Just read an awesome article on Gamasutra (I <3 them) on Creating the Illusion of Accomplishment by David Rosen.
What was most awesome about it was how matter of fact it was about the issue of creating a sense of accomplishment in games. Of course that’s what games are about. In fact, it’s about parodying accomplishments in games (and about how that’s STILL satisfying).
What’s really breathtaking about this is how BAD we are at this in learning (e-Learning or ILT). We’ve got this lovely pre-programmed need for people to accomplish things (see the SEED magazine article “Why We Haven’t Met Any Aliens” or Nytimes “Hijacking the Brain with a Nickel Slot Machine” for explanations of why we are hard-wired this way), and WE DON’T DO ANYTHING WITH IT.
Anyway, instructional designers focus so much on Learning Objectives (I always think of a working knowledge of Bloom’s Taxomy as the secret handshake of Instructional Design), but even if we have good learning objectives, I’m not sure we are using them right for design.
It seems to me that if we have good learning objectives (and that’s a big assumption – see Will Thalheimer’s approach for a way to write better objectives), that we should ask two design questions:
1) How is the learner going accomplish those objectives in the learning itself?
2) How is the learner going to accomplish real tasks/goals with those learning objectives both in the learning, and in the real world?
How different would instructional design be if the starting point was learner accomplishment?