Sunday, November 8, 2009

Captivate 3-Patch Work

Currently am working on a WBT and for that am using Adobe Captivate 3 to capture demonstrations and for certain slides, I have to do patch work.

We all know that if the status of an application is WIP, one thing is clear that you can expect a lot of re-work. And that is precisely what is happening. My concern is that in certain slides where am doing patch work, once am merging it with the background, there's a slight shift which is noticeable if you closely look at it. One of my team mates suggested that I should lock that particular slide and the object to avoid making the shift of the patch work noticeable. Also once you merge an object with the background the quality deteriorates. Nevertheless, locking objects did work.

However, I wanted to know what one should do ideally while doing a patch should work on a slide. What is the best work around? Would be glad if people answer my query.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Exploring an Authoring Tool

How do you go about exploring an authoring tool? What methods do you employ to create an Instructor-Led training on an authoring tool?

Here is what I did to explore and create a training material on Adobe® Captivate®4. It is an elearning tool that enables you to create powerful and engaging elearning course.

I was asked to create a HDD for the training material in such a way that the training could be completed within2-3 days. Most of the people believe that Help files are of no use. I would say the Help file is of immense use if only you know how to utilize it in the best possible way. Since this is a tool, you need to try out each and everything that you want to include in the training material.

The video tutorials provide you a basic understanding of all the major usage of the tool. Apart from this, I read up as much as possible to gather information to create the training material. Creating a step list along with relevant screen grabs, coupled with relevant demos can go a long way in making an instructionally sound training material. The most challenging part was to create the demonstrations without any glitches.

Let me list down the latest features that Adobe® Captivate® 4 offers:

  • provides professional design templates that provide a consistent look
  • enables the reviewers to add comments directly to your SWF files
  • allows you to import demonstrations created in Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 in the PPTX format, as well as the PPT format
  • allows you to edit PowerPoint content in Adobe® Captivate® 4

You can visit more information.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Corporate Training....from a Learner's Perspective

This post is not about my new found knowledge about some eLearning tool or a new learning theory that I have come across. This post is on behalf of all those people who have to undergo some kind of training to upgrade their skills. Please note that I've made use of the word "have” i.e. it is mandatory for them in order to get into projects.

Well at a personal level I feel training sessions are a must. People without the right kind of skills or domain knowledge will fail to handle tasks involved in a project. In such a situation training sessions (formal or OJT) help lay a foundation for any upcoming projects. So it is always better to gather as much knowledge as possible before one gets started.

Although training sessions aim to improve one’s skill set and knowledge, however few learners/resources feel that these training sessions are taking away the innovation out of them? The fact that when a certain resource is asked to undergo any type of training they feel that they are taking these kind of courses and assessment just to save their jobs or to get into projects.

Well I didn’t carry out a survey of any sort hence I cannot claim what these handful of people are saying is true or not; but I would definitely say that when a learner is not motivated enough to take a course or training session, no matter how many strategies one applies it simply doesn’t work.

My question is that as an instructional designer how we can help these people who hate to be a part of any training curriculum to take up such sessions wholeheartedly. What are the possible ways whereby training sessions can be made more interesting?

Assessments that aim to clarify the misconceptions of learners become a threat when it is scored. The moment an assessment is scored so as to enable a resource to become a certified professional in ABC isn’t the whole purpose of the training purpose defeated. If we are focussing on enhancing the skill set why do we need to score a course/training session? Why can’t we assess the resource on the job, while reviewing their work, so on and so forth?

I believe that few things like trimming down the seat time of a course, breaking vast lessons into smaller chunks, and/or making assessments a bit easier can help a long way to build confidence amongst the learners.

I leave it at that; because I don’t see an end to it. Nevertheless, I would like to know how to create curiosity and sustain it throughout a course without making learners/resources famished.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is Code Mixing & Code Switching A Boon Or A Bane?

How many times have you felt that you are more comfortable in a certain language as compared to another? How many times have you used an English word to describe a certain thing, and you realized that that particular object does not have a word in your regional language, or more so you don't know whether that word exits or not? Well, I repeatedly code-switch using two or more languages. And at the same time I code mix all the time. Code is a language, a variety, or style of language.

Let me quote the definition of code switching and code mixing. Code-switching is a term in linguistics (the scientific study of natural language) referring to using more than one language or variety of language in a conversation. Bilinguals, who can speak at least two languages, have the ability to use elements of both languages when conversing with another bilingual.

Code-switching is the syntactically (syntax is the study of rules and principles to study the construction of sentences in natural languages)and phonologically (phonology is the use of sound to encode any spoken language) appropriate use of multiple varieties. Code-switching can occur between sentences (intersentential) or within a single sentence (intrasentential). On the other hand code-mixing is the use of two languages at the same time or rather change of language at the same time. Let me give you example of for both to make it more clearer.

Example of Code-switching:

Hey there how are you?
Am fine, long time no see, aur bolo kya haal chal?
Sab thik hai yaar, bas am a little busy these days.
Okay, how's your worklife?/
Cool yaar, sab thik hai, acha hai

If I need to translate it, it will read something like this.
Hey there, how are you?
Am fine, long time no see, so what's up?
Everything is fine, but am a little busy these days.
Okay, how's your work life?
Cool buddy, everything is fine.

Example of Code Mixing:

Yeh train ka time change ho gaya hai kya?

If you notice in this particular sentence there is mix of Hindi and English. And since it a single sentence it is an example of an intersentential code-mixing. The words used in Hindi are written in italics.

There are numerous examples that I can cite to explain this phenomenon. Code-mixing and code-switching may or may not be done intentionally. It depends on where and with whom are you interacting. Sometimes we use two different languages at the same time without realizing it. Sometimes we do it when we lack the particular vocabulary for a specific term or object. And sometimes we do it to show off that we know and can manage to talk fluently in two different languages. In advertisements, TV commercials, and day-to-day conversations we can get numerous examples of code-mixing. The growing use of English is making us to code-mix most of the time. In India, where every individual is bound to know at least two languages tend to code-mix and code-switch.

Code-switching depends a lot on how formal or informal you are with a certain person, whether it's appropriate to code-mix with a certain individual or not. Code-mixing has given rise to new languages like Hinglish (Hindi + English), Benglish (Bengali + English), Tanglish (Tamil + English) and so on. Let's look at some TV commercials where the growing use of Hinglish cannot be ignored. Hinglish is deliberately used to make these more catchy.

In an ad for a certain shampoo, Priyanka Chopra says:
C'mon girls, waqt hai shine karne ka!

Punch line for pepsi is:
Yehi hai right choice baby
Yeh dil maange more.

Coca Cola:
Thanda matlab coca cola.

Vicco Turmeric:
Vicco Turmeric, Nehi Cosmetic;
Vicco Turmeric Ayurvedic Cream.

There are innumerable examples to cite. Radio jockeys and TV anchors deliberately mix English words with stream of Hindi sentence to sound more hep and funky. Hinglish has become the lingua franca for most of the upper class Indians, teenagers,and people across India. But somewhere in this process we are forgetting our language. There are certain words that cannot be replaced with any regional language. Certain words like train, TV, computer, mobile, and so on do not have similar words in any other Indian language. And even if they exist we do not use them today. Only time can predict whether code-mixing will prove useful or harmful in the near future.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Is Idiot Box On The Verge Of Death?

Being a digital native (wikipedia describes a digital native as "a person who has grown up with digital technology such as computers, the Internet, mobile phones and MP3.") I prefer to stay connected 24x7. And with internet I don't feel the need to buy an idiot box. Videos, movies, chatting, online booking, shopping, gaming, live news channels, and daily soaps too are all up there. Out of a population of 1.2 billion, and one of the largest English speaking countries, around 13.5 million people are internet subscribers. India's internet population is growing at a fast pace.

According to the survey conducted by IAMA (Internet and Mobile Association of India), there are around 45.3 million active internet users and 62.5 million claimed internet users as in September 2008. It is predicted that the number of internet users will go up to 80 million by year 2010. People have realized that internet usage cannot be restricted to just chatting, emailing, or gaming. On the contrary it has tremendous potential in the field of education, learning, sharing views and opinions through various media like blogging, and one can create a virtual self (avatar) in the cyber space.

The point is that when we can access so many things at one place, why the need for a television. I realized that eve since I got internet broadband connection; I stopped reading newspaper for daily news scoops. In the same way I sometimes yearned, if only I could watch some soaps instead of movies all the time. And I came across a site where the TV soaps are uploaded and I can jolly well view them anytime. I feel elated that internet has made our lives so much comfortable. I don't have to spend on too many durable goods to watch anything in particular.

However, there are few people who claim that radio is still a popular medium for listening to music, in the same way a laptop/desktop with internet connection can never replace a television. Out of 1.2 billion population 130 million people still read newspapers. I don't know nor can I claim that the death of the so called idiot box is nearing; only time will say what's in store. I may sound a little biased in my opinion, but as an active internet user I can say that though I may wish to own a television, I do not need it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Informal Learning

Informal learning is the learning that is unstructured, unorganized, spontaneous, and in some ways accidental. There may not be any specific objective for this kind of learning but at the end the learner gains knowledge about whatever s/he was skimming through. Informal learning can happen anywhere at work, while interacting with peers, or being a part of real time discussion.

As opposed to formal learning which is structured and follows a particular curriculum and which has a specific objective; informal learning does not follow any curriculum. Informal learning need not necessarily be work related. It can be anything, attitude, any kind of language, day-to-day experience, skills that mat or may not cater to your immediate need.

But as it is claimed that learner movitivation is central to any kind of learning, I believe learners who are highly motivated take up a lot of informal learning on their own. Because a lot of learning happens in an informal situation.

Jay Cross describes "Informal learning is like riding a bicycle: the rider chooses the destination and the route. The cyclist can take a detour at a moment’s notice to admire the scenery or help a fellow rider." Where as "formal learning is like riding a bus: the driver decides where the bus is going; the passengers are along for the ride. People new to the territory often ride the bus before hopping on the bike."

In an informal learning environment the learner feels that s/he has more control of what they want. The content is not pushed or thrust on them as opposed to formal learning sessions. It is also cheap and inexpensive as compared to the amount of money that is spent on formal learning.

Hence organizations should encourage learning that happens at the workplace, without compelling them to take up training sessions. Because a lot of learning happens in an informal environment.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Are Social Networking Sites Making Us Unsocial In Real Life?

Most of us are already using web 2.0 tools. One of the most famous and commonest of all is social networking sites and IM. Am writing this post since I came across an article that says-that the growing use of internet has made people of all ages and the gen y in particular unsocial in real life. But there are many points that need to be factored in before jumping to such conclusions. Let's see what these points are:

First of all I would partly agree that using too much of internet is making people of all ages unsocial to some extent. I have hardly seen anybody not using some IM while at their work place (if it’s not blocked). I assume that people feel more comfortable while exchanging info over chat or mail. But at times it becomes mandatory to talk either in person or over phone to clarify things and to avoid misunderstanding and miscommunication.

Most of the users believe that these sites help them manage and keep in touch with their friends, stay in touch with friends who are geographically apart, make new friends, find old friends and for business network as well. I feel networking online gives people and teenagers in particular a safe environment to interact. You have the choice of limiting access to your IM to a selected few. Companies make use of social networking to market their products. People get job opportunities via these sites. Some users believe that social networking not only provides friends both old and new but provides you with communities to share similar interest and also a sense of belongingness. They also provide a space which gives you the freedom to voice out opinion on various issues.

Well so much for social networking sites, but I guess I have digressed from the topic a bit. So I believe that online social networking is not turning people unsocial in real life rather it has helped to widen the business and social network of people across the world. It has made possible to connect and stay in touch with people who are geographically far apart.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Getting The Right Kind Of Images

It is sad but true that there are not many sites where you can find good images for free. And in case you are looking for images of some Indian rural people, you are definitely going to have a tough time . In my attempt to look for images of Indian rural people I could only find the images of temple, forts, houses with thatched roofs,and starving children. But this made me think, what do we do when we require images to meet the requirements of a particular project? Wish if anybody could help me with the resources to find vector images of rural Indian people. Other than google images I tried the following URLs to look for images but to no avail.

Friday, January 16, 2009

What Is Your Web 2.0 Quotient

Since the whole industry is talking about web 2.0 about and how can we use it to impart training. Let's check what is our invidividual web 2.0 quotient. I came across this in Manish's post, so to check your web 2.0 quotient use the following URL.

My Web 2.0 score is 53, so am a newbie. Find out what's your quotient.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

5 Things You Do Not Need To Know About Me

Manish Mohan has tagged me on this meme on 7 things you do not need to know about me. But I could come up with only 5 things so far.

Here is a list of 5 things you do not need to know about me:

1) I have planned to become a vegetarian for four days in a week. (Possibly not happening this year :-))

2) Of late am watching all romantic Korean movies. (Seems like I'm smitten by Korean movies)

3) I learnt to ride a scooty on my own. Have knocked down many a people in my first two attempts. :P They almost fell off their vehicles.

4) I once fell into a drain! Yuck it was long long back though.

5) I can watch 2-3 movies back to back on a single day.

So there you go guys.
I tag
Geeta, Archana, Smriti, Nishana, Vaishnavi, Ashim, Rashmi, Satya, Sneha, Sushant, Shipra, Ripul, Yatin, Meghna to continue this meme.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Difference between LMS and LCMS

Many a times I am confused with the terms Learning Management System (LMS) and Learning Content Management System (LCMS). So have decided to put down the difference between the two in as simple words as possible.

LCMS is a software that is used to create, maintain, reuse, and deliver learning material. On the other hand LMS is a software that allows delivering the learning material in the form of online modules; instructor led training modules within an organization. It also helps to track learner interaction with the content and the instructor, and helps in recording scores. LCMS provides just in time training. For example if say you are working in call center, and your company has launched a new application. You need not go through the entire training kit, instead you can just stick to the modules that you are required to go through and familiarize yourself.

The primary users of an LMS are the learners whereas LCMS is used by the course developers and SME. LMS is used to track student interaction and performance whereas LCMS is used by the content authors to collaborate. LMS is software for planning, delivering, and managing learning events within an organization, including online, virtual classroom, and instructor-led courses. In contrast, an LCMS is software for managing learning content for various training development programs across an organization. It provides developers, authors, instructional designers, and subject matter experts the means to create and re-use e-learning content and reduce duplicated development efforts.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Workshop on How to Use Web 2.0 Tools

Are you interested to know more about Web 2.0 tools such as wikis, blogs, podcasts, and virtual world for learning and training purposes? Kern Communications is conducting a workshop on how to use Web 2.0 tools. This workshop is designed for HR Managers and training heads who implement training in their organization.

Let me give a brief overview of the workshop.
  • Understand Web 2.0 – the changing face of the Internet.
  • Discuss training using sharing, collaboration, co-creation, user generated content, social networking
  • Explore the use of tools such as wikis, blogs, virtual worlds, podcasts, videocasts, social networking to design effective training
  • Discuss case studies where trainers have effectively used these tools for training purposes
  • Experience learning and training in the Virtual World

You can log in to for further details.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Zone of Proximal Development

Lev Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist and social constructivist came up with the Theory of Social Cognitive Development. The three major themes of this theory are:

Social interaction is necessary for learning and plays a vital role in the process of cognitive development.

MKO or the More Knowledgeable Other; A person who has a better understanding than the learner, it could be a teacher, a mentor, or even a peer who is more knowledgeable as compared to the learner.

Zone of Proximal Development or ZPD

In this theory he discussed about Zone of Proximal Development or ZPD. ZPD implies that a learner can do without as well as with the help of a teacher, or a competent peer, or a guide. ZPD was originally used for problem solving.

Vygotsky argued against examinations that are used as a standard means to test the intelligence and knowledge of the children. Rather he believed that children should be tested on problem solving independently and problem solving techniques with the help of a teacher or a guide. He also believed that students play an important role in the learning process.

By social interaction Vygotsky meant that culture has an enormous amount of impact on children. It is through one’s culture that children learn what to think and how to think. Vygotsky also emphasized that interaction between the teacher and the student facilitates learning; hence learners should be provided with a collaborative and interactive learning environment.

Vygotsky also highlighted the fact that children learn by imitating from their elders and adults; hence it is very important to provide the learners ample opportunity to solve problems under the guidance of a teacher/guide.

To conclude we can say that collaborative learning, discussions, interactivities definitely helps learners to achieve their goal. Also with proper guided learning learners can accomplish task that they cannot do on their own.