SHIFT's eLearning Blog

E-learning Tips: Creating Content for Novice Learners

Posted by Marcela Martínez Ibarra on Thu, Jul 30, 2015 @ 12:09 PM


As eLearning professionals we want to take our students on a learning adventure where they come out on the other side brimming with knowledge, inspiration and staggering awe for their superhero-like trainer. Ok, maybe these goals might be a tad unrealistic. Even the best eLearning designers can sometimes drop the ball when it comes to training because we forget that what comes easily to us might not come easily to our students and maybe, just maybe we might even overestimate our students’ abilities and interest level.

In order to effectively train, we have to evaluate how we present information and make it easily accessible to both novice and expert learners. The trick is though; we can’t dumb down information to the point that it sounds condescending. Remember, at one point there was a time even you didn’t understand the techniques you are now training, keeping that in mind will help direct your training style.

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Topics: instructional design

9-Point Checklist for the Perfect eLearning Course Design

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Jul 28, 2015 @ 12:02 PM


We have been designing eLearning for quite some time now, but this blog post from Canva made us realize that great design is actually simple to create if you follow a few rules. So we thought we will spill the beans and let the world (the other eLearning designers who are still fumbling with the rules of the game) know about the 9 essential design tactics that will magically transform ho-hum eLearning courses into scintillating works without compromising on instructional effectiveness.

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Topics: visual design

Use Power Words to Grab Your Learner's Attention

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 @ 12:06 PM


Why do you think film makers employ scriptwriters to write dialogs? Why can't anybody write an ad copy? Why do writers spend hours polishing the language of their texts? Why do our political leaders and heads of nations depend on speechwriters to write what they want to say to their followers? That's because words matter!

Words are powerful tools that can stir emotions and rouse crowds to action. A cheery "hello" breaks the ice. A heartfelt "how are you" is the start of many lasting relationships. A sincere "sorry" mends broken hearts. And think of all the great political speeches delivered throughout the centuries. Those words have led entire nations to war and ushered in social revolutions. Words are so powerful that they can change the way the brain perceives to make us act and feel.

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Topics: instructional design, writing tips

Comparing Typical (Crammed) Learning vs. Spaced Learning

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Jul 21, 2015 @ 12:10 PM


Remember those days in school when you used to cram in whole books the night before the test? Did you remember afterwards even a wee bit of what you gobbled up within the space of a few hours? You didn't because you had to cram in the same chapters again when the next test was around. On the other hand, you still remember the multiplication tables that you learned years ago.

Why do you think you forgot what you learned the night before the test and remember what you learned years ago? It couldn't be that you didn't work hard to learn. No it isn't. The answer is in the way you learned. Crammed or typical learning (learning in a hurry and all at once) does not aid retention. But when learning is both spaced out and repeated, you remember more. As an instructional designer, it is imperative that you know the difference between the two learning methods, so you can design courses that stick.

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Topics: instructional design

These 27 Questions Will Help You (Really) Know Your Learners

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Thu, Jul 16, 2015 @ 12:12 PM


What’s the point of creating a course that no one wants?

No point at all, right?

YET, we find hundreds of eLearning designers creating courses that nobody wants. Courses which the designers themselves can’t figure: who would want!

It should ALWAYS be the other way around.

Designers must first understand their target audience and then build content around their needs, circumstances, limitations, preferences, and wants. This means that one must move beyond the common descriptions handed out by SMEs, the manager, or even the client. 

Hence, this post where I will talk about empathy mapping — an intuitive, yet highly powerful framework that uses a set of questions that puts you in your audience’s shoes. It is a great way for engaging with SMEs as well as performing your own research. 

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Topics: instructional design

How to Keep Your Freelance eLearning Clients Happy (Without Losing Your Sanity)

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Jul 14, 2015 @ 12:37 PM


For freelance eLearning professionals and training consultants, building and nurturing relations with clients is integral to the success, growth, and sustainability of their business. Poor communication is a surefire way to damage any project or relationship.

Regular/prompt, detailed, and personalized communication.

That’s the secret to keeping clients happy and your eLearning projects on track.

This post will highlight the important tips for keeping healthy communication with your clients, without losing your sanity.

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Topics: client relationships

The Ins and Outs of Rapid Prototyping for eLearning

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Thu, Jul 09, 2015 @ 12:10 PM


There's you. Then there are the graphic designers, the coding guys, and the client. How do you ensure that you are all on the same page about the eLearning course that you are developing so painstakingly? How do you ensure that at the end of the developmental stage, your client does not come back perplexed with these words, "But I thought you were going to…?" These ominous words usually trigger a flurry of activity back at the drawing board. Efforts increase, costs escalate, and tempers are frayed (usually at the client's end).

How do you ensure that all stakeholders get a fair idea of how the eLearning course will turn out to be right at the outset, so you are spared the re-work? Do Rapid Prototyping.

Here's everything you need to know about it.

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Topics: rapid prototyping

5 Tips to Be a More Productive (and Happy) eLearning Professional

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Jul 07, 2015 @ 12:50 PM


A well-designed eLearning course is a treat for the eye, punches in the message hard, keeps you glued to it, and sticks in your mind. But as an instructional designer, you know how challenging it is to develop such a course. From client and SME interviews and chunking content through to storyboarding, developing, and deploying, the eLearning workflow is time-consuming and demands exacting standards. And there are the time and budget constraints. You have to manage your time, so you can keep up with the pressure and still pull off winners.

You learned about some productivity hacks in an earlier post. Here are some more hacks to amp your efficiency and happiness at work. 

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Topics: Project Management, productivity

Smart Ways to Become an eLearning Productivity Ninja

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Thu, Jul 02, 2015 @ 12:03 PM


As eLearning designers, we have to wear many hats and juggle multiple tasks. We write storyboards, interact with clients and SMEs, coordinate with team members from multiple functions, keep an eye on how the course is shaping up, and ensure the project sticks to the schedule. Oh yes, most of us work on more than one project at a time. Of course, we are expected to be on top of our games and be productive always. It is easier said than done. But, there's nothing that you cannot achieve with sincerity, patience, and a wee bit of effort.

You just have to make small changes at work and shift certain thought patterns to become more productive. Below are some ways of becoming more productive. Not all may work for you, but it never hurts to try.

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Topics: productivity

Hand-picked Resources to Help You Become an Instructional Designer

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Jun 30, 2015 @ 12:01 PM


With the coming of the Internet, gathering information on almost everything under the sun has become easier than ever before. Just type a few words and Google will throw up tons of information. For instance, there seems to be as many web pages on instructional designing strategies and Photoshop tutorials as there are eLearning designers.

But there's a catch. You still have to click open the websites, scroll through them, and read up pages of text to fish out information that is relevant to your needs. It is easy to get lost in the minefield of information that the Internet is. What is scarier is that not all websites house authentic information. So how can you find what you are searching for quickly and easily? How do you make sure that you learn instructional designing theories and skills only from authentic sources?

We have put together a list of Web resources to help you get hold of the most comprehensive and authentic sources of information on eLearning and instructional design. Here they are:

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Topics: instructional design, e-learning resources

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