I’m currently reading a book by writer and consultant John Simmons, Dark Angels: How Writing Releases Creativity At Work, which has got me gripped. As an instructional designer at Saffron, my job involves writing – and lots of it. Every course I write is on a different topic and therefore demands a different style and tone, focused towards a particular audience. My aim is to always write the content, regardless of what it is, in a light, positive and conversational way so as to engage the learners and motivate them to want to take the training. But it can be tricky to strike a balance between making sure the right message is conveyed and trying to banish the business speak and avoid switching the learner off.
We’re excited to announce that we’re putting together a Microsoft Silverlight development team for e-learning.
Evaluating the effectiveness of a learning intervention is often where projects fall down – it can be hard to know how to prove a return on investment. But isn’t it about time we had some common methods to evaluate and measure the value of learning? Here are Saffron’s top five tips for measuring that all important ROI.
Saffron is proud to announce the development of a sub surface fire awareness e-learning course for Heathrow Express.
I was interested to see that Skype has recently announced a partnership with LG and Panasonic, which means we will soon be able to buy a TV which we can use to Skype and browse the internet (find out more here). Promoting this new technology Skype’s business development manager, Jin Kim claimed that, “TVs have lacked two things to date… eyes and ears” because “they haven’t had cameras and they haven’t had microphones.” This led me to wonder… does e-learning also lack eyes and ears?
I recently completed a project for a client which went so smoothly it was over before I knew it. I really enjoyed the whole process from start to finish and the course we created received rave reviews from the client, stakeholders and users. I was actually quite sad to see the project come to an end. And so, it made me ask myself, why do some projects run like a dream and others don’t?
One of Saffron’s senior instructional designers, Stephanie Dedhar, has been named Instructional Designer of the Year at the IT Training Awards 2010!
It doesn’t take a genius to make a presentation look great. All you need is a set of well designed master slides. Now read on for five top tips to help you get the most out of your master slides.
Saffron is the official sponsor of the IT Training Awards 2010 champagne reception, and has also been shortlisted in two high profile categories. These annual awards are hosted by the Institute of IT Training and recognise best practice, innovation and excellence in the IT training industry.
Saffron is proud to announce the development of its new SmartVideo™ Workbench, an easy to use toolkit that can turn existing video into truly interactive training material. Quiz questions and text can be added to enhance the learning, while transcripts and translations ensure the video is accessible to as many people as possible. Completion rates can be tracked on an LMS as the SmartVideo™ Workbench is SCORM compliant.
Two of Saffron’s instructional designers, Stephanie Dedhar and Jennifer Wrigley, gave a seminar called ‘social learning: all talk and no action?’ at Learning Technologies 2010.
We English like nothing more than a bit of bad weather. It gives us something to talk about. We discuss it in the lift, in the bus queue and on the train. Bad weather is probably the only time that it’s acceptable for the English to talk to strangers!
We’re excited to announce the launch of our innovative Assure product at Learning Technologies 2010.
Videos can be a great addition to e-learning packages – but only if they’re used in the right way. Here are Saffron’s top ten tips for making sure videos are adding value to your e-learning rather than just adding megabytes to your course.
Imagine a fully immersive virtual environment created for a safety training product, for example. If this environment is presented to the learner using techniques similar to those used to create a game’s 3D environment, would they not find the experience closer to the real situation and would it not leave a more lasting impression?
To all our readers and contributors during 2009,
Merry Christmas and very best wishes for the new year! Thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing you again in 2010.
From everyone at the Spicy Learning Blog
Design work for a new client can be exciting and difficult at the same time. The novelty of working with a new brand and identity comes hand in hand with the challenge of unfamiliar ground. We’ve found the steps below really worthwhile at the start of the design process for a new client, so read on for our top tips for success!
Whether it’s a new client or one you’ve worked with before, the way you begin a project sets the tone for the rest of the project. Here are our top tips for ensuring every project starts with a bang!
It may sound harsh to say that the best thing about X Factor is the ad breaks, but that’s the conclusion I’ve started to reach recently. To be fair, it hasn’t just been Jedward’s tuneless pogoing or the stress of Deadlock that has me urging on the commercials, but rather the innovative ‘brightdancing’ spots for TalkTalk which bookend the ad breaks.
Saffron is the first Learning Technologies provider to be accredited by the Institute of IT Training (and we have been ever since!)
I encountered TED last year when my colleague Ali suggested: ‘Hey, check out how the octopus camouflages in this video on TED. Pretty cool!’ It was jaw-droppingly cool. In this video, David Gallo shows footage of sea creatures camouflaging themselves in spectacular ways, shifting colours and radiating neon lights in the blackest depths of the ocean. It was my first encounter with the marvellous source of knowledge and inspiration that goes under the name of TED. So, I thought it was worth sharing this discovery with those of you who are still not in love with it because, as the TED motto says, these are ‘ideas worth spreading.’
With rapid development techniques and easy to use content authoring tools, it’s never been easier to produce e-learning materials. Some of them are even quite good. But how do you make them great?
We’re thrilled to announce that one of our instructional designers, Stephanie Dedhar, has been shortlisted for an IT Training Award in the category of Instructional Designer of the Year 2010!
We’re delighted to announce that Saffron Interactive has been shortlisted in the Training Company of the Year category for the IT Training Awards 2010! This is a huge achievement and is testament to the great people that make up the Saffron team and the great work that they produce together.
One of the biggest challenges with any project is sticking to the original plan. There’s often so much to do, often within tight timescales, and no project runs exactly as planned. There are always unexpected events that occur and throw things a little off course, which can cause delay to your project.
Part of the secret behind Saffron’s success is that we go beyond simple client and supplier relationships and instead build lasting partnerships. Here are our top ten tips for building relationships that last.
Saffron Interactive, one of Europe’s leading e-learning, mobile and blended learning companies, is proud to announce the launch of the Brand Through Profit (BTP) bespoke e-learning course at Diageo.
‘Show your mouse the finger’, written by Angus last week, talked about the types of cool futuristic gadgets and interfaces that made up Spielberg’s futuristic vision of the world in 2054 in the film Minority Report. I actually think that we may not have to wait another 45 years to realise some of the technologies used in the film.
Creating original graphics for an e-learning course can be a challenging task, particularly when anything that’s created has to comply with strict branding guidelines. An engaging graphic environment is essential for an interesting and successful learning experience. Read on for our top five tips for achieving this.
In 1999 director Steven Spielberg assembled a team of 15 of the world’s leading futurologists and scientists and tasked them with creating a plausible vision of what life would be like in the year 2054. The best ideas were picked and used in the film Minority Report.
If it’s not your day job, setting up and running a photography session can seem daunting, but it’s not as difficult as you might think. A few pieces of equipment, the appropriate preparation and a small dose of confidence are the keys for success. Here are our top five tips to make your next photo shoot go swimmingly.
A couple of years ago Adobe acquired an online word processor called BuzzWord from a company called Virtual Ubiquity in order to further enhance their collection of online applications. The web-based word processor was built using the Flex framework which is part of the Adobe product line and targeted at creating rich internet applications (RIAs) that can be deployed to the web or desktop through the Flash and AIR runtime environments. So how user-friendly and effective is BuzzWord as an online word processor?
Many clients want to include video in their e-learning courses meaning that we need to become film directors as part of our day job too. But it’s not just about having a director’s chair with your name on the back. Follow these tips to ensure your video shoot runs like clockwork.
I hate telling someone I studied languages at university and then having them say ‘ooh, say something in French’. There’s nothing worse than being put on the spot and there’s no surer way to scare all the fancy French words from my head and leave my mind blank. It’s the same with creativity. Inspiration strikes at the most random moments and more often than not eludes you when you most need it – like when you’re racking your brains for a new take on performance management training or trying to come up with a catchy course title. It’s not always easy to be creative on demand, day in, day out.
XML can be a great tool when used correctly, but it does sometimes suffer from being a development buzzword. The trick to understanding how best to use XML is to remember that its focus is to provide an independent structure for a collection of data. What happens with that data is a problem for other programming languages that need to work with it.
The most recent post on the Spicy Learning Blog is an extra special one, because it’s our 50th post – a great milestone which we’re very proud of!
The recent turmoil in the financial markets and the resulting chaos in all of our businesses have both intensified our desire to be ‘rapid’. We want things faster and cheaper. We want minimal fuss and we just want to get on with it. We’re practical people, we get things done and we want to prove this to the world. Music to the ears of anyone selling a rapid development tool but what about instructional designers (IDs)? Where do they fit in? Pah, I hear you say. Who needs an ID? Our subject matter experts know all there is to know. If we give them a tool that allows them to put their knowledge online, surely this will be better and more authentic than having a third party develop the material? It will certainly be a lot cheaper and faster!
The project has been signed off and requirements gathered – now for the planning! To plan a project’s resources, you’ll need to have a really clear idea of the number and types of resources needed to spring the project into action. Without efficient resource planning things can start to fail rather quickly. Here are our top five tips to avoid that happening.
We are all eager for fresh and creative ideas to make our courses innovative, effective and engaging for the end user. But we can’t simply rely on random activities, chance or some creative ‘greater providence’ though. It is actually a solid and well structured approach that we need in order to generate and flourish brilliant ideas.
Early last week I suddenly began to feel feverish and aching and suspected I might have been struck down by the dreaded disease of the moment, swine flu. After leaving work early and trying to sleep it off at home I decided that it was pointless waiting for the symptoms to get worse, instead I should call the wonderful government hotline and get an official diagnosis. With my housemates lurking at a safe distance in the next room and my head pounding like a policeman at the door, I dialled the number. After a short wait a young man with a thick Scottish accent answered in a dead-pan voice not dissimilar to that of the man who reads out the shipping reports. I soon realised why – he had the longest list of questions for me and was clearly sick of asking them.
All too often, a systems training course becomes a glorified user manual because it tries to train learners on everything that there is to know about the system! Read on for Saffron’s top five tips for creating great systems training that focuses on what learners need to know.
At Saffron, we are always excited by new technologies which can be used as tools to enhance learning and usability. One of the many interesting projects I am currently involved in is the development of a RIA (rich internet application) product, using Microsoft’s Silverlight platform.
Taking a step closer to British citizenship is an important event in my life. The process of applying for indefinite leave to remain involves taking the Life in the UK test which, if I pass, will supposedly show that I have the necessary grasp of the English language and understanding of UK life that one requires for citizenship.
We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve been shortlisted for the 2009 E-Learning Award for Excellence in the Production of Learning Content – Private Sector. We’re particularly proud of this achievement as only seven entries have been shortlisted out of 24 entries.
I have always been fascinated by the way in which children learn. We know that the majority of children’s learning is done without them even knowing, almost by accident, and this learning is simply part of growing up and watching others around you. You don’t need to sit a child down and teach them the English language or how to walk or talk, for example. Nevertheless, I think that we underestimate the strength of this implicit learning.
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