Personal Knowledge Management and ADD



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A part of Instructional Design that few people think about but effects everyone in some way shape or form is Knowledge Management.  How do we share ideas, how do we ensure that our knowledge, skills, expertise are being shared throughout an organization?  My own personal exploration into knowledge management highlighted an aspect of my life that I hadn’t even thought about until the question was posed, how does someone with Attention Deficit Disorder manage knowledge?

This question generated a personal needs analysis to find out what kind of knowledge management system is used and if it was adequate to meet the needs of a person with ADD.  In the process of my analysis, I came to the conclusion that I really didn’t have an established personal knowledge management (PKM) system that was useful or effective.  I simply did what I’ve always done, cobbled together whatever notes I was able to remember or copy down in a hope that I captured everything.  While this has been moderately successful on some level throughout my life, my analysis told me that I could do better.

That drove me to find a better system, a way that a mind that runs a million miles a minute in ten different directions can reasonably capture and organize information when it appears rather than trying to remember later what I was thinking about.

Thankfully in today’s age of interconnected technologies, I was able to develop and implement a system that I feel is better suited to take advantage of technology and augment the way my ADD mind works to maximize the amount of data and knowledge that I can capture and organize.

Chaotic Designs Podcast – ADD and PKM

The video linked above is a podcast discussing the PKM system that I developed and some of the thoughts and reasons that went into the design of the system.

I believe that this project really forced me to do a lot of soul searching on a personal side and also on a professional side.  Not only thinking about how to develop a PKM system, but how to create and share the PKM system with others really tested the edges of my Instructional Design skill set.

I think in regards to how  this project has helped me grow as an instructional designer, I’ve developed some better professional foundations into applying research and theory as well as developed better data collection and analysis skills.  The fun part of this project was that developing a PKM system actually allowed me to better utilize my research and analysis as it developed.  I also developed a better understanding of how to implement PKM systems in regards to my own development which makes me uniquely aware of how much growth I have to accomplish both as an individual and as a professional trying to understand the ID world.  And finally my choice of developing this project in the form of a video podcast forced me to be able to evaluate and implement better forms of communication.

I also grew as a developer and designer when it comes to planning and analysis.  The needs assessment I did in order to better understand that process gave me better insight into how a needs analysis can create new problems to be solved as well as how that needs analysis may highlight a new target audience that was not originally identified.  In analyzing knowledge management models and systems I never would have imagined focusing my attention on people with ADD and how their PKM system may differ from other people.  The fact that my analysis and my need pointed me in that direction allowed me to grow as a designer because it forced me to look outside my comfort zone and look at myself for a change.  Planning an analysis on a PKM system also forced me to look at new, existing and emerging technologies.  Thinking about a PKM system verses a normal ID program, created a new road of knowledge management systems that I never would have considered before this.  Now I realize there is wealth of knowledge and applications out there that can be useful to many people.  I also understand some of the benefits of producing video for eLearning programs which opens a lot of doors for better development of my breadth of knowledge in Instructional Design programs and systems.

Knowledge management is something most people don’t understand and most organizations don’t do well.  Based on the outcome of this project, I feel it’s good both from an personal and professional point of view to have a general understanding of many of the limitations that a poor knowledge management system creates for an organization.  It’s also good as an Instructional Designer to understand how a good system can help a person or an organization, it creates opportunities to provide people or organizations a view at what they could be doing vs what they are doing with their knowledge.

Unlocking Potential

Keyotic was born out of a desire to bring value to others and share my experience in life and career to help others grow and prosper. Initially conceived through introduction to the John Maxwell Team of Coaches and Trainers, I understood the excitement I found conveying knowledge to others and helping them grow as a teacher and trainer.
Twenty years in the military seeing all level of mentorship, leadership and coaching both receiving and providing helped me to understand how unprepared future leaders are. Most people are simply “tossed” into roles they are never prepared, or ready for and expected to learn. I want to remove that “sink or swim” mindset and prepare others to be great leaders.
Fear of the unknown can be a limiting factor in any person’s development and for so many people, who they are and what they are capable of is an unknown so many avoid it out of fear and never reach their full potential or remove the barriers to success. Many struggle with the dichotomy of order and chaos in their lives, hoping to embrace the order and avoid the chaos. But there is beauty in the chaos, and there is an inherent order to it if you remove the fear.
The quote above is so appropriate for this idea. How much can you achieve in life if you can only see past the fear? Keyotic….”cha·ot·ic” is something in turmoil. If a person is comfortable and safe they are not going to grow or change. When someone faces fear, accepts turmoil, turns their world upside down to accept change, the chaotic nature of the world forges a new person.

10 Training Design Tips for Instructional Designers and Trainers

10 Training Design Tips for Instructional Designers

Reblogged from Tuesday, April 19, 2016 – by  Geri Lopker 

As an Instructional Designer we typically need to do a needs assessment before planning any sort of design or development for an instructional project.  The above link is a reblog of a very well thought out discussion providing some good tips to help you design learner-centered training.

Mindful Design – A Reflection

Mindful design

SO…you’ve been asked by a company to create a proposal to develop a one day training program for at risk teens to learn coping skills for anger, stress, bullying and a whole host of other situations that may cause them to respond in a negative way vs a positive way.  What do you do?

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You create a workshop right?  That’s one way.  A hundred of different ways to broach this subject based on how creative or tech savy you are.  Some people may create a number of videos and animations to engage students, some may create classroom exercises to teach teens practical skills they can use in situations outside of the workshop to cope with these issues.

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So we had a three person team of budding instructional designers tasked with this proposal.  This is what we came up with.

As instructional designers we had to look at the problems and decide what theory was best used to meet the needs of our client.  As a matter of IBSTPI competencies under Design and Development: Use an instructional design and development process appropriate for a given project, we had to come up with a design theory that would best allow us to meet the needs of our stakeholder as well as allow the development to progress logically.  Using a form of Backward Design called UBD or understanding by design, we focused on the objectives of the RFP first, which was teach teens how to cope with stress.  In regards to the IBSTPI Competencies this would fall into the Planning and Analysis area of expertise.  We needed to conduct a needs assessment in order to recommend appropriate design solutions and strategies.  Now while the needs analysis was already pretty much done by the company who requested the proposal, a good Instructional Designer looks at the stakeholders requested need and decides if their view of the product really meets their need.   This is why we needed to make sure that we established objectives of the program first.

Another part of the Planning and Analysis Competencies (Identify and describe target population and environmental characteristics and select and use analysis techniques for determining instructional content) that we needed to focus on was who were we trying to reach and through what means would we reach them in our instruction.  How do you do that?  You do lots of research (Thanks Patty)!!

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Based on our research we came up with a number of activities and learning theories that would best engage these types of teens in the environment we envisioned for this program.  Our research told us that student centered learning where the students played a key role in the information they shared and absorbed would best keep them engaged.  Using the information available to us brought Professional Foundations of IBSTPI into full focus through Apply data collection and analysis skills in instructional design projects.   

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Once we were able to analyze our data and research and decide on a course of action for our workshop, we began to put together a conceptual training plan that would incorporate our learning theories, activities and information on the target audience to best model our program.  This touched on the Design and Development competencies of Organize instructional programs and/or products to be designed, developed, and Evaluated. Develop instructional materials.  

The one key aspect of this plan for our workshop was that it needed to be conceptual and obtainable but also modular enough to fit the needs of the specific target audience.  Part of the UBD design theory that we used to develop this idea included a concept of WHERETO as a design approach that touches on the ability to change the design based on need. Mindful design6 With multiple modules, we change as needed and scaffold the learning based on the parts of the program that are and are not used.  For this project, using UBD and applying these design concepts to an actual program versus the conceptual implementation in a classroom perspective enabled for movement through the Planning and Analysis competency regarding the ability to update and improve knowledge, skills, and attitudes pertaining to the instructional design process and related fields.  I feel there is better understanding of this design model than there was previously simply through application to a real problem.

As mentioned above, we included a number of activities into the workshop to help keep the class participation relevant as well as useful.  The key aspect of the activities was the students ability to learn positive ways of focusing anger and stress instead of acting out or resorting to negative coping mechanisms like drugs, alcohol, as well as harming themselves or others.

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We also did a lot in regards to finding and implementing appropriate learning styles and theories to help build and develop our program.  Keeping in mind that our proposal was a conceptual representation, we offered a level of understanding in the realm of learning theories and styles to show that in the process of developing our program we will have a credible understanding of how to develop a program for a trained instructor to best engage the target audience as well as the tools and capabilities to keep them engaged.

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One of the key observations in regards to this proposal was the team work aspect and how that team worked.  As instructional designers, we must understand the ability to work in a team and leverage the use of the strengths in that team to accomplish the goal.  Not every team gets to pick it’s members and not all team members get to pick the Project Manager chosen to guide the success of the project.  This was a very opening experience in regards to the Management competencies.  All three aspects of the competency: Apply business skills to managing the instructional design function. Manage partnerships and collaborative relationships. Plan and manage instructional design projects, came into play with this project.  Understanding how to work in a professional setting with other Instructional Designers with varying skills and differing perspectives on the project before you is key in a project such as this.  In regards to understanding and reaching the competencies we met the last aspect Plan and manage instructional design projects and learned a great deal about the reasons why the other two competencies are incorporated into IBSTPI.

All things considered, I think this was a very eye opening proposal to work on.  The subject matter was so far out of our realm of comfort that it caused us to have to reorient our focus to something we would not have normally spent time and energy on.  The other piece of it being how do you truly design a program for the target audience.  There are so many different problems and questions that come up when trying to figure out what will keep at risk teens engaged that it threatens to open up very large can of worms.  The key point I think we all learned from the process is that the design theory is built the way it is for a reason to help remind the Instructional Designer to ask certain questions and ensure that certain pieces are in place before moving onto the next piece.  It was an interesting learning process that will provide valuable insight into future products and programs.

Engaged or Not…Alas poor workers

A recent Gallup poll indicates that worker engagement is up to 31.5%, the highest point ever since Gallop started polling worker engagement since 2000.  Even more astounding is that worker engagement is up almost 2% since 2013.

For those who don’t hear it, can’t perceive it…there was sarcasm bleeding out of that entire statement.  First, I find it painful to think that only 31% of the American work force is engaged in their job.  Second as an instructional designer I find the 51% disengaged portion of the work force a more troubling number.

The part I don’t find surprising is the dynamic of who is and is not engaged.  Managers and upper executives vs manufacturing and production, baby boomers vs millennials.  Unfortunately, I believe our new culture of ‘give me what I think I deserve’ in the millennial age group lends to this removing the need for a work ethic that traditionals and baby boomers grew up with.

But none of that is either here nor there, the real issue here is engagement in the workplace.  The article suggests that the rise in engagement is because employees have projected their need to be engaged on managerial positions.  Managers have taken the mantle of leadership, as they should, and tried to find new ways to engage employees properly.

Companies that push for employee engagement for the sake of having more engaged employees are likely to find the effects to be short lived and ineffective, while companies to engage employees in order to succeed and grow as a whole are more likely to see a truly effective engagement program grow and prosper.

While my experience with the private sector is limited at best, I’ve seen my share of leaders who fill the spectrum from good to bad and I understand that asking the best and most out of employees for the good of the whole is how great leaders achieve their goals.  Hard work and understanding that your contribution supports the whole of the organization should be enough reward to earn an employees dedication to the job.  Maybe instead of asking managers to be more engaging, we should ask employees to be less concerned about what they get out of it and find a way to help them understand that when everyone works together everyone prospers together.

Just my .02

How Wine Tasting and Instructional Design Are Related


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Ileighanne's Blog

This may sound like a stretch of the imagination, but wine tasting and instructional design are now related in my mind.  How you ask?  Just read my wine tasting story below:

I attended a wine tasting class recently with one of my longtime friends and fellow instructional designers. (Along with another longtime non-ID friend)  We began the session with a glass of wine waiting for us.  There was no information provided about this glass of wine, apparently it was just for sipping while the classroom filled up.

Next, the Sommelier came out and started speaking.  (Look it up if you don’t recognize the title.) He proceeded to walk us through a PowerPoint presentation which highlighted many different types of wines, where the grapes are grown, what to pair them with, how they taste, etc…  While he was going through this presentation, the staff in the restaurant continued to refill our wine glasses…

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Human Centered Design- Don’t we already do this?


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I recently had the occasion to study some material related to Human Centered Design.  The general idea that I was able to gain from reading through this material is that Human Centered Design (HCD) is focused on the concept of understanding the people and environment that you are designing for.  The idea is that once you understand what the people and environment are understood, you can better design a program that fits their needs.

The more I learn about Instructional Design (ID) and the more I learn about the different programs and processes that can be used in ID, the more I understand that there is no ‘one way’ to do ID.  In a presentation that was a part of the material the presenter said “Design involves putting yourself in the shoes of the user, whether it is a customer or a learner. “- Connie Malamed.  While this quote is valid and center to what ID is, I feel that focusing attention on HCD is simply just trying to develop one more ‘process’ in a pool of theories that will eventually become overwhelming.

ID in it’s more basic form requires the designer to establish a goal or objective of the thing they are designing and to understand the needs of the audience they are designing for.  Isn’t that HCD?  Furthermore, an effective designer understands that to develop a good product, they need to collaborate both with a team of experts and with the end user to understand if their design meets the needs. A good designer should understand that there are many different aspects of design and how they are incorporated into the process rather than focusing attention and effort on one specific type of theory that may or may not translate from one job to the next.

As exciting as it is for a new theory to try and re-imagine the design process, returning to the basics of ADDIE with the understanding that it is a fluid, ever changing process.  In my experience someone who is flexible, adaptable and able to incorporate many different types of systems to meet the needs of the customer is the person best suited to thrive in the ID marketplace.