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.

There has got to be a better way.png

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!

olc-2017-header-logo.png

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.

 

CA Robot Example@3x.png
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.

Have Course Published at GoGogh

Want to hear my voice?

What to learn something?

What to earn PDUs – if you are a PMP?

I have produced a course for the Training website: GoGogh.com

You can see my course and the others offered.  My bio and list of podcasts (Radio Shows) are listed too.  I have more courses and podcasts in the pipeline and should appear soon.

If you would like a discount on your GoGogh subscription, use the code: gogogh46

Off to Phoenix next week to film a course at their headquarters.  That one is on the PMP Exam prep.  Look for it soon!

ITIL Foundation Classroom Course in Seattle Area this April

The ITIL Crowd is offering an exclusive certification preparation class for those planning to sit for the ITIL® v. 3 Foundation certification exam.  This one time (currently) course will take place in Issaquah, Washington – a east side suburb of Seattle and Bellevue/Redmond.

The course details and registration is posted at http://itilseattle.eventbrite.com.  The 2 day class is being offered at super-generous $499.  If you don’t pass, you can have all your money back.  So, if you are in the Seattle area, what do you have to lose?  Join the ITIL Crowd!

Register for ITIL v3 Foundations 2 Day Classroom Training in Issaquah, WA  on Eventbrite

The course is currently in the accreditation process.

The Strategy for Getting Ready for Strategy

One month ago, I started my trek into the world of ITIL Intermediate exams. First up: Service Strategy, a.k.a. SS.

Being a month elapsed, I may not recall every detail. But I hope to share with you some insight to this and the other exams.

January 13. Sunny skies in Seattle. Stars aligned? Best day to take my first exam? You bet!

Now many of you may purchase a packaged deal – requisite training and proctored exam bundled in. I choose a different path. A cheaper path. Many classroom based trainings are upwards of $2000 to $3000. Each! And with 5 to do, that is costly. I found it easier to purchase online training, get the core publications, and purchase the exams individually from APMG.

My cost breakdown:
Online course: $550
ITIL books: $80 (online only- 1 yr subscription) for all 5; about $16 each
APMG exam: $400
Being certified: Priceless – haha just kidding

Total: $966
That is a cheaper path than sitting in a class. Especially since most prep classes are not in the Seattle area. Requiring travel costs, hotel, food, and other expenditures.

Although, there is a lot to be said about being in a class. Being fully immersed in the session. Immediate feedback and clarification. Discussion with like-minded colleagues. And most importantly – blocks on distractions. If the class is being held on-site at your workplace, that advantage is typically wiped away. Unless you have a very disciplined workplace that respects your training time.

When taking online sessions, there is only you to decide the start/end times. Only your inner voice telling you to pay attention and ignore the call of the fridge, email, or TV. Ergo, online courses are not for everyone. You must be disciplined. You must schedule blocks of time as if you were IN-CLASS. Your email must remind people that you are in training and that their little needs are of no concerns to you – for the next few hours at least. It is too easy to procrastinate or get distracted online. You must treat it like an in person class. Even if it is a class of one.

Working from home, diving into an online class was easier for me. I have an environment that supported “lock-down” study sessions.

In the end, I saved approximately $1,000 (give or take; probably more give). And remember, this is just the 1st of 5!

Next post: About the actual exam that sunny morning in January.

My Strategy – Start with Service Strategy

My strategy.  Not necessarily one that is best for others.  Not certain retrospectively if it was the best for me.  But it worked.

Taking on the lifecycle path within the ITIL certification schema, I figured I needed to start somewhere. Staring at 5 choices. No set place required to start. But having to start somewhere, I selected the big picture first – and first on the list. Developing most management experience from the business side of IT, Service Strategy seemed the most logical.

Those in the trenches, I would recommend starting with the Service Operations exam. When I took that exam, it felt like a breeze. Could it have been because I had already completed 2 other certifications by then? Certainly. All the topics revolve around the same thing: IT Service Management. They all relate. The management on one area depends in part to the management of the others. After all, the first chapter of each core publication is practically the same.

Which ever topic you select to tackle first, it will most likely be the most difficult. Getting comfortable with the format and topic is one of the first hurdles. Then you build momentum. By far, the Service Strategy exam is the one that I studied for the most. Thoroughly reading the core publication on top of hours of online instruction took many hours over many weeks. In all, I think I spent 30-40 hours in study prep. But considering by syllabus, ITIL v3 Intermediate Service Strategy classroom based training sessions are 24 hours. Granted, that often includes the exam and breaks. Although, I imagine most attending a class spend near that time to reading and completing any other side work.

Subsequent study prep times were less.

My strategy for starting with Service Strategy paid off. Not only did I pass on the first attempt – I passed with Distinction. That was quite a relief.