Don’t freak out. You’re in the right place. I just thought it was time for a change in the way this blog looks. All the content is the same, and last I checked, was still all here… its just that, after the eLearning conference today, I saw many other people’s blogs and saw that the template I was using before this one was… very popular. I hope Blogger keep updating their templates – I like trying on new clothes.

The eLearning Conference was pretty good. All the usual faces, plus a few more. Some were quite interesting. My presentation went OK, I was pretty nervous and rushed for time, but I think I got my points across.

Of particular interest was Interactive Ochre, a CDROM for awareness of Australian Aboriginal culture. What made this project stand out was a couple of things.

Firstly because it was presented in the middle of a bunch of recent and pretty unremarkable Toobox productions.

Secondly because it had pretty interesting content matter

And thirdly because it had bold production values. Too often I see things like Toolbox CDROMS suffer from a lack of artistic and creative energy. Usually as best as it might get is a couple of fancy front end Flash animations, but once you click past that its straight back to boring flogs of text and gaping silent gaps between abrupt elements of multi media .

Interactive Ochre’s production values obviously come from a different angle. Managers Jeff Hunter and Doug Milera like to use the old Huxley (or was it Orwell) term infotainment but in a much more positive light.

Jeff and Doug showed us a couple of videos on the CD and it was clear that the infotainment they were talking about was something we in eLearning should sit up and take notice of. They employed real artists to write and record songs and music, and using real designers and editors to make video clips out of the songs, they packed heaps of graphical signification to back up the topics and issues that the songs were about.

Of course, the use of song and artists who identify with indigenous Australian culture help this CDROM achieve its objective far more fully than if it were just another corporate style, overly programed CD, but that’s not to say that it was only because of the topic that this CDROM could do such a thing. Any CDROM, given the right people scripting it, could use such successful and simple devices! I’d be giving Jeff and Doug a call if I was managing a production, just to talk about the approach they took.

Barbara Pitman and the project she introduced in 2003 Livin in the House probably inspired a significant portion of the concept behind Interactive Ochre, actually I thought I heard Jeff give it mention, but where Livin in the House introduced an idea for artistic values and cultural product in eLearning content, Interactive Ochre takes it quite a bit further.

Unfortunately, getting a hold of a copy of Interactive Ochre is difficult. My only link is to the Framework website, and as far as I can see there’s no mention of how to get a copy… 😦 will keep and eye out.