Are you a Learning Dispatch newsletter subscriber? A favorite newsletter feature is “This Month in Learning.” In it, Microassist Senior Learning Architect Kevin Gumienny briefly introduces a list of diverse, informative, and recently published articles related to learning and development.
We’ve gathered all of Kevin’s 2017 “This Month in Learning” articles and commentary here, grouped into nine categories (noting the number of articles given in each):
- Accessibility (6)
- Instructional Design (23)
- Learning Experiences (16)
- Learning Management Systems (4)
- Professionalism (4)
- Program Design (11)
- Style, Usage, and Grammar (11)
- Testing (5)
- Visual Design (9)
Let us know what learning and development topics are most helpful to you, then subscribe to the Learning Dispatch newsletter today. You won’t want to miss Kevin’s recommended learning and development articles in 2018!
(Want a summary? Catch our 6 Favorite Learning and Development Articles from 2017 for a sample of what’s below!)
The Year in Learning—89 Recommended Learning and Development Articles from 2017
- Boy, I hate Comic Sans. Fully on board with killing it. Until, that is, I read Lauren Hudgin’s account of her sister’s experience with the font. Long live Comic Sans!
- If you need to design training and make it accessible to those with disabilities, first listen to those with disabilities.
- Both Jason Snell of Six Colors and David Pogue of Yahoo spend time exploring the accessibility features offered by iOS and MacOS. How are you making sure that your training is available to all learners?
- Sanjay Nasta and I talk about making elearning accessible to people with disabilities in the latest Leaders in Learning podcast. Resources and (of course) a transcript at the link.
- Want to know more about how to design elearning for everyone, including those with disabilities? I wrote an article for TD Magazine that can help. Visit our blog for a free, no-sign-up-required PDF download of “E-Learning for All” and a link to the original posting.
- Have you subscribed to my colleague Jack McElaney‘s weekly newsletter, Accessibility in the News? You should.
- So you don’t like the here’s-how-to-navigate-this-course video that’s the standard third screen of every course you develop? Here are some other options to guide learners through your training.
- Jason Snell explores ways to refine audio—sure, the focus is podcasts, but it’s applicable to voice-overs.
- Annie Murphy Paul has a review of a book that points out that, like so many other things, intuitive insights about how to read well aren’t supported by, well, science. (Seen this before? Learning styles, I’m looking at you [PDF]…)
- Connie Malamed reviews Play to Learn, a new book by Sharon Boller and Karl Kapp on using games to engage learners. And after you spend some time with the review and the book, consider Erik Kain’s discussion of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. How might gamification interfere with the learning experience? How might you counter such interference?
- April Glaser traces how calculations about nuclear fallout in the 1960s influence today’s drone regulations. How much of our training effort is dictated by long-standing, unexamined assumptions?
- Sally Weale at the Guardian describes how thirty academics from neuroscience, education, and psychology have (once again) challenged the myth of learning styles.
- This one’s been making the rounds on social media. It turns out that the idea that we can’t focus on something longer than eight seconds is something of a myth.
- Learning styles—a perpetual topic of discussion. A new study asks who actually uses them?
- The Oatmeal takes a look at the intersection of belief and reality, and what it might take to change a person’s beliefs.
- Ever wonder why we know as much about how memory works as we do? This profile of ninety-eight-year-old-and-still-active scientist Brenda Milner will give you some insight.
- Can studying for the SAT improve your score? Well…yes.
- At the Elearning Coach, Connie Malamed quickly reviews four new books on learning. Have I mentioned that she has a great podcast on instructional design? She has a great podcast on instructional design.
- The last MP3 patents have expired, and the format is now free to use.
- Want to change behavior? First, figure out why people are behaving the way that they are. Aarian Marshall at Wired takes a look at how people are using this approach to address the problem of distracted driving.
- Still have that guitar you gave up after three months of trying to learn to play? Fender’s new learning tool uses short videos and personalized learning paths to enable you to jump right into learning the song of your choice—learn by doing.
- Mirjam Neelen and Paul A. Kirschner at 3-Star Learning Experiences provide a nice rundown of 10 evidence-based principles of instruction and how they might be applied to workplace learning.
- Colleen Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed discusses Carl Wieman’s new book, which makes an evidence-based case for changing the way that science is taught.
- So much about course development is about design. Meghan Lazier at DigitalGov discusses important factors for running an effective design critique meeting.
- One of my favorite articles of the year, “Prototyping Games at The New York Times: Live Fast. Die Hard. Document.” What actions can you bring into your development process? Great example of rapid prototyping—what can you incorporate into your development process?
- Cathy Moore (the developer of the action mapping instructional design process) has a new book out, Map It: The Hands-On Guide to Strategic Training Design, and has made a few job aids and worksheets available for download.
- Do you use user (or learner) personas in your design? Kim Krause Berg suggests that user stories might be an alternative.
- It’s the basis of so much elearning (well, so much mediocre elearning). Where did it come from? David C. Brock tells us about the improbable origins of PowerPoint.
- Speaking of research, Adam Popescu outlines how to be better at remembering for the Smarter Living section of The New York Times. (Spaced learning gets a callout, naturally.)
- Sure, it’s an “app.” It’s also elearning. One of the best things about Change Talk 2.0 (in addition to the scenario-based interactive approach) is the data that it actually works.
- What’s the next stage in technology-based training? Could it be virtual reality? Michael Litt at Fast Company has thoughts on what VR might offer work in general.
- Sean Captain looks at a choose-your-own-adventure-style online program that trains people to deal with terrorism. One note to make—they chose to focus on ecoterrorism precisely because it currently isn’t a hot topic.
- Mattel found that parents were put off by Barbie’s traditional look, so it modernized the doll with additional skin tones and body shapes—and received an overwhelmingly positive response from parents and girls. Are you providing all learners with the ability to identify with the personas used in your learning?
- At the ATD blog, Clara Von Ins summarizes recent research on cutting-edge learning techniques, such as mobile, social learning, and experiential learning.
- Stephen Baer, head of Creative Strategy & Innovation at The Game Agency, writes at Forbes about how Big Pharma is using game-based learning.
- Why experiential learning? Sue Winston, chief operating officer at Eagle’s Flight, writing for Chief Learning Officer, gives you 10 reasons.
- Looking for inspiration for interactivity? Check out these five interactivity examples from the BBC.
- Would you be inspired by a choose-your-own adventure video?
- Marygrace Schumann at Chief Learning Officer makes the case that microlearning is its own special animal, and should be treated as such.
- So we all know that learning styles is a myth, right? What about the “digital native”? Might be a myth, too.
- From the Department of Homeland Security, serious games for first responders. If you need to practice responding to active shooters, a learning game is a great place to do it.
- A new way to learn economics? Sometimes, it’s not about the technology—it’s about the material. John Cassidy at the New Yorker looks at a “modern, comprehensive, and freely available” online economics course, one that factors in the lessons of the world economic crisis of 2008-9. Evidently an up-to-date curriculum prepares students better than older material.
- Cindy Craig discusses her efforts to use short-form videos (also known as micro-learning) for library instruction. Can you adapt her experiences for your training?
- Paul A. Kirschner and Mirjam Neelan have another of their wonderful research-based, learning-focused blog posts available. This one discusses spaced learning. With posters!
- And finally, who doesn’t love case studies? Sherman Morrison at ElearningInside News rounds up several cases studies showing how companies are successfully using micro-learning to deliver training.
Learning Management Systems
- There are so many people who hate their learning management systems. So why do we still use them? George Kroner has some thoughts.
- Josh Bersin takes a look at how the learning management system, while still important, might be taking more of a background role in corporate training.
- Craig Weiss’s take on what the next generation LMS will look like. It’s not perfect (accessibility seems to be missing), but it’s a great start on thinking about what we need in an LMS.
- Jean Dimeo at Inside Higher Ed chronicles the Indiana University System’s “relatively pain-free implementation of its new learning management” system. That phrase alone was enough for me to want to read the article. And that’s without the link to Indiana University System’s publicly available reports on its pilot tests.
- You’re the development expert—act like it, even if (especially if) your clients think that the most important thing about web design (or elearning) is the color palette.
- Are you a learning specialist? How do you brand yourself? Should you brand yourself? Kelli Marshall makes good points. Sure, she’s talking about academics, but the idea is applicable.
- Ever wonder what instructional designers do? Sharon O’Malley, at Inside Higher Ed, gives a nice overview.
- Here’s a short video from Chief Learning Officer where Danielle O’Hare, director of talent development at Lucasfilm, describes Lucasfilm’s core values in learning and business.
- At HR Dive, Doug Stephens, senior vice president of the Learning Division at CGS, is interviewed about his vision of an agile corporate learning program.
- Emily Tate at Inside Higher Ed takes a look at the (often contentious) relationship between instructional designers and faculty and documents some best practices to ease conflicts.
- From Wayne D’Orio at Inside Higher Ed, a realization that effective online learning requires helping students be effective online learners, and how the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is successfully addressing the problem.
- Is online learning as effective as face-to-face courses? It’s a perennial question, and one that Joseph Cavanaugh and Stephen J. Jacquemin are eager to address in the Online Learning Journal. Hint: the answer is yes.
- Education Dive offers a quick look at how real-time data offered by online learning platforms can help address the desire of both faculty and students for a personal connection.
- At Harvard Business Review, Jon Younger makes excellent points about why training, like other projects, needs to become more agile. (As a side note, Microassist offers staff augmentation services, helping you scale your teams as needed.)
- Stephanie Reese Masson gives us a personal account of her efforts to ensure that the students enrolled in a course are the ones actually doing the work.
- An additional nuance in the “is online training as effective as in-person training” debate: A new study from the Carrick Institute suggests that both are equally effective. Note that this study compared an in-person seminar and synchronous online seminar.
- It requires a subscription, but the Chronicle of Higher Education has a fascinating article about how Pierce College mobilized course data to improve student outcomes (and persuaded faculty to buy into the effort).
- It turns out that, based on a 2016 report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, current sexual harassment training doesn’t work. What will?
- To move courses online, educational institutions often have to negotiate between small budgets, passionate faculty, and student demand, all while establishing and maintaining high levels of quality. How do they do it? Seton Hill University offers some suggestions (via Jean Dimeo at Inside Higher Education).
Style, Usage, and Grammar
- Do you include citations in your training? I do. Man, but citations are a pain. Erin Brenner at Copyediting has suggestions on how to handle them.
- Did you know that “dumpster fire” is the American Dialect Society’s Word of the Year for 2016? More on the decision (and choices for other categories). (“Fake News” grabbed the 2017 title earlier this month).
- So much of learning is about writing, which raises the question of how do you write well? Timothy Bent, executive editor of Oxford University Press, has suggestions.
- In celebration of National Grammar Day this past March 4, enjoy John McIntyre’s “A Stet in the Dark,” the latest in his Grammar Noir Mystery series.
- Ah, language—it’s so important in how we design training. And we’re so careful about the particular words we choose. The New York Times takes a look at the racial terms that make its writers and editors cringe.
- Looks like, in its 17th edition, the Chicago Manual of Style is becoming a bit bendy on the topic of the singular they.
- Kory Stamper, lexicographer and blogger at Merriam-Webster, has a new book out on the secret life of dictionaries. Here’s the New York Times’s review. (One of my favorite bits: Stamper, when noting that example sentences in the dictionary need to be as objective, dispassionate, and robotic as possible, explains that “people do not come to the dictionary for excitement and romance; that’s what encyclopedias are for.”)
- Oh, happy day! A new edition of the Chicago Manual of Style is now out. Here’s an overview of the major changes.
- Cathy Moore shows us how to write like Ernest Hemingway and explains why we’d want to.
- How many of us edit? If not other’s, then our own work? John McIntyre at the Baltimore Sun identifies eight rules for editors to follow.
- Hoa Loranger gives us a nuanced, well-thought-out approach to using plain language when writing for experts.
- From Fast Company and Google, an approach to testing (hint: there’s no one-size-fits-all solution).
- How do you test your elearning? Nick Babich has a great guide (for software, but let’s repurpose). So many nuggets. For example, let your testers know problems are not their fault: “We’re not testing you; we’re testing our design. So, nothing you say or do is wrong.”
- Adam Silver suggests that tests mimic real-life use as closely as possible.
- Raluca Budiu reminders us that we are not our users (or our learners).
- Cathy Moore asks, “What’s the real cost of eye candy?” Status indicators are cool, but are they necessary? (Bonus: the benefits of tracking your time—how would you know the time using eye candy adds, unless you track how much time it takes?)
- Tyrus Wong gave us Bambi. A look at Wong and his influences—if art is more than eye candy in elearning, where does it come from? Wong passed away in 2016, part of the dumpster fire that was that year.
- Julia Love at Reuters reports on design perfection at Apple’s new campus. My favorite part: “Guidelines for the special wood used frequently throughout the building ran to some 30 pages.” At what point does perfection become an obstacle to success?
- Just for fun, iTunes terms and conditions. In a graphic novel. In the style of various artists (including Windsor McKay!). Has conveying dry and commonly ignored information ever been so much fun? (Printed as a book, revised and in color, on March 7, 2017, by Drawn and Quarterly.)
- On fonts, Margaret Rhodes describes why Google’s new font, Note Serif CJK, is so impressive.
- It seems that Cooper Black is coming (back?) into fashion.
- Keith Stuart describes the profound impact that artists have on video game worlds. How’s the visual design of your online courses?
- Ever wonder how important graphic design is? Turns out that it can save your life. Wired reviews a new exhibition at London’s Wellcome Collection about the impact of graphic design.
- Ever despair of finding stock photos that don’t have happy, smiling people in stereotyped gender roles? Lydia Dishman at Fast Company describes how a team at Getty Images is striving to better depict gender roles in real life.
Want More Great Learning and Development Reading?
Consider Elearning Development Resources: Develop the Elearning Your Program Deserves, which lists books and resources by L&D leaders useful in creating elearning.
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