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Splashing about in the Tub of Self-learning and emerging Enlightened.

Going Wrong is the First Step in Doing Right.

And I re-learned this lesson for the umpteenth time when I posted my first article on LinkedIn. Here’s the link to it.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/tub-self-learning-hold-your-breath-shafali-r-anand/

The Self-Learning Tub Discovered during my learning LinkedIn article publishing.

Click the image to read how learning to publish my article on LinkedIn resulted in my descent into the Self-Learning Tub.

If you enjoy the article, do any or both of the following 🙂

  • Follow my feed on LinkedIn because I intend to write there quite regularly.
  • Subscribe to the Creative Agni eZine.

 

 

 

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A First is always Fearful, sometimes Frustrating, but never Fruitless.

This morning I posted my first article on LinkedIn.

Are you wondering why this feat-o-mine warrants a dedicated post on my WordPress blog?

Well, it does, because this is indeed a victory of sorts for me.

You see, I had been planning to make this post for more than two weeks now. I had been reading posts done by my connections, and their connections, and wondering how with such meager accouterments (an extremely basic formatting bar and a minimalist environment,) could one make a reasonably good looking article? I was battling the fear of the unknown.

The Fear of the Unknown

My main cause of anxiety stemmed from the unknown. I didn’t know the interface and I didn’t know how the LinkedIn audience would receive my content, but I knew that I had to take the first step in order to take the next, and then the next…that’s how we learn to walk then run – don’t we?

The fear of the unknown is one of the most debilitating fears of all, and the only way to over come it to learn about the unknown. It may take a while, but it works. I’ve seen it work all through my life. So armed with this hope, I started writing “5 Instructional Weapons to Win the Microlearning War.

About 5 Instructional Weapons to Win the Microlearning War

It worked with this article too. Microlearning has always intrigued me. Even in our online ID courses that I had designed for Wavelength, I had ensured that none of the learning interactions went beyond 10-15 minutes, and that they did their job in that time – gaining the learner’s attention, establishing relevance of the content for them, providing the learning/providing practice/quizzing them – as the case might be, and leaving the learner satisfied. True that each course had more than a couple of hundreds of those, but each of those learning interactions did their job, and the fact that we had happy and satisfied learners who remember us even after a dozen years, proves that those learning interactions worked.

But those were different times. In the last decade or so, smartphones have changed the whole learning eco-system. In fact, they’ve changed the learner’s persona as well as her expectations.

5 Instructional Methods to Win the Micro Learning War - Infographic

Never before we had a learner whose attention was so difficult to gain and retain – this obviously means that only those learning providers who would have the right arsenal will win – others will be left behind.

I thought I had something to say – and so I wrote and then made an infographic to go with it. Here’s it. Please head over to LinkedIn and read the full article.

About the 3 Avatars of the Micro-learner

And while I was at it, I saw the true persona of microlearning audience – the triumvirate with three different avatars. Read more about them in the article.

The Microlearning Audience - Avatar 1 - the Scout

The Microlearning Audience - Avatar 2 - the AssessorThe Microlearning Audience - Avatar 3 - the Ambassador

Meanwhile, I’m pleased to announce that I’m feeling rather comfortable with LinkedIn articles now, and if you have any question, I’ll be happy to answer (but remember that little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, and I’m still learning.)

The Thrill of Discovery Replaces the Fear of Unknown

Now that I’ve gotten used to the basic format of the LinkedIn article editor, I’m looking forward to making my next post. I am not sure what I shall write about – but it’s definitely going to be a thrilling experience. I hope to meet you on this ride. If you are on LinkedIn and are passionate about making learning effective, let us connect. Find me on LinkedIn here.

 

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Learning Adobe Captivate – Coffeebeans: The Trainer and The Trainee – A Comic Capsule.

As you may have noticed, Creative Agni’s REDAC (Rapid eLearning Development with Adobe Captivate) certificate course rolled out on August 5th. Traditionally, I’ve always participated in the first rollouts of all the courses that we create and bring to you, except when I’m the one conducting the course.

Two Sundays into the program, I created a small linear interaction (“Coffeebeans – The Trainer & The Trainee,” a comic-capsule that features Coffeebeans and her owner Froth,) and I am feeling mighty proud of it.

Coffeebeans Comic Capsule by - The Trainer and the Trainee - by Shafali R. Anand and Creative Agni

Click the image to view the Comic Capsule.

I hope you like Coffeebeans – she’s one heck of a smart pup 🙂

Since Creative Agni’s Instructional Design and eLearning Courses are engineered to learning experiences that don’t just enable but empower, their learning goals aren’t about learning but about doing – and this is why I can already use a wide variety of Captivate’s tools. Barely past the third class, I can already use most of the menu items; use text and shapes; stylize and animate them; record (or import,) edit and use audio; use buttons and actions; create advance actions (this week I created a click and view interactive all on my own, using advance actions;) and use the timeline like I was born to use it.

In the weeks to come, I’ll be learning tons of other interesting stuff and will be able to create learning interactions, record and use simulations, use videos, create different types of quizzes, figure out the responsive content bit, etc. It’s an exhilarating ride and I’m glad to be a part of this very smart and enthusiastic group of participants.

Do visit the Creative Agni eZine site and check out the Coffeebeans Comic-capsule.

 

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Instructional Designer – The Conjurer of Learning Experiences.

A lot of confusion exists around the term “Instructional Designer.” In many e-learning organizations, it’s a designation; but thankfully, most understand it to be a role, which it is. And yet, most recruiters aren’t able to differentiate between a content developer, a content writer, or an author. This confusion seems to be acquiring another dimension with the advent of Rapid Authoring or Rapid eLearning Development.

Generically speaking, an instructional designer is someone who uses certain concepts of cognitive psychology and frameworks of learning, to create effective learning experiences.

The confusion that I talked about in the beginning starts with the scope of “Learning Experiences.”

Note that each of the following is designed to be a learning experience:

  1. A textbook
  2. A WBT (Web-based Tutorial)
  3. An m-learning module
  4. An online course
  5. A corporate-training program
  6. An instruction manual
  7. A coaching session
  8. An educational class

And so on…

Thus, anyone who uses the concepts of cognitive psychology and the established frameworks of learning, to make any of the above effective, can be said to play the role of an instructional designer.

This also means that a textbook author, a WBT storyboard developer, an m-learning content creator, a trainer, a coach, or a teacher, can all play the role of an instructional designer.

Read about an Instructional Designer’s role in the eLearning Industry here.

Written in response to the Daily Prompt “Conjure.”

 

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Creative Training Design & Content Development – What Inhibits Creativity?

Last week, I received a call from a young woman who was interested in exploring the IDCD (Instructional Design and Content Development) course. During our discussion, she asked me if her lack of creativity would in any manner hamper her performance in the course. It is a question that I’ve fielded many times in the last fourteen years, and fortunately, I’ve done it with a conviction that comes from a long experience with creativity.

I’ve been creative in at least three different areas, and all these areas, I’ve been sufficiently creative to be considered a professional. These three areas are art, fiction-writing, and training/elearning content development. My experience tells me that when I’m being madly creative in one area, I’m only marginally creative in the other two. Why? Because creativity begins by submerging yourself in a context.

Igniting, Harnessing, and Channeling your Creative Potential – An Example

Here’s a recent example. We’ve been thinking of bringing you the REDAC (Rapid eLearning Development with Adobe Captivate) course for a while now. So when in January end, I applied myself to designing this program, I had to break away from a historical fiction piece that I was writing. You could say that I could spend a few hours on my fiction writing endeavor and the remaining on designing the REDAC course. Unfortunately, this sort of multitasking becomes very difficult when you are trying to divide your time between two very different types of creative endeavors. (If your day job is that of a banker, an accountant or a shop floor engineer who works on job-scheduling, then you can be a creative writer in the evenings – because there isn’t a creative clash.)

You see,

  • Fiction writing is imaginative, colorful, descriptive where you must visualize scenes and characters and you must make them come alive through an interesting use of dialogs, its purpose is to entertain, and it uses the “Storytelling” framework to create the final expression. It also requires that I immerse myself in the context of the era in which I’m situating my story.
  • Training Design is logical, connective, direct, and its purpose is to impart learning, and it uses the “instructional design’ framework to create the final expression. It requires that I immerse myself in the context of the discipline/software (its capabilities, its connection with eLearning, and so on…)
  • The right way to begin was to pluck my mind out of the historical context (for fiction-writing) and drop it into the subject context (in this case Adobe Captivate, for training design.) Since I’m good with both the storytelling framework as well as the training design framework, all I needed to do was immerse myself in a new context.

    Read More for “How Creativity is Born?” and “What Inhibits Creativity?”>>>


Thus, in order to ignite, harness, and channel creativity, one must follow a method. Almost all those who are highly (and repetitively creative) follow one. It is usually a method that they develop themselves, but once they have developed it, they stick to it. Dan Brown is an excellent example of this phenomenon. I’ve been an ardent follower of his Facebook page and a relentless reader of his books, and I’ve noticed that he has a method. He approaches every book as a creative project and at the beginning of this project, he immerses himself into the context (information on what he wants to write about.) He reads, researches, watches videos, meets people, travels, visits places he thinks he’d like to situate his story in…but of course, this is just the beginning. Creativity isn’t only about coming up with ideas – there’s a lot more to it, including retaining the best ideas and sustaining the creative energy that will eventually turn your ideas into effective creative expressions.

I see this element in my own creative method too. I’ve talked about it at length in my new book, which is just a few months away from reaching your favorite book-store 🙂

“Our mind is a treasure chest of slumbering creative nodes that just need to be woken up in the right environment to let our creativity flow.” – SRA.

 
 

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What is Rapid eLearning Development or Rapid Authoring?

Rapid eLearning Development has been around for almost a decade now. As I see it, Rapid Authoring Tools such as Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, and others, would be the development tools of choice for large and even mid-sized organizations. In about ten years from now, nearly all the employees of every corporation would have held a smart-device since they were in their diapers, and they would naturally prefer to learn using their mobile devices. The makers of the Rapid Authoring Tools are already ensuring that the content that’s published using their software is not only cross-platform (with HTML5 output becoming a norm,) but also responsive (responds to the device on which it is displayed and displays without breaking.)

In “Demystifying Rapid Authoring or Rapid eLearning Development,” I’ve differentiated traditional elearning development from Rapid elearning development, discussed the pros and cons of rapid authoring, and attempted to project the future of rapid elearning development. I believe that for higher Bloom Level courses traditional eLearning development will still rule the roost. While the Rapid Authoring Tools are becoming better with each new version, automation always constrains creativity.

I’d also like to introduce Creative Agni’s “Rapid eLearning Development with Adobe Captivate (REDAC) Certificate Course.

Rapid elearning development with Adobe Captivate course by Creative Agni.

This course is designed to ensure that the content professionals who take this program become independently capable of developing and delivering content to their audience.They would become at home with the Adobe Captivate interface and would know exactly how to use the capabilities of the software to deliver impactful content. For those who already are working as Instructional Designers, Content Developers, or Trainers, this course would lead them toward developmental freedom and enable them to explore such opportunities that require rapid authoring capabilities.

I hope you like the article 🙂

 

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Gamification of Learning Experiences and Training Programs

In 2014, I had set myself the task of writing a series of articles on gamification and its application to the learning domain. Until recently, health concerns kept me from working on the articles further, but now that I am better, I’ve started working on them again. The first article in the series is already up.

Gamification of Learning and Training - the essence of it.

Click the image to read the article.

Read the first article in the series “Gamification – What does this new-fangled, star-spangled term mean?” here.

More article in this series would follow. I’ll be announcing the new articles on Twitter, and they’ll also find their way into the Creative Agni eZine – so if you are interested, you are welcome to follow me on Twitter, or Subscribe to the Creative Agni eZine (a short monthly e-newsletter.)

 

 

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