Notes on Stephen Meyer’s 2014 ASTD presentation Brief is Beautiful: Bite-Size Content and The New E-learning (S12EXD)
- Very timely information
- With the whole world moving to mobile devices, this was particularly useful
- Brevity is a constant challenge, so personally rewarding
- In the past e-learning was 30, 60, 90 minutes, translation: L-O-O-O-N-G. The problem with legacy e-learning was it’s length which lead to poor utilization
- Good news for e-learning ahead due to the following key factors: Demographics, Absorbing Information, M-Learning, Focus on ROI
New E-Learning vs Legacy E-Learning
- Information Design is the heart and soul of the new e-Learning
- New e-learning relies on Thin Slicing, an information design technique that has the potential to change the way you think about learning
- Video-ized learning (like khanacademy.org and lynda.com) is really BIG. But not in corporate e-learning especially in regards to soft skills.
Wave 2: The Age of Instructional Design
- In 1999, $800 Million invested in self-paced e-learning (Wow) but investments in the following years evaporated. Who wasn’t ready for e-learning? Developers. Users were ready.
- Dirty little secret of e-learning industry is that utilization is really, really poor (for legacy e-learning).
Wave 3: The Age of Information Design (Stephen decided it started in 2010 because it’s his talk)
- Information design = The art of presenting content in a way that engages people = mechanics = art piece
- It’s complementary to Instructional Design
- What is training? A legacy definition would be “… the achievement of the pre-determined learning objectives through planned instructional techniques”
- For Information designers, training is: (1) about changing behavior and (2) an act of persuasion
- The 2 key questions for Information Design are (1) What’s the medium? and (2) Who is my audience?
- What’s the medium? “The Medium is the message.” Marshall McLuhan
- Ask yourself: Who is my audience? What makes these people tick? What do they want to learn?
- “Digital immersion has even affected the way [Millennials] absorb information. They don’t necessarily read a page from left to right…” Nicholas Carr
- We are living in a post-Gutenberg Age (aka the Book Age) according to Nicholas Carr
- Books are linear, logical, and complete. Today’s people don’t want that! Linear learning isn’t what people want.
- 1980-2010 was the The Age of Instructional* Design
How to Think About Information Design:
- A common learning scenario we all find ourselves in: a single person, standing, with a tablet or phone and maybe 7-8 minutes before boarding a plane
Three emerging trends that define The New E-learning
- Rapid Learning - bite-sized learning
- Single-Concept Learning. This is the opposite of multi-concept learning. Cognitive load research suggests we’re not good at understanding multiple concepts at the same time.
- Thin Slicing (comes from Malcolm Gladwell’s book “blink”):
- single compelling concept
- intentionally incomplete
Examples of thin slices:
- “How do I fire an insubordinate employee?”
- They had a request for this and the customer’s request did the thin slicing for them. “insubordinate employee” was specific enough.
- How do I deal with a bad attitude?
- How do I counter a price objection?
- How do I get past a gatekeeper?
- How do I fix the belt on my dryer?
- These are all “google searches” aka “thin slices”
- Note: “Chunking” is not the same as thin slicing, because thin slicing starts with the thin slices
If you want to teach a series of concepts, which method (single vs multi-concept) works best?
- Group 1: Isolated elements (single concept)
- Group 2: Interacting elements (multi-concept)
According to an E. Pollock (+ more names I didn’t catch), GROUP 1 Did twice as well on the test
- Another trend: ‘Coaching’ rather than ‘Training’
Survey: Why do you want shorter e-learning modules? (done by Stephen w/ learning professionals)
- 21% short attention spans
- 14% mobile learning
- 65% increase manager involvement
Fogg Behavior Model contains three inputs:
- Behavior on top side of action line happens. Below the line, it won’t happen.
- Behavior = motivation ability trigger (B = mat)
- Success Momentum (BJ Fogg) is success begets more success
How to re-package talent development:
- Frame it through a narrow lens
- Think “single-concept learning”
- Define the task as “coaching,” not “training”
- Give managers easy-to-use tools
Three key takeaways:
- We are living in a post-Gutenberg Age thanks to technology, demographics, time
- Thin slicing is different than chunking
- Single concept learning works better than multi-concept learning
Additional ASTD 2014 Session Notes: