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).

 

 

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:

Virtual Chainsaws (When it’s not a knowledge problem)

Just wrote a piece for the Research for Practitioners series over at Learning Solutions Magazine on some really fascinating research at the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab.  It’s crazy interesting research, and it involves virtual chainsaws, behavior change and crafty research techniques. What’s not to love in that?

Go check it out here: Research for Practitioners: When It’s Not a Knowledge Problem

chainsaw

A few things going on

So, I’ve had a crazy spring so far — between a brutal travel schedule and some unexpected health stuff (all resolved now), there’s barely been time to draw breath.

There have been lots of good things, including some interesting projects in the works.  A particular good thing recently was a really nice review of the book by Clive Shepherd:

There’s book a I’ve been meaning to write which I hoped would address the problem. I tentatively called it ‘What every L&D professional needs to know about learning’ (not so catchy I know). But I’ve been beaten to the gun by Julie Dirksen.” – Clive Shepherd

Still giddily fanning myself a bit over that…

For local folks (Minneapolis/St. Paul area), there are a few things going on also:

On Thursday (April 12th, 2012), I’m doing the Design for Behavior Change talk for the local UPA (Usability Professionals Association) chapter.  The event starts at 6:15 PM, and the talk starts at 6:45 PM.  You can get details here http://www.upamn.org/events?eventId=456463&EventViewMode=EventDetails

Also, the fantastic Connie Malamed (author of Visual Language for Designers and http://theelearningcoach.com/) is in town this week, so check out her talk on Friday:

Your Brain on Graphics: Research-Inspired Design, Friday April 13th

Information here: http://www.pactweb.org/ (you can also get details about her 1/2 day workshop at that link)

Program Details: Learning through visuals opens up new pathways in the brain. You can optimize opportunities for visual learning and provide better learning experiences when you understand how people perceive and process visual information. During this presentation, you will learn how graphics can leverage the strengths and compensate for the weaknesses of our cognitive architecture. You’ll learn how to make design decisions based on research. We’ll look at lots of examples in the process. Topics include: * How our brains are hardwired for graphics * How to speed up your visual message * How to make graphics cognitively efficient * How to speak to the emotions through visuals * How to visualize abstractions This presentation is for anyone who selects, conceives of, designs or creates visuals or anyone interested in visual communication.

Location: The Metropolitan, 5418 Wayzata Boulevard, Golden Valley, MN 55418 When: 8:30-11am

(She also wrote a very nice review of the book, btw)

Want Attention? Talk to the Elephant.

Do you want to capture and maintain your learners’ attention?  You need to talk to the elephant.

The elephant metaphor is from Jonathan Haidt's book, The Happiness Hypothesis (http://www.happinesshypothesis.com/)

Peachpit (my publishers) just posted an article I wrote based on Chapter 5: Design for Attention. You can read the entire article here.

Love these: Mental Notes

So, still need a gift for the design geek on your holiday shopping list?*

I’ve mentioned Stephen Anderson before (I’m a big ol’ fan), but I particularly love his Mental Notes cards, which cover dozens of psychology principles that impact how we design. Need to jump start your design process?  Pull a few cards out the deck, and talk about how you can incorporate those ideas.

You can order them here: http://getmentalnotes.com/

I particularly mention it now because (aside from the fact that these are awesome) Stephen is donating half the proceeds right now.

* Yes, I know it’s a little late to order holiday presents (story of my life), but you can print some sample cards to use a placeholder gift until the real ones arrive.