Nerding out


Welcome to the Swedish Nerd’s digital portfolio. I originally started this blog as a portfolio for my Master’s of IT and Learning at the University of Gothenburg. After completing my studies, I returned to the Dark Arts of enterprise learning technology. I am morphing the blog to post musings on learning strategy and technology as I pursue professional development toward “Learning Strategist.” (I do quite a bit of learning strategy but I have to fit it around a lot of other more operational and technical questions in my role at the moment…)

If you have been forwarded this link, you know my name. I live in (Göteborg) Sweden, I’m a lady, and I’m a nerd.

I created this avatar of myself at Avatar Maker. It looks like a younger version of me but close enough. I added the helmet, which is a free resource with a Creative Commons license, from pngimage. Try it yourself, it’s fun!

Here is my LinkedIn profile if you would like a full view of my professional experience and qualifications.

Measuring your learning culture

Image courtesy of Pixabay

L&D colleagues, we’ve all heard the drumbeat that we have to drive a learning culture in the organisation. This sounds amazing and is what anyone passionate about learning and development would aspire to. When I try to deeper into what this means with clients, it can feel frustrating. Even the most experienced practitioners are tempted to fall back on the classic measurements L&D has been trying to use for ages, because that’s all they had: happy sheets, content completions, system adoption metrics. If I ask, “what does a learning organisation mean and how do you know whether you have one,” the conversation can become rather fluffy. If we have met, you know I’m not comfortable with fluffy…

I encourage clients to define their Success Measurement strategy for this objective in stages, using a sort of classic “maturity model” in the flavour of Bersin. You shouldn’t try to do all of these at once, building a learning culture is clearly a journey. Here are some indicators you can use to express more concretely what a learning culture means in your organisation. Type in “learning organisation image” into Google and you’ll get dozens of fancy frameworks. Meh, I’m not interested. For now, this is a list, easy first, challenging last. 🙂

Some of the metrics are yes/no, some you can run reports on in an LXP or other system.

Learners engage with your systems and learning content voluntarily

This is the bare minimum and easy to measure: do users log into your systems? How often, and what are they consuming in there? Do they enjoy the experience, according to a survey or NPS available in your systems?

What is the proportion of mandatory, assigned content the learners engage with, versus content they discover and complete on their own?

Learners know where they can find resources to learn, ideally “in the flow of work”

Clients often have a question in their employee engagement survey to measure this. In Degreed, you can also look at the types of content learners are adding to their profiles and uncover whether there are preferences for certain types of bit-sized learning items. You can add these to your catalogue and curate around them.

Learners talk about what they are learning and share with each other

One of my clients said, “we don’t even talk enough with each other about what we are learning!” This doesn’t have to happen in the context of your LXP but it certainly could. Are there opportunities for people to share what they have learned lately? Is this something you could drive with contests, awareness campaigns or other programmes?

Managers model learning behaviours

The top objection our clients hear to engaging with learning platforms is, “I don’t have the time.” Yet data showed during the pandemic that online learning initiated by the learners themselves exploded! So people were doing learning somewhere… is it right that they should be expected to do this on the weekends at their own expense?

Managers are often fearful that if their teams see them learning something, their teams will think they have too much time on their hands. This means learners are reluctant to be seen “not working” by contributing to their own professional development. Are executives sharing what they have learned recently? Is there time ring-fenced throughout the organisation for learning? Do teams set mutual learning objectives or commit to focusing on a set of skills together?

You have vibrant Communities of Practice

Even 20 years ago I listened to to a global engineering organisation describing how they calculated the cost savings attributed to knowledge sharing through COPs. Your organisation likely has them living in Slack, Yammer, SharePoint, somewhere. If they exist, how can you engage with these groups of people and bring them over to the Learning Side?

You have a Learning Champions Programme

There are many flavours to how to approach this so it’s sort of a yes/no question. It’s critical that your learning champions programme has representatives from outside L&D.

Every organisation has subject matter experts who are passionate about sharing what they know and developing others Are these jewels driving discussion in your Communities of Practice? (I find the IT team is often an early adopter in many clients). In Degreed you can uncover “influencers,” people around the business who have many followers and share content frequently.

Find them and get them involved!

The business drives learning, L&D are the enablers

This is actually easy to measure if you have an LXP or LMS. You can look at the proportions of content curated or created by those OUTSIDE of L&D. If you have provided the tools, templates and governance, you can let your champions shine. Compare SME-curated materials vs. L&D and measure this ratio over time.

I recommend our clients to formally “certify” curators to train them on standards for quality, consistency and good learning design. You can track how many of these certified curators you have; perhaps this is closely related to your Champions Programme.

User data drives learning programmes

Sorry to say my dearests, but learners know better than the L&D department what they want and need to learn. If you can get your hands on what learners are doing in your platforms, you can curate learning campaigns around their interests. You can look at search, view, share, completion data to uncover that learning hunger around the business. Then curate, market your offerings and be sure to measure the results.

You offer experiential learning and mentoring

There are plenty of tools out there for incorporating gigs and mentorships into your learning platforms. Where many clients seem to struggle is to keep these programmes alive with a good pipeline of opportunities after a splashy launch. Track your opportunities engagement data, which skills are the most popular, and where interested candidates are coming from. It’s really cool to see cross-functional interest in stretch assignments, for example.

Data demonstrates engagement with the key skills strategic to your organisation

I considered whether to put this further up on the list because this is a quick win for many of our clients. If you can define the skills critical to achieving your organisation’s strategy, you can drive engagement, awareness and learning toward them. However, this is just an indicator of activity, it’s not yet a business result. However, simply having this data is a HUGE step forward for most organisations. You then can understand your supply of those skills, the depth of expertise, and how those two factors are distributed around your business.

Learning is embedded in your daily ways of working

Is it a regular part of your process to run a lessons learned after a project? We did this after every exercise when I was in the U.S. Army. I notice in the corporate life these are cathartic and encouraging, as long as everyone can see the learnings applied in the next project. I worked with one client who even ran a critique of each MEETING they had: what went well, what didn’t go well, what can we do better next time!

Data demonstrates learning has an impact on strategic and operational objectives

The “holy grail” of measuring learning transfer can require a bit of creativity and the data will be in other systems besides your learning systems. Maybe the impact will be a correlation but impossible to prove causation. It’s OK, just try to talk to your business in ways they consider important.

For example, one of my quickly-growing clients recently was able to automate their Onboarding programme and remove the manual work for trainers to run this routine work each week. The trainers were then free to work on more value-added projects. They were also able to eliminate outsourced compliance training programmes by asking their legal department to curate resources instead. There are real cost savings there that make a difference to the bottom line.

How about the learning programmes offered to your customer service representatives, project managers, software developers, engineers or sales? These folks manage discrete, measurable packages of work. Can you define the desirable business metrics when you design the learning experience?

I hope you can find something on this sliding scale of excellence to tempt your imagination into communicating and measuring what good looks like in your future Learning Organisation. Let me know if you want help defining your learning strategy and rollout plan!

Maintaining your “status flow”

I wrote this article as the final assignment for a course hosted by The Economist. Thus I was privileged to combine several obsessions at once! The Economist, strengths, and joy through flow. I hope you enjoy it!

At an ascendant moment in his career, the great golfer Tiger Woods described how it felt when he was playing well: “you feel tranquil, … calm; you feel at ease with yourself…for some reason, things just flow…no matter what you do, good or bad, it really doesn’t get to you.” Woods was unwittingly defining what neuroscientists and positive psychologists call the secret to happiness and exceptional performance: the physiological state of “flow.” Fortunately, flow isn’t reserved for world-class athletes. Flow’s benefits are available to anyone by diagnosing personal talents or “strengths,” then planning to use them in the most pleasing way.

When we use our talents, we are “in the flow,” performing fluently and completely absorbed, producing our best work. Time stops, a feeling of serene ecstasy takes over, and the work seems to create itself.  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi defines flow as high level of skill combined with a high level of challenge, with positive feedback from the activity.

This positive feedback results from physical changes in the body. Human brains in a flow state exhibit slower alpha and theta brain waves. The endocrine system flushes out stress hormones and replaces them with feel-good endorphins and dopamine. The breath is slower and deeper. No wonder Csikszentmihalyi concludes flow is “the secret to happiness.”

Image courtesy of FitMind

Flow’s high level of skill and challenge come from honing our talents, according to Martin Seligman, a leader in the field of positive psychology. Management gurus Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton, characterise a talent as “something one can do consistently and nearly perfectly, a recurring pattern of thought, feeling or behaviour, productively applied.” Compare this to the feeling you get as a beginner at a skill, say the awkwardness of speaking a new language, or clumsy motor skills learning a new musical instrument. Time and patience may bring proficiency, but the joy of flow will be hard graft.

Buckingham and Clifton recommend focusing on talents and devoting the minimum energy needed to weaknesses. Tiger Woods’ career golf game statistics show he used this technique to devastating effect throughout his career. Woods was famous for his drives, or shots from over 100 yards from the hole. Drives accounted for two-thirds of his advantage over his opponents. He was no slouch at shorter shots either, and was admired by other golfers for his putting prowess. Woods’ nemesis was the sand trap. But he didn’t obsess with improving this (relative) shortcoming. Rather, he and his coach made a strategic decision to train on sand traps only to the extent they wouldn’t harm his game, spending more time polishing his natural gift at driving. This impressive example of prioritising strengths in one’s profession is something anyone can do, once they identify their talents.

Jamming in traffic

Human physiology explains how talents originate at the nerve cell. Imagine driving a car along a motorway on a routine commute home, listening to music, taking the usual turns and daydreaming. Eventually the journey is automatic. But one day, the driver slams on the brakes, stopped by construction work. A detour takes the driver through unfamiliar neighbourhoods, turning at unknown roundabouts and relying on signs for direction. The detour feels mildly stressful, as does the delayed arrival.

In this analogy, the driver is the brain, nerves are the motorways, the car is the electrical impulses traveling along the nervous system, and the turns and junctions are synapses. Synapses are connections between nerve cells and the more seamless these contacts are, the easier the journey of the impulse. The familiar trip represents how it feels when we use our strengths, and the detour the opposite; one the driver will not willingly repeat. As humans, we make choices like this each day. As a person favours the strongest synaptic connections, or their talents, they avoid using the weaker ones whenever possible. At the nerve level, weaker synaptic connections die.

Synapses determine adults’ success in learning new skills in three ways:

  • Call on strong synaptic connections, or talents. Consider a gifted tennis player picking up squash or padel. The skills are so similar the new game is a doddle.
  • Be like Tiger Woods; focus on what already comes naturally and keep the weaknesses under control. In neurological terms, we strengthen our talent connections but allow ones for the weaknesses to die.
  • Build new synapses through repetition of an unfamiliar skill. Think of the typical annual performance review asking you to focus on your “development needs” or “skill gaps.” Unsurprisingly this feels demoralising, as this method requires physical effort at the cellular level. Forcing the body to expand blood vessels and create new proteins is possible, but tedious.

Keep a flow profile

To discover your talents and preferred way of achieving flow, try these diagnostics:

  •  The Clifton StrengthsFinder offers two paid options with 34 “themes” [talents], or the top five in the less-expensive version.
  •  The VIA Character Strengths is free but requires registration. Its final report delivers ten top “character strengths.”
  • The Flow Genome Project places you into one of four Flow Profiles, or situations you find most satisfying to achieving flow.

Results in hand, reflect on what sparks joy, how to hoard more of that and what weaknesses need managing. Define possibilities to:

  • Join or create alternative, more nourishing projects requiring your talents
  • Decline draining projects or meetings (hint: you are optional on the invitation)
  • Eliminate, refuse, or delegate draining tasks
  • Make frustrating activities more fun
  • Plan self-care and refreshment

A personal flow strategy means creating conditions for flow in a way most pleasing to you. Flow Academy clients’ biggest obstacle is carving out time to get into a state of uninterrupted concentration. A Flow Goer or Crowd Pleaser type may have more challenges with ring-fencing the time than a Hard Charger or Deep Thinker type. Making an appointment with yourself to achieve flow can feel rather like booking time with your partner for sex, but both are essential to a contented life.

Real-life status flow: Here is how it works in my life. I am an Achiever and Learner combined with two strategic talents on the StrengthsFinder. Love of Learning, Curiosity and Appreciation for Beauty and Excellence are top on the VIA survey. I am already honouring my strengths by working in the learning technology industry, using the Achiever and Curiosity strengths juggling several client projects at a time. Strategy discussions and creative workshops generate “flow,” but the operational, structured side of the job feels for me like playing whack-a-mole all day long.

I discovered I have unconsciously been using strengths to mitigate the demoralising details. Checking details off lists is in line with the Achiever and Appreciation for Excellence strengths. A project management tool displays rainbows and magical creatures randomly when completing tasks, boosting “micro joy” dopamine during the day. My wonderful management tips me for projects to bring out my strengths but I fortunately have the freedom to politely decline invitations to energy-drainers, or things not moving me forward.

I prebook tickets for concerts and museums on the weekends address the Appreciation for Beauty strength. By transforming details (firmly not a strength) to a source of fun, and deliberately replenishing on beauty, I am mostly able to stay in balance.

I am a Deep Thinker and need solitude to achieve flow. I reserve time in her work diary to focus on specific projects. I always set mobile ringers to silent; there are enough messaging apps “plinging” all day on the computer. Waking early affords me the quiet time I need for exercise, meditation, music, reading, and deep concentration.

The Tiger Woods of learning I shall never be, yet I try to savour beautiful moments. I often reflect that I am happy and grateful. Any of us can achieve a glory and brilliance valuable to ourselves and loved ones.  With a few diagnostics and honest self-reflection, we can all invite “status flow” into our lives.

Building a Learning Culture: it doesn’t have to be scary!

Here’s a little something I wrote to share my experiences with new LXP clients at Degreed.

It’s fashionable to talk about a “learning ecosystem” and “learning culture” at a high level but quite natural to wonder where to begin. (HINT: it’s not purchasing an expensive bit of technology and hoping this will do it for you… just in case you were hoping haha. I’m writing haha but I do encounter new clients who haven’t fully thought through what they want to achieve and how it will help their business.) It’s a journey, which like many starts with taking a few steps, being prepared for some wrong turns and understanding it can take some time.

Learning Strategy on One Page

Image courtesy of Harvard Business Publishing

Could you clearly and concisely explain your organisation’s learning strategy on one page? How about 5 pages? Do you have one and it’s 20 pages but no one really understands it? Here is a challenge for you: get started with the goal of framing the beginning of your strategy on one page. Later you can build this out to five (maybe six) pages that are easy to explain: WHY, WHAT, WHO, WHEN, HOW.

My experience with “learning people” (using that term in the nicest possible way because you’re my people..) is that strategy is not in their everyday wheelhouse. It seems too big and they don’t know where to start. If questioned the reactions may range from evasion, hostility, or denial that they are in the “right place” to need one yet. I politely disagree. I particularly appreciate this aphorism: “the best time to do something you’re putting off is… right now.” Forgive me if this post is overly-worded in the imperative and just roll with it 😉

Have a look here at this little nugget from HBR, for a very simple way to get started with some questions. I recommend you get a few of your most switched-on colleagues together for a few hours of honest discussion to shape some answers to these. Ideally you can work off-site somewhere and really focus. If not for this, then when? You may come up with more questions, disagree, but that’s healthy. Just start!

  1. Why do you exist? What is your root purpose? I suggest each person in the group taking a few quiet moments to think for themselves, then share the answers. The differences in answers may be really amusing and fun to reflect on. When you feel comfortable, compare all of the answers against Exhibit 1 in this article, “The 5 key areas of talent development.” Are any of these areas currently emphasised more or less than you believe they “should” be in your organisation today? Think about how you would prefer to be working. You don’t have to put any timeline around that, just what would it look like if you had a sensible, easy-to-communicate mission?
  2. What is your value proposition? I remember a senior leader at a client’s corporate university introducing himself and proudly declaring how many employees had completed certification in Project Management. My (unvoiced) reaction was, “so what?” Do business leaders actually care about learning certificates or completions? How does that knowledge transfer to business objectives? I find this to be the conversation L&D professionals struggle the most with. After you quietly brainstorm your answers, challenge each others’ answers with a requirement to complete this phrase, “Why? So that…” Try doing this up to five times for each idea and see if you can help each other get closer to business value not learning metrics. This is the story you want to be able to share with your business leadership.
  3. Who are you trying to serve/target? Your stakeholders are all over the place on this one. Talk about it. Of course we want the learners to enjoy and be engaged in our offerings. However, is that really who you are serving? Just saying…
  4. How will you know you are winning? Similar to Question 2, I hear L&D professionals get caught up in the Kirkpatrick Model but they never get past stage 2. This may be because it’s easy to measure and is under L&D’s control, or even insecurity about what appropriate success measures are from a business perspective. When you know why you exist, what is unique about your team, and who you service, true measures of success become more apparent.

I would submit that a few hours centred on discussing these four questions will not only clear a lot of cobwebs, it can be communicated on one page and is a solid foundation for a learning strategy. More on that in my next post!

Musings on “Growth Mindset”

Image courtesy of The Economist

Cross-post with my LinkedIn feed

My husband and I were recently discussing how some people just seem to have “grit” (he’s a big fan of Dave Goggins and his transformation from obese self-proclaimed “loser” to Navy Seal) and some don’t. I told him about Carol Dweck’s research into growth mindset and her assertion that some people are just born with it (about 40% as mentioned in her book Mindset) Our clients often talk about encouraging a growth mindset in the organisation and how they can use Degreed to foster it.

As part of my professional development plan I’ve set for myself (in Degreed of course!), I set aside some time for myself today to reflect on this topic and refresh my understanding. I found this short 3.5 page article worth the time. Dweck summarises her team’s and Rheinbeck’s research and I can personally relate to all of their research subject types:
Individual students: receiving coaching on growth mindset and visualising how stretching yourself creates new neuron connections in the brain can make you enhance achievement.

Typically marginalised or stereotyped students: receiving coaching on growth mindset can enhance gaps for e.g. female or minority students in mathematics. I was not naturally gifted at mathematics but I’m lucky to naturally have a growth mindset. Our high-school calculus teacher was famous for being unfriendly to females and indeed he wasn’t very helpful. This just pissed me off and through hard work I forced him to give me an A.

Students of teachers with fixed mindset: low achievers who started in these teachers’ classes left the same at the end of the term. How can we translate this to our roles as adults today, as leaders, coaches or peer colleagues?

Athletes with coaches possessing growth mindset: athletes who believe their coach values practice and hard work over pure talent will perform better. Honestly, Serena Williams, Michael Jordan or Zlatan Ibrahimovic may have been uniquely gifted in their sport but they had thousands of hours of grind behind them.

After reviewing the research on growth mindset my reflections naturally turn to how can I apply this to my roles in life. At work for the moment, I’m an individual contributor, but that doesn’t mean I can’t demonstrate leadership. I can encourage colleagues, provide resources, help and ideas and critically, embrace the opportunity for a tough conversation. Fear of having a tough conversation seems to stem from two things: dread of confrontation and/or a belief that the person is incapable of seeing what is obviously an issue and will never change. Being a good colleague in this type of situation means swallowing any dread, approaching such a conversation with compassion, and of course a growth mindset that the person can change!

When I am a leader again, I’ll dust off my old “servant-leadership” hat. When I was in the Army I always had the attitude that I was there to get my soldiers the resources they needed to accomplish the mission. It’s not too different in the civilian world, really, we just don’t walk around with our rank and medals on display all the time. In a flatter organisation, sometimes the challenge can be helping talented, experienced people discover how they can “grow” but not necessarily by being promoted.

As a parent: Dweck’s research mentions it’s really important to praise children for the effort they put into something, not just praise the result no matter the outcome. I have been doing this as a parent but am reminded to redouble my effort. My son recently studied really hard for a science test and got a great result. I said, “congratulations! I know you worked really hard on that!” I can do the same with his sports and other activities.

At Degreed in keeping with our values, we all receive an educational stipend of USD 100 a month called FlexEd. Serendipitously, my indirect manager challenged us all on Friday to share what we have been using it for. Some amazing ideas: TED Women, Masterclass, MindValley, a course in compassionate inquiry, books. I’ve used mine for courses in mushroom foraging, German, Farsi, Agile Project Management to name a few things. Today I began a journey to re-awakening my love of music and I had my first piano lesson, funded by #flexed. Playing an instrument is linked to enhanced cognition, at least for developing brains so I shall choose to believe my brain is “still developing” LOL.

I will never be the equivalent of Serena Williams, the president of a country (maybe I could be president of the local gardening club but…) or head of the IMF. I’m not thinking of immortality or much impact after I’m gone. It’s OK, I can make a small contribution while I’m here… to beauty in the world by living growth mindset in my professional and personal interactions, and in honouring the joy of learning for myself.

The thesis… It’s complete!


My final recommendation to the client after evaluating the prototype

Here’s the abstract from my paper titled ONBOARDING XMOOC PROJECT TEAMS:
Designing learning for professional development.

Purpose: The goal was to design and test a best-practice Onboarding approach, informed by literature and an instructor survey, to address challenges in executing MOOC projects,
and to improve the Onboarding experience for MOOC instructors and project teams.

Theory: The author compiled challenges and best practices into the ADDIE framework as
inspiration for selecting critical learning objectives for an Onboarding curriculum,
employing the 70-20-10 model (McCall, Lombardo, Lombardo, & Morrison, 1988).
Iterative design techniques were informed by thoughtful interaction design
(Stolterman & Löwgren, 2004). Evaluation of a beta prototype was conducted using
the framework proposed by (McKenney & Reeves, 2012).

Method: The project team previewed the alpha prototypes of a MetaMOOC learning design. The beta prototype was developed with indicative content and formally evaluated with five experts using qualitative interviews. Coding of the feedback included
categories to inform future iterations.

Results: Evaluations of the beta prototype learning (formative) objectives and content provided showed these to be largely appropriate with suggested improvements. The design (summative) objectives were proven to be unrealistic. The author recommends a more comprehensive curriculum as well as project management toolkit, spanning the entire project lifecycle.

Here is the final document if you wish to read it!

PHEW! Now I can enjoy life just that teensiest bit more… and decide what to learn next. MWAAAAAHHHHAAAAHAAAA…

Cross-Cultural Communication


World Values Survey Map: an incredible long-running programme!

I was asked to create a cultural awareness and communication training for a group of technical experts who advise retail partners across EMEA, including some countries in Central Asia. Although team had not struggled with this significantly in the past, the team leader felt it was important to increase awareness of cultural differences and how these could impact even rather factual technical communication. The challenge is to telescope “awareness” of a rather broad concept down to how to transfer these behaviours once one goes back to work. We agreed this type of soft-skills training would best be conducted in a classroom to take advantage of the group dynamics. Please see the presentation here which I drafted to facilitate the session.

I used a few frameworks to discuss the idea of culture: The World Values Survey and Hofstede’s Dimensions of Culture. We explore a few typical scenarios at work to reflect on these models, and which dimensions seem to most impact communication. Then I rely heavily on inspiration from Richard D. Lewis’ classic book When Cultures Collide to talk about concrete behavioural differences in how people communicate. Again we talk about some scenarios. As a final exercise the learners are asked to reflect and share what concrete actions they can take away to their work.

My concern with this training is that it would be too “fluffy” for a group of technical experts. We reviewed it with a couple of them and they said the first part about what culture means was challenging to grasp, but otherwise they thought it would be helpful. One said it would even help his teammates to understand him a bit better! Unfortunately due to circumstances I wasn’t able to deliver this concept but maybe someday…



Well-being in a remote study context


Not exactly within a remote study context, but definitely important for well-being!

As part of a job application process, I was recently asked to prepare a one-hour training course about well-being in a remote study context. I was allowed to define the delivery method and course structure. Please see the presentation I crafted to facilitate the discussion.

I made some assumptions about the learners and that there would be the possibility to set up a social media group for the participants. I planned that this learning would be a virtual meeting using some tool with interactive features such as whiteboarding, pointing, etc. I used learning design techniques of Before-During-After, active learning, and constructive alignment to create a well-rounded session.

For the Before part of the session, I leveraged some tools I have found helpful in my own life to help make the session practical. First, a life balance assessment on, and two concepts about forming good habits from the book Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. 

For the During part, I pondered the challenge of taking two rather large subjects (well-being + remote/distance learning?) and creating a practical takeaway from a one hour session. In my reading for school, I’ve been curious about why learners have challenges engaging with remote learning programmes. I explained some of those reasons and asked learners to think about what might be obstacles for them. The most-common reason is that the learner gets behind on coursework, gets discouraged, and decides they will never catch up. This means understanding one’s self, understanding the importance of well-being in life and developing some discipline and good habits are important. We talk about what type of habit-formers there are, and what type of strategies can be effective for forming habits.

After the session, learners have a follow-up assignment to reflect on what habits they want to form in terms of well-being and studying, and devise a strategy for how to do this over a week. They must post on the social media group and encourage each other. The instructor will ask for reflections after the first week and likely periodically as the group interacts with one another.

Picture courtesy of Pixabay.

Week 8: EdX 300x Capstone Assignment

Just click on it to play!

I married several of my previous assignments to create this e-learning. Here is how it satisfies the capstone assignment requirements:

  1. Digital document (ebook, infographic, interactive text)
  2. Original digital video (2-3 minutes in length) published online with closed captioning (non-auto generated)
  3. Your video can be a screencast or mash up (splicing together) of other Creative Commons licensed work you edited / enhanced to create an original work,
    • My video from number 2 is a screencast.
  4. Enhanced Digital Images (at least 2 images) that you have created or edited in some manner.  identify how you’ve enhanced the images,
    • I created my own avatar as a sort of trademark, the Swedish Nerd, which appears on my slides. She is a mash-up of an avatar I created at and added the helmet/hair from an image I found on I mashed them using Snag-It. Here she is! SwedishNerdAvatarWithHelmet
    • In the Quick Reference to Importing References with X9 End Note document there are several screenshots which I annotated using Snag-It.
  5. Interactive (adaptive type) module
    • See the above e-learning, which has quiz questions and links to relevant resources and content embedded within it.
  6. Identify at least two Open Educational Resources to support identified content.
  7. Label your media with a Creative Commons license (student have a choice on which level of rights to allow or to retain all rights)
    • See the thumbnail of the e-learning video above, and below in this blog post.
  8. Apply your updated Digital Media Checklist created in week 1 to each of your digital media, provide the overview of findings and describe in a short statement or rationale why each digital media artefact will support content development or your lesson.
    • Please see the Digital Media Checklist for this assignment.
    • Each assignment’s blog post has a link to its checklist at the end. You can see each assignment in order in the Categories drop-down to the left of my blog.

Reflections and what I would have done differently:

  • I would have preferred to take the time to create the e-learning as a SCORM package with full accessibility, then publish it on SCORMCloud. Maybe next time!
  • I would have recorded the audio first instead of trying to fit existing video to audio done second. Combining audio and video is always tricky. This video I watched to learn how to edit audio recommended this and now I know it’s true!

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Posted in Uncategorised

Week 7: E-Learning with Camtasia

For this week’s assignment I wanted to explore the limitations of Camtasia using PowerPoint as a basis for e-learning production. Camtasia is a very powerful tool and I’d like to fully master it before I play with other tools like Articulate or Lectora. I published it on so that I could take advantage of the quiz functionality. Click here or on the image to launch my short e-learning course.



My impression is that Camtasia is great for certain things but for an e-learning tool it’s still rather fiddly. I acknowledge that in order to meet accessibility guidelines, I really need to add audio and closed-captions. I didn’t have the time to fiddle with audio at the moment, perhaps in the next iteration. I found this gentleman Lon Naylor’s video very helpful in making decisions about how to produce the project.

Things I liked with this solution:

  • I can manipulate the video track easily
  • Importing the PowerPoint as a Windows Media Video meant I could keep my built-in animations.

Things I didn’t like with this solution:

  • The quiz functionality does not have the possibility for multiple correct answers to a multiple choice, which I didn’t understand until I started configuring.
  • You can only have ONE active hotspot on the page at one time. I had planned to have four at once, which wasn’t possible. To compensate for this, I had to give a hint to the learner to click through.

Please see the Digital Media Checklist for this assignment.

Unfortunately it is not technically possible to indicate within that the video is licensed under Creative Commons. I have added this directly within the thumbnail, so if I produce it again I’ll ensure it’s on the title page.

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Posted in Uncategorised