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“What is Learning that Makes a Difference?”

In the new (wonderful) eBook from Masie, Julie Thompson from Xcel Energy asks the following simple questions “What is learning that makes a difference”.

She comes up with these 4 answers:

Learning that makes a difference encompasses the following:

1> The course motivates you to make a change.

2> The learning is memorable – and not easily forgotten.

3> It is frequently useful.

4> It is available – you can go back to it for reference, share with others and customise it to fit your needs.

Just these four factors – (whether or not you agree with them…) could form the basis of an entire Instructional Design Course. ID’s are always looking for a perfect “model” for designing a course, not a methodology like ADDIE, but a way to structure the course.

Finding out how to answer these 4 questions for your learning audience, in your specific situation could form the basis of a simple, but workable model, it does need a little tweaking though.

Perhaps I am being too literal, however point 1> reminds me of the following teaser:

Q4 frogs were sitting on a log. Three decided they would jump off. How many were left?

A4, because deciding to do something and actually doing it are very different.

I think that the course has to make you change your behaviour, and the change has to demonstrate use of the learning points, I do not believe that motivation is enough, (though I do get what she is probably trying to say here…..

On point 2> we have to ensure that it is the correct parts that are remembered. People used to tell me that one of my early course efforts was great – they LOVED the meerkat holding the balloons. Unfortunately, they were unable to tell me the point of the course…(It WAS a great photo!)

Point 4> It is available – CORRECT!  I am sick of being told that we have to duplicate the Articulate Attachments somewhere else because “…people will never use the LMS to access it after they have finished…”.

Anyway – what we have here is, in my opinion, 4 things that every Instructional Designer should have a think about. If you can do these, you will be adding some real value to the customers who consume your learning.

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