Thursday, April 5, 2018

6 Ways Every Learning Leader Should Be Using Video LSCon 2018

Steve Rozillis of Panopto gave us six ways to make video the centerpiece.

With the rate of turnover in many companies, organizations and departments, I am very interested in recording employees before they leave. Perhaps they can even leave a little "welcome" video for the person replacing them - or those left behind.

The New York Times published an article in 2014 about Capturing Employees’ Expertise on Camera Before They Hit the Exits.

Number One

Preserve the knowledge of existing employees. If you don’t make a video, you could have them write a manual. However, not everyone is a writer.

You can also hold meetings. But later no one will remember everything that was said.

Instead of a video of someone talking (talking head) you could record them drawing or writing on a whiteboard.

Record what they do. Capture the information.

You can do more than one thing. You can have meetings and record video.

Another option is to have them record what they are working on right now and what still needs to be done. Record how they did it.

Make a video of a key part of your institution (department or role).

Number Two

Use video for onboarding. (There is a difference between onboarding and orientation.)

When there is a lot of onboarding, consistency and efficiency is very important.

TIP: An easy way to keep onboarding videos up-to-date is to do screen recordings of what was changed and why.

When you get a new employee, the usual thing people do is send out an email introduction. Instead, make a 2 to 4-minute video of the same email context. “It adds a human element.”

Keep a library of the introduction videos for new employees (and old) to review. It will help everyone remember who is who and who does what.

Number Three

Social Learning is “what happens in the middle”.

Social is the oldest way of sharing information. However, sharing in real life is hard. Video helps break that obstacle.

Number Four Use video for mobile learning.

Number Five Use video for executive messaging.

Number Six

Recording at scale means recording an entire meeting or class. It requires that you record EVERYTHING. For example, in the past 10 years higher ed began lecture captures. Approximately 80 percent of universities now record these. And they are not alone. Many corporations also use this video technique such as Siemens PLM and Qualcomm.

There's more information about Steve Rozillis on the ATD site.

Create a Design Blueprint for Workflow Learning LSCon 2018

In this session, Christopher King of CRK Learning showed us how when creating performance support it's important to separate what needs to be taught versus what needs to be referenced.

The 5 moments of need. Time to competency = $$$. Use spaced learning to increase on-the-job competency. It helps them sustain their knowledge.

Learning is for tasks and doing stuff.

When teaching something new, it’s okay to put the moment of need at the tip of an upside-down pyramid. But when someone needs to remember how to do something specific right away, the last thing they need to see first is a detailed step-by-step instruction or long video. In a moment of need this works against you.

“You train like you fight so you can fight like you train.”

APPLY > SOLVE > CHANGE = This is the challenge.

We do new and more great.

Informal learning is done outside of a classroom. Let go of the information.

Two great examples of performance support using checklists:

Remember Felix Baumgartner who skydived from space? In his HUD (Heads Up Display) there were several performance support CHECKLISTS. (Christopher had a picture of the inside of the helmet that I can’t find – yet.) In the meantime, here’s video of his fall from orbit. (At 2:30 you can hear someone on the ground going through their own checklist telling him what to before he jumps off.) In the next video, Felix tells everyone about the 41-step checklist required just to get outside the capsule safely and efficiently.

When there’s no time to log in to an LMS:

Remember Capt. Chesley Sullenberger when he was forced to make an emergency landing (2 min. video) in the Hudson River? He and his crew used not only previous knowledge and experience (Capt. Sully also flew gliders) but also CHECKLISTS. In that emergency Christopher said they only used 1/3 of their lists – but it worked.

How do you know what you’re missing?

L E A P (Learning Experience and Performance plan sheet)
  1. Task analysis. Create a binder with a list of tasks in order. What do they need to do? What do they need to know in order to do this?
  2. Job role analysis. Map the tasks to specific roles. Remove tasks a role does not need to know.
  3. Critical skills analysis. What needs to be taught vs. what can be referenced later.

TIP: Give them a place to fail safely. “Safe Failure”

1. In a critical skills analysis use a scale of 1 to 7 for each risk. 1 = moderate risk and 7 = Dead.

Anything rated 1 to 4 can be relegated to performance support. (Doing yoga or mountain biking.)

Everything rated 5 to 7 needs hands-on. (Think of the skydive.)

2. Build a workflow map. Get creative here! It’s a graphical way for people to know where they are in the process. 

TIP: Make the map clickable so users can use it as a way to get information.

3. Create “instructional treatments” (scenarios, guided practice, etc.) Apply them based on the critical skills assessment. Use them during and after training. Also in online courses and for performance support stuff.

Performance support is not about courses or modules.

Consider “what needs to be taught vs. what needs to be referenced.”

IDEA: Create a “learning campaign” of stuff the learner needs to know.

Join and visit the performer support community.

Creating Amazing Experiences: Let’s Get Inspired! LSCon 2018

 Nick Floro from Sealworks Interactive Studio told us how we can create amazing experiences so learners can feel they’re a part of it. 

Nick’s favorite way to do this is to let them make mistakes.

Learners also like a way to search because it gives them some control/power in what they are doing.

As an example of a very bad learning experience, Nick showed us a picture of the instructions that were included on how to fix a toilet. (Replace the float.) However, a video can provide a good secondary experience. It might make you WANT to read the text.

Help learners find the content and explore it. Ask yourself: 
  • Can they share it?
  • Is your content easy to update?

Use refreshers to re-engage the client/customer.

You must understand your audience.

Remember, “training” is not the only option.

Test your ideas. Talk to the learners. Do these more than once.

“You can’t just launch and let it go anymore.”

Sketch. Get feedback. Design. Get feedback. Make changes. Get feedback. Iterate. Get feedback. Launch. Get feedback. Evolve. Get feedback. It’s a loop.

Here are 10 ways to improve the experience:

#1 – Design for the user (not the maker). Start with no pre-conceived ideas. Make it easy for them to get through the challenge.

#2 – Listen to the users. Document what they’re saying. Use conferencing and record. Collaborate on a document. Get real-time feedback. There’s a good tool called that creates an outline and it’s easier to use than Google Docs.

The users are stuck in the middle:

#3 – Advocate for the user by presenting it to management to get buy-in. Analyze patterns. Share with the team. You can use Wufoo to create report visualizations.

#4 – Think broadly about each type of user.

#5 – LESS IS MORE. Simplify.

#6 – Design for kids.

#7 – Take cues from everywhere.

Look at the real world and how you can apply those concepts. (Like the toilet example.)

#8 – Design More

Stakeholders want to know, but put the brakes on. Use wireframing to create concept examples. Understand all the content first. Then use the worst case first.

#9 – Collaborate (Nick recommended a $2 app called Lineasketch.)

#10 – Feedback and Test

Here’s an interesting idea to give to stakeholders: Mess up something and give it to them on purpose.

Create a discussion. Have a collaboration session.

Present > Get feedback > Evolve

A good UI (user interface) allows the user to focus on what they are doing. Combine a good UI with UX (user experience).

Start collecting examples of great ideas. Find things that improve and inspire your design. Use this matrix:

What did you

- see
- hear
- feel
- learn

RECOMMENDED SITES (Get out of your comfort zone!)

“Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve S. Krug
“Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas” by Jake Knapp

Essential Design & Development Tools That Are Free LSCon 2018

I missed the first few minutes of the presentation by Tracy Parish from the Southlake Regional Health Center, but at the end she provided a link to all the tools and more.

In my notes below I am only providing information she added about particular apps she has tried.

Edge Studio Script Timer (Words to Time Calculator) – This tool automatically calculates how much time it takes to speak the words, sentence, paragraph, etc.

Zapsplat provides professional sounds/sound effects. (See Tracy’s Audio Samples section.)

Augmented Reality (AR):

Aurasma – When you take a picture of a poster it plays a video.
Blippar – This is where AR meets AI (Artificial Intelligence)

Collaboration: – The free account allows up to 100 users, max 40 minutes. However, only the 1:1 sessions can be unlisted.

Color Schemes – Where to get them and use them for IDEAS.
Encycolorpedia – Import a photo and it will tell you all the colors.


Scoop.It is a “digital paper” that people can subscribe to and get on a daily basis. They do not spam! (Karen: And I know this because I have several Scoop.It papers myself.)

Design Skills


WhatFontIs - If you see a font you like and want to know what it’s called. But make sure to use the free version.


Google is “better” at finding Creative Commons images. Or just go straight to the source at

TIP: You can use other elements in one photo. You don’t have to use the entire picture.

Photopea uses layers.

Snapseed is good on phones and tablets.

TRICK: Soften the edges of a picture.


Join the challenge with hashtag #ELH on Twitter. ELearning Heroes hosts every Friday.

Pinterest helps you find Powerpoint template ideas.

Creative Market offers free fonts, images, templates via email sign up.

Project Management
  • Airtable allows you to change the view. But it only offers 2 weeks of searchability. It’s similar to Trello.
  • Trello
  • Ganttify – If you’re a Gant chart fan. Ganttify plugs into Trello.
  • Harvest allows up to 4 clients and 2 active projects. They also provide billing and invoice tools.
  • Asana is limited to 15 users but unlimited projects. However, Tracy finds it hard to use.
  • Wrike allows 5 users. The pro (paid) version better.

Screen Capture

Don’t forget about PrintScrn on your keyboard!
(Karen says: Another good screen recording app is apowersoft.)

Slides – Use them as a resource library.

Prezi now only has a paid version. However, Prezi Explore is still free for inspiration and ideas.

  • Lucidchart is limited to 50-60 objects. However, it’s good for flow chart ideas.
  • is a Google product.
  • See Connie Malamed’s Resources page. (Be sure to mouse-over Resources in the navigation.)
  • Stormboard allows 5 projects and 5 collaborators.
  • StoryboardThat offers 2 per week with 6 cells.
  • Myhistro gives you places to do storytelling. Map and record important moments and share the timelines. Privacy settings are available.
  • Flipboard collects stories for you about particular topics.
  • Sway is a Microsoft product but it’s free.

  • Survey Monkey (free) only allows up to 10 questions.
  • Poll Everywhere lets people interact via texting.
  • Mentimeter is live on the web. Tracy’s tip here to get one more question is to invite yourself. Use code 707365.
  • Typeform gives you 70 questions and 100 responses per month.


Diagrammer helps you figure out what you need.


Mazwai gives you backgrounds you can use.

Video Capture/Editor

Davinci Resolve offers movie theatre quality tools.

Virtual Reality (VR) Some are free.

Learn Around the World has some free ones. For example, in April 2018 they are going to an African sanctuary!

Roundme has free static images.

To get links and see more visit Tracy’s E-learning page.

Learn more about Tracy Parish.

What eLearning Design Can Learn from Web Design LSCon 2018

Presenter Bryan Marcum of the Infinitude Creative Group spoke about how the fields of eLearning and web design are merging. There are more and more similarities every year.

Why the web? Because it’s where people learn. It is Bryan’s opinion that eLearning is going to start looking like web development.
“Interfaces allude to real life.”

Heirarchy is King. There are 3 levels of hierarchy:

In visual design, form follows function because it:
  •       Establishes order
  •       Honors the content
  •       Gives learners a sense of where they are

Good visual design helps learners with retention and acquisition of knowledge.
  • View text as weighted shapes. Squint at the text or page and you can still see that there is order and meaning.
  • Divide the text with major and minor breaks. This is helpful when switching topics and with micro buckets. Wikipedia is a super-friendly example where you can see what they want you to see first.
  • Only use strong colors for actions. (AKA a Call To Action or CTA)
  • Increase usability by being consistent and create a rhythm. Makes it easier for the end user.
  • Be consistent with types of content.
  • Use white (negative) space in your designs. Use yin and yang.

TIP: Having a design system speeds up production time.

Warning: News sites are different. You’re not there to “learn”.

The use of shadows and animation:

Think of content as blocks. They are a way to create meaning or emotion. Use metaphor. Don’t be literal.

User interfaces mimic machine interfaces. These are good if there is a purpose to emulate a machine interface. However, don’t over -do it.
  • Indicate what’s interactive. (Don’t make them click around or guess. Make it obvious.)
  • Implement transitions between states.
It’s not natural for animations to “snap”. Think about the physics and how it would look in the real world.

“Tell a story about what’s going to happen when you click a button.”

1. When creating animations remember that a half-second is already too long for an animation.
2. Use animations consistently unless it’s a different story.
3. Be careful about positioning and scale. Keep proportions as accurate as possible. (No giant people or things.) Crop images if you need to make them “fit” with the background.
4. Consider “change blindness”. Animations call attention.

“Motion has meaning.”

Today, people have expectations. Don’t do anything that is the opposite of what people expect to see. Don’t create discord.

Don’t reinvent the wheel with icons. Also, be careful where you place them.

Mobile Devices

You must present content somewhat differently. Consider these reasons:

  • Orientation (vertical vs. horizontal)
  • No Flash (This is now beginning to affect all devices.)
  • Screen size
  • Users interact differently on mobile. (See the NN Group article “Basic Patterns for Mobile Navigation: A Primer” for more information.
  1.  Plan for vertical and scrolling (unlike desktop or laptop screens where you want to try and keep things “above the fold”.)
  2. On mobile you CAN allow the user to manually reveal things.
  3. All interactions must be tap-able! (There is no hover on mobile.) Size matters! Buttons must be “big” enough to touch.
  4. Never go all the way to the edge of the screens. Keep at least 20 pixels away from the sides.

And Karen’s personal advice for any design that she learned
a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away:

“Remember, white space is your friend.”

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

6 Steps to Awesome eLearning Scenarios #LSCon 2018

I could not attend the main Learning Solutions 2018 conference this year. However, there were some sessions in the Expo hall. I'm about to share a few of the notes I took plus at least one of my own takeaways from each session. I hope you find them interesting and useful! Here we go ...

The first session I attended was presented by Nicole Legault of Articulate. She gave us all one secret: Stories (scenarios) are really just multiple-choice questions! (I never thought of them that way before.)

Nicole showed us how to build stories to make it interesting enough so the learner actually wants to stick through the entire course. Stories can tie a course together. You can use stories in all types of training including teaching soft skills, compliance and products. (Make sure to read to the end of the post to find out about branched stories.)
  • Stories are more meaningful.
  • Stories are more engaging.
  • Stories have more impact. 

Do you want to make your lesson memorable? Read what happens to the brain on stories at Hubspot.

The key is to create a realistic sequence of events that the learner can apply.

Always tell the learner the initial setup. That’s a brief paragraph explaining the scene.

Here are Nicole’s set of tips:
  • Use feedback in text, facial expressions, colors, a meter (like a progress bar) to let them know how important what you are telling really is.
  • Give them an avatar. Let them choose one.
  • Give the learners as much access to any available documents or media as possible. Just like they would have in real life.
  • Build different activities into the stories.

Build emotion in the story. Provide the learner with a reason to feel like the character. That’s what stories do in both fiction and non-fiction.

“People look at the faces right away.”

However, remember that not everything can be made into a story.


What is the situation? How can they resolve it?

Determine the trigger and move forward from there.

Use content you already have and give the learner real options and opportunities.



Here’s a secret for you. Stories are really just multiple-choice questions!

The challenge is to create plausible yet incorrect answers and feedback.


Use relatable characters.

Let the learner tell you what the character looks like. The learner can be a character, too.



Use a background image that fits the scene. If you can, use an actual picture from a real situation. That’s better than a stock photo from a generic one.

Warning: Pay attention to SCALE and SHADOWS (direction of light source).


Realistic Details

Mimic real life. The introduction helps to set up the context of the situation (trigger). Use actual terminology, vendors, etc. (if any). Give the character/s a name and title. Include it in the graphic so they don’t have to guess who is in the picture/s. (See right for an example. Thanks to E-Learning Heroes for stock images!)

Get some tips from video game character design. (See how many similarities there are to what Nicole advises.)


Feedback and Consequences

Tell them how the correct and incorrect actions will impact them. Tell them the positives and negatives.

Now we’ll talk a bit about using branched stories (scenarios). Branching can make your stories more complex so be careful when using them.

Use the “3-C model”

  • Challenge
  • Choice
  • Consequence
Never create more than one or two branches. This will help keep confusion and complexity down.

Determine how valuable it is to let the learner go down the wrong path. Don’t let them stray too far or they’ll get lost and only remember what NOT to do. Keep it down to one or two steps then get them back on the main path (story).

For more information about Nicole Legault you can read her blog called Flirting w/eLearning.

She is also a Community Manager on the Articulate site E-Learning Heroes.

Nicole's Twitter handle is @nicole_legault.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Blendkit 2017 Initial Response to First Reading

Before I begin I want to emphasize that I am very excited to be a participant in this course.

However, so far I have found the way the course is designed confusing. I can't figure out how to get more green checkmarks (completed) in the Modules section and there are so many ways to get to all the assignments I'm not sure which way is best.

Somehow, I found my way to Week 01 Activities. (And unfortunately now I can't find my way back.)

Anyway, about the first reading, it is written like a term paper. Basically, I skimmed over most of it by using a technique that was a lifesaver for me in college. I only read the first few words or sentence of each paragraph. I merely glanced over the lists of sources and names and dates.

The best part of the article are the case studies (stories). I found story number 2 the most useful for my purposes.

Overall, this course could be chunked more effectively. Especially the orientation video that are talking heads for 20 minutes. In my head, I was already editing their video to make it easier to digest.

When I find the page I found most useful again I will post the link here for any other lost souls.