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No, I haven’t given up blogging. I’ve been trying for the past several days to re-create recorded versions of some of my “Technology Basics” lectures, including animated PowerPoint, using a tool called Camtasia, which I’ve used before. I’m a few days into the free 30-day trial, but I’ve had trouble getting the tool to save my work. I can record seemingly trouble-free as long as I want, but if I go too long, the tool simply fails to save with no indication that anything has gone wrong. This is, to say the least, quite frustrating. I’m going to keep trying.

Addendum, June 15, 2009: After doing some hardware and software repair (new hard drive, OS fix), I did get Camtasia to run and record everything I needed, but I was not able to use the picture-in-picture preview feature. Using that feature resulted in the behavior described. The file would not save and PowerPoint crashed after the fact.

The basic purpose of training is to impart complex knowledge to people who don’t have it. The source of that knowledge is, almost by definition, the Subject Matter Expert, or SME. The job of a training developer is to take information from an SME and create training. The idea that the SME can develop training by virtue of his expertise ignores the skills inherent in training. To understand why this is true, ask yourself why elite athletes in individual sports have personal coaches. If there’s someone who can help Tiger Woods be a better golfer, why isn’t this person out on the tour beating Tiger Woods? Read the rest of this entry »

A lecture or seminar can’t go on forever, although I’ve seen people try. The normal recommendation is to take a ten to fifteen minute break every forty minutes to one hour, but those breaks can be so boring, and letting everyone know how much time is left and getting them to return is never easy. As a free service to any presenters out there, I offer the following tool,  a web-based break timer that displays the words, “Time remaining until next lecture:” and a randomly selected quotation from my ever-expanding collection. More instructions on additional features below the fold. Read the rest of this entry »