Crash course in Learning Theory…

Kathy Sierra has posted yet another pearler… I always come away thinking “there’s 10 things I want to focus on this year! The post is “Crash course in Learning Theory“, and summerises a lot of stuff from the Creating Passionate Users blog, bringing it all together in one focused entry!

I haven’t finished reading it yet, but am more that half way through… and loving it. One thing that I do want to focus on this year is the concept of engaging learners using something similar to “levels” in computer games. Here’s what Kathy has to say:

Game developers know the importance of “The Next Level”, and learning experiences must do the same. Each iteration through the spiral should start with a meaningful, motivating goal, followed by the interaction/activity/reading that moves you toward that goal, followed by a meaningful payoff. Ideally, the “meaningful payoff” leads right into the next motivating goal. For example, in a game the payoff for completing a level might be “You Get A New Weapon”. But now that you have that new weapon, here’s the cool new thing you can do that you couldn’t do before. Learning doesn’t need to be any different. “Imagine you want to do X on your website…” is the goal that starts the topic, but when the topic is complete, the learning content can say, “Now that you have THAT new [superpower capability], wouldn’t it be cool if you could do Y?” And off they go into the next round of learning.

I can think of some learners who do this naturally, but I certainly could be more intentional about making it more exciting to learn a new cool tool!

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