This paper served to be a nice summary of what I’ve learned at UMBC in the course of completing the Certificates in Instructional Technology and Instructional Design. Much credit goes to my partner Rosemary Harty – I highly recommend partnering with an English teacher for collaborative paper writing! Abstract In order for e-learning to become “real learning” it must be designed thoughtfully and carefully. E-learning should be approached with many of the same best practices used in instructor-led training. This means the focus should be squarely on the learner and instruction should be planned with a sound understanding of learning theory. Examples from research and practice, guidelines for selection, design and content approaches are examined in the context of e-learning. Learning theories, from long-established to emerging, are discussed and addressed. A case study exemplifying good principles in learner-centered design demonstrates key ways that theory can successfully be applied. Key words: E-learning, workplace learning, rapid e-learning E-Learning for Real Learning In a recent interview with T & D, the American Society for Training & Development’s magazine, e-learning “guru” Jay Cross describes how he became a disciple of the power of e-learning in 1998: “I’d been in the training business and adult education for more than 20 years, and when the Web came along, I was blown away; I fell in love. Learning and the Web were made for one another, and I wouldn’t let go of it. I was a man obsessed” (“Jay Cross”, 2011, p. 72). The enthusiasm for e-learning has only grown since Cross’s epiphany. E-learning is seen as a cost-efficient means to deliver training: once prepared, a training session can be used over and over without a facilitator. E-learning eliminates the need to send workers [...]
Featured Article Apple’s recently released iBooks Author is a promising tool for those in training and development. The fact that Apple has partnered with several major textbook publishers bodes well for its future. This software allows one to produce multimedia books for the iPad (but the iPad alone). These books can contain movie clips, interactive animations, diagrams, photos and simple quizzes. It is relatively easy to learn for those already familiar with Macs, and will seem especially familiar to those who have used iWeb software. While iBooks Author is free to download, you will need a relatively new Mac (at least an Intel core 2 Duo) that runs Leopard, the latest operating system. An upgrade to Leopard will cost $30. Some people online reported problems with upgrading. However, this author’s experience went smoothly, even with her five-year-old computer. To preview your book you will need an iPad 2 or 3 that has iBooks2 installed. Once you have created your book and previewed it on your iPad you are ready to publish. You can choose to either sell your text, or offer it for free. Either way, you are only allowed to distribute it through the iTunes store. However, you retain rights to the content, and can repurpose it as you see fit. You have the option of creating a PDF file from your book. However, you will lose any interactivity, and “made with iBooks Author” will be displayed on the bottom of every page. The fact that the book is only available for iPads and not other types of tablets is a significant limitation. However, this new medium and its ease of use creates new possibilities for training and education. Being in the iTunes store [...]
“I’ve found some of the best e-learning developers have a background in video production. Why does a video background help new e-learning developers? Because video relies so heavily on the eyes, one has to think visually from the start. Same goes for e-learning. Computer screens cry out for visual treatment.” Ruth Clark, Evidence Based Training Methods
David Mallon of Bersin and Associates gave a surprisingly engaging presentation to the UMBC ISD community. Yet afterwards I heard a lot of the same reaction that presentations about informal learning often get. Many comments seemed to be of the “sounds good in theory, but how do I actually sell it to management?” and “this will take away our jobs” variety. To paraphrase some of his nuggets of wisdom: “don’t think of designing the “right” piece of instruction – think of putting the right people in the right place at the right time”. “don’t talk learning theory to your clients – talk to them in their language of business metrics”. “72 % of companies say they believe in informal learning, but 30% of their resources are focused there”. “Information Architecture is a sister to ISD. Soon these fields will converge, as Information Architecture plays a similar role in learning environments as ISD does in formal courses”. He also used an interesting term “community management” – where instructional designers go from designing training to being facilitators of the communities and systems where employees informally learn. This really made sense to me, as I recently did a study of an informal learning community for documentary filmmakers called “the D-word”. This forum works magnificently as a fountain of information about all aspects of documentary filmmaking, outreach, marketing etc. However, it requires over an hour a day from a moderator now that it is established. It took even more time in the beginning to set the tone for the group.
It’s not that you ever get to the point where you “know everything” about the industry. However, I’m finding that equal to the actual knowledge you gain at an event like this is the reassurance and inspiration of meeting so many interesting people and hearing about so many worthy projects that face struggles similar to yours. Here are some random highlights: - “transmedia” is the new buzz word, but seems to basically mean the same as “cross platform” or “multi-platform” or “multimedia”. - Sponsors want to hear that your project is “transmedia”, even if they don’t really understand what they means or how to make it happen. - The Bay Area Video Coalition has helped many of the transmedia presenters at the conference. - Public radio producers are at the forefront of transmedia. Story Corps has worked with animators to produce some wonderful (bring tears to your eyes) animations that have shown on POV and all over the web. My son’s media literacy class has shown them as well. - Al Letson of the show “State of the Re:Union” spoke about how he worked with filmmakers to make short video documentaries about the subjects they were doing radio documentaries on. He said it was a matter of learning to accommodate each other – a radio person wants to practically shove a microphone in someone’s face, while a film person doesn’t want to see it at all. - Glynn Washington of the show “Snap Judgment” spoke of how he liked to do features based on documentaries. He said that documentarians shouldn’t feel territorial about “their ideas”, as being featured on his show always lead to increase in sales. He said he really needed to talk to [...]