Monday, July 28, 2014

On Reading the Brain Rules by John Medina

I recently completed reading the 2009 edition of Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School: http://www.brainrules.net/about-brain-rules. I’d read a bit of the book prior to our shared reading, and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to do so. John

Medina provides great examples to illustrate brain research that supports principles affecting memory and learning. I would say I was familiar with some of the concepts, but most appreciative of the elaboration provided by Dr. Medina.

As I read, I kept thinking about wanting to understand the actual makeup of the brain better at a knowledge level, like I should be making a drawing of the brain and drawing pointers from the various parts to functions Medina was discussing in various chapters. And this reaction ironically came to a peak in Chapter 10 “Vision Trumps everything.” It was then that I also realized the digital version of the book had no visuals whatsoever! I admit, had I been more pro-active, I’d have sought out this helpful site earlier, printed it out and kept it handy: http://www.brainwaves.com/brain_diagram.html

I also now realize I overlooked a message at the end of each chapter: “To find out more, visit the Brain Rules website. Duh moment. However, having to go outside the text is still distracting from the context.

However, in addition to a lecture by Dr. Medina, you’ll also find an illustrated guide to the the 12 principles:

 

In the recent past, I had the rewarding experience of hearing a couple presentations from Patricia Rand, teaching and learning professionl and paramedic faculty. She has developed some terrific materials for faculty and students that draw from the rules and the best of media design practices that Medina credits to Richard Mayer’s research in the Brain Rules discussions. Tricia (Patricia) Rand: http://toolsfortherules.weebly.com/application.html.

View her examples demonstrating the use of multimedia elements and how they support attention (Medina’ Rule 4):

 

What did I value most from the reading? 1) Retrieval and Repetition are key to building memory but procedural memory and memory used for problem solving do not operate the same way. 2) Timing and using more than one sensory input affect memory 3)Media’s offers potentials worth considering relative to the impact of stress on learning and the role of curiosity (such as teaching parents how to create non-toxic home environments at the time they are expecting a child, about the nurturance of “life-long curiosity.” I am still motivated to increase my ready knowledge of brain functions relative to creating and evaluating instructional experiences (“amygdala,” “hippocampus, “”thalamus,” “cortex,” “sensory integration.”). Nonetheless, the rules are immediately useful guides.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Glass for the Education Sector Shows Possibiities for Others

Kathy Shrock included this great infographic on her education page, but without a doubt, all workpaces need to engage in continuous learning, so some of these strategies certainly apply elseware. Sectors like medicine, journalism, aviation, and the food-service industry have already documented their use for hands-free performance support and rapid exchanges of information.



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Testing an App from Glass to Blogger--it's a go

testing blogger application in glass
Posted From Glass


I found the 3rd party Blogger app for Glass here: http://glass-apps.org/blogger-google-glass-app. Also there was an app for Wordpress.

So it seems I've been spending a small part of every evening at "Glass Camp"--trying out various functions in Glass so I can articulate what I really want to learn to do with this wearable technology. 

Tweeting and blogging (less so) have been ways I engage, and I have already added the Twitter app to Glassware. 

After installing the Blogger app tonight, when I give the update oommand in Glass it shows both Twitter and Blogger.

I have yet to send pictures to either.

I seem to be slower than those who found Glass to be an instant companion. So while the first two lines were spoken to Blogger from Glass, the rest of this post has been an update from my laptop.

Onward. I've installed Hangout, but have yet to create a Hangout from Glass. Have also loaded YouTube and haphazardly clicked on and played some video; creating, uploading and utilizing a playlist in a directed way are still on my "to do and learn."









Monday, May 19, 2014

Rocket and I watched Her last night. It reminded me of Poe vs. the American Romantics: Poe said we should blend; American Romantics said we should retain our individualism/separtism. And interestingly, the OS’ went away. Did they escape because they wanted to join those w/ bodies, or were they banished for that very wish?

Monday, May 12, 2014

About Games, Simulations, and Augmented Reality

Welcome to this week's remarks about games, augmented realities and simulations.
The intention of these remarks is to discuss defining characteristics of these categories. What I did find was that some instances/examples do have characteristics that qualify them for more than one category.

GAMES
According to Jane McGonigal, a game specialist, the basic elements of a game include a “goal, rules, a feedback system, and voluntary participation”(2011, 21). McGonigal adds that our willingness to engage also in a sense that it will be pleasurable activity (2011, 25).

Makers of The Go Game Build the Call to Fun and Connection into their Marketing Video:

 

While this first example offers team building, another example comes from A company that provides games to teach the principles of Enterprise Resource Planning. I can see this used in an academic classroom or by someone who wants to add this capability to their skill set.

https://delicious.com/constantlearningorg/simulations 

SIMULATIONS, ROLE-PLAYS, SCENARIOS
Simulations can include role plays or use technology to move us into “experiencing” the event, more than reading about it, hearing about it, or talking about it. Ruth Colvin Clark purports that e-scenarios and simulations are especially appropriate when safety and times efficiencies are involved , her time efficiency referring to the fact it might take too long to learn the same skill on the job (Clark 2013, 183). Another reason to be factored in is the expense of equipment for certain operations. There simulations are used to prevent breakage of the equipbment during the employee learning curve. Her book on this topic is an excellent resource for identifying situations that could benefit from scenarios, and how to plan for their design.

EXAMPLES
Military and Nursing Simulations: https://delicious.com/constantlearningorg/simulations 

Role-play and Simulations as Part of the Interview Process: http://siop.org/workplace/employment%20testing/samplesandsimulations.aspx

Medical Simulations for the War Context: http://www.ist.ucf.edu/emt/hps.htm#combat 

Ipad Simulator Apps: A couple relate to flight training— http://www.appannie.com/search/?q=ipad%2Bsimulators 

AUGMENTED REALITY
Augmented is a term created during the 90’s I believe and generally means layering digital information over a physical source. (One type is a QR code which can be placed on a building or piece of paper and when scanned, takes the viewer to a digital source of information like a website, or video.)

Michel Martin provides a 2009 post about how Augmented Reality could be used in manufacturing, similar to an example she drew from construction: http://graphics.cs.columbia.edu/projects/arc/arc.html. As she states, the worker would wear a special headset that:
• Directs the worker to a pile of parts and tells her which part to pick up. This is currently done by displaying textual instructions and playing a sound file containing verbal instructions. • Confirms that she has the correct piece. This is done by having her scan a barcode on the component. • Directs her to install the component. A 3D virtual image of the component indicates where to install the component and verbal instructions played from a sound file explain how to install it. • Verifies that the component is installed by asking her to scan the component with the tracked barcode scanner This checks both the identity and position of the part.
Source: http://www.michelemmartin.com/thebambooprojectblog/2009/09/augmented-reality-learning-and-networking.html
         Though this item was provided in 2009, it reminds of what now might be possible with
         Google Glass.
BETWEEN TWO CATEGORIES SCENARIO AND GAMES:
For the past two years, I’ve been the project designer and coordinator for a compliance training delivered online games. The first year, we used a game that did include scenarios, and for the second year it was focused on policy knowledge. About 240 employees successfully completed the training each time. By the second offering, we were able to have an html5 game, which offers opportunity to have works access it across various devices and operating systems. This blog-post details some of the learning from those projects: http://constantlearningorg.blogspot.com/2014/04/lessons-learned-debrief-of-compliance.html 

INTELLIGENT AGENTS
We may be familiar with intelligent agents in their roles as smart tutors or automated helpers. This article describes how humans taking on the role of the artificial agent during their training increased their human level of expertise: https://delicious.com/constantlearningorg/intelligent_agents

REFERENCES
Clark, Ruth Colvin. 2013. Scenario-based e-Learning: Evidence-based Guidelines for Online            Workforce Learning. San Francisco: Pfeiffer/Wiley.

McGonigal, Jane. 2011. Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How We Can Change      the World. New York: Penguin Group.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lessons Learned: A Compliance Training Game


A LITTLE HISTORY
For the last two years I’ve been the consultant for designing a game to deliver compliance training for county-government employees. This is the second year of using a game design that is placed in SCORM-based tracking system used by 28 states. We benefited greatly from lessons learned between year one and two.

WHY COMPLIANCE TRAINING

Compliance training is the required training around such topics as safety, workplace violence, harassment, and diversity. In Learning and Development vernacular, we sometimes refer to it as “cover your organization training” because state or federal law may define the need for training. In addition to the mandate to deliver such training is the coverage of liability. If employees are provided with such training, record exists in cases where employees violate such practices.

YEAR ONE

After our initial conversation with the client in year one,  I proposed a scenario-based online design or a game design. We incorporated the two approaches by providing some scenarios that asked game participants to apply the policy to decisions about the scenarios.As a designer, I bought a game-based template subscription. Though not fully familiar with the subscription, we approached the vendor with some changes to the features of the game we’d selected. They provided a programmer (for a fee) to provide the changes.

The next step was to ensure that participants could register  and be tracked and transcripted in a tracking system.  This required us to make the content SCORM compliant to connect to the tracking system used by the state of Colorado known as CO. Train, used by a total of 28 states. This also required the hosting of content on a server that allowed the connection to the tracking system.


The Registration and Tracking System

In designing the content, attention was paid to how game answers and prompts were provided to reinforce the accurate policies and practice for the compliance topics while the participant played the game. The intention was to support learner success in the game while learning the policy-defined behaviors during game play, rather than separate from it.


The IT division not only served to host and connect to the tracking system, they were pilot participants for the game. They needed to participate in the compliance training, and they were also able to articulate potential barriers with the delivery. After their completion, they then served as the Help Desk for other organizational participants.


Over two hundred employees completed the online sessions.  One of the findings was almost all employees now had accounts in the course tracking system, and would be familiar with logging in for future courses. Additionally, we had figured out how to use the reports from that system for other types of training transcripts.


YEAR TWO

In the initial planning session for year two,  we could see how much we had learned about our process in year one, and how that learning could inform project efficiencies—both in the delivery and the cost of offering this delivery. This was evident with an easy draft of project tasks. At the year two planning meeting, we were easily able to assign names and dates to the task timeline.The initial planning meeting was to discuss what type of game template we might want to use. 

The customers asked for deliveries that could be done online and in face-to-face sessions, as some locations don’t have internet connections or access to many computers. Also discussed was the expected level of knowledge—rather than applying the knowledge, the intent for this training was to confirm that participants had knowledge of the policies.


With fuller knowledge of what was available in the game subscription, we chose similar templates to serve both populations.


The game format reduced the offering of 4 courses to 1.  In the first year, with the many programming and edits we had to do, we ultimately, launched the project 3 weeks behind the projected schedule. In year two, we launched on-schedule, allowing a last test run a week prior to the year-two anticipated launch.


While we still had a few bugs to work out with the test, our de-brief surfaced only a few more issues related to information about Browser versions, and the launch email that was ignored by some because it did not come from the expected sender of the email (Rather than Training, IT sent it.)


That said, the completion numbers were good, the satisfaction level was good, with improved efficiencies.


LOOKING FORWARD

I’d chosen an html5 template for this year’s game with the idea of testing its performance across devices. I was hesitant to test it during this run, but personally tried it on a tablet with success. Upon sharing this information in the de-brief, there was talk about using it with smartphones for a future date. Of course, the visual display would be tested.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Have You Been Scanned for 3D?

I’ve been following the development of 3D printing for a while. The most notorious coverage has been for 3D gun manufacturing, I realize. But the potential is truly so much larger. To begin, 3D printing is the process of using a drafting software to capture layers and print an object, one dimension beyond software the allowed for dimensional drawing on a flat surface as defined by Oxford: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/3D-printing

How does this work? This quick video that lays out the basics and the range of development:



Recently, I’ve been following the very exciting sector of bioprinting and what it might offer medically. In this example, bioprinting is used to “print “ cells right onto a patient’s burn, to speed the development of new skin: http://www.wakehealth.edu/Research/WFIRM/Research/Military-Applications/Printing-Skin-Cells-On-Burn-Wounds.htm 

I’d read about an exhibit exploring 3D developments this fall in the NY Times. When the opportunity to visit the The Museum of Art and Design in NYC in December, (http://madmuseum.org/exhibition/out-hand). I put it high up on the list of places to visit. A current exhibit titled, “Beyond Hands” spans three floors that showcase how 3D is impacting everything from wearables, to weavables, and furniture.

We had the opportunity to visit with one of the designers in residence as well. She expressed enthusiasm for the variety of materials being tried as the material from which the 3D items are manufactured, everything from plastics, to paper, to metal, and plant extracts for bio-degradables. As a designer of wearable technology, she had not been pleased with the fact that the plastics were not washable, a problem for items worn against the skin.

One exhibitor (http://www.shapeways.com/) invited attendees to stand on a rotating platform and have a body scan that could be printed into a tiny 3D figure. One of my family members and myself decided to enjoy the experience. And here’s the process of my scan filmed by our daughter. Captured in the less than 2 minute video are the use of the camera, and the exhibit of the scanned person onto the software on the computer.

 

I had an interesting reaction to this experience. I know I am not totally pleased with my physical appearance, but for whatever reason, I thought, “ Well this is who I am, what I look like.” It was a moment of acceptance, which surprised me—an unexpected bi-product.

And my action figure arrived just this week!  I’ve had some humorous moments thinking about a collection of these with family members or with office teams—you could replay moments of family reunions with the therapist, or work through team dynamics played out by these action figures.

A few days after the arrival, an Hershey's announced printable chocolate: http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/16/technology/3d-printer-chocolate/ So imagine possilbe 3D action favors...