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  The eLearning Guild’s DevLearn Conference is happening next week in Las Vegas. Because of business priorities, I can’t go. So, I’m pissed. A Guild conference is a careerlife-sustaining activity. It’s the “power up” charge in the video game right when your character is on fumes (quite like the therapeutic experience of  participating in a weekly #lrnchat). Going to an eLearning Guild conference immerses you going into a cocoon of concentrated learning awesomeness. [list style=”arrow” color=”blue”]
  • Every person I’ve encountered at a Guild conference “gets it”- when personally meeting attendees, I genuinely come to like and respect them quickly (really, no turkeys running around these conferences…    …uh, I just realized I may be “that guy”, but please don’t tell me if I am the turkey)
  • Every keynote is top-notch
  • Every session offers something thought-provoking
[/list] Attendance is either transformative (you change how you do things), or validating (you understand that those who get it are also rallying against those who don’t in their organizations, and that the battles can be won). Either way, it’s high-value. And I can’t go. Too busy driving to fill up with gas. So, what do I (and several of my colleagues who also can’t attend) do? What Happens in Vegas Goes to the Backchannel David Kelly (twitter handle @LnDDave) curates backchannels for learning conferences on his site, http://misadventuresinlearning.blogspot.com. David has done this for several conferences over the past couple of years. He does a tremendous job of collecting and organizing resources from these conferences. I’d say “in my opinion” except for the fact that he’s done such a great job that the DevLearn organizers are coordinating with David to bring added value to the backchannel. Although a backchannel cannot replicate the contact high you get from participating in the conference live with peers, it is a great option to gain exposure to the resources from the conference. This is not just for those of us who can’t attend, but for those attendees who have to make the hard choice between which session they will attend for each time slot (boo hoo, cry me a river- I can’t go!). With the wealth of options at a Guild conference, choosing between two or more great sessions during the same time is the norm. Attendees can use the backchannel to gain insight and resources from the sessions they miss. With David’s experience and the DevLearn organizer’s active endorsement, I am eager too see what the DevLearn backchannel will provide this year. My sincere thanks to @LnDDave for providing this service. I am still ticked about not being able to attend, but the backchannel helps take away a bit of the sting. For those of you who are attending- have an amazing time (I am sure you will). And, please, resist all temptations sing “The Gambler” while walking through a Casino.
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OpenSesame is a marketplace for e-learning content. I beta-tested the product in an extremely restrictive LMS environment. I was very impressed with the ease of setup, and wrote a review of the experience. Since then, I have graciously been offered a role of Expert Reviewer to evaluate the training products offered through the site. I have been very fortunate in my professional career in terms of my exposure to quality content. I worked for a few colleges that had relationships with top vendors to source and private label content. I’ve worked at regional tech schools that provided certified training for several different software companies. I currently work with a multibillion dollar financial organization that buys entire catalogs of content from many industry-leading training content providers. I have literally seen thousands of course offerings from the most established and top-rated vendors and organizations in the industry. I am finding that a good amount of content posted to OpenSesame for purchase is the same caliber at a fraction of the price. So, the rest of this post will be brief. If you need training content for your LMS, check out OpenSesame: [list style=”arrow” color=”blue”]
  • they have a wealth of quality content available
  • at very attractive price points
  • it will work with your LMS
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We’ve launched a mobile site using WPTouch mobile plugin for WordPress. It should auto-detect what mobile device you are using and send you to a compatible theme. If the site is not rendering properly on your mobile device, please let us know so we can look into it. Thanks for the patience.
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  I recently had the opportunity to beta test OpenSesame (www.opensesame.com). It is an interesting platform to allow developers to upload and sell content, and for companies to purchase that content and run it on their LMS- any LMS as the site claims. Really? Any LMS? Had to check this out myself, as I have been a Superadministrator on an Enterprise LMS with some extreme security restrictions for 7 years. I have seen many attempts for using external content in this environment present challenges to TOP content vendors in the field. The team at OpenSesame did not shy away for a litmus test, and they did not disappoint. Quite the opposite-the service operated impressively. Simple, straightforward setup and in minutes I was running content seamlessly through the LMS with all functionality and reporting intact.  A full review will be authored for OpenSesame and hopefully posted by their team, but I wanted to speak of the experience because I think this will be a service to watch as it develops. I also had the opportunity to continue testing SCORM Cloud and used it with OpenSesame. The two worked in concert beautifully. I continue to be impressed with SCORM Cloud and excited at the potential for OpenSesame for both developers and consumers of content. I look forward to using both of these services with Business Critical Learning as it develops into the resource it should be for its customers and the learning community. But first, clients… got to take care of the clients, who have some truly amazing offerings coming. (Much) more to come.
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September was an amazing month of activity. Most of this activity will have direct benefits to what this site will become in 2011.  A few “previews”: [list style=”arrow” color=”blue”]
  • SCORM Cloud- if you haven’t heard of this, start exploring it. This utility allows SCORM-compliant content to run outside of an LMS (and we thought folks jailbreaking iPhones was a big deal). I am implementing it with a very exciting new business concept for a colleague, and will certainly share details when I am able (I am eager to be able to market his end product- it is brilliant).
  • Accord LMS by Interzoic- I had the pleasure of discovering Accord LMS while reviewing deployment options for my colleague. I was extremely impressed with the product, which is based on the Dot Net Nuke open authoring platform.  This empowers Accord LMS users to select plugins and themes to extend the utility of their LMS just as users of WordPress are able.  This is truly a different approach to the LMS game.  When my review of the product is published, a direct link will be posted.  I will start regularly blogging for the company as well.
  • I developed an Evaluation Toolkit to guide employees who have volunteered to assume a role as an evaluation lead for training projects. The toolkit educates the leads on the standards (Phillips/Kirkpatrick). guides them through the process of performing evaluation, and provides tools.  It was an amazing project and I hope to be able to offer aspects of it in an open format to a large community (I attempted to get the company to develop and sell it as a mobile application- maybe next time!)
[/list] I will be excited to apply specific features from my projects to this site, such as SCORM Cloud offerings, offering updates on a truly unique LMS platform, and marketing the best training concept I have seen in a long time. October promises to be a flurry of development to continue supporting my colleagues and finally catching this site up to demonstrate the great work being done.
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