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Gamification Case Study: Release Your Angry Bird June 28, 2014

Posted by stephanieF in Best Practices, Blended Learning, e-Learning Tools, Gaming and Simulation, Intructional Design, Trends.
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Our June 19th session was hosted by Zsolt Olah, a Senior Program Manager at Comcast University’s Product Knowledge team. About five years ago, when Comcast University started using more and more “challenges” and “immersive learning activities” in blended and e-learning solutions, gamification was not as loud and widespread as it is today.

In our session, Zsolt reviewed some of the background and recent realities of gamification. He then provided examples of gamified learning activities explaining that game-based thinking was just as important to the overall design and instructional value of a course. The attached PowerPoint also contains a few slides letting you know that Zsolt gave us a case-in-point gamified session as well (i.e. pigs showing team scores).

ATD_PHL_June2014_zsolt_gamification 2

Here are a few key points that Zsolt mentioned that accompany the slide presentation.

Some entertaining examples of gamification: Amazing Race (gamified running), Top Chef (gamified cooking). However, not everything should be gamified or people will become tired of it. With our training courses, gamification is scalable. You can apply a few or many elements – as long as the learning experience is improved to some degree.

There are two types of gamification: knowledge checks (check your memory) or content converted in a more memorable and immersive manner intended to teach you new things. It is proven that learning content through some kind of experience is more memorable. Games that provide challenges or goals and opportunities to learn something (even solely for entertainment) can invoke people to become so driven that collectively many, many hours are consumed playing (16 years spent every one hour).

Various levels of authoring software are available depending on your level of technical savvy:

> Off-the-shelf: Raptivity and eLearning Brothers have templates (rapid development, but structured, not much flexibility)

> Intermediate: Wavicle and Axonify have more flexibility, but require more development time.

> Higher-end: Construct 2 game engine has user physics built in (user actions trigger an onscreen effect). Much more development time; programmer background is useful, but not required.

Many graphics are free, but you must be sure to cite the sources somewhere! Graphic treatments (layout, imagery) can also be used to disguise typical eLearning interactions to seem more game-based, i.e. non-conventional placement of drag-and-drop objects on an image background.

Our Challenge: Convert content-based instructional design to game-based instructional design. Creating the framework first is the key. Write the story behind the game using reality elements and then turn them into a game.


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

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

Synchronous Shootout August 20, 2009

Posted by Noelle Archambeau in Best Practices, Synchronous Training.
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Last night we held a synchronous shootout at Penn State Great Valley. Participants were divided into groups and asked to complete the challenge below. All of the teams came up with great ideas, and the classes they developed are posted below.

Web conferencing giant, iLinc Communications, would like to teach a “Best Practices for Virtual Instructors” class. The class will be taught online using their web conferencing tool. The intended audience is instructors who have taught in the classroom, but are new to teaching online.

Shootout Challenge
The following slides are an early draft of the content that was put together for this class. You can use as much or as little as you’d like. In order to practice what you preach, you must create a class that not only includes great information, but also has interactive activities to help make the session fun and engaging. Each team only has 1 hour to work on the class, so complete as much as you can. Good luck!

 Presenter Best Practices – DRAFT

Here are the classes that the teams produced:

Group 1 – Michele & Scott

Group 2 – Pat, Heidi, Donna & Jean

Group 3 – Mark, Tricia, Bill & Dave

Migrating to E-Learning January 19, 2009

Posted by Noelle Archambeau in Best Practices, e-SIG Presentations, Intructional Design, Project Management.
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Thanks to Dave Goodman, CEO of SoftAssist, for a wonderful presentation at our last ASTD Greater Philadelphia Chapter meeting. Luckily Dave was able to think quickly on his feet because there was a power outage at the Hilton, which meant no lights, no computer, and no projector. Illuminated by candlelight, Dave led a lively discussion about creating your first e-learning project. Here are the slides Dave planned to use.

Click here to download a pdf of the slides (1.8 MB)

3/20/08 – Engaging Your Audience March 28, 2008

Posted by Noelle Archambeau in Best Practices, e-SIG Presentations, Engaging e-Learners, Synchronous Training.
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A big thank you to Frank Gartland and Curtis Lewis with iLinc Communications for delivering an engaging web conference about how to focus, engage, and motivate your learners when you deliver online training events. They shared great tips that will keep your learners from surfing the web or snoring during your training sessions. If you missed the event or would like to view it again, click here to view the recording.

02/21/08 – Anonymity in Cyber Education: Should You be Concerned? February 25, 2008

Posted by Bobbe in Best Practices, e-SIG Presentations, Engaging e-Learners, Intructional Design, Misc.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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This presentation explored the pros and cons of anonymity in cyber education.  It evaluated both sides of the issue and presents them in a way that will help cyber educators and instructional designers understand the social, cultural and educational implications of anonymity.  The PATRIOT Act and other initiatives impacting anonymity were discussed, including the far-reaching effects of anonymity within online educational settings and group dynamics.  It also further compared and contrasted anonymity’s potential for limiting and monitoring academic freedom to the social benefits it brings, while discussing the social identity model of deindividuation. Click Anonymity to download the slides. Click Anoniymity the paper to download the original paper.

7/19/07 – The Critical Component: Assessment July 24, 2007

Posted by Noelle Archambeau in Best Practices, e-SIG Presentations.
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Thanks again to Steven Just, President of Pedagogue Solutions, for his excellent presentation on best practices in test development and validation. Click here to download the slides that Steven used during his presentation.

Steven also referenced a study about the value of repeated testing vs. repeated studying. Click here to read a brief article he wrote about the study.

For those of you interested in learning more about testing, Steven recommends the following two books:
Criterion-referenced Test Development by Sharon Shrock and William Coscarelli
Performance-based Certification by Judith Hale

Our next meeting is on Thursday, August 16th at 6:00 pm at Penn State Great Valley. Catherine Mercer Bing, Executive Vice President, New Business Development, ITAP International and President, ITAP Americas, will talk to us about the impact of culture on learning as well as what professionals need to consider when developing e-learning for global learners.

3/22-23/07 – Slides from Web Conferences March 26, 2007

Posted by Noelle Archambeau in Best Practices, e-SIG Presentations, Synchronous Training.
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Thanks to everyone who attended one of our web conferences about web conferences and helped make them a success. Also thanks to my co-presenters Bobbe Baggio & Nathan Eckel for sharing such great information with our members. The slides used during the presentation can be downloaded here. (more…)

PowerPoint Tips for Virtual Classes January 15, 2007

Posted by Noelle Archambeau in Best Practices, Synchronous Training.

Before the holidays I gave some tips for creating PowerPoint slides for the virtual classroom to the people who attended the main ASTD-GPC meeting. Most of these tips can also be applied to PowerPoint slides that are created for live, instructor-led classes. For those of you who couldn’t make it, here’s a summary:

PowerPoint Templates

PowerPoint Template Examples

  • Use light backgrounds with dark text; it’s harder to read light text on dark backgrounds
  • Use a basic layout that gives you a lot of room for your content; don’t waste space with large logos or decorative graphics on every slide (more…)