Welcome back. If you are missing out on this year’s Learning Solutions Conference, here’s a partial recap of today’s events.
Day two began with Morning Buzz, these early morning facilitated discussions are informal share sessions. Today, they ran the gamut from gamification to Section 508 compliance. Afterward attendees gathered for the General Session to listen to Daniel Coyle’s “Hotbed: The Blueprint of High Performance.” This was a real treat. Dan was dynamic, informative, and engaging.
If you are unfamiliar with his work, Dan has been all around the world observing “talent hotbeds” from the slums of Brazil to Beaverton, Oregon. One stage, he shared how high performance relies needs three key habits: REACH, STARE, CONNECT.
- Maximize Reachfulness: Eliminate passive learning, and try learning on the edge.
- Fill the Windshield: Find good models to stare at (and emulate), only then will your windshield fill with an image of a better self.
- Communicate Like a Coach: First connect, and don’t forget to praise effort not ability.
Listening to Dan made me think of “Lords of Dogtown.” Dan asked the audience “Why do kids at play learn the fastest?” Take skateboarders, Dan’s example, who are typically viewed as slackers. In actually they are quite the opposite. Do you know how many times you have to try the trick in order to master it? This is what high performance is all about—practice.
I ended my morning in Kevin Thorn’s session: “How to Communicate to the Visual Cortex—What Learners Don’t See.” Kevin has a background in illustration and animation. The great thing about Kevin is he has taken his passion for visual design and applied it to learning. His session was enjoyable.
Now, the key to a great presentation is holding the audience’s attention. People are inevitably going to meander from room to room at a large conference, but I have to say, I didn’t notice many walking out during Kevin’s session. That’s because he focused on the audience. The exercises were simple but fun; no handouts or complicated questions.
Kevin spoke about the brain’s function in relation to how we view information. He briefly explained the connection between our eyes and our visual cortex, and followed with a brief discussion on central and peripheral vision. What I am about to share is essential for instructional designers: People cannot help but notice objects in the periphery. It is up to you to decide if you want to detract learners or refocus their attention on the screen. I suggest you read Cammy Bean’s article: “Avoiding the Trap of Clicky-Clicky Bling-Bling.”
To close, I leave you with this to ponder: Sometimes we don’t need words, simple shapes and colors can communicate the same idea by tapping into what we already know.
Check back for Part 2.