One of my favorite chapters from Dorian Peters' Interface Design for Learning calls upon instructional designers to create learning experiences that foster intrinsic motivation, and provides suggestions for how to do it well.
As part of my instructional designer book club (yes, you read that correctly—I am that much of a nerd), we are currently reading the fascinating to me Interface Design for Learning by Dorian Peters. Allow me to review the book: it’s good. One of my favorite chapters is the second one, in which Peters summarizes “the learning landscape,” explaining the rise of instructional design, constructivism, behaviorism, and every other -ism that contributed (or contaminated) the practice of analyzing how people learn. You should read this book for insights gleaned from that chapter alone.
But I digress.
We should design for emotion. Right?
I’ve always been fascinated by how the role of attitude, feeling, and emotion plays in learning events. Current industry thinking addresses emotions this way: someone on the team says aloud, “Yes, we must consider the learners’ attitude and motivation.”
Everyone nods solemnly.
Several people murmur, “Yes. Of course.”
Then, the topic is promptly dropped and the team returns to bickering between the words “recognize” and “identify” in the behavior-based performance objectives.
What the heck?
We all know from personal experience that learning can be emotional. Ever attend a full day of corporate training while contemplating a divorce? Go through e-learning while feeling dread for hospital test results? Try to attend an online class while yelling at the kids? It's really hard to engage in learning when your emotions are focused elsewhere.
Obviously, we designers are not usually able to control learners’ life situations and emotional states. But we can influence the many emotions invoked by training itself: resistance, boredom, anger over a newer, complicated process, frustration over extra responsibilities, fear of failing…all of which we want to avoid.Read More