Have you ever heard a song or seen a movie that gave you goosebumps? How about a comedian you that you identified with? I found an interesting read the other day: Victor Yocco’s Design for the Mind: Seven Psychological Principles of Persuasive Design, and it made me recall different events in my life where I believe something was designed for my mind and I became inspired, moved and persuaded. This has everything to do with training. After all, eLearning is most effective when your learner believes in your message.
Try to recall times where you may have experienced something that was designed for your mind. You should have felt a tinge of euphoria when you decided to take that leap of faith into believing something. For example, if you ever happen to shop at Nordstrom, you will notice that the cashier will go out of his way to support your purchasing decision with words like, “Oh, yes, you do need this”; or, “This does look good on you.” These are common phrases being parroted throughout this store chain, and is by no means an accident. But don’t be afraid, they are only trying to make the medicine go down more easily. For better or for worse, you were made to feel good about your decision.
My point is that we want to be happy with our decisions and not languish sitting on the fence. It’s tiresome. Like Yocco (2016) says, “People look around at what others believe about a behavior as a reference for whether they should engage in a behavior.” A Nordstrom cashier is not necessarily considered an influential friend, however, it’s easy to buy-in to the shtick when you happen to be looking for a reason to feel good.
For instance, Yocco (2016) uses a young woman considering buying a laptop as an example. She worries about what other people might say if she makes this grand expenditure. Yocco knows it is a rarity for human nature to be so bold as to go against the grain of our peers and make this leap. But we as educators (and really marketers) need to seize on this human weakness in order to put our best foot forward with our own line of thinking. Perhaps she will finally make up her own mind and realize that she does have a job, and thus can afford to purchase a new laptop (Yocco, 2016).
I’m glad to have come across this reading if not for the interesting psychology but the notion that as eLearning providers we are also marketing professionals who must consider our audience.
Yocco, V. S. (2016). Design for the mind: Seven Psychological principles of persuasive design. Shelter Island, NY: Manning.
I was recently reminded of the real world of IDs being faced with certain compromises during development. Sometimes IDs become discouraged when they believe project stakeholders are putting the importance of course completion ahead of actual learning. Sometimes there’s a push to sacrifice storytelling, video, interactive features, and even challenging quiz questions in order to save time and money. The idea is to just get the job done, which is to force successful course completions to move staff members through the LMS and back to their desks and real jobs.
But should never be this bad. Sometimes it’s the job of the ID to convince the stakeholders to add a little something extra to a course and think about learning. With only a little more work, a course can sparkle. This can be as simple as adding text based scenarios that test a hypothesis.
In its simplest form, the idea is to consider creating a multiple-choice quiz that challenges students to think. Of course, a nuanced question could lead to fewer successful completions, but that may be okay and even preferable. The so-called incorrect answers are not necessarily incorrect, but just not the best answer. The user is now curious as to why what appeared to be the best answer is not really the best. The feedback is delivered and the learner is forced to reflect on their decisions. Now the student actually has to stop and think a bit!
This added effort has turned a dull page turner into a thought provoking learning experience.