There’s a lesson here for IDs…

I laughed out loud at this video. I am sure I have done this to some courses I’ve developed. I’ve certainly received slide decks from SMEs that are similar to the final design of the package.

p.s. This is an old internal video created by Microsoft’s own packaging team as a humorous look at branding and packaging issues for marketers.

via MacRumors


Six Word Summaries

I really enjoyed this Sebastian Wernicke TEDx Talk about how he approached the task of summarizing each TEDTalk to six words.

Now wouldn’t it be fun to summarize every piece of content we consume in to six word summaries.  Or how about starting with summarizing all the content you create…online courses, white papers, even e-mails? It also might be interesting to ask each learner to create their own summaries of each courses and posting them for all learners to see.

Instructional design advice from Orwell

My colleague Paul Drexler, a man of many many talents, has been working on improving some eLearning courses and shared some sage advice from Orwell via e-mail.

“I’ve been struggling to organize my thoughts on making these courses better.  This morning an essay came to me which brilliantly describes and sums up some of these thoughts.  I refer to Politics and the English Languagean essay by George Orwell, author of Animal Farm and 1984.  I read this my college Freshman year and it made a deep and lasting impression.  If we followed Orwell’s suggestions alone we would greatly improve our courses.”

If you want just  the take away points, read Orwell’s summary below:

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

mLearnCon 2011: Our impressions

My colleague Paul & I attended a mobile learning conference in San Jose last week. We interviewed each other to record our impressions of the conference while it was still fresh in our memory. See it here: 

p.s. We made the video in a hurry so some details are missing from the video or are incorrect.

1. Jeremiah Owyang Keynote slides are here: (And my last name isn’t Johnson, so I shouldnt comment on someone’s last name.)

2. A brilliant young chap by the name of John Park co-presented with Alison Rossett. to their presentation here:

3. NexLearn doesn’t just sell SimWriter but they build custom sims. And Brandon Andrews, the presenter at the session I attended is THE expert to learn how to write simulations from.

Make it simple!

This week I heard a NPR Planet Money Podcast that’s probably the best piece on Instructional Design that I’ve come across in a long time. I think it’s very relevant because a majority of e-learning designers write courses for regulatory or technical compliance and we often work with SMEs whose viewpoint on the subject matter to be taught resembles the view of the attorney in the piece who thinks every line of the credit card agreement is important and that every one who receives such a notice should read it (like she does!)

I encourage all my designer colleagues to give this podcast a listen (click here)! Not only is the content excellent but the podcast uses humor so well to make its point.

Some thoughts around User Generated Content

User Generated Content is all the rage on the internet. Large billion dollar businesses such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Yelp rely solely on their users to generate their content. All they provide is a platform where users can post content and share it with their friends or the world at large. And it is rare that these large businesses compensate their users for creating this content. It begs the question: Should this desire to create content be leveraged inside the enterprise to create learning?
I recently came across an excellent post by John Hathaway at the Velocity Made Good Leveraging Learning Blog about User Generated Content in Learning. John suggests that the question is not IF but WHEN. Here’s a quote from the post:
“So, let’s ask the question “When should we use User Generated Content?” To me, the answer depends greatly on the nature, audience, and goals of the content.”
In the post, he goes on to suggest that while core content critical to the business should probably be produced through a formal and structured process, niche content doesn’t need to be. Particularly because it’s possible that you’re not creating it currently because it has a niche audience and producing formal learning is not cost effective.
Read the full post here and let us know in which areas in your organization would YOU be comfortable with content generated by your end users.

reBlog: What Training Costs Part I: Converting Content from ILT to WBT – Velocity Made Good

Awesome post by Beth Chmielowski at VMG  on the cost of building online training.

What Training Costs Part I: Converting Content from ILT to WBT – Velocity Made Good

Shared via AddThis

Write better courses!

Dump the drone
Dump the drone

It’s quite simple really! All you need to do is view this presentation by Cathy Moore.

What I like about this presentation is that it (implicitly) admits the fact that we can’t change every online course into a Wii game right now and until we do that, we have to write courses that people will have to read – online.

So Cathy’s advice is useful today.

Collab tool for Course Development?

Cozimos Collab Interface
Cozimo's Collab Interface

Check out Cozimo. Here’s their Demo 08 Presentation.