Sunday, November 25, 2012

Is the Windows 8 Confusion All About Organizational Authenticity?

Imagine the xB without Scion
I played with a Surface tab the day it was launched, and I upgraded my desktop to Windows 8 during the first week. I didn't do this because I was an avid Windows fan--I just was curious, and a little excited by the color palate. After a few weeks with Windows 8, I am fully comfortable using it, but maybe not for the reasons Microsoft thought I would be. It's fast and it's pretty, but I'm not embracing many of the features Microsoft wants me to use. I'm not integrating my mail into the start page because opening Gmail directly is more productive due to archiving. Nor am I incorportating the "people" feed because I use all my social media in different ways and I use better apps on my Android device to manage this. Even though I am ignoring many of those apps, I do enjoy scrolling through the New York Times, and clicking through All Recipes. Yet something feels off.  When I use these colorful apps from the start screen, I have to be honest; I doesn't feel like I'm using Microsoft. Microsoft, to me, is traditional, reliable, but pretty much, no-nonsense. Instead, the start screen feels like a fun plugin that changes my Windows Experience and confuses me a bit because it doesn't fit with the Microsoft brand. In all honesty, it instead feels inauthentic. 
When Toyota wanted to come up with a fun, zippy car line, they realized that they had to develop a new public-facing company. If they had launched the Toyota xB instead of the Scion xB in 2003, it would have been directed to the wrong audience.  Reliability is one thing, but a car that looks like a box? Just plain weird. If Microsoft had been smart, they would have launched Windows 8 that looked like Windows 7 but was EVEN faster, then launched the tile interace under a different brand as a plug in. Now, I am not a programmer, and I don't even know if this is possible, but I do realize that the "pretty" tile interface doesn't jive with our image of Windows and it has consumers shaking their heads. Instead of being able to separate the tiled interface of the start screen from the speed and productivity of the back end of Windows 8, both are being branded together as one product and has many of large organizations questioning the payoff of large scale adoption. Had Windows 8 just been about speed and virus protection, I think it would have done well. But instead, it is an incongruity that has its loyal consumer base looking to other options.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Why I'm a little depressed about eLearning

Good eLearning still requires resources
The reason might surprise you.
And I'm probably going to have a few people disagree with me. 
It's not because there isn't good eLearning out there. In fact, in the last year of exploring this field, I've seen some absolutely phenomenal examples of great m and eLearning. Creative people are using gamification, graphics, interactivity, flexibility, and performance objectives to create flexible learning models that increase employee productivity. So why am I so depressed? Because I am going to fall into a camp of people that believes strongly that good e and mLearning still needs to be thought of with the same seriousness as website development--otherwise, it's just not fair to the people who have been asked to create the learning. Even with flexible authoring tools such as Articulate Storyline and Captivate, I argue that the end product will be better if approached using agile team-based design. That means, your company's eLearning team should include a project manager, a storyteller (this could be an ID), a (graphic) designer, and a developer (either schooled in html5 or very savvy with the authoring tool). This sounds different than what I usually hear, as it's often one person who is responsible for the whole process who is then asked to liaise with the IT department. Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not suggesting the good eLearning is impossible to create--what I am saying is that the impact of it will grow if the process itself is supported.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 and the Curation Invasion

Twitter was like a gateway drug for me into the world of online professional development. After a couple of months, I was favoriting tweets like crazy and trying all sorts of tools to keep track of articles I enjoyed. For awhile, I was still using Delicious to catalog articles that could be of some use to me at a later date, but I realized it was enough just to favorite a tweet--and adding an extra step to the mix wasn't sustainable.  
Then people I followed began to curate online collections. Especially in the eLearning and educational technology communities, and  collections were published daily by people I respected. Curating seemed like the right thing to do. For a few months, I curated an eLearning collection called Mosaic Learning Design Process. It was more about the creativity involved with the process of eLearning than about eLearning itself. And then, I "scooped" the following post, Why your knowledge-sharing portal will probably not save the world. I realized that I was already following a couple of accounts that were fabulous, and to repeat them would actually take away from time I could spend learning directly from their efforts. Both Mayra Aixa Villar and Ana Cristina Pratas have wonderfully diverse eLearning collections which I can learn from and promote. In the short term anyway, I will continue to curate my People Part of Organizations collection, and I will, as long as it is useful to me.

Monday, November 5, 2012

How Flipboard Saved My Twitter(ing)

I was suffering from Info Overload!
During this last year of transition, I fell into quite a love affair with Twitter. I found that hands down, it was the best way to keep up with trends in the learning community, and to build connections with professionals all over the world. Yet, I found that after following 600 people, I just couldn't keep up anymore. For a couple of months, I let my account passively shift to wallflower status--hanging out as a casual observer in the technology world. I still obsessively checked CNET and Engadget, and tried to stay up on my technology news, but my learning and information interactions on Twitter stopped suddenly. 
Two weeks ago, I volunteered at the Learning 3.0 Conference and I was introduced to the mobile news app, Flipboard. Now, as an self-proclaimed nerd, you would have thought that I was using Flipboard already, but instead, I had been attempting to manage my Twitter feeds using TweetDeck. This worked for me just fine when sitting in front of a computer all day, but I found for mobile, it just wasn't cutting it. So when one of my fine session leaders suggested Flipboard, I went to the app, and immediately feel in love. Flipboard combined with Alicia Cowan's post, How to Deal with Twitter Overwhelm, has made me rediscover my love affair again. Instead of actively following everyone, I now used Alicia's ideas for using have specific lists--one for "regular follows" (about fifty people), other lists for CCASTD members, and specific lists for people who actively tweet about Articulate, Captivate and more. Additionally, Flipboard allows me to add news based on hashtag searches, so during #DevLearn, I was able to add that hashtag and follow the buzz on my phone and tablet. What I like most about it is that it enhances the interface, and I can access it anywhere. We'll see how this works in the long term, but for now it's putting me out there in the world again.