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I'm a geek working as a distance learning specialist for a large corporation.

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Smallville's a repeat tonight after the mid-season cliffhanger two weeks ago. Not sure where the plot is going? Come on... Chloe is still possessed by Brainiac, Doomsday is a ravingSmallville fix

Kathy Sierra has a great blog (Creating Passionate Users). I've only been following it for a couple weeks, but I'm really impressed. She writes about (predictably) making people passionate about"Interesting" idea

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My daughters and I are enjoying my new Hadrian's Walk Buff. They love the balaclava mode. I'm partial to the pirate configuration, myself. Unfortunately an eye patch is not included, but evenBuff/Not So Buff

My wife can't figure out what I do online for hours at a time. I can't blame her for being confused. Sometimes I don't even know how so much timeWhat's in YOUR browser?

The YouTube Weird Al list Weird Al Yankovic is the undisputed king of music parody. People have said his career is dead about a year after almost every album he putWeird Al Tube

Finding Neverland wasn't boisterous, or exhuberantly full of wonder. It was, if anything, understated and simple in its execution. Despite the drama of a crumbling marriage, oppression, depression, and death,Review: Finding Neverland

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Okay, what can I say... I didn't get to spend any time this week combing the Tubes. I actually have something lined up, but I didn't get a chance toTuesday TubeWatch: Woman+hot water bottle+weird contest

Instructional Design reminders

I think it’s official: I’m addicted to Kathy Sierra’s blog.

Yesterday she made a great (if a tad long) summary of some pretty basic points she made earlier in the year that apply to learning.

Here’s a bulleted list of her main points:

  • Get past the brain’s “crap filter” [i.e., point out why it's important]
  • Learning is not a one-way “push” model
  • Use visuals to improve (and speed up) understanding, retention, and recall
  • Use redundancy to improve (and speed up) understanding, retention, and recall. Say the same thing in a different way.
  • Use conversational language
  • Maintain interest with variety and surprise
  • Use mistakes, failures, and counter-intuitive examples
  • Show, don’t tell.
  • Use chunking to reduce cognitive overload [nice graphic example on this one]
  • Help the learner relax and feel confident
  • Build curiousity
  • Use “spiral experience model” to keep engagement
  • Use a gaming concept of “next level”
  • Allow the learner to think
  • Use the 80/20 principle – know what to leave out
  • Use emotions to increase attention and memory
  • Use timing and pacing
  • Never understimate the power of fun

Each of those are expanded upon in the post – some more than others.

In the comments, she lists some of her references (quoted below). I didn’t have time to follow all the links, but I’m going to try to find time to look at anything I don’t have to buy.

* Cognitive Scientist, early AI guru Roger Schank

* Designing World Class E-Learning (by Roger Schank)

* E-Learning and the Science of Instruction (by Ruth Colvin Clark, Richard Mayer)
(The book summarizes much of the research that’s spread out elsewhere)

* The Media Equation (Clifford Nass, Byron Reeves)
(OK, yes, these ARE the guys who gave us Microsoft Bob — but that doesn’t mean they don’t have some of the best research out there about human/computer interaction ; )

* Flow (by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)

* The art of human-computer interface design (edited by Brenda Laurel)
(Check out her book — “Computers as Theatre”, too)

* Mind Hacks
(You can get to the book from their blog)

And while I’m here, another great reference for all this is the Cognitive Daily blog

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