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”

Practical Tips for Staying Student-Centered

We use the term student-centered in instructional design all the time. And that’s good. We obviously want our eLearning to focus on the students and their needs. Sometimes, it can be tricky to do that though, particularly when Continue reading “Practical Tips for Staying Student-Centered”

4 Tips to Survive Rapid Course Development on a Deadline

We’ve all been there. The course launches in two days. Your SME just gave you another laundry list of ‘essential’ revisions, and entire sections of the course need to be added. So, other than starting an intravenous drip of caffeine, how do you tackle rapid development without going insane? Here are four tips and tricks to help you meet your course development deadline.

Plan

You’ve heard it a hundred times: “Plan the Work. Work the Plan.” When you’re in crunch mode, however, Continue reading “4 Tips to Survive Rapid Course Development on a Deadline”

Game Design Principles for Your Course, Round 2

This week, I’ll continue our series on lessons that can be learned from game design and applied to the world of instructional design. We’ll keep exploring Mark Rosewater’s “10 Things Every Game Needs” for our comparison.

In my last post, I outlined how goals and rules clearly lay out the learner’s expectations to ensure they understand the structure and outcomes of the course. Today, we’ll focus on three design elements to retain and increase learner engagement throughout your course. I’ll also include a couple of practical tips for implementing these features in your course.

Let’s get started. Continue reading “Game Design Principles for Your Course, Round 2”

Apply Game Design Principles to Your Courses

Earlier, you heard from Michelle about the lessons she took from the world of broadcasting and applied to Instructional Design. Today, we’re going to discuss lessons that can be learned from a field adjacent to Instructional Design—game design.

While significant research surrounds adding gamification elements to eLearning courses, implementing it means devoting a large amount of resources. What then, can we learn if we look at it from the flip side? What fundamental game design principles translate to Instructional Design? Continue reading “Apply Game Design Principles to Your Courses”