Strategies for Making Content Accessible for Learners

Yesterday, I blogged about making content accessible to learners so that they might access it when they are ready to learn. Now the question is: how do we make this content accessible?

Ross Dawson has a few ideas. But they aren’t new ideas. He’s actually pulled them from his Living Networks book which he wrote 8 years ago to show how applicable they are today.

Positioning For Content Distribution
1. Build evolutionary business models
2. Define and refine strategies for standards and interfaces
3. Develop and implement aggregation strategies
4. Enable versatile syndication models
5. Rework your product versioning

His first two points address concerns about ever evolving technology interfaces to view content as well as the quickly changing landscapes of technology. His third and fourth points focus on the way content is gathered and distributed. His fifth point builds an argument for keeping content fresh and up-to-date.

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Initially published on Brandon Hall’s Workplace Learning Today

How to Avoid Presentation Overload

I’m a huge fan of clean, streamlined presentations with just a few key points. Not yet an expert myself, I have made huge efforts in reducing the amount of content in my presentations, as well as on my support slides.

So how exactly does one go about fighting the urge to overload their audience with everything they know about a subject? Olivia Mitchell offers a few tips to start you off:

  1. A presentation is the worst possible way to deliver lots of information
  2. Just because you say it doesn’t mean they will get it
  3. The more points you make, the less points they’ll get
  4. Stop seeing your presentation as a one-off event
  5. So what is a presentation good for?

Above and beyond face-to-face presentations, Mitchell’s tips are applicable to Webinars. I can also see them being extremely useful for planning and delivering face-to-face and online synchronous training sessions.

In addition, Mitchell offers “The Quick and Easy Guide to Creating an Effective Presentation“, an excellent step-by-step guide for planning your next presentation and your first step in being a more effective presenter.

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Initially published on Brandon Hall’s Workplace Learning Today

Filters to Avoid Being Flooded by a Wave of Content

When I was approached two weeks ago to be part of the Workplace Learning Today team, I was both flattered and thrilled to take on a new challenge. In preparation for delivering weekly insights, I decided to do a major cleanup of my Google Reader Feeds. And before I knew it, the wave of content hit me and I was flooded. There had to be a better way.

And then the perfect article pop-up this morning thanks to one of my strategic filters: Filter or Be Flooded: Do You Need a Content Strategist?

Though this FastCompany blog posts refers primarily to content for Website design, the lessons learned are transferable to our own Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) strategy as well as larger organizational Knowledge Management (KM) strategy.

Some of the key criteria for a good content management strategy which are pulled from Kristina Halvorson’s book Content Strategy for the Web include

  • Content purpose (i.e., how content will bridge the space between audience needs and business requirements)
  • Content gap analysis

Instructional designers, sound familiar?

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Initially published on Brandon Hall’s Workplace Learning Today

From the Innovative Mind of Janey Clarey: Instructional Design by Example Blog

Janet Clarey is one of my favorite bloggers on the topic of training and developement. It is no surprise that she has kicked off this absolutely fabulous idea of blogging about real life instructional design examples.

I wish her the best of luck possible and am thinking up an example to contribute in the very near future.

Corporate e-learning needs another blog. Oh yes. It does.

In this blog, you’ll find examples of e-learning courses and details about the instructional design process used in creating them. You’ll also find specifics about the logistics of the courses. Anyone is welcome to submit an example using the submission form. The site is maintained by Janet Clarey.

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Wireframing Tools for Mockups and Prototypes

Great list and commentary on desktop and online wireframing tools to create mockups and prototypes for when pen and paper just aren’t enough.

Like most things today, the world of interaction design moves quickly. Although a pen and notebook may suffice when it comes to simply jotting down ideas, planning a series of website screens can sometimes demand additional precision and cohesion.

This is where today’s wireframing tools come in. Engineered to make the design process as intuitive as possible, these tools allow you to construct a visual representation of your interface. Some even allow designers to construct interactive prototypes in order to receive user feedback before a single line of code is written. The following list comprises 15 of the most prominent wireframing applications available today.

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The Ethnography of Design

I’ve been looking at ethnographical studies to determine how researchers and experts collaborate. Of course, this proposes that ethnographic analysis can inform design. This leads me to reflect further on the impact of the research results on the way that online environements in which researchers and experts collaborate are designed.

Ethnography is a research method in which the researcher observes people in their natural environment so as to gain insight into the ways in which people inhabit their spaces, use their products and interact with the various physical, social, economical and ecological systems around them. It is a heavily qualitative research method, involving much participant-observation — observing and recording the actions and decision-making processes of individuals and groups in a given environment.

There are several different ways in which ethnographic methods can be used in the design world:

  • an ethnographer collects data and reports to a designer
  • an ethnographer and designer work together and study a certain population
  • an ethnographer, designer and end-user collaborate as a team

and so on…

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Facebook Cheatsheet (or how I Adore Diagrams)

Leave it to Andy Wibbels to explain everything in a well designed diagram.

You’re not crazy: Facebook’s interface is hard to learn. Sure posting things and sharing is pretty straighforward, but if you want to figure out what goes where and who can see it, that is a bit more of a challenge. I took some time on the plane to Charlotte to put together a cheatsheet. Click here to download the Facebook Cheatsheet (PDF, 135kb).

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How Are You Stimulating the Flow of High-Quality Contributions?

Dr. Jacques Bughin of McKinsey & Company throws a question to how are organizations stimulating an influx of content. My own response to this question is the following.

One of the keys to pulling content from readers and turning them into participants is by asking relevant questions. For example, this particular blog post ends with a call for opinions. This is just one strategy used for stimulating contributions.

In a qualitative analysis that I did of 5 bloggers in the field of training and development, one of the things that I ascertained was that when bloggers asked questions to their readers, this stimulated discussion.

Another stimulator that I have come to find in my research on communities of practice (focus of doctoral research) is that one of the ways to increase participation in to offer up a problem that requires resolution to a community of experts and let them “hash it out” so to speak. It is amazing to see lively discussion being captured in a thread and see new perspectives emerge through discussion.

In learning environments, creating activities in discussion forums such as case study analysis, is a great way to pull in information.

Since Conversation Theory (see Gordon Pask) is core interest of mine, I have been researching exactly this question for a few years. At the moment, I am administering a booming prototype for a community of practice in the Aviation Industry.

The key is letting the participant know that their contribution is of value and has the potential to advance thought and/or practice.

Early analyses of user participation pointed to the importance of building large communities, creating effective incentives for participation and implementing more flexible forms of organization. Looking back a few years later, the good news is that active participation continues to spread. The bad news is that harnessing participation is more difficult than we thought. Stimulating a continuous flow of high-quality contributions should be the focus of companies that want to take advantage of user participation.

A few years have passed since those observations. Looking back, what can we infer from them?

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Visualizing the Transition from Learning 1.0 to Learning 2.0

On the wiki page devoted to VizThink’s Visual Learning Group, Brent Schlenker asked others represent the  transition from Learning 1.0 to Learning 2.0.

I contacted Brent a few weeks ago, manifesting my interest to participate. I’ve got something brewing…

The Evolution of Workplace Learning
The Evolution of Workplace Learning

Peter Stoyko has already come up with an information graphic. It focuses on how social media/Web 2.0 tools have facilitated learning as well as how mapping and graphic/visual facilitation have facilitated learning.

I’m thinking there is a link between the two actually. I believe they feed one another somehow. I’m not sure how to formulate it yet, but it definitely has some of the following elements.

Technological improvements /  Web 2.0 technologies make it easier to:

Can you think of other links? It would most definitely help me out in developping my own information graphic.

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How Gen Y Operates with Web 2.0

Slideshare is nifty little tool and some already have come up with eLearning uses for it.

Here are two examples or Web 2.0 explained to Gen Y by Gen Y.

From the brilliant mind of Sacha Chua, sketched on her Nintendo DS, The Gen Y Guide to Web 2.0 at Work:

 

From another brilliant woman Marta Z. Kagan, here is her self-proclaimed World’s Best Presentation:

 

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