Do You See Doors or Parentheses? – O'Donnell Learn

Do You See Doors or Parentheses?

Published by Carrie O'Donnell
on Aug 16, 2019

The quote above is the closing thought to a blog post by renowned business writer, Seth Godin, in which he pens his view on open and closed doors and how we can choose to see them.

In his opening, Godin states:

“Technology shows up and changes the culture. The culture then enables new industries and movements, which further change the culture. And then technology shows up and puts an end to the system we were all used to.

The parentheses open, and then, perhaps, they close.”

Personally, I find the use of “parentheses” where most would see a door rather interesting. Often, I’ll use parentheses to include an additional thought, safely enclosing it within open and closed parenthesis so it stands out, and doesn’t get lost in a sentence. I’ve never really thought of a parentheses in the same camp as a closed door.

I also find it interesting that he sets the stage for his use of parentheses instead of doors with technology, something else I’ve always seen as open.

In our industry, technology has certainly opened doors and closed them. And while technology might be closing the doors for the traditional lecture-based course environment, it has also opened the doors wide to customized and hybrid instruction, meeting learners needs and empowering subject mastery. In fact, I founded O’Donnell Learn with the belief that technology would change the way people learn.

The challenge is that the same technology that’s driving new opportunities for how faculty can engage students is also the technology that’s driving changes in learners needs – and how they are choosing to engage. Parentheses within the parentheses so to speak.

Many higher education leaders see these changes as open opportunities to improve learning, and truly embrace an innovative perspective on what learning can look like. They will be the clear winners for the long-term, because technology will continue to affect learners’ needs and mold how we engage in learning.

As we encounter these changes, we will benefit from keeping parenthesis in mind versus doors. To me, the great open door is the opportunity to enable every learner to be successful.


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.