Thursday, September 29, 2011

Uh oh, the Kindle's on Fire...

My thoughts Re: Kindle Fire

So I love my Kindle. As an avid reader, I used to spend inordinate amounts of money on books. I read quickly, so most of my purchases were once hardcover, on pre-order. The Kindle saves me a lot of money, time and space. I still purchase some books due to sentimental value or completion of a set, but most of my reading is done electronically. I have had two Kindles and hope to purchase a new one soon (Kindle # 2, 2nd gen, is cracking from use, lol!)

The new Kindle Fire, a full color, 7”, touch Kindle with Wi-Fi only, will be released on November 15th.  I could read my books, watch movies, use apps, play games and listen to music. It’s linked to Amazon’s Cloud web browser (interesting that I just learned all about that recently…). Check your email, read your documents, store life on the Amazonian cloud... It all sounds pretty cool.

Amazon Cloud = pretty darn great.
From the specs the battery life sounds nifty. Eight hours of continuous reading, 7/5 hours of video with the wireless off.
There’s a touch screen.
It’s in color. Whoa.
Better web browsing-cloud accelerated
As far as a tablet goes (it’s almost a tablet anyway) it’s pretty cheap. $199. That means people can try and afford something with this technology without break the bank. It’s got some great applications and content that will really be useful to those who can’t buy an IPAD.

Reasons I haven’t pre-ordered the monster now:

You can only use Amazon created content. Not too much of an issue considering I already subscribe to Amazon Prime (cheap shipping, free instant streaming, pretty cheap rentals). I have purchased all but one of my Kindle books from Amazon. However, if I used this as a music device I am unsure how I would make my music that I already own work here.

It’s only Wi-Fi. Nuff said.

I keep reading things about ads on the $199 version, which makes me nervous

It’s V-1. The first version of the regular Kindle was neat, not great. They just kept getting better. I need to see one to check if it’s a great update to a regular Kindle, or if it’s a less than awesome V-1 of an Amazon tablet.

Check it out:

Daily Tech’s great article (with some great comments too. I really love the Vader/tablet discussion near the end)


For those wondering, I don't mind about the lack of the camera and microphone. I honestly would not use either on a tablet. These may even be a plus. I am sure they were a small factor in driving down cost.

Monday, September 19, 2011

In honor of Speak Like a Pirate Day

Avast me hearties! Here be me pirate name!
Find your own!

My pirate name is:
Captain Anne Kidd

Even though there's no legal rank on a pirate ship, everyone recognizes you're the one in charge. Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!
Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Reflection on Learning Theories and Instruction

I chose to enroll in the Instructional Design degree program with Walden University because I was promoted to a training position within my company. I liked presenting to my coworkers and thought that developing new modules for classroom instruction was interesting. I had no idea that when I started learning more about educational theories and curriculum development, that I would fall in love with Instructional Design. As I reflect on the past eight weeks of my Learning Theories and Instruction course, I realize what surprises me is how much I love learning about learning.
Over the course of this class, my knowledge of and experience with learning theories and design has grown. We have studied how the brain processes information and various learning theories that influence how we design curriculum. I was very excited to learn more about cognition and the various brain processes associated with learning. My understanding of memory and how information proceeds from experience into long term, usable memory has grown tremendously. Now, when I teach students, I love that I understand the various strategies they are using to process information (Ormrod, Schunk & Gredler, 2009). I was struck by the amount of learning theories used to explain how individuals learn. While working on my bachelor’s degree in Sociology, I frequently used theories to help guide research on different topics. However, in Instructional Design we use theories to help us create the different types of curriculum used to teach our students. For example, Social Learning theories stress the importance of using contextual based, social interaction as the medium for learning (Kim, 2001). A better understanding of social learning has already helped me at work. I will be training a group of individuals in a new course starting next month, previously we were going to have them individually go through the course. However, a social environment will be more effective with the type of class and material.
I enjoyed learning more about the learning process because I now understand more about how I learn.  I see that individuals may have different learning styles (like visual, auditory or kinesthetic)  (Gilbert & Swanier, 2008). I also now have several learning strategies that I can use (and teach to my students) to help me learn more effectively. For example, Dr. Jean Ormrod suggests elaboration to help remember an idea. This means I take information and do something with it mentally. For example, I could make a model or apply the information to a real-world scenario. I have already started working elaboration techniques into my personal learning style and my curriculum design (Ormrod, accessed 2011).
Another aspect of this course that was very helpful was the focus on how to use technology in the classroom. I believe that online learning is the future of education. While it will not replace all classroom education the resources, connections and innovative tools available online create a rich learning environment. For example, instructors without a lot of experience in certain areas can use social networking sites and other media resources to connect students with experts around the world. This is useful to me, as my training team has started developing a set of professional development courses. We may not have experts on things like stress management or networking, but we can connect with various resources online (Walsh, 2011).
While I enjoyed learning everything in this course, the focus of our last week resonated with me the most. Motivating students is a topic heavy on my mind. At the moment, I work for an organizational training team. We design operations training (training to teach people how to do their job) and professional development courses. Our classes on conflict management, resume creation, performance management, goal setting, professional email, effective meetings, etc. are wonderful opportunities for our coworkers to expand their professional knowledge. However, it is hard to get them to leave their work to attend training. They are not motivated to attend the course, participate or complete the class. Therefore, the deeper understanding I have of student motivation is very helpful. I hope to use the ARCS model of Attention, Relevance, Confidence and Satisfaction to structure marketing and training activities to gather attendees and keep them coming back. One idea already is to create several real life scenarios and practice situations that are relevant to my student’s current positions (Kaller, 1999).
If I learned one thing from the various learning theories we studied, it is that no, one tool is the answer to a learning situation. Educators must have a training tool belt full of ideas. By using their own internal resources, those available online and our connections to other individuals, instructors today can educate and motivate their students. If we take a look at our curriculum through multiple different theoretical lenses, consider the learning styles and abilities of our students, integrate technology when possible and remember to be personable with our students, we will succeed as Instructional Designers.
Gilbert, J., & Swanier, C. (2008). Learning styles: How do they fluctuate? Institute for Learning Styles Journal [Vol. l]. Retrieved from Kim, B. (2001). Social constructivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from
Keller, J. M. (1999). Using the ARCS motivational process in computer-based instruction and distance education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning (78).
Ormrod, J. (Accessed 2008). Learning Styles and Strategies. [Video Program]. Walden University Resources
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Reflecting on Learning

When I first started the Learning Theories and Instruction class through Walden University, we were asked to reflect on how we learn. I thought of how I learn on an individual level and on a social level. Throughout this class we have discussed how using learning theories may help us effectively design classes. It is interesting to me that my first thoughts were about individual and social learning, and that the various learning theories we have encountered over this course have dealt with the various individual and social ways people learn. 

There are many learning theories that an instructional designer may use to influence they way they develop curriculum. As Ormrod, Schunk and Gredler advise, learning theories originally emerged to provide framework for educational researchers. Theories now can assist us in guiding such research and also encourage well-developed, practical learning modules (Ormrod, Schunk & Gredler, 2009). When I first started this class, I felt that learning theories were great guides to understanding the historical approaches individuals have taken to education. I also thought that the theories could assist us when researching education. However, I now see that using learning theories can help me make better training. For example, Behaviorist theory can help me develop training for learner’s who need extra help understanding a process. I can use the elements of this theory to observe the actions of my student, explain to them my expectations, show them the correct actions and reward them when they act out the correct actions (Standridge, 2001).  I have also learned that individuals have different learning styles or preferences that may influence how well they learn. I can use this information to create more robust training presentations and activities that reach all of my students (Gilbert & Swanier, 2008).  Even if my students do not have different learning styles, I also gathered information on learning strategies that I can teach to develop my student’s cognitive abilities. For example, teaching them how to monitor their comprehension by stopping periodically during a learning experience to assess the learning process and internally reflect on how well they are learning (Ormrod, accessed 2011).
I believe that the best learning strategy for me is to either read and reflect on information or to learn in a social situation where I can gain more experience on the topic by discussing it with others. I also like using my many information networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) or my newly found education related blogs as information sources. These sources keep me connected to the world of instructional design and consistently challenge and better my knowledge. These connections are key to keeping up to date in my field and creating the best possible training.  I can also use technological information sources to learn how to use innovative tools like Adobe, Lectora and other applications to create online learning solutions.

As I reflect over the last seven weeks, I realize just how much my understanding of learning has changed. I have put this understanding to work in my organization. I strive to consider the different learning styles/preferences of my students. I also consider my training through different theoretical lenses. In this way, I hope to be the best instruction and designer of training I can be.


Gilbert, J., & Swanier, C. (2008). Learning styles: How do they fluctuate? Institute for Learning Styles Journal [Vol. l]. Retrieved from

Ormrod, J. (Accessed 2011). “Learning Styles and Strategies. [Video Program]. Walden University Resources

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.

Standridge, M. (2001). Behaviorism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"In the Know"

The learning theory Connectivism focuses on the changes in our learning environment. Learners of today have access to more new information than ever before. George Siemens advises that this access is due to the increase in information, diversity of opinions, availability of information networks (social, cultural, technological, etc.), complex systems and rapidly changing learning environments (Davis, Edmunds, Kelly-Bateman, 2008).

I use my learning networks to access up to date information at multiple points throughout my day. I may use my coworkers, who have an abundant amount of knowledge about my company or learning development, or I may reach out to a website tool to provide me more information. I take in learning magazines, read books, receive learning related emails, check on blogs and read updates from my favorite theorists. Instead of just one way of learning, network connects me to each source of information to keep me “in the know.”

The best way, I have found, for me to access my learning networks, is with my cell phone. I own a Smart Phone, specifically the Droid 2. At any point throughout my day I can check an email, visit Facebook, post something on my blog, read other blogs and even connect professionally on LinkedIn. All of these technological networks are spots of information that I can learn something from. What I learn on LinkedIn (an abundant information source about my peers, professional groups I have joined, and a news site) may change how I interact later in a course. It may provide me with information on a training to attend nearby or an article to read. When I have questions, I can post a question for my connections on LinkedIn to answer. For example, I read an interesting article about change in organizations. I posted that article to a group in LinkedIn to see what others thought about how leader’s can work to make change occur in an organization (Deutschman, 2005).

As you may have noticed, I believe that Connectivism is an outstanding theory to showcase the changes in learning today. While I love the library, it’s not the only place to do research anymore. As a designer of training, I need to incorporate connections to networks into my training. The more I can assist my students in creating and maintaining their connections to sources of information, the more they will succeed in learning.

Also, see my previous post for a mind map of my learning networks.


Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from

Deutschman, A. (2005, May 1). Change or Die. Fast Company. Retrieved from

Monday, July 25, 2011


Connectivism is a learning theory about the inter-connectivity of learning with social, cultural, systems and technological connections. Above is a mind map of the networks that I have constructed to obtain knowledge. According to Siemens, learning today is a mixture of technology, complex systems, social environments, culture and context (accessed 2011).

If you need to scroll in on the mind map to visualize the nodes, please do. You can manipulate the picture by moving it around or scrolling by clicking the magnifying glass.

This Mind Map was created using Spinscape.

Spinscape. (Accessed 2010). [Mind Map Creation] Developed by BOSSdev. Retrieved from

Siemens, G. (Accessed 2011). Connectivism. [Video Program]. Walden University Resources.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Memory Activated!

This weekend, while researching the brain and learning, I came across the website for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. See This is a weekly collection of articles, reports and commentaries on social, physical and biological sciences. In this week’s collection, I found an article regarding memory. Manning, Polyn, Baltuch, Litt &Kahana studied the electrical signals recorded from the human brain during a free recall exercise. The individuals participating in the experiment free recalled the lists verbally following a brief delay of time. The research supported past scholarly articles that detailed when recalling information, individuals tend to remember that event also features of events surrounding it. Manning et. al were able to measure the neural signatures of the memories of the original word in the list, and then similar patterns in the brain were recorded during the recall of neighboring list items. These findings show that when an individual recalls a past event, the patterns from the memory are carried over to the memory of other related events (Manning, Polyn, Baltuch, Litt & Kahana, 2011).

This article interests me as an instructional designer because it reminds me of the importance of organizing information for learners. Ormond et. al advise that organization of knowledge occurs when an individual breaks information into parts and divides that information into sections that are related. Organizing information can encourage effective retrieval by linking relevant information. When the individual needs to retrieve information, organization makes the location of the information easier to access. This process will help spread the memory activation process throughout information networks (Ormond, Schunk & Gredler, 2009).

While doing more research on memories, I ran across a Live Science article on the findings of a study on emotionally charged memories. The article provided an overview of a study on the link between a sense and a memory. The study suggests that a sense may help activate memories in the future (Rettner, 2010). I found the study on the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) website. The authors researched relating sensed information to memories in rats. The study determined that memories of an emotional situation are associated with various senses (visual, auditory and sense of smell). The study reviewed the storage of information for the rats (Sacco & Sacchetti, 2010) . The research needs to be applied to human brains. However, there are some implications that can be made in instructional design. Using emotional stories could help learners tie the emotion to a memory of information learned. I think that explaining new knowledge and linking it with an emotional example would help students remember the information later.


Manning, J. R, Polyn, S. M, Baltuch, G. H, Litt, B., Kahana, M. J. (2011, July 7). Oscillatory patterns in temporal lobe reveal context reinstatement during memory search. PNAS 2011. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1015174108.  Retrieved from

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson

Rettner, R. (2010, August 5). Brain's Link Between Sounds, Smells and Memory Revealed. Live Science. Retrieved from

Sacco, T & Sacchetti, B. Rose of Secondary Sensory Cortices in Emotional Memory Storage and Retrieval in Rats. Science 6 August 2010. Vol. 329 no. 5992 pp. 649-656 DOI: 10.1126/science.1183165. Retrieved from

Friday, July 1, 2011

Blogging about blogs

Recently I researched three education related blogs to assist me in developing my new blog. The three blogs I researched were:


The first blog I reviewed was IDEAS: Instructional Design for Elearning ApproacheS, by Ferdinand Krauss, an instructional Designer at the University of Toronto. The author does a good job of blogging his opinions on Instructional Design issues, ideas and techniques. I admire that he shares many of the presentations he gives at various conferences and meetings. This is useful to instructional designers to learn new information about the field and see examples of the structure and design of professional presentations. Ferdinand also provides resources and points out engaging articles. I will use this site to learn  more about industrial issues and learn from his presentations.


The Rapid E-Learning Blog is hosted by Tom Kuhlmann with the Articulate Company. This was one of the first instructional design blogs I started reading when I started in this industry. Tom’s posts are insightful tips, tricks and resources for individuals designing e-learning. Lately, he has expanded to information on mobile learning. I appreciate the fact that he does not always push Articulate programs. Instead, he offers his opinion on programs that fit the needs of a situation (including programs from Articulate, Microsoft, Adobe, etc.). My favorite blog posts are the free templates (usually PowerPoint) that Tom provides. I use this blog daily as a resource when I am developing online training content. The author provides fantastic tips to newcomers to the field of Instructional Design. The blog also contains information that will continue to help me develop my understanding of e-learning. He is very up to date on innovative technologies and new resources in the industry.


The final blog that I reviewed is the ASTD blog written for workplace instructional designers and trainers. These blogs are written by various ASTD employees and (according to the authors) are representative of their own opinions and research (not the company’s stance on the information). I chose this blog because of my current membership in ASTD and because of the professional caliber of those involved with the group. ASTD’s blog features articles on workplace training related news, free webinars or panel discussions that may be of interest to workplace instructional designers, ways that organizations are measuring training, current industry statistics and more. There were less “how to” articles than in the other blogs, and more posts about training related news. However, I still believe this will help me connect to the industry and learn about current topics and trends in Instructional Design.

I enjoyed researching these blogs due to the well-written material and abundance of information available. I am excited to become an educational blogger and hope that my posts will be an informative and interesting to read as these three I have found.


4th of July themed learning

This morning at work I recieved an email with a link to this great post:

I wanted to share this link. I love how the author, Ethan Edwards, keeps the spirit of the holiday by quoting our nation's historical thinker's thoughts on learning. He also discusses that just because workplace learning will be attended by "adults" and "professionals" that does not give e-learning designers license to be boring! Use problem solving questions, games, interesting design, and other challenging activities to have the learners apply their new knowledge.

As John Adams said, "Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order." Even adults needs fun learning activities to help ingrain training. Wonderful thoughts to keep instructional design innovative and interesting!
Have a wonderful 4th of July! Happy Independence day for our nation (and our training!)


Edwards, E. (2011, June 30). Declare your independence from boring e-learning. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


This will be my first blog post in a while, and I figured I would make a new blog to host these new posts.I created this blog to start blogging about my ideas on instructional design and learning. Ironically, I then found out that several of the assignments for my new class through Walden University require a blog! Funny how things work out sometimes.

Today I will cut it short as I will be adding more content tomorrow. Suffice it to end this with a welcome to my blog.

Note to my new classmates: If the RSS feed doesn't work, I apologize!