New DFHPL Facebook Group – Following the Conversation

So nerdy shop talk is basically my favorite thing, and the internet is a spectacular place to geek about whatever your passion is.  Where those conversations happen seems to shift as the internet evolves.  I used to have most of my nerd conversations on Twitter, but things seem to have shifted to Facebook or LinkedIn more.  I do like the possibilities of longer conversations that are provided by threaded discussions, and I’m opting for Facebook over LinkedIn for the time being.

If you are so inclined, come hang out:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/designforhowpeoplelearn/

Link to the facebook group for Design For How People Learn

 

New Book: Play to Learn!

I got a present in my mailbox today — it was the paper copy of Sharon Boller and Karl Kapp’s new book, Play to Learn! I’d already agreed to be a stop on their Blog Book Tour, but it’s lovely to have the hard copy in hand.

They based the book on the workshop that Karl and Sharon teach about the topic, which is why (I suspect) the book is loaded with so many interesting activities and worksheets for designing learning games.

They pull off a really nice balance between:

  • referencing the research evidence behind games for learning
  • giving some really great examples of the mechanics of learning games
  • having activities and guidance on how to create your own game

Along with Karl’s other books on gamification, this is a really good practical entry on the topic of learning games. And they have you analyze Plants Vs. Zombies (a personal favorite).

Recommended 🙂

Quick Links

-Sharon and Karl are doing a webinar: Learn more about Play to Learn – Register for Sharon and Karl’s webinar on Tuesday 3/28/17 at 1 pm. In it, they will expand on some of the key learning game design steps covered in Play to Learn. 

You can get the book from ATD Press (there’s a promo code SPRINGBOOKS17 for 10% off) or you can get the book from Amazon

Follow along with the book tour

Date(s) Event / Blog Stop Location
March 3rd Play to Learn available from ATD and Amazon ATD / Amazon
March 3rd Bottom-Line Performance Blog Stop Lessons on Learning
March 3rd Karl Kapp Blog Stop Kapp Notes
March 3rd ATD Learning Technologies Blog Stop ATD Learning Technologies Blog
March 6th Knowledge Guru Blog Stop Knowledge Guru
March 7th eLearning Industry Blog Stop eLearning Industry
March 8th Connie Malamed Blog Stop The eLearning Coach
March 9th David Kelly Blog Stop Misadventures in Learning
March 10th Lou Russell Blog Stop Russell Martin & Associates Blog
March 13th ATD Science of Learning Blog Stop ATD Science of Learning Blog
March 14th Julie Dirksen Blog Stop Usable Learning
March 15th Zsolt Olah Blog Stop Rabbitoreg
March 16th Cammy Bean Blog Stop Cammy Bean’s Learning Visions
March 17th Melissa Milloway Blog Stop Mel’s Learning Lab
March 21st Learning Solutions Conference Orlando, FL
March 23rd-24th ATD Core4 Session Long Beach, CA
March 28th Webinar with Sharon and Karl Bottom-Line Performance
March 30th-31st Texas Distance Learning Association 2017 Conference Galveston, TX
May 3rd Lectora User Conference Cincinnati, OH
May 22nd-23rd ATD International Conference Atlanta, GA
June 20th-22nd FocusOn Learning Conference San Diego, CA

Talking about Feedback and Habits

Have participated in a few podcasts lately:

There are a few more coming up soon, including an interview with Learning Solutions Magazine to accompany winning the Elearning Guild Guildmaster award (a nice surprise at the recent DevLearn Conference):

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, text

Complexity and Learning

I’m kind of obsessing about complexity theory right now (Dave Snowden’s Cynefin Model mostly), and looking at simple, complicated and complex systems. I had a lot of conversations about this last weekend, and have been thinking about it a lot.

A couple of upfront disclaimers — first, I’m just learning about this, so I don’t pretend to really understand this stuff.  It’s my interpretation, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all to know I’m getting the details wrong. Second, I’m not digging into Chaotic (for now at least). Third, there’s a much longer post on this brewing, and I have more questions than answers right now.

So — let’s apply this to the question of school testing, for example:

Simple things (with explicit rule sets) are probably fine to assess via multiple choice tests. MCQs for multiplication tables? Sure! No problem!

But complicated things (e.g. the subtleties of designing a scientific experiment) and complex things (e.g. problem-solving skills) do not have explicit rule sets, and are therefore NOT appropriate topics for a really reductionistic assessment methods.

School testing models are trying to squeeze all the ambiguity out of the system by trying to control every variable. You can do that with simple and possibly with complicated systems (though it’s an insane amount of work — witness the amount of procedural documentation in the air safety industry, or the nuclear power industry in their attempt to eliminate all ambiguity. It’s usually only justifiable when people’s lives are at stake).

But you can’t (by definition) eliminate all the ambiguity in complex systems. E.g. you can teach principals for problem-solving, or a process, but how it gets implemented depends on the context, which you can’t control. That’s where teachers, with their personal judgment and ability to adapt, become really important. It’s one of the limitations of computer-based instruction.

People don’t like not having control. School testing is trying to exert control by pretending that everything can be put in the simple box, so it can be measures using simple, objective measures. But it just doesn’t work.

I think there’s some real value in having a good way to assess whether or not  you are dealing with a simple, complicated or complex situation, and adjusting not only your assessment, but also your learning design for that. Working on this, but if you know of anything really useful, please let me know.

A couple of good resources:

Thoughts?

Addition:  This article is a pretty perfect case study of this Poet: I can’t answer questions on Texas standardized tests about my own poems

Design For How People Learn, Second Edition

Hey Folks — the second edition of Design For How People Learn is now out! It came out right before the end of the year.  I’ll be updating the website this week.

Design for How People Learn, 2nd Edition

bookcover2nd

What’s different?

The first edition content is still mostly there.  I expanded on a few points about motivation and skill development, but the main change is the addition of three new chapters:

  • Design for Habits
  • Social and Informal Learning
  • Designing Evaluation

Both the social/informal material and the evaluation material are things that probably should have been in the first edition and weren’t (fixed that!), and the habit chapter reflects a change in my own practice — I’ve been finding it useful to call out habit formation separately when doing analysis and design.

Where can I get it?

All the usual places, in all the formats:

If I already have the first edition, do I need to get this one too?

Not necessarily (don’t tell my publisher I said that), but if you’d like to get around buying a whole new copy, here are some other resources:

The habit chapter is an expanded version of this article: https://www.td.org/Publications/Magazines/TD/TD-Archive/2015/07/Habitual-by-Design
The social/informal chapter is an overview of that topic, but there are lots of smart people writing about social/informal learning who specialize in that area.  A few include:
I collected a few other favorite resources here:
The last chapter is evaluation.  It’s an overview as well, but the biggest two points are:
– User testing (see Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think book)
– Qualitative measure (see Brinkerhoff’s Success Case Method)

But what if I want the shiny new version?

I, of course, support that 🙂  Maybe you could pass on your first edition copy to somebody who could benefit, and get yourself a second edition? Just a suggestion.
Sincere thanks to all the readers of the first edition!  If I’m reading the royalty statements right (no guarantee), it looks like we are right around 25K copies sold, which is fantastic and amazing and gratifying. Thank you.

Social Games & Community Development

So I’ve been doing research for a chapter on social and informal learning that I’m adding the second edition, and I’ve been taking a look at some of the resources on social gaming because they know a *lot* about community development. This is collection of some of the best resources I’ve found.

Core Concepts for Social Experience Design

This is such great stuff.  I know it’s labelled as Gamification, but the fabulous Amy Jo Kim deals primarily with social experience design, and the part about looking at the action verbs for different player types is pure gold.

Social Difficulty Curve

The always excellent Extra Credit folks did a series on the social difficulty curve — basically, how do you ease players into online social game interaction.  This dovetails well with Amy Jo Kim’s player’s journey as well:

These are part of Extra Credits playlist on game design, which if you are interested in game design at all, is just a treasure trove of goodness for learning about game design.

Community Development

It’s not a game design resource, but Tom Kuhlmann and his team run one of the best learning communities on the web.  Regardless of whether or not you are an Articulate or Storyline user, http://www.elearningheroes.com  is great resource of helping for people who build elearning.

In this series of videos, you can see him explaining some of the motivation and strategies behind how they develop and grow that community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upcoming from Usable Learning – Fall 2015

summer

Hey folks, I hope everyone is having a spectacular summer (or lovely winter if you are southern hemisphere-ish). There’s a lot of different things coming up in the next few months, so I thought I would mention them here:

Next week, I’m doing a keynote for the Atlanta ATD Chapter’s Annual Conference.  I’m also doing on a 1-day post conference workshop.  There are three spots left for the workshop.  I’m looking forward to it — it will be a chance to pull out my toolbox of best instructional design tools. It’s also a bargain at $149 🙂

I’m doing an online UX Essentials class for ATD this year, and the next session is September 16th.  The Essentials series are a good beginner exposure to a topic, and these are a lot of fun.

I’m really excited about the 1-day workshop on Behavior Change at DevLearn (September 29) this year — I do talks on this topic quite a bit, but this is the first time that I’ve corralled everything into one place for a workshop format. I’m really looking forward to it.

I’m also doing an Instructional Design basics workshop at the Online Learning Conference in Denver on October 5-6.

ALSO:

I’m working on a second edition of the book! I’m adding chapters on habit formation, social and informal learning, and evaluation, and expanding the motivation and environment chapters. Also fixing a few pesky typos:

bookcover2nd

 

 

One More Book – Visual Design Solutions

Hey folks, I’ve got another book to share.

Connie Malamed is a lovely friend and colleague who has done quite a bit on visual design (including Visual Language for Designers), and now she has a new book written specifically for Learning Professionals:

visualsolutionbookcover

Visual design isn’t the first important skill an instructional designer needs, but it may be the second or third one.  Even if you are fortunate enough to work with a graphic designer, having a good visual sense allows you to communicate design needs much more effectively.

Connie’s book does a great job of giving people the basics of a visual vocabulary:

VisualPages1 I got particularly excited over the first explanation of the Rule of Thirds that I actually understood:

ruleofthirds

Visual Design Solutions: Principles and Creative Inspiration for Learning Professionals Paperback – April 13, 2015 by Connie Malamed (available in all the usual places).

 

The Best New Learning Book

The best new learning book doesn’t exactly look like a learning book, but trust me on this one, folks.

Cover of Badass: Making User Awesome, by Kathy Sierra

 

As I may have mentioned a few times in the past, Kathy Sierra’s stuff is FANTASTIC and this new book is no exception. I realize that nothing on the cover says “Learning & Development” exactly, but the mission of the title goes right to the heart of the whole purpose of L&D.

Specifically, though, this is one of the best accessible books out there that translates the science of expertise and skill development into compulsively readable material:

badass2

 

badass5

– images from Badass, used with permission

I read a review copy a few months ago, and have been stupid excited with anticipation of the book actually coming out. You can buy it here (and you should).