Idea Learning Group

"cognitive" Posts

Reflections From DevLearn: Designing eLearning that Gains and Keeps Learner Attention

I attended Dan Myers’ session on how to maintain learner attention. Dan is a Manager of Instructional Design at the Cheesecake Factory.

Getting learners’ attention should be a primary concern for instructional designers creating online courses. (Remember: “Build it and they will come” does not apply to eLearning!) Dan suggests considering the following framework when creating an attention-grabbing course:

  • Cognitive domain (thinking): Content, knowledge checks
  • Affective domain (feeling): Story, characters, music, art, values, conflict, humor
  • Psychomotor domain (doing): Interactivity, hands-on practice opportunities

(This happens to align with the second phase in IdeaLearning Group’s Complete Learning Experience approach: “Think, Feel, Move”!)

He discussed a couple of potential pitfalls to avoid, such as not breaking character. Once you start with a story theme, stick with it. Theme is part of what helps keep learner attention. Interactions should also be integrated into the theme as much as possible.  He also advised against building yet another course to float in what he calls “the sea of sameness.”

Think about the visual experience learners typically have—they see the company logo and the same colors on every screen. In our attempt to create uniformity, we may sometimes prompt learners to feel disengaged. Instead, Dan advises, find ways to give courses a unique look and feel. Throw out templates and incorporate elements of surprise into courses to help create a unique adventure for learners.

Other great ideas Dan suggests for personalizing the learning experience:

  • If you’re writing third-person content in training and it’s posted on LMS, include the learner’s name as a character to personalize the experience.
  • Include an “evidence log” learners can use to take notes within the course.
  • Try putting learners in a place where they’re taking a quiz but don’t realize they’re taking a quiz.
  • Take out the “objectives” slide. Write them, but you don’t need to reveal them. Putting in formal learning objectives and long course description page can kill the momentum.
  • Build in vocal variety into training courses. If you structure it right, it makes it easy to edit.
  • If you have any procedural videos technical in nature, include drag-and-drop items that need to be placed in the correct sequence. Dan shows us a clever interaction involving a Cheesecake Factory recipe. The learner drags and drops images of ingredients to the video area, which activates the relevant clip. He suggests building in remediation clips for incorrect options.

My favorite quote from Dan’s session: If you’re bored making it, your learners will be bored taking it.

How Hard is it to Count to Five?

Pretty darn hard. Play this fun, one-minute game from Posit Science Corp and test your brain age.

“Our R&D team has come up with a pretty quick and fun way to measure certain cognitive abilities. It just involves counting from 1 to 5 numbers, so it’s hard to imagine how that could be made so challenging. The 60-second brain game is a type of Stroop test, which measures auditory and visual processing, attention, cognitive control and other aspects of executive function. You can try it as often as you’d like and please do challenge your friends with your best score. For a little fun, click here.”

IdeaLearning Group Comments On Health Care Reform In The Portland Business Journal

Jillian Douglas, principal partner with Portland-based IdeaLearning Group LLC, is quoted in the Portland Business Journal.

“She and her business partner will now buy health insurance for themselves. As a small business, IdeaLearning could

qualify for the 35 percent credit on their premiums. ‘We’re feeling pretty optimistic,’ she said.”

As learning advocates we support healthy bodies and healthy minds for all.


Learning Technique: “Read It, Write It, Say It”

Learning hasn’t always been my strength, so it’s ironic that I am the co-owner of an employee development and training company. When I was a kid in school I used to dread having to memorize dates in history, vocabulary lists and multiplication tables. My Mum has a great technique always seemed to work and now through rose colored glasses I see the wisdom of her ways.

“READ IT, WRITE IT, SAY IT.” – I can still hear her drumming that into me! When I wasn’t too lazy to try I would apply her technique almost always with great results. Of course what she was doing was engaging me cognitively (read it, say it) and physically (write it).

Now, take that same technique a step further and incorporate emotional engagement. I could have created a story using the vocabulary words, or created a mental picture or just had a dialogue about the content with my Mum, a friend or someone with whom I felt an emotional connection.

At IdeaLearning Group we take the Read it, Write it, Say it concept and create physically, emotionally and cognitively engaging employee learning experiences.

Looks like my Mum was onto something!

NEW BUSINESS Contact us with business inquiries or to discuss your project needs and vision.
CAREERS We always enjoy connecting with talented professionals in the learning and development field.
CONNECT 503.208.3256
LOCATION 2701 NW Vaughn St #103
Portland, OR 97210

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