Wearables and L+D

This post was written by Holly MacDonald of Spark + Co, one of our chat2lrn crew.

The internet of things is coming and in some cases it’s already here. Wearables are everywhere. It behooves us in the training field to track these technology changes and consider how they might influence our own practices. As with many technological advances, the potential for change is huge. Wearables create equal parts of fascination and fear for many people in general. And while it might seem far-fetched or sci-fi, it is not a movement that will go away.

First of all, what is a “wearable”?

According to http://www.wearabledevices.com/what-is-a-wearable-device/:

The terms “wearable technology“, “wearable devices“, and “wearables” all refer to electronic technologies or computers that are incorporated into items of clothing and accessories which can comfortably be worn on the body.

Wearables can have more than one function:

  • Accessing content
    • Google Glass
    • VR headsets (Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard)
    • Smart Watch
  • Trigger behaviour – these are “haptic touch” type of triggers. Your device or clothing buzzes you. This might remind you of something, or stop /start a behaviour.
    • Smart Watch/jewellry
    • Fitbit
    • Bands
  • Provide feedback
    • Typically a wearable device plus an app – e.g runtracker, biofeedback,

What are the implications for L+D?

  1. Delivering Training

Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality devices and software can provide a very robust simulated environment or enriched environment for training. This is used already in medical training, the military and flight training. Eventually, it’ll be a possibility for other industries as well.

Location specific beacons and a wearable (or an app) could serve up context/location specific content for employee training. Imagine a new employee who works in a certain physical section and needs to learn product and process in order to do their job. Training would not have to be linked to a computer, but could be triggered when the learner enters a certain area. This is already widely used in museums and other tourist attractions.

  1. Performance Support

There are lots of ways that we can consider wearables as performance support tools.

Training can be reinforced and performance can be monitored to help our learners adjust and refine their performance. For example, in physical jobs, smart clothing can collect data to help reduce repetitive strain injury. Immediate and specific corrective coaching could help avoid a lifetime of pain.

A new employee could wear a go-pro camera to record their actions the first time they complete a task after training and analyze where they could do things differently. They could even ask a more experienced employee to review with them or coach them.

An employee could set their wearable to nudge them during task completion with reminders or immediate feedback to ensure that they are doing it right. This would be especially useful for job sites that are “field based”.

Knowledge workers might use “mood tracker” and device combinations to monitor their own performance, much like a high performing athlete does. The “Quantified Self” movement could be adapted to learning, where individuals use wearables to provide information and feedback about their learning goals.

Probably the biggest fear for people in L+D is the potential for employers to use the technology to spy, punish or otherwise manipulate workers. This is a valid fear, but still won’t stop the wearable movement from happening, so it’s better to get out in front of it and shape how it might work for good in L+D.

Come and join the chat on Thursday, November 3rd to learn more about wearables, share your experience, or feed your fascination!


For the keeners:

I wrote a number of posts about this earlier this year that go into more detail of the possible ways that wearables could play a role in L+D. https://sparkyourinterest.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/wearables-and-knowledge-workers-a-perfect-match-for-learning/

I also encourage you to read Donald Clark’s posts on VR, he always has insightful comments. http://donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=wearables

Julian Stodd also wrote a couple of posts that are really great https://julianstodd.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/the-inexorable-march-in-the-quantification-of-me/ and https://julianstodd.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/performance-enhancement-gadgets-gizmos-and-gopros/

Producing Videos for Training

Today’s post is written by Andrea May (@andreamay1), #chat2lrn crew member and Vice President of Instructional Design Services at Dashe & Thomson in Minneapolis, MN. Andrea is an instructional designer, project manager, wife, mother, Girl Scout troop leader and theater artist. 

video_IconOver the last decade on the professional front I’ve created my fair share of screen cast
videos with voice over for a variety of eLearning programs and provided script or other input for a handful of live videos. Traditionally, I’ve shied away from live videos unless in was a true necessity because of the rather large costs involved.

In my personal life over the same 10 or 15 years, I’ve seen the video cameras I’ve owned go from a clunky unit that weighed several pounds with fairly low quality, to a smaller, more streamlined unit, to a combination digital still and video camera, to just one of the many things we can do in fairly high quality with the smartphones in our pockets. Not only that, but we can shoot a video on the fly and have it uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo to share with the world in mere seconds.

For some training or eLearning programs, that type of video might be appropriate, but generally I think the preference is for high quality edited video with good lighting and sound, whether that is audio recorded with the video or added later as a voice over. Until the last few years, that often meant hiring specialists to light, shoot and edit the video. Now those lines have blurred. Low cost equipment is now available that can produce high quality results. Editing software is readily available and much more intuitive than it used to be. In short, amateurs with a little money, and some practice and good planning, can produce the videos they need for their training and eLearning programs.

At the eLearning Guild’s DevLearn conference a few weeks ago, I attended a session that opened up even more possibilities in my mind for producing training videos. The session looked at how GoPro cameras could be used to cheaply produce high quality videos for training, particularly in situations where it would be dangerous or otherwise impossible to get a camera crew in to do the shoot.

GoPro on Hard HatFor the last several years, I’ve been working on developing and maintaining both classroom and eLearning programs that train propane industry employees all over the country. I could immediately see a ton of applications for shooting video this way that would have been difficult and/or cost prohibitive before.  These amazing little cameras are cheap, easy to use, produce high quality video, and best of all, hands-free. I can see endless possibilities that I had never really considered before.

What about you? Do you use video in your programs, and if so, how do you produce them? How do you make decisions about when and how to use video? Have you ever used or considered using GoPros for shooting your videos? Join us on October 22nd, 8:00am PDT, 11:00am EDT, 4:00pm BST for a #chat2lrn discussing these and other questions.


The Problem with Millennials

This week’s post is written by Ross Garner (@R0ssGarner). Ross is an Online Instructional Designer at GoodPractice and the most recent addition to the #chat2lrn crew. Unfortunately, he is one of the golden generation: born between 1980 and 2000, he expects to be praised for the slightest effort and loses interest after 140 characters…

Image courtesy Flickr user musyani75.

Image courtesy Flickr user musyani75.

There’s a problem facing today’s organisations: millennials, those self-satisfied young folk born between the 1980s and early 200s.

Walk into any office and you’ll see them sitting there, smugly Snapchatting each other, getting distracted by smartphone notifications and popping out to run personal errands.

They’re narcissistic, pop-culture obsessed zombies: the product of participation medals, child locks and E! online. They think that a tweet is an appropriate medium for corporate communication and they get all of their news from Facebook.

They were told from an early age that they could be whatever they want to be, and they don’t half go on about it.

No job is ever good enough. No sooner have you hired one and spent a fortune on training than they’ve handed in their notice because something better has come along.

They don’t mind working evenings and weekends, but want to take time off whenever they please. They say they value feedback, but are crushed by the slightest criticism. They walk right up to the CEO with their great new business idea and expect it to be implemented immediately.

And don’t worry: they won’t be offended by all this. They won’t even have read this far. After 140 characters they’ll have switched to a new tab without even realising what they’re doing.

Or will they?

When I was at the ATD conference in Orlando earlier this year, almost every session I went to mentioned millennials. “Training needs to move online or millennials won’t engage with it”. “You’d better include badges so that millennials feel like they’ve been rewarded”. “You’d better chunk your training because millennials can’t focus for more than two minutes”.

But what’s the truth here? Do millennials have different expectations to their older colleagues? Do they learn differently? Do they even exist?

Join #chat2lrn to share your views and thoughts on “The Problem with Millennials” Thursday 8 October 8.00 PDT/11.00 EDT/16.00 BST.