My Post (3)

Week 5 Tool: The Learning Coach Podcast

Every day I commute to work in Southern Oregon, coming from California the commute is a dream, about 40 minutes distance with an easy freeway with very little traffic.  However, as I bring my son into town to go to school I cannot listen to my normal true crime podcasts and had to start looking outside of that realm for a daily driving experience. The obvious choice was instructional design podcasts and I quickly came across The Learning Coach podcast, with Connie Malamed.  Connie does a great job of breaking down content, getting subject matter experts on the show, and making everyone feel welcome to the table.  I recently came across her episode on “Why You Need Scenario-based eLearning” which brought Dr. Clark onto the podcast to discuss a range of topics that are important to Dr. Clark and Connie. One of the strengths of the podcast is that she has created some great questions and topics but fits them into 20 minutes.  I really enjoyed finding out WHERE Dr. Clark had started the framework for Scenario-Based eLearning and how she defines everything.  While Dr. Clark’s book is really thorough and appeared scientifically backed Dr. Clark really goes into the evidence-based background that SBeL is based in.  This is a great resource to listen to for just this episode but also a great podcast to bookmark and listen to often!

Storyboarding for eLearning Design

When I started my journey into Instructional Design and I heard about storyboarding I felt a bit overwhelmed. I was convinced I had never done it before, but as I started to review my past courses at Boise State I found that during my Youtube for Educators course I had created a great storyboard for a documentary I had put together.  As a visual person, I really appreciated being able to tie pictures or visions to my ideas.  As I reviewed the work, I found that I could easily use it for both video and eLearning design.  Scripting is something that is very new to me, creating my own videos I usually just fly by the seat of my pants (a great teacher trait) but as I move into the corporate world I am finding that the more I can create or communicate my vision and get feedback from stakeholders FIRST is better.  Tim Slade mentions that communicating your vision and getting feedback from the storyboard is important instead of wasting time fixing a deliverable that could have been adjusted in just the storyboard phase.  

The first storyboard I am commenting on is the one I had from my Boise State course, it was for my Minecraft for Education Documentary. The template is a very linear, simple boxed design but I appreciate that I can easily communicate my ideas on the left with visuals on the right.  Using this format I can easily line things up, and I could easily cut and paste and move things around if I needed to.  I wonder if it is too simple and does not have enough for eLearning slides, it would be great for short videos but feel that I would need something more fleshed out for eLearning.

After watching the videos by Tim Slade I thought of my eLearning Storyboard notebook that he created, it’s very simple but packed with ideas. Recently when I started to build an instructional video for OPWL 523 I referenced it often to get ideas on what I needed to think of when I was building it. Tim Slade’s notebook has slide information, a slide-type with a checklist, a slide design that I can draw out with, a box for Audio Narration/On-Screen Text, and two boxes at the bottom with Technical Notes and Navigation. What I loved was all of this information that I didn’t even think about on one page, and it would really push me to think about these aspects.  The cons are that these are SO finite that I don’t know how reasonable they would be to use in my current practice. We are often rapidly deploying eLearning and the emphasis seems to be on getting content out, this process would make it difficult to do that.

On Tim’s blog, I did find more storyboarding templates including a visual and written storyboard, these were free and downloadable and much more reasonable for everyday use.  As someone who prefers visuals and often thinks in pictures, I really gravitated towards the visual Storyboard Template. It had a box for audio or text, interactivity and programming notes, and a slide mockup.  The pros of this were definitely the ability to create a visual mockup, but also take into consideration will I have to code a progress bar? What type of transition or movements. The only negative would be taking Tim’s advice about reducing visual design that could hinder a Stakeholder or SME’s ability to look at the content which would be difficult with this template including a visual mockup space. 

Two people playing Stark trek bridge crew in VR

From Star Trek to VR

Being an avid Star Trek fan, I have always been chasing the idea of a tablet you could write on digitally.  In the early 2000s, Gateway had a store, and they also had a tablet that cost several thousand dollars. I wanted it so bad and had dreams of taking notes in college with it.  Over the years I have seen computer companies try and fail to create a truly responsive tablet. I bought a Surface early on, but found the tablet was still “not right.”  Finally, with the advent of the Ipad Pro and the Apple pencil, my dreams have become realized (as nerdy as that may seem.) This summer I am using my iPad as the core of my classes,  I am able to take fantastic notes, split-screen between content and videos.  And I have seen the studies regarding writing notes over typing, and it seems to work for me.   

It took nearly 20 years for the technology to catch up to our dreams, and I hope to watch video evolve in this way as well.  Many of my friends already have VR, although it has a pricey entrance ticket, however, I think as more companies invest (especially in workforce learning) we will see some amazing advancements and it finally will be available to everyone.  I have been a Microsoft Innovative Educator for several years and about 2 years ago I was shown a product they were working on for elementary students AND neurodivergent students.  

Microsoft has an immersive reader product that really helps focus readers, utilizes text to speech, and more.  What Microsoft showed us (and was recently released) was using an immersive reader to actually put the student into a VR state while reading, enabling students to swipe text, move text, and separate words.  This advanced technology would allow so many neurodivergent students who often can’t understand text in the 1D world into the 3D world. 

For video, I hope that we can continue to build immersive, high-quality videos that will engage learners but also maintain the idea of diverse learners.  I can imagine, 3D screens (cue Hololens) and other interactive types of video, for my teaching practice Edpuzzle was a game-changer during the pandemic.  Normally in class, I would model efficient reading strategies and throw in comprehension, guiding, or summaries of text as we went.  When we went to 100% online, I was able to record myself reading and put in interactive questions and more for students.  I believe in the future our video will be rich, dynamic, and accessible anywhere and anytime.  Working in the Instructional Design field I am already seeing the demand for busy CEOs to get their learning when they can, from wherever they can.  

Another piece is that many college students are adults, with families and work — having interactive lectures that are available at any time with all of the prompts built-in, maybe even physically dragging and dropping items in VR would be amazing to see. I feel the same as I did in 2002 while standing in the Gateway store, I am excited for where tech takes us and the issues we have to grapple with along the way.

Lightbulb shining on a tree

Finding a Mentor in Tim Slade

Inspiration Post #6

Tim Slade has been such an amazing force in my life recently, after many recommendations I joined his eLearning Designers Academy.  As someone who started out “just working at a department store,” he has become a leader in the ID community and his book was one of my first purchases when I became serious about leaving the classroom. After much discussion with my Husband, research, and referrals from others I decided to sign up for his Academy.  Recently we had a 1:1 coaching session and it felt SO natural, I was able to discuss a lot of things and there weren’t any weird power dynamics at play.

As I am moving through 3 summer courses, I often jump into his academy training to find areas that correlate with what I am learning in OPWL.  His video explanations have helped me wrap my mind around some major concepts, and his workbooks have allowed me to clearly define my ideas for school projects. On top of that, the free eLearning Academy Community he has built has everyone from seasoned veterans to newbies like me. In the community we share resumes, portfolios and get quick feedback from everyone, including Tim. Tim has even created themes like Question of the Week or Feedback Fridays!

During our recent meeting, Tim helped me see the inside of the corporate world, guiding me to brand myself and keep pushing.  We discussed how unhappy I am in teaching, how broken the system is, and how hard interviewing as a teacher is. He gently encouraged me to see that while it’s tough, it’s clear I need to move on from teaching. It’s something I have felt inside for a long time, and it’s still scary to talk about.  Even writing this I feel overcome with sadness to leave a profession filled with children who need me. I remeber a teacher saying recently, we aren’t leaving them, we are picking ourselves and our families. Tim’s confidence in me was genuine and I am so grateful to have such a gentle force in my life, helping me with this pivot.  

If you are in the market for an eLearning Academy that is filled with positivity, resources, daily posts, and constant FANTASTIC feedback, please check out Tim Slade’s eLearning Designer’s Academy.  If you’re looking for a great book to read to see if ID is for you, I would also recommend Tim Slade’s The eLearning Designer’s Handbook: A Practical Guide to the eLearning Development Process for New eLearning Designers.  While some things are right out of a teacher’s manual, he frames in the corporate world, allowing me to take that into interviews, my resume, and practice.

Learning Reflection #5

As a transitioning teacher, it has been extremely tough, I never expected that while many start at 0 in the hiring process I am starting at -10.  I have to prove myself competent, I have to prove my tech skills and the fine line between relating my experience as a teacher and being seen as “too treachery”.  In an informal interview this week, simply a phone screen with the Manager of the department, we discussed her needs and I immediately went to scenario-based learning as a solution.  

The manager immediately perked up and we discussed how she also loves scenario learning, at the end of the call she encouraged me to apply, she said I sounded great.  And then there was the inevitable but….”but you have no corporate experience, I am not sure you will get past the recruiter.” she replied. I was devastated, my job fits perfectly in Instructional Design, I have almost two masters in education and a wealth of experience, and yet it feels like it hurts me?  

While I am still grappling with my “pivot” I am excited to continue to learn about SBeL and feel that the book we are reading could be one of the most important I read, and something I will refer back to often. It’s something I did in teaching. I even have a Mystery game I built for the Salem Witch Trials in PowerPoint, where the student is immersed in the world of Salem. The learner ultimately has to deduce who lied and what was happening in the Salem Witch trials. I am excited to see how my skills in this area continue to grow in this area and how I can translate these skills into corporate experince. 

clapperboard icon with Tech Nerd to Screencaster

Tech Nerd to Screencaster

OPWL 523 – Week 2

Growing up I was always a tech nerd, I am an elder millennial, so my time with the internet began with AOL in middle school.  The minute I started working with computers I fell in love, I taught myself graphic design and used it to create personalized graphics in games. When things went wrong on our PC I found I had a knack for fixing them.  And I still remember changing all my Mom’s program icons and sounds to Jim Carry as a prank. Being in this early time and also a female, I was told the internet wouldn’t go anywhere….graphic design was filled with no jobs…so I moved on. 

Somehow I landed in teaching, and I brought with me my love for gaming, tech, and graphic design.  It served me well and I quickly became known as someone to go to for troubleshooting to innovative technology teaching practices.  For two years I advocated for the use of computers within the classroom in order to provide accessible learning to my neurodivergent students.  When the pandemic hit, I suddenly was thrown into the thick of it, walking some teachers through how to open their emails from home while also helping solve systematic problems like scheduling Teams chats.  

I started a Youtube channel to support the teachers in my district while we were home. I pushed out content quickly and efficiently because we didn’t have time to always plan and edit. TechSmith’s ‘Ultimate Guide to Easily Make Instructional Videos’ resonated with me on several levels.  

First, it was helpful to see the breakdown in different types of instructional videos, almost all I did during the pandemic were screencasts so teachers could follow along, however, I do have some microlearning videos I did for kids and I personally watch Presentation videos almost weekly.  

With my focus being teachers in my specific district with our specific tools, I really knew my audience which TechSmith lists as the #1 tip.  Being pressed for time, and the urgency strong, I was pressured into both not focusing on making sure it was perfect and worrying about my equipment.  I enjoyed making very short, to-the-point videos for busy teachers, and I quickly became recognized for it. 

TechSmith really does a great job of explaining the process for creating videos, it’s something I will keep to reference especially since I am currently taking a Storyboarding course. I am looking forward to doing a bit more work in overlaying audio and visuals, I never did this in my videos as I worked with screencast software like Screencastify. I am excited to start learning and working within Camtasia and finding out how I can use it to create professional videos.

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Teaching to L&D

Post #5 – OPWL 551

I recently watched the recording of Devlin Peck interviewing Sara Stevick on her transition from K12 to Instructional Design.  Sara has been a wonderful asset to teachers transitioning to the ID world, she has created a whole network of free resources for teachers to use to ease the transition.  These resources start with the Teaching a Path to Learning & Development website and the Linkedin group; it has expanded to include sign-ups for teachers to get 1:1 help with their resumes, interview practice, and just general mentoring.  Additionally, they have built some great connections within the Instructional Design field and have a fantastic job board.  

     This journey has been overwhelming at times, I often felt like I didn’t have what it took, and hearing from other teachers these feelings were normal were crucial in my journey.  While I have been waiting to start applying until I am done with many of these summer courses, I did apply for a local position and was able to sign up for a 1:1 call AND post in the group’s Slack channel for help or questions. 

Going forward I plan to continue to soak up any resource I can that will help me grow, and I would like to pay that back by helping in the group when I become established.  What so many of us teachers experience in the workplace is wrong, getting out is even harder because of the unconscious biases against teachers.  Knowing I have a large network of those who not only succeeded in getting out but are passionate about helping others is incredibly comforting. 

a seed growing into a flower with the wording a tangible growth experience.

Analyzing Content for eLearning Design

OPWL 551 – Post 3

Recently I went to an interview and they asked how I would know what I had created was engaging and would bring the learner in.  I was caught off guard, being a classroom teacher within a special education classroom I felt that I was a professional at being engaging, I often got kids engaged in learning whom no one else could!  However, during this week reading about scenario-based learning really opened my eyes to truly engaging content.

Scenario-based learning really pushed the idea of problem-based learning (PBL) to a whole new level.  As I reflected on the week, what I had learned and this blog post I realized that my relationship with students assisted in my ability to get them engaged.  However, in instructional design where we are building for a specific performance issue or task, I wasn’t there with my product to encourage, entice, or transfer my excitement.  The work I create has to be able to stand alone on its own, to pull the learner in wherever they are.  

During this same series of interviews, I also produced a very linear work sample, looking back with the knowledge I have now I could see that small tweaks would have helped make it even more dynamic and engaging.  With my presentation I could have added a more clear trigger event, I truly missed the mark here, while I “got into the mind of an employee” and chunked the information I should have started with a more immersive experience such as waking up and getting ready for work.  While the rest of my presentation was from this perspective, I think adding this trigger event would have pushed my presentation to the next level!  

Additionally, I am finding that there is SO MUCH more to instructional design and e-learning than I have ever imagined.  As I dig further I am finding more that I align with and I am finding more areas to grow in.  While I absolutely know what I would say to that interview question now, it was a tangible growth experience that makes me excited to continue to dive into the ID world. 


OPWL Summer Learning

This summer I will be chronicling my journey through several Organizational Performance & Workplace Learning (OPWL) courses. My goal is to be keeping up with my studies and reflecting on my learning through this blog. My journey into Instructional Design started nearly 6 months ago as I began to find myself burnt out on Teaching. While I never thought I would ever pivot so much in my life, this year has brought to light some issues I had been having with work-life balance and the transfer of trauma from my students. Teaching Students have taught me so much over the course of the last 5 years, and I feel confident that I am skilled and able to take on any industry.

Originally I began applying for all types of positions within edtech and in the technology sector, I found a resounding “silence.” I had easily gotten teaching jobs but my resume was too “teacher” and my focus was too broad. While researching positions to transfer into, I found instructional design. The more I dove in, the more and more I realized the world of Instructional Design took all of the competencies I had but removed the stress and trauma. I began to research the field, finding a community of teachers who had escaped and were willing to help others escape as well.

What began as simple searching quickly turned into a passion, I began to purchase books and even connect with groups on LinkedIn. I reached out to my Masters program at Boise State where I was finishing a degree in Educational Technology and found the OPWL program. I made a plan, learn as much as I could within 2 months and begin to apply for positions once I had a completed portfolio and a redone resume and cover letter. Taking these summer OPWL courses is just the beginning, I am also working through Tim Slade’s eLearning Academy and part of several Instructional Design book clubs.

To new horizons!