Transforming your staff's potential

Monday, January 31, 2011

Choices and Calculations: How They Differ and Why it Matters in Gaming and Instructional Design

I read a great post recently over at "The Usable Learning Blog," discussing how game theory can inform instructional design in significant ways. Her example was this great video that explains the difference between choice and calculation and how it makes all the difference in engagement in gaming.

Gaming is used frequently in training, but not necessarily as effectively as it could. I agree with Julie when she says, " So much of the stuff written about instructional design recommendations is good, but frequently vague or too general (with a few exceptions like Tom Kuhlman and Cathy Moore), while in the mean time I keep finding really great experience design information in the game design blogs that addresses very specific problems."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mapping Professional Connections

LinkedIn and InMaps have partnered to create a tool that allows LinkedIn members to visualize the world of their professional connections. LinkedIn Maps groups and color codes your connections based on affinity (e.g. how your connections are connected to each other). You can then analyze the groups and label them.

From a business perspective, it is an interesting tool for understanding the scope and "architecture" of your professional network. You can then identify opportunities for community development and communication.

From an instructional design standpoint, it's another great example of the power of free web tools to analyze and visualize data into meaningful information that can be used.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Na" job aid

OK, so color me geek, but XKCD is one of my favorite comic strips.

Today's edition is a useful job aid to help you track the "NAs" to ID a few classic songs.

It's worth a click-through... there is always an extra punch line if you hover your cursor over the cartoon on the site. Plus, this time, there is a "new and improved" version (link under the page banner).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Testing: Not Just for Assessment Anymore

Recent research by Purdue University on retrieval practice finds that test-taking is, by far, a more effective learning activity than either studying or concept mapping. The findings were published by Science Magazine, then reported on by the New York Times.

Reflecting back on my days of formal learning, I can say my personal experience supports these findings. My retention of knowledge was far greater after having taken the tests that were intended to simply assess that learning. They generally were the most powerful learning tools in the curriculum.

The synthesis and application of knowledge and skills that is needed to successfully complete a test cements the learning deeper and in a more tangible, useful fashion. Additionally, I am wondering whether the meta-skills needed for test-taking are those skills needed to apply learning in practice.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Video in eLearning

I must say, the New York Times consistently publishes great infographics and other brief elearning. Here is a perfect example: Top 10 Composers.

This is a smartly managed use of video in elearning. User-driven and in bite sized chunks, the videos merge music theory, examples and storytelling. Each element contextualizes the others.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Noun Project

Here is a great resource for instructional, and other, designers: The Noun Project symbol library. This online library is a growing collection of highly recognizable symbols. They are creating a "dictionary" of visual language.

All of the images are free and without use restriction. They are beautifully designed and easy to download.

The Noun Project is being developed at Kickstarter, the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world.

These are perfect for job aids, manuals, signs... any quick and/or universal recognition need.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Beyond visualizations...

One of my favorite design bloggers, Swiss Miss, found DowPiano and shared it today. Here is what she says:

The Dow Piano audiovisualizes the ups and downs of 2010 into musical notes. Using a five-note scale spanning three octaves, pitch is determined by the daily closing numbers of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The variance in volume mirrors the trading volume changes throughout the year. The notes are clustered in series of five, representing Mondays through Fridays. The weeks are punctuated, separated, and started by drum hits. Follow along with the graph to experience the market in a (somewhat) musical way. Created by Bard Edlund.

I am thinking of the possibilities for information "stickiness" in learning and job aids. I remember lyrics much easier than poems because of the music!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Few Random eLearning Finds

Here are a few interesting links on various topics of elearning:

DemoSlam is a high-energy ongoing project by Google, where "Contenders" compete in "tech demo battles" by submitting videos that highlight one of Google's many free tech tools, such as Google Voice, Google Translate, Custom Background.

@ Ignatia Webs blog posted recently on IBM's immersive gaming and informal/social tools for learning projects.

The Word of Mouth blog has a great post on how Articulate is being used for a wide range of elearning projects at SickKids.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Delicious tidbits: Presentation Design

The following are articles in my Delicious library that include the tag "PresentationDesign."

Designing a narrative with index cards: From Communication Nation, a proven, low-tech approach to designing a presentation, either from the "top-down" or "bottom-up."

Designing slides: From Eye on Learning, a series of presentations, on and examples of, PowerPoint slide design.

"...Whip your Slides into Shape": From The Learning Generalist, ideas for both the design of the presentation itself as well as the slides as a vehicle for them.

How to Create a Presentation for Someone Else: From the Duarte blog, ideas on how to facilitate the process of designing a presentation someone else will deliver.

A True eBook

20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web” is an electronic story book, complete with pages to be turned. It is the creation of Min Li Chan, Fritz Holznagel, Michael Krantz and Christoph Niemann. Developed by Fi and published by Google Chrome, it answers questions such as: How do browsers and the web work? How has the Web evolved? How do I navigate the Web safely and effectively? It defines terms and covers topics such as cloud computing, HTML5 and plug-ins, using plain English and approachable metaphors. It demystifies the technology, empowering the learner in the process. A great example of informal e-learning tools.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Empowering Learners

Diana Laufenberg reminds us that contextualized and reflective learning and meta-learning creates deeper understanding and more motivated learners: