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, 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.