“Do what you can…” – O'Donnell Learn

“Do what you can…”

Published by Carrie O'Donnell
on Mar 18, 2020

When I read this quote by Teddy Roosevelt, it made me pause… and then to take stock. What can I do in this moment, right now, to make a difference? How can I positively impact where I am, with what I have?

As we all wrestle with the unexpected changes in our lives due to the Covid-19 crisis, I’m asking myself these same questions about the career I chose decades ago. Over the last 15 years I have been working to help colleges and universities integrate the use of new technologies into their learning experiences. This has been a gradual change.

Right now, higher education is undergoing a mass migration from classroom-based to the virtual environment. This is a massive change.

Our O’Donnell Learn team–hundreds of learning designers—is here to support your faculty as you undergo this change. To start, here is an article you can share with your faculty: 5 Tips for Engaging Your Learners When You Go Virtual. In the next few days, we will be releasing interactive tools to ease the burden for instructors who are struggling to move online.

We all need to remind ourselves, change is a difficult process; even the smallest change can require great intention and effort. I believe effective change can be fueled by these four truths. I can:

  • Choose to be kind.

  • Respond with courtesy.

  • Acknowledge my limitations.

  • Support others with my strengths.

As we seek to quickly adapt how we deliver learning experiences from onground to online, I’m reminding myself daily to take time to breathe, embrace these truths, take stock of what I can help change – let go of what I cannot. And get out of my chair and walk around and enjoy the outside world.

Moving forward,

Dan Bartell

Dan has worked in higher education for 25 years, helping educators evaluate, understand and connect educational services, technology and content to the academic missions of their colleges and universities. Believing all can succeed in education given opportunity and the right support, he often helps task forces, committees, and governing boardscharged with examining and solving critical initiatives and challenges in higher education. 


The WOW Factor: Creating Faculty Development That Sparks Interest and Envy

Published By Carrie O'Donnell
on Jan 19, 2021

Imagine our surprise last summer when we reached out to 475 faculty and learned the online courses for nearly half were simply mirrors of their face-to-face instruction. In fact, only 22% were designing their courses differently for online. With all of the faculty development around online learning being offered, why weren’t more faculty designing courses specifically for this type of instruction? As it turns out, faculty weren’t engaging with development options at a level you might expect given COVID-19 and the rapid shift to online learning. Something we’d also learned in surveys and interviews with170 provosts and academic leaders a year earlier. The solution? The WOW Factor.

Purposeful Learning DesignTM – Why People are at the Center of Everything We Do

Published By Carrie O'Donnell
on Jan 15, 2021

I’m often asked why our company is so good at collaborating with  faculty. The first time I heard this question, I didn’t realize clients found this unique to O’Donnell Learn. We’ve always been great partners  because people are at the heart of everything we do. In fact, our entire design philosophy - Purposeful Learning DesignTM - is anchored around people.  It starts with this truth: learning is for people. As such, learning design should be grounded in empathy and it should promote success for both learners and faculty. Purposeful Learning Design is the philosophy we embrace to ensure we never lose sight of this truth. It is comprised of six key considerations.

2020 Reflective: Breathe Deep and Stay Agile

Published By Joana Jebsen
on Dec 22, 2020

While end-of-year survey results are still to come for how enrolled students are evaluating their 2020 college experience, I queried two of our staff, both students, about their overall experience and considered how these compared to what I was seeing with O’Donnell Learn clients. Kellie, our graphic design intern, just completed her Associates Degree in Graphic design. Prior to 2020, all of her courses met on campus. Cathryn, a Learning Design Associate is currently enrolled in an online Master of Education program in eLearning and Instructional Design. As this program was conceived as online delivery, it serves as a benchmark to compare against courses that were forced by COVID to switch delivery modes.