Monday, October 23, 2017

The Conversation Catalyst - Create High-Speed Webinar Discussions - Tip #154

Motivate learners to help you create your content
Click here to view an excerpt  from Tricks of the Lazy Trainer.

Click here to download the handout.
Key Ideas to help you:

1. Show a slide and graphic that represents the question and content

Show them an image with books packed into a shelf. Then ask the question "How do learners learn today?" Since you showed the image with the message, learners will type in their own interpretation of the image and the question. Their answers generally cover the content you want to deliver. Instead of telling learners; facilitate to help them discover the learning.
2. Ask participants a question

By asking participants thought-provoking questions, you become clear about your content. In this case the content is, "Learners learn in smaller chunks through mobile tools." 3. Read aloud their responses that pertain to your content
"Short pieces"
"Just-in-time technology"
4. Mention the name of participant "Thank you Lisa." 5. Respond emotionally Laugh at interesting comments. 6. Appreciate the participants "Very good answers."
"Thank you Bob."
7. Weave participants' comments into your conclusion and in relation to the content


Learners learn by contributing their own interpretations and applications of the ideas. The more they do, the more they learn. This allows the trainer to do less work but empowers learners to dig into their memories that help them enrich the content they relate to.

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning

"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Monday, October 16, 2017

Ten (10) Best Story-Based eLearning Tips - Tip #153

In this tip, I'd like to share what I consider the Best of Tips on Story-Based Learning Design.

We have gathered the very best tips from the numerous tips we have shared in the past for your reference and further learning.

In case you missed them, rediscover how you can decrease learning costs considerably, help your learners retain information better through the use of highly interactive stories, get them to genuinely love learning, and more.

​Tip 8: Show Proof that Stories Impact Learning
How do stories impact recall, retention, application and transfer of knowledge? Learn the steps to doing a simple exercise to present to your leaders to persuade them to use stories and experiences in eLearning. More...

Tip 17: Converting Obscure eLearning Content into Usefulness
This tip discusses how you can convert obscure learning content into something that is easier to understand and use in actual, on-the-job situations, and how helpful hints aid learners. More ...

Tip 49: Instilling a Love of Learning
This tip discusses why and how you can guide and encourage learners using the DIY approach and recursive learning - and why it is important to instill in your learners a love for learning. More ...

Tip 56: Is Your Organization Losing Its Brain? Collecting Stories to Transfer Knowledge
Learn how to prevent loss of knowledge and expertise within your organization and how to get experienced employees to tell you their stories, so you can store them for future use. More ...

Tip 57: Episodic Learning-Learning Like Watching Your Favorite Soap Opera!
Learn how you can make the learning process easier and faster - and more like you're watching a soap opera - through episodic learning. More ...

Tip 80: Kill Boring eLearning with Story-Based Lessons​
Effective Story lessons must be short, snappy, succinct, easy to follow - engaging learners and imparting knowledge. Learn the seven parts to creating your own story lesson. More…

​Tip 118: Content That Lives Within a Story Lasts Forever
Emotionally gripping stories are lodged in our memories because we see ourselves in the characters of stories. So do our learners. Learn how your story lessons get them emotionally and intellectually involved so knowledge transmitted through them persists. More…

Tip 119: ​3 Story Lesson Starters That Never Fail
Why do some stories stick to our minds while others are like wisps of mist that touch us and then are no more remembered? What are some helpful tips to starting your story that engage and focus your learners? More...

Tip 121: Stories of Real-Life Fiascos and Blunders Motivate Learners
How do you “concretize” your story ideas? How do you avoid “foreign” content that discourage learners? How do you involve your learners emotionally with real-life stories? Learn three story-building tips. More...

​Tip 131: Is Your Lesson Like the Sinking Titanic?
How can we help learners cut through blocks of statistical information in intellectually and emotionally engaging ways? We must remember that humans are naturally inclined to consume stories, not data. Learn simplifying data and incorporating it in a story that people/learners can relate to. More…

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Monday, October 9, 2017

Using Data to Tell a Story and Deliver a Lesson - Tip #152

Data means nothing if trainers do not use it or even look at it.

Data visualization expert Stephen Few said, “Numbers have an important story to tell. They rely on you to give them a clear and convincing voice.” Any insight worth sharing is probably best shared as a data story.

If an insight isn’t understood and isn’t compelling, no one will act on it and no change will occur.
Making Sense of Data: Uncovering Key Insights

Four important questions to ask:

  1. What do our workers need to know? (Standards)
  2. How are we going to train them? (Instructional Delivery)
  3. What are we going to do if they do not know it? (Remediation)
  4. What are we going to do if they already know it? (Extension)

Making Sense of Data: Communicating Key Insights

Throughout time, storytelling has proven to be a powerful delivery mechanism for sharing insights and ideas in a way that is memorable, persuasive, and engaging.

When you package up your insights as a data story, you build a bridge for your data to the influential, emotional side of the brain.

People hear statistics, but they feel stories:

  • Memorability - Help in the recall of facts. (See more tip)
  • Persuasiveness - Increase transfer of emotion to readers and listeners. (See more tip)
  • Engagement - Assist in call to action. (See more tip)
Data Stories Influence Learners and Drive Change

When narrative is coupled with data, it helps to explain to your audience what’s happening in the data and why a particular insight is important. Ample context and commentary is often needed to fully appreciate an insight. When visuals are applied to data, they can enlighten the audience to insights that they wouldn’t see without charts or graphs. Finally, when narrative and visuals are merged together, they can engage or even entertain an audience. It’s no surprise we collectively spend billions of dollars each year at the movies to immerse ourselves in different lives, worlds, and adventures. When you combine the right visuals and narrative with the right data, you have a data story that can influence and drive change.

Data remains a compilation of statistical information that will not hold meaning for learners. However, facts, information, logistics and other data forms that are merged, embedded and made part of a story that learners/workers can relate with are drawn to bring about the much desired connection that results in higher engagement, better learning and meaningful application on the job.


Brent Dykes. Data Storytelling: The Essential Data Science Skill Everyone Needs

Related Tips

Tip #17 - Converting Obscure eLearning Content into Usefulness
Tip #39 - Employing Story Structure and Dynamics to Engage Different Learners
Tip #41 - How to Weave Hard Facts and Emotions into your eLearning Lessons
Tip #131 - Is Your Lesson Like the Sinking Titanic?

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Monday, October 2, 2017

Michelangelo Appeals to People’s Stories - Tip #151

David                                                  Atlas

Compare the two masterpieces by the great Italian artist Michelangelo above. On the left is David, completed in the earlier part of his career, in 1504; on the right is Atlas, created toward the latter part.

David vs. Atlas

David is near perfect. Atlas is unfinished. There’s a shift in style, from one of perfection to one of incompletion, which represents Michelangelo’s beliefs.

"Michelangelo aspired for perfection with David to display his expertise and show the world then that he was the best. The perfect work says ‘look at me’,” a professor once explained to me.

"On the other hand, in Atlas, he wanted people to think and see important messages from his evolving philosophies. He started to dislike the way Florence's leaders began exploiting people and turned governing into something exclusive to the elite. In Atlas, he wanted people to see that everyone has a role, leaders have to shoulder the world. But instead of a perfect Atlas, he showed only the distinct parts of Atlas' shoulders carrying the world," the professor further explained.
"With Atlas, he was sending a message and made sure people would focus on what the message meant. He also allowed people to fill in their own story and not get distracted by perfection (like David's),” the professor concluded.

Is Perfectionism Detrimental?

Most of our standards are defined in perfect colors, correct writing, and engaging games and multimedia. We want to improve the multi-sensory experience of the learners and deliver the perfect content. But, over-investing in multimedia and advanced authoring software may not be the key to better learning.
Help Learners Find Meaning

We need to learn to deliver less of our content and allow our learners to fill in the blanks with their own meaning -- and learn our message in a more personal way.

1. Deliver Less Content

Learners want quick answers that cut the crap so they can solve their problems at work and move on to the next item on their agenda. It’s all about producing learning content that’s simple and easily integrates into their workflow. For content to be valuable, it must answer their personal needs when and where they need them. In one word, personalization -- “the #1 growth area in the future,” according to a survey of L&D leaders.

2. Allow Learners to Fill in the Blanks
Leave empty spaces for creative musingsJosh Waitzkin, chess prodigy and tai chi world champion values empty space because this is where the creative process happens and ideas are developed.

Grant permission to learn by discovery (vs. direct instruction). For example, in my story-based approach, I design lessons so they are embedded in stories. Learners discover the answer to a problem in the event by accessing a reference guide.

Trigger a-ha! moments. Take two unrelated concepts and let learners discover or make their own connection. The new insight is like switching on a light bulb.

Try to have more faith in your learners and leave space for them to fill in their own ideas and understand things their own way.


The Accademia Gallery in Florence
The Disruption of Digital Learning: Ten Things We Have Learned by Josh Bersin
The importance of having "empty space" in your day
Tip #79 - Cut the Crap!!!
Tip #58 - Learning in 30 Seconds-Learning ala The Matrix Style
Tip #72 - Creative Musing
Tip #78 - "Chalk and Talk" vs Collaboration - Can We Meet Halfway?
Tip #140 - “Quick Answers are All I Need.” The Learner at Work Tells Us

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Monday, September 25, 2017

Using Intuitive and Deliberate Learning in Story Lessons - Tip #150

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

I have often proposed in my books, blogs and presentations the idea of integrating stories in learning design. You’ll find several tips in this blog alone citing many studies affirming the effectiveness of stories in helping people learn.

In this tip, something got me reflecting about how learning is about decisions and thinking, and that stories have an even deeper influence in the way we think, act and learn than we originally assumed.

Two Operating Systems in the Brain

I have been reading Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011) by Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist who was awarded a Nobel laureate for his work in economics and decision making.

In his book, Kahneman discusses the two systems at work in our brains: the automatic System 1 and the effortful System 2.

System 1 is fast, unconscious, and quick. It bases thinking and actions from experiences and survival instincts. Though impulsive or reactive, most of the time these thoughts are correct.

System 2 is generally slower and more deliberate; however, it is very useful when we are presented with more complex problems that require analytical thought or deep thinking.

System 1 allows us to “make sense of a complex world” by creating “emotionally coherent stories from, and even causal relationships among, the facts before us … using associative memory to interpret according to familiar frames and past experience.” It's fast thinking that prevents analysis paralysis.

But System 1 come with some flaws. It jumps to conclusions based on a few facts and is prone to narrative fallacy, belief bias, substitution, and other errors of intuitive thought. Hence, System 2 puts System 1 in check. According to Kahneman:
Intuition and Thoughtful Thinking

Some people might see intuition and thoughtful thinking as two opposite sides of the brain, often “fighting” to gain dominance in decision making. This isn’t the case.

Kahneman says “Systems 1 and 2 are inseparable.” In fact, they need to work together. System 2’s explicit beliefs and deliberate choices are based on System 1’s impressions and feelings. When System 1 encounters an “anomaly” or a “surprise”, System 2 takes charge, overriding automatic reactions by having the last say. Together, the two systems operate to minimize effort and maximize performance.

What We Should Experience and Try

After reading Kahneman’s book, I realized a few things:
  • Most learning are aimed at deliberate thinking and ignore intuitive thinking. That’s why learning becomes so hard and people would rather not learn or go into learning mode. In LinkedIn’s 2017 Workplace Learning Report, L&D pros are are still sticking to in-person classroom setting, despite learners’ demand for more modern, experiential formats.
  • We tend to ignore intuitive judgement in our design because it is loose, informal and others may call it a "touchy-feely" type of learning. But, Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2016 report shows that modern learners view learning as an “experience.” They want training to be experiential, one that relies on simulations, case studies and flipped classrooms rather than lectures.
  • Experience and research tell me that in today's world, we better make learning faster, easier and helpful; otherwise, learners do not desire to "learn." With their short attention spans and busy, on-the-go lifestyles, modern learners clamor for “point of need” learning and “just in time” training.
Simple Tip to Engage System 1 and System 2

The next time you cover, present or design a factual content, ask: "What is the intuitive response to this?" Ask your learners the question: "What comes to your mind quickly as we speak of this fact, for example, "OSHA regulations?" Over and over again -- we have tested and researched this -- the learner quickly jumps into using their System 1 thinking to learn your System 2 content. Add a deep dive exercise to challenge them to think critically of the right actions to take, making Systems 2 work for the learner.

You Might Also Be Interested In

Tip #41 - How to Weave Hard Facts and Emotions into your eLearning Lessons
Tip #99 - Changing Behavior by Advancing Experience and Stories
Tip #103 - Change Learners' Minds By Changing the Stories They Tell
Tip #140 - Your Brain Prefers Interactive Stories, Not Lectures


Daniel Kahneman
Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011) by Daniel Kahneman
Essay: Behavioral Science and Scienter in Class Action Securities Fraud Litigation (2013) by Ann Morales Olazábal
Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2016 report
LinkedIn’s 2017 Workplace Learning Report
Meet the Modern Learner (Infographic) (2014)

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Monday, September 18, 2017

How Microlearning Impacts Coaching and Behavior Change - Tip #149

In California, there’s a law that discourages people from using plastic bags. Supermarkets will charge you $.10 if you need a bag -- it’s no longer free. But dang! I always forget, so I end up hauling my purchased goods one by one to my car. I haven’t yet learned to carry a bag. I still forget.

Change is Hard

Each time I forget to bring a bag, I resolve to change (I'm going to bring a shopping bag next time); however, my behavior has not (I still forget!). And this isn't just me. In a study on the "Take 5" program, 35% of respondents believed that they should eat 5 fruits and vegetables daily; however, only 11% actually came through.

People find it hard to change their behavior EVEN after a life-changing event. Dr. Edward Miller, CEO of John Hopkins Hospital from 1997 to 2012, shared in 2006 how “90% of all the people who have had heart bypass surgery and or an angioplasty within two years of their surgery have gone back to the exact same lifestyle they had before the surgery.”


One of my favorite books by Ken Blanchard is the One-Minute Manager (1982). The book talks about the three key secrets of being a good manager: goal setting, praising, and redirecting or reprimanding. To me, those three key actions sound like “micro-coaching.”
Credit: Amazon

Changing behavior, coaching and sorting out problems are really very tiny, specific actions that take time to do. So it’s difficult to change behaviors about multiple things and ideas at the same time. If the stores require that I show my ID and explain why I didn’t bring a bag, and send me home to get my bag... Well, there are too many things to learn and remember -- and I will hate it. (This is of course an exaggeration.)

Instant Coaching

I have worked with thousands of trainers, designers and leaders, and everyone recognizes this challenge in changing behavior. But, while they agree there’s a problem, they also recognize that it’s inevitable that learners need to change behaviors for everything they wish to learn. So there’s a disconnect in what we believe and what we do.

My work on Microlearning leads me to believe and practice the following.
  • Learners usually decide they want to change behaviors, not because of the content or learning materials, but because they see it as a necessity to be effective in doing their work.
In transpersonal psychology, this is the emotional connection to the new behavior or the innate desire to develop and grow. Shifting to the new behavior must mean something for the learner so they can put sustained effort at achieving behavioral change.
  • Coaching works, not because of the coach, but because the learner can coach himself/herself. They can observe, reflect and then coach themselves.
In LinkedIn’s 2017 Workplace Learning Report, one of the key strategies toward a successful L&D program is to build a culture of Transformative Learning. It includes change in actions, where learners observe, apply and experiment in order to learn and grow.
  • Goals are aligned and problems are solved, because the adjustments are made in smaller ways. Even big goals are changed by taking small actions. For instance, by implementing simple rules in the workplace like stopping rules or rules of thumb, learners are making minor adjustments that result in big wins for the organization.
The change of behavior, therefore, is possible because the worker has the answers from experience, other people and bosses, and access to content. They don't change behaviors because of training sessions.

Making content smaller has nothing to do with reducing the size of content or splicing big content into chunks. Rather, it is about how workers make the change, how they coach themselves, and how they align goals and solve problems.

You Might Also Be Interested In

Surgical Insertion of Micro-Scenarios that Beautify and Fire Up Your eLearning

12 Metaphor Story Questions to Engage Learners
Tip #58 - Learning in 30 Seconds-Learning ala The Matrix Style
Tip #87 - Why Simple Rules Produce Instant Learning and Application


Ken Blanchard
The psychology of change management by Emily Lawson and Colin Price
LinkedIn’s 2017 Workplace Learning Report
Tip #87 - Why Simple Rules Produce Instant Learning and Application

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Secrets of Graffiti Learning Pros - Tip #148

How do you sneak in success into your learning design?

When I conduct webinars or speak in workshops and conferences, I meet two types of learning pros: the Fixer-uppers, or those who help learners fix things, and the Sprayers, or those who “spray” learners “band-aid” solutions and content. Because they focus on different approaches, you might think they contradict at all times. At first glance, yes, it might seem that way, but these different approaches can both help.

The “fixer-uppers” are most likely the trainers or designers who are proximal to the problems, and right then and there provide answers. They may be the buddies, supervisors or people who have experienced the same issues that learners have.

The "sprayers" are more likely the pros that live away from the work situation so they take all knowledge they can take from SMEs, documentations, and secondhand knowledge and information. They build large content and repositories. This is their strength. They provide solutions, but learners just have to drill down and find them.

There’s a "spray person" and a "fixer-upper" in all of us. But there’s also a third type: the graffiti person.

Graffitis and Learning

Graffiti artists paint rapidly, create ideas and leave colorful markings on walls. They’re driven and they work fast. (People say if it’s not done in five minutes, then it’s not graffiti.) Because many people dislike them, such as the police and maintenance staff, graffiti artists work incognito. They don’t claim fame and they don't get paid. They sneak into places and leave only their work behind.

In the eLearning space, graffiti learning is most of the time “out of control." Graffiti learning pros are unhappy with the spray-can people and the fixer-uppers, and like graffiti artists, they sneak in solutions.

This is what the graffiti people say:

"I’m unhappy with my program. There's got to be a better way to engage learners."

"I tested this small thing and it made a huge difference."

"If I ask my boss, he will say no, so I sneak in the new approach to test it."

"Like a snail, I inch in new ideas. Then they see it and say, ‘Wow’."

The “sneaking in” approach might be seen as a small one, but for the graffiti people, it’s the only way to go. They know that through this, change happens.

Graffitis can be a modern art form or a complete nuisance, depending on your point of view. But “graffiti has a better chance of bringing in new meaning or changing mindsets and perspectives than anything indoors,” a well-known graffiti artist named Bansky has been quoted as saying. “Graffiti has been used to start revolutions, stop wars…” In the very least, graffitis make you think.

In one article, Bored Panda lists more than 20 graffitis that tackle the issue of climate change and hits the nail on the head: “This street art uses simple slogans and provocative images to spread important and inspiring ideas in ways that are easy to remember. Such art can inspire people to action or at least remind them about important issues that they may have forgotten.”

The Key to Learning Design Success

In a recent blog post, I shared several tips on implementing a corporate-wide story-based learning approach. I mentioned that training content should be embedded as part of the story. Sneak in training content with an engaging story and learners have a better chance of learning than using the traditional, boring approach.

It’s pretty much the same when applying new learning designs. When someone asks me how to apply Microlearning or Story-based Learning design elements in their courses, I say Sneak. Don't call them anything. Don't call them a design. Don't call attention to them. Just do it. Sneak them in."

This is how you sneak in success!


20+ Powerful Street Art Pieces That Tell The Uncomfortable Truth
Tip #83 - How to Implement a Corporate-Wide Story-Based Learning
Tip #20 - Weaving Stories and Factual Content for Seamless Lessons

Tip #59 - The Brain and The Stories We Tell: Top Reasons Why Stories Change Our Behavior

You Might Also Be Interested In:

Tip #120 - It’s Really That Simple - Steps in Story Learning Design - Try the Live Exercise
Tip #124 - Are Instructional Designers Incapable of Micro-Learning Design?
Tip #141 - Advanced Models of Story-Based eLearning Design
Tip #146 - You Too Can Be a Da Vinci of eLearning Design

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Are We Taking the Concept of “Micro” Too Far? - Tip #147

I was reading an article in The New York Times about how a company in Wisconsin wanted to microchip their employees. My first reaction was absolute horror and all I could think of was that this is what I do to my pets to find them. Then I wondered if we really have gone too far with this whole “micro” concept thing as my thoughts wandered to the movie “1984” with its portrayal of big brother watching. As I continued to read, I saw that fifty out of eighty employees actually volunteered for this procedure. Skeptically searching for any conceivable reason a person would allow themselves to be microchipped by their workplace, I found a surprising answer.
Sometimes you have to see the purpose to understand the value

This microchip would make it quicker and easier for these individuals to do things such as access the building they work in and pay for their lunch with a simple swipe of their hand. The interviewees expressed a common desire of making things quicker and easier (that, and the idea that this was going to be happening in the near future anyway). No more looking for an access card that was misplaced or waiting in line for someone to locate their wallet at lunch. At the swipe of a hand, the result is instant.
Then I read another article about building a portable computer on a USB drive where a mini computer containing all the apps, programs, and files can fit in your hand. Again, the purpose lies in the desire to make things quick and easy.

How does this connect to microlearning?

When I take the concept of micro and apply it to the content development environment, I begin with the idea of purpose, quick and easy, and then add accessible and immediately applicable. This is microlearning and it is the next big thing.
What we typically understand microlearning to be is a technique that provides the learner with bite-sized information that fits in a time span of three to five minutes, and is offered frequently to improve skills. The focus is chunked content presented quickly, over an extended period of time to build knowledge. But is microlearning only about learning that is quick and easy or are we missing the true advantages that microlearning has to offer beyond knowledge, retention, and expertise?

Microlearning is about micro-actions

Microlearning is more than a way to arrive at the corner of Knowledge Lane and Expertise Drive. It goes beyond the limitation of learning a skill. Microlearning is a practice where learning is not an end to itself; but a practice that focuses on what is needed at that moment in time providing a bridge to the necessary steps for completing an action. When we take microlearning and connect it to micro-action, this practice thrives beyond the LMS, typical corporate training, and professional learning, and brings the workflow to life.

How? Because Microlearning that is focused on micro-actions, what needs to be implemented or supported in the workflow, moves workers through known blocks so that they are able to quickly and easily complete the task at hand.
Here is an example of how microlearning can be implemented as a micro-action for completing different Alexa commands. Click image to visit this example.

Think About It

Consider your workflow and identify where within it is there typically a block. Imagine having a tool to refer to at that moment that enables you to quickly and easily get the answer needed to complete the task instantly. That tool is microlearning and its practice has led you to a micro-action and ultimately success. Micro is not just the future, it’s now and we are only getting started.

Tips References

Tip #129 - Why Does Microlearning Mean Better Learning?
Tip #134 - Microlearning Leads to Rapid Skill Acquisition
Tip #110 - Are We Stuck in Big Content, Unable to Think Micro-Learning?

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Monday, August 21, 2017

You Too Can Be a Da Vinci of eLearning Design - Tip #146

My Arts Center Story

I once attended a conference at the Arts Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA where Ford and GM have their auto cars designed. A professor was seated beside me, and we started to talk. I asked him, “What has happened to the old craft of drawing and painting?” He responded that the craft we used to know has been commoditized and made accessible. Everyone can use Photoshop or CAD, then he said;
So I asked him, “What would Leonardo da Vinci do today?” He answered, “He would design machines that can create things.”
Transportation Design alumna Michelle Christensen for Acura.
David Lee integrated connectivity technology and cross-disciplinary strategic design solutions by imagining vehicle design in the context of an ecosystem.
Skills and Craft

The arts center story reminded me of how software, like Photoshop, CAD, Renderman (Pixar’s rendering software) have redefined the craft of drawing car models, movies and products - skills that were mostly done by hand and manual work. It was not even possible then to imagine these products today, simply when considering the very nature of craft just 10, 20 or even 50 years ago.
Rendered image of a car of the future.

Leonardo da Vinci would have a ball or a lot of fun working with George Lucas (Star Wars), Jonathan Ive (Apple), Kurosawa (Japanese artist), or DC and Marvel Comics.

Creativity, Innovation and Problem-Solving

My interest has been peaked by my understanding of skills, craft and expertise. I wanted to know more about how each is similar, how each is different, and how we would design learning for each associated role and task.
The properties of each are:
  • Craft requires passion
  • Expertise demands depth
  • Skill suggests specific capability
  • Craft and expertise mean creativity
  • Skill is transactional 
  • Skill is a narrow performance of a task
However, they can all blur when it comes to their differences and at times may correlate and become hard to differentiate in real situations.

With tools like CAD and Photoshop, and in very small tools like Google Spreadsheet, tasks are automated. The tools automate tasks that we usually need specific skills to execute such as adding excel formulas, searching locations, or answering our emails. There are many skills that may be automated. What is often left is the thinking, design, and creation.
At, Design thinking, thinking that “encourages organizations to focus on the people they're creating for and leads to human-centered products, services, and internal processes,” is a philosophy and principle designers live by. Although design products and solutions are mostly aided by tools like CAD and AI in design making and research, design creation is still a human process. It requires a deeper understanding of the customer needs, the environments, and the ecosystems we live in.

Real-life example:

Raymond, my son, is almost finished with his flying lessons and should get his license soon. He and I agreed that I would be his first passenger. This will be fun. To digress, for his 7th birthday gift I rented a small plane to give him the experience of flying. The pilot was so nice that he gave Raymond time to “hold the wheel.”
During our conversation, Raymond said that a person can technically take off and land in concept, that the skills could be developed. But it is helpful for the pilot to learn Bernoulli's Principle because Bernoulli helps the pilot to understand lift, the role of wind and temperature involved when taking off and landing. With this knowledge, the pilot understands the "why" behind landing a plane. I see these as reasons for some skills to be learned as the learner gets to know the principles involved. Also, when the pilot is presented with situations not experienced, the reflection on Bernoulli’s principles may aid the pilot in quick decision-making.

Tools such as the ones we explored here are so powerful that they make many of the tasks much easier to accomplish. This allows you to focus less on using the tools and more on the design and the principles that enables you to use them. Imagine what Da Vinci could have created if he didn’t have to contend with all of the problems associated with painting and sculpting with difficult to use materials. I bet he would have loved to release his creativity in the digital realm.

You Might Also Be Interested In

Do It Yourself eLearning- Introduction
Tip #4: Creating Engaging Technical eLearning - Move: Learners to Tears
Tip #17: Converting Obscure eLearning Content into Usefulness
Tip #93: Expertise: Why The Odds are Stacked Against Novices


Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"