Monday, January 31, 2011

LMS Customer Assistance - Training Report Generation

I met with some of my customers in Engineering Planning today and reviewed some of the reporting capabilities available to them in the new LMS. Since these guys work contractors quite often they need to check on their training completion prior to bringing them in. The new system has a number of reports available but the user needs to know how to manipulate the inputs to get the info they want. Ironically most of them had been trained on how to run reports but none of them seemed to have a clue. I put them on the mouse and let them run reports on information and scenarios that was meaningful and recognizable to them. After about an hour of knocking around they all seemed to have an idea of the clicks required and what to expect from each click. I'm confident that this group will be able to generate the information they need without calling the training department customer service line. It just takes time and exposure to help everyone to make the transition.

Impropmp2.0 - Quick Definition

Social media
facebook, wikipedia
myspace craigslist
Internet media where users contribute to the content. Two way usage.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Quick Instructional Video for Checking Tire Inflation on Motorcycle Tires

This is an instructional video I created checking the tire inflation on your motorcycle tires.

 A lot of motorcycles come out on days like today after being stored for a few weeks while it has been cold and wet out. An important safety consideration is making sure your tires are inflated properly. A motorcycle can easily lose 5 or 6 psi in each tire while parked this time of year.

You'll see my best friend Minnie wandering in and out ot the shot.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Social Media Today in the Middle East

Right now we have some great examples of how powerful an informed populace can be and how unnerving it can become for a repressive government.  Social media networking is becoming a major game changer. 

Take a look at what is going on in the Middle East right now. Their governments are struggling with the dilemma of how to allow their citizens access to the technology we are studying in this class without losing control of the information flow in and out of the country. Take a look at this article from the NY Daily News describing the most recent events in the region. In countries where the government limits the freedom of individuals the ability to communicate access to social media creates real problems. 

This article from the Inquirer describes how the Iranian government blocked access to Facebook in May 2009 prior to their June elections. The movement of information threatened the official desired outcome of the elections. We all should continue to pay close attention to the events in the region both for the sake of staying informed and maybe more importantly to see how our their politicians and our own react.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More on my Latest LMS Experiences

I related yesterday the work a team of us performed to bring on new Learning Management System (LMS) in 2010. We went live on the 10th of this month without any commotion to speak of. Our challenge now is to monitor the system and modify any curriculum assignments that need attention because of ongoing reorganization and department changes.

Another challenge is the task of getting our users up to speed with using the system and being able to be a little more self serving. Some people are naturally inclined to embrace the technology and recognize the power they have at their fingertips while others require a higher level of maintenance. Adapting to change is really hard for some people. Hit the link and assess the tips that are offered and then consider how you deal with constant change. As we all learn new things and expose ourselves to new technologies we'll all need effective change management skills.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2010 LMS Data Migration Project

I spent a large part of 2010 working on a project to completely redesign training curriculum and migrate training histories and assignments from one Learning Management System (LMS) to a new LMS. I work at a Biotechnology Vaccines facility that employs around 1,000 employees and contractors.
Our old LMS was a system called ISOtrain . We used it primarily as a database to manage curriculum and training history. The system had been online in that capacity for about 10 years.  All training material support and delivery was managed and supported outside of ISOtrain and training completion was manually entered into ISOtrain. Over the years training curriculum had gotten out of control and was really messy.
Late in 2009 the talk began at the corporate level indicating we would get a new LMS. After some stumbles and starts we ended up with Plateau as our new LMS. At the local level we were tasked with rebuilding curriculum to be more focused and task based. We had to create and assign new curriculum and unassign old curriculum without disrupting operations.  A group of specialists from corporate were responsible for designing the pathway and migrating the data from ISOtrain to Plateau. We were also responsible for the data migration verification and system validation. We finished everything right before Christmas and went live January 10th.
The new system is a huge improvement over what we had. Now we can directly access learning materials directly from the LMS and training completion is documented online (no paper) for training completed through the LMS. We'll be managing training registration through the LMS later this year as well.
Lessons we learned through the process include a new appreciation for how big a project this really was. We are currently having to learn a new language (Plateau) and help our customers learn the language as well as we all transition to the new system.  We also have to learn how to manipulate a new menu of reports ways to mine data from the new system. It seems to take a lot of clicks. I think by mid-year we'll have the hang of it and be better for it. One of the biggest challenges with all of this was communicating to the customers and keeping them informed as to what was going on and what the "new look" was in their curricula as we cycled through the year.  I guess you can never communicate too much.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wesch - Thinking Differently, Doing Differently

To me, applying this next level of technology and internet utilization gives me the flexibility to take classes like this one and complete the work on my own terms and schedule. The parameters and expectations are clear leaving me to manage my life balance and class obligations. Last semester we used Prezi to work on a project teammates in the US and Italy to present to the larger class made up of students here and in Italy. Our team also used Elluminate to have online meetings for the build out of our presentation. The only rigid requirement was having to coordinate the times of the meetings across multiple time zones. In more than one case I was able to be out of town and arrange to be at a wireless internet location and be a full participant in the activity.

Moving forward this type of activity in both education and business can only grow. The one video spoke loud and clear to the need to multi task and change gears quickly from one activity to another.  Portability is an obvious requirement.  I do my work on a laptop mostly although if I have to travel I'll find a hotspot and make it fit with the rest of my life. I'm not on a Smartphone yet however, it seems obvious that Smartphone's take portability to the next level. My next phone will give me internet access wherever I am. This will be the new normal until the next innovation occurs. I love the freedom this type of program allows and I can't wait to see the future.  

I think the material Dr. Wesch presents highlights potential to collaborate across borders and cultures that we haven't tapped into yet. The possibilities are limited to what we let it become. I can only wonder what the next version looks like and what future generations will do with it. The beauty of it all is the rising accessibility around the world and falling cost of a ticket to the party. 

I did some scouting and looked at the  top 15 web 2.0 websites. If you take a look I'm sure you'll see some you use frequently.  Take a look at the estimated unique monthly visitors to your favorites. Now think of how many are actually contributing and providing content for others to see and or use.  Now imagine all of the interactive sites outside of the top 15 that focus on a specific topic where technical or scientific information are shared.I hope this results in breakthroughs in medicine, technology and engineering that change the world.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Web 2.0 Job Posting

Job Description: Web 2.0 Guru

Must have a minimum of a Bachelors Degree in computer sciences or preferably a Masters Degree in New Media and Global Education.
Must be able to show not less than two years experience operating and maintaining Web 2.0 applications with a progressive flair.

Personal Attributes:
Must be able to adhere to schedules and consistently hit deadlines.
Must be a self starter able to work with minimal direction.
Must be able to manage and prioritize multiple projects.
Successful candidate will be required to embrace ambiguity and adapt to change quickly.
Successful candidate must be friendly and able to fit in with other staff members and work closely with others as projects require.

Compensation Package:
Benefits package includes unmatched healthcare and retirement plan.
Ability to apply flexible hours combined with 100% tuition reimbursement for employee development.
Salary is competitive dependent on experience.