Thursday, 23 February 2017

Display, Engage, Participation

This is a video illustrating my model 'Display, Engage, Participation‘ in more detail.  It was created in 2014 and first appeared in my blog post ‘A little deeper with eLearning’.  I've shown and discussed it in many places such as training sessions, conferences and more recently in my masters dissertation; ‘Putting learning into learning technology: developing a pedagogical rationale to deliver eLearning’ to give it a more detailed explanation.  The following is an excerpt from my masters dissertation that provides a wider explanation of it's use and purpose.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

New course design for reflective learning

Further from my ALT Online Winter Conference 2016 'The rounded self – exploring how digital technology can be used to help student’s present soft-skills'.  I was invited by Geoff Rebbeck to provide a webinar on 22 February 2017 for the FELTAG (Further Education Learning Technology Action Group) SIG (Special Interest Group) and contribute to its manifesto.  Thank you Geoff for the opportunity to share my practices and thinking.

I chose the theme 'new course design for reflective learning' in Digital Learning Environments and eLearning objects because it's an interesting area to me, plus it's quite fitting as reflection is a big part of my personality too.  I decided to present this as a 'walk and talk' presentation, meaning that I wanted it to be like you were asking for an informal chat about it and we’d take a walk to discuss it.  It's most likely nothing new but reinforcing some points.  Below is the outline of my webinar that I delivered and a video of my presentation.

"Dan will lead a ‘walk and talk’ webinar, exploring ideas on how reflection can be utilised more in online course design, drawing on his own experience as an expert in e-learning both in a college setting and in the commercial world."

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Get my rocks on

From a very young age, I've always been attracted to spiritual things.  May that be beliefs in the afterlife, crystals, spirit cards, dreamcatchers etc.  Back then I didn't know how to explain, interpret or work with these things, but the interest was there.  It just was unfathomable to me.

Years later I stumbled across the Ghost Whisperer TV show.  I bought season one but didn't actually get to watching until a year or so later.  Yes it is scripted TV, but the programme was written and underpinned with mediums and real stories that explain how the spirit world works.  It was also through this show that I was inspired by Melinda Gordon's character.  Her character expressed her unique gift in communicating with spirits of people who have passed.  But more so her empathetic personality, which inspired me want to become a more compassionate person - and still does today.  I have been to many mediumship services and demonstrations and witnessed lots of evidence and question marks, that have left me even more curious of what is beyond the material earth plane.

Over the years I have always been drawn to collecting polished crystals, fossils and volcanic rocks etc.  I must have had a helping hand from the 'Treasures of the Earth' magazine that was out way back when!  I have been drawn to rocks purely due to their natural history and aesthetic formations but always knew there was some sort of deeper connection with them.  Many people (and I feel it myself) say that I have a good soul and the ability to heal others.  So due to my interest in spirituality, crystals and wanting to learn something completely different to my profession, crystal healing was at the top!  For years I have carried crystals with me every now and again depending what I need to a boost of.  Fruit and vegetables come from the ground and are good for you, so surely crystals have healthy properties.  So now is the time to learn crystals properly in a healing context.

Not sure when my crystal collection began, but below is what I have at present.  I know many that I have in my collection, but some I need to re-identify.  I like to collect them as well as use for healing.  I do have a lot of other raw crystals, rocks and fossils in my collection, which I may share in a later blog post. 

At the end of 2016, I bought a cool box (above) to put them all in and I bought Judy Hall's 'Complete Crystal Workshop' book.  I have always been a bit dubious buying crystal healing books as I once learned that you need to experience the vibrations from the crystals, not by another person's experience.  However, this book is based exactly on what I experience and feel from the crystals - just what I was looking for.  Here's to the start to my 'official' informal journey of learning and practicing crystal healing!

Friday, 3 February 2017

Learning Technologies Event 2017 - findings and thoughts

On 1st and 2nd of February I visited the Learning Technologies event in London.  I've been to this a fair few times in the past and the free sessions are very useful to see good practice, new thinking and innovations.  I attended most of the free sessions and I acquired a small heap that we can use to progress our developments further, which are the following notes I took during the event.  This became a little report that I shared with my colleagues.  It was also good to review this against my new job and how they could be used within the organisation.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and adaptive learning

AI was a common theme. Social media services, adaptive learning, learning analytics and Amazon Web Servers (machine learning) were highlighted as tools to obtain user data that informs their behaviours, which results in recommendations and preferences. Essentially you won’t have to search for content, it will recommend content for you as it predicts on what you do.

AI is tied in with adaptive learning where learning materials and scores can be predicted – we need to think if this is any use to use in Higher Education/business or for CPD subscription courses. Coursera, Udacity and Khan Academy are now looking at adaptive learning. Moodle does have features to enable this, again is it useful to us?

Other common aspects:

  • AI is the new User Interface (UI)
  • Storytelling – in eLearning content design = more memorable and relatable 
  • Content curation – enabling users to collect and use as and when they need it 
  • Structural gamification - points, badges, achievements and levels
  • Content gamification – adding story elements or starting a course with a challenge instead of a list of objectives
  • Micro learning strategies – no need for 2 hours courses just content and finger tips to dip and out of
  • Courses are trainer constructs which can be restrictive. Just use competencies in the real world

Virtual reality

Growing and having more prominence in education. I suggest we explore this more diligently and seeing what we could develop or enhance using this innovation. Perhaps trial in the new practical room here at Sheffield?


Review. Plan. Do. Using agile more effectively for project management – alongside Asana for daily publishing and testing on developments. Ask more about ‘whys’ than ‘wants’. See as dolphins with small jumps rather than whales with big leaps.

Can bring project management into one timeframe – see image below. Maybe we could develop a framework for using Asana more effectively around an approach like this?


Explore further uses of Articulate 360 and the products we have access to. Some that were mentioned:

  • Replay – use more screen casting for training and ‘how to’s’
  • Review (instant feedback on eLearning designs – but we use Asana for this)
  • Content Library (items come with triggers)
  • New publishing options for mobile in Storyline 2

Modern workplace

Micro learning to be the growing innovation for workplace training. Learning is broken down into small chunks that can be dipped in and out and that last no longer than 20 mins – due to human attention and memory span.

PowerPoint tips

Productivity – faster and more efficient

  • Quick access toolbar. Enable. Things you can't find under ribbon
  • Selection pane. Record of anything on slides. Hide and unhide. Change stuff without moving stuff around
  • Alignment and distribution
  • Alignment centre etc. Distribute horizontally to slide

Design tips for non-designers

  • Use formatting tools to change focus
  • Artistic effects on images
  • Image blurs when clicked and can put text in better focus
  • Use text boxes not bullet points
  • Left and right margins in text boxes
  • Divide space – rule of thirds
  • Grid of three columns
  • Leave a third that is not a focal point
  • Or two columns straight down the middle


  • Basic motion path
  • Animation pane
  • Timings
  • Grow and shrink
  • Vertical. Only for graphs
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CC-BY Daniel Scott. Unless otherwise stated this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.