Friday, February 26, 2010

ID Live with Charles Reigeluth on EdTechTalk

This week on Instructional Design Live on EdTechTalk.

reigeluthCharles Reigeluth, University of Indiana, Bloomington – authored numerous articles and books.  Best known for Instructional Design Theories and Models.

(These are my live blogged notes from the session).

People learn at different rates.  And yet in our education and training systems we attempt to teach a fixed amount of content in a fixed amount of time.  Our systems are designed not for learning, but sorting.

This made sense in the industrial age (we separated the laborers from the managers, etc).  Doesn’t make sense in the information age.  We find that knowledge work has replaced manual labor as the predominant form of work.  Need to educate people to higher levels. 

We need a system of education that’s focused on learning, not sorting.  We need to hold achievement constant at a mastery level and allow each learner the time they need to reach mastery.  This requires a more customized approach to education and training instead of one-size-fits all.

Most important for instruction in information age paradigm:

  • Think in terms of a task space (project-based learning, problem-based learning, inquiry-based…) – students work together on a task until they encounter a knowledge gap.  Then they jump out to an instructional space.
  • Generality, practice, feedback (tell them how, show them how, let them do) – if any of those 3 elements is missing from instruction, learning will be more difficult for students.
  • Practice until pre-determined level of mastery is achieved.  Allows student to generalize skill.
  • Feedback on practice helps learner learn skill. 

Our systems are getting a lot more complex:  horse & buggy < trains < airplanes…

As they get more complex, there’s longer period of time between inception of system and reaching upper level of performance.  Lots of supporting systems need to be developed to support a complex system.

In the new paradigm of education/training – we’re now at the bottom of the S curve.  Can’t expect to achieve what this paradigm will be capable of in 30 years.

What does that new paradigm look like?  He has been doing research on this.

Teacher roles:

  • Teachers role needs to change to guide on side (not sage on stage).
  • Standup mode of teaching needs more self-directed learning, project-based learning.
  • Teacher needs to be a designer of student work, a facilitator during that work, a mentor for the student (sticks with a student for a number of years - “looping”).
  • The teacher no longer needs to be the full source of expertise – teacher can be learning subject with students instead of teaching students. 
  • Teacher as guide on the side is no longer the subject matter expert. (Marlene argues that teacher needs to have some expertise in subject matter.)

Parent roles:

  • Parent role needs to change – parents need to be more involved in supporting child’s education – helping child decide what to learn and helping child how to learn it.
  • In corporate sector – a person’s boss needs to be involved in someone’s training and preparation.

Question from @kelly_smith01  How does performer know they are performing something wrong?  Is there feedback? – can build this kind of detection into an online task space.  Natural consequences that emerge from poor performance are usually sufficient to let student know they should reach out for some instruction.

“One of the most powerful ways to learn something is to teach it.” 

Reigeluth recounts his own experience of 3 years in school studying economics vs. 1 year of teaching it.  Peer learning is so important.  The expert forgets the challenges when first starting to learn a subject.

Technology needs to play a different role.

Based on comments in article in 2008 published in Educational Technology --

4 major roles or functions that tech has got to server for this new paradigm to be successful:

1. Attainment based progress – students only move on once they’ve mastered.  We need to keep track of what students have mastered.  An inventory of attainment.  Recordkeeping for student learning.

  • a standards inventory
  • a personal inventory
  • a personal characteristics inventory (your interests, your learning styles)

2. Planning Function – given what a student has already mastered, what’s in zone of proximal development.  What’s student ready to learn next?  What fits into student’s career plan?  What do you want to learn next?  What projects to do next to learn that?  Matching students with other students.  Identifying roles the teacher will play?  The parent?  How will they provide support to this project?  Deadlines and contracts.  Contract spells out what the student is going to do – the project, the deadlines, the roles.

3. Instruction – once all those plans are done, students would begin working on task – periodically jumping out to the instruction space and sometimes back to the task space.  Interactive resources (technology) to be used for both task and instruction space.

4. Assessment Function – needs to be integrated with the instruction function. As student is practicing a skill, the formative and summative assessments are both provided automatically.  That information is then automatically fed back to the record keeping system.

All 4 of these functions are seamlessly integrated in this system – an integrated learning systems.  “Personalized Integrated Educational System” (PIES).

Use open educational resources, open architecture, Facebook type interface/portal – for students and teachers.

Many secondary functions such as communications, email, blogs, wikis, web 2.0 tools, data capture, demographics, etc.


The audio recording for this session will be available at Instruction Design Commons.

Coming up Next on ID Live!  March 5:   A conversation with Professor Karl Kapp.  Join us Friday at noon eastern at

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kineo Insights Webinar: Kronos Moodle Case Study

Today as part of the Kineo Insights webinar series – a conversation on open source.  The following are my notes from Part 2 of the webinar: Our Journey: Harnessing Moodle to Deliver Customer Training

kronos-logo Kronos – Scott Severn and Lynn Bennett – manage the customer training team for Kronos.  Kronos delivers products and services to customers managing workforce.

Scott and Lynn are with customer services group and deliver training to customers – through Moodle.


  • How we’re using Moodle from customer usability.
  • Why we chose Moodle as a platform.

Kronos had a vast library of elearning content to help customers betters use products.  A long list of courses that the user had to identify what was relevant learning.

6 months ago started working with Kineo to take new approach to subscription site.  Decided to stay with Moodle.  Now the system identifies relevant learning – put together a wizard to be much more supportive of audience. 

Users can now create a My Learning page to find the content they needed.

Vastly changed the Moodle’s look and feel.

A great place for customers to reinforce what getting in ILT, to help new hires on board, to enhance usability of Kronos products.

Why Moodle?

2 1/2 years ago – Knowledge Pass Subscription offering was first released on Moodle.  Compared it to a # of diff open source offerings as well as large commercial systems and smaller vendors as well.

  • Decided would rather spend money on support and implementation rather than licensing.  Low start up costs helped us out (no licensing fees; minimal server requirements).  Annual cost of hosting with a hosting vendor was cheaper than licensing options with commercial vendors.
  • Professional support available through numerous support vendors.
  • Easy to implement
  • Relatively easy to modify (use in house programmers to do simple changes to PHP codes – not a huge risk)

In January, did a redesign with Kineo.  But first did an analysis to see if should stay with Moodle.  Looked again at commercial LMS options, but chose to stay with Moodle. 

  • Kineo customizations gave granular security – customer A sees certain products, customer B sees different set of products.
  • Implemented Moodle’s Flash video module – created fabulous video experience.
  • Integrated Moodle’s mySQL database to integrate with Kronos’ internal reporting system –


Does Moodle have support for competency based role analysis?  Out of box, Moodle doesn’t have competency or role based training.  But Kineo has done some customizations.  We’ve also taken that one step further to do a gap analysis.  This has become a common request from corporate customers.  Looking at how to use Moodle for more traditional HR functionalities…corporate world is taking open source much more seriously.

Did Kronos want open source or proprietary?  Kronos considered both, but Moodle won when weighing the pros and cons.

 Did Kronos use a score card?  How should we evaluate these tools?  Download Sakai and Moodle and try ‘em out!  It’s free.

You can access Part 1 of the webinar here: The Truth About Open Source: A conversation with  Michael Korcuska, Executive Director  of Sakai.

Join us for our next Kineo Insights webinar:

March 11, 2010: eLearning Insider: Challenges and Best Practices for Internal Development Teams

8:00 AM Pacific/10:00 AM Central/11:00 AM Eastern/4:00 PM UK

  • Rory Lawson, Instructional Design, Manager Learning Design, Learning HSBC Group Management Training College (UK)
  • Anne Marie Laures, Principal at Laures Consulting, former Director Learning Services at Walgreens
  • Ellen Wagner, Partner Sage Road Solutions, former Sr. Director Worldwide eLearning Adobe Systems

Click here to register.

Kineo Insights Webinar: The Truth About Open Source – a conversation with Sakai’s Executive Director

Today as part of the Kineo Insights webinar series – a conversation on open source. The following are my notes from Part 1 of the webinar: The Truth About Open Source: A conversation with Michael Korcuska, Executive Director of Sakai.

sakai logo

The Truth About Open Source

  • Who writes the code?
  • How safe is it?
  • Is it really free?
  • And other burning questions about source…

Poll #1: How many of you currently use open source LMS?

  • 5% currently use one
  • 95% do not use an open source LMS.

Poll #2: What do you consider the primary benefits of an open source LMS?

  • Cost (55%)
  • Avoiding vendor lock-in (40%)
  • Ability to customize (70%)
  • License flexibility (35%)
  • Other (20%)?

Poll #3: What are the biggest barriers to open source LMS?

  • No support/Accountability (58%)
  • Sustainability risk -- how long will that product be there? (37%)
  • Total cost of ownership (32%)
  • Difficulty to maintain (68%)
  • Lack of security/quality control (53%)

Poll #4: Who is the audience for your training?

  • Employees (60%)
  • Customers (30%)
  • Partners/Resellers (5%)
  • Consumers/Public (5%)
  • Other (5%)

Michael Korcuska – big picture issues with open source LMS.

Michael is the Executive Director of the Sakai Foundation – open source Course/Learning Management System focused in education space (a “competitor” to Moodle). In the open source world, these projects tend to be friendlier than Google vs. Microsoft :)

Sakai started in 2004 – collaboration of universities (Michigan, Indiana, Stanford, MIT, Berkeley). – 5 schools with homegrown systems. Inefficient to build 5 systems; figured they were already experts in learning. Now used in over 200 institutions around the world. Used by some companies. Primary market is higher ed, k-12.


Is it really free? Free beer you can enjoy in moderation without long term costs. But a free puppy – requires care and feeding. Long terms costs to maintain that are much higher than any initial purpose costs.

Open source isn’t free. No license costs. You can direct that savings to other areas.

But it’s free as in freedom! No one tells you what you can do with the software. Or that you can’t keep running it or that you have to upgrade or customize with this fee. Freedom to do what you want to do with the software.


Who you gonna call? There’s no “one throat to choke”.

Is support going to be better in a proprietary company or an open source support?

If you hire someone like Kineo – they survive only on the quality of their support. You can always take your business somewhere else! This pressure on support vendors works in the customers favor. Support providers know who butters their bread.


Perception of risk associated with open source -- “it’s not as safe” “there may be more bugs”…”security”

There is really no fundamental difference between os and proprietary.

Open source code is open from the first moment – see bugs earlier, fix before goes into production – lots of eyes! Look at the track record of the orgs behind the development of the project.

Your comfort needs to come from who’s using the product in production? If there aren’t a lot of reported bugs and security concerns – that should give you great comfort.


How do these projects get developed? Where do innovation and ideas come from?

At Sakai – all of the 200 institutions help determine what the future of Sakai is going to be. Programmers are all over the place.

Moodle has a central team that works out of Moodle HQ – works more like a proprietary software vendor in that sense. Moodle does get contributions from all over the world – but those get inspected by Moodle core team who control the direction.

Who else is using the product? Has their experience been good? Can you find a robust set of users who are doing the same things you want to do with the platform? If you find them, you can be sure there will be effort and innovations going on in that direction. You can have confidence that investment in the platform will support customers like you.


Where does the money come from? Why are people working on open source projects? Some work out of respect; some because institutions want to cooperate. Very few open source projects succeed just because people like the respect they get – most need a solid source of funding. (Moodle gets a fee that Moodle commercial affiliates pay back to Moodle HQ to ensure money for future development).

Need to understand how the money flows. And that the revenue stream is stable. Moodle stream is safe – given # of users and # of businesses. Moodle is a solid bet and a stable org. (Same is true of Sakai – because of institutional commitment). Sustainability of Moodle shouldn’t be a concern for anyone!


Does Sakai or Moodle have restrictions on # of users and # of admins? No.

Is Sakai only used in education or is it also used in industry? Sakai is used a bit in industry, although Moodle has more of a base.

How is Sakai different from Moodle?

  • Both are open source.
  • They do have different licensing. The Sakai license enables commercial entities to build custom additions on top of Sakai and sell the resulting product. Moodle license says if you want to modify Moodle and redistribute that modification, that modification must also be open source.
  • Sakai is java; Moodle is PHP.
  • Sakai more education; Moodle more focus on corporate training world.
  • Sakai was considered more enterprise adaptable; but Moodle has caught up around that.
  • Moodle focused on teaching and learning use case; Sakai has built in ePortfolio system.

Where is Sakai going in the next few years? Sakai is building a new version from the ground up right now. Michael continues to see the education feature set being what’s attended to rather than the corporate training feature set.

Sakai doesn’t have an ecommerce module, but Moodle has that.

You can access Part 2 of the webinar here: Our Journey: Harnessing Moodle to Deliver Customer Training – A case study with Kronos.

Join us for our next Kineo Insights webinar:

March 11, 2010: eLearning Insider: Challenges and Best Practices for Internal Development Teams

8:00 AM Pacific/10:00 AM Central/11:00 AM Eastern/4:00 PM UK

  • Rory Lawson, Instructional Design, Manager Learning Design, Learning HSBC Group Management Training College (UK)
  • Anne Marie Laures, Principal at Laures Consulting, former Director Learning Services at Walgreens
  • Ellen Wagner, Partner Sage Road Solutions, former Sr. Director Worldwide eLearning Adobe Systems

Click here to register.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Online Chat with Charles Reigeluth (Instructional Design Live!)

As I reported here a few weeks ago, I’ve been reading Reigeluth’s ‘little green book’ for bedtime reading the past few weeks.

The exciting news is that Charles Reigeluth will be joining us on Instructional Design Live this Friday at noon eastern.

Come listen in! We might be addressing some of these scintillating questions:

1. How does the Information-Age paradigm of instruction differ from the Industrial-Age paradigm?

2. What are the key issues for designing instruction for the Information-Age paradigm of instruction?

3. How does use of technology fit in with this new paradigm of instruction?

4. What are the implications for the ISD process?

Stop by Friday at noon:

Friday, February 19, 2010

How We Decide #ls2010

The eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions Conference & Expo is rapidly approaching March 22-26th. A week full of eLearning geekiness to the max and I can’t wait!

I’ll be bopping around left and right – presenting here and there on a variety of topics, hanging out at our booth, and soaking up lots of wisdom and insights from all of you.

Lehrer_How_1Jonah Lehrer, author of How We Decide presents Thursday's keynote.

Following the keynote, I’ll be facilitating a conversation in the ID Zone – talking about how we can apply Lehrer’s ideas to our work as learning designers.

Why not decide now to read the book and join me for a live chat?

Looking forward to seeing you in Orlando!

And if you can’t be in Orlando, why not decide to read the book anyway? We can do an informal book club.

Let me know what you decide.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Talking ‘bout Instructional Design Live

I like to talk.  I often talk to myself while working in my office shed.  But don’t tell anyone that or they’ll think I’m some kind of weirdo.

Friday, February 19th, I’ll be talking it up with Robert Squires and the rest of the ID Live crew on this week’s edition of Instructional Design Live on the EdTechTalk channel.

Robert and I did a dry run yesterday.  I could fill up hours with my blather.  Why not listen in? 

We’ll be talking about my background, my work, and some of the differences in ID as practiced in the corporate vs. academic worlds. 

I love being a part of the ID Live show every week.  Opens my mind and eyes even more to the many shades of ID that we practice out in this big wide world. 

Good design is good design, but more and more I see how we each practice it differently.  Robert, for instance, works with faculty members at his university.  He doesn’t write a speck of content for those courses.  That’s a LOT of what I do.

Stop in on Friday at noon eastern.  Should be fun.

About Instructional Design Live:

Instructional Design Live is an opportunity for instructional designers and professionals engaged in similar work to discuss effective online teaching and learning practices. Each week features guest interviews and participant question and answer sessions.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

5 Building Blocks to Better Beginnings with Carmen Taran

Are you delivering an online webinar? Creating an aysnchronous learning experience? How do you hook your learner? How do you get them to sit up and pay attention. How do you compete with email, Google, iPhones and Blackberries?

As I find myself doing more webinars, I wanted to find out how…

5 Building Blocks to Better Beginnings with Carmen Taran of Rexi Media. From the archive for the eLearning Guilds Online Forum – originally presented on January 29, 2010.

(If you’ve got access to OLFs, you can access the archive here:

So what are the five building blocks to better beginnings? Five important ways to hook your learner and sustain that attention throughout? Well, read on for more…

1. Anticipation

Create anticipation.

The human brain loves to look to future state. Hockey player anticipates where the puck goes and they move there.

Use words like: “at last”, “imagine…”, “new”

Give something away (give a book away at end of session).

Promise at the beginning of session that you can diminish/simplify complexity -- people crave to know how they can put their world into order.

Complexity builds anticipation, but so does uncertainty. When elements in an event are equal in skill – now you have somebody’s attention. So many session become too predictable – whenever you can include a touch of unpredictability, your learner pays more attention – they might stop multi-tasking. “We’re going to talk about 3 graphic programs, but together we'll decide which are the best ones to discuss today.”

What kills anticipation at the beginning of a training program? The kiss of death in the agenda, too much deviation from task at hand, the objectives statement, too much text.

A narcissistic beginning kills anticipation (when presenter talks about themself or their company and how big they are and how wonderful they are. They don’t take into account the needs of the audience. You do have to establish credibility – but reserve that for later in the session.)

That first minute is your passport into the rest of the session.

Always focus on what they need to know, not on how wonderful you are.

2. Incongruity

Creating a tiny touch of conflict in your audience’s mind.

Share unusual images or sounds – your audience will try to fit what you show/say/do with what they know. They will try to fit…

Surprising facts create incongruity!

What is the best time to work later? Tuesday nights, between 6-9

Think about your own business content – is there something surprising you can show at the beginning to get people’s attention.

Sprinkle these techniques throughout your session to sustain attention.

“Your turn” – She has a 2 minute contest – imagine you have to present to your audience about water. What would you start with? What images would you show? (and the winner gets a copy of her book). She took the first text entries and then created an on the fly poll out of them so participants could vote.

3. Participation

Lack of participation is associated with most sessions. In today’s world, everyone wants to be involved – even tv today.

Easiest way – ask a question. Make use of chat! The more questions, the more you engage. The minute you ask a question, the more the brain is mandated to answer. (Even if the learner doesn’t answer out loud, the brain answers…)

Other ways than questions…

Flash interactions – take more time to build and design (FlashComGuru) – she’s got letters on the screen and participants can drag around to spell words. People are stealing letters from each other. Can use at beginning of session – maybe every 30 minutes use it again as a break exercise.

Then she showed an interaction example – memory game – everyone’s playing on their own. Use images or words that related to the content.

These Flash files work well in Adobe Connect because each user can interact with Flash files independently.

Make sure content is directly linked to what you’re presenting on .

4. Visual Thinking

The power of the visual – shows a slide filled with bullet points – yuck. Truncated language of bulleted text.

Not just any visuals. Edge, energy and emotion – use those three in your images.

When you create your slides, make your participants feel like they’re entering a neat, sophisticated room – not a cluttered room full of mess!

Resources for graphics:

Save Time Brain processes graphics faster than auditory – makes for a short presentation!

More memorable! Brain remembers visuals better.

Keeps them focused

More tips on graphics;

  • use texture (imagine of a fuzzy rug, a bit taken out of chocolate)
  • often people use tiny images with lots of bullets next to it – image loses impact. Instead blow up the picture and put text small…
  • Steve Jobs, “Good design is design that makes you want to lick the screen.”
  • Use texture to awaken the senses.
  • RED has guts and power. Use images with reds that pops.
  • Turn images to black and white to turn meaning.
  • Abstract concepts – how do you visualize them? spend time to find an image to help visualize a challenging concept (e.g., “alienated” shown with image of barbed wire with water droplet).
  • Good design takes 3 eye movements or less – you just scan around no more than 3 times to make sense of the image.

5. Vocal Variety

The power of the voice. Does the presenter have a monotone voice that drones or is she passionate about what she’s sharing with you?

I only have one chance to make an impression on you. (Most people don’t go back and look to a session recording…)

Do it well – add more melody and pitch to your voice. Imagine your words are running along a piano keyboard. Add variety.

When you don’t have variety, speech becomes predictable. If you use too few tones, then people think they can predict what you’re going to say next. Now they go off to their blackberries…

Practice on your own:

Get a paragraph of text – highlight a few words (adjectives and adverbs) in the text – that you want to spice up a bit.

Great to co-present so you have two voices that add variety during the session.

Final notes

The brain seeks closure. Cliffhangers on tv shows leave you wanting to come back next time. A touch of suspense to capture attention and sustain it. Leave people on that note, so they want to come back to your next session!

General notes on her session:

  • She’s making AMAZING use of images.
  • Lots of pauses – she’s ok with silence.
  • Lots of use of chat.
  • “Your turn” – 2 minute contest – imagine you have to present to your audience about water.

If you’re in the business of presenting online webinars, do check this session out. Lots of great tips that I’ve shared here – but so much to get from her presentation style.

Photo credit: Blocks by HeyPaul

Friday, February 12, 2010

Interview with Ana Donaldson: Episode #5 on EdTechTalk ID Live

In this week’s edition of Instruction Design Live, we talked with Ana Donaldson author of Engaging the Online Learner.

(These are my liveblogged notes while participating in the conversation. Apologies if they don’t always cohere. I will post a link to the recorded conversation and recommend you take a listen!)

Ana’s background: Started as a programmer. Discovered ID and it became her passion. At University of Northern Iowa for 8 1/2 years in ID with specialty in performance and training. Took early retirement and now teaches part-time with Walden University (Ph Students in ID). Ana is a candidate for AECT President (see info below on AECT).

Different phases of engagement:

Moving from introductory activity to collaborative to activities in course that allow students to lead the learning process.

How do we promote learner autonomy among students?

As instructors, we don’t often set the bar high enough. Instructors can show why this important – spark intrinsic motivation and then get out of way. Need to create a safe environment.

Trust in online environment is hard without the ambient atmosphere of the classroom. Need to build one-to-one relationship. Go through a honeymoon and some ups and downs.

In classroom, many students don’t have a voice. But in online environment, you can’t be a lurker.

Need to have fun with activities.

“Learning is too important to be taken seriously.” It should be fun and doable.

How do you monitor students who are collaborating online?

Collaboration is where we’re all headed online. There are several ways of doing this. Need to be careful about how put people in groups – make sure there’s balance and diversity. Ana doesn’t like students to self-select their groups

At Walden, Ana uses Wiki Spaces. Evaluating performance through rubric – half of their score is how they contribute to that group.

She uses a group contract. “ This is where we’re going to post, this is what happens if I have to be gone” – the monitor expectations of each other.

Another class – did journaling where only prof and student could read (not the other students).

When doing a project – don’t wait until last day to grade it. Instead break down into smaller deliverables – give feedback along the way. On the last day, when they deliver the collab project, show they’ve done their best work

What types of collaborative projects do you design? What types of projects work for an online format?

Ana did a collaborative ID project where they actually created a training module on how to do grant writing. One group used Dick & Carey; one used HPT model. When they were done, they did a comparison. This was a real training program for a client.

The projects must be real. Birth them in the class, but they live beyond and go into community.

Study case studies – what happens when it doesn’t go right.

What is AECT?

Association for Educational Communications and Technology-- AECT has an ongoing group of folks who look at how we define our field and how it keeps changing. latest definition includes ethics and performance.

Started way back when as the A.V. folks in the classroom. It’s now an international organization – looking at technology, what’s going on and the issues of what’s going on today.

Annual conference – this year in October in Anaheim. Half of attendees are usually masters students in ID programs.

High percentage of people in higher ed.

Provide theory and research – behind the technology.

David Wiley is an active member. Looking into training and instruction in Second Life.

Links and Further Reading from Ana Donaldson:

  • PIDT (Professors of Instructional Design and Technology) 2010 - May 21-24, 2010 • YMCA of the Rockies • Estes Park, Colorado PacifiCorp Design & Development Competition - Phase 1 is due May 1st 2010 AECT International Convention 'Cyber Change: Learning In Our Connected World'
  • October 26-30, 2010 Hyatt Regency Orange County Anaheim, California - AECT 2010 Research Symposia. The symposia will begin July 20, 2010 with a dinner and end on July 23, 2010 before noon. It will be held at the Memorial Union Hotel of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Conference fee (with included meals) is expected to run around $250.
  • International Student Media Festival -
  • Walden University - Educational Design: PhD program description:

Be sure to following Robert’s Instructional Design Commons blog to keep up with the latest on ID Live.

Coming up:

Interview with Cammy Bean (that’s me!) on February 19.

Interview with Charles Reigeluth on Februrary 26.

All ID Live shows are Fridays at noon eastern at

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

What’s Your ID Job Description?

Ellen Wagner and I are collaborating on few ID-related sessions for the eLearning Guild’s upcoming Learning Solutions Conference & Expo in Orlando. 

As we prepare for our session, we’re thinking a lot about ID competencies and eLearning in the real world.

We’re interested in looking at what’s being advertised for in ID positions – perhaps compared to what people are actually doing.   What skills and competencies are ID positions actually asking for?  Do they align with what you’re actually doing?  Do they align with how people are prepared to do their jobs?

Would you be willing to share your current ID job description with us?  I promise we’ll keep it anonymous.  Of if you hire IDs, would you send me the posting?

We’ll be doing some Wordles and analysis of these job descriptions and will be sure to share our results with all of you.

Either post in comments or send directly to me at cammybean @ gmail dot com.


Friday, February 05, 2010

EdTechTalk Episode #5: Promoting Learning Through Asynch Discussions

This week on EdTechTalk Instructional Design Live we talked about moderating online discussions and how to promote learning through asynch discussions.

What is EdTechTalk Instructional Design Live?  Read my recap from our first show in which we introduce ourselves.

On air today:  Marlene Zentz, Robert Squires, Cammy Bean

[Note – this is an area about which I know little.  So I said next to nothing, but I enjoyed listening!]

Today’s conversation will focus on some key ways to promote learning through asynch discussions:

1. Developing sense of community amongst the learners.  Discussion is where participants interact with each other and instructor.

2. Setting expectations and structure for discussions.

3. Assessing online discussions. Research suggests this is important in promoting student engagement

1. Building Community -- How is that established?

How do you build that community?  How do you build a sense of trust?

In practical terms – what do you do to build that trust? Encouraging Critical Thinking in online threaded discussions – Mary Engstrom

Instructor introduces self and shares experiences

A way of listening to what students say – without being judgemental

Key factor in building trust is allowing all voices to speak – and being careful how you moderate those voices.

Share who you are

Also common to have an introductory activity in that first week – to allow participants to share something about themselves.  You could have students post a youtube video that “represents” themselves and their expectations for this course.  Could suggest a little about their background.  Update profiles – links to blogs – although that might not always be appropriate.

Share who you are in introduction – but remember it doesn’t just happen through a single event.  Revisit these sharing activities as the course goes on.  Check in as to how group is doing.

Create that social presence in the first week.

2. Structuring discussions and setting expectations

Is there a best way to structure discussion and communicate expectations?

Have a discussion Rubrik.  Where students understand the expectation – or even where the students help establish that Rubrik and help define what participation entails.

Within that Rubrik – what’s considered appropriate?

Organize groups – not Group size of 6-12 is ideal…so individuals in that group have ability to express new ideas.

How much are students expected to post each week?  And the length.

Can be good to set a limit on the number of posts each week.

Uzuner:  he analyzes asynch discussions – educationally valuable talk vs. educationally less valuable talk.   Then he codes the posts – shows which posts are providing quality content for the group.

3. Assessing Discussion

Behind the scenes – emailing individual students so you’re having one on one about how they’re participating in the discussion.  Encourage student-to-student interaction.

Jane Bozarth mentioned Karma Points: how students can be effective contributors, showing that you’re learning from others.

Assessment being a supportive item – rather than a punitive account of what you’re not doing right…encourage individuals to get the most out of the course.

Protocols for online discussions:

Ways to promote discussions:

  • Have  a guest speaker to spark things.
  • Using Web Quests – like (provide format for students to investigate complex issues)
  • Collaborate activities and project – discussions become so connected to rest of the course

You can access the session recording here: and

Next week: A conversation with Anna Donaldson, author of Engaging the Online Learner: Activities and Resources for Creative Instruction

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Monday, February 01, 2010

What Is Instructional Design? #2

I stumbled on this short presentation on Slideshare from ejars.
What Is Instructional Design?
View more presentations from ejars.

What do you think? Has he got it right?