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mLearning Guidelines to Custom Interfacing and Touch-Based Interactions

 By Christopher Allen, Product Manager

Last week I had the pleasure of presenting a few thoughts about custom touch interface design at the eLearning Guild’s mLearnCon in Austin, TX. This post is a short summary highlighting when and where custom interfaces may be acceptable and what design elements should be included in touch-based interactions for mlearning.

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Creating e-Learning Designs That Fit

by Ethan Edwards, chief instructional strategist

A couple weeks ago I had the privilege to travel to Shanghai to speak at the Online Learning China Summit presented by the Leadin Group in partnership with Training magazine. It was great to be able share design ideas with training specialists from all over China who are at various stages in implementing e-learning solutions within their organizations.

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[Upcoming Webinar] Never Create Boring e-Learning

Date: Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 PM Eastern
Register Now ▶

Do you find yourself contributing to the mound of boring, content-driven page-turners that our industry continues to churn out in the masses? Do you want to invest more in your e-learning design process but feel that budget constraints, learning technology limitations, and time constraints have you stuck in the boring e-learning rut? If you are looking for an e-learning design model that is learner-centric and can be harnessed without regard to budget, resource and time constraints, and without tool limitations, look no further!

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Be an Advocate for Dumping the Information Dump

by Ann Iverson, instructional designer

Angel Green, senior instructional strategist at Allen Interactions, recently hosted a webinar on Design Thinking for the Instructional Designer that was both informative and inspirational. In it, she stressed the importance of moving beyond a formulaic approach into designing instructional products through creative and empathetic endeavors. An essential success factor for these instructional events is to focus on performance, minimizing content that learners can access easily outside of the learning experience.

For most of my career as an instructional designer, I’ve been an advocate for putting an end to the information dump that many clients believe to be effective. I’ve put myself in the learner’s shoes, dreading the idea of trudging through screens overloaded with information. Over the years, I’ve tried to help decision makers and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) understand the importance of minimizing content they consider to be “need-to-know.” While their motivation for holding on tight varies, our goal as instructional designers is to try to move the needle toward the design principles that make for great e-learning.

There are a few common questions that raise a red flag for me, highlighting some of the best needle-moving opportunities with stakeholders. When they ask these questions, I realize there’s a chance to advocate for dumping the information dump. Maybe you recognize these questions as opportunities too:

1. Where are the learning objectives?

Starting a course with bulleted learning objectives was once the standard. When learners see those lists, they get an immediate impression  the course is heavy on content, light on interactivity. Try starting the course with objectives that challenge learners right away. For example, for a fire safety course…

Instead of this:

Upon completion of this course, learners should be able to:

  • Understand how grease fires ignite
  • Recognize a grease fire
  • Identify the steps for putting out a grease fire
  • Know the consequences of using a variety of materials for putting out a grease fire

Try this:

Quick! There’s a grease fire in your kitchen! Grab the right items to put the fire out now.

Defining a “mission objective” for learners upfront gives them an engaging and compelling reason to find the information they need to make the best decisions.

2. Where are the page numbers?

Work with stakeholders to clarify the difference between e-learning and e-reading. Page numbers are for text books, not virtual learning activities. Think about it, you never see page numbers in online games. The path is often nonlinear, so it can’t be measured in screens. The page number is a classic example of setting up learners to believe they’re making progress by clicking through screens of content. But when you immerse learners in a rich, engaging environment, page numbers become irrelevant. Learners are too focused on and engaged in the activity to care about what page they’re on.

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Generous e-Learning Design

by instructional strategist

From the time we were children, most of us heard things like:

  • Don’t be selfish
  • Take turns
  • Share your toys
  • It is better to give than receive
  • Remember the Golden Rule

I did some reading and discovered that generosity is extolled as part of every major world religion. In fact, generosity seems to be a universal part of being human. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi: Gentleness, self-sacrifice, and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.

Who can argue with that?

And, what could all of this possibly have to do with e-learning?

Since Allen Interactions believes in teaching through challenges and feedback, here’s a challenge for you. See if you can tell who the most important person is in this e-learning selection:

Screen 1:

There are 8 steps in the sales process [yes, I made these up]:

  1. Discover
  2. Listen
  3. Ask questions
  4. Determine needs
  5. Confirm
  6. Describe
  7. Overcome objections
  8. Close the sale

Screen 2:

Quiz: Multiple choice questions:

  1. What’s step 3 in the sales process?
  2. What comes after “Describe” in the sales process?

OK, so who’s the most important person in that e-learning selection? You’re right! The most important person is the one who came up with the sales process. Clearly, he or she is a valued Subject Matter Expert (SME), who is probably a favorite with the training department because he or she will actually review something and provide timely feedback.

But, should an e-learning course really be about the SME? Should an e-learning course be about the training department?

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An e-Learning Challenge – Why Should You Care Right Now?

by Julie Dirksen, design consultant, @usablelearning

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Best Practices in Creating Scenario-Based e-Learning with Your SMEs

Upcoming Webinar with Angel Green - Sponsored by SABA 

Thursday, November 21, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Eastern

Do you struggle capturing the information you need from your subject matter experts (SMEs) to build scenario-driven e-learning? In this 60-minute, Allen Interaction's senior instructional strategist, Angel Green, discusses best practices, strategies and techniques to help you utilize the limited time you have with your SMEs. Angel will share 5 great tips you can start using today to improve the quality of your relationship with your SMEs during the e-learning development process.

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Celebrating Four Brandon Hall Awards!

We are proud to announce that we are the winners of FOUR 2013 Brandon Hall Awards! It is because of our wonderful clients and talented studios that we can celebrate award-winning learning experiences year after year!

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We’re a TrainingIndustry.com Top 20 Content Development Company!

We’re honored to be named to TrainingIndustry.com’s 2013 Top 20 Content Development Companies list for the third year in a row, amongst many other notable names in industry. We’ve been in business for two decades now and our passion continues to be creating meaningful, memorable, and motivational learning experiences that make a difference for our clients.

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Instructional Design: Make the Switch to Interactive e-Learning

by Ethan Edwards, chief instructional strategist | @ethanaedwards

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