Kineo Connect: progress with purpose (event)

Well, I’ve finally had my first go on a HoloLens – after failing at BETT – thanks to MakeReal at the latest Kineo client event.

It really confirmed to me the potential value of HoloLens for multiple solutions.  The example available to try out was an interactive site map (i.e. building complex not website) – great for not having to carry around scale models with you!  For learning there are some great examples starting to emerge – such as this one for healthcare.  Cost, of course, remains an issue – with the development edition currently a tasty £2719.  It was also an opportunity to try an activity via SteamVR OS – building a reactor in VR.

The presentations/workshops, away from MakeReal’s demo space, focused on:

  1. Kineo’s Learning Insights report: Move for L&D to “facilitators of career development” from “deliverers of training”.
    1. I would agree with this.  I tend to describe my role as creating scaffolds for the organization to succeed and its people to be empowered.
    2. Report here.
  2. Social Learning.
    1. This was a nice recap of some of the logic and reminded me of the need to continue to encourage people to share and shift cultures – for example, the value in people sharing their ‘bibles’.
    2. Ideas included “find an expert”, something we are trying to do via badges for people at the top of our competency model.
    3. Slides here. White paper.
  3. Content Curation.
    1. I’m always torn on this topic as whilst I agree there is information overload I’m also conscious that information teams have fallen away in industries like law – in part as the WWW has made a lot of information free and thus the ‘value add’ from a professional team is tricky to identify/articulate.
    2. The challenge, as I see it, is how you combine a world of personal information management (the presentation mentioned bookmarking as example most people would do) and PLNs with opportunities to add value (context, metadata, write descriptions, etc.) centrally.
    3. Recommendation for a search > aggregate > filter > add value > promote model (akin to Jarche’s seek > sense > share).
    4. Couple of examples were run through – use of existing content to support BDO’s competency model (i.e. not needing to author new content) and Anders Pink as a tech solution (which I’ve trialed and like but raises questions over how it fits into your wider ecosystem).
    5. Slides here.
  4. Interactive Video.
    1. Have to agree there is a lot of value in interactive video where you can find the right use case, authoring and deployment approach.
    2. It was interesting to see/hear the Kineo approach – including the blended of ‘learning’ content with existing promotional video, for example, with Rolls Royce.
    3. Some nice ideas – like weighting questions where there is ambiguity (no true/false), gopro cameras of POV style, setting up secured YouTube channels for UG content submission and the oft shared Australian Deloitte video.
    4. Some of this could be done in Storyline – advantage of their authoring is multi-device SCORM publishing.
    5. Slides here. Guide here.

Another reading catchup

Another in the occasional series looking at some of the reading I’ve stockpiled with reflections for anyone who might be interested in the topics covered:

It’s never too late to learn [Journal of Workplace Learning; Vol. 27 Iss 6; Russell Paul Warhurst and Kate Emma Black; 2015]

An attention-worthy approach (from Newcastle Business School) to the empirical study of workplace learning – as the articles puts it:

The informal, incidental, tacit and social nature of much workplace learning poses methodological challenges in ascertaining from respondents exactly what they have learnt and particularly, how their learning has occurred (Fuller and Unwin, 2005; McNair, 2013). Therefore, visual elicitation techniques were deployed in advance of interviews to assist participants in exploring such tacit learning accomplishments and implicit learning processes. Three visual techniques were used:

(1)  Timelines: Participants were requested to depict their work over the preceding ve years as a horizontal line showing the degree of change, and learning, as gradients on that line against a vertical axis scaled from “set backs” through “stability” to “rapid”.

(2)  Sociograms: Participants were requested to indicate whom they interacted with over a typical month, the nature of this interaction (e.g. face-to-face or electronically) and how signi cant they felt these interactions were for them.

(3)  Pictors: Participants were asked to produce a visual representation of how they viewed themselves in their social worlds, in response to the question “How do I see myself as a later-career manager?”

I thought the three approaches above were interesting ones considering the challenge in getting professionals to reflect and think how they have developed.  Indeed they could also be used to visually represent impact of programmes to, in part, tackle the evaluation challenge.

I have recently been running a series of workshops at my organisation on career development opportunities – in part around the advantages that the May changes to apprenticeships will bring.  The ability to retrain, even if you have a degree or other qualification, via an apprenticeship is a key message.  Thus I liked the idea that “ageing populations need to be seen as a key, growing, natural asset rather than, as typically construed today, a liability”.  The article itself focuses on informal learning but realistically there will be opportunities to think again about skills development via multiple routes.  “Later-career workers need to be alerted to the learning potential within their jobs and the capabilities to leverage this potential” – yep!

How to enhance the impact of training on service quality?: Evidence from Malaysian public sector context [Journal of Workplace Learning; Vol. 27 Iss 7; Abdul Rahim Zumrah; 2015]

Whilst it is common sense to presume training needs to be reinforced/transferred to actually have an impact on quality this article argues for a positive relationship via a measurement approach.  Overall it is useful in reinforcing that training alone will not impact on performance:

The finding of this study is an important outcome that has not been empirically determined previously in the literature, which highlight the significance of transfer of training as a mechanism to enhance the impact of training on employees’ performance (service quality). This finding provides support for the social exchange approach, suggesting that where employees perceive the support from their organization (they have been sponsored to attend training programs by organization), then feel an obligation to engage in behaviors that benefit the organization (transfer the training outcomes to the workplace) and are also willing to expend more effort to fulfill their organizational goals (delivering quality service to organization’s customers). The finding of this study also responds to calls for research to investigate the mediating factor between HRM practices and employees’ performance (Tremblay et al., 2010). The finding also helps to clarify the ambiguity in the literature in regard to the relationship between training and service quality (Beigi and Shirmohammadi, 2011; Chand and Katou, 2007; Cook and Verma, 2002; Hung, 2006; Schneider and Bowen, 1993; Zerbe et al., 1998). Specifically, this study extends the literature by providing empirical evidence that transfer of training has a mediating effect on the relationship between training and employee service quality in the context of the Malaysian public sector.

How to Solve the Content Discovery Problem [Brandon Hall Group, Presentation Deck]

A topic of interest to me with my library/content/information route into the world of learning.  Unsurprisingly it identified the challenge of content:

94% of companies say that managing the expanding content library is a challenge presented by today’s learning environment

It also picked up on a point I regularly make and have previously tried to argue should be increasingly irrelevant through decent organizational design:

content overload is only getting worse with siloed organizations using their own tools

In other words, departments such as KM, marketing and L&D should be working together but instead buy their own solutions and thus overwhelm internal and external clients.

One of the solutions for the learner experience is federated search – which was the hot topic 10ish years ago when I did my library/information MA (especially for HE orgs) but corporates seem to have failed with this.  Indeed, in some ways such as looking at experts and peer based collaboration, the corporate world is still catching up with academia.

The filtering is then the challenge.  However, whilst the presentation suggests a “personalized feed” integrated with other business applications I wonder if this ignores the UX of some tools.  Content, generally speaking, will have some level or motivation/gamification built in to their platform.  So is the solution, instead, a combination of apps by audience/need?  The presentation instead suggesting Edcast as the aggregating “knowledge cloud”.  The traditional model probably being the topic/course centric LMS.

The takeaways are fair though and the kind of issues I have tackled in the last 15ish years:

  • Traditional content models cannot keep up with modern business needs
  • Keeping content current and fresh can be a challenge
  • Legacy content can also become unusable
  • The modern learner wants choices, personalization and a familiar interface
  • Subject matter expertise exists farther and wider than most organizations can reach

12th annual Keeping Pace report [Evergreen; 2015]

Very late catching up with this one but another document on a topic of interest – online “K-12” education – and this report helps highlight how the US (in this area at least) are considering a variety of approaches to improve outcomes and meet demand.  IMO a form of UK online free school is surely needed.  Indeed the report identifies the kind of needs, from the American online ‘charter’ school equivalents, that the UK could tackle:

In the case of elementary and middle school students, many attend an online school due to temporary reasons (illness, injury, behavioral issues, allergies). In high schools, many students move to an online school because they are behind and at risk of dropping out of school altogether.

Thus dispelling some of the myths such as the US demand coming from geography and there would not be the demand in the UK.  Indeed there are some positive messages on impact too – such as in Florida where “students outperform state average in end-of-course exams”.

The Disruption of Digital Learning: Ten Things We Have Learned [Josh Bersin]

A newer piece, as it was published this week, with a lot of good stuff summarizing the state of play for those of us who like to say we work in online/digital learning.  It is a little US centric and knowledge-worker focused in places (which to be fair it acknowledges) but it is one of the better things I’ve seen from Bersin for quite a while:

Overall, it really drives home that the myriad of tools now available means the boundaries between home/work/learning have effectively gone.  Indeed I’d challenge the point about people spending so much time on email always being a negative – yes, a lot will be junk keeping people away from “specific” work but how many of those emails are learning experiences?  Even if the learning is just related to clandestine organizational cultures or rabbit holes of bureaucracy?

I especially like that Microsoft Teams got a mention having had a first look this week.  MT does an awful lot of what your traditional LMS would – discussion groups for communities of practice, VOIP/video for tutoring, task lists for activities/assessments, content sharing for reading/watching/reflecting, wikis for collab authoring, etc etc.  SCORM, I guess, would be the elephant in the room for most LMS deployment but there you’d be looking at if that content is really what you want going forward.  How we might combine MT and xAPI is very much on my “to do” list.

There are things to criticize – for example a lot of this isn’t new just being delivered differently (e.g. microlearning) but as mentioned earlier a lot to like too.

I’ve got a whole ‘reading’ folder on my desktop going back many months so expect some more of these posts soon…

Evaluating my impact: preparing for Kirkpatrick certification

Ever since I started attending workplace learning related events, it has been clear there is an undercurrent in the industry of criticizing the Kirkpatrick model. There are the views it is too old, simplistic, outdated, etc.

Personally I try and avoid criticism for anything I am not in a position of authority on – for example I feel I can criticize politicians for lying, their interpersonal skills, etc. but not necessarily their skill at the practicalities of being an MP such as passing laws.

Whilst I have worked with different evaluation models I have opted to pursue Kirkpatrick certification (as mentioned previously) to really try and crack evaluation/impact for my team and my wider organization. Thus, I will be in a more authoritative position to consider the pros and cons of Kirkpatrick.

Unlike some L&D teams, I would say we are closely aligned to business objectives and do a reasonable job of challenging top down and bottom up requests for programs, performance improvement, etc. However, evaluating success in tackling the issues is tricky and, as I inherited an L&D policy specifically saying we will use the Kirkpatrick levels to evaluate, then we are following that route.

I’m hoping the two-day program will empower me around evaluation in general but specifically being able to make use of the appropriate models. Or it may well make me a more vocal opponent.

The pre-work includes some nice detail behind the levels. Indeed there are references to deal with some of those regular topics of criticism. However, whilst ‘the 70’ is referenced as covered in the ‘new’ Kirkpatrick model, the template forms still reference evaluation of “training”.

A particular challenge for myself in the past has been evaluating solutions’ real impact on the bottom line; in a world of multiple factors (KSME) how can we (L&D or a wider project team) claim an impact. Indeed I raised this at the Kineo/Boost evaluation session. The pre-read refers to using ‘indicators’ and this will be particularly interesting.

Expect a blog later in the month once I’ve been on and reflected upon the certification program!

Reflections on #LT17uk

I only had around 6 hours in the Learning Technologies exhibition this year (for those who’ve never been – that’s not a lot!) and it helped me stay focused – mostly just walking the hall and meeting people (I stuck to the plan and spent much less time in the free seminars).

Your experience of such shows is, obviously, influenced by current personal/workplace concerns – but here are some of my takeaways…


Listen to the fortune cookie!

  1. Authoring tools – is it now time to move away from Articulate (see my previous posts on the trial of 360 and problems with Rise for more)?
    1. The ramifications of the changes with Articulate have been identified as one of ten eLearning trends and this infographic actually does a fair job of summarizing the big topics that were evident at the wider LT show.
    2. There remain a vast number of options and its perhaps now the case that one has to look at multiple tools – splitting out software simulation, VR, presentations, etc?
  2. LMS or HR platform – after almost a year in role I feel in a better position to consider the pros and cons of the current setup and possible alternatives.  Stick or twist?
    1. Interesting to hear Harold Jarche’s views that whilst there is rebranding and changes to the companies involved there remains not “a whole lot of new” – I would agree.  VR/AR/MR was more prevalent but still lots of stalls with content, platforms, etc.  An in the platform world there remain the big players (like Cornerstone) and lighter touch options – as well as multiple Totara partners.
  3. L&D capability – I’ve got a Kirkpatrick certification course with DPG coming up (I’ll blog in more detail why as I appreciate that’s a controversial choice!) and it was interesting to consider where we’re strong and where we may have gaps beyond that topic.  Should we all do DPG’s new 70-20-10 programme?
    1. I wouldn’t really think about 70-20-10 approach as something to be workshopped/developed but it looks an interesting approach to rolling up performance consulting, modern design and evaluation all in one development package.  The challenge, I guess, is if this should be topics new for people or is really certifying existing knowledge and behaviors.  Also if this is of value over the existing 70-20-10 Forum, etc.?
  4. Future of learning and performance – I mention above about VR/AR/MR but there was still a lot of content and blended learning talks.  What is the future?  How do we balance individual knowledge/skills growth with shorter term engagement/empowerment?  What should be the balance of individual career development, long term wider workforce planning and short term performance?
    1. There still seems to be a lot of push on concepts that have been around longer than I have.  However, it is difficult to challenge this considering I am more than aware that even my own organization is still very face-to-face orientated!
    2. There were more interesting bits though – including TTS and their performance support system (that offers some interesting possibilities for exposing knowledge out to the point of need – not buried in an LMS or Intranet).
  5. Future of Learning within organizations.  The Learning Tech show always involves some navel-gazing and there continues to be the feeling of a split between the “performance” element and more of the “corporate university” type model.  Are they mutually exclusive?
    1. To do my own bit of gazing, I’d say not.  An approach for, say, leadership development can incorporate formal learning and certifications.  Indeed there’s the option to revenue generate if you open your doors.  The apprenticeship levy will also influence how L&D teams tackle these issues and it was interesting to see the likes of bksb and Tribal on the exhibition floor.
    2. Curation remained a theme but it is one that remains a concern for me.  Kate Graham puts it on her blog “In L&D we trust”, however, I fear this may be wishful thinking considering what has happened to library/information teams.  This comes back to my own view on the need for merging/bleeding of skills between marketing, learning, knowledge and more.  Curation is of value but how this works in practice must add value and capture the needs of the organization.  Again, the TTS style approach may be a useful way to break from the “LMS first” dynamics of too many L&D teams.

Reflections on BETT2017

Have to say I enjoyed my day at BETT this year.  I made a couple of changes to my approach which helped:

  • limited session attendance
  • limited myself to one piece of A4 for notes – rather than streams of content on OneNote [yes, ironically a ‘detech’ move but it meant I was more focused]

Some particular thoughts…


As predicted in my preview post, ‘reality’ jumped out  as the big theme from a number of vendors and sessions (be it virtual, augmented or mixed).  The argument given by Avantis in one of the BETT Arena sessions being that this is something “fundamentally different” due to emotive immersion.

As well as a variety of headsets and software providers there were what, I guess, we can call “supportive” tech.  I would categorize in here things such as 360 degree cameras for creating content.  The Arena talk I attended also pointed a lot of content is available on YouTube – indeed the BBC have got involved recently.

Alas I didn’t get a chance to see a Hololens as hoped – but there was an “invitation only” ‘lens lounge and some talks (which I missed).  There were plenty of other examples including paragliding with Intel, Avantis (£2000 for 8 units) and more.  In terms of healthcare, it was interesting to see a few different stalls have similar 3d model of the heart VR content (presumably as it is in the biology curriculum).  The Arena talked of other possible scenarios from day trips to Mars to work that has been done to give school children and understanding of the refugee crisis through VR experiences of Syria.

Other devices

Whilst I didn’t see a Hololens there were opportunities to see a range of Surface devices (including Hubs) in action.  There seemed a lack of much innovation in the devices I saw though (away from Microsoft) and tablets/phones seemed underrepresented in face of Chromebooks and laptops.

Perhaps the hybrid nature of the dock-able Surface-like devices are the future?  Alternatively its a battle between that style and Chromebooks?  Indeed a talk I saw on Chromebooks stressed their key advantage over tablets for schools – a physical keyboard.  The presentation stressing demonstrable data of student improvement and they had some good tips for maintaining handwriting as well as typing skills.  I particularly liked their ban on immediate use of spellchecker correction: instead pupils have to retry the spelling, then check and write it down, then delete it and type it correctly.  This is effectively a hybrid approach to the old spelling books my school had when I was a nipper!


A lot of the show is now Microsoft – as the main sponsor they seem to be slowly drowning out a lot of the Apple and other players.  It was particularly interesting to see the focus on Office365 with a lot of people offering additional functionality – including different takes on LMS/VLE functionality.

An email received on the same day from the Digital Workforce Group (DWG) highlighted the growing importance of Office365:

Office 365 is reportedly Microsoft’s fastest growing commercial product ever...Up to 40% of DWG members are planning to introduce Office 365 in the next 18 monthsOffice 365 isn’t just SharePoint, and the digital workplace isn’t just the intranet.

Now those points are very DWG membership focused but it highlights an issue that is common with schools – Office365 has the potential to be the single platform that then combines with other things.

A talk I attended from Microsoft (“Enhance your classroom with the latest intelligent business applications across CRM and ERP form Microsoft”) stressed that digital transformation can be driven by Microsoft’s combining of CRM, ERP and productivity suites in the cloud (via the new Dynamics365).  Unfortunately the talk then just focused on how education can pick up licenses for Dynamics to use in the curriculum (such as for accountancy, HR, etc courses) rather than anything more strategic about the organization or the academic really enhancing strategy [as the presenter mentioned, D365 is breaking organizational silos so perhaps there are bigger cross-subject area opportunities that could have been talked about: as they said it offers “holistic” views of business].  Instead the message really was just that you would be enhancing your curriculum by training students in sought after skills [although of course technology changes rapidly] and to do that best is to join the Dynamics Academic Alliance (1436 members worldwide).

Of course technology is a complex picture, recently described well by the Fosway Group (looking at it from the eLearning market perspective):

“Providers now offer broader and broader solutions that include much more than e-learning alone. The impact of the growth in workplace, social and collaborative learning and focus on learner engagement mean that more and more buyers are looking for a complete digital learning experience.”

One outcome of this is that they will now look to research, review and compare “learning systems” – thankfully dropping the “m” word which, as we all know, has been a misnomer.  You can support, facilitate and scaffold learning – you can not manage (all of) it.

Google were also presenting on how their Classroom product combines with Apps, etc .and it will be interesting to see how this all continues to develop – devices in part driving software choices and vice-versa between the big ecosystems of Apple, Google and Microsoft.

Elsewhere, in relation to Microsoft, it was interesting to see Slomer who, among other things, are the first to offer SIMS on Azure.  Pottering past the Microsoft stall to see Delve and a few other pieces being highlighted showed quite how much they are doing but also how it is a moveable feast and almost feels like – if you are to go ‘all in’ with Microsoft you would have to be very systematic in saying what people should be using and how.  For example, as last year, there were sessions on running your classroom through OneNote and how Minecraft can be used – whilst you could easily run Microsoft platforms and tech but ignore such software altogether.

Where were the crowds?

Unusually there was only one part of the day (around 12ish) when I got stuck among a throng of people.  I’m presuming this may well be a sign of the challenges schools are facing with budgets.  Talking to a couple of stalls about it they clearly felt it was quiet for the Thursday and were hoping Friday would pick up and be its usual mass of people.

That said, perhaps such a big tradeshow (with everything from beanbags to servers) is just too much?


A talk from South Denmark University, in the Higher Ed section, showed that eAssessment remains a challenge.  They’ve developed what sounds a very comprehensive solution.  A monitoring application to check BYODs during exam situations – with screenshots taken regularly throughout the period, capturing of open applications and other functionality.  I liked the approach of not blocking certain sites but instead flagging them in the logs as possible issues – for example if a student access Dropbox you can then check the screenshot log that their essay hasn’t suddenly grown in length – which would indicate copy and paste of prepared content.  The responsibility for device management is with the students but other policies and considerations need to be place as well as clarity over how they should be setup within Blackboard – with papers still going through to SafeAssign for plagiarism checking.  The impact on pedagogy is clear though – it makes exams more like coursework in needing questions that test how the student thinks rather than just what they know (as that can be easily searched for).

Digiexam also looked like an innovative eAssessment platform.

Elsewhere it was interesting to see BKSB have a big stall considering the looming importance of apprenticeships and, perhaps, one solution for struggling schools is to cut teachers for more off-the-shelf functional skills and GCSE content?

(Cognitive) Health

The SEN section of the show is always intriguing, not least as it is an area I have limited experience in, and there seems to be a growth in looking at some of the issues from a ‘health’ perspective.  Indeed it felt like some of this was comparable to ‘wellness’ in the corporate world – what can we do to help people for whom the normal environment (Schools in BETT’s case or offices/workplace in employee programmes) is challenging.

Products/stalls of interest in this area included:

  • who do have a business focused product that “specializes in identifying the cognitive health of your entire workforce”.  This CQ being very interesting compared to the more traditional IQ and EQ.
  • There were, as in previous years, sensory booths for assisting with different issues.  Presumably an example of far too much cost for a single school and the kind of thing that the old buying powers of LEAs were helpful with and are, in part, replaced by the academy ‘chains’.
  • – a positive psychology platform seemingly similar to Strengthscope.

Other stand out points

iTrent and other software that can be used in education and corporate environments were in attendance.

Open Campus and other tools combined learning elements with admin features, their corporate offer being to combine: “a constantly growing number of standard business applications such as corporate health programs, internal surveys, compliance training and more”.

There were of course plenty of other tools in place for different solutions, such as: video conferencing, publishing/ebooks, iPad equipment for video recording, Nuance Dragon was present and it was perhaps a little surprising to not see more on voice control and recognition and also some nice ideas like Modern Muse for inspiring the next generation.


Finally, another product to catch the eye were iStay backpacks – and I’ve in fact ordered one since the show!