Our latest webinar, “Designing E-Learning: Art, Science or Witchcraft?” was a discussion between Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler and Phylise Banner, Instructional Design Project Leader at American Public University System. Scott Abel and Phylise Banner took a look at the evolution of education theory alongside that of instructional technology, explored the roots of instructional design and discussed what they think the future holds for online learning.
During the webinar we had a few questions come in asking about the eBook we had mentioned during the live webinar. To get a free copy of the soon-to-be-released eBook entitled “eBooks 101: The Digital Content Strategy for Reaching Customers Anywhere, Anytime, on Any Device” webinar attendees must send an email to moreinfo [at] rockley [dot] com with Free eBooks 101 eBook in the subject line.
The webinar was an action-packed 60 minutes! The recording and Q&A are now available below.
How do you overcome the buzzwords and pedagogy of academia to get something done?
Results. You need to talk about results. What does is mean for learners to achieve something? What behavior are you trying to change, and what will be the result of that change?
Yes, the buzzwords are out there and overused. Treat them as another language – another vocabulary. If you’re working with a team that lives for the jargon, don’t hesitate to ask people what they’re really talking about, and what results they are looking for.
Are there standards for usability in touch devices?
Manufacturers of touch screen devices all provide user interface style guides. That’s the best place to start. I keep Simon Whatley’s blog post on “User Interface Guidelines for Mobile and Tablet Devices” handy for reference.
As far as standards – well, that is wide open for interpretation in the development community! There’s a fantastic article from the Neilson Norman group about the latest “usability crisis”. I agree with the article that we need to go back and review what we learned from research in the Human Computer Interaction field.
Hi, I run an e-learning platform for the non profit sector in the UK. I find that the sector is quite slow in adopting online training as a way of learning. People still seem to prefer face to face training despite it being a lot more expensive and difficult to access for certain groups. How would you pitch an online learning platform to a more traditional audience?
Some people need that face-to-face training in order to learn, and order to feel connected to the organization. Try pitching a blended approach, which will cut back on cost by delivering materials online with a more modest face-to-face component.
For the more traditional audience, try to integrate online learning assets (referential) that are fundamental to work performance. Ask for input and feedback on the learning assets, and then grow them into online training modules by creating an instructional flow and mapping out learning objectives. Again, remember to determine the behavior you are seeking to change through the learning process.
I once asked a group that was hesitant about giving up face-to-face training and moving towards e-learning if they’d be willing to pay their own travel expenses, since the company was no longer able to do so. The response was a resounding “no”, of course. I then let the group design a strategy for moving their training online. With a stake in the project design process, they had the opportunity to learn about the benefits and opportunities of online training, and the ways to meet the needs of a diverse learning community.
The way you are defining “augmented reality” sounds like “performance support tool”. Is that what you mean?
Augmented reality is a technology-enabled layer of content added on top of a physical world experience. That can be built into a performance support tool for sure.
The best way to understand what augmented reality is, is to play (of course) with it. One of my favorite augmented reality sites is the USPS Virtual Box simulator. Enjoy this: https://www.prioritymail.com/simulator.asp
New technology had an impact on the ecology of the classroom where students responded differently because they weren’t as adapted to the instructor reacting to them, does this collaborative learning community start to reverse that?
The collaborative community challenges every participant to act, react, and explore. Learners are expected to create content, and to be as immersed in the learning process as they desire. In my opinion, it makes for a more responsible learner.
The technology has enabled quick access to content creation tools, and social networks have normalized the use of rating systems. When content is rated as “better”, the learners take note, and modify their contributions in order to be successful.
So do you judge effectiveness by participation by competitive types?
I judge effectiveness by how well the learning objectives have been met. How well the learning itself moved the participants closer to the organizational goals. If the e-learning solution involved a competitive piece, I would build in a way for participants to win. Yes, to win. There’s nothing wrong with winning.
Competitive play is something that we (as Americans) are used to. Can you come up with a game we can play? That’s the craft part of the design process – the part we need to bring back into our work as designers.
How do instructional designers learn how to approach these difficult 21st century problems, balancing the differing perspectives of science and art? What is the role of being a designer in this context?
The best approach is to be open to new technologies, new systems, new theories, and new strategies. Exploration is what it’s all about. Look at how learning environments are being designed by K-12 educators. They have a better understanding of how to identify and define learning outcomes.
Remember that every design project is different. Systematic design can provide a foundation for project management, but it takes a certain measure of talent and personal experience to create effective instruction.
The role of the designer is to conceptualize the learning environment, to structure a path through that environment, to find creative ways to engage the learner, and to develop a strategy to measure how well the learning objectives have been met. Not so different from what it’s always been.
What do I do? Visit a lot of museum exhibits. Exhibit designers understand contextual learning best. And, after all, everything is contextual!
Interested in attending our next webinar?
Tune in with Scott Abel and Amanda Cross this Friday, August 12, 2011 in “How Interactive Documentation Builds Corporate Value (and Esteem from your Colleagues)”. Sign up Now!