Dump the Drone
Easy Steps to Livelier Elearning




                                   ElearningBlueprint.com
Who are your learners?

How do they feel about elearning?




                              ElearningBlueprint.com
Fantasy
          I love to sit at my
             computer and
           read read read!




                     Elearn...
Reality



They want me to
  take another
 online course?
It had better be
    worth it.




          ElearningBlueprint....
The problem




              ElearningBlueprint.com
What makes a course boring?




                       ElearningBlueprint.com
A major cause


Corporate Drone

 It’s a language!

  It’s a mindset!




                    ElearningBlueprint.com
It’s a language
 • Buzzwords   This course enhances the
               expertise of R&D staff so
               that they ...
It’s a language
 • Buzzwords
 • Blather     This activity will help develop
               an understanding of the basics
...
It’s a language
 • Buzzwords
 • Blather
 • Bogus          “Because I am new to
                  marketing, I would like t...
It’s a language
 • Buzzwords
 • Blather
 • Bogus
 • Boring




                  ElearningBlueprint.com
It’s a mindset
 • Big words are   This course enhances the
   impressive!     expertise of R&D staff so
                  ...
It’s a mindset
 • Big words are
   impressive!
 • Lots of words   This activity will help develop
   are impressive! an un...
It’s a mindset
 • We’re so busy trying to impress, we’ve
   forgotten how to sound like human
   beings.
                 ...
Drone infects design
 Droning design:
  • Tells, tells, tells, then tests
  • Cares more about content than
    learners
 ...
Why do we drone?
We’re brainwashed in school.
 • Droners get better grades.
 • The higher the degree, the
   greater the p...
Nasty effects
Corporate drone:
• Makes it harder to learn
• Kills motivation
• Costs more to produce




                 ...
“But if we make our courses
easy to read, our learners
won’t respect them!”




                        ElearningBlueprint...
Language = interface

Would you intentionally make your
interface hard to use?

Language is part of your interface.

It’s ...
Want respect?

       Make your
       content challenging,
       not your language.




                ElearningBluepri...
Techniques
For Eradication of Demotivating Communication




                     to Dump the Drone



                   ...
Clear, creative design inspires
   clear, creative language.




                          ElearningBlueprint.com
Design

          1                    2
                               Make them laugh
          Vary your rhythm



Cont...
1. Vary your rhythm




               ElearningBlueprint.com
rhythm
Design

 • Give the learner control
   • They’ll set the pace and rhythm
 • Vary the format (media, text...)
 • Pre...
rhythm
Language, too
 Vary sentence...
 • Length
   • Short is good, but variety is more
     interesting.
 • Type
   • Ha...
2. Make them laugh




               ElearningBlueprint.com
How can you add “safe” humor?




                        ElearningBlueprint.com
laugh
“Safe” humor
 Some ideas:
 • Use embarrassing situations that apply
   worldwide
 • Give a character a blind spot
 •...
laugh
Spoof
 Who are your learners?
 • Do they make fun of themselves?
   • Can you make fun of them, too?
 • Are they exp...
3. Say...

“You”   “Who”       “Do”




                    ElearningBlueprint.com
Say “you”




            ElearningBlueprint.com
you
Example 1

     This activity will help develop
     an understanding of...




                                 Elear...
you
Rewrite 1

      This activity will help develop
      an understanding of...

      This activity will help you under...
you
Benefits

    • Puts you in conversation mode
    • Makes you care more about your
      learner
    • Makes your lang...
you
Example 2

     The fire extinguisher should
     be recharged every six
     months.




                             ...
you
Rewrite 2

      The fire extinguisher should
                                    Who does it?
      be recharged every...
Say “who”




            ElearningBlueprint.com
who
Example 1


     Each quarter, a new sales
     report is created.

            Who does it?




                     ...
who
Example 1


     Each quarter, a new sales
     report is created.


               “divine passive”




             ...
who
Rewrite 1

       Each quarter, a new sales report
       is created by the product manager.


                    Now...
who
Rewrite 1


       Each quarter, a new sales
       report is created.

       Each quarter, the product
       manage...
who
Who does what?

   Make clear who is doing what to
   whom.
   • You’ll be easier to understand.
   • You’ll use stron...
who
Example 2


     The field of child advocacy
     helps children who...




                                  Elearning...
who
Rewrite 2


      The field of child advocacy
                                 Abstract noun
      helps children who.....
who
Add even more people
   • Create composite characters
   • Add audio or video of real people
     • Learners
     • Le...
who
Make people up...


           ...but make sure
          they’re interesting!




                                 El...
What makes a character interesting?




                           ElearningBlueprint.com
Which man is more interesting?




                         ElearningBlueprint.com
who
Suffering is interesting!

     Make your characters suffer.
     • A flaw, such as
       • Arrogance
       • Over-e...
who
Cluelessness is boring


                     No one cares
                     about the clueless
                   ...
who
Happiness is boring


                      ...unless the
                      character has
                      su...
Say “do”




           ElearningBlueprint.com
do
Nouns are boring

• They’re not people (usually).
• They don’t DO anything. They just pile
  up:
  the product manageme...
do
Nouns are sneaky

 • Often, you can’t even picture them:
      functionality leadership
 • They try to trick you into t...
do
Change nouns to verbs
                   The only verb in the entire sentence

      The vetting group services are cen...
do
Pick a lively verb


                                lift
   is                grab
                            push
  ...
do
Tell a story

 Even the most dry material has a story.
 • Make chronology clear.
 • Make actors clear.
      Then, befo...
What are some ways to
use fiction in a course?




                       ElearningBlueprint.com
do
Tell a story: fiction
 Some possibilities:
 • Immediately plunge learners into a
   story. Give them info and tools as ...
What makes a story interesting?




                         ElearningBlueprint.com
Is this interesting?




                       ElearningBlueprint.com
Is this any better?




                      ElearningBlueprint.com
do
Conflict is interesting

 Conflict is any challenge. Your characters
 could:
 •   Disagree
 •   Want something but face...
do
Keep moving!

 • Your story probably needs less setup
   than you think.
 • Every scene & every bit of dialog should
  ...
do
Show, don’t tell

When you tell, you explain everything:

                At the conference, Jacob told
               ...
do
Show, don’t tell

Show instead.
                       We’re going to
                        enhance our
             ...
do
  Show, don’t tell

  One month later...


  Our competitor
just enhanced their
  widget! How did
    they know?




  ...
do
Show, don’t tell

Let your learners draw conclusions.




         And the moral is...



                             ...
Design

              1                        2
                                       Make them laugh
              Vary...
4. Chop it!




              ElearningBlueprint.com
chop
Why cut text?

 • We read 25% more slowly online
 • We’re used to scanning, not reading,
   online text
 • Younger le...
chop
Chop these

 • Sections that don’t directly support
   an objective
 • “Duh” sentences
    Buying is an important con...
chop
Chop blather

 We’re not writing literature!


One fine day near the end of spring, when the
wild roses in the hedges ...
chop
Chop blather



One fine day near the end of spring, when the
wild roses in the hedges had reached their peak of
heady...
chop
Chop blather

 Most adjectives and adverbs are
 blather.

To successfully avoid unforeseen problems that
could negati...
chop
Chop blather

 Most adjectives and adverbs are
 blather.              expensive
To successfully avoid unforeseen prob...
5. Run the numbers




               ElearningBlueprint.com
numbers
A tool, not a solution
 Best uses for readability analysis:
 • Check progress during rewriting
 • Set standards fo...
numbers
Word: Step 1




                    ElearningBlueprint.com
numbers
Word: Step 2




                  Click this
                      ElearningBlueprint.com
numbers
Word: Step 3


Make sure
this is
checked




                    ElearningBlueprint.com
numbers
Word: Step 4

Complete the spell
check. You’ll see
this.




                          ElearningBlueprint.com
numbers
Ignore grade level




                           Use this!


                           Ignore this!
            ...
numbers
Ignore grade level
 Grade levels don’t apply to adult
 materials.
 • Use Flesch Reading Ease
   • Higher score = e...
numbers
Find your score




                         Reading
                         ease =
                         40.4...
numbers
Compare

                      Reading
       Material
                                Easy
                      ...
numbers
Compare

                      Reading
       Material
                                Easy
                      ...
numbers
Compare

 Our two-hour course is slightly harder
 to read than the Wall Street Journal.
 Would our learners enjoy ...
numbers
Rewrite to raise your score

                      Reading
       Material
                                Easy
  ...
Design

          1                        2
                                   Make them laugh
          Vary your rhythm...
Want more?
 MakingChangeBlog.com
  More ideas like the ones
  in this slideshow




         ElearningBlueprint.com
      ...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Dump the Drone: Livelier Elearning

129,779

Published on

Ideas to help you create lively elearning. Intended for corporate audiences but useful for educators, too. Based on a presentation I gave at an eLearning Guild conference in April 2006.

Published in: Education
26 Comments
229 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Online e-learning IS the wave of the future in education...and the more interactive the course is, the less need there is for interaction between students and teachers. Learning online can be a lot of fun...if presented right.
       Reply 
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • Online learning is perfect for students who can't be in school, professionals who has a full-time work or parents that can't leave their children. If you are not used to online learning you will get really bored because there are no interaction between students and teachers.
       Reply 
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • Very useful presentation! Thanks, Cathy!
       Reply 
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • Excellent presentation! Thank you Cathy. Many points that I will be applying from now on.
       Reply 
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • The gist of this is, be direct, be concise and be relevant!
       Reply 
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
No Downloads
Views
Total Views
129,779
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
104
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
4,933
Comments
26
Likes
229
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Dump the Drone: Livelier Elearning

  1. 1. Dump the Drone Easy Steps to Livelier Elearning ElearningBlueprint.com
  2. 2. Who are your learners? How do they feel about elearning? ElearningBlueprint.com
  3. 3. Fantasy I love to sit at my computer and read read read! ElearningBlueprint.com
  4. 4. Reality They want me to take another online course? It had better be worth it. ElearningBlueprint.com
  5. 5. The problem ElearningBlueprint.com
  6. 6. What makes a course boring? ElearningBlueprint.com
  7. 7. A major cause Corporate Drone It’s a language! It’s a mindset! ElearningBlueprint.com
  8. 8. It’s a language • Buzzwords This course enhances the expertise of R&D staff so that they may leverage collaborative concepts to provide a competitive advantage. ElearningBlueprint.com
  9. 9. It’s a language • Buzzwords • Blather This activity will help develop an understanding of the basics of brand management and how it can be effectively used to inform a marketing strategy that ensures that the company's unique position in the marketplace is maintained. ElearningBlueprint.com
  10. 10. It’s a language • Buzzwords • Blather • Bogus “Because I am new to marketing, I would like to ask you some questions. First, how can I better communicate with the sales force to ensure a productive relationship?” ElearningBlueprint.com
  11. 11. It’s a language • Buzzwords • Blather • Bogus • Boring ElearningBlueprint.com
  12. 12. It’s a mindset • Big words are This course enhances the impressive! expertise of R&D staff so that they may leverage collaborative concepts to provide a competitive advantage. ElearningBlueprint.com
  13. 13. It’s a mindset • Big words are impressive! • Lots of words This activity will help develop are impressive! an understanding of the basics of brand management and how it can be effectively used to blah blah blah. ElearningBlueprint.com
  14. 14. It’s a mindset • We’re so busy trying to impress, we’ve forgotten how to sound like human beings. “How can I better communicate with the sales force to ensure a productive relationship?” ElearningBlueprint.com
  15. 15. Drone infects design Droning design: • Tells, tells, tells, then tests • Cares more about content than learners • Makes learners work harder than necessary • Fears humor, conflict, and creativity ElearningBlueprint.com
  16. 16. Why do we drone? We’re brainwashed in school. • Droners get better grades. • The higher the degree, the greater the pressure to drone. Assignments force us to be wordy. • “Write 12 pages on...” We bring this training to the business world. ElearningBlueprint.com
  17. 17. Nasty effects Corporate drone: • Makes it harder to learn • Kills motivation • Costs more to produce ElearningBlueprint.com
  18. 18. “But if we make our courses easy to read, our learners won’t respect them!” ElearningBlueprint.com
  19. 19. Language = interface Would you intentionally make your interface hard to use? Language is part of your interface. It’s a way to deliver content. ElearningBlueprint.com
  20. 20. Want respect? Make your content challenging, not your language. ElearningBlueprint.com
  21. 21. Techniques For Eradication of Demotivating Communication to Dump the Drone ElearningBlueprint.com
  22. 22. Clear, creative design inspires clear, creative language. ElearningBlueprint.com
  23. 23. Design 1 2 Make them laugh Vary your rhythm Content 3 You Who Do 5 4 Chop Run the numbers ElearningBlueprint.com
  24. 24. 1. Vary your rhythm ElearningBlueprint.com
  25. 25. rhythm Design • Give the learner control • They’ll set the pace and rhythm • Vary the format (media, text...) • Present content from two perspectives • “Opposing viewpoints” • Break up text with headings and bulleted lists • Interrupt yourself (callouts, boxed quotes) ElearningBlueprint.com
  26. 26. rhythm Language, too Vary sentence... • Length • Short is good, but variety is more interesting. • Type • Have you asked a question lately? • Structure • Spice it up--change direction with dashes; tack on a thought with a semicolon. ElearningBlueprint.com
  27. 27. 2. Make them laugh ElearningBlueprint.com
  28. 28. How can you add “safe” humor? ElearningBlueprint.com
  29. 29. laugh “Safe” humor Some ideas: • Use embarrassing situations that apply worldwide • Give a character a blind spot • Exaggerate • Use non-human characters that aren’t likely to be offensive • Use unrealistic examples • Give up on reality altogether ElearningBlueprint.com
  30. 30. laugh Spoof Who are your learners? • Do they make fun of themselves? • Can you make fun of them, too? • Are they experienced elearners? • Spoof elearning! ElearningBlueprint.com
  31. 31. 3. Say... “You” “Who” “Do” ElearningBlueprint.com
  32. 32. Say “you” ElearningBlueprint.com
  33. 33. you Example 1 This activity will help develop an understanding of... ElearningBlueprint.com
  34. 34. you Rewrite 1 This activity will help develop an understanding of... This activity will help you understand... ElearningBlueprint.com
  35. 35. you Benefits • Puts you in conversation mode • Makes you care more about your learner • Makes your language more concrete • Identifies who does what ElearningBlueprint.com
  36. 36. you Example 2 The fire extinguisher should be recharged every six months. ElearningBlueprint.com
  37. 37. you Rewrite 2 The fire extinguisher should Who does it? be recharged every six months. Recharge the fire extinguisher You do it! every six months. ElearningBlueprint.com
  38. 38. Say “who” ElearningBlueprint.com
  39. 39. who Example 1 Each quarter, a new sales report is created. Who does it? ElearningBlueprint.com
  40. 40. who Example 1 Each quarter, a new sales report is created. “divine passive” ElearningBlueprint.com
  41. 41. who Rewrite 1 Each quarter, a new sales report is created by the product manager. Now we know who does it, but it’s still passive. ElearningBlueprint.com
  42. 42. who Rewrite 1 Each quarter, a new sales report is created. Each quarter, the product manager creates a new sales report. stronger verb than “is” We’ve added a human being! ElearningBlueprint.com
  43. 43. who Who does what? Make clear who is doing what to whom. • You’ll be easier to understand. • You’ll use stronger verbs. • Your course will have more people in it. ElearningBlueprint.com
  44. 44. who Example 2 The field of child advocacy helps children who... ElearningBlueprint.com
  45. 45. who Rewrite 2 The field of child advocacy Abstract noun helps children who... turns into human beings! Child advocates help children who... ElearningBlueprint.com
  46. 46. who Add even more people • Create composite characters • Add audio or video of real people • Learners • Leaders • Customers • Risky: Introduce a guide who appears throughout the course • Make people up ElearningBlueprint.com
  47. 47. who Make people up... ...but make sure they’re interesting! ElearningBlueprint.com
  48. 48. What makes a character interesting? ElearningBlueprint.com
  49. 49. Which man is more interesting? ElearningBlueprint.com
  50. 50. who Suffering is interesting! Make your characters suffer. • A flaw, such as • Arrogance • Over-enthusiasm • Jumping to conclusions • An embarrassing situation • Email gone horribly wrong ElearningBlueprint.com
  51. 51. who Cluelessness is boring No one cares about the clueless newbie! She’s just a blank slate. ElearningBlueprint.com
  52. 52. who Happiness is boring ...unless the character has suffered first ElearningBlueprint.com
  53. 53. Say “do” ElearningBlueprint.com
  54. 54. do Nouns are boring • They’re not people (usually). • They don’t DO anything. They just pile up: the product management process workshop ElearningBlueprint.com
  55. 55. do Nouns are sneaky • Often, you can’t even picture them: functionality leadership • They try to trick you into thinking they’re verbs: Buying is an important consumer behavior. Boring noun masquerading as verb! ElearningBlueprint.com
  56. 56. do Change nouns to verbs The only verb in the entire sentence The vetting group services are centered on researching, reviewing, and approving wording in customer documentation. The vetting group researches, reviews, and approves wording in customer documentation. ElearningBlueprint.com
  57. 57. do Pick a lively verb lift is grab push touch ElearningBlueprint.com
  58. 58. do Tell a story Even the most dry material has a story. • Make chronology clear. • Make actors clear. Then, before final scripts are written, the content is vetted by Legal. First Legal vets the content, and then the writer creates the final scripts. ElearningBlueprint.com
  59. 59. What are some ways to use fiction in a course? ElearningBlueprint.com
  60. 60. do Tell a story: fiction Some possibilities: • Immediately plunge learners into a story. Give them info and tools as they need them. • Write a story that appears as scenes throughout the course. • Introduce each course section with a scenario. Revisit the scenario at the end of the section. ElearningBlueprint.com
  61. 61. What makes a story interesting? ElearningBlueprint.com
  62. 62. Is this interesting? ElearningBlueprint.com
  63. 63. Is this any better? ElearningBlueprint.com
  64. 64. do Conflict is interesting Conflict is any challenge. Your characters could: • Disagree • Want something but face a barrier • Make a mistake • Need to rescue others • Get an unpleasant surprise ElearningBlueprint.com
  65. 65. do Keep moving! • Your story probably needs less setup than you think. • Every scene & every bit of dialog should move the story. • Add urgency--put characters under pressure with a deadline. ElearningBlueprint.com
  66. 66. do Show, don’t tell When you tell, you explain everything: At the conference, Jacob told someone about the planned widget enhancement. This was a mistake, because a competitor overheard and enhanced their widget first. Jacob’s boss was upset and wondered who had leaked the secret. ElearningBlueprint.com
  67. 67. do Show, don’t tell Show instead. We’re going to enhance our widget next quarter. At the conference... ElearningBlueprint.com
  68. 68. do Show, don’t tell One month later... Our competitor just enhanced their widget! How did they know? ElearningBlueprint.com
  69. 69. do Show, don’t tell Let your learners draw conclusions. And the moral is... ElearningBlueprint.com
  70. 70. Design 1 2 Make them laugh Vary your rhythm Content 3 You Who Do •Identify actors •Add verbs •Add people •Tell a story We’re here 5 4 Chop Run the numbers ElearningBlueprint.com
  71. 71. 4. Chop it! ElearningBlueprint.com
  72. 72. chop Why cut text? • We read 25% more slowly online • We’re used to scanning, not reading, online text • Younger learners are used to games • A quick pace is more interesting • Nielsen and others: “Cut text by 50%” ElearningBlueprint.com
  73. 73. chop Chop these • Sections that don’t directly support an objective • “Duh” sentences Buying is an important consumer behavior. • Blather ElearningBlueprint.com
  74. 74. chop Chop blather We’re not writing literature! One fine day near the end of spring, when the wild roses in the hedges had reached their peak of heady perfume, Little Red Riding Hood walked into the woods. ElearningBlueprint.com
  75. 75. chop Chop blather One fine day near the end of spring, when the wild roses in the hedges had reached their peak of heady perfume, Little Red Riding Hood walked into the woods. ElearningBlueprint.com
  76. 76. chop Chop blather Most adjectives and adverbs are blather. To successfully avoid unforeseen problems that could negatively impact costs, we must proactively search for errors throughout all phases of product development. ElearningBlueprint.com
  77. 77. chop Chop blather Most adjectives and adverbs are blather. expensive To successfully avoid unforeseen problems that could negatively impact costs, we must proactively search for errors throughout all phases of product development. ElearningBlueprint.com
  78. 78. 5. Run the numbers ElearningBlueprint.com
  79. 79. numbers A tool, not a solution Best uses for readability analysis: • Check progress during rewriting • Set standards for writers • Reassure clients Your course could get a good score but still be boring or confusing! ElearningBlueprint.com
  80. 80. numbers Word: Step 1 ElearningBlueprint.com
  81. 81. numbers Word: Step 2 Click this ElearningBlueprint.com
  82. 82. numbers Word: Step 3 Make sure this is checked ElearningBlueprint.com
  83. 83. numbers Word: Step 4 Complete the spell check. You’ll see this. ElearningBlueprint.com
  84. 84. numbers Ignore grade level Use this! Ignore this! ElearningBlueprint.com
  85. 85. numbers Ignore grade level Grade levels don’t apply to adult materials. • Use Flesch Reading Ease • Higher score = easier to read • Compare your score to the scores of familiar materials, like magazines ElearningBlueprint.com
  86. 86. numbers Find your score Reading ease = 40.4 ElearningBlueprint.com
  87. 87. numbers Compare Reading Material Easy Ease Reader’s Digest 65 Time 52 Business Week 51 Wall Street Journal 43 Harvard Law Review 32 Auto policy 10 Hard ElearningBlueprint.com
  88. 88. numbers Compare Reading Material Easy Ease Reader’s Digest 65 Time 52 Business Week 51 Wall Street Journal 43 Our course: 40 Harvard Law Review 32 Auto policy 10 Hard ElearningBlueprint.com
  89. 89. numbers Compare Our two-hour course is slightly harder to read than the Wall Street Journal. Would our learners enjoy reading the Wall Street Journal for two hours straight... ...online? ElearningBlueprint.com
  90. 90. numbers Rewrite to raise your score Reading Material Easy Ease Recommended Reader’s Digest 65 for online Time 52 Business Week 51 Wall Street Journal 43 Harvard Law Review 32 Auto policy 10 Hard ElearningBlueprint.com
  91. 91. Design 1 2 Make them laugh Vary your rhythm Content 3 You Who Do •Identify actors •Add verbs •Add people •Tell a story 5 4 Chop Run the numbers ElearningBlueprint.com
  92. 92. Want more? MakingChangeBlog.com More ideas like the ones in this slideshow ElearningBlueprint.com Interactive job aid that helps anyone create lively elearning Cathy Moore ElearningBlueprint.com
  1. A particular slide catching your eye?

    Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.

×