Home > Instructional Design - General > WHAAM! – Roy Lichtenstein reminds me of Instructional Design Techniques

WHAAM! – Roy Lichtenstein reminds me of Instructional Design Techniques

Last weekend I attended an art exhibition featuring the works of Roy Lichtenstein.

His most well-known work is probably the pop-art image WHAAM!

Whaam! 1963 by Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997

The exhibition reminded me of the multi-layered approach to learning that is so important to us as designers.

  1. There were the pictures, (the “data” if you will…), laid out in a number of different rooms. Most people were just ambling around, going “Ooh – look at…”, or giving the paintings and sculpture a cursory glance, perhaps pausing to see the limited explanatory viewing notes written on the wall as they entered the room. This level provided input and some guidance, but IMHO, very little else in terms of depth.
  2. A small booklet was available for everyone. This provided more detail on each area, aiming to sum up the different sections, and categorise the pictures into themes, with the occasional image to fill out the booklet. As I walked around I noticed that while a few people were looking at these, many people just ambled around carrying them, shut.
  3. For the first time ever, I hired one of those iPod-like audio devices to accompany me. This made the exhibition come alive for me in ways I could never have imagined.
    • Optional videos from his wife explained some of the personal aspects of his life.
    • The exhibition curator explained why some images had, for example, been placed in the rooms they occupied.
    • Music added to the realism of some objects, he loved jazz and this was played at appropriate times.
    • The relationship between objects, (a Note/Scrapbook and the art, a comic and WHAAM!) helped me understand the process of the artist, and allowed me to make mental connections between one of his works and Picasso’s life. Without the audio device I would have only looked at the image and thought “…that looks a bit like a Picasso…”

What’s my point?

My point is that well-placed, well-designed and interesting additional material, (voice, audio, video and imagery) adds a considerable depth to a learning experience. In Articulate Storyline we can easily add this through Layers, Video, Resources and so on.

Provide great material, the “data”, then add an explanation to it (making it relevant to the viewer).

Then make it stick by creating that important emotional link between the viewer/learner and the subject matter – add layers of optional depth that can be explored if required. Make that “stickiness” create a state where the learner recognises, and then executes the need for behavioural change.

Rapid eLearning does not mean the consumption has to be rapid – it can be measured, slow, and enjoyable for the learner if we, the Instructional Designers, perform our role well. We are not there just to tell learners facts, we are there to tell them why the facts matter – and to this end we need to understand more about our subject than perhaps many of them want to learn. Only that way can we make the content interesting, relevant, and “sticky” – bringing about a behavioural change that they see a need for. It’s much easier (and more fun) than just “telling” them, and then wondering why nothing happened.

  1. June 4, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Yes I agree Bruce.
    Ever since I came to the conclusion that teaching was about creating the environment in which learning can take place I have looked for ways to make the learning engaging, interesting and yes ‘fun’ in the sense that it can be enjoyable. Cheers from Sydney


  2. Lucy
    July 5, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    I am new to interactive e-learning and have sadly created more than my share of powerpoint training. Enjoyed your article


    • July 8, 2013 at 9:36 am

      Thanks Lucy 🙂
      I think we have all created more linear .ppt(x) than we should have done, but we now have tools available to break that mould.
      If you own PowerPoint 10, go to File > New > Sample Templates – and run Nancy Duarte’s “Five Rules” slideshow. Shows you how beautiful PowerPoint CAN be if you try hard enough and learn the functionality!
      Take care.


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