Managing your Digital Toolbox

In the past I’ve talked about how it’s important to not let efficiency get in the way of trying to master a new skill or tool. Today, I want to expand on that a little bit and argue that sometimes, leaning too much into monetary efficiency is bad.

Yeah. Sometimes you just gotta spend money.

I’m not saying be frivolous. But rather try not to get locked into design patters solely by financial concerns. Let me explain.

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eLearning Feedback: Make it Relevant and Relational

In my series on Keller’s ARCS Model for Motivation, I discussed the important role satisfaction plays in increasing and maintaining a student’s motivation to learn.

Students are satisfied and motivated to improve when teachers provide clear, constructive feedback and affirm and encourage them, both verbally and nonverbally. As classroom environments become more digital and asynchronous, we must find ways to improve instructor and student communication, especially feedback.

In this series, I’ll share practical tips for instructor to learner feedback and learner to learner feedback. We’ll look at tools to help you improve and enhance the feedback experience in online courses. Today we’ll begin with why you should provide constructive feedback.   

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Foster Collaboration with Open Pedagogy

Since this week is Open Educational Resources (OER) week, and 2018 was the year of open, I’m eager to touch on a topic that I feel passionate about that aligns with OER—Open Pedagogy. 

When I think of Open Pedagogy, it brings to mind areas that I have a background in—practices and theories related to teaching and learning with technology and social justice. Open Pedagogy has several meanings, but we’re going to focus on perspectives specific to OER and Open Educational Practices (OEP).  

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Why Deep Learning Will Change Instructional Design

If you’re like me, you may not have noticed the quantum leaps in technology over the past four years. Technology is so omnipresent in our lives we’re often not aware of some of the profound changes going on around us—until something draws our attention to it.

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Collaborating on an eLearning Parallel Development

Our university delivers courses in multiple modalities: traditional face-to-face classrooms, online, and also in blended (sometimes called hybrid) learning environments. Some students prefer the structure of meeting in class each week, while others need the flexibility online courses provide. Each modality provides students a way to achieve learning outcomes while addressing different learning needs.

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Formatting eLearning Documents: Table That Thought

We have a love/hate relationship with tables. On the one hand, tables organize information, especially when you need to make a side-by-side comparison or display data. On the other hand, it’s easy to get a little table-slap-happy, creating a choppy document that is difficult to view or read and is especially difficult for a screen reader. And let’s not even talk about the potential accessibility nightmare.

A table is a good option if you need to display dates, lists, or side-by-side information. Tables help us avoid using the Tab button, which can cause screen reader navigation problems. However, too much information or too many columns and rows are difficult to view and read in a table. So, it is best to revise your content or find a way to avoid using a table.

There are times when a table is the cleanest way to present the information, but a poorly formatted table is also difficult to distinguish visually. So, let me share some best practices for formatting tables in eLearning.

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Dear Instructor—Take This Test

The next time you sit down to write a test, to place a quiz in your online course, or send off a test key to your instructional designer, ask YOURSELF some questions:

  • Will the quiz motivate your students?
  • Can you explain why each question is on the test?
  • Are you using your test to promote learning?

Punitive to Positive

Which of those words has a better ring to it? Consider making the quiz a vehicle for delivering a sense of purpose and motivating your students.

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Shift Doesn’t Just Happen: Breaking Out of Imaginative Gridlock

On occasion I have a problem associated with the firing of the neurons in my brain. Some event triggers my amygdala, releases dopamine stimulating my frontal lobe—and I enter into a state of hyperarousal. My thoughts go into hyperdrive, and I charge over the hill like I am Braveheart leading an uprising against Edward the Longshanks. 

Some see this characteristic as me being overzealous. I prefer to think of myself as…enthusiastic. Either way—at some point I see a need to pause, reflect, and not lose a sense of balance. 

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Staying Relevant with Tech Trends While Meeting the Needs of Future Students

June 2018 marked my seventh year in the eLearning/Instructional Design field. In September 2018 I became a full time Instructional Designer. You would think that after seven years, I’d have all the knowledge, skills, and tools I need to do my job well.

Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’m still learning.

Recently, I’ve been exploring and learning about the next generation of learners: Generation (Gen) Z.

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The eLearning Communication Loop

So, over the holiday break, in-between stuffing my face with food and watching holiday movies (yes, Die Hard counts), I took some time to catch up on my podcast backlog. Particularly, Limetown.

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