Friday, October 21, 2011

My life…in elearning

20 years ago I was a recent college graduate who had moved to Boston in the middle of a recession. I worked as the Assistant Aquatics Director at a JCC, teaching and coaching swimming. I had never heard of elearning and did not own a computer. I had never sent an email; I had never made a call on a mobile phone.

15 years ago I got a job as an instructional designer/multimedia producer at a company that created training programs delivered on CD ROMS. It sounded really glamorous to me. I learned my first ID model: instruct, demo, practice, assess. I had never heard of the term "instructional designer" before. We had our own proprietary development system that allowed us to use VIDEO.

10 years ago that same company was struggling to stay relevant as the world moved onto the Internet and the dot.coms were busting. We flirted with creating early knowledge management systems and went out of business the next year. We should have stuck with what we were good at. We had moved away from proprietary and were now using Macromedia Director. Meanwhile, I started going to massage school because I was getting bored with it all.

 5 years ago I had two small children and had gone back to work full-time in the biz after a few years of freelancing and doing massage work/teaching massage. I was working for a elearning company in MA and wrote my first blog post after admiring Brent Schlenker's blog. We created custom elearning programs in Flash. We also created our own proprietary Learning Portal. I had a cell phone and talked to people on it.

Today I am the VP of Learning Design at Kineo, a global elearning company. We do a lot of work in Flash and Articulate, but see ourselves as tool agnostic. We see the industry changing quickly as the marketplace matures and program requirements become more sophisticated. We are adapting as we speak. In my house, we have multiple devices including laptops, iPhones, iPads and iTouches. We don’t have cable TV, but download or stream most of our media content over the Internet. My children are adept at using these technologies. My son has math homework on the computer and thinks iMessage is the coolest app in the world. I regularly use Facebook and Twitter and now Google +. I check in on FourSquare and play Words With Friends with people all over the world on my iPhone.

photo (3)So. You there.  What’s your story?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Stepping Stones

The modern learning designer recognizes that they can’t actually design every step of the learner’s journey.

But they look for solid stepping stones they can put in place along the way.

Learning’s but a stream…

“Row, row, row your boat…”photo


Lots of new tidbits up on the Kineo website for the month:

If you missed our latest newsletter, you can find it all on the Kineo newsletter page!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Instructional Design for Mobile Learning #id4mlearning

These are my live blogged notes from a webinar today with Float Learning: Instructional Design for Mobile #id4mlearning. Advance apologies for typos or incoherence…

Brought to us today by:

  • Adam Bockler, Float
  • Gary Woodill, Sr. Analyst at Float @gwoodill
  • Jeff Tillet mLearning Strategist and Evangelist at Float (formerly ID at T-mobile) @mojotillett
  • Chad Udell at Float @visualrinse 18 month old company with focus on mobile. @floatlearning

Agenda: conversation points

  • Where we came from
  • Where we are at?
  • Where’s it going?


  • Gary Woodill’s The Mobile Learning Edge
  • Clark Quinn, Designing mLearning
  • Barbara Ballard, Designing the Mobile User Experience

(We can tell a field is about to take off because there’s a big rash of books!)

What is instruction?

It’s a two way street.  But instruction tends to not be an equal relationship – there’s a power differential.

What makes good instruction is often a willing student.

So often people treat ID as just organizing information on a page.

A Brief History of Instruction

The modern classroom, 1770’s in Prussia – you faced the teacher who was the expert and the storehouse of knowledge.

Same metaphor applies to a lot of elearning – starting at a screen = staring at a teacher.

“Classrooms immobilized us…mobile devices now mobilizes us.”

We can use devices in the classroom to mobilize us – get kids out from behind their desks and moving around, gathering information.

Mobile learning starts to encourage diversity in learning (as opposed to traditional classroom which encourages conformity.)

Nowadays, there’s just way too much information.  Teachers can’t keep up.  In the workforce it’s overwhelming. 

The “just in case” model of learning isn’t very efficient. Now I need it where I need it and when I need it.

Moving from competency based learning to task based learning. Now learning according to what the task at hand is.

The last 50 years of ID

  • Behaviorism (very simple, little bits) and Programmed Instruction. 1940s
  • Bloom’s Taxonomy 1956
  • Mager Learning Objectives 1962
  • Gagne 9 Events 1965
  • ADDIE…1975
  • ADDIE and the 5 Rules of Zen 2002

The affordances of mobile devices are many – need to think about training and ID in new ways.

Growth of the Corporate University movement (represented a shift from hallway training and apprentice movement) – the increasing professionalization of training – and now we’re getting ready to move away from it. (We’ve tried to fit adults into this classroom model – shows a picture of some elderly gents looking uncomfortable whilst staring at the front of a classroom).

We’re not dismissing those old ways of learning – we’re finding additional ways.

We’ve tried to use all these old school metaphors (e.g., raise your hand while interacting with a CD ROM).

Technology Advancements: Here’s what’s changed…

  • Computers
  • Internet
  • Gaming & Interactive
  • Social or Informal

Use these tools/strategies/realities – differently.

Gamification and “Engagification”

"Bad ID with badges is still bad ID. Bad ID with badges is still bad ID."  (Chad Udell @visualrinse)

Saatchi and Saatchi study on gamification:

Here's a great presentation on the use of gamification and how it still needs an emotional aspect in order to be effective:

Augmented Reality

Take a picture of an environment and text labels appear in the picture. Or add images/objects onto the environment…

Is it performance support?

Some of the new things around mobile:

Physically, we learn better when there’s blood moving around – when we’re mobile.

If you’re moving around and in the environment, you’re in context.  This may spark the need to learn more about something (e.g., if you’re in Venice, you want to learn more about Venice)

A brief history of Mobile Learning

Clark Quinn – early definition of mobile learning in 2001

Europe has done more around mobile

Commercial side starting to develop (e.g., mobile focused vendors like Float)

Four Conventional Learning Applications for Mobile Devices

  1. Instructional support uses (elearning on a small screen – lectures, video, audio clips, notes)
  2. Personal Organizers
  3. Learning Management Systems on a mobile
  4. Assessments

New Learning Application Categories

1. microblogging and text messaging “social media” (see:

2. Research tool – data collection (go out into the environment and track things, collect data, then bring it back to the classroom for discussion)

3. Trend tracking and analysis

4. just in time information retrieval (Alerts go out when a bakery takes fresh bread out of the oven.  )

5. augmented reality

6. mobile gaming and virtual words (gamification…)

7. contextual learning – personalization and location (you know the person, where they’re located, what their needs and habits are and what they need at a certain place)

8. user controlled media/production/playback (use your personal devices for your own productions - “looking from the bottom up”)

9. performance support and coaching

10. Social networking and communities

11. environmental controls

12. haptic feedback

13. first person documentation

14. coordination and cooperation

15. collaboration

16. collective behavior…

“Unplanned learning. Do we have to plan all the ways that people learn? Maybe we relax…and lose control.” IDs in the mobile world

“We learn a lot from our peers – back to the apprenticeship model.”

So what does Float do?

  • Basic research and strategies
  • Analysis on what’s going on within your companies
  • Prototyping and building solutions

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

DevLearn 2011: I’m Speaking

One of my favorite conferences of the year quickly approaches: the eLearning Guild’s fantastic DevLearn 2011. This year, we converge on Las Vegas for some high tech wonderment and education.
Come join my session!
Thursday @ 1:00-2:00 pm.
Avoiding Clicky-Clicky Bling-Bling: Top Tips for Making Your eLearning Designs Shine from the Inside.
Hope to see you there!