FREE “End of Year” Worksheet

There’s much to be said for “end of year” reviews. Goal-setting and accountability are crucial for business owners. This free, downloadable (PDF) worksheet is great for reviewing the previous year, seeing what common themes pop up, and making plans for what you would like to accomplish (and how you would like to feel) in your business. This simple spreadsheet is something you can use again and again in the coming years, or you can even revisit it every month or every quarter to track changes and ensure you’re still on track. Here’s to wishing you continued success this year, next year, and beyond…

Download your FREE planner worksheet here

Andragogy: Adult Learning Theory

Andragogy Adult Learning Theory Infographic by Brittany Thompson Robinson Instructional Designer

Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to teach children as well as adults. Although there are many similarities, there are also many differences between designing curriculum and facilitating a class for adults rather that for children. One of the biggest differences is that children are clean slates, while adults bring a lifetime of past experiences, existing knowledge (or bias/opinion), and social/cultural influences into their learning environment. Adults also do not learn in the same ways that children do. Therefore, typical pedagogy that works with younger learners may not apply to adult learners.

In comparison to pedagogy, which is Greek for “child-leading” (although it applies to learners of all ages), the word andragogy comes from the Greek for “man-leading” and specifically focuses on adult learning theory (for all genders).

Andragogy (Adult Learning Theory) includes formal, informal, and non-formal learning:

Formal – learning goals and objectives are formally set by someone other than the learner, such as a trainer or organization

Informal – the learner sets the learning goals and objectives

Non-Formal – blends formal and informal learning, as when the learner’s boss or manager requests that he or she conduct self-directed learning on a topic that will lead to improved job performance

The 5 Assumptions About Adult Learners

Malcolm Knowles, who is known for developing Andragogy (Adult Learning) theories, made five (5) assumptions about adult learners:

1. Adult learning is self-directed and independent;

2. Adult learners bring prior experiences and knowledge into learning situations;

3. Adult learners are ready to learn;

4. Adult learners thrive in problem-based learning situations that immediately impact their current situations/carrers/lives

5. Adult learners have internal (intrinsic) motivation

The 4 Principles of Adult Learning

Knowles also believed that the following four (4) principles apply to adult learning:

  1. Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluating their instruction.

  2. Experience is the basis for learning.

  3. Adults flourish when learning subjects of immediate relevance and impact to them.

  4. Adult learning is problem-centered (Kearsley, 2010)

Andragogy in Action

To help illustrate how andragogy might apply to a real world learning scenario, let’s say you are an Instructional Developer who has been tasked with creating an online course that teaches new business owners how to use a digital media tool to streamline the e-Business process. You will need to:

  1. Explain to the learners why it’s important for them to master this tool and/or learn specific information

  2. Ensure instruction is task-oriented.

  3. Consider the broad experiences, skill levels, and backgrounds of learners when it comes to using computers or digital media software.

  4. Ensure the online course is self-directed and autonomous; however, as an instructor, you should also be available to offer support, guidance, and troubleshooting as needed.

For additional information, view my infographic on adult learning theory:

Andragogy Adult Learning Theory Infographic by Brittany Thompson Robinson Instructional Designer

Podcast: Business Insurance Q&A

After being swept up in the excitement of moving overseas, I’ve finally (finally!) had a chance to finish editing this Business Insurance Q&A interview with insurance specialist, Izabela Rowe.

As many of you know, I started offering business coaching services this year. My clients are new (or aspiring) business owners who need assistance, support, and accountability in getting their businesses off the ground. (Does this sound like you? If so, feel free to get in touch with me and see how I can help you.)

As part of my business coaching service, I also run a free Facebook community for new and aspiring business owners. In our group, many of the members have questions about business insurance – so Izabela was kind enough to answer some common questions just for our group. I shared a video interview exclusively to the Facebook group and I am sharing in podcast format here.

If you’ve been wondering whether you need business insurance, this podcast is for you. Please join the group for a free quote or have any questions for them. You can also leave a comment below and I will get you an answer as soon as I can. Hope this helps you!

Resources mentioned in this podcast:

That Digital Nomad Life

“Why did you leave?” he asked. “Will you ever move back to Kentucky?”

His voice was the echo of a hundred voices before it. These questions are not new and it’s only natural for people to ask. After all, I did just leave my little hometown in the heart of the Bluegrass State to travel the world with my husband full-time. When you’re in your thirties and you’ve spent the past six months living and working abroad, rather than pursuing the traditional “American Dream” of large houses and children and white picket fences, people will inevitably ask questions.

Here’s the best way I’ve found to explain it:

When you were growing up, did you have a best friend you felt connected to, who made you feel better when you were down and was always there for you? Did you have a lot of good memories together, plenty of adventures, or possibly a few drinks after a long day at work? Maybe you’re still the closest of friends – or maybe one day you woke up and realized that something was different.

Growing as a person involves change. It involves breaking comfort zones. And sometimes, it involves realizing that where you are is not where you need or want to be at this moment in your life; that you are being pulled in another direction, that you have to make a decision, or that you have to make a move.

That’s how I feel about Louisville. That’s also how I feel about Lexington right now. Some of my happiest moments are owed to the Derby City as well as to my hometown. These are cities where I came of age, found myself, figured out who my friends are, and met my husband. We had some beautiful experiences in the process. Louisville acted as a muse providing me with so much inspiration over the years. Lexington provided a home base, stability, and plenty of friends, family, and loved ones to support me in my spiritual journey as well as my professional career. For that, I will always be grateful.

But it came time to move forward.

I’m not a fan of the “digital nomad” catchphrase. It sounds a bit pretentious but the people living this lifestyle have yet to come up with a better term to describe it.

We can’t really call this an “adult gap year” because there is no gap. My husband and I are both working. I’m running a business, coaching clients, designing things, planning workshops. I’m even taking college courses.

We aren’t living abroad as tourists. We’re just living (and working) abroad. So maybe “location-independent” is the best way to describe what we are doing. We have the freedom to live and work from anywhere in the world – but we have to continue working so that we can keep that freedom.

When we’re not working? My husband and I spend our time planning for future investments, researching how to #travelhack, contemplating where (and if) we will build our future home, looking into immigration laws and pet quarantine regulations, and planning for the family we might one day have. But we’ve still got a little time before any of that happens.

I view this exciting moment in my life as a temporary stepping stone giving me time to contemplate my next move. I find myself looking forward to the remainder of my thirties in a way that most people my age probably don’t. I’m not dreading getting older because I don’t feel like my best adventures are behind me, but rather AHEAD of me. They’re ahead of all of us, if we just find ways to make them happen.

Don’t worry. I’m working towards that…

The Importance of Storyboarding (with an Example)

Having worked on projects in the past both with and without storyboards, I must stress what a valuable part of the Instructional Design process it is. Effective storyboards help ensure all stakeholders, designers, and curriculum developers are on the same page. This saves valuable time and energy, helps ensure a happy client (if you’re developing curriculum for someone else), while also avoiding project scope creep.

To help you understand what goes into a great storyboard, I wanted to share an example that I have created. One of my passion projects is teaching STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics) skills to children, such as writing computer code or developing their own video games. I decided to create a storyboard for a class that I have taught in the past, which had existing lesson plans but never received an official storyboard.

For this storyboard, I am introducing a group of students (aged 12-14yrs or approximately middle school aged) to Unreal Engine 4, a piece of professional video game creation software that they will be using to create their very own video games. This is the first lesson in the module, and they will build upon this knowledge for future lessons, which will cover the details for how to use the software, how to create a video game adventure map, how to plan their project and their own storyboard (yes, we have the children create storyboards of their own), and how to develop their own playable video games. Obviously, this is a long process and so there should be way more than 10 slides (and way more than 1 lesson or 1 module). Typically, we break this project up into several hours per day over the course of at least 3-5 days, depending on student skill levels.

You can view my storyboard here.

FREE Checklist for Evaluating Digital Media

If you’re an Instructional Designer or Curriculum Developer, pulling multimedia or digital technology into your curriculum can be a great way to make your curriculum more interactive, interesting, memorable, and effective. However, you want to be mindful about which digital resources you include. I’ve created this FREE checklist to help you evaluate whether or not to use content from a digital media source (such as a website, game, etc.) in your upcoming curriculum or instruction. Enjoy!

Click here to download

How to Create Your Own Website for FREE

Today, I want to share a quick video about something that I get a lot of questions about: how to build your own website without having to hire a designer. Believe it or not, you can build your very own website for FREE from the comfort of your own home, without having to pay a web designer or a web developer to help you. Best of all, no previous design experience or knowledge of computer coding is required.

When it comes to building your own website here are many tools out there. My recommendations are the 3 W’s: WordPress, Wix, or Weebly. Although I’ve used all three, most of my clients are on the WordPress platform, which is famous for its “five minute install.”

In this video, I’ll show you how to create your very first website on your own. Follow along to get your website up and running right now: