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Professional Reflection

I’ve learned so much in the process of creating this site and the technology guide. What started out as a fairly frustrating experience turned out to be quite rewarding for me personally and professionally. This is the first time I’ve built a website and explored some of these topics in great detail. I’ve already leveraged much of what I’ve learned over the last eight weeks in my role and have no doubt that it will continue to inform my work and our learning strategy.

The tool that I’ve explored the most during this class and expect to be the most effective in my role is social media and how it relates to learning.  The concept of social learning through the use of technology has the opportunity to change the way I think about learning in my current role. According to Bingham and Conner (2015) “The new social learning reframes social media from a mere marketing strategy to an approach that encourages and facilitates knowledge capture, transfer, and use, connecting people in a way consistent with how we naturally interact.” (p. 40). This is a place we just haven’t explored, but there’s great opportunity to do so. I plan to pursue how social media tools can connect our trainers with our subject matter experts (SMEs) that are all geographically dispersed across the country. While they connect through meetings, emails and instant messaging today, there isn’t a common repository or place for them to share knowledge, information and ask questions. A Facebook group would be a great tool to connect these two groups.

I’ve already shared my tool with a few people on my team as a way to expose them to the approach I’m taking to building my knowledge and skills. I’ve also shared a few of the articles I’ve read that offer really good advice and information on how to get started using the tools outlined in the technology guide. I expect we’ll use this tool and some of the resources included in it to begin exploring how we can better leverage mobile technology in our programs. Mobile learning will not meet the needs of all of the learners we serve, but can play a role in learning for our employees that are out on the road a lot and rely on their mobile device to stay connected to the organization. Mobile learning can provide these users great flexibility. Cone (2013) states that “by using it, the learner can access the learning whenever is most useful, access just the pertinent pieces, and navigate through the learning in a nonlinear fashion if desired” (p. 42). There are a lot of things to consider if we decide to go down this path, but it’s definitely something that are learners are asking us to pursue.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent building this site and the technology guide. I’ve already been able to leverage it to spark discussion and idea generation within my team. I look forward to continuing the work we’ve just started.

References

Bingham, T., & Conner, M. (2015). Transition and engage. TD: Talent Development69(8), 40-45.

Cone, J. (2013). Look before you leap into mobile learning. T+D67(6), 40-45.

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Videos and Gaming

Video

Video capability opens up a wide range of options for learning. Whether it’s an animated video or a standard video, trainers can use videos to tell a story, demonstrate a particular skill or task or conduct a lecture. The tools and cost associated with creating a video can vary depending on the type of video created.

Tool for Instruction

Videos are a fairly simple and cost effective tool for instruction. Additionally, they are a great tool for organizations to use to ensure consistency in the delivery of content (Markham, 2016). There can be variation in the delivery of content whenever a trainer is involved, but with a video, there is a level of assurance that all learners will hear the same message. Videos can also be incorporated into instruction as an activity for the learners. For example, in an online guitar class, an instructor might have students record themselves playing a song or a particular chord.

Incorporating the Tool        

We’ve incorporated the use animated videos throughout our new hire programs. We use them to tell a story and build context for more complex information. I’ve never used video for learner assignments, but think they could be incorporated into our training. I can envision role plays being recorded and sent to the trainer to evaluate whether or not they are using the desired behaviors we except of a phone associate. Demonstrating soft skills is a great use of video. According to Lipkowitz (2013) “Showing is far better than telling when illustrating soft skills or behavioral boundaries” (p. 27). To teach soft skills, I could also have a veteran phone associate demonstrate the skills we expect in a role play scenario. We could embed those videos into e-Learning modules and use as needed.

Getting Started

Depending on the type of video being recorded, different equipment may be needed. For animated videos, software would be required along with audio recording tools and capabilities. We use GoAnimate and Storyline for videos and have had really good success with these tools. Non-animated videos can be recorded with any video and audio recording equipment and can be as simple as a cell phone recording or as elaborate as a video completed in a professional recording studio. For more information on recording training videos, visit the links below:

https://elearningindustry.com/producing-high-quality-elearning-videos-ultimate-guide

http://www.sweetrush.com/what-we-do-for-you/video-audio-animation/

References

Markham, J. (2016, 12). Press play on training. Firehouse, 41, 44-47.

Lipkowitz, G. (2013). Lights, camera, action. T+D67(4), 26.

 

Gaming

Gamification is becoming increasingly popular as a method of training. According to Weinstein (2016) “Games and simulations give learners a fun, immersive way to learn the same lessons companies used to teach them in a traditional class” (p. 44). The potential use for games in a learning environment are endless. They can be used to teach content, reinforce training and even assess knowledge.

Tool for Instruction

Games can be used in a variety of different ways. Instructors can incorporate games that are available through mobile devices or desktops into any learning program. An instructor can teach a class a new concept and then have their learners play a game that reinforces what they just learned or even assess their knowledge of the topic. A great benefit that games can provide is immediate feedback. If a learner is playing a game and gets an answer incorrect, the game can alert them. Additionally, if learning is fun it’s more likely to keep learners engaged. According to Roberts (2014) “Engagement has been shown to correlate with retention, productivity and financial results” (p. 31). These are all key elements for the learning professional to consider when designing and developing training content.

Integrating the Tool

We use gamification a lot throughout our new hire program. We use it as both an assessment and reinforcement tool.  Throughout the course of our eight week training program, new hires earn points as they participate in games and answer questions correctly.  At the end of the training they are able to “cash” their points in for items in our online company store. While we use it in new hire, it really hasn’t been leveraged in any of our continuing education programs. Integrating gamification into those programs as both assessment and reinforcement tools will definitely increase their effectiveness.

Getting Started

Gamification requires the use of some type of software. I use GoAnimate, which has built in game templates, but there are plenty of other alternatives. The benefit of these is these is that once a game is built, it can be reused and changed by only swapping out the questions. This decreases the future level of effort needed to develop the game. The following sites can help anyone get started with gamification:

https://www.td.org/Publications/Blogs/Learning-Technologies-Blog/2014/02/Getting-Started-with-Gamification

https://elearningindustry.com/6-steps-get-started-gamification

References

Roberts, B. (2014). Gamification: win, lose or draw?. (2014). HR Magazine59(5), 29-35.

Weinstein, M. (2016). Are you game for learning?. Training53(5), 44-47.

Mobile Learning

YouTube

YouTube is a free video sharing website. Anyone can upload videos to be viewed by users with internet access.  YouTube can also be accessed via and app that is installed on any mobile device.   The videos available on YouTube are diverse and can be educational, informative and/or entertaining. Because the tool is so diverse it can be used for personal and professional learning.

Tool for Instruction

Mobile devices are seemingly everywhere and create opportunities for learning to be available at our fingertips. In the learning and development industry, we are seeing traditional e-learning shift and embrace a generation of mobile learning (Phillips, 2016). YouTube makes it easy for instructors to share information with learners via their mobile device or a desktop. As a tool for instruction, trainers can create videos to teach new concepts or to reinforce key learning from instructor led training sessions. Additionally, trainers can use YouTube as part of an assignment where learners create videos to demonstrate their knowledge on a particular topic. The possibilities for using YouTube as a tool for instruction are endless. All one needs is a bit of creativity.

Integrating the Tool

While I’ve used videos for instruction in the past, they have been animated videos and they’ve been accessible via our Learning Management System (LMS).  In my organization, I can envision using the YouTube app as a way to provide pre-work to new hires that are getting ready to join the organization.  It would be helpful for new hires to learn more about our organization and what we do prior to their first day.  We share those videos on day one of new hire today, but if done before new hire starts, we could use that time to discuss and reinforce what they learned in the video. According to Khaddage, Muller and Flintoff (2016) “mobile apps are capable of running on the learner’s mobile device to deliver learning that can offer skills in a hybrid/blended-learning environment, where the main focus is on the required skills regardless of how they are obtained, formally or informally” (p. 22). I could easily integrate videos delivered via the YouTube app into our formal new hire program.

Getting Started

Getting started on YouTube is fairly simple and straight forward. Any video recording equipment can be used to record videos for YouTube. If a professional recording isn’t necessary, a simple video recorded on a cell phone camera would be sufficient. To use in my environment, I would use professional recording equipment to capture the videos and sound. Once recorded, editing software may be required. All that’s really needed beyond this is a YouTube account to begin uploading the videos for users to view. For additional information on how to get started, these resources may be helpful:

https://blogs.constantcontact.com/getting-started-on-youtube/

http://www.gcflearnfree.org/youtube/getting-started-with-your-channel/1/

References

Khaddage, F., Müller, W., & Flintoff, K. (2016). Advancing mobile learning in formal and informal settings via mobile app technology: where to from here, and how?. Journal Of Educational Technology & Society19(3), 16-26.

Phillips, P. (2016). Send reinforcements. E.Learning Age, 30-31.

Glogster

Glogster is an app that allows users to create interactive multimedia posters. According to the Glogster, the app serves a multitude of purposes. It can be used to tell a story, make notes in lectures, present projects in meetings, and share experiences. Glogster wouldn’t stand on its own as a learning tool, but can be incorporated into instruction as a way to supplement lessons and learning.

Tool for Instruction

Glogster can be an effective tool for instruction if incorporated into a learning program effectively. Y dAccording to Di Stenfano, Gino, Pisano and Bradley (as cited in Ketter, 2016) “Individuals will learn more effectively when they are given the chance to reflect on and articulate the key lessons learned from experience” (p. 18). Glogster is a great tool for an instructor to use for a reflection exercise. To reinforce learning, an instructor can have their learners create posters on Glogster that highlight key learnings from the day, a particular module or at the end of training program.

Integrating the Tool

Reflection is an important step in the learning process. According to Schwandt (as cited in Foster and Stines, 2011) “Reflective learning process is how information is given meaning and becomes useful knowledge” (p. 13). While I’ve never used Glogster in a training program, I believe I could incorporate it into our programs as part of a reflection exercise.  At various points in our new hire program, we conduct group activities where employees use flip chart paper to share knowledge and information. The activity allows learners to reflect on their learning and share it with the larger class. Instead of using the flip chart paper, we could have the learners conduct the exercise in Glogster to share with others.

Getting Started

Glogster is an inexpensive tool that instructors can incorporate into lessons. There is a trial period for the app, but after that there is a nominal feel that the instructor pays for the app. Once they do, they can register up to 200 students.  Once the subscription has been paid for, the only thing needed is a mobile device with wifi or cellular capability and a camera. For additional information on using Glogster, review the following sites:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EtDBf4arb4

http://www.readwritethink.org/professional-development/strategy-guides/teaching-with-glogster-using-30790.html

References

Foster, R. D., & Stines, A. (2011). Experience, thinking and learning: an integrated definition and framework of reflection. Organization Development Journal29(2), 9-19.

Ketter, P. (2016). Doing vs. thinking. TD: Talent Development70(3), 18.

 

Poll Everywhere

Poll Everywhere is an app that allows audiences to answer questions real time using a mobile device or a web browers. The app is a great tool for gathering feedback and engaging an audience in a meeting or a training class. I’ve used Poll Everywhere numerous times and have found it as a useful tool to keep learners engaged in the class.

Tool for Instruction

Like Glogster, Poll Everywhere is not a tool that can be used alone for instruction. It can be incorporated into learning programs to check for understanding, gather learner feedback and to reinforce learning. Learning that extends beyond the initial learning event and is consistently reinforced is more likely to be applied over a longer period of time (Barron, 2014). Instructors can build questions into the app and at certain times throughout the lesson, ask learners to pull up the app and answer a poll question.  Once the answers are received, the instructor can display the results for everyone in the class. The instructor can then use the results, to reinforce learning or clarify content if they see incorrect answers. This same activity can be done at the end of the day to reinforce key concepts or done first thing in the morning to reinforce something that was taught the prior day.

Incorporating the Tool

Adapting to the needs of the adult learners in critical in my environment. According to Malone (2014) “Learning strategies such as case studies, problem based learning exercises, role-playing, discussion, reflection and self-evaluation are most useful – anything in fact that engages the skills and experience of the adult learner” (p. 12). Poll Everywhere is a tool that I can incorporate into learning programs as a reflection and self-evaluation strategy. By asking poll questions at points throughout my learning programs I am able to provide the learners an opportunity to reflect on their learning to respond to a question. When the results are displayed, they are able to identify if they got the answer right or wrong. If it was incorrect, the trainer needs to spend time clarifying the content. Responses to questions can serve as a formative assessment. The trainer will know immediately whether or not they need to adjust to where the class is.

Getting Started

Getting started on Poll Everywhere is super easy.  There is a trial period so a company can try it and see if it meets their wants prior to purchasing it. Poll Everywhere offers a variety of different subscription options depending on the needs of the users. They also have varied pricing depending on whether the subscription is being used by a business or an educational institution. As long as users have a desktop or mobile device they will be able to respond to polls sent through Poll Everywhere. The instructor will need access to a computer with web access and PowerPoint. For more information on getting started with Poll Everywhere, access the following sites:

https://www.polleverywhere.com/guides

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuLH_wm-RfI

References

Barron, A. (2014). Teaching learners to fish. TD: Talent Development68(8), 30-33.

Maldne, S. (2014). Characteristics of adult learners. Training & Development41(6), 10-13.

 

Web 2.0 Technology Guide Continued…

Adobe Connect

Adobe Connect is a web conference software that allows for collaborative interactions during meetings, training and webinars.  The tool has screen share and video capabilities which make it an idea option for meetings and training. In my organization, we use Adobe Connect to facilitate all of our instructor led training classes.

Tools for Instruction

The need to deliver training in a virtual environment exists in many organizations. With employees across the country and even internationally, it’s not always possible to pull employees together in a physical classroom environment. To accommodate classroom training, virtual training is necessary. According to Aitken (2011) “Web conferencing services lend themselves to learning since they allow participants to share presentations, edit and review documents and interact online in a range of other ways as their training session progresses” (p. 31). A facilitator can use Adobe Connect to share training materials, conduct breakout sessions, gather participant reactions, conduct chats, white board information, etc.

Integrating the Tool

We use Adobe Connect as our tool for delivering instructor led training in a virtual environment. Trainers are able to use all the bells and whistles included in the tool to keep learners engaged in training sessions. The video capabilities can be integrated into training and used during breakout sessions so learners can physically see each other. The trainer can build polls into the tool to gauge learner’s knowledge and feedback throughout the session. Chat boxes can be used for learners to provide feedback and contact the instructor individually if they have any questions or are having issues with the technology. Identifying a space for learners to provide feedback on their experience allows the trainers to adapt their delivery to increase engagement and meet individual needs (Jaenke, 2012).

Getting Started

Adobe Connect is not a free tool, so getting started would require purchasing the software or having access to it through work. Once a trainer has access to the tool, they should set up a room for their training and begin customizing it for their class. Polls, chat boxes, Q&A pods, etc. should all be set up and ready to go before learners join the class. Since the technology may be new for some learners, the trainer should consider sending basic instructions to the learners before the class. If that’s not possible, they should look to incorporate a brief overview of the tool at the start of the class. For additional information on how to get started in Adobe Connect, please reference the links below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6I4JFvmZiQ

https://www.lynda.com/search?q=adobe+connect

References

Aitken, R. (2010). Building for the future with virtual learning. Strategic HR Review, 9(1), 29-34.

Jaenke, R. (2012). JUST ASK THEM: Increasing Learner Engagement. T+D, 66(7), 30-31.

 

Facebook

Facebook is a free social media platform that allows users to connect with others and join public and private groups.  The groups allow people with similar interests to interact through a page dedicated to a specific area of focus. For example, a group could be set up for parents of children is a local girl’s scout program for parents to share pictures, discuss upcoming events and coordinate volunteer activities.  These groups do not have to be limited to personal activity. Facebook can be leveraged as a social learning tool for businesses.

Tools for Instruction

Through the use of groups, Facebook can be leveraged as a tool for instruction. Abbasi (2016) states “While Facebook was not originally created as a learning platform, it does integrate useful education applications. Apps such as Slideshare and Webinaria Screencast Recorder allow instructors and learners to share information and collaborate seamlessly on Facebook” (p. 27). An instructor can set up a Facebook group and invite all learners in a class to join the group.  Through that page, an instructor can post information, solicit feedback, ask questions, conduct polls, etc. Learners can react to the information that both the instructor and other learners post. This set up can serve as an engaging platform for healthy dialogue between all parties on the page.

Integrating the Tool

I’ve never used Facebook as a tool for learning, but have participated in several group pages. As the presence of millennials continues to rise in the workplace, I need to consider how my organization could leverage Facebook for our current programs. We tend to gravitate toward teaching in the ways we’ve learned, but as leaders and instructors it’s important we recognize the needs of the increasingly tech savvy learner (Tucker, 2016). I could easily establish a Facebook group for a class of learners that are getting ready to start a new hire class. This could be especially effective for a class for work at home learners that will never have the opportunity to meet and connect in the classroom. Our facilitator could use the page to conduct an icebreaker activity where people post pictures and introduce themselves. From there, the page could be used to engage in additional discussion outside of the daily classroom activity. It can also be used as a way to recap daily lessons.

Getting Started

Getting started on Facebook is really simple. The tool is fairly intuitive and will help any user establish their page and user groups. It will be important for an instructor to communicate to users how they use the tool and what their expectation is for how they interact on the page. As a tool for learning, Abbasi (2016) offers some simple advice for getting started: create a page for the program, use the discussions tab to engage learners in discussions, make the title page catchy, link your company page to the group page, use Facebook insights to track engagement, embed surveys to gather feedback and ensure content is kept fresh and relevant. The following resources provide additional information on how to get started:

https://www.efrontlearning.com/blog/2013/04/using-facebook-as-a-learning-platform.html

http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-New-Facebook-Group

References

Abbasi, I. (2016). Get social. TD: Talent Development70(3), 26-28.

Tucker, C. (2016). Escaping the lesson-planning doldrums. Educational Leadership74(2), 83-84.

 

Bonfyre

Bonfyre is an employee engagement tool that allows users to connect and build relationships through a social media app. Bonfyre is also accessible through a desktop for those users that don’t have access to a smartphone or tablet from which the app could be launched. Having a forum that allows employees to interact and engage with each other makes it an optimal tool for learning.

Tools for Instruction

Similar to Facebook, instructors have the ability to build Bonfyre pages for training classes. Once a page is built, instructors can invite learners into the forum. Once in the forum, instructors can provide logistical information about the class (start and end time, room location, pre-work, etc.) and begin generating excitement about the learning experience. Users can respond to the instructor and interact with other users in the class. Once the class begins, the instructor can use Bonfyre to post questions, polls, pictures, conduct daily recaps, etc. This provides more opportunities for users to engage and to benefit from social learning. Jeffrey (2015) defines social learning as “enabling employees to learn from and collaborate with each other, and plug into or create internal and external knowledge networks that ideally become self-sustaining rather than centrally mandated” (p. 37). Bonfyre engagement doesn’t have to stop at the conclusion of training. Users have the ability to continue to engage and interact with each other once the class has ended.

Integrating the Tool

Social media tools do not have to replace traditional learning methods, but can serve as a complement to learning activities (Puijenbroek, Poell & Timmerman, 2014). In my organization, we’ve integrated Bonfyre into our learning programs as a supplemental tool to reinforce learning and encourage engagement. Instructors have flexibility to determine the best approach for using Bonfyre with their learners. After learning more about how to set up social media use for effective learning, we do have an opportunity to create more structure around how and when instructors use the tool. Consistency in approach will allow us to gain and share best practices across instructors. This tool can benefit leaders that are looking to create deeper connections across their teams. In the same way instructors interact with learners, leaders can do the same thing, fostering a stronger sense of community across their team.

Getting Started

Like many apps, Bonfyre is fairly intuitive and easy to use. If an instructor or user is familiar with any social media tool, they can figure out Bonfyre quickly. The tool is designed for businesses, so there is a cost associated for a company interested in using Bonfyre. Some pre-work is required for an instructor looking to use Bonfyre for a class. They’ll need to gather the names and email addresses of their learners so they can invite them to the Bonfyre ahead of time. Additionally, games, activities, polls, etc. all require set up before they can be deployed. Simple interaction and posting of content and pictures requires no pre-work. For instructors or leaders looking for additional information on Bonfyre these sites may be helpful:

https://www.snapmunk.com/bonfyre-private-social-communication-app-engages-employees-increases-job-satisfaction/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dn3XGC0tr7k

References
Jeffrey, R. (2015). What apple pies can teach you about social learning. People Management, 36-40.

Puijenbroek, T., Poell, R., Kroon, B., & Timmerman, V. (2014). The effect of social media use on work related learning. Journal Of Computer Assisted Learning30(2), 159-172.

Web 2.0 Technology Guide

Wiki

A wiki is an online site that encourages the collaborative sharing of knowledge and information by its users (Baxter and Connolly, 2014). Because the content is user generated, users are also able to edit any of the content available on the site.  Wikis are a great tool to use when information needs to be gathered from a large and broad audience.  They are especially effective for the sharing of knowledge across groups of people that are geographically dispersed.

Tool for Instruction

A wiki can be used be used as an effective instruction tool. A need for 21st century learning is to incorporate technology into how we are instructing and engaging our learners.  An example of this can be seen in my current class at CSU Global – Learning Technologies. In this class, we are building a web 2.0 tool to share the knowledge and information we’ve learned throughout the program.  I chose to build a website, but another option would be for the instructor to build a wiki for the class.  Each week we could complete our assignments on the wiki and other students could add or edit the content throughout the course. This would give everyone the opportunity to both build and edit content.

Integrating the Tool

At Express Scripts, we’ve used a wiki to gather information and knowledge in specialized areas of our operation.  These are smaller groups with very tenured employees that just know how to do the role with no tools or resources. They have legacy or “tribal” knowledge in their heads that are not accessible to others. There’s a lot of risk for the operation when this situation exists.  If the employee exits the organization, all of that information is gone with them. By creating this wiki, we essentially built the foundation for a knowledge management system for this department. We asked the experts to begin sharing processes on the wiki, and overtime, we’ve started to enhance those procedures.  We did set it up with some structured topics and our facilitators have gone in and asked specific questions when there was a need for them to go deeper on a particular topic. This approach varies greatly from a traditional knowledge management system where there is one source of knowledge and content. This allows communities of experts to share their knowledge and insight to collectively create a better outcome (Nath, 2012).  In the absence of any documentation, this tool has allowed us to quickly begin capturing processes and procedures that can be enhanced and used in training for future employees.

Getting Started

Launching a wiki requires some basic research, but like most like most topics, there many tutorials online that can assist you in building a wiki. If it’s a personal wiki than a tool like Wikia, Wikidot or WikiFoundry may be the best first step in conducting your research. If the tool is to be used in a business environment, a SharePoint may be the best tool to use since it’s a commonly used tool in business.  To learn more about creating a Wiki I would reference the following two resources:

http://www.wikihow.com/Start-a-Wiki

https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Starting_and_Running_a_Wiki_Website

References

Baxter, G. J., & Connolly, T. M. (2014). Implementing web 2.0 tools in organisations: Feasibility of a systematic approach. The Learning Organization, 21(1), 6-25.

Nath, A. K. (2012). Web 2.0 technologies for effective knowledge management in organizations: A qualitative analysis. Retrieved from https://csuglobal.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.csuglobal.idm.oclc.org/docview/1022323855?accountid=38569

 

Blog

Unlike a wiki page, a blog serves as a repository for an individual’s ideas a content.  According to Cromity (2008) “Blogs excel as communication media because they are easy to use, fun to have, and either free or inexpensive to create” (p. 32). For these reasons they can be great tools for learning and distributing Knowledge and information.

Tools for Instruction

Blogs can be incorporated into a learning event as a reflection exercise. According to Belz and Muller-Hartmann (as cited in Watkins, 2016) “reflection activities in online learning offers students the potential for self-directed learning and flexible structures for engagement, which can increase student levels of autonomy, emotional independence, and self-direction” (p. 6). Assigning a blog assignment to students that are learning information over a period of time is a great opportunity to reinforce learning through self-reflection.

Integrating the Tool

At Express Scripts, we conduct an eight week new hire training program for our call center associates.  We could use personal blogs as a way for learners to reflect on their week, successes they had, challenges they faced and identify any questions or need for additional support. The trainers could review this weekly and reach out to individual learners if additional help is required. We use reflection sheets in the classroom today, but it’s a traditional paper and pencil exercise and doesn’t incorporate any technology that could be more engaging for our learners.

Getting Started

Getting started on a blog is fairly easy.  A user really just needs to establish the concept or idea for their blog and then find software that has a theme or concept that aligns with its purpose. I recently built my first site using WordPress and found it initially challenging to use, but eventually got the hang of it. There are additional sites like WordPress that help users get started on building their own blog. Some of those sites include Drupal, Joomla and Blogsmith. Once complete, it’s up to the user to keep the blog current and relevant. The following resources provide detailed instructions for setting up a website or blog.

https://websitesetup.org/

https://www.bloggingbasics101.com/how-do-i-start-a-blog/

References

Cromity, J. (2008). Web 2.0 tools for social and professional use. Online, 32(5), 30-33.

Watkins, H. E. (2016). Finding the reflective learner online: Developing a richer model of reflection in a large-scale internet class. Retrieved from https://csuglobal.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.csuglobal.idm.oclc.org/docview/1868415978?accountid=38569

 

Podcasts

Podcasts are audio or video recordings that can be used to distribute information to an audience (Halls, 2010).  Usually when the term podcast is heard, it’s most commonly associated with audio files, but it can refer to video as well. Podcasts can be a powerful way of getting chunks of information out to an audience in a quick and inexpensive manner (Halls, 2010).

Tools for Instruction

Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular as a way for communicate educational content to audiences. Sussman (2005) states “With audio programming now available to anyone with a computer and access to the web, companies are starting to look at podcasts as a means of enhancing employee training and development as well as reducing the cost of training” (p. 53). Podcasts can certainly stand on their own as a method of instruction, but can also be incorporated into learning programs as supplemental or reinforcement materials. Perhaps before an assessment in a training class, a podcast can be used to highlight key points in a program.

Integrating the Tool

While we don’t currently use podcasts today at Express Scripts, I can see an opportunity to do so. All of the employees in our training organization have the tools to record a podcast, we just haven’t taken advantage of them.  I would love to see us use a podcast as a way to incorporate information from our subject matter experts.  During our new hire program, we have a pharmacist that joins the class and spends about an hour with our new call center associates. They describe their role and when call center agents need to refer member calls to a pharmacist. It is very expensive to take pharmacists out of production to speak to a class and a podcast could be a great alternative. We could either have the pharmacist provide their presentation via the podcast or could incorporate an interview format with a pharmacist and a facilitator.

Getting Started

Like any recording, it’s best to start with clear objectives and a script. Without proper preparation, there’s a risk of the speaker going off topic and losing focus on the objectives of the podcast. In terms of equipment, Halls (2010) states “At the very basic level, you’ll need a PC, microphone, and a set of headphones. You’ll need to install a software package such as Audacity or Adobe Audition onto your computer to record and edit your audio” (p. 92). Equally important is ensuring that the audience has the equipment necessary to listen to the podcast. Listed below are a couple of links to help get anyone started on recording a podcast:

https://theaudacitytopodcast.com/tap060-how-to-record-and-edit-a-podcast-with-audacity/

http://www.digitaltrends.com/how-to/how-to-make-a-podcast/2/

References

Halls, J. (2010). Give learning a listen: Audio podcasting and learning. T + D, 64(10), 92-93.

Sussman, D. (2005). Now hear this. T + D, 59(9), 53-57.

 

Infographic

This week, I’d like to share an example of an infographic. While the topic of this one is focused on the multigenerational workforce, leaders can use an infographic to communicate information in a fun and visually appealing way. new-piktochart_882_17c35ff9f17698669dfc4e851d268d18890136ec.

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