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Designing with the Learning Ecosystem Canvas

Michael Hruska, President/CEO Problem Solutions

Learning Ecosystems Thinking is Important

Learning ecosystems are places where people, systems and resources are combined in a manner to support value creation around learning and performance.  No longer is the LMS enough.  Many systems are involved to assist the development of knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies and transferring these into behaviors that impact KPIs and business outcomes.

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Tools for Instructional Investigation: Finding the Root Cause of Waste and Failure

By Christopher AllenMA, PMI-ACP, Product Manager

“There’s no better learning technique than preparing to teach others.”

Valid? Yes.


This adage does presuppose that during preparation the instructor is working with the right information, uncovers the implied and important steps to getting it right, and masters the concepts well enough to build learning frameworks for their students. Without each of those components the effort is likely a big waste of everyone’s time. 

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5 Instructional Design Insights from The Marshmallow Test: Part 2

By Edmond ManningSenior Instructional Strategist

Welcome back!

In my last blog, I introduced the 2014 book, The Marshmallow Test by researcher Walter Mischel. His life’s work reveals insights collected from decades of research on willpower and its relationship to decision-making. While this book was not written for instructional designers, the implications for the affective domain are fascinating.

My previous blog addressed the power of “hot and cold focus” in decision-making moments as well as how we might use those insights in creating training experiences. Now, I’d like to share insights equally applicable to the world of training.

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5 Instructional Design Insights from The Marshmallow Test: Part I

By Edmond ManningSenior Instructional Strategist

My favorite analysis question to ask clients is: “What if your target audience already understands how to perform the behavior you’ve outlined, but just doesn’t feel like doing it?”

Very often, I receive a blank stare with a standard answer. “They have to do it. It’s their job.”

I never get to say what I’m thinking, “Well then, why aren’t they?”

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Slides & Webcast: Six Simple eLearning Success Strategies

As instructional designers, we know the difference between presenting information and providing learning experiences. But we must often get the support of others for doing more, and that’s not always easy. Sometimes eyes glaze over as we attempt to explain all the steps necessary in creating effective instruction and getting adequate funding. So we want to be sure we aren’t making things more complicated than need be.

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5 Scientifically-Proven Ways to Grab Attention in Your e-Learning

By Hannah Hunter, Instructional Writer

Does this sound familiar? You’ve spent weeks writing, editing, and re-writing e-learning content only to watch learners skip through your carefully constructed on-screen text as fast as their little fingers can click “Next.” As demoralizing as this experience can be for a designer, it is not new to any of us. In our office, we even have a saying: “You can lead a learner to content but you can’t make him read.”

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Six Conversation Examples & Questions For Selling Performance-changing Learning

By Gerald Matykowski, Inside Sales Manager

This is a very pragmatic discussion about a very difficult challenge. In a previous Allen Leadership Blog, You say Quantitative – I Say Qualitative: Whose ROI is this Anyway?, and webinar, Seal the Deal! Getting Executive Buy-In for Your E-Learning Needs, we provide perspectives to help instructional designers, developers, and learning practitioners influence their managers, directors, and CLOs about making forward strides in implementing effective e-learning design practices and performance-changing learning.

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3 Friendly Tips to Save Your Learners from Information Overload

by Carrie Zens, director of marketing | @carriezens

I was recently on maternity leave and during those early morning hours I rekindled my fond addiction to the show, Friends. It always brings me back to my high school and college days of getting together with girlfriends on a Thursday night to share in the hilarity, bond, and interactions of the six friends that I still find such connection to.

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Educating & Challenging Stakeholders on Instructional Design Best Practices

By Gerald Matykowski, Inside Sales Manager

I have in-depth conversations with instructional designers (IDs) and ID managers on a daily basis—many invariably turn to frustrations related to “selling” instructional best practices to stakeholders and higher level decision makers.

Here are some common challenges I hear in my conversations:

  • Promoting new design/development approaches to jump-start a large project
  • Selling action-based interactivity up the leadership ladder
  • Convincing SMEs that learning ‘to do’ is more effective than teaching a folder full of content
  • Moving beyond a ‘check the box’ approach to compliance training
  • Getting approval to present a single prototype before an ADDIE design sign-off

What Language Do They Speak?

Let’s face it, we don’t often get the response we hope for when we propose or attempt to initiate ‘new’ techniques to create ‘serious’ e-learning. Promotion of higher level interactions, SAM vs. ADDIE, or doing vs. knowing can fall on deaf ears. Stakeholders approve the budgets and timelines of e-learning projects―they also often have established notions about what e-learning should look like which often conflict with an ID’s vision of best practices. Frustration builds each time we encounter ‘executive speak’ and/or a content-centric page-turning mentality. 

Challenger Strategies

If this has been your experience or you simply want to increase your influence with executives, there are new insights that you can leverage to improve your effectiveness. The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation, by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson, Corporate Executive Board (CEB), offers valuable research and insights into strategies that educate and gain influence with prospective customers. If you are thinking, “Hey, I’m not a salesperson. This doesn’t apply!” Stop! IDs and ID Managers can also employ Challenger methods to gain better influence with stakeholders, SMEs, and executives on the methods and practices necessary to create lasting learning. 

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Four e-Learning Design Practices to Leave Behind

by , vice president - training & marketing | @rhillsites

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