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Instructional Design

Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation review

Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation review

What does it mean to learn? Is it the reception and storage of knowledge and information, or does learning encompass more than instruction and learning often exemplified in traditional classrooms? 

Constructionism and LEGO's mission

Constructionism and LEGO's mission

LEGO's message that was packed in whatever toy this parent purchased gives a nod to the learning theory of constructionism introduced by Seymour Papert of MIT. 

Theory, skills, and the workplace: a professional instructional design consultant's perspective

Theory, skills, and the workplace: a professional instructional design consultant's perspective

Meet the instructional design consultant

R-Jay Wilde is an instructional design consultant with more than a decade of experience in the field of instruction design. He a fellow PhD student in Utah State University's Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences department with me. He recently sent out some helpful pointers to students interested in building a career in instructional design.

Instructional design advice 

Hey ITLS Students,

I recently had a student tell me (in a rather discouraged tone) that she
had no experience and came from a foreign country and that made it hard to
find jobs.

Consider a couple of points:

  1. You are a student in one of the strongest Instructional Design programs in the country. Do not forget that!
  2. As a student in ITLS you are acquiring a solid foundation in theory and learning science. Tools knowledge is important, but theory is more important. I personally hired many people with solid understanding of theory over experience and knowledge of tools. Besides, the tools change every couple of years, sometimes the changes are significant enough that it puts everybody back at zero, meaning everyone has to relearn the tools.
  3. Experience only matters if you know what you are doing. The very worst curriculum I ever encountered was developed by a person who boasted 8 years of experience as an  Instructional Designer. This person had no formal training in the field and had never made the effort to adequately educate themselves on design theory. Basically they had been doing very poor instructional design for eight years. You are armed with the theory, your potential to do good instructional design is higher than those without the theory.
  4. Many companies today have a global employee base and with that a need to train people in other languages with other cultures to consider. Your experience coming from another country can be a strength for such global companies. If you can design training in a desirable language, you could be extremely valuable. Some of the hot languages and cultures include:
  • Japanese (very few Japanese people speak English and their culture is difficult for western thinkers to grasp),
  • Chinese (China is the largest and one of the fastest growing markets in nearly every industry),
  • German (because of workers unions and laws, many bodies of training have to be delivered in German
  • Spanish (Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina tend to be very fast growing labor markets).

I hope this helps some of you.

R-Jay Wilde 
Artist, Writer, Speaker, Teacher 
www.rjaywilde.com 


Photo credit: "Cathedral of Learning" by hjl is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Great TED talk on body language – and mentorship

Great TED talk on body language – and mentorship

I really enjoyed this TED talk. I did a search for the most viewed talks this weekend and this was number two with 9.3 million views. The presenter Amy Cuddy shares a touching story toward the end of her presentation about mentorship which I particularly enjoyed.

Lumino City: A Documentary

Lumino City: A Documentary

Wow. I've been playing Lumino City on Steam. It's a beautiful, well thought-out game that was all designed using a set made out of cardboard. It looks like the developer team is in the process of making a documentary showing others how it is made.

Here's a sneak peek. 

Stop motion baby using 3D Print animation

Stop motion baby using 3D Print animation

I ran across this video today and love it. I'm impressed by the producers' patience, travel, and resourcefulness to put this all together. 

Should we have video games in classrooms?

Should we have video games in classrooms?

I stumbled across this interesting, informative in one of courses this semester at USU. The producer of the video covers a concept of transferability or the ability for knowledge to transfer from on activity to another. This is important in the world of gaming where lessons can be learned and where there may be potential for learners to transfer new knowledge to areas outside of games. 

Here's the video:

MIT Media Lab: Phones designed with users in mind

MIT Media Lab: Phones designed with users in mind

Here's an interested video-short highlighting an MIT Media Lab project that was done in collaboration with M ss ng P eces. It highlights some innovative things individuals who work at phone manufacturing plants are doing with their own phones. 

Bridgerland Literacy Promo video

Bridgerland Literacy Promo video

I like to fully direct and produce one video for free each year. This year, I chose to highlight Bridgerland Literacy – a local non-profit whose mission is to teach adults how to read. It's estimated that approximately five percent of the adult population does not know how to read. Bridgerland Literacy is trying to address this population and teach these folks this important skill. 

Bridgerland Literacy will use this video in grant proposals, on their website, and in other locations to share their story. Good luck, Bridgerland Literacy!

ATD 2015 - Orlando Florida

ATD 2015 - Orlando Florida

I'm at the conference center, getting organized

I'm here at the Association for Talent Development (ATD) Conference in Orlando this week. I'm looking forward to learning a lot about instructional design, learning science, and human performance improvement in healthcare – my fields of practice. 

Picking out the perfect track

This international conference is huge. With more than 10,000 attendees and a conference center the size of two football fields, It's important to plan out one's experience as carefully as possible. 

There's an app for that

ATD developed an app accessible on iTunes and Google play attendees can download and schedule out their conference events. It has push-notification capabilities and will help participants maximize their experience. 

My individualized track

I'll be taking a blended approach to the conference. Here's my plan:

Sunday, May 17 

  • 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. | Design Thinking for the Instructional Designer
  • 3 - 4 p.m. | A Strategy for High-Impact Corporate MOOCs
  • 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. | When Instructional Design Met Performance Consulting

Monday, May 18

  • 8 – 9:30 a.m. | General Session
  • 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. | Tearing Down the Porch
  • 11:30 – 12:30 p.m. | Developing Talent in Today's Changing Healthcare Environment
  • 1 – 2:15 p.m. | Wearables: Just a Fad or the Future of Talent Development? 
  • 3 – 4 p.m. | 6 Psychological Tricks That Make Learning Stick
  • 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. | Leadership: The Critical Factor for Creating Customer Service in Healthcare

Tuesday, May 19

  • 8 – 9:30 a.m. | General Session
  • 10 – 11:15 a.m. | 12 Rules of Respect: The Neuroscience of Employee Engagement
  • 12 – 1 p.m. | Instant Insights
  • 1 – 2 p.m. | Sink, Swim, or Set Up for Success? Preparing First-Time Leaders
  • 2 – 3 p.m. | Exhibitor Experiential Sessions
  • 3 – 4 p.m. | The New Social Learning
  • 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. | How to Engage Every Participant Without Really Trying
  • 5:30 – 7 p.m. | Student Day Career Networking Social

wednesDAY, MAY 19

  • 8:15 – 9:15 a.m. | Surviving C-Suite Presentations
  • 10 – 11 a.m. | Leveraging Emotional Intelligence Skills to Effectively Develop Leaders
  • 1:30 – 2:45 p.m. | Visual Storytelling: Engaging Learners Using Pictures
  • 3 – 4 p.m. | General Session

Follow the event using #ATD2015

There are a number of attendees who are contributing their thoughts and experiences on the conference and conference sessions using hashtag #ATD2015. 

Design Thinking for Instructional Designers

Design Thinking for Instructional Designers

So what is design thinking, anyway? 

Willemien Visser defined design thinking as "design-specific cognitive activities that designers apply during the process of designing." Angel Green with Allen Interactions presented on how this approach to design can help make our instruction more engaging, relevant, and impactful. 

Instructional designers have a problem

First, we spend a lot of money on design...

...yet we have a lot of dissatisfied learners

Green suggested that a simple twitter search on "I hate training" will highlight many of the concerns most learners have with instruction. 

How can we solve the negative sentiment problem?

We participated in a number of design thinking activities to help us as instructional designers identify ways to improve learning. Instructional Designers can:

  • employ design thinking techniques to instructional design
  • involve the learners in design
  • continuously make improvements to design based on learner feedback
  • help students better manage their time by providing them with clearly identified learning tasks 

Angel suggests that prototyping can help us gain feedback and increase or creativity in our design.

Learn by doing

Learn by doing

The theory

Learning scientist Roger Schank has been a big proponent of the learn-by-doing approach to instruction. This theory proposes that learning is best achieved in the context of doing real, relevant tasks that matter. Learners don't have issues with transfer because they are exposed to problems in authentic environments. Learners who are learning by doing don't have troubles answering the question, "when or how can I use this knowledge?" Understanding the significance of the skill or knowledge learners are trying to acquire is evident in the context of the task they are attempting to perform. Here's more on the subject.

Do something you care about

This outstanding video by a YouTube vlogger Cheers, Kevin addresses the question of how one can learn to code. Like many technical skills, developing proficiency in any coding language is hard. In the video below, Kevin does an admiral job of providing recommendations to people interested in learning to code. His advice is pretty relevant for most skills. Do you have a hard skill you're interested in developing? Kevin's advice for learning the skill is spot on. Start with identifying something you are intensely interested in.

How listening to your learners can improve your work

How listening to your learners can improve your work

Cotton bags, sewing, and listening

Frugal and savvy homemakers during the 1940s were good at saving money and managing resources. Innovative ways to re-use and re-purpose household materials helped families make ends meet. Since the 1800s, flour and other feed was packaged in fabric sacks. The packaging for flour was delivered in soft, sturdy cotton which held up under shipping and storing conditions. Household seamstresses began re-purposing the cotton fabric flour bags  into clothing for kids at some point. Wise folks in the flour industry noticed this trend and used it as a way to provide additional value to their customers. Companies provided value by printing patterns on the bags which seamstresses could then use to sew clothing. This image below shows how this activity was encouraged (photo courtesy of Vavoom Vintage.

Listening to learners

The fabric clothing trend of the '40s happened naturally. The flour companies' responses to the trend were generated as a result of someone listening and observing. Such interaction with the flour customers would have been hard to predict or produce without careful listening.

Learner preferences and trends are often non-intuitive and challenging to predict. It's important to take advantage of opportunities to gather feedback on learner preferences. By gathering and considering feedback, instructional designers can improve instruction and foster relationships of trust with learners. 

Trends in screen technology

Trends in screen technology

UHD: 4K & 5K

Higher and higher resolution delivery of video is an on going trend. 1920x1080 HD video is a baseline standard for design. Most modern computer monitors have full HD capabilities; higher end monitors have 2K capabilities, and Apple's iMac has a 5K display. 

 

Curved screens

Samsung Curved LED TV. Photo by Nan Palmero.

Samsung Curved LED TV. Photo by Nan Palmero.

Curved screens are starting to show up in retailers. The curved surface widens the viewer's field of view and enhances the viewing experience. Instructional designers don't need to make adjustments for this type of screen. 

 

 

Capturing devices

Full HD 1080p DSLRs have been the go-to cameras of choice for many instructional designers since the late 2000s. Until recently, 1080p was the highest resolution these cameras would film in. Many (relatively) affordable cameras have been released that now shoot in 4K including the

Many 6K cameras pricing begins at $10,000 and goes well upward of $10K.

Resolution

So what's the difference between these resolutions? This image below, courtesy of Reddit, helps communicate the differences in scale.

Can technology change education?

Can technology change education?

A TEDx talk worth listening to

Raj Dhingra gave this presentation at TEDxBend in 2012. Dhingra talks about the fact that although the potential availability of technology in the learning environment has exploded, many instructors are primarily using old world techniques of instructionism. This outdated  technique where the instructor stands on the stage – the sage of the stage rather than the guy on the side – should be replaced with blended learning techniques. Dhingra is also a proponent of increasing access to technology using innovative methods. 


Brain games and learning

Brain games and learning

Learning how we learn

I'm not a big fan of TV. In fact, I haven't ever paid for cable nor have I ever had a TV in my house connected to anything other than a BluRay player and the internet. With that said, there are endless outstanding documentaries and science-based shows one can access through platforms like Netflix that I enjoy watching on occasion. One such program is Brain Games produced by National Geographic. The show uses creative experiences to highlight how our brain interfaces with and processes information from our environments.

Brian Games

Here is a full episode of Brain Games on language. Watch this episode to get a taste of what the show is like. Maybe you'll get hooked. For those in the instructional design space, understanding how humans process information is critical to designing high-quality instruction.


Twitter's new in-feed performance metrics

Twitter's new in-feed performance metrics

Measure the reach of your tweets in realtime

Twitter recently released in-feed metrics that are accessible to Twitter accessible by the Twitter app and traditional access to Twitter. Here's how it works:

#1 – Identify a tweet whose data you want to view

#2 – Click on the bar graph icon

#3 – View data

Data included

As you can see, Twitter provides data on:

  • Tweet views
  • Link clicks
  • Clicks to view Tweet details
  • Photo or video views

Creating effective learning objectives the Mager way

Creating effective learning objectives the Mager way

Why learning objectives?

Learning objectives are an important part of planning instruction. They help the instructional designer break down the learning goal into manageable chunks and helps her or him identify the purpose of instruction. Learning objectives help answer the "why" to instruction.

Three elements of effective learning objectives

Training and performance improvement researcher Robert F. Mager emphasized the identification and use of learning objectives in planning instruction. Mager's book, Preparing Instructional Objectives: A Critical Tool in the Development of Effective Instruction, highlights the following three parts of effective learning objectives:

#1 - Conditions

Conditions describe the tools and resources a learner will need to complete the objective.

For example: 

"Using Google Chrome, a learner will be able to locate and save the website YouTube.com as a bookmark titling it 'YouTube.' The learner will correctly spell "YouTube" as the bookmark's name."

In this example, "Using Google Chrome" is the condition under which the learner must perform. 

#2 - Behavior

The learning objective should include actions, concepts, and content a student must display. These behaviors should be observable. 

For example: 

"Using Google Chrome, a learner will be able to locate and save the website YouTube.com as a bookmark titling it 'YouTube.' The learner will correctly spell "YouTube" as the bookmark's name."

In this example, "locate and save the website YouTube.com as a bookmark titling it 'YouTube.'" is the behavior required to complete the learning objective.

#3 - Criteria

Criteria included in a learning objective describes what acceptable performance of a skill looks like. It is explicit and outlines parameters for performance. 

For example: 

"Using Google Chrome, a learner will be able to locate and save the website YouTube.com as a bookmark titling it 'YouTube.' The learner will correctly spell 'YouTube' as the bookmark's name."

In this example, "The learner will correctly spell 'YouTube' as the bookmark's name," is the criterion required to complete the learning objective.

Mager's elements of learning objectives add clarity

When the presence of conditions, behavior, and criteria are all packaged together in a learning objective, it becomes very clear whether or not a learner as achieved the learning objective. This clarity helps remove potential ambiguity from the instructors responsibility to evaluate performance; conditions, behaviors, and criteria also help a student to know when she or he has performed the objective at an adequate level of proficiency. 


What's geo-fencing?

What's geo-fencing?

Per the definition in Techopedia, geo-fencing is: "a technology that defines a virtual boundary around a real-world geographical area. In doing so, a radius of interest is established that can trigger an action in a geo-enabled phone or other portable electronic device."

Hi-tech coupons

NBC's affiliate in Utah, KSL News, produced this video on geo-fencing. It shows some of the new techniques marketers can use to advertise certain products with opt-in smartphone apps. 

The importance of mobile-friendly content

The importance of mobile-friendly content

It's more important than ever before to design content that is mobile-friendly instruction. The number of adult learners who have access to mobile devices grows daily. Although there is certainly still a digital divide between those who have a mobile device and those who don't, the mobile-device gap between the two camps appears to be shrinking.

Going mobile stats 

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) recently shared this relevant infographic full of stats that emphasize the importance of understanding the changing environment in which learners interact with instruction.