There are various theories and models of learning, but in a simplified way, learning can be defined as the process of acquiring knowledge, developing skills and changing behaviour.
Given the amplitude of the subject, we start from Donald Clark's considerations expressed in the book "Learning Experience Design, How to Create Effective Learning that works".
The author notes the difficulty of getting others to learn and seeks the real role of Learning Experience Design (LXD) in achieving this purpose. To do so, he uses human psychology to explain how a simple reward system is intrinsically linked to the way we learn.
Usually, when faced with two similar rewards, which one does a human being prefer? The one that comes first! In other words, he or she prefers immediate satisfaction.
Often the actors in this storyline don't feel committed because they think the need to use this new knowledge/capability/behaviour in the short term or even ever is unlikely. Answering frankly, would we watch a video to try to troubleshoot a problem with the printer before it actually breaks down?
Therefore, if the benefit of something is distant or is taken as unlikely, it comes to be taken less seriously. The typical example of studying only the day before an exam or doing an assignment the night before the deadline - of course we are excluding Nova SBE students from this equation 😉.
So... what can lead to learning, prevent procrastination and counteract disinterest? For Donald, therein lies the art and science of LXD, which must take into account 3 factors:
Applied to the learning experience in the right amount, as the affective dimension can encourage and maintain retention of information.
Designing learning experiences for the head and the heart, contrary to what was traditionally done. Donald Norman in "Emotional Design" distinguishes it in:
- visceral - the first impression, what makes one feel automatically, instinctive reaction, related to appearance, aesthetics, "look and feel", impression, feelings;
- behavioural - usability, functionality, performance, learner's point of view (be it learner, participant in training or just curious). E.g.: online learning with perceptible navigation items;
- reflective - more rational, in a perspective in which overcoming difficulties is the most important thing, not because it was easy, but because it was challenging.
It is a necessary condition for learning. To take attention is to focus the mind on what has to be grasped. But it oscillates... there are various stimuli/distractions that bring it down dramatically.
The LXD has to find ways to work with this complex phenomenon, select inputs, enable their correct interpretation and draw up action plans.
But watch out! If it is raised to excessive levels, it can generate too much excitement and will cause stress/fatigue. The optimum level has to be found!
"Real driver" of learning, it should be:
- initial - that participants feel they have chosen to be in this process and are in control of it, rather than the feeling of having been pushed;
- ongoing - feel real progress and success, boosting their self-confidence;
- self-regulation: aware of the time and effort involved in the learning process.
Otherwise, feelings of frustration emerge. Either the experiment takes too long to have practical effects, or it is considered too basic or involves too much energy.
It is also noted that humour can be a resource used in the learning process as long as it has a meaning. Therefore, do not artificially inject fun "Fun can be the occasional cherry on the cake but never the whole cake"!
Thus, supporting learning has a recipe for success. The ingredients, of course, can and should be adapted to the content to be conveyed, the target audience and the context. It is up to LXD to dose them in the right way!