Higher Power Training Instructional Design Portfolio

At Higher Power Training (HPT), we provide service Instructional Design Services as an outside consultant for a variety of companies.  We are responsible for evaluating effective teaching methods and technologies for adult learners; we conduct organizational needs and performance gap assessments using analysis of subject matter, job/task, audience and context; we extract key knowledge and experiences from Subject Matter Experts to compile valuable storyboards, curriculums, publications, and training and instructional programs and materials; and by applying adult learning theory, instructional theory, and interactive communication theory with the use of various technology methods across disciplines we are capable of maximizing Human Performance Technology (HPT) or Human Performance Improvement (HPI).

By constructing instructional modules using appropriate theories and methodologies, such as the ADDIE Model we can successfully integrate interdisciplinary connections from technology, psychology, and computer assisted interactive communications based on behavior, cognitive, constructive, and multiple intelligence approaches.  We coach and monitor internal instructors to ensure the highest level of quality of programs are maintained, and provide train-the-trainer sessions when necessary. We also integrate multimedia elements into simulations, virtual worlds, scenario-based trainings and learning objects to enhance and reinforce the learning materials.

We conduct employee trainings, leadership and management classes, professional development programs, and sales and customer service seminars in a variety of industries including finance, education, engineering, science, healthcare, beauty, technology, performing arts, hospitality, retail, sports, and not-for-profits.

Our developed programs have varied from half day to semester length classroom, online, and hybrid style trainings for groups ranging from 5 executive staff members to 300 company employees to more than 125,000 customers.


M-Learning (Thesis Volume 5.2: Implications for Teaching/Training)

In an era when teachers try to justify field trips, developing a program that that requires both field trip preparation and post field trip assignments in the classroom provides students the opportunity to retain more information from the field trip, and can be found more beneficial.  The Ocean Institute Podcast Program provides a structured program addressing these concepts providing teachers with an alternative to developing their own lesson plans to capture the same academic success.

Multimedia is another motivational tool used in the classroom; podcasts have become a popular multimedia format over the past few years and used my various organizations including museums and schools.  Many museums offer professionally produced podcasts as a directional guide as visitors travel through the museum experiencing what the museum has to offer.  In schools, many teachers provide their lectures in the form of podcasts, while other teachers help students develop podcasts instead of speeches or book reports.

This project is unique in that all it will combine the critical elements provided by museum and school podcasts.  Many informal educational facilities such as the Ocean Institute pride themselves in what they have to offer students; however, the general visitor does not have the opportunity to experience the same programs students complete nor do they understand the impact these facilities have on local students.  This program will generate a platform for the general public to experience the same programs as students; while at the same time, showcases the work of the students on a world wide scale since the podcasts would be downloadable on iTunes as well as the Ocean Institute’s website.

By Higher Power Training

M-Learning (Thesis Volume 3.2: Ethical Considerations)

A project of this scope has provided and will continue to provide students of all demographics the opportunity to take advantage of using the newest technology in learning.  In this era of technology, the desire to integrate technology into learning curriculum is at an all-time high.  Both private and government foundations are eager to financially support programs that provide students with the opportunity to use and learn with technology.  With the diversity of the students in Southern California, the program provided enough flexibility for students to express their creativity by choosing to create the podcast in Spanish if they desired.

The Ocean Institute Podcast Program was designed with a combination of learning theories, behaviorism, constructivist, and multiple intelligences, as the foundation.  The OIPP consisted of five elements to successfully make learning motivational and the produced podcasts useful: professional development for the teachers, the student field trip, the student research, and the podcast production process.  With the aid of the online content and resources, this program combined the flexibility and creativity within each class with the structure and guidance necessary to produce the expected results and achieve the program and student objectives.  A project of this scope has provided and will continue to provide students of all demographics the opportunity to take advantage of using the newest technology in learning.

M-Learning (Thesis Volume 2.8: Review of the Literature)

Student-produced multimedia provides students with the opportunity to learn about technology, express themselves through creativity, and showcase their work to a larger audience.  Student-produced multimedia provides teachers with an efficient way to integrate technology into an established curriculum, design inquiry-based lesson plans, and assess student learning without having to use traditional tests.  One type of student-produced multimedia is digital storytelling, which incorporates images, audio, video, text, and image effects.  When creating a digital story, students develop the skills necessary to research, playwright, design, produce, and educate (Chung, 2007).  Digital storytelling integrates the arts, education, local communities, technology, and storytelling.  According to Chung (2007), students develop and apply multi-literacy skills, aesthetic sensitivities, and critical faculties to address greater issues of importance to a larger audience.  Digital storytelling is applicable for all school subjects, but as Chung (2007) points out, many schools in America have ample funds for maintaining a computer lab while funds for art supplies are either minimal or non-existent.  The implementation of digital storytelling offers art educators another avenue to implement an innovative and relevant art program for the technology-savvy digital generation (Chung, 2007).

One sample of podcasting in elementary schools comes from Jamestown Elementary: To align the podcasts with the curriculum, the teachers created handouts to help students produce their individual segments about a historical person or event from the Jamestown settlement.  The students could create their segments in different ways – as ‘am interview, a report, a poem, a word play, a skit, a Did you Know segment, or any other creative way to of communicating what you know and have learned’ (Long, 2007).  Producing podcasts can help students identify their strengths and help them to showcase their talents while working together in groups to produce a product that can be viewed worldwide.  By producing podcasts in groups, the creative writers record poetry, stories, or skits; the artists provide drawings or photography; musicians produce songs; and the technicians piece it all together (Long, 2007).

Digital storytelling is an example of a constructivist approach, which puts interactive technologies in the hands of student producers.  According to Brown (2007) when students are given creative freedom to construct with multimedia tools in an activity that is personally meaningful, they exhibit high levels of motivation and task engagement, develop skills through directed and needs driven episodes, exhibit higher order thinking, and individual differences are valued, accentuated, and expressed through interface design.  One approach to designing student produced multimedia for web based classrooms is to use competency-based learning (CBL), which is self-directed, individual, and a mastery learning method allowing students to achieve predetermined competency standards with the master knowledge and skills that they have learned (Chang, 2007).  According to Chang, since web learning has recently gained much attention in college, CBL on the Web has a certain level of demand and feasibility.

M-Learning (Thesis Volume 2.2: Review of the Literature)

I am a firm believer that although some students may fail under the constraints of formal education, those same students may continue to learn and succeed with the aid of alternative learning provided throughout our society.  Dr. Gardner states that “Human beings have tremendous capacities to learn and develop, as can easily be seen if one watches a child actively exploring his environment during the first years of life.” (Gardner, 2004, 249)  I am completely in agreement with Dr. Gardner but question the cause of limiting a person’s capacity for learning as they mature.  What in human nature, society, or education prevents children from continuing to learn at the same capacity as their first year of life?  In my opinion, the structure of education places the constraints of students’ ability to learn.  This opinion is backed by Dr. Gardner who points out that “educators should exploit the cognitive and affective powers of the five-year-old mind (an energetic, imaginative, and integrating kind of learner) and attempt to keep it alive in all of us.” (Gardner, 2004, 250)

Dr. Gardner proposes four reforms to assist in the improvement of the educational system.  The first deals with how students are assessed, the second is concerned with the quality of curriculum, the third addresses teacher practices in the classroom, and the final component is community support.  Although my opinions are somewhat mixed with Dr. Gardner’s critique of the educational system, my opinions are in complete agreement with Dr. Gardner’s educational reform.  Assessment is critical to any program, including the educational system.  Standardized testing is a poor evaluation due to the fact that it is only measuring the student’s ability to regurgitate information.  Building portfolios as mentioned by Dr. Gardner is a much truer evaluation of students’ ability because it would allow students to problem-solve, use creativity, and have a deeper understanding of the information presented in class.  As stated by Dr. Gardner, “unless the accompanying curriculum is of quality, the assessment has no use.”  (Gardner, 2004, 254)  Both the second and third reforms dealing with curriculum and teachers are related to one another.  Although Dr. Gardner does not go into great detail about improving the quality of the curriculum, he does note that professional development is critical for teachers to improve the quality of teacher practices in the classroom.  I am a firm believer that professional development is necessary for teachers to continue to improve in their professions as well as introduce new ideas, information, and technology that may help teachers improve the quality of learning in their classrooms.  The fourth and final reform addresses the need for community support.  Dr. Gardner calls for the local communities to be active in the schools.  I think this is very important when motivating students for the future as well as introducing real-world applications for information taught in the classroom.

With the need to improve education and trainings, many have turned to technology as an effective learning tool.  Simulations and video games are currently being utilized in school classrooms, businesses, military, museums, flight training, and NASA.  The potential benefits of video games and simulations include improved reading skills, logical thinking, observation skills, vocabulary development, problem solving, and strategy planning.  With such a diversified demand for simulations and educational video games, many software companies have recently risen to the challenges to offer programs to fit any need.

The Effects of the Internet on Adult Education

Technology has impacted almost every aspect of our lives including adult and higher education.  When discussing the impacts of the Internet in education and training over the last Fifteen years, the influence of technological advancements and technology integration in education must be addressed as well.  Technology integration is a much debated topic in higher education.  According to Ann Kirschner, from Columbia University, technology in higher education “is facing a perfect storm of changing demographic, mounting costs, increased competition, and technological choices,” (Chronicle of Higher Education, 2005).  In this Era of Technology, many colleges and universities have transformed their traditional classrooms into high-tech classrooms with the use of the Internet as the foundation of the transformation.

Technology & Internet in the Classroom

Technology has been used in the classroom for years, while many colleges and other higher education facilities pride themselves in offering state of the art technology to their students as they compete to recruit the top students and professors in the country.  Fifteen years ago schools and classrooms included: chalkboards; bulky desktops with a dial-up modem or no modem at all; small computer labs that provided students and teachers limited access; basic instructional CD-Rom Software; painted fabric projection pull-down screens to display primarily overhead projector transparencies; VHS videotapes that many times required teachers to reserve a television and VCR cart; non-digital cameras; and paper-based journals.  In the Era of Technology, students in a college classroom can now be exposed to: interactive whiteboards and smartboards that can connect to computers to store all data written on the boards and then shared via the Internet; wireless laptops allowing teachers and students to access the Internet in the classroom; mobile laptop carts or tablets providing teachers and students an alternative to computer labs; online software and shareware with incredible graphics and interaction at an affordable cost and sometimes even free; LCD projectors with liquid-crystal display that can connect to a computer to show streaming videos and other multimedia; digital videos that can be uploaded from websites by teachers and students; MP3 and MP4 players that can store educational information in multimedia formats that are downloaded via the Internet; and web-based portfolios for teachers and students to create blogs, wikis, multimedia files, and photoshares with photos taken with digital cameras and camera phones.

Positive Impact of Technology and Internet in Education

The integration of technology has been an ongoing challenge for years but the rewards for technology integration are well worth the struggles.  As stated by Richard Detweiler, president of the Great Lakes Colleges Association, “The digital age can enhance liberal education…if we make appropriate use of digital opportunities,” (Chronicle of Higher Education, 2005).  Many of the technological improvements have brought students and education closer with the use of the Internet.  The Internet can provide access to information, multimedia, communication, and interaction.  The key to technology effectiveness is proper integration of the technology so that it enhances or reinforces a lesson plan.  In a world that is dominated by technology, it is important for students to be introduced to various technological options and experience how they can be beneficial in both their class as well as real-world application.  Rev. Charles Currie, president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, identified that “educational technology not only puts all sorts of information at one’s fingertips, but can create an immediacy and interactivity that a lecture can rarely achieve,” (Chronicle of Higher Education, 2005). Some of the greatest uses of the Internet for education includes: online discussion boards, streaming videos, student assessments, and classroom presentations.

Online discussion boards can provide a communication tool outside of class among students and teachers.  They provide an excellent platform for in-depth discussions with students who are too shy to speak-up in class, as well as the ability for well-thought-out and researched information, rather than the spontaneous ideas expressed in a class discussion.  In research completed by Kathleen Krentler and Laura Willis-Flurry, they found that college students who participated in an optional online discussion board 76% – 100% of the time earned a significantly higher course grade point average than all other students (Krentler, 2005).  Online discussion boards can go far beyond the standard chats, online discussions can also include interactive chats with software such as iLink that allows for sharing of software applications; and interactive software programs such as Google Docs that allows a group of students to work on the same document simultaneously via the Internet.  Online discussions are only one example of interaction and communication via the Internet.

Interaction and communication can also occur online through streaming videos.  Over the last fifteen years the creation and refinement of digital, Web-based video, also called streaming video or Webcast, enables educators to use video technologies in online courses or distance education without being limited by conventional constraints.  One of the most common complaints about distance education from students is the lack of human contact between students and instructors.  One method of incorporating the human element into a distance education course is through the use of streaming video (Nickerson, 2003).  Some of the most successful educational Webcasts include online lectures provided by National Geographic Live Events, NASA TV, Elluminate, and Exploratorium Webcasts.  In 1997, LaRose and Gregg researched the impact of Web-lectures and found that the Web-lectures were at least as efficient and effective as regular, classroom-based lectures.  Young and Asensio (2002) also discovered other student benefits when researching the impacts of streaming videos on education, such as: the ability for students to rewind and replay content as needed; reach greater audience numbers; accessibility of videos anytime; and more interaction with course content.  Streaming videos can be created for the incorporation of guest lectures into classes without traveling or scheduling issues, administering professional development programs accessible when needed, and recruiting students by capturing the essence of a program through video.  West Virginia University’s graduate nursing program is an example of an educational program that uses streaming video to recruit potential students by showcasing what is entailed in a typical class.  Although the following research was not performed in adult classes, the findings are still powerful.

Two independent evaluations by Cometrika have been completed on the UnitedStreaming service, and both studies indicated significant gains in student achievement as a result of using this streaming video.  The first evaluation took place in three school districts in rural Virginia in 2002, and significant gains were noted in third and eighth grade science and social studies scores.  The study used a random assignment design and involved a pretest, followed by a month of exposure to over 30 UnitedStreaming video clips pertinent to state standards, and then a post-test that measured the state standards that were covered in the video clips and instruction. A summary of the results showed that the experimental group’s improvement exceeded the control group’s improvement by over 12.6% points. The second evaluation was conducted in the Los Angeles Unified School District during 2004, and results indicated a significant improvement in student test scores in sixth and eighth grade mathematics. Approximately 2,500 middle school students in the district participated in the study. Each student was given a pretest to measure mastery of specific California state standards, and then a post-test at the end of the academic quarter to measure improvement. During the quarter, teachers in the experimental group used approximately 20 UnitedStreaming clips related to the state standards, while those in the control group received traditional instruction. The results of the study indicated that the experimental group outscored the control group by 3-5%, which was statistically significant (Discovery Education, 2006).

One of the biggest impacts the Internet has provided is online assessments.  Teachers can now assign online assessments to get instant monitoring of students’ academic progress.  These Web-based assessments are growing in popularity for several reasons including: instantaneous scoring and reporting; quick results available to teachers and administrators; and immediate feedback available to students when the assessment is designed as an ongoing instructional tool.

The most common use of the Internet for educational purposes is to create a classroom website for classroom content.  Teachers use the website to post assignments, important dates to remember, grades, and lecture presentations and notes for students to use at home as they continue to study outside of the classroom.  Google Earth, an example of a content enhancement, can help teachers bring abstract ideas like geographical locations to reality in the classroom via the Internet.  Students can use the website to post questions, and showcase work to a large audience; showcasing their work can provide motivation and pride in their school work.  Both teachers and students can use the website to build an online learning community that can enhance the learning.

Disadvantages of Technology and Internet in Education

Although technology and the Internet offer a variety of benefits, there are disadvantages that need to be addressed before determining if and what technology can enhance adult learning.  Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, noted that “just because the Internet gives scholars and students access to ‘our own virtual Libraries of Alexandria’ does not mean that education and research are improving,” (Chronicle of Higher Education, 2005).  In Krentler’s and Willis-Flurry’s research, they found that Internet usage had no significant effect on the students’ course grade point average (Krentler, 2005).  Some of the most common complaints with integrating the Internet into a lesson plan includes: the time it takes to prepare the lesson plan which involves identifying appropriate online references; another issue is the possession of updated technology to run the online software applications such as high-speed Internet connection and new computers.  The most popular complaint with technology is the lack of professional development supplied to teachers and staff to help successfully integrate new technology into already pre-established curriculum and lesson plans.  Stephan Ehrmann claims that “inadequate support for staff and program development has caused more waste and failure than any other issue associated with the use of technology,” (Ehrmann, 1996).  He goes on to state that “hardware, software, and related direct operating costs can devour technology budgets leaving almost nothing for staff and program development,” (Ehrmann, 1996).  Technology can also provide distractions as noted by a student at the University of Florida, Cliff Stephens, who confessed he can be tempted by computer games such as Solitaire when he should be studying, (Chronicle of Higher Education, 2005).


Technology and the Internet has become a fact of life in and out of the classroom.  They have both transformed over the last fifteen years creating new opportunities in education.  Distance learning was once simply a few classes offered over the college television station or radio station, has now transformed into full online universities.  Bulky desktop computers with dial-up Internet connectivity and limited software applications have transformed into handheld devices with portable high-speed Internet connectivity and sophisticated software applications.  These advancements in technology have created a huge transformation in the Internet and how the Internet can be used for education.  Online Discussion boards, online classroom content, streaming videos, and Web-based assessments have been just a few of the powerful ways that the Internet has impacted education, especially adult education in colleges and universities over the last ten years.

By Higher Power Training: Providing Instructional Design and Training Services since 2000


 Borja, Rhea R (2007, March). Teaching Assistants. Education Week, 26(30), 18-22.

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Doe, Charles (2006, November). Web-Based Assessment. MultiMedia & Internet@Schools, 13(6), 17-20.

Dove, Teresa Grey Mullins (2006). Streaming Video and Distance Education. Distance Learning, 3(4), 63-71.

Ehrmann, Stephen (1997). Adult Learning in a New Technological Era. Copyright Carfax Publishing Company.

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Technology Integration in Adult Training

Technology has impacted almost every aspect of our lives including adult and higher education. Adult learners, like other students, all learn best in a variety of approaches and succeed best when their strengths are highlighted. It is the responsibility of the instructor to identify each student’s strengths and teach to those strengths; many times, technology can assist in this objective and provide both instructors and students with many benefits to enhance and reinforce the educational experience.

Technology in the Classroom

Technology has been used in training for years; it used to include VCRs, overhead projectors, and bulky desktop computers, but with the aid of technology advances, technology in the classroom has become endless. In the Era of Technology, students in a college classroom can be exposed to virtual reality training devices, PDAs and tablets, digital cameras, laptop computers, iPods, digital projectors, and smartboards. As adults we now have the opportunity to continue our professional development and training without ever stepping foot into a classroom by taking online courses. When considering the advantages and disadvantages of technology in supporting adult and higher education, three factors should be considered:

(1) Does the technology improve access to training?

(2) Does the technology improve the quality of education?

(3) Does the benefits of the technology justify the costs?

Effective Technology

The integration of technology has been an ongoing challenge for years but the rewards for technology integration are well worth the struggles. Three learning theories that impact adult learners are the behaviorist approach, constructivist approach, and cognitivist approach; all three approaches can be enhanced with technology and can successfully enhance the educational experience for all students no matter what their strengths and weaknesses. The digital age can enhance liberal education if we make appropriate use of digital opportunities. The key to technology effectiveness is proper integration of the technology so that it enhances or reinforces a lesson plan rather than creating difficulties for the students or teacher such as technical issues or distractions. In a world that is dominated by technology, it is important for students to be introduced to various technological options and experience how they can be beneficial in both their class as well as real-world application. One of the biggest benefits with technology such as the Internet is that students have unlimited access to information. Internet, as well as virtual reality, PowerPoint, iPods, PCs and tablets, can also offer interactivity. One of the most common benefits of technology is how various technologies can be combined, for example, a teacher can place all videos, PowerPoint lectures, and assignments on the Internet for students to use at home as they continue to study outside of the classroom or workplace. Technology can also aid in the development of problem-solving skills as well as encouraging inquiry-based thinking, thus gaining a deeper understanding of the information presented in class. The greatest benefit of technology is that technology will continue to improve and change, offering instructors even more ways to deliver the information to their students, thus allowing all students the best opportunity to succeed no matter what their best learning methods.

Ineffective Technology

Although technology offers a variety of benefits, there are disadvantages that need to be addressed before determining if and what technology can enhance adult learning. The most popular complaint with technology is the lack of professional development supplied to teachers and staff to help successfully integrate new technology into already pre-established curriculum and lesson plans. Technology can also provide distractions.

Technology in Training

When researching the different types of technologies available to enhance learning, a trainer must first determine their own knowledge of the technology and available professional development. Once the trainer is proficient with the technology, they must determine how integrate it successfully to achieve their ultimate goal. They must consider costs for technology, the time it will take to train the students in the technology, possible problems the trainer or students may encounter with the technology, and the ability for the students’ learning to be enhanced and not hindered by the integration of the technology. When identifying the needs for an adult course, a trainer must consider many factors that impact their students both in the class and outside of the class, such as the busy lives of the students; therefore, assignments and assessments can be a critical issue that should be addressed to help the adult students succeed. Another factor is that technology, especially for adults, can be overwhelming if it is a new experience for them. PDAs of tablets offer the best technology integration for adult courses for a number of reasons. The first is that many adults already have some experience with PDAs or at least some of their functions such as scheduling and calculating. The next is that the PDA will offer adult students a way to stay organized in the class and be able to track their professional, personal, and school workload. The third and probably the most important factor is that most adults have some experience with the software. Other benefits include taking all their class notes on the PDA, downloading lectures and videos, and accessing the internet. To be successful, technology needs to be integrated without the students even realizing it, so that the emphasis remains on the lesson and not on the technology.


Technology has become a fact of life in and out of the classroom. It is important to recognize that many types of technology can help students, if designed appropriately. It is the responsibility of trainers, executives, and instructional designers to understand that adults learn with a variety of approaches, and they must design the best opportunity for students to be successful in the trainings. Although there are disadvantages, effective technology can advance learning the same way technology has improved medicine, science, and our daily lives.Technology has impacted almost every aspect of our lives including adult and higher education. Adult learners, like other students, all learn best in a variety of approaches and succeed best when their strengths are highlighted. It is the responsibility of Higher Power Training to identify an organization’s strengths and teach to those strengths; many times, technology can assist in this objective and provide both trainers and students with many benefits to enhance the educational experience. Technology integration is a much debated topic in higher education. In this Era of Technology, people cannot avoid technology, whether its cell phones, plasma televisions, DVRs, etc. Although children are eager to learn and use these advanced technologies, adults are many times reluctant to venture out to the unknown and experience new technologies because it can be intimidating and overwhelming. Thus, it is crucial for teachers and trainers, who teach adults, to identify the appropriate technology integration to reinforce and encourage learning rather than to intimidate and distract adult learners.

By Higher Power Training: Providing Instructional Design and Training Services since 2000