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!

Put Your ISD Skills to Good Use by Volunteering

No matter where you are in your career with ISD, volunteering can be great way to give back to the community, gain more diverse hands-on experience and grow your portfolio.

The Magic of Volunteering

VolunteeringIn ISD From The Ground Up, our own Professor Chuck Hodell mused: “never underestimate the value of a little professional experience lent to a worthy cause. It is comparable to someone having little knowledge of how an automobile works sitting with their disabled car on the side of the road until a Good Samaritan comes along and performs a bit of magic in the engine and it starts right up.”

If you’re ready to perform a bit of your own magic, the following are some great ways to get started in volunteering:

Global Giveback

In partnership with the eLearning Guild, LINGOS’ Global Giveback enables the eLearning community to volunteer their talent, creativity and experience to a consortium of more than 75 humanitarian relief, development, conservation and health organizations.

In the first four years Global Giveback was held, volunteer instructional designers and eLearning developers have created more than 100 eLearning courses to support these global development non-profit organizations. To learn more and to get started, sign up for the Global Giveback Group on LinkedIn.

Last Mile Learning

Volunteers who sign up for the Global Giveback Group on LinkedIn also have access to LINGOS’ newest initiative, Last Mile Learning. Last Mile Learning’s mission is to provide “world-class learning opportunities at no cost to anyone working to improve lives in the developing world.”

Through Last Mile Learning, volunteers are provided with a library of free contextualized professional development courses while development and relief professionals can register to the Last Mile Learning open portal and access courses designed to improve their skills.

e-Learning for Kids

Are you interested in designing courseware and educational games for underserved children?  e-Learning for Kids is a global, nonprofit foundation dedicated to “fun and free learning on the Internet for children ages 5-12.”

As of 2012, e-Learning for Kids courses have been used by 4.5 million children in more than 190 countries in both the developing and developed world. Watch the video below to learn more about volunteering for e-Learning for Kids.

Idealist:

Idealist is a great way to search for specific causes that interest you, to network with experienced colleagues, and to create content for your portfolio that speaks to who you are and what you want to do.

You can even tailor your search to your specific needs as a volunteer, including the amount of time you are able to commit, the duration of the job, and the times of day you are available. You don’t need to have an Idealist account to search, so feel free to explore. You never know… the perfect opportunity could be just a few clicks away!

Have you ever volunteered your ISD skills? Tell us about it.

Always in Learning Mode,
Your friends at ISD Now

Storytelling: A Valuable Tool for Instructional Designers

Can storytelling make you a more effective designer?

Think back. Of all the things you have learned over the course of your life, how many of those lessons began with a story? It’s indisputable that human beings love to tell and consume stories but have you ever considered how valuable storytelling might be to you as an Instructional Designer?

storytelling

Storytelling is multifunctional

Stories entertain us, engage us, AND educate us.  For centuries, human beings have been using stories to transfer information from one individual to another, ensuring that we benefit from each other’s experiences.

From avoiding those delicious looking poisonous berries, to understanding why it’s important to heed your father’s warnings and not fly too close to the sun, storytelling allows learners to envision and plan for experiences they may have never lived through themselves.

Both socially and individually, we as humans live storied lives, think in narrative structures, and most often recall information in story form. For this reason, storytelling mimics the way we naturally process information and learn.

Storytelling offers great benefits to learners

Because stories both alter and impersonate how we process reality, storytelling offers designers a valuable tool for creating a safe place in which learners can explore and adapt to new content. In doing so, learners are better able to make connections between imagined and past experiences and unlearn ideas that may pose obstacles to new learning.

In the fresh new realm of the story, learners are able to open themselves up to different ways of thinking and envision the subject through another person’s eyes.

In this way, storytelling allows learners to personalize and memorize content they may have normally felt little connection to. Even dry data can benefit from a designer who knows how to harness the art of storytelling.

In her blog, “The eLearning Coach”, Connie Malamed posted an interesting four-minute video by Hans Roslings that illustrates how a topic like global health statistics can be presented in a way that truly “comes alive”.


To learn more about how to incorporate compelling stories into your design, listen to Connie Malamed’s interview Lisa Cron, author of Wired for Story. Cron offers some great insights into why stories are important to learners and common mistakes storytellers make. Listen Here: 

For more information on the brain science of storytelling and three ways you can use storytelling in everyday life, read The Science of Storytelling: Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains.

We’d like to hear from you. Do you incorporate storytelling into your design? How has it worked for you?

Always in Learning Mode,
Your friends at ISD Now

Why You Should Create Instructional Objectives

Instructional objectives help to improve learning.

Good instructional objectives are observable and measurable. They can be easily created using the ABCD method (below). For maximum effectiveness, an instructor’s course content and activities should match the course’s instructional objectives.

instructional objectivesCharacteristics of Good Instructional Objectives:

1. Identifies who should perform
2. Describes what learner is to do
3. Describes conditions learner will encounter in performing
4. Describes how well performance is to be done

ABCD Method to Create Instructional Objectives – An Example:

A: Audience – Students in Keyboarding 101
B: Behavior – Type
C. Condition – Using a PC with Microsoft Word software
D. Degree – At lease 60 words per minute, with no more than three mistakes

For a more in depth presentation on how to create instructional objectives, Dr. Greg Williams, UMBC’s ISD Program Director, has created the video tutorial below. 

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISDNow

Dr. Thiagi on Live Online Learning Activities

Dr. Thiagi visits UMBC

Dr. Thiagi

Dr. Thiagi

Several months back, the UMBC ISD program was lucky enough to have Dr. Thiagi (Sivasailam Thiagarajan) visit our campus to present during an ISD Now Forum.

Dr. Thiagi’s interactive presentation focused on Live Online Learning Activities.

Dr. Thiagi provided practical techniques for increasing and improving interactivity in the design of webinars, including structured sharing, interactive lectures, interactive stotytelling, instructional puzzles and jolts.

Enjoy this presentation by Dr. Thiagi on live online learning activities, in the video below.

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

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISD Now

Dr. Greg Williams, Program Director of UMBC’s ISD Program, Interviewed by EdTech Magazine

In a recent article, A New Seat in the C-Suite: Chief Digital Officers Find a Place on College Campuses, Amy Burroughs of EDTech Magazine, investigated the many challenges that colleges and universities are facing as a result of the digital era’s evolving landscape. She discusses the roles of Chief Digital Officers (CDO) and how they help organizations respond to the changing landscape.

Ed-Tech-MagazineEdTech Magazine asked Dr. Greg Williams, Program Director for UMBC’s ISD Graduate Programs, how UMBC is dealing with the challenges and opportunities of new technology. Because UMBC has relatively few online programs, there is no official online coordinator; instead, Williams fills that role by virtue of his expertise. Schools are spread across the spectrum, from informal advocates to CDOs, with many roles in between. “Often, individual professors drive online programs because of their personal interest, while the university maintains a neutral stance,” said Williams.

Read the entire article here.

Always in Learning Mode,
Your friends at ISD Now

Experiential Learning and The Role of Video Games

Quote

“All a video game is is a set of problems that you must solve in order to win,” James Gee said in the video below. 

Gee, who has been deemed a games and learning expert is a professor of literacy studies in the department of English at Arizona State University.

The Effects of Experiential Learning

As reported in a recent Mind/Shift story, Ten Surprising Truths about Video Games and Learning, Gee believes that important brain functions, such as rules, logic and calculating are no longer relevant to modern learning.  New theories reveal that human beings learn from experiences—that our brains can store every experience we’ve ever had, and that’s what informs our learning process.  Therefore, he says, learning is a result of well-designed experiences.

Earlier this year, he spoke at the Learning and Brain Conference. During the conference, he gave a presentation on 10 truths for video games.

Gee’s 10 Truths for Video Games in Learning

Video Games:

  1. Feed the Learning Process
  2. Obviate Testing
  3. Build on Experience
  4. Redefine Teachers as Learning Designers
  5. Teach Language Through Experience
  6. Entice Kids to Love Challenges
  7. Motivate Learning
  8. Teach Problem Solving
  9. Encourage Risk-Taking
  10. Provide Valid Learning Model for Schools

The Mind/Shift story provides more details on each of these truths.

Rethinking Learning

While video games provide a perfect model for experience-based learning, it can be difficult to re-imagine traditional learning to incorporate experiences.  While instructional designers continue to evolve to meet the needs of modern learners, is the traditional model of education many schools conform to getting in the way of positives shifts in learning? Imagine the things we could do if everyone was rethinking learning.

Whether you’re a school teacher or corporate instructional designer, what are you doing to rethink learning?

Always in Learning Mode,

Your Friends at ISDNow

 

5 Job Search Tips for ISD Professionals

Looking for some job search tips to help you land the ideal position?

Job searching is dizzying and can feel an awful lot like spinning in a circle and then taking that first wobbly step. With so many different ways to connect, it’s no wonder people feel flustered and confused as to how to best proceed. To be efficient, there are several job search tips that can help focus your game plan and help you avoid losing lots of valuable time.

job search tipsWe ran across an article written by Sanjay Sathe, founder and CEO of RiseSmart, that sums up some helpful job search tips and can help job seekers traverse the often unsettling terrain with more confidence and efficiency. To summarize his major points, he suggests to be specific, well-targeted, concise, interactive, and online.

Job Search Tip #1: Be Focused and Specific

When searching job postings, it’s easy to get lost. One way to stay on top of your search is to create a list of keywords that are specific to your area of ISD expertise and skill set. Scan postings using these keywords.

Job Search Tip #2: Use a Well-Targeted Resume

A well-written resume goes without saying, but yet, it is the one area on which people tend to fall short. A resume is a first impression. Misspell a word, forget to use punctuation, neglect to format consistently or list stuff irrelevant to the ISD position and it’s sure to hit the ‘not interested’ pile. To help make your resume stand out, ensure that it’s fully proofed and be sure to use industry and field keywords.

Job Search Tip #3: Draft a Personal Statement

Inevitably, you’re going to be asked the question, ‘so tell me a little about yourself.’ This  question warrants a thoughtful response, one that will catapult you to the top of the list, one that tells the interviewer(s) you are serious and you are the perfect candidate. Devise a concise paragraph statement to use whenever this question is asked. Have it include your strengths, unique skills, and assets you will bring to the team.

Job Search Tip #4: Become Social Media Savvy

Most every company has an online presence now. Be part of their conversation. Get involved. Read their posts. Become their fan. Follow them. Interact with them. This could very well be the front and center ticket you’ve been searching for.

Job Search Tip #5: Create an Online Portfolio

An easy and influential way to show off your ability to present information in a clear, concise, organized manner is through creating a personal website that houses everything professionally important about you. Include your resume, bio, portfolio items and contact information.

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISD Now

P.S. What other job search tips would you place in this list?

Scenario-Based eLearning: What it Is and Why it’s Important

Connie Malamed, blogger at the eLearning Coach, recently interviewed Ruth Colvin Clark, PhD, for a podcast that explored topics related to scenario-based e-learning.

Ruth Colvin Clark, Scenario-Based eLearning, Instructional Design, ISD, learning, elearning

Dr. Clark presenting during an ISD Now Forum event.

What is scenario-based learning?

In the podcast, Dr. Clark started off with providing a definition of what exactly a scenario is. While she said scenario-based learning has several names and definitions, she defined it as:

A pre-planned, guided inductive learning environment designed to accelerate expertise in which the learner assumes the role of an actor responding to a realistic assignment or challenge.

How can instructional designers improve scenraio-based e-learning?

During the discussion, Dr. Clark discussed the role of guidance in scenrio-based e-learning, saying that a common mistake designers make is to create scenarios that either lack guidance, or which provide too much guidance. She said one way to get started with scenario-based e-learning is to start with simple scenarios and go from there.

In the podcast, Dr. Clark shares examples and tips to help instructional designers start implementing scenario-based e-learning, or improve what they’re already doing with scenarios. Check out the full podcast below, and for a more in-depth view, read Dr. Clark’s book, Scenario-Based e-Learning.
https://isdnow.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/elc003.mp3

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISD Now