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New Year: New Instructional Design

by Tracy Bissette on January 6, 2015

Instructional Design in the New YearI’m a big fan of Pinterest. I love scouring the site for interior design and instructional design inspiration as well as the occasional recipe (I don’t cook much). While browsing the site yesterday, I came across a New Year’s Resolution poster that suggested ways to improve in 2015. Being very goal driven, I quickly jotted down responses to each of the prompts for my personal life and then realized that it also pertains to my work as an instructional designer. I’ve shared below my own New Year’s resolutions for improving my own instructional design in 2015. Please share your 2015 Instructional Design resolutions below this post.

Break a bad habit

Shorten, shorten, shorten. This is my mantra in 2015. At the outset of a project, we’re often given PowerPoint documents with “all of the content” that needs to be in the course. That PPT may, and often does, contain hundreds of slides. I’m a fan of action mapping because I find it to be a great editing tool for e-learning. In 2015, I commit to editing my work until each and every component is essential to teaching the skill. As Dr. Seuss said “So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”

Learn a new skill

One of my big takeaways from DevLearn 2014 in November was how many non-e-learning tools are now being used in the creation of learning solutions. In 2015, I want to learn at least 10 new tools that can innovate, enhance or add pizzazz to my learning solutions, starting with all of the many tools that Adobe has to offer and we already have in our toolbox.

Write something important

Instructional designers are in a position to have a great impact in the world. Weejee Learning has had the fortunate opportunity to design learning solutions on many different topics and with quite a few NGO and non-profit clients. While I consider all education to be important, there is one specific project that I’m really looking forward to in 2015. In January, Weejee will begin working with the world’s largest humanitarian organization fighting hunger worldwide to create a course to train staff on food security indicators, which informs the organization on geographical areas of highest need. This topic is important to a great many people around the world.

Take a risk

Risk-taking is about experimenting. This year, I will remain chronically curious and experiment further with taking the learning beyond the module. As my business partner, Ian Huckabee, often says “Learning is getting chopped up and splattered everywhere.” I commit to taking advantage of the full learning ecosystem in an organization, planting seeds of learning in company discussion boards and Yammer accounts, “moving learning closer to the point of performance” (Bryan Chapman, Chapman Alliance), leveraging Talent Management Systems, implementing blended learning approaches, and coaching organizations on the learning possibilities of xAPI.

Take a stand for someone who can’t stand up for themselves

As I design solutions in 2015, I vow to always hear the voice of the learner in my head. To know the true motivators for learning the new skills, to value their time, to make it relevant, and to make learning as convenient as possible. Create a learner persona and see the learners in action as much as possible. It’s important to hear directly from the learners as you design the solution and observe the learners as they engage with your prototypes. One important goal of instructional design is to help each learner achieve career success.

A new year opens up all kinds of possibilities for new instructional design. I look forward to pushing the boundaries of learning with you!

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Seven Reasons Your E-learning Will Fail in 2015

by Ian Huckabee on December 11, 2014

Why Your E-learning Could FailAt the beginning of the year we took a look at how and why e-learning was changing, and we published a report in which we identified key trends and their underlying technologies and how these are significantly changing the landscape of learning. We began to see e-learning in the context of increased mobility, an evolving economy, and even the cultural impact of generational change. Many of the changes that we anticipated would begin to transform our industry throughout the year did so, and as 2015 approaches, these changes have come to represent the dawning of new norms within our industry. As you plan your learning initiatives for 2015, make sure you can answer “False!” to the true/false statements below.

1. Your e-learning is long and flat.

Media providers compete for our attention across increasing numbers of devices and media channels by offering content that is more visual, more interactive, shorter in length, and that delivers a quicker payoff to the viewer. We’ve seen that this has had an influence on e-learning, and in almost every case it’s has been a positive one.

In 2014, the average seat time of individual e-learning modules we created fell below 30 minutes for the first time. E-learning courses that are “chunked up” and that are sticky with a high degree of interactivity and motivational surprise can maintain greater attention from the learner over shorter periods of time. A two-hour compliance course, for instance, can have better results when it’s broken up into four 30-minute modules.

2. Your e-learning is restricted to the LMS.

The e-learning neighborhood has grown. For years, the only house on the street was the LMS. Now, the e-learning ecosystem includes practically any environment or device that provides utility to the worker. Learning initiatives that once began and ended with the formal module now include the integration of collaborative and experiential environments where discovery and creative problem solving can happen seamlessly in real time by accessing a mobile device.

With the advent of the Experience API, worker activities and behaviors are tracked in environments other than the LMS – for instance, intranets, online social environments, on the job, and other experiential environments – enabling learning departments and organizations to measure and understand initiative-wide effectiveness based on specific moments and points of learning.

3. Your e-learning is immobile.

Today’s workforce has become more collaborative as technologies allow workers to perform tasks from multiple locations, and a lot of the e-learning we see today reflects this collaborative work style. Mobile workers will find easy ways – whether company-sanctioned or not – to access information in order to bolster creativity, enhance performance and solve problems.

This year was a year of big improvements in device-specific design for mobile learning. These improvements addressed issues like touch gestures, course navigation, and off-line availability and provided more convenient and intuitive user access to e-learning courses, just-in-time content, performance support tools, job aids, videos, and checklists.

4. Your e-learning takes too long to create.

One of the greatest competitive advantages for your organization is having skilled workers. Once a training need has been identified, the clock is ticking: workers need training quickly on compliance, new products, systems, or culture – not in three to six months when that training could already be out of date.

Design and development timelines are shrinking as more organizations take approaches to custom e-learning that are lean and agile. A minimal viable product in weeks can have a greater impact on the bottom line than a fully built solution months later. Services like Qwick Custom, which shorten the development lifecycle while offering the desired degree of interactivity and customization, address the need for quick turnaround.

5. Your learners don’t receive proper credentials from your e-learning.

There are three demand drivers for learning credentials, or certificate-based learning: mobility, the skills gap and Millennials.

Increased mobility and the resulting increased transience of the workforce have created a new demand for continuous training that builds specialized skills and provides certified proof of those skills. Shifts in our economy toward middle- and high-skill jobs have led many companies to act out of self-interest for improved specificity within their training for positions that fall in the skills gap. Millennials will have five careers (not five jobs) in the course of their adult work life. Certificate-based continuing education and training and the ability to prove proficiencies throughout their careers will in part determine the companies they choose to work for.

We’re seeing certificates appear on LinkedIn earned by completing massive online open courses (MOOCs). The demand for these certificates is growing, as they bolster resumes and LinkedIn profiles, building a new credentialing currency for a workforce that is increasingly mobile. The Experience API provides a learning record for each learner and supports certificate-based learning as each learner’s record follows the learner along his or her path of learning and stores information about certifications, skill sets, and other accomplishments through learning.

6. Your e-learning doesn’t foster collaboration.

As learning ecosystems have expanded, broader learning initiatives now include learning strategies that encourage collaboration. The term “social learning” has gained more clarity in its distinction from informal learning and now fundamentally represents the notion of a learning architect’s intentional strategies of using collaborative media for learning.

The demands for connectivity and a collaborative work style brought on by greater mobility has resulted in learning solutions that are more collaborative in nature. These solutions provide easily discoverable content within online communities and the opportunity for individuals and groups to share, co-create, and discuss content. E-learning has taken on more characteristics indicative of the collaboration and networking skills Millennials use to solve problems.

7. Your e-learning continues to be created for outdated technology.

Microsoft will soon stop supporting all but the most recent versions of Internet Explorer. Which, for most organizations, means browsers that do not support HTML5 (the latest version of the language used to present content through a web browser on computers, tablets and smartphones) will go away, and learners will experience media-rich e-learning on all devices.

The browser has become a mainstream enterprise development environment, and it’s the most used delivery platform for e-learning. HTML5 provides rich web experiences that can’t occur on older browsers, and increasingly, as browser-based services like Office 365 and SharePoint continue to evolve to these new standards and as e-learning spreads out of the LMS and into these other environments, interoperability between web applications is important.

True or false?

Were you able to answer “False!” to these seven statements? What challenges do you face in structuring your learning initiatives away from these fail factors? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, or please contact us directly. You can download our report here.

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Weejee Learning Launches Qwick Custom

October 21, 2014

Custom E-Learning Solutions Created in Less Than Half the Normal Time Durham, North Carolina – Oct. 21, 2014 – Weejee Learning, a global provider of fun, interactive enterprise-wide custom learning solutions, is launching its newest offering, Qwick Custom – a selection of highly adaptable pre-designed themes that can be easily tailored with an organization’s own […]

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Weejee Learning Co-Founders to Present at DevLearn 2014

October 7, 2014

Weejee to Lead Guild Academy Pre-conference Blended Course on Project Management and Concurrent Session on xAPI Design Ideas Durham, North Carolina – Oct. 9, 2014 – Weejee Learning, a global provider of fun, interactive enterprise-wide custom learning solutions, will serve as premium level sponsor at the upcoming DevLearn Conference and Expo 2014 where the company’s […]

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E-learning and Games: The Big Takeaways

September 25, 2014

If the e-learning industry had a Trending Now ticker like Twitter, then gamification would be sitting comfortably just below xAPI. Using the word “trend” does suggest that gamification is a fleeting fancy, but I wouldn’t compare gamification to UGG boots just yet (those are gone now, right?). Gamification is changing the face of e-learning and […]

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Internet Explorer Helps Make Learning Fun

August 13, 2014

Do you remember Internet Explorer 6? Mention this relic browser to developers and watch their eyes roll. IE6 was released in August 2001, and eight years later Microsoft was still committed to supporting it in spite of its increasing loss of interoperability. Microsoft felt it was acting in the interest of its users by supporting […]

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The New Attention Span

April 7, 2014

Someone told me recently entropy isn’t what it used to be. I haven’t been able to stop offering that up as a quip for why anything goes differently than expected. For many in the world of learning and training, things do appear to be going differently than expected. When we look at learning in the […]

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Weejee Learning Co-Founder Tracy Bissette and eLearning Guild Partner on Academy Course Series

January 27, 2014

Bissette to Teach Course on Improving Instructional Design Execution Durham, N.C. – Jan. 9, 2014 – Weejee Learning chief learning officer and co-founder Tracy Bissette has partnered with The eLearning Guild to lead a series of classes for The eLearning Guild Academy in 2014.  The eLearning Guild, the oldest and most trusted source of information, […]

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