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Six Achievable & Effective Techniques to Enhance Learner Motivation

By Ethan Edwards, Chief Instructional Strategist/ @ethanaedwards

We often talk about the importance of motivation in e-learning instructional design. In fact, we’ve even said that motivation is often more important than the specific content when seeking to maximize the impact of instruction—particularly in e-learning, where relatively few social or external environmental factors are likely to inspire learners.

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Erase Boring e-Learning: Show What You Know

By Ethan Edwards, Chief Instructional Strategist / @ethanaedwards 

I love finding inspiration for better instructional design in unlikely sources. My eye stumbled across one of these sources this week in an unplanned exposure to a book title in a Facebook post. The book in question is Rabbinic Literature & the New Testament, by Biblical/Talmudic historian Jacob Neusner. Now I want to make clear, I haven’t actually seen, read, or even have much interest in the topic, but the subtitle captures some essential wisdom about learning: What We Cannot Show, We Do Not Know. Lifted from its original context, this strikes me as a particularly significant principle to guide the design of e-learning modules.

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Achieving a Bountiful e-Learning Harvest

By Ethan Edwards, Chief Instructional Strategist / @ethanedwards 

I don’t know what it means that my random activities so often trigger comparisons to the challenges we face in the field of e-learning, but the latest example occurred last week in regard to walnuts.  Black walnuts, specifically.

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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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5 Strategies for Leveraging the Best of ILT for Designing Engaging e-Learning

By Linda Rening, PhD, Instructional Designer

At a conference recently, someone said, “We’ve taken the worst part of instructor-led training, put it online, and called it e-learning.” He's absolutely right. From what I’ve seen, most e-learning consists of PowerPoint slides converted to Storyline, with full narration of everything that is on the slide.

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Generational Learning Design: 3 Ways to Overcome the Need to be "Cool"

 By Hannah Hunter, Instructional Writer

I love designing elearning courses for teens and young adults. I get to be creative and young learners are the perfect audience for e-learning because...

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Does Your E-Learning Create Learner Indifference? Try These Five Ideas

By Ethan Edwards, Chief Instructional Strategist

One of my greatest frustrations as an e-learning designer is how impervious the field seems to be to improvement. I began my interest in computer-based instruction back in 1982 as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I undertook an independent study involving the PLATO instructional system, which had been invented there at the Computer-based Education Research Laboratory.

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5 Tricks to Demolish your Creative Blocks

by Hannah Hunterinstructional writer

When you work in a creative profession like e-learning, you’re bound to encounter the occasional pesky creative block. But honestly, who has time for that? When I find myself drowning in confusing content or staring slack-jawed at my computer screen, these tricks never fail to get me back on track:

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4 Sizzlin' Tips for e-Learning Graphic Designers

by , media artist

With summer right around the corner, being stuck in an office while it’s bright, sunny, and 80 degrees outside can feel morally wrong. The last thing on your mind is how to create a beautiful interface design for e-learning, so here are 4 e-learning graphic design tips written from a consultant’s perspective that cost less than a cup of lemonade.

Tip 1: Do Your Homework

Take the time to do the needed research. Where is your client located? This answer alone could affect how you approach your design. For example, are they east coast or west coast? Large corporate entity or non-profit? Visit their website, poke around their media content. Do they have a presence on Facebook? What kind of social media postings are they making? Getting a sense of your client’s identity will ensure you’re in the right mindset when it is time to start thinking creatively.

Tip 2: Pump the Brakes

Especially for us visual-oriented people, it’s all too easy to occasionally dream too big. I know I am guilty of this and even posted a previous blog all about going big! I like to push the limits and break the norm when I can, but sometimes I need to reel it back in. That interactive 3D Oculus Rift video stream of a realistic environment I’ve cooked up in my head may be just a tad overboard for the client’s hazard training (but it does sound amazing, doesn’t it?) Remember, sometimes the simplest approach is the best and most appreciated. Know what kind of restraints you have to work with. Budget, time, resources, skill, bandwidth, deployment—these are all things that should be kept at the forefront of your design. Ultimately, what are you willing to commit your time to do? By no means am I saying to aim low, but whatever you end up pitching is going to require you to put your money where your mouth is, so to speak.

Tip 3: Rally the Troops

De Visu / Shutterstock.com

Inspire your team! If you can win them over, you stand a much better chance of winning the client over. Work with your team or a few individuals to better refine your design―they may have ideas or considerations you neglected to take into account. Brainstorm sessions can be a fun exercise for the entire team, as well as a welcome break from the normal office duties. After all, knowing your team has your back is the best feeling you can have before entering the arena. But it’s a good idea to have a back-up plan just in case.

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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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