Thursday, October 08, 2020

Emotion in Learning Experience Design - Norman's 3 facets; Visceral, Behavioural and Reflective...

Our lives would be impoverished without positive emotions such as fun, pleasure, joy, excitement; but also middling emotions of satisfaction, calmness, boredom; even negative emotions such as anger, sadness, melancholy and fear. They are ever-present and part of what it is to be human.

One facet of Learning Experience Design is to make the effort to engage the learner by injecting emotion into the experience. This does not mean blind emotion. Over-stimulation can be a bad thing in learning. The right kind of emotion is what helps learning, as this affective dimension can motivate the learner and aid retention. It is a matter of designing for both head and heart. It would be fair to say that most of what is written about learning design has a focus on cognition and understanding, whereas much of what drives us is feeling and emotion.

Some, like Jack Quatrell, at Learning Pool, literally say that Experience Design differs from more traditional design in being Emotional Design. He invokes Donald Norman, which is a good starting point, who in Emotional Design, broke emotional design down into three components:

Visceral (appearance)

Behavioural (performance)

Reflective (memories and experience)

Visceral (appearance)

This is the automatic, unconscious reaction we have to experiences. It is what Kahneman refers to as System 1 thinking in Thinking Fast and Slow. These reactions are fast, immediate without reflection. 

Branding and general art direction speak directly to these feelings. One practical shortcut is to copy and mimic the organisations branding guidelines, in terms of palette, font, general art direction and practices. Some organisations are very keen to get their branding and values reinforced in training. For Virgin, we implemented very strong branding across course from Values to Aircraft Maintenance, with their exact tones of red and fonts. This gives the training a visual and emotional organisational context.

An alternative is to match the branding and art direction to the topic being taught. It may be that a course on interpersonal skills will have to feel warm and friendly, whereas a course on process and procedures may need to be cool, crisp and procedural. If it is a serious scientific, financial or healthcare organisation, dealing with serious issue such as laboratory procedures, money laundering or cancer therapy, then casual cartoons may not be appropriate. Real world imagery and photography may create the right first impressions for such learning. 

Gestalt theorists have also identified this as the instant reaction to an interface or experience, rather than its components or mechanics. Gestalt principles are similar to many of the findings of researchers like Mayer in online learning; proximity, similarity, figure-ground, continuity, closure, and connection. The Gestalt Law of Proximity is often quoted in interface design and states that items close to each other are perceived as groups. This matters when you want to group navigation items (forward, back etc) separately from functional items (print, zoom etc). The Gestalt Law of Similarity states that items similar to each other will be grouped by the user. This can be used generally in interface and visual design. The Law of Figure-Ground is also important, where we see figure-ground effects

Much of this can be tested with real users in getting voiced reactions to specific questions on designs. So, keep in mind the visceral reaction of your target audience, not you the designer.

Behavioural (performance)

This is about emotion and feelings around actual use or usability. How easy is it to use in terms of speed of recognition, understanding and not making errors. Are navigational items in the optimal order? Are the icons clear? Are they big enough for smartphone touchscreens? Do they react when pressed to give feedback? Are they placed consistently in the same place on the screen? There is a massive amount of good practice in interface design around usability. It is vital that the interface is a simple, consistent, predictable and easy to use as possible, as time and cognitive effort spent on the interface detracts from the cognitive effort needed to learn.

There is also a large amount of established good practice around visual design of text, graphics, animation, audio and video. We know a lot about the different affordances of different media, and how to mix them, without inducing cognitive overload. The trick is to get the best out of each medium and media mix. 

Just as importantly, is the good practice around learning, which is often very different from other forms of screen presentation, such as the need for chunking, cues, repetition, summaries and so on. Cognitive overload is common in badly designed learning content, so a knowledge of good learning theory informs the behavioural side of design.

What you get learners to DO is also really important, as that is likely to be more powerful than what they see or hear. This is where experience design needs to include interaction with the mind, beyond just clicking on items to navigate or see pop-ups. Cognitive effort matters - a lot!  We must be very careful here. It is all too easy to make learning too easy. Without challenge, difficulty and cognitive effort, you will not have the deep processing necessary for learnt knowledge, skills and behaviour to stick. The learner will skate over the surface, thinking they have been learning, when, in fact, those experiences have been transitory. This illusory sense of learning is common and is reinforced when things feel easy. It is easy to watch a video and not realise that much of what you have just watched has left your memory before you have finished watching the entire video. It stays in working memory but never gets processed into long-term memory, so disappears. Interestingly what makes you feel as though you have learnt things is just those ‘feelings and emotions’. In this case emotion is our enemy, our greatest danger. This transitory effect is well-researched, real, common and measurable. Learning needs to be effortful.

Inducing emotion may be ideal when you want attitudinal shift in diversity, equality and other belief shift or self-awareness training but can be dangerous in non-affective training, where it can induce the illusion of learning. So, keep in mind the behavioural reaction of your target audience, not just what you the designer likes or may be familiar with.

Reflective (memories and experience)

This is an important set of feelings in learning, that you can rationalise, reflect, reinforce, recall and apply your learning. This is what Kahneman called System 2 thinking, the rational, reasoning side of the brain. We have feelings of achievement, success, confidence or having overcome difficulties in a learning experience that really do matter. It can be those feelings around having got there, not because you found it easy but realising that it was hard.

This is complex and involves much more than just getting a score on the assessment, although that can be an important feeling of success. Hence the frequent request to provide printed certificates for learners, even though they have no serious accreditation body behind them. It is similar to the status people attach to watches, handbags and branded clothes. You can be made to feel better by going through learning experiences that give you feelings of success and status.

Challenging cognitive effort can propel the learner forward and make them feel as though they really are making progress. Feedback is also a powerful accelerator of learning, so personalising learning and feedback can move things forward making the learner feel good about themselves.

One important facet of reflective feeling comes through the follow-up, actually doing something. This can be triggered by nudge learning, so that the learner gets their kicks through going back to their job and actually implementing a challenge, such as mentoring a younger employee or using those features in a spreadsheet. Satisfaction with real-world application of learning can bring high levels of satisfaction and accomplishment.

It is easy to forget that one learns for a reason, ultimately to apply that knowledge, so the transfer through to action really does matter. This is often quietly forgotten in online learning but as technology increasingly allows us to learn in the workflow, it is becoming more of a reality.

This can be tested through stickability of the learning experiences but also real assessment, not only of short-term accomplishment but long-term retention.


Interestingly, Norman thought Americans value Behavioural more than the Visceral & Reflective, whereas Europeans, tend to value the Visceral and Behavioural. This is fascinating. He claims that different people buy things with different fuel mixtures of the three types of emotions. This may well be true in learning and having delivered online learning in many different geographies and cultures, I think it is. These differences are real but the differences are getting less, as there is a global spread of online services, such as Google, social media, Wikipedia and Netflix which are now universal, but it is important to be aware of cultural differentials. 

So there are three levels of emotional or affective experience design. The visceral is that first impression, the overall and holistic feel of the experience. The behavioural comes from using the product both in navigation but also functionality and, importantly, in actual effortful, learning experiences. The reflective are those more rational and conscious feelings around achievement and success in learning. Beyond Norman, there are also other cognitive feelings around aesthetics, beauty, layout, space, colour and simplicity in design, that also count.

It is vital that we don’t just invoke emotions and feelings just for the sake of doing so. They matter in terms of engagement, stickiness but they must also be compatible with the actual acquisition of knowledge, skills and behaviour. Retention does matter, not just the feeling you have learned but the fact that you really did learn. Kahneman is right to remind us of the existence of fast and slow ways of thinking but he also warns us against the bias and mistakes that emotional and instinctive thinking brings in its wake. 


Norman, D.A., 2004. Emotional design: Why we love (or hate) everyday things. Basic Civitas Books.

Kahneman, D. and Patrick, E., 2011. Thinking, fast and slow. Allen Lane.

Miller, G., 2009. Spent: Sex, evolution, and consumer behavior. Penguin.


Iain Reynolds said...

I really liked this. The examples/cases for Visceral and Behavioural are good and I appreciate them, do you have a case study to reference the reflective? I'm encouraging my team to read the article and I'd like to have a discussion with them about practical application

Tim James said...

Hi guys I'm TIM , I was disorganized because i had a very small penis, about 2.0 inches soft and 4 inches hard not nice enough to satisfy my woman, I have been in so many relationship, but cut off because of my situation, i have used so many product which doctors prescribe for me, but none could offer me the help i searched for. i saw some few comments on the internet about this herbal doctor called Dr Aziba and decided to contact him on WhatsApp with his mobile no (+2348100368288) I saw on the internet, I decided to give his herbal product a try. he gave me some comforting words with his herbal product for Penis Enlargement, Within A week of use I began to feel the enlargement of my penis, " and now it just 3 weeks of using his products my penis is about 9 inches longer, and I had to settle out with my Ex girlfriend, I was surprised when she said that she is satisfied with my sex and i have got a large penis. Am so happy, thanks to Dr Aziba I also learn that Dr Aziba also help with Breast Enlargement Hips and Bums Enlargement, Low Sperm Count, If you are in any situation with a little Penis, weak ejaculation, small breast_ hips_ bums do get to Dr Aziba contact him now on his mobile no, or add him up on WhatsApp (+2348100368288) Email ( )

Anonymous said...

Hello, Mein bol rha hu... aapka beta, bhai!
Aaj hum sabko iss musibat se bahar niklna hai, jiske liye hum sarkaar ki taraf se free sewaye shuru kar rhe hai. Aap sabhi apna khoon, kidney, phephde daan karke yog daan de or economy ko bachaye.

Williams Pater said...

Hello everyone i Am williams pater and i am from USA i am here to give my testimony about an herbal doctor called Dr,olu I was heartbroken because i had very small penis,not nice to satisfy a woman, i have been in so many relationship, but cut off because of my situation, i have used so many product which doctors prescribe for me, but could not offer me the help i searched for. i saw some few comments on the internet about this specialist called Dr,OLU and decided to email him on his email i saw on the internet,( ) so I decided to give his herbal product a try. i emailed him and he got back to me, he gave me some comforting words with his herbal product for Penis Enlargement, Within three weeks of me use it, i began to feel the enlargement, " and now it just 4 weeks of using his products my penis is about 8 inches longer, and i had to settle thing out with my ex girlfriend , i was surprised when she said that she is satisfied with my performance in bed and i now have a large penis.thanks to DR OLU for is herbal product. you can also reach him with emsil though is..number WHATASPP him today on this number [ +2348140654426 ]

UplayOnline said...

Casino Deluxe

UplayOnline said...



UplayOnline said...

ยินดีต้อนรับสู่ UPLAY365.COM เว็บพนันออนไลน์ All In One ที่รวมเว็บพนันออนไลน์อันดับ 1 ไว้ที่เดียวกันมากที่สุด ไม่ว่าจะเป็น เกมส์ไพ่ ที่เป็นที่นิยม เช่นบาคาร่า แบล็คแจ็ค เสือมังกร หรือจะเป็น รูเล็ต สล็อตออนไลน์ คีโน โป๊กเกอร์ forex ไก่ชน เกมส์ยิงปลา แทงบอล แทงบาส เทนนิส ESPORT แทงมวยไทย และอื่นๆอีกมากมาย พร้อมเทคโนโลยีชั้นนำจากผู้ผลิตซอฟต์แวร์เกมส์ระดับโลก ความน่าเชื่อถือได้มาเป็นอันดับ 1 สามารถเล่นได้ทั้งบนคอมพิวเตอร์ , มือถือ ระบบ android และ IOS *คาสิโนออนไลน์ : สามารถเลือกเล่นกับคาสิโนชั้นนำดังนี้ SexyBaccarat, AG Casino, GOLD Casino, SA Casino, W88 Casino, D88 Casino, WM Casino, GD Casino เป็นต้น *แทงบอล : U กีฬา (U SPORTS) , S กีฬา (S SPORTS) มั่นใจได้เลยว่า อัตราการจ่ายค่าน้ำดีที่สุดต้อง uplay365 เหมาะสำหรับทั้งนักพนันมืออาชีพและ มือใหม่ โดยทางเรามีพนักงานคอยสอนเรื่องการแทงบอลเบื้องต้น แทงง่าย อัตราจ่ายดี *สล็อตออนไลน์ ,เกมส์ยิงปลา : JOKER123,PLAYTECH และอื่นๆ อีกมากมาย ทั้งหมดนี้ สามารถเล่นได้ใน 1 ยูสเซอร์เท่านั้น สนใจสมัครสมาชิกรับเครดิตฟรี สามารถสมัครได้ตนเองที่หน้าเว็บ หรือติดต่อ Callcenter โดย ทางเรามีพนักงานไว้บริการและแก้ปัญหา ตลอด 24 ชั่วโมง สอบถามข้อมูลเพิ่มเติมได้กับแอดมินได้ตลอด 24 ชม.ค่ะ

Casino Deluxe

Jackee said...

These valuable jewels pieces take birth when remarkable white gold comes under the control of capable skilled workers. gold for sale online Drawing motivation from the numerous sempiternity lovely ponders of this world.

Anonymous said...

Good News Everyone!! I'm happy my life is back, What a wonderful and simple spell thrower who brought joy and happiness back into my life! I give this testimony because I am so happy, I never believed in spell throwers until my life collapsed when my 8 year relationship lover decided to quit when we wanted to get married. I was so emotionally devastated that I couldn't do anything reasonable, after 3 months of pain before an old friend of mine introduced me to an online spell thrower called Dr. Ogala, I told him all that has happened and he assured me not to worry that everything will be fine. My God after 3 days I saw wonders, My love texted me pleading he wanted me back my life came back like a completed puzzle, Dr Ogala didn't just bring back my Ex he also made me a happily married mother, it was like a dream because I thought I'd lost it forever. I will recommend anyone who ( NEED ANY HELP ) to reach him. email:  WhatsApp or call at +2347049668119! You Desever To Be Happy.

Jessica L. Smith said...

After being in relationship with Wilson for seven years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that don’t believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I meant a spell caster called Dr Zuma zuk and I email him, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: or WhatsApp him +15068001647
you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything. CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS

Photography Institute said...

Very Nice Post...

We are having very interesting information regarding Photography Courses in Delhi, Photography Institute in Delhi and Diploma in Photography!

Vishal Sharma said...


Vishal Sharma said...

It's really helpful thanks for sharing. Are you looking for the best schools in greater noida extension

Unknown said...

Hello everyone , here’s your opportunity for you to achieve your dreams of being a multi million dollar rich through trading , I once loss all I got through trading but was fortunate to come across a woman with great virtue and selfless heart (Mary ) i was introduce to her masterclass strategy while searching online which has revived me of all my losses and made me gain more and more . With her unique strategy you are entitled to daily signals and instant withdraw ,be rest assured of getting a refund of all your loss investment with any platform that has denied you in one way or the other in getting your money . Mr Payton masterclass strategy is simply the best for beginners and those that are finding it difficult to succeed through trading he’ll help you with just a simple step . Email her ( .Remember this is absolutely free!!!

Flags Of The World said...

Capitals of Asia

Unknown said...

Hi everyone,I’m so excited my husband is back after he left me for another woman. My husband was having an affair with a co-worker and i love my husband so much but he was cheating on me with his co-worker and this girl i think she use witchcraft or black magic on my husband to make him hate me and this was so critical and uncalled-for, I cry all day and night for God to send me a helper to bring back my husband! I was really upset and I needed help, so I searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr.Wealthy can help get an ex-boyfriend back fast. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and I did it, then he did a love spell for me. 22hours later, my husband really called me and told me that he missed me so much, Oh My God! I was so happy, and today I am happy with my man again and we are joyfully living together and I thank the powerful spell caster Dr.Wealthy, he is so powerful and I decided to share my story here. if you are here and your Lover is turning you down, or your husband moved to another woman, do not cry anymore, contact Dr.Wealthy for help now..Here’s his email,
He also do the following spell
Pregnancy spell
Love spell
Penis enlargement spell
Winning spell
His WhatsApp +2348105150446

tech forest said...

graphic design courses in indore

Wisdom Policy said...

Best term insurance plan in India 2021

Ronald Anthony said...

Thanks to Dr OSAGIE for helping me increase the size of my Penis. I have been married for 10 years and due to my small Penis I was unable to satisfy my wife and that made us childless and my wife planned to leave me I was really disappointed with myself and I was also having weak erection I thought all my hope was gone not until I saw a testimony on how the same Dr OSAGIE helped someone increase his Penis size. I was desperate to do anything to regain my sex life back and I contacted him and he promise to help me so he gave me a herbal mixture which i was using and after three days I began to experience changes. I am writing this testimony not only because he has helped me increase the size of my Penis, I can now satisfy my wife and my wife is three months pregnant. All thanks to Dr OSAGIE if you are having a weak erection problem or small Penis size contact him with his email:drosagiesolutionhome5 @ gmail. com or whats app him +2347035866588.  

Himashi Blogger said...

Really To be honest I found very helpful information your blog thanks for providing us such blog . if anyone need Online Bookkeeping Tool | Online Payroll Service Tool

pipcoline said...

videochat acasa
Many of you think that video chat is "not very ok" because of the negative news with owners of video chat studios, who have evaded taxes or who have behaved inappropriately towards their employees. castiguri So we, at Private Studio, thought of clarifying things a bit for young people who want to know everything about video chat.

pipcoline said...

Alege sa lucrezi cu o echipa de profesionisti gata sa impartaseasca cu prong tainele acestui work videochat care iti aduce satisfactie financiara, stabilitate si dezvoltare personala.

Chris Jordan said...

Mykonos Escorts – VIP Bachelor parties – Sexy Pornstars in Mykonos island. Escorts mykonos The unique taste of luxury escort Mykonos, party girls Mykonos