på konferansen var nesten et titalls fra norske bidragsytere. I tillegg var et større antall norske bedrifter, organisasjoner og utdanningsinstitusjoner blant utstillerne. For dem av dere som ikke hadde anledning til å være med på konferansen i Berlin finnes det en del informasjon på konferansens web-sider. Her finnes det blant annet en nyhetsseksjon som rapporterer på noen av høydepunktene fra konferansen.  Informasjon finnes på:

4.  Ny IDC rapport

Market analysis: Worldwide and US Corporate eLearning 2004-2008 Forecast: Behind the scenes with eLearning, a business enabler.

I denne rapporten har IDC prøvd å se i glasskulen hvordan markedet innen e-læring bevegere seg i perioden frem mot 2008. Denne rapporten er tyngst mot det amerikanske markedet, men den har også et globalt perspektiv. Den tar for seg i hovedtrekk hvilke skiller som er i de ulike markedsområdene.

Hele rapporten kan lastes ned eller leses fra våre medlemssider.

5. Nytt og nyttig

Creating Experiential Learning

Denne artikkelen er skrevet av Sam S. Adkins og klippet fra
“If the key to survival in the knowledge era is to ‘learn a living’ by integrating work and learning, then we must understand the relationship between education, work and technology.”

–Robert K. Logan, “The Sixth Language: Learning a Living in the Internet Age”

Corporate learning professionals have begun to achieve a better understanding of this relationship, and a new type of learning model is taking hold in the business world. The technology is new, but the learning theory has been around for some time. Organizational behavior specialists and learning theorists have been hammering out the dimensions of this type of learning model for more than 20 years. It is called “experiential learning” or “experience-based learning.”

Creating experience-based learning is now possible due to the availability of new tools and technologies. Contextual collaboration, simulation, business process modeling, workflow management and ambient intelligence (also known as smart technology) have all emerged as tools at the disposal of developers. They are used to create an increasingly seamless experience combining work and learning.

Les resten av artikkelen her:

Managing Performance Through Learning

December 2004 - Bobby YazdaniBobby Yazdani, CEO i SABA har skrevet denne artikkelen for

The world’s best organizations are focused on the success of their people. This is a remarkably simple idea that is difficult to achieve and execute. The realities of today’s market are driving fundamental changes in organizations. Change is continuous and rapid. Globalization and hyper-competition are having a profound impact on the ability of organizations to set and achieve long-term objectives on a sustainable basis. Due to these realities, management is challenged by limitations on the potential productivity of people, skills that are rapidly becoming obsolete and ongoing demographic changes in the workforce. Subsequently, executives have a renewed focus on the productivity and success of their employees.

As companies examine factors that can constrain organizational performance, three simple concepts take shape: alignment, development of capabilities and real-time visibility. There needs to be alignment between the strategic objectives of the organization, and the goals and capabilities of individuals and groups, and real-time visibility into how people perform against those goals. Employees often report that they do not understand how their individual activities contribute to the success of the organization. This makes it extremely difficult to measure ongoing progress against these goals and creates significant friction in planning and execution.

Executives often say that they want real-time visibility into how their employees are performing against their goals and objectives. They want to understand whether further investments in training and development are needed to achieve these goals and objectives. However, most processes and structures that are currently in place do not provide such visibility or a way to manage these activities. Typically, corporate goals are developed on a quarterly or annual basis and are intended to drive business unit, departmental and individual goals and objectives. These are measured and reported at set intervals, often after the fact, making it difficult to predict the outcome of these initiatives and adjust accordingly in real time.

Les resten av artikkelen her:

Experiment on How The Human Thinks about Math Using A Graphics Tool

It has been said that children need an ability to proactively discover problems by themselves and then to solve.  One junior high school faculty at a suburb of Tokyo, Tsukuba City, Mr. Konosuke, Sakurai instructs a mathematics class using a graphic tool in an effort to let children find out various characteristics, specific properties and relationships between perimeter and area of the polygonal shape, and then to prove those properties by themselves.  Faculty at this school assumes that this process will greatly contribute to the value of electric platform of learning activities and will help advocating e-learning to the parents and fundraisers.

Mr. Sakurai does not ask students to use graphic tools to work on usual mathematics problems that have been taught on the textbook.  “I do not intend to teach mathematics proof-questions or solutions with this way to teaching.  I rather ask my students to try to manipulate graphics such as the rectangular shapes contacting a circumference line of a round from inside at the four corners only moving the one of the lines of the rectangle. 

And then, find what have been changed or what have been constant before and after.  I don’t have any fixed answers when I ask them to do something.”  This way, Sakurai mentions, children can grow their needed ability inside them about the ideas of mathematics problems, what the teachers will question or what most math exams would ask.

Some students have contributed their testimonials, “So far, I was just going through the textbook and memorize the concepts and definitions. But it has been so hard to apply those to actual math problems on the test.  But ever since I started working with graphical tools under Mr. Sakurai’s instruction, I have been feeling like visualizing the concepts, or even understand ahead of reading the textbooks.”  This is especially true, Mr. Sakurai explains, when students see various, spontaneously created polygons show the same properties as what the textbook says using just a single example, they become happy.  After finding out such properties in a quite easy way on visual basis, then they turn their eyes back to descriptive mathematics concepts and predictable questions on an average exam. Then, they find it extremely familiar without any difficulty.

Mr. Sakurai says, one advantage of e-learning platform is that it can naturally involve graphic tools as an interface between the students and the materials.  By using the graphic tools, “Children can repeatedly perform anticipate and prove something new characteristics about polygons.  This all help them grow their intuitional ability to work with physical expressions of mathematics – that is the graphic.  They can find that mathematics concepts and definitions are only about the truth of physical world where we are living.”
(source: Mainichi Interactive November 14 , 2004)

6: På kalenderen

AEN 2004 E-learning Asia Conference to Be Held in Singapore
Asia E-learning Network (AEN will hold an Asia-wide e-learning conference for this year in Singapore.  This year’s conference will be hosted by Nanyang Technological University of Singapore (
The AEN conference aims to spur the attendee to look to more vitalizing the industries among the Asian countries and to expanding the human knowledge exchange with use of IT technologies through e-learning.
The AEN was originally proposed by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and was approved of in 2001.
For details of the AEN 2004 Conference in Singapore, please see

ASTD TechKnowledge® 2005
eTensify: Take eLearning to the next level and join us in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 2-4, 2004, for ASTD TechKnowledge® 2005, the industry’s leading conference and exposition. The Schedule Builder is now available on the Website

For mere informasjon ta kontakt med:
Veslemøy Barnes
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