By Ethan Edwards, Chief Instructional Strategist - updated January 29, 2020
Inspired by many collective years of education, real-world experience, and outreach to countless e-learning professionals around the world, we’re building a unique professional certification experience to fit the needs of individuals and organizations hoping to impact the quality of their online training.
We’re calling it the Allen Academy.
Based on the ideas championed by our founder, Dr. Michael W. Allen, and shared through his extensive body of publications, the Academy is founded with the goal of empowering L&D teams to create work that makes a lasting difference in their organizations.
I sat down recently with my long-time colleague, Dr. Nan Thornton, to talk about this project.
Ethan Edwards: We’ve worked together for a number of years now, designing curricula, crafting courses for live and online delivery, and teaching. But it’s particularly exciting to be collaborating on the Allen Academy.
Nan Thornton: Yes. Allen Interactions has always taken steps to share its expertise with the broader training field, but this effort brings it into focus. I hope the Academy will address some of the issues that continue to limit the effectiveness of a lot of the e-Learning that is built these days. Using technology as a vehicle for learning is a complex process that depends so deeply both on understanding theories of learning and instruction and also on very practical issues of how learners approach e-learning.
EE: That’s for sure. We both have had extensive graduate study in Instructional Design, but it is the combination of years of experience with implementing training with actual students added to the academic knowledge that provides the insights that lead to success. The Allen Academy curriculum will capture skills across that spectrum.
NT: The initial offering really represents that thinking. The certification provides courses specifically in the Design of Interactivity, Instructional Design as it applies specifically to online learning activities, specific focused training in necessary features sometimes overlooked in standard authoring tools to bring powerful interactivity to the learner, and an opportunity to apply all of this to participants’ real work with personal coaching.
EE: From years of teaching instructional design for e-learning and listening to our students and their organizations, I think this is going to be a learning opportunity that will fill a niche that has long been empty. One of Dr. Allen’s energizing goals has been spreading expertise in developing e-learning that truly makes a difference throughout the training community, and it is exciting that we will be launching our first cohort of learners in September 2019.
NT: We were fortunate to pair up with Training Magazine to offer the initial Academy Course at its TechLearn 2019 Conference. We’ll also be offering the program online for those unable to travel to New Orleans. [Update 1/29/2020: Fully-online versions of the program are now available.] Then the rest of the certificate program will roll out in the following weeks. I’m really looking forward to connecting with students and sharing this transforming approach to developing learning materials. Like you, I know it is one of the things you enjoy the most.
As you can tell, Nan and I and the whole Allen team are quite excited about his project. You can learn more details and decide if it is the right next step in your own growth in the e-learning field by attending a free 60-minute Design Credential Program Preview Hour—an informational webinar we’ll be hosting on Wednesday, February 5. Sign up for the webinar here!