Tony Karrer's eLearning Blog on e-Learning Trends eLearning 2.0 Personal Learning Informal Learning eLearning Design Authoring Tools Rapid e-Learning Tools Blended e-Learning e-Learning Tools Learning Management Systems (LMS) e-Learning ROI and Metrics

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

First Time Visitor Guide

Updated 12/03/2009 ... based on 2009 Top Posts and Topics
Update 12/03/2008 ... based on 2008 2009.

It can be daunting to visit a blog for the first time. The author(s) have been writing individual articles for months or years. This is my attempt to help you get a sense of topics of my blog and find some of the more interesting past articles.

Managing your RSS Feeds - If you are considering subscribing to this blog, you might want to read this.

Blog Description

This blog covers trends in eLearning and more broadly the use of technology that aims to improve human performance. This is fairly wide ranging from traditional courseware kinds of issues to specialized kinds of tools and sites. My background includes things like being the acting CTO of eHarmony (online marriage matching based on personality profiles and controlled communication) from its launch through their $110M venture round to working on interesting eLearning and tools for companies like Lexus, HP, IBM, etc. Thus, the blog has a tendency to jump into a wide range of technology types and solutions. I do generally focus from a corporate standpoint (not as much in the education realm). Of course, you'll get a better sense of this as you read through various post.


I write this blog because it helps me think through and learn about the topics I write about. Interacting with readers and other bloggers on these topics really helps to expand and/or clarify my thinking. What I want (and what most bloggers want) is for readers to engage with me. Please Leave Comment - they are very much welcome.

In fact why don't you start interacting right now by briefly introducing yourself in the comments below.

You could also engage with me via your blog and respond to Conversation Topics. I will do my best to respond to you and link to your blog. Of course, that assumes you've decided to blog. If you are still thinking about it, take a look at Top Ten Reasons To Blog and Top Ten Not to Blog.

You should also take an opportunity to link to me on LinkedIn. Read why in my post: LinkedIn Connection Approach Rethought. You might also want to look at my LinkedIn Guide for Knowledge Workers.


eLearning 2.0

Starting Point:

Practical Suggestions:

Informal Learning

Personal Learning
eLearning Trends

eLearning Resources

Learning Management Systems


Work Skills and Knowledge Work and Work Literacy


Long Tail

Other Popular Articles

Other Topic Pages


Jim Belshaw said...

Tony, I am glad you picked up the link. I had actually posted a comment on the previous story, but it failed to upload. That's two I's so far!

While I have been writing in various ways and fora for a long time, I am relatively new to blogging as a blogger, so the question of how to manage content on a blog from both a user and writer perspective is of considerable interest to me.

Being a glutton for punishment I maintain four active blogs each serving a different purpose. I am presently part way through a tabular performace review using matrix with the blogs along the top row, common headings along the left hand axis.

While the heading are the same, it is interesting just how much purpose affects content management from both a user and content creator perspective. I will probably write this up at some point in case it is of broader interest.

Tony Karrer said...

I completely agree about purpose/audience affecting how you write. I would be interested in seeing your thoughts and experience on that.

Jim Belshaw said...

Tony, I will let you know when I have something written.I am not sure that I will be saying anything especially profound, it's just that I like (as you know) structures as a way of simplifying things. And I have actually changed my writing because of the preliminary analysis

jay said...

Tony, this is a good and long overdue courtesy to your readers. You've motivated me to upgrade my site map and blog tour.

When I made my blog my home page long ago, it was radical behavior. I reasoned that new stuff was more interesting than old, so why not? Others followed. So we got fresh content...but left the fine art of website design behind.

Remember when people used to put days into site architecture? Minimizing the number of layers? Trying to make the whole site so beautiful it would be "sticky?"

Now most people are content to have the most recent stuff on the top -- and totally ignore what's scrolled off the bottom.

Thanks for rekindling the spirit of user friendliness to blogging.


John W. Shaffer said...

Tony, I have visited your blog on and off for at least a short while. I have the desire to read your's and many other's blogs but never seem to have the time. Aggregators certainly help with that. I just, like most I imagine, wish there were many more hours in a day; I also wish I could read two or three times faster.

I don't feel I have much of note to say, though I would like to have. For now, finding time in the day to read your blog and a handfull of others is about all I can do. Perhaps in the not-to-distant future I can join in with more substantive comments of my own. Till then, thanks for writing much that is well worth reading.

Tony Karrer said...

John - thanks for leaving the comment. I understand about the lack of time. It is a common issue for many people today. I think your way of handling it by selecting what you read or which aggregators to have filter for you is an excellent point.

Based on your blog, and the class you are taking, my guess is that you are still managing to stay fairly connected.


Neo said...

AM a regular reader of your blog and believe me it has given me tremendous help in understanding eLearning and performing my job better.


Anonymous said...

Hi Tony,
Thanks so much for your presentation at the eLearning Guild's Annual Gathering on New e-Learning Technologies. It was an exciting way to start the conference. I'm new to the industry and new to looking at informal learning, formally. We have WIKI technology already in place at work. Now I hope to start using it for learning.

You told us to write, so I am! I started a new blog. Check it out if you get a chance.


Anonymous said...

Hello Tony. You suggested we introduce ourselves in the comments so here's mine. My name is Brandon and I develope e-Learning applications for an LTL trucking company. I just recently discovered your blog and am looking forward to visiting more frequently. The titles of many of your posts sound very interesting and relevant to my work and I'm looking forward to reading them. Could I pose a question at this point? I've recently started using Adobe Captivate more frequently and find myself doing a lot of editing of the .cp files. Unfortunately the .cp file size keeps growing even though I REDUCE the number of slides and the amount of audio. My most recent .cp file reached 95 Mb, which makes it very time-consuming to open and save the file. I don't think Captivate offers file compacting functionality like Authorware does. Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks for maintaining such a helpful Blog.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Just a comment for Brandon about Captivate and large file sizes. I've found it helpful to use Captivate for developing and outputting smaller chunks of content, rather than one giant file that you're running into. There are other ways you can then assemble the swf files. The Captivate forums on the site are useful for learning how others are using the tool.

Anonymous said...

I attended your presentation on eLearning 2.0 yesterday at the ASTD National Conference in Atlanta and gained alot from it. Thanks. I've been writing a bit for an e-newsletter our ASTD chapter publishes, but plan to move a blog format. You inspired me!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tony,

Our team is looking at starting a group blog for internal communication, and I wanted to review what you had done for your first time visitor's guide. We know our audience isn't particularly familiar with blogs, so this is a great idea which we are probably going to shamelessly copy.

Sorry, my brain is in editing mode today because I'm doing a review of a course.

In this sentence of your guide, shouldn't it be "why don't you" instead of "why do you"?

"In fact why do you start interacting right now by briefly introducing yourself in the comments below."

I apologize for being picky. My sister says I'm an ARSP (anal retentive smarty pants). ;)

Tony Karrer said...

Christy, thanks for the edit. I appreciate it.

And, I hope in exchange for using this idea you will post ideas from what you find. Similar to what you've done around Wikis.

Unknown said...

Finally, this was what I was looking for - a structured format/listing of the articles so that I'm not lost and also I don't miss on some great info. Because you asked for introduction, I'm only 4-years old in the e-learning industry and am in hunt of some really appropriate, convincing and media-rich strategies and to stay in touch with recent developments. Tony, I don't know how I reached your blog but now I know how to proceed in this. Because I generally have an opinion about everything, you will be often seeing my name in the comments section :) Keep up the good work!

Tony Karrer said...

Like most bloggers, I welcome your participation.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tony,
After speaking with you today I decided that I needed to set aside some time to familiarize myself with e-learning 2.0.
I am a baby in the industry and appreciate the advice you provide on this blog. Thanks again and I look forward to more meaningful posts in the future

Joe Deegan said...

I set aside a whole 15 minutes and put together a blog. I continued the conversation of web 2.0 and posted a topic about interview questions that you may have some great input on. I am already realizing the benefits of blogs both professionaly and personally. Thanks again.

R. Bambang Widiatmoko said...

Hi, Tony. I'm Bambang from Indonesia.
I like to read to read your blog, since my final graduation project is about e-learning.
There is one problem I want to ask. In e-learning I made, I include video tutorial. The e-learning is about how to use a software. So I divide into several file video to explain spesific tool in the software.
The question is, are there any theories/references about "how long should video tutorial shown to user"?
Thanks for your attention and also for your articles, it give me a lot of knowledge.

Sandra Junier said...

It is daunting as you say. I feel awkward. I read the first visitors guide which was very usefull for me as a complete beginner. Then I read the post on RSS feeds and I was somewhat overwhelmed. I have two feeds now and I'm not wondering at all how to manage that.
I've been asked to develop the content for a elearning website for secondary school students in Europe. I'm looking for ways to involve these students in the subject. Maybe even get some interaction between schools going. So blogging and wikis were ideas I found going through e-learning websites. But now I've first got to get involved in these sort of things myself. I'll start with just a few blogs. I'm happy to say yours is one of them and I believe a very valuable one at that.

Tony Karrer said...

Sandra - thanks for leaving the comment. I hope you will share your experience with all of us.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the First Time Visitor Guide. I have a blog on Blogger myself, and am definitly going to incorporate something of this nature in it.

I found this blog sheerly by accident. I'm a meeting planner and am looking into various social networking tools for an event that we do, and this popped up. I had just looked through the website for introNetworks, and then I read the information that you had on iN which was very helpful.

It is hard to determine if our group will get use out of it. If you or anyone else has any suggestions for social networking sites or comments on them - it would be greatly appreciated!

A Rambling Guy said...

I am very interested in your blog as I have been working on implementing social networks within corporations and I enjoy reading and gaining inspiration from others.

Hope to learn a lot and possibly share my experiences.

Tony Karrer said...

Belinda - I'm sorry, I missed your note. If you come back and still have questions about these tools, I'm sure I could rally some help.

Rambling Guy - please do share your experiences. I'm sure lots of folks will be interested.

Reputationist said...

Tony, I am impressed! I'm not sure if I have the technical capacity to copy some your Blog Guide organization, but you have provide me a goal to move towards. I was drawn to your blog because of an post on corporate policies and social networking. My interest focuses on the reputational aspirations and tactics that guide these kind of policies. I am also interested in these types of policy statements because they relate to S-OX compliance which is also relate to reputation in a very formal sense.

I will continue to follow you and hope that have opportunities to engage in conversation.

Fiona said...

This is exactly what I have been looking for. My company is starting the journey of selecting and implementing a LMS. I am very excited, but at the same time overwhelmed by the intitiative, there are so many options, so many vendors and so many 'start ups' in this relatively new field of software tools. Your blog gives much valuable advice, I look forward to putting to good use many of your processes, checklists and gotchas. Thank you for outlining this so well.

Martin M-B said...

I really appreciate the Daily Posts and I am trying to implement something similar on my Blogger site, to import articles from Delicious automatically. Can you point me at a 'how-to' article? The instructions in Delicious itself are not that clear...or at least not for Blogger...or at least not for me! btw, looking forward to CLTI again this year.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tony,

I'd like to thank you so much for this great blog. It contains great materials and references.

I have published a blog that will collect and organize great content about e-Learning.

This blog is:

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Tony.

I've just read through this again, for the second time. Wow, there's a lot here!

There are a number of interesting things about this post.

It has succeeded in attacting a large number of comments. But it has also done this over a substantial period of time. Both of these properties make it interesting to me.

I suspect that you and others have cited several references to it in other posts which may have contributed to this?

It all made more sense to me on second time through, some months on though. At first reading, I found it a daunting post to take in - I have to tell you this :-)

It's made me think about the type of people who would read it all through, gleaning useful advice on the way, and eventually getting to the stage, that I have, of perhaps writing a comment.

I suspect that these people would be much in the minority of those who came across this post and started reading it for the first time.

I wonder about the detail as a guide for a 'first time visitor'. But then, I also considered who you were posting it for. An interesting reflection, don't you agree?

Thanks for this guide. It is also a useful idea for someone, perhaps a bit like myself, who has accumulated a range of articles or posts associated with several specialist niches. It provides a useful menu for offering routes to areas of interest.

Catchya later
from Middle-earth

Tony Karrer said...

Ken - I always appreciate your thoughts and insights.

This post received a fair amount of attention initially because it was considered a good example of what to do. Over time, it has become less of a good example of what to do and more a list of my best stuff which now makes it visited because people bookmark it. It also gets visits because I point to it on my blog.

I agree that it now is daunting for a first time visitor. What should be here instead. Probably I should chop it into two parts - First Time Visitor with just a few posts and then More Good Stuff.

Of course, that will require me to choose which items to feature.

Would the split address it? Do I need to do something else?

And you are right that somehow getting folks back here after they've been reading for a bit would make more sense. Any ideas on that?

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Tony

Posts and links to them are a bit like paper posters and pin-board notices I guess.

Y'know, even if there is a link clearly placed on the blog, as your First Time Visitor Guide link is, people who have seen it and used it before will then likely ignore it.

One technique that I've seen bloggers use (and you may have used it too) is to alert readers, from time to time, by a specific post written to do just that.

A post of that type, with links to one or more further posts could also be structured in a way that the First Timer is directed to appropriate material, New Readers, Check Out My Introduction type of thing.

I have been toying with a similar idea for a while now - early days yet - but it would not be a difficult thing to create a web page with a return key on it, like the one I explained recently. Claire Thompson thought it was nothing more than the 'go back one page' button (in fact she's right) but it provides correct and appropriate navigation.

The page can then be linked to from anywhere with an appropriate return route already carved out for people who don't know where they're going :-)

Catchya later

Tosh105 said...

Hi Tony,

I am Kristian Rafaelsen, and my background is 8 years designing, developing, and managing e-learning projects. Recently I started my own company called Flawless Learning Solutions, and I am currently trying to reach out and network across the industry. My passion for instructional design, as well as the e-learning process has propelled me to share thoughts, and hope to engage in many creative discussion in attempt to learn more and participate with other enthusiast to find new and exciting theories, practices, and technologies.

I enjoy you blog!

Kristian Rafaelsen

Usha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Usha said...

Hi Tony,
This is Lakshmi from India. I am a newbie to the elearning field. Just entered this site while browsing. Hope to learn a lot from this site..

Thanks for the informative blogs put up


Anonymous said...

My name is Annette and a higher education elearning group suggested this blog. I really desire to become more proficient in integrating technology into my math class. Currently, my pages are static and I want them to become more dynamic. Thanks.

Unknown said...

Tony, thank you for posting a "first time visitor guide" on your blog. Of course the topics seemed extremely valuable; however the vistor guide tipped the scales in my decisiont to subscribe to your blog.

Mallory Gott
Manager, Distance Education
Chicago, IL

denwer said...

This blog have great content and really possible to get helpful information.

David Stock said...

Mr. Karrer,

I am curious, now that things have changed over the last three years, where do you stand with online degrees, specifically, WSAC (regionally) accredited online PhD degrees?

Don't you think that a person with an accredited PhD and has real world experience should be a top candidate versus a PhD who has been going to school for the last 10 years?

Anonymous said...

Hi Tony,
I would appreciate you help in completing my current e-learning project - I am using a variety of programs to include a combo of HTML, flash, quizes & videos, but although the main navigation output will be flash generated I also want to include some HTML pages (for future ease of updating by general staff) but also include a navigation menu and an intro video (rather than separate splash page.
So my quandry is where i would previously have used frames so that i could use a combo of navigation menus, html content and a video I am not sure if IE 8 supports frames (or iframes) so what is everyone using in place of frames these days??

~thanks Brenda F, NZ

Unknown said...

Hello Tony! My name is Manasseh. I teach face-to-face and online courses at El Centro College in Dallas, TX. I really enjoy reading your blog. It has great content. Keep up the great work!