In the ‘about‘ page (to the right there), I mention the other meaning of learnlets besides my learning on learnings. That is, little interactive applications that can teach you something specific.
I think that there is a considerable opportunity in marketing for such learnlets. Good marketing is, really, customer education. What, then, would be the possible applications of learnlets?
Interactive opportunities support several types of mental activities that static content, or even dynamic but passive content don’t: they let us explore relationships, and make decisions and observe the consequences.
A word on terminology: simulations are models. When we put the simulation in a particular state, and ask someone to achieve a different, goal, state, and wrap a story about why we’re doing that, I call it a scenario. When we tune that interaction to get an experience of what I call engagement, I call it a game. Let’s consider each separately. On the topic of terminology, I may use learner or customer, in this case they are interchangeable.
A simulation lets us explore relationships. This can be good for understanding, but it requires a self-directed learner looking to gain knowledge. A product simulation, for instance, might let a learner interested in a particular device’s capabilities, play and determine whether the feature set or control system is sufficient.
In many cases, however, the learner may not know have a goal to learn what it is you think they should know. Then, you need a scenario, where you set up a storyline that provides a plausible setting and a meaningful goal. In the course of achieving the goal the learner will need to understand the principles behind the correct decision.
Of course, based upon the framework in Engaging Learning: Designing e-Learning Simulation Games (chapters 2-4), we really want a game, not just a scenario. That is, we want to tune the experience to get engagement rather than just the necessary decision. That is, we want to ensure challenge is at the optimal level, we have thematic coherence, multiple choices enacted through appropriate action mechanisms and consequences made manifest through appropriate feedback, etc.
Here we might have them understand why a particular suite of knowledge is necessary (e.g. selling skill sets such as negotiation or project management), why the particular features are desirable (why you do want ABS brakes), or tradeoffs between different versions.
I’m writing up these notes since someone’s asked what might be the applications of learnlets, and I’d love to have your thoughts.