I believe that in addition to learning science, the other key element of Learning Experience Design is engagement. More than the trivial tarting-up, however, trying to make it meaningful. I’ve put together four posts covering some of the key elements, and this is the first. I’m talking about setting the ‘hook’ (and, really, the key element).
And, as always, the text.
In anticipation of my upcoming ‘Make it Meaningful’ workshop through the Learning Development Accelerator, I wanted to provide an overview of the topic. I think it’s important to share some of the elements that are on tap. There’re four parts: 1. The Hook, 2. Elaborations, 3. Elements, and 4. Process.
Today, I want to talk about the core principle that makes it work. To do so, I want to start with the structure that I suggest is at core what you need to initially hook folks. And that takes 3 separate elements that the learner needs to ‘get’:
- You know, I do need this
- And, I don’t already know it
- And, this experience will change that
That’s it. I’ll posit that if you can achieve this, you’ll have a learner willing to start the learning experience. And, as a concomitant claim, that we can do this. Let me elaborate.
I think that we can get people to recognize that they need it. It’s actually an implication from Deci & Ryan’s Self-Determination Theory that Matt Richter of the Thiagi group helped me understand. I claim that we need learners to see the WIIFM, the What’s In It For Me. And I’ll suggest this comes from consequences, either the positive consequences of knowing it, or the negative ones of not knowing it. It’s not as good, perhaps, as true intrinsic motivation, but it’s good enough, and more reliable.
Then, you can’t have them thinking they already know it. In general, that might not be a problem, but in certain circumstances it can be. For instance, in a truck-selling situation, the sales folks believed they already knew how. We had to make it very clear that they didn’t before they were willing to engage. And, once they were aware, they were quite competitive in trying to rectify the situation.
Finally, learners have to believe that what you’re doing will effectively accomplish this (in a reasonable fashion). And this may be particularly problematic, if they’ve previously experienced engaging but not effective, or even worse, boring content. You may have to do some extra work to convince them that you’ve really changed!
Once you’ve got your learners hooked, you’ll have to deliver, but if you don’t hook ‘em up front, it’ll be of no avail. To paraphrase, you may be able to bring a learner to learning, but you can’t make ‘em think. We’ll talk about this in the next segment.
So, get the WIIFM, and help them see that they need it. There’re more details to this, of course. And, if you’re interested in the more, I’ll encourage you to sign up for the workshop. This is the topic of the first week! Of course, it’s a full workshop, so in addition to the content, we’ll have live sessions to workshop some ideas and discuss what we’ve done, and assignments with personal feedback. Hope to see you there! More in my next post.