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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, September 06, 2012 11:14 AM | Deleted user
    As a trainer, there are two parts of my job I hate the most. First is scheduling, second is reporting. One report is on the training evaluations, or “smile sheets.” Most the questions are easy data to extract and report on. The Likert questions are simple math and easy to understand, making the reporting of those questions easy. The open-ended questions are more challenging and take the most time. You have to read each one and extract the key words or topics to determine what is important and then you have to decide how to report these findings. Many times I’ve had a long list of things mentioned, and I really hate lists. Other times I’ve tried to find key items and tally how many times they are used to create a chart of sorts. I’ve never really been satisfied with my reporting results until I met Wordle.

    Wordle.net is a tool for generating visual “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. Common words, such as “the,” “a,” “is,” etc. are removed from the result. You may have seen word clouds that are similar on blogs and other web pages. You get the option to change the color scheme, fonts and layout to suit your needs. The site does use Java, so be sure it is installed on your computer.

    ASTD National has used Wordles for their newsletter headers, using words describing workplace learning and performance. I’ve used them in training for a cool slide or background. When you go to the web site, you’ll see many people use them for silly things, and some inappropriate things. I will show you how to use it for data analysis of your open- ended questions.

    First, copy and paste responses from the same question into a text document or word processing program. I use Microsoft Word so I can spell check. Next, go to Wordle.net and click the Create your own link. Paste the copied text into the text box provided, and then click the Go button. You may be asked to run Java on this site by your browser.

    TA-DA! You have your Wordle. If you don’t like how it looks, you may customize the language, font, layout, and color. Use the Language menu to change the case, not remove common words and view the word count. There a bunch of fonts to choose from in the Font menu. The Layout menu lets you change edges of the shape, the direction of the words and a bit of the order or maximum words to display. You can use a built in color palette or create your own in the Color menu. If you want, you can also use color variations or exact colors. If you work with company colors and the color is a part of your brand, like the red for UNL, you’ll probably want to work with exact colors. If I didn’t, I’d have lots of pink in my result and at UNL, we are “Go Big Red” and not “Go Big Pink.” If you find some words you’d like to filter out from the result, right-click the word and choose to remove it. If you remove a word, the layout will adjust for the change.

    Your final step is to save your Wordle. You can choose to Save to public gallery where it will be accessible to the entire Internet world. Once posted in the public gallery, you’ll receive code to embed the Wordle into your blog or website. If you just wanted a printed version, choose the Print button instead. I like to have an electronic version to use in my presentations, but there isn’t a “save as image” option. I work around this by doing a screen print of the Wordle. Jing or SnagIt work great for this.

    Now that you have the Wordle with the results from your open-ended survey questions, how do you use it? You must keep in mind that Wordle will show individual words and highlight those used most frequently. It will NOT give you the context in which it was used. If you see the term “instructor” used a lot, look for other words that appear to give context, such as “great” or “horrible” to provide some context in which it’s used. Sorry, there is still some work to get some good out of your results, but at least you know what is talked about most frequently, good or bad. That, at least, is a start for you. Wordle also makes that horrible job of reading and analyzing survey results a little more fun.

    If you want an example, here’s a Wordle for this blog post.
    Wordle: Wordle blog post

  • Wed, August 08, 2012 4:48 PM | Deleted user
    What does your preferred learning space look like? Is it rows of desks with the trainer at the front? Could it be a comfy chair and your computer? With the growth of communication and collaboration technologies, the traditional learning space is getting a makeover.

    In the olden days, the traditional classroom was rows of desks and chairs facing the front of the room where there was chalkboard or whiteboard and the trainer at the front. In recent years, the physical learning space has changed to have chairs around tables to form pods to allow for collaboration among learners. Many have adopted this new model of peer-to-peer learning or team learning.

    Learner expectations have grown with technology and are now influencing our learning spaces.
    Today, not all learning spaces are physical. A virtual meeting room, such as Adobe Connect or Skype, can be considered a learning space.

    There are many options to the virtual learning space. Some more popular ones include Cisco WebEx, Zoho Meetings, GoTo Meeting, Skype and Adobe Connect. There are varying costs, equipment and setup required for each. Some can record your meeting for playback later, usually at a cost. But before you make a decision on which one to choose, you need to consider how and why you’ll be using it, and how much you want to invest.

    Training in a physical learning space is very different from training in a virtual one. You cannot just take face-to-face training and do the same in the virtual space. According to Bryan Chapman of the Chapman Alliance, it takes approximately 79 hours to create one hour of e-learning (read the study here) whereas it takes approximately 43 hours to create one hour of instructor-led training. You also need to take the time to set up an easy-to-use, yet friendly, environment. Some of this may be done for you based on the service you use, but other require a lot of customization.

    If you really want to learn more about learning spaces, you may want to read Learning Spaces on the EDUCAUSE web site. The printed book is available through Amazon.com. The web site offer numerous case studies that illustrate the principles discussed.
  • Mon, July 02, 2012 8:00 AM | Deleted user
    If you read the post from June, Flipping the Classroom, I have a tip for you. Did you know you can flip your meetings, too? It’s something my department has begun to do. This month, I’ll share with you how we took the Flipped Classroom concept and applied it to our meetings to save time and make our meetings more meaningful.

    At the beginning of every meeting, we would go around the room and the managers would share what is going on in their area. This is to evoke questions or concerns where a change or process might impact another area they didn’t think about. We found this can be quite time consuming and we spent a lot of time learning about each other’s areas with such detail, it wasn’t beneficial for everyone.

    To save time, a blog post was created where the managers post an update by a designated time prior to the meeting. The post was tagged with the name of our area for easier searching. Our director also posts the agenda in advance for us to comment on and have things added to the agenda prior to meeting. Our homework is to read the updates before arriving at the meeting. If there are any questions or concerns, they can be brought up in the meeting. This has saved us about an hour of time in our meetings.

    Another benefit is for those not able to attend, can still read posts and catch up what is needed. It has also made for a great reference for follow-up after meetings. Commenting is open to everyone to post and contribute. We have been able to post links to articles and videos later that support or back-up our posts and comments. This makes for our interactions to be much more interactive long after the meeting has ended.

    If you want to apply Bloom’s Taxonomy to our meetings, we achieve Level 1:  Knowledge/Remembering and sometimes Level 2:  Comprehension/Understanding prior to attending the meeting. Level 2:  Comprehension/Understanding and Level 3:  Application/Applying can apply during and after the meeting. Our commenting achieves Level 4:  Analysis/Analyzing. We are now ready to accomplish Level 5:  Synthesis/Evaluating and Level 6:  Evaluating/Creating in our interactions after. For some, we use Level 6 in our own blogs or staff.
  • Wed, June 06, 2012 4:32 PM | Deleted user
    There is big talk in Higher Ed (besides mobile learning) about the flipped classroom. Essentially, it means you have the students watch/listen to the lecture (learning transfer) outside of class and then have them do the homework (discussion/application) in the class. Since most of the learning comes from this level, it makes sense to have this come in a more facilitated environment to ensure correct application.

    How does this apply to Workplace Learning and Performance (WLP)?

    Even though you don’t have an entire semester to build on, you can still apply many of the same techniques to WLP. Let’s start by looking at Bloom’s Taxonomy and how you can use technology to assist in flipping your classroom.
    Much of the time spent in the classroom is the learning transfer or lecture. This is the Knowledge/Remembering and possibly the Comprehension/Understanding level. As trainers, we know the learning and retention begins in the Application/Applying level. If a learner spends time with the trainer in the first level, and then returns to the job and applies the knowledge in the wrong way, no one is there to assist them in the correct application and the learning doesn’t stick or the wrong learning is applied. If you can have the learner use another method to gain the knowledge, and the trainer help facilitate the comprehension and application, you can ensure better learning.

    Level 1:  Knowledge/Remembering

    There are many ways to you can use technology to push the knowledge to the learner. Some obvious ones are podcasts or videos of the lecture. There are already a ton of videos on TED and TED Ed for a lot of things, but why not create your own podcasts or videos. Not only can they be used for the providing the knowledge prior to training, but can also be an easily accessible reference for after the training.

    You can also use a variety of social media for this. You can create and share AuthorStream or SlideShare presentations. Share a Google Doc or SkyDrive document. Have learners explore specified Delicious or Diigo bookmarked items. Conduct a video chat via Skype, Microsoft Lync or Adobe Connect. Get creative and make it interesting. It doesn’t have to be flashy unless you want to. It is the content that is important.

    Level 2:  Comprehension/Understanding

    Some options you used for Level 1 can get you through level two, Comprehension/Understanding, such as the video chat that allows for a two way conversation. If not, you can easily cover this in the face to face time with the learners. If you need to catch up on the Comprehension when you meet, consider a review of the material using Poll Everywhere or another clicker option. Clickers give you the opportunity for a guided review to ensure correct comprehension. Otherwise, you can have the learners do a quiz or survey before arriving using any type of polling software, such as Survey Monkey, or create a quiz using Google Forms.

    Level 3:  Application/Applying

    Here is where the trainer is essential. In the application of knowledge, if it is not applied correctly, the learner will not be able to properly do their job or task. This level is also harder to correct if the wrong behavior is learned. You can provide the correct guidance for application.

    Level 4:  Analysis/Analysing

    Technology to the rescue, again! Here is where you can implement a wiki or discussion board for learners to return to and analyse their performance. Perhaps a quick video or instant message chat can help. Even something as simple as a Facebook page or group where the discussion and sharing can happen. A blog which allows for commenting or a YouTube video does, too, can also help with the analysis.

    Level 5:  Synthesis/Evaluating & Level 6:  Evaluating/Creating

    Many of the same tools used before can be used again, but instead of watching YouTube videos or commenting on Blogs or Discussion board, have the learner do the creating. Learners can begin their own threads or pages on wikis and facilitate the discussions there. Have the learner lead their own specialized Facebook group or start and contribute to Delicious or Diigo bookmarks and tags.
  • Mon, April 02, 2012 9:43 AM | Deleted user
    As I have been going to various departments at UNL training on Outlook, there are a couple of tools I never leave home without. I didn't think much of them, but I've gotten almost as many questions about the tools I use as the training I'm providing. So here are my "can't train without" tools.

    ZoomIt is screen zoom and annotation tool with a break timer for Windows XP and higher. ZoomIt runs unobtrusively in the system tray and activates with customizable hotkeys to zoom in on an area of the screen, move around while zoomed, and draw on the zoomed image. It’s small enough to run from my flash drive with no installation needed, so I can use it on any computer.

    Although it’s called ZoomIt, you’ll notice it shows up in your menu as Sysinternals Screen Magnifier. ZoomIt is incredibly easy to learn. I’ve put together a manual (which consists of one page) you can use.

    Uses:  I use ZoomIt for drawing boxes and circles around areas of the screen when I talk about them. It also has a dynamic mode where I can click or type on screen while zoomed in. The break timer is also handy as a countdown to when the training will begin or time left before our break is over.

    Virtual Magnifying Glass is a free, open source, cross-platform screen magnification tool. It is simple, customizable, and easy-to-use. The program shows a magnifying glass lens that follows the mouse movement. To close the lens, click the left mouse button. It stays in the  system tray for launching the lens again. Right-click the Magnifying Glass system tray icon to for various customization options such as the glass size and magnification.

    Uses:  I use the Magnifying Glass to show buttons and text that are too small to be seen on my screen as is for those people sitting in the back of the room. It’s so easy to use with a simple click on and click off.
  • Mon, January 30, 2012 10:24 AM | Deleted user
    Have you heard? The University of Nebraska is getting a new email system. We’re moving from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Office 365 (cloud) and Outlook. With all change comes it’s fair share of pains. For me, not all of my calendar entries migrated from the the old system. This means missing appointments and reminders to post to the ASTD-Lincoln Tech Blog. Oops, I do have that fixed now (better late then never). But it got me to thinking about all the ways we can use technology to remind us to do things.

    There are a plethora of reminder programs on the market, free and paid. There are applications for your smartphone, services to send you a text or email message, but if you already use an email program with a calendar, chances are it’s already there.

    In Lotus Notes, there is the To-do list. In Outlook, there is Tasks. In Gmail, you add reminders when you put something on your calendar. Great tool for reminders, but how does this all apply to training?

    In learning more about Outlook, I found a great way to set emails for a delayed delivery. Check out your email system, it may have something similar. Some thoughts I have for using this in my training is to send that Level 2 evaluation out a set time after training. Perhaps I can send “what you learned in training” messages to attendees for several weeks after they attend training. Or messages that give them examples on how to apply what they learned in training to real-life. I can create templates or drafts of this information and then set them to send a specific intervals.

    I can’t wait to try some of these things out. I’m already planning how to keep the learners I encounter learning long after they attend a training session. This is another great way to have technology help make my job easier.

    Happy training in 2012!
  • Fri, December 16, 2011 9:05 AM | Deleted user
    Just like every year, I find myself saying, "it can't be the middle of December already?!" Well, it is and just like every year, I'm behind on my holiday tasks. I did get a few cards in the mail today, but I haven't started on my cooking. I always share homemade goodies with my neighbors and coworkers. I've really got to get on that. I'm just happy I have all my decorating done, including my computer desktop. 

    With Windows 7, you can use many beautiful themes to decorate your desktop. You can even save your own wallpapers and settings as a theme. I have some wonderful holiday photos rotating in the background, but miss the blinking lights of a tree. Thanks to a friend, I now have a variety of blinking trees for my desktop. So, here's my gift to you, your very own desktop tree. http://www.get-xmas.com/

    Remember to not get caught up in all the planning and preparing that you forget to enjoy the company of your family and friends. 
  • Tue, November 01, 2011 5:18 PM | Deleted user

    Everything these days seems to start with the letter "e." There are eBooks, ePubs, e-mail and our topic today, ePortfolios. Of course we all know the "e" stands for electronic. So you can understand the concept of an eBook or e-mail. But, not everyone is familiar with portfolios. A portfolio is “a selection of a student's work (as papers and tests) compiled over a period of time and used for assessing performance or progress” according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Artists also use portfolios for their works of art (photos, drawings, writings, etc.). Without a lot of work experience, students use them to provide evidence to an employer about their skills, abilities and extra curricula activities. So why would a trainer need a portfolio, and what would be a part of it?


    Why have a portfolio?

    It's difficult to explain your comprehensive training program in a few bullet points on a one-page résumé. A portfolio documents your planning process, training, follow-up, and evaluation process. It can showcase presentations, result data and other achievements.


    Throughout your career as a workplace learning and performance professional, you have many opportunities to present and train on a variety of topics. You can include podcasts, webinar recordings, presentations and other media so potential clients and employers can get a feel for how your present and teach.


    What should your portfolio say about YOU?

    • You are enthusiastic about your profession and continually learn and improve.
    • You reflect and learn from achievements and mistakes.
    • You provide your employer, clients, and learners with the highest-level quality education, training, and development.
    •  You keep informed of pertinent knowledge and competence in the workplace learning and performance field.
    •  You fairly and accurately represent your credentials, qualifications, experience, and ability.


    Designing Your Portfolio

    Chose a program. Blogging sites can much of what you need. If you want good design with quick startup, try Blogger. If you want more control, WordPress and Tumblr allow for more customization.  If you prefer to set your portfolio to be more like a website, Google Sites is relatively easy to learn.


    Make navigation simple; include a contents section with links to the various sections/pages. Use keywords or tags to help categorize entries.  Be logical in your layout; consider the impression you will be giving about the way you potentially think and work.


    Include an "About Me" section that tells a little more about your personal side. This is also a place to include a brief summary of employment and positions. You can also highlight awards and other accomplishments. Mention conferences and continuing education, such as certificates and certifications. ASTD meetings and other speaking engagements also speak well for you as a workplace learning and performance professional.


    If you're not sure where to start, take a look at the ASTD Competency Model. This should give you ideas of what to focus on and what to include.


    In summary, everybody's ePorfolio will be different, and it should reflect your growth and personality in your profession. It makes for a great reference for potential clients and employers. Good luck!

  • Tue, October 04, 2011 11:30 AM | Deleted user
    Have you run into a problem sharing large files with others? I hate to print extra handouts and waste paper, but some files are too big to email. If you've had this problem, you should try a filesharing site. Some are free with limitations, some are a pay service. But is you're looking for a place to share a large file with others, start with the ones here: http://delicious.com/astdlincoln/filesharing. 

    Personally, I've used DocStoc and Wikisend. I'm a huge fan of Dropbox because of it's options. If you have used a filesharing site and would like to share it with others, let me know and I'll add it to the list of resources.
  • Fri, July 01, 2011 9:14 AM | Deleted user
    Do you have an iPad? If not, how about a XOOM, Galaxy Tab, or Playbook? They are all tablets, and can do much of the same things. I have an iPad for work and a smartphone (Droid X) for myself. I can usually find the same or comparatively the same apps for either.

    If you know your users all have access to a smartphone or tablet, you can use apps. You can find them in the app store for the iOS, Android, and Amazon Markets. Some are free, others will cost. By the time you read this, a hundred more will be released and I just can’t keep up on them all. Just know that a study has been done at a Higher Ed institution and they found there is no one “killer” app for learning. Each instructor found different apps that worked best for them. My suggestion is try it, and if you like it, keep it. Otherwise, dump it. Ask others in your profession what they recommend. Ask your PLN on Twitter. Post a question in you LinkedIn groups.

    If you’re still reading, here are some iPad apps others have recommended. I’m sure some if not most are also available for the other tablets and smart phones as well.
    • eClicker is a Personal Response System that allows you to use ‘hinge’ questions to asses understanding.
    • Dragon Dictation allows iPad users to quickly and easily convert speech into editable text that can be copied or sent via e-mail. Great for learners who prefer talking over writing.
    • Mobile Mouse allows you to control your IWB / projected computer from across the room.
    • With the Remote Desktop App you are remotely accessing your computer and you your iPad is acting like a touchscreen monitor. You can control the projected screen fully and see it on your iPad.
    • Use SmartNote to send learners outlines or worksheet activities.  They can then 'write' on them and share them back with you for assessment or send them to the web for pickup at home. Using this app, learners can also audio record ideas or instructions for later use. SmartNote allows users to insert images, browser views, and tons of widgets in a personalized notebook.
    • Use Idea Sketch (free, simple and pleasing to use) to create mind maps. SlingNote and Popplet work great for this, too.
    • Evernote allows you to keep notes and clippings in an online account that you can access anywhere.
    • Use i-Prompt or the "On Air" app to gain fluency when presenting (teleprompter).
    • DropBox account will automatically sync files wirelessly from a laptop to a set of iPads using the same account. You could set up a folder in DropBox for each learner.
    • SoundNote will allow you type notes as well as adding handwritten via your finger or stylus.
    • Whiteboard Free allows you to share iPad screens across a number of iPads. Once you open the app it asks if you want to 'share' your screen.  Once you allow this it means that when one person write on their iPad it will be seen on the other iPads that it has been shared with.
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