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Self Directed Learning

Designing for rich media content

April 8, 2017, by barry ng

  1. Use a variety of media rich contents

    A variety of media rich content including pictures, quizzes, videos and other interactive medium provides learners with more opportunities to engage with the content. You can consider simple ones such as Prezi to present a concept for self-directed learning. This offers learners an opportunity to engage learning contents on their own time, and take time for them to absorb the relevant content.

  1. Use thought provoking questions

    Add thought to provoke questions to trigger learners thoughts, trigger their mind with a familiar sound that triggers their brain. It refocuses their attention towards the content and examines the understanding level of the contents taught. At the same time, you could consider how you may present a video of a marketing or promotional material you wish to show, followed by a question that follows.

  2. Use a decision tree

    Decision trees are great gamification elements that can be added to your e-learning content to make it engaging. An example of such an element can be seen by the Chase Interactive video above. It gives the learners ownership of the content and relevance when the concepts taught are complex. Decision trees question the learners understanding of the content and reinforce concepts that are taught. At the same time, it helps learners to get engaged to the contents that they are learning.

  3. Link media to meaning


    An example of an E-Learning Object that provides calories for the food choice that the learner makes.

    Provide the meaning to your media content so learners can interpret definitions better and use metaphors if it’s possible. Studies have shown that metaphors help in learning retention and constructing meaning to a concept. In learning theories such as cognitivism, learners usually tap on their prior knowledge that they understand and link it to a new thing that they are trying to learn. So metaphors such as apples, books and graduate hats linking to education are examples of how you can link them all up together.

  4. Use a surprise element

    Surprise your learners. They will appreciate the effort!

    Using a surprise element in your content, provide similar answers that surprise your learner to make them learn more effectively. From a recent article by Elearning industry, it has shown that the surprise element has actually allowed learners to retain knowledge much more effectively. But try not to do it too often though, because surprising them too many times may bore them. Consider only surprising them 2 or 3 times will be the magic number.

Learning in 21st Century Workforce

November 5, 2016, by barry ng

I recently came across contents that i personally felt were relevant when it came to learning and what actually drives all of it to make it work. There were actually personal reflections that i took while undergoing some learning transformations while reading some books while upgrading myself in education.

Reinforcements matters

Our roles in our career evolve rapidly through our lives. One moment we may be tasked to do higher order thinking task as we progress. there’s a need to reinforce our mindset and set our minds growing constantly. Technology and ever-changing needs have evolved our roles in workplace drastically. It becomes necessary for us to absorb fundamentals and principles more effectively in this age and time. Working professionals must be even more proficient in absorbing concepts. Therefore, does learning to perform a task really matters? Or is it the process of learning that truly matters in our professional careers? Take a look at this video and see what you can learn and summarise from this video Learning how to learn by Barbara Oakley

Learning task matters even more

If your task is irrelevant to your learners, there’s a chance that your learners will not pick up and take an effort to appreciate whatever that you prepared for them. it must also be seamless while producing it. Learners will soon be equipped with VR technology so they can see a simulation of the real world, yet at times we forget our purpose of learning through simulation. Learning experiences are unique to each individual and not one task would learners engaged in a similar fashion. Placing a learning task that is guided when necessary provides a unique experience
There are questions to reflect on as we view technology progress:

  1. Can real world experiences really be brought to a learning environment?
  2. Must learning necessarily be driven by a set of task to be done?
  3. Is task customised to a unique experience to a learner? (Personalised)

Continuous learning

In a knowledge-based economy where skills and knowledge get obsolete quickly, does learning task relating to an authentic environment and reinforcement of task actually matter? We need to constantly upgrade ourselves to make us more technically inclined. Through certifications, we achieve higher order thinking and become more proficient in the things that we do. We can also obtain learning through online sites such as Coursera and EDX offer many great courses organized by known professors and individuals of some of the best Universities in the world. Learning can also be short to obtain gaps in current knowledge and skills. These can be obtained through sites such as CreativeLive or highbrow. Skills such as effective email conversations, or learning an Adobe software is now possible through these sites.

Pocketing thoughts through activities

July 20, 2016, by barry ng

I believe that most of us that went through  tertiary education would have experienced lots of ups and downs in of learning. There were concepts that you wished you could understand better. There were also times where you thought you understood a formula or a theory well, but somehow it just didn’t connect very well when you reached home. These experiences are known to both yourself, learners, designers and educators. All of us faced this common problem of bridging the gap between us, understanding the essence of a subject that we are so passionate about.

Creating with Contextual essence

When designing your lessons to suit learners better, there is always an issue of understanding what are the real essence or takeaway of each lesson. There is a usually a time where we overlook our students emotional thoughts and feelings at the start to the end of each lesson. We need to take the concepts that we need to deliver and break them into the contents that matter to then closely. The hardest part of this area is to narrow them to a microscopic concept that needs to be addressed. Once that microscopic area has been defined, the work of both the educator and the learning designer has been narrowed down to.
This microscopic concept can be referred to as such:

  • A mathematical formula, its examples of usage and its rationale for this use.
  • A social science theory, examples of where it can be seen in today’s context and its rationale behind the theory and discovery.

The essence of activities through gamification

wm_Old Game ControllersGamification is a process that invites a lot of debate on its practicability and the deviation from its learning. Through many research conducted, gamification does provided fun and excitement for learners and retaining the core essence required for the learning objectives. Gamification need not be complex, but going back in time, the use of simple games such as hangman to engage learners will definitely help. Using games as an activity to stimulate interest and storing the concepts for learning through games does wonders. Gamification can be used to stimulate interest for learners and enforce learning into them. Recording the thought process using the activity allows learners to not only be engaged, but also to remember points that are important to them.

The rationale for discovery

Concepts are usually taught through the traditional way of understanding the theory and its origins. While there are good reasons for adopting such as approach to better understand the theorist, formulas and concepts, it is often misunderstood as boring or irrelevant to the learner. This causes them to lose the connection between learning and understanding. In order for learners to understand theories and concepts in today’s modern context, understanding the rationale and its purpose provides the path to a better understanding process for learners.

Symbaloo Syllabus

March 17, 2016, by barry ng

This is the implementation of the Symbaloo Syllabus. It had me thinking quite a bit on how I should design the syllabus based on what I had in possession. There are great features on Symbaloo such as implementing the entire syllabus into one single page, with everything either embedded or external links. It was kind of interesting that I even placed distractors to keep the mind off for students in a short period of time.
3 things I was thinking about while doing this

  • How is it possible to attract and catch the attention of the user? – There are several colours that catches the eye better. So do take that into consideration when designing a symbaloo.
  • What are the things that I should place and should not place into the site? – There are possibilities that people want to place everything for people to read, but to make it more accessible and readable. I would recommend limiting the size of symbaloo.
  • What are the icons and questions I should set for instructions? – What are the instructions and how I should place them in symbaloo.

So I recommend you try it out too. You wouldn’t regret trying symbaloo I would say.

Here’s the sample of my Symbaloo implemented on barristar learns.

Infographics links (Thinglink X Canva)

January 8, 2016, by barry ng

Creating beautiful infographics with interactive links is not difficult, it just require integration between 2 different systems. Try it out now!
Here are some examples that I have used with Thinglink and Canva.

Canva (Graphic creation online tool)


Choose from a range of templates that are available for your downloading pleasure, those that are free will have a “free” rectangular box beside it. There are lots of shapes to choose, there are lots of templates to work with for Canva. I will recommend using it especially if you are not design savvy.

Thinglink (Creating interactive links with images)

Thinglink allows you to create links on your images that you created. Though it has limitations on how the icons and links look like, but the basic look and feel is sufficient for you to harness its maximum capabilities. You can even embed the thinglinks into your wordpress site or Google Site (Refer to the link on how to do that)

These are part of the learning contents that will be integrated into my E-Portfolio training/learning.

Being Charlie Brown

January 7, 2016, by barry ng

Being Charlie Brown, innocent and a deep thinker. Inspired from the Peanuts movie.


The Cloud and the Brain

November 2, 2015, by barry ng

The cloud and the brain interlinks two of the things that I am really familiar with everyday and every hour. I love to store information on the cloud, which I’m pretty certain that many of you people out there would be doing it. According to a 2013 article by Neowin, it states that it’s over 1 exabyte of data is on the cloud now. The relationship now we concur is, how are we managing our day to day information and how do people actually make use of the massive amount of information that they have over the years. Our brain is limited in terms of capacity towards storing information, therefore most of us remind or relate information that we need by referencing. This referencing can be done by using your smartphone to set a reminder to remembering information(i.e. reminder to wake up at 6.30am for work), that maybe the case when your brain only stores the information in a short term memory. This way, your brain only recalls the information when you need it, and you have to search through your mind, be in a deep thought process to recall the information that you require.

Well, in this section, I’ll just share some of the techniques that I used to manage the vast amount of information that I have from the Internet. Because I find it really difficult to manage the large amount of information that I consume each day via the Internet, just on my smartphone alone.


Microsoft OneNote 2013 icon

I’m pretty sure some of us simply label these information, keep it nicely into Microsoft OneNote, which I usually do. I have about 3 notebooks on Onenote to date with different categories for different things. (Personal, Travel and Education) These notebooks are really personal to me, as I scribble anything about my thoughts on onenote, this applies especially for the aspect of Education and Travel. I would also try to keep some quotes on OneNote just to see if I could use them some day again.


pinterest icon

I have another form of method which I store information on the cloud. I pin every image as an avid fan of posters, artwork and cute little pictures and store them as inspirations for future use. That’s strictly a place for only design work. I used the Pinterest button addon on Chrome to help me when I’m working on the computer. I relate pinterest as an Artistic world, I keep some on my secret boards and some on the public boards. You may take a look if you want to : https://www.pinterest.com/barristar/

Lastly, I’m still pretty much a pen and paper person when it comes to visualising a new idea or trying to apply concepts that I retrieve from the respective areas. So the cloud and the brain concludes that there are tons of information to be stored in the cloud, to supplement our daily needs of applying the things we recognise as important.


Over 1 exabyte of data is now stored in the cloud – http://www.neowin.net/news/research-firm-over-1-exabyte-of-data-is-now-stored-in-the-cloud

Infographics: E-Learning diversified

March 23, 2015, by barry ng

The aim of this infographic is to identify the design framework that will be used to create the E-Learning portal that I have spearheaded myself. It builds upon 3 principles that I highlighted and aimed to build towards the fundamentals of global learning through a global platform.

E Learning diversified

Video: Learning by doing

March 20, 2015, by barry ng

Watch this video as I reflect on things on learning by doing.  It is really inspirational to see a daughter replicate and how a mother teaches her daughter to do things. One of the lessons we learn is never to forget our first teachers are usually our parents. They teach and impart us the right things to do. Through our parents, they shape our learning style, motivate us to keep moving through difficult periods and even through happy moments. These micro moments of encouragement of perseverance that our parents put in place allows us to grow as an individual, and provide support for the next generation in times to come. This is a salute to all parents, mothers and fathers out there, thank you for providing us the time, space and energy for us to grow as a better person.

Infographics: How to start your LMS

March 15, 2015, by barry ng

I’m reflecting on a possible Learning Management System as I sort out the contents to be used for learning for the illustrator course. I would want to use the course and change the way learning would take place. Instead of placing purely videos, I would want to deploy an LMS into the site and manage it accordingly.

Here are considerations to take in place while creating and deploying the LMS:

  • Interactivity level.
  • Mobility of the content(Accessible through Mobile devices)
  • How much additional reading materials to be added?
  • How will they be tested?

Here is a screenshot of how I would consider deploying and creating my personal LMS.

Untitled Infographic (1)