Solving Tough eLearning Problems

As instructional designers, we’re often asked to solve a variety of problems. From finding ways to help the transfer of knowledge to developing training or learning resources, sometimes the solution is much more complicated than what our subject matter expert or client realizes. As we juggle many projects and find ways to deliver solutions on a deadline, it can become frustrating for everyone involved when they just want us to “put it in the learning management system.”

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The Importance of Being Present in Your Online Course

You can have a well-designed course with relevant content and an expert instructor, yet the course can still be perceived as a negative experience by students. Why? The instructor was not “present” in the course. 

It takes more than grading to create instructor presence. Bangert defines instructor presence as “the ‘methods’ that instructors use to create the quality online instructional experiences that support and sustain productive communities of inquiry” (Bangert, 2008, p. 40). Without instructor support, courses quickly become barren.

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Looking Through a Learning Tool

There is a spectrum of opinion about online learning, inclusive of two polar opposite sides in the discussion: it’s either new and exciting and every course should be online, or it is a scary new technology that destroys the personal communication essential for a “good class”. As I consider this debate, something that both groups should realize is that it’s easy to fall into the trap of defining instruction through the use of a tool, rather than realizing there is an inherent separation between the instruction and the tool. Today I’ll explore the differences and how this separation impacts our design. 

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3 Core Learning Skills for the 21st Century

How do we prepare our learners to succeed in the 21st century? More to the point, how do we equip *adult* learners for ever changing careers, skills and needs when the traditional education system is behind them?

First, I want to outline three critical skills—then I’ll talk about an organization that I think does well in this area and how they are helping to promote that particular skill for any worker in their organization. There are more skills than these that are required, but these ones top my list.

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From Instructional Design to Learning Design

Student-Centered Design

Back in 1997, I was a member of the Ed Tech faculty at Northern Arizona University. We had decided to move our Masters of Educational Technology online—and did what an inexperienced faculty without support would do.

 We took our face-to-face curriculum and put it online. 

It went about as well as you would expect.  

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Going the Extra Mile: Understanding Non-Traditional Students

When thinking about the demographics of students currently enrolled in colleges and universities, we often first consider traditional students, between ages 18-24. However, enrollment trends in traditional, blended, and online programs are revealing that nontraditional students, those ages 25 and older, are becoming more and more prominent in the classroom. Today I want to discuss the dynamics of nontraditional students, the pressures they face, and what it means to go the extra mile in order to understand their needs and enable them to succeed.      

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Playful Course Design

As someone with a recent background of scholarly writing, I had to overcome my unconscious assumptions that scholarly meant minimal “fun” or “play-based” interactions. After a few psychology and technology courses, I realized there was a smaller divide than I originally assumed. I spent a lot of time trying to find ways to investigate and discuss learning and cognition theories to fulfill my course requirements, but for a long time ignored the obvious truths behind why I wanted to study learning in the first place—witnessing learning either intentionally or unintentionally in various forms of play. 

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Why (and How) I Guard my Instructional Design Time

In Ann’s recent post, she outlined some of her workflow processes and how she gets through the variety of tasks she has in any given day. As I was reading through and editing it, I really only had one thought cross my brain.

“I could never work like this…”

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Three Things to Consider when Designing your next Learning Experience

When you’re developing an eLearning course, there is always an overload of “practical” stuff that you have to keep in mind. Development timelines, coordinating with subject matter experts, and making sure all the nuts and bolts are ready for the launch day of your course. 

In the midst of all the details, I like to stop and consider how I can make each course I develop more effective than the last. There’s always a new angle or strategy out there to consider. I’m sharing 3 ideas here and I hope you’ll try them out.

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A Traditional Student’s Reflection on Online Classes

Last spring was a pivotal semester for me academically. I was challenged in my classes and experienced significant growth as a writer. I attribute this growth mainly to the six classes I was enrolled in, two of which were online courses.

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