Friday, November 01, 2013

Let the horror continue! Ten ways to turn your learners into zombies!


Luke Stollings said...

What an excellent presentation! I plan to share it with my training team! Thanks for sharing!

Karla Shane said...

As a career teacher who is now studying instructional design, I really enjoyed this presentation and your creativity. From the very first slide, I found myself drawn into wanting to know your tips about turning learners into zombies and how to avoid this effect because I have unfortunately observed similar reactions in my own classroom.

I have also had to participate in some professional development training where I felt a lot like a zombie during the training and really did not recall much of the information I was supposed to be gaining from the training time. For instance, we all have the much anticipated bloodborne pathogen training each year, as required by state law. Yes, your zombie slides helped make the connection. Although the information presented in those trainings is fairly basic in nature, no one leaves the training with a very positive outlook on the presentation or that the test given afterward was helpful. The typical presentation, with its monotone voice recording and stock image slides are not helpful in engaging the audience in learning the necessary material. It would be interesting to have interactive video with a voice that does not make most of the audience want to go to sleep.

In a training that allowed for choices or exploration, as a learner I have found that I am able to make better sense of the information, particularly when the layout of information was easy to navigate. I want to design in such a way that the links and buttons are easy to control and understand so that possible information overload is controlled. I also find that design with enough free space, where the art or other images are simple, interesting, and not too busy on the page is helpful.

I can appreciate the trainings where collaboration was encouraged, fostering creative ideas in application of the training material as well as gaining knowledge from a different perspective than my own. I am currently learning how all of these techniques help learners construct meaning and retain information so that it can be appropriately applied.

Heidi Lewin said...

Cammy, I read with great interest you blog titled “Ten ways to turn your learners into zombies!” First of all let me say that I loved it. Your presentation of the topic was completely engaging and you had my full attention at the very first slide. As I went through your blog, I thought about the readings that I did this week in my graduate class for instructional design. This week we were learning about the brain and the cognitive information processing theory, and how information is stored in long term memory and gets recalled. One of the things that stuck out for me is how when we problem solve, we encode the information, process it and recall it. When it’s encoded in our brains, we relate the problem to what we know and then retrieve it based on what we know (Laureate Education, n.d.). That is how two people can have the same problem but because their life experiences are different, they encode the problem differently, and therefore can come out with a different solution. It is all about making learning personal for each person so they can encode the information in, and make the best learning connections.
When I looked through your blog and saw your 10 criteria that you listed, I couldn’t help but think back to some of the classes I facilitated or developed and wondered how many zombies had left my training room over the years. The first one on your list, make a really nice front door, sounds so simple, but the impact is profound. Making the class memorable from the moment they step through the door, grabs their attention and makes them want to come in. In the corporate environment, everyone is so concerned with how long the training will take, will this add value to their job, and how much is with work piling up on the desk while they are away. While as a trainer, you have no control of the amount of work piling up on the desk, you need to take advantage of every minute you have that captive audience.
I also love the idea of a mystery game, or some other event to make the activity relative. Games in the classroom can accomplish many things. They engage us, help people to focus on critical thinking and problem solving skills, and allows one to fail at something without being penalized (Miller, 2012).
Giving them choices and letting them explore is a great way to connect the content with real life examples. So many times, we are in a rush to get everything in under time constraints or budget constraints that the exploratory phase of learning is lost. I know I have done it in the past. It is easy to think at times that they will take what they learn and apply it, but if you have created learning zombies, it is so easy for them to do a brain dump as they leave your unexciting doorway.
Thanks for great information in a superbly presented format.

Laureate Education [Producer]. (n.d.). Information processing and problem solving. Retrieved from Walden course EDUC 6115
Miller, A. K. [NBC News Education Nation]. (2012, Nov. 12). Should kids play games in the classroom [Blog post]. Retrieved from www.educationnation/com/index.cfm?objectid=9EC27B06-2C69-11E2-A3EB000C296Ba163