Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Area9 and LearnSmart

I have been doing a bit of consultancy work over the past few days and during this work I have been looking at e-learning and competency management tools. Much of these tools are not really what my client is looking for but I just wanted to share two of the tools I came across that might be useful to somebody.

Area9 are a Danish company specialising in simulation based e-learning. There are two domains it primarily works in - sales/customer services and device skills. These areas allow Area9 to demonstrate two completely different types of simulation learning. The sales/customer service where you must use soft-skills such as inter-personal and decision-making skills to sell or satisfy a customer need and the device analytical and operational skills where you must solve a simulated problem using device embedded software. The tools also claim to have some advance learner diagnostic tools that report on the competency level of learners. Learner diagnostics is then use to identify where and when remediation is needed for learners.

McGrawHill - LearnSmart
LearnSmart is McGrawHill's adaptive learning platform. The system is built on three principle functions; assessment of learners knowledge, adaptation of assessments based on the learner's perceived strengths and weaknesses and personalisation of curriculum based on student knowledge and learning styles.

LearnSmart was built in co-operation with Area9. One thing I like about LearnSmart is that it allows the learner to give a confidence value (no idea, unsure, think I got it, easy!) for his or her answers which can then be used to calculate the learners competency in a given knowledge area.

Friday, August 6, 2010

What to do with all my time

So I seem to have all this extra time on my hands while I am "between jobs" (I hope). So I need a project to do. I have been trying to think what to do with myself while I wait for a job. So far I have come up with the following:

1)Learn iPhone development and I have been doing this, but I need to think up a good iPhone app to develop to keep my interest and so far I have come up with very little. Anyone out there got any ideas?

2)Learn Spanish - okay this seems like a good idea but I need money for classes, but I could get a start on learning Spanish using one of those tape set things - some of them are meant to be pretty good. So I headed over to my local library and I find 3 beginner Spanish kits - but they all are missing CD1 so no good - might try other libraries in my area, but seriously if you borrow that kind of stuff don't lose the first CD - the its useless for everyone else! Although I did find the site, which might be good as it connects you with native Spanish speakers and helps you learn that way.

3)Refresh my statistics knowledge - I have been working through Hank Ibser lecture videos on iTunes. I now realise the amount of stats I have forgotten - its a good opportunity to refresh these principles in my mind - stats is one of those subjects that its always good to have fresh in your mind, I think.

4)Drupal - It might be good to learn drupal due to its growing popularity - if I have time.

5) Java - my Java skills have gone downhill due to my lack of practice - maybe I should do a refresher course, or maybe I should take on another language, perhaps python?

There are loads of other things that I could do - but it would be good to think up a project that incorporates all of the above hmmmm. I have a habit of trying to do too many things at once. Perhaps I should concentrate on one? What would you do?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Unemployment takes another jump

Bad bad news today - unemployment in Ireland took another jump. Another 8,500 signed on to the live register (including yours truly) last month. Whats even more shocking is that the biggest group to sign on is the "professional class".

This government really needs to get there act together. Unemployment is more than a mere symptom of economic woes. Unemployment causes stress, depression and breaks up families. It has huge social effects - especially when it goes above the 10% mark (we are now at 13.7%).

I also noted yesterday that the Irish Times carried an article to highlight a campaign by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) about educated Irish people emigrating to Canada, Oz and New Zealand. An estimated 200,000 educated Irish people are expected to leave in the next five years. Without these people there is not much hope of attaining and keeping "high-value" jobs.

Come on Mr. Cowen get your act together or get out!