Interview with Michael Allen on his book Leaving ADDIE for SAM

For some time now I have been of the opinion that ADDIE needs to be broken in order to work properly in most organizations. I have been part of many water cooler conversations on this subject. We create written documents, host team meetings talking about our ADDIE process and believe we are following it. The reality is we are often frustrated about how projects just are not going the way they should be. In the end our training falls short. We have rapid deadlines and company dynamics such as how other parts of our organizations work to consider. So in order to get things accomplished we have to bend or sometimes break our processes. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that the speed of business is more rapid today. Companies change direction on a dime, launch products continually and time to market is compacted on order to stay competitive. The bottom line is businesses just do not function they way they did in the past. So why to we approach our training projects using the same linear process that we used 20 or 30 years ago? We are just not in-sync with our partners, SMEs and stakeholders.

We should also look at how much the technologies that we create and deliver training have changed. We use rapid development tools so we can crank out learning like a fast food restaurant. Would you like fries with that eLearning? We also have so many more options for delivering training that we did not have before. Lets face it how we train people is really different now. I know there are arguments over whether or not our training is any better today. I believe we are still figuring out how to properly leverage these new tools and technologies. There are some big opportunities here in my opinion but that is another conversation.

If you look at how the software development community has changed their process and workflows so that they might meet the demands of today’s business we may get an idea of how we could improve what we do. Most developers today follow and iterative process called Agile. It allows for a better workflow enabling a project to evolve and improve as needed all they way to launch and even post launch. This model has been a very successful approach for the high paced software development environment. I think it is time to look at how we can borrow from this.

Several years ago Allen Interactions left the ADDIE process behind for a more iterative process so that they could better server their customers and improve their workflows. It must be working for them because they continually produce award-winning learning for their clients.

I caught up with Michael at DevLearn 2012 to talk about his new book Leaving ADDIE for SAM.

Michael Allen CEO at Allen Interactions Inc.

Here is a great article by Richard Sites, vice president – client services for Allen Interactions titled It’s an ICE Time to Leave ADDIE Behind

Be sure and pickup a copy of Michaels book at

Secrets to giving a presentation like Steve Jobs

Besides being an Apple fan boy, I am big fan of Steve Jobs. One of the many things that I respected about Steve was his power to get people excited. Besides Steves charisma on stage the fact is he was a great presenter.  His presentations drew you in, got you excited along with him he was a master presenter. There was something special about his presentations. There is no doubt that Apples product where innovative, exciting but I big part of made Apple products so great was Steve Jobs.  Steve carried the torch for Apple when he got on stage as well as off and when he launched a product it was magical well at least for the believers. Mac people are Mac The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs people they embrace the Mac culture, race to stand in line to be the first of their friends to buy the latest product. I have been a Mac-thusiast since the early days when I sold them on the retail floor. Even back then before the iPod, iPhone or iPad Apples products where exciting and a big part of it was driven by the passion of founder Steve Jobs. Every time Steve announced a new product people listened. He had a very engaging presence.

Here are some resources on being a great presenter like Steve.

The blog post that inspired this post:

Disruptive Technology? Or just a fantasy?

There has been much speculation on what future technologies will be used in creating the next generation of devices. As new types of materials are developed we get glimpses of what our future will look like. Everyday there are new types of technologies announced. Many of them have the possibility of being disruptive. We are innovating too. We are also coming up with new ways to leverage these new technologies as fast as they become available. This stuff gets cheaper everyday too. As Dr. Michio Kaku would say “in the future we will have microchips that will cost only a penny…” He is not kidding.

This is based on the theory of Moore’s Law, the observation that over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years. This exponential improvement has dramatically enhanced the impact of digital electronics and is driving the costs down at the same rate.

With Dr. Michio Kaku @ DevLearn 2011

We may not be that far away from some of the technology we have seen in movies like Minority Report, Star Trek or even The Jetsons. OK now I am dating myself. It’s not just the technology that is changing, the way we interact with our devices is changing as well. Let’s look at mobile devices for an example. No more mouse – we gesture or in the case of 3D Leap Motion we use 3D gesture technology.

Of course we can’t forget Siri or products like Dragon Speak for using our voice to interact with these devices. Voice interactions will continue to get better and better. Everything is getting smarter too. We are now creating software that anticipates our needs and offers us options. This can be based on our browsing habits, content we interact with and of course our user profiles. The possibilities are endless or as Napoleon Hill once said “whatever the mind can conceive the mind can achieve”. One thing is for sure – innovation and creativity are driving us forward and it is disrupting how we live today. What if we learn to embrace it and leverage it to solve the problems around us? Let’s not make it all about money or greed. Let’s use this evolution as a vehicle to a higher consciousness.

I leave you with this inspirational video. A Day Made of Glass part of a series of videos by Dow Corning.

What’s on your tool belt?

Working as an Instructional Designer is not what is used to be. There is so much going on in our field it is hard to keep up with it all. So many new tools for designing and delivering training. What do you do to make sure your skills are up-to-date? You need to constantly be sharpening your tools.

I am sure some of you have watched that story on PBS, you know the one with that guy who moved to the Alaskan wilderness and built log cabin with hand tools then lived off the land for 30 years. It’s is pretty impressive. The show is called Alone in the Wilderness and his name was Dick Proenneke. 

So what the heck does this have to do with an ID’s tool set? Well hold your horses, I am getting there. The story is very fascinating to me. Partially because I love the outdoors. But there is more to it. Dick is showing us how he did it. He succeeded and even thrived where others failed. For example the not so successful attempt by Christopher McCandless who’s story did not end so well. He was not prepared for challenge. There was a movie about his adventures too titled Into the Wild a film directed by Sean Penn based on the book written by Jon Krakauer. Pardon me while I digress. So back to Dick Proenneke. I have watched that show many times with amazement. There is one major life message that I have gleamed from watching Dick’s adventures. The man spent a great deal of time sharpening and caring for his tools. As a matter of fact at one point he talks about the importance of caring for your tools. Basically he was saying that if you have the right tools and they are kept sharp your job will be much easier.

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Lectora and Tin Can

There has been a lot of discussions on Protect Tin Can lately. One of the big questions has been about adoption. Will the major tool vendors embrace and join in. Aaron Silvers of ADL has helped build a community committed to change. Not to mention the hard work of Rustici Software has done kicking it off. There where several new apps announced at mLearnCon 2012 created that will support this new version of SCORM. Companies like Float Mobile Learning with Tappestry or my friends at Saltbox with their Wax Learning Record Store. More are announced every day. I think/hope we are seeing a shift in learning and development as we re-evaluate at how we look at what works in today’s world of social, informal and mobile. Some big opportunities here.

Most people that know me would agree that I am a big fan of Lectora by Trivantis. I have used this tool for rapid development for almost seven years now. Wow where did all that time go? I am currently working on some Captivate to Lectora course conversions so they will work on an iPad. I am very happy with how I have been able to recreate the interactions using Actions in Lectora. We can talk more about that in a future post.

I was pleased when I received this press release in my inbox. I can’t wait to get in there and see what I can do. Congratulations to my friends at Trivantis you are awesome!

Project Tin Can is on Wikiapedia now

There has been a lot of excitement around Project Tin Can sense mLearnCon 2012. A handful of companies have started to build technologies leveraging Tin Can and it is not even a standard yet. It is close and the community is working hard to get it there.

Some of the Project Tin Can & Blogging and Interviews are posted on Wikipedia. I am working on some follow up content on this subject with some additional interviews.  I will be posting these soon. In the mean time if you would like to more more about this next version of SCORM take a look at these two pages. Then at bottom in the References section you will find some great links including the blogs and interviews for Float Mobile Learning.

Tin Can API

Learning Record Store

Stay Tuned!


Mobile and CS 5.5

Tools for mobile design and development are coming around. I am excited about the Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 release that will hit the mobile development head on. Some of the great features are things like advances in HTML5, support for jQuery mobile framework. This is an important update for the mobile space. I am excited to see how this will allow the development community to accelerate the implementation of great mobile learning.

Here are a few good articles