eLW Mag
eLearning Weekly Magazine


November 14, 2008

DevLearn 2008 – Day 2 Recap

I kicked off Day 2 at DevLearn by facilitating a Breakfast Byte session on DevLearn Live!, which is the collection of Web 2.0 apps we’re using regularly this week. Not many people showed up, but Wendy Wickham, Matt Wolf, and I spent the time well by discussing our current projects, our impressions of DevLearn, favorite technologies / tools, and more. It was a great way to start the day.

Next, I went to the keynote by Dan Roam, author of  The Back of the Napkin. Here’s a summary of my notes from the keynote:

  • We can solve nearly all problems with pictures. Once we start to think from a visual perspective, things become more clear.
  • Whoever best describes the problem is the one most likely to solve it.
  • Whoever draws the best picture gets the funding.
  • Always be thinking: “How can I explain this situation in a simple drawing or a napkin sketch?”
  • The more human your picture, the more human your reponse. The mind likes to look at pictures that map to the way we see the world.
  • Any problem can be broken down into six pieces:
    1. Who/what (Draw using a portrait)
    2. How much (Draw using a chart)
    3. Where (Draw using a map)
    4. When (Draw using a timeline)
    5. How (Draw using a flowchart)
    6. Why (Draw using a multi-variable plot / graph)
  • Southwest Airlines was started on the back of a napkin in Texas. Two entrepreneurs said they would create an airline that would fly between Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. They drew a triangle on a napkin to represent the flight pattern. They started simple and they succeeded. And if you fly Southwest today, you’ll see that they still print their flight routes on their cocktail napkins. Nice homage.
  • When it comes to visual thinking, there are three types of people: Black pen (people), yellow pen (people), and red pen (people). Black pen people will jump up and run to the whiteboard to draw their thoughts (that’s me). Yellow pen people say, “I can’t draw” – but they’ll eventually draw. Red pen people say, “I’m not visual. I’m not going to draw anything.” They’ll only get up to draw when they’re pissed off. 🙂
  • If you’re having trouble getting started on a blank canvas, JUST DRAW. Getting over the inital mark on the page is the hardest part. Start with ‘Me’ and ‘My problem’.
  • Need to sketch something on your PC? PowerPoint’s presentation mode provides a great drawing tool that most people don’t know about!

Here are the sessions I attended today…

406 – Managing Learning in a Web 2.0 – and Beyond – World (Lance Dublin)

  • Slides available here.
  • Lance Dublin is great at asking uncomfortable questions to get everybody’s minds thinking differently. If you attend one of his sessions, it’s very likely that he’ll put you on the spot for something. (Ex. “How do you define eLearning?”).  I enjoy the challenge.
  • Web 2.0 and so-called Learning 2.0 has caused us to re-examine how we learn, but has it really changed  us?
  • Lance argued that learning hasn’t changed, only technology has changed. If we look at how humans learn – how we acquire, absorb, encode, and use information – the core skills haven’t changed much over time. Sure, we have fancy new tools to help us organize the information, but we are still learning the same.
  • Lance believes there should be an area of learning called ‘non-formal’ learning. This is when people intentionally learn information in an informal way. (He states that informal learning takes place unexpectedly in an informal way.) It’s an interesting idea, and I bet the concept is easier for upper management to understand; informal learning has always seemed a little too relaxed for some people to see as valuable. Then again, this could all juts be semantics.
  • Lance believes the Learning 2.0 movement consists of these elements:
    • Rapid
    • Mobile
    • Immersive
    • Collaborative
    • Non-formal (rather than informal)

508 – Global e-Learning: Overcoming the Obstacles (Maarten Fleurke and Paul T. Liotti)

  • Admittedly, I didn’t stay through this whole session. The content was decent, but I didn’t see myself applying it any time soon at work (if ever at all). It was a bit more specific than I expected; I was hoping to get bigger-picture strategies for planning global projects. No worries, though. The room was packed and everybody seemed to enjoy the session.
  • Use qualified linguists for translations; don’t shortcut the process by using friends, family, etc. True linguists will be much less likely to make grammatical and spelling mistakes. (Plus, mistakes are expensive to fix, especially if audio or video is involved.)
  • There are no quick fixes when it comes to localization/ translation.
  • 30-45% of a course’s budget could easily go to voice talent and translation expenses (wow).

605 – Using Flash CS3 and AIR to Build Desktop Applications (Dan Carr)

  • Dan was a very laid back presenter, but he definitely knows his stuff. I liked his style; it was easy for me to tune in and absorb lots of great Flash / AS3 / AIR info from him.
  • Building a basic AIR app (desktop Flash app) is much easier than I realized.
  • Dan walked through an example AIR application that could write to an XML file on the desktop. It was simple and straightforward. I believe he will post his example files here, so keep an eye out.

I ended the night by having dinner with Barbara Ludwig. Now, time for bed. DevLearn is wearing me out!

Author: B.J. Schone

B.J. is the Founding Editor of eLearning Weekly and has contributed more than 150 articles. He works in elearning at Qualcomm, focusing on mobile learning.

About the Author

B.J. Schone
B.J. is the Founding Editor of eLearning Weekly and has contributed more than 150 articles. He works in elearning at Qualcomm, focusing on mobile learning.


Surgeon Wearing Scrubs

eLearning Isn’t Brain Surgery

Brain surgery is incredibly hard and everyone knows it. eLearning design—let’s face it—is not brain surgery. It’s worse. It’s just a little more difficult than most people realize. No one just gives brain surgery “a...
by Ben Butina

0000 TalentBorrows

Genius Steals

Occasionally a colleague or customer asks, “Where do you come up with such creative designs?” After basking in the compliment for a few moments, I disappoint them with an honest answer: “I steal them, mostly.” They’re...
by Ben Butina

00000 elw mag BRAINSTORMING

Real Brainstorms No. 47J: Track This

Reading this, you likely have the crazy gene I believe in, having no clinical evidence of such DNA. If you don’t sport that lovely mythical chromosome, please comment below so we can document opinions that my clock’...
by Eric Matas


000 Feature good money after LMS

Throwing Good Money after LMS

We’ve already made a significant investment, so we’re going to stick with it. I hear these arguments often from companies who have spent boat loads of money on some overpriced, clunky Learning Management System. Rea...
by Eric Matas


Lectora Tips! 3 Ways to Create e-Learning Magic

There are some familiar tools in Lectora® e-Learning software that can be used creatively to create not-so common results. Lectora features and functionality can be used in all different ways to maximize the power of the softw...
by Jessica Athey


One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Basement is Below