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On the Road with Ethan Edwards: Blue Spring State Park

Hello from the Blue Spring State Park in Central Florida. I came to see the manatees and I saw a glimpse of them right away. The river within the park, the St. John's River, is actually upstream from the blue spring itself.  It just has a fountain where the water is springing from and it's warm. So in the winter months, the manatees come here and cluster. Now, it just started raining. And that has really hampered their visibility in the water because a moment ago is just perfectly clear.

No matter where I go, I'm always thinking of how to apply, what we learn, and all sorts of weird fields. So naturally, I'm thinking about waiting for the manatees and how it connects to instructional design.

blue spring manateeLearn from the manatee: know when to slow down

Just like the manatee’s presence, some things aren't immediate. There are times when we think that our projects need to conform to the artificial timelines that we've set - much like the waiting game for both cooperative weather and the manatees to resurface. Sometimes the timeline is more important than the idea, but sometimes if we're hunting for that creative spark, we need to live with something for a little bit, even a day. 

I had a really great experience with a class I taught lately, and just by accident, the timing was off. And so I introduced an idea right at the end of the first day. Before we actually worked on it, we broke and came back the next morning and the participants commented how useful that was to just have the kernel of an idea there in their head. They weren't studying and or thinking of it, but ideas came over that time in sort of a natural way. And when we started working on the problem in the morning things were much richer and those ideas had been discovered that would not have been there if we had just jumped into the idea.

Embrace the natural flow of creativity

I know that's not always possible, but I think it's a really important part of the creative process. The whole process of iterative prototyping, while done quickly, is done in a way that you can bring in new ideas as things reveal themselves. And the process of thinking about something is going to reveal new things, just like the I hope the process of standing out here and looking at this lovely nature preserve will reward me with another view of some of the manatees that I know are out there.

The manatee’s nature reminds me of what an elusive process design is that it that the circumstances need to be right to help you come up with those ideas that are going to bring a design to life. If you’re patient, persistent, and dedicated, you may just find your own “manatee” moment in learning.

Give your e-learning a creative boost with Meaningful, Memorable, and Motivational instructional certification training with Allen Academy!

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About Author

Ethan Edwards
Ethan Edwards

Ethan Edwards draws from more than 30 years of industry experience as an elearning instructional designer and developer. He is responsible for the delivery of the internal and external training and communications that reflect Allen Interactions’ unique perspective on creating Meaningful, Memorable, and Motivational learning solutions backed by the best instructional design and latest technologies.


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