Resources – Learning Tech Discussions

List of resources that were collected during my session on learning technologies in today’s world. – Will

eLearning and the Science of Instruction by Ruth Clark

Design for How People Learn by Julie Dirksen

Cindy Huggett: Virtual Learning

Blackboard: Educational Technology

ed2go: Online Courses

Video: Joe Ganci eLearning Tools Comparisons – ATD Atlanta Chapter

Qstream: Mobile Learning for Sales

The Gamification of Learning and Instruction by Karl Kapp


Building the Bridge to Performance in the Brain

Isn’t it interesting that neuroscience has become a buzz topic of the L&D space? The brain itself has always been a part of learning and yet there has been a resurgence of research regarding learning, memory and cognitive approaches in neuroscience. There are many neuroscience tools that we can use to assist us in designing better learning and I find that the best come from science, not vendors trying to sell you neuroscience. Read on.

Everlasting performance

Knowledge retention is a huge factor when designing learning. It can become a challenge because we have to come up with ways for successful knowledge transfer. There needs to be techniques that shorten the transfer rate from learning to application. Once employees retain this information, it can be retrieved quickly when they need it to perform. Thanks to science we can rely on some cognitive learning strategies that can be applied to the learning solutions we are creating.

Repeated Retrieval

This is an approach where learners will recall information from memory. The learner does this a few times to help strengthen the connection of the information stored in memory. This allows the curve of forgetting to become more gentle.  An example of this is bite sized pieces of Q&A being sent to learners to reinforce what they learned. This enables them to practice retrieving the information while they are in their jobs rather then taking them out of the contextual environment. This could be an app on their mobile device or even an email to them.

Duolingo is an app that does this very well. It starts out the learning with an assessment and asks questions upfront and based on the answer either moves them to the next question or provides them with remedial training until they are successful. It also requires them to use the language in all modalities, speech, reading and writing for full comprehension.

The Spacing Effect

Also known as spaced practice, this proven method has a learner review the same information or slight increase of information in specific period of time. We all know how cramming is the college method, this is the antithesis of that. I have seen many solutions where the learner is given short bursts of information for as little as 5 minutes a day. Then the next burst will be the same information to help strengthen that connection so it can be stored into long term memory. This also allows the learning to be embedded into their work day, keeping them in context.


The process of reflection allows learners to stop and digest the information they were given to learn. So perhaps after taking that elearning course or session they will be given time to review what they learned but also will create their own understanding of it as it resonates with them. When you can understand something in your own way, there is better encoding of the information. It’s easier to retain your own understanding than someone else’s because you’ve re-wired to your brain.

These are a just a few of the areas that I am working on implementing into my work everyday. I continue to do research on various neuroscience topics in the areas of memory, learning, cognitive load, and theories.


Adobe Captivate 9!

I am excited to share that Adobe Captivate 9 is here! I’ve had the opportunity to work with Adobe Captivate 9 and try out some of the new features of the development tool. There are a lot of updates to what Captivate 8 laid the foundation for and continuing to build on ease of use for instructional designers and developers.

Adobe Captivate Draft 

Cp Draft

Probably one of the more exciting features that I really like is the Adobe Captivate Draft app for Captivate 9 available in the Apple App Store. Draft allows you to create your storyboard all right within the app and provides a lot of functionality. You can add slide objects and modify their properties like the size and fill color. You can even add hotspots and questions slides. When you’re finished creating your storyboard you can save it to Creative Cloud and open the storyboard file directly into Captivate 9 and add full development.

Cp Draft2

Enhancements to Responsive Projects

Another fantastic feature that has been enhanced is responsive projects in Captivate 9.  Now responsive projects have up to 5 breakpoints to create for the devices that you are delivering your projects on. These could be used to create specific views or you can create them as the landscape/portrait view alternative to your project.


If don’t want your learners to view content on mobile devices in landscape mode, you can do that as well with disallowing landscape orientation and including a message to only view the course in portrait orientation. You can find this in Preferences, Publish Settings.



Multi-State Objects 

A new level of interactivity has been added to Captivate 9 with multi-state objects. You can create these interactions without having to use show/hide techniques in your project. In the Properties panel that is new section called Object States where you can create different states for an object. There are still the three default states, Normal, Rollover, and Down. You can also create your own custom states with objects.


There is also a button called State View that opens up the Object State panel to manage the states you have created. You can add or delete states and add more objects to existing states.

CpState2                                         CpState3

You can execute then execute and Advanced Action to Change State of… so when the learner clicks on the target button it will then change the state of the object.


Here is an example screenshot of how states can work instead of the show/hide features in Advanced Actions.


This example has several car colors so when the learner clicks on each color button the car will match the color on the button. This was all created using the multi-state object feature in Captivate 9.


Geo-location Enhancements

Captivate 8 introduced geo-location for responsive courses, but now in Captivate 9 there’s an extra layer of functionality. Geo-location allows you to deliver content to you learners when they need it and where they need it.

One of the better features of this is the Geo-Location Emulator which allows you to test out the project as if you were in the learner’s location.


Another update is executing an Advanced Action when the learner’s location changes.



These are some of my favorite new features of Adobe Captivate 9, but there are many more. Check out the Adobe Captivate 9 product page to download a trial and get started!



LIVE on #LearnHaus: Using Periscope for Learning Indian Cuisine

If you have been following me on social media, you’ll know my latest hobby is growing my cooking skills with Indian cuisine. I find it exciting since I haven’t been exposed to it much and still in the honeymoon phase. As I work through the different recipes, I’ll share photos on my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages, but what I would really like is to educate those who have not experienced the cuisine. Anyone that asks me about Indian food will know that I rattle off like a SME. I am going to start a blog soon to start to share what I have learned. I wanted another way to educate people and I actually found this solution by accident. Enter Periscope.

I first used Periscope at ATD ICE 2015 during Erik Wahl’s performance/keynote and found it great to share what I was experiencing with people all over the world. I thought about how streaming apps like Periscope and Meerkat could help leverage learning and extend reach. Soon I realized I would be using it for my own purposes in my Indian cooking when I decided that I would share some recipes I was working on.

Before I share my experience with Periscope, a little about how to use it. Periscope is an app that connects to your Twitter account and allows you to stream live to your folks on both Periscope and Twitter mobile apps. You can also view through web browsers on Twitter. When you load the app the first thing you see is live streams of anyone you are following. You can also explore around the globe what other top streams are. Lastly, you can start your own stream of course!

Before you actually start your broadcast you can give a title to your stream, enable chat for people so they make comments or ask questions, and even tap the screen to give people “hearts” to show you enjoy the broadcast. I think preparing for it somewhat, depending on what you are sharing is key. I had to figure out how I was going to have my phone standing when I would need two hands to cook with. I came up with turning a drinking glass upside down and putting a coffee mug on top and had my phone sitting in there. It was great because you saw the whole landscape of the kitchen and exactly what I was doing. If there was a certain cutting technique I turned the mug upside down and laid the phone flat on top of it so the camera would be down on my hands.Preparation is a good idea before you start streaming so you don’t lose your audience.

During the stream I quickly realized that for cooking at least, you want it to be as streamlined as possible because something that normally takes 30 minutes to do  might take 45 because of the attention to the stream. Also, there are times when you are waiting for something to cook that might take 10-20 minutes. How do you fill empty time up? One thing you can try is to end the stream while you are waiting and then start a new broadcast to continue. Another way is to use that time to answer questions or educate the audience. I decided to teach about the different spices that are used in the dishes and the different kinds of chilis. Overall it went pretty well for a first try. One major tip: just because it’s a live broadcast doesn’t mean you should fly by the seat of your pants, you should have an overall idea of how the broadcast will flow so there is some structure. You want it to be casual in conversation too. This is not a recorded training session!

What I think is most important is after the stream you can see the total time the broadcast was, which is easy to forget about and also the retention rate. You can see what the average time someone spent viewing your broadcast too. The retention rate is really helpful because you can benchmark your training to keep people engaged. I plan to improve my retention rate as I plan the broadcast out better.

The next thing I’ll try is giving folks the recipe to be broadcasted a week or two in advance so they have time to get the ingredients and then we can all cook together during the broadcast. Take it from just being a viewer to being involved in the broadcast and actually learning something new. Can’t wait to share!


What Does Lady Gaga Have in Common With Today’s Learning Design?…Performance!

I was thinking about how much the industry has changed for those of us in the learning and performance (L&P) arena. Now I will tell you that I was able to get on the ground early and skip a lot of what this article is mostly about, but I feel that I should address it anyhow. So what do I mean by the title of this blog post? Well a few things…

One is that I see a parallel between the music industry and the L&P industry in that they both have had to grow up a little bit in terms of what they stand for. If we go back to 1999 when Britney Spears and N’Sync were all the rage we were so dazzled (some of us anyway) by how they were “performing” with all the lights and back up dancers we didn’t miss the most crucial piece: they weren’t actually singing.

During that time “trainers” were delivering mostly classroom instruction and printing lots of workbooks for our “trainees”. Most of them had a corporate account with Trainer’s Warehouse. They handed out the smile sheets at the end of the class. The best part? Just like when Britney hit us one more time, the training department was in awe and excitement when their attendance rate was greater than 50%.

While both of our industries were excelling at the time, I feel that now both of our industries have changed. As learning professionals we are moving in the direction of what real performance looks like and how we get our organizations there. We are designing for performance while keeping learning in mind. We are all becoming increasingly innovative in the discoveries and strides we are making to progress forward. We are rejecting the fakers like the smile sheet for a better outcome, better performance.

In the music industry the same thing is happening. Singers are being criticized for their use of autotune on their records and the fact that 80% of their live shows are lip synced. Now singers like Lady Gaga (personal bias) have arrived pushing what it means to be a performer. Singing live, carrying a message, and keeping fans engaged. Our equivalent of that is making the learning experience real and measuring performance all while providing them with the tools and information they need for success.

So the need for real performance in both industries is very much alive and is the new norm that is expected among “supporters”. What it ends up being is the proof that we are all the real deal in our respective professions.

I was always taught to know better regarding performance because I stayed current in the industry and applied it to everyday life. It’s interesting when you start working with people who are not there yet. I sometimes ask myself “Why are they doing it that way, don’t they know it’s outdated?” Then you have the people that know what they need to do but for some reason they don’t change their behavior…

I hope that this helps to elaborate on how far we have come in the L&P industry and shed some light on what we are now expected to be working towards for now and especially the future in our profession.


My Encounter With 70-20-10

Recently I had the opportunity to speak to a Fortune 500 company about their learning strategy. Like many companies, they adapted their strategy from an existing model and used it to fit their organization. One of those models was the 70-20-10 rule of thought. While I did like their use of the model I didn’t like the misconceptions the model gave.

It wasn’t the first I had heard of it, but the first time that I saw it being used in an actual organization. As I discovered more about it I realized that I liked the recognition of all the available learning means to a learner and not necessarily the model itself. I decided to do some more research about it just to back up my own opinion.

There is a whole backchannel of articles and information that I found on 70-20-10 from Guy Wallace that you might find insightful.

Basically what I found was that 70-20-10 is really a prescriptive remedy for managers to be developed into senior managers & executives. But I don’t see it useful for daily learning workflows. It really separates each modality into sections and pushes the use of staying in line with those numbers. I don’t think that you should follow this as a rule of thumb with today’s learning strategies. To conform to these numbers would be, in the words of Will Thalheimer, making it more bogus and dangerous.

Another interesting thing that I didn’t think of was the Amplifier Effect which says that formal training actually clarifies and boosts the 90% of informal training. Then I think of the role performance support plays in this. I think that it supports that boost and clarification to translate to actual use of the training on the job (formal training should also relate to the context of the job if you have designed it effectively, but that is another story). To me it seems that this is more of a reflective trend in learning versus the go-to model to follow. All three work together, it doesn’t make one more important than the other. Is it simply the state of learning or is it an actual validation?

I will end this post with a quote from Michael Stanford in his article, Curse of 70-20-10.

“70-20-10? How about 100. Every learning experience, whether it takes place in a structured setting or in the chaos of every day work, should apply a disciplined learning mindset to real-world challenges.”

I agree with this statement because now more than ever learning should be embedded into the context of the actual work that is being done. I also think that learning in an organization, as we know it is still evolving more and more each year as we are discovering new ways to make learning more nimble for the workforce.