Page Turner – dancing pigs not necessary

As Design Guy has pointed out to me, and others, a “page turner” is not pejorative when it is used to describe a great novel or inspirational read.

Design Guy Podcast

But, in the context of online learning the phrase is often used to describe the opposite.

We have to take our own medicine at times and over the past few weeks I’ve taken two hours of my own time each day to pursue certification I should have obtained a long…….long time ago. Ok, perhaps 3-4 years ago, but still.

Right now I get to see first hand the products we are putting out there for the acquisition workforce as well as determine if the product does what it is intended to do – improve my job performance!

I am pleasantly surprised, in general, that the online courses are meeting my needs. Yes, it is often a burden to make sure all the SCOs are closed and that I have all the right materials in front of me so I can pass the three test attempts with 100% accuracy. But, all in all, I’m having a good experience –  acquiring phrases for practices I’ve used but wasn’t academically versed in, gaining context to some of the processes and standards we follow in acquisition and in general feeling like I now have more program management skills to leverage throughout my workday.


Today I had that moment. Or, two moments to be exact. I was in one course that contained an extremely boring overview of policies in logistics. Instead of digesting each page, I quickly clicked through them watching the stream of DoD 5000 this and DoD 5000.2 that, and a swarm of acronyms, fly by my dreary eyes. I took a small four question test and got through it and said “it is enough.”

I had a few minutes to start another offering about earned value management (because I need all the help I can get in this area) and within minutes found myself in a completely different learning experience. The audio was actually being used in a way that captured my attention. The screen started to build and  made me feel like I was in a classroom where an interesting teacher was drawing a concept on the chalkboard and explaining it to me real time.

The audio stopped.

Wait? Isn’t there more?

Yes, there was more…on the next page.

I actually wanted to turn the page to find out more. Not to get through it, but to find out what more I could learn about earned value management.

Should I say it again?

I wanted to learn more about earned value management.

Yikes. Someone had engaged me in a topic that I didn’t think I even wanted to know more about. In fact, I had just taken a lesson on it in a class earlier during the day and scrolled past the material hoping I wouldn’t have to retain too much.

In a matter of minutes, I had experienced the difference between design that had connected with an audience (a dis-interested audience even) and design that had not.

So often we spend a lot of time trying to add a lot of bells, whistles and dancing pigs to our online courses.

But, really we just need better storytellers (magicians of words) and people who deeply think about how they can present something in a way that resonates with each of us. You know, like movie directors and marketers who brilliantly accomplish this very thing every day.

When will we stop the assembly line for a few minutes and shift gears? Are we willing to boldly step in other directions knowing this will impact contract vehicles, schedules and perhaps costs (though they may even go lower)?  Short term it may cause angst, but long term it will make a difference.

Sigh. I’m starting to get a little Seth Godin on here.

Either way, it’s my job to learn from it, apply it and ….give feedback. So, emails have already gone out with MY feedback on MY experience. Let’s see if it jives with what everyone else thinks.

In the meantime, here is a dancing pig I just found in case this post wasn’t interesting enough for you.

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