My Technology Tools to Support Learning course is continuing our overview of elearning this week.  But I also wanted to link elearning to some of the other topics we’ve been discussing over the semester.  As we move from using Powerpoint for presentations to building interactive learning modules, I thought we would consider what we should bring with us from presentations., one of the Internet’s largest archive of slides and presentations, holds a competition each year for the World’s Best Presentation.  The topic for the slides can be on anything.  The winner this year, Dan Roam, built a presentation about healthcare in America, and it’s all written on napkins (sort of).  See for yourself; I’ve embedded it below.

But the second prize, “Sheltering Wings” by Sarah Cullem, and third place,  “Feels Bad on the Back” by Mohamad Faried, are also excellent as well.  These are the overall winners.  There are also winners for different categories. So, you may want to take a look at those, too.  In particular, you might want to take a look at the one for education.  Here’s the list from Slideshare:

The question…

So after taking a look at a bunch of these (and some of you may have seen them through Twitter, etc. as they came out), I’ve got some questions for you to consider.

  1. What can we learn from these presentations about how to design and develop presentations? In other words, what’ the take away for instructional designers?
  2. What can we learn about how to present a message to others, particularly when we’re not there to elaborate?
  3. How do these (or some of these) presentations echo principles of message design, graphic design, and instructional design?  Or how do they break them usefully?

Let me know what you think.  Jump in and leave your ideas in the comments below.

These are my Jumptags for October 13th through October 15th:

About a year ago, I found the following slideshow, creating a post about it on a previous —now somewhat defunct — blog. So, I’m reposting it here. It will be able to get archived and found easier. Plus, maybe it will resonate with you.

Consider this slide show on Slideshare: “” In this slideshow, review it at full screen so you can read the legends for each slide. Another site called this “The Power of Stars.” The message is powerful.  How do you think the message in the presentation is interpreted through visual literacy, graphic design and message design?

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David Lindenberg

David Lindenberg

We’ve all seen it:  The training material that is a jumbled mess of mismatched graphics, hard-to-read text and no sense of cohesion whatsoever.  What good is the content if the learner needs a decoder ring to decipher it?  Therefore, I offer up my Top 11 List of Style.  Why eleven?  Because eleven is the new ten (actually, I just couldn’t narrow it down).  None of these topics are new, but rather a collection of style principles I adhere to when developing materials.

  1. Font style – Pick two fonts, one for your body text and one for your headers.
  2. Font size – Keep it standard, not too big, not too small.
  3. Graphics – Exercise prudence.  Don’t mix and match (i.e. don’t use a clipart cartoon in one spot and a photograph in another).
  4. Colors – Generally, stick with dark font colors against a light background.
  5. White space – Embrace space.  Make it your friend.  Not everything needs to be covered with text or pictures.
  6. Text blocks – Avoid large chunks of text.  Use bullet points to break the text into more visual-friendly parts.
  7. Alignment – Pick an alignment and stick with it.  Use center align sparingly.
  8. Branding – Put your company and/or department logo on the material.
  9. Consistency – Strive for a consistent look and feel throughout the material.
  10. Template – If there is a chance of reusing the material again for another project, put all of your style options in a blank template.
  11. Style sheet – Create a style sheet for others who may be helping develop the material, or for future reference/reuse.

For a more in-depth explanation of many of these principles, see Robin Williams’ The Non-Designer’s Design Book.

Guest blogger:  David Lindenberg is a practicing instructional designer at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis, Tennessee.  He is a graduate of the Instructional Design & Technology program at The University of Memphis.

30-hour FamineBeginning tonight, I will be helping to lead our church youth through a 30-hour famine.  This is sponsored by World Vision in an effort to emphasize to youth and adults the poignancy of poverty and famine around the globe.  Norwalk, CT, and Here in Franklin offer two other descriptions of youth participating in the famine.  World Vision reports:

Each day, over 26,000 children under the age of 5 die from preventable diseases such as malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and acute respiratory infections. Malnutrition is associated with over half of those deaths.

In particular, tomorrow afternoon I will be leading over 70 youth and adults in a game called TRIBE.  As I worked through the game — rather a series of games, challenges and reflections — I began to think about both the instructional design of the game and the message design of the leader’s guide.  The cyclical nature of game, reflection and whole group sharing seemed to be an effective technique.  Using the word game here is liberal, for sure.  Some are games; some, simulations; some, sort of just challenges.  They are all somewhat fast-paced to meet the audience’s needs, but the opportunities to reflect and debrief align really well with the literature on assessment with serious games and simulations.

Finally, the message design of the leader’s guide is well done and unified, too.  It’s not anything with a spectacularly unique layout.  But the directions in the guide highlight how the graphics used relate to the game and the Indonesian part of the world simulated in the game.  So, the overall game and the leader’s guide toggle back and forth between high fidelity and low fidelity.

I encourage you to take a look at the game and its design. And if you want to know more about TRIBE or the 30-hour Famine or if your community is participating, be sure to leave a comment.

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Valentine's Day StudyHappy Valentine’s Day and welcome to the inaugural post of my new web site and blog, I hope you’ll find my blog interesting, provocative, funny and informative. I’m going to be considering design broadly, including instructional design, message design, interface design and graphic design. I’ll also be looking toward instructional development and learning technologies, such as e-learning, Web 2.0 and technology integration.

When I off-handedly mentioned mentioned the name of my new site to a group of doc students, one student (David S.) asked me what the name meant. So, I thought I would share a little bit about the name like I did for him. Certainly, a notebook is a catch-all: a container for unfinished and refined thoughts, a bound collection of related and dissimilar writings and a place for chicken scratch that hasn’t been fleshed out or found a home. Viral (rhymes with spiral) connotes the infectious nature and methods that so many good ideas are spread from one individual to another. So, hopefully, this site will become a venue for sharing. I hope you’ll help with that, too. And as the title suggests, “Show some love.” Comment and share. I welcome both.

As part of the launch for my site, I invited a slew of friends and colleagues from around the country to offer up their thoughts on topics they are currently pondering. I am pleased and honored to announce that over the next weeks, their posts will celebrate the launch of this site. Here’s the prestigious list:

  • Paul Ayers, International Paper
  • Elizabeth Boling, Indiana University
  • Rob Branch, University of Georgia
  • Ward Cates, Lehigh University
  • Jongpil Cheon, Texas Tech University
  • Anna Clifford, Union University
  • Chuck Hodges, Virginia Tech University
  • Corey Johnson, FedEx
  • David Lindenberg, Lebonheur Methodist Healthcare
  • Yuri Quintana, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • Lynn Schrum, George Mason University
  • Sharon Smaldino, Northern Illinois University

Can you say, “Wow!”? This is an awesome list of experts, researchers and practitioners. I hope their thoughts will prompt you to comment on their posts, as well as either subscribe to the RSS feed or submit your name in the form on the right sidebar to receive email updates.