In the Hot Seat . . Matt Guyan talks to Tom Kuhlmann


Folks in Sydney and Melbourne recently had the opportunity to attend workshops delivered by Articulate’s Tom Kuhlmann and David Anderson.

Tom Kuhlmann is the Chief Learning Architect at Articulate and has over 20 years’ experience in the learning field. Tom is also the author of the Rapid E-Learning blog that contains lots of practical tips for developers of all levels of experience:

The workshops proved to be very popular with around 100 people attending both days in both locations. Whilst in Melbourne, I had the privilege of sitting down with Tom to ask him some of the questions I’m often asked in Certified Articulate Storyline training (as well a couple of my own).

You’ve been working in the eLearning field for a while now, what do you love about it?

While people have been building e-learning courses for years, it’s still in it’s infancy. And the tools are just now accessible where anyone can build courses. What I love is the creativity people have and the diversity of industries that we’re exposed to.

What are some things that you still find challenging?

Probably the most challenging part is keeping up with some of the technical changes like the transition from SCORM to xAPI and staying relevant. A lot of what I share comes from years of building courses, but I don’t get to build courses like I used to. That’s why those weekly challenges are great. They let me dabble and play around with ideas.

What would you say are some key skills required for someone working in eLearning?

I think there’s three core areas that make up course design: knowing how to construct the content; getting the right look and feel; and understanding how to build performance-based interactions. A course developer would be well served to know instructional design, understand the essence of graphic and UX design, and know how to focus on measurable outcomes. It also doesn’t hurt to know more about the technologies like some programming, networks, etc.

I talk to lots of people who want to be better eLearning developers, what’s your advice for them?

Step away from the next button and try to focus on relevant interactivity and decision-making interactions. Also, show your work and solicit feedback.

How do you keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the eLearning industry?

I try to read at least one book a quarter. And I follow a number of e-learning blogs and discussions online. I also pay attention to the tech industry in general because a lot of the new mobile apps and media are rooted in some aspect of learning.

Thanks Tom, some great tips and advice!

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