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Twitter

Twitter

To cap off a day of blog bostings…I just came across Jane Hart’s directory of ‘eLearning professionals on Twitter’ – see http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/socialmedia/edutwitter.html to see the list (nearly 600 people so far).

Apologies for the shameless self-promotion but it is not everyday that your work receives high-profile industry recognition.

Demofest logo

Demofest logo

Following on from being  a named partner to KPMG in the ASTD Excellence in Practice awards back in May (San Diego), PIXELearning just last week picked up another accolade at the E-Learning Guild Devlearn Demofest for ‘Our Worlds of Makrini’.

‘Makrini’ is a soon to be launched diversity awareness & inclusion training serious games that we are developing for a major US bank in conjunction with our partners Global Lead. The game uses a sci-fi theme to deliver highly experiential learning aroudn what is a very sensitive subject.

PIXELearning were selected by judges at The Elearning Guild’s DevLearn 2008 event as the winners of the 2008 DemoFest. This event was the first public airing of Makrini, the soon to be released diversity awareness and inclusion training game we are jointly developing with Global Lead for a major US retail banking chain.

To see the 37 other submissions that we beat click on the following link:

http://www.elearningguild.com/content.cfm?selection=doc.987

Makrini - diversity training game

Makrini - diversity training game

A few weeks ago I posted a question on Linkedin asking folks for their opinion on the outlook for serious games in the current economic downturn.

“Are the current economic challenges around global financial services affecting the serious games market?”, I asked. A selection of the answers I got back are shown below:

“Serious games and eLearning in general are more cost effective as the price of gas goes up and businesses & the US government get tighter with money”.
– Greg Cason, Senior Analyst at Sonalysts

“I think virtual conferences and associated interactive learning might become more popular. As virtual worlds provide greater sense of presence, they become more cost effective alternatives”.
– Jeff Covelli, PM, Sr. Systems Engr at Northrop Grumman

“Its probably to early to tell what the real outcome would be. but if games and sims save money then they will be more popular. the entertainment games industry has traditionally done better during recession”.
– Kam Memarzia, CEO, Serious Games and Simulations Developer, PlayGen

“Do not think it will affect customers already being familiar with the efficiency of properly implemented serious games. However, it might make the sales to new prospects more difficult, as many perceive game development in general as expensive”.
– Eric Eikrem, CEO, Agitatio AS

“I think if anything the economic times are helping serious games grow. I am seeing MORE discussion of them replacing costly in-person classes and seminars than ever before”.
– Phaedra Boinodiris, Social Media and Serious Games Intrapreneur

Whilst accepting that the respondents are all pro-serious games, these comments do reflect what I keep hearing in wider circles; namely that the financial pressures that clients are coming under may actually be an opportunity for serious games companies and learning 2.0 innovators in general.

Whilst many firms such that provide, for example, traditional face-to-face training or bespoke eLearning development services, are undoubtedly coming under pressure it seems to me that there are two areas where learning vendors are turning the situation to their advantage:

Rapid eLearning technology providers/consultants(e.g. Atlantic Link and KINEO) – they offer clients a chance to slash budgets (even in the end result is less than desirable at times)

Technical innovators – these firms can potentially allow clients to provide better results for the same (or possibly a reduced) expenditure.

As ever, the end result depends on how well the client organisation is able to successfully blend a range of learning approaches. To a certain extent this has always been true but as we go into 2009, the sheer range of technology and non-technology services, content and tools is becoming bewilderingly large.

Perhaps the real winners will be those firms and individuals that can show clients how to glue all these together in an effective and appropriate way?

A NOAH "in action"

A NOAH

“The first think I learned about online training was that it was boring”. So says Tomothy Freriks, CEO of TelSim Software in an article on the Learning Technologies web site in his post entitled “Using Avatars – a Developer’s Perspective”.

The title and the first sentence grabbed my attention – being that these statements are aligned to my own motivations for using games and simulations in learning – but I have got to question the effectiveness ‘leap’ of having a simplistic little waving man slide across an otherwise unchanged HTML page (e.g. boring text and static images).

Freriks’s article makes several assertions that resonate with my own experience but I just do not get the NOAH thing. A talking pseudo facilitator/mentor character is a very familiar mechanic (most of our immersive simulations use the ‘mentor characters’). What I just don’t believe is that by simply adding a crudely animated flat cartoon character – who talks at you– learners are suddenly engaged and chomping at the bit to read page after page of, say, financial compliance theory. It is hardly transforming a passive, reception model of information dissemination into a rip-roaring, roller coaster of an experience….is it?

Frerik quotes a case study where two test groups used the same courseware and where the ‘non-NOAH’ group remembered 20% and the ‘NOAH-enhanced’ group remembered 60% of what they were supposed to. I don’t dispute that. If you turn devilishly dull content into ever-so-slightly-less dull courseware then you should see a brief gain if all you are measuring is the learner’s ability to recall information. How long did that effect last for though? 5 minutes? An hour? Did the group that ‘benefited’ from the ‘avatar’ acquire deep levels of subject mastery as a result? Did they demonstrate high levels of learning transfer from the course to the workplace? I seriously doubt it.

As ever I am ready to be proved wrong – hey, it wouldn’t be the first time! Let me know how adding a ‘NOAH’ transformed your eLearning programmes across your enterprise….please!

Read the article at http://www.trainingindustry.com/learning-technologies/articles/using-avatars.aspx (registration required – FREE)

A few weeks ago I posted news of some serious eLearning recruitment that is going on in Dublin. The recruiter concerned sought my help in locating suitable candidates. Since then I have been inundated with emails and CVs but don’t let that stop you. There are plenty of roles still available and in fact several key roles need to be filled, ideally for a January start. See below…

*Director, Interactive Design* – Urgent – Slots available for interviews this week and next week

*Content Project Manager* – Keep CVs coming in  please

*Interactive Design Lead** – Urgent – key priority for us aiming for a January start

*Audio//Video Manager** – Urgent – key priority for us aiming for a January start

*Usability Manager** – Urgent – key priority for us aiming for a January start

The hiring firm would prefer candidates already in possession of EU work permits (or European candidates) but won’t necessarily exclude overseas candidates. Experience of working with US or European clients is, however, a strong requirement.

Drop me a mail ( kevincorti [at] yahoo [dot] co [dot] uk ) if you are interested or if you know somebody else who may be.

Link to the previous post – click here

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