DevLearn 2018: Introduction to Instructional Design Recap

Alright folks – I’m back from DevLearn 2018, and I’m almost fully recovered, but not quite at 100% just yet. DevLearn was a blast, it was a whirlwind of a week for me, and over the next several days, I’ll be posting recaps for everything I participated in, beginning with the pre-conference certificate workshop that I delivered.

This year was my first time delivering a pre-conference certificate workshop for the E-Learning Guild, so I was incredibly nervous for a few reasons:

  1. It was my first time delivering a pre-conference certificate workshop for the E-Learning Guild
  2. I typically teach this workshop as an M.Ed graduate course over a full semester
  3. This course is available in its entirety at Sprout E-Learning (GO CHECK IT OUT!) and it is nearly 70 lessons, so condensing it into 6.5 hours was daunting

The first thing I have to say is: I had a fantastic group of participants. They were incredibly engaged, despite the boatload of theory I was cramming down their throats, and those who provided feedback were incredibly positive about the workshop and its delivery. They were the best participants I could have had for my first workshop!

I began with some introductions, housekeeping, and an ice breaker. I was SHOCKED when I asked how many people hated ice breakers as much as me and only three people raised their hands. AMEN!

We spent much of the morning discussing the ADDIE framework and Instructional Design models as a lead up to the first big activity: creating your own Instructional Design model. I had each table create a model, based on the things we discussed previously, and then I had them give me a sales pitch, fielding questions as they pitched. Everyone was so engaged in this activity that it went overtime! Look at all of these people working hard to create their models!

After lunch we really hammered through all of the learning theories, as well as doing a deeper dive through each phase of the ADDIE framework, discussing elements contained throughout each. At the end of the day, each group reviewed a self-paced course against an evaluation/QA criteria sheet and we discussed the importance of evaluation, and how, based on all that they learned within the workshop, each course was lacking or succeeding.

Overall, it was a great pre-conference certificate workshop. I was pleasantly surprised with the level of engagement, I believe I converted some folks further into the idea of pursuing a role as an Instructional Designer, and I look forward to receiving the session evaluations so that I can optimize the workshop for its next delivery!

If you’re interested in participating in the full course, Essentials of Instructional Design, it is offered through Sprout E-Learning. It consists of nearly 70 lessons, activities throughout (that you can complete and submit, or not – whatever you prefer), and has been very well-received since launch. Check it out!

DevLearn 2018 | Day 1 Keynote: Julie Snyder

Today is the first official day of DevLearn 2018 in terms of sessions, and I am super excited about the Julie Snyder keynote!

Julie Snyder is the co-creator and executive producer of the podcasts Serial and S-Town. As a huge Serial fan, I have to say that I’m fan-girling pretty hard about having the opportunity to listen to Snyder tell us all about storytelling and what makes a captivating story. EEEEE!

Julie Snyder – What Makes a Captivating Story?


Julie Snyder begins her keynote by discussing the production elements of Serial…basement recordings and waiting for your kids to flush a toilet. She then goes on to discuss how Serial came to be. In the first episode of Serial, the host uses a quote directly from Snyder. She explains how Serial needed buy in from This American Life to get up and running. They had a very cold team meeting, and Serial was pitched as the “This Week” show. They wanted to identify how they could make the “This Week” show a weekly thing.

Ira Glass finally explained they had his buy in…but they asked whether they had any other ideas. That’s when a serialized documentary was pitched. A weekly documentary show that would follow one story each week. Julie thought at that point…that was a good concept. It made sense. She hadn’t heard of this format done before in radio, so it was a cool and exciting idea.

This American Life is very open to experimentation and failing. She indicated that 40-50% of stories done for This American Life end up getting killed, but it provides them with a lot of freedom to trial.

Their first story for Serial fell into place with minimal discussion. They didn’t need a large exploration to find the story – it was an investigation of a missing high school girl. Snyder loved the idea of exploring all of the concepts, especially the criminal justice system. Releasing the episodes weekly allowed for feedback and/or questions across the week that could be addressed in the next week’s episode.

The storytelling problem began with how to make listeners understand the significance of the details contained within dense and complicated content. They wanted to know what Sarah thought. Sarah was very honest about how she felt about what she didn’t know re: whether the information was solid. For someone without a background in crime reporting, Sarah does a great job with her investigations and reporting. Snyder thinks it’s very important to be able to check yourself on things you don’t know.

They had a lot of challenges with Serial, including being able to get access to speak with individuals (e.g., Jay, Adnan’s defence attorney, etc.). Much of the investigation came from a giant PDF of public information that the police deemed appropriate to release. The PDF was really disorganized, redacted, poorly scanned, and very disjointed. They were initially defeated in terms of “what are we going to do with all of this information?”. Once they befriended it, it became the backbone of the entire series (moreso than the trial transcript).

How were they supposed to figure out the importance of the early suspects if they couldn’t communicate with them? The giant PDF of public information!

They explored whether it was okay to make a nonfiction story as entertaining as TV…Serial reminded Julie of a lot of the elements you see in TV (e.g., episodic development). They borrowed elements from TV production, like ‘previously on’ intros and cliffhangers for episodes to come. Julie puts forth a hypothesis about the zeitgeist of Serial. She thinks that when people listened, the part of their brain that lit up when they watched escapist entertainment lit up when they listened to Serial and triggered new interest. What are the ethics? Is it journalism? Is it responsible? Snyder says “Yes!” she believes that artistry is alright in reporting so long as you stick to the truth!

Snyder gives Ira Glass major props for his influence in public radio. She explains that he has trained all of the radio producers, and it allowed them to go out in the world and take lessons learned from Ira. She explains that we should always be looking for the details and the moments in stories. We should try to reflect the world as it is in all the funny and bizarre and upsetting ways that it is. Reporting as artistry creates empathy and moves a story from what it is to something more meaningful.

She discusses Reddit and how the rules of reporting on Reddit are very different from their rules of reporting. They always had to weigh the value of disclosing something that might be damaging to someone…things would be left out, and then pop culture criticized Serial for missing information…information that may actually be there, but that they consciously decided to leave out. On Reddit, a lot of damaging information about real people was dug up that may have damaged individuals….because the Internet has very little rules. Snyder explains that they didn’t see this type of response coming because nothing similar had ever happened with This American Life.

They felt they were losing control and the frenzy of attention and scrutiny was consuming them. When the final episode dropped, they shut down the commenting on the Serial Facebook page. They had been hyper-vigilant about moderating the comments, removing inflammatory posts, etc. They then learned they cannot shut down commenting on Facebook; they can only block information containing various key words. A filter was created and tested…during the testing he discovered that the filter did not work…and “Adnan did it” was posted from the official Serial account. He thought “maybe no one saw it”…and then it was on Twitter and Reddit. The creator felt it was the worst work-related thing he ever did. He couldn’t even bring himself to look at the Reddit thread and found out that everyone thought it was a hack.

Ira came to the team to provide thoughts about how to end the story. He thought it would be great if the team solved the crime. Of course they wanted to solve the case! But as they neared the end of the show, they realized it wasn’t going to happen. However, it provided a question: Were they okay with the fact that someone is facing the rest of their life in prison and the state’s case is still incredibly flawed?

Julie finishes by discussing the relationship between Sarah and Adnan. Her relationship with Adnan was personal that was always evolving. A large component of this type of investigative journalism is psychological and emotional. It takes a toll! Serial felt different because instead of hiding the confusion of the reporting, it was often part of the narrative.

I’m Speaking at DevLearn 2018!

Oh boy! This year at DevLearn, I am going to be BUSY! And that’s fantastic. DevLearn is one of my favourite conferences because from an industry-perspective, it’s incredibly relevant and on-the-pulse, and I get to network with so many of my favourite people (and meet new folks!). If you’re an Instructional Designer or E-Learning Developer and are looking for a fun, worthwhile, and practical conference to attend: DevLearn is it!

This year I’ll be doing a few things:

Delivering a Pre-Conference Certificate Workshop: Introduction to Instructional Design

This year over at Sprout E-Learning, I launched a course, Essentials of Instructional Design. This course has been getting fantastic reception, and is large, in-charge, and very comprehensive. The workshop I’m delivering at DevLearn will be a condensed version of Essentials of Instructional Design (we only have 8 hours!), and my hope is that it demystifies the field, generates interest in Instructional Design, and provides folks with some of the theoretical underpinnings of the field.

Right now there are nearly 50 participants registered for the workshop, which is exciting and terrifying, and I’m hoping a few more jump on the bandwagon – I want to meet you all and preach the gospel of Instructional Design! There will be a workbook, there will be 50 new friends for you to meet, and there will be some fun activities – go sign up now if you’re interested in any of those things!

This workshop will be delivered on Monday, October 22nd.

Facilitating a Morning Buzz on Building Your E-Learning Portfolio

On Wednesday, October 24th, I’ll be facilitating a morning buzz (7:30-8:15am) on Building Your E-Learning Portfolio, a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Morning Buzz’ are very casual conversations that are guided by a facilitator, so you just need to show up with your coffee, tea, water (whatever your liquid of choice is) and groggily engage in a discussion, ask questions, and wake up a bit.

Delivering a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Session on Using Variables in Articulate Storyline

On Thursday, October 25th, I’ll be delivering a BYOD session: Articulate Storyline 360 Let’s Get Variable! These sessions are hands on and are always a ton of fun. I’m always overly ambitious about what I can show folks in 1 hour, so it’s always fast and furious. I delivered this session 2 years ago at DevLearn and it was standing room only….so this year I’ll be bringing more thumb drives with files and some takeaway materials.

In this session, I’ll be showing you how to use variables to control navigation and create custom progress meters (I told you I’m ambitious).

Participating in DemoFest (Tentative)

I haven’t heard back just yet, but my hope is that I’ll be participating in DemoFest on Thursday, October 25th from 4-6pm. There’s a project I worked on earlier in the year that I was particularly proud of, so I’m hoping to show it off and see whether it engages others.

What Else Will I Get Up To?!

To be honest, Las Vegas is not my favourite place, but this year I’m hoping to hit up the Grand Canyon and a Las Vegas Golden Knights game among many dinners/coffees/drinks with new and old friends.

Articulate Storyline 360 Essentials

I’ve been wanting to publish a course on Articulate Storyline for YEARS, and it is finally happening!

If you’ve frequented my site for awhile you’ll probably know that I often post screencast demonstrations of Articulate Storyline, and I love doing them (and will continue to)! They get a lot of positive reception, they help folks out, and they let me share my love of Articulate products with the masses.

Articulate Storyline 360 Essentials is a self-paced,10-module course that aims to walk you through the life cycle of a Storyline project from start to finish. Within this course, you will learn everything you need to know to get up and running with Storyline 360!

Note: I have taught a version of this course at various face-to-face workshops, and have authored Articulate Storyline Essentials and Mastering Articulate Storyline, both for Packt Publishing.

This course will launch on December 21st, 2018, and until November 15th, I will be offering it at a $200 dollar discount. The discounted rate is $495, so if you’re interested, get on this deal!

Heck Yes, I’m Interested! (Click Here)