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Tech in Training

Tech  in  Training

Welcome to ATD Lincoln's source for everything technology in the training profession.  You will find tips, trends, as well as links to websites and resources that anyone who conducts training can use.

Our guest writer is ATD Lincoln Past President Ranelle Maltas.

  • Thu, July 02, 2015 3:05 PM | Deleted user

    What, huh?! It's the beginning of another month. I promised an article and here I am late. So sorry! I've been armpit deep in end of fiscal year reports on our training activities and completely lost track of time. Pie charts, spreadsheets, data, data, data…. UGH! I hate this part of my job. I sit at my desk with the office door closed for two days pulling data from various services then filtering and sorting and rearranging until I get the data I need. I really wanted to share a cool tool called Animoto with you, but got caught up in reports.

    Then, it hit me. Why can't I put my fiscal year in review report in Animoto? Since I couldn't think of a good excuse, I did it. It's a super short summary version, but here my annual report. Imagine using it to market a new training program you're rolling out. Or maybe a short and fun review of key points for training already delivered. Oh, the possibilities! Here's my quick introduction about myself. I use it for those webinars I teach as my "bio" since I don't get the chance to chat with them before or after class like I do for face to face training.

    It is super simple to use. Just add pictures or video in your timeline. Use captions if you like or create a text only "slide" for headings. Produce and share. That's it!

  • Mon, June 01, 2015 7:00 AM | Deleted user

    A couple of weeks ago, I attended the 2015 Innovation in Pedagogy and Technology Symposium. It's put on by University of Nebraska Information Technology (UNIT) and University of Nebraska Online Worldwide. I always come away with some great ideas and this year was no exception. Faye Haggar, an instructional technologist with the UNMC Information Technology Services, provided a great session on Technology Tools as Levers for Learning. From that session, I found several new tools and how they applied to the Seven Principles of Good Practice for Undergraduate Learning.*

    As I listened and learned, I thought how applicable these principles are to workplace learning and performance. I decided to barely tweak the wording to make it work for our purpose and then took a really cool tool, ThingLink.com, and use it to show you what I mean. Faye gave me some ideas and a few tools. I expanded on her ideas and added some more tools I've used. You can view the embedded interactive graphic at the bottom of this article.

    If you're involved with anyone who uses English as a second language, you can add pop-ups with the spelling and a link to SoundCloud with the correct pronunciation. I thought about posting job aids and then adding links to videos showing how to do it. Someone posted a diagram of a piece of equipment with video instruction on how to construct each part. You can get inspiration from the Explore area where you can view other people's work.

    I have a million ideas and I'm already trying to figure out how to begin to implement them. I think I'll create a graphics of a software screen and use pop-ups to describe each tool and maybe a video example of how to use it. It would make for a great pre-requisite prior for people coming to class so I can cut down the amount of time I use just teaching the navigation of the program.

    Creating these interactive graphics is so easy. First, you need to a graphic. You can use a photo or make an illustration. I created a SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint and then saved the slide as an image for my example. Once you drag and drop your graphic into the window, you click where you want an interactive icon. Once placed, you can change the icon image. You have the choice to link to an image or video via URL or create text to pop up. When you're done, click the Save Image button and that's it.

    Here's my example. You can click the person icon for a short Animoto video about myself. That's all part of the first principle of open communication. I'll write more about Animoto next month.


    *The Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education grew out of a review of 50 years of research on the way teachers teach and students learn (Chickering and Gamson, 1987, p. 1) and a conference that brought together a distinguished group of researchers and commentators on higher education.  The primary goal of the Principles’ authors was to identify practices, policies, and institutional conditions that would result in a powerful and enduring undergraduate education (Sorcinelli, 1991, p. 13). From <http://www.crlt.umich.edu/gsis/p4_6

  • Fri, May 01, 2015 8:00 AM | Deleted user

    As a part of my job, I use social media to reach out to my clients. I also know that visuals work best to get attention. If you can use pictures with your message, it will be remembered better and catch readers' attention. But with great design comes a lot of work. I don't have time to spend hours creating just the right image and text. This is where Canva.com comes in. 

    Canva provides you with a simple new way to design. Its drag and drop functionality enables you to create presentations, posters, one-page documents, and social media posts. You can use many of the free stock photos or pay just $1 for others. I found that I can easily drag and drop my own photos into  the layout and use the free text tools to make it look professional. If you need some inspiration, check out my profile page at https://www.canva.com/ranellem. These are the images I've made public, but I do have several others I've kept private, like my Facebook cover images.

    You can easily share your images via Facebook or Twitter from within Canva. I like to download the image first and then share. I can then use the image in multiple places, like here.

    Just imagine the possibilities! Market training events, post reminders of what was taught in training, share some inspiration. I've already spent more time here than I should, but I've had so much fun and it's so easy to learn. What are you waiting for? Start creating!

  • Wed, April 01, 2015 8:00 AM | Deleted user

    Our brains are wired for visuals. This, along with the fact that our attention spans are decreasing is why we crave visuals today more than ever. The following infographic comes from NBC Nightly News. This explains why we need to find a quick way to convey our message. Infographics can help. Whether the information is a part of your training or about your training, it can get the message across quickly. 

    NBC Nightly News

    Quiz time! Memorize these facts:

    • People following directions with text and illustrations do 323% better than without illustrations.
    • A study conducted at the Wharton School of Business found that 67% of the audience were persuaded by verbal presentation that had accompanying visuals compared to 50% which was purely verbal.
    • As trainers, we probably already know that visuals make learning easier to recall. People remember 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read, and 80% of what they see and do.
    • If you can't remember any of these statistics, you'll want to see the Thirteen Reasons Why your Brain Craves Infographics where they came from, complete with source references. It will make it tons easier to remember.



    I've been sharing reports on our training to my supervisor for years. It was the usual tables and paragraphs full of information about how our training options are being utilized, the evaluation ratings of our training and instructors, etc. It never received any notice. By notice, I mean that I never got feedback so I didn't know if it was being read. One day I created infographics for my report. Next thing I knew was I was being asked to share this information with the directors of other departments to show how great we are. WOO HOO! I have finally stumbled across a medium that got my information noticed and understood. Don't get me wrong, I still provide the details with all the boring numbers for those that want to dig deeper. Besides, I use those number to determine the validity of my training options, plan for future, etc. But, just because I care about those endless facts and figures, it doesn't mean everyone does.


    My first step was to find an easy way to create my infographic. One of my colleagues at another Big Ten school shared some information with me and I noticed at the bottom it said Piktochart. A quick web search and I found it. It took a bit to figure out what I wanted to portray and how. I fumbled through it and got something worth sharing. You can view my first attempt at this here.


    I really wish I had some help on how to do this first. Later I found a great PowerPoint (yes, PowerPoint) with five great examples and instructions about how to create fabulous infographics. I won't bother retyping all the great information here. Instead, you can download it for yourself:  https://unl.box.com/ATDinfographics. It comes from HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales software company, so you'll see a little sales blurb at the end for them. Don't let that bother you. This information they share is fantastic. It's their business and they are great at it.


    If you don't want to create something from scratch in PowerPoint or Prezi, I found some other options I plan on trying. Each have a free and paid options. Most also have options to share online via a link or download for use in your presentation or report.

  • Mon, March 02, 2015 8:00 AM | Deleted user

    There are a number of different sites you can use for saving links to favorite websites, such as diigo.com or delicious.com. I've already covered these in a previous post. Recently, I found a new way and, of course, I just have to share.


    Symbaloo.com is a visual bookmarking tool for you to use in any web browser as your start page that lets you organize your sites and makes them available to you on any computer or mobile device. I used to save my links in the bookmarking (or favorites) folder or toolbar of my web browser. Trouble is, when I'm at a different computer, I don't have them available to me. This is why I've used diigo or delicious in the past. Symbaloo lets you create an account for you to login and no matter where you are, you can have your bookmarks.


    The reason I like it is because it is so simple. I love the visual aspect as well. It's easy to get started and use as well as move and organize my bookmarks. I can create a "webmix" or tab for topics to help organize my stuff. I use one webmix for all my UNL-related sites, one for computer training resources, one for personal stuff, etc.


    As I began to really get into this, I found you can share your webmixes. What this means for training and education is that you can create a webmix of resources or training and make it available for others. Not only can you have a webmix of links to websites, you can also have a webmix of RSS feeds. Here is the webmix I created for Tech Tools for Teaching. Enjoy!

  • Mon, February 02, 2015 8:00 AM | Deleted user

    If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you know I'm all about things that are free (it's my favorite adjective). I worked hard to advocate to offer free computer training at UNL for the software we support. I believe if you are required to use the software as a part of your job, you shouldn't have to pay to learn how to do your job. That said, I know you can't always get something for nothing. There are several excellent computer training companies in Nebraska. Take advantage of them if you can. It is worth the investment. If you don't have the budget, but still need the help, there are several online resources. (HINT: the free ones are at the bottom.)


    The big player in the game is Lynda.com. They have excellent quality videos on a huge variety of topics. The downside is that they are pricey. On occasion they will offer certain topics for free for a limited time, but you have to stay on it to catch these offers.


    Skillsoft.com is similar to Lynda and another cost option. The quality and variety of topics is great and the pricing options are plenty.


    The Virtual Training Company (www.VTC.com) has over 1,000 titles and their videos are broken down into small topics which make it easy to learn and review using their videos. They are not as interactive as Lynda or Skillsoft, but the quality is still good. You may find the pricing a better option as well.


    If you are looking for Microsoft Office training, check out the end user training resources for Office 2013 and Office365 from Microsoft. This is free (HURRAY!) and covers the essentials needed for learning these programs. If you need a little more, check out the Microsoft Virtual Academy. There is technical as well as end user training available for free.


    I love Myelesson.org for a variety of quality tutorials. There is lots of end user learning. I recently found tutorialstree.com where there are a few, but nice quality instruction. It's not video, but more like job aids for the tasks you learn.

    This list is small, but I only listed resources I or my colleagues in Big Ten Universities have recommended and used. I'd love to hear about your experiences and list of resources you trust for online learning. Thank you for the feedback!

  • Tue, January 27, 2015 10:00 AM | Deleted user

    Snagit, by TechSmith, is a robust screen capture program that allows you to capture part or all of your screen in a snapshot or a video. You can then use the editor to add text, stamps, and other annotations. It is available for both Windows and Mac. The full price is about $50, there are volume and educational discounts. It really is my favorite and I use it every day.

    If you are on a tight budget, this may be too much, or you may not use it enough to justify the cost. If you want a simpler program that is free, consider Jing, by TechSmith. It works much the same as Snagit, but without the editor. You can still capture a screenshot or video and either save the file or store it in the cloud via ScreenCast.com.  It is available for both Windows and Mac.

    If you like Jing, you'll also like TinyTake.  It, too, is a free screen capture and video recording Windows application. TinyTake also includes annotations and share them online.

    Another free alternative close to Snagit that allows annotations, is GreenShot. It's a free and open source Windows application that is easy to install and use. You can create screenshots of a selected region, window or full-screen. The screenshot can be saved to file, send to printer, copied to the clipboard, and more.

    I am quite impressed by PicPick, which is not only a screen capture application, it is also an image editor. Adobe Photoshop is a great, but a complex and pricey tool. PicPick is a simple image editor that allows you to adjust brightness, contrast and color, grayscale, blur, pixelate and other special effects. Don't forget, it is also a screen capture tool. You can capture your full screen, active window, user-defined area and more. PicPick has a selection of other tools that I currently use other programs for, such as pick a specific color on your screen (I use Instant Eyedropper), magnify something, or use a virtual whiteboard to "draw" on your screen (I use Zoomit for both of these).


    If you do need a little more and have a small budget, consider Snap, by Ashampoo. For just under $20 you get a Windows screen capture application with shots and video. Plenty of options for annotations exist and you can save in common formats or upload to Facebook and Twitter or the Ashampoo webspace. It is very similar to Snagit with a better price. A big plus for Snap over the others is that it is touch-optimized for your touch screen devices.


    These are only a few of the many, many options out there for screen capture. Check these out and comment on your favorite in the comment section of this blog post. 

  • Mon, December 01, 2014 8:00 AM | Deleted user

    As trainers, we love the group discussion. Often, we break our class up into smaller groups for peer discussion. Then, we ask each group to report back to the group with their top three. Either you need a scribe for the peer groups and/or a scribe to collect the responses from each group. If everyone had access to ONE flip chart that would stick around, discussions could reflect back to the notes as the training progresses. Or, perhaps there was a way to ensure all learners get a chance to participate and have their voice heard by posting their thoughts or questions.


    In the past, I've highlighted PollEverywhere.com as an option. It is a nice "clicker" or audience response option. But I'm talking about a continuous flow of thought. Consider using TodaysMeet.com.


    Without logging in, you can create a meeting room where the users can meet up and share their thoughts. Users don't need to log in either. The room is open to anyone with the URL, but you get to create your own meeting room and name. Also, choose for how long it will remain open (choose anywhere from two hours to one month).


    Open the meeting space up in the front of the room. At various times in training, ask for the group's feedback around a particular topic or question. It can be used for individuals to participate or groups following peer discussion. By leaving the discussion open after the training session, you or the learners can return to the room and add follow-up thoughts or response to questions after training.


    For more control, like pausing the conversation or keeping  the conversation indefinitely, you can sign up for free for the Teacher Tools

  • Mon, November 03, 2014 9:45 AM | Deleted user

    Comics for training? Can training really be this much fun? Yes, it can. Unleash your creative side and use Bit Strips Comics to create comics to support your training. I can image setting up role-playing scenarios in the comic strips to illustrate a situation. Use the one panel comic to illustrate a belief or situation. No more looking for pictures to create a story, you can just create your own. 

    It's easy to set up your avatar and then choose the number of panels, scenery, props, callouts, etc. You can share from Bit Strips or save the image to use in your training materials. I did this one in about one minute. Well, maybe two. 

  • Wed, October 01, 2014 2:48 PM | Deleted user

    I admit, I have had way too much fun playing with this one. We all know flashcards are a great way to test yourself. Flippity.net is a fun way to create flashcards, complete with images and videos. After running through the cards, you can just review the list or take a quiz on the content of the cards. You can view my set here. http://www.flippity.net/fc.asp?k=1Mzd4gACUhb35GBWAumEGSg2ONzM2_DmkpA_pAsvSx7I


    You do need a Google Drive account as it takes advantage of Google Spreadsheets to populate the flashcards. You do NOT need a Flippity.net account. YAY!


    Here's how to create flashcards in four easy steps:

    1. Make a copy of the Google Spreadsheet template provided on the Flippity.net site, then modify the text to fit your needs.
    2. Publish the spreadsheet to the web and then copy the published link.
    3. In the template, go to the next worksheet "Get the Link Here" tab, paste the published link in the appropriate place.
    4. Copy the link and share.


    Other than adding images or embedded video, you can customize the cards by color and/or text color. You'll see the column and directions when you open the Google Spreadsheet template.


    Have fun creating and learning!

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