10 Reasons Elearning sucks and how to make it better!

ATTENTION! ALERT! – The following tutorial SUCKS! And you have to take it! – Sound familiar (minus the suck part)?

In the following video I discuss why Elearning sucks! Well most of it that is:) There is some really great training out there but for the most part, when I take a self paced Elearning tutorial I want to pull my hair out or fall asleep. I have outlined 10 reasons here which are discussed in depth in the video. I hope that the trend to develop boring training can change…

1. Untrained ID
2. Lack of investment
3. Nobody knows better
4. Rely only on tech solutions
5. Rely on simple dev tools
6. ID one stop shop
7. Solution before problem
8. Job aids vs training
9. Reinventing the wheel
10. Boring is acceptable

Video Game Addiction

I have been talking a lot about this topic recently so decided making a blog post and video was worthwhile. First, I want to point out that addiction to anything can be serious and if you found my post or video looking for help, please go to an addiction professional. I am a tech professional stating my thoughts on video game addiction.

We hear from the media that video games are addictive and causing a downfall in society. Is that true? Well it turns out we used to think the same thing about reading.

“Concerns about Lesesucht (reading addiction) had been at their highest in Europe during the 1700s with the rise of the entertainment novel. There were fears that society would go to wrack and ruin – women would neglect their housework, people would begin living in fantasy worlds, sexual excitement would be stimulated, everyone would become socially isolated, no one would get anything done. The noble pursuit of reading, for spiritual and scientific edification, was being debauched and degraded. Moral anxiety about new media repeats itself later with radio, then television, then video games and internet.” (Source – https://corpus.nz/curing-lesesucht-addiction-to-reading/)

In fact you can see this at the beginning of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast when the town thinks Bell is ‘crazy’ for reading!

So it seems as if there is a reason we are afraid of new media. I am not sure why but it does seem like there is.

But the question is still, are video games addictive? The answer is – no more than anything else (but this headline doesn’t make money). It turns out we can be addicted to anything. Food addiction, work addiction, exercise addiction, running addiction, internet addiction, texting addiction, sewing addiction, surfing addiction, etc. When you dig further in the research you find that there are mixed numbers but overall none of these are really more addicting than the other.

But did you hear that 87% of the population plays video games? So what. 100% of the population eats food and we are aren’t bashing food (at least the healthy kind) because of food addiction. What we are doing is encouraging healthy eating – the same thing we should be doing with games which is encouraging healthy game play. While addiction is serious there is no reason to be concerned about games being any more addicting than anything else just like books. My advice: teach healthy game play. See my video for more info:

eSports in Schools? Making a case for eSports in schools using research!

In this video I walk through research on learning, engagement, and retention as it pertains to gaming and eSports. This is part of a literature review I have done to help make a case for eSports at my university. It’s important for people to understand that eSports is more than just gaming – its a community that involves learning, teamwork, project management, and much more. For students, it can improve grades, increase motivation to come to school and participate, and give them a chance to get involved in their school and community.

Here is some of the research I highlight:

  1. Video games and learning (*This research focused on games for entertainment, not instructional games)
  • Strategic game play predicts higher problem solving skills and academic grades (Adachi & Willoughby, 2013)
  • Computer and video game play can lead to a higher GPA (Bowers & Berland, 2013)
  • Socialization that occurs within and around games can lead to social knowledge construction and scientific reasoning skills (Steinkuehler & Duncan, 2008)
  • There is compelling evidence indicating that action video game play engenders clear enhancements in an array of perceptual, attentional, and cognitive skills (Green, Bavelier, Daphne, 2016)
  • Playing action video games enhances several different aspects of visual processing (Green & Bavelier, 2007)
  • Large % of those interested in eSports major in STEM fields – double the national average (Reames, 2018)
  • Providing competitive eSports teams in schools satisfies the growing desire to train and educate students on the soft skills emphasized in STEM and Career Technical Education (CTE) education, as well as in programs such as English and Language Arts (Rothwell & Shaffer, 2019)
  1. Engagement and retention
  • eSports competition is a catalyst for the application of real world skills and problem solving ability (Baltezarević & Baltezarevic, 2019). This competition takes place outside of the classroom as an extracurricular activity similar to any other sport (Kane & Spradley, 2017).
  • Participation in extracurricular activities leads to school identities, behavioral engagement in the classroom, higher grades and test scores, higher educational achievements, more regularity in class attendance and higher self-confidence, leadership and teamwork abilities in students. (Im, Hughes, Cao, & Kwok, 2016; Tariq, 2018)
  • Participation in extracurricular activities decreases the use of drugs, alcohol and behavioral and disciplinary problems related to their use.(Tariq, 2018)
  • More than 80% of students in the High School eSports League were not involved in other extracurricular activities before eSports. (Schaffhauser, 2019)
  • Without a school esports club, passionate gamers often feel left out of mainstream school social life. Organized esports bring these kids into the fold. It can help them become accepted and respected members of their school community. Keeping them excluded can leave lasting damage. Being excluded is an invisible form of bullying (ViewSonic, 2019; Williams, Kipling & Nida, 2011)
  • Playing video games prior to learning can lead to higher levels of engagement, motivation and achievement (Kapp, Valtchanov, & Pastore, Under Review – Minor Revisions in ETRD)

Text to speech software

This is a topic I have had a lot of interest in lately. Text to speech is not really a new technology (I used it in the 80s) but its gotten significantly better. Additionally, people want to use it for professional products (ie elearning). Narration is an expensive cost in an elearning product so a good voice could help to really save a lot of money. So is it good? Well, at this point its OK. There is some software out there that really isn’t terrible and some that hasn’t improved since 1985. Overall I am excited to keep trying it out and see if it gets better over the next few years. Here are a few videos I have created which go through some of the current software on the market today. You can be the judge and jury: Would you use it?

Buying a new computer for college – Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 School year!

This post is for all undergrad and graduate students for Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 school year:

I have had several students ask me about buying a new computer and figured I would post to the group…

When I get a new computer I do one of two things…1) I get one that will last me 2 years or 2) one that will last me 4 years. Obviously the 4 yr one is much more expensive.

So my recommendations…

*See my product recommendations for computers and accessories

1. Get a student discount. All of the companies offer them. Now is a great time to get back to school deals (for instance they may throw in an ipad). Be sure to check out the main companies, Dell, ASUS, Apple, etc.

2. Get a minimum of 12GB of Ram. Ram matters. This is the first thing I choose to upgrade on a machine. If you are in a tech field (computer science, instructional technology, video editing, etc) I would really recommend as close to 32GB as you can get.

3. For the normal user, I don’t think you need to upgrade anything else unless you feel inclined to spend more money. Ram is the first thing I upgrade, video card 2nd, processor 3rd. In that order. I don’t worry about hard drive space at all as I use the cloud to store my files. I don’t worry about other features either except for making sure they have enough ports such as an HDMI port. If you are going to major in a tech related field, I would strongly recommend you upgrade the RAM, video card, and then processor.

5. I would get a PC over a Mac. Macs are great and work really well but there are some issues I run into with them in my courses. Either will work though! Chromebook, ipads, etc won’t cut it, you need a real machine. Again, Chromebook, ipads, etc won’t cut it, you need a real machine.

6. As far as brands, they are all fine for the most part. I prefer Alienware and Dell since that is what I have used over the last few years. I currently have an alienware R17 with max upgrades. I like alienware because they already come with upgraded video cards that you won’t even have an option for with a standard machine. A lot of them are VR Ready. In fact, the only machine in the college of education that runs VR is mine. None of the others will do it. But any brand will be ok as long as you (see #7)

7. Get a warranty. Get a warranty for as long as you want to keep the machine. Its worth it. I cannot tell you how many machines I have went through. I have had Macs die. I have had PC die. Many times. Just get the warranty. I think I have a 4 yr warranty on my current machine.

8. Price – Based on the specs I have provided, you can easily find a low end machine for $550. I don’t think you can find a 12GB ram machine for cheaper. I would recommend you spend $700-$1000 if you want this machine to last 4 years. Obviously, if you are going into a tech major you are going to spend more.

9. Size – This is all preference. Please go to a store and try a few different sizes. Common sizes are 13, 15, and 17 inches. I prefer 17 but some thing that is too big. My wife for example, prefers 13, which I think it too small.

If you have other questions, please feel free to ask. – Dr. Pastore

Video

How much money do Instructional Designers make?

What is the average salary of an instructional designer, trainer, elearning, edtech? What about hourly rates? How much money do Instructional Designers make? What is the salary with no work experience? What is the highest salary?

How do people learn?

How do people learn? Do we have learning styles? What about learning taxonomies? What happens in our minds when we learn? How do we learn from doing, games, virtual reality?

3D Learning: What happens in working memory when we learn from virtual reality and games

Virtual reality technologies give us the capability to meld computer-generated images and the real world.

But how do we learn from virtual reality and games? What happens in our working memory? This video goes into detail about how we process that information. 3D Learning is a multisensory learning theory which explains how we learn through multiple channels in working memory.

For those new to VR and wonder about why the motion sickness happens, here is an explanation from sciencedaily.com.

“Years ago research showed that the brain can re-set an upside-down view of world to be right side up. Constantly changing images pose a bigger challenge for the brain, which has to deal with ‘lag’: the time it takes the computer system to update and display changing visual images corresponding to the users head movements. This may be a variable linked to motion sickness and other symptoms related to helmet-mounted devices.”

3D Learning

  • 3D Learning is a theory that expands on prior 2D cognitive theories (i.e. theories that focused on text and images) to explain how we process content to learn in the real world through all domains (psychomotor/affective/cognitive), from games, from experience, in virtual reality, from hand on activities, etc.
  • Its organic – living and changing
  • Research has only begun to scratch the surface
  • The model:
    • Multiple Input sources
      • Multiple input sources – There are a number of input sources that humans experience. These include vision, hearing, feeling, doing, smelling, tasting and many more
    • Sensory Memory
      • Sensory memory is where we first experience the input and put it into working memory or dismiss it
    • Working Memory
      • Learners have/can process information through a number of channels in working memory (i.e. visual, verbal, haptic/kinesthetic, olfactory, and more)
      • Learners can process multiple channels at the same time (can work together or independently from one another).
      • No matter how many channels we have, we can still only store a limited # of concepts in working memory
      • Training can improve each channel.
      • Learners will have natural strengths and preferences for one channel vs another.
      • Learners can work with prior knowledge from long term memory
    • Long term Memory
      • Long term memory is said to be indefinite

5.0 What’s next…

  • We need to expand the multimedia principles…and probably should be calling them the principles of learning
  • What are the other channels/how many?
    • Olfactory, haptic/kinesthetic, taste, etc. How many do we have?
  • What combinations work best? How many is too many?
    • For example, using our eyes, ears, and hands. Is that too many? How does that impact cognitive load?
    • There is a new game style as a memory and strategy challenge from one of the best gaming developers (lockbusters escape game) where the game is in real life mode in a room full of clues for you to discover.
  • This is especially crucial to the gaming literature as virtual reality starts to become more common for hands on training