Our faculty, instructors, and contributors have decades of experience in instructional design, consulting, program development, and software engineering.


Ethan Edwards

As Chief Instructional Strategist for Allen Interactions, Ethan Edwards draws from more than 30 years of industry experience as an e-learning instructional designer and developer. He spent many years teaching certification classes for ATD, and he is a frequent blogger for Allen Interactions’ e-Learning Leadership Blog


Dr. Nan Thornton

Dr. Nan Thornton has been working in the fields of instructional design and e-learning for 30 years. Her professional experience runs the gamut from instructional designer and project manager to consultant and trainer. Nan is passionate about instructional design and cognitive science, and supports the Serious e-Learning Manifesto and the Debunker's Club


Dr. Michael Allen

For 45 years, Dr. Michael Allen has been a pioneer in defining unique methods of instructional design and development to provide Meaningful and Memorable learning experiences through “true” cognitive interactivity. He is the founder and CEO of Allen Interactions.

He is a prolific writer with nine published books on designing effective e-learning solutions, including his latest second edition: Michael Allen’s Guide to e-Learning.


Steve Lee

Steve has over 25 years’ experience as an award-winning instructional designer, e-Learning developer, project manager, instructor, and agent of organizational change. Mr. Lee is an expert in the incubation and development of internal Learning & Development teams, and a trusted adviser to numerous world-class companies, including Boeing, Microsoft, Hilton Worldwide, Google, Yahoo, Apple, HSBC, Toyota, and Dairy Queen. 

Prior to founding Allen Interactions with Dr. Michael Allen in 1993, Mr. Lee developed multiple large-scale military aviation e-Learning projects. He served as a college professor for 10 years, teaching and developing curriculum in hardware, gaming, networking, and information security. During that time, Mr. Lee also developed the Information Security Certificate Programs for the State of Colorado.

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Scott Colehour

Scott Colehour has been in the e-learning design and development industry for more than 25 years. He is co-founder and solutions architect of Allen Interactions, which builds interactive custom learning solutions to fit organizational and business needs. Scott has participated in the design of over 400 e-learning initiatives. His vast knowledge of instructional interactive design methodologies is rooted in the philosophies of performance and practice-based learning.

Prior to joining Allen Interactions, Scott served Macromedia Inc. in many roles including technical customer support, training developer/instructor, multimedia consultant, tradeshow/conference manager, manager of sales support engineers, and national sales account manager. 


Brent Gwisdalla

Brent is a Senior Instructional Strategist, Senior Producer and a Director of Studio Operations for Allen Interactions. He is the architect of countless learning experiences and has led projects across a broad spectrum of content areas. For over 25 years, Brent has worked in all phases of instructional design, talent development, e-Learning and blended training solutions using almost every media imaginable along the way.

Prior to joining Allen Interactions, Brent created the Gwisdalla Group, an Instructional Design consultancy in Scottsdale, Arizona. He has also served in key leadership positions with Honeywell, VIACK Corporation, KnowlegeNet and Educational Discoveries.

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Christopher Allen

Christopher has more than a decade of experience leading the development of cutting-edge digital products and services. He’s especially passionate about creating shared vision among teams of stakeholders, sales professionals, engineering talent, quality assurance, and support.

 Prior to Allen Interactions, Christopher enjoyed successful experiences in sales management and as a magazine publisher. He holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management from The George Washington University, is an expert on the Successive Approximation Model (SAM) and is a Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP).


Michael Hruska

Michael Hruska is a technologist with experiences spanning across standards, emerging technologies, learning, and science. He is a former researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Mike provides technology, business model and innovation solutions to Fortune 500, government and startups. His team has been stewarding the efforts for the last 8+ years at the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative on the Experience API (xAPI). He researches, strategizes, designs, and makes advanced technology solutions and products.

His team has built award winning products and delivered solutions that support millions of users. Michael’s experience spans the continuum between advanced research on adaptive learning ecosystems and solution/product design.


Dr. Daniel McCoy

Daniel McCoy has 25 years of experience working in the knowledge, education, media & communications, and technology sectors. Over the course of his career, Daniel has leveraged advanced technologies to transform organizations, developing successful learning and commercial initiatives. Daniel holds a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Florida, a MA in Anthropology from UCLA, and a BA in Anthropology from San Francisco State University.


Ellen Burns-Johnson

As learning experience designer with Allen Interactions, Ellen has crafted the instructional strategy and design for dozens of major initiatives on diverse topics, from hospitality software to classroom safety to elder abuse prevention. Her work has received multiple awards for interactivity and gameful design. Ellen is also the lead pioneer of the Game Lab, an emerging group within Allen Interactions focusing on innovation in the game-based learning space.


Zarir Erani

Zarir specializes in making the complex simple and ensuring that the team has a clear purpose/vision and roadmap to achieve operational excellence and revenue growth.

As a client-facing leader, Zarir begins with a focus on people and culture, leveraging this approach to bring the strategy to life. He has expertise and passion for e-business technologies, particularly SaaS based systems, along with strategic planning, market positioning, talent management, operations management & optimization. He has worked on projects for industry-leading Fortune companies including WellPoint, Kaiser Permanente, 3M, Nokia, Wells Fargo, John Deere, TCF, Intel, General Motors, Michelin, Sun, NCR, Xerox, Polaris, UnitedHealth Group, AT&T and many others.

For the past twenty years, Zarir has been responsible for providing executive leadership at several organizations. He is a holistic leader, ensuring horizontal integration within organizations, by specializing in digital transformation and pivoting organizations for relevancy and growth. He is often appreciated for being an inspirational change agent.

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