Unlearning to Learn More

Unlearning is just as important, and some would argue, even more important, than learning.

What is unlearning?

Unlearning happens when one comes face-to-face with a new idea, concept or thought that contradicts what has been learned previously.  The world is constantly moving, changing, and shifting. If we don’t acknowledge this, we threaten our very survival, be it professionally or personally, in this ever-changing landscape.

unlearning

New ideas have always been a catalyst to growth and development, be it in a classroom, in a business setting, or in a relationship.  These new ideas are constantly replacing old ones. What we spent years learning, may no longer be applicable today or in the future.

Learn to Unlearn

How does one not drown in the sea of knowledge when it is constantly being saturated by newer concepts that replace old ones? The answer is quite simple. We need to learn to unlearn.

What Does it Mean to Unlearn?

Our minds are being filled with a constant flow of information. If we don’t stop and empty some of it out, we won’t have room for anything new to enter. To stay fresh, vital and on top of the game, we need to make room for new knowledge because the world is ever changing.

Benefits of Unlearning:

  • Release old ideas
  • Let go of old habits
  • Make room for new information

Why Should We Unlearn?

As ISD professionals, it’s critical that we understand the need for unlearning because technology is always changing, and what served us once, may not serve us today or tomorrow.

Unlearning Allows Us: 

  • To grow
  • To allow new ideas to take up root
  • To gain new perspectives
  • To adapt to the changing environment
  • To remove barriers that limit our potential

In her blog, Taruna Goel introduced this excerpt from a paper titled ‘Lifelong Unlearning’ written by Trevor Pateman: “In our cognitive lives our memories – what we know – is often an obstacle to engaging with the world around us. It is a commonplace that what we see is often influenced by what we think there is to see, and if that is true, then that might be taken as an argument for thinking less and with less conviction. We should carry our knowledge lightly, and always be ready to let go of it.”

Check out this video by Author Jack Uldrich on Unlearning Possibilities:

Have you had to unlearn something recently?

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISD Now
www.umbc.edu/isd

ISD Professionals: Four Reasons You Need a Portfolio

Are you prepared for when that opportunity comes into your path, offering a chance at a fantastic project that could elevate you to the next level in your ISD career?  If a potential client came calling tomorrow, would you have your best work ready to showcase? If not, read on.

portfolio

Why a Portfolio?

  1. To prove you have experience
  2. To sell yourself
  3. To showcase your talents and value
  4. To stand out from the competition

What to Present in a Portfolio?

Your best work. Period.

Here’s the caveat, though: you must honor the privacy of your clients. Before adding their projects into your portfolio, seek the written permission of their legal department. If you can’t obtain their permission, consider creating projects on your own to add to your portfolio.

What is the Best Portfolio Format?

Online and Paper versions both have advantages. Online allows for easy sharing, easy access, and easy correction in a cost effective manner. Paper-based portfolios have tangible, sensory value and are great for face-to-face interviews.

How to Organize a Portfolio

Leigh Anne Lankford, an Instructional Design Consultant, summed up her recommendations in her article, ISD Professionals – Building a Portfolio. She suggested these effective methods to organize a portfolio:

  • Place projects in chronological order.
  • Use the ADDIE Model to organize projects.
  • Organize projects according to the ASTD Competency Model.

Regardless of which organizational method you use to showcase your portfolio, the most important thing to keep in mind is to make it clean and clear of errors, and present only your best work. Seeking the advice and objectivity of someone unbiased can prove extremely helpful, as well. Encourage critical feedback from this person.

What to Include in Your Portfolio?

Think of a portfolio as a snapshot of your skills. It’s your chance to get in front of a prospective client and wow them with your ability. Place yourself in the shoes of the prospective client. What do they want to see? What would win over their confidence? What skill sets are critical to their project? Be sure your portfolio addresses these questions.

In her article, Lankford drafted a comprehensive list of items to consider:

  • One sample of High Level Design.
  • One Storyboard if you design for eLearning.
  • One Facilitator Guide sample.
  • One Participant Guide.
  • Content areas samples that showcase your expertise.
  • Evaluations you’ve created and their related feedback.
  • Recommendations and glowing reviews.

At UMBC, students admitted to the Master’s degree in Instructional Systems Development – Training Systems, are required to complete a professional portfolio. This requirement replaced the current comprehensive exam requirement in 2012.

Dr. Greg Williams, UMBC’s ISD Graduate Program Director, stated, “The purpose of this new requirement is to provide students an opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned in their coursework and the program. It also provides students, employers, clients, colleagues, etc. with tangible evidence of our graduates’ knowledge, skill, abilities and competencies. Portfolios can be a wonderful career tool that may assist graduates in getting jobs, promotions, new clients, and other professional opportunities.”

UMBC offers students a course called Portfolio Development & Talent Management

Did we miss something critical that you’ve included in your portfolio? Please share in the comments below.

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISD Now
www.umbc.edu/isd

The Emotional Impact of Schematic Faces

Many might agree, schematic faces, or emoticons, have a way of sweeping into our minds and filling us with joy, sadness, anger, and many other emotions. How amazing is it that a simple line drawing can affect us on such an emotional level?

schematic faces

The Power in Schematic Faces

Smiley faces can make us laugh, giggle, and smile back. These smiley schematic faces can soften a sentence, add humor to a serious discussion, and offer a friendly tone.

Expressions in Schematic Faces

As human beings, we pay attention to faces. We connect to them. We interpret vast amounts of information in seconds just from laying our eyes on them. Our basic survival depends on our ability to interpret and digest non-verbal cues from a person’s facial expression.

Findings on Schematic Faces

Connie Malamed, a consultant, author and speaker in the fields of visual design, online learning and information design, wrote an article on this subject titled, The Visual Language of Schematic Faces. In this article, she discussed the idea of Facial Codes. Malamed explained, “The conveyance of facial expressions are uncannily reflected in schematic faces. This is probably due to our competence at reading and interpreting what is known as the facial code, which many believe is universal to all people in all cultures.”

In her article, Malamed references research conducted by Paul Ekman, one of the most well-known researchers in this field, and his findings on prototypical facial codes that express six distinct primary emotions, joy, sadness, surprise, fear, disgust, and anger.

Importance of Schematic Faces on ISD Professionals

Our faces hold great communication power, and even in simple line form, human emotions can be expressed clearly and concisely. As users of technology and imagery, this wonderful ability of the human brain to interpret data from schematic faces can have far-reaching benefits by ways of helping to improve the way we communicate visually, and how this communication is then absorbed in a profound level.

Do you make use of schematic faces in your ISD work?

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISD Now

www.umbc.edu/isd

E-learning Video 101

An e-learning video can be an instructional designer’s best friend. Producing a quality e-learning video can be relatively easy. It’s readily available to a wide audience. It demonstrates skills in real time fashion. And it has an evergreen shelf life.

How to Make an E-learning Video Stand Out

Start with the end in mind. What is your goal? What do you want learners to walk away with after participating in your e-learning video? Once you understand your goal, it’s time to design using key concepts to bring out your information in a logical, organized, and visually appealing manner, a manner that will tap into your learner’s senses.

e-learning video

Tap Into the Senses with an E-learning Video

To tap into the senses, an e-learning video must engage, must stimulate, and must create a desire in the learner’s mind to understand the information you’re presenting. For this to happen, an e-learning video should be produced with a few elements in mind.

Elements of an Effective E-learning Video

Panopto Blog wrote an interesting article on Five Tips for Making a Better E-Learning Video. They shared several key concepts to help keep learners engaged. They recommended the following for e-learning videos:

  • Keep learners engaged
  • Provide learners with an environment that is interactive
  • Visually appeal to a learner’s senses through variety in color, content, and imagery
  • Demonstrate key concepts by showing instead of just telling
  • Deliver accessibility across multiple platforms
  • Offer captioning for those who are hearing impaired

Do you have tips and tricks on how to create an effective e-learning video? We’d love to hear them. Please share them in the comments below.

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISD Now
www.umbc.edu/isd

An Experiment on Human Behavior

As Instructional Designers, it’s important to present information in a way that effectively communicates an idea, while at the same time eliciting behavior that creates momentum in applying it.

Human Behavior Examined

Can physically experiencing something cause us to act in a different way had we not experienced it?

human-behaviorIf you simply read about what it felt like to be in a car accident at high velocity speeds, would that be a strong enough deterrent for you to stop speeding? What about if you actually felt the physical pain of being in that kind of car accident? Would you be less likely to press your foot harder against that gas pedal?

A Study on Human Behavior

According to one study conducted at the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford, yes you might be. The Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford conducted an interesting study on human behavior, and the effect a visceral experience has on our actions.

Julie Dirksen summed up the study and its findings in an article she wrote for Learning Solutions Magazine titled, Research for Practitioners: When It’s Not a Knowledge Problem. The study looked at the result of learning about the negative impact on deforestation of using non-recycled paper goods. It examined two groups, one experiencing the physical feelings of cutting down trees in a virtual lab setting, and the other read a vivid account of the physical act of cutting down trees.

The Findings on Human Behavior

The findings were that visceral experiences did change behavior. Dirksen admitted up front that we should be careful in making generalizations based on this one study, but it is nonetheless still interesting to see how experiencing something physically may impact our actions.

Conclusions on Human Behavior

The study concluded two significant considerations:

  • Attitude is not necessarily a predictor of behavior.
  • Active, visceral experiences may influence behavior change.

Human Behavior and Instructional Design

This study on human behavior can be an important one for instructional designers to examine because it may help fill your instructional design toolbox with more effective approaches to generating the kind of action you want your students to take.

Read more about this study.

Tell us your thoughts on this study on human behavior in the comment box below.

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISD Now

Join us for a Complimentary Webinar on February 26, 2014

UMBC’s ISD Now Webinar Series is holding its next webinar on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. EST. Guest speaker, Dr. Jane Bozarth, eLearning Coordinator for the State of North Carolina will discuss Social Media for Trainers.

social-media-for-trainersJoin us as Dr. Jane Bozarth helps us explore the use of free technologies like blogs, wikis, Facebook, Twitter, and online groups to help build communication, increase participation, and enhance transfer of training to the job.

We’ll both define and demystify each tool. You will get ideas for applying low-cost collaboration strategies to your own training programs—both classroom and online!

Dr. Jane Bozarth is the eLearning Coordinator for the State of North Carolina. She is the author of several books including Social Media for Trainers, Better than Bullet Points, the upcoming Show Your Work, and more. She also writes the monthly “Nuts & Bolts” column for Learning Solutions Magazine. She is a popular webinar and conference speaker. Dr. Bozarth and her husband live in Durham, NC.

This UMBC ISD Now webinar is free and open to the public. If interested in attending, please RSVP online.

We hope to see you there!
Your friends at ISD Now

SMEs From the Ground Up with Dr. Chuck Hodell

ISDNowForum

On October 23, the UMBC ISD program was lucky enough to have Dr. Chuck Hodell present at the ISD Now Forum.

Dr. Hodell’s interactive presentation focused on SMEs From the Ground Up.

Dr. Hodell provided practical information on how to identify different types of SMEs, how to determine SME selection criteria specific to one’s needs, and how to create a list of things one can do to support SMEs in the design process.

Enjoy this presentation by Dr. Hodell on SMEs From the Ground Up, in the video below.

Let us know what you think about Dr. Hodell’s presentation.

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISD Now

Join us for UMBC’s ISD Now Forum on October 23, 2013

It’s that time of the year again when we get together face-to-face for our interactive ISD Now Forum. This is a free event and open to the public. We hope you’ll be able to join us as we welcome Dr. Chuck Hodell to present on Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) From the Ground Up.

ISDNowForum

WHEN: Wednesday, October 23, 6 – 8:30 PM

WHERE: UMBC Ballroom, University Center, 3rd Floor

Subject matter experts are often the forgotten members of the ISD team. While just as important as any other element of our work, SMEs typically don’t get the attention they deserve as key members of the design team. Join us and learn how to choose, nurture and evaluate SMEs From the Ground Up.

After this presentation, participants will be able to:
•Identify different types of SMEs
•Determine SME selection criteria specific to your needs
•Create a list of things you can do to support SMEs in the design process

rsvp-isdforum

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISDNow

Join us for a Complimentary Webinar on September 24, 2013

UMBC’s ISD Now Webinar Series is holding its next complimentary webinar, “Top 10 Blunders in Developing eLearning… And How to Avoid Them”, on September 24, 2013.

This webinar will be held from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT.

This complimentary webinar will touch on the challenges of Interactive Multimedia and eLearning. Joe Ganci of Dazzle Technologies will discuss how preparation is the key to avoiding common mistakes. If you have developed eLearning, you will recognize some or all of these mistakes. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will walk out of this session resolute in creating better eLearning with fewer headaches.

rsvp-isdforum2

Always in learning mode,

Your friends at ISDNow

The ID Guru – Connie Malamed’s New App

Connie Malamed recently came out with an app, The ID Guru. Josie Whitmore So, a graduate student in UMBC’s Instructional Systems Development program, recently reviewed the app. Read her review below:

I encounter a baffling amount of ISD jargon in my day-to-day life. It’s in my books, on the discussion boards, and even in my personal life (my husband and my best friend are both Instructional Designers).

As a student with little prior experience with ISD, I’m often caught in the uncomfortable position of having to pause what I’m doing to find the right resource to define these terms and concepts. By the time I’ve paged through a few books or gone down the rabbit hole of the internet, I’ve lost my train of thought.

Luckily, I stumbled upon Connie Malamed’s new app, the ID guru, while exploring her blog, the eLearning Coach.

id-guruAvailable for both iPhone and Android phones, this app is simple, with no bells or whistles to complicate a quick, inconspicuous search. Currently, The ID Guru defines more than 470 key terms drawn from the fields of instructional design, cognitive psychology, social media, multimedia, technology and law.

Here are some other great features:

  • Want to look up a term quickly? Tap the search icon and enter the term or search alphabetically.
  • Have some time to kill and want to explore? Browse for terms by categories (Cognitive Psychology, Instructional Design, Learning Theory, Legal, Multimedia, Social Media and Technical) or simply thumb through the list.
  • Many of the terms are hyperlinked to each other which makes exploring the relationships between concepts effortless.
  • As a novice, my favorite part of the app is the little light bulb icon that shows up under a number of the definitions. This icon identifies tips from Malamed herself, so you aren’t just getting an easy to use list of terms, you’re also getting the wisdom of someone who has practiced in the field for more than 20 years.

I would love to see the next generation of this app take The ID Guru from a simple tool to a more engaging learning instrument with infographics, links to podcasts, and more insider tips. For right now, though, I definitely feel like I got my money’s worth. $2.99 is a small price to pay when it comes to feeling competent at school and with my peers. For more info on her app, visit the eLearning Coach.

Always in Learning Mode,
Your friends at ISD Now
PS Have you tried the ID GURU? Share your experience by commenting below!