Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Great Example of Informal Learning

I’ve talked about informal learning in the past, however I have stumbled across an example that training departments for larger organizations can take advantage of.  The concept is simply making available a program that you very likely already qualify for.  The cost is zero, and the effort on your part is minimal.

Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010The program I speak about is the Microsoft Home Use Program (HUP).  Typically the IT department doesn’t promote the benefits of being a volume licenser from Microsoft, however buried inside the program benefits is the option of extending this license to employees through the program by providing Microsoft Office for around $10 USD each.

So how is this informal learning you may ask?  Well, it may very well be your responsibility to perform software training in your organization.  By offering Microsoft HUP to every employee who has a home PC for $10, a large percentage of employees will take advantage of it, they will use it during off-hours, they will gradually learn the new features, and how to do certain things with the software which they may apply back on the job.  Your investment in a little promotion of the program can pay off in the form of a more knowledgeable and skilled employee.

Ask your IT department if you qualify for the program.  It really is a win-win-win scenario.  Your organization wins by not having to build or purchase elaborate Microsoft training, you win because you have provided a training method, and of course the employee wins by getting really cheap software and upgraded skills.
To learn more, the program website is here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Adobe Captivate

I was first introduced to Adobe Captivate when version two was still new.  Our instructional design team was switching from our previous authoring tool to Captivate while I was away conducting some classroom training out west.  Because of this I missed the training that our manager arranged for us.  I got back from the training and started to play around with the software.  It wasn’t quite as intuitive as PowerPoint, but close.  After a few days I found myself creating e-learning at a surprisingly quick rate.  As a team we relied heavily on Captivate for a year or two.  At which point we switched to another authoring tool to coincide with a new LMS launch.

Fast forward three or four years to today.  I have just opened up version five of Captivate which came as part of the Adobe E-Learning Suite I purchased a few months back.  It’s funny that the software is somewhat like riding a bike.  It’s been years but it’s all coming back to me.  There is very little that this software cannot do.  I’m so please to have my own copy of the Adobe E-Learning Suite.  It really has everything I could ever be asked to do as an Instructional Designer.