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Mary Arnold

Articles by Mary Arnold

The Human Factor: “Please Acknowledge That You Have Read and Understood”  April 17, 2012

What’s your approach to “compliance” training? Many eLearning teams treat it as boilerplate; purely utilitarian, with minimal time and energy allotted to its creation. Yet there is a business case that supports more engaging treatment of the content. This month’s column presents that case – and the rewards of a creative approach for the eLearning team.

The Human Factor: Moderators in a Creative Online Community  March 20, 2012

In online communities, members can produce tremendous amounts of content. In closely moderated communities, members submit more work, and get more feedback than members of communities with no active moderator. Here’s an exploration of what the most effective moderators do that makes a big difference.

The Human Factor: Building Strategic Partnerships in Your Organization  February 14, 2012

Last-minute training requests make many training departments wish they had a seat at the table when projects are being developed. If your training group wants to partner with other areas in the organization, here are some ways to accomplish that goal.

The Human Factor: Serious Game, Strategic Partnership  January 17, 2012

Mobile and social technologies can combine to support learning and performance, as can simulation and gaming. But games, simulations, and social technologies can also be combined collaboratively to support learning, performance, and other real-world tasks. Here is an example that also suggests a model for collaborative development of such applications.

The Human Factor: Winter Reading List  December 20, 2011

Looking for some good reading during the holiday break? Mary recommends the five business books she’s found most useful in her ongoing professional development in 2011.

The Human Factor: The Trouble with Group Brainstorming  November 15, 2011

Brainstorming is a common strategy for quickly getting good ideas from a group, but anyone who has ever participated in one of these sessions knows that the technique can confound the results. Here are three ideas to help you achieve efficiency while maintaining the enthusiasm of the brainstorming group!

The Human Factor: The Connection Between Social Networking and Learning  October 18, 2011

Pondering how to create a social media strategy that supports learning? Research suggests that an effective strategy may be simpler than you think.

The Human Factor: Communicating to Every Audience  September 20, 2011

Communication is a major concern in any human undertaking, and especially in instruction. Understanding what’s important to people, and how they respond to your content, is important to successful instructional design. Here’s a simple model that can help you connect with your audience.

The Human Factor: How Gender Differences Matter in Software Training  August 16, 2011

In a finding that will probably surprise no one, researchers have concluded that men and women really do interact with software differently. These differences have implications for the design of effective training. Here’s how to design software training that prevents a bias against women without introducing a bias against men.

The Human Factor: Evangelizing Social Learning  July 19, 2011

Training professionals are quick to see the potential value in social learning and collaboration environments. However, their organizations often need additional reasons to invest in a social learning environment. The good news is, the reasons are substantial! Here are some persuasive arguments you can use.

The Human Factor: Five Tips for a Better Audio Podcast  June 21, 2011

Podcasting (audio recordings on the Web with an associated RSS feed) has been around for several years, but it can be a surprisingly effective tool for eLearning and for mLearning – especially if you apply the five tips in this month’s column.

The Human Factor: Creating Color Palettes (The Easy Way)  May 17, 2011

Creating color palettes for eLearning projects can be frustrating and time-consuming when the designer tries to do the job manually, even for those with experience in art. Luckily, there are tools available online that save time and frustration. Mary reviews five of them this month.

The Human Factor: Making Your Process Transparent to Your Customers  April 19, 2011

All projects have constraints, and it is important that the project team and the client are on the same page about which one is most important. It can be painful to discover, too late, that the client’s expectations were different from the team’s. This week’s column offers a simple process that will protect you from that pain.

The Human Factor: Get On The Same Page With The Stakeholders  March 15, 2011

Customer satisfaction is as important a goal for instructional development teams as it is for any other business activity. The very first step in your analysis phase should be sitting down with the stakeholders and identifying their expectations. This month’s column arms you with the right questions to ask!

The Human Factor: Delivering Training to Multi-Taskers  February 15, 2011

It’s a simple fact: In this always-connected age, learners multi-task. It’s true for learners in the classroom, and it’s even truer for learners engaged in asynchronous e-Learning. You won’t be able to stop them, but here’s how to design instruction that takes multi-tasking into account.

The Human Factor: Do You Speak Video?  January 18, 2011

Being familiar with video, as a lifelong consumer of it, does not guarantee that we know how to produce it. Instructional designers should learn to think like a director, and to look at the story from the point of view of the audience. Here are some pointers to get you started.

The Human Factor: Back to Basics With Each New Tool  December 21, 2010

Analyzing new technologies is a fun activity for instructional designers, but it takes focus to remember that the point is learning, not technology. Here’s a three-step process to keep your review on track.

The Human Factor: Instructing From a Learner's Perspective  November 16, 2010

Methods intended to engage learners are just tactics that become instructional only when they’re meaningful and strategic. Here’s how to achieve this: by writing content backwards.

The Human Factor: Feedback, or Things I Could Have Learned Playing Zuma  October 19, 2010

Videogames show us how to provide useful feedback, even in conventional e-Learning offerings. There’s more to feedback than correction, as this week’s column demonstrates!

The Human Factor: Mixing & Matching with Rapid Development Tools  September 21, 2010

Rapid e-Learning tools provide some benefits, but at the cost of tight, clean, easily maintained code. Here are some great tinkering tips for optimizing your work by using a combination of tools.

The Human Factor: Social Media as Mentoring Platforms  August 17, 2010

Have you ever thought of social learning platforms as knowledge management tools – ways to store an organization’s knowledge so it can be tapped as needed? Could knowledge management be mentoring with a new name? Here is a brief collection of ways to use social learning platforms to promote sharing of knowledge and experience, to give guidance to those who need it, and to get a better ROI.

The Human Factor: Creating Opportunities to Participate in Social Learning  July 20, 2010

If you’ve ever tried to move the social learning dynamic to a computer-mediated discussion, you’ve probably noticed that giving learners a forum where discussion can take place is not enough to create a social learning environment. Here’s how to give learners a sense of presence that motivates them to participate in the discussion.

The Human Factor: Can Learners Participate At Their Own Level of Expertise?  June 22, 2010

Scores can be a surprisingly good way to help learners enter the Learning 2.0 environment at their own level of expertise. Here are some great pointers that will help you use social networking-type incentives (points) to build participation, and to track and reward individual users’ contributions to group understanding.

The Human Factor:Three Questions To Ask Yourself When Creating Web 2.0 Training  May 18, 2010

Real-world meetings and classrooms require ground rules and good classroom management or facilitation skills. The Web 2.0 learning environment also needs to provide guidance and facilitation for learners, and this is part of the instructional designer’s job. Here are three questions that can help you stay on course as you work to establish a collaborative learning environment.