Nerding out


Welcome to the Swedish Nerd’s digital portfolio. My posts showcase my assignments from my edX courses in Instructional Design as well as my Master’s of IT and Learning at the University of Gothenburg.

My instructors want me to put my name on here but I’m paranoid. Suffice to say I live in (Göteborg) Sweden, I’m a lady, and I’m a nerd. After some years working in the learning technology industry, I felt I needed to get back to what makes me happy, which is designing and delivering learning programmes. Of course I want to leverage learning technologies intelligently, but the creative process of design and the fun of delivery is what I’m really passionate about.

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.


Editing with Camtasia: it’s a journey

It’s “good enough for now!”

This week we had to storyboard and shoot a video. I chose to do one for my final assignment and on further reflection it was a good first attempt but I’ll have to re-do it later.

For interest, here is what I planned with the storyboard. It was a good exercise to do the storyboard because it forced me to think about what I would do and say rather than just “winging it.”

The learning objectives are:

  1. The student will evaluate, based on a demonstration of defined features, whether LinkedIn is the right tool for him or her to create a digital transcript or learning history.
  2. Based on the evaluation, the student will have enough information to proceed to the final assignment or review another tool.

I wanted to experiment with Screencast-o-matic so I recorded the video with that, you’ll see the watermark. Then I edited it in Camtasia, adding some transitions and cutting out a lot.

For my next attempt, I want to re-record using a generic LinkedIn profile (not my own) and rehearse more than once so that the video isn’t so long. Right now it is 10 minutes and I need it to be half that. Also I need to figure out how to get the starter image I have set up to be the one that appears when you see the video, not some random screen in the middle of the video.

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

Alt text and manipulating images

Powerpoint screen steps to curve text

OMG did you know how to curve text using Powerpoint? NOW I do!

For this week’s assignment I created a flyer for a work event we have coming up this Friday. It’s a team-building meet-and-greet following the Swedish tradition of afternoon coffee and cake, or “fika.” We have three teams, one of which is new, who will need to collaborate closely in the future. Currently they sit in two buildings so it’s helpful if they can meet face-to-face until the facilities are renovated and they can sit together.

Here you can see my flyer: Invitation to Fika this Friday

I did so much image mashing from Pixabay, using both Snag-It and Powerpoint. First I got this picture of delicious cake and coffee but I would prefer to have whipped cream on it. I separated the white whipped cream from another picture, removed the background and pasted it in the photo, all in Snag-It. The colouring sadly doesn’t match the photo too well but maybe with Photoshop I could work on that. Also for the coffee bean background, I downloaded an image of brown coffee beans, made them grey, and blurred them in Snag-It.

For my logo, I took an icon with several images from Pixabay, cropped out the ones I wanted and changed the colour from black to dark blue. In Powerpoint, I learned how to curve text around the image! This is a life-changing skill and I was really excited! I then added a border, a text box and my Creative Commons license.

I used the Accessibility checker in Powerpoint to add alt text and control the order of when it would be read. The alt text doesn’t render when you simply mouse over it. Finally I created a PDF out of the entire thing but the alt text does not work not work unless you download it, open in Adobe Acrobat and select View-> Read Out Loud..

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

Optional attributions from Pixabay:

Image by Lolame from Pixabay

Image by haidi2002 from Pixabay

Image by Mary Pahlke from Pixabay

Digital Transcript Comparison Matrix

comparison matrix of digital transcripts

First version of the matrix for fully-sighted learners

This week’s assignment is to create an educational visual aid, incorporating aspects of good visual design. You can view my submission here.

I chose to refine a concept for my signature assignment on lifelong digital transcripts. This will be an asset which is available for the student to download and print out once my video explains the different features of digital CVs. I used Microsoft PowerPoint to create this asset because I am comfortable with this tool and can compose documents easily with it.

The first matrix generally follows the example in the picture although I have also a set of written directions at the top. Once I evaluated it critically, I wanted to make it more obvious what the learner is meant to do without having to read the instructions, so I added the 1, 2, 3 and the arrows for the steps. I was going for clarity of what is expected from the learner and thought the red, yellow, green would be very obvious that these are “traffic light” ratings of that feature for that tool. I added texture to the traffic light ratings to make them more visually attractive.

Visual design elements: The first one leverages line, shape, colour, and texture.

Visual design principles: I believe I incorporated unity, balance, and similarity.

After completing the first matrix, I considered that colour-blind people would have difficulty distinguishing the red from the green buttons. I then added the black and white icons instead, with black equivalent to green and white equivalent to red. Is this obvious? Could I remove the instructions? PowerPoint also has an Accessibility check and it said my grey text boxes were difficult to read, so I changed them to black with white text for more contrast. The check also said I needed to add the ability to have the text boxes read out, although I’m not sure how well this would work when transferring over to pdf.

After showing this to some classmates I got feedback that they preferred the accessible version, but they didn’t understand what the circles meant. Also they didn’t find the column where you had to mark an X useful. So DigitalTranscriptComparisonMatrixV2.

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

PDA 676: Behavioural “Nudges” in Learning Technology


My nod of respect to Josh Bersin: my Behavioural Nudges in Education Maturity Model

For the course on Digital Literacy, we had to do another literature review paper on a topic of our choice. Lately I’ve been intrigued by the idea of Nudge Theory popularised by Drs. Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein. Essentially the idea of a “Nudge” is to introduce ways to incentivise people to make a choice more beneficial to him or her. These can take many forms, which I won’t summarise here. My favourite example is a school cafeteria which provides precut fruit and places it at eye- or reach-level, whilst sugary dessert is placed in a harder-to-reach spot. The fruit is easy to obtain and has the benefit of already being cut up– easy to eat! The sugary dessert is still available but you have to work just that tiny bit harder to get it.

I looked at what behavioural nudges are available in learning technologies, and what type of behaviour they might be trying to encourage in students. I then categorised the examples into the proposed Maturity Model above. I found that there isn’t much available, and that most research in this area is coming out of the United States. Furthermore that most institutions of higher learning struggle to even implement the basics with their Learning Management Systems (LMS) (Level 1). There are some very interesting programmes out there, though, getting into using more data, combining rudimentary predictive analytics with personal coaching to help university students successfully graduate (Level 3).

I didn’t find any case studies at the highest level of maturity, true predictive nudging. Nudging strategies at this level, were they to exist, would acknowledge that student success is not solely reliant on academic achievement. Furthermore, the data to flag correlations lives in other systems outside the LMS and beyond algorithms based on historically successful students. I propose universities look at the student as a whole person, factors about how the university is organised, and better data about why students drop out as potential additions to a predictive analytics algorithm and nudging model.

Read my final paper here.


PDA 675: Factors Driving Business Value in Learning

This paper is my final assignment in the course on learning theories. We had to do a literature review on any topic of our choice. I’ve always been interested in how to achieve more value in learning interventions and the programme is centred on IT and Learning. I reviewed research around the Technology Acceptance Model (popular in the IT world), and how factors of each seem to affect the levels of learning effectiveness evaluation proposed by the the Kirkpatrick model (popular in corporate learning).


Learning leaders have a wealth of indicative variables available to leverage in their design and delivery of learning programmes. Some recommendations one can take from them in terms of learning technology:

  • An impression of user-friendliness is important for a positive reaction, but it is not as important as Perceived Usefulness. Look to how to maximise the organisational and social factors which can convince learners that a training intervention will benefit them, and they will tolerate useability challenges to get their expected reward.
  • One cannot assume that even computer-savvy learners are comfortable with learning systems, and Computer Self-Efficacy powerfully predicts whether they will have a positive experience. Although it’s always desirable to make a system as user-friendly as possible, some aspects of a user interface may be outside the organisation’s control. It is therefore sensible to always include content orienting the learner to the systems they will need to master in order to complete their training.
  • If a learner who has completed a training intervention still believes the subject matter was difficult, it is highly unlikely the training intervention will have been worth the investment. A question on the end-of-course quiz will help trainers to identify these learners and offer additional coaching.
  • Organisational and social support variables have a consistent positive impact all the way through to transfer of learning on the job. As a learning professional one can’t micromanage every single line manager or colleague, but one can require proof of learner conversations with their leadership as part of the instructional design. For example, a standard guideline for a post-training one-to-one with the manager could include planning for opportunities to practice the new skill, to share with the rest of the team, and defining how the team can support the learner going forward.

One disappointing aspect of all the literature in this domain was that it was based on self-reporting by learners. No study endeavored to compare user acceptance or transfer using empirical data based on behaviour.

Here is my final detailed paper.

Evaluating Open Educational Resources and Creative Commons assets


This first concept of my signature assignment is inspired by the e-learning course I reviewed for the assignment (see below), as well as the work I did in the edX 200x course.

This week’s assignment was first, to develop a checklist of criteria to evaluate Open Educational Resources.  The second half was to find a suitable resource and evaluate it with the checklist, and  finally to reflect on the exercise.

I started my checklist and used inspiration from my classmates. I expect the checklist will evolve as I evaluate more assets and get feedback from them. I created it as a Google Sheet, which I can copy digitally in seconds and re-use. I don’t see a need to plan for using paper in such an exercise, when the course is about digital media. Please see my checklist template here.

My signature assignment is to design a learning and coaching for professionals who want to develop their (professional, not personal) online digital presence. I am guessing that there is already plenty of material out there covering my signature assignment, but it may not be packaged in the way I am envisioning…which is the reason I created the very first mock-up (see graphic above) of how my e-learning course would be organised. I searched on the Open Educational Resources (OER) website to see what content might already exist, and whether it would be worth checking some for inspiration.

I found one course “Career Portfolios and Professional Branding,”  created by a consortium of Canadian institutions, the Provider listed as Niagara College. The course has a Creative Commons 4.0 license permitting sharing and adaptation for non-commercial use, requiring attribution. I evaluated the course using my template, please see my evaluation here. The course was useful for inspiration. I am considering whether the Articulate Storyline source files might be beneficial, as they already have some interesting functionality built into the course.

For fun and to ensure I really have something reflecting my own brand, I also created my own Swedish Nerd Brand Avatar using Creative Commons assets, you can see what she looks like here on the home page.

Adaptive Learning: Summary and Opinion


Adaptive learning is a method of learning experience design which leverages technology and algorithms to deliver learning tailored to the individual’s unique needs. Some conditions are required to create such an experience:

Delivery technology: a learning management system (LMS) which tracks learner progress through the content

Modularised content: decomposed to “granular” learning objectives with matching assessments, enabling pinpointing of gaps in comprehension. A common example is pre-test to understand where to initially place the learner in the course.

Algorithms: predict which “probes” or problems the learner may be able to answer correctly and which are the next level of difficulty, guiding the learner to the next content. For example, vendors such as McGraw-Hill include attributes such as: response time, learner confidence in the answer, and accuracy in the calculations.

Adaptive learning includes some concepts of cognitive psychology:

  1. Deliberate practice: intentional focus on concepts the learner needs development in at the next level of skill
  2. Ebbinghaus “Forgetting Curve”: a theory of repetition, how concepts are encoded from short-term to long-term memory, and when is the best moment to influence this encoding
  3. Metacognition: the learner reflects on his or her own confidence in the concepts
  4. Gamification: introduction of fun and competition to stimulate engagement.

Potential impact on teaching and learning:

The benefits in an adult learning context:

  • Learners don’t waste time covering concepts they are already familiar with, which is more engaging for the learner and more efficient from a business perspective.
  • Learners get constant reinforcement and encouragement, building confidence.
  • Suitable for situations like “pre-boarding” in universities, where the instructor would like to ensure all students are at the same skill level before proceeding with the course content.

The potential drawbacks:

  • This subject reminds me of Skinner’s learning machines in the 1930’s and 40’s. Technology will never be a 100% substitute for a great teacher who facilitates a group of humans to interact with each other. A good helper to the instructor, yes. It’s important to remember that!
  • Adaptive learning as presented here requires significant  programming: of the learning objectives, “probes,” assessments, algorithms to make this approach work ideally.
  • The effort and investment required means it would work well for subjects in which the content is not changing constantly, such as subjects taught in K-12 or theoretical introductory courses. In a corporate scenario, I would imagine only compliance training or say, introductory leadership and management courses would justify such an investment.
  • Most organisations I have worked with say they want this type of approach, but when it comes down to committing resources, learning is not prioritised for investment.


Image Source:

Posner, Z. (2017, January 11). What is Adaptive Learning Anyway? Retrieved from