Guidance Communications: Archives
Here are links going back several years to presentations we've made, papers we've published and other stuff.
(Except where otherwise noted, all contents are Copyright Guidance Communications, Inc. Please contact us if you want to reprint something.)
Show Me and I Remember - Communicating Your Ideas with Pictures
Communication is more memorable if you use pictures as well as words. Neuroscience and numerous research studies support this assertion. But not everyone is an artist (or has one on staff).
In this session, we explore a practical framework anyone can use to visualize business ideas and present them as simple pictures. We practice drawing; and we discuss ways to transform simple drawings into graphics suitable for formal presentation.
Presented at the ATD Florida Suncoast, Sarasota Meeting, Tuesday, April 7, 2015.
Using PowerPoint as a Graphics Tool
Everyone knows PowerPoint as a tool for building presentations. But as we show in this demo, it is also a great tool for creating graphics for business documents and e-learning projects. With just a little practice, you can draw effective diagrams and illustrations, add clipart or stock photos, apply sophisticated effects, and then export your graphics for multiple uses.
Presented at the ASTD Florida Suncoast Learning Technologies Tradeshow, Thursday, July 17, 2014 in Tampa.
Better Training Through Pictures
People learn better from words and pictures than from words alone. Neuroscience and numerous research studies support this assertion. Yet too often, training presentations and e-learning miss opportunities to use pictures, or use them ineffectively.
In this presentation, we cite evidence from experts such as Ruth Colvin Clark (Graphics for Learning), Richard E. Mayer (Multimedia Learning), and others. With their help, we provide answers to these questions:
- Why should I use pictures for learning?
- What kinds of pictures work best for different content types?
- How can I use pictures effectively with other media?
- Where can I obtain pictures to use?
Presented at the Greater Atlanta ASTD Corporate Training SIG meeting, Monday, October 8, 2012 in Atlanta.
Become a better visual communicator!
Guidance presents Can you draw me a picture? Communicating ideas with diagrams.
Research shows that presentations and learning materials are more effective and memorable if they use visuals. But to communicate optimally, you sometimes need to move beyond clip art and stock photos to visuals that are specific to the content. Even if you have no graphics training, you can learn to do this with diagrams.
Diagrams are simple pictures created using lines, shapes, words and (optionally) clip art. We will present a simplified taxonomy of diagram types and heuristics for choosing the type to use in different situations. We will then teach (and practice) a process to design, define, and refine your diagrams.
This session draws on the work of experts in related fields, including Dan Roam (Back of the Napkin), Nancy Duarte (slide:ology), Ruth Colvin Clark (Graphics for Learning) and Robin Williams (The Non-Designer's Design Book). We distill their observations into a practical approach that any professional can use to create great diagrams.
- STC Atlanta chaper monthly meeting, May 17, 2012
- Greater Atlanta ASTD ACE Conference, August 20, 2012
- The ELearning Guild virtual forum, August 23, 2012
- Training 2013 Conference, February 18-20, 2013 in Orlando
Best Practices for Live Online Training
Guidance President Jack Massa spoke at the 2009 Society for Technical Communication Summit, May 6 in Atlanta. Jack led a discussion as part of the STC Instructional Design and Learning SIG Progressions. His topic was "Best Practices for Live Online Training."
In this session, Jack explored the pros and cons of live online training (or "synchronous e-learning") compared to other delivery methods. He then provided a series of best practices to make online sessions engaging, memorable, and effective.
Jack's research is also presented in this new Guidance white paper: "Thirteen Best Practices for Live Online Training".
At the March, 2007 STC Atlanta Currents Conference, Guidance presented: The Usability Audit, a Do-It-Yourself Approach to Improving Usability.
In this session, Guidance President Jack Massa described an inspection methodology for improving the usability of applications and web sites.
The Usability Audit is a low-cost, low-resource technique that can be used by various team members—technical communicators, product managers, QA analysts or developers—and can be adapted to any phase of the development cycle. The session included a case study in which a Usability Audit was designed and conducted for a suite of web applications.
Aside From Technical Writing, What in the World Can You Do?
Guidance President Jack Massa was the featured speaker at the STC Atlanta Writing and Editing SIG Meeting, April 13, 2004 in Atlanta. His presentation was titled, "Aside From Technical Writing, What in the World Can You Do?"
Jack surveyed a variety of occupations and industries in which technical communicators can use their skills to earn money. He discussed the qualifications needed and some of the pros and cons of each. He also talked about developing universal skills for marketing yourself and succeeding in any business endeavor.
Tools and Techniques for Effective E-Learning
Jack Massa presented "Web Tools and Techniques for E-Learning" at the Society for Technical Communication Currents Conference, February 28, 2004 at Mercer University in Atlanta.
The seminar provided an overview of what makes web-based training effective and explained five key techniques for creating successful WBT. It also examined two prominent WBT authoring tools: Macromedia Dreamweaver and Flash.