Part 1 of my blog on Kevin Gumienny’s presentation at E-Learning Symposium 2015 is at The Brainy Way to Better Training-Internalize!
After covering effective learning techniques, Kevin moved on to the next step—transferring the learning from memory to practice. Two things stand out as vital here: context and metacognition.
The kind of learning experience you want to deliver will necessarily differ from context to context. If you are teaching a face-to-face course on chemical engineering, you can take your students on a field trip to a nearby chemical plant and give them a tour of the facility. That would not be an option for an online course on the subject; the learning environment would require you to present the experience in a different way.
In that situation, you may want to go with a simulation. Create a graphic representation of a chemical plant and walk the learner through the different parts. You could highlight certain areas of the facility and explain their significance with voice-over.
As its name suggests, metacognition involves thinking about the way we think. This practice is important because we are often unaware that we approach things with a certain mindset. By asking ourselves a few questions, we can reveal hidden attitudes and motivations. These discoveries help us better understand what we are doing and why we are doing it:
- What (exactly) are you doing? (Can you describe it precisely?)
- Why are you doing it? (How does it fit into the solution?)
- How does it help you? (What will you do with the outcome when you get it?)
Studies show that metacognitive strategies have the greatest effect with more complex questions, rather than simpler ones. An example of a metacognitive strategy you could use in your training is pre-knowledge checks. By having the learner examine their own attitudes toward the material before starting the course, they will begin with a better idea of what they already know, what they want to get out of this training, and why they are taking it. Self-evaluating in advance helps the learner go into the training with a reflective mindset, regularly asking themselves, “How can I apply what I am learning in this course to real-world situations?”
Adib Masumian is an elearning designer in MicroAssist’s Curriculum Development Group.