Why “70:20:10” Is Not Enough

70-20-10-banner


In a recent article, Bill Brandon speculates that we’ve hit a tipping point in the workplace. Learning demands placed on workers have exceed workers’ capacity to meet them. In other words, we are inundating today’s workers with training and asking them to complete all of it while still maintaining high levels of productivity. This really struck a chord with me… because I see it happening again and again in our clients’ organizations.

I liked Brandon’s article and tweeted it out, saying it was a nice piece… and it was. However, I found myself going back to it and feeling like Brandon neglected a very important point. He advocated for us to think about three elements that all contribute to our accomplishments and performance in the workplace:

  • Our skills and knowledge
  • Our shared experience (things gleaned from others, informal learning we do via social networks, interactions with peers, etc.)
  • Our individual experience (things we learn by doing)

Brandon felt that if L&D professionals thought less in terms of “courses” and used the 70-20-10 “rule of thumb” to consider how to help someone build competence, then we’d be better off. (Caution flag here: 70-20-10 is NOT a proven model; it is described by the person who originally coined it as “folklore.” See page 5 of this journal article written by the originator of 70-20-10, Morgan McCall.) Brandon advocated that we embrace social learning and learning pathways as the means of reducing the stress and burnout so many are experiencing.

The Elephant in the Room

While I do not disagree that avenues other than courses can be hugely valuable in helping build people’s proficiencies, I realized that the article failed to mention the elephant in the stress/burnout room. The elephant is time, or rather lack thereof. Learning takes time, whether we do it informally or formally. In today’s workplaces, we’re pushing people to do more and more. We are failing to acknowledge what this “more and more” often means: we are asking people to go way beyond 40 hours in their work week to do the learning required to build and maintain proficiency and to do the work that contributes to company profits.

Harold Jarche had it right when he said that in today’s economy, work is learning and learning is the work. THAT is the model employers and employees have to get into our heads…that learning on the job is simply part of doing our jobs.

To manage stress and minimize burnout, we have to incorporate “learning curve” into the work people do. We have to factor this learning curve into the time things will take to complete and the amount someone will accomplish in a day or a week. And because people are constantly figuring out how to do something while they are working on their projects, we have to build in this constant “learning curve” into our expectations of what people will accomplish and how fast they will accomplish it.

In My Experience.

I run a business and our formula for billable time is not 40 hours a week. Depending on the team member’s role, we estimate that 80% of their time can be devoted to billable tasks. The remainder is allocated to learning and administrative tasks. Giving people time to learn on the job is essential in an industry where we need to stay on the leading edge of what’s possible re: learning solutions. We have communities of practice that people are part of, we have weekly link-sharing and discussions, we have periodic all-company “demo-fests” where we share out projects with each other. On top of all that, we have periodic formal courses that people will attend to build skills in niche areas. All these things take time…in addition to the constant learning someone does in the course of executing projects.

So Bill Brandon, I most definitely agree that we can and should think beyond formal courses in helping people build proficiency. But we cannot do so – even via informal means – if we fail to acknowledge that we have to build the time in for people to learn. Even looking something up requires time.

eLearning Trends That Will Fizzle, Sizzle, or Simmer in 2014

2014 eLearning Trends

Our industry is notorious for chasing after trends. We all enjoy reading the summaries of the past year – and seeing predictions for the new one. Most folks want to know: which trends are worth pursuing and which ones are going to fizzle? Is gamification going to go the way of Myspace and Foursquare? Will social learning be replaced by “isolation learning” (okay, I made that up)?

At any point in time, there are trends that sizzle, others that simmer, and ones that fizzle out. The really, really good ones become “best practices” over the long haul. So let’s see what’s on the stove right now.

First, the sizzle

This is the stuff that I see TRULY taking off inside organizations. It’s not just talked about…it is happening:

Experience API (aka Tin Can API): Considering the fact that “xAPI” was just introduced in 2012, I think this trend is sizzling. There is no question that companies – particularly large ones – love to track data. If they can’t track it then people didn’t learn… or so the feeling goes. Experience API allows for tracking of all that stuff that has been so hard to track – use of social media, for example. So – just as SCORM took several years to get to a point of critical mass, I think Experience API will – but I do believe this type of tracking is going to be a force for the future.

Gamification/learning games: This trend is at full sizzle right now. We are having LOTS of conversations with folks who want either a learning game developed or would like support in creating a gamification strategy related to a large endeavor or program. I fear that over-use or inappropriate use could lead to it falling out of favor by 2016 because a lot of efforts may fail due to poor design or implementation.

The same reasons games and gamification are being used should be reasons to keep them around: they tend to structure learning experiences into challenges and provide feedback loops, two things that engage people and help foster behavior change.

Storytelling in Training: This trend/topic began peeking its head out last year, and seems off to a roaring start in 2014. Almost every recipient of the “Best” awards at the 2013 eLearning Guild DemoFest featured the use of stories within the learning solution. There is a nice body of research that points to the value of stories in helping us remember. It’s harder to remember discrete facts, for instance, than it is to remember those same facts when they are woven into a narrative. Check out John Medina’s Brain Rules book for info on this.

Agile development: This one got very hot in 2013, and I think interest in it will remain strong in 2014 and beyond. Why? Because a linear approach doesn’t work when you are designing highly interactive web-based solutions; you need to iterate. The skills people will want to acquire are skills in creating rapid prototypes on paper and digitally.

Visuals and graphics: Along with the use of storytelling, the winners at eLearning Guild’s DemoFest featured heavy use of visuals. Designers are wisely shifting away from screens filled with text to ones dominated by visuals. Check out this YouTube video that showcases the World Wildlife Fund’s new educational app for an outstanding example of how visuals can be used to help educate people on facts and “build awareness.” We’ve put together a comprehensive guide for using graphics in eLearning, available here.

Here’s what’s simmering

…With the potential to reach sizzle status:

Mobile Support in lieu of “mobile learning:” This one is just now creeping its way out. There’s no question that mobile has NOT taken off as predicted. The 2013 ASTD State of the Industry Report tells us that only 1.39% of respondents are actually distributing content via mobile even though we’re very close to reaching market saturation with SmartPhones (predictions vary from August of this year to early next year).

I think the concept of mLearning needs to fizzle as we’re not seeing people really wanting to take entire courses on their phones. BUT – we are seeing that people use their phones for tons of stuff – in short chunks – and they love to use phones to find/locate information. Hence, I think more and more corporate L&D people are going to want mobile solutions that help people with these find/locate tasks or with quick two-minute reviews of concepts.

Video: This one has been on simmer status for awhile. I think 2014 will have it burning brighter – but for very specific uses, not broad use like “Click NEXT to continue” did in eLearning.

The low price of the technology is quite a driver. The GoPro lets anyone take amazing video for about $300. Today’s SmartPhones enable high-quality video shooting AND post-production, right from the phone. Video is no longer something you have to consider too expensive to do or leave to professional videographers and editors. It lends itself to storytelling and it allows people to share. In fact, the “homemade” quality videos have become quite acceptable, courtesy of YouTube. Its limitation will be that it’s best suited for the 2 to 5-minute support function rather than a formal course-like learning solution…and lots of companies don’t have a good infrastructure for deploying videos yet without making folks log into an LMS to view them.

Spaced Learning and Repetition: The research is compelling in these two areas, and I am getting phone calls from folks who are telling me they are actively researching these topics – and trying to figure out what they need to be doing differently within their L&D functions to help people really remember what they supposedly “learn” in training courses. I think this one could go from simmer to sizzle at some point in 2014.

What Will Fizzle?

Here’s my big fizzle prediction – and I know I’m going to upset the people who passionately support the concept. I, personally, am an avid user of social media for learning, however…

Twitter-style tools for “social learning:”  I will stop short of labeling “social learning” as the fizzle because I personally am an ardent fan of it… and it’s a natural part of how people have always learned, no matter what L&D has to say about it. I love content curation tools such as Zite, Flipboard, and Feed.ly, though I believe I am in a small minority of people who DO consume content and gather information with these tools.

I sense – based on watching my various Twitter feeds –  that the Twitter fascination is ending – at least in corporate settings. Twitter feels a bit like yesterday’s news. So many tools have entered the landscape that the landscape is starting to feel overwhelming. The number of social tools out there is massive – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube, Vine, etc.

I think people will continue to use a variety of social tools for personal learning – but I’m not seeing wide adoption or interest in it inside corporations – despite heavy conversation on it within the L&D world for the past several years. In fact, I see active resistance to it – not from corporate leaders but from employees themselves. The landscape has become overwhelming; when people feel overwhelmed, they opt out.

mLearning: So I identified mSupport as a “simmer” status trend. I think mLearning is going to fizzle as employees let us know they do not want to take courses on phones. MOBILE won’t fizzle… but the idea of entire courses distributed via phones will. The landscape shows us that we use our phones in very short bursts, though the phones are constantly present. My one caveat to this would be mobile games – people will spend lots of time playing them. If we can design a full-blown course that is as immersive as a mobile game, we may be able to get some sizzle going.

Virtual Worlds: These fizzled a couple years ago, but it’s worth mentioning here only because I still hear others mentioning it… as a tool that fizzled. Second Life had so much buzz back in 2008… and, while the tool still exists, you do not hear organizations talking about how they will use virtual worlds in training anymore. The technology curve was too steep in terms of the hardware and systems requirements to use it – and the learning curve simply to function in the world was too high.

So I’ve gone out on a big limb to predict my sizzle, simmer, and fizzle trends. I would love to hear others’ views on this one. This is a topic that begs for lots of diverse opinions and discussions.

Top 7 Custom eLearning Articles on our Blog in 2013

Best eLearning Blogs of 2013

Why do we all love ‘best of’ posts so much at the end of the year? Love is a strong word here, but I find them helpful as a quick reference to useful content shared during the past twelve months.

Regular readers know we strive to make this blog a hub for corporate learning professionals. Our goal is to educate and inform, and to that end we invest considerable time creating and researching content that the learning and development community will find useful.

To me, the seven top articles from the past year are really a checklist of what’s important and pressing to learning professionals. Agile learning design, Experience (Tin Can API), social learning, and increasing the interactivity of eLearning were all hot topics at the major eLearning conferences this year. Sharon Boller’s white paper, which summarized seven of the emerging L&D trends for the year, was downloaded thousands of times because we increasingly need information that helps us sort through the trends and determine what’s really pressing for our organizations.

The same goes for our Training Needs Analysis worksheet; with so much growing and changing in the L&D industry, it becomes harder each year to evaluate the technologies and tools available while designing curricula that are instructionally sound… and tied to business objectives.

You’ll notice that games and gamification are mysteriously not on this list of articles. That’s because we started a second blog in 2013 on TheKnowledgeGuru.com, solely dedicated to using games for learning. We simply had too much content for one blog! Look for a “best of” post on the Knowledge Guru blog very soon.

I hope you find one or more of these articles helpful. They were the most visited articles on our site for the year, based on total web traffic.

1. What is Agile Learning Design? – This article is a great first stop if you are looking for a broad overview of agile design principles, and their use for learning design. We explain what Agile is, how it can be better than ADDIE, and (most importantly) how we have been using Agile design principles with our clients to improve the learning solutions we offer. The article includes a graphic that shows what the agile learning design process looks like.

2. Agile vs ADDIE: Which is Better for Learning Design? – Just because agile design principles work in a learning and development setting does NOT mean we must throw the baby out with the bathwater and ditch ADDIE. In fact, ADDIE is still our approach of choice for many projects. The real secret, we’ve found, is to modify ADDIE with some agile development stages and provide clients with working prototypes sooner.

3. Learning Trends and Technologies: New White Paper by Sharon Boller – This white paper was our single most downloaded piece of content in the calendar year. Sharon starts the white paper by identifying six truths about our industry today; things we might not even want to admit about what corporate learning really looks like. Then, Sharon lays out her vision for the year with seven of the fastest growing trends in the field.

4. How We Use Social Media for Informal Learning – We used ourselves as a “learning lab” to learn how social learning with social media really looks like in an organization. We wanted to better advise our clients, but we also wanted an easier way to curate content and stay up to date on the latest trends and technologies. This article has been widely shared as a case study for using social learning in an organization.

5. Experience (Tin Can) API: What to Expect from Your LMS Provider – With all of the excitement surrounding the Experience API standard, we decided to write an article that explains, in clear terms, what the organizations we serve really need to know about the new standard. This article shows what’s possible with the Experience API… while also explaining the real roadblocks to adoption.

6. How to Structure an eLearning Interaction – I interviewed Manager of Instructional Design Jennifer Bertram to learn about what goes in to creating learning interactions within an eLearning course. Jennifer had some in-depth tips for writing scenarios in eLearning, and also suggested several alternatives to scenarios in an eLearning course.

7. Training Needs Analysis Worksheet (Free Download) – We shared a five-step process for conducting a basic training needs analysis. This article also includes a ten question worksheet for completing the needs analysis, available as a free download.

This Week on #TalkTech: ‘Biostamps,’ ‘Appisodes,’ and Fun

#TalkTech is the “flipped” approach to Twitter chats. We publish all the topics a few hours before the chat so you can show up at 3 pm EST / 12 pm PST on Thursdays ready to discuss. We discuss three topics a week and the chat lasts around 30 minutes.

We’re shaking things up in 2013 here at #TalkTech! Every couple of weeks, a guest curator will be picking our topics and leading the discussion. Not much will change format-wise… we’ll still publish the weekly post here and the topics will still be tweeted by @BLPIndy, but a guest curator (besides yours truly) will pick the topics and be ready to lead the conversation during the chat. This week’s curator is Kendell Lett, Senior Multimedia Developer at BLP. If you are interested in being a guest curator for TalkTech, let me know!

As technology and our bodies start to merge, things can get a little creepy. Hello singularity?

How would you feel about ‘Biostamps’?

Tired of punching in your passcode every time you want to check your email or send a text message on your phone? According to a recent article, “authentication takes approximately 2.3 seconds each time for existing users, some of whom log in to their phones a 100 times a day.” Motorolla may have a solution, but it runs the risk of “creeping out” a fair number of the general population. How would you feel about swallowing your identity in the form of a pill, powered by your stomach acid? How about “tattooing” it to your arm?

Google: Motorola’s tattoos could replace passwords

How can we apply ‘appisodes’ to our elearning?

I can’t count how many times I’ve handed my iPhone to my 3-year-old to occupy him for just a few minutes while I raced to complete my grocery list, waited at the doctor’s office, or fought through a whiney car ride. To many parents’ delight, mobile learning has become an exciting and engaging “treat” for children on the go. They look forward to playing games on Mom’s phone or going though an interactive storybook on Dad’s iPad without even realizing that they’re learning. Now, a new form of childrens’ mobile learning is racking up stars in the app store, and bringing with it a new term – appisode. Kids all over are becoming immersed in these new interactive cartoons. Is there something that we in the training industry can steal from this? Would something similar be as engaging for adults, too?

New ‘Appisodes’ make cartoons interactive

Why can’t learning be all fun and games for adults, too?

They say that kids are sponges – their little minds absorbing everything, even the things we’d rather they overlook. But why? Could it possibly be that the way in which we “teach” kids is naturally more appealing? If you want you your 2-year-old to remember to put his toys away every day, how might you teach him? Perhaps shout at him every day for the next 6 weeks (or 16 years), only to find his room still cluttered with toys when he leaves for college. Or… every day for one week, you play a game with him, seeing who can find the hidden toys, or put them away the quickest while singing a silly song. We naturally try to make learning fun for children, but what about us grownups? How can we take the research proving that games really do teach and transfer that to the world of adult learning?

Playing to learn: Panelists at Stanford discussion say using games as an educational tool provides opportunities for deeper learning

If you’re new to Twitter chats, don’t forget about awesome tools such as Tweetchat.com that automatically save the hashtag and help you focus on the conversation!

This Week on #TalkTech: Recorded lectures, Duolingo, and Games Against Falling IQ

#TalkTech is the “flipped” approach to Twitter chats. We publish all the topics a few hours before the chat so you can show up at 3 pm EST / 12 pm PST on Thursdays ready to discuss. We discuss three topics a week and the chat lasts around 30 minutes.

We’re shaking things up in 2013 here at #TalkTech! Every couple of weeks, a guest curator will be picking our topics and leading the discussion. Not much will change format-wise… we’ll still publish the weekly post here and the topics will still be tweeted by @BLPIndy, but a guest curator (besides yours truly) will pick the topics and be ready to lead the conversation during the chat. If you are interested in being a guest curator for TalkTech, let me know!

Duolingo helps you learn a language while simultaneously translating the web.

Can recorded lectures replace university professors?

In this article, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales makes the bold claim that university lectures “are doomed.” His solution? Recorded lectures. Mr Wales suggests the future model of higher education will be to allow students to use recordings of lectures—and to use the teaching time to discuss and develop what students have been watching. From my own experiences, I’d have to say his idea has some serious merit. I have learned so much in the past few years from YouTube channels like The Big Think, SciShow, Crash Course, and more. The Minute Physics channel finally got me to understand some extremely advanced physics concepts—in under 5 minutes. Will this be the education method of the future? Will professors morph into TA’s for the videos?

Jimmy Wales: Boring university lectures ‘are doomed’

What ideas can instructional designers take from Duolingo?

Ever since I heard of Duolingo a few months back I’ve been completely fascinated by it. It uses gamification to teach languages, and it works really well. I am well on my way to becoming conversational in a new language; it’s honestly hard to believe how fast it’s working. But what really fascinates me about Duolingo, besides its effectiveness, is the reason for its creation. The goal is not only to learn a language, but to translate the web. Chances are you’ve used Captcha before to prove you were a human. Well, when you fill out a Captcha you are also helping Google digitize books by confirming specific word that have been scanned but were unable to be recognized by the computer. The same principle works in duo lingo. As you work through the ramified lessons, your answers help translate the web. By crowdsourcing this work, a seemingly impossible task becomes very doable. Can you think of any other tasks that could be crowdsourced like this? How do you feel about blending the learning process into productive work like this? Can novice contribute to goals while training?

Duolingo Teaches Foreign Languages with Gamification

Can games help us get our “common sense” back? 

“Scientists and educators have long been puzzled by the steady worldwide rise of about three points per decade in average IQ, first discovered by James Flynn and commonly called the Flynn Effect. But the puzzle is now more acute and urgent: Longitudinal studies of IQ test results show that the IQ rise has slowed to almost zero in Norway and Denmark. In the U.K., Flynn himself found the effect to be reversing since the early 1990s. A century of people growing smarter seems to be ending.” The argument is that our education system’s emphasis on abstract thinking has allowed our application skills to atrophy. For example, if an IQ test asks, “What do dogs have in common with rabbits?” answering with, “They are both animals” will score higher than, “People use dogs to hunt rabbits.” Flynn points out that this favors minds that categorize reality over those who work with it. Could game based learning help with this problem? With games, you can build in simulation and real world problem solving, which could help stress application skills over abstract skills. Yet another reason games are great in the workplace, too.

As IQs Fall, Can Gamification Help?

If you’re new to Twitter chats, don’t forget about awesome tools such as Tweetchat.com that automatically save the hashtag and help you focus on the conversation!

This Week on #TalkTech: Big Data in Education, Gamification, and the Workplace

#TalkTech is the “flipped” approach to Twitter chats. We publish all the topics a few hours before the chat so you can show up at 3 pm EST / 12 pm PST on Thursdays ready to discuss. We discuss three topics a week and the chat lasts around 30 minutes.

We’re shaking things up in 2013 here at #TalkTech! Every couple of weeks, a guest curator will be picking our topics and leading the discussion. Not much will change format-wise… we’ll still publish the weekly post here and the topics will still be tweeted by @BLPIndy, but a guest curator (besides yours truly) will pick the topics and be ready to lead the conversation during the chat. This week’s curator is Laura Fletcher, Learning Designer at BLP. If you are interested in being a guest curator for TalkTech, let me know!

How can we use the data collected in learning games?

What are some of the potential pitfalls of using big data in education?

Nowadays, the world socializes, works, plays, learns, and consumes virtually.  All of that activity is being recorded out there in the void, and by tapping into that data, individuals, governments, and corporations can gain insight into nearly all aspects of human behavior. If that sounds like a double-edged sword, you’re right, and we’re only scratching the surface of what we can learn from big data. What are some of the risks you can see to using big data within the education sphere?

Using Big Data to Improve Learning

How can we use the data collected in (learning) games?

In a typical day, online game developer Zynga processes one petabyte of game data, and runs 3,000 reports to optimize and improve their products. (I hear that a petabyte is equivalent to 500 million pages of printed text—serious bathroom reading.) In the case of learning games, how can we apply the power of big data to improve our products as well as the user experience?

Gamification is the friendly scout of big data

What role does self-quantification and big data have in the workplace?

Self-quantification is all about tracking your habits—whether exercise, sleep, nutrition, or other behaviors—with a goal of self-improvement. You’re already participating if you weigh yourself regularly or wear a pedometer. However, the surge of available apps for self-quantification makes this movement a big data goldmine. With people seeing such great results in their personal lives, how can we bring the quantified self (and associated data) into the workplace to improve engagement or performance?

How Companies Use Big Data & The Quantified Self Movement For Insight

If you’re new to Twitter chats, don’t forget about awesome tools such as Tweetchat.com that automatically save the hashtag and help you focus on the conversation!

This Week on #TalkTech: Gamification for Positivity, Screens vs Paper, and Personalization in Learning

#TalkTech is the “flipped” approach to Twitter chats. We publish all the topics a few hours before the chat so you can show up at 3 pm EST / 12 pm PST on Thursdays ready to discuss. We discuss three topics a week and the chat lasts around 30 minutes.

We’re shaking things up in 2013 here at #TalkTech! Every couple of weeks, a guest curator will be picking our topics and leading the discussion. Not much will change format-wise… we’ll still publish the weekly post here and the topics will still be tweeted by @BLPIndy, but a guest curator (besides yours truly) will pick the topics and be ready to lead the conversation during the chat. If you are interested in being a guest curator for TalkTech, let me know!

The founder of Buzzfeed had some interesting things to say about personalization in our increasingly social world

Topic #1: Is positivity an added bonus of games? Can they increase interest where other methods have failed?

This article from BBC News shows that a new project has been launched to try and use games to increase people’s interest in environmental issues. “Basically my idea is to take the concepts of gamification and use them in the environmental sector to try and promote greater pro-environment behaviour.” But here’s the really cool twist: One of the reasons they are trying gamification is to combat the overwhelming negativity surrounding environmental activism. Consultant Paula Owen told BBC News that the study’s target audience included people who had not engaged with environmental issues in the past because it had “all been a bit guilt-filled and full of doom and gloom”. Do you think it will work?

Fun and games ‘can save the planet’

Topic #2: Does the fact that content is on a computer screen detract from mobile and eLearning?

There’s definitely a war going on between paper books (and paper book lovers) and eBooks. This has caused a lot of research into the differences between reading text in a physical book and reading it on a screen. This article makes the claim that most screens, e-readers, smartphones and tablets interfere with intuitive navigation of a text and inhibit people from mapping the journey in their minds. Is this something we need to be concerned with as we move forward with eLearning and mobile learning? I think the current approach is to shorten the amount of text when it’s going to be read on a screen, or at least break it up more frequently.

The Difference Between Reading On Paper And Reading On A Screen

Topic #3: How can we (or should we even) implement personalization in gamification or eLearning?

According to this article, part of the solution for the struggling publishing industry is us. More comments, more filtering, more personalization. Could this be helpful in a learning solution? Is there a way to create certain identifiers for each learner and change the course based on them? Well, I’m sure there’s a way that we already know of, there is always a way, but then we have ask another question: would we even want to? All this personalization (the incorporation of social media, the user input and comments) sounds like it might interfere with the learning objectives. What do you think?

The Publishing Industry’s Secret Sauce Is You

If you’re new to Twitter chats, don’t forget about awesome tools such as Tweetchat.com that automatically save the hashtag and help you focus on the conversation!

This Week on #TalkTech: Humor in Learning, Upping a Game’s Replay Value, and Adobe Max

#TalkTech is the “flipped” approach to Twitter chats. We publish all the topics a few hours before the chat so you can show up at 3 pm EST / 12 pm PST on Thursdays ready to discuss. We discuss three topics a week and the chat lasts around 30 minutes.

We’re shaking things up in 2013 here at #TalkTech! Every couple of weeks, a guest curator will be picking our topics and leading the discussion. Not much will change format-wise… we’ll still publish the weekly post here and the topics will still be tweeted by @BLPIndy, but a guest curator (besides yours truly) will pick the topics and be ready to lead the conversation during the chat. This week’s curator is Nick Shelton, Senior Multimedia Developer at BLP. If you are interested in being a guest curator for TalkTech, let me know!

Adobe Max can offer some really cool ideas that can be applied learning design

BLP's MultiMedia team is heading to Adobe Max! What trends do you expect to see this year?

Topic #1: Humor is great, but when does it detract from your learning objective?

Two guys walk into a bar, and everyone sits on edge to hear what happens next. While this is an older article, it is pertinent to humor in learning. I like to crack a joke or craft a yarn in anything I present or teach, and I think it helps people remember the content. The books and online courses I’ve learned the most from, had an element of humor, baked in. While sometimes considered a bad idea for learning, I think humor is an as effective means as any to encourage learning, and this article weighs both sides.

How Laughing Leads to Learning

Topic #2: What are the risks and rewards of extending playability with game modes?

It is often communicated that “games are speculative”. One person may like to be timed, another may hate it, some people may like social aspects, some will turn away. Some like to collect badges and medals and high-scores, some could care less. Building a core game, is the difficult part, iterating and adding new functionality off of those existing interactions,  can (sometimes) be simple & create extended playability and/or opportunities for learning.

How to Extend a Game’s Replay Value by Including Different Modes

Topic #3: What tech and design trends do you expect to see at Adobe MAX?

The MMD team @BLPindy are heading out to @adobemax next week, where some of the most cutting edge technology will be on display. The e-learning world frequently seems to be a few years behind the overall tech world, but at Bottom-Line Performance, we strive to bring new tech to clients today, not tomorrow. Here are the 10 most up-to-date reasons why Adobe Max is a good idea. Let’s talk trends we expect to see, or game-changers we’ve already experienced, and share with the participants.

Top 10 reasons to attend Adobe MAX 2013

If you’re new to Twitter chats, don’t forget about awesome tools such as Tweetchat.com that automatically save the hashtag and help you focus on the conversation!

This Week on #TalkTech: Agile Learning Design, Cognitive Overhead and Mistake Correction Through Games

#TalkTech is the “flipped” approach to Twitter chats. We publish all the topics a few hours before the chat so you can show up at 3 pm EST / 12 pm PST on Thursdays ready to discuss. We discuss three topics a week and the chat lasts around 30 minutes.

We’re shaking things up in 2013 here at #TalkTech! Every couple of weeks, a guest curator will be picking our topics and leading the discussion. Not much will change format-wise… we’ll still publish the weekly post here and the topics will still be tweeted by @BLPIndy, but a guest curator (besides yours truly) will pick the topics and be ready to lead the conversation during the chat. If you are interested in being a guest curator for TalkTech, let me know!

Topic #1: Is Agile development a sound approach for learning design?

The ADDIE model is tried and true… but it can also be cumbersome and a little dated. Projects move faster than they did 5 years ago and deadlines are tighter. That’s why Agile development is making its way into the L&D world. Read more about Agile development and sound off on its efficacy for learning design.

Change on a Dime: Agile Design

Topic #2: Why should digital product developers reduce cognitive overhead for users?

An extra click here. A drop down menu there. When we are using a new mobile app, website, or digital product, extra steps and layers of redundancy can cause us to lose interest quickly. Most people are highly mobile and only willing to devote a few seconds to checking out your new product before they will dismiss it. Reducing the cognitive strain on users is critical to lowering the barrier of entry. What are some simple ways to reduce cognitive overhead for users so that using a new product becomes habitual?

Cognitive Overhead, Or Why Your Product Isn’t As Simple As You Think

Topic #3: How do games help us learn from our mistakes in a productive way?

We spend most of our lives learning from mistakes… and we are better for it. But when mistakes become too large or carry too many consequences, they do more harm from good. This is why games are such a powerful learning tool. Games allow us to try and fail in a controlled environment and quickly adjust. The article lists six ways game based learning helps us learn from mistakes. Have a look and share your thoughts.

Mistakes and (Game Based) Learning

This Week on #TalkTech: Games vs Lectures, Spaced Learning Online and Beautiful Graphic Design for eLearning

#TalkTech is the “flipped” approach to Twitter chats. We publish all the topics a few hours before the chat so you can show up at 3 pm EST / 12 pm PST on Thursdays ready to discuss. We discuss three topics a week and the chat lasts around 30 minutes.

We’re shaking things up in 2013 here at #TalkTech! Every couple of weeks, a guest curator will be picking our topics and leading the discussion. Not much will change format-wise… we’ll still publish the weekly post here and the topics will still be tweeted by @BLPIndy, but a guest curator (besides yours truly) will pick the topics and be ready to lead the conversation during the chat. This week’s curator is Jennifer Bertram, Manager of Instructional Design at BLP. If you are interested in being a guest curator for TalkTech, let me know!

Topic 3 explores how design-heavy websites can inspire eLearning.

Topic #1: Can lectures be as effective learning methods as games?

Thiagi is a strong proponent of games, interactions, and learning through self-exploration rather than lecture. Which makes it all the more interesting that in his most recent newsletter, he makes the assertion that any delivery method can be effective if it’s well designed. Specifically he compares games to lectures and how we should decide which will be most effective. Read his criteria for determining which delivery method is the right one.

Thiagi April GameLetter: Useless Comparisons

Topic #2: What are the pluses/minuses to learners creating their own spaced learning?

This tool for the Google Chrome browser lets you select stuff on the web that you want to remember, create a quiz question or flash card, and then practice remembering it later. The nature of the tool means that it’s probably a self-motivated learner who is using it — but it could be an easy, convenient way to identify key information to learn. Then it’s just a matter of remembering to practice!

MemoButton: Remember What You Discover on the Internet

Topic #3: How should innovative web design in the real world impact the design of our eLearning solutions?

This site has just a sampling of some of the web’s most visual design. When we see websites like this, it makes us want to click! eLearning courses for the most part haven’t used the same kinds of visual tools to create an emotional reaction in learners.  Would these types of visuals enhance or detract from the learning?

20 Wonderful Design Heavy Websites

If you’re new to Twitter chats, don’t forget about awesome tools such as Tweetchat.com that automatically save the hashtag and help you focus on the conversation!