Carlos Araya

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About Carlos

Carlos is a Trainer and Instructional Designer from Santiago, Chile. He now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California. He attended Saint George's College in Santiago for his K-12 education.

I did a year of Film School at Universidad ARCIS before realizing that my heart was not really interested in Film. First love at the time was theater (and, to some degree, it still is.)

March of 1994 was the year when I moved to the US. I started college at Central College in Pella, Iowa. At this point I was still interested in working in Theater (getting my BA in theater, sweating through an MFA in directing and then working in regional theater.

Fall semester of my Junior year I decided that I liked too many things to concentrate in one dicipline. I switched majord to General Studies with concentrations in Anthropology, Theater and Spanish. And I still managed to graduate in 4 years :-)

I started my master's in Instructional Technology at San Jose State University in 1998 and completed it in 2004.

Debating whether to do a PhD or not...


I started a blog journal in 2006. It is located at I use it as a sounding board and venting space.

It is updated infrequently.


I wasn't a big sportsman until I moved to California in 1997.

The first sport that caught my attention was Naginata, a Japanese martial art similar to kendo. It wasn't raw strength that attracted me to Naginata... it was the grace of the movements and the deceptive speed of the art that sold me on it.

In 2009 a friend had asked if anyone wanted to do a triathlon. I decided why the hell not.... That was 5 triathlons and 3 years ago (as of July 2012). I am getting ready to do The Triathlon at Pacific Grove again. I completed it once before in 2009.

But the big goal is still in the horizon... a year or 2 down the road I will complete a full IM in Canada. That has been my dream since I started getting serious about triathlons and my frustration since I broke my leg training for IM Arizona. I will do it, I just need to be smart about how I do it.

While training for triathlons I've become involved in cycling and swimming. Cycling is refreshing and a way to clear my head and just relax, although my legs don't usually think that when I'm done.

Swimming has always been my relaxing discipline... I run because I have to, I bike because it relaxes me but I swim because it's the only sport I'm willing to do that requires total concentration. Only in swimming I can tell when I'm tired (just look at my arms) and when I'm about to go into that total zen-like zone.


I have a bunch of hobbies which have been mostly abandoned over the last few years; I'm hopping to be able to pick them backup after the end of the tri season.

I picked Warhammer 40k in 2001 as I was just sarting to work at CVC. It's a fun miniature game which, sadly, has been left on the wayside due to lack of time and not finding fun gaming partners since The Fortress closed in Chico almost 4 years ago.

I don't ever remember not reading... some of my earliest school memories are sneaking around the shelves of the school's library and going straight for the Science Fiction section. Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke were the first that caught my attention.... and got me yelled at by teachers because that was way too advanced for my reading level. Whatever, Foundation in Spanish is still my favorite Asimov's novel :-)

As an avid reader, writing wasn't far behind. I still have the dream of getting published as a fiction author... we'll see what happens.

Travel / Plans

  1. Getting ready for Pacific Grove in early September and then, who knows, maybe 2013 will be the year for my Ironman
  2. Ironman is still on for when I turn 40
  3. The San Diego Triathlon Challenge
  4. Scuba Diving
    • Basic license
    • Underwater photography
    • Whatever license you need to get to be able to explore submerged wrecks
    • Dive Master
    • Diving Instructor
  5. Attend one Tiesto concert either alone or with friends.
  6. Get a civilian pilot’s license and fly across the country
  7. Learn to play piano
  8. Driver’s license
  9. Travel with a purpose
    • Chile to do Ironman Pucón and to do family patching
    • Australia to dive the great reef
    • Basque Country to do further research in Anthropology and to party
    • Hawaii to enjoy at least a week there
  10. Save enough money that I can do all of these things
  11. Learn to Swing dance, ballroom dancing in general and tango in particular
  12. Train in Kyudo
  13. Learn to dance tango
  14. Run the bulls before it’s outlawed

Contact Information

These are some of the sites where I can be found:

What He Does

I completed my Master's Degree in Instructional Technology at San Jose State University in 2004. Even as I started working my emphasis has been in training, instructional design and Learning Management Systems.

I am interested in training development and delivery. How to build your course (wether it's an academic course or a training event) to maximize student learning and to make engaging (no more talking heads) and how can technology facilitate the learning process.

In the last couple years the quest to make technology easier to use led me to Wordpress and theme development using Thesis and ebook creation and tool development.

Consulting Blog

To keep my work-related blogging separate from my personal stuff I started a different blog to write about professional stuff.

It is located at

Instructional Design / Training

Deciding what to material to use when delivering instruction or training is not easy. There has to be some systematic design of instruction for it to be successful. That's where Instructional Designers come in: Through a rigorous and systematic process we develop and evaluate instructional material that is as effective as it can be given the resources and the audience.

I use ADDIE as my ISD model, Rapid Prototyping as my Design/Implementation methodology and Kirkpatrick's 4 levels as my evaluaton framework.

Creating the material is one thing... delivering it is completely different. I have delivered training and presentationsface to face and online usin Wimba (now Blackboard Collaborate).

While the design and development of the material does influence the delivery, the chosen delivery method itself presents challenges and opportunities for the one doing the delivery. It is very different to do a presentation in front of a live audience than it is to deliver a WebEX or collaborate presentation, the dynamics are different and the requirements are different.

HTML / WP Development

I first started working with HTML when I was in college back in 1995. It was akward because there was nothing there. We had to build everything from scratch and get the computers installed with the software we wanted behind the support team's back. I can do HTML, CSS and some JavaScript by hand... a product of having learned when there were no editors available.

I got tired of HTML and web development/design around 2008 and dropped it for a few years and only picked it up again in 2011. Things like jQuery and some aspects of HTML 5 particularly the new ways to embed audio and video content into web pages has made it fun to code and create content again.

When I started looking at web design again I realized that the hardest thing is not to create the content but to manage it. It is so hard to manage content by uploading single pages all the time and then editing the content to update.... In my experience working with static websites leads to stagnant sites that are seldom updated.

That's where a Content Management System or Web Content Management Systems (WCMS) come in. The WCMS automates most of the layout and management of the content on your site. We only need to worry about the content, all the rest is taken care of.

I've worked with multiple CMS/WCMS systems including Movable Type, Joomla and Wordpress among others. I chose Wordpress because it is the easiest to install and configure. You can add themes and extensions for pretty much any tool that you can imagine.

Rather than use the default Wordpress theme framework, I chose to use the Thesis Theme for a variety of reasons. It is flexible and it allows me to design the sites as I want without limiting the type of site I create with Wordpress (not that the standard Wordpress themes restrict you in any way, I just found it easier to learn Thesis).

Ebook Development

Ebooks have become wildly popular since the release of the Amazon Kindle, the Barnes & Noble Nook and the Apple iPad. They allow various degrees of interactivity, the iPad and the Nook even allow you to include audio and video in your ebooks.

The two main ebook standards are EPUB 3 used by the Nook and iPad and MOBI Pocket used by the Kindle line of devices.

I use a variety of tools to create epub ebooks: Docbook XML and the attending XSLT stylesheets, In Design and hand-coded HTML5. I have chosen not to use Apple's iBook Author as it produces non-standard output that can only be used with iBooks; if you create the EPUB 3 contet with any of the other tools it will be read by all Epub 3 compatible devices.

I'm starting to look at the new formats for EPUB books: Fixed Layout, which allow you to create magazine-like spread on your ebooks and Media Overlays for Synchronized audio with our ebook content.

Using the EPUB publication as a starting point I use Amazon's Kindlegen utility to convert it to MOBI Pocket readable by Kindle devicess.

Current (and incomplete) research and presentations

Other Projects / Presentations


These are some of the presentations I've worked over the years.

Presentations before 2011

Newer presentations

ADDIE Development process

The ADDIE project seeks to build a tool make instructors, trainers and developers think about the ADDIE process as they walk through some basic instructional design questions. The tool uses local storage techniques and code (part of the HTML5 specification) to store content on the user's browser so that whenever they return to the site they will have access to their prior work

This is an early prototype of the tool

Interactive Video Players

HTML5 and its associated APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) make it trivial (well, maybe not trivial but easier) to create custom video players to suit our needs. Years ago Apple's QuickTime's Player allowed you to create similar effects using SMIL and propietary technologies. This time it is built basaed on standards and it can be built with the same tools that we use to create our HTML content.

The one remaining challenge is how to provide captioning and/or synchronized text for the video. That is where my current research in this are is headed. It also involves areas like the WAI ARIA accessibility specifications, Timed Text (TT) Authoring Format and ideas like HTML5 Video Descriptions or the Acorn Media Player.


I continue to learn about Docbook and the associated stylesheets so I can create customized books and sites for customers. I'm working on learning XSLT 2.0 and 3.0 so I can work directly with the stylesheets to achieve the results I want in book production.

I am particularly interested in learning how to expand docbook by adding elements using the Relax NG grammar file available for Docbook 5 and customizing the display of the content using the XSLT stylesheets and XSL FO for printed output.

The Future of eBooks

The distinction between ebooks and web pages is becoming blury. We are able to add multimedia (audio and video) and interactivity (scripted content) to EPUB 3 and, with some tweaks, to MOBI/Kindle ebooks so how do we tell the difference? How do we decide what works best as long form content (for an example see Craig Mod's Bibliotype and what is better suited for the freeform epub/kindle system?

Most ebook vendors have applications that allow users to read they ebooks on almost any platform. Barnes & Nobles and Amazon have desktop and iPhone/iPad applications available so you can read your kindle book on any app. Does this influence the production decisions we make? Does the fact that we can use the same subset of HTML5 and CSS3 for both Epub, Kindle and web-based content change the way we author our material?

Current research (Work in Progress)