Click Here: Birch Network For Learning, Creation, and Idea Generation




How has your network changed the way you learn?

Mind mapping has organized my mind space by giving me a real time visual of my learning. I have more opportunities for deeper thought and broader exploration of ideas and concepts by being able to see my thoughts mapped out. Furthermore, by taking each of these components in my learning network and breaking them down into further detail I will be able to see which elements of those outlets will be most conducive for building a professional network. My network is broken down into traditional and digital learning acquisition styles. Traditionally, I have stayed up with current trends from magazines, newspapers, brochures, pamphlets and even the occasional mail out. Presently, digital acquisition dominates my informal and formal learning processes. Digital  acquisition allows me learn more information in shorter periods of time.

Digital learning acquisition also enhances the formal learning process by forming a daily discipline that is revolved around seeking new information, thus, making learning and applying new concepts in formal settings more manageable.

After realizing how my learning network is connected, I am inspired to design and deliver content in similar ways. Content cannot be one dimensional. Content must be able to reach across different platforms to reach people as they inter-connect digitally through shared culture and social interest.

What digital tools best facilitate learning for you?

Social media websites and professional networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn facilitate the best learning for me. My Facebook page allows me to read and share posts that interest me. I use my Facebook timeline to like, post and share links that raise awareness to issues that threaten knowledge and safety in public education and Black communities.  LinkedIn allows me to follow other professionals and the educational industry and instructional design industry. I read discussions and participate in network building and idea sharing

How do you gain new knowledge when you have questions?

I use search engines frequently to answer questions. I also will ask someone that I know has experience or knowledge of the issue in question. Recently, when doing research for a business start up, I interviewed several professionals that have either retired or were currently active in that particular industry. By combining research from resources online, information gathered from interviews and private conversations with professionals I am able to answer most questions that I have with new concepts.

In what ways does your personal learning network support or refute the central tenets of connectivism?

According to John Siemens,”connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly all trying to foundations. New information is continually being acquired. The ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital. The ability to recognize when new information alters the landscape based on decisions made yesterday is also critical.”

My learning network allows me to get daily updates of trending information that are centralized around my interest. I learn from other nonhuman appliances because I use devices such as my iPad, iPhone, and iMac to stay connected to the Internet at all times. My devices show information in real time and update me with alerts when information changes.

I rely on the diversity of opinions by referring to alternative new sources as well as popular news outlets to verify current events. This is important for me to analyze the truth about what’s really going on in the world. I connect to specialized nodes of information sources by syncing my devices to alert me instantly when information changes.

I have an increasing capacity to know more about what is currently unknown; staying motivated allows me to learn more about why things are the way they are so that I can readily identify needs and design strategies, courses, trainings, workshops, webinars, meet-ups and other similar outlets for the purposes of education and protection of liberty and equity.


Ormrod, J. E., Schunk, D. H., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning Theories and Instruction. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Merrill.

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Connectivism [Video file]. Retrieved from

Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K. (n.d.). Adult Learning. Retrieved February 08, 2016, from


The Business & Science of Problem Solving

I found the Business Insider to be a great resource! The Strategy section was of particular interest. One of the articles I found to be extremely insightful. The first, Nine Steps to Effective Business Problem Solving. I found the article helpful because the information connected closely to the concept of ‘schemata’ discussed in the textbook Learning Theories and Instruction. According to the text, ‘a schema is a structure that organizes large amounts of information into a meaningful system. Bartlett (1932) discovered that schemata aid in comprehending information and that schemata are important because they indicate what to expect in a situation.  The nine steps form a scaffolding for whereby problem solving can be constructed effectively. is another fabulous resource with articles for understanding how problem solving in business is done. The article, The 4 Most Effective Ways Leaders Solve Problems, is motivating because it gives the characteristics of what an effective leader does to “have the patience to step back and see the problem at-hand through broadened observation; circular vision. They see around, beneath and beyond the problem itself, (seeing) well beyond the obvious, approach(ing) problems through a lens of opportunity”. According to our text transfer is a critical topic for learning and often involves complex cognitive processes. Transfer refers to knowledge being applied in new ways, in new situations, or in familiar situations with different content (Ormrod p.123). This article encourages somewhat traditional thinking and approaching problem solving in ways that on the surface may seem obvious but ultimately simplify complexities of learning the problem solving process.   

Problem Solving & Metacognition in Education and Life by Craig Rusbult, Ph.D is a tremendous resource to delve head first into the science behind problem solving. Dr. Rusbult discusses “building Transfer-Bridges to help a wider diversity of (learners) to improve their confidence and motivations and problem-solving skills…:” He also offers strategies for thinking and models of different design processes. The site illustrates a “design process to describe the flexibility improvised creative and critical productive design thinking we use for almost everything in life when we solve problems by designing better products, activities, strategies, and explanatory theories.” This is a resource that will certainly add breadth and depth to my overall understanding of the problem solving process. It will also make a massive amounts of connections in terms of how problem solving is a key component of the Instructional Designer’s role.


Happy E-Learning

Thanks to my colleague at WU,  Steve Dutcher, for the great ID blog site. I referred to the CommLab site that you posted. I found a couple of really interesting and helpful articles that provide insight and that are innovative and exciting. The first article I read was by Chinthakunta Krishna Delighting Your Online Learner – 5 Aspects to Consider.” The post was an infographic (which I am very excited about learning how to do) that illustrated five useful tips for delivering top-notch learning experiences for e-learners. 1.)Divide the content into micro-learning modules 2.) Make the course interactive 3.) Gamify the course to create a fun-filled learning environment. 4.) Publish the course to HTML5 (I’ll have to research and learn more about HTML5) 5.) Use videos and animation to make the course lively.

The tips that really got me excited were make it interactive,  gamifying the course, and using videos and animations. I recently had an idea to create an application for learners that needed to study and learn information for different certifications like HVAC or CDL. The app would be set up like a game and include tons of graphics, video and animation. The goal of this particular app would be to ensure that the user is prepared for certification testing by reiterating important information.

I think that it is really important to keep the learner engaged and to continue to visit the site/app. Using games to earn points and unlock new levels and creating attractive video will keep learners engaged and interacting. Learners that are having fun are happiest and can potentially better prepare and perform better as a result.

Do you know of a good place to begin creating something like this? Please share.


Engaging Instructional Design

I found several resources that have helped me understand more about ID. Click here, here and here to connect to the blogs that are helping me begin to break down the function and purpose of ID.

ID and Other Reflections‘ posts are about how to prepare for the challenges of the future. As technology and tools speed up the pace of learning, individuals, teams, and organizations that desire to thrive need to be able to find ways that provide useful information at the click of a button. The January 7, 2016 post uses the term “uberization” to draw a parallel in the direction that the ID industry needs to follow.

There are five things from this blog post that  helped me to understand the role of the ID professional. The first, take the mobile approach. People want to experience learning at there own pace. In the age of smart technology, people need to be able to access information on demand, literally, at the click of the mouse pad, or a tap of the screen. Information has to delivered in a way that is customized for the user. ID is not just about designing courses that customize information for learning. It is about being able to consult with groups and individuals within various industries to clear pathways and make connections to learning.

Secondly, build communities. Common interests is the force behind learning communities. ID pros must be facilitators and enablers in a sharing economy and provide the right technology, tools, and support necessary for users to co-create value. Next, ID pros will be 21st century curators able to seek, sense and share relevant content for a defined target audience. Additionally, building a culture of feedback as a way to make improvements. “A culture of feedback encourages transparency, highlights inefficiencies, and makes improvement an ongoing process.” Finally, ID pros will have a service mindset that makes a constant effort to “uberize”which requires “…a constant scanning of the ecosystem within as well as without and gauging how external changes can impact the organization ranging from the need to re-skill existing workforce to recruiting scarce talent.”

The Upside Learning Blog is a collection of blogs and posts that primarily focuses on e-learning, learning management, and mobile learning. This site will be very useful to me as an ID because it is replete with resources and covers a wide range of topics associated with learning systems. An interesting blog that I came across is entitled “Converting e-learning to m-learning.” The discussion here is about organizations making the conversion in four simple steps. 1.) Understand the content and context needs to be able to fit the size and functions of smartphones and not just a smaller version of e-learning content. 2.) Target devices carefully. Weather tablet only or tablet and smartphone each function needs to be considered individually. 3.) Offline availability is an interesting feature. I learned that access to content can be made by using a LMS with its own player or by using an app that sends data to the LMS. 4.) Choosing the right conversion tools and authoring tools can determine weather content needs to be changed over or if new content needs to be created.

These blogs are an excellent place to begin exploring the world of ID. The ideas are fresh and innovative. The content is informative and motivating. Sometimes I feel like I am floating in a sea of information that can be safely navigated using the direction from the resources and ideas embedded in the  articles and posts on these blog sites. As an ID I will continue to participate in learning communities such as these to stay abreast of new perspectives and innovative ideas in the industry.