Writing about TL.

Just before opening my word processor to write this morning’s chapter, I received an email with an invitation to download another new free eBook about eLearning from an LMS company, offering the latest guide to innovative instructional design. I thought it was worth taking a look, because maybe they had already written what I was about to write, and I was wasting my time.

But alas, no. What I found was another in the series of well-stated pitches for the ADDIE model, and pages of recommendations for how to use color, how to design good navigation controls, and how to write good scenarios to add to a course to make it more “interactive”. All leading up to a very nicely written explanation of why that company’s LMS was the ideal solution for elearning. Sighting research and strategies from 30 years ago, the innovative guide was a carefully crafted marketing piece, designed and presented not to innovate eLearning, but to support the traditional eLearning market that fits the company’s LMS product.

It was a fine marketing piece, and a perfectly find thing to present to support LMS sales. But it clearly did not meet the challenge of presenting anything innovative about elearning, or suggest anything that might help address the very real challenges facing eLearning today.

So, I deleted the thing and went back to my writing. Here is a bit of what I wrote:

When was the last time this happened?nonext-button

You were talking with a client to try and resolve a problem when suddenly everything stopped. Nothing moved. There was no sound. The world just froze. Then you notice the little button on the clients desk that said “Next”. You reached over and touched that button and everything suddenly sprung into action again. Until it stopped again, and that little button began to glow.

And when was the last time this happened?

You were in charge of a project and you got a message from one of your team with a question about a key issue. You responded with as clear of an answer as you could send. A few seconds later you got a message letting you know that your response earned 8 out of 10 possible points, and then displayed a nice little leaderboard graphic showing you how many badges you had earned so far this week.

And when was the last time this happened?

You were preparing for an interview for a new role which required mastering a lot of new terminology and a lot of new procedures. As the interview began, the person across the table pulled out a little whiteboard with a little road map drawn on it and said, “Ok, I’m going to give you a word, and each time you can give me the correct definition, we’ll move this little car down the road. If you get all the way to the big building at the end of the road, you get the job.”

When? I’m guessing never. That’s not how things work in the real world. So, why is that the way we try to prepare people to be successful?

– Navigating through a conversation with a client is determined by the choices we make about what we say, and how the client responds to those choices.

– The results of our leading a team are seen in the results the team creates, and how well we accomplish the goals we were given, together.

– And to show you understand a role you need to be able to make key decisions and apply key concepts, and not just be able to recite definitions.
TL Logo

I am writing about TranceFormational Learning®, and how TL provides a different way of thinking about learning, wherever that learning takes place. TL believes that it is time to rethink how we design learning and training activities, and offer our learners something more authentic that can better prepare them to apply their learning in the real world.

TL was not designed to support practices and products. TL was designed to help learners learn.

More soon…

My brief history of education in Second Life:

Phase 1: A small number of educators were amazed at the possibilities of 3D space, and spent hours learning the skills needed to create activities that were new and exciting.

Phase 2: Huge numbers of educators entered Second Life, many of whom were looking for the next big thing they could incorporate into what they were already doing, and rather than spending hours learning skills, they complained about “learning curves”.

Phase 3: Huge numbers of educators announced that Second Life was a failure at innovating learning, and went off in search of the next big thing they might try. Meanwhile, the other educators continued their learning and creating.

Phase 4: (tomorrow) Educators in Second Life discovered the real potential of Second Life and 3D space to enhance learning, and are creating activities that are engaging learners in ways not possible before. NOTE: However, these educators are keeping rather quiet about it, because they really don’t want all of those complainers coming back and bring us all down again.

First “Formal” Results of TL in Action

We are very excited to report the initial results of how our TranceFormational Learning (R) approach to designing learning can impact the learning experience itself. This information is based upon a course redesigned with TL and offered for the first time from April to August of this year. This is an undergraduate, fully online course using Blackboard.

We just finished the first full implementation of this new online undergrad course design for an East coast university in mid August. We used a traditional LMS, followed the traditional rules and policies of the school, and used the traditional technologies students had at home. First review of the data shows that interaction in the online discussions increased from an average of three per student per week (the usual post one, respond to at least two), to an average of 17 per student per week. Length of posts went from an average of 3-5 lines, to 23 lines per post. Every post reviewed so far was on-task, and expanded the discussion. Final course feedback from learners supported the findings, with very positive feedback from all learners.

The key? We focused on the “experience” the learners had throughout the course. We borrowed from the elements of good game design, and designed the course experience so it engaged learners both cognitively and emotionally. The course was not “about” the content objectives, but the course was an experience “of” the content objectives.

We now have legitimate first evidence that TranceFormational Learning(R) works, and can be used in a learning situation, anywhere, with the only added cost being the creativity of the course creators. Most exciting to us is the fact that this first course includes only a few of the design features of TL, and is already showing such strong impact on the learning experience.

We are now monitoring the second offering of this course, as well as the initial offering of two more TL-designed undergrad courses at the same school. As we monitor these courses, we are also looking for courses that are currently using online, 3D virtual environment technologies that we will revision using TL. Our belief is that, when used effectively to enhance the learner “experience”, the use of virtual environments has the potential to create learning activities significantly more effective than were possible before virtual technologies.

More details coming soon!

John Jamison, ImagiLearning, Inc.