10 Tools Challenge

I am joining the group of people who have been inspired to take up Jane Hart’s 10 Tools Challenge as part of Project 4T2 (more on that in a later post). This blog will chronicle my plans and progress under the tag 1oTools. I hope to find colleagues with similar goals to offer my partnership in sharing resources and findings. At the time of this initial post, here are my intended tools to explore and reasons behind my choices:  [list style=”arrow” color=”blue”]

  • Microsoft Excel – I use Excel, but really need to raise my game here: more interactive spreadsheets with filters and pivotcharts. Virtually every business system exports data to an Excel-friendly format.  So, the ability to create mashups of interrelated data from multiple feeds coupled with some fairly powerful yet approachable tools to massage that data to actionable insights make this my top priority.
  • Kahn Academy – Aside from my personal interest in having a better understanding of the educational environment my kids will be exposed to, there are many tools used in the Kahn platform that I want to explore more deeply. The feedback loops and  learning paths, progress metrics, and gaming/rewards aspects of Kahn Academy illustrate some interesting components of a larger learning ecosystem from both teacher and learner perspectives that I find much more rich than most corporate learning  systems.
  • YouTube – More video than you could watch in your lifetime was uploaded to YouTube yesterday. I don’t know of any other video distribution platform that does as much to facilitate delivery to the multitude of devices available today. So understanding YouTube, and options like private channels for customers with access concerns, is another arrow I want in my quiver.
  • Google+ – Google+ seems like it may have more of an opportunity to be considered a more viable platform for social business than Facebook. It is fairly early in it’s growth curve. Time to explore the potential is now.
  • Infographics – It’s great to massage data into insights with Excel, but to package it in an engaging, information-dense visual package? That’s what gets stakeholders attention. In my prior marketing career, I was told “data proves, but stories sell”. Infographics are an interesting approach to telling data stories, and many tools are available to facilitate development. And let’s be honest… this will just be fun to try.
  • TinCanAPI and LRSs – SCORM is no longer being developed. TinCanAPI isn’t just replacing SCORM. It is redefining it’s capabilities.  If you not aware of it’s vision and already tested capabilities, I encourage you to explore www.tincanapi.com. I will be tinkering with many of the tools posted on their site, using my SCORMCloud account and trialing some of the other LRS systems and TinCanAPI tools listed on the site. I want to explore how I might more deeply understand the activities workers engage in, so I can provide better resources in supporting them.  Oh- and those Excel skills listed earlier- I bet those are going to be VERY handy.I also have a high level of interest in the data ownership and portability aspect of TinCanAPI. The concept that a learner can get a personal record of workplace learning (when appropriate) is fantastic. The prospect of learning records not being lost with each job change because they are trapped in a company LMS lockbox, is very exciting. I remember when my best friend earned his Ducktorate Degree from Disney. He listed the achievement on his resume. Inevitably, he got more interviews than most of us, and interviewers invariably asked him about the Ducktorate Degree. Many of us considered adding it to our resumes just to open some doors.  Now, imagine if Disney had a method to allow those who earned the Ducktorate to take an authenticated copy of that achievement to their own personal record store- maybe even add a badge system so they could proudly display this on a LinkedIn profile. Disney spreads its brand, learner gets authentic record of their own achievement, and reviewers get an understanding of what the individual achieved and who certified this achievement in a fairly transparent and manageable way. Yeah, that’s the kind of cool I am excited to explore.
  • Badges – Medal of Honor, Silver Star, 4-Star General, Merit Badges…  badge systems (and it’s cousin, the karate belt system) give a very quick and clear picture about the level of achievement possessed by an individual or group. Implementing a badge system in a business can give HR and management a very clear picture of organizational capability. I think this- more than “gamifying” – is the benefit of badges.
  • WordPress -This site runs on WordPress. It is a very adaptable and extendable platform that can deploy responsive sites (my site will be changing to one) and a myriad of interactive tools. It also provides superb tools for web analytics which can help me better understand the type of metrics used evaluating web-based business systems. My deep-dive into WordPress will provide me a familiar platform to further explore more mobile/responsive design, interactive design, analytics. I might even explore playing with a WordPress-based LMS.
  • Articulate Storyline – Guilty pleasure admission: I am an Articulate fan. I have had a lot of fun building in (and hacking) Studio. I haven’t had the opportunity to develop in Storyline yet, but after seeing all of the great screenrs on their site, I have to play in this sandbox. Guilty pleasure.  I hope somehow it turns into an opportunity where folks would be perfectly willing to pay me to play in building them some cool things.
  • Domiknow Claro – Claro doesn’t have the fandom and frenzy that Storyline does.  However, after seeing a demo, I am confident it is a very capable system. And it has one key distinguishing characteristic: it has some very good workflow tools and controls to enable multiple authoring. If you work in teams of multiple authors that perhaps may have unique roles (designer, editor, lead programmer, graphic designer), you also may want to give it a peek. 
[/list]  Well, that’s the starting plan anyhow. I have a toe in the water with Excel currently, and certainly will be fully immersed in February. So, any folks putting Excel on their own list of 10, I am happy to partner up.