Patti Shank, PhD, CPT is the Director of Research at The eLearning Guild, and an internationally-recognized information and instructional designer and writer and author, who helps others build valuable information and instruction. She is listed in Who's Who in Instructional Technology and is an often-requested speaker at training and instructional technology conferences. Patti is quoted frequently in training publications and is the co-author of Making Sense of Online Learning (Pfeiffer, 2004), editor of The Online Learning Idea Book (Pfeiffer, 2007), co-editor of The E-Learning Handbook (Pfeiffer, 2008), and co-author of Essential Articulate Studio ’09 (Wordware, 2009).
Articles by Patti Shank, PhD, CPT
What is the best way to position learning on mobile devices? It makes sense to use these devices to provide support for learning since we carry them with us all the time. A 2013 research report from The eLearning Guild can show you some great examples of how organizations are implementing this kind of augmentation.
Imagine a breakout session with five opinionated Guild Research writers at the 2013 Learning Solutions Conference in Orlando, jam-packed with questions and laughter from both panelists and audience members. Here’s some of the fun (and information) from that session.
The eLearning Guild’s Global eLearning Salary & Compensation Report always attracts a lot of attention. Here is an overview guide to the report itself, which is a free download (linked in article). Take a look, see what the excitement is about, and use our official Guild Research Salary Calculator!
Bloom’s Taxonomy—the classification system used by countless instructional designers since the 1950s for creating learning objectives—has an updated version that brings it into the 21st century. The new taxonomy supports new methods of instruction and a new understanding of what learning is. Read about it in the latest eLearning Guild research report!
What are members of The eLearning Guild saying about the tools they use in their work? Recent Guild research reports offer the comments of members about eLearning software, and here are a few of those responses.
Do you like your work but feel that you’re working too hard? If so, you have company, because many of your colleagues expressed similar feelings in the research report The eLearning Guild released on December 5, 2012. Here’s a summary of some surprising findings from the 674 respondents to a survey we conducted recently.
What’s changing in your world of work? There’s almost certainly a lot more work, a lot more tasks, and a lot more variety. HTML5 is possibly a major part of this, and The eLearning Guild’s Research has plenty to say on the subject. Get an overview of it here.
Many people think social learning is new, but it isn’t. What’s new is the ability of instructional designers to leverage online social media as a strategy to support learning. Research can help you make better use of the new social channel in your practice. Patti summarizes the benefits and points the way to recent research you can use!
How critical is informal learning to workplace learning and performance? Here’s some food for thought from the Guild’s August 2012 research report, Smart Companies Support Informal Learning.
The eLearning Guild’s new research director asked herself what the Guild could do to best support the research needs of learning and eLearning practitioners. The answer involved making fundamental changes to the way we do things. Here are the four types of reports we’ll be bringing you in the months ahead.
Good learning research helps you improve your practice and make decisions. Here are a few of the important things to consider when looking at learning research.
Read any good research lately? The eLearning Guild is committed to providing regular research reports on a variety of topics to the eLearning Community of Practice. Far from being “pie-in-the- sky,” research exists to help you improve what you deliver. Here are the thoughts of the Guild’s research director on what you can expect in coming months.
Does your content read like a history textbook or a government document? It doesn’t have to be dry as dust. Here’s how to use tools you probably already have to put some life into learning!
Do you have trouble getting “the right content” from subject matter experts? This is a typical problem that many instructional designers have. Fortunately, it is pretty easy to fix. Here’s how!
Getting content from your subject matter experts (SMEs) can be a bit of a nightmare. This situation is a common one and it’s a problem that does have a solution, although not a solution that is used as often as it could be. Here’s Part One of a short series on dealing with reluctant SMEs.
In Part Three of her series on Professional Development for 2012, Patti offers links to meetings, conferences, online sessions, and other places where you can acquire new skills or update what you already know.
Don’t leave your skills development to chance! Consider where your skills will need to be at the end of 2012, and start planning now to create a path to that level. Patti shows you some guideposts that will help you get there!
Professional development is vital in any career, and especially so in those careers that move as fast as ours in eLearning does. But the task can seem overwhelming: what should be in your professional development plan, and where do you start? It’s not all technical skills. Here is some excellent advice on creating your own plan for 2012 – and for starting on it today!
How do you learn to use authoring tools? This is the question that stops many would-be eLearning creators cold, yet the answer is deceptively simple. Patti offers a step-by-step approach to using the plentiful resources that will get you started on your way to success.
Last month, Patti offered tips to help you get started choosing the right tools for your authoring needs. This month, she gives you the final secrets to making an excellent selection!
The number of available authoring tools can bewilder even experienced eLearning producers who are trying to choose just the right one for their needs. This is Part 1 of a two-part series designed to help you with tool selection if you are brand-new to eLearning.
The quality of visual design in your eLearning product can contribute to or detract from its effectiveness — and its credibility! Concluding the discussion started last month, Patti shows you how to use alignment and proximity to solidify your visual design, and how to use all four principles of visual design together.
Expanding on last month’s column about alignment of graphics, here are the first two of four overarching principles of visual design. Try them – they make a real difference in the appearance and effectiveness of your content!
How can you tell a professional’s screen design from a rookie design? The professional makes sure all the elements on the screen align with each other. This is an important point, and it is easy to do. Patti shows you how.
Clip art presents designers with some important challenges. On the one hand, it’s convenient and generally free. On the other hand, it is obviously clip art and it often doesn’t fit the other graphic design elements in the content. This month’s column shows you how to get rid of clip art backgrounds that don’t quite work for your design.
Clip art has a bad image, if you will pardon the pun, among instructional designers and those who review their products. Yet it is possible to use clip art in ways that are consistent with a professional approach. Begin by matching image types and by recoloring images to match your color scheme. This month's column shows you how easy this is to do!
Is clip art always a terrible thing to use in e-Learning? Not if you use it the right way. It all depends on selection, style, placement, and scale. Here are pointers on each of these factors.
Infographics are visuals specifically created to represent, instruct, or to disseminate information in a visual format. These visuals have many potential uses, but many instructional designers overlook the format and we seldom see them in e-Learning. Here’s how to create and use visualizations effectively.
Creating effective, PowerPoint-based e-Learning requires thinking in some new ways. Often, the most important part of creating PowerPoint slides is deciding what to leave out. In this month’s column, Patti gives you some tips on thinking about content.
Are you just beginning to learn how to author e-Learning? This column is meant for you! Patti Shank serves up some tool-independent and tool-specific tips in this series that will help you work better and faster, and develop a better product. This month, Patti shows you four tips for avoiding cognitive overload.
There is a simple process that will help you figure out what learners need to be able to do in the real world and then make sure they get adequate practice doing it during instruction. Here’s a “play along” article that shows you the process.
When does rapid e-Learning work best? What types of rapid authoring tools are there? Which rapid authoring tools do Guild members favor? Here are the answers from The eLearning Guild Research Getting Started in e-Learning Report on Rapid e-Learning, published February 10, 2010.
It is now absurdly easy to add media – especially video – to e-Learning, but a designer still needs to exercise judgment about when to use media, which media to use, and how best to match media and learning outcomes. After reading this article, you will have an outstanding set of guidelines from a top e-Learning designer to help you liven up your e-Learning and increase learner engagement.
Assessment of learning is one of those elements of design that many practitioners talk about but find difficult to do well, or to do at all. Yet there are ethical and even legal reasons why doing assessment properly is critically important. Fortunately, designing good assessments is simple, given some basic principles. An expert designer walks you through these basics and shows you how to succeed.
The purpose of e-Learning is to improve the accomplishment of real tasks in the real world. Transfer is the key to achieving this purpose, and designers should focus on interactions that help learners gain the desired level of mastery and then apply it on the job. Here are six basic, proven strategies that will improve transfer from e-Learning to the job.
Practice is critical to learning many skills. While practice is relatively easy to arrange in classroom instruction or OJT, it is not always so simple in e-Learning. Furthermore, this is also true of the activities we require learners to perform when we evaluate whether they learned. This article discusses strategies for thinking about how to solve this problem.
"If interactivity is considered an important measure of good online learning, the dilemma is that we often don’t know what we’re measuring, and that’s a pretty slippery slope. To answer that question we first have to ask: Interaction for what? That’s easy... Interaction that supports the desired learning." Read this article to begin exploring how to arrange this result.
Our jobs in e-Learning are all about solving performance problems, but most of the time e-Learning is not enough and organizations are nervous about exposing systemic shortcomings. The solution is Human Performance Technology (HPT), based on analysis and tailored solutions. Read this article to find out what is involved in HPT and to get ideas you can use immediately in your work.