The details are not the details. They make the design.
– Charles Eames
As an instructional designer, I specialize in transfering face-to-face courses, workshops and peripheral materials into online courses. I also design online courses from scratch. My background includes:
- MEd in Distance Education, Athabasca University
- BA in graphic design, University of Guelph
- certificates in Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language (TESL, TEFL)
- certified member, Canadian Association of Instructional Designers (CAID)
- teaching experience:
- master classes in Visual Design, CAID
- Image Editing & Creative Applications courses, Mohawk College
- Web design courses, Fanshawe College
Note: I design courses for learning management systems (LMS) and software, such as Moodle, Articulate Storyline, Canvas, Sakai, Blackboard, Desire2Learn, but leave the technical programming to the developers who specialize in a particular LMS, as there are more than 20 popular LMSs, and more than 500 on the market. For an overview of instructional design (ID), see my home page.
Customer Service courses for Sales, Service and Parts Departments in the automotive industry through PSG Canada:
- Hyundai Auto Canada Corp.
- Subaru Canada
- Audi Canada
- Volkswagen Canada
- Volkswagen of America
- Ford of Canada
Various online courses and educational materials:
- Outdoor Smart: taxonomy advice on boat safety course
- El Maestro en Casa: ESL textbook for Spanish students
- Retirement Education Centre: life transition preparation course
- Canadian Journalists for Free Expression: interactive checkup
- Stepping Stones: course on learning the Cree language
- Getting the Life You Want: retirement education manual
- Davita, Inc.: government compliance course for employees
- Nelson Thomson: ESL grammar course to complement textbook
Due to confidentiality, I cannot provide links to my clients’ online courses.
The focus of every aspect of my designs is on the learner: intuitive navigation, meaningful interaction, clear and purposeful objectives, an engaging learning experience, and, as this example shows, motivation to succeed. As an accompanying audio explains, this automotive salesperson’s average unit sales of 100 can be increased by 30% by applying what is learned in the course, thus resulting in a potential income of $34,900.
The first step in achieving a goal is to definite it as simply and clearly as possible. All my courses are designed for the participant to start with a good understanding of what to expect upon completion of the course. And I ensure that all the content leads directly towards that purpose.
I am aware of and sensitive to the diversity of learners in any given course, and design for a variety of ages, backgrounds, experience and cultural differences. This is especially important in a multicultural country such as Canada.
Engaging learners in the course content is a delicate dance between boredom and overstimulation. It’s about providing a realistic yet challenging experience and finding the right balance through the interplay of audio, video, text, graphics, animation and personal interaction.
As budgets allow, the use of multimedia can do wonders to enhance learners’ engagement and their relation to the content. Video can be expensive, but the scripts I write for character animation with synchronized audio often provide an affordable option with very relatable scenarios. (A GoAnimate/Vyond example here.)
My designs are based on sound pedagogy, and because part of my annual membership renewal in CAID requires continual professional education, I regularly apply current research findings to my work. For example, research recently showed that pop-quizzes positioned immediately after the discussion of a fact reinforces the learning more strongly than if positioned later.
Developers of video games and social media created tools to keep users engaged in their applications. I use some of these “gamification” tools to enhance education and training, e.g., stars and badges earned for successful outcomes; bars to monitor progress; steps and dice to make advances; and timed quizzes to generate excitement.
One of the things that makes learners feel empowered and encouraged is choice. For example, the point of the lesson at right can be seen at a glance: Hyundai has made progress over its history in 5 key areas. A curious learner can hover over any one or all of the circles to learn more about how that progress was achieved.