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”

An Overview of Universal Design for Learning

A Heightened Awareness of Accommodations

At a recent Toastmasters officers meeting in a popular coffee house, the club secretary asked me to switch seats with him. While I didn’t have a problem switching, I was curious why he wanted me to move. He informed me that as our meeting’s notetaker—and left-handed person—he needed a space conducive for taking notes. My seat was the only space at the table that met his need.

As an Instructional Designer, his request made me think about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and the importance of designing environments to meet the needs of everyone. Continue reading “An Overview of Universal Design for Learning”

5 Things I do when I need Inspiration

Last week, Dave talked about a few strategies for beating design slumps. I thought I’d build on that and chime in with a few specifics—namely some of my favorite places to go for inspiration when I’m stuck. Continue reading “5 Things I do when I need Inspiration”

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”

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”

Review: Tim Slade’s “The eLearning Designer’s Handbook”

***Model eLearning has no affiliation with Tim Slade. We purchased the book on our own, and we’ve provided an honest review based on our opinions.***

It’s often said that instructional designers (ID) fall into the field of eLearning. Some, like Michelle, have a whole career of experience before making their way into it. Others find their skill-sets and interests draw them into the field. Elearning designer Tim Slade had a similar experience, and that led him to write, design, and self-publish The eLearning Designer’s Handbook: A Practical Guide to the eLearning Development Process for New eLearning Designers. Continue reading “Review: Tim Slade’s “The eLearning Designer’s Handbook””

Choosing the Right Tool to Design Interactive Scenarios

Have you ever had an idea you knew was good but didn’t truly understand the work involved until you began laboring to make it a reality?

This happened to me when I started changing one of the assignments in my history class into a branching scenario. Continue reading “Choosing the Right Tool to Design Interactive Scenarios”

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”

Making your eLearning Assignments More Interactive

History is rich and vivid, and it shouldn’t be presented in a way that students see as dry.  As an adjunct history instructor, I am always looking for ways to motivate students to explore history and to look at it from different perspectives. I’ve discovered that infusing a scenario-based assignment engages learners and encourages them to think outside the box. Continue reading “Making your eLearning Assignments More Interactive”