Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ken Carroll on Learning

Ken Carroll of the-eLearning-takes-on-language-sensation ChinesePod is now blogging live from Shanghai on topics as diverse as RSS and Finnegan's Wake.

Stop by and say hi.

Instructional Designers with ID Degrees = 25%

Instructional Designers are still responding to the survey I recently posted, asking instructional designers to tell us about their educational background and ID training.

We've now got 32 responses. 8 people have advanced degrees in instructional design (25%). This is up from 14.29% a few weeks ago.

Only 3 respondents say that they have ever been turned down for work because of a lack of an ID degree.

Still a wide variety of backgrounds, with a heavy dose of Liberal Artists.

I asked Jon Matejcek of Dashe & Thompson what he looks for when hiring instructional designers, and he wrote:

For instructional design, we hire based almost entirely on experience (our consultants average more than 10 years’ experience).

The thing I like about those with liberal arts degrees, is that they tend to be adaptable and comfortable with ambiguity. Aside from the core ID skills, this trait seems to be one of the greatest determinants of success on our projects.

Are you adaptable and comfortable with ambiguity?

You can view the updated survey results here.

Update: As of December 3, 30% of instructional designers say they have an advanced degree.

Thanks to everyone who participated. And if you didn't respond and would like to, the survey is open indefinitely.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Blog Readability Test: What a Joke!

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My blog came in at the genius level on the readability test.

I take it to mean that it must take a genius to figure out what I'm really trying to say, since I must not be saying it all that clearly.

C'mon. Genius? I don't use big words or anything.

I suspect that Christy's muppet translation will put her blog into the genius level for its illegibility. Anyone support my theory? Brent -- you're a genius, too. What thinks you?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Instructional Designers = Liberal Artists

I recently posted a survey, asking instructional designers to tell us about their educational background and ID training.

Only three out of 21 (14.29%) people working as an instructional designer have an advanced degree in instructional design. There's a few with MEds and teaching backgrounds, which gets you somewhat close to ID. But the bulk of practicing instructional designers come from liberal arts backgrounds:
  • English
  • English
  • Environmental Studies
  • English linguistics
  • Music Education
  • adult education
  • theatre
  • English Literature
  • English and Philosophy (joint)
  • Educational Technology
  • Educational Technology
  • undergrad=communications, grad=instructional design and technology
  • Accounting
  • Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication - & - Management
  • BA English, MEd
  • Industrial Relations
  • Elementary Education (BS & M.Ed.)
  • Literature and Communication Arts
  • History (Instructional Tech in grad)
  • History
I don't have time to do a full survey analysis, but you can view the survey results here.

Thanks to everyone who participated. And if you didn't respond and would like to, the survey is open indefinitely. There were some interesting comments in that post, including some information on instructional design certificate programs.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

InVision Learning: Seeking eLearning .NET Developer

We're seeking a full-time .NET Developer to join our growing company here in Westborough, Massachusetts.
Invision Learning is seeking a .Net Developer to create leading-edge interactive multimedia and web-based eLearning applications. Our company specializes in Custom Courses, Flash Templates, and Learning Portals...
If you, or someone you know, is a .NET developer looking for work in the greater Boston area, please let me know!

(You'd get to work with me -- how exciting is that?)

Update: We've now filled this position! I'll let you know if there are future opportunities.....

Monday, November 05, 2007

Instructional Design Inspiration

As I mentioned last week, I'm in the midst of designing my first custom eLearning course in quite awhile. I've gotten rusty in the practice of ID, although very adept in the research and learning part (and I can talk a pretty good game).

Now that I've been actually doing some writing, I'm having to put it all to work.

So, what's been working for me? What movers and shakers have inspired me to design differently?

Here are some of specific ideas I've taken from a few sources that (I'm hoping) will help me design a kick-ass course:

Chapter 2 of Gadgets, Games & Gizmos for Learning by Karl Kapp.

We're trying to include more game-like interactivity in this course, and this chapter is chock full of ideas. I jotted down at least four ideas for interactive exercises that we can easily build in Flash and will work great with the content I've got.

The entire book is packed full of great info. Check out my review of Gadgets, Games & Gizmos for Learning and then go get yourself a copy!

The 30-Minute Masters by Clive Shepherd. I had the chance to view an early draft of the course that's being built by Kineo, as well as the initial wiki design and the audio script that Clive wrote (with input and collaboration from a bunch of great eLearning folks).

The 30-Minute Masters is geared toward SMEs using Rapid eLearning tools, but I think it's just fine for a "professional instructional designer" needing a refresher.

My main takeaway has been to add moments for reflective learning -- pauses in the voice stream to let the learner think about his or her own experience and apply it to the workplace. Ideally, I'm trying to figure out how to make this a bit interactive. Even something as simple as having the learner type their ideas on the screen.

Michael Allen's Guide to e-Learning. I'm only about 2/3 of the way through this book, but have found lots of good nuggets.

I like what he says about Learning Objectives: Don't List 'Em.

Don't bother listing them out on a text bullet page; learners have learned to skip over that stuff -- they're going to learn it anyway. Instead, try creating some drama -- write a scenario -- showing the learner what they will learn.

Tom Kuhlman's recent post on passive vs. active.

Simple ideas for using branching questions as a way to spice up your content and create more engaging experiences.

I've also been meaning to go back to B.J. Schone's Engaging Interactions for ELearning.

There's more, I'm sure. But this is what hits me off the top of my head.

Where do you look for instructional design inspiration?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Instructional Designers: Do You Have a Degree in ID?

Clive Shepherd posted today about a dinner conversation he had with Cathy Moore.

"Cathy confessed that she is sometimes denied some work opportunities because she does not have a degree in instructional design."

(Now, I can't imagine anyone turning Cathy Moore down for an ID job. Come on, guys!)

In the UK, according to Clive, virtually no one has a degree in Instructional Design. Perhaps that's where I belong. My ID education has been completely on the job and informal.

Although, I've never had trouble finding work as an instructional designer, I have certainly seen many job listings that include a Master's degree as a requirement. I figure my 12 years of experience have to count for something, so I've never let that stop me.

I'm curious what other folks' experiences has been. If you're working as an instructional designer, do you have an advanced degree? If you don't, have you ever been denied a job for the lack of one? What do you think counts more? The degree or the experience?

Clive says, "I must confess I don't really care how someone has acquired their knowledge of the subject, but I do care whether they are constantly striving to do a better job."

So here's a little survey to help us go deeper:

(Click on the link to view the survey.)

Anything else to share about your experience as an instructional designer (or whatever you might call it)? Share in the comments.....

Initial survey results have been posted here.

And the survey numbers keep changing.