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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the Best Solution Books for Elearning Problems
This author actually was able to present detailed and effective solutions for E-Learning problems. You could sense that he had to solve similar problems. He also seemed to have encountered a broad range of real E-Learning problems, rather than simply theorize about them. The solutions made sense. In addition, Horton presented a number of well researched issues that...
Published on December 19, 2007 by Terrance R. Banach

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Format for Kindle is terrible
Skip the Kindle format. Go with paper.

The worst thing about the kindle book is that there are no page numbers. So if the instructor tells us to pay particular attention to page 253 I have to ask for a specific phrase from this page to search. Even then, page 253 may be broken into multiple locations, so you have no idea where page 253 begins and ends...
Published 10 months ago by Deb Eastberg


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the Best Solution Books for Elearning Problems, December 19, 2007
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This review is from: e-Learning by Design (Paperback)
This author actually was able to present detailed and effective solutions for E-Learning problems. You could sense that he had to solve similar problems. He also seemed to have encountered a broad range of real E-Learning problems, rather than simply theorize about them. The solutions made sense. In addition, Horton presented a number of well researched issues that appear to have caused problems due to frequent instructional designer beliefs that the E-media itself is good enough to cover the lack true learning assistance...... real learning assistance, that all too often is missing in many E-Learning presentations due to interaction gimmicks that offer no relationship to assisting with the learning process.

Great book! Sits now on top of my Michael Allen E-Learning books. I also liked Horton's apparent attitude that philosophizing does not solve instructional problems, but offering solid detailed solution approaches can.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nuts and bolts approach to broad arena--For those who are serious about creating great e-learning, May 26, 2008
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This review is from: e-Learning by Design (Paperback)
Let's face it, most people hate the idea of e-learning. If you're interested in creating *effective* e-learning (and most people are not) and don't know where to start, this is a good place.

The book can be useful both to internal HRD departments and independent trainer/designers. Even if you don't want to design e-learning, this information can help you sort out credible from mediocre contractors and give you idea of how to work with them better.

First, Horton covers design considerations and decisions you may not think of (even if you're experienced) and ways to make e-learning come alive.

Early in the book, Horton states that the primary purposes for e-learning are do, act, and decide. Departing information is a secondary cause (and, if you think about it, sort of a waste of time if you want training to have real value and application in the workplace). This is a *great* place to start from if you're serious about creating real value with your e-learning project.

You can also get a good idea of how to use different programs (Flash, Powerpoint et al) various programs to add both punch and power to your e-learning project.

You can use this book as a guide and starting point to creating good, effective e-learning experiences. This is a major undertaking and, I think, can have real payoffs.

Horton also offers ideas for evaluation.

There is no magic bullet to this and this book doesn't pretend to offer it.

I would have liked a CD to go with it (a lot of material is available of Horton's web site).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really a New Book- Worth Adding to eLearning Library!, November 2, 2011
By 
Jon Aleckson (Madison, WI. USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: e-Learning by Design (Paperback)
I just got my copy of Bill Horton's second edition of E-learning by Design. Disclaimer: Bill and I are friends. However, as he will attest to, I enjoy being intellectually critical of his work. This new edition of E-learning by Design should really have a new title! If you purchased the first edition--this is a must read. I'll highlight the organization of the book, commenting on what has been added--and what has been taken away. Then, I'll discuss different ways to apply this ground breaking "how-to" book.

The book begins with an overview chapter on designing e-learning. This is not just some boring rehash of what you think you already know. This chapter provides the blueprint for the rest of the book. In it he stresses that good objectives are the foundation for good learning materials. And, it has been updated and expanded from the previous edition.
Hortonism: "Unless you get instructional design right, technology can only increase the speed and certainty of failure."

If you understand this chapter and put it into practice, you can be a qualified instructional designer (no tuition necessary). Horton's process "requires selecting, organizing, and specifying the learning experiences necessary to teach somebody something." He advocates identifying goals, explains how to write objectives, and touches on the concept of creating "learning objects." One of the gems of wisdom in this chapter (for me, anyway) was Horton's advice to design your tests first. And that leads me to another pithy quote:

Hortonism: "There is no clearer and more precise statement of a learning objective than a test question that measures whether that objective has been accomplished."

At the heart of e-learning design is the development of learning activities, which Horton categorizes into three types: Absorb, Do, and Connect.
According to Horton, these types of activities help people learn by getting them to "consider research, analyze, evaluate, organize, synthesize, discuss, test, decide, and apply ideas." He devotes a chapter to each type, providing numerous examples and links to live demonstrations. He provides examples like: augmented slide presentations, story-sharing, drill and practice, guided analysis, discovery activities, games, virtual machines and simulations, and "ponder" activities.
Bill has reorganized and reclassified these activities based upon what he learned in the years between editions. And new in this edition, he tells designers how to use these various activities for both social and mobile learning applications.

In the Tests chapter, Horton explains the reasoning behind testing, details how to construct question types, and shows how to avoid trick questions. He also suggests that we "test early and often." Savvy e-learning designers can even use test questions that engage learners and provide feedback.
Hortonism: "Each topic accomplishes one learning objective and accomplishes it fully. That's what makes them topics".

Chapters Six covers how to design topics. Here he discusses how to combine Absorb, Do, and Connect activities with tests to completely meet the needs of a learning objective.

The subject of Chapter 7 has changed in this edition. It is devoted to the design of games and simulations, something I felt was missing from the previous edition. But what happened to the "old" Chapter 7 about designing lessons? It has been moved online in PDF format and is available on the book's Website:[...]. Amazing HORTON to supplement with online readings: Old Chapter 7 is now Online Chapter 12.

Back to games and sims. Bill tries to clarify the fuzzy distinction among games, tests, and simulations. He starts out with simple learning games like jigsaw puzzles and quiz-show interactions. Then branches into branching scenarios, task simulations, and immersive role-playing games (I also recommend Clark Aldrich's Complete Guide to Serious Games and Simulations).

Typical HORTON,..Bill has created a matrix to help designers choose the best game or simulation for the type of learning objective they are trying to accomplish. And, he discusses at length the intricacies of learning game design.

Hortonism: "If game sounds frivolous, call it a simulation. If simulation sounds too stuffy or expensive, call it a game."

Chapter 8 used to cover strategic decisions, of interest to department managers. That chapter is now Online Chapter 13 (Guess you have to open your browser and go to [...] The new Chapter 8 discusses social learning. Bill stresses that social learning isn't new and doesn't require social media. But new technologies have made it more powerful, convenient, and fun. I totally agree, all this hype about social learning is helpful but nothing new. As if we did not know how people really learn and just discovered it is social? Good, go ahead and tweet, tweet, tweet!

Hortonism: "Social learning is learning from other people--co-workers, fellow students, experts, consultant, customers, and consumers."

Throughout this chapter, Bill teaches us how to integrate the many ways people communicate electronically into meaningful learning experiences. As a measure of how important the social aspect of learning has hit home for people, this chapter is one of the longest in the book.

Chapter 9 is also totally new and goes into depth about mobile learning "for people on the go out in the world." In this chapter he touches on the two aspects of mobile learning: enabling mobile individuals to participate in conventional learning and, what he calls, real mobile learning where individuals learn from "objects, environments, experts, and fellow learners" encountered in the real world. Designers will find numerous tables that tie capabilities, limitations, learner characteristics, and environmental conditions to specific design guidelines.Since Horton is aware that many e-learning developers are busy supporting the use of live web conferencing sessions or instructor-led sessions organized by a learning management system, there is a chapter on designing materials for synchronous or asynchronous electronic classrooms. This used to be Chapter 9, but is now Chapter 10. It has been streamlined considerably due to the addition of the chapters on social and mobile learning. For readers of the first edition, you may be asking what happened to the chapters on visual design and navigation. Those too have moved online as Online Chapters 14 and 15.

Got the message? Go to [...]

Hortonism: "Teach the class, don't just let it happen."

The last new addition to the Second Edition is the Appendix on what Bill calls "essentialism." He defines it as teaching "just what people need to learn" and nothing more. In twelve pages, Bill outlines how to use usability testing techniques coupled with rapid prototyping to discover exactly what learners need to know and what they can figure out on their own--and what they didn't need to know at all. According to Bill, this approach can reduce the size and scope of a project by up to 90%.
Too many post-secondary courses focus on instructional design theory and on what Horton calls "ponderous instructional systems design methodologies." Essential building blocks of interactive design are neglected. Yet, the speed of technological change mandates that instructional designers be taught the skills of pragmatic interactive design that enable them to utilize new technology, yet stay focused on facilitating learning. This book should be required reading for graduates of curriculum and instructional design programs.

Putting the book to work
Let's examine how you might put this book to work for you. Does your e-learning development group have published standards for instructional design and course development? This book can help furnish a framework for reaching agreement among staff and clients. Or you can benchmark your current standards and definitions of quality e-learning against examples found in the book. Time for professional development for you training staff is often hard to come by. You can assign readings from the book and discuss a few important points for five minutes before each staff meeting.
Post the companion website on your department Intranet. It contains wonderful examples that are indexed to each chapter, providing a great resource tool for igniting a brainstorming session. Horton's 2000 edition has been cited in academic texts. And if he weren't so cynical about advanced degrees, we would surely be calling him Dr. Horton. Yet, that is essentially what defines Bill Horton. He is our industry's Henry David Thoreau.

Hortonism: "Essentialism blatantly shouts that the goal of education is not to teach everything about a subject but to teach just the things learners need in order to apply skills and knowledge in their lives. Essentialism attempts to identify what few things learners actually need to know, do not know, and cannot figure out or look up on their own."

Recommendation- Horton is a eLearning STAR and his new book deserves all five!.
Buy E-learning By Design if your work involves e-learning. Even if all you do is browse it or use it as an occasional reference to resolve a disagreement among team members, you will come to realize that Bill Horton's "practice, practice, practice" work ethic has once again produced a book chock full of value.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars eLearning designer? This book is for you., February 14, 2007
By 
Jon Aleckson (Madison, WI. USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: e-Learning by Design (Paperback)
This is an excellent book/resource for you if you are involved in eLearning in any way: manager, writer, designer, web developer. Does your eLearning development group have published instructional design and course development standards? This book can help put a framework around reaching agreement among staff and clients. Or benchmark your current standards and definitions of quality eLearning against examples found in the book. Horton's 2000 edition has been cited in academic texts. And if he wasn't so cynical about advanced degrees, we would surely be calling him Dr. Horton. Yet, that is essentially what defines Bill Horton. He the eLearning industry's Henry David Thoreau.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best E-learning Instructions!, June 6, 2010
By 
Chris W "dougalbutler" (Arvada, CO United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: e-Learning by Design (Paperback)
I am creating some online training material and purchased about 7 books on the subject and this was the most engaging, comprehensive, and easy to read book by a long shot. This is the standard that all other e-learning books should be judged by.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in e-learning.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks William & Kit (José Luis Alatorre, Mexico), May 18, 2009
This review is from: e-Learning by Design (Paperback)
Been involved in a major project with the Secretaría de Educación Pública (Mexican Ministry of Education), and wanting to produce the best e-learning for mexican kids, this book has become the Soul and Guide for the ID team working on it. The chapters about Absorb, Do and Conect type activities are the more marked, noted and used to inspire our work. Test chapter (5) as well as Topics & Lessons chapters (6 & 7) have transform the way we design our learning objects.

Certainly Will and Kit (his wife) have touch our lives through this book. Thank you both for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, we hope to become good pupils.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the professional Independent E-Learning Designer, December 1, 2007
This review is from: e-Learning by Design (Paperback)
This is a great book, regardless of whether you are new to e-learning design or been around it for a while. It's pushed my content creation along in a great direction and I know with certainty that my learners are benefiting greatly. Simple, easy to follow instructions. If you only buy one book for your e-learning library this is it!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars e-Learning with less hype, March 18, 2007
This review is from: e-Learning by Design (Paperback)
"e-Learning by Design" is a very valuable update of William Horton's "Designing Web Based Training" (2000). It provides more on recent development with standards for web based courseware. It is particularly useful when using a coursware system such as Web CT and Moodle. You need to worry less about the web design of the course as that is largely set by the package.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great resource for instructional designers., December 30, 2011
This review is from: e-Learning by Design (Paperback)
This is not the type of book to read all the way through- though I do recommend reading through the first chapter and referencing the rest of the chapters when you need them. One of the best idea books I've come across- it is a great resource for instructional designers that develop and train others to develop (however, it can also be useful to teachers that develop their own courses). Great illustrations.

There are a variety of examples in the book for the use of these activities- they can be used for developing informative sites, courses, consulting training exercises, etc. I like how the author breaks down the different types of activities- absorbing, connecting, and doing activities- flexible enough for a learning management system, Web site, or other training program.

My one comment is that the book seems a bit out of order- possibly the activities should go after the lessons chapter, which is why I came to the conclusion that it is best to use this as a reference.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a weath of information! Great resource!, January 7, 2009
This review is from: e-Learning by Design (Paperback)
I've been teaching online for 8 years but I still found plenty of useful information in this book. The guidelines he provides are practical and his writing style is easy to read and understand. My favorite chapters so far are on the different learning activities: Absorb-type, Do-type, and Connect-type. He also provides great material on designing tests, lessons, organization, design, etc.

I'm currently reading a copy I got from the library, but I'm considering purchasing this book because that is how good I feel it is. I've looked at lots of books on e-learning and I would have to say this is one of the best I have come across. I definitely recommend it to anyone who is teaching, or plans to teach online!
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e-Learning by Design
e-Learning by Design by William K. Horton (Paperback - July 28, 2006)
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