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User Experience Diagrams

I find myself going back to these diagrams for understanding strategic requirements for different projects. Nice collection.

Online Staff Directories

Here are some guidelines on creating online staff directories:

Computer Tutorials on a Disc

David Pogue of NY Times describes his experience in taking video tutorials. Hilarious stuff.

Let's put it this way: If $23 is really all you have to spend, you'd learn more by hiring a personal trainer for six minutes.

E-University ‘disgraceful waste’

How many more such stories are we going to hear about?

"The e-University was scrapped last year, having attracted only 900 students at a cost of £50m"

The culprit:

"The senior executives failed to interest any private investors and showed an extraordinary over-confidence in their ability to attract students to the scheme."

Learning by Doing : A Comprehensive Guide to Simulations, Computer Games, and Pedagogy in e-Learning

Clark Aldrich is coming out with a new book this April:

"Designed for learning professionals and drawing on both game designers and instructional designers, Learning by Doing explains how to select, research, build, sell, deploy, and measure the right type of educational simulation for the right situation. It covers simple approaches that use basic or no technology through projects on the scale of computer games and flight simulators. "

We Have to Operate, but Let’s Play First

This makes sense when you realize that playing video games is a form of practice, although most of the time the pattern you practice are quite basic. In this case, however, the manual dexterity pattern finds a useful application:

"The complex manual dexterity required to be a stellar video gamer and minimally invasive surgeon are strikingly similar, said Dr. Rosser, chief of minimally invasive surgery and director of the hospital's Advanced Medical Technology Institute. More important, he is using video games to help develop and train a new generation of surgeons who may have unwittingly acquired an aptitude for laparoscopic surgery while wiling away thousands of hours playing Mortal Kombat, BloodRayne and the like."

‘Mirror neurons’ track thoughts and intentions

This finding gives more reason for designing learning based on eliciting different perspectives and opinions. Guess that's why blogs are so 'mentally' engaging.

In research published in PLoS Biology, scientists led by Marco Iacoboni discovered that the brain's "mirror neurons" are active when we are trying to work out other people's thoughts and intentions.

'Mirror neurons' are a set of cells in the frontal lobe of the brain, named because as well as being active when we execute actions, they are also active when we observe the actions of someone else.

They discovered that part of the activity in the 'mirror neuron' system was specifically related to perceiving intentions, rather than watching actions in general.

University of Phoenix puts technology at learning’s forefront

A behind the scenes look at how University of Phoenix uses simulations:

"... the university’s online simulations ask students to make decisions based on information provided to them in the simulation and on the knowledge they’ve gained through reading assignments and group electronic discussions. Each simulation has several pages of background information on a potential problem, often includes software that analyzes the potential effects of a student’s decisions, and walks students through a discussion of their decisions."

[thanks Stephen Downes]

100 most influential works in cognitive science

The Center for Cognitive Sciences at the University of Minnesota has voted on the 100 most influential works in cognitive science from the 20th century.

[thanks Mind Hacks]

KM as a Framework for Managing Knowledge Assets

Nice points on KM:

"To successfully understand and manage knowledge in an organization, we need to have a fundamental grasp of an organization’s origins and intent. Why it was founded and what it was supposed to achieve. What are the inputs and what is the planned output? Only humans can communicate those ideas that are the foundation for an organization. Ideas are clearly rooted in the knowledge of the founder. We can all agree that without ideas and the means to communicate, a founder’s knowledge could not be used or useful to an organization."

[thanks ColumnTwo]

BlogPulse on Tsunami Crisis

Intelliseek's BlogPulse has done some neat analytical work on how blogs covered the tsunami crisis. Some neat insights here.

On Maneuvers With the Army’s Game Squad

This is true empathic design:
"America's Army, a video game developed as a Pentagon recruiting tool, has gained an avid following. Now the Army has put the game developers through a boot camp to acquaint them better with the soldier's world."

Improving Learning Through Understanding of Brain Science Research

I started reading Steven Johnson's Mind Wide Open. It's a wonderful book on the 'neuroscience of everyday life'. Johnson main objective in writing this book is to help us discover our inner-self by using neurofeedback gadgets like the one used to measure attention and focus. While reading these chapters I wondered about the value of neurofeedback in teaching and learning. And as the serendipity of the blogosphere would have it, George Siemens links to this paper which which talks about improving learning using brain science principles. Wonderful. Just perfect.

A Problem Shared Is a Problem Solved

Nice thoughts on open-source innovation:

Right before Your Eyes: Visual Recognition Begins with Categorization

This is a cool finding:
"Take a moment and look at a picture near you. What did you see? How long did it take you to understand what was in the image, meaning how long did it take you to realize the green blob was a tree? Or that the orange circle was a piece of fruit? Most likely you assume that it took you no time at all, you just knew. Psychologists who study how we perceive images used to think that, before the process of object recognition and categorization could begin, the brain must first separate the figure in the image

Brute Force for Brain Teasers

This sounds like fun...
"Clues to the first-ever national treasure hunt for $1 million in jewels are cleverly hidden in the pages of A Treasure's Trove a classically-written fairy tale by Michael Stadther... The tokens have been hidden throughout the continental USA in 12 separate locations, one located not more than a day's drive from where you live."
Wired magazine reports that many are going online to solve the puzzle and are loving it there.
"Not everyone has the ability to physically participate in such a demanding nationwide search, but the book and the internet very easily allow them from almost anywhere in the world to mentally connect to this idea, to this excitement, and be a real part of the adventure and hype surrounding it."

A Theory of Fun for Game Design

Following a recommendation by Michael Feldstein I bought Raph Koster's A Theory of Fun for Game Design. It's a wonderful little book that opened up a fertile thinking ground for me. I agree with Michael that this book gives you more insights into the psychology of learning than on the mechanics of games. I recommend this book to every learning designer. Here

Learning Organizations

I followed a link by George Siemens to this paper on Peter Senge's principles of the learning organization. It has a nice description of mental models and shows why they are so important.

The future is not in learning…

"The future is in how fast you are at unlearning." Cool stuff from this blog: Creating Passionate Users.

How to Manage Smart People

"After spending nine years at Microsoft managing some of the smartest people in the world, Scott has a few tips to share on the art of managing the best."

From ivory tower to academic sweatshop

This is a fascinating account of the fears, uncertainties and doubts around distance education.

Steal this bookmark!

Salon on social tags, a.k.a folksonomies. Same stuff, different perspective.

Mind/Brain Learning Principles

Here are 12 learning principles involving the brain and learning. These can also be viewed as design principles. Here's one on the importance of the social aspect in learning.

"It is now clear that throughout our lives, our brain/minds change in response to their engagement with others - so much so that individuals must always be seen to be integral parts of larger social systems. Indeed, part of our identity depends on establishing community and finding ways to belong. Learning, therefore, is profoundly influenced by the nature of the social relationships within which people find themselves."

KM and Skimming

This is an interesting quote by David Weinberger and is presented in a KM context (the article is actually on Podcasting).

"This is a problem with many—nay, most—KM systems. They're devoted to the art of skimming. It starts at the system level: There is soooo much information in an organization that we should be able to skim it and present the cream. Then we should present the cream itself in skimmable form: I can check my KM portal and check the day's developments in mere seconds. If I see a headline that looks interesting, I can open it up and then skim the contents. Skimming is obviously hugely important. But sometimes you should swim, not just skate on the surface."

Is Instructional Video Game an Oxymoron?

This NY Times article is about the rise of online instructional games "that public interest organizations, advocacy groups and government agencies say have become the best way to reach a generation of children and teenagers weaned on video games and the Web."

Interestingly, thanks to Educational Games Don’t Have to Stink!, I realize that the games mentioned in this article don't really 'teach', they just help to illustrate ideas.

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