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Featured Developer - Jason Marian

Jason Marian

Jason Marian has managed the development of award-winning instructional design and training materials since 2000, developing virtual world scenario-based trainings, advanced gaming-based lessons, and engaging online courses that drive measurable business results.

Jason specializes in adult learning theory, gamification/edutainment, and eLearning and mLearning, targeting Generation X and Y in the workplace.

Award-winning Instructional Design & Training

Q: Hello Jason, its nice to meet you. Please tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your work.

I hold a Master's Degree in Educational and Instructional Design Technologies and have more than 15 years in the learning and development industry as an instructional designer and developer, as well as managing instructional design teams and training departments.

My expertise is in integrating the latest technology into adult learning theories and systematic instructional design processes such as the ADDIE Model and various Agile Training Models; with a specialization in the monetization of training, and calculating the value of training to justify learning and development to executives using all four levels of Kirkpatrick Evaluation as well as other analytics.

My award winning work and experience in gamification/edutainment, mobile strategies, gaming for training, and developing millennials have been featured at conventions such as the eLearning Guild's mLearnCon and other conferences and online forums.

I have been using the iClone Software for over a year for training purposes in the Veterinary industry and have created a small portfolio of work at this point. I use iClone to develop training materials for Veterinary Doctors, technicians, and hospital managers. I have also developed a couple of pieces for our executives to present at Board of Director meetings.

Currently, we are developing some courses for front desk employees using Crazy Talk. I also operate my own instructional design consulting firm, and have a number of other companies interested in having me develop avatars and training scenarios using your software - companies and organizations like the Los Angeles County Fire Dept. and the Cheesecake Factory.

Q: Being an Educational Instructor, what are the key ingredients to being a successful trainer?

Most qualified instructional designers have the same foundational background in Adult Learning Theories. The biggest difference between those that are successful and those that struggle with developing relevant training is the ability to adjust the deliverables to fit the users' needs. It begins with understanding technology and your options as an instructional designer. We all know that technology is constantly changing and as instructional designers, the modules we develop need to change with the technology to remain current and accessible.

Living in a technology driven society, has pushed all industries to embrace technology and improve the experience for users. Look at the entertainment industry - movies use exciting new special effects to wow the audience in large state of the art theaters. The automotive industry is expected to produce more gas efficient cars to compete for consumers. Hospitals have a need for the latest innovations in the medical industry. If you walk into a doctor's exam room and the equipment is 20 years old, how does that make you feel?

Doesn't it make you feel a little concerned about the quality of medicine being practiced there? Apply these same expectations to the training industry - ask yourself, are you still using PowerPoint slides the same way trainers were using them in the 1990s? Learners expect to see modern technology enhancing their learning experience. For the learner - technology equals recent and relative which in turn creates a perception of high quality to the learner. This perception attracts the user's attention and keeps them focused on your training, thus enhancing their learning experience.

Q: When and How did you start using iClone? Are there any other applications you use besides iClone?

I started using iClone about 2 years ago but I started off more than 10 years ago developing virtual training spaces using software like Google Sketchup, and Maya. I had an opportunity when I first developed my 3D modeling skills to work in collaboration with the UCLA Virtual Labs to develop some great interactive training tools. That experience catapulted me into additional collaboration projects with a multitude of software companies that saw a real future for accessible 3D simulations for the everyday learner.

Now, I develop simulations and animations for companies in all different types of industries. It can be used for developing simulations for medical procedures, for customer service scenarios, new hire orientation, law enforcement scenarios, and others. It really allows visual learners to experience life-like situations in a safe asynchronous learning environment.

It also truly captures the essence of the cognitive and constructive approaches to adult learning that reinforces the materials taught in the training. And it can be used to capture and evaluate behavioral changes when the material developed in iClone is imported into an instructional design authoring tool like Articulate Storyline, or into a gaming tool like Unity.

Q:In your opinion, what are the major reasons for using iClone in your work? Any advantages?

I started using iClone about 2 years ago because of its flexibility, ability to integrate components from other software applications, and its amazing ease of use. When I manage teams of instructional designers, I like to train my entire team on the iClone software because it is easy enough for the beginner to work with, but also robust enough for my senior designers to develop completely customized and powerful animations and simulations.

For instructional designers, having the ability to export at high quality yet manageable file sizes makes it ideal for integration into other software applications used to create interactive e-learning and m-learning modules, training videos, and virtual training classrooms.

I also work with a lot of professional video productions for training as well, and although it is great and still the most commonly developed training video method today, there are a lot of concerns that you don't have when you develop with iClone.

The first is updating content. If I have to update a training video with actors, I have to do a complete re-filming - sometimes the same actors aren't available which means I have to film the entire scene over. Other times, I use current employees – this again can be an issue if someone in the video is terminated.

Another thing to consider is the total cost to have a professional film crew on set. And finally, trying to simulate a behavior or scene can be difficult if not completely impossible, especially medical procedures if you want to display the wrong way to do something.

With software like iClone, I alleviate all these potential issues with the flexibility of using avatars, eliminating the film crew, having the ability to edit any scene at any time, and developing any scenario or simulation without limitation.

Q: You also operate your own instructional design consulting firm. Please share with us the services your company offers along with any website or links.

I have owned my own Instructional design consulting firm since 2003. Higher Power Training, provides a variety of training services from auditing training departments for companies looking improve efficiency in training, to developing workshops and online training for companies that either lack a training department or simply have too many projects for their current headcount.

Other services include LMS implementation, performance gap assessments, mobile learning and social learning strategies, and ROI analysis for training.

How To Keep Them Coming Back For More - Interview with Jason Marian

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