Why some ideas live and others die
Malcolm Gladwell gave us the idea of ‘stickiness’ in The Tipping Point. Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath applies this to ideas and identifies Six Steps to Sticky Messages:
1. Simplicity: Strip ideas to their essentials
2. Unexpectedness: surpise, use counterintuitive examples
3. Concreteness: avoid buzzwords, include sensory information
4. Credibility: trusted authorities, testable by the user, believeable
5, Emotions: disgust, sympathy, resentment—they all work
6. Stories: tell a story
This is a good book and is far more useful in the design of learning experiences than Bloom, Gagne and the mechanics of instructional design. It’s also grounded in serious research. I've been watching a lot of videocasts from TED conferences and other sources and it's remarkable how closely these principels fit the presentation styles of the world's top speakers.
Once we realise we're in the 'learning experiences' game and not the 'instructional objectives' game, e-learning will be something to behold. If cognitive improvment is to happen, then ideas and skills must stick. Stickiness is, in a sense, merely retention.