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Category Archives: eLearning

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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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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Returning…

Dear Readers,

It has been a while that I posted anything here. A medley of reasons kept me away – the most important being some critical health issues. Yet, every dark cloud that hovers over your head filling your view of the world with darkness and gloom, either explodes into a storm of rain and drenches you cold, or sails away in time. This cloud is sailing away, and though I can still see its tail on the horizon, I am confident that the wind won’t reverse its course to bring it back. At least I hope that it won’t.

So, in all probability I am back.

I intend to dust away the cobwebs and scrub this blog to make it sparkle again. I also want to thank the latest follower of this blog who inspired me to return. (If you followed this blog yesterday, you are the one I am talking about.)

As I couldn’t move about a lot, I spent the last whole year experimenting with some new learning mediums. I worked extensively on the mobile platform (specifically iOS) and this year I intend to work on development of Android apps. I intend to share my learnings on content development for the mobile learning or m-learning medium here along with my thoughts on e-learning. I am also experimenting with Kindle. Recently I have once again started accepting corporate training assignments in Instructional Design and eLearning. I also plan to share my experiences from those programs here.

This blog primarily focuses on the psychological principles that relate to learning (directly and indirectly) so expect to see the regular stuff on cognitive psychology too 🙂

I leave you with a link to my latest article on the Creative Agni Website.

 

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Announcing the birth of the Creative Agni Instructional Design and eLearning eZine

I’d like to invite the readers of this blog to the Creative Agni eZine site. It was designed in my after-work hours. Those extra hours took their toll on my neck and shoulders, but when I was done, I felt that  it was all worthwhile 🙂

The Creative Agni eZine has the following five sections.

  • ID Fiction
  • The IDEAL
  • ELearning
  • The Creative Lounge
  • Sloth & Froth

Do visit the eZine site here. If you like what you see there, subscribe to the Creative Agni eLearning eZine 🙂

 

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A Question – Is Design an Inhibitor?

In one of the discussion groups of IDCWC Online (Wavelength’s Instructional Design and Content Writing Certificate – Online Course), a participant raised an interesting point.

She said that when a teacher or a trainer is required to follow pre-designed content, the opportunity for creating something that will enhance the effectiveness of the program for the learner, disappears.

I think she’s made a valid point. When we begin to roll-out a program, we are extremely sensitive to every little signal that we receive from the audience, and we don’t let go of our own instructional knowledge while implementing it; but with each pass, the content begins to harden. We start believing that there could be nothing better than to just follow the content. Thus, we stop directing the learning experience, and allow the content to become the director.

Having spent more than a dozen years developing eLearning content, and about 7 years implementing the content that I was instrumental in designing; I think that with every phase of ADDIE, some degree of rigidity is introduced in the content; and by the time it actually reaches the Audience, it acquires a sort of permanency…and nobody then wants to question the design at all.

Still wondering…is there a way out?

 

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