Allen Academy Blog

  • Compelling, Effective, and On-Demand: the Secret to Better e-Learning with Merrill's First Principles of Instruction

    Compelling, Effective, and On-Demand: the Secret to Better e-Learning with Merrill's First Principles of Instruction

    Written by Christopher Allen, Chief Strategy Officer, Allen Interactions

    It wouldn't really be an overstatement to say: since Day 1 of using a computer to teach there has been a race to see who could create the best multiple choice authoring program. The amount of toil and capital poured into the creation of new multiple choice questions editors, even today, is staggering. Even more staggering? Multiple choice questions aren't really effective teaching tools, but they are easy to score. So why all the effort?

    Really great digital instruction takes thoughtfulness, care, and skill. Creating an experience that helps shape an individual's career, builds confidence, and achieve predictable skills development is an art. Art sounds expensive, while writing multiple choice questions sounds pretty cheap and easy.

    If you can't buy a tool to make the 'art' compelling and cheap, what can you invest in to create predictable results?

    Professor M. David Merrill's First Principles of Instruction has been an integral part of higher education curriculum for instructional professionals since 2012. A rock bed textbook of our industry, First Principles takes decades of experience and refinement of methods and frameworks to produce a set of interrelated principles that are proven to produce significantly better instruction (9 times better in fact, than other tested methods).

    Merrill has masterfully simplified application of the five principles in his work into something that even novice designers use.

    The five principles are:

    1. Task Centered
    2. Activation
    3. Demonstration
    4. Application
    5. Integration

    While these five principles take effort to design and incorporate successfully in a digital program, the time to develop skills to wield First Principles likely isn't any longer then mastering all the features and functions of your favorite authoring tool's multiple choice question editor.

    Professor Merrill is currently offering an exclusive studio program through the Allen Academy for just 10 students. The experience includes direct mentorship using the students own development of a new digital learning project using First Principles of Instruction.

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  • Q&A Migrating ILT to Digital Delivery

    In the webinar, The Best Practices for Migrating ILT to Digital Delivery, our team of experts shared their best practices and advice for moving from Instructor Led Training or ILT toward digital delivery solutions such as virtual classroom (VILT) and e-learning training solutions. Our team used the input and advice from webinar attendees to create a crowd sourced Virtual Training Start Up Guide.

    The following questions were not answered during the live webinar, so our experts have joined forces to follow up on all attendee questions. 

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  • Dear Designer: 3 Considerations for Length When Shifting to VILT

    Dear Designer: 3 Considerations for Length When Shifting to VILT
    The first quarter of 2020 has contained a host of global challenges, and many organizations and their L&D professionals may find themselves in unfamiliar ground, with the demand to quickly adapt. For many, there will be questions of how to take existing learning material, courses, or workshops and deliver them using a digital platform.
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  • What are Short Sims?

    What are Short Sims?

    Role plays.  Flight simulators.  Sports scrimmages.  Computer games.  Wargames. Erector sets.  Group challenges. Acting workshops. Labs.  Moot courts.  

    These great learning experiences have a few things in common.   They are all “Learning to do.”  And they all get us to Short Sims.

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