Monday, March 31, 2008

Do I Have Your Attention?

Now that I've got your attention, I'd like to discuss the subject of attention with respect to the creation of eLearning materials. Getting the learner to pay attention can be very difficult for various reasons, among them:
  • Lack of interest in the subject matter (for example, a course mandated by the employer that is relevant to very few employees)
  • Feeling that the material will be of no use to the person's job or career
  • Distractions outside of work
  • Lack of sleep (this one is big!)
Please post what you have done, or are planning to do, to increase the amount of attention that is paid to your courseware. Also, you may want to join the following groups that are dedicated to the subject of attention:
If you know of other good links on this subject, please post them here, too.


The Career Coach said...

Tedd I have designed several eLearning modules using different tools and by working with professional developers such as Entelisys & Learning Warehouse.

The one common tread I found that kept people interested was standardization of look and feel. Moving navigations around and having different looks in different modules really put users off especially those will limited computer time under their belts.

In addition when I first started desgning I used a lot of flash and movement and what we determined through out testing modules was that they were spending more time looking at the flash than absorbing the the material.

Color and motion are good but limiting the total amount on the screen at one time seemed to help. In addition one of the module we developed for a Major Resturant company was centered around greeting a customer when they arrive. We went to the resturant and shot a 30 second video. It was a little pricy but Wow what a postive difference it made.

The Career Coach

Ronald Wopereis said...

hi Ted,

thanks much for your excellent posting

in my attention theory, i declare a question to open up a space, an answer i declare that which closes this same space. So what happens is that there is a need to express themselves to be found in every human being, especially one that is "busy" or "sleepy" etc. These people are full, and their need is to unload the pressure that accompanies the fullness. For them to unload, attention is needed. Some people call this "participation" or other fancy psychology words, basically attention is needed to take in new and when the student is full there is simply no room for new to take in, nor is there free attention with which to load and store the new.
So seek to ask questions in your course material, seek to find room for that which is inside the student to come out, have the student express herself. Latin word ex-press literally means to push out, to get whatever is inside them to be pushed out of their system and make room for something new.
hope this helps
best regards, Ron

Laura Jaffrey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura Jaffrey said...

This is a great post, Ted. There is much to be said on the topic of adult learner engagement. Here are a couple of thoughts:

1. Addressing the WIFM (what's in it for me)factor
2. Applying Michael Allen's sage advice

For #1, corporate sponsorship of any large elearning rollout is critical. People think - if this is important to management, I probably need to pay attention. Making the learning as engaging as possible and addressing cognitive load are also key factors.

For #2, Mr. Allen deals with the psychology of change management, which is often overlooked in our field. Since much of our elearning material aims to change a situation in business, e.g., reducing workplace hazards, improving compliance, increasing sales, it is important to consider learners' current perception of the need to change. If the perception is that the status quo is fine, there will be limited interest in more training. In such cases, deal with the perception first and, as people see how their lack of knowledge fits into the larger picture, they will be more motivated and receptive to learning.