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Learning-by-Doing: GuitarBots

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Yesterday, I wrote about how most “learning-by-doing” is really is actually “learning-by-doing-something-really-similar-to-what-you-ultimately-want-to-do.” This is the a post in a series where I explore games and online learning that incorporate authentic practice. . GuitarBots is an online game where you learn to play the guitar… by playing the guitar. by tuning my real guitar.

An Unfinished Election Game (Or, you can’t win everything all of the time)

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I started creating a serious game during maternity leave that is likely going to remain unfinished now that I’m back to work full-time. However, I did want to at least capture some of my thoughts about the project here. Essentially, I was just looking for a fun project to help maintain my sense of sanity while taking care of my newborn son. Newborns. Cute, but not always good for my sanity. Sorry.

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Other Ways to Inspire Change

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What interests me most about learning is its potential to inspire change: ideally a measurable change in behavior, but barring that, at least a shift in attitude or understanding. Very often, we decide we want something to change, we decide to create a course, lesson, document, or some other package of information that learners will absorb and, voila, change!

Design Overview: Childhood TB for Healthcare Workers

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Childhood TB for Healthcare Workers , a six-module online course for which I was the learning designer and developer, launched yesterday on World TB Day. This This course was a project of The Union  in collaboration with the World Health Organization. I’m going to give a high-level overview of the design here. Amanda''s Projects Samples

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.

eLearning Global Giveback 3

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LINGOS has announced the beginning of the third eLearning Global Giveback competition. If you’d like to participate, join the eLearning Global Giveback Linked-In group and then post a brief description of your skills, interests, and availability. As I’ve posted before , I’ve participated in the global giveback twice, and it’s been amazing experience both times.

eLearning Global Giveback

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Today, The Smart Campaign launched Client Protection and Financial Education in Microfinance , the course that I developed in conjunction with The Smart Campaign and ACCION International as part of the second eLearning Global Giveback. You can see the course here ! Amanda's Projects

Graphics for eLearning: Why and Where I Buy Them

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About a year ago, I had the revelation that the time I spent creating marginally appealing graphics for eLearning could be much better spent elsewhere.  Compared to several hours of struggling to just make the darn smile on that darn person NOT look ghoulish, $18 for a person who already looks normal seems like a bargain.  So, now I buy stuff in several categories of graphics, and it’s lovely. Here are the types of graphics that I buy for eLearning and where I currently buy them: Stock Photos. Stock Vector Images. typically open the.eps file in Adobe Illustrator, save it as

Games that Embody an Emotional Experience

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As part of a project-in-progress, I’ve been gathering examples of various types of serious games. As a start, here is an informal list of games whose purpose seems less about uncovering a winning strategy and more about embodying a particular emotional experience. All of the games listed below are available online to play for free. Spent. link]. Papers Please. link]. Depression Quest. link]. link].

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.

What Will Be Left Then?

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Even though I generally play more with creating learning activities than representing information, I’m fascinated by data visualization. couple of weeks ago, I created an infographic as part of Information is Beautiful’s first visualization challenge. Here’s a screenshot from the visualization I created: If you click on the image ( or here ), you can view the interactive version in my portfolio.

Reusable, Relevant Interactions for Compliance E-Learning (with less yawn!)

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Compliance eLearning, defined loosely here as eLearning that covers some sort of rules or regulations, seems to have a high rate of boring PowerPoint-ism, with slide and slide of text, some standard stock photos, a next button, and not much else. This had the potential to be a wonderfully boring course  (slides and slides of rules! Eek!).  For this project, I can’t share the course itself.

Playing with Problem Solving (Or, Wait, you’re traveling with a fox?)

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I created a short series of online puzzles based on a traditional logic problem. The first puzzle is a classic: transport a bag of corn, a fox, and a goose across a river in a boat that only holds one item without anything eating anything else.  tried to build elements of these into the second two puzzles. You can give these puzzles a try by clicking here.  I’d love to hear what you think.

Interface Inspiration

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I’m committed to online learning that is focused on activity, typically of the real-world, application-focused variety.  However, imagining how to translate real-world situations into meaningful learning interfaces for a computer screen can sometimes be daunting. Even in the 21 st  century, significant portions of our lives still don’t revolve around pointing and clicking. One strategy I use is keeping an “interface inspiration” library – essentially, a folder on my computer where I keep screenshots of learning interfaces that I think are particularly nifty.  Allen Interactions. Filament Games.

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.

Games that require you to do… exactly what you’re learning to do

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Most “learning-by-doing” is actually “learning-by-doing-something-really-similar-to-what-you-ultimately-want-to-do.” This isn’t horrible, but it is different. For example, I’ve designed and built many online modules that focus on interacting with people. Typically, the user clicks what they want to do/say and sees the results through immediate and/or delayed feedback.

Analysis Questions for Learning Design

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I definitely favor successive approximation over the waterfall method; by prototyping early and often, you not only get a better sense of what will actually be most effective early in the process, when you’re best able to make changes, but sometimes end up refining the goals for the project itself. That being said, I think analysis is super useful, and I spend a fair amount of time on it early in most projects. The analysis questions I ask vary. However, typically my high level goals are to: Learn what success looks like for this particular project. Target Audience. Where do they work?

Games as Gateway Experiences for Learning

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I was the type of kid who devoured the Sim-genre games, from the traditional SimCity to lesser known games such as SimFarm. In addition to just playing them as intended, I loved that they were essentially worlds in a sandbox, where I could impose my own rules to experiment with concepts that interested me. This was THE essential trait for winning virtual horse races in SimLife. also loved SimFarm.

Games for Change 2012 – Notes & Musings

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A few weeks ago, I attended the 9 th  annual Games for Change Festival.  As usual, it was a fantastic mesh of amazing speakers, thoughtful discussion, and inspiring interfaces. From my notes, I’ve pulled out items that I found particularly relevant to the types of learning activities I like to create, with additional notes and descriptions for some. 1. Focus on how the user is being transformed. What Games are Good At – Jesse Schell -  my notes from this session ). Don’t build a game around a message or lesson.  Instead, embody the message in the play. Focus on engagement, rather than just fun.

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.

Beyond Points, Badges, and Scoreboards

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In the past, when I’ve told people that I’m interested in serious games for learning, I’d often need to clarify “not like online Jeopardy,” because quiz show games had become the standard in so many people’s minds.  Now, that gamefication is super-trendy, the discussions often revolve around whether or not to pepper online courses with points, scoreboards, and badges. generally lean towards not. It’s not that I think the gamefication of learning is necessarily bad.  I just think that most of the time, we can do so much better. The video is an hour long, but it’s absolutely worth the time.

(Even More) Related Books

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Living in cold, snowy New England, I need something to do in the winter between bouts of snow shoveling, so I read a bunch. Now that it’s getting to the point where MAYBE it’ll start thawing, I thought I’d post a quick overview of my favorite learning/simulation/game-type books from the last couple of months. Since posting about books is something that I’ve done a couple times now, I’m also planning to create an ongoing list of all of these books under a Related Books heading at the top of the blog. Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. Jane McGonigal.

Imperfect Simulations

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I just killed humanity. In Pandemic 2 , your goal is to evolve and spread your disease to wipe out humanity. Even without a background in pathology or microbiology, I can assert with confidence that the game isn’t an exceptionally precise simulation of a global pandemic. The key to using this game for educational purposes might just be an effective debrief.

Remote User Testing for Learning Prototypes

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The two projects I’m working on currently have a global audience, many of whom are located in areas with less-than-ideal Internet connections. Earlier this year, I tested several sets of prototypes with about 30 of these learners total. Remote prototype testing become much easier for me with time, so I wanted to collect some of the technologies and practices that helped me, in case they are helpful to someone else too. Testing the Interface Design vs. Testing the Learning Design. First, I wanted to share just a few thoughts why I test prototypes with learners. Scheduling Sessions. account.

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.

Encouraging Thoughtful Choices

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I visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium a few weekends ago. There were many things I enjoyed about the aquarium, including that many of the exhibits look like art installations. Learning-wise, one of my favorite parts was how they wove the impact of their visitors’ choices into the exhibits. At one exhibit, I placed an order for a seafood dish at a pretend restaurant. Want to upset the chef?

Notes from Jesse Schell’s What Games Are Good At (Games for Change Festival)

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Some definitions: Play is a manipulation that indulges curiosity. game is a problem solving activity approached playfully. Instead of serious games, suggests the term transformational games, so that the focus is on how the game is changing the user. Games are bad at: Being cheap : in the short term, at least, good games are generally expensive to build (though there can be economy in scale).

Games for Change Festival 2012

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I’m registered for the 9 th Annual Games for Change Festival in NYC from June 18 th to 20 th.  I attended last year as well, and it was my favorite conference-type event of the year. love to see concrete examples of what works, and one of the things that this event does particularly well is offer sessions that focus on actual games and their development process, in addition to more general theory.

Using Challenges for Learning: Part 1

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I had a busy start to the year.*  In addition to working on several online, asynchronous learning projects, I taught an Adobe Flash/ActionScript 3 class as part of a college program focused on game design and development.  It was a lot of fun – I used to do a lot more in-person teaching and tutoring, and I didn’t realize how much I’d missed it until I dove back into it. My favorite part? 

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.

New eLearning Global Giveback Course: Isoniazid Preventive Therapy for the Prevention of Tuberculosis in People Living with HIV

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My son, Theo, was born two weeks ago, so I won’t be at the Learning Solutions Conference this week.  However, a course I developed with FHI 360 is going to be demoed there on Thursday evening as part of the third eLearning Global Giveback. The “content” for the course is two documents: a set of WHO guidelines and a brief created by FHI 360. The second location is a smaller, more rural clinic.

It’s about the Experience

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I was once again reading Jesse Schell’s The Art of Game Design and rediscovered this quote on page 10: Ultimately, a game designer does not care about games. Games are merely a means to an end. On their own, games are just artifacts… When people play games, they have an experience. Without this experience, the game is worthless. You can mentally replace ‘game’ with ‘course,’ and I think this still holds true. The course itself, as some sort of product, is not at all the point. Random Musings

DevLearn 2011

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Both a plethora of work-type projects and some significant (but exciting) life changes conspired to keep me busy and poof, now it’s almost November, summer is officially over, and I’ve managed to not post here for months. Oops.  I’ll try to do better. If you’ll be at DevLearn too, let me know, and I’d love to catch up in person! Random Musings Conferences E-Learning

Growing an Educational Game – Flower Stand

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About two years ago, I read Learning By Doing by Clark Aldrich. I was so excited by the book that I subsequently built a fairly simple Flash-based game, called Flower Stand , mainly because I wanted to play with some of the concepts from the book. Goals & Objectives. Goal 1: Improve business vocabulary. Learning Objectives: Correctly use the terms inventory, net profit, revenue, and expenses.

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.

Building a Branching Conversation Simulation with Flash, XML, and AS3

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I posted earlier about a branching conversation simulation that I created as part of a recent course. If you want to read about the simulation itself without the XML and AS code-ish techno garble stuff, click here to visit my previous post. You can also view the course itself within my online portfolio by clicking here. General Design Structure. Dialog Boxes. Less than thrilling, right?


Loan Officer Branching Conversation Simulation – Twitterpated with.

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If you're like me, you like clicking on things better than just reading about them! You can play with the loan officer simulation in my portfolio by clicking here, accepting the disclaimer, and then selecting Loan Officer Simulation

eLearning Learning – I’m There!

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My posts are now being aggregated by eLearning Learning , which is a collection of blog posts and articles related to eLearning. You can visit the main site of eLearning Learning here. also subscribe to both the full RSS feed and the best of RSS feed using Google Reader. There can be an overwhelming amount of information in the full feed, but I find that by just browsing the titles and first paragraphs (and just clicking when particularly inspired), I can keep myself just whelmed.* Thanks for humoring me. Related Resources Resources

The Art of Game Design – Twitterpated with Learning

Twitterpated with Learning

I just finished reading The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, by Jesse Schell, and it is now one of my favorite books about learning development. Yes, I do realize that it's not even officially a book about learning development

Are your managers ready for a world without formal performance reviews?

The future of the formal performance review is sparking lively debates. No matter what side you fall on, everyone agrees that effective managers make managing performance part of their daily routine. In this infographic quickly learn “5 Critical Skills for Managing Performance” every day.