How I Create My Weekly Newsletter (and personal curation tips you should steal)

Image from https://blog.feedly.com/

Since I haven’t written a blog post in a while, I thought it was time to dust off the cobwebs. I wanted to answer one of the questions I get asked the most. In this post, I’ll share a bit about my curation process and how I choose the things I share in my weekly newsletter.

You may know that I publish a newsletter called “Friday Finds” every Friday morning. Each week, I scan nearly 800 sources to pick the 5 most noteworthy items along with 3 podcasts and 5 tech tips or tools.

Subscribe to my free newsletter.

While that may sound like a lot and something that consumes massive amounts of time – it really isn’t. Not if you know some of the tools and strategies I’m about to share with you. The good news is that even if you’re not looking to publish a newsletter, these concepts can help anyone who would like to improve their own personal process for consuming content from the web more efficiently. 

I’ve organized this into three sections modeled on Harold Jarche’s Seek-Sense-Share framework

  • Seeking is finding things out and keeping up to date. 
  • Sensing is how we personalize information and use it. (Including managing & organizing)
  • Sharing includes exchanging our resources, ideas, and experiences with others.

The most effective thing you can do to keep up with whatever you’re interested in is to make the process as efficient as possible. Obviously, most of us have jobs and other responsibilities that limit the amount of time we have to spend on keeping up. We never have as much time to spend on it as we’d like. Fortunately, with a good process you can do very well in whatever small windows of time you’re able to manage a few times a week. 

There are 3 key steps you can take to significantly reduce the amount of time you need to spend on keeping up: 

  1. Don’t go looking for information–let it come to you. 
  2. Filter out as much noise as possible.
  3. Consolidate the number of “inboxes” you use.

Information Delivery & Filtering

The first step is to change the way you consume information. Instead of going out and looking for stuff, having the stuff you want come to you is WAAAAYY better. The most efficient way to make that happen is to use an app like Feedly. (Inoreader is another good option.) This step alone is a big step in the right direction towards efficiency. 

Note: I’m on a free account but it is a grandfathered version that is no longer available. The current free version will give you up to 100 sources and 3 boards. Which is plenty for most people just starting out. If you need more than that, it is absolutely worth the few dollars a month to upgrade to a paid plan.

Consolidate Your Inboxes

Think about how many different places you look for information. Most of us visit a fairly large number of places daily including: our email inboxes (work & personal), social media sites, Amazon, news sites, weather sites, financial information sites and I could go on. You get the idea. 

Most of these sites have a feed you can subscribe to which eliminates the need for you to go visit all these sites individually. Instead, by subscribing to their feeds, you can create a personalized information consumption system and organize it any way you like.  

RSS is the magic that enables us to consolidate so many information sources into a single “inbox” (Feedly). Whether the information you want comes from a blog, a news site, Twitter, YouTube, newsletters, Reddit, podcasts or just about anything else, you can follow them in Feedly. (You can learn more here: 11 types of sources you can add on Feedly)

Here is how it works with Feedly. (Other feed reading tools work similarly.)  

Following a new source

Here is a short video showing how you can find and follow new sources. You can discover feeds right from within Feedly which is great when you’re first starting out. Or more commonly for me, just add a site that you already know. 

Here is a short video showing how you can find and follow new sources. You can discover feeds right from within Feedly which is convenient when you’re first starting out. Or more commonly for me, just add a site that you already know. 

For starters, I highly recommend using the Feedly browser extension. It makes following sources quick & easy. 

(If you’re curious, there are a variety of options for adding a new source to follow in Feedly.)

For the majority of sites the Feedly mini browser extension is all you need. Feedly Mini is a Chrome and Firefox extension. It automatically detects the RSS feed of the site/blog you are browsing and gives you the option to open it in Feedly, and add it to your feeds. 

*Note that you can also save things to your Boards from anywhere with Feedly Mini. We’ll talk about those shortly.

Imagine that you are browsing the Web and you find a new source you want to follow in Feedly. When you click on the Feedly Mini icon, Feedly Mini will automatically discover the RSS feed for the page you are reading. It will show you a popup with information about that source. You can click on Follow in Feedly to preview the RSS in Feedly and add it to one of your feeds.

Dealing with “hidden” feeds

Sometimes you’ll run into a site that isn’t quite so “friendly” and the feed is hidden from the Feedly extension. This is where the RSS Subscription Extension comes in handy. 

The RSS Subscription Extension auto-detects RSS feeds on the page you are reading and upon finding one will display an RSS icon in the Omnibox, allowing you to click on it to preview the feed content and subscribe. The extension comes with a few feed readers predefined (including Feedly) and it also allows you to add any web-based feed reader of your choice to the list.

Sites Without a Feed

If you ever find a site that neither of the extensions above can identify a feed or the site simply doesn’t have one, there are tools like Fetch RSS and others that let you generate a feed yourself that you can use to follow updates for that site. 

Email Newsletters

The ability to subscribe to email newsletters and keep them out of my inbox is one of my favorite things to do with Feedly. This allows me to control when I want to read a newsletter and find it much easier than if it is in my inbox. Who doesn’t want to declutter their inbox, right?!?!

For paid subscribers, Feedly makes it easy by giving you a unique email address you can use to subscribe to newsletters. This routes them to your Feedly account instead of your email inbox. 

Converting Emails into a Feed

If you’re on the free version, don’t worry, you can still read your email newsletters in Feedly by using Kill the Newsletter. This site converts any email newsletter subscription into an RSS feed you can subscribe to in Feedly. 

Instead of using your personal email address to subscribe to email newsletters, go to the Kill the Newsletter site and enter the name of the newsletter. This will generate a custom email to subscribe with along with the feed where all the newsletters will be sent. 

Efficiency + Serendipity 

This type of setup is very efficient. 90-something percent of the things I consume come through Feedly. But I also want to retain an element of serendipity. That is why I’ll occasionally dip into some of the “randomness” from places like Twitter and LinkedIn. Not everyone publishes to a blog or website and there are some super smart people who only share their knowledge via social media.  

SIDE NOTE: Using Twitter Lists allows you to customize, organize and prioritize the Tweets you see in your timeline similar to how Feedly does that for everything else. 

Discovering new stuff 

I try to intentionally find content and avoid getting stuck in a ‘filter bubble’ by using some sites and tools to help me discover new things including: 

  • Refind is a cool service that serves up 7 new links to you every day based on your interests.

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  • The Sample will pick a newsletter to deliver to you every day—sometimes related to your current interests, sometimes completely different. If you find one you like, it only takes one-click to subscribe.

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  • Deep Culture is a great weekly newsletter that gives you 20 interesting things in each issue.

Organizing & Prioritizing Your Feeds

Another great thing about Feedly is how it enables me to organize and prioritize all of my feeds. In essence I have organized all of my subscriptions in a way that prioritizes them into three categories:

  • A-List
    A small number of feeds that I want to see every day. These are my favorites  and the best of the best. 
  • B-List
    A larger number of feeds that I read if I have a bit of extra time. I probably get to these 2-3 times a week.
  • Everything Else
    These are the “nice to have” feeds. Maybe they are just for fun, or maybe there are a few random things to add that sense of serendipity I mentioned earlier. I read these whenever I get to them. Maybe on a weekend or sometimes never and that’s ok. 

Feedly folders are an easy way to organize your feeds any way you want.  https://blog.feedly.com/feeds-and-folders/

So now that you know how I keep up with things, the next step is keeping track of the good stuff so I can find it later. For the newsletter, I use a Feedly board to save the collection of things I’m considering each week. 

Boards are like libraries of high-value content. When you find something that’s valuable, save it to a Board for future reference. You can create multiple boards to collect related items you want to save. Sort of like your browser bookmarks. 

I also save things for other purposes like projects, workshops, research, conference sessions, etc using Bublup and Walling.App. There are tons of options for saving links, notes, etc. Way too many to cover here. I feel like I’ve tried almost all of them, so if you have any questions feel free to send them my way. 

An important part of curating things for a newsletter or any other purpose is to provide some context about why it is important and how it relates to the people in your audience. For my newsletter, that happens as part of writing the content in a Google Doc that I’ll touch on in more in the section below. 

For some people, this last step is the one that may be the hardest – myself included. Once upon a time, I had a thought in my head that went something like this: “I don’t know anything special…why would anyone want to see what I say/share?” And that is exactly NOT the point. The thing that changed the game for me was when I realized that the things I find valuable may also be valuable to others.  So if you find something that helps you, share it so it might help others. 

As long as you’re learning, you’ll always have valuable things to share no matter who you are. 

Depending on what you want to share and who you want to share it with, sharing can literally happen with the click of a button. so time should not be an issue. With tools like Buffer and others, you can click a button to quickly queue up a post that includes the url and title from the site you want to share. It will often serve up an image you can include along with an opportunity for you to add a note on why you think it is valuable. Quick, easy – done! It doesn’t need to be anything more than that. 

Some forms of sharing may require long-form options such as creating blog posts, videos, etc. This obviously takes more time and commitment than simply sharing links but it is also an opportunity to add more value and infuse more of your personal thoughts and knowledge. 

There are too many options for sharing to list and new ones cropping up every day. I can tell you from experience that sharing what you learn is a valuable thing to do. It has given me opportunities that I could never have imagined were even possible. 

Not only are you helping others when you share. You’re also helping yourself by building your visibility and the credibility of being a professional. Simply sharing one thing per week on LInkedIn can raise your visibility and potential opportunities. For example, people who share content on LinkedIn at least once a week are nearly 10 times more likely to be contacted for new opportunities than people who don’t share. (1)

Putting the Newsletter Together

Usually sometime on Wednesday or Thursday I’ll start pulling together the contents of the newsletter using the items I’ve saved to my Newsletter board in Feedly. There are almost always more than enough items so it is just a matter of selecting the best ones. The newsletter recipe I use is five articles, 3 podcasts and 5 new tools with a playlist of the music I’m listening to while I work. 

Some people may wonder how the heck music got into a newsletter about learning, design and technology and it is an interesting story. As a reader of many newsletters, I’m always on the lookout for good ideas for mine and the “What I’m Listening To” idea comes from Tim Ferris’ “5-Bullet Friday” newsletter. I thought it was neat and tried it out…then not long after that I thought it was a bit silly and was going to take it out. Before I did, I took a peek at the statistics and was surprised to learn that the music list is consistently among the most clicked links in the newsletter. So the music lives on! 

Anyway, I have a Google Doc template that I use to create posts for my website which runs on WordPress. For a long time, I used a plugin that would publish this Google Doc directly to WordPress as a new post. But that has stopped working and until I find a replacement, I just do a simple Copy/Paste into a new post. 

During the week prior, I save the best things I find to my newsletter board in Feedly. Then when it is time to assemble the newsletter, all I have to do is browse the small number of candidates from the current week and pick the best. It usually takes me about 30 minutes to pull everything together into a post.

When I started sending out my newsletter back in 2015, I simply posted it to my WordPress website. Shortly after that I connected it up via RSS with a free Mailchimp account. This is easy to set up and automated once it is up and running. Mailchimp looks at my website every morning at 8am and if it finds any new posts, sends them out to my email subscribers.

Tips to Help You Get Started

If this sounds like something you’d like to try (I think everyone should!) here are a few helpful tips to give you a head start:

  1. Signup for Feedly and follow your ‘must see’ sources.
    This could be your favorite authors, top experts in your field, a professional/industry organization, or anything else that always want to see. You don’t need a lot. Think quality over quantity. Even just five really good ones is a nice start.
  2. Curate the curators
    If you want a bigger bang for the buck, follow really good curators. They’re already covering a lot of ground, which means you’re also covering a lot.
  3. Strive for 25
    If you can smartly select 25 good sources on any topic, you’ll be far ahead of most people with similar interests.
  4. Use browser extensions and mobile apps
    Looking for ways to be ruthlessly efficient and tapping into your windows of opportunity (like waiting in line, riding the bus, etc.) can have a big impact.
  5. Block time on your calendar
    Make it a habit. Trust me. Even if you can only spare 10 minutes a day, it is an investment that you’ll reap great returns on.
  6. Share what you learn
    When you find something helpful, pass it along to your network with a note about how it helped. You’ll be surprise how valuable this can be.

Whether you’re just starting to think about your own process or looking to improve what you’re already doing, I’m happy to help in any way I can. Please feel free to send me any questions or comments you have.

Whew! That was a lot more than I thought it would be when I started it. Thanks for sticking with me all the way to the end.

What do you think? Do you do any of this? Do you have any better ideas or things that work better for you? What tips can you share? What questions do you have?

Friday Finds: The Best Of Learning, Design & Technology | February 25, 2022

 “If you seek tranquility, do less.” 

Marcus Aurelius

Happy Friday! I had the best time last weekend at our local curling club. I learned a lot – especially that curling is a lot more challenging that it looks. Just imagine sliding a 40lb stone 150 feet across ice and getting it to stop where you want it to. If you ever get a chance I highly recommend giving it a try.

Thanks for reading!

What I’m Listening to:  It is rainy and cold here today which makes me feel like some calm Lo-Fi sounds are in order.

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Last week’s most clicked item:
The War Against Forgetting


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Design for Cognitive Bias: Using Mental Shortcuts for Good Instead of Evil

Our minds take shortcuts to get through the day. Usually they’re harmless. Even helpful. But what happens when they’re not? In this webinar, Dave will use real-world examples to identify some particularly nasty biases that frequently lead us to make bad decisions. He’ll also talk about some content strategy and design choices we can use in our designs to redirect or eliminate the impact of those biases.

https://www.thinkcompany.com/events/design-for-cognitive-bias/

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Your memory is lying to you. Here’s how. 

Our memories are not reality. A memory is the pattern of neural activity that represents the sights, sounds, smells, feelings, information, and language that you experienced when you learned something. When this neural circuit is reactivated, you experience a memory. Recalling memories is not a passive process. Every time we recall a memory, it changes, and we store this “2.0 version” over the older version in our brain. With each retelling, the memory drifts further and further away from the original memory.

Watch video

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Connecting Through Storytelling: Unleash the Power of Compelling Communication

Stories are scientifically proven to help build relationships and drive listeners to action. A good story is a powerful communication tool—especially in a time when people are bombarded by new messages every day. Help your team increase its effectiveness by using storytelling to create authentic, meaningful, and memorable connections.

https://www.arielgroup.com/resource/connecting-through-storytelling-2/

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In a new world of informational abundance, content curation is a new kind of authorship

Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curation of “cross-disciplinary interestingness” that scours the world of the web and beyond for share-worthy tidbits. Here, she considers how new approaches to curation are changing the way we consume and share information.

https://www.niemanlab.org/2011/06/maria-popova-in-a-new-world-of-informational-abundance-content-curation-is-a-new-kind-of-authorship/

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The Seven Habits That Lead to Happiness in Old Age

Your well-being is like a retirement account: The sooner you invest, the greater your returns will be. Happiness tends to decline throughout young adulthood and middle age, bottoming out at about age 50. After that, it heads back up again into one’s mid-60s. Then something strange happens. Older people split into two groups as they get old: those getting much happier, and those getting much unhappier. Which one will you be in? 

https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2022/02/happiness-age-investment/622818/

Bonus: You can catch the author Arthur Brooks on the Daily Stoic podcast


If you’re enjoying this newsletter, I’d love it if you shared it with a friend. You can send them here to sign up.

Want more? Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Looking for a previous edition? Check out the archives 

Friday Finds: The Best Of Learning, Design & Technology | February 18, 2022

“You have to be odd to be number one.”

Dr. Seuss

Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a lot of love headed their direction this Valentines week.  

Thanks for reading!

What I’m Listening to:  Mark Farina is one of my favorites to listen to while I’m working, so that is what is filling the airwaves around here this morning.

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Last week’s most clicked item:
Key Insights for Learning Professionals


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2022 L&D GLobal Sentiment Survey

Donald Taylor’s annual survey of global L&D pros shows how Covid-19 continues to affect Learning and Development (L&D) world-wide, both giving L&D departments clear goals to aim for, and making it difficult to achieve them. Dig in and learn more about what everyone thinks will be hot in L&D in 2022.

https://donaldhtaylor.co.uk/insight/gss2022-results-01-general/

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How do we learn complex skills? Understanding ACT-R Theory

John Anderson’s ACT-R theory is an ambitious attempt to synthesize a huge amount of work in psychology to form a broad picture of how we learn complicated skills. Even if the theory turns out not to be the whole story, it helps illuminate our understanding of the problem.

https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2022/02/15/act-r/

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10 Characteristics Of Learning And Development At Its Best

In this article, Sam Allen tells that if the impact of Coronavirus on the security of roles in L&D has taught us anything, it is that we need to do everything in our power to change the perception of our industry and its value in organizations. He shares the practices he believes will ensure L&D is seen as a credible and valued partner to the business and not an order taker or worse still an expendable “nice to have”.

https://offbeat.works/article/learning-and-development-10-characteristics-of-ld-at-its-bes

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The War Against Forgetting

A whitepaper from Learning Pool by John Helmer on spaced practice – what it is, why it is relevant and how to use technology to harness the spacing effect.
[Providing your email is required to download]

https://learningpool.com/the-war-against-forgetting/

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iDTX 2022 Conference Recordings

Check out Tom McDowall and recorded sessions from a cast of great L&D pros that took place last week as part of the IDTX online conference. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDmrILQiWUw&list=PLRvjaaAi-H8OO9QuFx2_hYr-3v2VtVOqg

  • Around is an online meeting option you may want to check out. – it is Jeremy Caplan’s favorite!
  • HeyWith is a slick, easy to use platform to build an online presence by showcasing projects, portfolio, resume, testimonials, and highlights in one place.
  • Video Candy is every tool you need to edit videos online. 100% FREE and easy to use!
  • Tribe is a customizable community platform that I’m about to try out for a project. 
  • Look Busy is an app that fills your work calendar with realistic-looking (but secretly fake) work events.(If you’re so inclined.)

If you’re enjoying this newsletter, I’d love it if you shared it with a friend. You can send them here to sign up.

Want more? Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Looking for a previous edition? Check out the archives 

Friday Finds: The Best Of Learning, Design & Technology | February 11, 2022

 “The mind, when distracted, takes in nothing very deeply, but rejects everything that is, as it were, crammed into it. There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living: there is nothing that is harder to learn.”

Too Busy To Pay Attention

Happy Friday! We are in New York to ski for a couple of days this weekend. As always my main goal is to walk out on my own power when we’re done. My entire family started skiing when they were 3 years old and can literally ski circles around me. I enjoy it, and I know that I slow them down. I’m glad they let me tag along and sometimes I think the comic entertainment I provide might be the only reason they do. 

Thanks for reading!

What I’m Listening to:  I’m mentally preparing for this afternoon’s skiing with some Lo-Fi beats.

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Last week’s most clicked item:
The Five Things You Need to Know About Retrieval Practice


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Best From The Brightest: Key Ideas And Insights For L&P Professionals

Gather your learning and performance team together, share conversations with your friends in the field—this trove of gold from 2021 is the bedrock for our evolving and improving work in 2022. Will Thalheimer has asked 48 thought leaders in the L&P field to share their favorite content from 2021. 

https://tier1performance.com/key-ideas-insights-for-learning-performance-professionals/


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PowerPoint Gets Live Camera Integration

This is a game changer! A new update to PowerPoint now gives you full control of live camera feeds right inside of PowerPoint. Just like any other image, you can move, resize, crop, and apply transitions (Hello Morph!)  or styles to the camera feed. You can also use Designer in PowerPoint to enhance the look of your slides that use cameo. It looks like it will roll out to Office Insiders (Beta Channel) first before hitting everyone sometime later.

https://insider.office.com/en-us/blog/integrate-a-live-camera-feed-into-your-presentation-with-cameo-in-powerpoint


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How to Survive in a World of Information Overload

With the information deluge showing no sign of easing in the years to come, the world is bifurcating into people who allow their time and attention to be controlled and manipulated by others, and those with the power to decide for themselves.Without the ability to block out distractions, you’ll be condemned to going through life following someone else’s agenda.

https://www.nirandfar.com/dealing-with-information-overload/


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Tracking a PDF with xAPI

Jeff Batt has offered up a template you can use easily switch on xAPI tracking to see when a learner starts a PDF and when a learner completes a PDF. Once you download the template, you simply replace the PDF, adjust the HTML and JavaScript files and now you have a PDF sending over xAPI statements to any Learning Record Store (LRS).

https://learningdojo.ninja/blog/track-pdf-xapi.html


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Being A Successful Corporate Training Professional And Academic Knowledge – Does It Matter?

There is a long and lively debate over on Twitter in response to this tweet by Brent Schlenker. Personally, I think this depends on how you define “successful corporate training professional”.  If that means getting and keeping a job this may be right. If on the other hand it means helping the organization by improving performance and crafting effective learning solutions, probably not. What do you think? 

https://twitter.com/bschlenker/status/1489589557439913984


 

  • Tiiny.Host is the fastest, easiest way to host your web content. This is great way to get your elearning courses online. You can even add password protection.
  • MindMarker is an adaptive tool that delivers and reinforces learning in the flow of work
  • Did you know that you can generate QR codes with a formula in Google Sheets
  • Flippingbook converts PDFs into digital flipbooks you can share and track
  • Cloq.digital is a simple timer you can use for facilitate online events, remote co-working or whatever you need track time for
  • Questionwave is fast, free way to collect questions ahead of or during an events


If you’re enjoying this newsletter, I’d love it if you shared it with a friend. You can send them here to sign up.

Want more? Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Looking for a previous edition? Check out the archives 

Friday Finds: The Best Of Learning, Design & Technology | February 4, 2022

No matter what route you choose, you’ll find pain in it. It’s not a curse. It’s life 

 Tochukwu E. Okoro

Happy Friday! We’re starting day 2 of an ice and snow storm here that the kids are all excited about because school has been cancelled for the 2nd day in a row. Today is definitely a day when I’m grateful that I get to work from home and nobody has to go out and brave the elements. Wherever you are in the world, I hope this finds you in a nice, cozy place as you head into the weekend.

Thanks for reading!

What I’m Listening to:  Today is another Lo-Fi kind of day – at least until I have to go out and shovel snow.

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Last week’s most clicked item:
The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention


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Crazy How Good Life Becomes When You Focus on Being 1% Better Each Day

TIm Denning posits that “The slow burn lasts longer.” He says we should want less to get more. I think we must go even deeper. I want “slow hustle” to become the new trend. It’s where you focus on daily consistency and overcoming boredom, not working 80-hour workweeks and joining Steve Jobs in an early grave from burnout. 

https://timdenning.com/crazy-how-good-life-becomes-when-you-focus-on-being-1-better-each-day/


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The Five Things You Need to Know About Retrieval Practice

When it comes to learning, people are often focused on getting facts into their heads. But experts argue that people should be more focused on getting information OUT of their heads.These types of active learning strategies are known as retrieval practice.

The rationale behind retrieval practice is three-fold. First, actively trying to remember something or perform some skill is a more effective way of learning than passively re-reading about it. Second, learning practice provides people with better ways of monitoring what they know. In other words, retrieval practices help engage metacognition. Finally, retrieval practice keeps people focused. The act of re-reading a textbook, for instance, often encourages mind wandering, but retrieval practice can keep individuals engaged in the task at hand.

https://www.the-learning-agency-lab.com/learning-strategies/retrieval-practice/


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The 6 best email marketing apps to send drip campaigns

If you’ve never tried using email marketing apps to send drip campaigns, here are 6 of the best options you should consider. With the right drip email software you can create brilliantly timed and fully personalized emails. I’ve been using email marketing apps for years to support learning programs and they are great.

https://zapier.com/blog/best-drip-email-marketing-apps/


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Diversify your visuals

Visuals are powerful and representation matters. Jeremy Caplan has shared a collection of sites for finding inclusive images including stock photos and illustrations. (You should subscribe to his awesome newsletter!)

https://wondertools.substack.com/p/diversify


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A Guide to Cloud Fonts in Microsoft Office 365

Cloud fonts are fonts hosted in the cloud by Microsoft Office, and are available in the latest versions of Office applications. Using these cloud fonts will help avoid any issues with others you share your files with having issues when they don’t have the same fonts as you. They’ve been around for awhile now and Julie Terberg has beautifully documented them for you here with the latest updates.

https://designtopresent.com/2019/03/31/a-guide-to-cloud-fonts-in-microsoft-office-365/



  • Documint is a #NoCode tool for awesome document automation
  • Wordwall is a site that lets you create custom learning activities including quizzes, match ups, and more.
  • 123 Apps is a big and useful collection of online tools for working with video, audio, pdfs and more
  • Skuawk is a huge collection of high quality public domain photos
  • Soundiz will help you transfer your music between different streaming platforms

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If you’re enjoying this newsletter, I’d love it if you shared it with a friend. You can send them here to sign up. Want even more? Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Looking for a previous edition? Check out the archives 

Friday Finds: The Best Of Learning, Design & Technology | January 28, 2022

“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” — Seneca

Happy Friday! I’m excited for a couple of European online events coming up next week. On Tuesday I’m teaming up with Mathias Vermeulen at LearnTec Xchange for one of the two sessions in English to talk about #NoCode (Register for free!). And on Wednesday, I’ll be speaking at the Learning and Development conference.

Thanks for reading!

What I’m Listening to:  I found Life At which is a cool site that lets you choose a scene for your screen complete with sounds and more. Today, I’ve got it setup with the sights and sounds of an Icelandic lagoon with soothing background music. Check it out and find your favorite scene. 

Image
https://lifeat.io/refer/TPdqFXzHNsgr

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Last week’s most clicked item:
Book of PowerPoint Morph Examples


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Pretesting versus posttesting: Comparing the pedagogical benefits of errorful generation and retrieval practice

Asking students to take a practice test before they’ve even encountered the material may seem like a waste of time—after all, they’d just be guessing. But new research concludes that pretesting, is actually more effective than other strategies 

https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Fxap0000345


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Future of Work Is Nothing Without Consideration For The Future of Learning

The future of work is a major topic of conversation.And a conversation on the future of work without a simultaneous conversation on the future of learning misses the mark. After all, work is learning! Explore this view of the 3 elements of modern learning: community, content and events and their interdependence.

​​https://modernlearners.com/future-of-learning/ 


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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention

We are not taught how to learn in school, we are taught how to pass tests. The spacing effect is a far more effective way to learn and retain information that works with our brain instead of against it. Learn more about how to use it in this Farnam Street article. 

https://fs.blog/spacing-effect/


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The 10 Most Significant Education Studies of 2021

From reframing our notion of “good” schools to mining the magic of expert teachers, here’s a curated list of must-read research from 2021. Pretesting which we saw up above it in here as well as the learning benefits of teaching and more. 

https://www.edutopia.org/article/10-most-significant-education-studies-2021


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Bring your slides to life with PowerPoint’s new Record experience

Powerpoint has always had a Recording tab but you really had to search for it (it was turned off by default) and many people didn’t know it even existed. Did you? Finally, Microsoft has updated it and brought it out of hiding. With some nice features including teleprompter view and background blurring you might just be surprised how good this can be for creating videos. 

https://insider.office.com/en-us/blog/tell-your-story-with-video-recording-in-powerpoint


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  • Any.do is my new to do list and I’m loving it
  • Zcal is a free Calendly alternative that makes scheduling personal
  • BIg News blends your newsletters and RSS feeds together into a single app
  • dddynamite is a customizable collection of fun SVG shapes you can use in your designs
  • Simple SMS lets you to automate text messages with a good old Excel spreadsheet, and your own phone, with your own data plan

Did you know that you can now support this newsletter by leaving a tip?


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Friday Finds: The Best Of Learning, Design & Technology | January 21, 2022

“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.”

Seneca

The new year is off to a good start and I’m excited about some upcoming conference talks and some podcasts that will be appearing soon. Watch this space. Speaking of podcasts, I’ve been binging the Hubermanlab podcast which discusses science and science-based tools for everyday life. So much awesome stuff including a number related to learning.

Thanks for reading! Happy Friday!

What I’m Listening to:  I’m feeling a little nostalgic this morning with this playlist of music from my college days at the dawn of the 90s.. a loooong time ago.

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Last week’s most clicked item:
Online Learning Can Be Engaging and Effective


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Tiny Lesson: Google Search Operators

This is a throwback to the very first newsletter I ever sent which was almost 15 years ago. These simple, yet powerful search operators are still valuable to know and can help you find what you’re looking for much more efficiently. You can find an even more complete list here. Did you already know all of these? 

https://clearleft.com/posts/google-search-operators-and-syntax-for-ux-desk-research

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The Eighty Five Percent Rule for Optimal Learning

When we fail to do something, our attention levels increase. That increase can be leveraged to heighten learning capacity on subsequent attempts. Scientific findings suggest that setting the level of challenge to one where you make errors ~15% of the time is ideal for learning. (Via @hubermanlab)

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-12552-4

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Why We Should Learn in Public

“When you publish ideas, you create your own “Serendipity Vehicle” — a magnet for ideas and people and opportunities from potentially every corner of the globe. If your ideas resonate with people, people will discover you and bring you unexpected opportunities. They’ll open doors you never knew existed.”

Learning in outloud like this connects you with like-minded people and attracts intelligent audiences along with unexpected opportunities.

https://medium.com/glasp/why-we-should-learn-in-public-aa3c5d3b9249

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An E.A.S.Y Framework for Creating Strong Content

https://contentfolks.com/easy-content-framework/

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Morph Book: A Collection of Examples

If you’ve done much work in PowerPoint you’re probably familiar with the power of the Morph transition. (If your not, you’ll definitely want to dig into this one!) Reprezent has assembled a variety of different Morph examples illustrating how you can leverage them in your slide decks. (NOTE: Click the menu in the top-right to get started)

https://morphbook.reprezent.ua/en/morph/

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  • Scan&Paste for Office 365: A Quick Way to Insert Images & Scanned documents from your phone
  • Briefcake is a way to get updates from your favorite websites via a daily email – like RSS for email
  • Uteach is an online platform you can use to start teaching online in no time
  • blixel is an online marketplace for inclusive stock media by creators from diverse and marginalized communities
  • Notion website template pack

If you’re enjoying this newsletter, I’d love it if you shared it with a friend. You can send them here to sign up.

Want more? Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Looking for a previous edition? Check out the archives 

Friday Finds: The Best Of Learning, Design & Technology | January 14, 2022

“Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.” ​

Richard Feynman

Happy Friday! Just the other day I had a LinkedIn conversation about whether or not PowerPoint is a reasonable tool for print design. This person said that PowerPoint is not a “professional” tool. I totally disagree and I’m super curious to hear what you think?

Thanks for reading!

What I’m Listening to:  Today I’m working along to a nice album called “Easy Wonderful” by Guster. How can you not like something called Easy Wonderful?


Last week’s most clicked item:
7 Neuroscience-backed Facts for Better Learning Experience Design


Cognitive Load Theory and Its Applications for Learning

Cognitive load theory, developed in the 1980s by psychologist John Sweller, has become a dominant paradigm for the design of teaching materials. In this essay, Scott Young  explains the theory, some of its key predictions, and potential applications for your learning.

https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2022/01/04/cognitive-load-theory/

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With No-Code, a New Kind of ‘Citizen Developer’ Emerges

No-code has been around for some time now, but it’s only starting to gain momentum in the mainstream. The term essentially consists of software tools that anyone can use without having to learn how to code.“I think, really, what no-code is, is technology that enables people to build technology,” explains Adalo co-founder, Jeremy Blalock. “It enables people to build things that they would not have been able to build without code before.”

https://www.jotform.com/blog/with-no-code-a-new-kind-of-citizen-developer-emerges/

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Online Learning Can Be Engaging and Effective

Howard Rheingold reminds us that online learning, done right, can be a delight — and achieve learning objectives. It appears that teaching online by necessity rather than aspiration has led to a many online attempts at learning that have fallen short of the mark, leaving those who were forced into it unsatisfied with the outcome and sometimes outright hostile to the whole idea.(Be sure to check out the links and resources at the end!) 

https://hrheingold.medium.com/online-learning-can-be-engaging-and-effective-87200d37dc62

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Watching A Lecture Twice At Double Speed Can Benefit Learning Better Than Watching It Once At Normal Speed

What impact does sped-up viewing have on learning? The answer, according to a new paper in Applied Cognitive Psychology, is, within some limits, none. In fact, if used strategically, it can actually improve learning. However, what students think is going to be the best strategy isn’t actually what’s most beneficial, Dillon Murphy at UCLA and colleagues also report.

https://digest.bps.org.uk/2021/12/21/watching-a-lecture-twice-at@-double-speed-can-benefit-learning-better-than-watching-it-once-at-normal-speed/

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Content design: a great way to make user-centered content

Do you know about content design? This process is aimed at making content production much more structured and user-centered. Content design prevents you from simply typing out 500 words about a particular topic without really thinking that through. For this, the inimitable Sarah Richards coined the term content design. It’s a way of improving content and aligning it with user needs, while also cutting fat.

“Content design is answering a user need in the best possible way for the user to consume it.” Sarah Richards of Content Design London. Catch her talk with some good examples on this topic here.

https://yoast.com/content-design/#:~:text=Content%20design%20prevents%20you%20from%20simply%20typing%20out,while%20also%20cutting%20cruft.%20What%20is%20content%20design%3F


 

  • Popsy  is a slick option for creating websites with Notion for free
  • Mr Cutout is a good source for free images with no backgrounds including people, scenes & more.
  • Text Blaze is a browser add-in that lets you save time by dropping in snippets of text with quick, easy shortcuts. 
  • Greenshot is a nice, free screenshot app for Windows
  • If you ever have more to share than what will fit into a single tweet, try Chirr App to create Twitter threads like this one I shared recently

If you’re enjoying this newsletter, I’d love it if you shared it with a friend. You can send them here to sign up.

Want more? Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Looking for a previous edition? Check out the archives 

Friday Finds: The Best Of Learning, Design & Technology | January 7, 2022

“Aging is a disease, and that disease is treatable.”

Dr. David Sinclair

Happy Friday! We’ve made it to another fresh new year and getting back into the swing of things. Over the break I took a dive into some of the research on time-restricted eating by Dr. David Sinclair and I’m totally intrigued by his theories on aging. In short, everything we’ve been taught to believe about aging is wrong. If you’re curious, he has a new book out (Lifespan: Why We Age—and Why We Don’t Have To) and he also just started a podcast. The best part is that his suggestions for living longer are very doable – skip breakfast, exercise, tilt your diet towards more vegetables, etc. I’m giving it a go so stay tuned. 

Thanks for reading!

What I’m Listening to:  I’m enjoying this Fresh & Chill playlist that Spotify served up to me.


Last week’s most clicked item:
200+ Tools From Last Year’s Newsletters


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Is there a skills gap in learning design?

In this post by Neil Mosely, look at the question that as learning experiences are becoming more complex, do the design skills exist to meet the challenge. His conclusion? Learning design should be a high priority in the years to come – equipping and developing more people with the skill and knowledge to design and plan experiences that provide a context for learning to happen is important. 

https://www.neilmosley.com/blog/is-there-a-skills-gap-in-learning-design


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4 Multiple-Choice Question Misunderstandings That Spell Trouble

Research shows that many multiple-choice questions are poorly written. One of the reasons they are poorly written is that many question writers have misunderstandings about multiple-choice questions. In this article, Patti Shank discusses 4 of these misunderstandings and what’s true instead.

https://elearningindustry.com/multiple-choice-question-misunderstandings-that-spell-trouble


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In the Age of Disruption, Learning Needs to Get Agile

RedThread Research has been leading the way in delving into the key trends surrounding learning methods during this time of unparalleled disruption. Their new report, Next-gen learning methods: What to use, how to choose, and when to cut them loose explores how companies are leveraging learning methods in different ways to help employees develop.

https://blog.fuseuniversal.com/redthreads-research-rings-true-in-the-age-of-disruption-learning-needs-to-get-agile


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Seven neuroscience backed-up facts for better learning experience design.

Anamaria Dorgo has collected this set of research on learning experience design. From trainers and learning experience designers to leaders, managers and even lifelong learners, we’ve all been trying to hack the learning process at least once in our lives. I have asked myself these question many times: What conditions need to be fulfilled for learning to happen? Why do we forget things we want to remember? Why do we remember things we never wanted to learn?

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/seven-neuroscience-facts-better-learning-experience-design-dorgo/


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How to Build a Meaningful (and Massive) Community, From Someone Who’s Done it Twice

Want to build a thriving following for your brand—but have a tiny budget? Learn affordable yet effective community-building strategies from the marketing expert behind the communities at theSkimm and JIGGY puzzles.

https://buffer.com/resources/build-a-meaningful-and-massive-community/

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  • Zoom has added a new feature that allows you to control someone else’s slides
  • Like newsletters but don’t want them filling your inbox? Try Meco
  • The free Adobe Scan mobile app works on your mobile device, scans documents into PDFs, and automatically recognizes text.
  • Too many apps, emails and files? Get Curiosity and find everything in one place.
  • Palapa sits in the sweet spot between traditional forums and chat for thriving communities.

If you’re enjoying this newsletter, I’d love it if you shared it with a friend.
You can send them here to sign up.

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Looking for a previous edition? Check out the archives 

Friday Finds: 2021 Tools Edition

I hope you realize that every day is a fresh start for you. That every sunrise is a new chapter in your life waiting to be written.

Juansen Dizon

Happy New Year! I hope you’re enjoying your holidays. As you know, each weekly newsletter includes 5 useful tools, tips or apps to help make your work better or easier. Over the course of a full year that adds up to over 200+ things.

I often get asked questions like “what was that amazing thing you shared a few weeks ago that…{fill in the blank}” So this week I’m sharing the entire list of all the tools that were included in my newsletter in 2021. If you found anything that you’ve really enjoyed or benefitted from, I’d love to hear about it –just reply to this email.

Wishing you and yours a safe, healthy, and prosperous new year!


Last Week’s Most Clicked

Pre-Recorded Videos Prove More Effective for Student Learning Than In-Person Instruction


2021 Tools From The Newsletter

I’ve collected the tools from all the 2021 newsletters in this interactive website. You can browse the full list or use the category & subcategory filters to hone in on something specific you’re interested in.

https://20201tools.spread.name/

This site was built with a tool from the newsletter, Spreadsimple

Where’s Mike?

If you’re enjoying this newsletter, I’d love it if you shared it with a friend. You can send them here to sign up.

Want more? Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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