<![CDATA[JohnParsell.com - Blog]]>Tue, 16 Oct 2018 11:22:14 -0400Weebly<![CDATA[Turning Failure to Success]]>Fri, 28 Sep 2018 04:00:00 GMThttp://johnparsell.com/blog/turning-failure-into-successFailure
​Sometimes even your best efforts don't produce the targeted behavior change or business outcomes your learning solution was created to solve.  Not every project will be a rousing success so it's important to know what to do when things don't go as planned.

It can be tempting to point fingers and look for reasons outside of your control as to why things went wrong.   Maybe you feel that you weren't given enough time, resources, or information to do the job.  However, what's needed now is a level head and a willingness to work together across business units to fix any identified issues and turn things around.  A deeper analysis can always be completed afterwards. 

Here's how you can turn things around:

1. Tell your leader
If they haven't heard about it already they will soon and the message should really come from you.  Use the remaining steps outlined here as a plan you can  provide to them on how you are going to turn things around, 

2. Identify the performance gaps
​Setup a meeting with key members from your team and stakeholders to discuss what's going on.  If you can get a few members of your audience and/or their leaders that's even better.  Your job during this meeting is to listen, gather information, and help to formulate a plan to fix any immediate performance gaps.  You probably won't have access to all the hard data you need but you should come away with enough information to get started. 

3.  Craft a plan
Your plan doesn't have to be complex but it should reflect a sense of urgency to fix the problems in both the short and long term.

Include the following items in your plan:
  • A list of the performance gaps
  • The appropriate activity to address each.  Remember, more training isn't always the answer.
  • A due date and owner for each activity
  • Success measures and reporting.  How will you know that you've improved performance?
  • A timeline and steps to implement the plan you've created

4.  Make it Happen!
One of the benefits of failure is the recognition from other teams that something is not working.  Granted, it's typically not the kind of attention that you want.  However, you can use it to access resources that may have been previously out of reach due to the urgency of the situation.   

5.  Learn from this Experience
Now that you've hopefully fixed the issue take the time to write down the lessons learned from this experience.   Turn these lessons into best practices, policies, and procedures, so that it doesn't happen again. 

Remember, everyone experiences failure.  It's how you react to failure that matters.  Here's a little inspiration to get you back on track.

30 Powerful Quotes on Failure - Forbes.com
<![CDATA[Cornerstone LMS Case Study]]>Fri, 17 Aug 2018 14:28:00 GMThttp://johnparsell.com/blog/cornerstone-lms-case-studyI had the opportunity to interview with Cornerstone and discuss how we use their Learning Management System at Accolade.  For me the biggest benefits are it's reporting and curriculum management capabilities.  

At Accolade, we make sure that the content we develop can be used across the organization.  Instead of tying a module to a specific customer we do our best to make the materials generic so that they can be re-used within multiple learning solutions.  We'll then address customer and role specific content in additional self-paced learning objects or during practical application scenarios.  Having the freedom to leverage content across the organization has helped us to rapidly respond to learning needs without having to create multiple versions of materials.

Feel free to read the case study if you'd like to learn more about how we leverage Cornerstone's capabilities at Accolade.]]>
<![CDATA[Instructional Game - Lyrical Genius]]>Mon, 18 Dec 2017 03:08:48 GMThttp://johnparsell.com/blog/lyrical-geniusThe last entry in my series of instructional games is Lyrical Genius.  Learning a new language can be difficult, this game attempts to inject a little bit of fun into the process.  Players are asked to listen to a clip of a popular song and match words on the screen with the correct lyrics.
Lyrical Genius by John Parsell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Lyrical Genius
Challenge your friends to lyrical combat!
Enhance reading and listening comprehension for English as a second language students.​

Players will identify and match lyrics sung from popular songs to written words.​
Game Play:
Players will choose to play as a single player, challenge a friend, or another random player on the internet.  They'll select a genre of music or opt to play from a random selection.  Hints and instructions will display while the game loads.  Once the game has loaded, a timer will display counting down to the start of the song clip.  

When the music starts, players will have a limited amount of time to match the lyrics on the screen to what they hear in the clip.  Scoring will be affected by consecutive moves without an error.  

At the end of each round the score will be displayed and a winner announced.  If a player selected to play the single player option, they'll have to beat a pre-determined score based on the difficulty of the lyrics in each clip.  A leader board can display the scores of those who play the game. 

Suggested Components: 
  • Touch interface: Touch, drag and drop
  • Save/Load user interface
  • Music genre user interface
  • Leader board and ability to challenge online opponents in real time
  • 2D rendering
<![CDATA[Instructional Game - Mathlock]]>Sat, 18 Feb 2017 08:00:00 GMThttp://johnparsell.com/blog/instructional-game-mathlockGame number two on my series of instructional games is Mathlock.  Growing up I loved watching the Matlock T.V. show.  The main character inspired the plot of this mobile game intended to help children learn how to solve word problems.
Mathlock by John Parsell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
You play Mathlock, a lawyer with a gift for math and a love of hotdogs.

You must win your cases to enjoy a tasty hotdog treat.  Lose and your clients will go to jail! 

To provide middle school aged children practice solving word problems.
Mathlock: As Mathlock you play a lawyer with a heart of gold, a love of math problems, and a hunger for hotdogs.  As a successful lawyer with a history of solving cases using math there are many cases for you to take.  You'll have to be careful though because one wrong answer could send them to jail!

Clients:  Your clients need the services of a math wiz such as yourself to prove their innocence.  There is no shortage of clients and the difficulty of their cases will increase over time.  The tougher the case, the tastier the hotdog, so you'll have to bring your "A" game if you want chili with your hotdog or other tasty condiments. 

Prosecutors:  Winning your cases won't be easy.  The prosecutors you face have done their homework and will challenge you with both correct and incorrect statements in order to win.  Object or agree to their statements in order to keep the facts straight and win your case.

Judge:  The judge will provide a final sentencing at the end of each case.  If you have answered correctly then your client will go free and treat you to a hotdog.  Otherwise your client will be sent to jail for their crimes.

While the game loads you will see Mathlock attempting to order a hotdog from a street vendor.  Before his order is finished he will be called into court by the judge.  There's no time to eat now, his client is waiting.  
When the game begins the judge will provide a hands on tutorial of how to play the game.

When the actual game play begins you will be given a certain amount of time to object or abstain to the prosecutors claims.  You must correctly answer all of the questions before the time runs out.  Failure to do so will cause you to lose the case. 

At the end of each case the judge will review your work and either let your client free or send them to jail.  If your client goes free they will treat you to the hotdog that you missed out on prior to the case. 

Players will be able to pick the type of questions they want to practice, e.g. fractions, addition, multiplication, etc... to help them practice a chosen subject area.

A leader board can show how many hotdogs and the types a player has achieved and compare it with their friends and classmates.

Suggested Components: 
  • Touch interface: tap, type
  • Save/Load user interface
  • Subject area user interface
  • 2D rendering

​Next on my list is a game to help people learn a new language using popular music. 
<![CDATA[´╗┐Instructional Game - Dr. Quentin Dentin]]>Sat, 14 Jan 2017 04:15:53 GMThttp://johnparsell.com/blog/instructional-game-dr-quentin-dentinAs part of my Instructional Technology Masters program at Bloomsburg University I attended a class on instructional game design.  Throughout the class we were challenged with developing a series of proposals for instructional games that could be developed for a variety of devices and needs.  It was an absolute blast and one of my favorite classes out of the entire program.  

Over the next few months I'm going to post the top three games that I proposed for a few reasons.  First, I enjoyed creating the proposals and want to share them.  Secondly, in the interest of sharing if you're reading this and interested in creating non-commercial work based off of them...feel free.   Thirdly, I'd like to hear your feedback.  What could I have done better or included?

With the exposition taken care of...let's get started.
Dr. Quentin Dentin by John Parsell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
 Dr. Quentin Dentin
On your quest to become the worlds greatest Dentist you have traveled to Cavity city in order to work for the one and only Dr. Quentin Dentin.  Dr. Dentin has hired you as his new Dental Assistant. It's your job to clean his patient's teeth and mark any cavities  before their exam!

To help young children learn how to properly care for their teeth using different dental tools.
Dr. Quentin Dentin: Dr. Dentin is the world’s greatest dentist.  He thinks you have potential and has hired you as his assistant!  A long the way the good Dr. will help you play the game and learn how to properly care for your patients teeth as well as your own. 
Dr. Quentin is good-natured and will initially help you understand how to use the tools of the trade.  In the end you can challenge him to a head to head battle to see who can identify and clean the most challenging of patient’s teeth.  

Patients:  Your patients suffer from a number of gross particles that plague their teeth.  It’s your job to clean their teeth and make them happy!  A patient’s emotional state will change as you clean their teeth.  A bad job will make them angry or sad while a good job will make them happy.  All patients start out in a neutral state. 

You:  You are Dr. Dentin’s only assistant and you are well on your way to becoming the world’s greatest dentist yourself.  Learn all you can from Dr. Dentin in order to learn how to properly care for your patient’s teeth!

While the game loads a sequence of animations will display showing your graduation from dental school, seeing a job post for the world’s greatest dental assistant, calling Dr. Dentin, getting the job, and then finally traveling to Cavity city.    
When the game begins Dr. Dentin will provide a hands on tutorial showing you how to use the dental pick, toothbrush, and floss to clean a patient’s teeth. You can practice as long as you like until you’re ready to begin. 

When the actual game play begins you will be given a certain amount of time to clean each of your patient’s teeth.  You must be able to identify which tool needs to be used to remove each type of particle before the time runs out.  You must also use the tool properly or your patient will get mad at you and cost Dr. Dentin a customer. 

At the end of each round an animated Dr. Dentin will review your work and either congratulate you or express his disappointment with any missing particles.  These are his patients you’re working on and he wants them all to have the cleanest teeth possible. 

In the final round of the game you can go head to head with Dr. Dentin to claim your title as the greatest Dentist in the world!  If you win Dr. Dentin will pass the title to you.  If you lose he will make you practice on more of his patient’s before accepting another challenge.

Suggested Components: 

  • iPad touch interface: flick, drag, drop, tap, slide 
  • Save/Load UI 
  • Hit detection and speed monitoring affecting game play 
  • Can’t hit mouth with tools or use them too quickly or slowly. 
  • 2D rendering
​Next on my list is a game developed to teach children math based on Matlock, a popular daytime TV show. 
<![CDATA[ISDTemplates]]>Sat, 31 Dec 2016 19:30:52 GMThttp://johnparsell.com/blog/isdtemplatesSix years and eight months ago I started my first business venture, ISDTemplates.com.  The premise behind the site was to provide easy to use graphic templates for eLearning courses. The plan was simple...help people to create engaging education by letting them focus on their content and not worry about the design.  I had that covered! 
My thought was that by creating an engaging series of templates and reselling them hundreds or thousands of time at a low price I would make some money while also helping Instructional Designers to improve their courses.  Providing great customer service was important so I provided implementation guides as part of the purchase along with tutorials on my site to help get users started.

In the end I didn't break even but I was able to purchase some great tools, maintain my site, and get some great experience running my own business.  

Here are a few of the lessons I learned:
  • Let go of something that's not working.  I kept the site going for way longer than I should have. This cost me money and stress as a loose end.
  • Do your research before committing to a tool that will support your business.  I used Joomla to create and manage my site.  It had all of the compontents I needed for ecommerce, site architecture, and user management but it took me too long to get setup, learn to customize the site, and then manage updates.
  • It's not enough to create something useful, you have to market your business to reach customers.

As I write this post I'm in the process of backing up ISDTemplates for the last time.  I haven't updated the site in four years, since I started at Accolade, and it's time to let it go.  I'll be releasing all of the content developed for the site as free downloads to support the development of elearning courses and curiosity of my fellow Instructional Designers and educators. 

Instead I'll be working on my blog, exploring ideas, and sharing my leadership and instructional design experience with the instructional design and technology community.   

Thanks to Raj Palat for helping me to understand the hosting side of the business. Thanks to Jim Malloy for helping me to think through my template designs and developing some of the templates and buttons for the site.  As always, thanks to my wife Jessica Parsell for supporting me as I worked nights and weekends to build out my idea and make it a reality.