Engage Learners with Instructional GIFs

You can’t really go anywhere on the internet without running into the ubiquitous animated GIF (graphical interchange format). Originating in 1987, GIFs shaped—and grew—with the internet in the following 30+ years (for those who missed the 90s or want to reminisce, the Internet Archive created a search for early GIFs).

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What Makes a Good Informational Video?

As instructional designers, we try to use the best tool for the task when communicating with a learner. Video is a great format for conveying information, but how do you know if it’s done well?

This week, we’ll hear from our summer student worker, Kyle Winchell. Kyle is a Digital Media Broadcasting major and editor of Spring Arbor University’s weekly chapel video, Almost Chapel. After graduation he plans to fill various roles for local film productions, specifically in the roles of director of photography and production assistant.

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Formatting eLearning Documents: Collaboration Station

Now that we’ve discussed many of the important formatting tools in MS Word, let’s turn our attention to collaboration. In the first post of this series, Back to the Basics, we explored the highly collaborative environment of eLearning.

After adding hyperlinks, page breaks, tables, and photos, it’s time to share your material with your fellow collaborators. And, using MS Word’s Review tab, you can work with them to discuss, edit, and update your document.

Let’s take a look at this Review Tab, our Collaboration Station™.

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Announcements: Finding the Balance Between Posting Too Little or Too Much

What if you entered a face-to-face classroom and found no instructor to welcome you to class, give you an overview of the semester, or guide you through your projects? Or what if your instructor made an appearance the first day of class, but slowly became less and less engaged as the semester progressed?

You’d be in the dark for most of the semester and probably pretty frustrated with your instructor, right?

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The eLearning Professional

You don’t become a professional by just calling yourself one. One key difference between professionals and non-professionals is this: professionals are bound by ethical codes. 

So, what’s the professional code of eLearning?

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Formatting eLearning Documents: Picture This

Images are a great way to add a little life to your document. Microsoft Word makes it especially easy to insert images into a document. But, with great power comes great responsibility, and you should stick with some basic principles when inserting images. If not, they can be overwhelming, hard to see, and difficult for a reader to interpret the relationship of the image to the text.

So, in this post, we’ll explore the basics of inserting and formatting an image and some little extras, like adding alt text to improve the accessibility of your documents.

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Facilitating an online course: Five ways for getting it right

The first online course I developed and facilitated was Fundamentals of Speech. I was determined to get it right, because I had graduated from an online program and understood first-hand the pitfalls and frustrations students go through with a weak facilitator. In the very first week of the course I realized that it takes a lot of work to facilitate well! The second thing I realized was that it was so worth it—and so rewarding.

Since then, I’ve developed and facilitated many online courses, and enjoy being the eLearning certification trainer for new online and blended faculty at Spring Arbor University.

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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.

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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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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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