Three Things to Consider when Designing your next Learning Experience

When you’re developing an eLearning course, there is always an overload of “practical” stuff that you have to keep in mind. Development timelines, coordinating with subject matter experts, and making sure all the nuts and bolts are ready for the launch day of your course. 

In the midst of all the details, I like to stop and consider how I can make each course I develop more effective than the last. There’s always a new angle or strategy out there to consider. I’m sharing 3 ideas here and I hope you’ll try them out.

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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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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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eLearning Feedback: Enhancing Instructor to Learner Feedback

In my last post on relevant and relational feedback, I mentioned how adding a human factor into your online courses creates another dimension of building relationships with students. Constructive, relevant, and relational feedback helps students develop an awareness of their learning as well as the ability to recognize and address their weak points on their own. Today we’ll look at audio and video feedback tools you can use to build relationships with your students and help them take these important steps in their learning.

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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.

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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).  

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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.

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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.

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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”