My Objectives Wear Cheetah-print Dresses and Red High Heels

An objective slide is so boring. Who cares about objectives? Certainly not your audience. Even worse – the obligatory objective slide is usually the second slide into the presentation. As soon as that objective slide hits the presentation screen you can usually see people’s eyes glaze over and their shoulders slump. They’re thinking, “Dangit. I thought this training was going to be fun. Whoops.” Usually, the slide looks something like this:

SNORE! I’m not saying forget Bloom, Gange, and all the other ISD best buddies you know you’re supposed to keep in mind when lesson planning. Do all that excellent prep work that you should be doing so that you can develop a coherent lesson using backward-planning and follow through. Create those objectives using SMART goal-setting techniques - make them measurable and observable. BUT, once you’ve got it all planned out, hide the boring ISD verbiage from your audience and use the objective slide to create buy-in for the content and get your learners salivating.

So how do you create objectives that are going to have your audience hoping they don’t have to go to the bathroom within the next 45 minutes so they don’t miss any of your amazing content? Think about what is going to sell people on this lesson. What do your people really want to know? What kind of language would engage your specific demographic? What results do they want to achieve? What are their aspirations?

In the second slide (above), my audience really wants to grow a specific type of program, they want lots of customers, and they want to make sure their program is successful. I could have written the objectives as such:

·        Define “program”

·        Describe the importance of a program

·        Identify five customer obtaining methods

·        Given a scenario, determine the best customer-obtaining method

·        Evaluate a given example program for best practices

No one is thinking, “Heck yes, I can’t wait to evaluate that given scenario.” It’s more likely that someone in the audience might be thinking, “I need customers NOW. I need to develop a successful program to make some money NOW.” Use the valuable real estate space of an objective slide to market your course while it’s happening.

Now go get your audience all riled up and #EngageLearners.

ONLINE RESOURCES FOR EMPLOYEES

Recently I've been trying to figure out what kinds of resources should be available to employees and how to sort through all of the documents so that they are manageable. 

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What I learned from creating an Articulate Lesson

Two things about Articulate specifically that I learned: (1) it's WAY easier to use than Captivate, and (2) Articulate's customer service is amazing. I was struggling how to add my Articulate lesson to this website. I got a 30-day trial to Articulate online and got a URL to link to my website. I was really bummed to find out that Articulate online is $200/month - I can't afford that! I wrote Articulate's customer service asking for help. Immediately they responded to clarify my situation and then sent me step-by-step instructions on how to load everything up to Google Drive and link to my Squarespace. Wow. Way to go above and beyond, Articulate. Well done!

As far as the multimedia concepts I employed in creating the eLearning module, I feel like it was a culmination of the concepts I've learned throughout the semester and my instructional design career so far. I keep Gagne's 9 steps next to my desk and use them like a little checklist for lessons (even classroom based lessons) that I design. I feel like I was able to apply the multimedia concepts I learned about reducing cognitive load by timing narration and visuals together and keeping redundant text and narration to a minimum. 

What I learned when creating an instructional video

This post is more reflective of what I learned technology-wise. I learned from my mistakes on this assignment. My video shows a lack of audio consistency. As someone who narrates professionally, this really grinds my gears. I used a converter to go from PowerPoint to video and the quality looks like garbage as well. If I had to do the assignment again, I would re-record all of the audio to double-check the settings were all the same. Then I would use a different tool (not the converter!). Lessons were certainly learned that will affect the quality of my future work.

What I learned when preparing a podcast

To prepare for any narration I write out the script and then start reading it out loud. I check for flow and I make sure I really focus on articulating every syllable. I have a small bit of a Southern accent when I talk, so when I narrate I make sure to use my "teacher voice." I remember the first time I heard myself narrate; I thought, "Wow! I speak so slow!" I try to pick up the pace when I narrate now, but I'm always nervous that someone is going to think I narrate too fast. 

Then I read an article by Ray Pastore (2012). Pastore conducted an experiment to find out if people's comprehension of audio would change if the speed was compressed. I was surprised to find out that there wasn't a huge gap between the 0% compressed audio and the 25% compression. There was a dramatic decrease in comprehension with the 50% compression. The decrease in comprehension between the 0% and 25% was less than one full point. I think if I were to create a very long podcast, the amount of listening time saved might be worth the risk lowering comprehension. Of course, that would totally be subjective to the content and purpose for listening.

Pastore. R. The effects of time-compressed instruction and redundancy on learning and learners' perceptions of cognitive load. (2012). Computers & Education, 641-651.

What I learned creating an infographic

My main takeaway from creating an infographic is how to narrow down what content to include. Infographics are supposed to be short blurbs of information, but the amount of content has to be somewhat substantial. They need to be concise, visually appealing, but give enough information to  stand alone. Abilock and Williams (2014) wrote a great article titled, “Recipe for an Infographic.” In the article they give a chart that show what information to included when creating an infographic. Basically, one needs create a working question that addresses a few of the following: the audience, the problem, the choices, the thinking, and the content. The audience is who cares about the problem. The problem/issue is what they care about. The “choices” are the options or trade-offs they will consider when making a decision. The “thinking” is what the instructional designer does to better organize the information gathered into an infographic. The “content” is what topic the infographic focuses on.

Once you have the answers to these questions, you can create a question that your infographic will answer. That will give you focus and flow.

Abilock, D., Williams, C. Recipe for an Infographic. (2014). Knowledge Quest, 43 (2), 46-55. 

What I learned during paper-protyping

During the paper prototype phase of infographic design, I decided to employ the concept of the spatial contiguity effect. This means that better transfer occurs when printed words are placed near corresponding parts of graphics. I had to be careful to align the printed words near the corresponding parts of the graphics to reduce need for visual scanning. I don’t want my viewers looking all over the graphic trying to match parts together. Graphics need to be a quick and easy reference.