Here are Stephen’s slides from his IA Summit presentation. Excellent stuff relating to autonomy in learning environments, and multitudes more:
I have this great little shelf in the bookshelf app on my ipad. It’s just books by people I know. I feel genuinely privileged to know so many people with so many interesting things to say.
Some of them are drafts for books that are still in progress., but one that’s already out in the world is Koreen Pagano’s Immersive Learning: Designing for Authentic Practice:
It’s great, for a few different reasons:
Reason 1: The subtitle — Designing for Authentic Practice. So immersive learning environments can sometimes be shiny objects. Remember when everything L&D was going to start happening in Second Life? Yep, that didn’t happen.
One of the reason’s it didn’t happen was because there was because the focus was on the technology (“Ooo – we can build a virtual replica of our corporate university!”) and not on the really interesting part — the possibility for high-context practice. We remember more if we learn something in the same environment where we will use the information, so virtual worlds were interesting for that reason, but that got lost in the hype cycle. Koreen rightly focuses on the real purpose for immersive learning – high-context practice environments. It’s about the practice, not the technology.
Reason 2: The case studies – So, one of the problems with a lot of L&D books is that they are more about what can be done, rather than examples of what has been done. This naturally happens with new technologies. When they were brand new, both mobile and xAPI have had to start with the possibilities rather than real examples, until some critical mass built, allowing for case examples.
Immersive learning suffered similarly for a long time, but if anybody is able to speak from direct experiences, it’s Koreen. The book is worth it for the case studies alone. Lots of really good examples of use, with the kind of nitty gritty details you need to help inform your own practice.
Reason 3: Underwear Gnomes — how can you not love a book that starts with a really well-played South Park reference? It’s indicative of Koreen’s overall accessible, entertaining style, which makes the book a really pleasurable read.
So a couple of quick things. A few of us launched this today: http://elearningmanifesto.org/ — would love to know if it seems useful
And second, I was collecting some resources on writing good multiple choice questions (which is really hard), and thought they might be useful to post here
Hey folks — am returned from all the San Francisco adventures, and am happy to be home.
Now that I have time to draw breath, I’ll actually finish some of those blog posts, but here’s a round up of stuff that’s been going on, in no particular order:
- There’s a new Research For Practitioners piece up at Learning Solutions, by the delightful Chris Atherton (Yay! Happy dance!) on how the structure of information impacts learning. Go ahead and read it now, if you like. We’ll wait here for you.
- I wrote a piece for Inside Learning Technologies Magazine on Fixing eLearning’s Big Problem (do you agree? just curious).
- Just got back from a busy week at ASTD ICE (did a certificate workshop, two panels, speed-mentoring, planning committee meetings and a session) and it was lovely to see and meet so many people. I mentioned that I did a webinar earlier in the week (a shorter version of my session on game design for learning), and if you missed it (and are interested), there’s a recording here.
- I’m doing a three hour workshop on game design for learning with the ASTD-Middle Tennessee chapter on July 18 in Nashville — if you are interested, this is a BARGAIN at $29/$39 (be sure to read that last sentence in your best used-car-salesman-voice). Also doing a regular chapter session on Narrative Techniques for Learning.
- Just arranged to do a half-day workshop for UX Week in SF August 21-22 on Change Management. Really excited about this one
As soon as I post this, I’ll remember six more things, but that’s what the edit button is for, right?
Update: YES – HERE IS THE THING I FORGOT:
- ELearning Guild Thought Leaders Webinar on June 11th, 10:30 PT/1:30 ET – the topic will be Design for Behavior Change – registration info here
The last blog post I wrote was about starting design with a problem rather than a solution, and it came from a conversation with Stephen Anderson about a presentation he was putting together for the IA Summit.
Here’s his presentation, and (of course) it’s great stuff:
So, several conversations recently are coming together:
- Judy Unrein’s post on Mike Monteiro’s How Designers Destroyed the World talk, and her discussion about how designers can’t be just be order takers (go watch the talk – it’s amazing)
- A conversation with Stephen Anderson about his upcoming IA Summit talk called Stop Doing What You Are Told! about reframing the design problem (soooo looking forward to those slides)
- Dan Lockton’s article in the guardian about sustainable design, which talks about how, if people aren’t doing things the way we would like, we should figure out how to solve their problems, rather than treating them as the problem.
Getting to the problem
So, this is hard. I think designers are often given solutions to implement, rather than problems to solve. I sometime think that’s half my job with clients — getting a clear statement on the problem they are trying to solve, or the opportunity they are trying to realize. It’s something where the outside perspective can really help — when you live with problems all the time, they frequently become tacit.
When I was teaching undergraduates, this was a hard idea to communicate, but it’s a key skill that everyone needs to have. I used to have a really simple card sorting game that I’d have my students play to see if they were being given a problem to solve, or a solution to implement. If it was a solution, then they had to work on a way to get the actual problem clearly stated.
I think, in light of Dan’s article, I’d tweak it a bit more, and talk about strategies for unpacking even the problem statements (e.g. the card “Sales people aren’t able to answer customer technical questions” would probably be better as “Customers have technical questions that they need answered during the sales process”).
I have several different questions that help me dig for the problem:
- “Uh huh, and what do they need to do with that?” or “What do they need to do differently?”
- “What bad thing will happen if they don’t know that?”
- “Can you give me an example?”
- “If you woke up tomorrow and we’d implemented this perfectly, what would be different?”
- “What does is it look like when they get it wrong? What are common mistakes?”
Curious to know what other people do — what do you use to understand what the real problem/opportunity/challenge is?
Had a lovely time at the Learning Solutions Conference last week. Did a full day pre-con on Gameful Learning Design with Rick Raymer, which was a lot of fun.
I also did a session on Narrative Techniques for Learning. When I was working on Design For How People Learn, I listened a lot to a podcast on storytelling techniques.
A lot of learning and development folks *are* fiction writers, in the form of learning scenarios, examples and case studies, but (in my experience) it’s frequently pretty dull stuff (and I say this as someone who has written some dull scenarios myself).
So this session is about pulling some of the specific strategies that fiction writers use to into learning scenarios. There are a lot of other interesting ways to explore storytelling in terms of meta-structures, psychology and cultural constructs. This isn’t that presentation (though I’ll probably do that one too, one of these days).
This presentation is focused on specific strategies for making learning stories more interesting.
- Storytelling podcasts: http://www.storywonk.com and http://popcorndialogues.com/
- The Hero’s Journey: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heros_journey
- Three Act Structure: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_act_structure
- Clark Quinn on narrative urgency: http://blog.learnlets.com/?p=2931
- Movie Cliches: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbhrz1-4hN4
- Article: Effects of humor on sentence memory. Schmidt, Stephen R. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Vol 20(4), Jul 1994, 953-967. doi: 10.1037/0278-7318.104.22.1683
- TV Tropes: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HomePage
- Resonate by Nancy Duarte: http://www.amazon.com/Resonate-Present-Stories-Transform-Audiences/dp/0470632011
- Kathy Sierra on Building the Minimum Badass User: http://businessofsoftware.org/2013/02/kathy-sierra-building-the-minimum-badass-user-business-of-software-a-masterclass-in-thinking-about-software-product-development/
Hey folks, this is a really excellent discussion of the issues and research around using extrinsic rewards as a way to motivate behavior. Chris Hecker is looking at the question through the lens of game design, but it really, really applies to learning design as well.
There’s a write-up at the website, and a recording of the talk if you scroll down. It’s long-ish, but well worth the listen.
Found this via Amy Jo Kim on twitter: https://twitter.com/amyjokim
Peachpit (my publishers) are doing kind of a cool little series of posts on the Best Design Advice You Ever Got.
Click here to see my entry: http://www.peachpit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=1930037
What’s the best design advice you ever got?
So the first column of what will hopefully be a longish running series for the elearning guild is up — it’s an effort to make learning-related academic research more available to a professional practitioner audience:
Here’s the story behind it:
Several months ago, Clark Quinn and I were at a workshop and we were discussing the problem of evidence-based practice. We agreed that staying connected with academic research was a critical activity for instructional designers, but we both recognized that it was really hard to do. Busy practitioners just don’t have time to sit down and read all the way through the latest copy of BJET (the British Journal of Educational Technology).
The Internet is a mixed blessing in this regard—a huge number of journal articles are freely available online, but the academic publishers are firewalling them more frequently these days. And even if you can get access to articles—who has time to read them?
This Learning Solutions article is the first in a series intended to address this problem. This series will present short summaries of academic research that may be of interest to eLearning designers. The Learning Solutions article authors (there are several of us) will offer a short, blog-length summary of each study and include a brief discussion of the implications for design. Some of the journal articles we summarize will be newly released research, and some will be older studies that we think still have implications for eLearning design.
We are very interested in your feedback—we want to know whether this is helpful to you as a practitioner? Let us know what you think—please leave your reactions in the comments following the article!