Stephanie's Office






Latest news (May 3, 2004)

From just about the minute I arrived home from the US requests for new design work reached my desk. As time passes and our experience grows we are expanding the services we offer. I am coaching individuals within companies who wish to transform courses into technology-based versions. We continue to design the best learning environments to support the learning process. And, we are now designing graphically-based sites for clients who would not benefit from metaphorical sites.

Some highlights of the past two months are:


Additions to the website

We are just now putting the finishing touches on a website for cutting horse trainer Richard Webb. New images soon. The home page and entrance to the site is stunning. We have also designed Richard's business card and brochure. I'll show this soon too!

The completion of the design of The Great Ride communication course. The pilot of the course is nearing completion and the program is now available for bookings from Corporate teams.

Four of the five new Brisbane City Council on-line courses are now complete. They produced excellent learning results. Two of the courses, Orientation and Career Management, are now being offered throughout council. The demand for Career Management is so high that 5 teams will start this month, and 5 more have been requested for next month.

We have delivered to NETg the On-line Learning Survival Course. It is under trial with 2 clients. NETg will announce its availability later in the year to existing and new users of NETg courses.

The completion of the Old Mine environment for SKM's
Environmental Health and Safety course. This scene is the exit where the participants take the final test.

The next big on-line course environment is rumoured to be a cruise in first class through a set of mystical islands!

Our services: Introduction

The research I began in 1984 and '85, and resumed in 1999, focused on the use of technology as a means to influence human behaviour in the context of learning, motivation and achievement. By the end of 2002 that research had reached a critical apex. A stable and replicatable set of design principles emerged demonstrating resilience and plasticity when applied across a broad range of educational and information delivery circumstances.

As a result I confidently began to say, "Yes" to clients seeking support in the development of technology-based training, information delivery and learning support. Each client's needs were unique. Every solution used the same set of well-grounded theories and principles.

The page you are reading now will soon be replaced with a new website. The site is under development as I write this and will reside in the crystal ball in the office. I have written here what can be done well given the layout of a single page.

The four services I now provide to selected clients are described below. Those of you looking for information on training please refer to the bottom of this page for the latest.

Enjoy what you find here.


Lou's Slip Marina
one of several environments supporting Class Technology's Software Design Course

Learning process: facilitated by an on-line character

Unique application feature: a previously paper-based case study brought to life on the Internet

Every course design uses and builds upon the unique on-line and technology-based teaching method I have developed and use in my own on-line courses.

The on-line or technology-based courses shown were written by a trainer or company content expert under my supervision. That supervision included training to write in a style appropriate to the important outcomes of a training program .. namely, learning and completion!

The concept and artwork were developed by my team and in most cases construction was completed by my Webmaster.


Artwork is the suit of clothes the site wears to be visible to visitors and students. It helps capture your personality, character and nature in what has to date been a dominantly text/graphic medium. Your website or on-line presence say instantly that you are either interesting or you are not.

The environment represented by the artwork has two responsibilities: to cause useful states of mind in the visitor and to facilitate navigation to the various components of the site or on-line course. Environments by nature are conceptual and metaphorical. They share a relationship with the audience and the subject matter.

The success of a good on-line course or website design is not unlike the success of a good human communicator. It relies on an intimate understanding of how the brain creates states and meaning for what it experiences. Within that knowledge framework it becomes an easy matter to know how to positively influence individuals to learn and to act .. about you, your company, the contents of a training course or any other information you choose.



The Change Room
The place participants come to the individual lessons in a change management course

Rollover the image to enter

Learning process: self-directed

New feature: every employee has a personal changeroom for the length of the course


The Cave
Participants meet team mates on the beach for orientation before entering the cave where their learning adventures take place.


An on-line learning centre is an environment containing content built to support learners before and during a significant learning process.

In the case of the Caretaker's Room below the purpose was to prepare Brisbane City Council staff for the introduction of on-line learning as a means to provide significant amounts of training. The contents of the Caretaker's Room include a Learning How to Learn On-line Survival Course which teaches the strategies and skills needed to successfully learn via technology. The environment also contains preparation materials for EVERY on-line course offered to council staff and several elements for ongoing support should the participant get stuck motivationally while engaged in a course.

Rollover the image to turn on the lights

The contents of an on-line learning support centre draw heavily on my own work from programs, such as, Learning To Learn, The Goal Achiever's Program, Training To Train and my various books and articles.

Three on-line learning support centres have been built, each with their own unique application. In the case of the Parelli Natural Horse•Man•Ship support centre, the purpose was to provide a place where self-study students of Pat's work worldwide would find support as they engaged in this unique learning process. In another case I wrote a single lesson to prepare learners before they start a CD-ROM training course where they would learn to operate a rolling mill.

Learner Preparation Guide for IAS

On-line learning: The important issues and what I am doing about them
by Stephanie Burns

A psychologist review of the on-line course "Who's Driving the Bus"
by Paul Martin

Voice Recognition with Bob! A taste of the on-line experience
by Stephanie Burns

Getting Attention and Motivating Participation in Self-Directed Programs
by Stephanie Burns

Lessons from the first on-line teaching test. Quitting the program before it begins!
by Stephanie Burns


My career keeps spinning round and round the same axis. Here I am standing in front of 500 or more individuals at a Computer Showcase Convention in 1982 and goodness knows what US city. A new group of 500 entered every 2 hours from morning till night for four days running. I did this in more cities than I can remember. My role was to teach people what they needed to know to begin to think about the ways computers could one day be used and might influence their lives. Computers were still unable to display lower case characters and there was very little packaged software.

Most people were so frustrated by their own lack of a framework to understand the new technology they wanted to physically hit the computer .. so I gave them permission to do just that to get it out of their system. Then I could get down to some real teaching.

It is time now for me to return to teaching.


Rollover the image to enter the cave

Learning process: facilitated by virtual teachers

Unique application feature: every lesson is delivered by a different character whose ghost still resides in the cave

The Patterns Room

One of five unique environments for a course where the elements found in the room provide strong links to the nature of the lessons

Learning process: uniquely facilitated by the thing that it is .. akin to the voice of the brain teaching about the nature of brain behaviour in the Leadership Labyrinth.

Unique application feature: 5 environments are used to deliver lessons related to the 5 different natures of the process being taught

Websites for individuals and companies with personality.

If you are designing a website for fast access to specific information .. a phone number, purchasing a known item, flight details .. then you should use a good traditional website designer. There are many to choose from in the market today.

If, however, you are an individual or company who wishes to influence, educate or inform existing and prospective clients then you most definitely should not use a traditional website designer. Your design must be informed by an understanding of human behaviour and achieve 5 tasks:

• cause positive and useful brain states for the various aspects of learning, participating and acting

• capture and hold attention fully on the contents

• cause useful action while at the site .. reading and engaging in the process

• cause future action .. using, experimenting, buying, inquiring, discussing with others

• memorable and causing a desire to return


Rollover to enter the office

There is just no reason that the unique personality and nature of your business should not be expressed in the presentation of your work via the Internet. You get one chance to make an impression on-line.

As many of you are well aware, my career has been driven by a cycle of

find a difficult problem
research the related phenomenon
tease out a practical solution
do a bunch of test demonstrations
and teach the solution to others

The paradigm of information and education delivery via technology is wholly new. Although I dare say many individuals and suppliers of courses would have you believe otherwise.

This new field is NOT informed by traditional website design for delivery of information or other paper-based and presentation design methods. It is instead informed by research and knowledge found within the disciplines of education and psychology. It is informed by standards of good teaching and an understanding of 'tension' in relation to motivation and action. It is informed further by research that underlies the design of video games. Those designers are masterful in their influence on human behaviour. We are not making games, but we must do what a good game does .. engage the participant fully.

I have been seriously exploring the best means to teach what I have learned.

The best method has been facilitated via coaching. What I have been doing is coaching individual content experts in a unique process of writing in a way that is suitable for teaching via technology. While the content experts write, my design team develops the concept, artwork and webmastering for the course. This process has been successful and more of this type of coaching/designing with individuals can be done on request. If you feel you have content that might make an excellent on-line course, drop me a note and I'll provide you with the details.




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