Jan 15, 2009

Doing More with Less

I went to the Mid-NJ ASTD Meeting today to attend the presentation "Doing More with Less: Adding Value in a Turbulent Economy" presented by Michael Schiavoni & Nicholas Russo.

Here is a presentation of my summary.

Jan 7, 2009

War Games

The NBC Nightly news ran this story about an Army recruiting site in the Franklin Mills Mall in Philadelphia, PA. But it's not your typical recruitment center. It's a place where people can play video games -- war simulation games -- to experience the front lines of an Army unit in a war zone.

As a marketing tool, I think it's brilliant. It targets young adults who are into video games. The facility has cutting-edge technology and is pretty much an opportunity to 'try before you buy'.

As a learning tool, I also think it has many of the characteristics mentioned in my previous post:
  • Personalized and goal based - Individuals are part of a team to accomplish a mission. This parallels the goals and missions defined by military units.
  • Coaching and immediate feedback - I'm not sure if there is coaching, but there is definitely immediate feedback based on the learner's actions. You can see if your shot was on target, or if you are not careful and get killed.
  • Flexibility - The outcome of the simulation is based on the learner's actions. The simulation will be different each time it is used. Just as in combat, a soldiers actions have consequences and they must learn how to act and at what appropriate time.
  • Simple, intuitive navigation - There isn't time to sit down and read the instructions. Just like in combat, learners must be able to hit the ground running.
  • Hard fun - Because it is a simulation, learners have the chance to make mistakes, see the outcome, overcome challenges and try again.
What are your thoughts about the Army Experience? Do you see the learning value is these simulations and video games?

Hard Fun

It's time to come back to this blog. I'm on my last class for my masters degree and I think I can at least use my final project as a focus.

But in the meantime, I came across Rick Nigol's blog entry on what lessons he learned from using Wii Fit. He matched them to the same goals that should designers should strive for in creating e-learning courses.

  • Personalized and goal based
  • Coaching and immediate feedback
  • Flexibility
  • Simple, intuitive navigation
  • Hard fun
It's important to me to be continually reminded on what elements make for a good e-learning course. I'm not doing any ID work at my current job -- yet, but I can see where the deficiencies are in the projects that are being developed. So I learn from examples and non-examples.

I especially like the last bullet, hard fun.

Learning something doesn't need to be a chore or so boring where the only 'interaction' is clicking on a "Continue" button. Learning should be challenging and relevant. It should make you think and not be afraid to fail. You should be able to take whatever facts and concepts that are presented and use them in a meaningful manner. It shouldn't be easy, because face it, life never is. But it should be fun.

I will keep this phrase in my mind as I start to develop my own courses.