LavaCon Presentation – There Has Got to Be a Better Way for Project Management Training

Earlier this week I was asked to quickly put together a presentation at the LavaCon conference in Portland, Oregon.

I decided to speak about the need to view things from different perspectives and angles. I provided the examples of experiences with project management training and being a student in a very dry, boring PMP exam prep course about 13 years ago and how I set out to change it. There is no reason that more people out there should have to relive the mundane project management training I endured simply because that is the way it has always been done. So many people I have talked to said that they too sat through PMP prep classes that were boring, mind-numbing experiences. In many cases the instructor simply lectured or read the slides to the participants.

Sadly, the trend in online project management training is to take that same, ineffective method and transfer it to the online delivery.

Lavacon YouTube pic

I argue that video in this approach only makes things worse. If things were meh before, they are even worse now. Without any way to interactive with the content and the instructor and fellow students, all the onus of the learning and retention is placed solely on the student. Too often I hear and read stories of others who were forced to take on numerous modalities of learning – such as in person classes, audiobooks, books, flashcards, and many others – simply to get the PMP content to stick. Since so many had to rely on so many different methods tells me that their first plan of just watching videos in an elearning course to prepare for the PMP exam was insufficient.

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My goal is to disrupt the current PMP training options. I have a Kickstarter project launch in effort to create and offer something new. The Kickstarter project page is Http://kck.st/2hubLhS

At Http://kck.st/2hubLhS you can pre-order the PMP online interactive training course for only $99. Once the PMP exam prep course is fully launched, the course will retail for $720. Offering is so low at $99 is to thank the early supporters and to help the infrastructure costs that must be taken to make it possible.

Thanks in advance! You can find out more about The Crowd Training and the project management courses and learning opportunities offered at www.thecrowdtraining.com

In this video, I also reference the new book by Anthony Brandt and David Eagleman called “Runaway Species”. More about their book is at their book’s website https://runawayspecies.com/

The video is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mkzlfFkabY&feature=youtu.be

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Animated Cartoons and Augmented Reality – What I am Presenting at the Online Learning Conference This Week

No it is not online.

No it is not being done in virtual reality or augmented reality.

The Online Learning Conference is a conference for those of us who build, design, instruct, and assess learning and training via online tools.

This is my 4th time attending. Third as a presenter. This year, I am presenting twice. First on Augmented Reality in delivering just-in-time training.  Second on using Adobe’s Character Animator to deliver live training and/or recorded self paced training using an animated cartoon!

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The first presentation is tomorrow, Tuesday, 9:30a. The session is being co-presented with a team out of Hungary who is also exploring the power and possibilities of augmented reality (AR) in providing training and learning content. My portion revolves around the content I have presented at the Realities360 conference and the Training Conference earlier this year about the potential use of AR safety glasses to provide just-in-time training and content to manufacturing workers. Much like what was been discussed in the Wired Magazine article regarding the pivot of Google and their Glass wearable. My case study is based on work being done at Plex Systems and some of their manufacturing customers.

My second presentation is on Wednesday. It is a two and half hour session because it is a “hands-on” workshop. Originally, this workshop was to be on building an app. I have facilitated this session about 5 times for the Training Magazine and their conferences. They asked me to run it once more. I relented and said ok, even though I was thinking the topic had reached its saturation point even though the sessions do fill up every time. Then a few weeks back, as I started to review my presentation for any updates, I discovered some massively impactful news – Microsoft was sunsetting the program!

To teach the attendees on how to develop an app during a two to three hour session I use a program called Windows App Studio. The web based program was fairly simple and straightforward means of creating a Windows based app. Granted, Windows apps are far from the most desired apps around. Nonetheless, it still taught someone how an app could be made and kept true to the promise made in the session title: “Have an app ready to publish by the end of this session.”  But with Microsoft discontinuing the program, I had to scramble for another presentation topic and quick!

Win App Studio

I floated a few ideas with the conference organizers. We needed something that would not conflict or duplicate sessions are ready scheduled for the conference. That eliminated my desire to facilitate my really fun Project Management Awareness Fail to Succeed session. I always have so much fun hosting that session. But alas, there was already another project management session on project charters already scheduled.

The new topic also had to be hands on. After all, that is the name of the session blocks. That eliminated any topic that I could essentially just speak about. The topic had to be something the attendees could do AND fill up close to 2.5 hours! That limited things. If I was going to do anything with computers, I had to use a free program or at least one that can be trialed. It had to be cross platform. It had to have a learning curve that was not overwhelming. And of course, it had to be something of use and interest to learning and development professionals.

I offered the tips and tricks of Camtasia – a video editing program widely used by learning and development teams. There was no other session on the tool I also offered. I also suggested the use of Sway to create presentations and online material. Both would be useful for L & D professionals, but I was not exactly sure if I would be able to fill 2-3 hours on the topics.

In the end, we settled on Character Animator from Adobe. This is an animation tool that allows you to use your webcam and microphone to animate an Illustrator or Photoshop image in real time. I would show you a quick demo below of how I have used it, but I have not paid for the full version of Word Press and it denied me the ability to share. I will upload it to YouTube and link or embed it later.

Anyway, the Character Animator is a really cool tool that allows creators to animate without having to be full time cartoonists. For trainers, we can use this when we are presenting and don’t want our own faces to be the on screen visuals. Many of us are delivering online training from homes or offices that do not have expensive setups rigged with the latest green screens and lighting. Instead of dealing with all that hassle and expense, we could have a character do our presenting. Almost like an avatar rather that a human video feed.

 

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A simple example I am having the OLC attendees create and use for live action animating

 

Beyond the live feed presenting, Character Animator also enables us trainers to insert characters that match a motif or brand or mascot into pre-recorded online training content. For instance, if my company The Crowd Training had a client requesting sexual harassment training, we could offer them an online self paced elearning course that featured an instructor or guide that fit the company’s image and/or was purposely nondenominational or fitting any particular category. We could have an on screen presenter that was of no set ethnicity or not even human at all. That would remove the fear of featuring certain situations that might cause unease or inadvertent discrimination. Not to mention, many people prefer to see fun relatable characters over a disconnected human.

Looking forward to running these sessions. Shall post again later this week to let you know how they went. Until then, I am going to enjoy some of New Orleans and the 90 degree heat and humidity! Ok, maybe not so much the latter.

Mixed Reality in Training

I recently gave a presentation at the Training Conference 2017 in San Diego on the use of various devices that could be used for learning and development. The objective was to share with fellow educators and other leaders and professionals in the Learning and Development industry some of the soon-to-be realities that we are experimenting with for delivering Just-In-Time (JIT) training to our learners.

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There were a few technologies and tools that we are currently experimenting with at Plex Systems (an ERP company based in the Detroit area). I showcased the Microsoft HoloLens and Daqri helmets to illustrate the delivery of training to manufacturing employees. Our thinking is that shop floor employees must wear safety glasses, why not make them more dynamic and useful beyond just eye protection. Ergo, when an employee is standing at a workcenter or on the assembly line attempting to recall their training from weeks back, they do not need to rely completely on their own memories. If already equipped with augmented or mixed reality glasses, they should be able to access training content straightaway. Whether that content be training documentation, training videos, checklists, or a live person, the employee needs that material at the point where he or she must apply it more than weeks prior while they were sitting passively in a training session.

The Microsoft HoloLens and Darqi devices are not the only cutting edge technologies we are exploring. I shall discuss more of those other devices and our strategies behind them in a future blog. For now, I simply wanted to bring up the discussion and get the virtual ball rolling [pun intended!].

As I prepare my next presentation on the topic – which includes the Online Training Conference in New Orleans and PowerPlex 2017 in Atlanta – I am curious to hear what other people are doing or considering doing. Would love to dialog and share thoughts!