Josh Bersin on LinkedIn: A New World of Corporate Learning Arrives: And It Looks Like TV

Josh Bersin has published an article on LinkedIn called “A New World of Corporate Learning Arrives: And It Looks Like TV”.  He makes some interesting points about how learners will find and consume learning content.   In particular, he brings up the problem of aligning “…TV channels to …job architecture, skills taxonomy, or career paths.”  I will write more about the possible solution to this problem later but for now, there is lots of juicy information to absorb in his article.

I will be at Ignite

LeX Portrait-1bsm_cropI will be at the Microsoft Ignite conference this year running a couple of sessions:

Flipped Classroom for MCTs

On the Pre-Day, Sunday, September 25th, LeX Day Zero, Saturday, September 24th,  I will be running a session for Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) called “Flipped Classroom” which will discuss the benefits of “front loading” your learners with training before they come to an on-site, instructor led training session.  There will be small group guided discussion giving MCTs a chance to talk about how this learning model can benefit them, and/or what the blockers might be. Maximum participants: 40. 

Rose, Bud, Thorn

On Tuesday and Thursday of that week, I will be holding Rose, Bud, Thorn sessions in a conference room near the certification testing area.  These sessions are for gathering your feedback about what Microsoft Learning Experiences (LeX) is doing well (rose), could do in the future (bud), and isn’t doing well (causing you pain, thorn).  They will be one hour long each and will include small group discussion.  The sessions are open to all learners and trainers.  Maximum participants: approx 20 per session.

There is no registration for these sessions, so plan to be at the door.

I will also be sending out a link to a survey that will provide us with valuable information on how you learn, when you learn, and what you want to learn.  Stay tuned.

New Courses from Microsoft Learning Experiences

Microsoft Learning Experiences (LeX) has published some brand new courses: Computer Science Committed Learning
  • Accelerate Software Delivery Using DevOps Gain hands-on experience in DevOps tools and practices for quick delivery of high-quality software and learn how to lead the DevOps transformation at your organization.
Exploration and Readiness Core Infrastructure Exploration and Readiness
  • Preparing for Exam 70-398: Planning for and Managing Devices in the Enterprise Shore up your knowledge and skills in planning and designing cloud and hybrid identities and supporting identity infrastructure for managing devices in this helpful exam prep course.
  • Introduction to Azure Security Center Learn how Azure Security Center helps you prevent, detect, and respond to threats with increased visibility and control over the security of your Azure resources.
  • Windows 10 IT Pro Essentials Support Secrets (based on the writings of Press author, Ed Bott) If you are an IT Pro supporting Windows 10, or if you’re the person that friends and family call on for help, this Windows 10 support training is for you.
  • Data Analysis with Excel (based on the press book of the same name) Join Dr. Wayne Winston, who has been teaching the most effective ways to use Excel to solve business problems for more than 18 years, for an in-depth and practical look at the details.
  • Mastering Microsoft Certification Exam Prep (Currently the most popular course on MVA) To become a Microsoft Certified Professional, having the requisite content knowledge is only part of the complete picture. You also need practical, hands-on technology skills as well as strong test-taking strategies.
  • Hybrid IT Management Part 3: Automation Join a team of Microsoft experts to explore a number of key hybrid IT management areas. Learn how OMS Automation helps you to Automate all those frequent, time-consuming, and error-prone cloud management tasks.
Data and Analytics Committed Learning
  • Data Science Professional Project Showcase your data science knowledge and skills, and solve a real-world data science problem in this project-based learning experience.
  • Applied Machine Learning In this data science course, you will explore the theory and practice of select advanced methods commonly used in data science.
Exploration and Readiness

How to study for the Microsoft Team Foundation Server and Application Lifecycle Management Exams

My organization Microsoft Learning (LeX) received an email recently about study materials for a few exams. LeX doesn’t update it’s learning materials based on the release of an exam or even the release of a product or a product version.

In fact, we don’t teach to the test anymore.  We focus on creating learning based on the skills included in a specific Developer, IT Professional, or Data Science role.  So you won’t see updated materials based on a product or exam release.

The best way to find study materials for exams is to look at the objective domains of the exams on the exam page.  For example on each of the following pages you will see collapsed sections below the Skills Measured heading.  If you expand those sections you’ll find detailed objectives or things that you have to learn in order to pass the test.  You may also find some links to some study resources, but NOTE: they may not be updated for the new software release.  However, that doesn’t mean that the content won’t be helpful.

Here are some exam pages.

Exam 70-496 – Administering Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server
Exam 70-497 – Software Testing with Visual Studio
Exam 70-498 – Delivering Continuous Value with Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management

If you take a look at the Exam 70-498 page, you’ll find this under the first overall objective:

Define an effective end-to-end Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) (15‒20%)

  • Understand the value of an end-to-end view of Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tools and practices
    • Understand that an observable problem may be indicative of a more general process issue; explain the difference between optimizing a piece of the ALM process, such as manual testing, and optimizing the entire ALM process
  • Explain the benefits of fast feedback
    • Explain the importance of fast feedback related to communicating requirements, explain the benefits of end customer feedback to early software iterations
  • Implement strategies to reduce end-to-end cycle time
    • Identify bottlenecks in the delivery process, identify metrics that highlight bottlenecks, create potential solutions whose effectiveness can be validated, understand the relationship between work in process (WIP) and cycle time
  • Implement strategies to improve software quality
    • Identify process steps that introduce defects, understand the end-to-end quality process, bring quality efforts early in the development cycle
  • Implement strategies to reduce waste
    • Identify wasteful activities, create strategies to eliminate waste, measure the effectiveness of waste removal activities
  • Create a process improvement plan
    • Create strategies for implementing organizational change, identify key metrics to be tracked during the improvement effort, create consensus for the change

Preparation resources

The above resources were not created for Visual Studio 2015, however, they contain content that addresses the philosophy, benefits, strategies and processes of Lifecycle Management which is not a Microsoft only thing.  Here’s a wikipedia article about it.

The next section looks like this:

Define the ALM process (15‒20%)

  • Role of different ALM processes
    • Understand the cost and benefits of the key ALM processes, including agile, scrum, waterfall, and Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)
  • Implement a scrum/agile process
    • Establish self-organizing teams; holding a scrum/agile planning meeting, hold daily scrums/stand-up meetings, hold retrospective meetings, hold scrum review meetings
  • Define a scrum/agile process for a team
    • Establish criteria on when to cancel a sprint/iteration, establish tooling and process for scrum/agile artifacts, establish the scrum definition of “done,” determine sprint/iteration length, determine how to handle backlog items/user stories not completed in a sprint/iteration, determine how to monitor sprint/iteration progress, use collaborative tools
  • Implement Microsoft Solution Framework (MSF) for CMMI process improvement
    • Establish project drivers (scope-driven, date-driven), assign product requirements to iterations, manage changes, manage issues

Preparation resources

In this case, only one objective addresses a Microsoft specific process that is Implement Microsoft Solution Framework (MSF) for CMMI process improvement. Look at the objective that mentions it.  It says Establish project drivers (scope-driven, date-driven), assign product requirements to iterations, manage changes, manage issues.  It should more properly be written as an ordered or unordered list:

  • Establish product drivers (scope-driven or date-driven)
  • Assign product requirements to iterations
  • Manage changes
  • Manage issues

So you search for “Implement Microsoft Solution Framework (MSF) for CMMI process improvement” and you get this article contains the following bullet points, which map pretty closely to the above bullets:

  • Aligning business and technology goals
  • Establishing clear project goals, roles, and responsibilities
  • Implementing an iterative, milestone/checkpoint-driven process
  • Managing risk proactively
  • Responding to change effectively

This article will give you the overview, but won’t give you the specific tasks you need to perform to “assign product requirements” or “manage change”.  That’s because we haven’t gotten to the actual tasks yet.  First you have to understand the specific goals of the activity you are performing – the philisophy, the process.

The next section looks like this:

Define a software iteration (15‒20%)

  • Plan a release
    • Identify a flexibility matrix, identify releases based on priority items in flexibility matrix and release criteria, resource planning (scrum team is responsible for allocating team members), identify techniques to optimize a team that is geographically distributed, select a project methodology, risk management
  • Define a project-tracking process
    • Plan and manage a portfolio of multiple projects, identify a project tracking tool (How is this even in here if we are saying they should use Visual Studio?) and an associated process (triage process, bug management), define how to manage effort, determine team forecast management, define a prioritization scheme, determine how to validate project health
  • Scope a project
    • Scope the effort for a release, define an architecture design process, define scope boundaries (is/is not list), determine the definition of “done,” define a process when effort estimates are significantly inaccurate

Preparation resources

Again, these are not product specific objectives.  You could watch the video listed under the preparation resources, but the instructor doesn’t like the first objective under Plan a Release so refuses to cover it.  So where do you find that info? Well I started with the next two links, which were okay, but didn’t talk specifically about a flexibility matrix.  (What I found about that had to do with flexibility and stiffness in beams in building construction.)  Anyway, most of what is in the objective domain above is about project management related to Agile and Scrum.  I won’t insult you with links to that stuff.  You already know it right?

So I’m going to skip the rest of the objective domain for this exam. This exam is about software project management.  There’s not a whole lot in here about actually using Visual Studio to accomplish these objectives.  As an instructional designer, this is a pet peeve of mine.  These objectives are written as conceptual topics rather than stated as tasks that the exam taker must be able to perform with Visual Studio.

Disclaimer: I have not taken this exam.  However, if you are going to put a product in the exam title then you have to assume that the questions are going to be designed to test you on your knowledge of the product workflow. Your assignment: take the project management concepts and turn them into tasks in Visual Studio.  Here are the two workflow articles you need to transfer the conceptual objectives into tasks in Visual Studio:

Adopting Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server for Application Lifecycle Management

Here is the Visual Studio 2015 workflow.


PBS Idea Channel: This Episode Was Written by an AI

I just watched this episode of the PBS Idea Channel called This Episode Was Written by an AI.  Below the video is my “translation” of the script.  I haven’t watched this show at all, so I have no idea what Mike has said before.  I found the video through a third or fourth party.

Here is the transcript and my interpretation in a side-by-side table. Admittedly, this was an exercise in Gestalt, and the joke is not lost on me.

Transcript My Interpretation
Here’s an idea: Even some of the universe belies the only way what seems and something. Here’s an idea: Some people on the Internet seem to believe that there is only one way to do something or be some way.
Here are program mentions of first, or a comment of a sorta speaking. The most power to know is all makes are the of the fact. Effect of whole not a complete. The both in the mind of actors, because of a seemingly more to consider it can some of the characters in the personal event.


The program hints that knowledge is power and then makes it a fact.  Some people have experienced this as a personal event, and so agree that it is fact.
The great into the series the metaphors car of the world in just the one in a universe of the idea, and though community of the same, authors and the like, of something violent. The vehicle of metaphor is understood by the people who understand the symbols of the metaphor.  Violence is promoted as a universal solution to problems throughout the world.
Faces of, actually… what it would and sense of the faces… and state: they learn. And universe of the seems to do in the former things. People are capable of empathy.  They understand other people’s state through their facial expressions.  They learn to act accordingly…which they learned during socialization or above mentioned training.
A used and a selected person in general, ears from the has the first of shows… that and all still into comment the Deeply. Maybe we could be about terror can up in the night constructed. A person who has seen this show is likely to think about it deeply and comment vehemently.  Maybe they, or we, will give each other nightmares.
Which marked science on the grand in a characters, from not make is so longer of the face in the comprised, and person is what the world on the country of have the construction of the Mike. Could to person in front are. And how they deal to part of them. This the subject of Dumbledore. The construction of comments of the posting on the works are some of them. Science may not change a person’s mind because of their worldview, and the culture they identify with.  Dumbledore was a philosopher and a teacher who threw curve balls to his students.  Cognitive dissonance may or may not change the person.  Therefore, the comments will reflect this.
For make of swap the thinking of the something. How it way all the process of some, so like…Face for the four, the books are the rest of history, but reasonized. This is a completeness, and death the lines and connection of deconstructs. Truly things a subject and the back in some constant of they do. The content of a same, and being like personal… like Marthstandider Fillion.


We may change our minds from learning from history.   There are constants – the more things change the more they stay the same.  What do we learn from deconstructing history? But again, some views don’t budge if there has been personal experience that has cemented their memory as fact. Like Marthstandider Fillion, whoever that is.
Of the world, they’re ailing such is some. And they say is this “idea” the considered process of a game, as how posting became of the matter. Some can telling The Water even space a different back, backness to may new with vicinity of the produces, the grow, that the sense of understand of clear. The same, he watch the goals, computers and computers and power the surf of a body. About the contracts… and seeming good world… in which world that in much Achosson of the stuff it is not a source. People are suffering and they believe that the world behaves like (or life is) a game.  Posting a comment is their only voice. Some posters will disagree or contribute with more “factual knowledge” in an attempt make the other posters’ understanding more clear.  Both will surf the Internet looking for facts that confirm their bias. There is no reliable source of information.


And says of a portanting technology: “different has a possible being literally with one of a characters to an internet”, he writes, and shows to do the particular of the retain that of the things. The first in the meaning in the suggests, which isnt in a shows. However, the Internet predicts that technology will change the way a person believes, and behaves, and therefore writes comments showing that they have changed, but this isn’t proof because the Internet helps us present a different face from who we truly are.
People opinion the faces of the speaking, succinctly, and failing states the truly shows with the top. Do you think a know is truly describing the luck of the profitting? The fund of the start to think fictions of a billions and some because a listicle says: “the violence of regions… right and experiences of back the person.” Do you think a “fact” is truly describing the truth? Or is the “fact” profiting the person (commenter, web site owner, advertiser) who is speaking it?  A listicle is not the truth, but we believe and need it to be so.  We need the confirmation bias to rationalize our beliefs and behavior.
In the presented demolition of the subject, like the Far, our pieces like the part of the meaning. Or something. Its not the technology–different may the experience of game and some art or the true–before on to might is a face. In a second the starts like the many internet…the one of the metaphor. It is because the artists, and the way they can’t. In deconstructing an idea, we only get part of the meaning. The meaning that suits the person who is reading it.  It is not the technology that dictates what a person believes, it is what that person has experienced as art or truth. Artists succeed in touching minds because they use their viewer’s experience to create truth.  They can’t change the mind of the viewer without some sympathy.  It is the construction of language – agreed symbolism.
Far and from not the incommunitication which fans a way the striped language, from says a more find and contraption of the dam construction. And Barcy Souls, the problems of the writer, truly so post as infinity of the one. In all the likelihood they become things, and reassemble sense and ending. A good as many always, even a think about the art for theory of construction.

And a minor, the same. Allow transience.

Silence strips away language (voice) and gives way to listening.  Honest and real listening allows for synthesis, reassembling sense and conclusions. Ideally, we would all agree.  In any case, it is good to think about how we think and change our minds. Even changing little thoughts will allow transcendence of suffering. (Mindfulness).
What do y’all think? That we because the actually exasperate, and generations where works a landways are called that the internet book a considered guess? Are the New Frontier called to say the material–and the success of the story–all the way in which emoji do on our Ricks?


Let us know in the comments…

What do y’all think?  Do we exacerbate the problems in the world by stating what we know as “the truth” (according to our own experiences)? Will we use new communication technology to change the world with emojis on our cellphones?

Sweet! LearnDash, GreenBlade xAPI and GreenBlade LRS

Alrighty then. I’ve just completed the setup of the LMS system on this WordPress site. I decided to go with LearnDash because of the review previously mentioned, and spent the money on both the GreedBlade xAPI plugin for WordPress and the GreenBlade LRS. I’ve spend about $250 in total for the entire setup. That’s a pretty low cost to get a working LRS on my WordPress backend. The installation took minutes and I also get support from both LearnDash and GreenBlade.

Of course, I haven’t messed around with any of it yet, but it is nice to know that I can now host my own LRS without having to pay for registrations. Additionally, I can use WordPress as a CCMS or LCMS and write about learning content reuse as well as tracking learning outside of an LMS!


Review of LearnPress: You get what you pay for.

I spent a lot of time today working with the LearnPress plugin for WordPress. LearnPress is a very, very low level LMS plugin for WordPress. It’s free, so there you go.

The workflow, although pretty simple, requires a checkout process for course registration even if the course you are offering is free. There are many features missing. Additionally, I need a way to restrict user registration by a pay gate. A very low pay gate, but one that keeps spam bots from registering on my site.

I’m moving on to a different solution. Here is a great comparison of WP Courseware and Learn Dash. Both are paid solutions with a low entry price. Based on this, I’m trying Learn Dash next.

LearnPress: Turn your WordPress into a Learning Management System(LMS)

6/8/2016 Update after working with LearnPress for a day:

LearnPress is a plugin that will turn your WordPress site into a small learning management system (LMS).   You can even charge for courses using PayPal.  I like it!

Well, I like the idea of it anyway.  There are a couple of things that give me pause.  The first is designing for failure.  If you aren’t running your WordPress site with a fail over plan, you could lose all of your learner’s data or worse.

Second, what about performance?  What if I have a “success disaster” and the server where I have my WordPress site gets bogged down because I don’t have a plan for high availability?

Currently, I’m not running this site in the cloud, but I do have a great relationship with my hosting provider.  If you are not running your WordPress site in the cloud or if you haven’t implemented a fail over plan, disaster recovery, or compute scaling, I recommend talking with your hosting provider about putting those things in place. At the very least, make sure your site is backed up on a regular basis.

If you are thinking of using WordPress as an LMS, and want to run it in the cloud, you can easily spin up a WP instance on Azure. Bitnami also makes this extremely easy once you have an Azure subscription.  If you don’t currently have the designing-for-failure chops, start here with some Azure courses on Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA).

So back to using WordPress as an LMS…I’m going to try LearnPress, but not before I talk to my hosting provider. 🙂

The History of Japan in Nine Minutes

My son is developing his gaming following (and Gamer God status) by creating gaming YouTube tutorials. We had a quick and efficient conversation about how much it sucks when teachers, instructors, gurus, and high priestesses go on and on about themselves or take forever to get to the point of a particular instruction. Millennials don’t learn, they grok. He showed me this. Learn lightly and easily the History of Japan – in nine minutes.

Learning about Machine Learning for Learning Learning

Machine Learning, AI, Big Data, Analytics are all very hot topics in the tech industry right now.  Some say that the Data Scientist is going to be the role in the highest demand and some say that with Machine Learning and AI, there won’t be a need for a Data Scientist.  This will happen soon, they say.

I’m more interested in what Machine Learning, AI, Big Data and Analytics can do for the learning industry.  How can learning content be curated based on a learner’s current skill set and the skills of job they want to have and the delta between those skills?  (I love that word, “delta”, it’s so STEM! It’s a magic word, delta. Use it, and people will think you’re good at Chemistry and The Maths! Here’s the symbol: Δ. Look how smartsy fartsy I’m gettin’ here!) LinkedIn bought Lynda and now we are seeing courses recommended for us on our LinkedIn feed.

ASIDE: It’s interesting that people will pay for courses that are also available for free. That’s probably not the only thing that determines the value of online courses. After all, it is a tenet – somewhere – that people value things more when they have some skin in the game, maybe a little money or a credential.

Before you can make Machine Learning pay off for Learning Learning, you have to know something about Machine Learning.  Here are couple of Microsoft Virtual Academy’s free courses on Machine Learning. Now if I could just set aside enough time…so much to learn, so few ways of bending time and space so I can be in several places at once…is that how it works? I don’t know…delta…Δ

Where to put competency based learning model metadata in Open edX courses

The Open edX Studio interface does not (currently) include fields for entering competency based learning model metadata. This post is written for people who manage courses in the Open edX format, who want to use competency based metadata and assumes you have a basic knowledge of metadata. It also assumes that you have exported an Open edX course and that you know where the referenced files reside. It proposes a solution for where the metadata could be placed in courses in preparation for improving search engine results both internally via an LMS search tool or externally via Google, Bing or other popular search engine.

Applying metadata to scripted (non-compiled objects)

There are three different approaches to applying LRMI metadata to scripted objects: microdata, RDFa, and JSON-LD. The microdata method puts metadata inline in HTML documents. Most search engines, web crawlers, and browsers can process microdata already. This allows for much richer SEO and discoverability. Since both MVA and edX components end up in HTML format, this is what microdata might look like in general:

<h1 itemprop = “name”>Architecting with Azure Part 1</h1>
<p itemprop = “description”>This reading covers basic Azure architecture concepts</p>
<p itemprop = “publisher” >Microsoft LeX</p>
<p itemprop = “license”>Creative Commons</p>

Of course, each element can be hidden from the learner when some inline styling is used like so:

<p class=”MSmeta” itemprop = “publisher” >Microsoft LeX</p>

Or, CSS for the LMS can be edited so that all things tagged with a class specific to metadata would not be displayed. NOTE: The class “meta” is not currently set in the edX CSS. However, in the future it may be, so you might want to name the class something similar or prefix the class with the initials MS, as in “MSmeta”.

.MSmeta {
display: none;

<p class=”MSmeta” itemprop = “publisher” >Microsoft LeX</p>

Where metadata could be placed in Open edX courses while using Studio

As components on edX are literally child DIV nodes of the DOM, metadata can be entered there while using edX Studio.

As competency, skill and proficiency are not native to Open edX metadata, there are a couple of places that this information can be placed. Competency could be placed in the short_description.html or overview.html files at the course level. Skill and proficiency could be placed in a component under the parent node such as in a tag that is hidden by inline style. Then these values would be read by the content management system.

Course level example

<p class=”MSmeta” itemprop=”competency”>Source Code Version Control</p>

Component level example

<p class=”MSmeta” itemprop=”skill”>Use VSS and CVS/SVN</p>


For more information on using the microdata method see  See also my previous post on learning metadata.

Website Overhaul

You know what they say, “The cobbler’s children have no shoes.”

I am in the process of updating this site and some things are broken…or wonky (legacy). The poor thing hasn’t been updated in about three years, ‘cuz I have been busy, busy, busy. I’m working on updating the pages to be mobile friendly with the exception of the portfolio work that I have done in Flash (thank you very much Apple). Although I would love to take the time to convert that stuff over to HTML5/JQuery, I am still busy, busy, busy. Until I get to it, thanks for taking the time to explore.

Using Adobe Connect for eLearning

  1. Adobe Connect calls a curriculum what instructional designers understand as a course.
  2. It also calls a course what instructional designers understand as a single SCO.  This is incorrect and will create problems with the way a course is designed, especially if you are thinking that your SCORM based content is portable.
  3. You also can’t nest curriculums in Adobe Connect.  It is the top-most object.
Multiple SCO manifests are not supported by Adobe Connect.  Instead, Adobe Connect is really AICC and is doing this band-aid thing to make you THINK you are using SCORM.  They provide a SCORM adapter of sorts, but I have also written a Flash object for a Captivate SCO which uses the ExternalInterface class and have been able to get student name out of the LMS without it.  I’m sure Connect is doing something on the back end that I don’t see.  I have yet to test all of the cmi function calls. So…technically, since I have to use Adobe Connect for reasons outside of my control, I have no curriculum object and therefore have to create a course (single SCO) with either a menu inside of it or an aggregator project that isn’t aware of completions, scoring etc.  Only my content flow would know that if I don’t provide a menu or some sort of graphic representation  for the end user.  An aggregator project menu (TOC) only gives a check icon that indicates that the lesson has been viewed to the end.  I could create a SCORM shell in Flash that reads the manifest XML file, but I don’t have time for that….headed to the ever reliable Philip Hutchison and Pipwerks.