The ISD Now Community Welcomed Tom Kuhlmann to UMBC on June 27

Last month, the UMBC’s ISD Graduate Program welcomed Tom Kuhlmann to campus to host an ISD Now Workshop on “How to Build Engaging and Interactive eLearning Courses.” Kuhlmann, VP of Articulate’s Community and blogger at Rapid eLearning, joined the ISD Now Community for a day of discussion about the opportunities and challenges associated with eLearning.

One of eLearning’s prevalent opportunities highlighted during the workshop is its growth that is creating a need for professionals who design, develop and deliver eLearning. As event organizer Dr. Greg Williams, Director of the ISD program at UMBC adds, “Additionally, there are many relatively easy to use tools, such as Articulate and Captivate, which are available to create e-learning modules, classes and tutorials.  Users don’t need to have an in-depth technical knowledge to get started.”

Tom addressed the reality that all opportunities come with challenges. Among them are organizations’ expectations for a limited training department to do the impossible with small budget, or no budget at all.  Creating quality learning ideally requires a team of people that may include an instructional designer, a developer, a graphic designer, and a project manager. As a result of organizations’ lack in staff, people attempt to fill multiple roles even though they may not have the background or skills to do so.

The Workshop emphasized that good eLearning design and development doesn’t happen by accident. Instructional designers must be very intentional about designing their courses. (Tom also addressed this in a recent blog post).  They should be realistic about what they want the learners to know, and more importantly, what they want the learners to do after they finish the course. In addition to these “big picture” items, Tom reiterated that the small things, such as a consistent look and feel of the course, are very important as well.

We were happy to have Tom on campus in June, and 96 percent of Workshop participants found event information to be useful.

We’ll continue to host webinars and forums on different topics in instructional design. Keep an eye on the “Forums & Webinars” section of the blog for information on upcoming ISD Now events.

Low-Tech or High-Tech; Games Help Instruction

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A recent story from Edutopia’s Tech2Learn Series highlights how technology helps one teacher differentiate instruction. Using a variety of programs, education blogger and teacher Robert Pronovost tailors math instruction to match students’ individual learning styles.

And as his data revealed, Pronovost’s students are improving at a much greater rate than students have in the past (before he had various tools and applications). Watch the video interview with Pronovost, below, and learn from this resource list he provided.

While technology is growing in influence in learning, as Pronovost says in the video, using computers is not the best tool for solving some problems. And for many, computers and high-tech tools simply aren’t available. Even without advanced technology, there are a variety of low-cost games that can be effective as well, as Chief Learning Officer mentioned in an article earlier this year, and we focused on during a recent ISD Now Forum.

How are you incorporating games into your teaching or training? Share tips and strategies with in the comments section, below!