SMEs From the Ground Up with Dr. Chuck Hodell


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

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.

Always in learning mode,
Your friends at ISD Now

The Future of the ISD Industry – an interview with Dr. J. Marvin Cook


Dr. Greg Williams, Director of UMBC’s Instructional Systems Development (ISD) program recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. J. Marvin Cook, the program’s founder, for a video series. Dr. Cook, a noted author, professor, consultant and entrepreneur, discussed a range of topics, including the UMBC graduate program in Instructional Systems Development, ISD competencies, and the future of ISD as an industry. When talking about the future, he reminded viewers how important it is to never forget the needs of an organization. He also talked about how the industry has a bright future ahead.


Dr. J. Marvin Cook, UMBC’s ISD Graduate Program Founder

ISD Professionals Should Never Forget the Needs of the Organization
Regardless of the economic conditions, businesses still have the desire to improve performance. Instructional developers can help them achieve this. Now, more than ever, instructional designers must continue to focus on the need of the organization—not just using a particular medium (say, the the latest and greatest software). Often, when asked about the future of learning (or future of anything, really), it’s easy to jump to an obvious answer: technology. While technology has clearly changed how we learn, Dr. Cook reminds us that maintaining focus on needs is still critically important.

ISD – A Bright Look Ahead for Instructional Developers 

As the economy continues to pick up, companies will continue to generate jobs, Dr. Cook pointed out. As a result, new employees will need training, creating more opportunities for those in ISD roles.

The video below includes Dr. Cook’s thoughts on the future of ISD:

View the entire video series here.

Always in Learning Mode,
Your friends at ISD Now

End of The Year Evaluation: How’d Your Training Programs do in 2012?

There are only a few weeks left in 2012. Things are about to slow down in advance of the holiday season, so hopefully you can take advantage of this time and reflect upon the learning programs you implemented over the past year. Check out David Vance’s article on Chief Learning Officer’s website on why you should measure and evaluate.

For eLearning programs specifically, Marc Rosenberg recently wrote an insightful piece on “Testing Your eLearning Strategy” on Learning Solutions Magazine’s website.  Marc points out eight questions that instructional designers can ask themselves to help determine whether or not their eLearning strategy is solid.

One of key points Marc makes is that strategy should put you ahead of trends.  In an era where technology develops at a rapid pace, waiting until everyone else is on-board is simply too late. The key, Marc says, is to “jump in, get started, and prepare for continuous improvement.”

In other words, it’s important to remain flexible. That flexibility, however, must be balanced with commitment. He says trainers must remember to also balance expectations with resources and time.

If you run eLearning programs, check out Marc’s post, and run his eight-questions past your strategy. If you’re not confident in how your strategy stands up against his test, get started on revamping things. With a fresh year on the horizon, there’s no better time to start.

Keep learning,
Your friends at ISDNow

If you’re not already following us on twitter, please do!

Got Game?

The image above may appear as an ambiguous geometric design at first. In this post, Steve Sugar explains how low-tech games (like the one pictured above) can lead to high-powered learning

Written by Steve Sugar- UMBC ISD adjunct faculty member, writer and teacher of low-tech learning games.

Low-tech fun can equate to high-powered learning. Successful low-tech training games are easy to describe. They’re simple in design and fun to play.  A successful game can energize content and deliver powerful learning.

Games Promote Learning
Games introduce a playful environment and create a challenge between the topic and the participant. They also create opportunities for the learner to “interact” with the game questions or scenarios so as to demonstrate their understanding of the topic through information recall and experiential application.

Low-Tech Games are Fun with a Purpose 
Low-tech training games create a cognitive interaction between the learner and the topic in a buoyant, challenging environment.  Games celebrate your topic and reward individual and group achievement.  With a focus on learning, low-tech games allow learners to connect their own dots and experience their own ideas — bringing a joy of discovery into the learning process.

QUIZO – An Example of an Interactive Game
Quizo is a question-and-answer game similar to bingo that gets people interacting. Here’s how it works:

  • The instructor distributes one bingo-style gamesheet to each team and announces the game objective:  “win by covering five spaces in a row.”
  • The instructor presents the first question – “It’s a good policy to pay higher commission for a new customer than for the retention of a present customer. True or False?
  • The team selects their response – The team discusses the question, and by doing so, players experience the content and theory of the topic by inventorying what is known and unknown about the topic. They develop a common, shared understanding of available information.  Their response demonstrates their ability to develop criteria for selecting an answer and committing to a course of action. The team responds:  “False.”
  • The instructor presents the correct response – “False,” and shares that this policy sometimes reduces the motivation to service or sales people to keep providing quality service to current customers.”
  • The instructor awards a game sheet space – The instructor announces that the students cover the gamesheet space “Q-4.” The awarding of the game sheet space provides real-time feedback on whether the team is moving closer to or away from stated goals or objective.
  • The game is played in this fashion until one team scores five in a row.

Click here to learn about Quizo and other low-tech games. Steve Sugar’s games can be found in five books offered by John Wiley and ASTD Press.

What has your experience been with interactive games in learning? We’d love to hear from you! Share your experience in the comments or send us at tweet @ISDNow!