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Learning concepts and trends to help transform your business

Dave Coodin

Dave Coodin is an Instructional Designer and Creative Writer at SwissVBS. He is interested in the role that interactive storytelling plays in learner engagement. Dave holds a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from York University.

Recent Posts

The Raptors and Learning Design

Posted by Dave Coodin on Tue, Jun 11, 2019

 

 

What the Raptors Can Teach Us About Learning Design

It’s official. Raptors fever has taken over the country, and there’s no cure in sight. Here at SwissVBS, the infection has been acute. Our offices may be a brisk walk from Scotiabank Arena, but the way we high-five each other the morning after a Raptors win, you’d think we were located in the middle of Jurassic Park.

Since no one here can think about anything else right now, I thought I’d use this week’s blog post to reflect on what the Raptors 2019 playoff run can tell us about learning design. After all, if we’re all striving to be the best at what we do, who better to look to for ideas than the (soon-to-be) champs?

A quick note: as I write this, the Raptors currently have a 3-2 lead in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. 

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Topics: Digital Learning, instructional design, elearning trends, Toronto Raptors

Diversity and Inclusion Is Harder Than You Think

Posted by Dave Coodin on Wed, Feb 27, 2019

Over the past couple of years, it’s been impossible not to notice the number of clients asking for diversity and inclusion training. Chalk it up to recent updates to provincial labour legislation or to #metoo and #timesup. Either way, the change has been palpable, and seems driven by a genuine concern to start taking these issues seriously.

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Topics: eLearning, Digital Learning, sexual harassment, Workplace Sexual Harassment, inclusion

Your Learning Needs More Creativity

Posted by Dave Coodin on Thu, Feb 16, 2017

Creativity is the key to good instructional design. When learners experience something creative and interesting, it makes them pay attention and absorb what we are trying to teach them. Because of this, learning experiences should avoid straightforward “telling” whenever possible and focus instead on “showing,” using whatever creative resources are available....

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Topics: SwissVBS, Storytelling, Skills, eLearning, Design, Creativity

Less is More: Cognitive Load and Learning

Posted by Dave Coodin on Thu, Nov 24, 2016

How many phone numbers do you know by memory? Five? Six? If you count the phone numbers of relatives you memorized as a child, maybe as many as 10?

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Topics: SwissVBS, Performance Support, Storytelling, Skills, Mobile Learning

Teaching Without the Teacher: How to Empower Learners

Posted by Dave Coodin on Thu, Oct 20, 2016

Before my life as an instructional designer, I spent years in the classroom as a college and university professor. There are some things about it I will never miss: the irregular hours, which can be crazy-making; the first-year students, whose attitudes range from Tracy-Flick-enthusiastic to Jeff-Spicoli-jaded; and the marking, which tends to pile up like psychic scar tissue on an otherwise-healthy brain. 

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Topics: SwissVBS, Learning Journey, Online Coaching, Skills, Presence Training

Ping Pong and the Art of Skills Training

Posted by Dave Coodin on Thu, Aug 25, 2016

Here at SwissVBS, we take pride in many things: our talented team of designers, writers, and programmers; our commitment to customer-driven learning; our obsessive attention to detail.

But if you were to ask our employees what accomplishment they’re most proud of, one answer would probably come up again and again: “My ping pong game.”

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Topics: SwissVBS, Story-Telling, Storytelling, Learning Journey, Online Coaching, Skills

Immersive Learning: What It Means and How To Do It

Posted by Dave Coodin on Thu, Jun 16, 2016

We hear it all the time in our industry: To succeed, eLearning needs to be engaging, fun, even different.

At SwissVBS, we tend to agree. At our core, we believe that learning shouldn’t feel like “capital L” Learning – something that’s good for you, but not necessarily good. As an instructional designer, I always say that my job is to create immersive experiences.

It’s a noble aim, but have you ever stopped to think about what “immersive” really means? It’s a term that’s thrown around so much that its meaning can sometimes get lost. What exactly is immersion, and what are its essential ingredients?

When you’re truly immersed, you forget that you are participating in an artificial construct. Think back to the most fun you’ve ever had playing a video game, whether it’s Grand Theft Auto or Pac-Man. You know that feeling when you look up at the clock after a few minutes and realize that hours have gone by? That’s immersion. It’s giving yourself over entirely to an experience, losing yourself in a constructed reality. For instructional designers, we need to be thinking constantly about how to reproduce that feeling, regardless of context or subject matter.

For a digital onboarding program for a major organization specializing in household consumer goods, we wanted to recreate the anxiety and excitement of the first day on the job. The end result was an experience that mimicked what a first day would look like through the eyes of a new employee – from a first-person point of view.

Luckily, a lot of research has been done to help us break down the various things we can do to create these kinds of experiences.

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Topics: SwissVBS, Customization, Storytelling, Learning Journey

The True Value of Customization

Posted by Dave Coodin on Thu, Apr 21, 2016

I used to live near a bakery that made the most delicious bread. Thick, doughy, and light as a cloud, to bite into it was to have your stomach filled and your spirit warmed. What always puzzled me, however, was the sign that hung out front: “Fresh bread, baked daily just for you.”

“Just for me?” I would wonder. If it was baked just for me, why didn’t I have any say into the ingredients? What if I wanted multigrain dough with poppy seeds? Or a dark rye with cinnamon? Although the bread was otherworldly, I didn’t like being told that it was made for me when clearly, it was not.

As an instructional designer, I feel the same twitch of irritation when I hear the word “customization” thrown around. “Custom eLearning, built just for you!” It’s a nice promise, but what does it really mean?

Too often, “customization” means selecting characters, interactivities, or visual assets from a menu, and plugging them into a template using an authoring tool. To be sure, there are advantages to this approach. From the designer’s perspective, it allows us to reuse the backbone of our eLearning with multiple clients, making it easier and cheaper to produce. From the client’s perspective, it allows you to get a sense of a solution before you commit; it also requires less work on your end to see a final result.

To me, however, customization means so much more.

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Topics: Customization