A Year’s End Review

When our team started Model eLearning in January, we wanted to explore and share the eLearning theories, trends, and tools that excite us. One of the top instructional design skills is Googler—so we wanted to contribute to that growing body of knowledge and help the eLearning community.

Over the past year, we’ve shared our team’s practical tips for instructional designers (ID), subject matter experts (SME), and instructors. Now—in a time-honored December blog tradition—let’s review some of our favorite posts of 2017.

Engaging Tools

This year, we explored how to engage learners using mostly free tools. Tara applied learning theories to build engaging visuals, scenarios, and interactive videos. Michelle showed us how she forms a connection with her speech students using audio and video recordings.

Writing and Communication

However, the best tools in the business don’t mean much if your content includes incomprehensible jargon and syntactically dubious writing.

Roller coaster at night
Don’t write sentences that look like this…

Like many instructional designers, Michelle’s first career was not in instructional design. However, she found ways to bring her vast broadcasting experience into her design.

This is a good reminder to us all—instructional design casts a wide net. Your previous experience will almost always be applicable in some way.

Don’t be afraid to look for solutions in unlikely places from your past.

Gwen encouraged us to know our audience in order to become student-centered when we design and teach our courses. I shared tips for writing relevant, engaging, and useful content and showed how writing with an active voice improves your course content. Yoda, you are not.

How you write and communicate content is critical to good design.

eLearning Trends

While we often devote our focus to the course we need to launch by tomorrow, it’s worth taking a step back to examine some of the broader trends in eLearning.

Gamification is one of those trends. As the newest member of our team, Dave observed that instructional design parallels game design, and he showed us how to apply game principles to course design.

Gary, our resident futurist, connected You Gotta Believe Me (YGBM) technologies with the urgent importance of teaching students to vet internet sources.

If you don’t observe the present—and look forward to the future—you’ll be left behind.

Final Thoughts

The landscape of instructional design shifts with new technologies—sometimes we feel lost in a maze of competing theories and shiny new tools.

How do you sort out what’s useful?

Ann reminded us that instructors influence student motivation and their will to learn and succeed. Whether it’s exploring blended learning; applying learning theory to technology; connecting to students through the best practices of communication; or adding game principles to course design, we all need to incorporate new strategies in our journey. Our hope is to help you discover those new strategies here.

So have a Merry Christmas—we’ll see you in the new year!

Did you learn something new on Model eLearning this year? What was your favorite post? What technologies, trends, and tools do you hope we’ll cover in 2018? Let us know in the comments below.

Author: Jessica Bishop, Instructional Designer

Jessica is a designer and writer focused on learnability, storytelling, sensemaking, wayfinding, and removing barriers to learning. A Michigan native, she likes crafting, reading, walking, and spending way too much time in the distant corners of the internet. You can also find her at JessicaMBishop.com.

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