I’ve regularly told workshop and talk attendees that our learning goals are twofold. It may be time to amend that.
Formally, our goals for learning interventions should be retention over time until needed and transfer to all appropriate situations (and no inappropriate ones). And these are important goals. If the learning’s atrophied by the time it’s needed, it’s of no use. If we don’t activate the learning in all relevant situations, we’re missing opportunities.
But it occurred to me there may be more. I was working with a group developing a certification in a particular area, based upon their wildly successful workshops. One of the outcomes they talked about, in an endeavor that occurs with a very high amount of stress, was that one of their outcomes was confidence on the part of the attendees.
It struck me that confidence on the part of the learner is very much a desirable, maybe even necessary outcome of any really successful learning. I regularly talk about the importance of the emotional component of successful learning: supporting motivation and reducing anxiety, and working to create a trajectory of building confidence. That confidence should be an outcome as well.
Too often we practice until we get it right, instead of until we can’t get it wrong. Add to that the learner knowing they’re fully capable of performing right, and we’re there’re. We have to continue to address the emotional side of the equation as well as the cognitive. It’s part of experience design. (And, now, I’ve got to go change my presentations ;)