Its summer time and here a couple ideas to spark your creativity in learning, growing and getting inspired! As a learning architect, I get the opportunity to work with dozens of projects each year. One of the biggest challenges is understanding the challenges and requirements for any particular project as well as understanding the audience, the technology that can be used deliver amazing learning experiences.
1. Sketching & Wireframing
Pick up a pencil and some paper and just start sketching a concept to help visualizing the options, the challenges and gather feedback immediately to refine and evolve your concept. I often start drawing during a meeting or brainstorming session to help capture a concept and visually look, think and analyze what each option would mean to the concept. Use your phone to quickly snap a photo and you can post, share or reference it after the meeting to further evolve or communicate the concept with your team or audience members.
Sketching can be scary at first, but you have to ignore the initial fear factor, and just start to sketch. The more you do it you’ll quick improve your skills. Working in several workshops I’m often blown away with how many people don’t take advantage of the technique and how good they are using the technique.
If you working on a new idea, concept or project, take 5-10 minutes and illustrate a screen, activity or concept to help tell the story when you are sharing it with your stakeholder or testing a concept with a audience member.
After sketching and getting the base concepts we use wireframing and Apple’s Keynote to further define and visualize the concept. You can also use Microsoft Powerpoint and Google Slides.
1. Sketch a screen or activity on a project you are working on this way.
2. Share the sketch and explain your concept to a peer or stakeholder.
3. Revise and evolve the concept.
What did you learn? Did it help? Try it again and integrate into your workflow.
2. Play with a New, Old or Favorite App
Open your favorite app, download a new app or open a app you haven’t played within a while. Whether its the first time you used the app or your a repeat user, run thru the exercise.
- What was your first experience with the app? Did they teach you how to use it or drop you into a experience and you simply started to play?
- Did you find it a positive or negative experience?
- What do you like about the app?
- Can you easily navigate the app?
- How does it make you feel?
- Did you get lost or frustrated? Why?
Edit the list above to help you think about and evaluate and capture feedback.
If I encounter a app that is positive or negative, I often take a screen shot or picture of that app and note what is great or not and share it with my team. I capture these screens to inspire and remind me what works and what doesn’t and use it to jump start a new project or concept. The bigger your library gets the easier it will be to draw from great experience as well as what failed and this will help improve your decisions in designing experiences.
Download Flipboard (free for iOS or Android and via the web). If you already have it and haven’t used it in a while check it out again. I find this to be a great app and has a unique experience from phone to tablet to desktop. Its a great way to learn and keep with the new information.
Exercise: think about how you would use this format in a learning project?
3. Read a Book, listen to a podcast, watch a movie and connect with a peer
There are so many ways for us to connect today, make sure you continue to take advantage of that to learn, share and grow. Make sure you plan some time every week to reflect, research and discuss a project, experience or to brainstorm some new ideas.
One of my favorite recent books is Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull. Whether you love Pixar or love a good story this is an amazing book to learn about creativity. You’ll learn how the Pixar founders always wanted to create movies using computers and their struggles, stories and how their passion eventually led them to being one of the most successful animation houses sharing amazing stories with their audience. You also learn about their culture, how they grew and how they dealt with failures along the way. One of my favorites, is how they accidenlty deleted the majority of server animations for a major production with a simple command. I’ll let you discover what happened next. This will inspire you to grow and use some of their techniques in your every day creativity. Amazon
4. Looking outside of your world.
Whether you are a designer, programmer or manager I always find its invaluable to connect with others outside the world of learning to learn from their experiences and what I can apply and use in our world. At your next social event, conference or family gathering be sure to explore what others our doing, what they are passionate about, what they are struggling with or crushing and share your experiences as well.
If you are watching TV or a movie, its great to do a quick post-event review about what you saw, heard, felt and learned during that experience? Which of these worked well and which did not, and what can you translate back to a upcoming project?
5. Unplug and Reboot Your Brain
Its summer time and while we don’t always get long periods of vacation, be sure to take advantage of any down time do things you love, unplug from the technology and reflect on what you want to do in the upcoming weeks outside of the every day work flow. Do you want to test a new technology? Do you want to update your work flow? How can you improve your experiences to help your audience?
Join the conversation on Tuesday’s #Ozlearn. Join us 8 pm AEST – 11 am BST. #elearning #tweetchat with Con Sotidis @LearnKotch (6am EST) to share your ideas on learning, growing and getting inspired!
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If you haven’t played with app Flipboard, you should download the latest version for iOS or Android. It easily allows to select from hundreds of categories and web resources and then easily review them daily or weekly based on your schedule. The web version is also great when you are on your desktop station and want to check out the latest stories.
Great design inspiration in the layout, be sure to look at it on the phone and tablet in portrait and landscape to learn how it moves and reacts to the users preference. I use it several times a week.
iPad Pro Landscape:
iPad Pro Portrait:
Advancements in technology are disrupting the ways we view learning and performance. Any new technology brings with it opportunities, risks … and questions. FocusOn Learning 2016 Conference & Expo targets the trends and technologies that are changing our approaches to training. This inaugural year of FocusOn Learning explores three topics that today’s learning professionals need to understand and incorporate into their work: the reliance on mobile as a primary technology to interact with content, the growing use of video as an interactive light for learning, and the continued interest in integrating performance support directly into organizational workflows.
If you are looking for a new smaller event where everyone sits down and works together to discuss, debate and learn about the latest in learning, check out this great event. Great discounts for teams as well. We’ve been participating in the presenting, sharing and learning for the past couple of years and its one of my favoritee events. It’s run by Jason Bickle, a friend, teacher and practitioner of creating great learning. Become part of the family. Check out the link below.
Set at the University of Utah in the Wasatch mountains, Learning DevCamp 2016, Collaboration and Learning for developers by developers. is a learning event dedicated to collaborating with both corporate and public educators on creating online learning programs and content. Our approach is simple. We work to present practical application of both instructional design theory and development tools/techniques.
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