My friend and colleague, Connie Malamed (aka The eLearning Coach) has developed a handy iPhone application that will help you become a better instructional designer making tips, definitions and ideas available right at your finger tips.
I have heard buzz about the application from a number of sources including Cammy Bean’s Learning Visions where she does a great job of explaining the application.
So, I caught up with Connie and asked her some questions about the application and how she developed the application and why did she feel it was needed.
I’ve heard a lot of buzz about this application, what does it do? How is it of value to instructional designers and other learning professionals?
Instructional Design Guru is a reference app, currently for the iPhone, that defines over 450 terms that learning professionals might encounter in their jobs or studies. The terms are drawn from instructional design, cognitive psychology, social media, multimedia, technical areas and law. Some of the definitions include tips and examples. And there’s a lot of internal linking in between associated terms.
My goal was to provide value to learning professionals by putting all of these definitions in one place and within reach. I had many use case scenarios in mind for when this could be valuable. Instructional designers might want to quickly explore social media terms to see what options they can offer learners. Or they might want to find the meaning of a term after a confusing discussion with an artist or programmer. Students might want to look up a word while studying or during a lecture. And SMEs might use the app to better serve course designers and developers.
Why did you decide to create this application?
The original idea arose from laziness. Isn’t there a saying about that? I needed to look up Bloom’s taxonomy for a design document I was writing and I didn’t feel like opening up a browser or a book and searching for it. When I discovered there were no apps for instructional designers, I decided someone had to bite the bullet and make one. Also, I think instructional designers are underserved. We need more performance support tools to lighten our load. Our work is very detailed and time-consuming. That’s one of my current life missions. To serve instructional designers.
How long did it take you to design, develop and program the application?
It seemed like a few years, but it was really around five or six-months, working on it part-time. Selecting the terms became an obsession. Then there was the research, writing and endless rewriting of definitions. At the same time, I had to learn as much as possible about how people really use their phones and about the gestural user interface, both of which informed the information architecture. I did some back and forth with the logo artist and a lot with the programmers.
What surprised you the most about putting together this learning application?
There were so many things! I surprised myself by going with an all-text app, at least for now. It seemed appropriate for performance support and it keeps the file size small, as this is a native app.
But what really surprised me were the strict specifications I needed to follow to produce the app. Apple has everything defined in excruciating detail. This gives all the apps a wonderful consistency and quality, but it makes it more difficult for publishers.
Do you have plans to expand the application and in what way?
I do have plans to expand it. I will continue to add more terms and definitions … terms like gamification need to be added (I agree 100%). Also, I plan to add more examples and possibly a few diagrams where needed, if it won’t bloat the file size. An iPad version with lots of graphics would be awesome. And people are already asking for an Android version.
Did you put the word “Gamification” in the application?
Oh, that is the only word that isn’t in there.:) But you will find “virtual learning environment,” “virtual reality,” “virtual world,” and “casual games.”
Here are some valuable links related to the application:
Designing An iPhone App: Instructional Design Guru
ID Guru: A new iPhone App for instructional designers