Last week, I presented on action mapping at the lively and thought-provoking Learning Technologies conference in London. It was great to meet and share ideas with passionate advocates and critics of elearning. Thank you, Don Taylor and the hard-working conference team, for bringing us all together!
As some readers requested, here are the main points that I hope people took from my session:
- The goal of action mapping is to design experiences, not information. We want to help learners practice making the decisions that they need to make on the job.
- Set a measurable business (not learning) goal for your project. Show how you’ll improve business performance to justify the expense of your project.
- Identify what people need to do in the real world to reach the goal and determine why they aren’t doing it. Lack of knowledge might not be the real problem.
- In activities, have learners practice making the decisions that they need to make on the job; don’t make them recite information.
- Show the realistic consequences of learners’ decisions (Bill is accidentally cut by the scalpel) and let learners draw conclusions from them. Don’t say “correct/incorrect.”
- Have learners start with an activity, not information. Embed the necessary info in the activity and make it optional, or have learners refer to the real-world job aid.
- Success in the decision-making activity shows that learners know the information. Avoid fact checks.
- Surprise and failure are memorable. Let learners make mistakes—they’ll remember them.
- Everything in your material should directly support the business goal. Have your client and subject matter expert participate in the entire process to get buy-in and avoid having to fight off the “nice to know” stuff.
Are vendors clueless?
The vendors at the conference appeared to focus on content delivery, while several speakers emphasized providing realistic experiences that build decision-making skills or sharing knowledge with social tools. This apparent disconnect between the “upstairs” speakers and “downstairs” vendors inspired some discussion at the conference. [Read more...]