Episode 105: Virtual Reality Will Transform eLearning

This week Jon sits down with Lousia Schibli, co-founder of the Northern New England Women’s Investor network, and co-founder and CEO of Milk Money Vermont. Milk Money is a platform for Vermonters to discover local investment opportunities, get tips on how to evaluate those opportunities, and then make an investment. 

Louisa has also recently joined RuralWorks Partners as Chief Engagement Officer. RuralWorks Partners is an impact investment firm that supports growth stage and transitioning rural businesses and the communities in which they operate. RuralWorks is currently raising a $100 Million impact fund for these businesses and communities across the Northeast and Upper Midwest.

Listen in for Louisa’s lessons about raising capital in rural Vermont and being a female entrepreneur in the Green mountain state.

Check out:

Vermont Women’s Investor Network www.nnewin.org
Milk Money Investing www.milkmoneyinvesting.com
RuralWorks Partners www.ruralworkspartners.com

Learn more at https://milkmoneyvt.com/

John Blackmon eLearning Brothers VR Learning Life

John Blackmon created an LMS and authoring tool before the world even knew what those were. Founder of LMS Trivantis and authoring tools Lectora and Cenario VR, Blackmon has spent his entire career focused on one principle: you shouldn’t have to be a technologist to use technology.

In this episode, John discusses how he started Trivantis, Lectora, and Cenario VR; the acquisition by eLearning Brothers; how virtual reality is the future of elearning; & his prediction on what it will take for VR to be an industry standard. 

Keep up with John Blackmon on LinkedIn here.

Start your 30-day free trial of CenarioVR here.

Read his articles at cenariovr.com or tune in to one of his webinars with eLearning Brothers at elearningbrothers.com

This episode is a Syntax + Motion Production, sponsored by eLearning Brothers. Learn more at elearningbrothers.com

Check out this episode!

John Blackmon (00:00):

Anybody can create VR. I mean, if you can operate a 360 [degree] camera, which anyone can do, you can create your own VR. It’s very simple to work with, a very easy tool; it allows you to put together scenes from a 360 camera and make them fully interactive, but still something that every person can use.

Narrator (00:16):

Welcome to Learning Life where top experts share their business knowledge and personal journeys each week. “And the thing that I realized from the CEO to the NFL football players, to the janitor we’re our toughest critics, and we’re hardest on ourselves.”- James Lawrence “I wanted to bring education to the market. I wake up in the morning and I am constantly learning.” “The only way to grab somebody’s attention is with a story” -Cal Fussman. Happy learning. And now your host, Jon Tota,

Jon Tota (00:45):

Welcome to another episode of Learning Life with Jon Tota. My guest today is John Blackmon. John co-founded Trivantis back in 1999 and served in several roles there over his 20 + years, including the head of authoring systems for many years, and, most recently, as their CTO and CEO. John is the creator of the game-changing authoring tools Lectora and Cenario VR. And since Trivantis’s recent acquisition by eLearning Brothers, John now serves as chief technology officer for the company. I’ve gotten to work with John quite a bit in the last several months, and I’m always blown away by how much he knows about the world of instructional design, content authoring, and virtual reality. And it seems he’s on the virtual stage almost every week as one of the foremost thought leaders on VR today. The technology John has pioneered has had a huge impact on all of our learning and development lives, so I’m very excited to have him with us here today. John Blackmon, welcome to Learning Life.

John Blackmon (01:37):

Thank you very much. I’m excited to be here today.

Jon Tota (01:39):

Let’s start with how you got started in this business, because I know it goes way back and it wasn’t at Trivantis from the very beginning. You had some traditional engineering experience with big corporate technology. So tell us kind of all the way back how’d you get into the technology space right from the start?

John Blackmon (01:54):

Well, I started out, I graduated with electrical engineering degree, and took a job actually with Electronic Data Systems, which is kind of a- They contract with larger companies. And I started on the General Motors account things. I did some voice recognition thing, plant floor automatic identification kind of things. I was doing a lot of work on the plant floor, but then saw an opportunity to move down to the Boca Raton area, which seems like a pretty good move [laughs] coming from the Detroit area. So I took that position, but I was at the IBM account and that’s- It was still on plant floor at that time though because IBM was doing some plant floor data collection work with several vehicle companies. And so it was kind of a related job. Then I ended up moving down to another area of IBM, where we started working on the OS/2 operating system. At that time, OS/2 was a competitor to Windows. And so we actually worked on the operating system itself, putting it out through OS/2 1.3. It was kind of a big leap in technology at the time. And then when that came out and things started going really well, myself and several other people on the team saw the opportunity to create applications. So we all quit our lucrative, high-paying jobs [laughs] to go work in a warehouse to go write applications for OS/2. It seemed like a great idea at the time. [We] started start a little company- five people -called Boca Soft.

Jon Tota (03:03):

And so that was the thing that ultimately created Trivantis?

John Blackmon (03:06):

So the two, the, myself and the other person were the technology people. We were the two people that actually went and created Trivantis. We had done some contracts. We did OS/2 for a while. OS/2 after Windows 95 came out, the operating system didn’t grow that well. So, uh, the application market for it wasn’t that well. So we were taking on contracting and doing things. One of the people we contracted with was, became a very good friend and the three of us kinda got together and figured out we wanted to do something else as time went on. And that is where Trivantis came from. The three of us got together and created Trivantis.

Jon Tota (03:39):

Very cool. And I know you and I could geek out for a really long time about learning and development tech, and we definitely will, but for all of our audience who are entrepreneurs, business owners out there, you’ve also got all this background as an entrepreneur. Tell us a little bit how that experience has been because you’ve been doing it obviously for a really long time. And at Trivantis you did an excellent job scaling that business up, growing it. What are some of the lessons you learned along the way, some of the things that you loved about it and some of the more exciting things along your journey there?

John Blackmon (04:07):

Well, uh, you know, the lessons learned. You learn by, by doing, and usually you learn most by failing actually. So things like Boca Soft when you bet it all on applications for OS/2, and then the entire OS/2 application market goes away [laughs] -You learn a lot from that. Trust me. So you learn by trying and trying again and failing and failing and trying, and then eventually you get something and succeed. So never be afraid to try, I think is the lesson you learn along the way.

Jon Tota (04:33):

And so now going all the way back, cause I know you started Trivantis back in ’99, but I don’t know that you were building authoring tools right from the beginning. When did you come up with the idea and actually create that earliest version of Lectora

John Blackmon (04:46):

So in, in, in 19 it was 1998 that we actually had the idea, ‘okay, hey, we’re going to create a company and we’re going to do e-learning.’ Cause we were in a related- at that time, we were doing some related kind of contracting work. We’re doing college search engines and things like that. So we were kind of in the education field. And then we said, you know what? We’re going to create at the time- what is now known as an LMS, but there was no term for an LMS back then – we were going to create an LMS and we would kind of really, you know, looked at doing it and actually started prototyping around it. And then I realized there was, there were already a lot of big players out there creating LMS’s and a lot of things in the work, but there was no one that was filling the need to create courses for those LMS’s. Here are all these players creating, you know, these big, huge LMS’s, but nobody had a way to create courses. Everybody was hand coding them, just putting in, you know, audio files, and even video back then was kind of sketchy on the internet so you didn’t have much of that. So we just suddenly realized, ‘Hey, there is a massive, you know, unkept need and nobody’s keeping up with this need.’ So that became Lectora. And the actually first version of Lectora came out in 2000. The work started in 1999. First version came out in 2000.

Ad Break – Jon Tota (05:49):

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Jon Tota (06:39):

Cause I remember like when I first started Edulence way back when, and, and the early versions of Knowledgelink in the early 2000s, I was just getting into that space as well. And it was like, I think just Macromedia Director (now Adobe Director) was the way you custom developed those sessions. So like nobody was really building an authoring tool back in the late nineties.

John Blackmon (06:58):

Right, right.

Jon Tota (06:59):

So you guys really ahead of the curve, right? Was there anybody else doing anything like that back then?

John Blackmon (07:04):

To my knowledge, we were the first ones. I mean, we, we made things up that are common today and authoring tools that I really wish I went back and patented. [laughs] It’s like things like having variables enabled to control your branching based, you know, intelligent branching based on variables, things like that within an authoring tool. I mean, there wasn’t even the term authoring tool, right. We didn’t have that name to call it back then.

Jon Tota (07:26):

Yeah. And I, and I think people take it for granted today, right? I think everyone complains about their authoring tools all the time. But if you go all the way back 20 years, this was really, really hard to do before instructional designers and subject matter experts had authoring tools like Lectora just wasn’t even an option for you to do without a developer back then, right?

John Blackmon (07:44):

Right, right. And much like it is in some of the newer technologies today, people, people required a full-time computer guy and you had to try to explain your skill to him. And something always got lost in translation.

Jon Tota (07:56):

So before we talk about the technology, two questions or one question with two parts, really, because I always love to ask this: where did the name Trivantis and the name Lectora actually come from? What are they? Is it, is there some kind of reference?

John Blackmon (08:09):

As you probably will know with having to come up with names for things that is always the hardest part of anything is coming up with a name for it. You can, you can work on it for years and it’ll take you even longer to come up with a name for something. So Trivantis came from three guys sitting in a room, bouncing around names for, I think, two or three days with a lot of beer. Uh, and we, [laughs] we went through a lot of things and we got stuck on tri because there were three of us. And, uh, and it really came from try and, and advantage and somehow just became Trivantis.

Jon Tota (08:40):

And how about Lectora? Because Lectora’s probably got some, I don’t know, I’m assuming some educational spin to it or something to play off of lecture, right?

John Blackmon (08:49):

Lectern. Right. So you’re teaching that’s your lectern to teach from. So Lectora came from lectern. Uh, you know, it was pretty much the same thing, a little bit shorter than the Trivantis name starts with, but about the same thing with the same three guys sitting in a room and then searching through, coming up with that name.

Jon Tota (09:04):

That’s awesome. It’s always good to hear that. I mean, I know I was never really very good at naming things. I think all I ever did was put two words together to create a new word. And obviously I don’t think that is really good marketing.

John Blackmon (09:18):

Right. But the original name for Lectora- and up until three weeks before we shipped the first version, was actually Athena. There’s the goddess of wisdom, the Greek goddess of wisdom. And, uh, I really liked it, but we could not get that. We were trying to get the name, the URL. We thought the URL- the URL is all important. Even back then, the URL was all important. When we couldn’t get the name for it, we gave up on it and at that point we had already come up with Lectora.

Jon Tota (09:39):

Oh man, that’s funny. It’d be a different world if your name was Athena, I guess. Right. So I know for a lot of our listeners, it’s really fascinating to hear this story because obviously we’ve all heard the name Lectora. We know in the learning and development space, there’s really these three main authoring tools and Lectora’s right up there in the top three. It’s really a brand name in authoring now, so it must be something you’re really proud of to have been part of that, building that product, seeing it grow over the years and recently with the acquisition by eLearning Brothers, you’re now part of this new family. How has that experience been? And what’s it like for the product? Do you see a new future roadmap or is it more of the same? How do you see things changing going forward?

John Blackmon (10:20):

It’s been exciting, and it continues to be. We’re now part of a larger entity now and we do more, right. So was for us, it was always authoring. We had, you know, we had course LMS, but uh, mainly authoring- that was always our focus. We didn’t really have a good side of development people using the tool. Uh, you know, and we didn’t have a custom that we would build out custom things. We didn’t have anything to sell like that. Now we do. And so now we have a plethora of developers working with our tool, giving us feedback on the tool. That’s enabled us to develop more with the tool, right. So we can grow by, you know, the dogfooding principle, right: Using your own, growing through your own. We, we have a lot more ideas, a lot of things you can put together, we’re bundling things together now. I mean, it’s, it’s been a fantastic experience.

Jon Tota (11:04):

Yeah. It’s awesome to see too, is just kind of all the companies coming together. It’s really been neat to see the cultures have fit really well together and it’s, and it’s exciting to see all the buzz. And now for you, I know Cenario VR is your baby. That’s the virtual reality authoring tool. I’m always blown away by it because just the concept of authoring virtual reality seems like something you’d never even dream of doing if you weren’t at a real tech expert, but you seem to have made it really easy to do. So tell our audience a little bit about Cenario VR and for the audience that Cenario C E N A R I O. Cenario VR. Tell us a little bit about the product and why you got into it because you’re really, obviously one of the top thought leaders out there talking about virtual reality and pushing it forward to the point that subject matter experts and instructional designers can do it and not just tech engineering experts. So tell us why is Cenario VR so important to you?

John Blackmon (12:00):

Well, Cenario VR came from kind of like a very similar ‘aha’ moment that Lectora came from where, uh, you know, I was kind of looking for the next big thing. Uh, I was out and attending conferences, you know, talking to people, doing some research, seeing where learning was going, what was going on. And I, I, you know, came around to VR and it became very apparent to me, you know, all the efficacy of VR and how well the training work. It’s very sticky. It’s very engaging, but, but man, that the development process for it was just so cumbersome and, and definitely required developers. And I, I, it just suddenly dawned on me. It’s the exact same point we were at with Lectora all those years ago, where it was really hard to create a regular e-learning course. There was no standard, there’s no way things like that.

John Blackmon (12:43):

So it just was that ‘aha’ moment again, of, we need an easy to use tool. And, you know, you could take 20 years of learning that has been gathered from working on Lectora for all those years and put all that knowledge down and make a very simple to use tool for VR. And I think we’ve done that. I mean, that’s definitely what we get back from our users that, you know, Hey, anybody can create VR. I mean, if you can operate a 360 camera, which anyone can do, you can create your own VR. It’s very simple to work with. A very easy tool allows you to put together scenes from a 360 camera and make them fully interactive. And a lot of ways you can even add 3D models and things like that now. So there’s a lot, a lot to it, but still something that the every person can use.

Jon Tota (13:25):

It’s such an interesting thing in your career that you really have made a name for yourself at developing these products that are taking really difficult technical things to do that previously had required developers and lots of custom work and boiled it down to an authoring tool that anyone can use. So is that kind of always the lens you’re looking through? How can you make things achievable for a subject matter expert or an instructional designer?

John Blackmon (13:50):

I think it’s the goal. It should be the goal of anybody that’s dealing in computers, because computers are a technology. If you think about it, you shouldn’t have to be a technologist to use technology. If you can bring that technology down to a level where anyone can use it, that makes the technology available to all, right. And so that’s really the goal of myself as a computer programmer is that I should, I did stuff that means that no one else should have to be a computer programmer, right? I mean, you want to make it as easy as humanly possible.

Jon Tota (14:16):

Right. Well, that’s the mission, right. And now with VR specifically, the world has gone so virtual, you know. Obviously in the last six months or so, you’ve just seen so much growth in everything virtual, from a learning perspective. How are you seeing the growth in VR now? Is it even more so than before? Has the COVID pandemic really fast-tracked over these last several months, what you might’ve thought would have taken years to get to? What, what are you seeing?

John Blackmon (14:41):

Well, I mean, I think we’re all seeing, you know, the idea of remote work is now being tested like it’s never been tested before. Uh, you know, I mean, there’s, there’s a lot tools out there, you know. Remote learning and VR is one of those, but VR is the most immersive. I think if, if, you know, if we all have to attend another Zoom meeting, we might just go crazy. You need something else, right. You need something more immersive, more engaging, you know. Something that’ll get you to remember what you’re doing and enjoy what you’re doing. So, yeah, I, I think this is a really a golden time for it, and we’re seeing a lot of interest in it. Right. I mean, if you think about it VR solves, many of the problems we’re having today, people are, uh, you know, they’re, they’re not engaged. They’re not, they’re not sticky with their learning. They don’t have more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time. They need small chunks. And that’s exactly what VR learning is. Right. It satisfies all those need points along the way. So, yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s a, it’s a golden time for it. I mean, if there’s any bright light out of this whole thing, you know, perhaps it’s that, you know, remote learning can evolve into what it needs to be.

Jon Tota (15:45):

And so I think just to define this a little bit for our audience, because if you’re not very technical, I think everybody hears VR and all they think of is the big headset. And if they don’t have headsets or they think of their training model and they, they just don’t feel like that would apply. They kind of write off VR altogether. The, tell us a little bit about the way you see it. Because I think from my experience with Cenario VR, at least it’s more than just the true headset, fully immersive VR. It’s also kind of that more 360 view that’s accessible on any web browser, right?

John Blackmon (16:17):

Right, right. And that was another one of the things that we saw going in is that, uh, you know, there is some kickbacks and reluctance from some people to use it at all. For some people it’s just a technical thing. They may not want to do it. So you need it, whatever solution you need to create, you need to make sure that it can be used by everyone, right? So with Cenario VR, that’s our overarching goal through anything? So anything that you create on the platform can be used on the web, in a normal web browser, you can deliver it to your LMS. However you need to do it. You can also do it on your phone. The content will understand the device it’s on and use the device to the best of its ability. So if it’s on your phone, it’ll, you know, for instance, it’ll move around as you move the phone around, it’ll move the scene around so you’ll be able to, you know, look around your area by moving the phone around.

John Blackmon (17:02):

It’ll work in a, what we call cardboard style devices, which is, uh, you know, it’s where you put your phone into a small car- it can be made out of cardboard or plastic, but an inexpensive thing that holds your phone. And then in case you get a little bit of a VR simulation, there it’ll also work directly on headsets. So it supports, you know, eight, eight or nine different headsets. We have Cenario VR apps, native apps to the headset that will run it and fully utilize the controllers and the movement of the headset. So you get all of those out of a single publish of Cenario VR, and that’s the idea, again, it’s it’s to, to bring VR to the masses. Hey, if you don’t want to use that headset, you can still get a semi-immersive experience just by using interactive 360.

Jon Tota (17:40):

So that kind of brings up the question that I would imagine this was always a challenge for Lectora and other authoring tools, but is the hardware component and those different standards that you have to support with VR is that one of the real big challenges with Cenario is making sure that you can be compliant with all of the different ways that you access this content?

John Blackmon (18:02):

Yeah. I mean, we have to have nine different runtimes. If you include iOS and Android runtimes, we’re keeping up with nine different runtimes plus the authoring tool on the other side. So there’s a, it’s a lot of work to keep up with all that. Every time you add a feature, you’re multiplying it across all of those different devices.

Jon Tota (18:14):

Yeah. I know. I know. It’s crazy. And so now for our audience, who’s listening and you’re thinking, Oh man, it’d be cool. I’d love to try VR. I know you were really good with me because you got me started with Cenario VR, and then you told me exactly what equipment I needed. So for our audience, if anyone’s thinking out there that they want to start to mess around with VR a little bit, try out Cenario, you know- And by the way, it’s so cool, super easy to use. I just never thought that me and my team would be able to author VR content, but it makes it so easy and achievable for anyone. I love what you did there. What are some of the equipment recommendations that you would tell people like these are the basics you need to get started? This is what you got to have minimum quality to produce VR content. What could they do it with?

John Blackmon (18:58):

I got an excellent article on that upon Cenario VR. But the best thing to start with is know your 360 camera, lots of ones out there. I’ve got to, I’ve written a camera review up on the, uh, the Cenario VR site. You can look at it. The one I actually use is the GoPro Max, which is a, it’s a very nice form factor, water resistant, a good camera to use; can, can take a few drops. Might have dropped it a couple of times myself, seems to still be going okay. Uh, and, uh, really with that and Cenario, VR, you’re kind of ready to go. You can take your footage from that; it comes with editing software, allows you to pull it into the app. You can use standard resources at that point, and you can actually create interactive 360. Again, you don’t necessarily need a headset. You can actually start out- you can do a complete rollout. We have many clients that do that roll out just on the web. So you really, you don’t have to go there. It’s great to get started with it. The [Oculus] Quest is an excellent option for viewing in VR. But you can, you can dip your toes in and that’s the beauty of it. You can get started a little at a time and then you want to go full in, you can go full in.

Jon Tota (19:58):

That’s very cool. And so for all of our listeners, I think John, you mentioned it, the website is CenarioVR, CenarioVR.com, and we’ll have links to all of this in the episode notes down below, but check out Cenario VR. You can check out the application there, get some of John’s articles and some of his recommendations on the equipment. Some of the things like that, which obviously is very helpful. And for anyone who wants to try it out, Cenario VR is available on a 30 day trial, right? So people can just try and get a basic camera and do it?

John Blackmon (20:26):

Absolutely. 30 day free trial.

Jon Tota (20:28):

Awesome. Awesome. And my question, you might say, no, absolutely not. You’re crazy, but can you shoot VR content with your phone? Is good enough quality?

John Blackmon (20:37):

Yeah, you can shoot with your phone. So.

Jon Tota (20:39):

Well not full VR.

John Blackmon (20:40):

Well, not, not VR video, but it you’ll, it’ll create a, what they call equirectangular- you’ll create images that can be used in, in the 360 sphere. It’s called photosphere mode. Most Android phones come with photosphere mode built in. If you don’t, you can actually use the Google street view app to capture those. Uh, it’s, it’s good enough to test with. You can definitely test with it. It’s probably not what you want to use for any kind of final product. You’ll end up with what they call stitching lines. It has to stitch together probably 16 or 18 different pictures because what you do is you take pictures in a full sphere. You’re actually turning around and spinning around. And that’s what it’ll stitch all those together. It’s not perfect. There are a lot of stitching lines and things you’ll find architectural issues with things you’re taking a picture of, but, uh, but it is something to get you started. You can try it and give it a shot, give it a whirl.

Jon Tota (21:26):

Right. So even before you don’t have to make any big investment, you could just try the 30 day trial of Cenario VR, do it with a phone. Then if you like it, you can start increasing your investment into it, which is cool. So now my final thing for you is, I do see like with all the work we’re doing together, I think you’re on stage every week talking about VR at a different conference or an event somewhere. So obviously you’re kind of the main thought leader in this space. Where do you see going? Where is the technology going in the next three years with VR? Where do you want to see it go? Both from the authoring side, but just also VR as a space overall.

John Blackmon (22:05):

I think one of the more limiting issues with VR is the headset itself, not only the bulkiness, but the, the lack of resolution. There are high resolution headsets that are incredible, but they are massive and they are heavy. And, and to turn to where I think what’s going to tip the scales is getting that size down, getting the resolution up, getting the battery life up, those kinds of things. When I can put on a pair of glasses and have the same sort of experience, that’s when things are going to really change. You’ll just see massive adoption because the, the, the experience you get with it is really amazing. The learning that you provide in it is extremely effective. We just need to get it down to a, a nicer feel if you will, uh, you know, for the, for the wearer of the device.

Jon Tota (22:56):

So you think really the big obstacle right now is more on the viewer side. It’s more on the, can we get those headsets to be something that is more practical, less expensive, something that fits into everyday life. And then from there, VR just kind of blows up as far as accessibility, right?

John Blackmon (23:11):

Right. It’s really XR cause it’ll be VR. It will also be AR I mean, you’ll see a lot of that going on. I mean, it just, it just needs to get down to a more reasonable, usable level; something that we all have no problem just tossing on and at any time.

Jon Tota (23:25):

And so just mention that because I know for a lot of people, that’s probably on the top of their mind is the difference between AR and VR, augmented reality versus virtual reality. And then you just threw out another term XR, explain for our audience the difference between the categories really, and then what you mean by XR

John Blackmon (23:44):

AR is augmented reality. That’s when you’re placing objects in the physical world. And the most standard example of AR is using your phone and it overlays real objects on areas. You can think of the Pokemon Go! kind of game and things like that, where it uses augmented reality. There are also augmented reality headsets in which it displays reality over top of, displays objects over top of what you can currently see. So it doesn’t obscure your vision.

John Blackmon (24:09):

Virtual reality is quite different than that in that it actually replaces what you see. So you’re in a completely different virtual world. Sure, you still have virtual objects, but those virtual objects interact with the virtual world you’re in. It displaces the current world.

John Blackmon (24:21):

Mixed reality, which is another term, is kind of somewhere in between those. You still have the, the augmented reality view, but those objects can interact with the real world. So if I have a baseball and I throw it to my wall, a mixed reality headset knows that’s a wall there. It may bounce off the wall and come back to me. So that’s mixed reality. XR is kind of an overarching term for all of those above. So it’s extended reality. So all of those together are XR.

Jon Tota (24:50):

Got it, got it. I know that the mixed reality is an interesting concept, right? Like where you’re kind of merging the two worlds together. And I always think of it because we have a VR headset with the PlayStation at home. So you get to play some of the games like Batman, where you actually feel like you are Batman, but the problem is like, moving around, you get to shoot your back gun or whatever, like to pull you because you can’t actually walk where you want to go. So I always feel like it’d be cool if they just packaged in a treadmill with that, so you can feel like you’re actually walking. I guess that would be your mixed reality in essence. Right? Like in Ready Player One, I think they talk about that stuff. I mean, I was thinking all that would be coming with the PS5, right.

Jon Tota (25:32):

Something like that. So I know, you know, because we’re all part of the eLearning Brothers team now, ELB X Online Conference- they just threw this back in September and they authored this virtual expo completely done in Cenario VR. It’s kind of like this 360 expo center where you can go through and pop into the Knowledgelink booth, the Cenario, VR booth, Lectora. And I’ll tell you it was so super cool. It’s the first time I think the eLearning Brothers team had done something like this and they did such a great job on the custom side developing it and what they are able to do with Cenario VR was just really awesome. And I look at any virtual event, we go to so many of them now and I go to their expo. And if they’re not doing that, I’m thinking, man, like you’re totally missing out on it because it was such a cool example of how you could like really see it coming into play without any special technology, just looking at it with my web browser. It was just such a cool example of it.

John Blackmon (26:28):

Right. It’s another great example of something you can do: replace a virtual hall,

Jon Tota (26:32):

So right. And totally achievable, you know? And, and so I just think it’s great. I love what you’re doing. I think your perspective as a real engineering force is great. Just making all of these new mediums that keep coming out, the technology keeps evolving and whether it was authoring interactive content back in the days, and now it’s VR, but your mission here of just making it easy for normal everyday people to use. And like you said, it’s your job to make it so any person can use it and you don’t have to be an engineer like you. And I, I think that’s just awesome. I think it’s great mission. So thank you, man. Thank you so much for coming on the show, you know, for our audience, if they want to follow you, kind of keep up with your writing, the things, your thought leadership you’re putting out there in the VR space. Obviously you put a ton of that up on the eLearning Brother’s website, CenarioVR.com website. And is LinkedIn a good place for people keep track of you also?

John Blackmon (27:25):

Absolutely. Yeah. LinkedIn would be a great place.

Jon Tota (27:28):

Obviously check out eLearningBrothers.com. You can see everything about all of John’s tools there. You know, look at the blog posts, webinars. I think you seem to do a webinar for eLearning Brothers at least once a month on VR or some topic in that area. And I know you’ve got DevLearn that you’re speaking at and tons of upcoming events and things in the industry, but you’re going to be on stage with DevLearn. What are you speaking about in, in October?

John Blackmon (27:54):

Yeah, I think we’re going over a few use cases and just talking about how the, how VR was implemented for these use cases. I think that’s a lot of what a problem people can’t see “Wait, how can I, you know, apply VR to my business?” So we’re going to just go in depth into some use cases of VR, where people were able to use it for training.

Jon Tota (28:10):

Very cool. So for all of you check out John Blackmon on LinkedIn. You can also check out the Cenario, VR website, eLearningBrothers.com to see some of his writing. And if you’re involved with DevLearn, definitely check out John’s talk there on VR and John Blackmon. Thank you for being with us today.

John Blackmon (28:27):

Thank you for having me.

Jon Tota (28:28):

And to our audience. Thank you for being here every week. As you know, we have a new episode that comes out every Tuesday. So wherever you’re listening, please be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. Leave us comments. We love to hear from all you guys and until our next episode, happy learning