This is the final post in a three-part series on Holistic Instructional Design Strategy written by Lois Goldsworthy. Lois is an Instructional Designer at Axonify with over fifteen years of experience in the fields of Learning and Instructional Design.
Previously, I talked about knowledge retention and the Learning Longtail. Let’s close out this discussion by looking at some practical ways to design for informal learning using knowledge retention as part of your instructional design strategy.
“Informal” or “social” learning tend to conjure up thoughts of designs using tools like Twitter and Facebook. These technologies, and others like them, certainly have a role to play in engaging our learners – I point to last year’s CSTD conference as an example, where speaker, Eric Wahl, used Twitter in giving away one of his paintings and attendees Tweeted their comments throughout the conference, leading to a great experience.
But, as learning professionals dealing with constrained time and resources, how can you keep the Learning Longtail in mind when creating your learning programs? In fact, the Learning Longtail really just means supporting our learners throughout the learning continuum. To do so we need to design learning that includes opportunities to practice knowledge, in a safe, engaging and supportive environment.
So with that in mind, here are some ways you can fit knowledge retention into your current learning ecosystem.
If you don’t want to replace your current training because you’ve invested resources in creating it, you don’t have to – you can use the platform to reinforce your current programs. Want to identify a coaching opportunity when learners realize they don’t know something they thought they did? Great – discussion around topics occur naturally. Want to engage your employees with gamified learning and rewards for participating? It’s all there in the platform. Want to provide extra training or review when your learners want it? Absolutely – extra training allows motivated users to learn more or review when they need to. Want to see your learners use social networking to discuss what they’re learning and support one another? They can “like” what their colleagues are doing in the platform, or Tweet their followers about what they’re doing.
So, maybe I can even be so bold as to suggest this visual represents the Learning Longtail best:
That’s the Learning Longtail in action – why didn’t they just say so?