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Thank You From the Blatant^ Mo Bros and Mo Sista

November 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Many if not all of the Blatant Media Mo Bros will tomorrow be shaving off their facial hair. Mo Sista Danielle Roberts will, sadly, be peeling off her moustache. On behalf of everyone on the Blatant^ Movember team, thank you very much for your generosity.

Special thanks as well go to our Team Captain, Michael Ferster. Creating a Blatant^ Movember team was Michael’s idea. Also, in an effort to restore some grooming decency in the office, Blatant^ matched all donations,  bringing our total so far to $3475. (It’s not too late to make a donation.)

As promised, here are the before and after photos:

Al Kinnear Al Kinnear
Al Kinnear
Bryan Harrigan Bryan Harrigan
Bryan Harrigan
Danielle Roberts Danielle Roberts
Danielle Roberts
Don Landry Don Landry
Don Landry
Ethan Millard Ethan Millard
Ethan Millard
Michael Ferster Michael Ferster
Michael Ferster (Team Captain)
Monte Rattray Monte Rattray
Monte Rattray
Richard Nantel Richard Nantel
Richard Nantel
Troyden Fissell Troyden Fissell
Troyden Fissell

Using a Learning Management System to Gather Good Ideas

November 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Richard Nantel, Vice President, Enterprise Learning Solutions, Blatant Media | Absorb LMSThere’s a winding, two-lane highway in Quebec that has a telephone/electrical pole standing in the middle. This isn’t a joke. I’ve inserted a photo from a reputable news source below to show you that this really exists.

How did this happen? Apparently, a road crew was sent to pave the road and they worked around the pole, rather than coordinating with a crew from the electrical company to remove the pole first. You can read about this here and here.

We can all breathe more easily, however, because:

“The pole has not caused any harm, so far…the problem will be fixed by the end of the month”
An electric pole stands in the middle of a road in Johnville, Que. on Monday Nov. 19, 2012. The ministry of Transport fixed a dangerous curve in the road issue this summer, but Quebec's public utility apparently failed to coordinate its timetable with the roadwork.

CAPTION: An electric pole stands in the middle of a road in Johnville, Que. on Monday Nov. 19, 2012. The ministry of Transport fixed a dangerous curve in the road issue this summer, but Quebec’s public utility apparently failed to coordinate its timetable with the roadwork. Jocelyn Riendeau / Canadian Press / Sherbrooke La Tribune

Well that’s a relief.

 It seems very unlikely that no one on the road crew mentioned paving around the pole might be a bad idea. At the very least, I would expect that the person operating the heavy equipment that flattens the asphalt to say “paving this stretch of road would be a lot easier if this pole weren’t in my way.”

This is the type of thing that happens in organizations that are either deaf to the input of workers, or have a culture where people are scared to speak up.

I’m certain that there’s a diagram somewhere at a Quebec government office showing that there’s a telephone pole in the middle of the highway. But, this is surely easier to be overlooked by an engineer sitting in a distant office than by a member of road crew leaning against it.

Input from those on the ground, doing the actual work, is critically important to the success of any organization. What works in theory may not work in practice.

Here’s an idea:

Since organizations typically use learning management systems to show people how to better do their jobs, why not use learning management systems to gather input from workers on how the work they do can:

  • Be safer
  • Be done more efficiently
  • Be less expensive
  • Be more rewarding and stimulating
  • Generate better products and services

Here are some ways to do this:

  • Include a task after a lesson that invites the learner to submit improvements via a wiki, Google Doc, or other online editor.

The lesson you've just completed shows how we currently perfom this process. But, it may not be the best way. We invite you to log into our wiki and submit any ideas you might have on how this can be improved.    This is voluntary. You don't have to do this. But knowing that you'll be working in this area, we'd appreciate your input. We promise to read every suggestion submitted and implement as many good ideas as we can.

  • Or, for each course related to an internal process, add as a resource a link to an online, editable document to which learners can contribute.

  • You could even create a course specifically designed to improve a process. Rather than showing learners how a process is currently done, simply enrol a project team into a course that contains one objective: the completion of a document describing their best collective thinking on how to complete the initiative.

Gathering input from learners  is only a start. Decision makers and managers must review the information submitted and provide feedback, ideally directly in the online document, stating which suggestions will be implemented and providing reasons for why those that won’t be implemented were refused.

Input from workers can’t fall on deaf ears, otherwise learners will stop contributing good ideas. Then, morale will drop and poles might appear in the middle of highways.

The Role of a Learning Management System in a World Awash in Learning Content

November 13, 2012 2 comments

Richard Nantel, Vice President, Enterprise Learning Solutions, Blatant Media | Absorb LMSA client recently asked if I could help him prepare a presentation he’ll be delivering to colleagues within his organization. The aim of the presentation is to provide an overview of workplace learning technology in 2012. So far, he has a very impressive slide deck that covers:

  • An introduction to e-learning
  • Learning modalities and content types (simulations, games, video, etc.)
  • Formats (Flash vs HTML 5)
  • mLearning
  • Social learning
  • Tools and technologies (authoring tools, learning management systems, etc.)

He asked if I could lend a hand in clarifying how learning management systems fit into all this. I sent along the following.

Learners today are presented with myriad opportunities to engage with learning content. They can turn to Blogs, Twitter, wikis, social networks, video sites, etc. to find valuable information about any subject.

Wealth of learning content available on the Web

The problem learners face today is not paucity of content, but rather that so much content exists that it can take significant time and effort to find the many gems in a world awash in funny cat videos, political memes, inspirational quotes, deliberate scams and inadvertent falsehoods, marketing copy pretending to be impartial content, and Justin Bieber (who, depending on your sources, may or may not have just broken up with Selena Gomez) musical covers.

How much stuff is out there? YouTube alone experiences 72 hours of video uploaded every minute. This source estimates that there have been 163 billion tweets since the dawn of Twitter. According to the American Library Association, by 2020, information on the Internet will be doubling every 15 minutes.

The bottom line is that, faced with so much content, learners can benefit from digital content curation. This means that the role of learning professionals such as instructional designers and instructors expands beyond creating and delivering courses to finding useful content and vetting potential authorities and subject matter experts.

A learning management system, then, provides a centralized on-ramp to relevant learning content located within the LMS but also found elsewhere on the Web. Learners can be encouraged to:

  • Watch relevant YouTube videos embedded into courses or added to the system as resources
  • Follow and participate in discussions with experts on Twitter and in forums
  • Read and comment on blog posts written by authorities on specific topics
  • Contribute ideas with colleagues using wikis
  • Attend live virtual events such as Webinars
  • And much much more

Learning management system (LMS), an on-ramp to the Web's learning content.

Some learning gurus are vehemently opposed to the very idea of curated content. The learner, they say, should be free to roam the Web and discover content he or she finds relevant. These gurus should learn to relax. A learning management system doesn’t restrict learners from discovering content. This is curation, not censorship. A LMS simply provides an on-ramp to content someone has concluded is potentially valuable in learning new skills or information.

Meet the Blatant Mo Bros (and One Mo Sista)

November 9, 2012 2 comments

It’s the time of the year when Gillette, Schick, and other producers  of men’s razors likely experience a drop in revenue. In November, men throughout the world reduce or abandon altogether their shaving to raise awareness and money for men’s health issues, specifically prostate cancer and male mental health initiatives.

In support of this worthy cause, Blatant Media has formed a Movember team.

“Since its humble beginnings in Melbourne Australia, Movember has grown to become a truly global movement inspiring more than 1.9 Million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to participate.”

In less than ten years, this important initiative has raised more than $850,000 million.

We’re now in the second week of November so all of us—with the exception of Mo Sista Danielle Roberts—are at the stage where our faces could be used to scour dirty pots and pans. Animals and small children run away when we enter a room. Needless to say, no one dares kiss us.

In three weeks, we all, (with the exception of Danielle), hope to resemble Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp . You’ll be the judges. We’ll be posting before and after photos of team members at the end of the month.

Until then, we hope you’ll support this great cause. Donations can be made here: http://ca.movember.com/team/536633/

Movember stats:

Movember stats

Welcome to the New Absorb LMS Customers We Can’t Name (and Those Below That We Can!)

November 8, 2012 Leave a comment

As is typical, a number of our new clients have asked that we not announce them publicly on this Blog and on our Web site’s client list. These customers include:

  • Departments in large organizations that already have an `official’ learning management system (LMS) that doesn’t do what the department needs. These departments need to keep their use of Absorb LMS below the radar.
  • Commercial training providers that wish to keep their use of Absorb LMS a secret and competitive advantage.
  • One major well-known global retailer—who’s name you would recognize, and it’s totally killing us not to name who it is—that has a policy of not allowing suppliers to name them as a client until they have worked together for one full year. Fair enough.

We welcome these unnamed clients.

The following organizations, which span a multitude of industries, HAVE, however, given us the green light to let the world know they’ve become Absorb LMS customers. We’re thrilled to welcome them.

AgLeader Technology —For almost two decades, Ag Leader has been a leader and driving force behind precision agriculture innovation, making farming more efficient and profitable. Find out more at http://www.agleader.com

Barium Springs—Founded in 1891, Barium Springs, a non-profit organization, provides family services to residents of North Carolina. Find out more at http://bariumsprings.org

Brewsters Brewing Company & Restaurant—Brewsters Brewing Company & Restaurant brews a wide variety of ales and lagers and has restaurants located in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Find out more at http://brewsters.ca

Cobham Tactical Communications and Surveillance—Cobham Tactical Communications and Surveillance is a world leader in security, sharing, and communicating situational awareness in challenging environments, from urban environments to the digital battlefield. Find out more at http://www.cobham.com/about-cobham/aerospace-and-security/about-us/tactical-communications-and-surveillance.aspx

Dole Fresh Vegetables—Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc., a subsidiary of Dole Food Company Inc., produces and markets fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers. It also offers packaged foods, such as salads, as well as frozen fruits. Find out more at http://www.dole.com

EMRlogic Logic Systems—EMRlogic, founded in 2005, is dedicated to providing practice management and electronic health records application software products to ophthalmologists and optometrists. Find out more at http://www.emrlogic.com

ERMC—ERMC is a multi-discipline, facilities services company headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee. ERMC currently serves a wide variety of industries such as retail shopping centers, food processing, aviation, manufacturing, transportation, and commercial office and property management. Find out more at http://ermc2.com

Gran Tierra— Gran Tierra Energy Inc. is an international oil and gas exploration and production company headquartered in Calgary, Canada. Find out more at http://www.grantierra.com

Mortgage Research Center, Veteran’s United—Veterans United Home Loans is the United State’s largest provider of VA Loans — dedicated to making the American dream of homeownership a reality for those who so bravely served. Find out more at http://www.veteransunited.com

Newhall Klein, Inc. —Since 1989, Newhall Klein has produced design and marketing solutions that have helped their business partners successfully build and reinforce their market positions. Find out more at http://www.newhallklein.com

Nova Medical Centers—Nova Medical Centers is the fastest growing 100% occupational medicine service provider in the industry. Find out more at https://www.n-o-v-a.com

Openbet—OpenBet is the market leader in providing software for the betting and online gaming industry. Find out more at http://www.openbet.com

Our365—Our365 and its divisions encourage expectant mothers through pregnancy and through beautiful photography capture those special days of anticipation, then meet these new mothers at the hospital to take the newborn’s first portrait. Find out more at http://www.our365.com

Palantir Solutions—Palantir Solutions is a leading, global provider of Integrated, Dynamic Planning Software and Services to upstream oil and gas companies. Find out more at http://www.palantirsolutions.com

Rockfish Learning Management (Stormwater USA)—Stormwater USA was created to provide industry professionals with an accessible stormwater training program to meet the growing demand for NPDES training. Find out more at http://www.stormwaterusa.com

Synapsii, LLC—Synapsii is a Women’s Business Enterprise founded in 2012. The company is currently working with medical practices, focusing on education delivered to patients at the appropriate time in their care continuum, by leveraging the latest in technology. Find out more at http://www.synapsii.com/

TXI— TXI is a leading supplier of cement, aggregate and ready-mix concrete building materials. Find out more at http://www.txi.com/

Xcel Testing Solutions LLC— Over 25 million students have successfully passed standardized assessment exams by utilizing Excel Testing Solutions research-based learning approach. Find out more at http://xceltesting.com