2019 – A year in review

For me, 2019 started with a high level of excitement as I was coming off a high in the December of 2018 from the H5P conference in Melbourne. I’m a strong advocate for H5P and knew that I would be working with the development team in 2019 as part of the Proof of concept I was developing.

As part of my current role, I was given the challenge to bring in AR and VR into the training environment as a way of using technology to enhance learning. Getting approval is always a challenge, but persistence paid off and eventually (December, yes it took a year!) a VR product was delivered for trial.

Without going into detail, the application used 360 technology using the Insta360 Pro2 8K camera (very nice toy) to capture static images. These images were optimized in Photoshop (removed the tripod base) and uploaded to a SaaS called InstaVR. The application is super easy to use and allows publishing in various formats. For me, the application had to be able to standalone, so we looked at the Oculus Go as the choice of headset. With an application called Oculus Kiosk I was able to lock down the device to only allow the app to run. This has ticked off the VR aspect of the project.

For the AR, I wanted to focus on delivering interactive video, but I also wanted to capture xAPI data. With some security issues around what was captured, I worked with Svein-Tore and the guys at H5P to develop the Actor component of the xAPI statement to be anonymous when captured using h5p.com. We also added the Whitelisting capability to any content type in h5p.com. I’m still working on the delivery of an AR solution, but can confidently predict it will be accepted and become part of the digital learning toolkit in early 2020.

I faced some massive technical and progress issues this year, mainly with the internal departments as I was bringing in new technology that wasn’t supported by them. Lots and lots of presentations (basically sales pitches), both technical and non-technical to (what seemed to be endless) stakeholders. Whilst most could see the benefit, there was always one or two that challenged it. I found the culture of ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it’ to be challenge but make it relevant to these people’s role and I soon overcame their scepticism.

In May I attended the 4th Annual & eLearning summit in Melbourne. Whilst the program looked amazing, it failed to deliver on its promise which was very disappointing for what the conference cost. I’m not going to go into too much detail here, but let’s say that the congregation was predominantly made up of the presenters. I did get to meet Joe Millward from TAFE NSW which is a great network to have and found a shoe shop for my wife (maybe that wasn’t such a good idea 😊 )

AITD Award 2019 Winner

Half way through the year also found me pursuing and submitting for the 2019 Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD) awards for the best onboarding / induction program. This was the first time I’d submitted anything like this and whilst the process was lengthy (mainly internally) I’m pleased to say that we won! This was an absolute highlight for me this year. One of the other finalists was the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) which for me (being ex RAN) was nice to beat them. Whilst still on AITD, in November I was accepted onto the QLD/NT Divisional Council which will allow me to give back a little the community and share some of my digital learning knowledge.

In June a product called Enable Now was handed over to me to roll out to the organisation. A massive undertaking given I’d had a 4-hour crash course on the application. The next few months had me diving very deep in to the software and learning as much as I can to be able to rollout face-to-face training to over 120 employees. Next year will take on more of a support role and the development of more online resources. Have I mentioned yet I’m a team of one? Whilst I do get support from colleagues, it certainly is a challenge sometimes.

If you’ve been following me, you may know that I completed the edX Micro Master in the Instructional Design and technology back in July. I think this course is a brilliant way to introduce anyone to digital learning and what you can do with what’s out there. Whilst it won’t take you down the development of HTML5 or major UI/UX, it’s a great platform to get started and spark an interest.

Have you checked out L&D scenes before? The author, Clint Clarkson has released a book combining some of the scenes from over the years and it was pretty cool to have one of my quotes featured – checkout scene 47 😉

I’ll also be in my first Podcast in March 2020. Watch this space for details on where you can get your hands on it.

Lessons learnt this year have been vast. Working for a large organisation can be very frustrating when wanting to get something over the line. There’s always multiple processes and approvals to seek. Digital learning moves very quickly and we’re constantly in a state of learning. Without management support you can really stumble and lose faith very quickly. Whilst I’ve knocked down a few barriers, there’s still lots to go and plenty more lessons to learn there!

Another lesson learnt is relevancy when trying to introduce something new. What I mean by this is that you must make your presentation relevant to the target audience. Presenting a heavy technical based presentation to managers will simply not work in your favor. Understand your audience and know their area of interest and make the presentation about what they do, and you’ll get their buy in.

Eloped in November 2019

On a personal note, I got married to my partner, Kym in November. A very secret celebration with not many knowing. This certainly was an awesome way to wrap up there year.

So, what’s install for next year? It’s looking pretty big at this stage. I’ll be focusing more on digital learning and how I can use my knowledge to solve digital learning architect issues and challenges. I’ll be looking at how I can integrate xAPI with AR (already looking at ARjs) and how xAPI can be expanded into more products, expanding digital learning environments.

I’ll be heading to the AITD conference in Sydney in March 2020, please come and say hi if you’re going. I’ll also be getting more involved with the QLD/NT Divisional Council, so please pop around to one of our events throughout the year. I’m hoping to present a little more next year with an aim to start ramping this up and getting back on the presenter’s circuit focusing on digital learning solutions, especially xAPI.

I’m looking forward to a well-deserved holiday to Europe in April with my wife before heading to the USA for the H5P Conference in May and catch up with Svein-Tore and the core team and find out how the world is using H5P.

Thanks for taking the time to read a little insight into my year and hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and here’s to a massive 2020!

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