Jun 28, 2023
A Guide to Learning Experiences

This captures everything that constitutes a learning process — from activities and classes which take place in a traditional classroom setting to those activities, classes, or sessions that occur outside of a traditional classroom environment.

Learning experiences in educational settings should ideally be interesting, challenging, engaging, meaningful, rich, and appropriate to learners’ requirements. They often include different contexts and environments that transform the learners’ views, trigger emotional qualities, assist conceptual understanding, and foster the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and attitudes. When it comes to predicting further learning, previous learning experiences play a crucial role.

For creating an effective learning experience, educators need to understand the learner’s context (past, present, and future), find out and respond to the learner’s current level of knowledge, and provide appropriate and adequate practice over time.

Unlike what many may think, learning experiences aren’t just a binary relationship between a learner and the educational content. Rather, they are about when, where, how, and why a learner interacts with the content. Thus, learning experiences depend on factors like application, engagement, and collaboration. Their efficacy is also evaluated by how well they can meet the learners where they are in their different stages of learning requirements, irrespective of whether they are taking up refresher courses or brand-new ones.

There are different methods to enhance learning experiences in particular ways. For instance, standardized tests and quizzes backed by rapid feedback, trial-and-error activities, or guided step-by-step exercises and demonstrations can encourage a behaviorist approach to learning. Educators can use real-life-based projects, group or individual problem-solving sessions, treasure hunts, etc., to foster a cognitive or constructivist approach. Several other learning activities can be organized to encourage a relational approach or social learning approach. The key is to interact with real people and real-life situations or simulate them to find answers to problems or locate resources that can help address a need.

A lot of learning experiences are designed with the brain in mind. However, it’s important to realize that learning isn’t just about the brain. Several meaningful actions in this world are, in large part, created and driven by social and cultural norms. As a result, learning too is significantly influenced by social and cultural context. Since the emotional, cognitive, and socio-cultural dimensions of learning are interrelated, educators need to consider them when designing learning experiences.

Learning experiences are influenced by multiple factors, which is why they should be designed with a human-centric approach that ignites intrinsic motivation.

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Jun 28, 2023
Tips To Choose The Right E-Learning Platform

Have you ever started an online training course? This is the place for you if your answer is “yes.” We will talk about choosing an online learning platform that is suitable for you.

Having a virtual Classroom allows you to teach an e-learning course or run an adult training program. It is a great way to engage your audience. 

Sadly, there is a misconception that only large organizations can run e-training programs due to their capital investment, but nothing can be farther from the truth. With affordable Learning Management Systems (LMS), smaller organizations can also devise e-Learning courses for their employees. 

It is excellent that modules, games, and quizzes are available with different LMSs to make your training courses more interactive and engaging. But when choosing a learning management system, you must make sure it provides lots of valuable features. 

Here are the key aspects to consider when picking the right e-learning platform for any business.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing an E-Learning Platform:

When you decide to host your e-learning lesson, you have several options. Do you go with a standalone online training system? Or do you use Google Classroom or some other collaboration tool that offers an e-learning component?

Honestly, both approaches can be practical. You need to know what works best for your organization and then choose the one that fits your budget and learning goals.

Factors to consider before choosing the right e-learning platform:

  1. What is the purpose of my training program? In other words, why am I developing e-learning modules in the first place? 
  2. Is it to meet compliance requirements or train employees on tasks they need to perform? Am I trying to improve individual performance or boost overall organizational performance?
  3. How much time do we have to plan and implement our programs? How much help will I need from instructional designers, subject matter experts, or contractors to create a comprehensive training program?
  4. How much money are we willing to spend on this project? In terms of features and cost, e-learning platforms are vastly different. The price ranges from free to several thousand dollars per year for others.
  5. You can find a solution that fits your budget if you know what you need and have realistic expectations about the costs of developing e-learning.

Tips to Choose the Right E-Learning Platform (LMS)

A learning management system (LMS) is a software platform that helps you offer courses to your students. It provides course catalogs, administration, tracking and reporting of performance, content management, and more.

An LMS can be a handy tool for growing your business or organization. But it’s essential to choose the right one for your needs. Here are seven tips that can help you make an intelligent decision:

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  1. Identify Your Needs

The first step is understanding your training needs. Do you require training for a specific project? The answers help determine the kind of LMS that might be best for your company—for example, eLearning vs. blended learning. If you’re unsure what these terms mean, this guide may help.

  1. Determine Goals and Objectives

Now that you’ve figured out what you want, it’s time to set some goals. Do you have any specific goals in mind for your Learning Management System? Goal setting is an essential part of any job search. Is there a way to measure these goals? 

These answers will help you identify the right product for you. Maybe you’re looking for an LMS that meets all of your needs, but if it doesn’t have the technical capabilities or integrations that support the results you’re trying to achieve, then it’s not the one you are looking for.

  1. Make a List of Nice-To-Have Features

When you’re vetting potential LMS solutions, make sure you take note of the features that matter the most to you. These are the features that will make your life as a teacher easier. 

Consideration is anything from how many students an LMS can handle at once to how much customization is available or how easy it is to use. All of these factors should be taken into account when making a purchase.

  1. Know Your Audience

The next step to selecting the right Learning Management System (LMS) is to know your audience. What type of learner are you targeting? Do they have some previous experience with eLearning? 

If not, how much time will they need to get familiar with the LMS before using it? Knowing your learners’ expectations and learning preferences will help you decide which LMS features you should have.

  1. Explore the Market

Next, explore the market. Browse other websites and try out different LMSs by logging in as a guest or using a demo account. You can also ask for help from others in your field and their experiences with various eLearning platforms. Their recommendations could prove invaluable during the selection process!

  1. Evaluate Vendors

When choosing an LMS, it’s essential to consider vendors that offer a wide range of features and functions. If your organization has a specific need, you may be aggressive when negotiating price and a free trial.

Despite this, be wary of vendors who promise all sorts of “bells and whistles” that you do not need.

The time and money you spend trying to figure out what works best for your needs may end up leading you to buy more than you need or can afford.

  1. Define Technical Requirements To Future LMS

The next step is to determine the technical requirements for your future LMS. Here are some questions to help narrow down those requirements and create a solid foundation for further vendor research:

What will your LMS be used for? Who will be using the system? How much content is already available? What are your current technical capabilities? What types of learners will be taking the courses? What kinds of mobile devices might they use? Will you have international users? Do you have any existing?

Summary

Please let us know if this information has helped you narrow down your search for an LMS. When it comes to deciding on an education solution for your company, the options are virtually endless, but at least you now have a general idea of what to expect.

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Jul 23, 2022
The Important of Portfolio Website

If you’re a creative, chances are you have a portfolio of some sort (bonus points if your portfolio lives on a website)! A portfolio is a great way to showcase your work, and can be a helpful tool to attract future clients.

That being said, a great digital portfolio involves more than just throwing pretty pictures up on a website (no matter how talented you are). A standout portfolio requires context—it should be clear and concise, and your website visitors should be able to quickly understand who you are, what you do, and what you have to offer. Essentially, a good portfolio requires a solid brand strategy.

Not sure where to start? We’re here to help—and we’ll make it fun! Below we’ve outlined 7 strategic steps that will help you build your dream portfolio website. To make it easier, feel free to download our strategy worksheets here, or you can kick it old school with a pen and paper. For each question asked in the following exercise, write down anything and everything that comes to mind. Think of it as a brain dump.



Ready? Let’s get started.

Step 1. Define who you are — It’s your time to shine!


Whether you’re a freelancer, solopreneur, or creative agency, you should let your personality shine through in how you present yourself to the world. After all, you’re probably trying to attract clients who align with your values, interests, and overall vibe. This is why showcasing your personality on your website is so important. Yes, you’re selling goods or a service, but you’re also selling yourself.

By exploring and understanding who you are, it’s easier to figure out your goals and aspirations, how to define your audience, and how to best display your content to achieve your desired results. Everything is interconnected.

Let’s start by defining some characteristics about yourself. Consider this your “bullet point bio”.  


In your first column, jot down your answers to the following questions:

In the second column, let’s define what you do (or, what your skills are):

You’re doing great. In the third column, let’s explore your interests. We call this the “3 C’s”—culture, catalysts, curiosities:

  1. What forms of culture are you drawn to? (This can be aspects of pop culture, subcultures, hobbies, interests, etc. For example, maybe you love Star Wars and Neapolitan pizza.)
  2. What excites you?
  3. What are you curious about?

The fourth column is all about your dream opportunities:

  1. What companies would you like to work with?
  2. What market or industry do you want to work in?
  3. Where would you like to be featured?

Now it’s unlikely that everything you wrote down will ultimately make it to your website—and that’s okay! What’s important is that you feel you have enough information to work with.

Take a look at your answers and see what stands out to you. Can you make some connections between your personality, skills, interests, and dream opportunities? These connections will come in handy as you begin to create content for your portfolio.

Step 2. Define your goals — Follow your dreams!

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Now, it might seem like your dream opportunities are way out of reach, but don’t worry—it’s normal to feel this way! It’s all about taking incremental steps in order to achieve your big goals. These incremental steps—or mini-goals, as we like to call them—are ways to achieve recognition, social proof, and/or work experience that will help get you to where you want to be.

This next prompt (second page, first column) is all about figuring out what your goals are—and putting them down on paper:

1. What do you want to accomplish? (For example, maybe your goal is to book art shows or to find a new job!) Write down as many goals as you like, no matter how big or small they may seem.

By defining your goals, you can then determine a clear path of action to take to achieve them. Success doesn’t happen overnight (in most cases…), but you can get there by working incrementally and checking off mini-goals as you go.

Step 3. Define your audience — Who are you talking to?


You know how in a movie, if a character is talking to themselves on the street, we might get the impression that they’re acting a little wacky? We’ve all seen this type of character cliché, but sometimes the exact same thing is happening on our websites—without us even noticing! We’re the wacky character talking to ourselves online. If you don’t know who you’re speaking to—in other words, if you don’t know your audience—you’re speaking into a void.

That’s why the next few questions are so crucial to answer (in the second column, page two):

  1. Who is your website for?
  2. Who needs your services?
  3. Who wants to buy your products?
  4. Who wants to follow your journey?
  5. Who is your audience?

The more specific you are when defining your audience, the better. Knowing who you’re speaking to will help guide the content (especially the copy) on your website portfolio. Try to refine your brand voice and tone to one that resonates with your specific audience. Just remember: You may not be for everyone, but that’s okay—that means you’ve found your niche.

Step 4. Define the actions you want your audience to take — What does your website portfolio lead to?


More than just a simple CTA (“call-to-action”), what is the ultimate goal of your website? Think to yourself: What do you want your site visitors to do when they navigate through your portfolio? Which actions do you want them to take on your website besides just looking at pretty pictures?

On page three, column one, we’re going to explore what you want your visitors to actually do on your website. Here are some examples to get the ball rolling…

  • Is it booking a consultation?
  • Is it hiring you for a job?
  • Is it buying your merchandise?
  • Is it filling out a questionnaire?
  • Is it buying tickets for a workshop?
  • Is it commissioning a piece of art from you?

By knowing who you’re talking to (throwback to the exercise we did in Step 3), it can be easier to invite your audience to take action on your portfolio website. You understand your audience’s needs, so you know when (and where) to say, “I can solve your problem—here’s how”.

Step 5. Define your content — Finally, pretty pictures!


Now for the fun part—creating website content!

Take a look at your exercise sheets and review your offerings, goals, and audience. Circle or highlight everything that resonates with you—what are you trying to achieve and attract? Look for connections that will help guide the content you put on your website.

Once you’ve selected and/or created your website content, you’ll want to think about the presentation of this content (this is just as important as the content itself). For example, if you sell pieces of artwork, you’ll probably want to photograph each piece in relation to other physical objects (so the size of the piece is easily understood), have a close-up image that shows detail, and an image of what the piece looks like framed. And don’t forget the logistical information: What are the dimensions? How do you hang up the artwork? How should you care for it? This is information your audience will expect to see.

This principle still applies even if you don’t sell physical goods. If you’re a freelancer selling your services, showcase your work by creating case studies. These case studies will show potential clients your thought process, the quality of your work, and the results you’ve achieved for past clients. Bonus points if you add tangible data that demonstrates your success!

Likewise, if your dream opportunity is to be hired by your favourite agency, showcase your work in a way that aligns with that agency’s aesthetic and/or highlight your own clients that are similar to the agency’s clients. With your portfolio, you can show—not just tell—them why you would be a rockstar addition to their team.

Seize every opportunity you have to explain how you process information, how you resolve problems, and how you find solutions. And remember, if you only showcase images of your work, you’re probably leaving a lot of money on the table—and who wants that?

Step 6. Define your site layout


So you have all this fabulous content for your website portfolio. Now what?

Now it’s time to organize the flow of information on your website. A site map is a great way to get started with this. Basically, you want to make sure that finding information on your website is user-friendly and intuitive. By creating a site map, you can visualize where you want all your content to live. What will the main categories—or webpages—on your website be? What information will live on each page?  

When creating your site map, draw boxes for all of the webpages that will link from your navigation menu (this is the header that is normally found at the top of a website). Under each of these webpage boxes, identify the types of content you’ll put on each webpage. You can also think about what you’d like to see “above the fold” on each webpage (a.k.a. the section of a webpage you see before you start scrolling) and integrate that into your plan.

This can require some serious brainstorming, but stick with us—it’s worth it! Here are some site map examples to get your creative juices flowing:

Step 7. Own your online space — Secure your domain name


Once you’re happy with your site map, the website portfolio exercise is complete. Yay! You’re well on your way to creating a standout portfolio website.

One last thing we need to touch on before we go is choosing a name for your website—and then securing your domain name. A domain name is essentially your website’s address—this is what people will use to find your portfolio website, and it’s totally unique to you.

A cool thing about domain names in this modern day and age is that you aren’t limited to using a domain name that ends in .com or .ca—there are tons of other options available that might better resonate with your brand. If you’re a creative, there’s .design or .art.

The options are endless, so have fun with it!

You’re all set!


Now you have a clear roadmap to building a fabulous, on-brand portfolio website. By following this strategic process, you’ll be empowered to make good, educated decisions that benefit your career. Your portfolio website is the gateway to achieving your goals—it’s not something to take lightly. Although it can be daunting, going through all these steps can save you a lot of time, energy, and sometimes even money.

At the end of the day, this exercise is all about implementing your brand strategy. You want to stand out and offer a creative solution to your audience—and following these steps will help you do just that.

Credit source : From article in How to Create Your Own Website

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Mar 24, 2022
Essential Remote Work Job Skills

Do you have what it takes to work from home? Working remotely requires a unique set of skills to achieve success, and not everyone is the best fit for this kind of job. The good news is, many of these skills can be gained through practice.

Whether you’re looking for a remote job and wondering what to emphasize on your resume, or you’ve already found a job and want to improve your abilities, read on for seven essential work from home job skills.

  • Time Management

When you’re working from home as opposed to in the office, you’ll still be expected to meet deadlines and respond in a timely manner. The difference is you won’t have a manager or coworkers around to help keep you on track, so it’s up to you to create a schedule and stick to it. For some, being at home—and being surrounded by distractions—can make it a challenge to keep up with their work expectations. That’s why practicing great time management is key to success for any remote job. Top tip: Research and practice time blocking techniques. For example, try batching your time into 25-minute increments, and work on only a single task during each increment.

  • Organization

Working from home means your success is highly dependent on you and your chosen working style. Organization must be a key piece of that working style. A big part of organization is, of course, time management. But more than managing your time, you also need to manage your tasks and priorities. One of the first things you should decide when starting a new job is how you’ll categorize tasks and how you’ll track progress. Leverage online project management tools, many of which are free, to help you do so. Top tip: Spend five to ten minutes at the start of every workday updating your to-do list and selecting two to three highest-priority tasks to do first.

  • Communication

When working remotely, you won’t have the same visual and verbal cues you might get in the office. Plus, your manager won’t be able to actually see you working, so communicating your progress is really important. You’ll need to have excellent written and verbal communication skills, so you can share ideas, collaborate, and ask questions when you get stuck.  Top tip: On day one, come to an understanding with your manager and team on expectations around what kind of communication you’ll provide during your workday, and during which hours of the day. This will avoid misunderstandings later.

  • Computer Literacy

Regardless of what your remote job is, you should be well-versed in both software and hardware as you’ll be relying on technology throughout your workday.  Working from home means setting up your own equipment and maintaining it, usually without the help of an IT person to handle any malfunctions. Keep any instruction manuals on hand to refer to when something goes wrong. You’ll also need to keep your own software regularly updated, so you should understand how the programs you’re using work and how to troubleshoot them. Top tip: Familiarize yourself with popular office software, such as email platforms and remote learning tools, so you’ll be prepared for the tools used in your next job.

  • Self-Reliance

Working from home requires a lot of independence. It’s just you and your computer all day! There will be plenty of instances where you’ll have to find answers on your own, or learn independently through self-guided practice. If you’re a self-learner and a self-starter, you’ll likely thrive in a work from home environment. Self-reliance also means the ability to keep yourself on task, without depending on others to help you meet deadlines. Top tip: Form habits now that foster your self-reliance. Start by testing time management techniques until you find the one that works best for you, then stick with it.

  • Ability to Set Boundaries

You often hear the term work/life balance, but never is it more relevant than with a remote job. After all, how do you keep your work life separate from your home life when your home is your workspace? It’s important in a remote job that you’re able to set boundaries to help you stay focused. That means removing or staying away from any distractions, such as your phone, snacks, pets, or places where you may be tempted to nap. If you maintain these boundaries, you’re likely to achieve a much healthier work/life balance and be more productive overall.Top tip: Set up your home office space away from distractions, ideally separate from your bed and kitchen, or areas in your house with a lot of activity.

  • Self-motivated

Remote work requires an especially high level of self-motivation. There’s no one watching over you to make sure you’re being productive, and there are plenty of distractions at home to keep you from accomplishing your goals. Individuals who can overcome these challenges through internal motivation are much more likely to succeed in a work from home job. It’s also important when job seeking to look for remote positions that excite you. If you’re interested and engaged in the work you’re doing, you’re naturally more motivated to do it. Top tip: Create your own motivations by rewarding yourself throughout the day for small and large achievements. An example of a reward could be a snack or a short break.

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Feb 10, 2022
Essential Digital Marketing Newsletters

Working at a small firm is like working for yourself (in fact, you might be working for yourself) – you don’t have any extra time. For anything.

But there’s a lot of junk out there. And that’s the last thing anyone needs in their inbox.

That’s why I wanted to share my top 5 marketing email newsletters so that you can look past all the junk and find what’s really relevant.

Once you get going, you’ll likely notice a trend: none of these sources necessarily have much to do with architecture, design, or construction. They are all knowledge bases for general application, and some even have specific applications for other industries.

And that’s good.

If you want to make a real leap in the way you reach new potential clients, you’ll need to stop taking notes from the way that everyone else in the industry is doing things. Charles Kettering once said “If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong.”

So look at the following thought leaders as sources for you to expand your horizons out of the typical perspective and start disrupting the way things are done in our industry.

1. Neil Patel

Neil Patel, co-founder of the Kissmetrics blog (one of the largest and most successful online communities centered around digital marketing), broke off and began an agency under his own name. 

But his content is what you really care about.

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Neil Patel Marketing Email Newsletter Example

Neil has a firm belief in raising the bar when it comes to creating valuable content for his readers. Some blogs and articles (hopefully not this one) tend to promise you something awesome and deliver something that’s alright, or even helpful.

Neil takes the opposite approach. He still will promise something awesome (“The One Thing You Need To Change in 2018 To Improve Your Search Engine Rankings”) but then will not stop at the information. He’ll give you what you wanted, along with 200-300% more context and additional points than you feel like you asked for. 

Of course, if you’re looking for a quick fix, you can find it. 

But if you’re looking for robust content that adds even more value than it promises, Neil is your guy.

Plus, his email communication is about as non-intrusive as it gets. 

Each update is a single link to a new blog post, and contains no formatting or advertisements – just a few plain text lines telling you what the latest blog post is about.

I’m in the blogging game – and even I can’t resist clicking on each update. Even if you only look to Neil for an example of how to communicate with an audience, it will certainly be worth your time.

2. Moz

Moz takes a similar approach to Neil Patel, but from a different background. Moz basically offers a suite of tools for digital marketing (many of which have free options) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). 

The team at Moz has built a successful strategy around answering common questions about digital marketing through their blog and using that to drive leads for their digital products.

And that’s exactly why you should subscribe to their updates.

Moz Marketing Email Newsletter Example

If you’re looking for a definitive source about the gray areas of marketing, Moz is the place. They’ve not only got a team of thought leaders from pretty incredible backgrounds to back them up, but their posts tend to provide exactly the depth you need to answer a given question.

If you’re in the content game, you might take some SEO notes from the way Moz structures their pages as well. They are invariably one of the top search results on topics related to SEO and digital marketing.

3. GrowthHackers

If you want to take a different approach to your digital strategy, sign up for GrowthHackers updates.

GrowthHackers focuses on the startup and entrepreneurial community, curating content around the concept of “growth hacking” or spurring strategic exponential growth in a short span of time through targeted digital strategy.

The idea of growth hacking is certainly a far cry from traditional marketing theory, but it leverages the idea that times have changed since those theories were developed, especially in regards to the internet and social media.

GrowthHackers Marketing Email Newsletter Example

There is easier access than ever to mass markets through viral tactics, and GrowthHackers’ content is almost always about how to employ viral tactics at a low cost.

Their focus is on startup giants like Spotify, Facebook, and others who managed to grow incredibly quickly.

Of course, you probably neither expect nor want for your firm to grow in those terms – but adopting some tactics that helped the giants of our economy get to where they are couldn’t hurt.


4. HubSpot

Hubspot takes a similar approach to Moz. As a global agency, it has a wealth of knowledge and resources at its disposal, and uses them to create invariably useful content that drives traffic to its agency products.

Hubspot has a slightly more “corporate” feel to them than someone like Neil Patel, and their emails come just about every day with a new blog post or topic for you to explore.

It’s good stuff, but I tend to prefer to leverage them more when I’m searching for specific answers to my questions than for casual learning.

Hubspot Marketing Email Newsletter Example

5. Archipreneur

If it has bothered you to no end that none of the above resources come from architecture-specific backgrounds, here you go.

Archipreneur may be a resource familiar to you, but it’s a good one to engage with for a number of reasons.

Archipreneur Marketing Email Newsletter Example

First, its angle is “the business of architecture” and aims to cover innovation and creative strategies within the AEC industry. 

How much it actually covers the “business” side of the industry is debatable, as much of its content inevitably covers the same cycle of industry trends as everyone else.

However, the approach of viewing your practice as a business that provides a specific type of value to customers is one that you don’t find in other architecture-specific publications.

We all must remember that at the end of the day, our practices are a business like any other. Failing to recognize the opportunities and threats that accompany that reality can be disastrous for anyone.

Therefore, a forced mental removal from entrenchment in design and practice can sometimes be necessary. Resources like Archipreneur can help you get in such a habit on a regular basis.

Do I Need to Subscribe To All Of These?

I hope not. I certainly don’t.

Once again, immersing yourself in new and relevant information is a discipline, not a luxury. 

If you wait until you have time to do it, you’ll never get there.

If you immediately try to sustain a daily deep dive into an unfamiliar world, you’ll burn yourself out and not get anything from it. 

I encourage you to start with one of the above. Subscribe to their newsletter, and discipline yourself to read through each article that gets sent to your inbox for an entire week. 

You’ll be able to gauge pretty quickly whether it offers value to you or not. If it doesn’t, move down the list and try another.

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