Book Review: The Online Learning Idea Book by Patti Shank

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For my May review, I thought I would look through my bookshelf and decide on a book that was relevant to the work that I am doing today.  As my project work ramps up with the company I am contracted to, delivering training to employees in two countries is going to be challenging so it goes without saying that we are getting ready to develop eLearns using Captivate as our rapid authoring tool.

So with that in mind and with a bit of trepidation, I looked at books that would help me in the instructional design and development.  One of my greatest fears in this role is to develop boring page turners.  I’ve been in the industry long enough to realise what’s good and bad e-learning but you never want to fall into that trap!

Patti Shank’s book on 95 Proven Ways to Enhance Technology-Based and Blended Learning will come in handy.  Although the book was published in 2007, there are some elements of it that may be considered outdated but the actual learning strategy or the activity is dateless – simply the tools change so even though the activity may look ‘clunky’ by 2007 standards, there’s nothing stopping an instructional designer use the same concept but use the current tools to create the activity.

What I particularly like about this book is that it is split in chapters that are:

  • Ideas for Learners, Activities and Assessments
  • Ideas for Making Collaboration Work
  • Ideas for Making Discussions Work
  • Ideas for Self-Directed and Asynchronous Activities
  • Ideas for Synchronous Activities
  • Ideas for Self-Check Activities and Assessments

While our organisation isn’t openly using synchronous learning (or shall I clarify, that it isn’t yet across the whole organisation simply because of the technology, cost and time to learn these new skills for learners and instructional designers alike), I can immediately use the activities for the asynchronous learning on our Online Learning Space (a sharepoint site) where our learners access their learning materials.

I can see myself getting much use out of this book and I know your team will do too.

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About Activate Learning Solutions

Helen Blunden is the founder of Activate Learning Solutions and Third Place. She has over 20 years of experience within learning and development across private, public and not-for-profit organisations. With a specialty in performance consulting and networked learning, Helen believes that workplace learning is integral to business success. She has a passion for enabling people to learn beyond the classroom and believes in the power of networks and communities to drive collaboration and meaning within the organisation. From facilitator-led instruction, online and blended, Helen deploys social and informal learning such as enterprise social networking, collaboration tools and emerging technologies that have been proven successful and embedded workplace change.
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