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Secrets of (Good) Simulation Design – Synopsis March 21, 2014

Posted by stephanieF in Best Practices, Gaming and Simulation, Intructional Design.
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Rich Mesch from Performance Development Group (PDG) joined us this month to discuss important aspects of good simulation design. By definition, a simulation is, “…a realistic controlled-risk environment where users can practice behaviors and experience the impacts of decisions.” There are several types of simulations: branching storyline (ex. choose your adventure), system dynamics (ex. decision-making over an extended time period), and equipment or software (ex. operation, or navigation and data entry).

Simulations can bridge the gap between, “learning something and then being able to do something with it.” By adding context, setting expectations for the reason a person should complete the simulation, and then providing a safe environment to practice we’ll give our audiences a better chance to learn and succeed in performing back on the job.

Good simulations are immersive, performance-based, based in reality, and have real-life goals and metrics. Storytelling is a key factor to writing simulations, but the reality factor must be performance-driven or else the audience can be distracted. And, while getting the details just right helps to replicate the environment yet instilling shades of gray where all the options for key decisions seem reasonable - can also invoke realistic and critical thinking. After all, real-life isn’t so black-and-white.

Lastly, as with all training deliverables, craft your simulation with the specific audience in mind. The power is in the design rather than the output.

For additional thoughts from Rich on simulations, check out PDG’s blog: http://blog.performdev.com/topic/simulation

This session was a great way to start our year of meetings. Stay tuned for other postings on what’s coming next. Our upcoming April session is described in a previous post, “Battle of the eLearning Tools.”  You can also see a listing of all SIG events on the ASTD Greater Philadelphia chapter web page at: http://www.astdphl.org/Default.aspx?pageId=1776221

Coming in April 24, 2014 – Battle of the eLearning Tools! March 20, 2014

Posted by stephanieF in Announcements, e-Learning Tools.
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Have you ever been in a situation where you found yourself debating which eLearning development software was the right tool for the job? Which tool will give you everything you need with the least amount of tweaks and workarounds?

This session will be an open forum where we’ll walk through several scenarios as time permits related to designing and developing eLearning for system applications (simulations) and business processes, and developing graded quizzes, and addressing LMS compatibility. We’ll discuss/debate the pros and cons of popular tools such as Articulate Studio (Presenter, Quizmaker, Engage), Storyline, Captivate, and Lectora. Is there perhaps another OTS tool that you use every day?  For sample scenarios, please see the PDF below about this upcoming eLearning SIG session.

April 2014 SIG_Battle of the eLearning Tools_v2

Note: As an open forum everyone is welcome to participate – even if you don’t have a lot of experience and just want to learn more about the tools. For those with experience, come prepared to defend your favorite tool!

We’ll keep score and see which tool comes out ahead in each scenario. If you’d like to share a short sample in defense of your tool just let me know in advance (your demo must be less than 2 mins.). Our email: astdphl.el.sig@gmail.com

After the session we’ll post the scores and key notes from our session on this blog and ASTD Greater Phila. LinkedIn site.

Research Participation for Reusability of Learning Objects March 2, 2014

Posted by stephanieF in Announcements, Best Practices, Blogging, e-Learning Tools, Intructional Design.
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This posing is by request from a local colleague, Latonia Ayscue, who is conducting research for her doctorate in Instructional Design. If you are interested please read and click on the short Eligibility survey included below.  Thanks! – Stephanie

Attention: Instructional Designers with five or more years of experience and have reused learning objects to participate in a research study, “An Investigation of Instructional Designers’ Criteria that Predominately Influences Reusability of Learning Objects.”

Instructional Design has made significant contributions to presenting instructional material in virtual learning environments and has facilitated the way information is communicated, changed, and applied in many learning situations.

Seeking experienced ID’ers who are willing to share their experiences and provide insights into varying rationale used to identify the criteria that contributed and influenced reuse of learning objects. This research study focuses on experienced instructional designer’s practical experiences to answer the why (rationale) by exploring practices (what are users’ definitions of learning objects, value, expectations), from experienced instructional designers’ perspectives.

The research will investigate:

  • The predominate rationales practitioner’s use of learning objects.
  • The attributes of the learning objects practitioners believe should predominately influence reuse.
  • How practices are construed, formed and shaped from various points of view through vicarious experiences.
  •  The attributes that led to decisions to reuse learning objects (capturing the creativity, reasoning and intuitive thought processes when challenged to solve ill-structured problems)

To be selected to participate in this research, please go to the following link and complete a short Eligibility Questionnaire:


Your participation in the research will offer value from a practical approach to how reusable learning objects could influence intended learning and could clarify understanding how experienced instructional designers established and modified their criteria, based on the attributes, in the decision to reuse learning objects.

Thank you,
Latonia Ayscue, M.Ed., ABD

A Case for a New Approach to Corporate Training October 8, 2013

Posted by stephanieF in Misc.
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Recently, Glenn Eckard, COO from Rapid Learning Institute joined our evening session for an engaging discussion on, “A case for a new approach to corporate training” that highlighted a flipped model for classroom training in a corporate setting. Given current statistics on challenges facing today’s corporate learning programs (spend ratio and effects from loss of productivity) and the changing workforce, Glenn made a case for the need to have effective training methods that result in engaged employees and subsequently increased productivity with cost savings. He also highlighted that with the approaching decline in Baby Boomer workers the need for an innovative approach for effectively developing intermediate to expert skills in the current and emerging workforce, i.e. Millenial generation, is vital. Quick fact: by 2016, Millenials will be the majority of current workers.

One of the keys to addressing the needs of the Millenial workforce is to build stronger employee-manager relationships to help keep the employees engaged. Company loyalty is no longer a given with the emerging workforce. While trainers provide the impetus for skill development, managers have the opportunity to foster retention by addressing the “forgetting curve” and providing segments or smaller portions of focused on-the-job learning through effective follow-up. Glen shares the Four R’s of Effective Follow-Up in the presentation attached below.

The key to effective follow-up, however, is solid program planning balanced with targeted pre and in-class activities. These “chunks” or learning intervals are purposeful and based on the premise that participants really do want to learn, but they are short on time and attention! Please be sure to download the PDF file to read more on the model advocated by Glenn’s company, Rapid Learning Institute. For additional information, please visit their site at, www.RapidLearningInstitute.com

Glenn’s presentation: New_Approach_Corp_Lrg_G_Eckard_RLI_ASTDPHLeSIG_19SEP13

Rapid E-learning Design Insights from Glenn Eckard September 4, 2013

Posted by karlgrieb in Misc.
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Please join us on Thursday, September 19th, from 6-8 PM at the LaSalle University campus in Plymouth Meeting for an exciting presentation by Glenn Eckard of Rapid Learning Institute as he shares his insights on rapid learning design.


Glenn Eckard is the co-founder and COO at the Rapid Learning Institute.  Before launching RLI and its parent company – Business 21 Publishing – in 2002, Glenn was the Sales Director at New England Business Service (NEBS) (1999 – 2002), and Progressive Business Publications (1993-1999). Glenn is a start-up expert who, in addition to being co-founder of the Rapid Learning Institute, has personally launched dozens of sales offices, and hired and trained thousands of sales and sales management leaders throughout his career. Glenn received his B.A. from Widener University, and currently lives in Springfield, PA, with his wife and two sons.  


You’ll be able to sign up for the event this Friday, September 6tth by clicking here: http://www.astdphl.org/Default.aspx?pageId=1072208

Recap of “Flash to HTML5 Conversion – Getting Ready for iPad Deployment?” July 25, 2013

Posted by stephanieF in Misc.
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Our presenter, Dave Goodman (CoFounder, SoftAssist) gave an informative presentation on converting Flash courses in HTML. He discussed the five stages of a general process – decisions, design, conversion, interactions and development.

Dave discussed each of the stages along with useful suggestions and tips. There are numerous technical considerations from authoring tools, device operating systems, user access and viewing preferences, and browsers to name a few.

To view the details, click on the following for a PDF of his presentation!
For a list of additional resources on this topic, be sure to see the last slide. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Dave, dgood@softassist.com

HTML5 Webinar_General_SoftAssist_DG

ASTD PHL June eLearning SIG: Synopsis July 5, 2013

Posted by karlgrieb in Misc.
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Used for building websites Zsolt Olah explained how he used Joomla for building online learning for Comcats’s Customer Service New Hire program. Joolma is an open-source web content management system, http://www.joomla.org. Many well-known companies use this platform for building their websites.

Zsolt walked through a demo of his web page, which sits behind his company’s firewall. In “Comcastville” (fashioned to look like a 3D CGI neighborhood), participants (sales reps) learn to overcome scenario-based challenges via “back propagation.” They aren’t told all the rules, but with repeat attempts, they learn by figuring different ways to succeed in the game. As a reward, participants earn customers (points) as they successfully perform various levels of exercises.

Some of the key elements to ensure this type of a self-paced activity is a valuable learning experience include visual appeal, hands-on interactions, easy maintenance, and alignment with the learner’s job performance requirements.

From a technical perspective, graphics development is needed upfront along with programming to build the structure of the web page. One main benefit is that the web page is easily maintained once it is built. For example, because content doesn’t reside in the web page, but is assembled when called upon by the participant, updates can be made by changing the question and answers. As an independent web page, any feed to an LMS can be built in (i.e. *.api). Many custom extensions are available on Joomla’s website (over 9,000).

You can download his presentation by clicking here: zsoltolah_joomla

“Flash to HTML5 Conversion – Getting Ready for iPad Deployment?” with Dave Goodman – Thursday, July 18, 6-8 PM, LaSalle Plymouth Meeting Campus July 1, 2013

Posted by karlgrieb in Misc.

Program Description:
Every company has a large investment in Flash learning but may now face the endeavor of converting those courses for use on the iPad or other mobile devices, along with the PC and across multiple browsers. What should you do and what are the best ways of achieving this. This session will highlight three possible approaches, some of the critical decisions to be made and one of the processes to be implemented. This is not a product or service specific session but a sharing of best practices.

About the Speaker:
Dave is President one of the original founders at SoftAssist, Inc. and possesses over 20 years of experience in  the design, development and management of over 500 projects. SoftAssist has won over 11 nationally recognized and juried awards for excellence in learning. Dave is a past presenter at ASTD and at eGuild Orlando, 2013,  mLearn, 2010,  Training 2012 at Atlanta, ASTD Metro DC, SALT and with the Masie Center.
To register, click here: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e7qxrm0a71968e99

Creativity Meets Technology Case Study Presentation May 29, 2013

Posted by karlgrieb in Misc.
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Join us on Thursday, June 20, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at the LaSalle University – MetroPlex Corporate Center for an exciting case study presentation on an open source content management system as a smart engine behind an interactie blended learning solution at Comcast University.

The first time Comcast University ran pilots of the New Hire Experience, an interactive blended learning program, learners literally tried to sneak in from legacy classes. This blended learning program seamlessly presents learners with a visual roadmap of wide variety of activities throughout the new hire experience (eLearnings, “gamified” quick challenges, videos, simulations, documents, links, etc.).

Behind this effective program is a database driven smart engine. The engine handles hundreds of activities in thousands of classes (with customized content for certain groups), and does it on the fly! That means the content the learner sees is tailored to their exact needs. That’s Joomla!, an award winning open source CMS tool.

Come and experience how Comcast University has harnessed this powerful open source technology using a creative approach to resolve challenges like:

  • Allow non-technical people to create, edit and maintain content (without messing with XML).
  • Provide a template that is consistent through all classes but allow the flexibility to customize the content.
  • Reduce speed to market for minor changes (from days to minutes).
  • Be flexible to turn on and off activities or change their order.
  • Display information only relevant to users (based on groups, markets, role or class).
  • Find a quality solution that is scalable, cost effective and user-friendly.


This presentation focuses on how the open source engine addresses all these expectations. While we will touch on the content itself, our main focus will be how creativity meets technology using Joomla!.

About the Speaker
Zsolt is a Program Manager at the Comcast University Wireless Operations team, where he oversees the curriculum design, development and delivery for the Comcast – Verizon Wireless learning initiatives across several States.

Zsolt has an extensive project and program management background, as well as more than a decade of learning and development experience. Zsolt’s passion to combine creativity and technology goes back to his thesis, which was to build an artificial neuron-network in C++ capable of learning how to add two numbers together. Since then, Zsolt has worked in the instructional design and eLearning development field with companies like Pepsi, Nokia, Siemens, IBM, Oracle, and for the last five years, Comcast. Zsolt is well-versed in most of the top eLearning applications and has working knowledge of several programming languages. Zsolt has also designed and taught an information design and delivery university curriculum for the University of Debrecen in his native country, Hungary.

To sign up for this event, click here: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e78suylb744347e7

Taking Your Training to Tahiti (or Tel Aviv) by Frank Felsburg May 6, 2013

Posted by karlgrieb in Misc.
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Frank Felsburg will be presenting “Taking Your Training to Tahiti (or Tel Aviv) on Thursday evening, May 16th, starting at 6:00 PM at the LaSalle University Metroplex Center in Plymouth Meeting.

Felsburg’s presentation addresses such issues as cross-cultural differences, global human resource development and language barriers. Using a collaborative approach and experiential learning, ways to overcome these challenges are realized.

Felsburg’s presentation will help attendees:

  •          Build more effective training from a global perspective
  •          Recognize content that needs to be localized before it is translated
  •          Define ways to save money on translation

Following the session, attendees will think more internationally, especially from a performance improvement standpoint. They will be able to utilize the information presented immediately afterwards.

Frank Felsburg is an account executive with Magnum Group. He works with organizations that want to communicate globally and optimize their international presence. A large percentage of his clients are in the Training & Development sector. Magnum translates and localizes their training content for non-English speaking learners.

Felsburg has worked with organizations to help them produce foreign-language versions of online training modules as well as presentations and workbooks for instructor-led training. He’s Past President of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of ASTD and now serves on ASTD National’s Chapter Recognition Committee.

Felsburg has delivered stand-up training in the areas of customer service, sales and communication skills and has also worked for a custom eLearning development company. A graduate of Villanova University, he is the author of numerous articles and a book on listening.

For more information or to sign up for the event, click here: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e78srqu313da0ac5


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