Creating sticky, memorable, action-centric and human-focused learning experiences for a particular group of people requires so many factors to be considered, among such factors is the kind of strategy to explore when creating learning experiences that are geared towards ‘Learn once and remember always’. A strategy is generally described as the science of doing something, that is, the rationale of formulating and implementing a framework that’s suitable for a group of people. Without a strategy, there is no way we can get to already determined goals. Most learning designers and developers might not have given a thought over the type of strategy that fits the target audience they are designing and creating learning experiences for.
This week’s article is without a story!
The focus of this piece this week is to draw our attention to the role some strategies, techniques, and science of instruction play in designing and creating learning experiences. Generally speaking, in educational technology, there are three types of strategies available for teachers to explore. Each of these strategies forms the basis of which all other methods of instruction emanate from. Let me give you an example, the most prevalent method in the e-learning industry is “Micro-learning “. Hardly there is any learning content developers or e-learning designers and developers that will not consider “Micro-learning” strategy as foundational to content development. What’s all about it? It’s simply breaking down content into a small and digestible chunk, it’s generally called bite-sized content.
Take a whole curriculum, and break into small chunks that are easily digested by users. The strategy did not just emerge in recent times, B.F Skinner was the first proponent of this strategy, over 76years ago. B.F Skinner proposed that after his successful experiment, instructional materials should be delivered in bite-sized chunks followed by frequent questions with feedback. The feedback systems could be IKR, DKR, and NKR. Wait! Am I speaking Greek? No! IKR, DKR, and NKR are just acronyms that represent a feedback system. IKR means Immediate knowledge of Results, DKR means delayed knowledge of Results and NKR means No Knowledge of Results. I am very sure you can relate to that. However, for the benefit of those who do not understand what they mean in practice, of course, that is the reason for this piece.
When you interact with small content and a question comes forward afterward, if after you have attempted the question, you receive immediately a response to indicate whether you are right or wrong before moving to another question, that’s IKR, but if the response is a bit delayed till you finish all the questions or after two or four questions have been answered, then it’s DKR, but in a situation where no response is received at all, whether after a question or after a whole quiz has been attempted, then it’s NKR, the example of this is seen when you give out a survey questionnaire. Your users do not need the results, it’s for your consumption to help you discern accurately how to design learning experience.
Let’s go back to our focus for this week, Microlearning is entrenched in behaviorism theory and cognitive load theory. Behaviorist theory deals with changing the behavior of users using physical or external stimuli, while cognitive load theory solves the problem of ‘overload’ in our brain. It, therefore, means, to drive behavioral change in users, you need to chunk the learning materials into a digestible form. Friends, Microlearning strategy is not new to some us in educational technology, because that’s what we have been doing for years. To read more about microlearning, check this link.
How did we get here? Okay, I was talking about the Science of Instruction! Did you remember? There are three types: Pedagogy, Andragogy, and Heutagogy.
Having an accurate understanding of three sciences of instruction for each of these strategies will help us craft suitable learning experiences for users.
Firstly, not all our users fit into all sciences nor one suitable science for all. We need to determine the direction and purpose of creating learning experiences. If the purpose of a thing is not known, abnormal use of that thing is inevitable. What it means is, if the purpose of creating learning experiences is not determined and written, then, a particular science of instruction is either wrongly overused or underused. To suitably decide which of the science instruction is appropriate for our e-learning users, a need to understand the user is necessary, and choosing suitable science of instruction is equally important.
Pedagogy: What does it mean. In simple terms, it means the way of educating children and young students who are dependent, and whose motivation is tied to external rewards such as, badges, points, levels, certificates, etc. It’s usually subject-centered and teacher-centered. This science of instruction is good when you want to give out information that your target audience does not know anything about, they are completely novice, and therefore dependent on you to survive the trend. All our primary, secondary, and tertiary school learners fit into this science of instruction. This group of target users is assumed they are a novice and don’t really know anything, and therefore must be taught how to behave.
Andragogy: It simply means the ways, methods, and techniques of educating adult learners who are independent in their decisions to choose what ‘s relevant to them. This group of users selects carefully what’s relevant to their job and how it can help them achieve solving a task in their workplace. It’s problem-based, or task-based. The content is determined by this group of users, not “YOU” Designing for this group of people requires learning designers and developers are aware of what is relevant. Whatever they learn must improve the way they carry out their job functions and processes. They already have entry skills, behavior, and knowledge that will assist them to select what they are looking for. Unlike the pedagogy group of people who are assumed, they do not have previous knowledge of what they want to learn. All working-class people fall into this category. Content creation for this group is completely determined by them not the learning specialists. Companies may determine the curriculum based on current problems and tasks at hand.
Heutagogy: It means simply the way of educating learners who are interdependent in the choice of selecting what they are learning. It’s not based on a set of curricula, or that a set of courses are selected for them to finish. They are not under any obligation to either interact with the course or not. There is no stake in it. If they choose to interact with the course or learning materials, the choice is completely theirs. This science of instruction is rooted in “social learning” where an individual is connected to another person based on the culture, level of experience/exposure, a level of opportunities, or some kind of leverages inherently available to a person. The learning is interconnected; hence, a community of practice is encouraged. It’s basically for knowledge sharing rather than knowledge hoarding. Blogs, a community of practice, and Wikipedia platforms are created to implement this science of Instruction. MOOCs are also an example of this science of instruction.
I tried to make these strategies simple enough so that all of us who are not grounded in theories of learning can comfortably digest them and apply them in what we are already doing. More studies can be found on the internet for further readings.
The next question is, how do we apply all these strategies?
Determine your users and set your goals or purposes of the learning experience you are creating.
Let me know if you need help in applying these strategies to your courses.
The question is, which is the best strategy for your target audience?
Let’s discuss this in the comment below.
Let’s create learning experiences that are learned only once, but remembered always!
See you again next time.