Facilitating design thinking: What it takes

For the past several years, I've had the opportunity to facilitate design thinking sessions for educators at the annual Big Ideas Fest. The conference requires its facilitators to tap all their skill and expertise to lead groups of educators through a user-centered design process. I've learned a ton about facilitation through this work, including what it takes to get groups of all sizes to stay engaged and collaborative.

Avoid This Common Mistake When Getting Started with Online Learning

So you’re considering moving your face-to-face learning content online. Congratulations! Teaching online can be a great way to reach new audiences and take advantage of the opportunities created by the latest learning technology. Unless you’ve got lots of experience with online learning, you’re likely feeling a little overwhelmed and unsure where to start. Don’t worry! Much of what you know about good learning design applies to both face-to-face and online learning experiences. But there is one common mistake many newbies make when first starting out, and it’s crucial that you avoid it.

The Secret to Writing Better Learning Objectives

Writing learning objectives is a true art, one that many instructional designers and educators are actually terrible at. We all learn in our teacher education programs that our learning objectives should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-framed). But why do we so often fail to write objectives that meet this simple criteria? The trick I use when writing learning objectives is as simple as it is valuable.

3 Quick Ways to Breathe New Life into Your Old Instructional Content

We’ve all got them. Those tried-and-true lectures, presentations and activities that we’ve used again and again throughout the years to great success with our learners. But maybe things are feeling a bit, well, tired. Refreshing your old content doesn’t have to mean overhauling everything. There are some quick and easy tweaks you can make to update any instructional content in a flash.

The Unexpected Reason Why Teaching Online Can Be So Challenging

As a consultant who helps organizations develop meaningful online learning experiences, I find that there’s a lot of resistance towards moving programs that have worked in face-to-face environments into an online-only delivery platform. I hear “you just can’t do X online” multiple times a week. While I reject that any of this is true, I do acknowledge that there is something different about teaching online. It’s a simple difference, but it’s one that has big implications for online learning designers.

What Educators Can Learn from Big Business About Community

Educators work within and thrive off of communities. Our schools and classrooms are situated within neighborhoods and towns, connected with families, community-based organizations and local governments. Much of our professional learning takes place through PLCs -- sometimes in person, and sometimes on line. But when it comes to strategically creating and nurturing learning communities, there’s a good deal to learn from business about what communities are, what they can and can’t do, and how to manage them.

5 Ways to Include Student Voice in Learning Design

Just like any other well-designed experience, great learning experiences have to start with a deep understanding of your learners. But kids today...amirite? In all seriousness, it can be hard to understand the motivations and needs of youth you’re trying to reach. Luckily, there are some easy-to-implement tactics you can use to start incorporating student voice into your learning design right away.

Why Your Classroom is Like Your Favorite Restaurant (or Why it Should Be)

Ever wondered why your students will spend hours immersed in the virtual world of a video game, but have zero attention span when it comes to your lessons? Or why the teachers in your school will show up for happy hour at the local bar but wouldn’t be caught dead in your after-school PD workshops? The answer has at least something to do with Experience Design, and as a learning designer there’s a lot you can borrow from the field to get and keep your learners engaged.