Wednesday, November 26, 2014

NEW PODCAST - BS Talks About eLearning - The Brent Schlenker Podcast

I wasn't kidding in my last post. It really is time for reinvention and kicking things up a notch... or in this case, TWO notches. Besides starting a newsletter (SUBSCRIBE here), I've also started a little podcast: BS talks about eLearning.

Like everything else I do it's a work in progress, but I'm happy with finally taking that first step. It will be available for subscription via iTunes soon.  I'm still figuring out all of the details.

If you have feedback or ever want to be on the show just contact me via twitter: @bschlenker.

Monday, November 24, 2014

10 Years of Blogging - Time to Reinvent and Kick Things UP!

Hey, you guys ROCK! Thanks for riding this social media, blogging, eLearning2.0 roller coaster with me.

I'm into the 10th year of this blog and so I'm trying something new. In continuing the spirit of this little 10 year communication experiment, I'll be launching a newsletter.

Like everything else about this blog I don't know how often I will send one, or exactly what I will be including in it. I want it to be valuable information that helps you grow in your career. I don't claim to know anything more than you, but I'll share my years of experience and test out new technologies with you.  I will respect your time, your email address, and our relationship.

My guess is that it will be devoted to Corporate Training and eLearning Strategies and Development with some sprinkling of Apple fan boy news, technology tips, and other random things that I find interesting and think you will too.

There is a Newsletter signup on the top of the right side of the blog, or you can access the Newsletter Signup page from the tab above. Enter your email there to receive the newsletter.

If for some reason you are unhappy with the newsletter please let me know, or simply unsubscribe.

I'm looking forward to another 10 years of social media, training, eLearning, and fun! And I do hope you'll join me for the ride.

Brent Schlenker @bschlenker

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

HangChat: Google Hangout on Air During a Twitter Chat

Twitter chats have become very popular.  But popularity comes at a price. Besides the large number of tweets streaming by, you end up with spammers spamming the hashtag and other unnecessary noise.  In the early days, with fewer participants it was easier to engage in quick multi-tweet conversations to dig deeper, or gain clarity, around someone's point being made.  In my experience lately the large numbers of participants make that quite difficult resulting in a stream of one-liner tweets simply trying to one-up the next.  And while many people find that to be the most enjoyable part of a twitter chat, I prefer a more personable setting. Something with the pacing and question format of a twitter chat, but the intimacy of a video conference.

Enter Google Plus Hangouts on Air (G+HoA)

A G+HoA is a live video conference with up to 10 participants in video chat room setting. Think of it as a virtual dinner party.  Or a virtual happy hour gathering to watch a sporting event. Or better yet think of it as an over flow room with a video feed of the main room.  Only instead of having only 140 characters to communicate you can talk amongst yourselves and share your twitter chat experience together in a virtual small group setting.

Some have put forth the idea of doing a G+HoA right after the twitter chat as a sort of recap. It's an interesting idea, but it doesn't solve the problem of desiring a more human connection DURING the twitter chat experience.

After 4 weeks of testing the idea, I've found that doing a G+HoA during a twitter chat more than provides the engagement I'm looking for.

How Do We Define a HangChat?

I wasn't planning on calling it anything, but the term just popped up mixing the 2 experiences and it stuck.  So let's keep it.  But what exactly is it? Well, I think the best definition was tweeted recently.

"So these are hangouts that run parallel to someone else's chat?" - Ellen Wagner (@edsonoma)

Yes! A HangChat, as I have experienced them, is exactly that. And as I reflect on my experience, I see no reason why there couldn't be many different HangChats occurring simultaneously around one twitter chat. It's an enhancement and extension of the twitter chat experience...nothing more.

What Makes for a Good HangChat?

Excellent, quick on your feet, facilitation skills, would make for a great HangChat leader.  Of the 4 HangChats I have run I can honestly say I did a TERRIBLE job facilitating.  But it's an experiment and we're testing it out in the open for all to see.  My failure as a HangChat facilitator does not immediately negate a HangChat's usefulness. I've enjoyed them even when I'm running them poorly. And the first 4 weeks of participants have enjoyed them as well.  It's a learning experience. It's what I do...what we do. So, we'll continue to experiment until we find a process that works for everyone.

The small groups participating in the G+HoAs do not benefit by "hijacking" the twitter chat conversation. Without the twitter chat the hang chat does not exist. So, it doesn't make sense for anyone, or any entity, to remove the value inherent in the twitter chat. As mentioned earlier, the goal is to enhance and extend.

Social Media is Only What YOU Make of it!

The beautiful nature of social media is that it can be whatever YOU make it.  It's still the wild west. There are no rules. Except of course for Cammy Bean's ultimate rule of "Don't Be an A******." That still stands.

But seriously, there is a reason why there are memes like "Work out loud", and "Show Your Work". It's because with the internet and social media we CAN, so why not? Will you open yourself up to criticism? Absolutely! Will you feel vulnerable at times? Yep, that too. Do you need any special skills or permission? Nope. Have at it. But above all have fun and learn something new!

So... if you have any interested in just trying out a HangChat, ping me. Find me on G+, or Twitter (@bschlenker), and let me know you'd like to join us. If my 10 spots fill up before you contact me, I'll encourage you to start your own. I'll even walk you through the process.  It's fun! We'll learn together as communities of practice do.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Weekly Review - Sept 15-19 - Apple, TED-Ed, LitmosAuthor, TwitterChats

Apple, Apple, Joy, Joy... continues

The big news this week is still the new Apple product announcements.  I wrote a followup blog post about the impressive focus Apple puts on it's events and perhaps we should put the same amount of effort into our training events. While event-based learning is still belittled by some, I am firm believer in the important of training events...even classroom style events.

Did you download the new iOS8? Did you pre-order an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus? I'm in for a 6 Plus, and as nervous as I am excited about it. Will I hate the size? Will battery life stink? Will it fit in my pocket? What kind of accessories should I get to go along with it? Keyboard with stand?

Do You Like TED-Ed?

I also found another great video on TED-Ed and felt the need to ask if we should be using TED-Ed as a model for corporate training.  It's a simple tool, with customization features that give anyone the ability to create a lesson based on these very impressive videos. If you haven't checked it out, you should.

LitmosAuthor FTW!

And if you didn't know about the LitmosAuthor tool, the Product Manager wrote a great post about the impressive cost savings being seen with it's use.  You can check that post out here. I know a developer that's been a fan for a long time, and I didn't find out he was until I started working for Litmos. There are a lot of authoring tools to choose from, but LitmosAuthor has a couple aces you can't beat with other tools.  Check it out.

New CallidusCloud Acquisition

This week brought some fun news for the CallidusCloud team.  For those of you that may not know, CallidusCloud is the parent company of Litmos. Anyways... they acquired Clicktools this week.  You can read the press release here.

More Twitter Chat Fun

Another Fireside #lrnchat LIVE is in the can. Thanks to Will Constantine for joining me so I didn't have to do it alone. It's an hour long and so you probably don't want to just sit and watch.  At this point it's still an experiment.  I'm changing things weekly and just learning as I go.  At some point I think I'll edit these down to just the good parts and save you all from the long moments of silence.  It is, after all, based on a twitter chat. And so at times we're just following the Q&A stream.

Today begins another Twitter chat for L&D professionals called #Guildchat. And so that really gets me thinking about these Hangouts on Air. I'm really enjoying them and it's a great way to enhance a twitter chat.  So instead of coming up with a new name for each one, I think I will start doing this for all the twitter chats I attend and just brand the experience HangChats. What do you think?

Hope you all had a great week! Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Weekly Review - Sept 8-12 - Apple, LearningLIVE, Fireside lrnchat LIVE

This week was filled interesting events. Monday Phoenix flooded with more water in one day than we usually receive all year. Tuesday was Apple Announcement Day...which should be a holiday. #LearningLIVE was happening in the UK. Thursday was another fun Fireside #lrnchat LIVE. And Friday was...the day before the weekend!

Phoenix Flooding

Monday's flooding Phoenix kept most people in the house, but since my wife works with seniors and her car is a tiny little mini cooper, I thought it best to take her around to see her patients and help out where I could with my truck.  I've lived in Phoenix most of my life...AZ all of my life...and I've never seen it attempt to hold so much water.  We ended up helping out a few people getting them to work and doctor appts through flooded roads around the valley.

Apple Announcement Bashing

I know the "in thing" right now is to be Apple bashing, but while I was interested in the products I was mostly interested in the new media cultural experience that surrounds the event. And normally that involves everyone BUT Apple.  However, this time around, Apple offered up a live stream of the event that also included an live blog rapidly updated with images, tweets, and behind the scenes coverage. Besides the stream being really bad for the first 10-15 minutes, I finally got it to work.  I'm assuming it finally worked for me after a million or so people became so frustrated they just disconnected. Perseverance pays! I'll have a blog post about it next week.

While there is concern about our collective industry of eLearning professionals adopting wLearning as the next mLearning, I'm not so concerned.  You'll notice that Apple did not call it the iWatch. My hope is that we, as a profession, will follow along and once for all give up the "e" and the "m" and any other letter placed in front of Learning or Training.  But that's just me.

Learning LIVE! UK

I did not attend #LearningLive but followed the twitter stream and really enjoyed the engaging conversations.

Fireside #lrnchat LIVE!

For the 3rd week in a row I've attempted a G+ Hangout on Air during #lrnchat. I've started calling it Fireside #lrnchat LIVE! @marciamarcia couldn't attend this week but she will be joining us again in the future.  Special thanks to @MelMilloway  @cm_holloway @reward75 @urbie @willconstantine @anicole87 for joining me in this fun little exercise in social media overload.

I mean, seriously, it takes a significant social media skill set to chat live on video while following a fast-paced twitter chat.  But while it seems a little crazy, it's also quite fun.  Actually, it's really fun. Check it out...

Please feel free to contact me directly if you'd like to join the hangout.  We can only have up to 10 participants but so far we haven't filled it.  So, let me know if you want to test your social media mad skills :)

Friday, September 05, 2014

Weekly Review - Sept 1-5 - Repetition, Storytelling, and Fireside Hangout Chat

This week's blog posts were very random.  Not in a bad sense, but in that last-minute-aha-moment sense. It started with some reflections on my book post from last week and realizing I had left out one of my personal favorites, Understanding Comics. So, I felt compelled to blog about it...and more.

And then, I stumbled upon some research, a TED talk, and a blog about repetition in music by Dr. Ellizabeth Margulis. And that reminded me of...and I'm not sure why...the clip of Bobby McFerrin "Playing the Audience" using the pentatonic scale. Join the conversation...

Repetition - The Killer Learning App?
Storytelling - Comics, Journalism, Storytelling, and the Brain

Thursday, as usual, was a busy social media day. There was #chat2lrn in the AM and #lrnchat in the PM. #Chat2lrn discussed #socialleadership with @JulianStodd guest hosting. Julian was a gold mine of great tweets, but here's one that sums it all up nicely...
"The core skills of #socialleadership include 'storytelling', 'collaboration' and 'social capital".
But there were a LOT of little nuggets in that tweet stream.  I'd highly recommend checking out the archive for review. Good stuff.

#lrnChat was great fun this week. @marciamarcia (Marcia Conner) the founder of #lrnchat joined me in a Fireside #lrnchat LIVE via Google hangouts. It was quite an interesting experiment. Marcia and enjoyed the first half of #lrnchat just the two of us until we finally figured out how to get others into the hangout.  Once we figured it out we had at least 8 other #lrnchat-ers join us.  It was great fun! I'm really looking forward to next week now that we've got the kinks worked out.

Friday ended my week with the quarterly Learning Leaders Breakfast in Phoenix organized by @leadgood (Michelle Sterling). 10 training/learning professionals across a variety of companies sharing around a big table. Such great people! It reminds me why I love what I do. And every quarter I walk away feeling re-energized about my chosen career. It's nice to hear that, while slow to change, organizations ARE changing.  And learning professionals are at the core of making that change happen.  I know it doesn't feel like it to many of you.  But the conversations I've had over the last few months were NOT the same conversations we were having 10 years ago.  This is good news!

Have a great weekend!

Fireside #lrnchat LIVE via Google Hangout on Air

This was my second try and making G+ Hangouts on Air work.  I was lot more successful this week, however it wasn't without a little pain and frustration.  But it was an outstanding learning experience.  And after all, isn't that what we are all about?

I want to thank the Godmother of #lrnchat @marciamarcia Marcia Conner for engaging in this new experience. For those of you new to Marcia's work she has a beautiful web site at

I think we were about 30mins into #lrnchat before I finally figured out how to invite people to participate with us LIVE via the hangout.  So, I wouldn't recommend sitting through this video in it's entirety.  At some point I will most likely doing some post production work on these Fireside #Lrnchats.

We can only get 10 people into the hangout LIVE, but you can watch the stream on YouTube while following the #lrnchat twitter stream.

CAUTION: If you thought following the #lrnchat twitter chat stream was a firehose this amplifies that intensity significantly...but in a good way.  And it's fun.

Follow me @bschlenker on twitter and +Brent Schlenker on G+.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Weekly Review - August 25-29 - Blogs, Conference Season, and Tools

2 Weeks of Blog Posts

This week was interesting. I read another post about the death of the LMS and it inspired me to write "The LMS is Evolving...Not Dying!". And a conversation with a friend inspired Thursday's post "To "e", or not to "e", that is the eLearning Question."

And since I forgot to do a Weekly Review last week, I'll mention that this blog celebrated 9 Years of posts on the 23rd. Going into it's 10th year I hope to use it as an anchor for work. While I enjoy social networks like twitter, linkedin, G+ and others, there's just something special about having your own space carved out on the internet.

And of course there was the post congratulating The eLearning Guild on the upcoming 10th DevLearn. If you want to read more check out the post here.

Conference Season is Coming!

And as the summer comes to an end, I find myself preparing presentations for the fall conference season. I have not created a completely new presentation in several years, but look forward to delivering all new material in the coming months. I look forward to seeing new and old faces alike from around the globe.


This week on the tool side of things I found out that Twitter has made its reports freely available. Check out

I haven't used SoundCloud in a long time so I decided to record one of my blog posts and embed the SoundCloud player in a post here. Check it out.  Do you like listening to blog posts?


The Corporate Training tweet in shape of Jurassic Park was one of the highest scoring tweets over the last 2 weeks.

Also, for #lrnchat this week I tried launching a G+Hangout called #lrnchat Live. And while, it only had 6 viewers during lrnchat I did learn a lot.  And had enough interest afterwards to keep me excited about going at it again next Thursday.

But my tweet asking "Can we use improv in Corporate Training?" scored even higher which surprised me. I have some ideas around this topic and will be collaborating with some friends to see what this might look like. Stay tuned.

And in the spirit of the Emmy Awards, this weeks Twemmy Award goes to @Dave_Ferguson for this brilliant twitter retort to one of my blog post quotes.

Lots of great conversations this week with so many of you. Thanks to everyone who reaches out to say hi. I love hearing about all the cool projects you're working on.  So much so, that I've got some ideas for holding Hangout "office hours" so people can just drop in and chat about Corporate Training, eLearning, or whatever else is on your mind.

Have a safe and fun Holiday weekend!

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Look Back at 9 Years of Blogging - Corporate eLearning Strategies and Development

Tomorrow, August 23rd 2005, 9 years ago, I embarked on a most excellent adventure. It started with an unassuming welcome message, on a very plain, boring blogger template. I know, I know, I should be on wordpress, bla, bla, bla...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Thanks for stopping by Corporate eLearning Development. I chose the title because it can mean so many different things, and I hope to cover many topics that are so real to me at this moment in my career.

I've been wanting to start this for quite some time and the time has come. After presenting 2 topics at the eLearningDevCon2005 in Oregon, I have committed to making this blog and it's resources a reality.

I don't believe that many eLearning professionals, especially those under a corporate blanket, understand that the field as we now it is undergoing a drastic change we are not prepared for. I am constantly amazed at the number of seminars, conferences, and EdTech curriculums still preaching old school ISD and how to create all of the "elements of effective eLearning"...forget about it. I would urge you to consider updating your skills in graphics design, color theory, image manipulation, Interaction design, cartooning, comics, audio/video production, and story telling.

Please read the following books: Re-imagine! by Tom Peters, and A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink...

I will be following this post with updates to the blog as well as other materials
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And that's how it all started. I did not start it to make money, or optimize my search ranking, or anything like that. I was simply fascinated by the idea of writing publicly for no other reason than to think out loud, share my thoughts, and well...yes... to vent...a little. And I wanted to participate. I wanted to fully engage in this thing called Web2.0. Not as a mere searcher and consumer of content but a PLAYER! Maybe not in the Gary Vaynerchuck Player style, but in my own personal way. An active player in my own personal game of

Even today the internet blows my mind. I can publish any type of media and anyone around the world can view it.  Not only that, but they can respond and we can connect and have a conversation, and often build friendships.  Heck, one click and I'm in a video room chatting with colleagues via G+Hangouts. blows. my. MIND! But everything moves so fast these days, and everything on the web is now part of mainstream news...and it's crazy, and funny, and dramatic, and horrifying.

But it's also AMAZING! Sit back and think about it. These are AMAZING days to be alive!

I've met people from all over the world and have had the most amazing conversations all because I started this blog. It's been the most powerful learning tool I could ever imagine. And better than that, I feel like I've helped others in their online journey.

At my first anniversary of blogging I felt like I had learned more than in my entire formalized education.  I read more, I wrote more, and I had deeper conversations leading to more reading and more writing. I was hooked! This was the future, and I was going to tell the world about it!

At my 5 year anniversary things had changed. I was contemplating just shutting it down. It was 2010 and there were new communication channels. Twitter, Facebook, and others had popped up seemingly out of nowhere. And the social media battle for attention was well underway. Also, by then I was busy programming the DevLearn Conference & Expo for The eLearning Guild. Blogging, RSS feeds, and feedreaders just weren't interesting any more.

I jump started a nice little career from being a below average blogger, and an even worse writer.
But hey, it's mine. And it's me. And I'm cool with that. As I head into my 10th year of blogging I just want o say thanks to everyone who's been a part of my career IRL, and/or followed my adventure online. I'm still lovin' this stuff!