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912 - Adaptive Webinars, Commas Confuse, Scouts and Badges, Shoes for Slide Controls

Learning TRENDS by Elliott Masie - April 1, 2016.
#912 - Updates on Learning, Business & Technology.
57,239 Readers - - twitter: emasie - The MASIE Center.

1. Adaptive Webinars - Focused Multi-Tasking.
2. Research on the Comma’s Impact on Clarity.
3. Scouts to Manage Skills Badging Sashes.
4. Shoes with Slide Controls for Trainers.

1. Adaptive Webinars - Focused Multi-Tasking: Our LAB has been testing two new Apps for learners taking webinars. Many learners find the webinar to be a low-efficiency experience and often do 1 to 3 other tasks while online, from eating lunch to checking emails or even taking a phone call while on webinar mute. But, these multi-tasking actions can often result in a learner missing a key concept or being caught off-guard if the facilitator calls their name.

Multi-Webinar is one App that seems to provide a real-time screen for busy learners.  It does an analysis of the voice and slides as they appear, sorting against a list of key words or important concepts for each learner. For example, if I were to add “Compliance Audit” or “Elliott Masie” to the scan list, my desktop would beep immediately, calling me back to the webinar for attention and even response to a facilitator’s question. Multi-Webinar also allows the learner to suppress the real-time beep and provide a scan later on of key concepts.

Learning Aggressively App is another more provocative one that has just hit the market.  It allows an employee to attend 2, 3 or 4 webinars at the same time. It logs the learner into each webinar, in a quarter of the screen. Regulations rarely state that the learner cannot be on multiple webinars at once.  The windows for each webinar change color based on an adaptive analysis of the content and pace of each event. It can even scan for the title level of the presenter, turning red if your boss’s boss is now speaking.

These are just the first in the Adaptive Webinar attendance apps.  We have heard a rumor that Taco Bell, Starbucks and McDonald’s are working on an interface to allow webinar apps to automatically order delivered food for each learner based on the time of day, eating preferences and analyzed complexity of the content of the webinar(s).  Stay tuned for more in this space.

2. Research on the Comma’s Impact on Clarity: This is probably, the most difficult item to report, in this edition of TRENDS. Researchers at the University of Sierra Nevada, working with a sample of over 230 courses, taught in many settings, including corporate workplace, have found some revealing results.

“The learner stops learning the moment they encounter a comma! The comma can be read or spoken. Learners do not feel a need to read beyond the comma. Tragically there are often modifiers after the comma that change the meaning totally. We are urging writers and teachers to stop using the comma.”

Wow, I don’t know how I might implement this finding, to be totally blunt. But, we encourage TRENDS readers to experiment, test and react accordingly, if possible in your setting. Please send me your reactions, to

3. Scouts to Manage Skills Badging Sashes: Badges are quite powerful as a means of recognizing the skills achievements of employees. But, there is no central and trusted source for validating and storing an employee’s earned badges, especially as they move from one job to another.

The Learning CONSORTIUM, representing 200 major corporations, has started conversations with the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, to engage them as the primary Badge manager in our society. For example, I have my Boy Scout Badge sash, containing 14 badges that I earned as a teenager, including my Nuclear Power Badge.  And, people trust these badges, especially when worn over my clothing in the green Scout Sash.

We are asking the Scouts to take the lead role in the Badging Movement.  They are in conversation with several clothing designers to introduce a wide range of cool looking sashes that could be worn at work, at job interviews or even for single folks at a Speed Dating event.

4. Shoes with Slide Controls for Trainers: As a keynote speaker, I hate to have to carry the slide projector device in my hands.  I will often put it down on the podium and can’t find it quickly. Or, I will hit the wrong button.  Plus, it looks strange for me to be breaking emotional contact with the group to use this remote control.

Well, designers are working with the technology invented by Dean Kamen, my colleague who created the Segway. Imagine wearing shoes that had a sole with slide control pressure controls triggered by your toes.  For example:

- Press your large right toe to move a slide forward.
- Press your large left toe to move a slide backward.
- Press all your toes on the right foot to make the slide screen go dark.
- And, rock on your back heel twice and the ending music for the presentation starts playing.

As a presenter, I believe the shoe control speeches will be more energetic and it will keep the speaker literally “on their toes”.  Though, I wonder if TSA will have a problem clearing these through their checkpoints at the airport.


Note to TRENDS Readers: Every year for the past few decades I have enjoyed sending out our April Fools Edition of Learning Trends on April 1st, where we celebrate a prankster day in the United States and other parts of the world.  While none of these are true just yet, stay tuned. Thinking out of the box sometimes comes from the strangest places.

Smiling, with a comma,

Yours in learning,

Elliott Masie

Twitter: emasie

MASIE Center Seminars, Events and Services:
- Learning Innovations LAB - July 12-14, Saratoga Springs, NY.
- Learning Systems: LMS, LCMS, Social & More! - April 27 and 28, Chicago, IL.
- Learning Directions Briefings: June in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and Chicago.
- Membership in The Learning CONSORTIUM.
- Learning 2016 - October 23 to 26 - Orlando, Florida.

Info and Registration: