Great Minds in Action

Photo: brunkfordbraun via Flickr

Photo: brunkfordbraun via Flickr

Just something to share…

I’ve found that IDs love to learn; not only is it sort of part of the job description, being exposed to others’ brilliant ideas can help foster your own creativity, as well.

A few days ago, Mashable.com posted this list of the “Top 7 Places to Watch Great Minds in Action”. You’ve probably heard of TED, but I’d bet at least one of the others on the list are new; they certainly were to me.

Keep learning!

E-Learning Uncovered: Lectora Version 9

I get asked fairly often whether there is a “book or something” on Lectora, particularly from people just starting out with the software. And until now, the pickings have been slim.

lectora_version_9

Thankfully, Diane Elkins and Desirée Ward, two very talented instructional designers*, have recently released E-Learning Uncovered: Lectora Version 9 (also on Amazon).

The book does an excellent job of teaching the software and the underlying concepts, such as inheritance, SCORM and AICC publishing, and how and when to use variables. It includes useful references, such as a guide the elements in the new Flash Media Library (with further examples on their website). And this is all in less than 250 pages.

The book is ideal for beginner to intermediate users, but power users could pick up some good tips, too. Download a free chapter and check out more resources on their website.

* Full disclosure: I’ve worked with them in the past and most likely will again in the future.

Drop.io

I decided to recommend Drop.io to help you get files from here/you to there/them, but waited to try Dropbox first and compare for you.

The quick and dirty*: Dropbox has a larger free storage capacity (though Drop.io welcomes multiple accounts) and all around, Dropbox works extremely well; it’s iDisk-like but better. After testing though, I’ve decided to stick with Drop.io.

Drop.io works better for me at work than Dropbox (something to do with the firewall or proxy) and Drop.io doesn’t require any installs. (Neither does Dropbox technically, but Dropbox’s web interface is nowhere near as slick as Drop.io’s… see video.) So for those in a heavily regulated IT environment, Drop.io rocks. And bonus points for the name.

Drop.io also has approximately one bajillion ways to get files to your “drop”. My two favorites (neither of which Dropbox offers), in real time:

* 140 words is way too few for a thorough review, so I’m just explaining my own reasoning. Both sites have excellent overview/tutorial screencasts if you would like to learn more.

GenerateData.com

For me, one of the most time-consuming parts of creating training courses — especially those involving screencasts and screenshots — is staging.

For example, if I’m creating a course on Filemaker or Access, it’s obviously better if I have lots of data to use in demonstrations and practice files. If I try to make it up myself, the names end up being either John Smith or Tahloolah Firecracker. And it takes all day to come up with those gems.

Thankfully, I found generatedata.com recently. It generates names, dates, all sorts of data… and it’s all instant, online, and free. (There’s also a paid version if you need additional functionality.)

data type options on generatedata.com

Data type options on generatedata.com

Enjoy!