Webinar Highlights: Creating Exciting Learning Content

21 February

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Webinar Highlights: Creating Exciting Learning Content

The Speakers

Moe ash is an instructional designer, he sees himself more as a learning architect, a person who works in consultancy, instructional design and has a niche/ preference in creating learning games. 

This is what Moe’s business is built on, Genially has helped him throughout this from a synchronous standpoint, and also asynchronous standpoint.

In this webinar Moe went through the following.

  • Learning curation strategies 

  • Basic design psychology 

  • The MAP by BJ Fogg

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Moe kicks of the webinar talking about flowing experiences. He explains that flow is a scientific term by mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who is a famous author, psychologist and someone who is well known in the L&D field.

The concept of flow is how people get into the zone, into this sweet spot where they don’t really get frustrated but at the same time they feel that they can get a knack of things, and they can really manage. From our point of view learning and how they can get into that.

Moe explains further that we don’t really remember knowledge or numbers. We remember things that depend more on the de-processing of emotions rather than the processing of knowledge. 

When you are activating things that are far more related to your behaviours, to your motivation it resonates and gravitates to you. 

Moe explains that many people utilize learning in the form of knowledge dump rather than an experience that gets anchored, and that’s the number one thing that people should consider when using a tool like Genially or others.

When designing a learning experience, we are in the business of making learning experiences exciting and engaging so we express this through building stories. We are not in the business of only letting people have knowledge dumps or lump sum of data, when so much can be catered to them instead. We should be telling them a story that they feel engaged with.

Moe backs this up with an experiment that was carried out by an American psychologist, Daniel Stern. In this experiment he asked a group of children to come to a class and wait for a researcher to talk to them. A fire alarm was set off and the children evacuated, they were split into two groups and told that it was a test alarm. 

One group was asked to form a narrative, and explain the experience into a story format. The other group were just asked a few general questions like “what happened?” “how do you feel?” etc. 7 years later the same kids were brought back and asked what they recall from that day and the first group who were asked to write in a story format could recall the majority events of the day whereas the other group barely remembered. 

He further explains that in learning we’re looking into changing people’s behaviour. Trying to let people be nudged and let people be reinforced so they can act and change what they can do when it comes to performing on the job doing a specific task, trying to carry out a specific process or a framework of some sort.

This is based on the research of Nobel winner Richard Teller and Cass R. Sunstein who wrote the book Nudge and spoke about the concepts of nudging.

Nudging is any aspect of choice architecture that alters people’s behaviour in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives.

According to Nudge we should be giving people a narrative, giving them something relatable to them while also offering them autonomy. People are not profit maximisers, they are purpose maximisers. With that they like to have something that relates to what they do every day, something that happens in their daily life experiences and something they can see themselves doing or being somewhere. This is how you should be building up a learning experience.

Moe reinforces this further with behavioural change. He explains we never motivate for behavioural change, we cater compelling learning experiences and environments that can facilitate behavioural change.

He further explains that a doctor from Stanford named BJ Fogg who said we need cognitive ease. Cognitive ease is the level of ease that is associated with understanding and processing a piece of information. 

So narrative and autonomy helps with de-processing. It helps with letting people taking that piece of information, manipulate it with their short capacity of manipulation on understanding something. He explains as learning designers and learning developers we should be able to capitalize on something like this. 

The Map by BJ Fogg

Moe moves onto how BJ Fogg said that we should be mapping people. 

This starts with behavioural change. In order to achieve this behavioural change we need to work on their motivation, which is the means of influence to perform that action you want them to. You can motivate your learners through aesthetics, design from a multimedia and visual standpoint. You can also motivate them using a story, interactions etc. 

Motivation doesn’t work alone you need to give them the ability. When something is too difficult your learners will get frustrated and end up not liking it! And on the other hand if it’s too simple then people will get bored. So there is a fine line between being challenged and being frustrated.

This is where ability comes into play. Ability is the power to perform an action. You need to be able to influence your learners, give them a narrative, a story that they can work on and within this you need to give them the ability to perform into something even fail. 

From this they will know how to pick themselves up, get feedback, carry out and continue on. 

The last step to continue the map is to put a prompt. You need to put a trigger, a trigger is the queues to form new behaviour based on context. You need to be able to see how good they are when it comes to facilitating the action. 

Moe created this grid to visually explain what he talked about above.

Design Psychology

The use of aesthetics on multimedia depends on psychology, not only creativity. Learning to design has as much to do with psychology and user behaviour as it does creativity. It will help you understand what goes into the creation of intuitive, intentional design experiences. 

We have to look at what your learner likes? What do they do? How do they act? What helps, what gives? 

This starts off with understanding the mental models. Mental models is as simple as understanding the world around the learner. How they act, what they do and what do they usually behave towards, How do they utilise their behaviours and how do they interact with the world around them? 

Understanding this makes a lot of difference in how we design our learning experiences because a mental model really represents a person’s thought process for how something works. 

Mental models are based on incomplete facts, past experiences, and even intuitive perceptions. They help shape actions and behaviour, influence what people pay attention to in complicated situations, and define how people approach and solve problems. 

When it comes to mental models it really affects our content. Our headlines, our outlines. What kind of content headlines and outlines that we should utilise, that can fit the culture and that specific type of audience we’re trying to cater that learning experience towards.

When building your design you need to consider your learners more so than the designs that appeal to you. You need to consider what kind of device it’s going to be presented on whether that be mobile or laptops or are we designing it for people on the go, people using it on the job or is it going to be a full-fledged presentation or an e-learning experience. 

You need to give your learners choice of familiarity with language, knowledge branches and also give them relevance in content flow while not overwhelming them with an abundance of choice.

Learning Curation Strategies

The last thing Moe discusses in his webinar is curation strategies. He explains they come in many formats in addition to researching and developing content for courses, you may find yourself creating training manuals for webinars or classroom, creating reference materials, and developing help documentation, presentations and so on.

During all of these tasks, you will be organising content at a high level to give it a meaningful structure. 

A meaningful structure in that sense is logical, helping people to comprehend and retain the content as well as helping them to quickly find the content they need.

Moe offers many strategies in this webinar as follows. 

  1. Alphabetical order

    Sending curations in alphabetical order, according to user experience research, alphabetical order is one of the best ways to organise content.

  2. Categorical order 

    This works for nonlinear and flat structured kind of content. People can sift through each category one after another as a separate independent chunk. 

  3. Cause & Effect 

    This is the best one in means of curation that Moe uses for many of his clients. Moe doesn’t build a learning program based on putting a definition and explaining in details and every aspect of it. Instead he goes into what is the problem? How can we solve it? And he builds learning experiences upon how can we take that solution step by step using a specific framework, methodology or process.

    This only works if the if the learning experience you’re about to approach offers a problem and a solution. 

  4. Inherent Structure 

    This structure comes with its own inherent, natural way of sequence and logic. You can make this more effective by adding videos, more means of interaction, Q&As, means of application to make it more reinforcing 

  5. Importance 

    Sometimes you can start with the most important thing at the beginning and at the end. This applies to the law primacy and the law of recency because people remember best what they do first and how it ends up.

  6. Simple to Complex 

    Sometimes you need to offer people at the beginning of the learning program that could by synchronous or asynchronous. Something that is possibly not 100% intended or adjacent to the content, but can offer slow initiation to that content. Which can be good to get people into the flow of things


  7. Sequential 

    Sequential comes in 2 formats. Its either because you have a process or a step, so your learning program is built on a series of steps, a process, a flow or a framework that they need to go through.

    Another form of sequential which is Moe’s favourite is spiral curation. Spiral curation is how you present the learning experience and you revisit it over and over again. But every time you revisit it you revisit it in a more difficult or complex way. This way you are reinforcing what the learner has already had and went through and adding more. 

    It’s almost like a feedback loop, although it can’t be adapted in a single course. It can work in a big program or a program that is built on a social cohort. So as people revisit the information every time they are taken into a more difficult stage or a more application stage, they’re reinforcing the knowledge further. 

    Moe prepared an interactive ending message called ‘The Trinity’. He created this using Genially and in this you can find everything he mentioned above with references, videos and extra data

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