Saturday, May 27, 2006

IDOL Toolchest - 02

In this week’s Toolchest, I have included links to download three great (free) utilities to aid in your work with graphics. By clicking on the link you will be able to download the program installation file(s).
Webthumb 2005 v4
You can use Webthumb 2005 for creating a photo gallery and generating all of the HTML - but, most importantly you will be creating smaller (controlled size) versions of larger images. An entire directory and subdirectory can be created in minutes!

Image Brander
With Image Brander you can add your watermark to images in a number of different formats, GIF, PNG, JPG and TIFF. You select the watermark image to use (I suggest a PNG file with a transparent background) and the images that you want to brand, and the Image Brander does the rest! It is that simple.
With Pixeur you can easily view the color, RGB, Hex, and Long value of any color you see. Pixeur will also keep a history of all colors you have selected, so going back is as simple as choosing the color from the Color History list. The new Color Selector, Color Scheme, Advanced Color History tools, makes Pixeur a top in its class.

Top 10 Blunders

I came across this presentation and thought it would be a nice addition to the inside IDOL blog. Joseph Ganci of DazzleTechnolgies Corp has created this list of common mistakes that can be devistating to those responsible for developing eLearning. In addition to the Top 10 Blunders in Developing e-Learning, details are provided and suggestions for avoiding them included.

The Top 10 Blunders …
1. Skipping steps
2. Starting it all wrong
3. Underestimating the work
4. Choosing the wrong team members
5. Choosing the wrong tools
6. Choosing the wrong media elements
7. Designing incorrectly
8. Allowing later scope changes
9. Not evaluating the coursework
10. Not expecting the unexpected

Current Research in Learning Design

A 'learning design' is defined as the description of the teaching-learning process that takes place in a unit of learning (eg, a course, a lesson or any other designed learning event). The key principle in learning design is that it represents the learning activities and the support activities that are performed by different persons (learners, teachers) in the context of a unit of learning. The IMS Learning Design specification aims to represent the learning design of units of learning in a semantic, formal and machine interpretable way. Since its release in 2003 various parties have been active to develop tools, to experiment with Learning Design in practice, or to do research on the further advancement of the specification. The aim of this special issue is to provide an overview of current work in the area. This papers introduces Learning Design, analyses the different papers and provides an overview of current research in Learning Design. The major research issues are at the moment: a) the use of ontologies and semantic web principles & tools related to Learning Design; b) the use of learning design patterns; c) the development of learrning design authoring and content management systems, and d) the development of learning design players, including the issues how to use the integrated set of learning design tools in a variety of settings.

Koper, R. (2006). Current research in learning design. Educational Technology & Society, 9 (1), 13–22
[ download ]

Link Checking?

There are very experiences that online learners will find more frustrating than “broken links” (Barbee, 2004) … but managing these links can be tedious and time consuming if done manually. However, there is a freeware program that can effectively assess your page, folder or website. The program is called REL Link Checker Lite 1.0, and it is easy to install and easy to use. Check out the screenshots or visit the online users manual. You can’t beat the price and it will save you time in keeping your sites current.

Barbee, M. A. (2004). Web design and usability testing for school web sites. Instructional Technology Monographs, 1 (1). Retrieved May 27, 2006, from

Learning Online Survey (2005)

It is important, as scholar practitioners to be aware of research sources to guide both our practice and professional development. Most recently the Sloan Consortium has published their third annual report on the state of online education in U.S. Higher Education. The report is called Growing By Degree: Online Education In The United States, 2005. You will need Adobe Acrobat reader to view this complete 30 page report.

IDOL Toolchest - 01

I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the emerging tools that can directly impact instructional design for online learning (IDOL). I will post this topic on a regular basis so that readers can explore the possibilities.
AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML)
like using Miscrosft Word online
like using Adobe Illustrator online
like using Miscrosoft Excel online

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Making the move to mLearning

While this article (eBook) is over a couple of years old, the information is perhaps more important today than when it was originally published. Withe the increase use of mobile devices "world wide" rapidly surpassing computer use ... we (instructional designers) should be considering applications for online learning.
The future of learning:
From eLearning to mLearning
Desmond Keegan
This project is supported by the Leonardo da Vinci programme of the European Union
Ch 1 The future of learning
· The project
· The status of learning
· Statistics
· The nature of technology in learning
· The future of technology
· The future of learning

Ch 2 From dLearning to eLearning
· The nature of dLearning - definition
· The history of dLearning
· 1970s the foundation of the open universities
· 1990s the impact of the WWW
· The acceptance of dLearning

Ch 3 From eLearning to mLearning
· Statistics
· The nature of eLearning - diagrams
· The status of eLearning
· The acceptance of eLearning
· EU documentation
· The arrival of mLearning

Ch 4 mLearning initiatives in 2001
· Telenor mLearning Wap project
· Mobilearn
· EMobility 2001 conference
· UniWap (Univ of Helsinki/ICL)
· MobiLearn: Mobile computing in learning environments
· AvantGo
· IBrite
· Isopia
· Insead/Nokia/Icus
· Univ of Birmingham HandLeR
· MLearning IST project (Ultralab)
· MLearning forum
· Audrey Choden Wireless learning in your pocket
· Empowering Technologies The mobile learning era
· Codeonline
· Pjb associates latest news
· Setero Distance learning through wireless devices
· Palmpowerenterprise (Knowledgenet and Smartforce)
· The changing faces of virtual learning
· Supermemo
· Go Reader
· Learning circuits Goin Mobile
· Global Learning Systems UK
· Stanford Learning Lab

Ch 5 mLearning on the screenphone
· The proposal
· Illustration
· Limitations
· Decision

Ch 6 mLearning on the Compacq Ipaq
· Proposal
· Illustration
· Limitations
· Decision
· Development of system
· Development of courseware

Ch 7 mLearning on the smartphone R380
· Proposal
· Illustration
· Limitations
· Decision
· Development of system
· Development of courseware

Ch 8 mLearning on the WAP telephone R520

· Proposal
· Illustration
· Limitations
· Decision
· Development of system
· Development of courseware

Ch 9 Conclusions
· The future of learning

Journal submission guidelines ...

You publish NOT because you submit NOT!

Now that doesn't seem to be too difficult, but I was recently searching for a list of journals publishing on the topic of Instructional Design and decided to publish the list with links to submission guidelines.

Journals are listed in the order that they have recently published articles in the area of instructional design, according to a search using EBSCO.


Avatars for IDOL

Ever since discovering 3D human modelling with Poser, I have been fascinated with the idea of using virtual creature models to simulate life as we know it here on earth. Additionally, programs like 3D Studio Max are used to create accessories, environments, and creatures. There is one prohibitive factor associated with these sophisticated tools for most IDOLers. The learning curve is steep and the GUI are complicated. All of this started to change in January 2006. Imagine being able to pick a character, add some voice, drop in a JPEG background, add some movement, and save the video as either an AVI or Flash Movie. Thanks to the creative minds at Reallusion, now you can accomplish all of this and more in less than an hour using a great program called iClone. OK, so after being part of a beta test group, I have become convinced that the use of 3d, human avatars are going to become a staple in the online social interaction experience.

Recently, I learned about a 3d avatar IM (instant messaging) program which allows users to buy clothes, accessories, toys, property, furniture, living spaces and create a unique identity. The service is called IMVU (eye-emm vee-you). In this 3d space, people (through their avatars) can interact by communicating and exchanging physical gestures/behaviors. On their site they state – “Chat in bubbles. Shake hands, kiss, even tackle. 100s of actions in all!” So, if this is any indication of what is happening – the future of IDOL has just taken on a very powerful meaning.

Conclusion – keep this on your radar!


Blogger for Word?

This posting is my first in working with Blogger for Word! The free program is available at and is easy to install. You enter in the username/password and it automatically finds your available blogs. In this posting I am also attempting to include a graphic image, a hyperlink, and text styles.

Imagine how easy posting to blogs can be, when you post directly from within a program like Microsoft Word. However, when I select Publish, I am informed that with this initial release images, audio, and table information is not currently supported. Even still, it offers potential for increasing the usage of blogs for educational purposes.

Comments? Please add your opinion to this posting.