Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The secret of learning design - on a T-shirt

This excellent T-shirt is produced by the same designers who produced the much-circulated graphics on How to Care for Introverts / Extroverts.

As soon as I saw the design, I forwarded the link to a friend who finds some of her work colleagues need to have the same things explained to them repeatedly, or think that if they're sent on a training course they'll magically be able to do their job. She loved the design, as I knew she would.

But it later occurred to me that this T-shirt slogan also goes to the heart of learning design, along the same lines as my previous effort to summarise everything one needs to know about it in two principles. What it says is that you can explain as much as you like, and produce texts and videos and websites, and none of it guarantees anything. Or as I put it in my previous post: people learn because of what they do, not what you do.

Of course, if you're a teacher, this doesn't mean that you can just explain things and leave the rest up to the learner. If you're going to take your responsibility seriously, and if you have learners who you can't be sure will be able to take charge of their own learning, then you need to prompt them into doing things which will enable them to learn from your explanations. It's in that interaction that the magic happens, which is why learning design is a creative craft. As the T-shirt reminds us, the learning begins when the explanation ends: when the teacher stops talking and the learner becomes active.

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