Voice Only Social Media for Communities and Teams
April 29th

Silicon Valley Buzzes about Voice Social Media: We explore Sound Branch vs Airchat

Sean Gilligan Podcast – Sound Branch vs Airchat

In the world of social media, the emergence of voice-first platforms like Sound Branch and Airchat marks a significant shift away from traditional text-based interaction. While both have carved out a niche by enabling users to post and share voice notes, Sound Branch distinguishes itself in several compelling ways that merit attention.

Firstly, Sound Branch is the pioneer, having launched in 2016, at a time when the pitfalls of traditional social media were just beginning to be acknowledged. This head start has not only allowed Sound Branch to refine its technology but also to deeply understand the nuances of voice-based communication. This early insight gives Sound Branch a distinct edge in experience and innovation.

Moreover, Sound Branch offers a unique dual approach. Users can engage with a global community or they can create bespoke, private spaces through branded sites. This flexibility is crucial for tailored communication strategies, be it within professional teams or special interest groups. The ability to customise the platform extends its utility beyond casual use to more structured, purpose-driven interactions.

Accessibility is another key advantage of Sound Branch. It is available as a full web-based application, not just confined to mobile apps, making it more accessible to users across different devices. Additionally, integration with popular voice-activated assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant enhances user experience by allowing seamless interaction through smart speakers, a feature Airchat lacks.

Sound Branch also leverages advanced AI for speech-to-text transcription, enabling users to either listen to content or quickly scan through transcriptions. This AI capability is extended further with sentiment analysis tools that provide emotional cues through emojis, enriching the context of communications.

Furthermore, the platform’s ability to create playlists from voice notes for distribution as social podcasts on platforms like Spotify and Apple Podcasts illustrates its innovative use of content. This feature not only enhances content reach but also diversifies the ways in which users can engage with and disseminate voice-based content.

In essence, while Airchat has certainly made waves, Sound Branch’s comprehensive features, accessibility, and innovative use of technology provide a richer, more versatile user experience, setting it apart as a leader in the voice-first social media arena.

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April 27th

Business Ethics: A Personal Journey

When it comes to customer relationships, I find myself grappling with the complex interplay of ethics, integrity, and respect. This becomes particularly poignant as I reflect on my ongoing experience with an organisation for which I’ve been providing free website services for several years. It’s a commitment rooted not just in generosity, but in a belief in the organisation’s mission and the value of our partnership.

Recently, this relationship took an unexpected turn. I discovered that the organisation had opted to secure similar services from another provider, a decision made without my involvement or even a heads-up. As someone deeply invested in the ethics of business practices, this move struck a chord. It wasn’t the loss of business that stung—rather, it was the absence of communication that left me pondering the values we uphold in our professional exchanges.

In the thick of my disappointment, a broader question looms: What does this say about the ethical fiber of our business interactions? Integrity, a cornerstone of any relationship, business or personal, demands transparency and honesty. Moreover, respect—another key pillar—necessitates acknowledging the contributions of those who have been part of our journey, especially when they have offered their services not for profit, but to genuinely support the organisational mission.

This experience, while disheartening, offers rich soil for reflection on how we treat each other in business. Should not the same principles that guide our personal lives hold sway in our professional dealings? The lesson here is clear: ethical business practices transcend mere transactions. They are about nurturing relationships, honoring commitments, and communicating openly. As we navigate our paths in business, let us strive to imbue every interaction with these timeless values, ensuring that our professional lives are as richly guided by ethics as our personal ones.

Navigating the delivery of challenging news to suppliers, partners, and customers also warrants careful consideration—a lesson sharply brought into focus by my own experience. Effective communication is not just about relaying information; it’s about fostering understanding and maintaining trust even when the news isn’t favorable. Future engagements could benefit significantly from adopting a policy of open and timely communication. It’s crucial to inform partners of major decisions that affect them as early as possible, providing context and reasoning behind such decisions. This approach doesn’t just soften the blow of unfavorable news; it also reinforces a commitment to transparency and respect in the relationship. Moreover, allowing space for dialogue gives the other party a chance to express concerns and feedback, which can lead to constructive resolutions and possibly even strengthen the relationship. These practices are not just about maintaining professionalism; they’re about nurturing a business culture that values and respects all contributors, thereby setting a standard for ethical conduct that inspires loyalty and trust.

Exploring the AI Wave at DevLearn Las Vegas 2023

Looking over the Grand Canyon and into the future how will AI effect the learning and development industry?

As DevLearn 2023 concluded, it was evident that the surge of AI had become the central focal point, transforming the landscape of technology integration and learning methodologies. The event marked a significant departure from the prior year, which had spotlighted VR and AR innovations.

The evolution of DevLearn’s focus reflected the monumental advancements in AI technology, exemplified by the groundbreaking presence of ChatGPT and BARD. This year, encounters with Synthesia’s co-founder Steffen Tjerrild showcased the powerful impact of AI, especially in the domain of text-to-video platforms.

Among the many impressive demonstrations, one that stood out was the Descript video editing software. This tool allowed seamless editing of video transcripts, enabling the transformation of a 30-minute video into a concise, powerful 3-minute video by editing the accompanying transcript. This breakthrough exemplified the potential for efficient content transformation, revolutionizing the way we consume video content.

I talked about how learning and productivity tools
are converging

Amidst the technological strides, a critical question emerged: the future landscape of jobs in the era of AI. The query echoes Elon Musk’s vision. Will AI gradually replace all jobs, or will it provoke a shift towards different roles where human creativity and judgment prevail? The event sparked discussions on the role of AI in job landscapes, hinting that while some roles might be automated, it’s more about a redefinition of tasks, where AI aids in augmenting human capabilities rather than solely replacing them.

The dialogue pondered the prospects of a future where human ingenuity and innovation merge with AI’s efficiency, indicating a symbiotic relationship rather than an adversarial one. The future, it seemed, will likely see humans engaging in more cognitive, creative, and judgment-centric tasks, while AI handles repetitive, mundane duties.

Aura Robots manufactured in Cornwall converse with visitors at the Sphere in Las Vegas

We visited the Sphere Complex, experiencing the impressive interactive screens with immersive sound effects. Among the captivating displays, we witnessed Aura, the AI robot, engaging in conversations with the general public, showcasing its remarkable communication abilities and interacting seamlessly with visitors.

And DevLearn 2023 has not just showcased the ascendancy of AI but also has initiated conversations about the imminent changes in the professional sphere. The event has left us pondering the harmonious collaboration between human potential and AI, opening a new chapter in the evolution of work dynamics.

DevLearn 2023, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Panel Discussion at OLS23
July 12th

Online Learning Summit 23, The University of Leeds

Learning Summit Podcast – OLS23 Review

I had the privilege of attending The Online Learning Summit 2023 (OLS23) held at the University of Leeds on July 10-11, 2023. The summit brought together a remarkable gathering of industry experts, educators, and leaders with a shared goal of exploring the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities in online education. Throughout the event, there was a strong emphasis on promoting equity, fostering inclusion, and driving innovation in the online learning landscape.

Margaret Korosec opened the Online Learning Summit 23 at The University of Leeds

OLS23 offered a diverse range of sessions and presentations that covered a wide spectrum of topics. These sessions provided valuable insights into various aspects of online education and showcased the remarkable work being done in the field. Attendees had the opportunity to engage with thought leaders, participate in panel discussions, and learn from the experiences of pioneers in online learning.

Neil Mosley looked at the growth of online learning students at UK HEIs

Day 1 Highlights

Neil Mosley: The Online Learning Landscape in UK Higher Education

Neil Mosley’s presentation set the stage by discussing the UK’s online learning landscape. He highlighted the growing applicability of online distance learning as a solution to challenges faced by UK higher education, including accommodating increasing numbers of students and addressing the student housing crisis. Mosley emphasized that online learning can help meet the demand for university education and provide flexibility for learners with other commitments. He also discussed the types of online education companies and courses available, showcasing the growing importance of online distance learning within higher education institutions.

Aaron Kessler from MIT explored The Learning Engineering Process

Applying the Learning Engineering Process: Continually and Iteratively Supporting Online Learning

This session, led by Aaron Kessler from MIT, focused on the learning engineering process (LEP) and its application in online learning. Participants explored how to address learner and instructor challenges, consider contextual factors, and leverage available team members to support online learning. The session highlighted the importance of engaging with examples from online learning contexts and emphasized the iterative and complex nature of the LEP within organizations and programs.

Donald talked about AI and Ethics in Higher Education

AI and Ethics Panel Discussion

Chaired by Jo-Anne Murray, this panel session explored the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and ethics in the context of online learning. Speakers such as Donald Clark, along with panelists Eric Atwell, Adam Nosal, and Andrew Kirton, discussed considerations when engaging with AI in learning, the roles of students and educators, and the impact of AI on humanity. The discussion delved into the potential benefits of AI in learning, such as improving learning outcomes, providing consistency, and offering fast feedback to learners. Ethical implications and the need for responsible AI implementation were also addressed.

What’s in a Name: MOOC, Short Course, Microcredential

In this session, Megan Kime chaired a panel consisting of Melissa Highton, Chrissi Nerantzi, Salha Abdo, and Steve Osborne. The discussion revolved around different online course models, such as MOOCs, short courses, and microcredentials, and their role in serving learners and society. The panel explored the potential for stacking credits and courses into a degree, the recognition of component parts of education, and the need for consensus around online pedagogy and delivery models.

Day 2 Highlights

Joann Kozyrev talked about Wicked Problems

Bringing Wicked Education Problems to Heel: Three Ways of Thinking

Chaired by Jo-Anne Murray, this session featured Joann Kozyrev and a panel discussing how three different ways of thinking—systems thinking, design thinking, and futures thinking—can help address complex educational problems. The session emphasized the need to identify root causes, engage in creative problem-solving, and consider future possibilities. By leveraging these different problem-solving mindsets, educators and institutions can untangle wicked problems, design executable solutions, and prevent new problems from emerging.

Bo Kelestyn talked about enhancing the student experience with podcasting

Podcasting for Engagement and Impact

James Pickering chaired this session, featuring Bo Kelestyn from the University of Warwick. Kelestyn shared her experiences using podcasting in educational practice, showcasing examples from teaching, community building, and profile development. The session explored the role of podcasting in enhancing student engagement, improving learning outcomes, and fostering community connections. Kelestyn highlighted the importance of diverse voices, co-creation with students, and the promotion of individual and institutional profiles through podcasting.

Margaret Korosec chaired a panel discussion on learning design maturity

Developing Learning Design Maturity

Margaret Korosec chaired this session led by Neil Mosley, with panelists Leonard Houx, Matt Cornock, and Marlies Gration. The session focused on the challenges and opportunities of embedding learning design in universities. The panel explored the organizational and individual challenges faced by learning designers, highlighting the need for a learning design maturity framework. The session emphasized the importance of observing, listening to, and learning from students, designing for scale, and adapting teaching approaches to meet the needs of global online learners.

These sessions at OLS23 provided valuable insights into various aspects of online learning, including the landscape, ethics, pedagogy, accessibility, and future possibilities. The summit fostered a collaborative and innovative environment, encouraging educators and leaders to reimagine education, address challenges, and strive for equitable and inclusive online learning experiences. As OLS23 came to a close, participants were inspired to continue the conversations, implement transformative practices, and shape the future of online education.

Learning Solutions 2023, Orlando, Florida
April 22nd

Learning Solutions 2023, Orlando, Florida

Learning Solutions 2023 Review

I had the opportunity to attend the Learning Solutions 2023 Conference hosted by the Learning Guild, held at the beautiful Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida. As an avid learner and professional in the eLearning industry, I was thrilled to participate in this annual event that brings together learning and development professionals from around the world.

During my time at the conference, I had the chance to attend keynote presentations, participate in hands-on workshops, and network with fellow professionals in the industry. The sessions were informative, engaging, and covered a range of topics, including instructional design, eLearning development, performance support, and emerging technologies. Here a just a few reflections from Key Notes and Sessions I attended.

5 Lessons from KateTheChemist

KateTheChemist.com is the website of Dr. Kate Biberdorf, a scientist, professor, and science entertainer. Her website is a treasure trove of resources for science enthusiasts of all ages, featuring experiments, videos, and educational content that makes science fun and accessible. Here are five tips we can learn from KateTheChemist.com

Remember Williams James

William James, a pioneering psychologist, once said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.” KateTheChemist.com embodies this philosophy, using the power of positive attitude and enthusiasm to make science accessible and fun. By adopting a positive attitude and looking for the fun in science, we can all become better science communicators and enthusiasts.

Look into your community

One of the things that sets KateTheChemist apart is its focus on community. Kate is passionate about reaching out to young people and underrepresented groups, bringing science to them in a way that is engaging and accessible. By looking into your own community and finding ways to engage with people who may not have access to science education, you can make a difference and inspire the next generation of scientists.

Consider your image

KateTheChemist.com is a great example of how important image can be when it comes to science communication. Kate’s bright pink lab coat and bubbly personality help to break down barriers and make science fun and accessible. When communicating science, it’s important to consider your image and how you are presenting yourself. By adopting a fun and approachable persona, you can help to make science more engaging and accessible to a wider audience.

Be a good mentor

KateTheChemist.com is not just about science experiments and videos – it’s also about mentorship. Kate is passionate about helping young people find their passion for science, and she serves as a mentor and role model for many aspiring scientists. As science enthusiasts, we can all strive to be good mentors and role models for others, whether it’s by volunteering at a local school or community center, or simply by sharing our enthusiasm for science with others.

Breathe fire

Finally, KateTheChemist.com is all about breathing fire – that is, being passionate and enthusiastic about science. By embracing our inner fire and sharing our love of science with others, we can inspire the next generation of scientists and make a real difference in the world. So let’s all take a page from KateTheChemist.com and breathe fire – who knows what amazing discoveries we might make!

Dr Greggory Wright - Fighting Isolationism
Dr Greggory Wright – Fighting Isolationism

Winning Against Isolation: 3 Types of Motivation for E-Learning Success

In the world of e-learning, motivation is a critical factor that can make or break a learner’s success. That’s why I was particularly excited to attend Dr. Gregory Wright’s presentation on “Winning Against Isolation: 3 Types of Motivation for E-Learning Success” at the Learning Solutions 2023 Conference hosted by the Learning Guild.

Dr. Wright is an accomplished author, speaker, and consultant in the fields of e-learning and instructional design, with over 25 years of experience in the industry. In his presentation, he shared his insights on the three types of motivation that can help learners succeed in e-learning, even in the face of isolation and other challenges.

Whether you are studying from home or working remotely, it can be difficult to stay motivated and engaged when you are alone. However, there are ways to overcome this challenge and win against isolation. In this blog post, we will explore three types of motivation and how they can help you stay motivated and achieve your goals.

Motivation 1.0: Survival

The first type of motivation is survival. This is the most basic form of motivation and is rooted in our biological need to survive. In an isolated environment, this type of motivation can be useful when it comes to completing essential tasks, such as eating, sleeping, and staying healthy. To tap into this type of motivation, you can focus on the benefits of completing these tasks, such as feeling energized and healthy, which can help you stay motivated.

Motivation 2.0: Rewards and Punishments

The second type of motivation is rewards and punishments, also known as carrots and sticks. This type of motivation is based on the idea that people will work harder if they are rewarded for their efforts or punished for their mistakes. While this type of motivation can be effective in the short term, it is not sustainable in the long term. In an isolated environment, it can be difficult to implement this type of motivation, as there are no immediate rewards or punishments. Instead, you can focus on setting goals and rewarding yourself when you achieve them. For example, you could treat yourself to a movie or a meal when you complete a challenging task.

Motivation 3.0: Autonomy, Intrinsic, and Self-Directed

The third type of motivation is autonomy, intrinsic, and self-directed motivation. This type of motivation is based on the idea that people are most motivated when they have control over their work and are doing something they find meaningful. In an isolated environment, this type of motivation can be particularly effective, as it allows you to take ownership of your learning and work. To tap into this type of motivation, you can focus on finding tasks that you find meaningful and that align with your interests and values. You can also set goals that are aligned with your personal and professional aspirations and create a plan to achieve them.

In conclusion, winning against isolation requires motivation, and there are three types of motivation that can help you stay motivated and achieve your goals. Survival motivation is useful for completing essential tasks, rewards and punishments can help you achieve short-term goals, while autonomy, intrinsic, and self-directed motivation can help you stay motivated and engaged in the long term. By understanding these types of motivation and how to tap into them, you can overcome the challenges of isolation and achieve success in your learning and work.

Social/Systems Assessment: Evaluating the Health of Your Organization

Mark Britz, Director of Events, Learning Guild
Mark Britz, Director of Events, Learning Guild talked about Social Learning

Mark Britz, Director of Events, gave a presentation on social learning and its impact on the learning industry. With his extensive experience in the field of learning and development, Mark shared his insights and best practices for creating effective social learning experiences. Mark has devised a social learning survey to evaluate how your organisation is performing when it comes to social learning.

In any organization, there are a variety of systems and processes in place that impact how employees work together, communicate, and achieve their goals. Social and systems assessments can be a useful tool to evaluate how well these systems are functioning and identify areas for improvement.

The assessment tool presented here includes nine statements related to key organizational design elements, such as decision-making rights, talent development, and recognition and rewards. By rating your level of agreement with each statement, you can gain insight into the health of your organization and identify areas for improvement.

Some of the key areas to pay attention to in the assessment include:

  • Decision-Making Rights: Do employees have a voice in decision-making processes that affect them? Are they able to offer input and feedback?
  • Talent Development: Are employees actively seeking out training and development opportunities? Are they giving and receiving feedback as part of the development process?
  • Leadership & Management: Are employees clear on the goals and vision of the organization? Are they comfortable approaching leaders and managers with ideas and concerns?
  • Knowledge Management: Are employees actively seeking out and using information and knowledge from various sources? Are they participating in knowledge-sharing initiatives and forums?
  • Recognition & Rewards: Are employees clear on the criteria and process for recognition and rewards? Are they providing feedback and suggestions for improvement?
  • Technology: Are employees actively using enterprise social technology tools to share information and collaborate with colleagues?
  • Roles & Responsibilities: Do employees understand their own roles and responsibilities within the organization? Are they communicating openly with managers and colleagues to ensure alignment?
  • Business Processes: Are employees collaborating with other departments and teams to streamline and optimize workflows and procedures? Is there ample space for employees to engage in deeper conversations about assignments and tasks?

Attending the Learning Solutions 2023 Conference was a great opportunity to connect with learning and development professionals from around the world. Whether it’s inspiring the future workforce as KateTheChemist does “breathing fire”, tips of fighting Isolationism from Dr Greggory Wright or how to advance social learning in your organisation by rewarding transparent this learning community of best practices continues to add value not just to individual and teams but to real businesses. The most important thing is to take any learnings away and share them with people who didn’t attend so that they can learn and develop.

Learning Summit Leeds 2023
March 28th

Learning Summit Leeds 2023, The Queens Hotel

Webanywhere held its Leeds user group at the Queens Hotel in Leeds. The event brought together a diverse group of customers, including Babington, Multiverse, NRLS, and Corgi Technical Services, for a day of learning and storytelling.

The event kicked off with introductions, followed by each customer sharing their story of how they implemented the learning management system and the learning experiences they currently offer. Interestingly, two apprenticeship organisations and two customers interested in all things property when it comes to health and safety, governance, and compliance were present.

Customer Storytelling and Sharing at The Queens Hotel, Leeds

Babington, one of the UK’s leading apprenticeship providers, spoke about the need for consolidation and a unified user experience across the myriad of systems they have within the business. They highlighted that there are opportunities around a seamless user experience and greater software integration to reduce the amount of administration within the business.

Multiverse, another leading Apprenticeship provider, shared stories about their online learning platform, which looks after not only apprenticeship managers but also coaches and internal support teams. They also discussed their key priorities, which include reducing the amount of administration time for Multiverse coaches and enhancing the user experience. They stressed the importance of unifying the learning experience and ensuring that there is tight systems integration so that platforms talk to each other.

Lunch and Learn at Learning Summit Leeds 2022, The Queens Hotel

The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) shared how their business has been transformed following the pandemic. They have now created a content and e-learning design team, and online learning is now 80% of the delivery method. It was interesting to understand how members of the Association gain CPD credits that can be used then for discounts when purchasing other landlord services.

Finally, Corgi Technical Services described how they are at the beginning of their e-learning journey. They highlighted the need to create modern consumable courses and increase quality alongside a platform to house and deliver this material.

Overall, the event was a great success and an opportunity for customers to learn from one another. It was good to see the common groups with two businesses focused on the apprenticeship agenda and two on the needs of the property industry. Hopefully, the cross-pollination and relationships built will lead to property apprenticeship opportunities between the various organisations.