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Tech in Training

Tech  in  Training

Welcome to ATD Lincoln's source for everything technology in the training profession.  You will find tips, trends, as well as links to websites and resources that anyone who conducts training can use.

Our guest writer is ATD Lincoln Past President Ranelle Maltas.

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  • Mon, April 03, 2017 10:52 AM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)

    My apologies for missing March's post. My family and I were on a wonderful cruise to the western Caribbean. We were so relaxed, I totally forgot about my job. Now, it's back to reality.

    Working with a client on campus, we are plotting out the workflow of event approvals on campus. Microsoft Office does have some tools for this, but they do take a bit of work and formatting. I just wanted to put something together quickly without a lot of work.

    My first tool was MindMup. There is a free version and a Gold Membership for $2.99/mo. I went for the free version. There was no need for me to even sign up for a free account. I just started creating. It was super easy to figure out and easy to create. When I was done, I saved my map. Before the map is saved, you have to confirm that you want to save this map as a free file. Free files are public, cannot be deleted and are removed after 6 months. Please be aware of this before you save anything you don't want made public. I also had the option to download my map as a PDF, PNG, or SVG among other formats.

    The downside to MindMup was that I was limited in customizing the map just the way I wanted. I didn't want to do much to it, but my alternative process hung over to the side awkwardly. However, for the simple ease of use and no learning curve, it did the job. Afterwards, I began to click on the menus and explore. I found what is known as a "Sidebar." It gave me options to create/show a Storyboard (great idea for building training!). I could also show Notes, Measures and Progress. The progress looked neat, but I could only have one option at a time. I'm guessing this may be more helpful if I had the Gold Membership.

    Another online tool I had heard about was Mindomo. Even though this, too, had a free and paid version, I did have to sign up for the free account. When I did, I found out you can join for free for a personal/business account, teacher/education account or a student account. Ooooo, sounded intriguing, so I got the teacher account. With it, I can create assignments and have learners access specific maps. I have got to check this out more later. I still had a deadline for my workflow map.

    The formatting was much more along the lines of what I was wanting for my nodes. I could also add better images and icons to my nodes. What I was really looking for was the ability to move my nodes and adjust the relationship lines. Mindomo gave that to me where MindMup did not. Although my map doesn't require it, I could add tasks and progress to the map. I also found that if I were to require presenting this, I could easily transform it into a presentation. I only need a printout, so I was able to save it as a PDF.

    Now that I have the account, I'll be using Mindomo again, but I will recommend MindMup for those looking for something quick and easy.


  • Wed, February 01, 2017 12:19 PM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)

    If you read my blog post for January 2017, you know I'm working on some goals based on trends in technology and learning. Today's post is knocking off three goals in one:  #1 Microlearning, #3 Consumerization of Learning, and #5 Everything On Demand.

    Celly is a mobile messaging app that works from the web, the app or via SMS text message. You have the option of creating groups with a variety of settings. Since so many learners are on their mobile devices every day, being on a mobile app makes sense for me and my learners. This is similar to Remind as mentioned in the January 2014 post, "Remind Me, What Did I Learn?"

    A cell is like a group or class. You need a unique "vanity" name for your cell as well as a display name. You can even add a photo for your cell. This is where it gets its name.

    You can set your cell's members as open (anyone can join) or restricted. Open membership allows anyone to join without requiring approval. If you choose restricted membership, prospective members will need to request to join by providing a username or password (which you choose and distribute).

    Depending on how you want to communicate and interact with your cell members, there are three types of chat mode: 

    1. Curated chat: All messages sent to the cell must be approved by the admin before they are sent to the entire group. This way you can keep the cell conversation on-topic and free of inappropriate comments and control a potentially overwhelming chat stream.
    2. Open chat mode: All messages are immediately viewable by all cell members. Open chat is good for mature group that can handle un-moderated messaging.
    3. Alert Only chat mode: Use this mode if you want to send one way messages. Cell members will not be able to send messages to the cell. This mode works well for mass text alerts, e.g., "workshop cancelled today".

    Inviting cell members can be done a variety of ways. You can only invite people to your cell if you are the cell admin or a cell curator.  Go into the cell you want to invite people to. On the right toolbar, you will see the “share” category. Click on the "share" button. A dropdown will appear with  the public link and the golden ticket link

    1. Use the public link to share your cell. It is ideal for neighborhood or community cells, where you may not personally know the members and need to verify identity (via password or username).
    2. The golden ticket, on the other hand, allows anyone who clicks on it to skip the approval process and automatically join your cell.

    The one thing Celly gives me that Remind does not is the ability to "hide" my members from each other and limit their communication how I see fit. Now I can share on-demand microlearning and communication when needed on the platform my learners use most.

  • Tue, January 03, 2017 10:46 AM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)

    Last year I shared some advice; don't make resolutions, make goals. Based on some of the trends in learning technology, here are some of my goals for 2017.

    1. MICROLEARNING. This can be short videos, anywhere from 90 seconds to three minutes, that are spaced out to reinforce previous learning and pushed to users. While I don't have a plan yet, I'm really thinking about this one and how I can apply it. I think back to the 2-2-2 rule. Contact learners 2 days, then 2 weeks and finally 2 months later to reach out to them and remind them of what they learned. Using short video would be a great idea for this.
    2. ONLINE VIDEO. Millennials consume information online more than any other medium. This puts the learning where they are. One part of video is to tell a story, but you also need to continue the story from one video to the next so they learner has a frame of reference and can see how each is related to the other. One of my goals is to do more in this area this year.
    3. CONSUMERIZATION OF LEARNING. Because our learners are already used to certain applications, such as YouTube, they like to learn there. For me, we have a Learning Management System (LMS) that many of our employees use and are comfortable in it. We've put a lot of our information there since it's a familiar environment. Our goal is to make the learner feel at home and we avoid the "tourist syndrome" where they are just trying to remember where the restroom is when they are standing under the 10' sign. I'm constantly trying to find where our learners are at and model my learning after that design. This way, they can learn the material and not the interface.
    4. GAMIFICATION. This is not an online quiz. You need to build levels and achievements. It needs to be modeled after real life simulations and have a strong story line. I'll admit, I do not have the time and skills needed to do this one, but I could start a badging system where the learner can earn badges. We've only been discussing this and how it can be implemented. There are still a lot of questions to be answered before any of this can happen, so I know this is not on my 2017 list, but I'm not letting it go. I'll just park it for later. Perhaps you can find a way to make it work for you.
    5. EVERYTHING ON DEMAND. Don't confuse this with JIT (Just In Time) training. This can be anything from a quick answer to a question or a full course. It's different for every person. Thanks to Netflix and TV's On Demand stations, we don't want to schedule our life around what time a show is on. We want a show when we have the time. Same for learning. Aside from online video that is available 24/7, I have begun to offer more custom instructor-led training at the time that is convenient for my clients. I still offer regularly scheduled workshops, but I'm finding more people like the option to have me come during a staff meeting or other time that works better for their schedule. You have to be flexible. I also have online presence through our organization's instant message system which allows people to know when I'm available to answer questions via phone or chat.
    6. VIRTUAL REALITY (VR) or AUGMENTED REALITY (AR). This is getting to be a more viable option with the decrease in cost of equipment. It's a great option as it does help reduce stress and anxiety for people in certain situations since they have already "lived" it. I know this can be an expensive option, too, not to mention time-consuming. In my area, it's not going to be an option, but I did want to mention it for those who want to explore it more. Make it goal to check it out this year.
    7. HAVE FUN. If you read my goals last year, you already know this is always a goal of mine. Have fun in your training, have fun in your job, and have fun in your life!

    Even if your goal is just to learn more about a new technology, that's a start. Next you can take a stop to implement one thing. Don't be afraid to make mistakes and make changes. Not all technologies are designed for everyone and every situation. Most important, don't be afraid to fail. Good luck with your new year's goals!

  • Thu, December 01, 2016 11:04 AM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)

    Recently, my peers in the B1G Ten and I have been discussing accessibility for our training and documentation. When we talk about accessibility, we usually think about adding captioning to video for those who cannot hear. But what about the blind? Do you have your written documentation in audio form?

    If not, there is an excellent free application that uses Text-to-Speech (TTS) to convert your Word documents to an audio file. AudioDocs is an impressive little application that converts to either .wav or .MP3.


    1. After you open AudioDocs, can click MS Word to AudioDocs. It will bring up a menu with different options, like TTS Voice Selection, Dictation Rate, Dictation Volume, etc. Set that to what suits your needs. (From the AudioDocs documentation:  From testing, the values of -2 to 2 for Dictation Rate are the best and it is best to keep volume at 80+ so that it is easy to hear, however, any value (except 0) will still be okay.)
    2. Choose your .doc or .docx file to convert. Name the output file, location and file type to save as (.wav, .MP3, Windows Media File).
    3. Click Create AudioDocs. You will see a green progress-bar which shows you the progress. Once it says Processing & Conversion Finished, you may close the application.


    Below is the sample text I used in my Microsoft Word 2016 file. I'm using Windows 10 and the installation was quick and easy. The actual conversion was quick, but to be fair, my sample was only five sentences.


    SAMPLE TEXT from AudioDocs Sample.docx file: Video provides a powerful way to help you prove your point. When you click Online Video, you can paste in the embed code for the video you want to add. You can also type a keyword to search online for the video that best fits your document. To make your document look professionally produced, Word provides header, footer, cover page, and text box designs that complement each other. For example, you can add a matching cover page, header, and sidebar.

    AudioDocs Sample.mp3

  • Tue, November 15, 2016 8:59 AM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)

    This year is has been a roller-coaster of emotions with the presidential election. One thing I've seen people trying their best to teach us is how the electoral college works and how it can differ from the popular vote. It got me thinking about a system I've only recently learned about and have not had the chance to work with much yet. It's called ExplainEverything.com.

    Explain Everything combines an interactive screencasting whiteboard, real-time local collaboration (currently for iPad only), and a content discovery and sharing community for iPad, Chromebook, Android and Windows devices. You can record everything you do in the app to create animations. Use it to create digital storytelling to support learning.

    You can import many file formats from PDF and DOC to PNG and GIF as well as MP3/4 and more. Once saved, you can share the video on a cloud drive, like Box or Dropbox, YouTube, Vimeo and more.

    While no one has yet created a video to explain the electoral college (or at least one is not uploaded on ExplainEverything.com) yet, I did enjoy this one about the History of Coffee. YUM!


  • Mon, October 03, 2016 8:25 AM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)

    Do you have a City of Lincoln Library Card? If the answer is "yes," then you already have free access to all the wonderful tutorials from Lynda.com. You must sign in through the library's site with your library card number and PIN to get started. You can then set up your personalized account to manage your playlists and progress through the tutorials. If you're not from Lincoln, Nebraska, check with your local library and see if they have a similar agreement to offer Lynda.com to you.


    What is Lynda.com?

    Lynda.com provides a vast online library of instructional videos covering the latest software, creative, and business skills. Taught by accomplished teachers and recognized industry experts, Lynda.com is a high-quality resource for employees looking to develop skills in Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, project management, communication, and a wide range of other topics.

    Benefits to using Lynda.com include:

    • Unlimited access to courses on a wide variety of technology and disciplines
    • Up-to-date content to keep skills current and to learn new skills
    • New courses added every week 
    • Tutorials are taught by recognized industry experts
    • Access to instructors’ exercise files to follow along as you learn
    • Closed captioning and searchable, time-coded transcripts
    • Beginner to advanced level courses 
    • The option to watch complete courses or individual videos as you need them

    My apologies for skipping the September post, but I fell and broke my hand the end of August and typing was just too much. 


  • Mon, August 01, 2016 9:17 AM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)

    Online videos from YouTube, Viddler, and Vimeo are used more and more to present content for training. It's distracting to have the inappropriate comments of internet trolls appear when you use the videos for learning. To remove them, show your videos using quietube.com and watch in peace.

    There is no installation, just drag the button on the page to your browser's toolbar. When you are on the video's page, click the button to clean up the page and view just the video. You can even make short URLs to send the quietube version to others.


  • Wed, July 06, 2016 10:50 AM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)

    Back in November 2013, I wrote a post called, "It's Written on the Wall" where I talked about Padlet.com for brainstorming. After the fantastic June ATD Lincoln meeting, Micah had us share pluses and deltas. He then took the paper and rewrote the information to keep and review. As always, I came up with some more after the meeting but had no easy way to share it. Then, I thought of Padlet!

    You can easily create a digital board, share the link, and have people leave digital stickies. I used a background that had lines on it already, but there is no reason you couldn't create your own background and upload and use it instead.

    As far as privacy goes, you can have the page be private, password protected, secret or public. If you need to have other contributors, just send them an email invite. You even have the option to require an admin or moderator to approve posts before they are published.

    Because we live in a mobile world, you can even share a QR code to take them to your padlet. Of course, there is always a link, but you can also share via Facebook or Twitter just as easy. I'll add an embed of an example here for you to see as well. Feel free to play with it.

    As far as saving the information for later, you can save the padlet as an image, pdf, csv, Excel spreadsheet, or print it.

    Now, if you're sad about missing that great program you missed in June, talk to any Board member. It was great fun, lots of great information, and fantastic networking. I hope to see you at another meeting again soon.


  • Wed, June 01, 2016 1:29 PM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)

    Back in October of 2010, I wrote a blog post, "Screen sharing to Learn at a Distance." In it, I shared some nice options including Adobe's Connect Now, join.me, and Mikogo. Adobe's Connect Now is no longer available, only their Adobe Connect. It's only available as a paid service.

    Since this article was six years ago, it's ancient in computer time. I thought I'd update you on some more options. Obviously, since join.me and Mikogo are still around, they are great options. Not a lot has changed and they are easy to use. I did find BeamYourScreen, which has been merged into Mikogo, so you'll have to go there for the paid pricing options. Otherwise, there is a simple download for Mac, PC, and Linux that appears to still be available and in use.

    From personal experience, I've used Blue Jeans, Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting and WebEx in the past few years and have found their ease of use and quality to be outstanding.

    Zoom's free plan lets you have unlimited meetings with up to 50 participants. What's the catch? Each meeting can only last 40 minutes. If you can't wrap it up in time, you'll be cut off. You can check out their pricing plans for more options. Zoom also has the ability to screen share from an iPhone/iPad. Cool! Participants can participate in a variety of ways besides in a web browser such as The Meetings Client for Mac/PC, a Browser Extension, Outlook Plug-in, iPhone/iPad App, or Android App.

    Blue Jeans has an extensive list of services for their plans, too many for me to list, so check it out. You can try it free for 14 days. Participants can participate in a variety of ways besides in a web browser such as with an app for Mac/PC, a Chrome browser extension, Outlook Plug-in, iPhone/iPad App, or Android App.

    You may have already used Skype for personal communication, but you can also use it for a screen sharing tool as well. You can also send files or share your screen with one or more people. If you use Microsoft Office 365, you should also have Skype for Business which integrates well with Outlook.

    Another popular service is GoToMeeting Free. It has web-based audio, screen sharing, and an Outlook and Gmail scheduling plug-in. The free service allows unlimited meetings for up to three participants. For more options, check out their pricing plans.

    WebEx's instant meeting is free, provides for unlimited meetings for up to three participants per meeting, and the sharing of desktop and documents. Of course, there are a variety of pricing plans that will offer more, but you do get the premium options for the first 14 days.

    Although I have not used Screenhero, I really like what I see here and may give this a try myself. If you use Slack (a great messaging app for teams), you may want to consider Screenhero. It has multiple cursors to allow users to easily change control, voice chat, screen sharing, and cross-platform for Mac and PC.

  • Mon, May 02, 2016 10:13 AM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)

    Some tools are just too cool and easy, they don't need much training on. I like those tools, especially when they can be SOOOOOO helpful. Tricider is one of those cool tools. Even better than being free (which it is) is that you don't even need to register an account.

    To create the embedded question below, all I did was go to www.tricider.com, type a question and click the Go button. Next, I clicked the link at the bottom to Embed in a blog or website. I copied the html code and pasted it into this blog post.

    OMG, could it be any easier?! Now I can just sit back and wait for the options to come rolling in. I could have easily changed the deadline, shared via email, subscribe to updates, etc. all options available at a simple click of the mouse.

    So how can I use this in training? It's great for assessments and querying knowledge. You can use it to help structure discussions and feedback on the course's topics. If you want to create a training course, but not sure what areas need the most training, use Tricider. I'm just beginning to figure out how I will use it. Please share your ideas in the comments of this blog. I'd love to hear from you.


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