Designing for Distance

The last 10 years has been quite a journey with respect to adult education. As a university trained physiotherapist that took a lot of post-graduate courses to better my skills. I remember being taught about the sacroiliac joint and wondering why I was never advised about some of its features in that much detail. Years later when I reviewed past notes to write an advanced exam, I found out that I was provided the information. But without active use and repetition, I soon forgot this important information.

With all the course taking experience, I believed that I knew how to produce education. However, after critically analysing some of the courses I created, I realised that they did not provide the results I expected and I could not come up with an explanation. Almost 10 years ago, on the suggestion of a friend, I enrolled in the St. Francis Xavier certificate in adult education. There I learned about instructional design and performance consulting. Continue through the years and my most recent accomplishment was completing my Master of Education in Open, Digital and Distance Education from Athabasca University and defending my thesis on the effective use of distance education to provide office ergonomics education/assessments.

Now I listen to the same comments that I once used such as “how can I make an eLearning course pop”, “what is the best slide layout to use for learning in eLearning”, or “can you create a quick video on how to do that?”? Now I can say with certainty that the answer is that it depends on the overarching instructional design. Instructional design makes sure that objectives are identified, best learning strategies are used and courses are assessed as no course is ever perfect, especially on the first try.

Have you ever used a YouTube video on how to build something or how to stain your floors? Were you an expert after watching the video or did you have to view it a few times and then practice? If you did not practice, how did the project turn out? For most of us, not that well. Even in my thesis project the majority of the participants needed feedback to employ the workstation ergonomic advice that was provided. This is the limitation of a simple video or words on a slide. Without the ability to practice and receive feedback there is little learning. Think about it this way. Would you encourage your child to watch a video of how to drive a car and then give them the keys to your brand new car and send them off on a road trip? 

One quote from Mayer (2018) that sticks with me is, “It is worthwhile to acknowledge that instructional media…do not cause learning but rather instructional methods cause learning” (p. 153).

Now add the complication of trying to provide training for someone who is 300 kilometres away. How do you encourage practice? How do you provide feedback for the lesson? How do you make the learning active and not passive? Again, we need to go back to instructional design.

I ended up creating my design for distance course to provide an overview of the instructional design process. It does not go into great detail and if you find it interesting, I would suggest seeking further knowledge through a diploma in adult education to begin with or jump right in and complete a Masters in Education. I am hoping that this course can assist you in seeing why we do not create a PowerPoint-like eLearning course and think that it is learning. No matter how many animation effects or transitions you use, the content is still being provided passively.

So feel free to follow this link and take the course. The course itself is free. Where I transfer the content from my storyboard to Articulate Storyline 360 is not. There are over four hours of videos that took a lot of my time to create. If you wish to view my videos, a subscription will be required. The videos in combination with the course create context to make it easier to follow. But a list of the videos is provided in the course if you would rather look the information up on the Articulate eLearning heroes community website or Google it and see if there is something on YouTube or Vimeo.

I hope you find the course helpful.


Mayer, R. E. (2018). Thirty years of research and online learning. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 33(2), 152-159.

Office Ergonomics

In my career, I have been asked to consult on various projects.  On an individual basis, I have been asked to review office workstation ergonomics.  Often the concern is lack of knowledge on setting up the area so that it is appropriate for the client.  If you read the current standards of training, there is an expectation to review the material in 90 minutes (CSA Group, 2017).  There is a free version of the training available from Public Services Health & Safety Association that was published by the Institute for Work & Health (PSHSA, 2018).  It provides information that was  identified in the CSA Standard as necessary (CSA Group, 2017).  So, if you have 90 minutes to review the detailed knowledge, there is a free e-course available.

But what if you do not have 90 minutes?  It has been my experience in the present workplace settings that it can often be difficult to take this amount of time.  Or, you take the time in the evenings.  I have created a course that tries to break down the information into the basic need to know, but in no way will replace the extensive information provided in the 90 minute session.  The application is free and can be accessed by clicking here.

What else do I like about the application?  Well, when I was working as a physiotherapist in a private clinic, I would often give advice for the client to have their office workstation assessed to ensure proper setup to avoid aggravating their neck or back pain.  If the client did not have access to someone at their workplace to conduct the assessment, an appointment could be made for someone else to conduct the assessment.  The cost for the assessment included travel time, time for the assessment and training, and the report.  At $90-$120 per hour, this could be a large barrier.  With this application, if your healthcare practitioner (e.g. physiotherapist) agrees with the advice, you can set up your workstation, take a picture or two and bring the pictures to your next appointment for review.  

Another bonus – you can use the application when you want to instead of waiting for an appointment.  And you can review the application again whenever you wish.

If there is one thing that I can stress about the training – a perfect setup will not reduce the risk of injury if you do not move.  There is a need to incorporate getting out of the chair by going to a printer across the room, drink more water, or do other tasks in standing as a few examples.

I hope this application helps.  Let me know what you think.



Canadian Standards Association Group. (2017). Office ergonomics – An application standard for workplace ergonomics.  Retrieved from

Public Services Health and Safety Association. (2018). eOfficeErgo: Ergonomics e-Learning for Office Workers. Retrieved from

The App Works!

The Android device came in a couple of days ago.  I was able to download the app I created onto the phone, but had to change the security settings to allow installation of an app from unknown sources.  The phone promptly gave me a warning regarding the possibility of problems with security (or lack thereof) of non-approved apps.  As this phone was only meant for using apps I created (and a spare phone for travel), I installed the app, switched it to Airplane mode and carried on.

It worked wonderfully.  As you can see in the video, with the target image on the wall, I was able to move and scale the angle, just as I wanted.

This can come in handy for use in class because I will not need large targets, nor will I need to worry about the height of the student.  The other bonus is that the lesson provided instruction on how to add multiple targets. So, I can add another target image for the right shoulder abduction measurement.

Final Product.png

When reflecting on the use of the CAI, it did provide instruction on using an older version of Unity.  In order to ensure the learning was fruitful, it required extra reading on the Unity forums to figure out the updated version and it required a bit of playing around to see the difference between a PC and Mac version.  For $14.99 it was worth it.  For the original price of $204.99, it would not have been worth it.  I recommend this CAI as long as you are willing to do a bit of extra work.  Another search in Udemy revealed that this is the only version of the course.  The instructor has not updated the course.  This is understandable as “the cost of producing CAI programs can be expensive” (Romaniuk, 2013).

From a general perspective, CAI was effective in assisting me to develop the app that I wanted and it allowed me to learn at my own pace, at my own time, and location, thanks to the mobile app version of Udemy.

The fun of this exercise was being able to build a simple app for my instructional design.  However, I can see that I will need to reflect on this because it took several hours to follow the lessons and build the app.  It will be quicker the next time, but overall would this lesson have been worthwhile if it was not part of an assignment for my current course?  In other words, if all of this time was for a simple add-on to a lecture, was it worth it?  The app cannot be shared at this time due to security concerns and in order to share it, there will be charges to be a developer.  Charges that will come out of my pocket, not the organization’s.

Food for thought for my next assignment, but for now I am quite excited that the app works and that I have something to use for next year’s sonography group.


Romaniuk, E.W. (2013). Computer-assisted learning.  In The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved from


Augmented Reality for Beginners


As part of the Athabasca University MDDE 610 course, the students have been asked to identify something that we want to learn and then use a Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) program to obtain that instruction.

The first thing we need to understand is what is CAI?  According to Romaniuk (2013), CAI is “learning through computers” with an emphasis “placed upon having students learn new concepts or in reinforcing previously learned concepts”.  In other words, we need to identify something that we want to learn, find a CAI program or application (app) that will instruct us and apply what we learned.  As part of the course, we then write a blog about the experience.

Learning Opportunity

I am currently interested in augmented reality (AR).  I recently tried to use AR to produce a 20 degree angle as part of instructional design to have sonography students reflect on what 20 degrees shoulder abduction would feel like.  I wanted to do this because the literature often advises sonography students that they should try to limit shoulder abduction to 30 degrees as one strategy to to reduce injuries (Baker, 2011).  I wanted students to try and judge what angle their shoulder was at when they were asked to abduct to 20 degrees (this is not a typo) to get a sense of body position.

I used HP Reveal Studio ( to upload target and aura images.  The target image is used to identify a situation that you want to add something such as another image, a video, or a special effect.  An example that I used in the past can be seen below.  The picture of the dog is used as the target image and the video seen below the picture was inserted by using the HP Reveal app on an iPhone.

00 IMG_9913.jpg

The unfortunate part is that the HP Reveal app does not allow for adjustment of the image by either dragging it to the side or scaling it.  So when the app was used during the course, the angle did not fit on the person’s shoulder because of a variety of heights within the group.  It also required a lot of space in order to get the depth for the app and resulted in a very congested hallway.

As part of the MDDE 610 assignment, I chose to find a program to teach me how to create an app to use a smartphone camera for augmented reality.  I wanted to learn how to do this to enable the use of the angle image within a sonography ergonomics course to overcome the problems encountered earlier.  A quick search on Google showed a few programs within Udemy ( that would enable building an AR app through a gaming program called Unity.  This is not surprising as Udemy is considered one of the largest online learning platforms with over 65,000 courses and 20 million learners (Cetina, Goldbach, & Manea, 2018).

Not knowing anything about Unity and Udemy, I decided to go for an inexpensive course that appeared to give me exactly what I want, a step-by-step instruction on creating an augmented reality app for a handheld device.  I chose Rapidly Build 12 iPhone/Android Augmented Reality (AR) Apps for $14.99 Canadian (Ray N. Solutions, 2017).  The course introduction guided me to create a profile in both Unity ( and Vuforia (, download both programs and install them on my Mac.  This was a lengthy process and there were updates to both programs as the Mac operating system (OS) was recently updated and so were the Unity and Vuforia programs.  Another complication is that in order to create an app for an iPhone, one must become a developer for $99 USD per year.  Android apps can be made at no cost and uploaded to a personal Android device.  In order to upload it to the Google Play store for other devices, there is a one time $25 USD charge.  By obtaining my own Android device, I am able to transfer an app for free and use the device during instruction.  The drawback to this would be lack of access through the Google Play Store.  So I ordered an inexpensive Android device while I used the CAI.

The Good and Bad News

The CAI was easy to follow.  It provided a step-by-step procedure on how to develop the apps and provided resources when necessary.  The drawback to the CAI pertained to its 2017 publishing.  By using it in 2018, it was a few versions of Unity behind.  It was also screen recorded from a PC, which meant there were a few differences when trying to use it for a Mac.  But this was not a problem.  With a bit of problem solving and using online Unity help files, it was easy to figure out what was necessary for Mac OS.

One day I decided to take a break from my course and go out for lunch.  It was a little boring waiting for the food, so I decided to see if there was a mobile app to download Udemy courses.  A quick review on the Apple App Store identified a Udemy app which was quickly downloaded.  I was able to follow along with my next lesson on the app while waiting for lunch.  The drawback to this was I did not have access to the Unity program to follow along.  This was a large difference from having two monitors, one for the Udemy lesson and one for the Unity program.  At home, I could follow the lecture, stop the lecture video, make changes to the Unity file, rewind the video if necessary, and carry on.  

With some trial and error and rewinding the video lecture, I was able to make my first app of an asteroid that was falling towards the target and rotating.  It took a while, but I found out that some of the concern was the perspective (size) of the target and image because I was trying to display a digital copy of the image target using my iPhone rather than printing the target image.

As the lectures progressed, the program became repetitive and it was difficult to follow without creating my own list of what to do when creating a new app.  Occasionally during the screen recording the instructor would forget a step and then add it later by putting in text or stating that he forgot a certain step.  Once the list was completed, I was able to follow it to create a few more apps without the necessity of following the CAI.  The basic list that I made can be viewed here if you like.  Click on the videos below to see a video of each practice app.

As I was going through the program, I started to wonder if I could upload the angle image as an asset or if there was a process to make sure that it met certain programming/designer requirements.  I stopped the CAI and decided to use my checklist and import an image asset that I had prepared.  It would be unfortunate to spend all this time learning how to make the app and then find out that creating the image asset is too labour intensive to be useful.

I built another project from scratch and used my left shoulder abducted 20 degrees  image (PNG format) that I created for HP Reveal.  I was able to import and create a 2D scene, with some trial and error.  What excited me was that I was able to import the PNG as an asset and that it showed up in the scene.  The only things I had to be cognizant of were the X and Y rotations of the target and angle images.  Once the position and rotation of the images were solved to place them on the same plane, I was then able to go back and view the lecture on Move, Scale, Rotate & Test app again in order to see how to add the gestures.  This was done by downloading some free assets called Lean Touch.

The app did not work for me when I tested it.  The angle would not appear when I used my own image and the angle would not move when I used the mouse.  After going for a jog, I constructed a new target image with free images from Pixabay.  I then inserted the new image and tried the app.  It still did not work.  I then readjusted the number of fingers for Lean Translate script to one.  It did not work at first, but then I grabbed the writing of the angle and was able to move the object.  Click the video below to see the  working app.

As I rewatched the lesson video a second time, I noticed that the Lean Translate was set to 0 for fingers.  I reset my app to zero fingers and the app worked.  Now, I just have to wait for the Android phone to come in and try it out to see if the scale and resize options work.

For a demonstration of the building of the app from start to finish, see the video below.

The Result

See my next blog post for the update.


Apple Developer Program. (2018).  How the program works.  Retrieved from

Baker, J. (2011). Industry Standards for the Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Sonography. Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, 27, 14-18. doi: 10.1177/8756479310393510

Cetina, I., Goldbach, D., & Manea, N. (2018). Udemy: A case study in online education and training.  Revista Economică, 70(3), 46-54.  Retrieved from

Google. (2018).  How to use the play console. Retrieved from

Ray N. Solutions. (2017).  Rapidly Build 12 iPhone/Android Augmented Reality (AR) Apps.  Retrieved from

Romaniuk, E.W. (2013). Computer-Assisted Learning. In The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

List for AR app in Unity

This is the checklist that I created for myself for the creation of the AR app in Unity:

  • Sign in to Vuforia and create a licence key.
  • Create a new scene in Unity.
  • Set up your build settings for Android or iPhone (remember to switch platforms and to add the open scene).
  • Delete the main camera, insert the Vuforia AR camera and place the target image under the AR camera.
  • Go to Edit -> Project Settings -> Player.  In the inspector tab on the right, under XR settings (bottom), check the Vuforia Augmented Reality Support.
  • Choose the AR Camera and under the inspector tab, Open Vuforia Configuration and insert the licence key.
  • Tick and add databases (in my version it is automatically chosen because TrackingBehaviour is enabled on scene load).
  • Under Hierachy, click ImageTarget to select.  Under the inspector tab, choose the image that you want.  The image is automatically inserted when chosen.  Resize image as per what you would like for size.
  • Click AR Camera under Hierarchy.  Increase it’s height (position Y = 3) and then rotate it 90 degrees (X = 90) so that it looks down on the target image.
  • This is where the instructor asks you to “go shopping” in the asset store.  This is the concern that I will have for my ultimate project.  How do I make the asset so that it can be used in Unity?
  • When you want to rescale something, remember to choose the rescale icon, then place the cursor over the central box of the image.  Holding the left mouse button, move the mouse up or down to scale the image.
  • Go back to the ImageTarget (under Hierarchy) and choose to enable Extended Tracking.  This allows you to move the webcam a bit without losing the image.
  • I am not sure if this is a Mac version of the product, or because it has been through several updates since the course rendering, but on my inspector tab -> Image Target Behaviour (Script) -> Advanced, the extended tracking needs to be enabled through the Device Tracker Settings.
  • Set the tracking mode to Positional and the Fusion Mode to Optimize for Image Targets and VuMarks.
  • Make sure that the “com.CompanyName.Product” are filled out and then choose “Build” and save the new app.

Injury Reduction in Medical Sonography

stockvault-sonography-ultrasound-transducers-200939Recently I provided an education session on injury reduction in Diagnostic Medical Sonography.  The following is an excerpt from the document I produced for the course.  The image above was created by Ivan Shidlovski and is being used under a non-commercial license.

Causes of Workplace Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs)

It has been stated that the “physiological cause of a repetitive strain injury (RSI) is the accumulation of small repetitive stresses that accumulate over time (Muir et al., 2004).  When sonographers are conducting scans, if there is not enough rest to recover, there could be loss of the muscle’s ability to recover (Muir et al., 2004).  This can lead to a WMSD.  It was noted that medical sonographers are at risk if they are conducting more than 100 scans per month and an average duration of 25 minutes (Muir et al., 2004).

Other factors to consider are:

  • One-sided static working position (Monnington et al., 2012).
  • Prolonged pinch gripping of the ultrasound transducer (Monnington et al., 2012).
  • Abducting shoulder greater than 20 degrees (Muir et al., 2004).
  • Twisting and bending wrists while applying pressure (Muir et al., 2004).
  • Awkward postures (Muir et al., 2004).
  • Poor equipment design for workplaces (Muir et al., 2004).
  • Reaching too much (Muir et al., 2004; Habes & Baron, 1999).
  • Reaching too far (Muir et al., 2004; Habes & Baron, 1999).
  • Taking too few rest breaks between exams (Monnington et al., 2012; Habes & Baron, 1999).

One interesting fact that was pointed out by NIOSH was the need for mini breaks during the examination (Habes & Baron, 1999).  They noted that “if a sonographer pushes down on the abdomen for a period of 15 seconds to obtain a necessary fetal view, he/she should release the scan head and recover for 15 seconds before proceeding with the examination” (Habes & Baron, 1999, p. 5).  If the exertion time lasts one minute, then 100 seconds of recovery is required.

It was also noted that “work organization (psychosocial) factors (such as demand, control, support and role)” can be associated with musculoskeletal problems in sonographers (Monnington et al., 2012, p. 1).

Strategies to Reduce Risk

As per safety systems literature, there is a hierarchy of controls that are used to address physical hazards/ergonomic concerns.  This ranges from engineering controls to administrative controls to personal protective equipment (WCB NS, 2015; WorkSafeBC, 2017).  The most effective control is engineering and PPE is the least effective because if the PPE does not fit well and/or it fails, the employee will still be exposed to the risk (Government of Alberta, 2011).

Safety Controls

Engineering controls are the “physical arrangement, design or alteration of workstations, equipment, materials, production facilities or other aspects of the physical work environment, for the purpose of controlling risk” (WorkSafeBC, 2017).  Some of the examples of engineering controls identified by the Government of Alberta (2003) are:

  • Substitution of a hazardous process with a less hazardous process.
  • Process modification.
  • Use of material handling equipment (to replace manual handling).
  • Automated processes.
  • Ergonomically designed equipment and facilities.

Please note that material handling equipment is synonymous with patient handling equipment (i.e. mechanical lift, air-assisted lateral transfer devices, etc.).

Administrative controls refers to the “provision, use and scheduling of work activities and resources in the workplace, including planning, organizing, staffing and coordinating, for the purpose of controlling risk” (WorkSafeBC, 2017).  The Government of Alberta (2003) identified some administrative examples:

  • Policies and procedures.
  • Orientation and training.
  • Purchasing standards and procedures.
  • Work scheduling.
  • Job rotation.
  • Warning signs.
  • Maintenance and cleaning programs.
  • Separate lunchroom and break facilities.

These controls can also include conducting a risk assessment of the treatment areas and ensuring an appropriate work-to-rest ratio to ensure decreased chance of injury to muscles.

PPE refers to items such as gloves, footwear, lead aprons and devices to protect against contact stress (WorkSafeBC, 2017; Government of Alberta, 2011).

Specific to Medical Sonography

The following are some strategies that are specific to medical sonography:

  • Work organization:
  • Increased control of work (Monnington et al., 2012).
  • Engineering controls identified by Baker (2003):
  • Fully adjustable equipment.
  • Easily accessible controls for braking.  Central locking is preferable.
  • Automated systems (i.e. voice activated).
  • Height-adjustable handles suitable for transporting the equipment.
  • Monitor and control panel have independent height adjustability.
  • Height-adjustable table that goes low enough to allow patients to get on and off independently and high enough for the sonographer to scan in a seated or standing position while maintaining shoulder abduction of less than 30 degrees.
  • Open access from all sides to allow the user to put their knees and feet underneath, if required.
  • Height-adjustable chair with sufficient range to suit most users.  Ensure shoulder abduction of less than 30 degrees when scanning in seated position.
  • Administrative controls:
  • Balance workload to enable rest breaks (Monnington et al., 2012).
  • Take at least three rest breaks of 10 minutes to optimize muscle recovery (Muir et al., 2004).
  • Take short breaks during the examination to relieve muscle fatigue (Habes & Baron, 1999).
  • Switch scanning hands for task variation (i.e. if right-handed, scan with left hand) (Monnington et al., 2012).
  • Decrease duration of static posture (Murphy & Russo, 2000).
  • Decrease hand-grip pressure (Murphy & Russo, 2000).
  • Minimize awkward postures (Murphy & Russo, 2000).
  • Increase tissue tolerances through exercise and adequate rest (Murphy & Russo, 2000).
  • Provide continuing education on ergonomic risk factors and enable sonographers to come up with appropriate solutions as a team (Pike et al., 1997).
  • Provide education on properly setting up the chairs that have been purchased (Pike et al., 1997).

For an expanded list of strategies, please see the references listed above in each control.

When to Seek Treatment

Early diagnosis and intervention is required to address a WMSD (Burnage et al., 2007; Murphy & Russo, 2000; Muir et al., 2004; Igbal & Alghadir, 2017).  The difficulty in the literature is determining what is “early”?  Anecdotally, the following guideline should be used:

  • Pain, numbness, tingling lasting more than 2 hours that does not decrease with rest.

From the clinical orthopaedic knowledge of the current IPC, let us discuss a scenario for further clarification.  If you are working four shifts in a row (e.g. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) and you notice tingling in your arm/hand that is increasing in intensity and frequency over the four shifts, but then goes away over the next three days off, you need to address the ergonomics in your area and seek medical treatment from a physiotherapist, chiropractor or massage therapist.  They should provide you with posture and work-rest ratio education and exercises to try and decrease the symptoms.  They may also provide you with an assistive device such as a splint.


Baker, J. (2003, May). Industry Standards for the Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Sonography.  Consensus Conference hosted by Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Retrieved from

Burnage, J., Cattell, G., Dixon, A., Kilbourn, P., Oates, C., & Palmer, D. (2007).  Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Sonography.  The Society of Radiographers.

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS).  (2017a).  OSH Answers Fact Sheets. Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs). Retrieved from

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS).  (2017b).  OSH Answers Fact Sheets.  Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs) – Risk Factors.  Retrieved from

Government of Alberta. (2011).  Best Practices and Guidelines for Occupational Health and Safety in the Healthcare Industry, Vol 4: Best Practices for the Assessment and Control of Physical Hazards.  Retrieved from

Habes, D.J., & Baron, S. (1999).  NIOSH Ergonomics Evaluation of Sonographers at St. Peter’s University Hospital: NIOSH health hazard evaluation, (HETA 99-0093-2749). Retrieved from

Igbal, Z.A., & Alghadir A.H. (2017). Cumulative trauma disorders: A review.  Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation.  Advance online publication. doi: 10.3233/BMR-150266 (Epub ahead of print).

Monnington, S.C., Dodd-Hughes, K., Milnes, E., & Ahmad, Y. (2012).  Risk Management of Musculoskeletal Disorders in Sonography Work.    Project Report from Health and Safety Executive. (2012). Retrieved from

Muir, M., Hrynkow, P., Chase, R., Boyce, D., McLean, D. (2004). The Nature, Cause, and Extent of Occupational Musculoskeletal Injuries Among Sonographers.  Recommendations for Treatment and Prevention.  Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, 20(5), 317-325. doi: 10.1177/8756479304266737

Murphy, C., & Russo, A. (2000, July). An Update on Ergonomic Issues in Sonography Report.  Healthcare Benefit Trust. Retrieved from

Pike, I., Russo, A., Berkowitz, J., Baker, J.P., Lessoway, V.A. (1997). The Prevalence of Musculoskeletal Disorders and Related Work and Personal Factors Among Diagnostic Medical Sonographers.  J Diagnostic Med Ultrasound, 13, 219-227.

Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia (WCB NS).  (2015). Small Business Safety Toolkit.  Retrieved from

WorkSafeBC. (2017). Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, Part 01 – Definitions.  Retrieved from

Self-Talk: The use of “should”


I was recently facilitating a course and I made a comment that struck a few chords.  Interestingly enough, it was regarding the cognitive distortion should.  Let me tell you the background.  There are certain thinking traps that we can fall into.  One of them is using the word should in our internal dialogue.  As Dr. David Burns states, self-directed “shoulds” can cause feelings of guilt, shame, and inadequacy.  Other directed  “shoulds” can cause frustration and anger.

I used an example at work regarding what an employee should do.  Specifically, being on time for work.  Now, from a contractual perspective, this is appropriate.  If the expectation was set up that there is a designated start time for work, the employee should be on time.  If the employee is not on time, discussions regarding the cause of the tardiness, reiterating expectations and performance management, if applicable, should ensue.

However, what I am talking about is the self-talk of the manager.  The manager is unable to control the employee and there are things that can happen that are outside of the manager’s and employee’s control.  For example, perhaps the employee left five minutes earlier than they normally do, but there is a traffic accident that blocks access to getting to work.  Or, perhaps a child is ill all night and the employee was trying to make arrangements for the child to be cared for.  If I tell myself that the employee SHOULD be on time, then I may get frustrated and angry when they do not.  This may prevent me from asking questions non-judgementally of why the employee was late.

Dr. Burns does talk about three valid uses of the word should in the English language: legal, laws of the universe, and the moral fabric of society.  But when you are looking at self talk, perhaps it might be best to state, “I would like the employees to be on time” instead of “The employees SHOULD be on time”.  It helps to reduce anger and frustration so that you can concentrate on finding out what is going on.

Reference: Feeling Good.  The website of Dr. David D. Burns, MD. Negative and Positive Distortions, Part 3.

The Future of Mobile Learning

We are nearing the end of MDDE 623, Introduction to Mobile Learning at Athabasca University.  For the final forum, we have been asked to move our forum posts onto WordPress.  The topic – what will mobile learning look like in the future?

Considering what I do at this time, skills training is either done face-to-face, or through expensive simulators.  In an effort to ensure costs are down, there is no access to simulators.  However, with the advent of virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR), I would think that the costs related to simulation will decrease as the technology advances and access to this technology increases.  As an example, video production used to be very expensive.  Now, with the advent of computers and the quality of cameras, 1080p and 4K videos can be produced relatively inexpensively.  These may not be blockbuster films, but for the purpose of training in the public sector, videos are more accessible than ever.

One site I visited discussed wearable technology and the ability to put sensors in clothing (  With VR glasses and a pair of gloves with sensors, safe patient handling and mobility training could be conducted at a distance using an open room.  Obtaining separate equipment (i.e. mechanical lift, hospital bed) for training would not be necessary, nor would the unit have to give up equipment at times of training and go without access for patients. 

With the advancement of technology, the methods to facilitate learning must also change.  At present, even though institutions are investing in mobile access for learning, there is still resistance to change because teachers are still being taught how to teach in the classroom (  In order to keep up, educators have to educate themselves with the changes that are occurring.  As the advances of technology continues to increase, this will probably be the limiting factor to how fast the pedagogies change to embrace the new technology.