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Jane Bozarth

Articles by Jane Bozarth

Nuts and Bolts: Reflective Practice  July 1, 2014

Professional development—our own, personal, professional development—is one of the most important things we can invest in. This isn’t a matter of paying money, necessarily, but of paying time and attention on a regular, even daily, basis to consciously becoming better at what you do. How? Reflective practice. Reading this column could be the best thing you do for yourself today.

Nuts and Bolts: Lean Solutions  June 3, 2014

One of the never-ending quests in eLearning is the zero-cost, 10-minute-to-build solution. As our tools and technologies evolve, this may not be the impossible dream that it once seemed to be. Jane explores lean eLearning and the tools to create it that are available to you today.

Nuts and Bolts: How (and Why) to Show Your Work  May 6, 2014

For several years, Jane has been intrigued by the possibilities that doing better at showing our work could have for organizations, for each other, and for our own professional development. In this column on the practice of showing others what you are doing, she gives you concrete examples and compelling reasons for working out loud.

Nuts and Bolts: Spaces  April 1, 2014

For a change of pace, here’s a look at the new school of medicine building at Duke University. There’s plenty of technology, but it’s secondary to the learning experience that it supports. What would you do if money were no object? What would you do if you had no money but you had a vision?

Nuts and Bolts: Expectations  March 4, 2014

How can you spark a conversation between 12,000 employees in 66 countries … simultaneously? Kimberly- Clark did it, and it worked because they recognized that if you want people to really connect via social tools you’ll allow room for human conversation. Just like in “real life.” Read about the experience, and the unexpected outcomes here!

Nuts and Bolts: Building Community  February 4, 2014

The rise of social media and the accompanying interest in social learning is generating a lot of talk about community building. Many people voice similar concerns in these conversations, and at the same time there are many things that never come up as topics for discussion. Here are some suggestions for keeping the never-heard items from killing a community.

Nuts and Bolts: Happy New Year 2014  January 7, 2014

As 2013 fades away, take time to remember and apply what we learned. Here’s a summary of some key ideas from Nuts and Bolts.

Nuts and Bolts: Directions  December 3, 2013

One of the most basic, seemingly most simple, elements of instruction—giving directions—seems like it ought to be so easy. Unfortunately, “simple” often turns out to be anything but “easy.” Giving clear instructions is something of an art, and here are some resources to support mastering it.

Nuts and Bolts: Making Video More Social  November 5, 2013

Video plays a big part in classroom instruction; instructors lead learners through discussion and processing of the content. But video in eLearning is most often passive: no discussion or processing. By setting the stage, encouraging comments, asking for reaction, and giving the camera to the learner, you can turn video back into an engaging, socially facilitated activity. Here’s how!

Nuts and Bolts: Crooked Lines  October 1, 2013

We know, as designers, that a bulleted, text-heavy display of information is neither interesting nor compelling to most learners. What would make for an interesting or surprising look? What would break beyond the usual linear, bullets-in-a column structure? Consider the alternatives from designer Tracy Parish suggested in this month’s column.

Nuts and Bolts: Don't Blame Your Content  September 2, 2013

A good treatment moves a program from being a presentation to being an effective way to influence workplace performance. Here are two outstanding examples of better-than-good treatment that don’t depend on technology, money, or skill with any tool. This column could seriously change the direction of careers.

Nuts and Bolts: Instructional Design 101—Be a Learner  August 6, 2013

Steve Jobs once made the observation that diverse experience is important. Without that diversity, he said, “A lot of people … don't have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one's understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.” Here’s how to gain some perspective.

Nuts and Bolts: How to Be an Overnight Success  July 2, 2013

Good practice is made up of work, and thought, and mistakes, and time. Things that look easy in the hands of a skilled professional are often the end result of years of practice and experience. Jane offers some sobering thoughts about what it takes to make things look easy.

Nuts and Bolts: How to Deal with Barriers  June 4, 2013

Change management is always a large part of introducing new tools and approaches. In fact, logic and talking points are seldom effective in dealing with resistance. It is important to understand the barriers to change and their predictable progression. Here are the barriers you can expect and the keys to getting past them.

Nuts and Bolts: We Need New Words  May 7, 2013

We need new words. They might have to be neologisms, or even sniglets, but we are doing many things these days in ways that we never did them before, and so there are no words for them. Jane reflects on three such instances. Can you supply the words?

Nuts and Bolts: Design Assessments First  April 2, 2013

The matter of assessment is one of the most consistent problems I see with instructional design. The disconnect between workplace performance, course performance objectives, assessment, and content is a huge contributor to learner failure.” Here’s a simple way to fix that disconnect.

Nuts and Bolts: What Is “Good” eLearning, Anyway?  March 5, 2013

Does an eLearning production have to exemplify Hollywood-level production values and adhere to every criterion of good taste in order for people to learn from it? Maybe not. This month, Jane gets down to the heart of the matter—what it really takes for eLearning to be “good.”

Nuts and Bolts: Seeing the Forest  February 5, 2013

Those who are closest to a situation can be the last to notice a problem when it exists. Experts can have trouble getting beyond their expertise to find a better solution. Here’s a way to solve the old instructional design paradox: When you can’t see the forest for the trees.

Nuts and Bolts: Happy New Year 2013  January 2, 2013

Many of us start a new year with resolve to do better things and to do things better. Jane kicks off 2013 for Learning Solutions Magazine with three excellent resolutions and some concrete suggestions about how to make good on them.

Nuts and Bolts: Content Becomes its Own Context  December 4, 2012

Concepts sometimes map over from one field of human activity to another, and the result of the juxtaposition can be a better understanding of both fields. In this month’s column, Jane offers her review of a new book about the music business in which she found many parallels to the learning and development business, and the insights she gained.

Nuts and Bolts: Metaphors  November 6, 2012

What are your metaphors about teaching and learning? How do they affect your practice?

Nuts and Bolts: Assessing the Value of Online Interactions  October 2, 2012

There is no magic formula for assessing the value of social interactions; no formula like “two hours on LinkedIn + four comments in groups = tangible outcomes for the organization.” So how do you know time spent using social media isn’t wasted? Jane has some ideas you can use.

Nuts and Bolts: Unlearning  September 4, 2012

Learning can be difficult, but unlearning is the real challenge. Whether as students or teachers, we have to adapt and be as willing to unlearn as to learn.

Nuts and Bolts: Narrating Our Work  August 7, 2012

Here’s a true story about physical rehab turned learning turned hobby turned community of practice turned two successful businesses, all via informal, social means. And all within six months.

Nuts and Bolts: Storyboarding Basics  July 3, 2012

Storyboarding your eLearning program makes a real difference in the quality of eLearning. It helps you organize your thoughts, ensures logical flow, contributes to reduced costs, and provides an excellent way to test your ideas. Storyboarding will also support branching and simulations, eliminating the “click here to continue” linear pattern typical of boring, ineffective eLearning.

Nuts and Bolts: Upskilling  June 5, 2012

Progress in media brings new challenges for instructional designers. Where just five short years ago we struggled with authoring tools and content management, we now face new demands for making programs more inclusive of learners, leveraging informal learning, and building a farther reach for the L&D department. Here are your keys to the architecture and organization skills needed!

Nuts and Bolts: Selling It  May 1, 2012

We all know that people hate change, and yet we are continually surprised that decision-makers have (apparently insuperable) objections to our ideas for applying technology. Maybe it’s our approach that’s the problem. Jane offers some ways to improve our pitches.

Nuts and Bolts: How Can We Know What We Don't Know?  April 3, 2012

Following up on last month’s column (“Build or Buy?”), here’s practical advice on dealing with the common misunderstandings of in-house decision makers about outsourcing. Read it, see it, try it, and know what you want.

Nuts and Bolts: Buy or Build?  March 6, 2012

Is it always necessary to create a custom, in-house solution? Jane looks at the cases when an outsourced or off-the-shelf product makes more sense, and provides a job aid.

Nuts and Bolts: Opportunity Knocks?  January 31, 2012

Formal design process gets a lot of attention, but not every problem requires the full treatment. Consider first what your client needs, before you start working on what the process flow chart requires, and when the problem is simple, keep the solution simple. Jane offers the key to remedies for performance issues.

Nuts and Bolts: New Year's Resolutions, 2012  January 3, 2012

By all indications, 2012 is going to be a year of some major transitions in the way we develop and deliver eLearning. However, this should not distract any of us from the fundamentals that support actual learning. Jane offers some suggestions for resolutions that will keep us all on the right track.

Nuts and Bolts: Inviting Interaction  December 6, 2011

Instead of asking how to manage informal learning and which tools to use, ask yourself whether you are inviting interaction, and how. Here are some excellent ways to make informal learning more visible to both managers and employees, and to invite interaction and develop something more akin to a partnership with your learners.

Nuts and Bolts: Required Reading  November 1, 2011

Even though it’s a digital world for readers of this e-zine, most of us still enjoy good old analog professional conferences and the opportunity to speak face-to-face with our colleagues and heroes. And even more – the secret love of many of us is browsing physical books in the conference bookstores! Jane suggests some great tomes to browse and add to your resources.

Nuts and Bolts: Social Media for Learning  October 4, 2011

What's the difference between social media and social learning? How are you using each of them in your organization? This month's article addresses these questions and provides an overview of The eLearning Guild's new Report, Social Media for Learning.

Nuts and Bolts: The 10-Minute Instructional Design Degree  September 6, 2011

There are heated debates about whether every instructional designer should have formal training, and about the pros and cons of academic instructional design programs. But in the meantime, you have to get the work done. Here are eight basic points that every instructional designer should commit to memory.

Nuts and Bolts: What's Your Story?  August 2, 2011

In Learning Solutions Magazine, a number of authors have suggested using stories to support learning. Sometimes managers object to the idea of using stories as being too touchy-feely. Here’s a new way to look at the process, and some words to replace “story.”

Nuts and Bolts: Do Your Learning Objectives Match Strategies and Outcomes?  July 5, 2011

Have you heard of Bloom’s Taxonomy, the system for getting your learning objectives to specify measureable outcomes? Here’s a quick summary and a great job aid for instructional designers.

Nuts and Bolts: “Let The Learners Hold The Spoon”  June 7, 2011

Most designers know that eLearning must engage the learner through activity. This does not mean simply having them choose the “Next” button, and it does not necessarily require offering an interactive simulation. The answer can be very simple, as Jane shows in her column.

Nuts and Bolts: From Classroom to Online, Think “Transform” not “Transfer”  May 3, 2011

Moving an existing classroom course to online delivery is the way many eLearning initiatives get started. It is also, unfortunately, the way that many initiatives get off to a bad start, or even fail. Jane provides great tips for successful transformation of learning – you can apply them to your first effort, or to any conversion project.

Nuts and Bolts: Building a Personal Learning Network (PLN)  April 5, 2011

Trainers and instructional designers have professional development needs too! Social media tools can be as powerful for solving your information and skill needs as they are for your learners’ needs. Here is the way to develop your own Personal Learning Network. It’s simple, and it’s free!

Nuts and Bolts: Working With Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)  March 1, 2011

One of the most important things instructional designers do is interview subject matter experts (SMEs). It is also one of the most difficult things to do well. Jane offers insight from her experience to help you improve your results.

Nuts and Bolts: SURPRISE!  February 1, 2011

Every instructional designer knows that it’s important to engage the learner. With certain types of content, this is easier said than done, and sometimes our own design standards work against us. Jane shows you how to avoid boring your learners stiff.

Nuts and Bolts: 2011 Resolutions  January 4, 2011

Making New Year’s Resolutions? Jane suggests ten for your consideration, from eliminating Clicky Clicky Bling Bling to dealing with clients who have made up their minds.

Nuts and Bolts: Useful Interactions and Meaningful Feedback  December 7, 2010

Thought and creativity can turn weak assessments and interactions into feedback that is actually useful to the learner. Here is some practical wisdom about what helps, what supports and what guides, and what supports gain – and how to avoid doing harm.

Nuts and Bolts: Do You See?   November 1, 2010

Simple design basics can make or break a program. Choices related to fonts, placement of content on a screen, and application of an organization’s standards like number of screens matter. Jane tackles color issues this month.

Nuts and Bolts: How to Evaluate e-Learning  October 5, 2010

Evaluation is something that every instructional designer talks about, but few actually do. This may be because designers only know about the Kirkpatrick “Levels.” Here are two alternatives that may be far more practical.

Nuts and Bolts: Too Many Tools  September 7, 2010

Cognitive overload – too much information – is one type of problem for learners. Another type of problem that designers can create for learners is too many distractions from too many tools. Here’s how to recognize the problem, and what to do about it.

Nuts and Bolts: Brain Bandwidth - Cognitive Load Theory and Instructional Design  August 3, 2010

Designers often overload learners with information, hurting learning and learner motivation, and thereby undercutting the very thing we say we want to accomplish. A designer can avoid this by understanding cognitive load theory and memory; in particular, the concepts of working memory and long term memory. Here’s some applied theory you can put to work immediately!

Nuts and Bolts: Getting Management Support for Training  July 6, 2010

“When developing and launching a new training initiative – traditional classroom, virtual classroom, asynchronous, or a mix – or suggesting a training solution for an individual worker or group, it’s vital to gain management commitment. As with so many issues in training and development, this is another of those “easier said than done” challenges.

Nuts and Bolts: Find Your 20%  June 8, 2010

Good practice in instructional design means being aware of cognitive overload and avoiding it – in other words, not giving learners more than they can handle, and certainly not more than they will use. This month, Jane gives you a strategy (and a visualization!) for dealing with the desire to include everything and the kitchen sink in your e-Learning design.

Book Review: The Complete Guide to Simulations & Serious Games by Clark Aldrich  June 2, 2010

“I wish that the ‘e-Learning’ business had started with this book … before online training as an industry managed to replicate the very worst elements of the traditional classroom experience. I wish this book as a starter gift: a new person starting with this would not accept flying lines of text supported by word-for-word narration as anything resembling a learning experience.”

Nuts and Bolts: Principles of Multimedia Learning  May 4, 2010

Some of the most frequently asked questions among instructional designers are the ones dealing with text, images, and narration and how best to use them together. There are many examples of combinations that do not work, but not so many explanations of the principles behind making the right choices. Here is a simple explanation of three of the most important principles.

Putting People First: Human Issues in Instructional Technology, by Anastasia Marie Trekles   April 16, 2010

“ … a readable, solid, extensive, exhaustive, approachable work tightly focused on the position and needs of the learner in the learning experience. Much content focuses on accessibility as it relates to assorted permanent or temporary impairments … but a good deal more of the book is germane to the user-first perspective of any learner.”

Nuts and Bolts: When Training Works  April 6, 2010

One of the most-discussed sessions at Learning Solutions 2010 was “The Great ADDIE Debate,” a conversation about the 21st-century relevance of the ADDIE process model (Analyze-Design-Develop-Implement-Evaluate), so often employed in instructional design. Rather than declare ADDIE dead, wouldn’t it make more sense to be sure that we are using it properly? Here’s a simple method to do just that.

Working Smarter: Informal Learning in the Cloud by Jay Cross and Friends  March 30, 2010

Jay Cross and his friends have updated Jay’s unbook on informal learning, to reflect the movement of learning into the Internet Cloud. There are checklists, tools, images, charts, and provocative questions that bring the issue down to ground level.

Book Review: Training for Multiple Cultures by Andrea Edmundson  March 12, 2010

This new addition to ASTD’s Infoline series is intended for American instructional designers who create instruction for delivery in another part of the world.