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Talent Turnover

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People are more connected than ever, communicating and receiving information increasingly in non-traditional ways. The typical 21-year-old has sent or received 250,000 instant messages and spent an average of 3,500

Published in Executive Suite

The Topyx Online Learning Center provides a unique platform for content owners and developers to sell their content online directly to learners, while leveraging powerful social learning tools in Topyx’s learning management system.

The Topyx platform, which is a social e-learning software solution for businesses, academic institutions and associations, is now accessible by the learner directly. The same tools are now available for anyone who wants to market and sell their own content online while benefiting from the social learning attributes of Topyx, without any capital outlay, programming -- and no long wait to get started. The content owner sets the price and can start selling almost immediately. The Topyx Online Learning Center creates a new online selling channel for content owners around the world and provides the benefits social e-learning software available to enhance market reach, improve customer retention and open up lines of communication and collaboration.

More information: www.interactyx.com.

Published in New Products

People are more connected than ever, communicating and receiving information increasingly in non-traditional ways. The typical 21-year-old has sent or received 250,000 instant messages and spent an average of 3,500 hours online.

Based on these statistics, there is no doubt that we are always connected to online media through our computers or mobile phones. Before we can develop learning for mobile phones, however, we must be aware of the issues — and opportunities — inherent in their diversity of hardware and software platforms.

Screen Resolution

Today, most Web-based training built for a personal computer (PC) is designed for screen resolutions of 800x600 or 1024x768, which is compatible with most PCs. However, when dealing with a mobile phone, screen resolutions include 128x160, 320x480, 176x220 and 240x320. In addition, newer devices often support a landscape mode where the width and height are reversed as the phone is rotated.

So it’s important to determine what screen resolution you’re designing for, in addition to the screen width and number of pixels per inch. The number of pixels per inch is important, because it will affect the details in any picture or drawing displayed.

Microsoft’s “dot-NET” (.NET) mobile framework identifies both the mobile browser and screen resolution when a phone accesses a site. Another option is to use a database with the screen resolution information. This can be done through a user agent profile, the standard way defined by the Open Mobile Alliance (formerly the WAP Forum) for detecting user agent types and devices.

Bandwidth Limitations

A typical corporate Internet connection could be 20 million bits per second (Mbps). At that speed, it would take about two seconds to download a one-minute video. Conversely, bandwidth on mobile phones varies from 56 thousand bits per second (kbps) to 1 Mbps, meaning the same one-minute video could take anywhere from 10 seconds to two minutes to download. Therefore, developers need to be aware of these download speeds and carefully choose the media elements that will be used in the course.

Differentiating Browsers

Applications like games, productivity tools and scheduling software are downloaded, stored and run off the mobile phone’s internal memory, not through its browser. So courses designed to run through phone browsers without downloading an application need to use less memory and accommodate slower processors.

Many developers make extensive use of Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight for PC-based courses, because they make it easy to integrate interactivity and animations. However, the typical mobile device may not support Flash or Silverlight.

Adobe Flash Lite is a Flash version for mobile phones. Today, over 400 Flash Lite-enabled devices are available. Silverlight should be available for newer versions of Windows Mobile and Symbian (Series 60) phones this year.

Integrating Systems

No matter what learning management system (LMS) you have, you are going to have to determine how the mobile phone will communicate with it. Your choices are to connect with the LMS through an application downloaded to the phone or through the mobile Web browser. A native-run application is more efficient in terms of data usage, but it does require a custom application to be developed and downloaded to the mobile phone to ensure there is communication with the LMS.

ISD the Same

Instructional system design (ISD) fundamentals do not change when designing programs for mobile devices. To accommodate the phone’s software, screen size and bandwidth constraints, keep the following in mind:

>> Do not make this a page-turner. Build in interactivity and be sure your designer is cognizant of each mobile device’s navigation (for example, track ball, scroll wheel and touch screen).

>> Chunk the learning into small nuggets. On a mobile device, aim for about five minutes or less of content at a time.

>> Plan the media asset mix — such as 2-D and 3-D graphics, animations and video — carefully.

A New Horizon

In a handful of years, we’ve seen mobile phones evolve from wireless telephones into sophisticated communications devices. Making calls is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what people can do — and want to do — when they’re away from their wired worlds. Today’s mobile phone technology presents unprecedented capability for organizations to take full advantage of every available opportunity for learning.

—The author of this article is Don Duquette, executive vice president, Learning Solutions for General Physics Corp. For more information, visit the Website http://us.gpworldwide.com.

Published in Latest News

There’s a lot to learn from learning leaders. Thus, the establishment four years ago of the Learning Leaders program by Bersin & Associates, in partnership with Elearning! magazine.

The 2010 Learning

Published in Top Stories

Tools to Cope With the Glut of Digital Information Available

Published in Top Stories

Designing Digitally Inc. has sold a complete browser-based 3-D serious game for a government client. The client needed the ability to teach prison guards how to effectively transport an inmate from one location to another. The game uses one of Designing Digitally’s Web-based gaming engines that would allow for guards to fully understand the correct procedures when handling inmates.

The game allows the guard to be provided instant feedback from an automated inmate depending on what that action is taken. By using dynamic interactions, the company was able to allow for interactive dynamic responses by the automated bot rather than a linear learning path. The virtual online learning tool allows for guards in training to obtain a full understanding of what could potentially happen if those procedures are not completed as they were taught during training sessions.

For questions about Designing Digitally’s Web development, graphic design and e-learning development services, visit www.designingdigitally.com.

Published in New Products

Because the U.S. Agriculture Department is going virtual, employees may soon be able to conduct business through 3-D avatars rather than traditional teleconferencing, e-mail or staff meetings.

According to a posting on Federal Business Opportunities (fedbizops.gov), the department has sought a Second Life-like system that can be used behind a secure firewall rather than by the general public:

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (USDA OCIO) plans to issue a solicitation to procure virtual world (VW) software technology. While there are Government organizations currently utilizing virtual worlds (VW) technology, significant challenges remain related to cross-agency accessibility, security, scalability, and interoperability.”

The virtual world would allow several agencies to collaborate easily yet securely, integrate old and new technology and create a network for “collaboration, training, rehearsal, analysis, simulation, experimentation, and socialization.”

For virtual worlds to be a viable option for widespread use, the government is seeking vendors who can demonstrate that the virtual worlds solution(s) can satisfactorily resolve these and other cross-agency issues. A major objective is to create a multi-agency advisory committee with new and innovative government-wide solutions; the virtual worlds effort provides such a solution.

The government does not expect that any one vendor or product will satisfy all requirements.

Published in Latest News

Connect Pro Mobile is an application for Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro, which was built using Flash Professional CS5 beta and published as a native iPhone application--the very first Adobe-authored application that uses the Packager for iPhone technology. With this release, Connect Pro Mobile offers users mobile access via an iPhone or iPod touch to rich communications including collaborative meetings, training sessions and Web seminars.

With Connect Pro Mobile, participants can watch and listen to live presentations, including real-time meeting Webcam video and screen-sharing demonstrations. Mobile users can see who is in the meeting at any given time and collaborate with others using live text chat. VoIP meeting audio will broadcast straight to iPhone or iPod touch devices over a wi-fi or 3G connection.

The application enables users to participate in Connect Pro conferences regardless of whether the solution has been deployed as an Adobe hosted service, as an on-premise customer implementation or as a managed service.

To download the Connect Pro Mobile application, visit: http://itunes.com/apps/AdobeAcrobatConnectProMobile

To learn more about Connect Pro Mobile visit: http://www.connectusers.com/tutorials/2010/02/connectpromobile/

To learn more about Connect Pro, visit: www.adobe.com/mena/products/acrobatconnectpro

Published in New Products

Topyx from Interactyx is an affordable, easy-to-use social e-learning software that combines traditional learning management system (LMS) functionality with integrated social learning tools. The result is a collaborative, engaging learning experience for users, whenever they wish and wherever they may be.

The Topyx e-learning solution integrates learning to reduce traditional education and training costs. It liberates learners and their educators through collaboration with peers and engagement in knowledge-sharing activities. Through social learning tools such as blogs, wikis and RSS feeds, learning becomes a communal, rather than autonomous, activity. Many sources of course content are combined into a rich, interactive and engaging learning experience.

To find out more about Interactyx, visit www.interactyx.com.

Published in New Products

By Katrina E. Ricci, Eduardo Salas, and Janis A. Cannon-Bowers

Published in Research
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