Subject matter experts are sitting on a mountain of intellectual property but struggle to unpack it. The mistake is thinking that they must provide the learners with a heap of content. The result is this huge course full of information and the learners become overwhelmed.
The prospect of climbing a mountain would be daunting for anyone except a seasoned climber. Putting a mountain of information in front of any learner will be equally daunting and the easy route that will be taken is most likely to avoid the content, or skim very quickly, resulting in poor knowledge transfer.
When too much information is provided learners start suffering from cognitive overload. They end up not remembering the key points that we need them to remember. We also find that they start to disengage. Brain based study has shown that physiologically, your neurons are keen and alert for no more than 20 consecutive minutes. At the end of those 20 minutes, your neurons have gone from full-fledged alert to total collapse. When less content is delivered, the issue of cognitive overload is eliminated.
This kitchen sink syndrome is one of the key mistakes we often see when people are putting their knowledge online into a course or educational program.
The big mistake is that no learning design principles are being applied. To avoid this issue we have developed our learning experience design (LXD) model. This model is derived from the The Five Elements of UX developed by Jesse James Garrett as originally detailed in his book “The Elements of User Experience”.
Through this LXD Model we:
- Explore the strategy around the course. This includes exploring the possible problems you can solve, defining your target persona and conducting market research to ensure the course concept is viable.
- Define the solution. This includes the actions and behaviours required of a learner to move from problem to solution, the activities to develop these actions and behaviours and the knowledge required to undertake the activities.
- Create the structure of the learning experience. This includes the order of the topics, activities and content in the experience.
- Outline the substance of the learning experience. This includes adding more details to the structure, including the experiences the learners will have, and detailing what they will be doing, hearing and seeing.
- Add the sensory aspects to the substance. This is where we add the visual designs, deciding on what people will be seeing and feeling when undertaking the learning experience.