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Ellen Burns-Johnson

Instructional Designer

Recent Posts

3 Reasons To Love Microlearning

By Ellen Burns-Johnson, Instructional Writer/Designer / @EllenBJohnson 

 Microlearning is a trending term that refers to bite-sized pieces of learning content, usually in video format, that learners can quickly access. My favorite examples of microlearning are meant to be used as performance support or to serve up quick inspirational bites of insight.

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Q&A: Three Quick Ideas for Creating Interactive e-Learning

by , instructional writer/designer | @EllenBJohnson

More than 200 participants joined last week's 30-minute complimentary webinar: Three Quick Design Ideas for Creating Learner-Centric Designs. If you were able to attend, thank you for joining—and thanks for your kind words, insightful questions, and constructive feedback!

During the webinar we discussed several techniques for creating interactive e-learning designs that focus on the learner. The specific techniques aligned with these three high-level strategies:

  1. Ask for the learner's opinion
  2. Make the learner's choices count
  3. Make it about the learner from the start

There were several good questions that we weren't able to address during the session, so I've selected a few of these to answer below.

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Effort, Time & Focus: A Recipe For Interactive e-Learning

by Ellen Burns-Johnson, instructional writer/designer

Do you remember notes? Good, old-fashioned notes, written on paper, and likely ornamented with doodles. Remember those?

I still scribble in my spiraled notebook occasionally, but most of the time I'm a digital note-taker. When I take notes during meetings, I do so on my laptop in OneNote. I list and schedule reminders to do household chores in Google Keep. I bookmark articles using Pocket and Evernote. I rely pretty heavily on these apps to stay organized and focused, and I bet many of you do, too.

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Oh What a Feeling: Emotion and Learner Engagement

by Ellen Burns, instructional writer/designer

One of my favorite chapters from Dorian Peters' Interface Design for Learning calls upon instructional designers to create learning experiences that foster intrinsic motivation, and provides suggestions for how to do it well.

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No Couch Potatoes: A Case for Making Training ACTIVE

by , instructional writer/designer | @EllenBJohnson

A passive learning experience can feel comfortable, but we don’t want our learners to “veg out” during training.

When stakeholders, SMEs, and instructional designers share a meaningful goal, it generates a lot of excitement in the room. I know we’re on the right track when I hear statements like these: 

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Learner-Centered Design: 3 Quick Ideas for e-Learning

by , instructional writer/designer | @EllenBJohnson


I wish that all e-learning were about ME.

Okay, not me, Ellen—ME, the learner. A world where training is learner-centered is a world one step closer to being free from boring (and therefore ineffective) training. That’s something I think we all hope to see!

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3 Fun Factors to a Successful e-Learning Project Kickoff Meeting

by , instructional writer/designer | @EllenBJohnson

I had the pleasure of visiting a client in Texas a few short weeks ago to kick off a new e-learning project. Not only was the weather much more pleasurable than what we’ve lately been experiencing in Minnesota, but the meetings themselves were productive and fun.

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