Summer is over.Well at least ASTD Golden Gate's Summer of eLearning is over.
I was very proud to have been able to put together a great series of programs for chapter members and guests.
It started with the thought leaders panel. if you missed that, read all about it here.
We also had Tom Kuhlman and David Anderson in town. Read about that here.
But all good things must come to an end. And so they did on Tuesday when Joe Ganci came back to the chapter and presented both a full day workshop on Captivate ad an evening meeting on HTML5.
As always I was tweeting my notes and here they are along with those of some other attendees.
But as the summer has ended I think I'd like to muse on the bigger picture of what I learned.
With great power comes great responsibility
There are some great eLearning and mLearning development tools out there. Many of them are very powerful. But that power reminds me of what Peter Parker's uncle says to him. As Workplace Learning & Performance professionals and learning developers we have a (sacred?) responsibility to our learners. Give them the opportunity to advance their skills, knowledge or attitudes to allow them to 'work better'. That means giving them a chance at real learning.
But not all eLearning is that, or quite frankly, needs to be. If the learner is tackling a task that they might do once a year, do they really need an eLearning course on that? Or is what we are being asked to create a multi-media job aid? We need to be honest about what we need to create and what we are creating.
Our responsibility is to allow them to work better. That might just be pointing them to a well written manual, or it might be something more complex and interactive. Where we shirk our responsibility is when we assume one way or the other.
With great power comes a great learning curve.
The tools themselves vary in their capabilities. If you want to take a PowerPoint deck of existing content and turn it into a Multi Media job aid, then there are lots of great tools out there. However the more interaction you want to build into the eLearning the higher the chance that you will start to encounter complexities that you will need to build yourself. The easier a tool is to use for the simple stuff the harder it is going to be to bend it to the more complex stuff.
In a previous life (before I became a Learning Pro) I was a programmer. So programming is not hard for me. Some tools have some really simple drag and drop, point and click programming interfaces in them. But just because it's simple to use does not mean you can use it well without learning about it. This applies just as much to the programming interface as to the rest of the tools. Programming advanced actions in Captivate or programming everything in ToolBook is still programming and it's a skill not everyone has and no-one can do well without learning.
With a great learning curve should come great learning.
I've been using Captivate 6 and now 7 since about February. I learned it from the tutorials, from a colleague helping me and from advice in the Adobe Community. It was a slowish, at times frustrating, road. If only I had managed to have Joe teaching his class in February I'm sure I would have been far more productive far quicker. Even with the 7-8 months of use I still learned a raft of things on Tuesday. I know that I would never have been able to get up to speed on StoryLine anything like as quickly as I did without spending the day learning from Tom Kuhlman.