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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

DITA for eLearning Content Development March 26, 2010

Posted by Karen Lubrecht in e-SIG Presentations, Intructional Design.
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At our March meeting at the Bucks County campus of La Salle University, Brian Driscoll addressed the implications of and potential uses for the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) in eLearning content development and delivery. 

If you missed the event, his slide presentation can be downloaded. (104 KB)

Picture of Brian Driscoll

Brian Driscoll

Brian Driscoll, Application Developer, is primarily responsible for developing, testing, and implementing out-of-band solutions to meet clients’ needs. Brian has created custom Flash and .NET applications that have allowed clients such as The CEI Network, Mercy Health System, Merck, Fannie Mae, The World Bank, TakeCare Health Systems, Teleos Leadership Institute, The Insurance Institute of America, and The Continuum Center for Health & Healing to deliver cutting-edge web-based training programs to their end users. Mr. Driscoll also works extensively on SoftAssist’s internal application development and business process reengineering initiatives. Brian’s professional interests include distributed application development, and his personal interests include playing guitar and traveling the U.S. and Abroad with his family. Brian holds a B.S.Ed. in Secondary Education (magna cum laude) from Temple University and is currently earning an M.S. in Software Engineering from Drexel University.

A Better Way to Design & Build Immersive E-Learning July 23, 2009

Posted by Noelle Archambeau in e-Learning Tools, e-SIG Presentations, Engaging e-Learners, Intructional Design.
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Thanks again to Robert Penn, CEO of Suddenly Smart, for a wonderful presentation today on building immersive e-learning.

Click the following links to learn more about rapid prototyping:

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)

4/17/08 – Mentoring SMEs April 18, 2008

Posted by Noelle Archambeau in e-SIG Presentations, Intructional Design.

Last night Nathan Eckel, Owner of Intelligent Design Concepts, and Jeff Ronald, Founder/Director of Pinnacle Health Solutions, discussed how they were able to successfully collaborate to create an e-learning course on tobacco cessation. Nathan (ID expert) taught Jeff (SME) the basics of the ADDIE model, how to write learning objectives, and how to keep learners engaged. By empowering Jeff with these basic instructional design skills, he and Nathan were able to develop the course in less time, with less rework, and with less headaches than if they had not formed this partnership. Nathan has coined this ID/SME partnership “Open Source ID”.

Click here to download the slides that Nathan and Jeff used during their presentation.

Click here to download a job aide that Nathan created for Jeff on the basics of instructional design.

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.
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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.

2/15/07 – Captivate vs. Camtasia February 26, 2007

Posted by Ben Craigo in e-Learning Tools, e-SIG Presentations, Intructional Design, Lessons Learned.

At the meeting on February 15 we had three excellent speakers that delivered three great presentations covering Adobe’s Captivate and TechSmith’s Camtasia.  Here’s a summary of each…. (more…)

Make sure learners have the technology to view your hard work! January 25, 2007

Posted by Marguerite Fallon in Intructional Design, Lessons Learned.
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When looking to design an e-learning session, don’t forget to look at technology.  Whether it is live or online, you need to know what is being used by your learners. Ask these questions before you start.

  • Have the learners taken e-learning courses previously?
  • What level of keyboard/mouse skills do the learners have?
  • Do the learners’ computers have soundcards, Flash, Media Player?

  • What Internet/Intranet connection speed do the learners have?

  • What processor speed do the learners’ computers have?

  • Are there any other computer limitations to the learners?

Believe it or not, not everyone has the latest and greatest in PC’s. You may develop a really cool session with voice, animation, interactivity, only to find out it can’t be used because the learners are on dial up. Very disappointing!  So more pre-work to do when looking at your latest e-learning session.