Sunday, May 15, 2011

memory as white board ...

I do like a good analogy to help illustrate a point, and the Rapid eLearning Blog provides a great analogy for working memory: a white board! The white board (representing working memory) provides ample space to work with new information engaging both your temporary storage and problem solving skills. The white board has limited space though, so eventually the important information must get transferred off the white board to allow new room to work. In this example analogy, the information gets transferred to post-it notes (representing long term memory).

Unfortunately, transferring information to long term memory isn't as easy as writing notes onto a post-it note. As instructional designers, it is our job to help the most important information make it from the "white board" of working memory on to the "post-it" of long term memory. Here, Tom recommends keeping three simple steps in mind:

1. Organizing information into small chunks,
2. Building upon the students' prior knowledge, and
3. Providing real-world scenarios.

These three steps are a great starting point! To delve a little deeper, check out this blog.

going a little deeper ... connectivism, collaborative, situated, and informal learning

With a title like "4 Big Ideas That Will Change The World Of Training," the eLearning Coach has a big promise to deliver on - and it does. Walking the reader through the ideas of Connectivism, Collaborative Learning, Situated Learning, and Informal Learning, this blog post provides a very good overview of these four theories/approaches and provides links to more resources on each.

Starting with the Connectivist idea that learning is distributed across networks and occurs when people engage in communities, the blog moves onto the structured and unstructured Collaborative approach to community learning, then shows the role of Situated Learning belief that learners must be engaged in the community in which the skills they are learning will need to be applied, and wraps up with idea that informal learning occurs best in a community that encourages sharing. 

As a designer, I see these four ideas working in collaboration – almost as a continuum. That the most successful learning environment takes this approach from a collaborative training experience, balanced with situational opportunities to refine knowledge and practice skills in the real community they will be used in, and then exiting that training path into a community that continues to support informal learning.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

getting started ...

Henry Ford was a smart man. He revolutionized transportation and American industry. And he provided one of my favorite quotes, "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young." This quote is instrumental in my life and is the basis for this blog. As I delve into the world of Instructional Design and eLearning, I engage myself as a learner. As a learner, I find great value in learning from others: their perspective, their phrasing, their positioning. Blogs are a unique tool to engage with others in this field. In my initial research, I have found a wide variety of resources. Here are some of my favorites:

The Rapid eLearning Blog -

Tom welcomes you to his site with the tag "practical, real-world tips for e-learning success!" and he delivers. With a laid-back voice, Tom delivers quick tips and links to resources. Recent posts include tips on how to find images that reflect what you are saying, links to free PowerPoint templates, managing all those free fonts you have accumulated, and time-saving tips. Posting about once a week, Tom provides tips and links you can (and will) use instantly.

Big Dog, Little Dog -

This blog provides thoughts on instructional design and performance. Covering topics like informal and social learning and specific topics like Donald Kirkpatrick's Four Level Evaluation Model, this blog is much more detailed and extensive than the Rapid eLearning Blog. Big Dog, Little Dog is more intellectual while remaining easily applicable thanks to many graphs, charts, and illustrations.

Posting at least once a month (more frequently some months), I found this blog a great introduction to the world of instructional design blogs. Well designed and written, posts like "Instructional Design for Beginners - What Motivates People to Learn?" "Microlearning - A Paradigm Shift In The Way We Learn" and "The Ten Commandments of eLearning" were easy to navigate as well as informational.