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).

 

 

An Elearning Design Reading List

books

Several things have led to me actually writing a blog post.  First, I’m home for two whole weeks straight (this alone is a small miracle).  I’m also relatively up to date with my inbox and to do list (much larger miracles). I’m also indulging in some productive procrastination (which is probably the real reason).

Anyway, I typically keep a list of resources when I teach the ATD (ASTD) Advanced Instructional Design for Elearning Certificate, and I keep thinking that I should put the list somewhere.  So here it is:

Blogs et al:

Presentations

Software Tools:

  • Branchtrack and Versal  – two interesting new elearning tools — can’t fully endorse them as they are still beta-ish, but interesting to look at.
  • Quandary Examples – a free (and unsupported) tool for making branched learning games.

Research-based Resources

Behavioral Economics

Books

Anything by Kathy Sierra

The “I can’t believe I forgot…” Add-ons

 

 

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:

 

 

Stephen Anderson – From Paths to Sandboxes

Sat in on Karl Fast and Stephen Anderson‘s Design for Understanding workshop at the IA Summit last week, and it was double-plus-good.

Here are Stephen’s slides from his IA Summit presentation.  Excellent stuff relating to autonomy in learning environments, and multitudes more:

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:

 

Usable Learning Busy-ness

Hey folks — am returned from all the San Francisco adventures, and am happy to be home.

Bay Bridge

Now that I have time to draw breath, I’ll actually finish some of those blog posts, but  here’s a round up of stuff that’s been going on, in no particular order:

  • Just got back from a busy week at ASTD ICE (did a certificate workshop, two panels, speed-mentoring, planning committee meetings and a session) and it was lovely to see and meet so many people. I mentioned that I did a webinar earlier in the week (a shorter version of my session on game design for learning), and if you missed it (and are interested), there’s a recording here.
  • Just arranged to do a half-day workshop for UX Week in SF August 21-22 on Change Management.  Really excited about this one :)

As soon as I post this, I’ll remember six more things, but that’s what the edit button is for, right?

Update: YES – HERE IS THE THING I FORGOT:

  • ELearning Guild Thought Leaders Webinar on June 11th, 10:30 PT/1:30 ET – the topic will be Design for Behavior Change – registration info here

Problem Statements – The much shinier version

The last blog post I wrote was about starting design with a problem rather than a solution, and it came from a conversation with Stephen Anderson about a presentation he was putting together for the IA Summit.

Here’s his presentation, and (of course) it’s great stuff: