Written by Debra Wingfield
Have you ever had an elearning project that challenged you to come up with something creative that you’ve never tried before? Or are all your elearning projects equally challenging? Are you tired of creating project after project and using the same tricks and tools every time? Are you truly engaging your learners?
These are all questions we’ve asked ourselves as we design our projects. With limited time, resources and sometimes limited creativity, we can feel like we’re stuck in a rut. It might be because it worked so well last time, or we’ve lost that creative spark. And then are times when you complete a project and you feel like you’ve run an obstacle course – but the end result is something that you’re incredibly proud of.
My challenge currently is converting some old (from 2007!) infection control topics into new and refreshed elearning modules that will engage learners. Topics like routine practices, hand washing and the chain of infection have been done and redone, and now I am working on the umpteenth iteration. What can I do differently?
One of the best ways I get my inspiration is to visit Elearning Heroes the Articulate User Community. Many elearning designers use Articulate products, but you do not need to be an Articulate user, as the community is full of ideas and inspiration that anyone can relate to. There are freebies, examples, discussion forums, challenges and expert blogs – all with tons of creative ideas that can get you started. Tom Kuhlman’s Rapid eLearning Blog was the first elearning resource I ever followed!
I am also a big fan of Pinterest. I use it for both personal and professional inspiration and follow people like David Anderson (yes, he will be joining us at eACH16). I save images that grab me, fonts that captivate me, ideas that spur my creativity and quotations or phrases that make me think about things differently. I have boards of nothing but images, and I use the images to get me thinking about how I can use a similar image and make it into something that works for projects I am struggling with.
Connie Malamed’s Elearning Coach site is also a great place to visit. She’s got a list of interesting resources and sometimes just browsing through her posts gives me an idea.
Cathy Moore’s blog is also another great resource, as she presents practical tips and breaks things down with meaningful discussion. I like the way she presents a scenario and then dissects it by asking questions and analyzing approaches.
Check out Jackie Van Nice’s work – she really rises to some unique challenges. Take a look at some of the things she’s tackled on a weekly basis. She’s also an Elearning SuperHero – a regular contributor to the user community at Elearning Heroes.
There are lots of different people to follow for inspiration, and I know I’ve left out a lot of people who deserve a mention, including a few of my fellow eACH Committee members. Once you start following one or two of these folks I’ve mentioned, you’ll find more to follow and will no doubt be inspired beyond your wildest dreams!
I’ve left two big inspirations for last.
Jane Bozarth (@JaneBozarth) is one of the most inspirational people around when it comes to learning. Not only is she an accomplished elearning designer, she is an author and creative being. Joining her for the keynote at eACH16 will be Jeannette Campos (@jsuzcampos), an equally talented author and creative being. Together they will present the healthcare journey of Jane’s husband through his diagnosis of a large brain tumour, his surgery, and his recovery. Along the way there were lots of learning opportunities and they will draw on his story to inspire us to create better learning.
Perhaps you need a little “kickstart” as inspiration for your own projects. Join us at eACH16and let Jane and Jeannette spur you on to new creative heights on your journey to create better learning!