#BYOD4L Day 4: Collaboration, sharing, and ownership

Day four is upon us (going quickly, isn’t it!) and we’re looking at collaborating.

“We all need to work with other people and this is an opportunity to explore how smart devices can enable you to work with individuals and groups in a number of versatile ways so that you can maximise engagement and effectiveness when collaborating.”

For me collaboration starts with my network, my personal learning network, my learning environment … and here is how the tools I used) back in 2010:

DavidHopkins - Personal Learning Environment (PLE)The tweet chat was, as before, frenzied and alive, and so very much fun. If you missed it check out the Storify archive.

Collaboration has been big in assessment terms in recent years with projects and research on and around the use of Wikis in student-to-students work groups. But what of collaboration between us, educators, and students, or even between ourselves? Every time I tweet or email or phone or meet someone (student, professor, colleague, etc.) I am collaborating. It doesn’t matter that we’re talking about bikes, films, Twitter, etc. The fact is we’re sharing views and helping to form or reform new opinions or views in others. This is reflected in the 1st question last night … “Q1 Who can we collaborate with?”. The beauty of the Internet and BYOD is that we are no longer constrained to those in the same office or company or geographic location.

When asked how we can collaborate (Q2) the answers, again, showed that we are free and able to use any and all means possible. With the availability of Google Docs, Dropbox, FaceTime, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, etc. we can define our own boundaries and set the expectations on what, when, who, how, and where it happens. I collaborated through Twitter last year on what it means to be a Learning Technologist in both HE and FE.

Getting people together to collaborate is easier, in my experience, than getting teams to do so. Individuals are more open or receptive to sharing ideas and working together than ‘teams’: is this because of the management, time, and politics that comes with inter-team collaboration? If you know please drop me a line so I can understand this better?

Where can we collaborate (Q3) seemed a little redundant as a question as we’d already kind of answered this in Q2 .. everywhere,  anywhere, and anytime we like. The trend towards mobile computing devices means this can easily be on the train or bus home, sat in a coffee shop or conference venue, at home or at work. We are only limited by the time and effort we dedicate to the project (Q4).

So, the final day of BYOD4L is here … this could be good!

Adding Closed Captions for your Videos in Adobe Captivate 7

Adding closed captions to your eLearning courses is a basic requirement to meet accessibility standards like Section 508 and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. You can easily do so for your audio-based courses by adding narration to your screen, adding slide notes, and then converting those slide notes to closed captions. But a little known […]

Learners’ Often Use Poor Learning Strategies — From a Research Review

I just read the following research article, and found a great mini-review of some essential research.

  • Hagemans, M. G., van der Meij, H., & de Jong, T. (2013). The effects of a concept map-based support tool on simulation-based inquiry learning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(1), 1-24. doi:10.1037/a0029433

Experiment-Specific Findings:

The article shows that simulations—the kind that ask learners to navigate through the simulation on their own—are more beneficial when learners are supported in their simulation playing. Specifically, they found that learners given the optimal learning route did better than those supplied with a sub-optimal learning route. They also found that concept maps helped the learners by supporting their comprehension. They also found that learners who got feedback on the correctness of their practice attempts were motivated to correct their errors and thus provided themselves with additional practice.

Researchers’ Review of Learners’ Poor Learning Strategies

The research Hagemans, van der Meij, and de Jong did is good, but what struck me as even more relevant for you as a learning professional is their mini review of research that shows that learners are NOT very good stewards of their own learning. Here is what their mini-review said (from Hagemans, van der Meij, and de Jong, 2013, p. 2:

  • Despite the importance of planning for learning, few students engage spontaneously in planning activities (Manlove & Lazonder, 2004).  
  • Novices are especially prone to failure to engage in planning prior to their efforts to learn (Zimmerman, 2002).  
  • When students do engage in planning their learning, they often experience difficulty in adequately performing the activities involved (de Jong & Van Joolingen, 1998; Quintana et al., 2004). For example, they do not thoroughly analyze the task or problem they need to solve (Chi, Feltovich, & Glaser, 1981; Veenman, Elshout, & Meijer, 1997) and tend to act immediately (Ge & Land, 2003; Veenman et al., 1997), even when a more thorough analysis would actually help them to build a detailed plan for learning (Veenman, Elshout, & Busato, 1994).  
  • The learning goals they set are often of low quality, tending to be nonspecific and distal (Zimmerman, 1998).
  • In addition, many students fail to set up a detailed plan for learning, whereas if they do create a plan, it is often poorly constructed (Manlove et al., 2007). That is, students often plan their learning in a nonsystematic way, which may cause them to start floundering (de Jong & Van Joolingen, 1998), or they plan on the basis of what they must do next as they proceed, which leads to the creation of ad hoc plans in which they respond to the realization of a current need (Manlove & Lazonder, 2004).  
  • The lack of proper planning for learning may cause students to miss out on experiencing critical moments of inquiry, and their investigations may lack systematicity.
  • Many students also have problems with monitoring their progress, in that they have difficulty in reflecting on what has already been done (de Jong & Van Joolingen, 1998).
  • Regarding monitoring of understanding, students often do not know when they have comprehended the subject matter material adequately (Ertmer & Newby, 1996; Thiede, Anderson, & Therriault, 2003) and have difficulty recognizing breakdowns in their understanding (Ertmer & Newby, 1996).
  • If students do recognize deficits in their understanding, they have difficulty in expressing explicitly what they do not understand (Manlove & Lazonder, 2004).
  • One consequence is that students tend to overestimate their level of success, which may result in “misplaced optimism, substantial understudying, and, ultimately, low test scores” (Zimmerman, 1998, p. 9).

The research article is available by clicking here.

Final Thoughts

This research, and other research I have studied over the years, shows that we CANNOT ALWAYS TRUST THAT OUR LEARNERS WILL KNOW HOW TO LEARN. We as instructional designers have to design learning environments that support learners in learning. We need to know the kinds of learning situations where our learners are likely to succeed and those where they are likely to fail without additional scaffolding.

The research also shows, more specifically, that inquiry-based simulation environments can be powerful learning tools, but ONLY if we provide the learners with guidance and/or scaffolding that enables them to be successful. Certainly, some few may succeed without support, but most will act suboptimally.

We have a responsibility to help our learners. We can't always put it on them...

Basic Building Blocks for Drag & Drop Interactions

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - how to build a drag and drop interaction

A few years ago building a drag & drop interaction required some programming skills. Because of this, those who didn’t have programming skills often didn’t include drag & drop interactions as an option in their course design.

That’s no longer the case because building a drag & drop interaction is relatively easy. In fact, building an interaction with today’s software can take less than a few minutes; so the focus now is on how to use them and not whether or not you can build one.

Click here to view the tutorial.

Since building them is so easy there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be part of your interaction tool chest. But if you’ve never built a drag & drop interaction there are a few basic things to know.

Do You Need a Drop Target?

Generally there’s a reason why the person is required to drag an object on the screen. In most cases a decision is required which forces the learner to select an object and then drag it to a specific location. We call the location the drop target.

So when building your first interaction:

  • Understand what decision needs to be made
  • Which objects can be dragged
  • Where are the objects dropped

Common Types of Drag & Drop Interactions

There are a many creative ways to use drag & drop interactions. However here are the most common types:

  • One to one: a single drag object goes to a single drop target
  • One to many: a single drag object can be correctly dropped on multiple drop targets
  • Many to one: multiple drag objects go into a single drop target

Here is a simple example that shows those three common drag & drop interactions:

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - drag and drop interaction

Click here to view the elearning example.

Distractions Are Good

Ideally the elearning course and its interactions are aligned with the types of real world decisions the person faces. Often the challenge in making good decisions means we’re faced with alternatives (some viable and some not so good). These alternatives can distract us from the best decisions.

When building drag & drop interactions it’s good to add in a few distractors. They can be used to provoke common misunderstandings or some of the nuances of the required decision-making.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - example of a drag and drop interaction

Click here to view the drag & drop demo.

Above is an example where more than the correct answer choices can be selected and dragged. By making more than just correct choices available the learner has to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the content and the decisions required.

I’ve seen many drag & drop interactions where only the correct options can be dragged. That makes it easier to guess through the decision. Distractors help remove some of the guessing.

There’s a lot more to crafting good drag & drop interactions. But the above tips are a good starting point.

Do you use drag & drop interactions in your courses? If so, what types?


Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - elearning community

Weekly Updates

Community Blog Posts & Tutorials

Upcoming Events & Workshops

  • January 29-30: London (Learning Technologies): I’ll be doing a quick presentation on interactive video using the Articulate applications. If you’re at the conference, swing by the Articulate booth.
  • February 4-6: Karlsruhe (LEARNTEC 2014): I’ll be at the conference working in the Articulate booth and would love to meet you.
  • March 11-12: Phoenix, AZ (ASTD). Details coming.
  • March 19: Sydney (iDESIGNX): I’m excited to attend my first conference in Australia. Looking forward to meeting many of the blog readers there. I’m organizing a workshop while in town. Contact me if you’re interested and I’ll send details as soon as we know.
  • Place I’ll be in 2014: Indianapolis, Lincoln, and Dallas. More to follow.

Post written by Tom Kuhlmann


Download your free 46-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

The post Basic Building Blocks for Drag & Drop Interactions appeared first on The Rapid eLearning Blog.

Power in the Box – Learn to easily create custom lightbox dialogs for your Adobe Captivate projects

Sometimes you don’t want to turn the page. It’s typical in eLearning projects to assemble the module as a series of slides, and many times you can get all of the information that you want in a single slide, but sometimes, you want to provide optional information or include an opportunity for a simple, custom […]

The Omnipresence Of Learning

Over the years we have accepted and moved beyond (not away) from the old concept that learning is best delivered and ‘learned’ formally. The advent of technology accelerated this and brought in new mediums and opportunities for the delivery of learning. To embrace and use new technology we have changed the form of learning materials; […]

E-Learning Design Series: Branding Your Course

Articulate  Rapid E-Learning Blog - elearning design branding your course

I probably review at least two hundred elearning courses each year. Most of them are designed by people just getting started so they then to look for feedback that can cover a broad range of topics.

Many of the courses I review have common design issues. Often it’s those little issues that make the difference between a course that looks like it’s built by a beginner and one that’s a bit more polished.

In a previous post I highlighted three common design issues and offered tips to fix them. Today’s tips are based on some things I see quite a bit related to the branding of courses.  

Draw attention to the subject of the course and not the brand.

While I don’t necessarily agree with all of the branding that happens in many online training courses, I understand why organizations do it. However, often the branding goes beyond common sense.

Articulate  Rapid E-Learning Blog - logo in course design

Look at the example above, how many times do you need to see the organization’s name or logo? It’s in the title, the logo panel, and on the screen at least three times.

What’s the point of this? Does all of this branding even do anything positive? I can’t imagine that it actually makes people feel better about taking courses or being part of the organization. What’s next, a company tattoo?

With all that said, the copyright is a good idea. Don’t want anyone to steal that design.

Limit branding to a single screen.

If you have to add the branded items to your course then try to limit when you do so. A few simple ideas may be to make the logos smaller or watermark them so they’re less obvious.

Something I’ve done in the past is create an animated splash screen that I can add to the beginning or end of a course. It’s a bit more elegant and consistent with the brand requirements, but it doesn’t interfere with the course content. By moving the branded elements off your content screens you’ll have more room for the important stuff.

Brand the player instead of the screen.

If you need to add branding to your course, then do it where it makes sense. Most authoring tools have a place for you to add a logo and you can also add brand colors to the template and player.

Articulate  Rapid E-Learning Blog - elearning example

Click here to view the elearning example.

In the example above, a course on social media guidelines, Hitachi customized the template (and course colors) to match the branding in the logo. This helps meet the organization’s guidelines and still gives more control over the content on the screen.

Get rid of production credits.

I’m sure this will upset some people, but one thing I can’t stand about going to a kid’s play is that the play may only be 45 minutes long, but then after they spend another 30 minutes thanking everyone who helped out. That’s all good and I truly appreciate those who volunteered, but come on! No one came to the play for the credits. Do all of the back patting at a cast party.

Articulate  Rapid E-Learning Blog - lots of branded screens

The same can be said for elearning courses. Seems like I’m seeing more and more courses that begin with a series of screens like the ones above that are more like commercials and production credits. They have little to do with the course content so it’s probably a good idea to drop them.

If you do need to add all of that information, then take it off of the course screen. A simple solution is to create an “About Me” tab to hold all of that type of information. It’s in the course for those who want it, but it’s not part of the content flow.

Also, here’s a bonus tip. If you create a live action video don’t use the outtakes to create a gag reel. Unless you’re a master comedian like Emo Philips odds are the gag reel isn’t as funny as you think it is.

Make good use of your screen space.

You don’t need to use all of the features in the player template that comes with your software. Here’s an example: many elearning templates offer a side menu. However, that feature can be turned off if it’s not needed.

In the example below, the only reason the side menu area exists is because the developer inserted the branded logo. Other than that, all of the space below the logo is wasted. It’s also confusing. If the learner is used to a side menu and then sees this example, she may think that something’s broken.

Articulate  Rapid E-Learning Blog - side menu and logo panel

If you’re not using the side menu, a more elegant solution may be to get rid of the logo panel. This gives you a different course profile that doesn’t have a big empty area.

Like it or not, branding requirements exist. The key is to work them into your course design so meeting them makes sense. What do you do to deal with branding requirements that may interfere with your course design?


Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - elearning community

Weekly Updates

Community Blog Posts & Tutorials

Upcoming Events & Workshops

  • January 23 & 24: Las Vegas, NV (TechKnowledge): Mike Taylor will host two creation stations on Building Interactive E-Learning with Articulate Studio ‘13.
  • January 29-30: London (Learning Technologies): I’ll be doing a quick presentation on interactive video using the Articulate applications. If you’re at the conference, swing by the Articulate booth.
  • February 4-6: Karlsruhe (LEARNTEC 2014): I’ll be at the conference working in the Articulate booth and would love to meet you.
  • March 11-12: Phoenix, AZ (ASTD). Details coming.
  • March 19: Sydney (iDESIGNX): I’m excited to attend my first conference in Australia. Looking forward to meeting many of the blog readers there. I’m organizing a workshop while in town. Contact me if you’re interested and I’ll send details as soon as we know.
  • Place I’ll be in 2014: Indianapolis, Lincoln, and Dallas. More to follow.

Post written by Tom Kuhlmann


Download your free 46-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

The post E-Learning Design Series: Branding Your Course appeared first on The Rapid eLearning Blog.

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