Designing for Data and Learning UX

Hey folks, a couple of things that have been happening lately:

The fabulous Janet Laane Effron and Sean Putnam are doing a MOOC on learning design for data.  This is going to be a big deal in our field, and this is really nice, accessible opportunity to learn more.

datamooc

It starts today (May 27th), but it’s definitely not to late to join.  You’ll also get to see the curatr platform, which is one of the more interesting learning interfaces to be developed in the last few years.

Also, I did a presentation at the ASTD (erm, ATD) ICE Conference on User Experience (UX) for learning.  Slides are here:

 

 

Immersive Learning

I have this great little shelf in the bookshelf app on my ipad.  It’s just books by people I know.  I feel genuinely privileged to know so many people with so many interesting things to say.

Some of them are drafts for books that are still in progress., but one that’s already out in the world is Koreen Pagano’s Immersive Learning: Designing for Authentic Practice:

immersive learning

It’s great, for a few different reasons:

Reason 1: The subtitle — Designing for Authentic Practice.  So immersive learning environments can sometimes be shiny objects.  Remember when everything L&D was going to start happening in Second Life?  Yep, that didn’t happen.

One of the reason’s it didn’t happen was because there was because the focus was on the technology (“Ooo – we can build a virtual replica of our corporate university!”) and not on the really interesting part — the possibility for high-context practice. We remember more if we learn something in the same environment where we will use the information, so virtual worlds were interesting for that reason, but that got lost in the hype cycle. Koreen rightly focuses on the real purpose for immersive learning – high-context practice environments.  It’s about the practice, not the technology.

Reason 2: The case studies – So, one of the problems with a lot of L&D books is that they are more about what can be done, rather than examples of what has been done. This naturally happens with new technologies.  When they were brand new, both mobile and xAPI have had to start with the possibilities rather than real examples, until some critical mass built, allowing for case examples.

Immersive learning suffered similarly for a long time, but if anybody is able to speak from direct experiences, it’s Koreen.  The book is worth it for the case studies alone. Lots of really good examples of use, with the kind of nitty gritty details you need to help inform your own practice.

Reason 3: Underwear Gnomes — how can you not love a book that starts with a really well-played South Park reference?  It’s indicative of Koreen’s overall accessible, entertaining style, which makes the book a really pleasurable read.

 

 

 

 

Manifestos and MCQs

Hey folks,

So a couple of quick things.  A few of us launched this today: http://elearningmanifesto.org/ — would love to know if it seems useful :)

And second, I was collecting some resources on writing good multiple choice questions (which is really hard), and thought they might be useful to post here

Will Thalheimer has some things on his site – mostly shorter job aids:
He also wrote three articles on scenario-based questions that are here:
Cathy Moore also has some good blog posts:
A number of universities have guidelines for their faculty — you can probably find several by googling.  For example:

 

Webcast: Using the Psychology of Games for Learning

I should have posted this a few days ago, but I’m doing a webcast tomorrow (Wednesday May 15th, 1pm ET) for ASTD on using the psychology of game design for learning.  Talking about some familiar stuff (flow, hyperbolic discounting) and a few new things (visceral feedback).  Not sure if you need to be an ASTD member to attend, but I *think* you can just sign up:

http://webcasts.astd.org/webinar/731#.UZKUcU7gd84.twitter

 

Narrative Strategies for Learning

Had a lovely time at the Learning Solutions Conference last week.  Did a full day pre-con on Gameful Learning Design with Rick Raymer, which was a lot of fun.

I also did a session on Narrative Techniques for Learning.  When I was working on Design For How People Learn, I listened a lot to a podcast on storytelling techniques.

Stories!

A lot of learning and development folks *are* fiction writers, in the form of learning scenarios, examples and case studies, but (in my experience) it’s frequently pretty dull stuff (and I say this as someone who has written some dull scenarios myself).

So this session is about pulling some of the specific strategies that fiction writers use to into learning scenarios.  There are a lot of other interesting ways to explore storytelling in terms of meta-structures, psychology and cultural constructs.  This isn’t that presentation (though I’ll probably do that one too, one of these days).

This presentation is focused on specific strategies for making learning stories more interesting.

References:

 

 

Creativity and Instructional Design

I’m listening to the most recent toolbar episode with Judy Unrein, Brian Dusablon and their guest, Connie Malamed. They talk about a number of things, but there’s a lot of discussion of creativity – how to be creative, the importance of creativity for problem solving, and the unfortunate lack of creativity that can happen in learning design.

I think that there’s a weird attitude to creativity in our field – that it’s a nice-to-have (and just be clear — this isn’t something Judy, Brian and Connie said, but rather an attitude I’ve bumped into many times elsewhere).  I think that there are a couple of reasons this isn’t true:

  • We pay attention to things that are novel and unusual.  We are constantly concerned with engaging our users.  We know what whatever we build isn’t effective if users aren’t paying attention.  In the same way that humor can improve learning and retention, unusual and novel stimuli break through our cognitive tendency to habituate to an unchanging stimulus (and yes – using big words to make your business case is a legitimate strategy).
  • Well-designed experiences create positive affect in learners, which can improve learning and retention.  The best resource on this is probably Don Norman’s Emotional Design, but his contention is that things that are well-designed do work better.

So, creativity is a legitimate design strategy – not something that is a pretty garnish on the plate.

Here are a few other interesting things on creativity:

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Why You Should Learn About Tin Can

I blogged! Just not here!!

I’m the guest blogger this week for the Tin Can folks.  It’s a post about why should care about Tin Can if you are an instructional designer:

http://tincanapi.com/2012/09/04/what-does-tin-can-mean-to-instructional-designers/

I also get to bitch a little bit about SCORM and how is that not fun?

Craig Wiggins Says Let’s Stop Pretending

I tweeted the link to this article about 19 times today, but I’m posting it again here.  Craig Wiggins has been knocking out good stuff on the ASTD Learning Circuits blog all month, but he saved the best for last:

Let’s Stop Pretending

Every field has them, but Learning & Development has a lot of them – things we do or believe because of convention or habit or denial or fear.

What would you add to the list? Go put yours in the comments. I’m also thinking this would make a heckuva blog carnival (Who’s with me?).

(And as an added bonus, Kathy Sierra stopped by in the comments and showed us how it’s done #bam #asalways)

Gameful Webinar – Recording

The recording of the webinar that I did for the Gameful folks has been posted – it’s available  here:

http://gameful.org/groups/gameful-webinar-series/forum/topic/gameful-webinar-%E2%80%93-sunday-february-12-2012/

We wound up with a troll in the room towards the end, who kept posting links to -erm- unsavory sites, so be careful about clicking links in the chat (The ones in the actual presentation slides are safe).  Made for a slightly odd experience.

Slides and links can be found here: http://usablelearning.com/about/presentations/leef/

Toolbar Podcast #9: Usability. Don’t Be a Moron.

The Toolbar is a podcast by Brian Dusablon and Judy Unrein that involves talking about the tools that e-learning practitioners use (and also beer). It’s just the kind of satisfying shoptalk that usually only happens at professional conferences or the like.

I got to be a guest on this week’s episode, talking about things like usability, feedback loops, quick and dirty user testing, and what’s fundamentally broken about e-learning development.

Go have a listen: The Toolbar Episode #9: Usability. Don’t Be a Moron (and even if you don’t have time for the whole episode, go check out the great list of links Brian compiled in the show notes).