Free Online Courses for Learning Professionals

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Coursera is a company that offers MOOCs (massive open online courses) by universities and organizations.  The courses can be signed up for and attended online.  Many of the courses give participants a certificate for completion of a course. Learning professionals will benefit from Coursera because they often post courses related to education, eLearning, blended learning, virtual learning, and other topics.

On November 4th Coursera will be offering a course on E-learning and Digital Cultures.  The course will be taught by professors from the University of Edinburgh.  The course is a 5 week course. You can sign up for the course via this link: https://www.coursera.org/course/edc

Coursera is offering a course on Gamification by Kevin Werbach from The University of Pennsylvania.  The course on gamification starts January 27th, and runs for 10 weeks.  You can sign up for the course via this link: https://www.coursera.org/course/gamification

– Melissa.

3 Ways to Mirror your iPad and iPhone onto your Desktop

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There are a few programs out on the web that allow developers to screen share or create training by showing something on the iPad or iPhone.


iTools is a free software that is installed on your Mac or PC.  Your device will be tethered to your Mac or PC, and then it will be able to mirror on your screen.



Reflector is an app that costs $12.99. Reflector uses Airplay to connect with your Mac or PC.  Your iPad or iPhone must be on the same wireless subnet connection as your PC.



Elgato is a device that costs around $179 and free software.  Elgato is able to do much more than mirroring iPads and iPhones, which is why the cost of the device is high.


– Melissa.

Learning Professionals Conferences by Date from 2013-2014

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Last year I created a document highlighting some of the different conferences that would be going on throughout 2012-2013.  I decided to update my list ,and make it public after I responded to an inquiry regarding upcoming conferences.  Included on the list are only a few of the upcoming conferences of 2013-2014.

August 2013

Title:  SALT (Society of Applied Learning Technology) Conference

Washington Interactive Learning Technologies Conference

Hyatt Regency Reston Hotel

Reston, Virginia

August 14-16, 2013


September 2013

Title:  Performance Support Symposium 2013

September 9 & 10, 2013

Boston, MA


October 2013

Title: DevLearn 2013,

October 23 – 25, 2013

Las Vegas, NV


November 2013

Title:  Elliot Masie’s Learning 2013

Nov 3-6

Orlando, FL


Title:  19th Annual Sloan Consortium International Conference on Online Learning

Online Learning:  A Universe of Opportunities

November 20-22, 2013

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort – Lake Buena Vista, Florida


January 2014

Title:  ASTD 2014 TechKnowledge® Conference & Exposition

January 22 – 24, 2014

Las Vegas, Nevada


March 2014

Title:  Knowledge Advisors Analytics Symposium

March 3 – 5, 2014

Intercontinental San Francisco 888 Howard St. San Francisco, CA 94103


Title:  Learning Solutions 2014

March 19 – 21

The Hilton in the Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, FL.



May 2014

Title:  ASTD 2014 International Conference and Exposition

May 4-7, 2014

Washington, DC


June 2014

Title:  mLearnCon

June 24 – 26, 2014,

The Sheraton, San Diego, CA


– Melissa.

Getting Creative with Business Cards

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Over the past few months I have been attending tons of networking events.  Every so often during my business card exchange, I come come across a really cool and creative card. Whenever I receive a highly creative card, in the back of my mind I wish I had a card that was just as innovative.  Recently I decided it was time to make a personal business card that I could get as funky with as I want.  Since I am in the field of instructional design I wanted to be able to portray what I do.  My first theme for a business card is inspired by the ADDIE model. The ADDIE model is extremely simple to explain, and there are literally thousands of ways to translate it into a business card.  Using Adobe Illustrator, I’m creating a different business card design for each phase of ADDIE.

Here is the first draft of my business card for the development phase.   My idea is that the front looks like an HTML file, and the back looks like an open HTML file.


Tip: When designing your business card be sure to publish your business card at, at least 300 DPI for a high quality print.

Check out this post on Mashable to see some creative business card examples: http://mashable.com/2013/05/16/crazy-business-cards/

Adding QR Codes to business cards has been a trend over the past few years.  Did you know you can even design your own QR codes?



– Melissa.

Learning Professionals Connecting in Greater Philadelphia, ASTD PHL and PADLA

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I found out about ASTD PHL (American Society for Training and Development – Greater Philadelphia Chapter) thanks to the power of social media. A few weeks ago I started a group on Linkedin in order to connect with other local professionals in the instructional design and eLearning industry.  Through the group I was able to connect with other professionals who posted local events to our group.

The first local event that I attended was an event with PADLA (Pennsylvania/Delaware/New Jersey Distance Learning Association). Surprisingly, some other Bloomsburg University Alumni were also attending the event.  The event took place in Philadelphia at the Wharton School. I was able to network with other professionals, learn more about Wharton’s Telepresence classroom, and attend a presentation on virtual instructor led training best practices.


The second event I attended was ASTD PHL’s Chapter Meeting and Networking event.  After hearing good things about ASTD Philadelphia I decided to subscribe to a membership. New members have a very organized orientation; we even had our own table and packets.  The newest members of ASTD PHL went around the table to name one thing we are passionate about (that didn’t have to do with our occupations) and one thing that no one thing that no one would guess about us.

After attending the chapter meeting, I decided to attend a SIG  (Special Interest Group).  ASTD PHL has SIGs that are specific to areas like eLearning, Trainers, Corporate, and Career Management.  The best thing about becoming a member of ASTD PHL is that the SIGs are free.  You can also attend 2 SIGs for free if you are not a member.  The SIGs alone are definitely worth the membership.

The SIG event I attended was in the area of Career Management.  The presentation was titled, “Are you bobbing along or making a wake? Managing Your Career During Turbulent Times” The speaker of the event was Theresa Hummel-Krallinger.  Hummel-Krallinger’s presentation was passionate, witty, and extremely informative.  She had the audience laughing, and asking questions the entire time.  She used the analogy of career management being a bit like being on a boat.  You have to have a rudder to steer you in the right director or else you are just floating along with no real rhyme or reason.  The overall presentation was on staying connected in order to do well in your field, in addition to resources and tips to help figure out what career path might be a good choice for the audience member.

I will definitely be attending more SIGs in the future because the one I attended was a hit. ASTD PHL is close-knit and very supportive.  I think both ASTD PHL and PADLA are wonderful resources for staying connected to the learning industry in Greater Philadelphia.

To learn more about ASTD PHL visit: http://www.astdphl.org/

To learn more about PADLA visit: http://www.padla.org/

– Melissa.

Learning how to use eLearning authoring software – a lesson taken from Kim Komando

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Learning how to use eLearning authoring software can seem like a relatively difficult task, especially if you consider yourself to be less than tech savvy.

A friend of mine sent me a video mashup called “Komputer Kindergarten.”   The mashup video is of Kim Komando way back when, introducing different computer concepts.   My friend stated that Komando’s portrayal is what he imagines my job to be like (of course I had to check the video out for myself).   Even after watching the Komputer Kindergarten video several times, I was still extremely amused.

The first thing that came to mind was that the video of Komando could definitely be used for a lesson in teaching technology or eLearning authoring software.  Komando’s line, “And nothing even blew up!” more than applies to learning eLearning authoring tools.  My advice when asked about how to learn new technology is to always experiment freely, because in fact, nothing is going to blow up.

Dive In

Once you have chosen the eLearning authoring software you are going to use, just dive right in!  Exploring software on my own has made me much more familiarized than if I had gone through a long tutorial first.  I like to test out and discover things on my own.  When jumping right into a program, you have to have a little patience for troubleshooting, and no reservations about just playing around.

Start Small

Starting small is always a good idea.  When I say small, I mean with an easy to use eLearning authoring software.  A good example would be to download a trial of Articulate Storyline and master it, and then download Articulate.  Articulate Storyline is much simpler to use than Articulate. Once you are familiar with one eLearning authoring software, you won’t have as much difficulty learning others.  In some cases you will only have one program to work with, but it’s still good to have basic skills in easy to use programs.

Play Copycat

Playing copycat is one of my favorite ways to learn new software, and it allows you to come up with your own way of doing things.  Take a look at some of your favorite eLearning, and try to copy some of the functionality and design.  You might not create an exact replica, but it’s a great way to learn, and to create something you always wished you could.

Make it Official

Learning eLearning authoring tools solely on your own can be tough.  At some point I usually throw my hands up.  Usually I cannot just figure out how to create a lot of advanced actions, so I turn to a tutorial site.  Classes and certificate courses are also a huge help.  Lynda.com has some tutorials on how to use certain eLearning software.

When it comes to learning eLearning authoring software, just dive right in.  I promise, “ nothing will even blow up!”

– Melissa.

Join the “Instructional Design & eLearning Professionals of Greater Philadelphia” LinkedIn Group

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Join the “Instructional Design & eLearning Professionals of Greater Philadelphia” LinkedIn Group. Search “Instructional Design & eLearning Professionals of Greater Philadelphia” on LinkedIn to find the group and join.

The Instructional Design & eLearning Professionals of Greater Philadelphia Group is for professionals in the learning industry who want to share best practices, information, and network online, as well as face to face.

– Melissa.