Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Instructional Designers Survey

My friend Robin is working on his Master's Degree in Instructional Design at the University of Massachusetts. For his thesis, he's thinking about tools and processes to better support the ID process.

He's come up with a couple of surveys to help him gather more grist for his mill. Can you help him out?

There are two surveys:

Tools Survey for IDs (closed questions)

About You -- the Instructional Designer (open-ended questions, essay format)


Monday, March 23, 2009

eLearning Network Instructional Designers Survey

As Instructional Designers, it appears we're a wide-ranging lot.  Not only do we do instructional design, but we also do a whole lot of other stuff.

Clive Shepherd tweeted about a survey recently done by the eLearning Network, a non-profit eLearning community based out of the UK.

This survey shows that in addition to design, IDs also:

  • project manage (82%) [me too!]
  • use authoring tools (55%)
  • do graphic design (41%)
  • do testing (55%) [me too!]
  • programming (17%)
  • audio engineer (13%)
  • voiceover artist (20%) [me too!]
  • video director (20%) [me too!]

Now, granted there had only been 30 respondents at the time of the post, but the results do show the breadth of talents and skills that are required of IDs these days.  

I've written before about my "job description", which shows how all over the map I can be. (Note that that post is almost 2 years old and somewhat out of date.  I have been doing a lot more ID work in the past year, in addition to all that other stuff!)

Read a summary of the eLN designers' survey results, with links to the full results and the chance to participate.

What do you do on that list?  Go ahead and take the survey and then let us know your thoughts back here.

Market Differences in eLearning

I'm a fan of the number 42. So it seems significant that my post The Value of Instructional Designers just got its 42nd comment. Amazing how a post from a year ago can still generate conversation!

Sreya Dutta (Instructional Design: On the road to learning) responded to a thread in the comments about the eLearning market in India:

Cammy, thanks for this interesting post. I agree with Rupa and Poonam on the elearning industry in India but there are variations too. But I know of few variable cases too:

1. I know of companies who only hire instructional designers and buy Rapid elearning tools and expect the ID to do it all themselves to reduce the cost and over head of hiring graphic designers as well. One of the reasons is also that Graphic Designers often may not have much work, as sometime people just want ILT, or a few recorded sessions, other other delivery formats like remote training, that do no require heavy graphic or programming work.

2. Large MNC companies like IBM Deloitte (in India), sometimes just hire IDs and outsource the graphics/development work to elearning companies who have specialized graphics and development teams.

3. Microsoft in India, just hires content development managers, whose core skill sets is ID, but their role turns out to be that of a vendor manager and content reviewer, as Microsoft (in India) outsources elearning work to 3rd parties.

4. Oracle has Oracle University that provides services or graphics, editing and publishing to the other Business Units who need this for a price, but several times the BUs choose to have only IDs who would be required to create their own content, whether ILT, elearning, demos, etc using rapid development tools, to optimize the cost and get maximum output. Here IDs sometimes work as technical writers and TW sometimes write courses to optimize the cost. I was wanting to bring this up as a discussion in my blog sometime.

I hope this gives you a picture that once multi-nationals have entered they have changed the way in which companies work on elearning.
Is what Sreya sees going on in the Indian eLearning market any different than what you're seeing in your market? What differences are there in the different markets that stand out to you?

Photo Credit: Corner Pocket - Day 42 by Vox Efx

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Video Games, Tire Swings and Learning

My almost six-year old son LOVES video and computer games:  Wii, Nintendo 64, computer, my iPod Touch. 

I struggle with this.   Trying to strike a balance between how much is ok for a five year old to play (if he should play at all) and going with the Everything Bad is Good for You mentality.  Trying to embrace the notion that he is of the next generation.

Son was struggling with a certain game for quite a while.  The big boss was really hard to beat and after countless attempts, even my husband gave up.

tireswingChange scene to an indoor playground a few weeks ago.  My son engrossed in conversation with a 7 year old as they sit on a tire swing.  The topic?  Video games.  And how to beat this particular boss.

This week, my son beat the boss in one try.  All by himself.  Turns out Playground Kid made a suggestion about which characters he should choose to play on his team.  He didn't know exactly which ones to pick, but it got Son thinking.  Son carefully selects the right team and wins. 

Elation.  Triumph.  Joy.

Photo credit:  tire swing by without you

Monday, March 16, 2009

Learning to Work, Working to Learn

This post is my contribution to this month's Work/Learning Blog Carnival hosted by the venerable Dave Ferguson.

The last time I posted for this carnival (almost a year ago!) I wrote about trying to build learning into work when you're just too busy doing work.

This go-round, I'm at the other end of things: in a much-needed lull between projects, taking a breather. Opening my eyes, looking around, and seeing what I can see. A great time to brush up on skills, seek inspiration, and learn learn learn.

Here's what I've been doing lately on the job:


I've been tinkering around with new and old tools, expanding my skill set.tinkertoys


I've been learning the basics of using Adobe Audition for sound recording and have been creating narration for a course we're currently building. This reminds me how much I like to make stuff.


Tom Kuhlman's got some great demos and exercises on his Rapid eLearning Blog, like this one on building an eLearning Template in PowerPoint.

Getting Inspired

Looking at what other, more creative people are building for eLearning seems like a no brainer.

Here's some of what I've been tapping into lately for instructional design inspiration:

What else should I be looking at? What are you looking at?


I'm still in the midst of The Adult Learner by Malcolm Knowles et al. My attention has admittedly wandered to shinier, more gripping things.

I've got a long wish list going in Amazon of books I'd like to read. Just need to make some decisions and add them to the cart. At the moment, my book wish list includes:

Be sure to check out Essential Reading for Instructional Designers for more great book ideas. Have any to add?


Things don't seem to stick in my brain the way they used to.

Now's a good time to go back and thumb through some of my old favorites be they books, blog posts, articles, whatever. I pull something off my shelf (Essential Reading for Instructional Designers ) or head over to delicious and browse my bookmarks.

Sharing & Digesting

New Baby Bird Rehabbers

Since 2006/7, my blog had been my main vehicle for chewing things over and spitting them back up. The past year has seen a reduction in my posting. Some of that gap because I feel like I've said it all already. Some of the gap has been sheer laziness.

Since September, I've been blogging less because I've been twittering more. twitter_logo_125x29I wasn't at the eLearning Guild's Annual Gathering this year, but I felt close thanks to Twitter. So many resources to share.

Follow me @cammybean if you want to see what all the fuss is about.


evernoteI've just discovered Evernote and I heart it. It's my new brain and it arrived just in time (my old one was getting kind of worn).

My iPod Touch synchs up with my desktop synchs up with the web version. Amazing. I anticipate this tool quickly becoming a best friend.

Check out eQuixotic's award winning Articulate piece for a nice view of Evernote's capabilities.

How do you learn at work? What are your favorite tools? Where do you go for inspiration?

Photo credits:

Monday, March 09, 2009

Flashback: DIY vs. Formal Learning

I was looking through my blog recently, finding some old nuggets from my early days (which was all of two years ago!)

This post stood out: DIY vs. Formal Learning.

So what's changed in the past two years with the rise of social media tools? Are more people doing it themselves? Is the economy pushing that change?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The 60-Minute Masters

Because repetition is a key ingredient of learning, I've just spent the last 30-60 minutes reviewing Clive Shepherd's The 60-Minute Masters, a brief primer on creating good eLearning, rapidly.

I urge you to do the same.

Pledge to End Hunger

I was pledge #431. For each pledge made via the online form, Tyson will donate 35 lbs of food product (the equivalent of 140 servings).

It’s really easy. Just go to the website and do it. You can choose to share this website with others, volunteer your service, and/or donate to Share Our Strength.

It's just five minutes. To do everything, including write a blog post.

If the goal of 1,000 people taking the online pledge is reached, a semi-trailer filled with 140,000 meals will arrive at the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas in Austin during the SXSW ’09 Interactive Festival.

What pledge # will you be? Go to Pledge to End Hunger now.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Design Lively Elearning with Action Mapping

Cathy Moore has just announced the release of her eLearning Blueprint. Looks like a really useful tool for helping map out an eLearning project.

This slideshow gives you a peek into the approach: