Kineo tips

Welcome to the Kineo tips. At Kineo we’re all about sharing advice and insights for a fresh approach to e-learning. We’re delighted to partner with the E-learning Centre to bring you some (well, 30 or so with more to come) ideas to keep your e-learning sharp, whether you’re designing, managing or buying it.

  • Tip 1: Learning Starts with a Story

    Someone once said all learning starts with a story. They probably went on to tell a story about how they realised that. Right idea. If you can hook and engage your audience your audience up front, all the more likely they’ll stay the journey. Stories are one of the best ways of doing this.

  • Tip 2: Getting stories into e-learning

    Last time we wrote about the benefits of stories in learning. They’re easy to remember, they’re competing, they’re great shorthand for real experience, and of course they’re authentic, which is maybe the most compelling aspect of all.

  • Tip 3: Narrative and e-learning

    We’ve talked about stories in e-learning and why they’re a great way to make your e-learning memorable, authentic and engaging. What else can you do to bring a narrative into e-learning ? What are the practical points when it comes to writing dialogue?

  • Tip 4: Make more mistakes

    Samuel Beckett described his approach to life as ‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.’ Too existential for you? Try American actress Tallulah Bankhead: “If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.”

  • Tip 5: Working mistakes into your design

    If you can hone in on the mistakes, misperceptions and performance gaps that’s causing 80% of the issues for your target audience, you’ve got the fodder for creating e-learning that adds real value. E-learning can do this by creating safe environments in which your learners can make mistakes, and providing the coaching and support to reduce risk that they’re repeated on the job.

  • Tip 6: Feedback to basics

    We’ve looked in previous insights at mistakes and the key role they play in e-learning design. But a mistake’s not worth making if you don’t learn from it. We’ve all been there: the e-learning leaves you hanging with the worst feedback you can get: ‘wrong – try again’. It can sound enigmatic coming from Yoda, but it doesn’t really cut it as feedback in e-learning. To make sure your mistakes are coupled with support and feedback that will actually help learners, follow these tips.

  • Tip 7: Making the Business Case for e-learning

    The new economic realities mean that every manager up and down your organisation is going to have to fight to spend money on anything. You can expect e-learning to come under as much scrutiny as the next line item. It pays to be prepared. Here are a few bullets to have ready when someone comes asking why we should spend on e-learning.

  • Tip 8: E-learning: why it delivers better performance.

    We looked at some of the arguments for e-learning from a cost viewpoint. You may find your stakeholders saying “We get that it’s cheaper. But is it better?” Here are some of the reasons you can use to explain why e-learning’s better than classroom – most of the time.

  • Tip 9: A little less conversation, a little more action

    In an earlier insight, we talked about the value of dialogue, and how it can give your e-learning pace and authenticity. A client recently talked to us at Kineo about how some of their in-house programmes were suffering from too much dialogue, with the result that the learning points were getting lost. So as a companion piece to an earlier insight, here are a few words of caution about dialogue in e-learning.

  • Tip 10: The scope’s the thing

    Why do e-learning projects run into trouble? Many reasons, and we’ll see how many we can cover in future insights, to help you avoid common mishaps. One area where projects commonly get out of control is a lack of clarity around the scope of the project. It ends up too big to achieve with the budget or the timeline, or not achieving the aims that the stakeholders had in mind, or delivering the experience that learners need. So what can you do to ensure you’re building on solid foundations? Follow these steps for a rapid approach to scoping e-learning.

  • Tip 11: Ok, here’s the scenario

    A lot of effective e-learning relies on a goal-based scenario approach. What are they and how do they work? Let’s not fret about definitions and instead look at what goes in an effective goal-based scenario.

  • Tip 12: Have I got your attention?

    Ever been bored by e-learning? Ever seen an opening screen riddled with bullet after bullet of objectives, with a ‘screen 1 of 98’ counter in the bottom right, as if to say ‘think you’re bored now? Just you wait until screen 45…’. We all feel your pain. First impressions in so many e-learning courses are so often dismal. Designers have a responsibility to make every moment engaging. What can you do in the first few seconds to hook and hold your learners?

  • Tip 13: Cost-cutting

    If your boss hasn’t asked you how you’re cutting costs in e-learning yet, it must be because your name is towards the end of the alphabet – because believe us, the conversation is coming. So, there are three quick tips from us for making your e-learning more cost effective.

  • Tip 14: Love your SME

    We’ve worked with many SMEs down through the years. We’ve seen it go very right and very wrong. Sometimes a little understanding is required. Sometimes a little tough love. Sometimes a little more explanation of where you see the relationship going. Here are some steps that you can take to improve how you manage and collaborate with SMEs to achieve the desired result:

  • Tip 15: Product knowledge e-learning, done rapidly

    If you’re in retail, you know that despite all the cuts you need to make, you can’t cut back on supporting your front-line sales team. More than ever, they need to know how to connect with customers, recognise opportunities to sell, and have the product knowledge information at their fingertips. But you’ve got to do it faster and cheaper than ever. How can rapid e-learning help? Get the design right and you’re on your way.

  • Tip 16: Ten tips for online tutoring

    As e-learning evolves, one welcome trend is the movement away from large formal courses and towards more informal methods – providing support to your learners by any means necessary. Open source tools like moodle provide very cost effective ways of providing what one expert has called ‘surround sound’ support to learners. One of the more cost effective, and high-touch ways of supporting learners is through online tutoring

  • Tip 17: Five questions to ask about authoring tools

    One of the mantras of these crunching times is (or at least should be): if it’s worth doing, you better have a look at doing it yourself, before you pay someone over the odds for it. Ok, so there’s probably a snappier version of that statement. Let’s just say ‘You should look at rapid e-learning authoring tools’. You won’t have to look too hard – the market’s flooded to its banks with them. But what’s right for you? Here are 5 questions to ask during your search:

  • Tip 18: Five Pointers for podcasting in e learning

    Five pointers for podcasts in e-learning: They’re quick, easy to produce and can add great value to your e-learning. Maybe podcasts are the quintessential rapid e-learning? We’d encourage any designer to consider adding value to their e-learning through podcasts. Here are a few pointers for making the most of them.

  • Tip 19: Five steps to great podcast interviews

    Last time we looked at getting yourself set up for success with podcasting. This week we get down to the basics of making the podcast interview itself sound like…well, like someone might actually want to listen to it.

  • Tip 20: Six steps for simple tutorials

    If you’re going to develop e-learning rapidly, you need to start with a model in mind. A model will help you be consistent, develop to good design principles, and create a consistent experience for your learners. One tried and trusted model that should be in any designer’s toolkit is the Knowledge and Skills builder model.

  • Tip 21: Listen carefully

    Audio. It’s cheap to do and quick to make. But so is a pot noodle – and we all know, you shouldn’t add those to your e-learning. So when does audio enhance, and when does it start to be more noise than content? Here are some tips for using it sensibly in e-learning

  • Tip 22: Shoot this! 5 tips for video


  • Tip 23: Twitter, the Karmic Learning Tool

    When Oprah joined Twitter, everyone started claiming that Twitter was all over. But those of us in the know, know that we’re just getting started. Not tweeting yet? Kineo’s new VP of learning design, Cammy Bean, tweetingly invites you aboard.

  • Tip 24: Yamming it up with Yammer

    Previously we wrote about Twitter. Hard to miss Twitter these days, it’s the talk of the town.

  • Tip 25: Top Ten Webinar Tips

    Here are our top ten tips for running successful webinars.

  • Tip 26: Our Objection to Learning Objectives


  • Tip 27: Tear down the visual wallpaper

    It is time to tear down the e-learning wallpaper and take heed of some top tips on using graphics for instructional use.

  • Tip 28: Staying on the cutting edge

    It’s possible that you know what you’re doing. You have a firm grasp of the tools you use to build eLearning and you know how to design just the right solutions for today’s learners.

  • Tip 29: Five Ways to Help Your Learners Space Out

    We were all guilty of pre-exam cramming sessions. Perhaps you did that once or twice yourself? Enough to ace the test, I’m sure. But did you actually walk away from the experience with any lasting knowledge?

  • Tip 30: Show Don

    Helping Subject Matters Experts (SMEs) get from a flat document to an actual piece of e-learning can be quite a leap. Learning designers often have the same problem, even with years of experience at creating e-learning. You scope out your course or experience in a Word document and then hand it off – perhaps to a builder or maybe you do it yourself – to create something jazzy in Flash or Articulate. It’s only then that the light bulbs go off – “Ahh, I see how it’s going to work!” or “I didn’t know it was going to look like that!” In this week’s top tip, we’ll share some ideas that work for us – ways to create a visual and comprehensible design sooner rather than later