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.

 

Marbles

INTRO

I’m taking a MOOC this month. It’s about designing a little humanity into the online learning experience. As you might imagine, being human, I have strong feelings about it.

WHEN LOSING YOUR MARBLES IS A GOOD THING

I think the Humanizing Online Learning MOOC I’m taking is off to a bumpy start. It’s only borderline engaging. At the moment I’m listening to a webinar. I’m not really paying attention to it though. The reason is I don’t see it as engaging. Humans have five (traditional) senses: sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste; the webinar, comprised of video and audio, engages only hearing since I’m not watching it. (One might argue it’s engaging my sense of touch and sight, too, since I was sketchnoting).

Sketch of children learning to play marbles

Whilst I was not watching the webinar I drew the above sketch in Paper by 53 on my iPad. It’s a memory of me as a boy learning to play marbles. Everything I heard the instructor talk about in the webinar is contained in the sketch: trust, community, activity, being real and safety.

OUTRO

My takeaway from the webinar is that students want context in their learning experience. They want to do stuff with their bodies and minds. If they can do stuff with others in meaningful contexts so much the better.

 


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.

 

Zombie Pedagogy Matters

PROLOGUE

Pedagogy comes before technology when designing learning experiences. Whom are we designing learning experiences for, devices or people? I’m writing this post in response to a blog post by RJ Jacquez suggesting elearning is dead.

ZOMBIE

I work with several devices on any given day: a Dell notebook, a MacBook Pro, an iPad, a Blackberry, and an iPhone. I do different things with each device. I don’t do the same things on all my devices. How would a single instructional experience apply across all devices all the time?

Instructional designers, and the learners we support, are not zombies. Context, where a learner is and what they are doing matters. Squeezing learning content from a laptop screen to a smart phone screen doesn’t extend a learning experience. It constrains it.

PEDAGOGY MATTERS

How do you interact with your mobile phone? I use mine for taking pictures, texting, and making calls. I have a lot of apps that I don’t use often. Mostly they’re there for quick one-off tasks like uploading a photo to Instagram or checking the weather. I tend not to read on my phone. For reading and watching video clips I have my iPad.

My tablet’s form factor enables me to consume a richer variety of information than my phone. iPad, for example, is good for doing research in the field. I have apps that enable me to rapidly produce a range of information types including video clips, spreadsheets, presentations, and documents.

Pedagogy has to come before technology.

EPILOGUE

I started using Plotagon after reading a tweet about it by digital innovation consultant Christy Cate. I think I was accessing Twitter from my iPad at the time. A few minutes after downloading the app I created my first story.

While it’s true the story can be played back on any device that works with YouTube what the learner does with it matters. Are they looking at the clip while finding an emergency exit? Head down while moving down a corridor there’s a good chance they’ll miss it. Maybe the device is running an app that shows them where they are in a building relative to the exits?

Pedagogy, the mindful application of instruction, comes before technology.

Gap-Toothed Training

PROLOGUE

“Do you mind if I put you on hold for a moment whilst I research that? Thank you.” Click.

 

GAP-TOOTHED

A challenge instructional designers face is when there’s a gap of some time between when a training program is rolled out and when the skills workers learned are put to use. I call this gap-toothed training. Websters’ defines gap-toothed as a space between two teeth. It’s seems an apt metaphor

Sketch of a school house and a factory separated by a gap

TRAINING

Some years ago I was brought in to help with a problem. Initial sales of a telecommunications product were initially high; sales dropped precipitously a few weeks after product launch. Root cause: gap-toothed training.

 

EPILOGUE

I got an RFP that looks gap-toothed. Facilitated blogging seems a good solution. Tell a story about a potential problem and have workers blog solutions. It should keep the training alive and vital.