Monday, April 26, 2010

Gain Attention - What's the Fuss?

The first few minutes of any interaction is crucial because the people involved are all judging what they are experiencing. This is true for face to face interaction, the first few pages of a book or movie, a phone conversation, and so on. First impressions... Have you ever picked up a novel and found it difficult to complete it? Have you sat in class and starting doodling or passing notes because you couldn't care less what the lecturer had to say? Have you formed an opinion to not like a movie just by looking at its trailer?

First impressions... In learning also, first impressions are crucial. The first few seconds decide the fate of your course. The learner may just drop out or click Next continuously to 'get it done with'. If first impression is not positive, your great ID strategies within may just fall on deaf ears.

Gain attention:
1. Sets expectation: What is in it for me? and What is this all about?
2. Get them thinking: Really?/ No way!/ So true!!
3. Makes an impact: Strike an emotional chord. Touches the learner's heart. I don't mean 'mush' :)
4. Makes them give you a chance: They want to hear/see more. You have their undivided attention.

Types of gain attentions:
  • Myth breaking: Break an existing Myth. There is nothing like challenging an individuals belief's systems. It triggers an emotion in them. If you prove what you say right, you may have found respect for your course.
  • Fact Sharing: Share facts that will inspire/surprise them. Saying Roses are red isn't going to make them notice. Share information that will really interest them.
  • Challenge/pretests: This is good for learners who believe they know it all and there is nothing more to learn and for demotivated learners. Do not test the learner. The objective is for him to understand where he stands, to judge himself. Don't try to trick him. (When should we use pretests?)
  • Story/Scenarios: Make the learner empathize with a scenario or people in the scenario. Make them want to help the people out. Give them control over the destiny of another individual's lives. Creaet scenarios that will make them feel, 'Hey, this happens with me all the time!' or 'That's a tough one. How will she get out of it?' Make learners love/hate the characters.

I think gain attentions should have 'depth'. Visuals is a way to communicate the message. But the visuals never become more important than the message itself. If you really on WOWing the learner based on just the 'look and feel', you may just manage to capture his attention for a few seconds.

If you WOW the learner through an effective message, you will grab the learner's attention for way longer. Like Micheal Allen says what use is a fancy graphics and a spinning logo if it does not aid learning.

I think we don't fuss about it enough. Gain attention makes your users sit up and notice. It makes them want to see what lies ahead. It makes an impression and they are willing to give you a chance. Grab it while you can!


Sumeet Moghe said...

Great tips. A few months back Carmen Taran did an interesting webinar on a 'similar' topic, though of course for a different context. You may be interested in my recap and that of Cammy's.

A few other tips I've used and benefited from:
* Tell a story: show a success and make people wonder how that happened. The rest of the module is a set of scenarios that tell the story of the protagonist achieving success.
* Show what different people want to achieve -- illustrate what's at stake with the skill you're trying to teach.
* Apply peer pressure - it's like the advertisement where 'everyone's doing this/ buying this/ etc'.
* Show a killer stat/ figure that makes people think

Geeta Bose said...

Could not agree more! Last week I took Kathir to Science City in Lucknow. I was impressed with what I had read about it online - 3D experience, science projects for kids, and a 3D movie show as well.

As we entered the building, we were completely confused. There was neither a map nor directions to various sections. Well, exploratory learning is good not to the extent where you are not sure which building to get in!

Talking about gain attention, the cars and vehicles parked outside gained Kathir's attention more than the exhibits inside!