Sunday, July 26, 2009

Using SharePoint as a Workspace for your Training Team

It's been a while since my last blog and I thought I would write about something that I am very passionate about. Sharing and making life that little bit easier when working in cross-site or global teams.

There is a lot of talk about LMS's and the focus on the end user but what about the teams who build and develop the content and write the material?

Where do they store it? How do they work on it? Gone are the days of network drives and huge e-mail attachments.

SharePoint is a fantastic collaborative workspace designed to enable teams to work on documents wherever they may be.

With version control, check-out facility, content approval and online meeting workspaces to mention a few, you never have to worry about sending large attachments, clogging up your inbox or waiting for sign-off.

You can book meeting workspaces on your SharePoint site through your Outlook calendar, include any documents and an agenda. It means that the team can get together and manipulate the document as a team and approve it, no e-mail or waiting required!

Working closer with cross-site or global teams has never been easier and ensures that the training you are doing is consistent and the message is not lost.

End result? Great training generated, it can be placed on your LMS and there is focus on the end user.

Have your say on SharePoint. Do you use it? What are your thoughts?

You should post a comment.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Learning Un-professionals?

I think @cammybean touched on this a while back looking at ID's (Instructional Designers) and who out there had any formal qualifications.

Thinking about myself, I have no formal qualifications in instructional design or e-Learning in the slightest. For the past 5 months I have learnt from Twittering mainly. I bought a book and I have also spent time researching white papers, breaking LMS's and finding out how much I can do with authoring systems by trial and error.

The majority of it all - seems to me - is down to experience. (Note the aptly named title of my blog) I wouldn't say for a moment though that having some form of qualification wouldn't help! Of course it would. It gives you a structure, a foundation and I am a stickler for processes and structure.

If I look at my last job, I was a Communications Rep communicating to the wider internal operations on a Private Sector contract managing the internal intranet knowledge base. I had no experience whatsoever but throwing myself in the deep-end helped me build experience and I ended up being one of the main SME's on the contract. No qualifications needed.

Now I am on a different path and learning how to swim again without the aid of floats!

Whether you are a learning professional or a learning un-professional, the majority of the knowledge you will build will come from experience.

If you have any thoughts on what I have mentioned, arguments to the contrary or are just plain interested, leave a comment on my blog.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Learning Beginnings

It's been exactly 5 months now since I re-joined our company's training team as their first official e-Learning Trainer and what a mighty ride it has been. Exciting developments and a steep learning curve I can tell you.

Before I came on board, e-Learning to me was pretty much unheard of and I had stereotypical perceptions of what it was all about. I thought of companies like Open University and LearnDirect Scotland, things like distance learning, click to advance, text heavy online modules and saying that, I thought e-Learning was ALL online.

Little did I know that 5 months later I would think completely differently. I now have long term visions of a Moodle Learning Management System, games and simulations, virtual learning environments and a smooth team of operators behind it.

And how did I get to where I am now? Easy. Social Networking has had a positive impact on my work and is now part of everyday life and this is why I have also created this blog.

Share, share and share again. It's great to learn from others and also to give a little something back. I have been following a number of learning professionals on Twitter. Some great recommendations would be @cammybean (VP at Kineo), @learning01 (Atlantic Link which is the company that has provided by content authoring software), @clivesheperd (consultant specialising in e-Learning for the workplace).

I love what I do and I crave so much more. I have my biggest project coming up and I intend to take some big steps in creating the best e-Learning I have done so far.

If you like, why not subscribe to my blog? I aim to give you an update on my progress soon and hopefully provide some links to useful resources.

Here's one for starters. E-Learning by Design written by William Horton courtesy of @cammybean.

Here's a thought to leave you with. "
Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life". Famous quote by Harvey MacKay.

Tom Ireland