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.

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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