Reading Wide: Learning from Beyond Instructional Design

We’ve talked before about how eLearning is a broad field that involves many disciplines. So, if you want to learn something specific to further your design skill, or just for your own personal development, it’s pretty easy to find a book that will help you on your way. In fact, Jessica wrote a pretty good list of books related to eLearning just last week.

But I want to approach that list from a slightly different angle: what not-at-all eLearning related books can we draw eLearning lessons from? 

Continue reading “Reading Wide: Learning from Beyond Instructional Design”

Choosing Meaningful Names for your eLearning

Ever save a file with a random name, only to not be able to find it later? If only you’d named it something meaningful! The same can be said for naming your eLearning materials.

Continue reading “Choosing Meaningful Names for your eLearning”

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.

Continue reading “Managing your Digital Toolbox”

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.

Continue reading “The eLearning Communication Loop”

Abandoning Dead End Ideas

A few members of our team (myself included) are preparing to present at the Symposium on Universal Design for Instruction and Learning. We’ve also got course starts, a project list as long as my arm, and new assessment tools we’re implementing in our LMS. And with the holidays fast approaching, needless to say, it’s just a teeny bit busy around here.

Then I discovered I had to write a blog post. Continue reading “Abandoning Dead End Ideas”

Beating the Dreaded Design Slump

If you work in any sort of creative field, you’re going to fall into the occasional rut. Your work feels repetitive and boring. Uninspired. You find yourself taking convenient solutions rather than best solutions. Or, maybe you just can’t think your way through a problem and you have no solution at all. Your brain starts to slow down. You churn on the same thought patterns for unreasonable amounts of time. You’re just stuck.

Getting stuck sucks.

Continue reading “Beating the Dreaded Design Slump”

Two Big Things™ I Learned in my first year in Instructional Design

When I started in eLearning (just over a year ago now), I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I came from a background in IT and creative writing, so while it’s theoretically a simple matter to apply some of those skills to ID work, finding the practical application of those skills in an entirely new arena was…challenging. Continue reading “Two Big Things™ I Learned in my first year in Instructional Design”

Budget (but not free) eLearning Content Creation Tools

Can we all agree that paying recurring costs for licensing software, particularly when you are a small (or even one-person) team, sucks? It ends up being a large, recurring cost that can be difficult to justify or subsidize, particularly in lean times. Oftentimes you don’t even need all the new and shiny features that a regular subscription provides.

But purchasing software outright (when it’s still an option, as many companies no longer offer it) can have a prohibitively expensive up-front cost—high-end software often costs upwards of $1000 dollars, even for just a single license.

But, free tools aren’t always the answer either. Continue reading “Budget (but not free) eLearning Content Creation Tools”

The New Digital Divide in Instructional Design

Many people are familiar with the concept of the digital divide—the idea that as technology continues to advance at a remarkable pace, there is a growing gulf between the “haves” and the “have-nots” when it comes to access to, and adoption of technologies. Many in instructional design consider these technologies essential for our day-to-day careers: internet access, easy access to information, and ubiquitous WiFi. Which makes it challenging when we design content for those who don’t have easy access to those things.

But, there’s another gulf forming in Instructional Design. Continue reading “The New Digital Divide in Instructional Design”

Efficiency: The Trap of Modern Design

We live in a culture, and work in a field, that prizes and demands efficiency. A million things always need to be done immediately, and at least a thousand projects needed launch yesterday. We make endless to-do lists, debate time tracking and performance metrics, hire project managers by the truckload, and do everything in our power to wring every last drop of “efficiency” out of our daily lives.

And often, we’re making a mistake. Continue reading “Efficiency: The Trap of Modern Design”