Sunday, January 3, 2010

Does Your eLearning Stick?

Someone recently gave me a copy of Dan and Chip Heath’s book 'Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die.' I’ve been impressed with how much learning theory is woven throughout on why certain ideas stick in a person’s head while others don’t.

The book is described as containing great lessons for marketers who want to devise the perfect jingle or ad pitch. But it also delivers many useful reminders and insights to those of us in the learning field. Really at the most simplistic root we have similar objectives to marketers anyway. We both want to enable a person to remember the key message and subsequently change his or her behavior.

So how do we create sticky learning? The Heath brothers say to tell a good story. This message and their subsequent tips connect really well with scenario-based learning theory and other related concepts. As I read, I found myself nodding in agreement or thinking after some examples, 'Nice suggestion, we’ll try that.'

If you’re looking for good ideas on how to improve your eLearning designs and make learning stick, the Heath book might serve you well. Their monthly column in Fast Company magazine also has good tidbits.

As an exercise to improve your own designs, look back through the eLearning courses you created this past year. Which ones are most memorable? You’ll probably find that these involved a storyline and were 'Made to Stick.'

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