DON’T Imagine Them Naked! My Pres4Lib Virtual Presentation

I had a lot of fun putting this together. This was supposed to be my Plan B in case the live feed from my office did not work. But after putting it all together last night this morning, I decided it really would work better as a video rather than live session.


In the spirit of learning here are a few details about how I did this. I always seem to wait until the last minute with presentations. I came up with the title Wednesday night and began working on the PowerPoint Thursday around 5pm. First I did a title and notes for each slide so I would know what the framework would be. Then I used Flickr to find supporting Creative Commons images. It took hours to find the right photos. In all it took about 3 hours to create the PowerPoint.

Sometime during all this I came up with the idea for the opening scene. I tried recording the opening scene with a webcam but the quality was bad…even with a good webcam. My husband, who happens to be a brilliant video editor, asked me why didn’t I use our digital camera. After kicking myself in the head for not thinking of that I set off to find a flashlight and hat. It took about 10 takes to get the flashlight and handheld camera effects right.

After recording the opening scene I used Camtasia to narrate the PowerPoint. This took forever but I consider some of the takes as rehearsal! Next time I will record one slide at a time or a few slides at a time.

Once the PowerPoint narration was done I imported the video from my camera, added a title slide, transitions, and some spooky music. Anyone recognize the tune?

Then I produced the Camtasia project to default Internet settings and uploaded to YouTube. In all it took about 9 hours which comes to about 90 minutes of development per minute of presentation. I would say the norm is about 60 minutes of time per minute of e-learning material.

What does all this mean? When you compare development time of e-learning to face-to-face learning there is a much higher front end investment for e-learning. But once the development is done, you are done. The content is there for your learners to access at any time and you can move on to other projects. However when someone tells you to “whip together a quick tutorial” keep in mind that there is nothing quick about it!

You can read more about e-learning development time on the following sites:

p.s. Just for the record. The words of wisdom did not actually come from “Pete” or anyone else in recent years. I think it actually came to me from an episode of the Brady Bunch.

Learn to teach online…for free…at your own pace

Here is a great opportunity for anyone in libraryland to learn about teaching online:

Learn how to teach online on your own time! WISE Pedagogy offers an open-access training experience for its Introduction to Online Pedagogy workshop. Learn effective teaching practices anytime, at your own pace, without the necessity of enrollment in a program or adhering to a semester schedule. Interact with other learners/instructors via linked forums for pedagogical discussion, course development exercises, and continuing your education in new developments for distance learning.

A Certificate of Completion is available to those who finish the workshop and participate in each exercise.

Introduction to Online Pedagogy is a free resource for LIS instructors, students, and professionals from beginners to seasoned instructors looking for new ideas in online instruction.

Click here to access the on-demand website:

For more information, please contact Anne McKinney at

Going Green: The Un-Handout and Handout Alternatives

Last week Nicole Engard posted about going green for conferences by not printing slides and handouts. I can’t agree more with everything she said and I’m glad to see that the comments were mostly in agreement with her ideas. Lately I’ve been tossing around the idea of the “un-handout” but for different reasons.

For years staff at my library has made elaborate handouts for each and every technology class we offer. We provide step-by-step instructions on basic functions in Windows, Word, Excel, and so on. It takes hours upon hours to create these handouts. The handouts can be up to 20 pages long for a 2-hour class, and we go through thousands of these handouts in a year.

For the most part the handouts are great. Especially for basic Office products or basic computer skills. But now that we are doing more and more training on Web 2.0 tools such as blogging, Flickr, wikis, and so on the handouts seem to be overkill. First of all by the time we complete the handout the interface is probably going to change. Second I am beginning to see that having such detailed instruction laid out for people prohibits them from exploring and using intuition to navigate new products. Our we doing a disservice to our staff and public by not giving them the opportunity to learn and explore on their own?

I’m working on a needs assessment for staff training on the social networking sites MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I’ve been wanting to offer this for the past six months but have not had time to create a handout. Without a handbook I could probably put this together in a week or less. A handout would take at least an extra month. I think I might just try it and see what happens.

In defense of handouts

Anyone who has ever taken a class with me can tell you about the assortment of highlighters and pens I use to color code my notes and handouts. I always thought I was a visual learner and needed to have the colors to make associations. Recently through a more in-depth assessment I learned that I am actually a kinesthetic learner. If I am not actively participating I’m not learning. So my technique of coloring and highlighting every word in a book is actually my way of processing the information by keeping my hands busy. I’ve gone to training or presentations and actually been distracted by not having a handout to write on.

Alternatives to handouts

A great alternative to reach out to your kinesthetic learners like me is to have toys available. Anything that keeps their hands occupied. Play-dough, simple puzzles, pipe cleaners, stress balls all make great learning toys. Check out the dollar store for some inexpensive ideas or Trainers Warehouse. If you are on a very tight budget, who isn’t these days, don’t be afraid to have a box at the back of the room and ask the participants to drop the toys off on the way out. If you’re not into toys just put out some paper and markers. This small step will go a long way to reaching your kinesthetic learners.

Fiddle Diddles Set

What’s Your Learning Style

Thanks to Helene for forwarding me this great post from Nicole on What I Learned Today about Learning Styles.

As trainers, we need to be aware not only of the many learning styles our participants may have, but of our own learning styles as well. It’s easy to think that eveyone learns in the same way that you do, so you have to be careful not to make that assumption.

Nicole”s post links to a learning styles quiz with 70 quick questions that you rate from 0-3. At the end you receive a visual picture of your learning style. Mine was no surprise: visual, verbal, and social. I wonder if that”s why all my report card from elementary school had comments in the way of “Lori is a great student, but she talks too much.”

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