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Free Online Conference - Corporate Learning: Trends and Innovations : eLearning Technology I am impressed. This is a great example of putting your money where your mouth is. Tony Karrer andFree Online Corporate Learning Conference

(Originally posted Aug 06, 2005 on my older blog) Sci-fi western with an attitude, and a healthy dose of mystery and character building. I am catching Firefly on DVD. I didn't watchReview: Firefly

To continue in the vein of dissatisfaction with training, let's take a look at the experience this high school student in Singapore is having with e-Learning (found via Corporate eLearningWhere are the humans?

My company has recently shut down all access to YouTube. I get that. I completely believe that many people are using company time and bandwidth to watch all sorts ofI'm a casualty of war

What is the fascination people have with completely non-descriptive buzzwords? And buzzwords with version numbers?! What the heck is the point of that? That is completely faddish and just plainLearning 2.0: useless buzzword

I'm a little hesitant to review this one, because it doesn't feel like it would be fair to do so until I've seen part three and the end of theReview: Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest

This is a follow-up to my previous, spoiler-free post. I have a few observations about continuity problems in Superman Returns. Spoilers below! If you want to read it, take your mouseReview: Superman Returns :: Spoilers!!

[tag]Christian Bale[/tag], [tag]Michael Caine[/tag], and [tag]Christopher Nolan[/tag] (all of whom worked on [tag]Batman Begins[/tag]) join [tag]Hugh Jackman[/tag] to create one of the best magician movies I've ever seen. Actually, thisReview: The Prestige

I've posted before about the Green Lantern movie(s) in the works. No cast has been announced, no real information has come to my attention at all about the live actionNathan Fillion as Green Lantern? - Tuesday TubeWatch

Three years ago today, at 11:48pm, I wrote these amazingly insightful words: Check it out… Friday, December 9th, 2005 Looks like I am officially blogging. I am too cool for words. (Ironic, isn’tThree years of yammering on...

Okay, after my last post I got sucked into the world of lightsabers on YouTube and ran across these two series: Three in the Afternoon (and the upcoming sequel, Six inMore Jedi Fighting

So, today's my birthday. 40th, if you're wondering. I'm feeling slightly more like looking back and seeing how things have gone to this point than I have for previous birthdays,Birthday pimpin'

Back in May I posted a list of the movies I wanted to see this year. So far I've seen 7 out of the 10 I was shooting for, plus2011 Movies - The Final Push

15 Minute Lunch: Strap in, shut up and hold on. We're going back. It's almost shocking anyone survived the 1970s. There should have been some kind of ritual suicide for lookingGrab your Hardy Boys lunch box - here come the '70s

Corporate eLearning Strategies and Development: Its a Big @$$ table - hilarious video I love this. Great Microsoft parody. [tags]microsoft, touch screen, youtube, big ass table[/tags]Cool, new, sleek, bulky technology

Re-igniting passion

Creating Passionate Users: Re-igniting passion

We can’t expect passionate users, if we ourselves can’t hold (or rediscover) the passion we felt for the work we chose.

That is an excellent point. When the world is beating down on you with a sledgehammer, it’s easy to lose sight of the passion you had when you first began in your field. And for those responsible for providing training to others, that can really hurt effectiveness.

Passion is infectious. But so are boredom and apathy. If you are a trainer, your passion can change the way a student perceives your subject. If they thought it would be stale you can convince them that it is exciting because it’s obvious that you find it interesting. Conversely, if you appear bored to tears yourself, it becomes very easy for the student to mentally check-out.

In the blog I’m quoting, Kathy refers to a book she recently read on teaching/learning: Harvard University Press: What the Best College Teachers Do.

What makes the best teachers so good?

From the Harvard Press website book summary:

The short answer is–it’s not what teachers do, it’s what they understand. Lesson plans and lecture notes matter less than the special way teachers comprehend the subject and value human learning. Whether historians or physicists, in El Paso or St. Paul, the best teachers know their subjects inside and out–but they also know how to engage and challenge students and to provoke impassioned responses. Most of all, they believe two things fervently: that teaching matters and that students can learn.

Okay, so passion is important in learning. That’s all great and inspiring for instructor-led, face-to-face training situations. But what about the corporate training world, where students/employees are geographically dispersed and getting together in person isn’t feasible? How do we apply these concepts in an environment where instructional designers are creating self-paced material that gets delivered online? How do you communicate passion through a cold, impersonal computer screen?

I’ll be honest with you: I don’t have the answer.

I do, however, have some ideas. (Actually, to continue with the whole honesty thing, they aren’t really my ideas. This is more of a list of things I’ve heard and agree with.) None of these are a silver bullet. Some are just minor things; others take a lot more effort (but presumably have a larger impact). Not all are practical for every situation, nor is this an exhaustive list. But they all have the potential to communicate passion. Consider using some of these techniques in your next designs.

  • Use stories and narrative. Create a plot and draw your user in, don’t just show the screens or the process steps and move on.
  • Use pictures showing faces with strong expressions.
  • Use graphics that add excitement (but make sure they are relevant to the content! See “e-Learning and the Science of Instruction” by Ruth Colvin Clark and Richard E. Mayer for more)
  • Don’t be afraid to show a little personality – even if it’s corny.
  • Use color.
  • Use audio. (but don’t just read the text or use irrelevant sounds — again, see “e-Learning and the Science of Instruction”)
  • Give the users a choice in the order they go through the material. If it doesn’t have to be a linear presentation, let them choose what to learn next.
  • Pepper the lesson with questions that present problems in real-life situations.
  • Write in the first person. It makes the user feel like there is someone there.
  • Use case studies from your own experience – especially failures and ‘a-ha’ moments. E.g., “When presented with both a ‘Remove’ and ‘Delete’ button, be sure you know which does what (see section 5.2). When I was first learning how to use the user administration screen, I was trying to remove a user from a test group, but accidently deleted my boss from the system!”
  • Make unexpected parallels to common non-work experiences. Compare a file management system to a toaster (yes, I did that in my first user manual).

There are plenty more possibilities. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Maybe I’ll post more ideas later. Maybe I’ll expand upon some of these. (Then again, maybe not … I’m fickle that way.)

How do you infuse your passion into your deliverables? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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