Posts Tagged ‘Instructional Design’

For anyone in instructional design, keeping track of all the changes and versions can be a nightmare.  I’ve run across a feature of Google the might just solve this problem.  It allows everyone on your review team to work on the document at the same time.  No more sending emails back and forth.  This is especially helpful when you might be doing four or five revisions on a single phone call.  Here is a quick video that explains everything.

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The biggest challenge for most webinar leaders is that they are getting no direct feedback when they are speaking.  When you are speaking to a live group in a classroom, you at least know they are there and you get feedback from their body language.  When you’re speaking on a webinar, you always have the feeling that you’re talking to empty space.  This is magnified when you ask for questions and there’s no response even in the chat area.  You could be doing a fabulous job and people are quite because they are being entertained or  mesmerized by what you’re saying.

Anyone who has ever lead an audio conference or web conference has experienced this.  So what’s the answer?

The best answer comes from talk radio.  Radio talk show host talk into the ether for hours with a high level of intensity.  What they do is have someone else in the room with them and occasionally engage them with a question.  They might speak for 30 minutes straight but the feedback from that other person live makes it a lot more comfortable.  It also helps them pace their speech.  People on their own talking to space tend to speed up and try to fill all the dead space.  They feel like if they stop talking, the audience will disappear.  This speeding up also makes people more tense and affects their breathing.  So it’s a good idea to consciously slow down and take a deep breath.

Doing a web conference with a co-facilitator is extremely helpful even if they are in a different location.  To make the exchange from one speaker to another more natural it’s a good idea to have a signal when the other person wants to talk.  Don’t just say to the other person, “do you want to say something?”  The second person also makes it easier to handle all the technology and the audience.  It’s a lot like having an engineer in a radio studio.

Video can  help with a small group but it doesn’t give you very much feedback for a big group.  That’s why TV talk hosts have a studio audience.

So look to radio for some good tips and remember to breathe!

Photo by: Angatuba – Legionaire

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Classroom training is still the predominant method for formal corporate training. Seminars and workshops are still very popular especially for smaller companies that aren’t ready or able to do a lot of elearning or web collaboration. I’d say that classroom training definitely has it’s strengths and limitations. To be an effective learning leader, I always recommend clearly articulating when and how to use classroom training. I’m going to start out with a few ideas or principles and maybe others will fill in the rest.

1. Interaction with Peers
I’ve seen literally thousands of comments written about workshops and seminars. The number one things that participants say they value is the interaction and networking with peers. Almost no one lists this as a primary objective but maybe it should be number 1.
2. Content Delivery
Retention levels are so low with lectures and expert delivery of information that it’s almost not work doing. I would guess that if you took an SAT today you wouldn’t remember most of it.

3. Feedback
Many things require that you get direct feedback from an expert in order to learn how to do something. Starting this feedback in the classroom is effective if it carries to the job.
4. Demonstrations
Some things you just have to see up close in order to really appreciate all the complexities. This is especially true if learning requires more than sight and sound.

Okay, that’s four…it’s your turn.

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A lot of people start by looking for needs. Maybe even doing a needs analysis. There are two problems with this approach. First, every organization is loaded with needs. Just having the list of top needs doesn’t always give you a lot of direction on where to start. Second, you often get what I call the “usually suspects.” Most needs assessments will reveal the need for leadership training, sales training, team building, etc. Not very helpful in picking a starting point.

So here’s what I suggest. Look for project champions. Get to know the leader’s in your organization and try to find those willing to really get behind and support a training initiative. You’ll also find that other leaders are often waiting for these people to go first before they jump in. Then working with the project champion try to build a business case for addressing the project champion’s most important issue.

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ADDIE has been a popular instructional design model for a very, very long time. ADDIE stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation. Very logical and very training focused. However, it’s not set up well to do rapid development, insure quality and gain acceptance.

First, it treats every training issue or assignment as unique and different. When you’ve built hundreds of training program, you see lots of patterns and similarities. An experienced designer or consultant can easily recognize what’s going on. It’s not uncommon for a needs analysis to reveal the obvious.

Second, in the design stage a lot of things should be done based on pre-made decisions, templates, formats and other tools. For example, if you’re creating a design document for instructor lead training, it should be following the same set of established design principles that are used each time and follow the same format for the workshop or seminar. Instead of a blank piece of paper, most of the work should be modifying from a standard or model.

Third, both the implementation phase and evaluation start too late in the process. For example, doing a stakeholder analysis to determine how to implement a program should be done right at the start. There are a lot of steps in the design and development of training that is specially targeted at getting stakeholder buy in. In addition, most people have trouble measuring training because they build the training first and then try to measure it. It works better to start with building the measures and then designing the training to fit those measures. Having a business case at the start of training is the key.

I find that the more experienced you are, the more you can find ways to do things faster and better than the ADDIE model.

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Uploaded by chalkie_colour_circles

 In order for new learning to happen, you often have to clear out and challenge beliefs and preconceived notion.  One very interesting way to do this is a pre-test.  I found this one which is really good.  The trick here is to forgot about the topic but rather see how the simple test challenges your beliefs and that you may know this already. 

Ready…  Here it is.   http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/GlobWarmTest

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Uploaded on by bealluc

Education and training is all to often built around knowing, understanding and sometimes awareness.  As a result, the typical test is a paper and pencil test that is often nothing more than multiple choice.  This is all fine and good in an academic setting where if you add a little more sophistication you take knowledge and use it to compare, contrasts and differentiate. 

However, in a business environment these kinds of learning objectives are really irrelavant.  In that setting, you really don’t care what people know, what you care about is what people can do.  It’s how they use knowledge to perform complex tasks or even multiple tasks at the same time.  For example, salespeople don’t need to know the features and benefits of their products.  Instead they need to be able to describe products in a way that motivates the customer.  They need to be able to assess customer needs and find the best product fit.  

So the next time you write an instructional design document, cross out the words know, understand and aware of and replace them with what students can do with that knowledge.

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