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ELearning's Rock Stars

By Rick Raymer / February 2013

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For most of my career, I have worked in the commercial video game industry. In conversing with an eLearning colleague, I was asked why interactive media in the game industry continues to be so innovative. After pondering it briefly, I replied, "It's because most game developers are convinced they're rock stars." While my off-the-cuff answer was admittedly a bit flippant, with more consideration, it occurred to me that there's a lot of truth in that statement. This led me to then contemplate if perhaps this same mentality is actually driving innovation in the eLearning industry.

Rock stars, regardless of where and how their performances are staged, are passionate. They love what they do and truly believe they can change the world. They are dedicated to improving upon what has previously been built and immerse themselves in their craft. When their passion comes through in their work, it can transform a mere audience, into raving fans. Rock stars create experiences for their fans and encourage communities where these fans can share their knowledge with others. Being a rock star means you're part of "a scene." Keep in mind rock stars are fans, too-ever studying the state-of-the-art in their industry.

At some point in the last four years that I have been in eLearning, I have taken notice of the rare individuals whose passion and enthusiasm has made a positive impact on my life and turned me into a fan of their work. I am not only grateful for what these rock stars do, but also for how they do it. My intention with this series of interviews is to spread some of the knowledge behind what drives these eLearning rock stars.

In the coming weeks I will sit down with the following 12 rock stars, all respectively successful in their chosen endeavors:

  • Neil Lasher—Whether it's using new technologies, or staging an epic event, Neil is an expert at making impactful learning.
  • Jane Bozarth—The "World's Oldest Millennial," Jane is a master at leveraging social media and finding low-cost online training solutions.
  • Clark Quinn—Drawing from his background in cognitive science, Clark is a leader in learning technology, strategy, and design, focusing on how people really learn, think, and perform.
  • Megan Bowe—A designer and a strategist, Megan is helping to form the vision for the experience API (Tin Can) to bring learning, portability of data, and formative analysis into focus.
  • Chad Udell—A pioneer in mobile learning, Chad is a guru in creating usable, meaningful training solutions for mobile platforms.
  • Alicia Sanchez—With one of the coolest titles in the industry, Games Czar at DAU, Alicia specializes in implementing games and simulations into a variety of learning environments.
  • Patti Shank—With her finger on the pulse of the eLearning industry, Patti has done the research to know the how, what, and why of learning.
  • Reuben Tozman—Leveraging his experience as a designer and manager, Reuben creates learning solutions that help people make better use of their time.
  • Tracy Bissette—A leader in the field of instructional design, Tracy designs award-winning programs that learners actually want to take and that create meaningful change in the workplace.
  • Judy Unrein—A prolific author and speaker, enthusiastic and dynamic, Judy is dedicated to making engaging, effective learning.
  • Karl Kapp—A scholar, writer, and expert on the convergence of learning technology, and business operations, Karl is the foremost authority on the gamification of learning and instruction.
  • Connie Malamed—A specialist in online learning and visual communication, Connie fuses her backgrounds in art and cognitive science to create learning that connects with people.

About the Author

Rick Raymer is a primary solution architect at Serco Inc., working with integrated product teams to design, develop, and deliver state-of-the-art learning games, interactive courseware, and simulations. Before joining Serco, he designed and managed the production of eLearning, games, and simulations for the North Carolina Community College System's BioNetwork organization. Prior to this, he was the VP of Product Development for Oasys Mobile, a top 10 mobile games publisher. Raymer has been designing videogames professionally since 1996. He has produced over forty games, with titles on every major gaming platform including consoles, PCs, handheld devices, and mobile phones.

© 2013 ACM 1535-394X/13/02 $15.00

DOI: 10.1145/2436245.2445176


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