Device Agnostic Learning Design: Are You a Believer?

Today’s post is written by Andrea May, #chat2lrn crew member and Vice President of Instructional Design Services at Dashe & Thomson in Minneapolis, MN. Andrea is an instructional designer, project manager, wife, mother, Girl Scout troop leader and theater artist. Find her on Twitter @andreamay1.

device-explosionHow many different electronic devices do you interact with on a daily basis? My guess is that most L&D professionals will say at least two, perhaps a computer and a smart phone. Some will add several more to that total. Tablets, smart TVs, gaming systems, smart watches, e-readers, and many other devices have made their way into our daily lives. I’ve even seen wi-fi enabled refrigerators that can hunt for coupons and notify you when you are running out of milk.

Now consider the two or three devices you use most often. For many of us, those three devices are a computer/laptop, a smart phone, and an iPad/tablet. We use each device for different purposes based on its strengths and weaknesses. Your smart phone is ideal for dashing off quick texts, providing turn by turn directions to your destination, getting answers to questions while on the go, and even for making an occasional phone call. But the screen size is less than ideal for doing actual work or taking a course online. Tablets provide a nice hybrid for some tasks, but they don’t fit well in your pocket and it is still challenging to use it for the tasks that would seem best suited for a PC with its full keyboard and mouse and much larger screen.

But what if more content was designed in such a way as to be device agnostic? eLearning courses, for example, that work just as well on a smart phone as they do on a PC, could set users free to interact with that content exactly when and how they choose. The user could choose a device based on their preferences rather than on the needs of the content. Exciting stuff!

The trends are heading in this direction. So what do we, as L&D professionals, need to consider in order to design content that is essentially device blind? Join us this Thursday, March 24th 09.00 PDT/12.00 EDT /16.00 GMT on Twitter for #chat2lrn and share your ideas on enabling device agnostic learning content.


What skills do learners need to learn?

This week’s post is written by Lesley Price (@lesleywprice).  Lesley is a co-founder of the #chat2lrn crew and now, although supposedly ‘semi-retired’, she works part-time for Learn Appeal  and continues to love challenging and being challenged! 

Those of us who work in learning tend to focus on our own skills and recognise that the skill set we require is changing. We know that even delivering high quality engaging face-to-face training or e-learning will not necessarily improve either performance of those we want to support or have a positive business impact.

Those we support very often focus on what skills they will need to be better in their roles or on the practical skills they need to acquire. Management ask us to deliver all kinds of training.  The list is endless and varied – leadership, project management, health and safety, compliance, performance support and so it goes on.

But how often do we think about the skills that are needed to learn? Do we ever actually spend time helping those we support to develop learning skills or do we assume that because everyone has been through the education system that they know how to learn?    We also know that some learners are more ‘successful’ than others in terms of academic ability or in their ability to learn practical skills.  But what makes them ‘better’?  Is it some inherent part of their character or are some people just better at learning that others?

There have been rapid advances in the use of technology to support learning. Not just in terms of the way it is used in the workplace, but also that if people want to know about almost anything, they can probably find it somewhere on the internet.   However there is also a lot of incorrect information out there which is at best ill-informed and at worst just a hoax. Do those that we support have the skills to be able to tell the difference?  Do they need to learn another skill set?

So my question is, what skills do you need to have to be a successful learner, can they be developed and if they can, how can we as learning professionals help learners learn?

Join in using the hashtag #chat2lrn and discuss these and other questions on 10 March, 2016, 08.00 PST/11.00 EST /16.00 GMT.