Jun 082011

Instructional Design – Nuts and Bolts: “Let The Learners Hold The Spoon”

Instructional Design: By Jane Bozarth, June 7, 201, Learning Solutions Magazine

Instructional Design: “Telling ain’t teaching.” In designing eLearning it is awfully easy to fall into the “content loading” trap, assuming that reading slides means learners will magically absorb new learning.

A common litany in learning and development is the claim that learners want to be spoon-fed, when, in fact, it is often the trainers and instructional design ers who won’t let them hold the spoon. In training — both traditional and online — I see lots of missed opportunities to let learners learn.

This seems to come partly from PowerPoint or other tool “default thinking”: Insert image, insert text, and keep the autobullets. And it happens even without PowerPoint: we list “guidelines” for learners, or we outline “key ideas” for them.

Often, though, the learners could do this very well on their own — if only we would let them. It may be a matter of helping them to resurface old knowledge; it could be nudging them to extend existing knowledge; it might be providing platforms for them to learn from one another. In any case, we can help them arrive at answers that will be more useful and memorable than the ones we just deliver unto them.

Let go of the spoon!

Figure 1 is an example that crossed my path recently. It’s from a course for Social Workers on maximizing their safety during visits to client’s homes.

Instructional Design



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Instructional Design