As director of research for the eLearning Guild I present a recap of our recent research at most Guild events. I always close these by asking what research topics participants would like to see me pursue. I go at this with the assumption that they don’t have time to go searching through piles of academic papers and want me to sift through that. But often their suggestions are less rabbit-hole academic queries and more basic web-search tasks.

In this month’s report, I offer answers to many of these questions. The report is more potpourri than a disciplined approach, with topics ranging from definitions of instructional design terms to data about worldwide smartphone use to whether we really need to always stick to the maxim of providing a consistent look and feel across a course.

I find that people approach me from a few different angles with their requests. Among these there’s one group comprised of people who have found themselves more or less thrown into an L&D role. They have little formal, academic preparation and don’t really know where to begin to look for answers. Another group is looking for words, often to help educate, or to push back on requests from, stakeholders wanting impossible answers or pushing them to engage in what they know to be bad practice. It’s that group I usually have in mind when I write about things like the literature on teaching to learning styles or using personality type instruments, both reports weighing in at some 8,000 words. Sometimes the answers are shorter, though (“Does everybody really have a mobile phone?”) or just don’t have a simple answer (“How long does it take to develop an hour of eLearning?”). In choosing questions and framing answers I’ve tried to keep both types of questioners in mind. A sampling of the questions:

  • How do I improve readability of my eLearning products?
  • Is the LMS dead?
  • Which instructional strategies are most effective?
  • Is there any reason I shouldn’t throw in a surprise now and then?

So, I hope you find some things that interest you, send you in a new direction, or whet your appetite for the academic pieces cited. Do check out the full library of our research reports, and let me know your ideas for future reports.