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What We Heard: The Three Big Buzzwords and Phrases of 2015

The year 2016 is almost upon us. Now is the time to take a few moments to reflect back on 2015.

This past year we once again saw strides being made in eLearning. Certain buzzwords we started hearing over and over again this past year. Some of these terms should sound familiar:

  • Millearnnials
  • Microlearning
  • The Myth of Learning Styles

Millearnnials, yes, Millearnials, not to be confused with Millennials! Millearnials are corporate tech-savvy workers of all ages who look down upon traditional learning environments and old-fashioned eLearning. This cross-generational learners want to use their smartphones and tablets to enable them to do their learning. They want media-rich and extremely relevant content in their learning experiences.

Lesson learned: It’s not just the Millennials who want to learn by mobile and through microlearning (see below), it can cut across generations.

Microlearning is a way of teaching and/or delivering content to learners in small, short specific chunks. To me, this is not a new, method of teaching and content delivery, we, as many of you probably agree, but, the term seems to be new. I seemed to have learned a precursor to this type of teaching back in my college days when one of my professors used to say, “The mind can only absorb what the butt can endure!” In that case, for classroom training, he was saying that you can only learn in class for the amount of time you can sit. When you’re uncomfortable, the class time should be over. Apparently this saying must have had some impact on me because I still remember it! Anyway, in the YouTube age, many of us want content in short, small edible bites so that we can learn short topics in short periods of time and we want it on demand. Instead of reading directions, we want to watch a video on how to do things and we don’t want a whole bunch of irrelevant content to get in the way. Here’s a great example, my daughter’s camera’s LCD screen broke when she dropped it. I could have sent the camera in to a camera repair shop and paid $150 USD just to get it looked at. But I found a YouTube video that someone from Germany had created on how to fix that very LCD screen with a part I could order from Amazon for less than $30. There was no speaking on the video, you just watched the close-up of how the entire process was done to fix the screen and put it all back together again. I did this, fixed my daughter’s camera AND saved a lot of money. When we create eLearning for our companies, we need to break down large topics into small, edible chunks in the same way. If we need to teach an enterprise software system, we can break it down into smaller tasks and create short, 2 to 3 minute videos or interactive learning bits to teach it in smaller chunks. This is what today’s learners and Millearnnials (see above) want.

Lesson learned: Present content in small, edible chunks!

The Myth of Learning Styles. Since I was a kid in school I remember teachers and even parents talk about a person’s “learning style”. And in college, working on my education degree, we learned that different people have different learning styles. That’s what we were all taught. Now we are told that was a myth, or more likely a miscommunication. This past year brought out a topic of discussion from the 2013 book, Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn, by John Hattie and Gregory Yates. In their book they write about how the thinking of some people learn through words and others from images was never true. They wrote, “We are all visual learners, and we all are auditory learners, not just some of us. Laboratory studies reveal that we all learn when the inputs we experience are multi-modal or conveyed through different media.” I also find it interesting that if you google “learning styles myth”, you can find articles on that that go back to at least 2005 yet, we saw numerous articles that were published about it in learning magazines, newsletters, and blogs in 2015.

Lesson learned: Teach/present information and learning in a variety of ways.

Yes, 2015 was an exciting year for eLearning, and I expect that 2016 will come up with some new, different buzzwords and phrases to help move us along to get better trained for even more exciting challenges for the new year.

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My Second MOOC Experience: MOOC on Mozilla Open Badges

I started my second MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) September 9th. The format and how this MOOC is being run is a totally different experience from my first MOOC. The first MOOC I took was hosted by Coursera. This one is hosted by Blackboard’s CourseSites. The topic of this MOOC is “Badges: New Currency for Professional Credentials.” My first thought was, I’m glad this wasn’t my first MOOC or I would have never continued.


The “M” in MOOC is for massive. That is supposed to mean thousands and thousands for most of the MOOCs I’ve read about. My last MOOC had over 65,000 people enrolled. This one has a little over 1,400. Not so massive.

Session/Video Format

The Gamification MOOC that I took provided small-chunked videos for each week’s session. These were pre-recorded to provide better video and sound quality and were probably edited to keep the flow. The videos were interesting and easy to watch. This “Badges” MOOC provides one live session each week. Then, they post the recordings for later viewing for those who are not available to watch it live. If you’ve ever attended a live webinar, then you pretty much know how this live session went. There were technical difficulties with video, the sound was inconsistent, presenter and her speech was off, slides didn’t show, and people kept typing distracting and rarely relevant comments while the speakers were talking. The live session had a posting of how many people were logged into the live session. The most I saw was 281 at 15 minutes into the hour-long session. There were only about 200 on it when it began. I have no way of knowing how many have watched the recorded session. At the second week’s live session, the most I saw logged in was 190 a little less than half way through it.

They do have the recorded sessions available via Blackboard as MP4’s a day or so after each live session. I watched one of the recorded sessions and it does not look like they have edited the live session at all before posting it. Too bad, it really needed editing.

MOOC Website

The Coursera Gamification website worked like a dream. I didn’t realize this until I had visited the Blackboard CourseSites website. It’s come to a screeching halt both times I’ve visited it in the last week. I’ve even tried different browsers (IE, Firefox, and Chrome) and get the same snail-paced response time. It is incredibly annoying.

CourseSite finally put up this on their website a graphic of a moon with “SHHH! CourseSites is temporarily unavailable…”

Now I’m three weeks into this MOOC on badges and it looks like Blackboard’s CourseSite website is finally moving a lot quicker. Wow, wonder how many participants they lost because of this?

Assignment Submission

Tried to submit assignment. Got error. Then it looked like it submitted a blank assignment and I couldn’t delete it nor add my assignment content. Ugh. I finally was able to submit my first assignment on the third try.


Before the first session, they recommended that we watch a YouTube video on Mozilla Open Badges. However, at the beginning of the first and second week’s live sessions they put the same video up and recommended (again) that students watch the video. Hmmmm. Annoying. I watched it before the first session like they had recommended. Looks like they got the hint (from the comments on screen) to put a different video up the third week.


All the technical stuff aside, I will say that the content presented about Mozilla Open Badges has been very interesting for this MOOC. Especially since I new very little about the subject prior to this MOOC. They have had several different subject matter experts presenting various topics about Open Badges which gives the learners distinct perspectives about the concept. That has been beneficial.

Will I continue?

Hmmmm. That is a good question. The jury is still out on this one. Who knows, I might be part of the 91.5%, the enrollees who don’t complete a MOOC.