Monday, July 14, 2014

Finding Inspiration



I don't know about where you are, but here in Cleveland summer is in full swing - it's hot and humid, the sun is shining more than it's not and my poor nose has a bit of a sunburn! Summer is the time of year I feel most inspired to create and I've been thinking a lot about inspiration this week. I'd like to share with you some sites I visit regularly to help spark my e-learning creativity - whether it's for visual or instructional design!

E-Learning Heroes (community.articulate.com)

What is it?


E-Learning Heroes is the community website for a software company called Articulate. They offer great tutorials of their software and a robust troubleshooting section. But, that's not really what the site is. This site is truly a Community about E-Learning!

There are conversations happening all the time - people are sharing work, sharing files, sharing their inspiration! It doesn't really matter what kind of software you're developing in, the people participating in in this community (and the Articulate Community Managers) are all Instructional Designers and Course Developers who are going through the same struggles, challenges and successes as we are!

What inspires me?

  • The Rapid E-Learning Blog by Tom Kuhlman: This is an excellent blog that gives you tips, tricks, ideas, links and advice to quickly create the best e-learning you can! The blog is extremely popular, so there is always an extended conversation in the comments. Tom's an E-Learning Rock Star and he attracts some smart fans - so that conversation often provides further insights to the topics he brings up. A new entry is posted every Wednesday and there's a rich archive of previous posts going back to July of 2007! (I guess this isn't technically part of the community, but Tom's the community manager, so it counts!)
  • The Weekly E-Learning Challenge in The E-Learning Design Blog by David Anderson: David's blog is an excellent resource for design ideas, but my favorite part is the Weekly E-Learning Challenge. Each week, a challenge is given to his readers to show the rest of us how they would approach the challenge and post a link to their solution in the comments section. The following week, David curates the responses and they appear at the end of the new challenge. This is a great way to get new ideas on how to tackle interesting challenges.

Adobe Kuler (kuler.adobe.com)

What is it?


Adobe Kuler is an online color theme builder that is free to use. You can explore themes created by others, create your own color themes from images or the color wheel and save them, if you have an Adobe account (also free!). All themes can be downloaded so you have them to keep!

What inspires me?

  • Exploring themes created by others: I love to see what's out there. Some are ugly, some are beautiful, but looking at all that color is inspiring! It’s amazing how much color is out there!
  • Creating themes from an image: I think this is so cool. You can upload your own picture and Kuler will pick colors from it. You can change the color mood (for example, from colorful to muted or from bright to dark) or drag the color pickers around to choose a color you like.
PINTEREST (www.pinterest.com)

What is it?


Pinterest is an online pinboard that lets members pin images together on boards with specific subjects. It's really popular for finding recipes, workout tips and craft ideas.

It's also a treasure trove of inspirational material - from photography to website design to Instructional design tips - there's so much stuff out there we can use! The best part is that each pin shows "Related Pins" so you can see other pins that have a similar theme to one you really like. The inspiration can be endless!

What inspires me?

  • Visual Design ideas: There are tons of pins out there about good graphic, web and ad design. Why not use things already designed to inspire new ideas? I search for terms like "design inspiration," "good design," "user interface" and "website layout."
  • Instructional Design ideas: A lot of Instructional Designers and Teachers pin useful links and information. Don't necessarily avoid things from school teachers - I've found a lot of great information on class structure, course building, outlines and activities from them. I search for terms like "instructional design," "elearning," "curriculum planning," "course design" and "educational technology."
  • Disney: What can I say? I’m a fan. I search for way too many things to put here.
The point, though, is that inspiration doesn’t have to come from serious places all the time. We love what we love for a reason!

CALL TO ACTION


What inspires you? Is there a website you visit, a blog you read, a quote you love or a book that inspires you to create? Let us know in the comments below!

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