What are the 5 unlearnable elements that all IDs should steer clear off?
Definitions (especially poorly written ones) are not important. Look at a few examples.
Negotiable instrument is a written document by which a right is created in favour of some person and this is transferable by delivery.
Credit is the provision of resources by one party to another party where that second party does not reimburse the first party immediately.
Direct manipulation is a human-computer interaction style which involved continuous representation of objects of interest and rapid, reversible, incremental actions and feedback.
Now in English please...
How many of us are comfortable introducing a concept using a definition? Have we ever stopped to wonder how effective these definitions are? Here's what we typically do: Start any module with a definition because it makes the content look authentic. Then, we go on to simplify the definition further. If we stop to think about it, we may just realize how unlearnable these definitions are.
Definitions are meant to simplify a concept. Help understand an idea/process better. Why is it important to share a definition when you can jump directly to the explanation? I remember in school how I had all the important definitions by heart. But looking back now, the visual depiction of evaporation or osmosis was far more useful in understanding the concept. Think about it. Is it important for a manager to know the definition of conflict or identify a conflict situation and react appropriately? Don't bother with definitions. They only intimidate or confuse the learner further and serve no learning purpose.
Why does man have the urge to start from the beginning? Why is it so important to know what happened in the past? When I learnt about computers, it started with history of computers. When I learnt about the Internet, it started with history. When I learn about Search Engines, it starts with history. Really, how important is this information to me? What can I do with the knowledge of history? When can you use history?
- Teach a scientist the history of a particular theory because it may important for him to know: 'This has already been tried and the results were 'this'.
- When you want to drive home the important of a current process vs a previous process. Common Craft Videos do this beautifully.
3. Information dump
Some eLearning applications look like a dump of information. What we need to understand is that SMEs (at least 99% of them) will give you information. Let me share an instance with you. I was handed responsibility of storyboarding for a technical skill-based course. I had a never ending content dump. Most of the content in this was theoretical and could be classified under information. When I asked the SME for examples to substantiate the theory, the SME told me: 'We have done all the research that need to be done. So you don't need any more information. All you need to do is make it learnable.' Sure. I didn't give up and thankfully I had another very cooperative SME. I would surf the Internet for suitable examples and get it validated. The content dump and the course look completely different.
Next time you dump information in your storyboard, dont bother. Just mail the word document to the learners. Your eLearning is as learnable as the content dump. No one is going to give you information in the learnable format. It is our job to make it learnable. Make information learnable. Remove all the necessary content and get the real stuff out.
Simply putting an attractive visual on the screen will not help the learner learn. I have seen SBs where the visuals are based on the least important information on the screen. Focus on designing learnable, useful visuals. They must support and reinforce what is being described.
Exercises for the sake of it is a pure waste of time. The usefulness of the exercise is in danger if it is:
1. Very obvious
- the question is poorly designed and gives the answers away
- the question is really not important/too simplistic
- The question does not require much thought (while designing or solving)
Exercises also have to be learnable. They have to have a purpose. They must make the learner think.
Next time, we start storyboarding let us not start with the definition, move to the history, dump information on screens, provide useless visuals, and add pointless exercises at regular intervals. What are the other common used unlearnable elements that you have witnessed?