Friday, February 09, 2007


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.


Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more, Donald.
The experience is key to retention and we should draw from all relevant disciplines to ensure learning effectively transfers at least into your head for the long term, and then into action and (one assumes) improved behaviour/performance.

You may remember from years back when we worked together (2002 I think) a book I found extremely useful - Simplicity by Bill Jensen. It puts forward a five-step process for launching a new change initiative or project in an organisation:

Know which few things are important;
Consider how people will feel when you move forward on these things; Use the right tools;
Create expectations and then manage those expectations;
Create a "teachable view" of what you're trying to achieve.

Similar themes, and puts learning at the heart of change and performance, as opposed to "training" which, in far too many cases, rather perversely tries to separate itself from the real world.


Michelle Gallen said...

So from a male POV, is a wonderful example of video learning where the target audience will retain the information, or is it a bad attempt at 'edutainment'?