These days, it seems easier than before to become immersed in all things digital. Sometimes it just feels like we cant help it. PCs and Macs. Tablets and smart phones. Apps and tools. While most of us might agree we couldn’t do our job without them, it might be handy to see what we can sometimes do better without them.
Turn off and tune out
Remember those A4 pads we once used for writing and sketching? And flip charts. White boards. Giant wall boards that let us affix all kinds of notes. Post-Its. Jotters. These things do all still exist. They didn’t suddenly become extinct with the advent of tablets and cloud-based collaboration. If you’ve not seen them for a while then it’s probably because they’re tucked away in the stationary cupboard or else been snapped up by the arty people in your organisation, as believe it or not, these analogue tools are damn useful for getting hands on creative. And that’s the beauty – and simplicity – of them. They don’t come with any noise such as email alerts, messenger popups nor internet distractions. What they do come with is a blank canvas. Literally. And all they require is a bit of application … and that application can sometimes be served best when one switches off from the digital world.
Let loose your creativity
I was joking (at least a little bit) when I mentioned them being commandeered by the arty types. But the reality is that instructional design and elearning development are creative processes. Let us not forget this. They’re visual. Hands-on. Engaging. And this is not solely because today’s authoring tools enable us to build more imaginative content more easily, but also the process through which we go about designing the pedagogical components.
Pads. Flip charts. Post-Its. These each enable us to scribble down our thoughts, to map them together, to erase them, to jiggle them around … and to have a colleague scribble their own ideas and visions alongside them. Sometimes we need to make a more physical connection like this to enable our creative flow to manifest more naturally. Try it.
Turn back on and tune back in
What’s more, where appropriate we can feed all of these elements into our digital environment by photographing them with our smart phones and tablets. We can organise them in apps like Evernote and Dropbox and GoogleDrive. And we can of course play with them and re-structure them using visual tools like Mind Manager and ConceptBoard.
We don’t have to leave all this technology alone. Neither do we need to rely on it solely. A blend of the two is what may work best for us.