Unrequieted Love

INTRO

My Bebop2 drone by Parrot met its end a couple of Sunday's ago when it decided to “fly away” into a pecan grove somewhere between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.

Artist sketch of a red Bebop 2 drone crashing into a pecan grove

A LOVE AFFAIR

I loved that drone. It was the replacement for the fifth one I bought. I got each one at Best Buy because of their liberal return policy. The drone is a dream to fly. It gives my view a little more reach.

OUTRO

I love it so much I got another one. I can't wait to fly again.

 

2015 Through a Looking Glass

PROLOGUE

My 2015 resolution was to be an unordinary instructional designer.

THE ZOMBIE ENGAGEMENT MODEL TO THE RESCUE

Mostly I design transformational learning experiences. It's a relative phrase, though. The learners I support are clinicians: doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff. A good chunk of their professional development (PD) comes in the form of conferences. Conferences are mainly sit and get events, often accredited. My challenge in 2015 was to increase engagement. I accomplished this through butts-out-of-seats (BOOS) activities. My model: teachers and students in K-12.

Sketch of a person's reflection in a mirror

At CUE15 in Palm Springs, CA I heard a teacher mention the Zombie Engagement Model (ZEM) of instruction. I'm pretty sure she made up the term. I haven't been able to turn up anything about it even after researching it for most of the year. It got me to thinking though. What are zombies after? Brains. They want our brains and the know-how that resides therein. Successful zombies get and consume brains by moving around. Woe to the stationary zombie.

Here's what months of research into the Zombie Engagement Model revealed.

1. Squiggle like you mean it, at every opportunity.

Squiggles

My work involves collaborating with subject matter experts (SME). It used to be that I would take pains to learn as much as I could about the content side of a project before meeting with a SME. No more. Since I started practicing design thinking the SMEs tend to do the heavy lifting. I squiggle what I think they say (dark lines in sketch). Then they tell me how it really works (red lines in sketch). This saves a lot of time and effort. In fact, in the projects I worked on in 2015 SMEs did most of the prototyping and testing. Want to be in the know? Squiggle.

2. Be seriousless.

Screen capture of a Spock like avatar

I learned about Plotagon in 2015. It's an animation app on my iPad. I use it to mock up ideas and storyboards. Sometimes, heck most of the time, my ideas are so different others don't get them right away. Plotagon helps me make ideas visible. Sharing out an idea quickly engages like nobody's business. It gets people talking and moving ideas around. Want real engagement? Be seriousless. @ChristyCate gave me the heads-up about Plotagon.

3. Roll Your Own

Photo of the Urbie and his granddaughter Carly

I wanted 2015 to be unordinary. I didn't get there being conventional. It involved learning alongside a diverse group of people. Carly was one person I learned tons from. She's my granddaughter. We like shiny objects. I used to fear misses and fails. They don't faze Carly in the slightest. In a safe environment learning is play. Take risks. Get it right the nth time. Be unordinary.

4. Show your work

Screen capture a a person with her arms in the air confronted by a zombie

Share what you do with others. Blog about it. Tweet like you stole it. Which, when you stop to think about it, you might have. I don't live or work alone. I interact with a great many people in person and virtually. My work is influenced by those I'm with. Give credit where it's due and show your work. @JaneBozarth turned me on to this.

5. Slow Down

(Image created by @davidtedu and @clonghb, used with permission)

I learned about micro narratives last week. I used to ask questions to encourage others to share their story. Then I'd figure it out and move on. What I think I'll do next year is continue encouraging others to share but then ask them to figure out and share what it means. I think this will enable me to produce higher fidelity learning experiences. I was encouraged to do this by slowing down one day and giving a listen to Dave Snowden.

EPILOGUE

My blogging hit its stride this year. I have two blogs, PuzzlingMix and Connect the Dots. I don't have a set schedule for writing and posting. I do it for myself. They're reflective journals for the most part. Want to see how my year went: Check out the blogs.

I learn from teachers that teach in K-12 schools, mostly through meetups at EdCamps, CUE, AZK12 hackathons and the eLearning Guild. Most of what I learn is transferable to adults: strategies and activities. The true gems, like the Zombie Engagement Model, spike my interests. How Might We (HMW) is a phrase I repeated a lot in 2015.

My 2015 takeaways: learners ain't zombies. Through context rich (stories and scenarios) experiences learners get up, engage and collaborate with their peers and make their learning visible. Be the unordinary instructional designer.

Thank you to my PLN for helping and encouraging me to be unordinary. See you in 2016.

 

Hours of Code

INTRO

I've been hearing lots and lots about Hour of Code during PD and Twitter chats. So the other day I got an app and started playing.

PLAYING WITH PUZZLES

I asked a teacher the other day how I might start my granddaughter Carly on learning to program. She said puzzles. Get her puzzles and puzzles and puzzles. So I thought, maybe I should do puzzles first and see what it's like. So I did.

Screen capture of a Lightbot screen

This puzzle took me hours over several days to solve. Solving the puzzles leading up to this one I hadn't yet figured out how a kid would learn programming fundamentals beyond memorizing terms.

At the end of this one, 4-6 on the Lightbot iOS app it hit me: patterns, patience and practice. Check out this video showing how it works. Notice how the bot appears to go back on itself? Early on I would stop it, thinking that it was bad. I didn't let it finish. I learned to quiet my mind and let the iteration run to its end. Another thing I learned is that there may be more than one correct puzzle solution. I have to talk with others about this to make sure.

OUTRO

Anyway, the idea that me, an instructional designer would be playing with programming puzzles seems, on its face, weird. But the thing is, it's fun solving puzzles. Fun made the learning experience very engaging. I can definitely use that in my craft.

 

 

 

Begin with the bend in mind

INTRO

I'm doing a talk on interactive presentation design at AZTEA's Fall tech conference. In the spirit of #lrnchat and #ShowYourWork here are some things that helped me ideate and produce the experience.

WANT INTERACTIVE? MOVE

What's wrong with this picture? In a typical conference session attendees mostly sit. If they have wifi and a mobile device they could be doing most anything. How can the presenter make participants out of attendees?

 

TELL ME A STORY, THEN GET OUT OF MY WAY

How about walking participants through a story a little at a time?

Maybe something that talks to us at an emotional level.

Or that asks us to think really hard about about what we want.

Maybe having someone near to guide us?

OUTRO

So that's the gist of the idea. Three simple slides telling a story.

 

Transformational Learning Experience Design

INTRO

During tonight’s #TLAP chat I got a DM (Direct Message) from someone asking for my spin on transformational learning experiences. This is my short answer. Note that I support adult learners.

TRANSFORMATIONAL

Butts in seats: When I think about learning that’s what comes to mind first.

Teachers talk while learners..

Can you identify with this scenario: A teacher, an overhead projector, slides, and a darkened room? How did it feel to you? Maybe it’s a computer-based training application where the learner reads, clicks, drags, and navigates to the next screen.

LEARNING EXPERIENCE

I think learning has to be experienced for it to stick. It’s moving around a learning space. Maybe it’s using an app on a mobile device to research, draft, and create.

How I like my courses to flow: the teacher shares a story on the thing to be learned. Then there’s a conversation where questions are answered and additional details are shared. Note that the details need not come from the teacher.

DESIGN

We have lots of experience with stories. A well crafted story elicits its own meaning to the person hearing it. This is where context comes in. Given a learning objective wrap a story around it.

The stories I like to use describe something bad that has or could happen. Sometimes the stories are about opportunities. The learner brings their own context or need to the learning space. The learner does or produces something that brings closure to the story. I like to think it ends happily for teacher and learner.

OUTRO

Learning should be about more than butts in seats. Learning should be about movement, collaboration, and making the learning visual. Designing transformational learning experiences means learners are actively engaged, sharing perspectives with other learners, and creating something real that says “See? I got this.”

Suggested reading: Teach Like A Pirate by Dave Burgess, Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation by Don Wettrick, Professional Learning in the Digital Age by Kristin Swanson, and Invent to Learn by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary S. Stager.

Joe Zombie

PROLOGUE

Sitting at your desk staring blankly at the computer screen wondering “What is this?” is a lament I hear often. I'm talking about people subjected to inhumane learning. At the moment I'm thinking of online learning. But what I call the Joe Zombie effect can happen in any modality: face-to-face (F2F), elearning, blended, social, or learning informally through close work with others.

JOE

Consider the new hire going through orientation. A recent interview subject described being parked in front of a computer for several hours. She completed several modules on policies, benefits, customer service, and other subjects.

popBomb photo of an abandoned school

At the end all she was sure she had was a world class headache. By the next day, most of what she'd been exposed to, like the flash of a camera, had dissipated.

ZOMBIE

I'm convinced learning requires an active participant. Meaningful activities where learners create something from what they are learning are best. My recent participation at EdCamps and CUE remind me of this each time I go.

EPILOGUE

I'm researching problems with the learning modalities listed above. I learned at the annual CUE conference that this is a good place to start.

 

Sticky Learning

PROLOGUE

How do you figure out if your learners get it?

STICKY

How about if we ask them? Only we do it immediately after the event rather than in a survey weeks or months later. A little while ago I read this tweet in my Twitter timeline.

I clicked on the link and.. wow moment.

LEARNING

I design transformational learning experiences for online and face-to-face training modalities. Exit slips are definitely transformational, at least for my adult learning population.

Screen capture of a sticky note asking that reservation process be drawn and described

I'm thinking the way it would work is following a lesson or activity asking learners to complete an exit ticket. Rather than all learners being asked the same question there would be several questions. On leaving the session learners would post their sticky note response on a wall. The instructors then review the tickets to see how sticky the learning was.

EPILOGUE

This fits somewhere in between formative and summative assessment. It helps learners to recall the new information they were exposed to while giving the instructor a snapshot into how well the know-how transferred. Thank you @BergsEyeView and @SciencePenguin for a cool idea.