November’s ILT Research Reflection

My Information and Learning Technology (ILT) Research course has stretched my abilities further than I knew was possible. I have learned to appreciate teamwork, critical thinking, research writing, and more personally, the richness of my spiritual community that opened its doors to my action research agenda. All things combined, add to my professional development, which is the whole point of this ILT master’s program at CU Denver.

bridge reflection


I appreciate my research team’s  ability to communicate and plan well. We each are incredibly busy, yet still make this course a priority in our lives. I am also grateful to have fallen into a research theme that has been so interesting. Studying art engagement across multiple settings requires each team member to pull their weight. Otherwise, our research paper would fall flat, and we each have too much time and energy invested to produce a mediocre product.

Critical Thinking & Research Writing

Weaving together the literature review, while executing the research plan and writing the research findings, has been a huge challenge. There are so many moving parts that rely upon each other that I find myself getting lost in the details. Often times I have to take a break, get some perspective, and remember what the larger research paper is trying to achieve.

I have never felt confident as a writer, especially when I’m writing to APA standards. However, I have started to really appreciate the importance of citing references. The literature review feedback has been invaluable because the professor, Remi Holden, expects us to reduce massive studies down to a single point in order to build our research stance. Now I have permission to shamelessly reduce studies for the sake of good writing. Thank you Remi!


Spiritual Community

All my life I have loved art and have found creativity as a strength. This research project has allowed me to study art engagement in my spiritual community in a very meaningful way. I had not truly stepped into my role as a member of the congregation until this project. Now, people know who I am and I feel more connected to the community. It has been a pleasant surprise to see my research serendipitously enriching my life.


Professional Development

Teamwork, critical thinking, and research writing are great skills to post on my resume. I imagine most employer can see value in these skills and if not, I don’t really want to work for them anyway. That is the beauty of pursuing my ILT master’s; I am building a bridge from who I am now to who I want to become.

I knew this course would be hard, but I have stepped up to the challenge. At this point, my team research paper looks like it will be something to be proud of. I hope to showcase it on my portfolio and confidently say, “I participate in the larger research conversation.”



Photo Credit:

Research in ILT Review 9: Art & Spirituality on Second Life: A Participant Observation & Digital Quest for Meaning

The article, Art and Spirituality on Second Life: A Participant Observation and Digital Quest for Meaning by Stokrocki put a twist on my original research focus. I am researching art engagement in a spiritual center within a physical building. This article’s spiritual setting occurs in the online game, Second Life (SL). Inside SL, there are a variety of places and groups for participation. The chosen group observed is the Spiritual Art Group, which observes art as a spiritual path and has 394 members.

Stokrocki (2010) asks the questions, “What is art?” and “What is spirituality?” (p.184).


Thematically, this article relates back to my research on multiple levels. Although only two participants were observed, themes of personal identity and community emerged. Creation is the core requirement in the Spiritual Art Group and from this place, people practice their spirituality by making art, interacting with others in this space, and creating spin-off groups.


A major affordance of the Spiritual Art Group is that it offers a communal space to artistically grow. Hermes Kondor, founder of the Spiritual Art Group and photojournalist in real life (RL), initially joined SL because he wanted to explore new artistic possibilities (Stokrocki, 2010, p. 186). As the participants create art to share and potentially sell to the larger community, they learn about themselves. Cre8tivefemme Chemistry, a participant in the group, explained that this community has helped her recover from the death of her life partner and find her artistic voice again (Stokrocki, 2010, p. 189). The group helps people express themselves creatively and in the process redefine their creative identity. 

The act of creating art is the members’ spiritual practice. Cre8tivefemme Chemistry said, “I think all voices expressed in art are spiritual,” (Stokrocki, 2010, p.191). A couple spin-off groups within the Spiritual Art Group, are Ex6 Foundation and The Healing Pool. Ex6 Foundation helps suicidal people by providing a hotline, interactive website, forum, and chat in times of need. The Healing Pool is a magazine that highlights stories about the larger SL community (Stokrocki, 2010, p.191). As members of the community strengthen their artistic expression, so does the breadth of their communal reach. 


Stokrocki mentioned her first impression of Spirit Mountain was that it was a marketplace of cosmic kitsch (2010, p. 185). She came to Spirit Mountain to observe and report on what art and spirituality entailed, but initially found random offerings ranging from sexy skins to healing circles for purchase (2010, p. 185). One could question how truly spiritual a group might be if a major focus is selling items. 

Another limitation that is not explicitly mentioned in the article is my personal opinion. It is much easier to be spiritual, compassionate, or peaceful online than it is in real life. Real life presents you with awkward resolutions and not-so-spiritual conversations that cannot be avoided when engaging in life. Second Life allows participants to have a layer of protection from reality.


Art engagement within an online community allows participants to develop their artistic identity and create groups that benefit the greater good. A potential limitation to this study is that spiritual intentions may or may not be genuine if all artistic items are for sale.


Stokrocki, M. (2010). Art and Spirituality on Second Life: A Participant Observation and Digital Quest for Meaning. Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences, 2(1), 182-197. Retrieved from[1].pdf
Photo Credit: Mary Stokrocki

eLearning Trends: Mobile Gamification

Mobile Gamification

  • Sophia Burris, Elisabeth Gallagher, and Susannah Simmons
  • INTE 6750 E-Learning Trends and Issues
  • University of Colorado Denver
  • Fall 2015

  Mobile Gamification


This paper investigates two learning trends separately – mobile learning and gamification – and discusses the potential of using the two trends together in a workplace setting. Through consideration of the affordances, limitations and adoption of each trend, an assumption is made about the future adoption of mobile gamification and best practices for its implementation are identified. For the sake of this paper we will use the term mobile gamification, which is the combination of the two trends.

Framing: Mobile Gamification

To understand the trend of mobile learning through gamified systems, the volume of mobile phone usage must first be explored. According to the 2012 Mobile Statistics online report, 23 Day a Year Spent on Your Phone, the average person spent 90 minutes a day on his/her smartphone. In September 2015, ComScore reported  that 191.4 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones, which is a 77.1 percent market penetration (comScore, 2015) . Another ComScore online article (Lella, 2015), indicated a milestone in mobile phone usage: mobile-only users (11.3 percent) superseded the desktop-only population (10.6 percent) . Additionally, ComScore reported another milestone was reached when mobile apps accounted for more than half (51 percent) of time spent on digital media (Lipsman, 2014).

As more people continue to have and use smartphones, the Litmos mobile learning blog says there is a huge opportunity to make eLearning accessible on mobile platforms (Gawliu, 2015).  If almost 80 percent of Americans have smartphones, why not let learning abound on such devices? The Training Zone states that companies are waking up to the idea of bring your own device (BYOD) policies, which could allow employees to securely learn across platforms (Caulr, 2014). While being careful to maintain security measures, the idea of BYOD learning can take eLearning to a whole new level.

Gamification and mobile learning make an excellent partnership. With mobile learning gaining credibility, the 51 percent mobile apps usage blends nicely into gamification. Lynn Rampoldi-Hnilo and Michele Snyder (2013, p. 312) explain smartphones are an ideal medium for gamification due to their personal impact on consumers, time based mechanics, optimized screen for graphics, and ability to track interactions.

Johnson, Becker, Estrada, and Freeman (2014, p.42) explain that by meeting learners where they are, which is on their smartphone, participation can increase. Mobile apps and social media companies have successfully gamified routine activities. In Learning Solutions Mag website, Karl Kapp echoes these findings in stating that mobile gamification helps educate sales professionals without taking away from their job of selling (Kapp, n.d.). Gamified mobile learning allows professionals to learn, while they work. This can only help companies’ bottom lines.

Analysis: Gamification

Gamification Definition and History

Gamification is defined as “the use of game design elements in non-game contexts”(Deterding, Dixon, Khaled & Nacke, 2011, p.9). As far back as 1896, Sperry & Hutchinson (S&H) sold green stamps to retailers who used them to reward customers (Slatalla, 2000). Since that time game elements have become commonplace in our lives between airline frequent flyer programs, car rental rewards programs, hotel loyalty programs and Fitbit challenges. Although gamification and badges have been around for many years, elements such as real-time data analytics, mobility, cloud services and social media platforms have improved the outcome of these initiatives.

Game elements

Kapp (2013) identified four major categories under which most game elements can be classified: engagement, autonomy, mastery and a sense of progression. Kapp, Blair and Mesch also identified a number of examples of game dynamics or actions which take place while a player is engaged with a game: matching, collecting/capturing, allocating resources, strategizing, building, puzzle solving, exploring, helping and role-playing (as cited in Kapp, 2013). Merging these dynamics with the game elements listed above provides a framework in which learners can be engaged through gamification.

Advantages of Gamifying Workplace Learning

Gamification is being used in corporate settings in various ways to try to engage employees in routine business activities.  Workplace learning and development is one of these areas. KPMG (2014), one of the big four global auditing service companies,  applied the principles of gamification to an employee engagement challenge found 80 percent of staff had fun playing. Entertainment is not the only benefit of gamification. A University of Colorado Denver study found that individuals trained on video games did their jobs better, had higher skills and retained information longer than those learning in less interactive environments (as cited in Lohmiller, 2010). Gamified learning solutions can also improve recall performance by as much as 10-20 percent as many solutions embed spaced retrieval and retrieval practice (Kapp,  2014).

Uses of Gamification in the Workplace

By gamifying the training process, companies can make compliance, skills, leadership and introductory training more engaging and effective. Gamification allows new employees to try new skills in a risk-free environment and apply them on the job. Gamified compliance training  can have more impact than a lecture as it allows trainees to be placed in a scenario where they have to decide how to respond. Games also give employees the opportunity to learn more about management and develop their leadership skills before they’re put into a position of authority. All of these gamified learning experiences use incentives such as competition, achievement, status, community, and collaboration to motivate employees.

Gamification and Intrinsic Motivation

For some time there has been research claiming that intrinsic motivation is undermined by tangible rewards (Deci, Koestner & Ryan, 2001). Similarly, some critics of gamification feel that commonly used game elements, such as points, levels and leaderboards may undermine users’ intrinsic motivation.

An analysis by Mekler, Bruhlmann, Opwis and Tuch (2013) of the effect of points, levels and leaderboards found there was no empirical evidence to support the claim that these common gamification elements negatively impacted users’ intrinsic motivation. However, the scope of the study only included short-term effects of game elements and so was unable to specify the long-term effects of the game elements. Melker et al. (2013, p.72) found the gamification elements increased performance but did not increase intrinsic motivation and so suggested that they should not solely be relied upon to sustain long-term user engagement.

The research of Deci et al. (2001) indicated that rather than using rewards to motivate learning, it was more important to focus on how to facilitate intrinsic motivation through interesting learning activities, providing choices and ensuring that tasks are optimally challenging (Deci et al., 2001, p.15).

Reeve and Deci (1996) found that competition can also affect intrinsic motivation. They found that for competition to affect a person’s intrinsic motivation, the person must have received feedback on their performance; further, when a person receives positive feedback on their performance, and there is no pressure to win, it enhances their intrinsic motivation (Reeve and Deci, 1996).

Implications for Practice: Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation can be approached by providing the learner with interesting and challenging activities and giving the learner a degree of autonomy. To supplement these activities, instant positive feedback should be given to keep learning free from pressure. For example, Deloitte Leadership Academy gives users the autonomy to personalize their individual learning priorities and provides instant feedback on learners’ progress (Meister, 2013).

Demographic Considerations

Research into demographic differences in the perceived benefits from gamification has found that the social features in gamification were more effective for women than men (Hamari & Koivisto, 2014). Further, the use of game mechanics had a positive motivational effect with male students but not female students (Pedro, Lopes, Prates, Vassileva & Isotani, 2015).

Age has been found to have no significant effect on the benefits from gamification; however, age had a minor negative effect on the perceived ease of use (Hamari & Koivisto, 2014). Knowing how different people perceive and react to gamification, helps when designing gamified solutions for different segments of the population.

Implications for Practice: Demographic Considerations

The research on demographic differences in perceived benefits from gamification should be taken into account when gamifying training and care taken not to advantage one demographic over another.  Social features should be included, particularly given Hamari and Koivisto (2013) found that social factors were important predictors for gamification use (as cited in Hamari & Kovisto, 2014). Where game mechanics, such as points and badges, are used care should be taken to use additional methods to facilitate intrinsic motivation.

Adoption of Gamification

In 2014, gamification was in the Trough of Disillusionment, a stage of maturity on Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Education, and was predicted to reach mainstream adoption in five to ten years (Lowendahl, 2014). In 2015, gamification was still in the Trough of Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Education (Lowendahl, 2015) and only listed as one of many digital strategies in the 2015 Horizon Report (New Media Consortium, 2015).

Gartner predicted in 2012 that by 2015, 40 percent of Global 1000 organizations would use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations. But by mid-2014 Gartner (as cited in Clancy, 2014) estimated that market penetration of gamification technology was only between 5 and 10 percent.

A 2013 global survey of 551 HR and business executives by the Association for Talent Development found 25 percent of respondents had incorporated structural game characteristics into training and that 56 percent planned to do so (as cited in Roberts, 2014). The survey results imply that the adoption of gamification in workplace learning will increase in the near future.

Analysis: Mobile Learning

Mobile learning is defined in many ways (Ciampa, 2013[3] ; Douglas, 2014; Gikas, 2013; Lehner & Nosekabel, 2002; Mottiwalla, 2007; Tan, 2014; UNESCO, unknown date). A specific one of these definitions comes from Gikas and Grant (2013). They define mobile learning as a combination of learning that is both formal and informal, context aware, and delivered and supported by more than just handheld mobile devices (Gikas, 2013). This definition is important because it highlights the idea that mobile learning includes many devices across environments with different levels of formality.

There are three parts to this definition:

  • Learning delivered and supported by mobile computing devices (Gikas, 2013)
  • Learning is formal and informal (Gikas, 2013)
  • Learning is context aware and authentic (Gikas, 2013)

One consideration in this definition is mobile learning provides access to learning anywhere, anytime from the devices learners already know how to use and have on their person. The second is that learning in a mobile environment is often “intentional but unstructured and contextualized”. Learners are likely to do unstructured background research by looking up information on their device while doing a formal learning task outside of a classroom environment. And third is the contextual awareness gives learners a way to learn about their real world environment, making their learning immediately relevant, by using built-in mobile device functions (Gikas, 2013). These features afford many gaming elements, thus making mobile learning and gamification highly compatible.

Advantages of Mobile Learning (Gika, 2013)

In addition to being advantageous in innovation, mobile learning has benefit through social media, portability, collaboration, and media sharing. These features of mobile learning as a learning strategy are what make it compatible with current trends in student and learner profiles. All of these advantages are ways people are already using mobile devices; therefore, there is room to integrate it almost seamlessly into the training environment.

Disadvantages of Mobile Learning

Given all these great and encouraging things in mobile learning, there are some major potential barriers to successful implementation. Although the list is shorter than that of the advantages, these disadvantages have a stronger weight in effectiveness for learning and training situations. Barriers include resistance to adopt technology, challenges with technology and functions, distractibility, overwhelming amounts of information, generational value differences and constant connection.

These disadvantages could be an area that causes stress in a mobile learning environment. By using mobile learning as a way to teach, risks lie in blurring the lines between personal time and time for learning new information. Relaxing time may be unmet with full mobile learning – life integration.

Overcoming Distractions on Mobile Phones

As mentioned previously, distractions are a significant disadvantage of mobile learning. Distractions include environmental distractions which may be present in the surroundings in which the learning is situated and distractions related to the device, such as phone calls, email alerts, and other apps.

According to eLearning solutions provider Aura Interactiva, distractions in mobile learning can be overcome by the following design strategies (Gutierrez, 2014):

  • Design immediately engaging content – This could be done by diversifying presentation formats, storytelling and including personal elements and situations the learner can relate to in order to emotionally involve them with the content.
  • Manage cognitive load
  • Structure content into chunks
  • Ensure ease of navigation and fast loading of content
  • Include interactivity – For example, a quiz, simulation, animation or video.

No matter how the challenge of distractions on mobile devices are addressed, it has to be effective. By utilizing these methods, it can be effective enough to convince companies to adopt the mobile device delivery method.

Adoption of Mobile Learning

According to the Gartner 2015 Hype Cycle for Education, mobile learning smartphones were climbing the Slope of Enlightenment (Lowendahl, 2015). This is the point at which an increasing number of enterprises begin to understand the benefits and is the stage before mainstream adoption. A 2015 report produced by the Association for Talent Development and the Institute for Corporate Productivity found that although mobile learning was not widespread, with only 34 percent of organizations with mobile learning programs in place, its use had grown considerably in the previous five years (Ho, 2015). The report suggested that mobile learning was on the brink of expansion as more than half of the companies surveyed, that did not already have a mobile learning program in place, planned to implement one in the future.

Impact: The Effect of Mobile Gamification

Although we were unable to find figures to reflect the impact of mobile gamification, anecdotal evidence suggests it will have a growing impact due to the predicted impact of the two trends separately and the various successes in the corporate world to date. For example, D4’s mobile-accessible sales training; Deloitte’s in-app gamification of training for employees and clients; Intercontinental Hotels Group’s gamified mobile training for Quality team members and US Foods’ training of their salesforce.

Story: mLevel

One company using gaming elements for mobile learning is mLevel, a self proclaimed “Casual Learning Platform” designed to make creating learning modules, or “missions,” easy. There are 6 steps to creating missions, including: Enter Mission Details, Add Activities/Games, Add Learning Content, Create Game Questions, Choose Users, Publish.

Each user in a training course has a dashboard of games and challenges. The platform uses gaming principles to create missions to teach workplace skills. The “play when you have time” theory is directly related to mLevel’s style here through engagement with peers, velocity in quick learning challenges, and retention in directly translatable skills (Starr & Goodman, 2014, p. 1). Within the program, there are groups and publishing options for users to share and compete with each other, adding a social element to this casual learning environment.

mLevel effectively engages users by seamlessly combining solid instructional design principles with gaming features. Leaderboards are used to support group-based competition and allow trainees to interact with each other through social challenges. Stars, points and badges are used to indicate mastery or achievement. These are given when a trainee has played enough to master a skill or meet achievement standards. Feedback is given at the end of games to let trainees know they can improve in some areas and let them know what they got wrong. Here the trainees can gauge their progress against peers. Real time performance reports can be accessed by management, allowing for formative evaluation and employee tracking.

This company offers innovative training support to many businesses. Companies in need of skill-based training may hire or subscribe to mLevel to create missions and integrate the platform into their training programming.

mLevel Case Study: D4 (Mooney, 2015)

D4 is a fast growing private company in data management and discovery services for law firms and corporations. The goal of the collaboration with mLevel was to train a geographically dispersed sales team through online, mobile-accessible sales modules.

Specifically, D4 wanted to decrease inconsistencies in company and product positioning during sales calls and prospect questions and objections. D4 needed mLevel to support them in the creation of this online, mobile-accessible training. The program launched a mission, or module, within 3 weeks of hiring mLevel. There were 17 subsequent missions launched to cover product offerings, sales activity standards, identification of prospects/objection handling, and marketing campaigns.

D4’s management could monitor progress and completion data of employees through application tracking. This offered a level of evaluation and team specific training missions. Scoring was used to track progress and success for trainees. Scores could also be used to assess where knowledge gaps were and what topics needed more work. 

Other features in the D4 program included leaderboards (competition, motivation) , short learning bursts (efficiency), and highly engaging activities (anticipation, interest). The D4 training was successful because of a few central learning principles. The D4 training was consistent, maintaining a level of cognitive load that was specific to the skills to be acquired (Plass, 2010). Progressive learning was used throughout the missions to provide a scaffolding of information obtainable by the employees (Hogan, 1997; Reiser, 2004). The learning content delivery was exploratory and gave control back to the learners. This method can be helpful handing control of learning from device to trainee, ultimately causing a higher level of investment in learning for the trainee. The D4 training was motivating through its gaming elements by keeping employees engaged with each other and the content. Motivation was provided both extrinsically through competition and intrinsically through feedback and knowledge to be gained (Bandura, 1986; Gagne, 2005).

In result, D4’s training through mLevel was successful. Increase in training efficiency was met and team alignment was gained far beyond any level prior. mLevel utilizes principles we believe to be central to the effectiveness and sustainability of mobile learning for workplace training and education. The D4 training is exemplar of Karl Kapp’s idea that mobile devices and gamification together are helping educate sales professionals without pulling them from their work (Karl Kapp, n.d.).

Recommendation: Best Practice for Mobile Gamification

Although smartphones have specific characteristics that make them an ideal medium for gamified applications, designing these types of applications correctly is critical in determining their success. Rampoldi-Hnilo and Snyder (2013, pp.312-314) recommend the following five principles for enhancing the success of gamification mechanics in mobile applications:

Pick one motivational factor that you want to drive an increase in a specific behavior and ensure it is aligned to business goals. Focussing the training around one motivational factor is recommended as the learner may only have a few minutes to accomplish a learning task and too many gaming mechanics will clutter the application and take the focus off the essential tasks.

  • Include analytics that match the business goal that you are gamifying. Allow learners to have the data necessary for them to make meaningful decisions and compare themselves to their goals and also to other people.
  • Keep it simple. Smartphones have limited screen real estate so game mechanics need to be of a size that doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the user interface and experience.
  • Incorporate collaboration and social elements. Team play, leader boards and instant message features can be used to take advantage of the social opportunities that mobile devices and gamification provide.
  • Leverage smartphone capabilities. The camera on the smartphone could be used as part of a game-based learning activity.

One additional consideration is a secure mobile delivery platform as learners will most likely be accessing confidential company information and also using social media on the mobile device on which they are receiving training (Wroten, 2014).

Impact: Learning in the Field

Mobile learning and gaming elements in workplace training will continue into the future, due to the decreasing cost of mobile devices and the accessibility of gaming for learners. Gamification’s ability to engage users along with the convenience of mobile make them a powerful combination for learning and one which we expect to experience widespread adoption in the future.


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Creative Designs: Cultural Pride via Sisters of Color United for Education


I created an instructional video for Sisters of Color United for Education (SOCUE), which is the oldest promotora in Colorado. Promotera, in the SOCUE context, means an educational program. In the1990’s, SOCUE began promoting safe sex during the height of the AIDS epidemic. They taught sex education, supported people with AIDs, and handed-out condoms and clean needles when no one else would. Since then, SOCUE has evolved to promote holistic health, which means an inclusion of all aspects of person’s well being: mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical. The holistic health classes are geared toward low socioeconomic, Spanish speaking communities.

My target audience was Spanish speaking women of Denver, Colorado who have been abused. According to Daniel Stange’s (2014) promotional video of SOCUE, “Populations that don’t speak English are less likely to report abuses, but come to SOCUE for help (What do you Promote?, 4:30 minutes). Therefore, I made sure that Spanish could either be read or heard throughout the video. This was a challenge since I did not know Spanish, but my SOCUE contact translated the closed captioning at the bottom of the screen. When English is being spoken on the video, Spanish closed captions were inserted and vice versa for Spanish audio. I felt this would be the best way to reach my target audience, while still allow allowing my peers to review my work in English.

SOCUE informed me that almost all participants have a smartphone and that a YouTube video would provide the most accessibility. I decided the learning objective was to inform the audience of SOCUE as a resource to improve quality of life. My YouTube video demonstrated teacher and student experiences with the promotera program from a question and answer format. The call-to-action was to reach out to SOCUE either through visiting the SOCUE website or calling the office.

In the video, I wove together many little clips of SOCUE participants answering my questions about the promotoras. I crafted the questions in my script, then videoed participants over the course of three days. The biggest challenge was getting the most impactful soundbites I needed for a three to five minute video. I used iMovie for all my video editing and musical augmentation.

Design Decisions

Movement in my Youtube video was a step-up from static photos, which required more design decisions. To fully establish my call-to-action, I focused on the following principles:

  • credibility
  • perceptibility
  • continuity
  • constraint
  • sequencing
  • user experience
  • simplicity

I believed these concepts would bring my best possible instructional video forward.

Design Decision #1

I illustrated SOCUE’s credibility through participants’ testimonials. Heath and Heath (2008) wrote, “We need ways to help people test out ideas for themselves—a ‘try before you buy’ philosophy for the world of ideas,” (p. 17). My audience, which is more than likely skittish, will need extra coaxing to reach out to the SOCUE.  Statements from actual participants, if kept short, can motivate the audience (Reynolds, 2014, p. 134).

Design Decision #2

Without Spanish subtitles, the call-to-action would not have reached my Spanish speaking target audience. Kathy Dye (1997) wrote, “Remember that although perceptibility depends on both the receiver and the sender, the sender has a larger degree of control over, and therefore responsibility for, the messages,” (p. 2).  Being the message sender, I was responsible for ensuring that my audience could understand the call-to-action. My message had to be fully available in Spanish. A major consideration in delivering instruction is one’s knowledge of the students (Wilson, n.d., Making Instructional Decisions).

Design Decision #3

I implemented image continuity to help with learner recall. Reynolds (2010) stated, “Images can improve recognition and recall, and images combined with text can make for an even stronger message–as long as the text and images reinforce the same message” (p. 52). I chose words, music, and images that felt familiar in Hispanic culture to help with learner retention. When words and graphics are placed contiguously, they are easily integrated, and learners are free to spend scarce cognitive resources on learning (Clark, 2002, p. 4).

Design Decision #4

I distilled my interviewee footage down to the best clips. This tied back to a core principle by Reynolds (2014), which advocated restraint in preparation of the video (p. 13). Too much information would distract the audience from the call-to-action—reaching out to SOCUE. It is essential to remove all extraneous information in order to express an idea’s core. (C. Heath & D Heath. 2008, p. 28).

Design Decision #5

I aimed to lead my audience through a natural flow of questions and answers. Medina (2008) stated, “The brain naturally focuses on concepts sequentially, one at a time” (p. 84). The questions progress from how promotoras help individual people, to helping others attend promotoras, and ending with how promoters help the community. Each element must make sense as a single idea as well as collectively (Dye, 1997, p. 2).

Design Decisions #6

I wanted to inspire the audience to attend a promotora class and give them a taste of what to expect at SOCUE. It is essential to keep your end vision in mind when considering instruction delivery (Wilson, n.d., Making Instructional Decisions).  The video was intended to walk the audience through the promotora experience. Reynolds (2014) wrote, “It’s not the thing—it’s the experience of the thing” (2014, p. 14)

Design Decision #7

Telling the audience to visit SOCUE through video was a powerful medium. Reynolds (2014) wrote, “Photos help support your message, but video allows you to bring the issue right to people in a more direct manner than a statistic” (p. 134). Video as the medium provided the most direct method for my call-to-action. Heath and Heath stress the importance of finding the core idea and bringing it forward effectively (2008, p. 16).

Lessons Learned

I learned how much I love producing both beautiful and functional videos. Every production I made thus far has been a reflection of my work and could potentially attract my next employer. Therefore, I chose not to take any shortcuts and put in the extra hours for translations and subtitles.

This project required field work, lots of phone calls, and talent coordination. There was also a subtle cultural tension evident in the classroom as I filmed. The teachers, more than the participants proved difficult to interview. I was surprised by their lack of enthusiasm for the video, but, perhaps, I was making their lives harder. Nonetheless, I feel that the video will help guide my target audience to SOCUE. SOCUE has the potential to change lives and creating a video for this organization felt amazing.


Clark, R. (2001). Six principles of effective e-Learning: What works and why. The eLearning Developers’ Journal, 2010(3). Retrieved from

Dye, K. (1997). Message Design: A Key to Effective Instructional Materials. Retrieved


Stange, D. (Producer). (2014). What do you promote? [Vimeo Video]. Denver, CO: Denver Open Media Foundation.

Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2008). Made to stick: Why some ideas die and others survive. New York, NY: Random House.

Medina, J. (2008). Brain rules: 12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home, and school. Seattle, WA: Pear Press.

Reynolds, G. (2009). Presentation zen design: Simple design principles and techniques to enhance your presentations. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.

Wilson, L. (n.d.). Making instructional decisions. Retrieved from

Creative Designs: Cafe 180, a restaurant with heart


I created a Pecha Kucha about Cafe 180, a nonprofit restaurant in my neighborhood. Libby Whitman, Julie Mihevc, and Catherine Clements-Matthews, founders of Cafe 180, created the restaurant on the concept, “Anyone can eat, regardless of their ability to pay. Those who are unable to pay simply exchange their time and energy for a nutritious meal,” (Cafe 180, 2015). Cafe 180 is a bright spot in downtown Englewood, Colorado amidst an underdeveloped landscape.

I identified my target audience as local Englewood residents. I lived in the neighborhood for two years before I realized Cafe 180 was more than an average for-profit restaurant. The cafe is a neighborhood jewel that benefits Englewood residents facing tough times.

Englewood residents learned three things in my Pecha Kucha. First, Cafe 180 begged to be known as a nonprofit eatery. It may look like an average restaurant from the outside, but is far from average on the inside. The centrally located cafe breathes life and purpose into our neighborhood.

Second, the audience learned Cafe 180’s mission: “Regardless of your ability to pay, come and eat,” (Cafe 180, 2015). There is a sliding scale for the cost of a meal. Those who cannot pay, can earn their meal through offering their time and energy. Those who can pay $4, cover the cost of their food. Those who can pay $10 or more, help support the efforts of Cafe 180. All situations are welcomed.

Third and most importantly, Englewood residents learned the call-to-action, which is to regularly support Cafe 180. Residents can support Cafe 180 by making a habit of eating there and inviting their friends. Aside from eating the food and paying extra for meals, extra donations of time and money are always helpful.

I created my Pecha Kucha with iMovie. Although I have limited experience with this program, each time I use it, I learn new things. Of my 20 images in the Pecha Kucha, 18 of them were original photographs taken with my iphone. After inserting these images into iMovie, I used YouTube to learn how to execute design tasks such as applying both music and voice to the slideshow. iMovie has a steep learning curve, but I love its capabilities and will continue to hone my skills in this application.

Design Decisions

I designed my Pecha Kucha to focus on the people, their testimonials, the element of surprise, a concrete call-to-action, and the emotional pull of Cafe 180’s mission. Patron faces coupled with their stories, made for a compelling Pecha Kucha. Next, I added a twist on a patron’s story by turning him into a wise man. Then, I made Englewood residents aware of Cafe 180’s amazing contribution to our community and how they could concretely help their non-profits efforts to fight hunger.

Design Decision #1

I created my Pecha Kucha to be people-centric. “It’s the economy, stupid!” was Clinton’s campaign story, which led his efforts to victory rather than getting mired in other complex topics (C. Heath & D. Heath, 2008, p. 34). I took pictures of Cafe 180 with the mantra, “It’s the people, stupid!” in mind. I tried to get as many images of people as possible to attract the attention of my target audience. Reynolds (2015) wrote, “We are naturally drawn to images of people, and we’re especially drawn to images of faces, (p. 213).

Design Decision #2

I showcased Cafe 180’s testimonials to demonstrate its empowering solution to hunger in our community. “How do we get people to act on our idea? We tell stories,” wrote Chip and Dan Heath (2008, p. 18). I fell in love with each person as they told me their story and I used the power of these stories to call my audience to action. The solution to the problem is important, but so is the story of it (Reynolds, 2015, p. 15).

Design Decision #3

I chose to surprise the audience with Mark being subtly recognized as the wise man. Unexpected ideas are stickier because they require the audience to pay attention and think (C. Heath & D. Heath, 2008, p. 68). I wanted the audience to be surprised that Mark, a man that might have every reason to be bitter and angry, had a wonderful perspective on life. “Our job is to know what the key points are and to create the differences that makes it easy for viewers to naturally discover them,” (Reynolds, 2015, p. 204).

Design Decision #4

I adored Cafe 180 after I experienced it, but not everyone knows its beauty. Grab the audience’s attention by forming an association between something they don’t care about and something they do care about (C. Heath & D. Heath, 2008, p. 173). I initially thought Cafe 180 was just another restaurant in the neighborhood until a friend introduced me to Cafe 180’s mission to fight hunger in a new way. I was emotionally hooked and wanted to help others awaken to Cafe 180.  “Remember that much of design has an emotional component—sometimes this is even the largest component, although viewers may be unaware of this,” wrote Reynolds (2015, p.14).

Design Decision #5

I used concrete examples of how the audience could aid Café 180’s mission. Chip and Dan Heath (2008) wrote, “Concrete ideas are easier to remember,” (p. 106). I combined the concept of concrete ideas with that of reducing clutter to make the message as straightforward as possible. Design is about clearing the clutter in order to make your message clear (Reynolds, 2015, p. 15).

Lessons Learned

I learned the power of stories coupled with portraits. I felt like I asked the right questions to elicit people’s stories and get them to open up. Approaching strangers to ask about their story around Cafe 180 was intimidating, but I fully intended to get my Pecha Kucha content. However, the portraits were a different story. While shooting at Cafe 180, I botched a couple portraits due to my nervousness. In the future, I plan to slow down and make sure I get the perfect portrait of a person. I needed to remember that I asked permission and the people agreed to the pictures. Perhaps a portrait is such an intimate experience that I tried to make it painless and quick for my interviewees. However, next time I will not rush the process.


Cafe 180. (2015), Our Story. Retrieved from

Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2008). Made to stick: Why some ideas die and others survive. New York, NY: Random House.

Reynolds, G. (2009). Presentation zen design: Simple design principles and techniques to enhance your presentations. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.

October’s ILT Research Reflection

To meet team Ziggy Stardust’s research goals, I pushed to critique all four scholarly articles by October 18th. This tactic was very helpful in order to have enough content for the literature review that was due November 1st. I am grateful for my team, La Dawna Wert and Wes Aker’s organization and commitment to our research. By working together on our literature review, I have a greater insight on what my final four scholarly reviews should gear towards.

With regard to our class discussions, I found the samples of my peers’ organization of references very helpful. In fact, Jason Dunbar and Tiann Vetter said I could copy their scholarly review template for helping in the synthesis of my literature review. I found this tool to be incredibly helpful in identifying trends across my scholarly reviews. Aisha Jackson also offered insight on my survey disclosure statement. She reminded me of Stringer’s guidance around consent and participation. Therefore, bullets around confidentiality and participation have been added to my survey headings.

lady mirror

The biggest lesson learned about consuming scholarly research was from Remi Holden’s video on research tips and tricks. By quickly determining the year of the article and scanning the references for relevancy and timeliness, I have been able to locate research articles faster. I believe that in our field of education technology it is especially important to focus on articles that are from recent years.

There is profound value in peer reviewed literature. The whole review process allows for the baton to be handed-off between researchers. An effective literature review can save a great deal of time in research and research methods. My literature review has helped me shape my methods into a survey that fits my participants’ lives and mull over what questions will elicit the most beneficial information.

The main question I keep working with is how to ask the right and truest questions of my participants. Writing effective survey questions is an art form. I am continually asking myself, “Is this question biased?” and, “Will that question get to the marrow of my research?”

In broadening the research question of how art engagement impact participants in a spiritual settings, I have to continually remind myself, that responses are going to be equally broad. Of course, art impacts a community, but how. The how of it, is what I find to be the most challenging piece to elicit from my questions. Currently, I have the following questions:

1) What are the affordances and limitations of engaging with music at A Center?

  • How do you define or describe your participation with music at A Center?
  • What is your favorite type of music offered at A Center?
  • Can you describe any benefits your feel by of engaging with music at A Center?
    • Can you describe any emotional responses you feel to the music?
    • Can you describe any connection your might feel to the music?
  • Does anything prevent you from engaging with music at A Center?
    • Can you describe any emotional responses you feel when you cannot engage with music?
    • Can you describe any disconnection your might feel when you cannot engage with music?

2) How do the Sunday practices allow for the creation and sharing of the music?

  • How does the practice of attending Sunday services at Althea help you engage with music?
  • How do the musical practice of Sunday services make you feel?
  • How does listening allow you to engage with a musical performance?
  • How does singing allow you to engage with congregational song?

Per guidance from Pastor J, my best bet for participation would be paper surveys, versus electronic surveys. I agree because I can stand up at a service and ask people to consider completing the surveys. By letting them know I’ll be posted-up at a certain table to collect the surveys and answer questions will also help people follow-through. My gut is also telling me to keep the surveys to one page. People on their way out of church will not necessarily want to answer a pamphlet of questions.

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