Why We Love Jing

At LINGOs, we love JING!  When we are working on a virtual team and need to work through a complicated troubleshooting issue… … make a JING!  Need to train a group of LMS Administrators on how to complete a task on the Learning Management System… … make a JING!  About to launch a major new initiative and need to communicate with hundreds of people… … make a JING!

Why do we love JING?  First, it’s free!  Second, it is intuitive and easy to use.  Third, you can forget about struggling with the complicated effort involved with managing source files, publishing in multiple formats, and uploading to FTP sites.  Finally, did I mention it is free?

As the JING Project turns one year old, the development team has made the product even more easy to love.  JING subscribers now receive  a complimentary server account with 2 GB of storage and 2 GB of transfer bandwidth per month. 10 times the size available previously.  Furthermore, you can increase your server space at a reasonable additional price.

If you want to learn more, visit some of the links above, or go to www.jingproject.com

Top 100 Learning Tools for 2008

The Centre for Learning & Performance recently published its yearly list of the Top 100 Tools for Learning.  The list is a fun and informative read that I enjoyed on a number of levels.   As I reflect on the rankings of the list I realize there are three principle observations that come to mind:

First, I was happy to see that a number of the  tools on the list are being employed extensively by LINGOs and its member agencies –  including Articulate Rapid e-Learning Suite (#22), Jing (#28), Elluminate (#53), and more.  It is exciting to see that we are actively adopting and deploying many of the leading learning tools and that our approaches and strategies are aligned with others in the field.

Second, there were some surprising results on the list.  One in particular, but definitely not the only, was  the number one ranking for del.icio.us – a bookmarking tool I use daily, but would not have included on the my top twenty list.  The prominence of del.icio.us and other surprising entries like  like YouTube (#18), iTunes (#27), Google Maps (#42), etc.) have prompted be to reassess the way I considered applications as learning tools.

Finally, there is a treasure trove of additional software applications that I previously was unaware of and I now realize can be extremely useful.  For example, I have already downloaded the Cute PDF Writer (#70) and Audacity ( #11) to help me convert PDF files and record sound files.  Like many of the applications on the list, the two listed above are free and are ideally suited to address some of the most common challenges I have as a learning professional.  Other tools on the list are exciting new approaches to learning, collaboration and community building that I look forward to further expoloring over the coming year.  More specifically, some of the most intriguing products include Ning, GIMP and VoiceThread.

What do you think about the Top 100 Learning Tools List?  Share your experience/thoughts regarding the list by  contributing to the comments section of this blog post.

Tips for Developing Courses in a Virtual Team Environment

One of the challenges when working with Rapid e-Learning Development Tools is collaborating with team members who are not physically co-located with you.  While virtual collaboration is difficult in any situation, it can be especially difficult when developing an e-learning course.  For example, it is not unusual for source filesto exceed 20MB in size – far exceeding the maximum allowable file size of most e-mail servers and are too large to share via intranets.  This posts identifies two ways virtual teams can address this challenge.

  

1.        YOU SEND IT  allows users to share files up to 100MB between members of a virtual team.  This free service places files (which must be zipped before loading) on their FTP server for two weeks, during which time you can send links to team members that will allow them to access the files via a download (rather than as e-mail attachments.)  When I collaborate with a co-developer on the look and feel of a course, or troubleshoot with an expert on the SCORM code in a course, the YouSendIt service allows me to share the files quickly and easily.

2.       On-line course development software programs like OutStart Evolution and Udutu allow course developers to share files, work on the same application, and publish courses regardless of where they are located in the world.  The Nature Conservancy has adopted this approach to course development over the past two years – largely reflecting the fact that their course developers are seldom located in the same office.  LINGOs is just starting to experiment with this approach and I will blog further on this topic over  the coming month.  If this is an area of particularly interest to your learning team, consider attending the July 31 webinar by Rose Jorgensen which will explore the features and functionality of OutStart Evolution.  More information on that webinar is available through this link.