Just Like Teaching Pre-School — Adult Learners Are Impatient, Easily Distracted, and Learn By Doing

It never hurts to remind people developing any kind of learning content that there are key principles that have been proven over time. In fact, those of us who have been teaching adults know that there are many parallels between teaching grownups and teaching pre-schoolers.


They don’t like to share, they are easily distracted by shiny objects, and they learn much more easily with their hands on the controls — for example, toilet training. You can lecture a 2-year-old all day, but put him on the potty seat and you’re headed for success. Poop happens.

CLO magazine has a great article that expands on this called “Simulations Build on Adult Learning to Accelerate Skill Building and Application” and I’ve posted an excerpt below to make you want to climb up on the rest of the article and do your business.

Simulations Build on Adult Learning to Accelerate Skill Building and Application

October 4, 2006 – Kelley Whitney, Associate Editor

Simulations aren’t a new tool in enterprise learning. As with many of the technologies that have graced the learning stage in the past few years, simulations enjoyed a burst of popularity and attention that subsequently died down. But unlike many of the fly-by-night tech solutions that burst into a short-lived flame, the buzz around simulations still burns and with good reason — simulations are one of the top tools that engage learners and accelerate skill building, as well as the application of new skills and knowledge once employees are back on the job.

“We are seeing an increase in demand for simulations across the board, whether it’s an e-learning simulation, a classroom-based computer simulation or a board simulation,” said Rommin Adl, president and CEO of Strategic Management Group Inc., one of the largest simulation and multimedia training companies in the world. “We’re seeing growth in every single segment that we serve across different practice areas such as business acumen, leadership, project management and sales.”

Adl said part of the reason simulations are still hot is because they align closely with adult learning principles and offer the opportunity to learn by doing in a risk-free environment. Cost, once a huge deterrent to simulation implementation, remains a factor, but it is not as big a worry at the top of the organizational pyramid.

“It links to the strategic nature of learning,” Adl said. “If the learning is linked to some major strategic change initiative, then cost tends to be important, but it’s almost secondary to really creating alignment around the strategic change, whereas, if it’s a curriculum-based or open-enrollment type program, cost is going to be much more of a factor.” more…

The New Wisdom of the Web — Social Networking of User Generated Content

Wisdom of the Web

Allowing your customers to create content is really changing the nature of how information is shared about your products and services. Take a look at “The Wisdom of the Web“.

April 3, 2006 issue – A little over two years ago, even the most sensitive entrepreneurial radar could not pick out two pairs of people on opposite ends of the West Coast starting companies that would make plenty out of nothing. In Santa Monica, Calif., dot-com survivors Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson were hatching the idea of taking on biggies like AOL and Yahoo with a Web site consisting only of stuff that people would bring to it. And up in Vancouver, B.C., married collaborators Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake were just figuring out that the online game they were developing might work better as a way for people to share their digital photos with each other.

Technical Learning Events — With Customer-Generated Content

As somebody who earns a pretty penny designing and developing learning content for big technology shows, I’m attracted to new (and scary) trends. One of the most interesting is referred to as a “Foo Camp” or a “Bar Camp“, among other names. The idea is that the inmates build the asylum, and then live in it. My buddy Thom Robbins has had wild success with this in the New England area.

Simply put, anyone at the show can propose a session, a discussion, or some type of sharing/learning experience. If enough people are interested — it happens. (This idea makes most marketing drones quake in their Gucci loafers — what happened to our carefully crafted messages, to help people better understand our product planning map as it relates to the positioning of our solution-based selling system?)

I love it. My only focus is on customers — and what their pain points are, what issues they need help with, and how to help them be more successful using our software.

So when I saw that SAP designed a whole show around this, and followed up with a Business Product Expert Community, it really got my attention. Anyone who does technology training and doesn’t jump on this is going to be very lonely at those big convention centers.

Here’s some information from the launch of the community, with a little PR-speak removed for clarity:

“The Business Process Expert Community is the premier online destination for sharing best practices in process innovation.

In keeping with the SAP tradition of open communication, we’re dedicated to an ongoing dialogue with our customers and partners about their needs.

Discussions with customers make it evident that it’s not simply a question of how to use enterprise services. Rather, it’s a question of who in the organization has the expertise and knowledge to do so. We’ve found that a broad range of professionals is entrusted with the all-important task of improving existing business processes and delivering new ones.

As we continue to expand the community, we’ll look to you to make it a success through your contributions. Suggest changes and improvements through forums, or express your ideas through blogs. Share your knowledge by submitting an article. With your help, we can make the Business Process Expert Community an extraordinary resource for business process innovation.”

The 47 Best Freeware Utilities

Free is a powerful selling point.  Here’s a list of the 47 best freeware utilities in the world.  It includes:

1   Best Free Web Browser
 Best Free Anti-Virus Software
3   Best Free Adware/Spyware/Scumware Remover
4   Best Free Browser Protection Utility
5   Best Free Firewall
6   Best Free Trojan Scanner/Trojan Remover
7   Best Free Rootkit Scanner/Remover
8   Best Free Intrusion Detection Utility  
9   Best Free Anonymous Surfing Service
10 Best Free Software Suite
11 Best Free File Manager
12 Best Free Email Client
13 Best Free Web Mail Accessory
14 Best Free Clipboard Replacement Utility 
15 Best Free HTML Editor
16 Best Free Spam Filter for the Average User
17 Best Free Spam Filter for Experienced Users
18 Best Free Popup Stopper
19 Best Free Desktop Search Utility
20 Best Free Digital Image Viewer 
21 Best Free Digital Image Editor
22 Best Free Digital Photo Organizer
23 Best Free Notepad Replacement
24 Best File Archiver/Zip Utility
25 Best Free Hotkey Utility 
26 Best Free Registry Cleaner
27 Best Free BitTorrent Client 
28 Best Free FTP Client
29 Best Free Bookmark Cleaner
30 Best Free Folder Synchronization Utility
31 Best Free Screen Capture Utility 
32 Best Free Search Toolbar
33 Best Free Download Manager
34 Best Free Web Site Ripper
35 Best Free Download/Upload Meter
36 Best Free TCP Settings Tweaker
37 Best Free File Cleaner
38 Best Free Resource Meter
39 Best Free Sticky Notes Utility
40 Best Free Secure Erase Utility
41 Best Free Registry Editor
42 Best Free Process Viewer
43 Best Free System Information Utility
44 Best Free Search and Replace Utility 
45 Best Free Outliner
46 Best Free Rename Utility

This Might Be Wiki

I just interviewed Brad Will, one of the founders of This Might Be Wiki, an absolutely huge site that is driven by fans of the band This Might Be Giants.

It’s an amazing example of user-built content, that has gotten over 5 million hits in the last couple of years.

Are you using resources like this for your business, training company, or educational institution? Hear me speak about this at the National Association for Simulation and Gaming this fall in Vancouver, Canada.

Pretty cool, eh?

No offense intended, but some probably taken

Hello!  Just moved my blogging activity over here from my old site, and to comply with the FDA’s truth in packaging regulations I am obligated to tell you that:

  • I work for a large software company, as a very small cog
  • I am often called sarcastic, aggressive, annoying — and worse — even by friends
  • Opinions expressed are mine alone, but shared by all thinking people worldwide
  • I’ve been involved in learning, content development and business management for a long time — and if you’re under 25 I’ll probably remind you of your dad
  • I’m usually right, and my projects always amaze customers and exceed expectations

Stay tuned.