aLearning Blog

Online Learning for Trade Associations

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Posted by Ellen on July 7, 2012

My apologies! After promising that the tutorials and resources available at the aLearning Fundamentals site (an extension of would continue to be available while the blog is on hiatus, my hosting service has dumped all its clients. I’m in the process of shifting the site to another hosting service which will take some time.

If you need access to any of the tutorials or other resources before they’re back up and running, please contact me directly (my e-mail link is in the sidebar) and I’ll do what I can to get the materials to you another way.

Hope you’re all enjoying a great summer!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Indefinite Hiatus

Posted by Ellen on April 24, 2012

Regular aLearning blog readers have probably noticed a sudden drop in activity here. No worries! We’re fine. But we are involved in some other areas these days and providing up-to-date insight on association-related elearning topics hasn’t been at the top of the list, sorry to say.

Previous posts on various topics continue to garner so many hits daily that the blog will sit, waiting and ready for new posts, when the time comes.

In the meantime, please know that the aLearning Fundamentals tutorials — always free and never requiring registration — are still live and will remain available here:

And the book aLearning: A Trail Guide to Association eLearning also continues to be available for purchase (in print, PDF, or e-book format) via Just click the image or button on the left for more information on how to order your copy.

As ever, you’re welcome to send me an e-mail directly via the link on the left (below “Contact Ellen” on the left).

I appreciate your support!


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New! FREE aLearning Tutorials!

Posted by Ellen on November 7, 2010

An instructional designer at heart and always the advocate of DIY… I thought I would create a few stand-alone tutorials, offer them here FREE and accomplish a few things (other than keeping myself entertained by creating them):

  • Provide some useful content on elearning and face-to-face facilitation topics
  • Show you some alternatives to expensive, outsourced elearning (though there’s a place for making that investment to be sure*)
  • Give you a “behind the scenes” look at how they were created using inexpensive, easily available tools (such as PowerPoint)
  • Inspire you to create your own for your members or fellow staffers

That last one will be easy: once you take a look at one of these, you’re sure to be saying, “Hey, I can do that!”

Actually, you’ll probably be saying, “I can do WAY better than that!”

I hope you do, and that you’ll let me know what you come up with, how you’ve improved on what I’ve started here, and provide some links and ideas to the rest of aLearning’s readers!

Remember: aLearning is not interested in collecting your info or tracking scoring or any of that stuff. As you’ll see when you launch these tutorials, they are not connected to an LMS, so I won’t know who’s accessing what anyway. Please feel free to poke around and explore.

ADDED BONUS: Feel free to provide any volunteer session leaders with the link to the “Leading Learning Events” tutorial: It might be just the thing you need to start that awkward conversation about how they can improve their sessions at face-to-face events.

Without further ado — here’s the link:

If there’s a topic you’d like to see offered, drop me an e-mail and let me know: For that matter, let me know what you think in general :)

Learning product and service providers — before you fire off a note to me promoting your tool or system, please take a look at the tutorials first. Don’t assume something needs a solution until you’ve indeed determined there’s a problem. That said, see the note on the launch page for information.


Posted in aLearning Strategies, Asynchronous Learning Types, eLearning Resources, Online Learning in General, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Getting Noticed!

Posted by Ellen on January 17, 2010

The recent series on ASTD’s BEST Awards garnered some serious interest, and I thank all of the readers who read it and shared it. It’s gotten some great buzz from some folks I’d like to particularly thank:

Thanks to Manish Mohan for his inclusion of the aLearning Blog in his Best learning resources list for 2009!

And I’m thrilled that Stephen Downes at Stephen’s Web has noticed aLearning as well, particularly his comments about the series on 14 Things We Can Learn From the BEST.  Thank you, Stephen!

And Janet Clarey over at Brandon Hall Research gave the series a mention as well.  Maybe wecan look to them for an association-specific award someday! What do you say, Janet?

All of which begs the question — what have you learned at your association that isn’t covered by the ASTD’s winners?

If there were an award series for alearning, what would you enter from your association and why? What are you most proud of from 2009? What have you done that the rest of us could learn from?

Don’t be shy! Speak up!

Okay… if that naggling little bug in your ear says you don’t want to spill the beans in front of your competition, e-mail me privately and let me know you’d like to get some credit anonymously, and I’ll honor your request.

Let the awards begin!

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Fixing the Furnace

Posted by Ellen on December 26, 2009

Many of you know that my husband and I decided to pursue the alternative lifestyle of “full-time RVing,” and we’ve been travelling the country for more than six months. We’ve learned a lot, but our biggest lesson has been that things break. They break in an RV faster than with a house, and they are a pain to fix (because of the way RVs are built — from the interior out).

A few months ago, our furnace started rattling. We decided we’d wait to fix it until we got out of the winter weather, so while much of the Midwest and East Coast are dealing with the worst blizzard some parts have seen in many years, we’re in the desert, ready to fix the furnace.

Here’s my role: help or stay out of the way. If I’m needed, I’ll be there to hold things, shine a flashlight, find pieces and parts, whatever the chief mechanic needs. If I’m not needed, I’m staying out of the way, doing things like writing this blog post.

It makes me wonder: How much are you standing in your members’ way, and how much are you helping?

My previous entry (“Playing the Match Game”) touched on some ways you can uncover existing or emerging content within your association that might be delivered via social media.

Writing it made me think about the delivery modes associations provide members for sharing and interaction. Most use listservs and discussion groups. Some are on Facebook and LinkedIn. Others have incorporated their “white label” or internal social networking systems.

All that is good.

But are you still standing in their way? Are they trying to fix the furnace but you have the screwdriver and won’t let them have it until next week sometime?

Let’s take Webinars for example. Most associations organize and promote Webinars, then invite their members to attend. By the time the event is organized and registrations are collected, the hot topic might have cooled.

What if you made your Web conference service available to your members to use as they needed it?

What if a member who just discovered something and wanted to share it could send out a notice that he or she would be going online to make a brief presentation, then engage in a Q&A session about it?

You’re not standing in the way anymore. You’ve handed the member the screwdriver. Better yet, you placed the screwdriver where it can be picked up whenever its needed.

What? Your Web conference system is based on a pay-as-you-go model? Ooops! Time to revisit that. You might think it’s a less expensive billing model, but if you truly opened the system up to increased use, couldn’t paying a higher fee for it be justified? Couldn’t it become another member benefit?

In what other ways are you standing in your members’ way? How else can you provide the ways and means for your members to create their own content and deliver it — without you standing in the middle, blocking the way?

Why is this important?

Well, you’ve heard that a primary reason newspapers all over the country are collapsing is because the readership they relied up on is now getting its news online, without having to pay for the subscription (not to mention no longer having to fish the paper out of the bushes or call to complain because of a missed issue).

It used to be that newspapers were the conduit — one of a few ways people could access current events.

Many newspapers didn’t learn how to get out of the way of their readers, who were suddenly able to publish their own interpretations of the news, post their own videos — become their own reporters, producers, and publishers.

Here’s another example:

You’re hearing increased demands for recordings of sessions at your annual conference, but your resources are limited. You’ve controlled the use of devices in your sessions because you don’t want things to show up on YouTube (legal issues and all that). It seems there’s no inbetween.

Ah! But there is!

Let your members record what they want. Ask them to post them as they get them — on your Web site or to your LMS. Give them a small honorarium or an extension of their membership for posting their info. It doesn’t have to be much — as long as you make it easy for them to comply and you recognize their contribution in some way.

Otherwise you’re just standing in the way, blocking the light, holding the screwdriver hostage.

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