Bond, Coupon Bond

A few weeks ago, the ELH Challenge of the week was to create a math game. I was very excited about this one but life got in the way. I also knew I’d be working on this little gem.


The Task

For those that don’t know, I recently started a position working at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. All day long I get to work with faculty on how to design their courses with the learners in mind. And occasionally I get to make something fun with Storyline!

2015-04-22_11-37-30  arrow-red-right2  2015-04-22_11-33-04

One of the classes I am working on is an introductory finance course. The instructor has a coupon bond that she usually uses in class to show students what bonds look like and explain how to value a bond. She wanted to create an online piece that students could complete at home that accomplished this same goal.

The Design

2015-04-22_11-32-20I think it’s pretty obvious that a module on bonds needed to have a James Bond theme. There are lots of great easter eggs and design elements for the Bond fans out there. This is still being worked on but is now at a solid beta version. It’s not a game per se, but I think it’s fun!


Note that this is geared towards students
minoring in business and this module occurs a few weeks into the class. It assumes some pre-existing knowledge on the part of the student like how to use a financial calculator. If you need help with the answers, you can find them at the bottom of this post.

Click the image below to check it out. Leave a comment to let me know what you think!

(Remember, you can find a cheat sheet below.)


Please contact me if you need answers for progressing through the demo.

New Year, New Opportunity, Renewed Template

I’ve been a little quiet lately because, well, winter, but also because I have been in a period of transition.

Starting February 16th I will be the Assistant Director, Instructional Design at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. This exciting new opportunity means I have been spending some time wrapping up projects and loose ends at my current position.

As part of that process, I’ve updated some of my old templates from Storyline to Storyline 2. I thought I would share one with you guys today.


This “Cards Against Humanity” knockoff quiz was created for the very first eLearning Heroes challenge I participated in, about a year ago. Here it is again in all its Storyline 2 glory. You can click on the image above to download it.

If you just want to enjoy the game, or check it out before downloading, you can play the original version.

Storyline 1 users, you can download the original version here.


Flipped Primer – Part 4

This week’s flipped primer installment just happens to correspond nicely with the Articulate eLearning Heroes challenge of the week – I love it when those things happen!

The Articulate challenge is to share your favorite eLearning tools. I shared a few of my favorites, and there is a wonderful list being compiled.

And in this week’s post I’d like to share some tools and strategies for flipping the classroom.  Some of those tools will overlap as eLearning can certainly be a part flipping. But I’ll also check out social media and collaboration tools and strategies for use in a face to face classroom.

(For more background on flipped learning check out my previous posts on what it is, how to do it, and some pros and cons.)

Tools for moving lecture out of the classroom

Many tools created specifically for flipped classroom use, such as sites with instructional videos or cloud based software that integrates several types of sharing and collaboration activities, are unfortunately geared towards a K-12 audience. However, there are a large number of tools that can be used to flip the classroom in the workplace. The table below shows a list of some commonly used tools that can be help instructors flip the corporate classroom. I compiled this list from my own experience and knowledge along with some help from the Regional Educational Media Center Association of Michigan, Edudemic, Adobe, and Bob Lee and Jim Recker.

Action Tool(s)

Create a video lecture


Screenr, (screencasting)
Powtoons (animated video creation)
Explain Everything, Screenchomp, ShowMe, Educreations (tablet apps)

Create an audio lecture


Create an interactive video
with knowledge checks


Articulate Studio or Storyline
Adobe Captivate or Presenter
Upload and share a video, audio lecture,
podcast, or other resources
(books, articles, job aids)


YouTube, Vimeo (non-interactive video)
iTunes (audio)
Box, Dropbox, Google Drive
LMS such as Moodle
Collect, curate, and share a list of resourcesdata29 Diigo
Create lessons with pre-made videoseducational1 TED-Ed
Quiz or poll learners


Poll Everywhere, Google Forms, Survey Monkey
Socrative, InfuseLearning, GoSoapBox (tablet apps)
LMS such as Moodle
Encourage collaboration, communication
or discussion; provide ongoing supportonline5
PBWorks, Wikispaces (wikis)
Collect student reflections


PBWorks, Wikispaces (wikis)
WordPress, Blogger (blogs)

Student-centered learning techniques.

I won’t delve too deeply into these, but it is important to note that in order to achieve higher order learning, flipped learning educators use student-centered techniques such as active learning.

Active learning is a broad category that includes several other techniques and methods where students are actively exploring and reflecting. It includes strategies like:

  • problem-based learning (where students focus on using resources to solve a problem)
  • experiments
  • preparing and delivering presentations
  • games
  • simulations

Active learning also includes peer-assisted learning techniques. Learners may work with their peers/colleagues during concept exploration or meaning-making by:

  • chatting online
  • responding to posts on a discussion board
  • using social media

They may work with peers in the classroom for engagement and application by:

  • collaboratively solving problems
  • cooperating to complete projects
  • peer tutoring so that students at different levels of understanding are actively engaged

A note about cooperative learning: individual accountability is key. Group projects which can be completed by one or two of the students in a group are not an example of cooperative learning. Rather, each student has a role that they must fulfill in order for the group to be successful. Group self-evaluation is also part of cooperative learning, making it more structured than other types of peer-to-peer learning techniques.


Do you have a favorite tool that should be added to this list?  Please share it here and I’ll tack it on!

Next up: The last installment… Examples of corporate flipping

In the meantime, here are some resources for a little extra reading.

Bishop, J. L., & Verleger, M. A. (2013). The flipped classroom: A survey of the research. In ASEE National Conference Proceedings. Atlanta, GA. Retrieved from

Dunn, J. (2013, April 6). The 10 best web tools for flipped classrooms. Edudemic: Connecting Education & Technology. [Web log]. Retrieved from

Hamdan, N., McKnight, P., McKnight, K., & Arfstrom, K. (2013). A review of flipped learning. Retrieved from

Lee, B. & Recker, J. (2013, May 23). How to apply the flipped classroom model for business learning. [Video file]. Retrieved from

Partridge, A. (2013, August 28). What is a flipped classroom and how can it help me? Rapid eLearning: Adobe Presenter Blog. [Web log]. Retrieved from

Regional Educational Media Center Association of Michigan (REMC). (2013). 21 Things for Teachers. Retrieved from

Regional Educational Media Center Association of Michigan (REMC). (2014). 21 Things for iPads. Retrieved from

Flipped Primer – Part 2

Last week I took a look at the basics of flipped learning. This week I am going to present two models for flipped learning.  The first is a simple model, the second offers more in depth guidance.

Turning Tradition Upside Down

The eLearning Guild had a great webinar last year with Bob Lee and Jim Recker that is a good introduction to the flipped classroom in the workplace. Basically, they say the traditional model for classroom learning is upside down. This leads to low learner retention and application rates even when instructors are trying hard to engage students in the classroom.

Instead of focusing the bulk of instructor resources on the presentation of material and leaving students with little support for practice, the flipped model simply refocuses course time and resources. Students watch a video lecture on their own time then collaborate with each other both outside and within the classroom where they have support as they discover, practice and apply.

simple flipped model
This model is a good starting point for those new to flipped learning. I think it oversimplifies flipped learning a bit, for example, by using lecture as the basis for all new learning. However, it’s a great place to start as it encourages application and discovery, rather than more routine assignments, as the best use of classroom time.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out the webinar and send them an email requesting access to their Podio site on flipped learning.  It is a wonderful resource.

Gerstein’s Flipped Classroom Model

Jackie Gerstein presented the Flipped Classroom Model in 2011 in order to give some staying power to the trend of flipping. She sees it more as a learning cycle model as it is based on the Experiential Learning Cycle and 4MAT Cycle of Instruction. It also corresponds well to Bloom’s Taxonomy. There are four components to this model, shown below.

Flipped classroom model
Gerstein suggests that the process starts with some experiential engagement to get learners interested in the subject. Depending on the subject, this might actually occur during the normal work day as someone finds a frustrating problem they want to fix. In other circumstances, the process might necessarily start with concept exploration as Sarah Gilbert suggests.

Let’s take a look at each step in this model.

Concept exploration

Concept exploration is an educator led part of the process that introduces learners to what they are learning. In many classrooms, this is the lecture or presentation part of a course. In a flipped learning environment learners are allowed more control over this part of the learning cycle than they might traditionally have.

HP_2133_Mini-Note_PC_(side)Educators assign a short video or audio lecture, websites, or other materials to explore. Learners then get to take control of their learning by reading, watching, exploring, and listening to these elements at their own pace and level. Educators may give students even more control by allowing them to find and share their resources on a topic. Some learners may choose to dive deeper than they would be able to in a traditional classroom setting.

Note that this phase does not need to be technology heavy; videos, podcasts and other media rich technologies are not essential for flipped learning. Students can also use text books, newspapers, journal and magazine articles, a user manual, or any other low-tech material to explore a topic.

Looking back at Bloom’s Taxonomy, these activities support remembering.


After exploring a new concept, but before coming to the classroom, students make meaning out of the information they have watched, listened to or read. Instructors might use a number of methods for this phase.

Those who most want to encourage peer-to-peer learning might have a social networking group or discussion board in which students participate. Those who are most concerned with ensuring students come to class prepared might have a quiz or other comprehension check. In addition, instructors may ask students to reflect on what they learned through a blog, short video, podcast or other presentation.

Regardless of the type of activities used in this stage, students are working towards understanding level objectives.

Experiential Engagement

Whether this stage occurs before concept exploration or after meaning-making, it will usually be the first time the learner and instructor are interacting together on this content.


When used before concept exploration, educators might have learners conduct an experiment or play a game that piques their interest in a topic. When used after meaning-making, students are able to apply what they have learned. They might complete a simulation, practice a skill, or work on a project.

Application is occurring at this stage in a way that allows the instructor to gauge student understanding, support correct application, assist students that are having difficulties and provide additional challenges to students that find the initial application easy.

Demonstration and Application

In the last stage of the Flipped Classroom Model, students analyze, evaluate and create. Instructors also have a chance to evaluate for mastery and offer additional support to students that need more practice.

800px-Open_University_China_Learning_Design_at_ILI_LeicesterCreation of a personalized project or presentation may occur within or outside of the classroom, but should always be shared with the instructor and peers. “This goes beyond reflection and personal understanding in that learners have to create something that is individualized and extends beyond the lesson with applicability to the learners’ everyday lives” (Gerstein, 2011).

Flipped Learning and Neuroscience

I just got back from attending the ASTD (now ATD!) 2014 conference and attended a great session on Neuroscience and learning while there.  I plan to write an entire post about this subject, but want to touch on the point that both of these flipped models allow for some key elements that neuroscience says are necessary for strong learning retention.  It spaces out exposure to a subject, allows for student generation of information, and, in certain stages, offers emotional stimulation and an ideal environment for learner attention.


Next up: Benefits and challenges of flipped learning

In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions about flipped learning you’d like me to address in this series! And here are some resources for a little extra reading.

Gerstein, J. (2011, June 13). The flipped classroom: A full picture. User generated education. [Web log]. Retrieved from

Gilbert, S. (2013, January 26). Flipped classrooms webinar. [Video file]. Retrieved from

Lee, B. & Recker, J. (2013, May 23). How to apply the flipped classroom model for buisiness learning. [Video file]. Retrieved from

Flipped Primer – Part 1

I love it when folks smash my negative preconceptions.  That happened with the class I am taking this semester.  The syllabus foretold lots of research and writing reflections and I much prefer getting my hands dirty and trying things out. But, to my great surprise, I really enjoyed myself. I even enjoyed writing my research paper.

Perhaps that was because I chose a topic that I have been peripherally interested in for a while – flipping the classroom. There is already a lot of information out there on flipping the classroom in a K-12 or college setting, but not too much on doing this in the workplace, so I thought I would share my findings.

Today I will touch on what it means to flip a classroom.  Over the next few weeks I will be looking at a couple of useful models, the benefits and challenges of flipping, some tools and best practices, and examples of how this is already working in the workplace.

So, what is Flipped Learning?

Unfortunately many learning professionals have misconceptions about what it really means to flip a learning experience, and little literature exists to support implementation of flipped learning in the workplace. Flipped learning is not just about watching lecture via videos outside of the classroom and doing homework in class. Flipped learning is a learner-centered approach where the educator actively considers the best way to use class time so that learning and retention are maximized.

According to the Flipped Learning Network (FLN),

Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.




What does that really mean?

This definition touches on several key points.

Direct instruction occurs in the individual learning space, but there is no prescription for how that instruction occurs. That is, a video lecture, or even the use of technology, is not imperative.

The group learning space is dynamic and interactive; this is not a place for a traditional discussion or where students are getting support on completing a worksheet. Rather the classroom is a space where learners are exploring, applying, creating and problem solving.

The word “guide” is used to describe the educator. They are there to observe, support students in the learning process, and provide feedback when necessary. They are not instructing in the group space or even providing all the answers to questions.

The FLN states that there are four key features, or pillars, of flipped learning. Notice they handily spell out FLIP.



Flexible Environment – A flipped classroom must be flexible in several ways. Since classroom time is spent on activities, the physical space must be flexible; educators should be able to arrange desks, chairs, tables and materials according to the type of activity. The timeline will also need to be more flexible as students will be learning at their own pace and class time will be less structured than in a traditional format. Assessments are also on a flexible timeline and should be meaningful.

Learning Culture – A flipped learning environment is student-centered. A shift in learning culture and expectations may be necessary for both the instructor and students. The instructor must deliberately construct meaningful knowledge construction activities. Students have greater responsibility in the learning process and are not reliant upon the instructor for new content and learning evaluation.

Intentional Content – An instructor in a flipped classroom should consider how to best present new information and concepts. Some material needs to be directly taught; other material can be introduced and learned through student exploration. A flipped instructor is intentional about using student-centered techniques to maximize classroom time.

Professional Educator – A professional educator may be less visible in a flipped classroom than a traditional one, but they are more critical in this environment. A flipped educator is not just lecturing on an area of expertise, but supporting students as they dive even deeper into a subject. They are providing continuous feedback and must be knowledgeable enough to support the flexible environment and uncertainties that come along with flipped learning.

How is flipped learning different from blended learning?

A common misconception is that flipped learning is just another name for blended learning. While flipped learning may manifest as a type of blended learning, there are significant differences.

Blended learning is focused on technology and engaging the learner; it is often seen as the combination of asynchronous e-learning events with traditional face-to-face instruction. Flipped learning on the other hand focuses on how to address different types of learning; in particular, it looks at how an instructor can best support a learner in higher level learning tasks.  Leigh Anne Lankford has a great post looking at the difference between the two.

As shown in the image below, use of a flipped learning model allows the instructor to spend more time to support higher level learning tasks like application, analysis and creation.


These are the tasks that should be occurring in a flipped learning classroom. Lower level tasks such as remembering and understanding are completed independently in a flipped classroom. These may be done with some peer-to-peer collaboration but for the most part they are self-paced and not instructor led. By freeing up the class time normally used on lecture, instructors are able to focus on high levels of learning, whereas in a traditional classroom they often are unable to make it past understanding or application. The Flipped Learning Network, and it’s founders Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann, talk a lot about this.


Next up: Two models for flipping the classroom

In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions about flipped learning you’d like me to address in this series! And here are some resources for a little extra reading.

Flipped Learning Network. (2014). What is flipped learning? Retrieved from

Hamdan, N., McKnight, P., McKnight, K., & Arfstrom, K. (2013). A review of flipped learning. Retrieved from

Lankford, L.A. (2013, January 24). Isn’t the flipped classroom just blended learning? Training Pros: Leighanne’s Learning Notes. [Web log]. Retrieved from

Sams, A. & Bergmann, J. (2013) Flip your students’ learning. Educational Leadership, 70(6), 16-20.

Mission Possible

I was tasked a few weeks ago with creating a software training for our staff. It’s basically one of the most boring topics ever – completing and submitting timesheets.  It just so happened that at about the same time a lot of great ideas were being posted on the Articulate weekly challenge (for which I made the Cards for humanity game).

I started thinking about how I could make this timesheet snooze fest a little more game like.  Enter, Operation Right on Time.  Here is how it all came together.


Game Design:

Two submissions in particular on the weekly challenge inspired me – a detective game by Nancy Woinoski and a spaceship building game by Charles Hamper. I decided to create a detective-like game where you use clues from your calendar and notebook to complete a series of challenges.

Your mission is to “get paid” – simple, but effective.  I mean, who doesn’t want to get paid? In order to complete the mission, you have to complete 5 challenges, 1 for each day in the game.

directions  Challenge-1

Rather than a long explanation of how to complete each of the 5 tasks, learners are instead given all the resources they need and then simply asked to complete those tasks.  Each challenge is a screen recording of me working in the software, set to test mode. I also use the same screen recordings in view mode as associated demos for each challenge. Learners are given some fake time codes and hours worked for each “day” and can access these tools right from the challenge through lightboxes, so they never have to lose their place in a challenge if they get stuck.

challenge-screen notes calendar

I also took some inspiration from mobile games.  There several levels which you have to unlock. You can open up resources and instructions and switch levels using small buttons at the top of the screen.


Visual Design:

This was a little secondary for me this time around, but I decided early on that gray and black needed to be key to the color scheme.  I also wanted to make an office setting where you could explore your surroundings for clues. It’s a mostly static scene where you click on the calendar and notebook for information and on your laptop for the challenge. But on each day I threw in an easter egg for either more information or a little fun.  On Friday, you get to play darts.

Office  easter-egg   darts

For the font, I wanted something that looked like a typewriter.  I searched for a free font on and used Underwood Champion (since I just finished watching the second season of House of Cards).  I dropped all of the “o”s just a bit so it looked a bit like a typewriter.

Obviously, I needed to visually tie in the mission of getting paid.  So, at the end of each challenge you earn a few $1000 bills, because who doesn’t want to get paid in $1000 bills?  And at the end of the game, once your mission is complete, a bunch of $1000 bills fall from the sky.  Yes, I make it rain.

challenge-complete   mission-complete

Nerdy Details:

I had to use a few work arounds to get some of the animation to work right in this game.

Unfortunately Storyline does not have an animation that mimics typing so I had to create each letter separately and time them to enter as if they were being typed.  An easy, but very time consuming solution.

I also wanted to create a pause button on several slides so that things would enter and exit correctly.  See my Cards for Humanity post for an explanation on how to make that happen.

Overall, i think this turned into a much more engaging way to get people to learn this information than a boring ol’ Power-Point-slides-converted-into-click-and-reveals type training.  I will be posting a working sample soon, but in the meantime, what do you think?  Do you like this approach?  What would you change?



Here is the link to a working demo of the project.  Since the blog post I had some fun adding sound effects and let me tell you, they really give the project a little something extra.  Several came from eLearning Brothers, a few from SoundFX Now, and some I created in my office using Adobe Audition and a headset microphone. Enjoy!

I also created a conclusion slide for another Articulate challenge.  I haven’t added it to the demo yet, but you can check it out once you’re done.