Archive | May 2009

Gaining Audience Attention >

Whether face-to-face or online, gaining attention is a crucial element to course design. This element is prevalent in both Gagne’s 9 Elements and Keller’s ARCS Model. The important thing to consider in implementing this element is that it does not need to be a single occurrence at the start of course, but can be integrated throughout the course. And it must have a learning objective and/or reinforce the content at hand. Caution, don’t overdo it. Adding attention grabbers can also become annoying distractions. So, be careful and get your beta testers’ opinion too.

Here are a few things to consider when gaining attention.

Here are a few things to consider when gaining attention.

  • It’s ok to use humor, just be careful not to offend. Also, make sure it is not culturally specific…everyone should get the joke.
  • Quality graphics or animation are great. Remember only use them to reinforce and support the learning objective(s).
  • Sims,  scenarios or videos of how the content is applied will not only get their attention, but also reinforce the relevance of the course.
  • Do not be hesitant because something may be perceived as silly. I propose that increases in silliness have a positive correlation with learner retention. Yes, that is my hypothesis. At this time I have plenty of anecdotal evidence to support this. I would share this evidence with you, but my dog ate it.
  • Add educational games, puzzles, group exercises, etc.

Most importantly, if you have fun and add your personality in designing and/or facilitating the course your audience will have your attention and attention will be given to the content you are delivering. And of course retention and learner motivation will follow right along with it.

How do you gain attention?

New e-Book on the Guild – Getting the Most Out of Your Budget

 The e-Learning Guild has released its latest e-book, 65 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Budget. And as with all their e-books you can’t beat the price, free. Here the link where you can download it.

I have a couple of tips in there too. I hope they are helpful.

Explore and Learn About Mars

Google Earth now includes Mars. It is free and uses updated photos taken by NASA. Besides being able to explore the red planet and its features, it also includes an interactive tour with Bill Nye the Science Guy, visits to landing sites of craft that have visited Mars, historical maps and a whole slew of other educational material.

If you are interested in the rest of the solar system and deep sky objects (e.g. galaxies and nebulae), they also have a Sky view. This allows you to explore a plethora of objects and plenty of info about these objects. This is definitely a must see for anyone interested in astronomy.

Below is a video tutorial for exploring Mars. Or go straight to Google Earth and start exploring.

Farewell to a Great Corporate University


Tomorrow on 5.22.2009, Provident Bank will cease to exist. It was founded in 1886, but has now been acquired by another bank. With the end of Provident Bank, so ends a fantastic corporate university, the University of Provident.

The University of Provident is the absolute best training department that I have seen. And I am truly honored to have been a part of it. In this short post I will not be able to do justice to the high quality of training produced, but I will try. The University was a compilation of extremely talented trainers, managers and LMS administrator whose priority was sound instructional design, quality facilitation and assuring that the learners’ needs were met. The incredibly high level of skill and talent among the team was not chance. I afford this to a combination of great leadership, mentorship, partnership among the team, and sincere caring about our audience who desired to be the best bankers in the industry.

So, I say thank you for giving me the honor of being a part of this incredible team of trainers and leaders. And thank you to Provident Bank staff who were so eager to learn.

And a big thank you to our fearless leader (TB), who established the corporate university and did not only lead, but mentored.

Here's the Course

Business Benefit Banking WBT Today, I was able to participate in Corporate Learning Trend’s e-Learning Tour. Thank you Tony Karrer for including my presentation.

Demonstrating the course via screenshots did not give full justice to the the course. So, here is a link where you may view it at your leisure. The course is a non-linear self paced course created for my corporate university and introduced a new relationship banking service.

Business Benefit Banking WBT

The e-Learning Tour had some really amazing examples of m-learning, games, and self-paced courses. A big kudos goes out to Tony Karrer for putting this together. Hopefully, their will be many more like it to come.


Wacom Graphic TabletI am considering buying a Wacom. If you do not know what is, it is a graphics tablet. You can connect it to your PC and with it’s pen you can write, draw, illustrate, etc. This can give more of a pen to paper approach to creating graphics, which for me is a big advantage over creating graphics only with a mouse. And it is compatible with a fair amount of software including many Adobe products such as Flash, Fireworks, and Photoshop. I am a big user of Flash and can see many advantages to having a Wacom at my side when developing in Flash. And not just animations, but also enhancing sims and videos developed or imported into Flash. Especially  videos, which I love to “Add Pizzazz to videos.”

I do not have formal training in graphics, but without a graphic artist at my disposal I have been forced to learn enough to hold my own. This is probably the case for many e-learning designers. As a side note, having a skilled graphic artist on an e-learning team is essential, but not always a reality. So, any tools I can get my hands on to improve the quality of graphics I use and speed up the process, the better.

Here are some tutorials I have found while exploring Wacoms:

40+ Tutorials for Working WIth Wacom Tablets

How to Create an Animated Walk Cycle in Flash (Using Flash and a Wacom)

How to Work With a Wacom Tablet in Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop Tips and Tricks (Wacom)

US Army Using Interactive Videos

Here is an article on one way the army is using videos in online learning.

They are creating “immersive cultural simulation” programs, which uses realistic video created in California, but also combines it with actual footage from Iraq. They make an important point in the article that “…soldiers relate more to human characters than virtual avatars.” I would think this is extremely important when it comes to cultural sensitivity, which they are using the simulations for. Bottom line, they are presented with a realistic video depicting a scenario where they must make a choice and then shown the results of their choice. Not a terribly complex design, but probably effective.