Thursday, February 03, 2011

Fresh Look at Learning Design by Patrick Dunn

Following the usual twisted thread of discovery I stumbled upon an interesting video by Patrick Dunn of a webinar that I suspect I had intended to join, but missed. Not having a stumbleupon account, and in the spirit of blog-based sharing I have rekindled recently, here it is for your delectation.

"A fresh look at Instructional Design" - eLN webinar presentation from patrick dunn on Vimeo.

Good old Vimeo. Far better than other video sites I could mention.

I really like in this:
  1. Patrick points out that ADDIE is appropriate in some contexts. A more nuanced approach than some. Reflects realities of the job.
  2. The formal approach favoured in the States is not the same as is the predominant model here (UK). I had my suspicions that the term "instructional design" had regional differences.
  3. The "experience, not content" model reminds me of Cathy Moore's action mapping approach, but focused on behavioural change. A nice counterpoint.
  4. I like the idea of throwing the spec away and just speaking to learners first. In all my paid time as an ID I was never invited to do this - or costed the time to be able to. I'd argue for it now mind you. 
  5. The before/now slide early on is good too.

Letter to my MP on selling off the woodland

Okay, so I appreciate that this blog is supposed to be about learning, but it might be argued I learnt something about how I feel about this while penning a missive to Stephen Williams, my local LibDem member of Parliament. I was inspired by an article on what the forest sell off might mean to Bristol MTBers.
Throughout my life I've had opportunities to spend lots of time in forests - hiking, barbecuing, playing in streams, bird watching and mountain biking - though a son of this city I grew up in the Shropshire Marches and spent many weekends and evenings in the local woods with my friends and family. They are a playground I have returned to time and again.

And I can hardly think of a time when I haven't done so on land managed by the Forestry Commission. So it causes me great anguish to know that this government, that I in part voted for, and encouraged people to vote for - to vote for you - is now suggesting that it sell off the trees and neuter an organisation I have immense respect for.

I'm not some dumb-ass hippy tree hugger who would care more about what happens to a tree than a person. But it is this action more than any other that causes me to feel aggrieved by what I voted for.

What annoys me is that by deigning to flog off this land, and special entity that lives upon it, this government appears to indicate that it believes it owns this land. No, the government holds it in trust for the people that legitimise it. Sure, keep people off the nuclear base at Faslane, or away from motorway construction sites - there are greater needs in the public interest at work - I accept that - but don't sell off the trees.

In particular, these days I go mountain biking locally near Ashton Court and at locations around Wales. These places are graded amongst the best locations for the sport anywhere in the world - mile after mile of wonderful man made trails that develop riders' skills and test them again and again. Each week thousands of riders make the same trips to these places, spending money in local shops and cafes, staying in local hotels and pubs. In the afternoons, as they stream off the hill, they share the same broad grin and look of satisfaction at a day on earth well spent.

But none of these centres would be feasible if private landowners had to meet the costs of insuring for the sport. Only the FC is able to do this. Without the FC these trail centres would close, and the tourism they attract, month in, month out, would die out. Taking precious money from already poor regions (like the valleys of South Wales) and robbing people of a fun and healthy past time.

It's easy to see now that Beeching's solution to the size of the rail network was woeful and short-sighted. Stephen, don't let your parliamentary colleagues make a similar terrible mistake - one that will live in infamy far beyond your time in the Palace of Westminster.
Hmm, will try not to be too political again for a while. I'll leave that to Twitter.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Why video is your cheap option

Video was once both a dream and a nightmare.

A dream because only in your wildest dreams would you ever get funding to put together training videos. And a nightmare because there was no easy route to do it - you needed expensive cameras, editing suites and reproduction facilities.

Since it is now possible to shoot, edit and upload video all from a mobile phone, it is time to revisit video again.

And to show how easy it can be, here's a good example that I really like. Just a good expert with a nice line on her subject, a hand held video, one scene and YouTube. Couldn't be simpler.

For a far better, more thoughtful take on using video as your budget option, check out Rob Hubbard's tip from 24Tips 2010.

Learning research to action - from Jakob Nielsen

I never tire of going on about Jakob Nielsen and the usefulness of his Alertbox. Nielsen is one of the pre-eminent figures in web usability, but in this post he is looking at information recall/learning as it relates to online content.

How can we use this? I sent the following suggestion out to my colleagues on our Foundation Degree programme. Thought I'd share it here.
The activity may be a relevant approach to adopt for review activities. The issue is how to incorporate it, as it is difficult to mark an “all points” review, and unmarked review activities will, in most cases, be outright ignored (I know I tend to – falsely believing in my fallible memory), so the old “Now write a summary of what you have learnt in this module” gambit is likely fail.

So, what’s the alternative? Setting the idea in a brief scenario context might work. “Imagine you had to relay the content from this section to a working group and your presentation needed to fit a five minute slot between two other activities. Summarize the learning from this section as fully, but concisely as you can.” Arguably this adds sufficient constraint that it might be easy to feedback on, but also it should give the target learner sufficient cause to read and review the section in enough detail to attain that full 145% effect. And let’s not forget that 145% better means nearly two and a half times more effective. A very big boost indeed.
There. A much better way of demonstrating my renewed love for blogging than writing a blog post about how I enjoy blogging once more and should do more of it again.