I preach a lot about making activities realistic and showing the results of the learner’s choice. Here’s a good example of those principles from the folks at SmartBuilder.
In the activity, you’ll learn the ports of a laptop and apply your knowledge in a realistic situation. Go try it, and then come back here for some discussion.
A “traditional” course wouldn’t have let us explore the laptop. Instead, we’d have to sit through several slides of presentation that explained each port whether we already knew it or not.
After we’ve explored as much or as little as we want, we’re faced with a realistic situation — and a person who speaks directly to us. It’s not “Help Bob set up his laptop,” it’s the higher-pressure “Help me.” The time limit adds some more pressure and a bit of a game element.
Finally, when we make a choice, we see the realistic result of that choice, not a patronizing “correct!” or “incorrect.”
Do you get resistance to this type of activity from your stakeholders? If so, what arguments have you used to convince them that learners should be free to skip things they already know and draw conclusions from their experiences? Please share any tips you have in the comments.
Hey, Australia! I’m coming your way
I’ll be giving a one-day version of Instructional design for business results in Sydney on Nov. 13 as part of the Learning@Work conference (details to come). I’ll also be available to give workshops at your site in Australia or New Zealand between Nov. 14 and 30, so if you’d like to set something up, please let me know.