Monday, November 17, 2008

Online, Synchronous Learning with ConnectNow

Over the last year, I’ve been advocating the use of Adobe Connect as a web communication tool at work. Connect provides a platform in which to offer students live, synchronous classes online. During this time, I have been regularly asked if there are any products that are similar to Connect, but free? Well I finally found one worth noting. Over the weekend I started experimenting with ConnectNow, which is Adobe’s new suite of online tools in beta.

Like Adobe Connect, ConnectNow is a Flash-based platform that allows people to meet and collaborate online in real-time. Actually, minus a few features, I found ConnectNow to be a better product than Adobe Connect. Oh, and did I mention it's free? But, don't let my opinion sway your vote. Try the product for yourself by creating a free Adobe account and visiting

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Learning the SuperCool School Way

Lately, I’ve become fascinated with learning the SuperCool School way. That is, allow participants to initiate the topics they want to learn about. Other participants interested in learning that topic too can then join the request. Once enough “seats” have been filled, the teacher position opens and anyone willing and/or able to teach does.

Obviously this is a different paradigm than the norm. Generally speaking, most models dictate what will be taught and who will teach it, then participants are granted access (or mandated) to attend. The advantage I see to using the SuperCool School method in the workplace is in situations where the department usually responsible for providing training cannot efficiently offer a training solution. For example, a relatively small group of people are interested in learning how blogging can be used on the job. If there isn’t a strong business need for a course such as this, most training departments would be unwilling to extend the effort required to offer the class. But if someone else is willing to teach, and an interest group is willing to attend, why stop them?

So, now that you’ve gotten a little context for what I’m talking about, I’ll get to the pitch. What I’ve been trying to do over the last couple weeks is figure out a way to apply what I’ve learned from researching SuperCool School to my own workplace. So at work this last week, I, and a couple other people, came up with the idea to use a hybrid approach as a means of organizing the many lunch-time brown-bag sessions. The approach we’re going to try is very much like a newspaper’s classified ads section. It offers a single place for people offering goods and a place for people seeking goods.

What we’re hoping to do is to get other people using our internal social media software to request and respond to learning opportunities in our organization. I’m not sure how realistic this is, but I’m hoping for the best. Hopefully, I'll follow this post with positive results as we move forward. Till then.