About HMDLearn

Overall Objective

We had a technology transfer project called the Parkinson’s Video Society (details described below). We discussed this colleagues we knew in the development community. One group we spoke said when they did a survey of businesses they said that the major thing that would prevent them from starting a business in the particular development area, was a lack of qualified staff, people who could relate to today’s technology-driven world. Surveying the unemployed groups in the area, they echoed a similar story. They are tech-savvy but they needed the business skills training.

Just imagine this scenario!

The developer had observed some young people: They were quite technology-savvy when you watched them working their smartphones like magicians, ordering their food by reading the QR code on the menu, and then paying for it, with their smartphones of course, like we humans have always done it that way! Then his phone beeps, he has received a request for a ‘scooter taxi’ – the system knew he was the closest, he somehow accepts the offer and checks the address and directions on Google maps¸ grabs his second crash helmet and he’s off. What could people like that do with access with the appropriate training available online? That’s what HMDLearn is all about.

This was confirmed when we spoke to other development groups. Online learning has been an area that I have worked in for a long time and was going to be a bit of a sideline activity as it was needed for the PVS project. As we explained above, there is a real need for such training and our online learning section has been upscaled to become HMDLearn.

In that context, the overall objective of the HMDLearn part of the overall objective, is given below:

Using Smartphone Only

The main objective of Happy Monkey Design online courses is to learn to use your smartphone not just making phone calls and sending texts, but also for all work-related tasks.

I used my Microsoft Lumia 830

This ensures that you always have all work-related information on you. This is a powerful feature for project managers as they are responsible for project communication.

For example if the director stops you in the hallway to ask you a question about the budget for January, you whip out your smartphone and you can show him the project budget spreadsheet.

Talking on Phone

The main advantage of using a smartphone is that it is so small and portable that you can carry it with you in your purse, – and you look so sexy, I mean professional, when you make a call.

Do You Save Money?

Yes, but… Another yes, but answer. But it is not necessarily an inexpensive solution! You do avoid the additional cost of a desktop or laptop computer, so that is a cost saving. The smartphone solution has its own unique additional costs. However, when considering the cost of the smartphone-only approach, one must factor in the improved efficiency and job satisfaction, and then it is the better way to go. See my blog post on going mobile. We will include a project course in which the objective is to upgrade a whole office to smartphone-only and in this course we will look at the cost-effectiveness of the smartphone-only solution.

What Triggered The Idea
The idea of using only a smartphone came about when I was enrolled in a university course called How to promote a not for profit organization on a budget using a smartphone (was offered through futurelearn.org).

I knew the subject well but I had just retired after having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and did not actually represent a NPO. The presenters said it was ok to create a fictitious organization and so the Parkinson’s Video Society was born. It is described below as “sidebar” as it were, but parts of it will become HMD courses.

The PVS would cater for people with various degrees of disabilities due to Parkinson’s how to use video as a way of still contributing to society – thus enhancing their quality of life.

This is done in an intelligent and stimulating way based on their experience and interests, by selecting an appropriate type or style of video – like training videos, travel videos, satire/political commentary, financial advice, storytelling, memoirs, book reviews, and many more.

The PVS will provide the training in basic video creation from ideation, storyboard development, shooting, editing through to production & distribution, as well as training in the different types of video project.

HMD has done extensive research to find assistive devices for Parkinson’s-related handicaps – thus turning them into non-inhibiting practical disabilities. For example my eyesight is very weak due diplopia or double vision caused by Parkinson’s. We tried surgery and Fresnell lenses, but with spectacles fitted with quality progressive lenses the handicap has been turned into a disability and I can cope quite well, reading both the small text on the screen and the overall view of the scene being filmed.

The PVS will provide training in the use of the assistive devices, but we recognize that there are still limitations for pwp (people with Parkinson’s) and recommend a companion training program for caregivers in working in teams.

The PVS is well developed and I intend to make it available to Parkinson’s Organizations soon, possibly using video courses with train the trainer as an option. I am still looking for an industry partner. Click here for more detail…
The Parkinson’s Video Society Overview

Project-based Learning

The heading of this section is misleading. Project-based Learning or PBL is relatively new teaching methodology in education. The term was coined by education academics and has nothing to do with project management! It has been shown to be very effective when incorporated in training. It differs from normal teaching in that students work in teams to solve a real world problem, and they learn theory as needed as they work on solving the problem.

Setting up teams in online courses is challenging, but we will still apply many of the PBL concepts in our courses to optimize your learning.

Typical Depiction of PBL

The bulk of our courses cover typical work projects. So you not only learn how to use the standard software such as Word, Excel, etc. but also real-life business practices.

There are also general courses covering the specific tools on the phone – we will use Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, YouTube, PowerDirector and more. So if you get stuck in a project-based course in how to do a specific task with PowerPoint, for example, you can check out the tool-specific PowerPoint course.

Course Length
Each course will be divided into short modules, that are quick to complete. This prevents the number of steps in a task becoming too overwhelming.

Who is HMD?
HMD (Happy Monkey Design) is an imaginary charity that provides support to seniors via a variety of design projects that will enhance their quality of life. Many people learned to use software like Word on the job without any regard for design principles. Our courses will give them the satisfaction that they know the software and that what they produce, will look nice. They will be encouraged to use their new design skills for projects in their community where they live.