Saturday, 20 April 2013

"They're learning from their failure here - without getting hepatitis"

I am very fond of Cathy Moore's ideas about instruction, e-learning, and learning in general. In fact, I would like to think that I have managed to follow some of them when creating instructional content. (For example, I injected these very basic "you're in such-and-such situation; what will you do next?" exercises/minigames all over a big-ass industrial safety course I helped to make.) So, I was very thrilled to find this video where she explains her stuff via a practice scenario in a group. As one viewer helpfully pointed out, "the audio starts at 1:20".

Some of my favourite points.

- 06:12-13:27. Getting a glimpse of an info dump: ""If we get the correct knowledge into people's brains they will do the right thing." But does knowledge always change behaviour?"... and taking a shot at the instructional fallacy that spawns those: "We have a subject to cover!"
The subject-centered approach has been my pet peeve even before I got involved in e-learning (for adults). In my teaching days I also worked on the curriculum for my school - the subject-centered info-dump was very much a norm there as well and the skill- or behaviour-centered goals were seen as something novel and special ("wow, this activity integrates information from different subjects! So revolutionary it makes me feel dirty!").

- 14:52-18:05. How to outline the goal with the client. (a.k.a. how to fulfil a purpose while constructively dealing with and averting the executive meddling)

- 23:52-25:44. Acknowledging that what the client cares about might necessarily be what the learner cares about. (The tricky part being, how to sift out a measurable goal that the client cares about and then let let that goal steer the design process.)

- 26:57-30:00. working with the Subject Matter Expert to pinpoint what are the common mistakes.

32:48"make the learner make decisions they would in real world". Comparing two sets of simple multiple-choice questions, she sums up the difference between a "vague abstract piece of knowledge" and "a character facing a challenge". (I myself prefer the you-approach too.)

35:40. On putting the learner into a fallible position. "You identify the most common mistakes and you practically set it up for the learner to make that mistake - so they can learn from it."

36:23. On learner-choice feedback: "you are simply told what happens as a result. And you draw your conclusions."

49:09-05:12. On action and information - about setting the learner up to use the information. "If they ... pass the activities, they clearly know what to do. And that's really all we care about - are they doing what they need to do?"

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