I recently received an email from a past Master eLearning Course (MEC) student wondering what else she could do to keep her new eLearning skills fresh and up to date. This got me thinking about what happens once we finish formal training like the MEC, how we keep ourselves connected to this fast paced eLearning world.
David Anderson, from the awesome Articulate eLearning Heroes community, has come up with the weekly eLearning challenge. Participating in these weekly challenges allows you to build your own ePorfolio and also help encourage reflective practice. Usually most who participate in the challenges, blog about it afterwards which is of course ‘reflection-on-action’. Reflection is a powerful learning tool.
We run a lot of Certified Articulate Storyline and Studio training workshops here in Australia. Usually throughout these workshops, we hear an ‘OMG’ or ‘you mean I can do that myself’. A lot of people who come to these workshops have been ‘burned’ by eLearning companies in the past who tell them that it’s either too hard or it will cost X amount to change something minor. Regardless of what authoring tool you use, as long as you have some degree of computer literacy, you can generally be upskilled in these technologies pretty quickly. So whatever the software, why not undertake some formal training and you can make these content changes yourself or even better just build the courses yourself. Remember, you know your learners better than anyone.
There are a lot of other free online courses and MOOCs out there. Some good and some are where busy people go to …ummn…well…do nothing I suppose. Sorry but that’s usually the reality. Thousands of people sign up but then don’t always complete these free open style courses. Before you jump on the MOOC bandwagon, ask yourself does a MOOC suit your style of learning. Some MOOCs are run differently than others so it’s worth doing a little pre-course investigating. At the moment three areas I’m interested in is Agile Instructional Design, User Experience Design and improving my writing style for both formal and eLearning writing purposes. I find places like Udemy, Lynda.com great for things like this. At the moment, I’m quite time poor, so being able to dip in and out of these courses and not be confined to a schedule suits my current learning mode.
There are so many LinkedIn groups and Twitter chats out there that it’s hard to know where to begin. A big complaint from my MEC students is the information overload. There are so many ways to stay connected. I recently attended a Sydney eLearning Third Place Meet Up hosted by Tanya Lau and Ryan Tracey. I don’t always get to attend these as I travel quite a bit for work but when I do, I find them really enjoyable and a nice way to feel part of the industry. Meet ups like this is a great way to pick up tips, learn about new blogs/courses or worthwhile Twitter chats/LinkedIn groups.
We’ve had a lot of requests about setting up some Articulate User Groups around Australia so make sure you are on the B Online Learning newsletter for updates about this one.
B Online Learning recently launched our own LinkedIn Alumni Group managed by Matt Guyan for our Articulate Training and MEC participants as well as our Content Development and LearnFlex LMS clients. Its gaining momentum by keeping the eLearning conversation going, you will also benefit with exclusive offers and discounts on our services if you are a member, so please join.
It Takes Time
Unfortunately this is not the Jetsons and there’s no magic pill that we can take to insert all the ever changing information into our brains. However when they do invent that pill or microchip, I’ll be first in line. All jokes aside, these things take time. Time management is the biggest issue facing most of my MEC students. It takes discipline. It takes motivation. I like to allocate about an hour every morning to catch up on twitter feeds, read some articles/research or dip into some online course I’m undertaking.
I would love to hear more about how you keep your finger on the pulse. What groups, website or learning tools help you stay ahead of the pack? How do you stay disciplined? Feel free to add your comments below.
Ruth is the Learning Director, B Online Learning. She holds a MEd. and is an Articulate Certified Trainer. Ruth has a passion for new technologies, social collaboration strategies and the impact they have on learning. Her extensive role at B Online Learning includes managing and facilitating the Master eLearning Course. This course instructs learning professionals how to design, develop and deliver eLearning courses effectively and efficiently in the workplace, whilst engaging them in a social community of eLearning best practice. She manages the Certified Articulate training programs in the Asia-Pacific region and was recently awarded BEST ONLINE FACILITATOR at the LearnX 2013.