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How to identify a good instructional designer

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In the last post, we made the case for why instructional design matters. We believe that designing good instruction for learning requires a unique set of skills and the reality is (as with any profession) there are good ones and not so good ones. When you are looking for an instructional designer, especially to build your online course, here are some things you should look for: Good ( needs) analysis skills – they ask questions about the outcome and challenge you on the creation of the course. Why does it deserve to exist? Cathy Moore describes this so well. They meet you where you are. link].

2016 Trends in L+D and how to make the most of them

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I wasn’t going to write an obligatory end of year/predictions for next year post, but then read this one and and liked how they added the “how to make the most of them” part, so I guess you could say I was inspired. Here’s my list of what I think might influence E-Learning in 2016. Five Tech Trends for L+D to check out in 2016. 1. HTML5 Tools. Jump in and try some out.

The role of instructional designer in social/informal learning

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One of the quandaries that instructional designers have been struggling with, is their role (if any) in informal or social learning. First of all, what exactly is informal and social learning? Informal – no set objective in terms of learning outcomes and is never intentional from the learner’s standpoint. Often, it is referred to as learning by experience or just as experience. link].

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Performance equation

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When building your training solutions, it’s really important that you consider how your target audience is going to incorporate this new knowledge or skill into their practice, task or work. Whether it’s online or offline (or both!), think of how you can: Specify and communicate (performance) expectations. Provide training and simulate a realistic environment where they can practice.

Steps to make your Flash courses mobile compatible

Stuck with a bunch of Flash-based courses that cannot be viewed on mobile devices? This eBook will take you through the steps to convert existing courses into HTML 5 format and make it compatible with the latest devices and browsers.

What does travel teach us about learning?

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I’ve recently returned from a trip to Greece and thought it would be fun to reflect on what I’ve learned from travel that I could apply to training or learning. Don’t rely solely on technology. We had the worst GPS experiences on this trip. It also frequently got confused and would “replan” in the middle of a journey. It worked a bit better. story goes a long way.

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Learning to learn | Learning to think

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I’ve seen a few articles around the topic “Learning to Learn” recently: https://hbr.org/2015/06/improve-your-ability-to-learn. link]. link]. It would seem that learning to learn is a skill that is in demand. But (and this could be a wild generalization), I wonder how well we as a society teach learning. I’m not talking about learning styles, or generational preferences. I’m talking more about process than content. One of the most common aspects of learning to learn is learning to think. And a very important aspect of that is the use of critical thinking.

Designing a learning experience, applying #UX to instructional design #LX

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Many of us have heard of “user experience” or UX , but how many of us think about the “learner experience” or LX ? We’ve looked at (ranted?) about the confusion between e-learning design and web design. We’ve looked at some shared goals between product design (and management) and instructional design. Let’s look at how instructional designers might learn from user experience (UX) designers. A UX designer is most interested in ensuring ease of use of an interface or a product. They are interested in what the user needs. Is it a single point of access?

Design Confusion

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Design. The word has such lofty connotations. You create. You make. You construct. You model. You build. You design. I’m a designer. An instructional designer. design instruction. Seems pretty simple, right? Well, it used to be, but it’s become a bit more muddy these days. At least to me. Recently Design is certainly a term that is being applied to all kinds of fields: business model design, app design, product design, industrial design, usability design, etc. But the intent of how design is applied is different. Or at least it should be. First of all, what is design? So what?

New Brandon Hall Group report forecasts major shift in 2016 online learning trends

Companies are increasingly dissatisfied with online learning tools, prompting many to reinvest in technology that supports a modern training approach. Download the report from Brandon Hall Group to see how new investments are bringing real business results.

#BCTECH Summit – an instructional designer’s perspective

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Last week I attended the #BCTECHSummit and one of the things I was interested in finding out was how companies were innovating around technology and training. BCIC wrote a nice blog post highlighting some of the cool things about our tech scene. And of course if I could be a hometown type of cheerleader, well I was happy to do that too. Here’s my “trip report”… Overall, I was so excited to see such a variety of tech-related solutions: Agritech. Healthtech. Clean/green tech. Biotech. Fintech. Gaming and entertainment. Big data. Open government.

Why Instructional Design matters

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In the first post of this series , I wrote about my observations of blurring the lines between web design and elearning, as well as the obsession with beauty over useful. In this post, I’ll explore what the differences between the web design and instructional/e-learning design. They are different, but closely associated, design approaches. So, the closing question at the end of the previous post was “does instructional design matter”? I’m going to declare my bias right up front. I am an instructional designer. think instructional design matters.  A lot. What IS instructional design?

Think like a product manager

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Instructional designers create instructional or training products. Whether we like it or not, product design and product management is our industrial cousin. How so? We produce a “thing” that others choose to use/buy or not. We have to market this “thing” to ensure our target audience is aware of it and knows how to get it. We have to support our users in using and troubleshooting it. Does it?

e-learning for social programs and community initiatives

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There are a lot of causes or issues in the world and we often see wonderful websites or resources that are beautifully presented to provide information related to a particular need. As an instructional designer, I often find myself identifying that a form of training or instruction could enhance a campaign or website and increase the likelihood of long term behaviour change. Imagine the video plays and at a certain point, it stops to ask you what to do next, or it points out something that you may not have noticed, but is critical to learn for prevention. It also allows them to internalize.

Storyboarding for eLearning

Storyboarding is a very important step for creating eLearning courses. But don’t you feel it’s a waste of time to start creating the courses from scratch and copy-paste text and other objects from the storyboard to the eLearning tool for course development.

e-learning for … everyone?

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Recently I was interviewed for Slaw.ca , Canada’s online legal magazine: e-Learning for Lawyers, explained. Learning for Legal Organizations . These articles came out of a discussion with Natasha Chetty of [link]. Bellweather provides strategic planning, business development, reputation management and training services to professional service firms and related organizations. Natasha and I had recently met and she was intrigued by the breadth of e-learning options and thought that some of her connections and clients might find information about e-learning useful.

Instructional Designer’s Mindset

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I was going to call this post the “curse” of the mindset of the instructional designer, as many of us go through life seeing places where people could really use our help and sometimes we can’t stop. But, in reality it isn’t a curse. It’s a gift! An instructional designer mindset means: You seek to clarify what the intended audience supposed to DO and HOW are they supposed to do it. You identify that there are conditions that may impede learning and/or remembering. Chunking is a legitimate activity (where you “chunk” the information). You see opportunities for job aids. Like this: [link].

The nature of e-learning in Australia

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This post is written by Ryan Tracey. The young nation of Australia has a rich history in e-learning. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and so in 1951 the  School of the Air  was launched to educate children dispersed across the outback. From Kalgoorlie in the west to the aptly named Longreach in the east, school students in remote communities received their instruction over the radio.

“T-shaped” instructional design process

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(Not so) Recently I commented on Twitter about my approach to professional development this year and Steve Flowers (@xpconcept) commented that it made sense in a broader application  to instructional design. Then, I saw a tweet from David Kelly (@LnDDave) who was at an #ASTD2012 conference session with Michael Allen. And now, hopefully a few weeks later a blog post!

Evaluating Training - Capturing the Benefits Aspects of ROI

Training evaluation is necessary and, in many ways, critical to the success of a business. But because short term priorities always seem to take precedence, it is typically something we plan to do better in the next course, or maybe next month, or even next year. After all, we’ve managed pretty well up to now, so surely another year can’t hurt!

Wearables and xAPI

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If you read my blog, you’ll know I’ve done a series of posts on wearables: Part 1: Wearables – how do they impact learning? Part 2: Wearables and behaviour change. Part 3: Wearables in manufacturing. Part 4: Wearables in customer service. Part 5: Wearables and knowledge workers. These have mostly focused on the tracking/monitoring aspects, less on the content delivery side (from devices like: Oculus Rift , Google Glass , Hololens , etc). Questions around tracking will of course lead to L+D questions around how to capture and report on this type of information. Which ones?

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“T-shaped” instructional design process

Spark Your Interest

(Not so) Recently I commented on Twitter about my approach to professional development this year and Steve Flowers (@xpconcept) commented that it made sense in a broader application  to instructional design. Then, I saw a tweet from David Kelly (@LnDDave) who was at an #ASTD2012 conference session with Michael Allen. And now, hopefully a few weeks later a blog post!

“Training for Good”

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There’s a lot of focus in the L&D world on corporate applications of training or elearning. Which is understandable, but it would seem that the not-for-profit organizations are underserved and under-represented. Several months ago I saved this link with the idea that the L&D world needs a bit of this. link]. link]. And of course LINGOs does a great job doing this as well.

When do you need a “course” (and not something else)?

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There are times when it seems that when training is suggested, it always means “a course” In North America, a course means a single instance of programmed instruction (an e-learning module, a 2 day workshop). It may have different connotations elsewhere (in the UK, it can mean a series of related workshops/events). But many training needs are put in a “course” format unnecessarily. The reality is that an instructional designer has many tools in his/her toolbox and the trick is to determine which one is the best fit for the need. How to respond to a customer.

Seven Simple Secrets to Off-the-Shelf Course Success

Off-the-shelf elearning is applicable for a wide audience, but it won’t address your organization’s unique situations or distinctive content. So are these courses all that helpful? For sure! Read on for 7 secrets to make off-the-self learning your own.

Other Training Debt

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I’ve written before about “ Training Debt “, based off: [link] and. link] and.   [link]. Here are some other ways that training debt might hurt an organization or a cause. Customer Training Debt. Without investing in customer training, you might find that your customers don’t know how to use your product. They may not be aware of ,or know how to use certain features.

Canada’s learning technologies are HOT!

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Most of what I see around learning and technology (especially as it relates to Canada) is focused on MOOCs (for lots of news and commentary, Stephen Downes is a must read). But, there seems to be less coverage on learning technologies or products/services focused on the corporate markets. Absorb - by Blatant Media out of Calgary,  Alberta based (hey, move west!), mean, 3D is cool.

Designing a “Learning Journey” #LX

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One of the most useful tools that we instructional designers can borrow from #UX is the Customer Journey map. After we’ve confirmed that this training should exist (a la Cathy Moore’s Action Mapping), we should remember that learning is not an event, but a journey. What is a Learning Journey? Learning is not a binary activity, it takes time! Feedback. Monitoring. Practice.

Synthesize, don’t polarize

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I saw a tweet quite awhile back that was said something like “smart societies don’t polarize, they synthesize” , which I thought could be applied to many things. Take the learning industry for an example. There can be some times when it feels polarizing. If you deliver courses you are a luddite who is a throwback to the 20th century. The way I see it, the solution is only a solution that makes sense in the context of the problem, the business drivers for the solution (time or budget for example) and the culture of the environment. But Instead we point out what it isn’t.

Move Beyond Learning to Applying: A Modern Management Development Program

A better way to develop front-line managers !It’s well documented that people leave managers – not companies. Download this guide to learn how to shift the perspective from event to journey and how to take learners through Proficiency Journeys to get results.

How to get the most out of your instructional designer

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(or how to be a good “client”). We recently wrote a post about what makes a good instructional designer , and a great instructional designer is not the only factor in a successful working relationship. We We believe it should be a mutually beneficial relationship, so here are some things that YOU as a client can consider when procuring e-learning or instructional design services and getting the most of our your instructional designer. Define the business problem AND the  performance problem. The instructional designer is uniquely qualified to help you solve these problems.

Wearables and knowledge workers. A perfect match for learning?

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This is another installment in the series about using wearables to provide training/education. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. This post will focus on knowledge workers. In previous posts, there was a greater emphasis on using wearables for groups of employees, in this post the focus will shift to how individual employees might be able to harness the power of wearables to support their learning and performance. What makes knowledge workers different? There is typically more latititude offered to these workers. They can also customize their learning paths much more. and this  [link]. link].

What does Citizen Science have to do with instructional design?

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I’m not a scientist, but I am curious person. I am the type who reads voraciously, watches documentaries and nature shows and is amazed at the ingenuity of innovators who find solutions to both big and small things. Often sharing with people: “did you hear/read about …” and then rattle off the interesting discovery I found (usually via Twitter). Today, I saw this article tweeted: [link] and immediately clicked through. You see, I am quite drawn to the notion of citizen science for many reasons: Being part of something larger than yourself. Learning from others.

Wearables in manufacturing training situations

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This is part 3 of my series exploring wearables in training and development. In part 1 I talked about the angle that I’m most interested in: wearables providing a trigger, feedback and data for learning and performance. In part 2 , I explored it a bit further, making connections to self-reporting components, affective aspects and behaviour change. There are things about manufacturing work that sets it apart from knowledge work. Productivity/efficiency is paramount. Safety is a factor. Physically demanding work. Involves repetitive work. What do YOU think? Share them in the comments below!

How the right tech tools for your team can power your sales enablement strategy

A staggering 80% of sales professionals report they don’t remember or implement their lessons from annual sales kickoff meetings.Our new publication, available below, explores how companies can avoid costly mistakes in sales training.

The Talent Question

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One of the common things heard at the recent #BCTECH summit was the cry from organizations for more talent. The government responded with coding in schools and investment in post-secondary facilities (let’s build more talent) and relaxed immigration (let’s buy more talent). One aspect I wanted to explore is the third element – organizations investing in talent development (let’s shape more talent). Pushing the burden of providing talent to the education system is a long term strategy, but it’s also flawed. Education does not produce talent. Does skill = talent?

Reflections on DevLearn 2014

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Having returned from my first ever DevLearn, it seemed appropriate to capture some rambling reflections and share them. As As with any large conference there are some ups and downs, and for those of you considering attending a DevLearn in the future, here are a few of my main take-aways (and pieces of advice for the future). Twitter and my PLN made it a much less intimidating affair than if I went “cold”. Heck, I even had a roommate lined up ahead of time. It also meant the entire conference was more social than it would have been without that existing network. What got me excited? link].

Are you Incurring Training Debt?

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I recently read this post about “ HR Debt “, which I strongly encourage you to read. Most startup founders are familiar with the idea of technical debt , whereby poor system design or coding builds problems over time and makes it hard to improve a piece of software. If you don’t clean up and refactor as you build, you’re left with a clunky mess that no one can (or wants to) fix. The same thing happens  if you hack your way through hiring and management. call this HR Debt. Come on back when you are done. Training Debt. Training is not solely for employees. Preventing Training Debt.

Wearables – how do they impact learning?

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There’s a fair bit of hype around wearables – smart watches, bands, rings , belts (!) and the list could go on. As a trend, it’s still a few years from actual impact (according to the Gartner Hype Cycle ). I am curious about the possibilities for application to training or learning situations. So far, we have naturally gravitated towards examples like Google Glass or Oculus Rift, which hold potential for delivering instant information or training. Service training. Knowledge workers. Health education. Creative work. For example. Interesting links: [link]. link]. link].

What's New In Adobe Captivate 9!

Join Dr. Pooja Jaisingh, Sr. Adobe eLearning Evangelist, as she showcases the latest features & enhancements in the all-new Adobe Captivate 9. You will learn about the stellar features of this release along with Captivate Draft –the new storyboarding app.