Today, we share an interview with IBM's Sharyn Richard. Sharyn works in the Information Development Center (IDC) and works on the team that maintains the Lotus Connections Learning Widget. The Lotus Connections Learning Widget is a free widget that can be deployed directly to the Lotus Connections Homepage and it includes reference cards, online self-paced courses, demos videos, and product tours. Read the interview and then download and install the widget today! What's your role in the IDC team? I am a Multimedia Architect responsible for creating multimedia to help our customers learn how to use our products. In this role, I look at how our customers can access our multimedia (through the product user interface, through the Lotus product wikis, through the Learn Lotus site, and through the Learning Widgets). When and why was the Learning widget created? The Learning Widget was originally created as a Learning Plug-In for Lotus Sametime in 2007 by a now-retired IBMer. It was first released to customers as a Lotus Notes plug-in in 2008, and then re-released using a widget architecture in 2009. We currently have Learning Widgets available that work inside four products: Lotus Connections, Lotus Notes, Lotus iNotes, and Lotus Symphony. The Lotus Learning Widgets provide "just right" training and information for users right in their product allowing them filter and find videos, reference cards, tutorials and "what's new" information. Do you know how many customers are using it? We make the Learning Widget available from the Lotus product wikis, and our metrics show 550 users have viewed the Connections Learning Widget page in the last 3 months since it released, 2,200 users have viewed the Symphony Learning Widget page in the past 15 months since it released, and over 40,000 users have viewed the Notes Learning Widget page in the last 2 years since it released. What are customers saying about it? Customers love the Learning Widget! It provides their users with a place to view learning materials right from within the product. It helps make users more productive using Lotus products, and can reduce calls to help desk support. Lotus Connections 3.0 was announced last week. Will new 3.0 content be available soon? The Lotus Connections 3.0 videos and other learning materials will be added to the Learning Widget within the next ~20-30 days. Once the new content is available, what's the effort to upgrade the learning widget so that it contains the new 3.0 specific content? Here's the good news: If you install the Learning Widget now in your Connections 3.0 environment, you will automatically get the new content when it becomes available. You won't have to do a thing! Wow! That's pretty cool. What's next for the learning widget? After customers tell us that they love the Learning Widget, they tell us that they see so much potential for extending the Learning Widget to include their own custom learning materials. So, we are currently developing an application for customers to host the Learning Widget on their own servers and add their own content for their users. Is there a demo of the Learning widget somewhere? Yes, here is the demo:
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