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The eLearning Podcast

Author: Stephen Ladek, Director at

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The eLearning Podcast is your go-to resource for creating successful learner outcomes. Whether you’re an instructor, an eLearner, a parent supporting an eLearner, a content creator or just an eLearning enthusiast, our episodes provide the latest strategies, practices and technologies for supporting, engaging and retaining students... both on and off line! Learn more at
63 Episodes
№ Suchi Deshpande, LearnfullyMy guest for today is Suchi Deshpande, who is the Co-Founder of Learnfully, a personalized learning platform with neurodivergence as its main focus.Suchi discovered the idea for her platform after realizing how difficult it was for her kids to find an educational experience suitable for their needs. The idea truly came to life, when she also realized how difficult it was to socialize the simple idea that different children need different ways of learning.In this enlightening conversation we talk about:🥊 Why “neurodivergent learning” approaches are gaining traction, especially because of the COVID crises. It’s not just for accessibility: It’s a fight against classroom anxiety.🎒 We take a deep dive into “executive functioning” skills and the way they evolve as children develop… and are you sure your kids’ education is meeting them at where they truly excel?🚧 The origin of Learnfully, where Suchi’s tech background allows for a personalized learning experience that lets parents keep close track of their kids’ progress through a finetuned analytics platform.🏫 Finally, we talk about the global appeal of neurodivergent elearning; and why personalized platforms like Suchi’s might become part of your children education sooner than you think.~💗💍~LMSPulse Media:
№  58 Rachel Fisher, Hello PLATOMy guest for today is Rachel Fisher, co-founder of the AI learning app, Hello PLATO. If you have an LMS or eLearning platform, and have always wondered how to integrate it to your students favorite messaging app in a way that makes sense, this is the conversation for you. After all, wouldn’t you rather meet your students right where they love to hang out the most? In this exciting conversation we talk about:✅ Hello PLATO, and why the best answer Rachel and her team found to simplify the content creation process was by leveraging text messaging interfaces.💍 Why text-based learning can be a powerful learning medium, capable of creating high levels of engagement and data, often better than popular authoring tools⌨ We discuss the affordability angle of text-based learning, or why for many students around the world text-based learning is not just the best eLearning platform, but the only one available3️⃣ Why Hello PLATO seeks to integrate rather than substitute the LMS, and why learners favor decentralized learning ecosystems in growing numbers👩‍👩‍👧‍👦 We also touch on issues of entrepreneurship in eLearning, bridging digital gaps and tech divides, and what it is like to be a woman founder in the super hot universe of EdTech.~💗💍~LMSPulse Media:
№ 57 Luke Hohmann, FirstRoot.coFor many, the term “Participatory Budgeting” likely conveys boring or dreary images of town halls, committee meetings and bureaucracy. So would you believe me if I told you my guest for today uses Participatory Budgeting to actually increase engagement with students on issues of financial literacy and civic engagement around the world?Silicon Valley insider Luke Hohmann is the founder of FirstRoot, which is an exciting approach to involve students in the improvement of their schools, while increasing financial literacy skills.In this very accountable conversation we talk about:👨‍👩‍👧‍👧 Why participatory budgeting is not just a great way to teach financial skills, but why it’s such a valuable tool for empowerment, accountability and improvement of schools, institutions or even family projects at home!🏦 Luke’s background in Silicon Valley working on enterprise IT, and why his lessthan-positive experience with educational software led to the development of FirstRoot🤹 How to ensure that a participatory budgeting process involving students succeeds, both in terms of skill acquisition but also in helping them see how the process leads to visible results⛔ We also touch on technical issues around process, security and privacy considerations, and we discuss the question: How much money is it okay to put in students’ hands? (spoiler: The number might be higher than you think)~💗💍~LMSPulse Media:
№ 56 Kate Udalova, 7tapsMy guest this week is Kate Udalova, who is the founder, creator and driving force behind 7taps, which seeks to bring everyone into microlearning easily.Within their first year, 7taps has amassed over 3,000 clients across a variety of use cases who love the beautiful interface and straightforward approach.In this no-nonsense conversation we talk about:🔨 Kate’s leap into creating 7taps and why she (and her partner) are “all in” on the microlearning platform7️⃣ Why 7taps embraces the social media format, specifically the “instagram stories” looks to deliver effective learning in, well, seven taps more or less♿ The value of accessibility and why microlearning is such a great way to approach conversations about accessibility💽 We also touch on the more technical benefits of microlearning: Easier to update, manage and gather more data points📔 Finally, why this microlearning “point solution” is gaining traction beyond the standard classroom, but why that also means you should not expect 7taps to become a fully fledged LMS anytime soon.~💗💍~LMSPulse Media:
№ 55 Kevin Marshall, OwwlishWelcome to the eLearning Podcast. My name is Ladek and I’m your Host from LMSPulse.comMy guest for today is Kevin Marshall. A few years ago, Kevin stumbled into an online learning opportunity in a VERY niche market. After trialing a few courses that performed well, he and his partner decided to go all in.As Kevin worked to prepare a suite of courses, he found that popular publishing platforms didn’t offer the simplicity or level of ownership he desired.Fast forward a few years and the result of Kevin’s frustration is Owwlish (with two “w”s). Owwlish is a WordPress plugin slash platform that aims to give you complete control of your courses and a worry-free experience with the technology.In this strategic conversation we talk about:🎗 The ingredients to persist as an elearning entrepreneur, including a support system and the right mix of pragmatism and hopeful patience.🔋 The challenge of delivering simplicity through Owwlish, within the powerful but  fairly complex system of WordPress.🤔 Why Owwlish is not for everyone, but why Kevin believes course creators should consider things like ownership and control, flexibility and the real financials of delivering and promoting an online course on an established marketplace.🏣 We also talk about the importance of community building as a cornerstone of online learning delivery today, and why sometimes Facebook algorithms get in the way⛱  Finally, along the way, Kevin and I touch on DIY, teaching dentistry online, the weather in Phoenix, Arizona and, whether or not the 4Hour Workweek still relevant? (hint: maybe more than ever before)~💗💍~LMSPulse Media:
№ 54 Anthony Palmiotto, OpenStaxToday’s episode is part one of a three part series on Open Educational Resources, or OER, created in collaboration with OpenStax and Rice University, in Houston.Anthony Palmiotto is the Editorial Director of OpenStax, one of the most influential supporters of the OER movement. OpenStax gives you a comprehensive and top-notch library of peer-reviewed textbooks and other curricular resources, all completely free for teachers and students.With initiatives like OpenStax, OER has saved students millions of dollars by offering quality content that’s continuously updated and improved.In this open and educational conversation we talk about:🎓 What is OpenStax, it’s origins at Rice University, and what it’s like to be at the forefront of the OER revolution.🚨 Why, regardless of licensing issues, the goals of OpenStax and OER revolve around creating the best publishing platform out there, for learners, teachers and creators.🎒 Why OER is such an important ingredient in discussions about equity in education. Not only does OER eliminate the barrier of cost for underserved groups, but how an institution like OpenStax can also promote diversity by actively working to fix biases and onesided or Euro-centric perspectives in the resources they provide.🗣 Finally, we talk about the challenges OER currently faces to gain wider appeal, and what Anthony and OpenStax are doing to help teachers bring OER into their lessons.~💗💍~LMSPulse Media:
№ 53 Harsh Jain, EscafateMy guest for today is Harsh Jain, a young Bachelor in Commerce from Delhi University who in 2019 decided with his brother to launch Escafate. With this education startup, Harsh seeks to increase opportunities both in academic and training achievement; as well as job finding and career development.If these goals weren’t ambitious enough already, Escafate’s mission is to offer these opportunities to people with disabilities, focusing on the visually impaired.In this “escalating” conversation we talk about:🏫 The massive upskilling and economic opportunity for people with different ability conditions in India and the role of Education Technology in providing these opportunities📖 Why Harsh believes that entrepreneurship is “in the bloodstream” of every Indian and the benefits of an entrepreneurial mindset for Indian learners, as they have to be sure they’re learning how to solve real problems🔨 And why an entrepreneurial mindset is essential for Harsh to make sure he’s focusing on the real problems, and creating valuable connections.~💗💍~LMSPulse Media:
№ 53 Mike Todd, Near-LifeMy guest for today is Mike Todd. Mike is the CEO of Near-Life, a company that develops Virtual Reality and interactive video solutions and tools. With clients including USAID and the World Health Organization, Mike and his clients are convinced of the power of immersive content for high-stakes training.    In this exciting conversation we talk about:🌌 How Mike shifted his career from the International Development space to the education space (without really leaving); and why Near-Life solutions have resonated in humanitarian, health, safety and other critical contexts.🚚 Why the time of “VR for everyone” is closer than we think, thanks to authoring and delivery tools that greatly speed up the content creation process.➗ Of course, creating immersive media is still more expensive than standard content. So we talk about not only how the ROI on VR has improved, but the ways in which it’s easier to make that calculation💬 Finally, we talk about the most important element of creating truly immersive, effective and sustainable learning experiences: A good team.~💗💍~LMSPulse Media:
On the Elearning Hotseat, our LinkedIn Live audience gets to ask our guests almost anything!  
№ 51 Peter Horwing, CHART Learning SolutionsMy guest for today is Peter Horwing, founder of CHART Adaptive Learning. With a model that puts technology at the service of the individual, CHART offers a mix of interactive content and one-on-one coaching on soft skills that ensures no one is left behind.In this flexible, yet meticulous conversation we talk about:💹 Why Peter & Co. decided Soft Skills was the most important challenge CHART had to face, and why adaptive learning specifically is, in Peter’s opinion, the best way to influence behavior both effectively and measurably.😵 We talk about the difference between conscious and “unconscious incompetence,” or why we so often don’t realize how much we don’t know about the skill we think we know.1️⃣ We also talk about the key importance of one.-on-one accountability to fill in all these gaps; and why mentoring is often the fastest way to ensure learning.📈 Finally, we dive deep into CHART’s coaching model, how technology enhances the reach and quality of the relationship, and some of Peter’s most memorable success cases; or why in the middle of the worst wave in the Pandemic, a South African hospital realized their best decision was to invest in customer training for healthcare personnel.~💗💍~Visit and subscribe to get our newsletter and let you know when next episodes come out.Join our eLearning Success Summit & Community Media:
 On the Elearning Hotseat, our LinkedIn Live audience gets to ask our guests almost anything! 
 № 50 Joe Dunlap, Toppers Pizza To celebrate our 50th episode, how about a pizza party!My guest for today is Joe Dunlap, Director of Learning & Development at Toppers Pizza, a Wisconsin based chain of restaurants with owned and franchised locations across the US.With an incredible background, including a 4-year run consulting about learning at none other than NASA, Joe has a critical mission, as Toppers Pizza bounces back from the blow of COVID-19 and reinvents itself, its technology and the way it engages partners and franchisees.In this “delicious” conversation we talk about:🍕 What is it like to work and learn at NASA, and why even rocket engineering teams are fond of design thinking and agile project management approaches. 🍕 Why it makes a lot of sense that a former NASA consultant is now leading learning operations at a pizza place that’s figuring out a few groundbreaking launches. 🍕 Of course, there are clear cultural differences between these and other organizations Joe’s been with, so we talk about the challenge of “translating” learning experiences to increase their effectiveness. 🍕  Finally, we talk about the “TikTok” generation, which makes up the bulk of learners under his wing; and how he uses technology to deliver an interactive, timely and amenable learning that fosters creativity and problem solving.~💗💍~LMSPulse Media
№ 49 Natalie Miller, XR GlobalI have a question for you: When will Virtual Reality and “XR” in general become mainstream in education? After listening to my guest for today —Natalie Miller the founder of XR Global— I want you to ask yourself that question again and let me know if our conversation has changed your mind.Natalie moved to South Africa in 2006 for an opportunity in the international development space with Operation Smile. After countless Founding and leadership positions, she saw an opportunity to use mobile learning and Mixed Reality in emerging markets, leading to the creation of XR Global in 2020.In this hyper-realistic conversation we talk about:💿 Natalie’s amazing journey, including an Oxford MBA, a Skoll Fellowship, stints in Business Development, Fintech, Consulting, Health care and ultimately XR Global, her next step in her quest for social innovation and technology.📘 The outstanding results XR Global has made possible, not just with double digit growth in knowledge retention using VR experiences, but also with making XR affordable and scalable in the emerging world.⛑ Why according to Natalie, Mixed Reality should be on the radar of elearning professionals regardless of where they are in the world. One hint: You can’t check your phone while taking a lesson with a VR headset on.➰ The importance and value of high level partnerships, as long as they are based on innovations that actually get results and shape the conversation.~💗💍~Visit and subscribe to get our newsletter and let you know when next episodes come out.Join our eLearning Success Summit & Community Media:
Phill Miller, Managing Director at Open LMS joins Ladek to share why this union does make perfect sense, why we value views and conversations happening anywhere and everywhere, and why things will not change dramatically over the coming days. (Oh, but we're just getting started.)LMSPulse Media ~💗💍~ 
№48 Lauren Waldman, Learning PirateMy guest for today is Neuroscientist Lauren Waldman, aka the “Learning Pirate.” Lauren is a consultant and Lead Scientific Learning Designer on a mission to educate elearning professionals on the brain, in order to fix long-standing practices that really just get in the way of effective and “psychologically safe” experiences.In this deeply thoughtful conversation we talk about:🎓 What is it like to be a “learning science designer,” or someone who works on closing the gap between practice and research in education.🚚 Why, according to the science of “cognitive overload,” you might tweak your delivery to ensure you're working in favor of your learners’ memory.🍧 Why is it so valuable to consider the brain’s “desirable difficulties,” or that sweet spot of familiarity and challenge that makes for a sound learning path.🛌 The often overlooked issue of sleep and the critical role it plays in encoding and the consolidation of skills.🏞 Finally, we discuss what it would take to invest in “safe” learning environments in the digital world, and experiences that promote real upskilling, confidence and selfawareness in people’s minds.~💗💍~Visit and subscribe to get our newsletter and let you know when next episodes come out.Join our eLearning Success Summit & Community Media
№47 Yuliya Shtaltovna, DYS Communications; English Language Teachers'​ Association Berlin-Brandenburg (ELTABB)To begin today, let me throw you a little curve ball: is it possible that during all the design and planning and chaos of creating a virtual learning experience, you have forgotten about “soft skills?” I’m talking about fundamental things like communication and listening. My guest for today, Yuliya Shtaltovna thought so.As a Business Communication Professional and Lecturer, Yuliya believes that soft skills are more essential than ever. After all, if we’re looking to engage learners across new platforms and unforeseen circumstances, we might do well making sure our “soft-digital” skills are as sharp as they can be.In this deep and nuanced conversation we talk about:🦋 What soft skills mean in hybrid learning and working, and why they are more valuable today than ever before, in pretty much every context.🤹 Why developing your own "digitally ready" soft skills goes hand in hand with a growing sense of professional awareness. There’s no mystery why they are associated with better jobs and pay.🎤 We also talk about digital competencies, and why given the sound framework on digital competencies for educators by the European Union, there really is no excuse not to have a digital skills game plan.🌌 How Yuliya understood that her work and online teaching needed to reflect these new lessons learned, and how she moved away from “lecturing as much as possible” to find ways to transmit her passion and continuous interest about her subjects, as a way to reveal new horizons for her learners.And check out her LinkedIn post with resources supporting her talk, “Challenge your Business English curricula to teach soft skills.”~💗💍~Visit and subscribe to get our newsletter and let you know when next episodes come out.Join our eLearning Success Summit & Community Media
№ 46 Lisa Caprelli, AuthorMy guest for today is Lisa Caprelli, who is an author and speaker, with 16 books published under her belt and in several languages.With her series “Unicorn Jazz” and “Skip a Step,” Lisa manages to transform a past life as a marketing and branding consultant into a journey about the value of being true to yourself and finding your true purpose. Lessons that are as valuable for children as they are for the hundred-plus CEOs she’s worked with.If you’re one of many “experts” in the audience, I suspect Lisa’s story will resonate with you. Especially for those of you who have pivoted over the last 18 months from delivering your special sauce in person to virtually.In this friendly and magical conversation we talk about:What it takes to “break through” the confines of a traditional corporate setting to embody and realize your passion. Pro tip: Discover and then hone your passions while at your corporate life.Why Lisa finds it so valuable to stay close to children’s minds, as sources of perspective, inspiration and motivation.The value of keeping your team engaged and constantly rewarded. Remember: There’s no such thing as a “One Person Show.”~💗💍~Visit and subscribe to get our newsletter and let you know when next episodes come out.Join our eLearning Success Summit & Community Media
Recorded previouslyOn the Elearning Hotseat, our LinkedIn Live audience gets to ask our guests almost anything!
№ 45 John Ainsworth, Data Driven MarketingMy guest for today is John Ainsworth, Founder and CEO of Data Driven Marketing. In this conversation, John is going to convince you that, as a course creator, you are most likely underselling yourself.Tell me if your story goes more or less like this: You take the time to make the most amazing, high-quality course you’re capable of. You release it into the wild, and then you get a handful of purchases. You’re probably fine with the outcome, but of course you would like to see some more sales.In this conversation, John provides a super compelling case for how a little bit of structure and effort in your marketing funnel can make your elearning courses really take off. And, if you’re willing to put in the work, how the payoff can be tangibly life changingIn this mindset-tweaking interview we talk about:👨‍🚀 Why John is such a believer in the elearning space: Because of its current market potential and the common qualities of the people in this field, always thrilled by seeing someone being capable of accomplishing new things.📑 The “hurdles of the middle,” or why course creators often miss the mark when it comes to marketing their own amazing products.💸 The psychology of online sales, and overcoming your fears of being too “salesy.” More often than not, a good offer is just very helpful. (Just call it the “Happy Meal” principle.)📢 Why improving your marketing actions, from increasing value per sale, conversion rates, or subscription volumes, will always benefit by tackling them from an educational POV.🙈 Ultimately, why your marketing should be at least as helpful to your clients as the courses you are selling, if not more.~💗💍~Visit and subscribe to get our newsletter and let you know when next episodes come out.Join our eLearning Success Summit & Community Media
№44 John Strohmeyer, Five Star Counsel and Strohmeyer LawMy guest for today is John Strohmeyer. John is the founder of Strohmeyer law - which is a tax, estate planning and probate service provider. But John is also the founder Five Star Counsel, a podcast and blog about customer care with a special focus on delivering professional services.You might be asking: Why is there a lawyer on the Elearning Podcast? Well, John is convinced that, given the shifts happening in the legal profession, he needs to evolve in the way he serves people. As he tackles the development of valuable and helpful elearning experiences in a way that reflect his professional experience, John joins the show to talk about the “service factor”     when developing and selling an online course.In this super legit conversation we talk about:🌓 His formative time as a night shift manager at the Four Seasons and how it influenced his approach to service in the legal profession.🛎 Why John thinks jumping into online course creation as a professional attorney makes perfect sense given the shifts taking place in the profession, and the need for a place for lawyers to learn and discuss topics related to service.🍹 How the limits of investing in service can vary wildly among professions, or: Would you pick a lawyer or accountant because of their high end courtesy drinks?🏢 General details on John’s process, platform selection, pricing and promotion, and lessons learned thus far. Spoiler alert: It’s work, work, work!~💗💍~Visit and subscribe to get our newsletter and let you know when next episodes come out.Join our eLearning Success Summit & Community Media
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