Category Archives: Educational Technology

Cheat Sheet: Make your Video Shine

I often think that being an instructional designer is a lot like being a reporter. We spend tons of time interviewing our subject matter experts and then boiling things down for our audiences. And just like in reporting, it’s sometimes more effective to include a direct quote. One of the best ways to do that, of course, is with video.

Way back in the olden days when I started as an eLearning designer, video was a rarity.  Cameras, lights, and editing stations were so expensive, and the skills so arcane, we had to hire teams of professionals. Cost was a huge barrier. So was bandwidth. And processor speed. (Anyone else remember 240 by 180?)

Today’s inexpensive equipment and software make video far less cost-prohibitive. It’s even possible for many of us to bypass the pros and do it ourselves. But sometimes we get back to the office and discover that our shoot didn’t turn out as well as we hoped. The audio is buried in background noise. The video looks grainy or flat. Our interviewees stumble on their words, but editing makes them look like they’re twitching. Turns out there’s a bit of an art to it. Continue reading


4 Ways to Hack Your LMS

In an earlier post, I compared instructional design to training a marathon runner. When training a runner, I said, we would never make her stop in the middle of a run and read a map in order to figure out where to run next.

We’d have a route planned in advance. We’d probably take her somewhere she’s already been, or maybe we’d run along and lead the way. We’d probably have her run the same route over and over. After all, the purpose of the training is for her to become a better runner, not a better navigator.

If only LMS designers understood that.

Let’s be honest: the typical learning management system is about as easy to navigate as King Minos’ labyrinth—complete with Minotaur. I’m kind of a techno-geek, but I still find most LMSs incredibly frustrating to use. I can only imagine how hard it is for folks who don’t share my peculiar fondness for computers. Sure, students can find their way around if they search hard enough, but unless “dogged perseverance” is actually the topic of your course, it’s a colossal waste of their mental effort. Continue reading