At uQualio©, we firmly believe that microlearning based on videos together with eLearning and gamification is the modern way of learning 📑. Even though it can be pretty easy to create videos or eLearning content, many companies already have a busy schedule and lack the time and resources to do so.
Do not fret! We have compiled a list of companies that specialize in producing and providing microlearning video content, just for you 😉.
Oh, and the list is not ranked by any order or preference!
IMC is a German full-service digital learning company that fully understands that any type of learning nowadays needs to be interactive, engaging and fun for it to be meaningful and long lasting.
Their impressive portfolio of capabilities includes producing captivating eLearning content such as, web-based comic book-style training, learning cards, chatbot, infographics or web-based story telling. They excel at creating “gamified” learning content, such as high-quality adventure-style, 3D and serious games.
Moreover, they excel in producing tailor-made videos, with custom made 2D, 3D and live action training videos being a major cornerstone of their service portfolio. Finally, they also offer a wide range of out-of-the-box training solutions on soft skills, compliance, health & safety etc. making IMC a one-stop-solution for all your eLearning and training needs.
Price Listed: No – Pricing Project Based Video Examples: Yes Content Production: Yes Content Providers: Yes Contact: Online consultation
With over 80+ years in the business, Cinécraft has definitely established itself as a leader in the video production industry. They specialize in producing high-end animation and videos for Fortune 1000 companies and medium to large sized businesses. They also were one of the first companies to create eLearning courses back in the 1990s, when the industry was barely in its infancy.
With a wealth of experience on their side and familiarity with nearly LMS system in the market, Cinécraft has the capability to deliver excellent results on both big and small video production projects alike.
Price Listed: No – Pricing Project Based Video Examples: Yes Content Production: Yes Content Providers: No Contact: Online consultation
Obsidian Learning’s bread and butter is microlearning. They understand how powerful both gamification and short learning sessions can crate highly engaging and lasting learning experiences. They are also one of leaders in the industry when it comes in creating animated learning videos, utilizing motion graphics to achieve a playful, yet powerful learning experience from their microlearning videos.
The eLearning company consists of a mix of instructional designers, learning strategist and graphic designers all working towards the goal of creating content that can engage learners through fun and modern video content.
Price Listed: No – Pricing Project Based Video Examples: Yes Content Production: Yes Content Providers: Yes Contact: Online Consultation
LearningPlanet is another eLearning company well established in the industry, with over 25 year of experience. They are one of the leaders in offering tried and true corporate and business training courses.
They differentiate themselves from other companies in this list by offering microlearning video modules in several key areas, including sales, service and leadership. Their huge library of training courses coupled with competitive pricing makes LearningPlanet a compelling choice for both individuals and big businesses alike.
Price Listed: Yes Video Examples: Yes Content Production: No Content Providers: Yes Contact: Online Consultation
With 17 years of experience, Hurix is an eLearning company you should definitely be considering if you ever need custom-made video training content. They specialize in making content relevant for your target audience by understanding the where, when, why and how of each client.
They create custom microlearning videos from scratch, with a wide range of styles to keep things varied, including whiteboard animations, 2D & 3D animations, live shoots and live actor videos, together with illustrations and infographics. They are also capable of revamping your existing UI/UX design to guarantee the best learning experience throughout.
They design and build their solutions on core principles of innovation, end user experience, and customer satisfaction, in way so that they can work across traditional and newer mobile platforms coupled together with multiple formats and devices. This enables them to deliver and manage highly compelling digital content virtually anywhere, at any time.
Price Listed: No – Pricing Project Based Video Examples: No Content Production: Yes Content Providers: Yes Contact: Personal and Online
Sponge is responsible of creating engaging and creative workplace training for a lot of the world’s largest brands and organizations, including Coca-Cola, Toyota, Specsavers, Tesco, AstraZeneca, AXA and the United Nations.
Using the latest in technology, they create solutions that include eLearning, gamification, animation, motion graphics, immersive technologies, microsites and blended learning, as well as content for microlearning. With microlearning, bite-sized content is delivered in short, daily learning bursts of three to five minutes.
Furthermore, they understand that video is perfect for sharing expertise, creating authentic experiences and is the media that boosts the most engagement time, making Sponge a compelling choice for your microlearning video production needs at any level.
Price Listed: No – Pricing Project Based Video Examples: Yes Content Production: Yes Content Providers: Yes Contact: Personal and Online
Upside Learning is a leading provider of learning technology solutions. They help over 150 organizations across the world to improve performance through custom eLearning, microlearning, Responsive and Multi-device solutions, and UpsideLMS.
They design videos in rich styles from ‘real’ (live action videos) to conceptual (illustrated and animated). They have a wealth of experience in designing scenario-based live-action videos where learners are then prompted to identify the good practices from the bad. This continuous engagement is key for the content to stick with learners for a long time while also making learning a fun, interactive process.
Price Listed: No – Pricing Project Based Video Examples: No Content Production: Yes Content Providers: Yes Contact: Online Consultation
This award-winning company offers a wide spectrum of solutions, including interactive custom eLearning, serious games, training simulations, and microlearning. The best part? All developments are tailored precisely to their clients’ specific learning needs and goals, meaning you are guaranteed to get content that meets your specific needs, including paradigm shifting VR video training!
Whether you or your business needs a stand-alone video, an entire production set or a combination of anything in between, Designing Digitally is more than capable of delivering at the highest level of production and technology.
Price Listed: No – Pricing Project Based Video Examples: Yes Content Production: Yes Content Providers: No Contact: Online Consultation
Dashe & Thomson
Dashe & Thomson is a full-service learning and development consulting company with a focus on designing and developing learning solutions for organizations nationwide.
They fully understand that in the current learning landscape, video is practically everywhere, and there is a good reason for that as well. Few training methods connect to a learner’s emotional response like a well-crafted video, because they help bring concepts to life unlike any other medium.
They greatly focus on meaningful learning that when combined with emotional engagement, results in improved retention and sustained behavior change, which is the ultimate goal of every training program. Therefore, their solutions are informed by their understanding of who the client’s employees and customers are, and from this point, create rich, deep video content for all their clients.
Price Listed: No – Pricing Project Based Video Examples: Yes Content Production: Yes Content Providers: Yes Contact: Online and Personal
RiskFilm / Citizen Dane
With over 25 years of experience in making videos and movies, the Danish Citizen Dane company has made high quality eLearning content for both small and large corporations, both in Denmark and big multinationals. Their impressive portfolio of customers includes big Danish companies such as Ørsted, Maersk, ISS, Falck, Copenhagen Fur and Novo Nordisk, alongside big international players such as Avery Dennison and Rolls-Royce.
They have a big presence international, working together with companies and business from 50 different countries, often producing films and eLearning videos in 10-15 languages simultaneously.
They also have a highly academic and educational focus on their work, and they can produce anything from small linear courses to large non-linear courses, spread over multiple modules.
Their global experiences make cultural and language adaptation a natural part of their process, and it’s because of this high-level cultural understanding that they can produce impactful and meaningful video training content for their customers.
Price Listed: No - Pricing Project Based Video Examples: Yes Content Production: Yes Content Providers: No Contact: Personal and Online
Lastly on our list we have EI Design, ranked #1 in eLearning Industry’s list of Top eLearning Content Development Companies for 2019. For good reason as well, as EI Design has a massive portfolio of capabilities, from mobile learning, blended learning, VR, microlearning and video-based learning, they are certainly an eLearning company capable of doing it all in the industry.
It’s no surprise then, that they are one of the leaders in the industry producing microlearning videos as well, capable of producing “sticky”, impactful and expertly crafted video eLearning content.
Price Listed: No - Pricing Project Based Video Examples: Yes Content Production: Yes Content Providers: Yes Contact: Online Consultation
Design thinking is a toolkit used by professionals around the world to produce innovative solutions to complex problems and improve real world experiences. Since it’s a toolkit used in successful real world learning environments, outside of the education world, you need to provide students with real world context when teaching students how to use the methodology
uQualio®, the makers of your favorite eLearning platform, recently had the opportunity to sit down and chat with David Lee, an EdTech expert and author of the book Design Thinking in the Classroom. In the interview below we chat with David about many topics relating to effectively teaching courses online. We explore the importance of design thinking, creating project based e-courses, transdisciplinary pedagogy and eduPermaculture. Let’s jump in!
Hi David and thank you for taking the time to chat with our blog readers today about your experience in the EdTech space. You are a STEM and design coach at Singapore American School, a keynote speaker on topics related to EdTech, as well as a Google and Apple Distinguished Educator. These are just some of the titles that you hold related to education. So why don't you get this interview started by telling our audience how you got started in the EdTech space?
I guess I started my EdTech journey right after getting my teaching credential at a California State University. My professors for my credential program were also professors for the university’s EdTech master’s program. At the time, it was difficult to get hired as a teacher due to the recession, so I decided to move to South Korea to teach English at an academy, but at the same time enroll in the EdTech master’s program which was fully online. My master’s degree was what helped me to eventually get an internship as a technology teacher for preschool students, up to 2nd grade students at Korea International School. I was immediately drawn to the way students gained confidence in themselves when they learned technology skills that they thought were too difficult to gain. This sense of empowerment for the students was what got me hooked with teaching as well as teaching students valuable technology skills. I eventually started to collaborate with homeroom teachers to develop tech-integrated projects for their units. This work led me to then join the school’s EdTech team where I continued to help teachers design learning experiences that integrate technology in meaningful and authentic ways.
You run the website DavidLeeEdtech.org where you share your thoughts and ideas about educational technology. You recently created some content around the topic of how you approach design thinking in the classroom. How is this concept applied within the online learning environment?
Design thinking is a toolkit people can use to help them problem-solve creatively. It is both a process and a set of mindsets. Design thinking is a toolkit used by professionals around the world to produce innovative solutions to complex problems and improve real world experiences. Since it’s a toolkit used in successful real world learning environments, outside of the education world, you need to provide students with real world context when teaching students how to use the methodology. It’s not an effective application of design thinking if the real world context does not exist.
So whatever topic you are teaching within an online learning environment, provide students with a real world context; usually in the form of a project or challenge where they can be creative, human-centered, and iterative. To provide students with a real world context within an online learning environment, teachers will need to utilize some type of transdisciplinary pedagogy, any teaching approach where students take on the role of professionals and engage in complex, real world challenges, questions, and problems in the form of performance tasks.
One example of transdisciplinary pedagogy that I really like is project-based learning. This approach provides students with a real world context, where the learning is driven by a challenge, and involves students using the inquiry process to complete the challenge. This type of pedagogy provides the ideal learning environment for students to learn and use the design thinking method meaningfully and effectively.
Speaking of design thinking, you had a podcast recently with Greg Kulowiec, where you said that you really hate writing. You also mentioned that when you left the education system, you felt like you flourished and design thinking helped you realize you had other skills. How can design thinking be applied to educators who are teaching online who strive to create better eLearning experiences?
I think all educators should use design thinking when designing eLearning experiences because a big part of the method involves empathy. It is really about empathizing with the people you are trying to teach and really focusing on their learning experience. You want to gain a deep understanding of your students by learning about their needs and wants so that you can use the information to create the most effective, meaningful and engaging learning experiences.
You can do this through empathy work; interviewing people about their feelings and values in regards to eLearning or just learning in general, or interviewing experts like experienced educators. Additionally, teachers who use DT are constantly looking to improve their students’ learning experience through reflection and through the eliciting of feedback. It is very much an iterative process of doing, learning, improving, and repeating.
Our users here at uQualio® aren't necessarily teachers with a background in education. Many of them are simply experts in their field who are willing to share what they know to others. Are there anything that non-professional trained educators need to be careful about when applying design in thinking to their course creation strategies?
I think the biggest thing educators need to be careful of when using design thinking to create their course is making sure that you are not only focusing on the process, but also developing and using design thinking mindsets. The process and strategies are important, but I think what differentiates a great design thinker to an average one are the mindsets that the person holds. These mindsets, such as human-centeredness, having a bias towards action, and being experimental and curious, allow innovative outcomes to emerge.
What common mistakes do you see e-course creators make who have great subject matter expertise, but a lack of pedagogical knowledge?
There were two types of e-courses I’ve experienced that I feel like were not effective. The first type is the e-course that contains outdated topics or tools that are not relevant to the current landscape. The information I learned and the tools I were introduced to these e-courses were so out-of-date, I actually never used in my profession of teaching. I think to myself why didn’t I learn the things I am learning now as an educator in the field? The other type of e-course are the ones where you gain relevant information and skills but don’t apply in an authentic context.
These two types of e-courses reminds me of a video I watched a week ago of a software designer describing the education he experienced in college. He first described how he initially took courses where he learned coding languages that were obsolete and weren’t being used in the tech field. However, he mentioned that the work he found really valuable was project work. He was able to apply the knowledge he was gaining in a real work context. So my advice to e-course creators is to create courses that teach relevant knowledge and skills, but also allow students to apply what they learn in a real world context and project.
As an Educational Technology Specialist, it is your job to help teachers effectively integrate technology in their curriculums to improve student learning processes and results. What were some of the difficulties that you encountered early on in your career in trying to convince others of this approach in education? What major challenges do you still face today and how are you overcoming those challenges?
To convince others, I think it comes down to effective communication and then having teachers actually experience the approach. First it takes effective communication of how the approach is beneficial to students in a clear, concise way. I don’t think schools do a great job of this.
I also think we need to illustrate the “Why?” in a way that moves people; hits an emotion; usually through a story that inspires people to create change. In the context of education, the story could be of a student who benefits from the implementation of a teaching strategy or approach. After effectively communicating the “Why” of the implementation, you can then help teachers try out the strategy or approach themselves. This takes a lot of work to facilitate teachers in this process, but by the end, teachers see how valuable it is for students. For me the major challenge is not the communication piece or helping teachers experience the approach, but it’s really getting the opportunity to share my message that I find most difficult.
I noticed that most of your methodologies revolve around the mindset that education should be designed against authentic learning environments. In other words, your teachings aim to help students apply their knowledge and skills to answer real-world questions. The same can be found in your design thinking, STEM and also your eduPermaculture project. When it comes to "authentic learning", what things can can e-course creators do to help get their students where they want their students to be?
I am glad you mentioned eduPermaculture. eduPermaculture is a design approach to transformative, authentic education. It is centers around simulating experiences and directly utilizing the behaviors, strategies, practices, and systems found in successful, real world learning environments and integrating them into school learning experiences.
A huge part of this design approach is the mindset. Educators who use eduPermaculture see themselves as designers of learning landscapes; this requires a designer’s mindset. As a learning designer you need to design a real world challenge. To do this you will need to start identifying concepts, content knowledge, and skills of your subject-area that could be used to create a real world project. Basically what real world project requires the understanding of concepts, content knowledge and skills?
So students will gain the knowledge and skills of the subject-area but also apply what was learned into a real world context; making the learning more meaningful and engaging; and of course gain mindsets and competencies like collaboration, creativity, communication, and critical thinking on the way.
Before we let you go, I have one last question for you. Do you see any major shifts (technological or otherwise) on the horizon for online learning? Specifically, how do you predict the relationship between education and the internet will change over the next 5 to 10 years?
I believe the e-courses will utilize transdisciplinary pedagogy like project-based learning to make learning more relevant and meaningful. Additionally, I believe there will be a huge focus on competencies. Earlier in the month I attended a conference where the keynote speaker shared the top three job skills of 2020 according to the World Economic Forum. They were complex problem-solving, critical thinking and creativity. I think e-courses will have students use the content knowledge and skills of the subject-area, as well as develop these three competencies or job skills I mentioned before to create products, solutions, and new ideas.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today David. It’s been enlightening. To our readers, if you’d like to learn more about David and this work you can follow him on Twitter or check out his website here.
Search for exemplars. Find a course outside of your field to use as a model for your own course creation. Review a few different courses and decide what will work best for your content area
uQualio®, the makers of your favorite eLearning platform, recently had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Monica Burns, a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. In the interview below we'll dive deep into the topic of EdTech integration into modern classrooms. So, let's dive in.
First, thanks for joining us today to talk about your experience in the EdTech Space. You're a very active participant and contributor within this community. You reach thousands of readers through your books, you manage a popular EdTech website, you're currently on your 38th episode of your "Easy EdTech Podcast", you run live events and you speak at big industry events like ISTE, SXSWedu and EdTechXEurope. You're deeply immersed in the EdTech scene. But you didn't start out here. You started out as a classroom teacher. Kick off the interview by telling us a little bit more about your transition into the technology side of education. What grabbed you and pulled you away from traditional ways of doing things?
Thank you for reaching out! I’m excited to share a bit about my work with you. As a classroom teacher I worked with elementary school students, and my last two years were one-to-one with iPads in the classroom. After speaking at events, starting to blog about EdTech and sharing lots of favorite strategies and tools with other educators, I decided to transition into an independent consultant. It gave me the flexibility to work with students and teachers in lots of different ways, and it has been an exciting journey. I love that this role provides an opportunity for me to spend time side by side with students (like yesterday) and time to speak with educators as a keynote and featured speaker at different events (like last week). Every day and each week are a little different and I’ve had the chance to visit schools and work with teachers from around the world.
You wrote a book called "Tasks Before Apps: Designing Rigorous Learning in a Tech-Rich Classroom". Within this book you teach people how to effectively incorporate technology into the classroom. In your book you talk about how you can do this through the “three Cs” of technology implementation—creation, curiosity, and collaboration. Now our users teach both online, offline and in hybrid manners, but how does this "three C" strategy apply to people who are teaching exclusively online (i.e. no classroom or offline component whatsoever)?
Creation, curiosity, and collaboration connect to a variety of activities students can participate in online experiences. When it comes to creation, students can use digital tools to create a product that demonstrates their understanding. This might include a slideshow with narration, a website they’ve built with links to curated resources, or even an augmented reality experience they’ve created.
In terms of curiosity, within Tasks Before Apps I share lots of ways that digital tools can connect students with high-interest learning experiences. This could include using virtual reality to spark interest in a new topic, or using podcasts as a medium to introduce new information to students.
In Tasks Before Apps, I also discuss different models for collaboration. In an exclusively online environment, this might mean the “remote collaboration” model is employed more regularly. You might have students working on a project in real-time or asynchronously depending on how you structure this experience.
You have another book called "#FormativeTech: Meaningful, Sustainable, and Scalable Formative Assessment With Technology". Now this book talks more about the assessment side of things by using technology to help provide ways to implement formative assessment in everyday teaching environments. Tell us a little bit more about some of the common pitfalls or traps that teachers fall into specifically with regards to using technology as an assessment tool.
Often times, we think of using technology to assess as simply quizzing or administering a test. Now this might be part of it, but there is so much more that can happen. I’m really excited to see how tools like Flipgrid are used to capture student voice. This tool gets kids talking about their learning.
Just this week I was working with a group of fifth graders who used this tool to respond to an “exit ticket” style question. Some of them loved using video, while other preferred to add a filter or an emoji over their face. Using this medium lets a teacher hear from everyone in their classroom so that they can check for understanding in a less traditional way but still gather actionable formative assessment data.
In yet another book you write called "Deeper Learning With QR Codes and Augmented Reality: A Scannable Solution for Your Classroom", you dive deeper into some pretty cutting edge technology subjects. I think a lot of teachers, even teachers familiar with technology, feel a little intimidated by newer technologies like augmented reality. For educators who fall into this category, what are some great examples of QR code or augmented reality experiences that you feel will help ease educators into this world and allow them to feel more confident using this type of technology as an educational tool?
I recently shared a blog post on my website titled How to Share Spark Videos with QR Codes. This includes a step-by-step guide that is perfect for getting started with this type of scannable technology. What I love about QR codes is that they are free to use, you can make them quickly, and anyone can scan them with virtually any smartphone or web-enabled device.
If you’re looking to try out augmented reality for the first time, I would recommend exploring a new episode of my podcast which shares some simple ways to get started with augmented reality. Although it can seem daunting, there are a wide range of augmented reality options for classrooms. Many are perfect for beginners, or folks who might not see themselves as particularly tech-savvy.
You've not only written the books we've just touched on, but you're also an active podcaster. Tell us a little bit more about how you podcast fits into your online presence. How has podcasting contributed to your personal brand in ways that writing books hasn’t?
This year I launched a podcast, called the Easy EdTech Podcast. It has been lots of fun sharing in this medium and it’s been great to hear the feedback so far. When I present at conferences I’ll often chat with attendees before and after the session. It’s been so nice to hear their feedback over the past few months as people have come up to share their thoughts on the podcast.
From a branding perspective, I think the podcast is a bit more personal. You can really hear my excitement as I talk about new strategies for using EdTech in the classroom. I also try to make things short and sweet so that listeners have actionable information in a more bite-sized format. I took a bit of spin on the model this past week with a bonus episode. It features an interview with a fellow ASCD author and plenty of EdTech connections, too!
You have a post on your blog about gamification and game based learning. How can these gamification principles be applied in online learning environments? Any interesting examples or case studies that come to mind?
In this particular blog post I had a chance to share a resource and interview on the topic of gamification. You can see the entire blog post on game-based learning here. In an online environment, you might include gamification principles to help motivate students and give them a purpose for their work.
As you are structuring this sort of learning environment in a virtual space, you’ll want to also consider how students interact with content. Let them help guide this process and give you feedback along the way.
You speak publicly on the topic of EdTech quite often as well. What would you say are the three biggest hurdles you hear from educators when it comes to technology implementation? How do you suggest they overcome those hurdles?
One significant hurdle is logistics like wireless connectivity. Inconsistent connectivity can make classroom management and implementation a struggle in any school or district. Acknowledging these issues, making a plan to allocate resources to address these issues and giving teachers trouble-shooting strategies in the interim is important. Another hurdle is planning time. There are lots of wonderful learning experiences teachers can craft but planning time is crucial. This includes individual and group planning time that might be structured by grade-level team or content areas.
A third hurdle is really knowing where to start. There are so many great EdTech tools that sometimes the strategy or real reason for using a tool gets lost in the noise. This is where I often bring in resources to help place “tasks before apps” and is a big focus of the professional development work I offer schools.
At uQualio® we have a lot of non-teachers using our platform. For example, an HR department might use our platform to structure their employee training videos, or businesses might use the platform for product training purposes. These people might understand their subject matter very well, but might not have a great grasp on teaching or learning methodologies. What three pieces of advice would you give to non-professionally trained teachers, who still need to use technology to train online to help them make their courses more enjoyable, memorable and digestible?
One piece of advice is to provide multiple types of content. This could include a combination of video, audio, and text resources. Providing this choice for student interactions can help students interact with content in a way that makes sense for them as an individual. Another piece of advice is to ask for feedback. Having a continuous feedback loop for students is essential. In an online format it can be tricky to understand if something is resonating with your students so having an open door for feedback is important.
A final piece of advice is to search for exemplars. Find a course outside of your field to use as a model for your own course creation. Review a few different courses and decide what will work best for your content area.
Thank you for taking the time to sit down with us today and share your experiences working in the EdTech space. To our blog readers, if you'd like to learn more about Dr. Monica Burns you can follow her on Twitter or head over to her website here.
Since the world, our students are entering is technologically rich, we must consider the integration of technology into the classroom as an integral part of 21st-Century learning
uQualio® has been hard at work over the last couple of weeks making some changes to our video eLearning platform ✅
However, today we decided to switch gears and take a break from development work. Instead, today we've brought you Dr. Shannon Doak to share his experiences and insights integrating technology into classrooms 🚸
Let's jump right in!
Hi and thank you for joining us, Dr. Shannon Doak. It’s a pleasure to have you with us today. Why don’t you kick things off by introducing yourself to our EdTech blog audience?
My name is Dr. Shannon Doak. I am a lifelong learner, social media as a learning platform expert, a mobile device enthusiast, a connected educator, and a leader in the area of innovative teaching, educational technology, and professional development. I hold an Ed.D. and M.E.T. with a focus in Educational Technology, B.Ed. and a degree certificate in school technology coordination.
Professionally speaking, what made you decide that Educational Technology was going to be your focus?
When I first got involved in education, I was teaching ESL to Kindergarten aged children in China. I was always into tech and gadgets and felt that if I could somehow make use of these tools in my classroom the engagement level of my students would increase. It wasn’t until I began my official educational studies at the University of Hawaii Manoa, that I was introduced to the field of educational technology. After finishing up my B.Ed. I moved back to China to become a Kindergarten homeroom teacher at the American International School of Guangzhou. While teaching Kindergarten, I was known as the “tech” guy and often assisted my colleagues with their integration efforts. I enjoyed using tech in my own classroom and helping others do the same became a passion for me. After a while, It just made sense that I would further my education. It was then that I began working on my Master in Educational Technology at Boise State University. This step joined two of my passions, education, and technology, I haven’t looked back since!
Your profile mentions that you are an Educational Technologist at the Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Kamuela. Helping teachers and administrators create innovative learning environments is a big part of your job. What are some of the biggest EdTech challenges that you’ve faced while working in the academy?
Hawaii Preparatory Academy is a fantastic educational institution whose mission is “to provide exceptional learning opportunities in a diverse community honoring the traditions of Hawaii.” To do this, one thing educators must do is “design and implement a rigorous, inquiry-based learning experience integrating core academic skill acquisition with robust multi-disciplinary project experiences to promote and assess 21st-century skills.” The integration of technology is a vital part of this process. In order for me to help teachers accomplish this, I must first build meaningful relationships with the educators I am working with. This helps to kindle trust and understanding of the collaborative nature of my role. This process takes time in any environment and is often slow. Once these relationships are built and nurtured, change to the learning environment then comes.
How do you apply technology in your own classes?
I currently don’t have my own classes to integrate technology into, however, I support other teachers with this process. It is important to remember, that as an educational technologist my first goal is learning. Educators should never just add tech because others are doing it. They should never use tech for tech’s sake. There needs to be an advantage that is created by the use of technology. The application of technology needs to improve the learning environment. This does not mean that we can forget about technology or that it is something of an afterthought.
Technology must be an integral part of the learning environment. In a blog post on my own blog, titled “Why Innovate in the Classroom?” I discuss this further saying, “We must as teachers look at the needs of the society and what our students will need when they enter this society. It is only through this method that we ensure that what we are teaching our students is appropriate, relevant and authentic. When considering everything done in an institution of learning we must gauge what we do including traditions with the following question, How is this serving the educational and emotional needs of the students in our current societal context?” Since the world, our students are entering is technologically rich, we must consider the integration of technology into the classroom as an integral part of 21st-Century learning. However, as mentioned above, if the tech is not creating an advantage or improvement, then it should not be used.
Great point. Now, when tech is used, it often causes a need for an extra layer of data protection. What strategies do you employ in order to maintain e-safety?
Your profile mentions that you believe social media is going to be the next frontier in teacher professional development. Can you talk to us more about this statement?
My doctoral studies were centered around professional development, what effective professional development looks like and what tools are available to assist teachers in their efforts to stay current. My doctoral dissertation: Social Media as a Personal Learning Network for Professional Development: Teachers in International Schools Use and Perspectives was a mixed-methods study with a three-fold purpose: (a) to discover if international school educators are using social media for professional learning and if so, what tools they are choosing to use, (b) to discover if a relationship exists between the use of social media tools for informal professional learning and change in the pedagogical practices used by the teachers in international schools; and finally, (c) to describe how the use of social media may lead to a change in pedagogical practice. Revealed in the findings was that through intentional action, international school educators supplemented professional development and changed their teaching practice creating an expanded and more authentic, constructivist learning environment. The PLNs in this study were able to reduce or remove the major concerns regarding professional development in international schools such as cost, contextual relevance, unvaried approaches and limited time. Basically, connection to other professionals through social media platforms enabled the creations of a professional learning community that professionally developed the educators who used them in ways that were more relevant, authentic and meaningful than traditional approaches to professional development.
Could this type of environment help teachers and students collaborate better? Undoubtedly! However, I would rather these types of environments were created to assist every one in that learning community to collaborate better, not just between the student and the teacher, but with each other as well.
That's very interesting. I've seen the benefits of this play out in my own professional circles. However, as a tech enthusiast, I'm sure you also have to deal with people who don't share your views or see the benefits that you do. How do you personally deal with a technophobic colleague or student?
In my role as an educational technologist or as a technology coach, I have worked with all sorts of people from innovators, early adopters to technophobes. I always ensure that those who might be a bit more on the technophobic side of the spectrum feel that they are fully supported. I find, that if I create a supportive relationship with these individuals, they are more able to take on the integration. I also make sure that I always lead with a strong reason why we want to make this change. Usually, this is student-centered, which all teachers can get behind because all caring teachers want what is best for their students. If I can raise awareness of how technology is improving things for the student, it is easier for the teacher to want to make an effort. During all of this, I make certain that they know they are not alone and that I will be there to support them in their efforts.
Lastly, what advice that you would give to teachers who are on the fence regarding the application of EdTech in their classrooms?
I would say that the most important aspect of trying anything new, is to know that you don’t have to be the expert in order to apply EdTech in your classroom. In fact, realizing that some of your students might know more than you is a good first step in creating a culture of learning from all members of the learning community.
When I support a class in learning a new application, I never stand up in front of the class and guide them on how to use the app. I develop a series of problems that I want to be solved using the app then have the students work in teams to solve the problem. For example, when “teaching” how to use Google Slides, I break the class into about 4-5 groups and then assign a task to each group. One group might be trying to figure out how to add a theme, new slide and different slide design, while another team is figuring out how to add images, rotate, crop and edit the image. Having this type of learning environment enables the students to work together and “mess around” with the application becoming an expert in one aspect of that application. The teacher will be learning along with the students. I find that when a student discovers something that I didn’t know, it is a fantastic time to celebrate and share their discovery! My advice to you is to just jump in and do it! After all, we are trying to create life-long learners and what better way than to model how you learn something.
Excellent closing point! Thank you for taking the time to chat with uQualio® today about your experience in the EdTech space. To our blog audience, if you'd like to learn more about Dr. Shannon Doak you can do so by following him on twitter or visiting his website here.
Follow the advice of the lean development movement and get everything in front of actual learners as early as possible and identify points of confusion before money is spent developing materials
uQualio® is thankful for the opportunity to speak with Christopher Bergeron about his very interesting work as an instructional designer ✍
Today we're going to chat with Christopher about the intersection where instructional design and online learning meet. But enough preambles, let's jump right into it! 🏊
First, thanks for joining us today Chris to talk about your experience in the instructional design space. What is it about instructional design that grabbed your attention and made you want to focus on helping people with this specific part of their teaching strategy?
I think that the I backed into instructional design from of love of education and a love of creating educational media. Once I learned that instructional designers worked with subject matter experts to build courses and media on topics that they themselves weren’t an expert in it really got my attention as a way to continually learn about a wide variety of topics. So selfishly I get to learn from great experts and helping others be the hero in their adventure is quite addicting.
I listened to your podcast on TPACK and found it really inspiring. Can you break down what TPACK is for our blog readers?
The TPACK model is extremely valuable for Instructional Designers. It offers an excellent way to articulate what we bring to the table regarding education and training. And it can help shed some light on how the role of the ID can shift in different circumstances.
The TPACK model represents a ven diagram of Technology knowledge, Pedagogical knowledge, And Content Knowledge.
The magic, of course, is in the overlap. So it’s not enough to know about technology and the content someone needs to understand how technology applies to the content area. It’s not enough to understand pedagogy and the content one needs to understand how pedagogy can be leveraged to teach the specific content, and again with technology and pedagogy. Understanding how the technology works but not being able to apply it to help students learn is of little value.
And so this is where having the right combination can be tremendously helpful since you don’t need to understand everything yourself but can build a team to cover all of the elements.
Interesting. You talk about how the "magic happens" at the intersection where pedagogy, content and technology meet. You then go on to talk about how good instructional design can be used to help make sure all of the pieces of the puzzle are working well together. Many readers of this blog are subject matter experts and they are often good with technology, but they lack knowledge in pedagogy and therefore, don't always excel in understanding how people learn. For example, let's imagine we have someone in corporate training as an HR training specialist. Let's say this person is a subject matter expert on the topic of Employee Experience (EX) but has little in the way of pedagogical knowledge. Imagine this person is putting their first online course together on the topic of EX using our eLearning platform. What are the most common pedagogical mistakes that you see people who fall into this category make? How would you suggest that they fix those mistakes and approach instructional design as a non professionally trained teacher?
I find that the two most common mistakes I see are tied to alignment. Having a clear learning objective that is directly tied to an assessment that is directly supported with content that is all aligned. It’s easiest to approach creating educational content in that order to help things stay aligned. The second mistake I see isn’t really a mistake but something overlooked often. Every bit of educational content should have an assessment but that rarely should be the too often used three question quiz at the end of an e-course. Widening the definition of assessment to include everything from a silent self-reflection, through a survey done a month after the fact, to the formal testing that is needed in some situations. But in the end the big question is what do I want the students to learn/do and how will everyone know they have what they need.
You are also a big advocate of storytelling as a teaching tool. Again, let's talk about how storytelling fits into the world of e-learning specifically as it relates to technical subjects. For example, many subject matter experts that use our eLearning platform teach highly technical skills. For example, imagine a computer programmer teaching a class in PHP, or a business owner teaching a class in unit economics. How can these instructors introduce storytelling into their online courses? Are there any great examples of teachers or courses that have been known to be traditionally 'dry" subjects which you thought were skillfully brought to life using engaging storytelling?
It is certainly easier to include storytelling in some subjects than others.Your previous HR example is a good one.There are several ways to incorporate storytelling into materials. The first is to have the content be the story and follow a narrative where the learner either observes things play out or even better gets to direct the story to see how things play out based on their recommendations.
With something like PHP a story about “The lost little <div> tag” is probably going to be more of a distraction so for those types of topics the moments of transition and the introduction of topics can be set to a story. This is a place where being creative with assessment can be helpful. So instead of finding the six errors in the financial statement adding a scenario and having an FBI agent ask for help identifying what’s going on has the student doing the same work but can add a bit of fun without getting in the way.
You also talk about the importance of incubation time in education. As you mention on your blog, the idea is to set aside time to allow your unconscious mind space to work on the problem at hand. Tell us a little bit more about how his is connected to EUREKA moments, and how online course developers can design incubation time into their online course structure.
The boring way to discuss incubation time and those EUREKA moments is to use the technical terms related to “Spaced Repetition” which is how those elements can help overcome some of the retention issues related to the “forgetting curve” in a practical application it simply means that we should bring back important content at random but not too long intervals. This is not the easiest thing to do in a short one topic course so for those situations follow up surveys, job aids, and even posters in the break room can help reinforce what students have learned and improve retention. For those developing longer courses or integrated programs the reinforcement can be done more intentionally and topics brought back up later in the course or program.
You mention on your blog that one of your favorite mediums for instructional design is video. Why is this?
When done well video offers the most flexibility. You can change your mind and just publish the audio from a video. You can do a transcription and decide to go for just text. But it’s more difficult to go in the reverse.I also think it’s because I started to do most of my instructional work with video. Video also impacts people a bit differently, it’s easier to have people make an emotional connection when they are seeing human faces in a video.
Another concept that you talk about is the importance for teachers to take classes in order to watch (or experience) learning in action. What are some of your biggest personal takeaways from courses you've recently taken online (i.e. either giving you insights into things to do, or things not to do).
There have been so many things I’ve learned from taking courses both online and offline. Probably the most consistent is how powerful the teacher-student connection can be at fostering student achievement. Both online and offline people do better with their work when they know and feel that there is another human being on the other side who is there for them.
Another topic you talk about in detail is formative assessment strategies within eLearning to help educators build better courses. You talk about how online course creators can do one-on-one sessions with students, onboard a smaller number of students, or launch a full course pilot in order to get course feedback. The idea, as you mention, is to get your course in front of people so that you can start capturing data about the effectiveness of your online course. What advice would you give to e-course creators who are working within the confines of a smaller budget and don't have a lot of room to make mistakes? What course assessment strategy would you suggest to educators who fall into this group?
The smaller the budget the more important this type of assessment becomes. My recommendation would be to follow the advice of the lean development movement and get everything in front of actual learners as early as possible and identify points of confusion before money is spent developing materials. A phrase or an analogy might seem easy to change but if you’re using a professional voice actor and integrating content into a video simple changes can get expensive to do after the fact. The single biggest way to build efficiency to e-learning design is having access to your learners so you can ask often as you’re building if things are easy to understand. Sitting down with even just one person in the role you are teaching for can make a world of difference.
Thank you for taking the time to sit down with us today and share your experiences working in the instructional design space. To our edTech blog readers, if you'd like to learn more about Christopher Bergeron you can head over to his website here.
We were simply delighted to have the opportunity to have a chat with Dave Online on his own podcast, The Upskill Podcast.
Our CPO, Christian Bjerre Nielsen and Dave had a super constructive and interesting conversation, where they talked about the current trends ongoing in the EdTech space, what exactly is video-based Learning and most importantly, what is eLearning and how we here at uQualio© believe the video microlearning is the future of learning and training.
Make sure to tune in and let us know what you think! 📻
Here is a little preview of the transcript 😃
Dave (D): Hello and welcome to The Upskill Podcast! I'm here today and it’s my privilege today to be with you Christian. Hello, nice to meet you and welcome to The Upskill Podcast.
Christian (C): Hello Dave thanks for joining and I look forward to talking to you and to the audience.
D: And the way we met on LinkedIn; I saw your post on LinkedIn, right?
C: Yeah, that was a very interesting post about what 5G would do for education and I thought it was relevant to discuss it and then you made a note that I didn't understand and then suddenly now we're sitting here talking about what is what is the future for some of the things we're seeing in E-learning.
D: Exactly! And it’s fantastic to have you here you’re based in Denmark, Copenhagen?
C: That's correct.
D: I’m in Hanoi, Vietnam. So today we're going to talk about video-based learning for my listeners. Of course, I want to represent my listeners, make sure that we can break down the topic and make it as interesting as possible so please by all means if you could start off and tell us a bit about your career in a nutshell first of all and then we can move into video based learning.
C: Yeah, I'll do that. So I started out as an electrical engineer and ended up working in software even though that I thought I was going to design power station and transmission lines and things like that I ended up in software this is where I've been working for all my career that is almost 30 years now I started out in software for financial products and took also a period where I was hitting up a learning company and actually I think this was back in 2000 so that's like 19 years ago I was one of the first start-ups inside the e-learning or online reading areas in Denmark we tried it out unfortunately we had an incident in 2001 that killed the market and we were probably five years too early let's see the iPhone came out in 2007 so we were six years too early with online learning mobile learning items from the device. So that is sort of the background and for the past two years I've been working here for uQualio heading up the product development and being responsible for the software quality in our video e-learning platform that we’re offering as a cloud service.
🎙 Here you can listen in (or read) the rest of the podcast! https://www.theupskillpodcast.com/The-Future-of-Video-based-E-Learning-with-Christian-Nielsen/ 🎙
CONNECT WITH DAVE ONLINE
Dave Online: https://www.linkedin.com/in/daveonline2020
Visit the site: https://www.theupskillpodcast.com
uQualio© was lucky enough to have the opportunity to chat with Joyce Fiedler, a technology educator and instructional technology specialist, about her experiences in the EdTech space. We have an exciting interview planned for you today so let's jump in!
First of all, thank you for taking time to chat with us today Joyce. Can you kick things off by introducing yourself and telling us a bit more about your job as a technology educator?
Before I was a teacher, I worked in the television production field as a graphics operator. I've been teaching for 17 years and began as a special education teacher. I currently teach technology literacy to 6th, 7th, & 8th grades. My class is one marking period out of four. So, every nine weeks I get a new group of students in each grade. The curriculum is the same each marking period, but projects change based on days off, holidays, and unexpected snow days. Sometimes parts of a project may not be done based on events that affect the days classes meet.
In addition to teaching a full course load, I conduct professional development and technology coaching for the staff in my building.
You've been an educator for more than 15 years and over that time have acquired certifications in many different fields. You were ahead of the curve in terms of getting involved in EdTech before it ballooned into the hot topic it has become today. Initially, what grabbed your attention and pulled you into the EdTech scene?
I am a teacher who is always looking for something new and ways to motivate my students. Personally, I like using technology and trying to do new things with technology, so when technology started making its way into education, I was one of the first teachers in my building to start using it. My colleagues would come to me for advice or help on using technology, and I became an unofficial "tech coach". Then the school I was employed with at that time started after-school professional development specifically for technology, and I started instructing teachers on new technologies to try in their classrooms. I decided I wanted to become a full-time technology coach, which I did for two years. I enjoyed it, but missed being in a classroom. I spent my time instructing teachers about cool, new technologies, but I rather had used the technologies myself with my students. Teaching and using the technologies you are promoting helps you understand it better because as you use it with your own students, you realize the positives and the pitfalls, and you can pass that on to other teachers, which assists them in being more successful with the technology implementation.
I also feel that teachers don't generally have time to keep up with the ever-changing new technologies available, so that's where I come in. I spend a lot of time researching, reading blogs and articles, and testing applications before I will use them myself or recommend them to others.
I like the fact that there are always new things to try on the horizon. I get bored as a teacher if I do the same thing over and over. You need to keep growing and changing to stay current and effective to find what motivates and engages your students, while having some fun doing it. Technology class should be fun and the class students want to come to.
Early on, how difficult was it to get your peers to adopt a new approach and way of thinking about education? What were some of the main challenges that you faced early on?
Influencing teachers to use technology was difficult at first, and I find it isn't much different now. Some teachers see the use of technology as yet another thing they need to do in an already over-crowded schedule. I try to present technology as a way to make their lives easier and a way to engage their students. The main challenge is not enough devices or outdated equipment. Believe it or not, that is still an issue due to continual budget cuts in education and technology changing so rapidly before you can catch up. Often, teachers have to share a cart of Chromebooks. When this happens, they don't want to rely on technology because its availability isn't guaranteed. As the tech coach, I may be advocating for the use of using Google Classroom and Google Apps For Education and explaining all they can do with it to make their and their student's lives easier, but some are hesitant to use it. It is too difficult to juggle when they will have computers and use Google Classroom or have to make copies of worksheets instead. Without that consistency, it is hard to get teachers to buy into the technology mindset.
Another challenge is training. There isn't enough time for teachers to be trained to use applications correctly or understand all the functions or teachers are given a professional development day where they are bombarded with information and are overloaded and frustrated, so they don't even want to try because they don't know where to start.
Education Technology can be applied to a wide variety of class technology solutions, ranging from full suite video eLearning platforms that connect teachers with their students to smaller apps which tackle just one specific task. What are main tools that you use in your classes as your go-to EdTech kit?
There are so many ed tech tools available and the list is growing, but I think the most influential is Google Apps For Education. They are a suite of apps including word processing (Google Docs), spreadsheets (Google Sheets), presentations (Google Slides), and more that allow users to simultaneously work collaboratively on an assignment. Google Classroom is the delivery system for how to communicate and compile assignments and resources all in one central location. A teacher can virtually run a paper-free classroom with the use of Google Classroom. Notes, assignments, quizzes, projects, and resources can all be accessed through Google Classroom, which can be accessed on any device with Internet capability. Through the use of Google Classroom, all materials needed to complete each project is available at all times to students, so they can access them if they are home sick, away on vacation, or need to complete a project at home.
Those are some tools I use from a teacher side. For the students, there are numerous apps we utilize, but two of my and my student's favorites are Flipgrid and Powtoon, and both are free.
With Flipgrid, students record video of themselves and view classmates videos. After each project I have students complete self-reflection Flipgrids, where students reflect on their performance, discuss how they would improve, gauge their opinions, and provide suggestions for me on how to improve the project. Flipgrids are created in private, and students can say something they wouldn't have the courage to say otherwise, which encourages honesty.
Powtoon is an app to make animated videos. Each element on screen has the ability to be animated and timed. After our unit on Digital Citizenship, students create an original story to animate based on previous lessons (digital footprint, social media, cyberbullying, copyright, fair use, plagiarism). Whenever I use Powtoon, students are so engaged, they never visit a website they shouldn't!
Besides being a technology educator, you also coach other teachers on how they can integrate technology in their classrooms. Tell us what it's like teaching teachers!
Each teacher is different and each application is different. The result is always better if a teacher asks for assistance for something they want to do rather than told to do. I've had teachers learn something new one day and put it into practice the next, and some that need more time. Like with any new skill you learn, the more you practice and use it, the better you will become.
The initial challenge I encounter the most is a teacher talking themselves out of using technology. So many teachers start by telling me that they aren't good at technology. I try to encourage them into realizing that they just need to try and see how it goes. It is all a learning experience for them and their students.
Being an EdTech advocate, how do you go about balancing the use of technology and the traditional aspects of learning with your students?
That is tough when you are the tech teacher. My job is to teach the use of technology, so there is almost nothing to teach without using the technology. Technology should be used to enhance lessons and not replace them for the sake of using technology. There are a few lessons where we have discussions and I created a Makerspace Unit, where students rotate amongst stations they choose that include LED circuits, KEVA Plank Challenges, origami, Strawbees, marble runs, duct tape challenges, paper airplane challenges, toothpick bridges and more. The students also make prototypes for the Design Challenges, which is done without the use of a computer.
But, for the most part, devices are used each day. It is the nature of my subject.
The EdTech scene is in constant flux. Older tech is being regularly updated and new players are entering into the scene each month. Can you share with us some tips and techniques that you've found to be effective in keeping abreast in the field of EdTech? I'm assuming you read a lot of EdTech blogs?
I subscribe to various blogs to keep up with new technologies and use a social media account strictly for that purpose. I take part in some online chats and Q&A sessions, but mostly just viewing my contacts posts and see what others are doing gives me plenty of new ideas. Using a social media network for a Personal Learning Community is a great way to stay connected, ask questions, and get ideas.
There is so much debate about the positive and negative impacts of technology in the classroom. Some traditionalists would like to see less. Technology visionaries want to see more. It's an old world vs new world debate. What's your take?
I think anything you do gets "old" if you do it repeatedly. A mix between the old and new works best, and remaining unpredictable. Whenever students get to use crayons or markers they get so excited because it generally isn't used as often in middle school. Even with a favorite app, if you use it too much it gets tiring. Use tech only when it enhances your lesson and doesn't make the task more difficult.
For some, tech is more efficient, but not for others. I continually tell my students that they need to find what works best for them. When my students are working on their podcasts, I provide a Google Doc for them to answer some questions and write a script. A student asked me once, "Can I write mine on index cards?" I asked her if she found that easier, and she responded yes. So I told her it was fine and to do what worked for her.
Using technology is not a "one-size-fits-all" tool. Part of growing and maturing is to learn what works best for you and use it. I know teachers that prefer students print out their work, so they can write on it and make comments. I find it better for me to use Google Docs and the Comment feature. In education, just like life, there are several ways to complete a task, and students need to find out what is best for them, and that may be different for each student.
Lastly, what one piece advice would you give to aspiring teachers who are planning to integrate technology in their classes?
If you are hesitant, take it slow. Try one new thing. Take baby steps. You don't have to jump into the pool all at once. It may fail miserably, but students will appreciate you trying to do something different, and often they figure out how to fix it, which empowers them.
Thanks for joining us today to speak about your experience in the EdTech space. To our blog readers, if you'd like to learn more about Joyce Fiedler you can visit her website here.