Wednesday, December 12

Optimizing eLearning Strategy (Bryan Chapman)

"Bryan Chapman is Chief Learning Strategist at Chapman Alliance, LLC; a provider of research-centric consulting solutions that assist organizations in defining, operating and optimizing their strategic learning initiatives. As a veteran in the industry, he has over 20 years experience and has worked with such organizations as American Express, Shell, Kodak, Sprint, Sharp Electronics, Honda, IBM, Microsoft, Avon, UNICEF, The Food and Drug Administration, U.S. State Department, and many others; to help them optimize learning efficiency through the use of innovative learning techniques and technologies.

Bryan was formerly the Director of Research and Strategy for independent research and consulting firm Brandon Hall Research, where he served as the primary author and researcher on high profile projects such as the LMS Knowledgebase, LCMS Comparative Analysis Report, Comparison of Simulation Products and Services, and a comprehensive study of custom content developers in the industry ...more "

If you are wondering why my blog has been quiet for a few days (Not really!), it is simply because I have been engrossed learning from Bryan Chapman (and other participants) while attending a 2-day workshop entitled 'Optimizing eLearning Strategy' at Park Royal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). The workshop was essentially about leveraging learning technologies efficiently and effectively to improve organizational and individual learning outcomes. It covered Alignment, Benchmarking, ROI (Return on Investment), Rapid Development, Content Reusability, Informal Learning, Learning Governance, Blended Learning, Performance Management, and brining it all together.

It was certainly a great learning adventure, and I at last got to meet one of the Brandon Hall researchers in person. This was a workshop that I simply did not want to end, but usually when you really enjoy something, time seems to fly faster (and it certainly did!). From start to finish, Bryan Chapman engaged us (and thrilled my learning mind!) with his vast experience, case studies, showcase samples, and nuggets of wisdom that can hopefully assist us in the present and future to strategize a more People-Process-Technology (PPT) efficient and effective e-learning (or simply 'Learning') strategy.

Not all of us have the opportunity (or can afford) to meet and learn from an experienced learning strategist such as Bryan Chapman. However, if we can't learn from them directly, we can at least enjoy their free resources made available for us to download and reflect. Here are a few wonderful resources from Bryan Chapman, which could assist us in making better decisions in identifying e-learning needs, people, processes and technologies, and initiating a more efficient and effective learning strategy (Source):

  • Creating the Ideal RFP (99K)
    It provides practical advice for creating a Request for Proposal (RFP) when shopping for an learning management system (LMS).
  • How to Buy E-Learning Systems, Tools and Services(626K)
    Information on how to systematically choose learning solutions in many areas such as authoring, simulation tools, LMS, LCMS, etc.
  • Learning Brief: Instructor-Led Training Development Times and Costs (554K)
    This learning brief is based on a survey conducted November 2007 asking companies how long it takes to create each finished hour of instructor-led training (ILT). Available as a PowerPoint. If you quote in your presentation, please cite the source of this study (included in the PowerPoint).
  • Reusability 2.0: The Key to Publishing Learning (481K)
    This paper contains 3 excellent case studies, that demonstrate the possibilities of reusing learning content across multiple delivery formats. Very thought provoking material.
  • Small to Medium-Sized Business Slides (2.2M)
    The presentation slides for session entitled "Leveraging Best Practices of Enterprise Learning for Small to Medium-Sized Businesses."

If you visit Bryan's resource page, you will find more free e-learning related documents.

If you are looking for a (e)Learning strategist, who are you going to call? BRYAN CHAPMAN! If you ask me, I would especially recommend Bryan Chapman if you are in the corporate sector and are looking for appropriate commercial e-learning solutions to optimize your learning strategy. However, if you are looking for open source solutions, perhaps you should consult people such as Stephen Downes instead; who is interestingly conducting a eLearning 2.0 (Web 2.0) workshop next month at JW Marriott, Kuala Lumpur. WOW! I wish I could attend, but I doubt I will get the funding. Sometimes lucky, sometimes not!

Bryan's only weakness (or lack of knowledge to my opinion based on the limited time we interacted with him), which I believe will evolve into a major strength soon (with his hunger-to-learn!), is his knowledge on the availability and possibilities of open source/free learning solutions. However, his knowledge on corporate e-learning solutions, is simply amazing! What do you expect from a person that has literally analyzed and evaluated hundreds of commercial e-learning systems, tools, and services (e.g. LMS, LCMS, Virtual Classrooms), and worked with some of the biggest companies in the world.

As for lessons learned, I suppose my mind is still trying to come to terms with all the juice I have digested in my learning mind, and would probably need a week, or two with recap reflections to really appreciate and understand all the great things I have learned during this amazing workshop. The workshop certainly fulfilled my expectations, and I also learned a whole deal just watching and analyzing Bryan Chapman in action (My psychology mind working!). For example, I loved the fact that when he learned something new and interesting during the workshop from the participants, he would try to add it immediately to his slides. No ego, No pride, just eager to learn and make use of it immediately!

After reflecting again Kirkpatrick's four (4) levels of evaluation (which also came up during the workshop), I believe level 1 (Truly Satisfied!) and level 2 (Learned a lot!) have been achieved, but the real objective of attending the workshop is not only to learn, but to be able to apply (level 3) what we have learned to our work, and hopefully achieve, or exceed the expected outcomes (Level 4). In short, learning without any application and/or results, might be useful for a person, but has little value for the organization as a whole, unless levels 3 and 4 are achieved.

In other words, I hope the things I learned during this workshop, can assist us to optimize our learning strategy, improve our teaching and learning environment, and increase our competitive advange from an educational point-of-view. I suppose this post (with reflection of results) will be continued sometime in the ... :)

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