Friday, October 14, 2016

All Leaders Conference in Washington D.C. last week

I attended the All Leaders Conference last week in D.C. since I am on the board with the local Association for Talent Development (ATD) - formerly ASTD, Rocky Mountain Chapter. I've attended now three years and I always learn so many things about leading a chapter as a board member. That really is the purpose of the conference is for chapter leaders to share with each other what works and what hasn't worked so well.

I presented last year and this year on the virtual study group I co-host with two other chapters on the east coast. The study group is for the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) which is a very rigorous two part exam. I earned my CPLP in 2014 and my study group is what was so instrumental in me passing the exams. That's why I want to give back to my community.

I realized that there is a real need all over the U.S. so we opened our study group to be national so we cover four time zones now. Additionally, for our current cohort, we have had an international participant from India and we worked out how she could join us, though not synchronously due to the time difference.

We continue to grow and now the participants who have completed both exams successfully are coming back to us and asking to help us and give back to the community. This has been the plan all along, that is, to create a sustainable study group. Often study groups fizzle after some time due to the amount of time and commitment required. Now with others joining us to help carry the load, I'm moving into more of a planning role and others are doing the execution by co-hosting the weekly study sessions.

This journey has been a very rewarding one in which I am able to give back to the Regis community. For example, I draw from what I learned daily in a much broader way now that I have the knowledge and skills learned through my CPLP journey. As an Instructional Designer, I have a deep knowledge for that aspect of the ATD Competency Model. However, now I have a broader knowledge base which covers all of the 10 competencies. For more information, please visit

Thursday, October 13, 2016

TLTS highlights by Nicole Marcisz

I attended the Teaching and Learning Symposium at Metro State on October 7, 2016, and I would like to share some highlights.

One session in particular really stood out for me as being quite thought provoking that I want to share highlights of for you.
User Experience (UX), Learner Experience (LX) and Usability in the Online Classroom
Presenters: Baye Herald and Jennifer Panko

Baye and Jennifer started out with a discussion to define both user experience and learner experience and then compared the two.

There's brief video with Don Norman that explains the definition of User Experience (UX)
Basically, it is the person's experience with a "product," not only focused on start to finish and everything in between, but the experience before and after as well.

When we talk about learner experience (LX) this could be focused on our learners and their experience with a single course. And as mentioned above, this would include the learners experience before the course, starting the course, during the course and then after the course is over. Learner experience is different from user experience in that there are more pieces to the equation that just the person and the "product".  For example, with user experience, you are one person, that say, buys a new iPhone. You might be really excited and willing to wait in line to be one of the first customers to get the latest and greatest. Even the experience of opening the package and the ease of setting the phone up is essential. You go on for next weeks, months and years, having the user experience with that phone. With learner experience, let's use a Regis student who enrolls in an online course as an example. This student makes a choice about taking the course, but it could be a required course that they are not looking forward to taking for whatever reason. They have stress coming in. They begin to log on and explore the course. Is it friendly and inviting? Do they know where to go first? Is it well organized? Are they feeling welcomed by the instructor? etc. In the learner experience there are other players involved that will affect their experience; ie. the instructor, and other students. Was the course designed for successful engagement and interaction with instructor, content and other students? Another factor is that the students have invested quite a bit of money in their education so this can impact commitment to making it work and general motivation to do well.

The presenters invited us to consider on a course level the learner experience. They did some research on learner experience by having some students do narrated "think-a-louds." For example, the student will narrate a screen recording of the first exposure of the course in the LMS and talk about what they are seeing, where and why will they click on things, do they know where to begin, what makes sense, where might there be some confusion. They gathered this data to make changes and inform the overall design of the course.

Some simple tips that the students in their research indicated that were very helpful in making the learner experience great include the following:
  • Instructor to send out early communication (before course start)
  • Include welcome letter/message as student enter course (perhaps on course home page with announcement tool)
  • Create a positive tone and line of support
  • Provide communication avenues and choices to contact instructor 
  • Create a getting started video
  • Include avenues for students to provide learner experience feedback- by way of simple surveys (after first week and midway) 
And lastly, during the presentation we considered one more experience to add to the mix, "Learning" experience. So with learner experience, the focus is on the student (the learner) and how they experience the design of the course and the people they interact with during the course. Learning experience might focus more on the content, outcomes and learning journey. How does the learner engage with the content to learn new skills, change behavior and successfully meet outcomes?

Something to think about and be conscious of as we design and teach courses.

(Reminder: I would encourage you to make an appointment for consultation with your friendly instructional designer to discuss your learners and learning experiences.



Monday, October 10, 2016

5th Annual TLTS2016 - Highlights by Carl Kinney

I am glad I had the opportunity to attend this conference, and the fact that it is a free conference continues to impress me.  The fact that it is a one day conference also helps with you not feeling like you are overloaded with new information, yet you come away with some golden nuggets.

One of the sessions was on Engaging Students Through Interactive Learning, presented by, Kevin Zeller, Amy Dore, and Jeff Helton from Metro State.  In this presentation they shared that 1 in 4 students in higher education are taking at least one online course, but over the last two years the number of online courses is starting to trend downwards.  There are many variables and factors that influence this, but "Interaction" is key to engaging students.   If your online courses are asynchronous, having this interaction is still critical.  So, this is where advancements in technology can really help.  Creating short review videos can create that interaction even though they are accessed asynchronously, or recording non-mandatory synchronous sessions and making available for students to access at a time that works best for them.  As with most things, there are challenges to keep in mind.  They shared, some things to consider are: changing technology, budgetary concerns, development time, diverse student needs, and policy changes.

Another session that was a nugget for me was User Experience (UX), Learner Experience (LX) and Usability in the Online Classroom, presented by Baye Herald and Jennifer Panko from the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs.  Some of the golden nuggets from this session are:

  • Learner's perception is just as important as content and learning objectives.
  • The learner's perception involves, before class, the class, and after class experiences.
  • The "user" experience is more around a specific product or service.
  • The "learner" experience is more around using available resources to study and show that learning has taken place.
  • Also touched on Learning Experience, and shared that a company has trademarked the term Learning Experience Design.
  • Early communication with the student is critical.
  • Should ask students after a couple of weeks about their experience.
  • Observation can give you a different result from what you might get in a survey. 
I think UX, LX, and Usability are all areas we should examine more and identify how we can improve in all of these areas.

I'm happy to discuss any of the above in more detail, or share some of the highlights with some of the other sessions.  Let me know if you are interested.