This is my first year attending ATD ICE, and it has been equally overwhelming and exciting! But at first, mostly overwhelming because I’m just one little person in a sea of Learning and Development professionals.
The first session I chose to attend was e-Learning and the Science of Instruction, with Ruth Clark, because my Instructional Design journey began with Canadian Military, and Training Development Officers (TDOs) in the Canadian Military LOVE them some Ruth Clark. I figured that after hearing so many rave reviews and reading e-Learning and the Science of Instruction, I had to meet the person behind the book.
First impressions? She’s the littlest lady I’ve ever met! But she seems incredibly friendly, chatting with random audience members.
Session overview: There are three main additions to the 4th edition of the book, including:
- Evidence on Learning Games
- How to Leverage Online Collaboration
- Boundary Conditions
Everything in e-Learning and the Science of Instruction is evidence based, which is awesome! Games can be effective, but the data needs to be analyzed as academic evidence. For example, Ruth explained that first-person shooter games have been shown to increase perceptual attention, but there have been no studies as of yet to indicate that games have been shown to increase reasoning, motor, and memory skills.
The speaker looked at whether online collaboration was effective for learning, and found that collaboration is more effective when working together on a difficult problem (vs a simple problem – the transactional effort has a better ROI when working on a difficult problem). She also found that completion rate declines with asynchronous assignments, whereas there tends to be a higher completion/response rate when participating synchronously.
In discussing boundary conditions, Ruth identified situations where certain instructional strategies work better than others. Novice individuals may benefit from words + text, whereas Experienced individuals may do better with just words. Adding visuals increase the retention between both groups of individuals. There is no correlation between what learners like and what is best for their learning – just try not to make learning disruptive (coherence principle).
Overall impression? Ruth Clark is a pretty informative lady. I can definitely see why DND was so interested in her, and I would definitely recommend picking up the latest edition of e-Learning and the Science of Instruction (I originally read the 2nd edition).
Next up, I wanted to check out Connie Malamed’s Crash Course in Visual Design – 1, because I enjoy reading her blog and following her on Twitter, and 2, because I think she has some pretty good information about visual design that I should really be absorbing.
First impressions? She seems well-organized and has some jokes on hand – “Whats the difference between a pizza and a musician?” – “A pizza can feed a family.” – THAT STING, THOUGH!
Session overview: First up – she’s threatening to send a note home to our parents if we fail the visual design pop quiz. She’s tough!
Connie identifies a shocking, but common, issue: employers often don’t understand the importance of investing in graphics/visuals for learning materials, but “50% of the brain’s cortex is devoted to processing visual information,” so visuals really are important, and we have to make the case for visuals – the ROI is there! The picture superiority effect dictates that we have a better memory for pictures than words, especially when it comes to retaining concrete knowledge.
When you see something beautiful and well-designed, you have an aesthetic experience. That’s how I felt about the mountains when we were in Breckenridge yesterday – it illicit a positive emotion, which is beneficial to learning.
Anyone can improve at visual design, because it’s not art – well thank goodness, because I will never consider myself an artist. But the design needs to be effective. It needs to work, or what’s the point? Visual design = the arrangement of visuals and text in graphic space.
There are 8 key points of visual design:
- Align visual design (with your audience/content/organization)
- Organize your graphic space
- Consider all of your image options
- Simplify fonts
- Consider colours
- Create a visual hierarchy
- Direct the eyes
- Transform bullets to visuals (and she promises we’ll kiss her after she explains this)
Overall impression? Connie knows a lot about visual design, but there was a lot of ground covered, and I think folks are either going to be rushing to buy her book in the bookstore, or will be scouring the internet doing their homework on visual design. Her 8th point of visual design seems to have been kiss-worthy for the majority of session attendees…the military taught me to hate bullets (because they often cram them down your throat), and the phrase “bullets are too verbose”, so I learned this lesson quite awhile ago, but it’s a good one!