Every month, Microassist’s Senior Learning Architect Kevin Gumienny curates 5-10 articles from various disciplines related to learning and discipline. This year’s roundup includes articles on accessible
Did you have a favorite L&D post from 2018 that you’d like to add?
Recommended Learning and Development Articles from Our Senior Learning Architect
- Accessibility (6)
- Instructional Design (21)
- Evaluation (4)
- Learning Experience (19)
- Professionalism (9)
- Program Design (27)
- Style, Usage, and Grammar (10)
- Visual Design (9)
- Microassist’s Learning Dispatch Blog (4)
- On his GoodPractice podcast, Ross Garner has a great primer about the importance of ensuring that digital learning is accessible.
- At A List Apart, Manuel Matuzović shares the personal journey that led him to prioritize making websites accessible. Where does designing accessible elearning fit in your professional goals?
- In the world of accessible elearning (and accessibility in general), there’s been debate over the proper way to interpret the main set of standards, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Glenda Sims and Wilco Fiers have released their long-awaited white paper with their discussions and recommendations.
- Do you use video in elearning? Can elearning be considered video? In either case, Sofia Enamorado at 3PlayMedia shares how to determine whether your videos need captions.
- Are you cautious about ensuring that your training is designed to be accessible? At Inside Higher Ed, Mark Lieberman spoke to faculty members who once felt the same way…but changed their minds.
- Pamela Hogle’s insight into learning and accessibility is always worth paying attention to. In a recent article in Learning Solutions, she maps the intersection of artificial intelligence, learning, and accessibility.
- Connie Malamed cautions us against creating higher cognitive loads with all those pretty-but-irrelevant details. (And yet, every time I see a warning about distracting background music, I think about the effects of soundtracks on how people feel about sharks.)
- Rebecca Weaver, at the Chronicle of Higher Education’s ProfHacker blog, points out that assignment sheets reinforce the instructor’s pedagogical philosophy. How might her approach affect the activities you design? (And don’t miss her assignment sheet on assignment sheets at the end of the post.)
- Mirjam Neelen at 3-Star Learning Experiences gives us a review of Patti Shank’s new book, Practice and Feedback for Deeper Learning. TL;DR: Buy it.
- Cathy Moore walks us through an example of using scenarios to teach concepts.
- When reading the thoughts of Khoi Vinh (principal designer at Adobe) on design criticism, I found myself considering parallels with learning design. Do you see any?
- Wanda Thibodeaux reminds us that pausing to reflect on content is among the most effective ways to commit information to memory.
- Prototyping can be just as effective with learning design as it is with software design. Paul Boag asks whether we’re compromising our prototypes too soon as we drive toward the final product. Instead, design for the outstanding experience, and create motivation to achieve it.
- Having been caught in the curse of the subject matter expert myself, I really appreciated David Didau’s discussion of the different ways that novices and experts learn, and his suggestions on how to train both audiences.
- Clark Quinn has a new book out, this one on how to challenge learning myths. Get some quick guidance here.
- Cathy Moore on how to design software training. ‘Nuff said!
- At Fast Company, Art Markman provides a good reminder about which approaches can make compliance training more effective.
- Do you use professional talent to narrate your elearning? You should. Voices.com talks to Tom Kuhlmann to get some ideas for casting the perfect voice talent.
- Neale Van Fleet takes us through his process of designing his new soundboard app, Farrago. Interviewing users (like interviewing learners) showed him that his assumptions about how users wanted to interact with the app weren’t at all accurate.
- How do you engage your audience? Liza Featherstone, for the Long Read at the Guardian, gives us a meditation on the power and limits of focus groups.
- I’m a big fan of checklists—research shows that they work. However, research also shows that sometimes they don’t. Siddhartha Mukherjee takes some time to consider why not.
- Stephanie Vozza at Fast Company draws our attention to the difference between knowledge and skills, and what we need to do to make new skills stick.
- No feedback, no learning. What more needs to be said?
- Want to make learning more effective? Ephrat Livni at Quartz reviews a study that suggests you may want to introduce a level of uncertainty.
- On the surface, John Boitnott’s article in Entrepreneur is talking about providing feedback to colleagues. Can the techniques he discusses be applied to learners?
- At their blog, 3-Star Learning Experiences, Mirjam Neelen and Paul A. Kirschner share a clear and actionable guide to using worked examples in training.
- The curse of the subject matter expert is real. Adam Grant writes in the New York Times that “those who can do, can’t teach.”
- Gerry McGovern argues that we need to measure what people do, not what people say they do. When you measure learning, which are you focusing on?
- I…don’t know how I feel about using a single question to measure something in a survey. But after reading this post, I have a better sense of how that might be possible.
- You want to do usability testing for your courses. Can’t manage in-person testing? Find the data from remote testing too imprecise to be actionable? Try remote moderated usability tests. Kate Meyer and Kara Pernice walk you through the process.
- Are you seeing a push to incorporate more data analysis into your learning and development process? (If not, you should be.) At Harvard Business Review, Tom Diplock, Philip Meier, David Jordan, and Niklas Ek have some solid and actionable suggestions on how to put data analysis to good use.
- Diana Lawrence, writing for the Globe and Mail, provides a nice case study showing how online learning can be life changing for those in remote communities.
- At the Harvard Business Review, Todd Warner reminds us that if learning is to be successful, it needs to be placed in context.
- Changing habits is what we want our learners to do. Sendhil Mullainathan at the New York Times asks why is it so hard to change habits?
- So many things to love about Lauralee Sheehan and Martin Whelan’s article on using design thinking to create learning. Philosophy? Check. Process? Check. New tools? Check!
- Roy Steiner has five points he’d like to share about the way that improv sessions, business principles, and learning can interact to build on each other.
- What’s in a word? Matt May at Adobe ponders how best to describe his effort to get to universal design.
- Gamification is having a rough time of it. Let’s take a moment and ask: Does gamification actually work? Sharon Boller at ATD argues that it does.
- Didn’t Grovo trademark the term “microlearning”? Well, yes, but it’s complicated.
- In his article for TD Magazine, Anders Gronstedt makes a strong case that virtual and augmented reality isn’t coming—it’s here (PDF).
- Patti Shank turns her deeply informed, research-based focus to microlearning. Which claims are supported by reality, and which are just hype?
- Ben Lovejoy, of 9toMac, has a short meditation on the ways in which augmented reality (AR) is better than virtual reality (VR). Might AR be more effective in training?
- At the New Yorker, D. T. Max discusses “‘SKAM,’ the Radical Teen Drama That Unfolds One Post at a Time.” What a way to tell a story! Can your training do this?
- What makes for effective learning? It depends on the goal. If the goal is to pass a test requiring rote memorization, then, as noted by Orly Nadell Farber in Stat, skipping lectures in favor of memory aids, videos, and online quizzes is a logical way to go. (And you have to love an article that references the memory palace, a memorization technique popular from Ancient Rome to the Middle Ages.)
- Textbooks are the classic information dump. Surely digital forms of learning will render them obsolete. At the Conversation, Norm Friesen gives us five reasons why textbooks will stick around.
- Lydia Dishman, a contributor at Fast Company, gives her account of what happened when she tried to learn something new every day for a month. Upshot: she’s going to focus on learning one new thing a month instead.
- What happens when learning sticks too well? Aaron Carroll writes at the New York Times about the difficulty of getting doctors to unlearn discredited practices.
- Which are better for reading, serif or san serif fonts? Is it better to attend instructor-led training or elearning? At Time, Markham Heid points us to a new debate: is it better to listen to a book or to read one?
- We all know (or should know) that retrieval practice (practice testing) is one of the best ways to ensure long-term retention. Jason Chan, Christian Meissner, and Sara Davis, in a new meta-study, help fill out the details and chart a few limits.
- Here are some fun and effective memory techniques from Ed Cooke at the Guardian. Does knowing these change the way that you structure your courses?
- I find that I love this opinion piece by Sarah Fister Gale at Chief Learning Officer. She points out that there’s a lot of high-quality learning available for free, which, in turn suggests that learning leaders need to shift from being content creators to content curators. In her telling, free learning is less a threat to learning designers than it is a shining, wonderful opportunity.
- Curious about salary and compensation in the elearning field? The eLearning Guild’s 2018 Global eLearning Salary & Compensation Report is out.
- If you happen to work remotely, and happen to live in New York City, you might find working at all-day cafés enjoyable. The rest of us will just have to live vicariously.
- Looking for something to read this summer? Connie Malamed has five new learning and development books for you to check out.
- Instructional designers: Essential members of the learning team or technical support? Mark Lieberman at Inside Higher Ed surveys the situation.
- Alaric Bourgoin and Jean-Francois Harvey note in Harvard Business Review that effective consulting “depends on in-depth situational knowledge that consultants simply can’t have when they start an assignment.” Does that sound like tackling a new learning development project in a field you’re not familiar with? They have some suggestions for overcoming what they call the “learning-credibility tension.”
- The folks at Articulate’s Rapid E-Learning Blog identify a few factors that can help you be successful in the learning development industry.
- At Vanity Fair, Jessica Hopper shows us how women introduced copyediting to Rolling Stone.
- Ever feel that you wear just too many hats? Tim Herrera at the New York Times notes this can actually be an advantage and points us to the concept of “talent stacking.”
- Nick Morrison at Forbes highlights a study that shows middle school students who used online learning “improved their test scores by an average of 16.7%, compared with 5.7% among those who had studied using traditional methods.” Yet another study showing that online learning is at least as effective as traditional methods.
- Oregon State University has a “searchable resource of academic studies on the learning outcomes of online and/or hybrid education in comparison to face-to-face environments.” An Online Learning Efficacy Research Database? Am I dreaming? No. No I am not.
- Fully understanding the data related to learning and assessment might require you to become familiar with statistics. Fortunately, according to Matt Korman, the two best books for learning about statistics are free.
- Looking for inspiration for your training program? Training magazine has released their top 125 training organizations for 2017.
- Steve Volk reports on an effort to train patrol officers to report child trafficking. The subject is sobering. The description of building a successful training program is fascinating.
- Mike Prokopeak uses the Chief Learning Officer Business Intelligent Board’s recent survey to explore how common it is to track learning against business goals. Spoiler: not very.
- Do you use video in your training? What can you learn from Condé Nast’s pivot to video? (I appreciated their goal of breaking down the silos, aiming to take the lessons learned from one brand and sharing with the others).
- Taco Bell’s effort to move to a new solution for training makes for a fascinating case study on the costs and benefits of a searchable digital library. What changes, what remains the same?
- Why are online courses at universities sometimes not taken seriously? Alec MacGillis offers insight into this question, and others, in this sobering examination of online training at Liberty University.
- Can training make you an expert? And if so, how much training is needed? That’s one question I was thinking about after reading Pamela Colloff’s in-depth reporting of the conviction of Joe Bryan for the 1986 murder of his wife, a conviction largely based on one police officer’s analysis of bloodstain patterns. (Colloff discusses bloodstain-pattern analysis, and the training involved, in part 2 of her report. Part 1 is here.)
- How do you make online education better? The Chronicle of Higher Education takes a look at research that focuses on effective online training in the university environment. If you’re not in higher education, can you leverage these ideas? (The Teaching newsletter has a few other neat things, too.)
- Brian Fox gives us a case study on the benefits of using in-person training when introducing a new project management approach.
- Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends report is out (a yearly event much anticipated in the tech community). Donald Clark parses the 294-slide deck for the insight it gives into education and training.
- Jiwook Jung and Taekjin Shin at Harvard Business Review look at how changes in the theory that is taught in business school affect the shape of corporations thirty years later. They conclude that what’s learned in school does indeed impact what’s done in life.
- Can training affect implicit bias? Al Baker at the New York Times tells us that the New York Police Department is finding out.
- I think I like Dena Coots’ case study on using Softchalk to design an orientation for first-time online students for a couple of reasons. One, she listens to her users and redesigns the course to suit their needs. And two, she recognizes that students need an orientation to online learning at college as much as they need an orientation to the traditional college experience.
- Gretchen Anderson, in a sample chapter from her new book on collaboration, talks about who we should include in decisions, why we should include them, and what we should do about those we don’t include. I’m thinking about this every time I develop a training program, course, module… interaction…
- Perhaps more a discussion of leadership than learning, it’s still an engaging study. Sara Mosle at the New York Times Magazine asks “can good teaching be taught?”
- At Fast Company, Ed Catmull, one of the founders of Pixar, gives us some solid guidance on creative collaboration.
- At the Pen Addict, Susan M. Pigott, who is, among other things, a fountain pen enthusiast and collector, reviews an elearning course on calligraphy. In other words, here’s a review of a skills-based, online course from a user’s perspective. What works? What doesn’t?
- Ron Carucci, at Harvard Business Review, reminds us that training isn’t always the solution, and should be used only when the effects of training can be optimized.
- What’s happening in medical training is just… inspiring. From Laura Pappano at the New York Times, “Training the Next Generation of Doctors and Nurses.”
- One of the most significant learning discussions of 2018 occurred when Starbucks closed for diversity training.
- Steven P. Dinkin at Fast Company discusses what Starbucks employees were meant to learn.
- In the op-ed section of the New York Times, Phillip Atiba Goff questions whether training is the best way to address the problem of bias.
- Charles Bethea at the New Yorker talks with two Starbucks employees about what they thought of the training.
- And, finally, Lydia Dishman at Fast Company puts Starbucks’s effort into perspective by briefly reviewing the history of diversity training.
Style, Usage, and Grammar
- The Chicago Manual of Style interviews Certified Professional Editor Iva Cheung about plain language. And cartooning.
- Did you miss 2017’s word of the year? Anne Curzan at Lingua Franca will catch you up.
- This, I can identify with. In fact, you’ve probably found a few errors in this newsletter.
- One. Space. Between. Each. Sentence. This research is just wrong.
- Did you know that there is a cybersecurity style guide? You’re welcome.
- Do you really need someone to edit your work? Yes. Yes, you do.
- Judith Humphrey at Fast Company discusses four elements to becoming a better writer. We can all be better writers.
- The “Old Editor” at the Baltimore Sun, John E. McIntyre, has some advice about commas.
- Carol Saller, editor of the Chicago Manual of Style Q&A, gives us a glimpse into four hours of her day as a copyeditor, from back in 2009. Recognize anything?
- At ATD (Association for Talent Development), Julia Miller shares her thoughts on the importance of writing when it comes to course design (so much truth in this—even if she uses Strunk and White).
- If you do use a comic-book style in elearning, consider Gretchen McCulloch’s caution about the universality of cartoon-style images.
- Do you find that stock images of teaching are static and boring? James M. Lang tells us how to ensure that photos of classroom training don’t look staged.
- How do you make Sunzi’s 2500-year-old text The Art of War relevant to a modern audience? According to C.C. Tsai, as interviewed in the New York Times, you might use a comic-book style.
- Ashley Holland at Skyword shows us how a comic-book style can be used to create effective marketing materials. Comic-book style—it’s not just for elearning anymore.
- Do you spend way too much time researching and finding the perfect font to use for your training content? Take a look at icon8’s study of the fonts people actually use.
- At the Signal v. Noise blog, Jason Zimdars tells us a great story about illustrating Jason Fried’s and David Heinemeier Hansson’s new book, It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work. Not only to we get insight into Zimdar’s iterative thought process on the best illustrations to complement the text, we also see the role that the organization’s work culture played. How can this be applied to the development of your next training project?
- How can we pass up an article about Sans Forgetica, the new typeface that claims it can boost memory? (One of the best things about Lisa Martin’s story in the Guardian is the option to read the story in Sans Forgetica.)
- And John Pavlus at Fast Company encourages us to “write people up for their design crimes” with a tongue-in-cheek ticket book from Hoefler & Co. I literally laughed so hard I cried.
- And, just for fun, a story from Josh Holtsclaw about the inspiration behind the visual design of Incredibles 2. Where do you get your ideas?
Favorites from Microassist’s Learning Dispatch Blog
As a bonus, here are a few of our favorite posts from last year’s Learning Dispatch blog.
- Looking to make sure that your own training program is accessible to those with disabilities? Take a look at our Training Manager’s Guide to Accessible Elearning
- The 2019 CSUN Assistive Technology Conference is right around the corner. Last year our focus was on pattern libraries. Keep an eye on the Learning Dispatch blog to see our takeaways from this year. And while you’re waiting—or if you can’t attend—take a look at our CSUN 2019 backchannel.
- Are you converting classroom training to
? Listen to Sanjay Nasta interview Kevin Gumienny on the topic (or read the transcript). elearning
- Are you planning to use video in your training? What should you do? What shouldn’t you do? We share a few ideas.