Now that I know who my learner is, I can begin designing with them in mind. But what am I designing? Instruction? A course? Learning? All of those things, yes, but consider this.
What is it that you want to gain when you approach learning for yourself? An exercise in reading? A knowledge check? Though it may involve reading and knowledge checks, most of us are wanting to simply learn something. So, what needs to happen for us to do that? We need to have an experience with new knowledge that enables us, propels us, convinces us, to change behavior or gain a new skill. How does that happen? Well, I’ll be expounding more upon specific methodology within this blog, but for now, let’s look at it from a bird’s eye view.
How can you approach your course design as a learning experience? Think about the following comparisons between traditional training and a learning experience.
There is a difference here, however slight, that shifts the designer away from the norm, or traditional, into the realm of excellent design that encompasses the learners’ senses and fully engages them with the content.
To think of training as a learning experience, consider the theatre–the process that takes place to produce a play or a musical. Or, if you are designing eLearning, a movie. Talented individuals, artists and technicians, come together for a common purpose: to give the onlooker an experience that they will feel, relate to, and possibly act upon.
You are the director, bringing together SMEs and stakeholders and studying your audience. It does not mean that you need to entertain your audience (although that certainly may be part of the design), but you do have to move them to action. That will happen profoundly when your design moves away from soley providing information and focuses on emersing the learner in an experience that they will remember…and do.