Wednesday, December 08, 2010

And a Clicky-Clicky Bling-Bling to You!

2094567877_e7acdffcc8 With the holidays upon us, let’s string out the sparkly lights and dazzle our eLearning program with lots and lots of clicky-clicky bling-bling!!!

(This is my new, patented eLearning term.  Y’all can use it, too.) 

What is clicky-clicky bling-bling?  It’s eLearning with lots of whiz, lots of bang, lots of clicky-clicky in a lame attempt to add pizzazz to dry content and to make it more engaging

But once you unwrap the sparkle, sadly, all you’re left with is a load of eLearning junk…

Don’t mistake clicky-clicky bling-bling for “engagement.” It’s just shiny wrapping paper covering up a pair of crummy socks with holes in them.

Read on for more on clicky-clicky bling-bling and other tidbits in this month’s addition to the eLearning Top Tips library:  Tip #47: Three Holiday Wishes

Photo credit: Christmas lights by George Deputee on Flickr

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Introducing Totara! Webinars in December.

We had fun at DevLearn last month giving some sneak peeks of the new Totara LMS.  If you missed us on the stand, now’s your chance!

totaralms If you haven’t heard yet about Totara, it’s a new corporate distribution of Moodle. 

It includes a wide range of features designed to meet the specific needs of corporates, including competency management, staff development plans, team management, individual and corporate dashboard reporting, and the management of classroom events.

The new Totara distribution of Moodle is open source and available on a subscription basis which provides ongoing support and enhancements.

Totara officially launches in January 2011.

The nine webinars will take place on 15th, 16th and 21st December. There will be three webinars each day to cover Pacific, European and US time zones.

The webinar covers:

  • Overview of Totara
  • Demonstration of key features including: competency management,  team management, individual development plans and reporting
  • Subscriptions, hosting and support

To register for the webinar: Totara LMS.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chicago Based e-Learning Developer? We're looking!

Are you based in Chicago? Are you an e-Learning Developer? If not, do you know someone who is?

We're looking for some new talent to join our growing team:

Great people are the heart and soul of Kineo. We seek the talented, the experienced and the exceptional. We offer a great working environment, competitive compensation and the opportunity to work with great clients.

We are currently looking for bright enthusiastic people to join our e-learning development team.

Ideally, you will:

•be highly IT literate and love learning new software
•have experience with commercial eLearning development tools like Articulate and Captivate
•have knowledge of Flash, HTML, Photoshop and other web development tools
•be able to demonstrate a good eye for layout and brand
•be passionate about quality and have an eye for detail
•be well organized with great communication skills

Position Type: Full Time

State/Province, Country: Chicago, IL USA

Interested? email

More Information:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Three Tips for Putting the Humanity Back into E-Learning and More Top Tips

Oh, the humanity!  Is your e-Learning turning out more like a horror show for zombies than a program that actually helps, gasp, people?

Three tips for stopping the horror and putting the humanity back in:

  1. Start with the learner, not the content
  2. Get emotional
  3. Watch your tone

For more of the meat on this one, read the full top tip on our website: Tip 44: Where’s the humanity?

And be sure to check out more top tips, including the latest: Tip 45: Video – bring out your inner guerilla

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Live in NY! It’s Kineo…

Wednesday, November 10, Kineo hosted a live workshop in New York on rapid eLearning in the Enterprise.

We started the morning with introductions, asking people to share their burning issues.  Here’s some of what people shared:

  • I’m a one-stop-shop – how do I learn more about tools?
  • How do I speed up the process?
  • Our sales team just wants text messages.
  • My biggest problem is Apple’s war on Flash.
  • How do I create more effective training?
  • What about audio narration – am I doing it right?
  • A lot of courses in a short amount of time.  How do I engage learners in a short time with a limited budget.
  • Our challenge is creating eLearning for teachers when they can’t install anything on their computers.
  • My bugaboo is that YouTube is blocked in schools.
  • How do I scale development while maintaining instructional integrity?

The New York workshop included short sessions from Kineo’s Mark Harrison, me!, and Tom Kuhlmann of Articulate.  Here’s a quick rundown of what we each talked about:

Kineo’s Mark Harrison on Learning Models:

How often do you need to have an interaction?  The myth of needing an interactive exercise every 3-5 screens.  That is often the closest to a learning model that most interactive designers get. (A very simple model).

We need models to help stop the stream of consciousness writing.  These structures are crucial to building better elearning and can actually help you speed up the process.

  • Knowledge and skill builder model (tutorial) – great for policies, processes, and procedures
  • Scenario model – learn and apply or simulation – great for decision making, soft skills, and policies, processes and procedures
  • Process or Systems training model (show me, try it, test me)

Mark tells the story of a 3 hour certification program he had to take before he could travel to a country abroad.  He had to pass the test before the ticket was issued. His solution? Screen grabs of the entire program that he then referred to as he took the test.  Is this what your learners are doing? Maybe you need to rethink your programs…

So let’s take a closer look at those models:

Knowledge and Skill builder (a variation on Gagne’s 9 Events):

  • Get attention
  • Set direction
  • Present info
  • Exemplify and practice
  • Assess and summarize
  • Action and support

See Kineo Design Hour: Learning Models presentation for more details.

AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action (see the Kineo Top Tip: Learning from the Ad Men)

Cammy (that’s me!) on tone and writing for elearning:

Five guidelines:

  • Keep it light
  • Give it spirit
  • Have a conversation
  • Call for action
  • Be adult

See the Kineo Design Hour: Tone of Voice presentation for more details.

Tom Kuhlmann The Rapid eLearning Story

Many of the people Tom talks to are one/two person eLearning shops.  As we evolve in our eLearning journeys, we often follow this path:

  1. “convert this course” (when you’re just getting started, you need to get it online)
  2. “make it look better” (I see that my course could look better. How do I do that better without being a graphic designer?)
  3. “make it interactive” (how do I make my courses more learner-centric?)

1. Convert the course

Provide a structure for the course. When you’re just getting started, this structure can work well: welcome; instructions; objectives; section of content – intro, object, content, wrapup; assessment; summary

Basic graphic design principles:

CRAP: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity

Using graphics to craft meaning (it’s not just eye candy)

  • The Non-Designer’s Design Book Robin Williams
  • Slide-ology Nancy Duarte

If you want to be able to create more interesting PPT presentations, you need to learn more about PPT.

You’re developing meaning as you put things on the page.

Great resources from Cathy Moore:

Take a company policy and build it the typical way, then apply “dump the drone” – before and after

Create your own eLearning style guide – and then tell the marketing department that’s what you use for eLearning.

Working with SMES: SMES don’t care about learning theories. Show them before and after.

 2. Make it look better

If it looks good, people will be more interested. the aesthetic is important.

Visual design creates meaning. We direct the learner’s attention through layout and what we put on screen and where.

Visual voice – imagine a western movie poster. It has a “voice” – probably a bit dusty, frayed, font is in that “Wanted” style.

Give your course a visual voice.

Tom describes a mind mapping process they use to create a visual identity for a program

3. Make  it interactive

Some rapid ID models you can follow to assemble your course:

Information & Interaction

one track that gets information in linear mode OR one track that gets right into the interactive mode

(See Christian Aid course example that Tom and Dave Anderson built for Lingo’s -- on Tom’s blog)

RSI – Rapid Situational interaction

Place your content in a relevant situation – you get all of your content in this route, but it’s presented through the situation.

The Usual Suspects

Have a situation (some context),…interviewing or surveying some choices – see Tom’s blog for examples.

Wrapping it up

All in all it was a great event – although it went by in quite a blur!  Thanks to all of you who attended and I just wish we’d had some more time for chatting at the end.

Monday, November 08, 2010

eLearning Pros: What did we want to be? #dl10

In prep for last week’s DevLearn closing session, I ran a little survey on my blog asking eLearning professionals what they wanted to be when they grew up.

Here’s the word cloud from those results:


Very, very interesting…

Granted, these results are surely skewed to those of you who actually read my blog…but nevertheless says something about who we are.  What say you? 

Saturday, November 06, 2010

DevLearn, Reflected #dl10

As always, the eLearning Guild puts on a great show and this year’s DevLearn in San Fran was no exception. Heading home completely exhausted and in dire need of a foot rub – good signs of all the action there was.

Life as a booth babe

At the Kineo booth, we were busy on the stand talking about Totara – the new open source LMS for corporates – and showing off some our custom eLearning projects.

I was joined on the booth floor by our US CEO Steve Lowenthal, our new Director of Totara Jonathan Newman (who’s quite the smarty pants on open source and Moodle – welcome Jonathan!); and two of our colleagues/founders from the UK, Steve Rayson and Mark Harrison.

It’s really cool to talk to hear what eLearning challenges (and triumphs) people are facing in their own organizations. Best part of being a booth babe!

I had the chance to occasionally wander away from our booth and check out a bit of the other expo floor action:

  • Saw a few glimpses of Allen Interaction’s new Zebra authoring tool
  • Got to see a brief demo of Lectora Inspire
  • Checked out the buzz at the Open Sesame stand (an online market place for your eLearning courses – think iTunes for eLearning)
  • Saw the cool dudes from Bloomfire who are firing things up with social community
  • Talked ARGs with the team from Tandem Learning who created the Dr. Strangelearn alternate reality game for the show and wore some really snazzy lab coats
  • And, as always, got to see Tom Kuhlmann in all of his Articulate awesomeness.

Talking non-stop at DemoFest for two hours

DemoFest is a blast but boy oh boy is it exhausting.

I showed off a project I did for Paul Mitchell – a Moodle learning portal for sales reps complete with a program on color basics, interactive product knowledge brochures, a virtual salon to apply what they’ve learned and convince a salon owner to go with their products, and a final challenge.

My voice is shot from that experience…that’s for sure.

Congratulations to Kevin Thorne (@Learnnuggets) for winning best of show at DemoFest!

A smattering of keynotes and sessions

When you’re exhibiting in the expo it’s a bit hard to partake in many sessions, but I did get to jump into some of the keynotes: really great stuff by John Seely Brown (my blog attempt here), Byron Reeves on Engagement and Marcia Connors on the new social learning.

Sumeet Moghe ran a fun breakfast byte session on Friday, exposing the myths of eLearning. (He’s also done a mad job of live blogging his notes, so be sure to check out his blog!)

I had a quick poke in to hear what Sarah Kesher Sound80 had to say about audio in eLearning. Couldn’t stay but will definitely look for their slide deck.

Neil Lasher delivered to a packed house about the science of design – ran us through some research on fonts and layouts. (ITC Garamond wins!) In

teresting stuff. His slides should be up soon on the DevLearn site.

Final keynote session

My personal highlight was getting to be part of the final keynote session. Very cool to be a part of that – up on stage with some amazing people: Richard Cullatta, Aaron Silvers (aka “the beard” or “Mr. SCORM”), Jane Bozarth, Ellen Wagner and Gina Schreck.

We each got our five minutes of fame to tell the world our big idea.

I’ll try to get my slides in shape and post on slide share so you can check out my big idea – it involved pie. Intrigued? Or maybe hungry? I mean, what’s not to like about pie?

But it’s the informal stuff that REALLY matters

I don’t know if it’s possible to document all the random hall conversations while collapsed on the couch, but let me tell you, that’s where the real learning and connection happens. Got to meet so many people face to face for the first time, meet some new names and faces, and snark with the usual gang of suspects.

I feel a bit like a showboater if I try and tell you all the people I got to hang out with – but, wow, it does make a girl giddy!

(Mark Oehlert has the idea that next time we should just all get together and hang out on bean bag chairs for a few days. I’m so in.)

If you want to know more, I suggest you follow the #dl10 tweet stream on Twitter!

Looking forward to the next one!

Kudos to Brent Schlenker and all of the eLearning Guild team for putting on another great learning geek fest. See y’all next time! (And Brent, note bean bag chair idea above…)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

John Seely Brown The Power of Pull #dl10 Keynote

These are my live blogged notes during the Wednesday keynote at DevLearn (non-edited version – apologies for any typos, etc.!) – I didn’t get through the whole keynote – had to get to our booth as the Expo starts while the keynote is still going…and my loud typing was just too annoying.

Clark Quinn has done a nice mindmap of the entire keynote -- worth checking out.

But here goes.


John Seely Brown -- A new culture of learning in a world of constant change

The emergence of a new culture of learning in a world of constant change.

learning on demand – how you pull, not push.

A simple belief: the old institutions aren’t hacking it very well. Nor are our schools.

We have to look at things differently.

20th century infrastructure built on roads, cars, ships, etc. – scalable efficiency became the goal (the more you do something the better you get.)

The trouble with this insight – that curve is a diminishing returns curve. We now scramble faster and faster to stay in place – we have to work that much harder to make the same amount of improvement we used to make.

predictable, hierarchy, control, org routines, minimize variance – the core of scalable efficiency.

This transferred over to our 20th century push-based education system. Predictable curriculum, standards based, authority focused.

The 21st C. infrastructure is driven by the continual exponential advances of computation, storage, etc.

having to relearn fundamentals of computer science – the half life of a given skill is shrinking.

The big shift: Push vs. Pull

How do we enhance the imagination of our workforce? Creativity?

the 2nd shift: The explosion of data!

rethink how we learn, what we learn: Importance of the tacit (need to marinate in new situations)

DevLearn The New Face of Learning is Here! #dl10

Brent Schlenker kicked things off here at the DevLearn key note – talking about the new face of learning.  Which is you and me.

devlearn_that's_me!It really is! Brent explained the DevLearn logo is made up of images of eLearning Guild members.  And he said my name out loud to everyone – along with Clark Quinn and Tom Kuhlmann.  Holy cow!  I’m right above the woman’s left eye. I had no idea.

Reports have it there are 1600-1700 registered people this year.  And by the looks of the crowd, I believe it.

I’ve mostly been doing my booth babe duty on the Expo floor – things have been very busy in there!  Have popped my head into a few keynotes here and there, but seem to find most of my conversations and connections happening on the couches in front of the Expo hall. 

Will try to send occasional messages from the floor – my keyboard is too loud for the live blog notes that I like to take (I’ve been shushed one too many times and have finally learned.  Need a stealth keyboard for the next conference!)

Over and out.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Totara LMS: Open for Business

totaralms Eager to learn more about the new open source learning management system Totara?  The website is now open and ready for browsing:

And if  you’re going to be a DevLearn this week, we’ll be demonstrating Totara in all its open loveliness.  Stop by Kineo Booth #100.

San Francisco, see you soon!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The eLearning Coach

Connie Malamed's blog is one of my favorites. She writes thoughtful, well-researched articles on Instructional Design, using words like "cognition".

She's also written a great book on Visual Design.

If you're not reading The eLearning Coach yet, please add it right now to your list!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bob Mosher on Informal Learning and Performance Support

Informal Learning: Are We Missing  a HUGE Opportunity? with Bob Mosher of Learning Guide Solutions, presented by Massachusetts Chapter of ISPI and sponsored by Kineo

This real-live event happened October 21 in Westford, MA.

These are my notes, taken live during the workshop – mostly my transcription, no editorializing.  I have not gone back and cleaned things up, so apologies in advance for any incoherence…


Bob Mosher, LearningGuide Solutions

This workshop would be better as a series of 15 minutes lesson spread out over 1 1/2 months – not 1/2 day session. But we don’t usually have the $ to do that…

photo (4) “For far too long, training has used the smile sheet as the metric.”

Training typically ends at the event – how does that help the learner when they get to the point of performance?

3 domains: formal, informal, performance support.

If training is all you’ve got, then it better be REALLY good.

If you think through the full spectrum, then training becomes less important…

Performance support tools given out after a training event:

Leadership Competency Model Wheel– competencies are around the outer edge of the tool (e.g., leads people), subcategories, then specific ‘doings” – a wheel that you spin.

3 moments that we need to use performance support – we’ve missed this – right at the one moment is the one we focus on the most, but there’s also the before and after.  performance improvement comes in the before and after.

Before -- you can anticipate a bad thing coming (e.g., prepare for the performance review you’re about to give).

 After – the review went badly, so now you want to get better. “I was ill-prepared” – now I look back on the event and see where I can adjust.

(So this wheel is best used in the before and after moments – not something you’d use in the middle of the employee’s review meeting).

Part of performance support is encoding, decoding. Part of the problem w/training is that people can’t recall – performance support helps you remember and decode what you learned.  This is not to teach, but to enable.

Mobile Support

Mobile support for Herman Miller sales rep – pictures of all the chairs and products, click deeper to get more info on product –what’s the fabric, is it in stock?

Product Support Tool for a Call Center

Easily indexed catalog of products that reps can quickly access – great for “seasonal” content – e.g., insurance reps who handle calls on snowmobiles or boats

Needs to be easy to maintain, easy to access and use (so many call center reps are timed on their calls)

HTML based app – easy to program and maintain, familiar to users (it’s like browsing online which we all do, even Bob’s mom – ease of use, familiar environment).

Simple changes – user needs to be able to contribute to updates because they’re so close to the content.


Training groups haven’t changed to support the design of performance support.

Principles of Effective Performance Support

  • it has to be contextual (as native to what the learner does as possible)
  • Form factor has to meet the needs of the learner
  • Visually decodes learning and recall (we set up mental hooks to content – we put things in our brain where there’s some similar associations)
  • Supports the entire learning process starting with formal instruction (performance support does not stand alone – Bob is not a training basher – it’s an enabler).

    Why should I train stuff that they can look up? I need to tell them that it’s there to look up.  Teach the performance support tool.
  • Not JIT (just in time), but JET (just enough training)
    "We’ve confused accessibility with relevance.”

A working definition:  “Performance support is providing intuitive, tailored aid to a person at his or her moment of need to ensure the most effective performance.”

What does the learner want?  They want to know how to bold the text, not the history of bolding!  We don’t need performance support tools that start, “In this lesson, you will learn…”

Captain Sully used a job aid to land the plane on the Hudson.  He’d had lots of training, but he’d never landed a plane without engines.  He had 2 1/2 minutes!

Someone in audience shares how in training for their call center, people create their own job aids.

The classic cognitive chunk of recall 7 +/- 2 tidbits of information.

Mastery (the training event, the e-learning) vs. competency (applying what you’ve learned – performance support tools)

48 hours after the training event, we’ve retained about 33% of it – and that continues to slope down, unless you intervene with performance support.

 The Five Moments of Need:

1. When learning for the first time

2. When wanting to learn more

-----that’s the formal instruction part…but learners live below this line --

3. When trying to remember and/or apply

4. When things change

5. When something goes wrong

(the last 3 are performance support – application & maintenance of knowledge)

Blended learning is all five of these things!

we need to architect solutions and support for these

First architect for support and tools, then the training.

Performance support tool for designing performance support (session participants will get access to this tool!)

  1. conduct stakeholder analysis
  2. conduct learning asset analysis
  3. conduct rapid task analysis
  4. conduct audience and critical skills analysis
  5. conduct delivery analysis
  6. designing learning components and experience

As part of training – you talk at conceptual level about the above steps, and then show you the tool – so you leave here understanding the principles and then you can apply in your own world

Choose the project (things to consider: business outcome, impact/reach, preexisting/new, scope, pressure to do?)

Start with asking for performance support, not training.

1. Identify and rate stakeholders

stakeholder = someone who’s affected by the outcome (they may not be a consumer of the training…they pay for it, they’re IT…)

internal L&D stakeholders and external L&D stakeholders

within that there are levels: 1st tier (high impact), 2nd tier (moderate impact)

Frontline managers become the most important stakeholder – they’re the #1 killer of perf support – if they don’t see it as aligning to the business value, they won’t give learners the time.

Ask the stakeholders for the missing stakeholders. 

Who can sabotage this?

Games, the 4 letter word of corporations (solitaire was a performance support tool to teach mousing skills – but corporates took it off the desktop!)

The key to it all: performance. (not teaching, not training)

2. Identify and rate existing learning assets

You have to know what you have.

Step 1 – go out amongst the masses, go out and ask “to do your job every day, what do you use?” Write down the learners’ answers.  Gather, don’t ask them to rate the assets.  This takes awhile.  Ask 10-20 learners (but be realistic).

Know what not to change.

List each learning asset (some of these things the training group will have never heard of!) – what’s the asset, who’s the stakeholder, what’s the maintenance?

The #2 killer of performance support is old data.

3. Rapid Task Analysis (RTA) TM (Conrad Gottfredson)

identify the tasks a performer must complete in order to complete specific work-flow processes

Conceptual information a performer must understand in order to generalize and complete tasks effectively.

Work-flow issues and choosing the right tasks – get to a behavior focused list, not a task list.

To design for the 5 moments of need, we need to design for processes, steps, concepts (too often we just get steps)

Don’t get caught up in the jargon of the tool/task, think in terms of the behavior (the humanity!)

4. Audience Analysis

Remember the part about “tailoring”?  Understand what tasks apply to whom.  Which tasks do you DO?

For the process you’ve defined, list out all the tasks and then map them to which audience group need that task.  (so you can tag the appropriate content to the appropriate processes)

What gets taught in levels 1 and 2 (the training)

“Live in the moment of consumption and performance, not knowing and being aware.”

Making the journey from know to apply…

Perform Critical Skills Analysis

Rate the tasks and the concepts.

You’ve rated things as 5 (very critical) down to 1 (not critical). Now map them to delivery (ILT, ILT lite, eLrn, PSS, Other)

The 5s get training and performance support, the 1s get performance support only.

5. Conduct Deliverable Analysis

employee modalities according to their instructional strategies:

  • paper (pro: portability)
  • human (pro: adaptability, con: inconsistent)
  • audio (pro: portability, access to experts and mass producing SMEs, con: maintenance)
  • video – which includes animation and simulations (pro: can take you places nothing else can!, con: maintenance)
  • computer (pro: accessibility, maintenance; con: overdesign)

Learning portals of the 90s were landing pages of stuff.  We assumed because you were adults, you’d get here and choose wisely.  But Ruth Clark tells us we can’t do that.

80% of adults have weak to poor meta-cognitive skills (Maggie Martinez research) – some people 20% see life analytically.  Metacognition is a teachable skill.

Need to give guidance, order, ranking, substance – to the list of assets we give our learners.  We can’t just give them a list of stuff! 

Need to provide structure.

Planners, Sidekicks and Quick Checks

Before: Planners – reference guides, CoP’s, Wiki, blogs, e-Learning

During: Sidekicks – job aids, context sensitive help, FAQ’s, coach/mentor, helpdesk, CoP’s – Twitter

After: Quick Checks – checklists, assessment tools, feedback loop

Let’s optimize these things realistically. 

The performance support broker (manages the experience) of all of these things.  The broker lives outside of the LMS, but it can hook back to it.

photo (3)

Let the learner drill down into the task – provide links to resources (other assets, including elearning that sits on an LMS) podcasts “in our own words” – so you can hear the voice of the expert. 

Not that different from a learning portal, but this has a methodology.

For performance support: start with steps (sidekicks), then deeper details (sidekicks, planners), practices/demos (planners), other resources (elearning) – go deeper.

The learner learns that they can go in and out and jump right to the elearning if they know they need more information.


  • pick a project and do something
  • join PS community
  • Register of the PS Wiki

Want more Bob?

If you’re interested in what Bob has to say and want to read more, here are my  blogged notes of Bob Mosher’s presentation last spring at Learning Solutions.

Find out more about Bob’s company LearningGuide Solutions.

If you want to dig deeper:

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Rapid eLearning Roadshow!

Kineo, Articulate and ARAMARK will be facilitating a free workshop on rapid e-learning for the enterprise on November 9th & 10th in Philadelphia and New York.

  • Liviu Dedes of ARAMARK will discuss how they’ve been implementing rapid eLearning at ARAMARK.
  • Mark Harrison of Kineo talks about Learning Models.
  • Cammy Bean (that’s me!) shares tips about writing for eLearning.
  • Tom Kuhlmann of Articulate will share some tips from going from PPT to interactive eLearning.

Join us!


For more info and to sign up:

For more information read the press release.

Email or call 888 414 5888 to schedule a slot.

Spaces are limited, so act now! Operators are standing by!

Announcing Kineo Totara – an open source LMS for corporates!

totaralmsIf you know Kineo, you know we’ve been talking up Moodle for a number of years. To date we’ve implemented somewhere in the range of 80-90 Moodles for corporate clients.

And now we’ve got something totarry cool to announce. I mean totally cool…

…the formation of a joint venture company to develop a distribute an open source Learning Management System for the corporate sector.

It’s called Totara.

Read the Totara press release here.

And if you’ll be at DevLearn in San Francisco in November, be sure to stop by booth #100 where we’ll be giving sneak previews of Totara!

eLearning Professionals: What did YOU want to be when you grew up?

Please share this post with your eLearning colleagues -- I'm gathering data for DevLearn and would love to include as many examples as I can! Thanks :)


All jokes aside (“I’m no grown up!” or “I’m still trying to figure that out…”), take a step back in time.

I’m thinking back to that early teenage-young adulthood time when you were (perhaps) starting to get a sense of yourself and your aptitudes and hopes and dreams and schemes.

What did you see yourself doing as an adult? What did you want to be?

I’m putting this question out to the vast group of people who make up the eLearning profession – be you an instructional designer, an LMS administrator, a graphic artist, a sales consultant. You’re an eLearning professional now – but where did you see yourself way back when?

Free form your answer in the ‘other’ field in the poll widget on my blog (unless you’re being some kind of wise ass and then you can choose one of the other options).

I’m picturing a word cloud of our responses (as part of my prep for my upcoming session at DevLearn) so thanks for sharing and I’ll be sure to share back with you!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Clark Quinn is on the case! Solving the crimes of ID Malpractice…

There’s nothing like unraveling a good mystery…

Clark Quinn and I take a crack at solving the crime of instructional design malpractice –happening now in an e-learning  module near you!

Listen to the conversation here in my latest edition of the Kineo Talks audio series.

Kineo Newsletter goes out this week! Are you in?

My love affair with Kineo began back at issue # 1 of the monthly newsletter—lots of sharing of tips and trick and industry wisdom. 

kineonewsletterAnd now all these years later we’re just about to send out issue #59 and I find myself a regular contributor.  Who would have thunk?!

So have you signed up yet? It goes out in the next few days, so don’t miss out!

And if you want more ways to connect, check us out on Facebook.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Deciphering the Texts of Instructional Design

Granted, it's Sunday night after a jam-packed and exhausting weekend and my brain feels a wee bit dead. So here I am reading an Instructional Design textbook (Reigeluth, 1983) and I'm struggling with this one:

"External Conditions are those events outside the learner that activate and support the internal processes of learning. The appropriate provision of the external event is the framework for planning instruction."

I mean, come on.

Why do we make this so hard for ourselves?

Friday, October 01, 2010

I’m Special! Check out DevLearn 2010!


Whenever this particular eLearning Guild announcement hits my inbox, I blush a little and feel very, very special:


Hope you’re coming to DevLearn this year and be sure to connect. 

I’ll be hanging out a lot at the Kineo booth, and obviously mingling with some other REALLY SPECIAL eLearning types at Friday’s “Perspectives on Learning” keynote session.  Expect some interpretive dance numbers from the lineup…

Bob Mosher Workshop on Informal Learning

To all of my local Massachusetts colleagues and readers, be sure to put this event on your calendar and then get yourself there!

I’ll be there with bells on – and not just because the workshop is being held five minutes from my house, but also because Bob Mosher is an amazingly dynamic and engaging speaker with lots of practical ideas for your learning organization.

Hope to see you there!



Mass ISPI Fall 2010 Workshop, October 21

Informal Learning: Are We Missing a HUGE Opportunity?

Bob Mosher
Global Chief Learning Strategy and Evangelism
LearningGuide Solutions

Bob_Mosher_primaryThursday, October 21
7:30 AM-11:30 AM

Some research suggests that up to 80 percent of learning in the workplace occurs on an informal basis. Even with this being the case, most corporations spend more than 80 percent of their training budget and effort on formal training.

This workshop will address issues and methodologies surrounding understanding and effectively delivering informal learning, including e-communities (forums and synchronous environments) and electronic performance support systems (EPSS). See how some emerging and nontraditional methods are stepping up to fill this much needed training opportunity.

Westford Regency
219 Littleton Road
Westford, MA 01886

For more information and to register, click:

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Right Stuff: Jane on Objectives

I’m on a bit of a Jane Bozarth kick of late.  Really.  Just scroll down a bit in my blog and you’ll see it’s true.

So no surprise when I was doing some reading tonight on developing learning objectives that I stumbled on more Jane wisdom:

“So: Before developing the instruction don’t just write objectives. Write the right objectives. What is this person really supposed to do back on the job? What does “understand” mean, and what evidence will show you that understanding has occurred? Devotees of Bloom’s taxonomy will argue that learner performance like “listing” and “describing” can constitute what he called ”enabling” objectives. That may valid, but they should not be the only objectives: Employees are rarely asked to “list” or “describe” anything, so it’s critical to move on to behaviors closer to desired performance, not just knowledge. And: Enabling objectives are easy to write, and to develop bullet points for, and to develop training around, and to write a quiz to assess. If you feel the training really must address these, fine, but be sure to push past them on to things that more closely resemble real performance.”

-- Jane Bozarth

Read Jane’s full article here:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Power to the SMEs! – a Presentation the BBP Way

Today I presented a webinar through MyKineo:  Power to the SMEs!  Empowering subject matter experts to help create better eLearning.

It’s an interesting topic and one I’d like to dive into more with all of you…but what I really wanted to share was my presentation creation process!BBP

I’ve been reading Cliff Atkinson’s Beyond Bullet Points. Well, I started it but then didn’t get beyond the first few chapters – realized I really needed a project to try it out with as most of the book is the how-to-do-it part.  

I pulled my project together yesterday in about four hours – included hammering out content, figuring out the BBP storyboard template, grabbing graphics, and learning how to use PPT beyond the basics that I know.  I’m proud to say I mastered Slide Masters last night!

Here are some initial thoughts on the process and the outcome.

The BBP storyboard template

The storyboard template – really an outline tool – helped me sketch out the overall presentation first and organize my thoughts. 

Unlike my usual presentation creation style – I actually thought about it first and mapped out my ideas before vomiting them all over PPT! (True confessions of an ID turned presenter…)

BBP_storyboardThe template is a formatted Word document – if you buy the book you get it on the companion CD.  Once you complete the outline, you publish your “headlines” to PPT.

The structure

You start with an overall introduction – five slides that set the scene, identify the audience, introduce the challenge, present the hoped for outcome, and state the call to action (if you look at my deck, the call to action is “Help the SMEs see the forest and the trees with three key strategies”.

Next you create three key points to support the call to action.  Each key point gets three explanation slides.  An explanation slide then gets three detail slides which get into the nitty gritty details. 

Each slide gets a unique headline.  Gone are the bullet points.  And because you’re writing these at the outline stage – before you even get to your PPT, you can quickly see the structure and see where the gaps are.

Adding a visual theme

On my slide deck, I used slide masters to apply a distinct visual style to each of these three layers – the detail slides have a leaf in the corner, the explanation slides have a light shade of green, the key point slides are dark green with an image of a tree. 

The idea of this layer of visual design keeps the audience in tune with where you are, driving home that organizing vision.  And as a speaker I found it really helped me know where I was in the presentation.

Here’s a snapshot of part of the deck in slide sorter view – you can quickly see the structure


It’s a start…

OK, it’s not perfect.  I pulled this together in about four hours – but nothing like figuring it out as you go along.

I did NOT sketch out the slides in advance when it came to adding visuals, although this is a key part of Atkinson’s process.  It was getting late and I needed to get it done. 

I also did a half-ass job writing out the detailed content – my “transcript” so to speak.  Ideally, you write your script out so it’s all in the PPT Notes field.  If you’re look at my deck, you’ll miss all of the stuff I said, but perhaps you’ll get the idea.

In a few sections, I added more detail slides, blowing the whole holy trinity thing out of the water.  But it needed to be done…

Because it was an online webinar, I added a few questions here and there to increase audience participation.  That’s not part of Atkinson’s model.

I added some initial slides and some slides at the end to provide a final recap and some additional resources.  Not sure if that’s allowed in this system!

Check it out  and then share your feedback!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Social Media for Trainers: Blog Book Tour Stop #5

The Social Media train in on the move – and here we are at stop #5 of the Social Media for Trainers: Techniques for Enhancing and Extending Learning, (2010), Pfeiffer blog book tour. ®H

What is Social Media for Trainers? 

Why it’s Jane Bozarth’s latest offering to the corporate training community – a short, sharp look at using social media tools to enhance the instructor led classroom.

The book is full of hand-on practical advice – and overview of some of the key tools – and lots and lots of examples.

But don’t listen to my word on it.  Hear it yourself from the author, with whom I chatted – not once, but twice! – on the subject of said book.

Check out both of my auditory offerings:

Getting Social with Jane Bozarth – an audio interview broken down into eight short ‘chapters.’

Jane’s guest spot on the Instructional Design Live show on EdTechTalk.  (link lets you download a recording of our Elluminate session).

Get yourself a copy!

Once you’ve finished listening, go buy the book!

Check out Sasha’s e-learning blog

sashasscreenA new blog to add to your feed reader, chock full of instructional design tips as well as hands-on practical info and templates for you Articulate users. 

Here’s a really slick PPT template Sasha has created (and he’s even giving it away – what a guy!)

Check out Sasha’s e-learning blog!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Kineo Top Tip: Bring the learner into the design

Check out my latest eLearning top tip offering on our site:

Tip 42: Bring the learner into the design

Who’s at the heart of the eLearning design process?  Why the learner, of course!  And yet, the dear learner so often lies lonely and forlorn amidst the piles of binders, the loads of text bullets and the pages and pages of content.  So how can you bring them front and center?  Why, bring them into the design process! 

Read more…

Be good to get your thoughts.  What are ways you keep the focus on the learner during your design process, especially on rapid projects with tight, tight turnaround times?

ID Live Recorded Session with Jane Bozarth

some4trainers Here’s the recording for this week’s ID Live Show with very special guest, Jane Bozarth author of the newly released Social Media for Trainers: Techniques for Enhancing and Extending Learning.

You can access the recorded session here.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

ID Live: This Week with Jane Bozarth

It’s another round of some4trainersthe ID Live Show on EdTechTalk!

Join us this week on Friday, September 10 at 12:00 pm eastern for a chat with Jane Bozarth, author of the newly released Social Media for Trainers: Techniques for Enhancing and Extending Learning.

Put it on your calendars and join us at this link:

About Instructional Design Live:

A weekly online talk show, Instructional Design Live is based around Instructional Design related topics and is an opportunity for Instructional Designers and professionals engaged in similar work to discuss effective online teaching and learning practices.

Friday, September 03, 2010

ID Live: What’s Fun Got to Do With It?

Is fun a waste of time in online learning?

ID Live this week with co-hosts: Joni Dunlap (University of Colorado, Denver); Robert Squires (University of Montana); Mary Engstrom (University of Montana); Cammy Bean (Kineo)

The use of the word fun is dangerous in education – people perceive it’s about entertainment and not learning.

We can replace fun with compelling, engaging, sticky.  Stories and emotional connection, the unexpected – fun is one way of getting at those things.

Especially on the corporate front – fun seen as a waste. 

But fun with intent and purpose to help achieve learning objectives!

“People don’t pay attention to boring things.”  (Medina (2008), Brain Rules)

Strategies for integrating relevant fun…

Joni describes some activities in her online higher ed programs:

At course intro (this is for a higher-ed online program) – need to do a bio – which is important to creating community – instead of “tell me who you are” to “What are your superhero powers.  Include an explanation of how your powers are useful to you personally and/or professionally.”

These activities need to happen throughout the course – have ongoig bio activities (in a f2f classroom you get to connect in class) – Joni introduces an orienting activity every 3 weeks or so.  Virtual Paper bag  -- 5 images that represent that important areas of your life – share via Flickr.   Let’s you see what each other is all about…

As a follow up exercise, add a soundtrack (a playlist) for each of the images…what’s the slogan – ways to extend the exercise without starting from scratch every time.

Joni doesn’t call these fun…but they’re learning to use the tools, expressing themselves.

These activities are worth points towards the overall grade – if they matter. 

Twitter – a great way to stay connected

Caption this photo – get a photo and create a caption to it that is in the context of that week’s reading assignment as a way to represent understanding in a playful way.

Soundtracks – make up new lyrics to a song in a way that reflects understanding of the week’s contents..

Cloudbusting – create a word cloud of 20 words that represent who you are.  Or on a particular concept – to demonstrate your understanding of a particular concept.

Story galleries  -- give students a set of photos and have them tell the story based on the readings for the week that these 3 photos represent.

Fun strategies in assessment – look for alternative ways to represent what you know for assessment purposes. – create a scenario with two characters with opposing views on a topic.  Takes a lot of understanding to write a script for both sides of the topic!

Create a sense of anticipation – the unexpected is a powerful way to make it memorable.  (This is important to both students and faculty who have to keep teaching the same content over and over – the fun activities keep the teacher energized!)


About Instructional Design Live:

A weekly online talk show, Instructional Design Live is based around Instructional Design related topics and is opportunity for Instructional Designers and professionals engaged in similar work to discuss effective online teaching and learning practices.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

My brain, my devices, my addictions!

As I reach for my iPhone first thing in the morning to check my email, or see what’s happening on Twitter while I’m pushing a kid on the swing I’ve also been thinking about the rush of dopamine we must all get when we get a new email, twitter @ reply, blog comment, etc. 

Oh the thrill! Oh the excitement!  Oh the addiction!

How do you cope?  How do you manage to disconnect and maintain a semblance of balance? 

Some food for thought from the web of late:

From Lifehacker: 

Why Technology Is So Addictive, and How You Can Avoid Tech Burnout

From the New York Times: 

Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime

Outdoors and Out of Reach, Studying the Brain

(and then leave me a comment to give me my dopamine fix, please!  I need it .. I need it…)

Monday, August 30, 2010

What’s Your Experience? ID Degree or Certificate Program

A lot of people write to me asking for advice on how to break into the ID field or where to go get themselves a fancy graduate ID degree.

As a non-formally schooled ID, I can’t really help with this last question other than some vague direction.  (For part one of the question – well…I’ll come back to that another day).

So – to those of you who do have a degree or a certificate would you be willing to tell us your story? 

What school?  Was it online?  Why did you choose it?  What did you learn?  Did it help you get a job?  How much did it cost?  Was it worth it?  Would you do it again?

Share your thoughts in the comments – or write your own blog post and share the link in the comments.  Feel free to post anonymously if you’d rather.  Professor input on your own programs welcome. 

I just ask for honest input – no commercials or evil program bashing!

The community thanks you in advance…

Who has an ID degree?

If you’re curious, be sure to check out the results of the informal, non-scientific survey I’ve been running on this blog for the last couple of years:  Instructional Designers:  Do You Have a Degree in ID? 

The current stats (with 435 responses) show that 37% of practicing instructional designers have an advanced degree in the field.  You can view the latest results here (I think that link works – but it’s possible you need to be me to log in) or take the survey if you haven’t already.

More Resources

Christy Tucker has a great series on her blog:  Instructional Design Careers

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cliff Atkinson’s Beyond Bullet Points

BBP I’ve been slowly making my way through Cliff Atkinson’s Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 to create presentations that inform, motivate, and inspire.

While it’s geared toward the live, stand-up presentation (e.g., the sales presentation, the keynote, a lawyer’s opening arguments at a trial), there’s a lot to apply towards self-paced, asynchronous eLearning programs.

Atkinson draws greatly from Richard Mayer’s research and writings on principles for multimedia design (see Richard E. Mayer, Ed., The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning (Cambridge University Press, 2005). If you’ve ready any of Ruth Clark’s or Richard Mayer’s books you’ll find yourself in familiar territory:

“…writing out the text of your presentation on your slides and then reading it to your audience contradicts the widely accepted theory of dual channels.  You might assume that presenting the same information in multiple ways will reinforce your point.  But if you present the same information in two channels, you reduce the capacity of working memory and in turn reduce learning by creating what researchers call the redundancy effect.” (p. 46)

(Back to that age old question – should your audio narration read out loud the text on screen? No! No! No!)

In Chapter 2, Atkinson looks at three research realities that should drive your presentation design:

  1. Find the right amount of new information to engage the limited capacity of working memory without going into overload
  2. Engage both the visual and verbal channels
  3. Guide the working memory to integrate new information into long-term memory

These are the guiding principles to his design sensibility:  PPT slides with a strong headline, a strong visual and no text bullets (leave that to the live presenter to elaborate!)  Ultimately, the goal is to communicate and transfer knowledge – not to create a presentation.

The book provides a balance of theory and practical how-to advice, answering the question “why do I need to do this?” and then “how do I do this.”  He provides storyboard templates to help you create your initial structure, tips for writing and weaving a compelling story throughout.

For those of you who have been storyboarding your eLearning for years, his storyboard will be familiar – although it’s simplicity will astound!  He bases the template on three acts, creating a compelling arc to your presentation that will hook the learner in and keep ‘em engaged.

Whether you’re designing eLearning to be created in a PPT conversion tool like Articulate or Adobe Presenter – or working with a more custom, bespoke solution like Flash, I think you’ll find design principles that you can relate back to your own work.

Have you read this book?  Did you put any of this into practice?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Join us for ID Live this Week

This week on ID Live!

Zuochen Zhang and Rickard F. Kenny will be joining us to discuss their article: Learning in an Online Distance Education Course: Experiences of Three International Students.

Join the conversation, Friday at noon eastern at EdTechTalk.


About Instructional Design Live:

A weekly online talk show, Instructional Design Live is based around Instructional Design related topics and is opportunity for Instructional Designers and professionals engaged in similar work to discuss effective online teaching and learning practices.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Open Source Instructional Design by N. Eckel

open source ID

Another book for the to-read list: Open Source Instructional Design by Nathaniel Eckel (with a nice forward by our old friend, Professor Karl Kapp).

I’ve just started in on this one, so can’t give you too many details on this self-published book by Eckel, a Philly-based ID type.

Eckel’s premise: that traditional methods of ISD have created an adversarial relationship between the ID and the SME. He advocates a more collaborative, even friendly relationship, in which IDs teach basic instructional design to SMEs.

“The marketplace has shifted the dynamics to empower SMEs as never before, seemingly at the expense of IDs. This presents an opportunity for IDs to adapt and proactively reevaluate their relationship with SMEs. Instead of propogating a corrective, conflicted based relationship, IDs have an opportunity to become collaborative in nature and more productive.” (p. 14)

I like that he calls it “open source”…

Disclosure: Eckel sent me an unsolicited copy of the book. He did not ask me to review it, nor did I make any promises of endorsements.

Update: Be sure to check out this review from Clive Shepherd: Clive on Learning: Open source instructional design

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Readings Lists for Instructional Designers

3307127271_2f2d265477_mAmit Garg has posted a nice list of 22 essential books for beginning instructional designers

Which reminded me of an old post of mine from 2008:  Essential Reading for Instructional Design.

Lots of books to read, so get to work, you!

Photo credit:  bookworm by Oo_Dee_oO

Thursday, July 22, 2010

ID Live on EdTechTalk on July 23

This week's ID Live (Friday at noon eastern) looks like a juicy one!

If you're around (and not on vacation like myself), be sure to join in for a conversation following up on a recent thread on WCET regarding research that contradicts the DOE study’s findings on Evidence Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-analysis.

Shanna Smith Jaggar will be the guest to discuss the research and controversy.

Join the conversation, Friday at noon eastern at EdTechTalk.


About Instructional Design Live:

A weekly online talk show, Instructional Design Live is based around Instructional Design related topics and is opportunity for Instructional Designers and professionals engaged in similar work to discuss effective online teaching and learning practices.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reading Update

I had fancy notions as I went into my vacation to do some ID-related reading.

All I've managed to read so far is a Mary Higgins Clark who-dunnit that I found at the beach house and now I've started in on a John Grisham novel.

Oh well. Some times the mind needs to contract a bit...

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Closer Look at the Data: The Gender Pay Gap in e-Learning

Temple Smolen, writing in Learning Solutions Magazine, has done a thoughtful dive into the data to look more at The Gender Pay Gap in e-Learning (a rant we started when we first read the eLearning Guild's 2010 Salary Report!)

The gap is real. So what's a woman to do? Smolen says we in the e-Learning biz are "the epitome of change catalysts." Her suggestion:

Use the examples in the last section of the 2010 Salary and Compensation Report to calculate the fair “average” salary for yourself or your employees without gender as a variable. If you already enjoy fair or above average compensation without a gender bias, then congratulate yourself. If not, chart a course to enact a small change for you or your team.
She then suggests a few ways to go on and seek that change, but I won't be a spoiler. Go read the article.

Many thanks to Temple Smolen for continuing this conversation!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Beachward Bound

I'll be slipping out of this stream for a while and dipping my toes into the Atlantic for a bit.

See you soon!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Crowdsourcing: Authoring Tools & LMS Questions

I'm talking to an in house learning team as they work on developing a strategy around eLearning -- including authoring tools and LMS selection.

They've posed some questions to me that I was hoping to get your input on -- wisdom of the crowd and all that:

  • What should we look out for when selecting a tool to do simulation development or quizzing/evaluation?
  • Do we need a full-blown authoring tool like Lectora or Outstart if we already have something like Captivate?
  • What developments in elearning are becoming commonplace and how can we factor them into our tools selection?
  • What do your clients (or others in the biz) say they wish they’d done differently when they committed to an LMS and in-house development of elearning?
Leave your ideas in comments or feel free to email me directly cammybean @ gmail


My Summer ID Reading List

I have big plans for my summer reading. If I can get to one or two books on this list I'll feel like a hero.

My Summer Reading List

What are you hoping to read this summer?

Monday, June 28, 2010

eLearning Authoring Tools Mindmap

Trying to figure out what eLearning authoring tools to use? Not sure where to get started? Check out this collaborative eLearning Authoring tools Mindmap. I started it a year ago and my has it grown!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Two Faces of ePortfolios

These are my live blogged notes from this week’s Instructional Design Live show on EdTech Taclk with Helen Barrett, Ph.D.

An article by Helen Barrett:  Balancing the Two Faces of ePortfolios

The conceptual model of an online portfolio - multiple purposes:

1) learning & reflection – main activity around learning and collaboration

2) showcase achievement/accountability


These two activities need to work together.

Portfolio as workspace vs. showcase.

Collect evidence of learning in a variety of ways – a “collection of artifacts”.  But a portfolio is more than this collection – it needs to include the artifacts, but also some reflection on those artifacts.

Can hyperlink artifacts (assume all electronic) to a reflective journal (e.g., a blog) – many students are using their social networks as a way to document their life experiences (e.g., facebook and twitter). Some research showing that schools are starting to pay to attention to social networks in terms of learning.

The role of teachers and peers in this process?  Providing feedback.  Social networks provide a great place for this feedback – provide a conversation on and for learning.

The role of the teacher and the student is evaluation and assessment (self-assessment).

Most teach education programs are focused more on the showcase and not the workspace or the process.

ePortfolio as a process – rather than a product.

TEDTalk with Helen Barret on YouTube in Mumbai in February – the focus was on intrinsic motivation. 

How do you turn ePortfolios into intrinsically motivating process for the student?  The student needs to own the portfolio – it’s a lifelong process and not an assignment.  Don’t kill portfolios by making them a graded assignment!  (She references Daniel Pink’s Drive).

Ownership and intrinsic motivation:

  • Autonomy (how much control does student have over their own portfolio.  If it’s totally prescribed than it’s not theirs).
  • Mastery
  • Purpose (use portfolio to find purpose and explore passions)

If the portfolio is owned by the institution, then students won’t see it as a place to document their journey.

One school in Maine gives students a website with their own domain name as a graduation present!  This is the direction in which we should be going.

Need to focus (in teacher education programs) more on reflection – and helping students become reflective practitioners. 

Reflection should be personal and not prescriptive.

Regarding tools: what do you want to achieve and then pick the right tools (e.g., Google Apps for Education)


The recording of this session will be available at Instructional Design Commons.

About Instructional Design Live:

A weekly online talk show, Instructional Design Live is based around Instructional Design related topics and is opportunity for Instructional Designers and professionals engaged in similar work to discuss effective online teaching and learning practices.