A Quick Read for Corporate Instructional Designers

I ordered a couple of books on LXD this week as I develop a new mini-course for Northeastern tentatively titled Social Media Experience Design.  This two-credit course will look at the intentional design of social media into learning experiences from a learning science perspective.  The first book I read was Kiersten Yokum’s The Little Book of Learning Experience Design: A Beginner’s Guide to Creating Great Learning Experiences for Today’s Corporate Environments.

When I say “quick read” … I finished this book in about an hour.  But quick does not mean fluff!  As someone who has been involved in design in a DIY mode for nearly a quarter century, there were some nice nuggets in Kiersten’s book.

While her cover notes her “PhD”, this book was written in a conversational tone that definitely was not too heavy.  It comes across as a one-on-one conversation…even to the point of her saying “Right?” to punctuate a point.  Yet, she covers some heavy themes – defining learning experience design (and using both Netflix and Panera to do so), suggesting ways of conducting needs analysis of audiences, and driving home what microlearning should and should not do.

One aspect I liked … that works in both education and corporate training … was to focus on four principles that enhance learning:

  • Relevance
  • Emotion
  • Self-Direction
  • Experience

I have to admit that I have been comfortable for over twenty years with designing and teaching “traditional” online courses … but Kiersten made a good point that the old ways of learning are not necessarily the best.  Microlearning not only fits adults better, but it can be embedded in the flow of work, adding relevance and experience to the learning journey.

Kiersten discussed the importance of curating the content in microlearning experiences so that the students can see the relevance and applicability to their work.  I agree … but would go one step further and suggest that student-led curation (as I am currently doing in my graduate class using Diigo) not only helps “keep it fresh” (another Yokum point), but allows the students to illustrate the relevance from their perspective.

Her bottom line – The learning experience includes the right content, delivered in a way that students can easily access it while on the job, and once in, find that it is easy to navigate, track and return to.

If you are looking for a beginning primer on learning experience design, check out Kiersten Youcm’s book.  Through this book, I also discovered Kiersten’s blog – The Agile Learning Guru…also worth checking out!  I think both will be helpful as I flesh out my microlearning course.

Meet the Modern Learner

{Graphics: Yokum, Bersin}

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