Hey Joe, Whaddya Know?

INTRO

“Hey Joe! Whaddya know?”

NOW WHERE IN THE WORLD DID THAT COME FROM?

This is my first PuzzlingMix blog post of 2016. It comes to you from the virtual reality of one instructional designer (me) after he came across a #moocmooc post on instructional design as subversion. It's author, @slamteacher, was writing to kick-off a social learning experience MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). I'm not sure that the second mooc in moocmooc means though.

Anyway, moocmooc began yesterday. I tweeted a couple of thoughts about it but wasn't engaged to where I wanted to share deeper. That is not until I came across a Periscope video clip teacher @Don_Jacobs was kind enough to share. In the recorded clip (available for 6 more hours as of this writing), educational researcher Sir Ken Robinson said something which resonated with me: “We see virtual realities of what is.” or words to that effect.

Robinson talked for an hour; maybe he did. I didn't listen to all of his talk. Ideas, like the wheels on my Honda Pilot whilst I'm driving to an EdCamp, started turning in my head. Next thing I knew I was drafting this post.

Photo of varied images with text asking the question what do any of us really see

My point is that instructional design and learning aren't subversive as @slamteacher sees it. My take on it, based on my subjective perspective of reality, is that it's more like subdivision. How any one particular learner slices and dices up what they're learning depends wholly on where they've been and where they're going.

THAT'S WHERE THE FUN IS

The thing about instructional design is coming up with a learning experience that brings people together. The resulting mashup of each learner's shared perspective colors others' virtual reality. It results in a deeper state of know-how. It's like in Mannfred Man's Earth Band in Blinded by the Light: “But mama, that's where the fun is.”, subdivide and learn.

OUTRO

Instructional design involves the mashup of ideas learners subdivide based on their selves (selfs?, elfs?, Elvis?) perception of the learning as they experience it. Learning takes off when learners share their perspectives. The Internet is a great place for finding and sharing stuff. I love it!

 

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.

 

MRPtA Draft 00

PROLOGUE

“Every picture tells a story, don't it?” — Rod Stewart

MRPtA

My mLearnCon proposal was accepted by the eLearning Guild: Yea! So now the work begins.

Screen capture of mLearn conference agenda
 

DRAFT 00

I had thought to do my talk on a case study but during a chat on Twitter someone suggested a different spin.

Screen capture of a tweet suggesting my talk be done workshop style.
EPILOGUE

So that's where I'm at now, ideating how it might work. Good things happen, I've found, when you throw ideas out there.

 

 

 

Squiggle Cycle

PROLOGUE

“Perception is everything.” — a perceptive someone.

SQUIGGLES

Last night's #caedchat was fun. Q5 piqued my curiosity: What are my professional New Year resolutions? First pass, whatever it is share it with others to increase the chance it'll get done.

Sketch of the cycle of learning and sharing

Learn>Share>Squiggle cycle

@AustinKleon in Show Your Work! describes a learn>teach cycle. I think it should be more about sharing then remaining in contact through the squiggles. Squiggles are the trial and error we experience (orange in image above) on the way to mastery.
CYCLE
Ideally there are two squiggle moments per Learn>Share cycle: yours just after a learning event and the one others have after you share your know-how. 2015 will be different because of new modes of relationship building.

EPILOGUE

Here's the idea:

  1. Learn then share through the squiggles.
  2. Collaborate via social media and professional associations to learn from diverse perspectives.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Comic AL Blogging

PROLOGUE

He stared, glassy-eyed, at the clock willing the seconds to tick more rapidly.

Comic of a character suggestion meetings that make things

COMIC

Some days it's one meeting after another. An Intel effective meetings class introduced me to meeting types.

  • Process
  • Mission
  • One-on-one
Comic depicting a long unproductive meeting

Maybe there's another way we can do this?

AL (ALternatives)

A recent tweet from @nyff made me aware of Boyle's Law for meetings. Want one? Bring a prototype with you. Prototypes are something tangible meeting participants can relate to and tinker with.

Comic describing alternative meeting possibilities including blogs and podcasts

Podcast anyone?

There are other alternatives, too. For meetings on status of projects for example, how about meeting participants blogging or tweeting them? In a typical 60 minute meeting I'm talking maybe two or three minutes tops. That's a long tweet or short blog. Maybe even podcast your bit?

EPILOGUE

Substituting blogs or podcasts (Voxer?) offer at least one other benefit: transparency. They are accessible all and can be designed to encourage feedback.


 

 

Loco Motive Learning

PROLOGUE

I like trains and training. Both make the earth move for me.

Sketch of a signal lamp next to a passing train

LOCOS

I grew up near a railroad switching yard. The rumble of diesel engines highballing through the yard, green-lit: Wow! Learning felt like that sometimes: earthshaking and exciting. Sadly as I got older learning grew boring. School didn’t rumble much after 5th grade.

MOTIVES

I love taking fresh instructional strategies out for a spin. More than once a customer has flashed that look. You know the one: You loco? What were you thinking with that prototype? More often than not it leads to something amazing. My current prototypes: speed dating, things that suck, design like a pirate.

EPILOGUE
Want something different to happen? Try something different. Prototypes are a great way to learn. My best career successes have been the direct result of being a little crazy.