Latest Event Updates

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:

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:

To learn more about PADLA visit:

– 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. 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.

Why understanding technology is important for instructional designers

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Normally when you meet someone the first question they ask you is, “What do you do?”; proceeding with various other questions like, “What did you go to school for?”   I am often looked at with utter bewilderment (even from professionals in the learning industry), when I reply, “My degree is in Instructional Technology.”

When it comes to the learning industry,  the term “Instructional Design” is a no-brainer.  So,  you might ask, “What is the deal with Instructional Technology?”  Instructional Design is a key part of Instructional Technology; without Instructional Design, Instructional Technology would not exist.

In the program I graduated from, students are taught instructional design processes, theories, and models. Instructional Design is woven into every class; in fact students follow ID processes, and develop eLearning for real clients.  Technology is merely a deliverable method, and I happen to have been shown some great ways to use technology to create and deliver learning using Instructional Design.

Technology is here to stay, and it is only getting bigger.  In my Wideo project, I outlined a few reasons why it is important instructional designers understand technology.

Check out my Wideo project here:

Why is understanding technology important for instructional designers?
Designing for Technology:  Nowadays learning is not just in the classroom. Learning is on the move; learners are mobile.  The same deliverables that were built for PCs do not always translate well to tablets and phones.

Time and Cost: Understanding how much work it takes to go into a project will better help you negotiate costs and plan accurate timelines.

Evolution of Technology: Technology is evolving at a fast pace.  There is more software being developed, and updated for creating training deliverables.  With a diversity of software to create learning, there is the opportunity to design innovative ways to teach learning objectives.

Speaking the language: Even if you are not developing a deliverable like eLearning, chances are you are probably working with a developer. Understanding and speaking the language used by the developer will cause less confusion and error in the long run.

– Melissa.

My Review of Wideo

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Wideo is a web-based animation tool, created by the company Wideo LLC. Wideo’s headquarters is in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

I have been using the free version of Wideo for about two weeks now. I absolutely love Wideo!  I started playing around in the tool mainly because I thought it looked interesting, and because it is free.   Wideo is an extremely intuitive tool.  The main parts of the tool are the timeline, and the stage.  You add objects to the stage, add animations to the objects, and arrange the animation points on the timeline.  In Wideo you can upload your own content or use their pre-set content.

I don’t know if this is just in the free version of Wideo, but here are a few things I wish were different.

  • I think it might be nice to have more advanced audio controls, like an audio timeline and editing capabilities; that way voice could be added strategically.
  • For some reason when I try to group objects an animate them things get a bit screwy, like objects disappearing in the middle of an animation.
  • It would be fantastic if at some point Wideo LLC created a desktop version, like how Prezi has a web-based, and a desktop version. (A desktop version would be terrific for security purposes, but I totally get that the reason it is web-based is for sharing purposes!)

After watching a few Wideo projects by other Wideo users, some ideas began to spark in my head.  I thought to myself, “Wideo would be a great way to for me to create informative videos on instructional design topics.”  After starting my Wideo project, I realized that there is so much that can be done with the tool that I never thought of.  My next Wideo project will definitely be more advanced!  My first Wideo project will be about, “Why understanding technology is important for instructional designers.”  Check out Wideo to start creating your own informative animations!  Check it out at:


– Melissa.

eLearning Prototyping for Beginners on a Budget

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Say, you don’t have the resources to design your next eLearning prototype, like: time to learn graphics software, money to buy images, or a multimedia team to create graphics for you.  You can create a prototype for your eLearning very easily and for free!

As long as you have: the internet, Microsoft PowerPoint, and a little imagination, you can create a slick looking prototype for your eLearning course.

You will get started on your eLearning prototype (I hope!), after you have created a project plan document, identified the instructional goals for the learning, conducted thorough analysis, written your performance objectives, developed any assessment tools, finished the creation of a storyboard, and at some point created a log of your clients’ wishes.

You probably developed your storyboard in Microsoft Word, but maybe you have not added images yet. There are a few places to get free image sources online or in some cases you can get them through PowerPoint, or create them in PowerPoint.

In one of my prototype projects, I created a background for the eLearning in PowerPoint.  My eLearning theme is a classroom environment.  I used a plain blue background as classroom walls, and I created a floor with a rectangular shape, with wood texture added.  I simply used the same background on every slide, and then added classroom elements according to each screen’s detail on the storyboard.


Prototypes can either be functioning, or they can be more of a plan or layout of what should work. You should make sure the eLearning software that you are going to be using will support all of your prototype’s functions.


As you can see in the image above on the classroom background, I added a chalkboard, a question mark chalk image, and a different font for the chalkboard.  All of the images were free for use.



The image above of the clipboard has a blank space for where the box for a text input field would be.  I planned on creating the eLearning in Captivate, after creating the prototype in PowerPoint.  I knew that Captivate has boxes for text input fields, so it was all right to add the box. I also knew I could add advanced actions to the text input field and a text field. On the slide with professor Mary after the learner entered their name, the space after “Hi,      ” would populate what the learner entered in text input field on the clipboard.

eLearning Tip:  I already tested my eLearning, and knew it would work before I prototyped. Make sure you know the eLearning you are creating will work on your audiences’ computers or mobile devices. Test first!

The articulate community has great downloads for your next project:

(I got my chalk board, my photo frames, and my clipboard from there!)

eLearning Art has some characters and backgrounds that you can use in your eLearning:

There are many other blog-posts with resources for images to create eLearning, here are a few:

– Melissa.