Slides that Rock!

SlideShare: where we can learn from others

Concert crowdI’ve just read an interesting article from a SlideShare subscription alert. It was interesting on a number of levels. The article ‘Slides that Rock’ describes 5 ways SlideShare has helped them ‘rock':

1. providing a platform where they can learn
2. building a better network
3. enabling a global presence
4. providing a marketing platform
5. adding credibility

I loved viewing their accompanying SlideShare presentation too which has some excellent learning points many of us can take away. It does have a SlideShare promotional feel to it and is considering SlideShare more from a marketing tool point of view but, nontheless, all their points are valid and I started to relate it back to eLearning (as is my tendency) and learning in general.

Presentations are a very passive way of sending a message but can play an important part in workplace learning or as part of a formal blended/eLearning solution. Reading copious amounts of text can have a detrimental effect on our levels of engagement and often visuals play a vital role in our comprehension of the material as well as motivating us to ‘stick with it’. “A picture paints a thousand words” as the saying goes is useful to bear in mind. We can learn to change that by taking ideas from these types of presentations such as ‘Slides that rock’.

Of course, we don’t have to stop at changing how our presentations look. We can apply the same principles to our eLearning tutorial slides too not to mention our classroom slides. And just think of the difference you can make to your conference presentations!

When people on my eLearning design workshops fear they haven’t the creative skills to produce dynamic and appealing slides I point them to two of the names mentioned in this article, Nancy Duarte (her Slideology book) and Garr Reynolds (particularly his Presentation Zen Design book).

Two further publication I always recommend are (i) ‘The non-designer’s design book‘ by Robin Williams (covers in layman’s terms the basic principles of graphic design – contrast, repitition, alignment and proximity) and (ii) ‘Visual Language for Designers‘ by Connie Malamed. I’m looking forward to checking out the work of David Crandall and Jesse Desjarnins to whom the article refers.

We could also do well to remember as learning designers though is that we too are marketeers. When we produce a piece of learning, whether it’s designed to be a formal course or ad-hoc, just in time chunks to help with workplace learning, we are producing a product to ‘sell’. The visual design ideas we see here could also be transferred to our marketing material such as posters and leaflets.

On a final note…. the main points that stuck with me from this article however were that SlideShare gave them a platform from where they could learn and it allowed them to build a better network.

We learn from sharing and collaborating with others. We just sometimes need a little help in knowing where to look which is where the role of trainers becoming curators and consultants comes in.

Reflections on making a video interview

Accidental Learning

I’ve always advocated that the best way to learn to do something is to do it. Sometimes, we just need to jump in at the deep end and try it out. I also have to admit that I’ve never been the ‘follow the instructions’ type of person but would rather get stuck in. However, that doesn’t mean that instruction guides are not necessary as I’ve often found that after ignoring them initially, I eventually have to give in and read something.

Of course sometimes we just learn by accident. When something happens unexpectedly but we learn from our experiences. Other times, we decide to do learn something which is often borne out of necessity and sometimes it’s a deliberate choice out of interest i.e. just because…. We are all learning machines and much of the time it just happens.

My journey into video interviewing was a dileberate choice – out of interest initially. I wanted to try it. However, it was also becoming relevant from a personal development point of view. I thought I’d reflect and share my own learning experiences from the interviewing process with you.

But before I do, considering a great deal of accidental learning occurred before I got there, I thought I’d share that first.

My adventure (yes it turned out to be a very eventful adventure) started with a long drive to Brighton from Shrewsbury on a warm and sunny day. It was my first trip to Brighton and so my first new experience of the journey. The trip, according to TomTom would take about 4 hours and I factored in a short half-way stop. It was at this comfort break that my best laid plans went out the window.

After stopping at the services en-route, I returned to my car to find a big dent in the side of it. Someone had taken the turning into the adjacent parking space next to mine a little too wide and a little too fast. Fortunately, they had waited for me to return to my car and we exchanged details.

 

Learning point 1: Have faith in others – there are still honest people around.
Learning point 2: Try and park the furthest distance away where less people will park
Learning point 3: Always keep insurance details with you so you don’t have to get husband to search files
Learning point 4: Remaining calm helps you think more clearly and diffuses tension
Learning point 5: Take lots of photos at the scene – your mobile phone is a useful tool

After at least an hour and half delay I was back on the road towards the goal of my journey. Only 2 more hours or so to go!

Nearly there and dutifully following TomTom’s instructions I was looking forward to enjoying a couple of deserving glasses of wine to relax and and reflect on my notes before the interview the next day. My TomTom, however, had other ideas and after being directed to take a turn signposted Eastbourn rather than Brighton and Hove, I began to wonder whether I should continue trusting my co-pilot. I stopped to double check the route….

Learning point 6: When programming your SatNav, make sure you know the difference between co-ordinates for East/West. A rogue minus can make a lot of difference to your journey.
Learning point 7: Always check your route properly with a map rather than rely wholly on SatNav
Learning point 8: Concentrate on your route despite following SatNav

What would I learn the next day? I’ll cover that in my next post.