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Internet Explorer Helps Make Learning Fun

by Ian Huckabee on August 13, 2014

IE Makes Learning FunDo you remember Internet Explorer 6? Mention this relic browser to developers and watch their eyes roll. IE6 was released in August 2001, and eight years later Microsoft was still committed to supporting it in spite of its increasing loss of interoperability. Microsoft felt it was acting in the interest of its users by supporting the browser for the lifespan of the computer it was purchased with.

In an interesting turn recently, Microsoft acted in the interest of its users by announcing it will stop supporting old (and not-so-old) versions of Internet Explorer. “After January 12, 2016, only the most recent version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates,” writes Roger Capriotti, Director, Internet Explorer, in the IEBlog.  “Microsoft is prioritizing helping users stay up-to-date with the latest version of Internet Explorer.”

This is a good moment for learning. While enterprise users who have standardized based on earlier versions of the browser are less than thrilled, learning departments are rejoicing.

Modern web standards (we’ve all heard of HTML5) connect people in new and different ways, and improvements in these standards have turned the browser into a mainstream delivery system for e-learning. HTML5 facilitates responsive web design, the creation of e-learning content that responds to the screen size of the device being used, offering single-application solutions that deliver e-learning to multiple devices. Media and other interactive elements can be written into the code because of HTML5. And these elements are an expected part of today’s mobile web experience.

These rich web experiences can’t occur on older browsers, and increasingly, as browser-based services like Office 365 and SharePoint continue to evolve to these new standards and as e-learning spreads out of the LMS and into these other environments, interoperability between web applications is important. This is smart move on Microsoft’s part.

Microsoft offers a number of browser migration resources and services. At Weejee, we’re committed to creating the best experiences for your learners and are working with Microsoft to make this transition to the modern browser an easier one for all of us.


The New Attention Span

by Ian Huckabee on April 7, 2014

The New Attention SpanSomeone told me recently entropy isn’t what it used to be. I haven’t been able to stop offering that up as a quip for why anything goes differently than expected. For many in the world of learning and training, things do appear to be going differently than expected. When we look at learning in the context of increased mobility, an evolving economy, and the cultural impact of generational change, we see what looks a lot like entropy at work.

Much of the change is being driven by the new attention span. Media providers compete for our attention across increasing numbers of devices and media channels by offering content that is more visual, more interactive, shorter in length, and that delivers a quicker payoff to the viewer. The impact this is having on the edifice of learning is disruptive, to say the least. But this seeming decline into disorder represents tremendous opportunities for organizational learning.

A big contributor to the new attention span is our increased mobility. Wireless mobile communication is the fastest growing form of communication in history. Never before have we been able to learn so much with such little effort wherever we are and whenever we want. According to Gartner, the number of mobile workers will likely triple in 2014, and the practice of “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) will continue to offer up new origins of those “aha” moments that are essential to learning.

As a result, as we reported earlier this year, today’s workforce is becoming more collaborative as mobile technologies allow workers to perform tasks from multiple locations. Learning solutions are beginning to reflect this collaborative work style, and in many cases are embedded within it. Mobile workers find easy ways – whether company-sanctioned or not – to access information in order to bolster creativity, enhance performance and solve problems. Easier often means faster. And faster means attention can more quickly shift elsewhere.

What is an attention span, anyway?

Virginia Heffernan, an expert on pop and digital culture and former columnist for the New York Times, writes in her piece “The Attention-Span Myth” (NYTimes, 2010) of an “unhappy attention-span conceit” that has formed, where attention spans are seen as “constituents of character that have become the digital-age equivalent of souls.” The longer the better, we have come to believe, and technology is shrinking them. But could the attention span be, as Heffernan suggests, a phantom idea? In an age when we can have whatever information we want whenever we want it, might a healthy attention span be one that is more flexible, more elastic, one that gives us the ability, through repetition and a priori experiences, to quickly filter out that which should never be allowed to constitute any part of our modern-day souls?

Advances in communications technologies have thrust us into an expected evolutionary transition, not unlike the advent of human languages some fifty thousand years ago or the development of the modern-day printing press some 560 years ago. “These cultural transitions,” Heffernan writes, “— disruptive as they are — happen all the time as society’s demands on individuals change.” It’s not that the attention span changes to the fashion of the day; it changes to meet our current needs.

The New Attention Span and Learning

In our report – “E-learning Will Never Be the Same. Hallelujah!” – one of the areas we look at is the new attention span and how to appeal to it for training purposes. And we look at the positive effects these approaches can have on today’s workplace learning.

Interactive videos, for instance, are emerging as the new learning “document” because of cost, ease, and impact in a time-poor workplace. Interactive layers within a video allow the learner to click on screen and access other destinations that contain additional learning content, including web pages, pop-up documents, and scene (or chapter) points within the video. Choose-your-own-adventure videos allow learners to make decisions during the video, each of which can lead to a different outcome.

Transmedia story telling is another approach that quickly appeals to the new attention span. Because of increases in the numbers of mobile devices and mobile workers, the ability to tell stories across multiple media is playing a greater role in engaging learning audiences. Organizations are beginning to expand narrative-centered learning environments by telling stories across multiple media in environments where those individuals are already engaged.

Personalized, adaptive, and relationship-centric learning approaches give learners the content they need, when they need it. Innovative organizations offer adaptive learning solutions and services to their learning audiences in order to fulfill learner demand for smaller, bite-sized learning, delivering to the learner only the content they need.

Even the learning management system (LMS) is changing. It’s moving from a learning-centric application to a learner- and relationship-centric platform, an ecosystem that addresses multiple generations, multiple learning modalities, multiple cultures, and multiple types of user devices. Next-generation LMSs and ecosystems are becoming inherently social and collaborative, where learners can rate and comment on “aha” moments in formal and informal learning events, and where they can contribute content that allows other team members to leverage a wider organizational knowledge base.

Tomorrow’s Workers

There are many starting points for addressing the cultural impact that increased mobility, an evolving economy, and generational change are having on organizational learning and learners’ attention spans. As lifelong learning makes renewed demands on learning services and continues to challenge traditional learning models, and as competition builds for tomorrow’s leaders and for mid- and high-skilled workers, success could very well be measured by the amount of attention organizations place on the new attention span.

Download the White Paper: E-learning Will Never Be the Same. Hallelujah! (PDF)



Weejee Learning Co-Founder Tracy Bissette and eLearning Guild Partner on Academy Course Series

January 27, 2014

Bissette to Teach Course on Improving Instructional Design Execution Durham, N.C. – Jan. 9, 2014 – Weejee Learning chief learning officer and co-founder Tracy Bissette has partnered with The eLearning Guild to lead a series of classes for The eLearning Guild Academy in 2014.  The eLearning Guild, the oldest and most trusted source of information, [...]

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Bubble-free E-learning – Tailoring and Customizing Online Experiences

October 22, 2013

The rate at which the e-learning industry is growing speaks to significant changes in our world that have far-reaching effects socially and economically. These changes are rooted in technology, and their outcomes are determined by the speed with which we address their cultural impact. At DevLearn this year, Eli Pariser, an Internet activist and author [...]

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Tutus and Training

October 14, 2013

Ballet has been a revered art form since the 15th century but I recently read an article about the widespread decline of ballet ticket sales. “Ballet Internationale, Oakland Ballet and Ohio Ballet all closed their doors over the last several years” while other companies have remained on hiatus. (Tossing away the tutus? Ballet companies seek [...]

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Thinking Pink: Learning About Breast Cancer

October 1, 2013

October is the month of pink. We’ll see pink t-shirts, pink bags, pink soccer balls, pink rubber breast cancer awareness bracelets. In a single NFL football game, we’ll see pink penalty flags, pink sweatbands, pink mouthpieces, and pink socks. On the street, pink umbrellas, pink handkerchiefs, pink smartphone cases. And, of course, everywhere we’ll see [...]

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Weejee Wins CLO Magazine’s Excellence in E-learning Award

September 30, 2013

Weejee Wins CLO Magazine Award for Excellence in E-Learning Durham, N.C. – Sep 30, 2013 – Weejee Learning, a global provider of custom, interactive and fun e-learning solutions for corporations, non-governmental organizations, associations and nonprofits, has been named a winner in Chief Learning Officer Magazine’s 2013 Learning in Practice Awards in the Excellence in E-learning [...]

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Tech Trends Impacting Learning

September 26, 2013

Last week, I had the opportunity to lead a discussion — Technology Trends Impacting Learning and Development — for Stephanie Simon’s ASTD Learning Trends SIG. The turnout was great, and the contributions even greater. Thanks to everyone who showed up! And to Stephanie for inviting me to speak. I’ve had a passion for technology since [...]

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