As the world goes through a sudden, enforced global experiment in living online, we've all come face to face with what the online interface can, and can't do well.
The online interface CAN (thankfully) connect us in ways that allow us to interact with each other, conduct many kinds of work, and counteract physical distance with social and emotional closeness. Thank goodness for all of that!
It's more challenging, though, to get the online interface to give us the rich sensory experience that life in the physical world provides. We can't physically experience taste, smell, or touch through a computer screen.
But there are things we can do to punch up the sensory richness of online learning activities, to include more of the whole person who is sitting on the other side of the screen.
Plugging more sensory modalities into your online course will help the learning come alive!
Would you like to learn how to add fun, creative activities to your online course that will make the learning more engaging and interactive for your course participants?
This Saturday, March 28th, 2020 at 9 AM Pacific/12 Noon Eastern, during our community meeting on Zoom, we'll do a short, fun, interactive exercise that will expand your thinking about the types of activities you can include in your online class.
(I've set the community meeting up as a weekly event for the next several months, but right now we are only talking about the meeting for Saturday, March 28th, 2020 at 9 AM Pacific/12 Noon Eastern.)
Register here to receive the meeting link and password.
We'll also have time at the meeting to discuss any course design issues, challenges, and concerns you are working on.
If there's a topic you'd like to be sure we cover, please email me in advance at Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com.
Hope to see you on Saturday.... you can register here!
In my book, Course Design Formula®: How to Teach Anything to Anyone Online, I use the process of building a house as a metaphor for the process of building a course.
Watching the fascinating series, Tiny House Nation, on Netflix recently, I realized that building an online course is not just like building ANY house.
Building an online course is, specifically, like building a TINY house.
The reason for that is that the limits of working memory are very small. Working memory is the aspect of cognitive processing needed to take in and learn new information.
Research (and experience) have shown that we can only hold about 5 to 7 separate things in our minds at the same time. (That's one reason telephone numbers have 7 digits).
Trying to absorb more than a very limited amount of new information at the same time, quickly becomes overwhelming, causing the learner to tune out and stop learning.
The reason an online course is like a TINY house, is that the limits of working memory are very narrow.
So when designing an online course, it’s important to work within very tight design limitations, because you have a very small amount of cognitive processing space to work with.
What makes Tiny House Nation so fascinating is the process the builders and craftsmen use to make very small spaces work so elegantly for the specific needs of the people who will be living there.
The builders conduct extensive interviews and create customized structures (such as staircases with built-in storage cabinets, or a butcher block table that transforms into a ladder). The customized structures make use of the small space and enable the home’s occupants to fit the things that are most important to them into their available living quarters.
The key to living well in a tiny space, is customized LIVING DESIGN.
The key to creating an effective and engaging online course, is customized LEARNING DESIGN.
If you haven't already seen Tiny House Nation, or have missed some episodes, check it out!
Watching host John Weisbarth and design expert Zack Giffin solve seemingly impossible challenges, is awe-inspiring!
Here are just a few of the things they have made work in tiny homes:
Customized course design will help you create effective lessons that stay within the limits of working memory, keeping your course participants actively engaged and learning.
If this idea sounds intriguing, you are welcome to schedule time with me to talk about your specific project goals.
Expert instructional design lets you pack a lot of learning into a little space!