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”

Foster Collaboration with Open Pedagogy

Since this week is Open Educational Resources (OER) week, and 2018 was the year of open, I’m eager to touch on a topic that I feel passionate about that aligns with OER—Open Pedagogy. 

When I think of Open Pedagogy, it brings to mind areas that I have a background in—practices and theories related to teaching and learning with technology and social justice. Open Pedagogy has several meanings, but we’re going to focus on perspectives specific to OER and Open Educational Practices (OEP).  

Continue reading “Foster Collaboration with Open Pedagogy”

Formatting eLearning Documents: Table That Thought

We have a love/hate relationship with tables. On the one hand, tables organize information, especially when you need to make a side-by-side comparison or display data. On the other hand, it’s easy to get a little table-slap-happy, creating a choppy document that is difficult to view or read and is especially difficult for a screen reader. And let’s not even talk about the potential accessibility nightmare.

A table is a good option if you need to display dates, lists, or side-by-side information. Tables help us avoid using the Tab button, which can cause screen reader navigation problems. However, too much information or too many columns and rows are difficult to view and read in a table. So, it is best to revise your content or find a way to avoid using a table.

There are times when a table is the cleanest way to present the information, but a poorly formatted table is also difficult to distinguish visually. So, let me share some best practices for formatting tables in eLearning.

Continue reading “Formatting eLearning Documents: Table That Thought”

Review: UX + LX App (And a Look at the Future of Learning Design)

Disclaimer: I’ve downloaded the UX + LX mobile app to my devices for personal use. I didn’t receive compensation for this review.

UX + LX icon
UX + LX mobile app (FREE, available for iOS and Android devices)

According to Pew Research Center, more people own smartphones than computers. When people don’t have anything to do, we pull out our ubiquitous devices. Imagine if we had as many learning apps as games and other apps—every moment would be an opportunity to learn (personalized learning, here we come!).

As Tara share in her post about universal design for learning, mobile learning, or mLearning, looms before us. Yet we still design learning within the confines of a learning management system (LMS) accessed by a computer. 

UX + LX takes us outside of the traditional LMS and into a true mobile learning experience.

Continue reading “Review: UX + LX App (And a Look at the Future of Learning Design)”

Formatting eLearning Documents: Give Me a Break

Let’s continue our Formatting eLearning Documents series with a little discussion on another area that interacts with the Table of Contents (ToC). The ToC depends on Continue reading “Formatting eLearning Documents: Give Me a Break”

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”

Formatting eLearning Documents: Hop, Skip, and a Hyperlink

The Formatting eLearning Documents series is an overview of various Microsoft Word functions, how to find them, and how best to use them in eLearning. These tutorials are not exact step-by-step directions. The how-to steps in software change so often, the blog would simply become post after post correcting the ever changing tutorials! Can you imagine? We’d have to re-title our blog and everything! Nobody wants that (especially the editors).

In this post, we’ll look at creating both hyperlinks and a Table of Contents (ToC) as the two are related in Word. They are also important items in eLearning, especially Continue reading “Formatting eLearning Documents: Hop, Skip, and a Hyperlink”

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”

Formatting eLearning Documents: Back to the Basics

Elearning is a highly collaborative environment, with instructional designers (ID), subject matter experts (SME), instructors, and editors all working together to provide consistent content across multiple platforms. It’s one of the great strengths of eLearning.

It can also be a great weakness. Continue reading “Formatting eLearning Documents: Back to the Basics”

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”