5 free downloadable resources on effective E-learning principles

June 26, 2012

Here are some excellent downloadable resources that clearly outline basic e-learning principles in clear, easy-to-understand language:

Six principles of effective e-learning by Ruth Clark (Free 10-page .pdf from the eLearning Guild)

E-Learning: A Guidebook of Principles, Procedures and Practices by Som Naidu, Ph.D. (a free 100-page .pdf book published by the Commonwealth of Learning)

Efficiency in e-Learning: Proven Instructional Methods for Faster, Better, Online Learning by Frank Nguyen and Ruth Colvin Clark (Free 8-page downloadable .pdf from the e-Learning Guild)

E-learning Tools and Resources: Putting Principles into Practice by Wendy Chambers (A 41-page .pdf. I’ll put in plug for Wendy here. She’s a personal friend of mine and I can tell you, she really knows her stuff.)

Back to Basics: Using Adult Learning Principles to Create E-Learning Success by Steven R. Aragon (a 10-page .pdf. Note: This document opens in a separate window.)

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If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


Engaging through eLearning: Key factors to make webinars and virtual learning effective

June 6, 2012

Tomorrow I’ve been invited to do a professional development workshop for the Calgary chapter of the Canadian Society of Training and Development. The session is:

“Engaging through eLearning: Key factors to make webinars and virtual learning effective”

We are going to talk about:

  • What makes e-learning (in)effective
  • Best practices for e-learning and webinars
  • Increasing learner engagement
  • Effective e-learning assessment

If you’re in Calgary, come and join us. Here’s the link to register: http://www.cstd.ca/events/event_details.asp?id=228664

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If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


Teaching Non-Profits How to Use Webinars Effectively

March 4, 2012

Tomorrow is an exciting day for me. I start teaching another “Build Your Own Webinar” course. This will be the third time I am teaching the program and I’m pretty excited. In the past, we’ve had participants from literacy and other non-profit organizations who run educational programs, as well as entrepreneurs, and people working in small to medium-size businesses.

The course basically teaches people how to build a webinar step-by-step, taking it from concept to delivery. The idea is that by the end of the program, participants have a webinar that is ready to go live.

Here is the course outline:

View this document on Scribd

Here’s what some participants of the webinar programs have said:

“I have nothing but gratitude and thanks for such a well planned and meaningful learning experience. This webinar was pivotal to a new career direction for me.” – Pat Minor, Canadian Parents for French, High River, Alberta, Canada

“Sarah is definitely an expert in her field. The breadth and depth of her information is excellent and she is very willing to share her time and expertise. I have attended several of her webinars. I highly recommend any webinar that she’s presenting in.” – Jeff Hough, Idaho State University, ISU Workforce Training, Pocatello, ID, USA

“Sarah is hugely knowledgeable in e-learning design to ensure that the audience is kept engaged. She also has a keen sense of what works and a broad knowledge of what tools are out there in the marketplace. I’d recommend this webinar to anyone contemplating developing their own programs!” – Peter Temple, Past President, Canadian Association of Professional Speakers, Calgary Chapter, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

“Great practical information for anyone who is looking at venturing into the world of webinar production. Sarah provided practical information and questions to ask when you are looking for a provider that will meet your needs.” – Laura Godfrey, LearningLinks Resource Centre, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

I am excited to meet the participants who will be joining us for this new course. Love working with adult learners who are dedicated to lifelong learning, professional development and using technology to advance the good work they do.

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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


Achieving peace one word, one language at a time

January 4, 2012

I recently posted about how the U.S. military offers bonus pay to soldiers with demonstrated foreign language skills. In the post I suggested that language program managers might cite military examples when lobbying for funding for language programs.

The idea of advocating for language program funding by citing examples of military language training might not sit well with some language program administrators and teachers. In my experience, some of my most beloved colleagues are also peace activists and slightly (if not adamantly) anti-military.

Achieving peace one word at a time

But what if part of the answer to the global issues we face today was increasing, rather than decreasing, the focus we as a society place on communicating and appreciating one another’s languages and cultures? I won’t be so naive to say that learning languages is a panacea to all that is wrong with the world. But I do believe that peace and understanding are built one person at a time. One person, communicating with one person, listening and trying to understand one person. This is how we challenge our assumptions, learn about one another and wrap our minds around different ways of life, sharing, raising our children, worshipping, of thinking… and of living and being.

To speak another’s language is to begin to see the world from his or her point of view. We may never be able to fully understand those whose ways of life and beliefs differ so drastically from ours. But perhaps we do not have to fully understand. Perhaps we need only to begin to understand, in order for things to change for the better. There is a saying in English about how to overcome a seemingly insurmountable problem:

How do you eat an elephant? Answer: one bite at a time.

This could be modified to:

How do you achieve world peace? Answer: One word at a time.

Imagine a peace corps dedicated to global understanding through language learning: Daily verb conjugation drills, vocabulary drills, grammar sequences, language simulations, engaging with the other in one-on-one conversations in real time, with dictionaries and language apps instead of weapons.

What on earth might happen?

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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


Did you know? U.S. soldiers with foreign language skills can earn up to $1000 bonus pay per month

January 3, 2012

On Friday, Dec. 30, 2011, the Army Times posted an article entitled “Foreign language program rules modified“.

The article explained that there is a program in the U.S. military that allows soldiers with foreign language skills to earn monthly bonus pay:

“The Foreign Language Proficiency Bonus program has been modified, allowing payments to certain language-skilled soldiers, regardless of their MOS or duty positions.”

Known as the FLPB program, it offers soldiers the opportunity to earn an extra $400 per month for one additional language and up to $1000 per month for a combination of other languages. There are exceptions to the policy and soldiers must pass language proficiency tests in order to qualify for the program.

The military as an advocate of language learning

When a major organization actually pays employees a bonus for having demonstrated language proficiency, that shows how much the organization values the skill. In other words, they literally put their money where their mouth is. However you might feel about the U.S. military, you have to admit that they are single-handedly demonstrating that learning foreign languages can be beneficial to your career.

Military around the world value language skills

In case you’re thinking that this is just a U.S. phenomenon, think again.

A quick search of “foreign languages Canadian military” turned up a result of over 3 million entries on Google. One of the top hits was for the Canadian Forces Language School.

Googling “foreign languages British military” resulted in over 19 million entries. Among them was a page called “Can I join?” The site answers questions for those considering a career in the military. It states that anyone hoping for a career as an officer must have passed courses in either sciences or foreign languages. The British military also runs the Defense School of Languages.

If you are lobbying for language program funding, salute the soldiers

If you are an administrator or manager lobbying to keep your language program alive, look for news stories about how the military in your country values languages.

Here’s a hint: Don’t use search terms like “international languages” or “world languages”, go old school and look up “foreign languages” or “second languages”.

In your letters and reports, speak to the fact that the military supports, values and encourages learning languages, which demonstrates a need for language programs in schools to thrive. Students of the 21st century need all kinds of skills, and global communication skills are among them.

There are so many languages and so many words. Advocating for the survival of our language programs may actually mean advocating for long-term global peace. But try telling that to a politician and you’d be laughed out of his or her office. Instead, cite the forward thinking of the military in encouraging the development of its staff through foreign languages, noting how much they value language learning as a valuable 21st century skill.

Why do companies ignore multilingualism as a valid skill?

My question is: How can we expand this initiative and get major corporations to follow suit and pay bonuses to multilingual employees?

Over the past year, I have heard from U.S. colleagues that there have been severe funding cuts to language programs at the primary, secondary and post-secondary levels.

If corporate America (and corporate Canada, and corporate Everywhere) said, “Hey, world! We need workers skilled in global communication, world languages and intercultural understanding,” you could bet your bottom dollar that governments wouldn’t be cutting funding to language programs.

Education and language advocates spend time lobbying the government to re-instate funding to language programs. While noble, I wonder if a different approach might be more effective? Conversations with those who work in corporations, in HR departments, in marketing and sales and global business, citing examples of how the military offers bonus pay to bilingual and multilingual solders, might spark ideas on how other organizations can leverage, instead of undervalue, or worse, ignore, the depth of skill and understanding that multilingual employees bring to an organization. Those conversations might take much longer to result in changes, but I wonder if the effort would be worth the investment of time and effort to start that dialogue today?

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This post comes with a caveat.  In no way am I in favour of war, military occupation of foreign territories or activities resulting in the loss of human life through weapons or attack. I don’t care what side you are on. When people you love die due to war, it tears us all apart.

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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


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