The Persona in Learning Experience Design

You walk to the shop with a bad headache, but you’ve decided that you want to be your best self for Mrs Mckenzie who has owned the general goods business that is near to your house. You don’t want to trouble her with your complaints because she’s just recovering from the loss of her favourite pet gerbil named ‘Louie’, has a bad hip, and her grand-kids don’t come to visit her anymore because they all live abroad.

When you enter the store, Mrs McKenzie’s face lights up and she greets you with an enthusiastic hello, before asking you how you are. You say….

  1. I’m fine, Mrs Mckenzie. How are you?
  2. I’ve got a terrible headache and I don’t want to talk right now.
  3. I’ve got a terrible headache, but that’s okay because I think your life is probably more difficult so I don’t want to complain about it.
  4. Say nothing.
  5. Something else.

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Top 3 tips to make better videos using a webcam for teachers (cheaply)

Would you like to know how to create educational videos using your webcam that don’t look like they’re made in someone’s basement, but without spending a small fortune?

I bet you do!

To help you in this worthwhile pursuit, I have some tips for you… but first a warning: Producing very high quality videos is not a walk in the park. I say this, not to scare anyone off, but to level off expectations. Producing movie quality videos is what the professionals do! And they get paid a whole lot of money to do it! All those fancy transitions, music and animations take talent, practice and time. However, with a few practical tips, you can produce decent quality videos with your webcam on the cheap, that are just fine for the majority of uses in the Educational world.

My first generic tip (tip number zero): your webcam video should be less than 6 minutes in total – anything longer and your viewers (students) will switch off.

And without further ado, here are three of my top tips:

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Learning Management Systems – User Experience, Interface and Design Considerations

Road to Nowhere

Learning Management Systems  are a seemingly unavoidable part of the online education landscape. For most users, they are a necessary evil. Despite the low opinion that users hold for the tool, learning management systems perform a range of administrative tasks well. They house course materials, results, assessment information and provide an avenue for staff and students to communicate with each other.

Louis CK performs a comedy skit which on the miracle of cell phones and flying and human apathy. In the bit, he talks about the magic that allows messages to be passed through this tiny little piece of technology, into the sky, and then beamed back down into another person’s little piece of technology. That is some kind of wizardry when you think about it. Louis CK’s takeaway: Humans complain about what the phone doesn’t do, rather than marvel at the things it does well. This analogy is applicable in the land of the Learning Management System. People take for granted the things a learning management system does well, but when it comes time to critiquing the software for what it doesn’t do – the pitchforks are out in force.

In my experience, the users (students and teachers) ire is drawn to two focal points:

  1. How easy is the learning management system to use?
  2. What does the interface of the learning management system look like? Continue Reading

How to create professional looking Infographics quickly and cheaply (or even for free!)

infographics

“What exactly is an infographic?” is a question that I was asked many times in the last year or two. Sometimes I even asked myself the question as I attempted to wrap my head around exactly what it was that separated an Infographic from a graph with a text description. The common definition these days is that it’s a representation of information using a combination of graphics, statistics and descriptions. Infographics have numerous practical applications in a teaching and learning format, where they can be used to demonstrate complex ideas in an easy on the eyes format. Literature and evidence is in plentiful supply that illustrates the effectiveness of using more than one medium (through text, images, sound, video etc) to capture student attention whether online or face-to-face (Here is a paper on multimodal learning from QLD, Australia), and Infographics (done well) can hit the sweet spot of images+stats+words+colours = learning!

There are various resources available online which provide examples of Infographics that I recommend you check out to see what is possible. (note: As a starting point, visit TheNextWeb and have a perve at some of their groovy examples. Their descriptions are also a useful starting point for thinking about how, when and where you might like to use them in your own teaching. If you’d like to read up a little more on Infographics generally, check out Infographics: The Visual Power of Storytelling by Jason Lankow and Josh Ritchie, which is heavily cited in Academic circles and receives excellent ratings from readers.)

History and context lesson aside, I’m assuming you’re here because you already know what Infographics are and just want me to get to the bit where I tell you what tool you can use to make them yourself with minimal graphical design expertise, time or money.

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3 of the best educational technology tools for 2017

Back to the future

It is January 2017, and the world of educational tools and technology is changing. Not that this is a new thing mind you, but it has become something that decision makers are needing to respond to because learner’s expectations are starting to shift so rapidly! The classroom is no longer just the four walls, the furniture, the students and the teacher. The classroom is now enabled outside of the educational institutions through mobile devices such as phones, tablets (my personal favourite of the Android variety is the Google Pixel C – we use them at work – great screen, serious power under the hood and they look cool) and laptops. Students take their learning with them, and Educational Institutions, developers and manufacturers are coming up with new and exciting ways to facilitate their on-the-go style.

So what are the educational technology tools of the trade that educators will need to be on top of to manage learner expectations as they follow these new trends? There are so many out there and there is no one size fits all, but here are three of my top picks for a more technology savvy (and time saving) 2017:  Continue Reading

Educational Technology

Hi – my name is Cameron and I’m an Educational Designer.

Or an Educational Technologist.

Or an Instructional Designer.

Or a teacher who is into technology.

Or an Education Professional who loves technology and producing a better product for students.

Whatever terminology you want to use, I’m somebody who is an expert in Education and in Technology. I work with people to produce better educational outcomes, namely, better situations for teachers and students to do their thing (teaching and learning). I’ve got qualifications in Education, IT, TESOL and a load of work experience in the Education sector in Australia, Asia and North America. I hope this blog will bring you some knowledge and ideas, and help you in your quest to become a better educator and students (us lifelong learners are students too!).