Social Instructional Design with Beth Kanter

I recently found Beth Kanter‘s Engage365 presentation on social instructional design very helpful, especially in light of a recent national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which found that “the amount of time young people spend with entertainment media has risen dramatically, especially among minority youth.”

According to the research,  “8-18 year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes (7:38) to using entertainment media across a typical day (more than 53 hours a week).”

And because they spend so much of that time ‘media multitasking’ (using more than one medium at a time), they actually manage to pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes (10:45) worth of media content into those 7½ hours.

Kanter noted there isn’t conclusive scientific evidence about the value of social instructional design;  however, she explained that based on her experience as both a trainer and learner, it can be helpful, depending on student learning style.

Kanter described the possible benefits of using social media for training as more engagement, attention, and improved retention, especially for the more hands-on learner. During the bulk of her presentation, she further described six favorite social media tools for training, as well as secrets to using them:

  • Using Google Forms for Pre/Post Participant Evaluations
  • Using Delicious To Research and Build Your Resource Link Lists
  • Sharing Your PowerPoint Deck with SlideShare
  • Using A Wiki For Electronic Handouts, Electronic Flip Chart, and Leave Behind
  • Integrating Twitter as A BackChannel into Instruction
  • Documenting Your Workshop With Photos and Videos

In her conclusion, Kanter observed that using social media in this way may require instructors to improvise more during trainings, with a greater comfort-level for tweaking presentations in real-time. She also recommended not getting overwhelmed by all the tool options, and to concentrate instead on gradually integrating new techniques into your approach to training.

For more information on the what is known in social media circles as the Backchannel—that is, live chats that occur during a workshop or presentation, most often through Twitter, but also via online chat—Kanter recommended Cliff Atkinson’s The BackChannel.

For Beth Kanter’s related post about the BackChannel and her recent Engage365 presentation, see  How To Make A Back Channel Light Up Like Clark Griswald’s House.

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3 thoughts on “Social Instructional Design with Beth Kanter

    • Hi, Beth…The Engage365 presentation was helpful on so many levels to me–professionally as a technical writer who has worked with training and customer support over the years, and as a former teacher. But most of all, your presentation engaged me as a parent of hands-on learners, who I think would be engaged by this approach, in school, and even more so in their own independent study, outside the classroom. For me, I think my biggest draw to social media has been the way it has helped me to professionally develop–for free, I might add–and the way it reinforces life-long learning. I will use your tips to add more social media tools to my skill-set, and as a personal resource, over time. Thank you!

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