Multiple Intelligence – how do you learn?

Thank you to Ms. H. McKnight for this great little video on multiple intelligence.

How do we ensure our e-learning development connects to those who learn in a manner other than visually, let’s say in a tactile or naturalist way?

Howard Gardner's (of Harvard university) Multiple Intelligence ...

If you add an element of music or create an interaction in a forest to deliver a lesson on leadership would the naturalist’s or musical learner’s needs be met and if so, how would we do this?

I believe that some of the learning style requirements could be met through gamification.

Gamification allows us to think in multiple and engaging scenarios that allow for a more creative and broader environment within the e-learning content. Having more options to chose from can only help to meet the learning needs of the various styles.

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“College has been focused on individual work and social interaction, but the world is becoming a place of collaborative work and social isolation.”

“College has been focused on individual work and social interaction, but the world is becoming a place of collaborative work and social isolation.” (p.228) Teaching Naked How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning; Bowen, Jose Antonio

My team is in Toronto and Hyderabad. I work in what is called an “agile” environment; this means that I don’t actually have a desk in any of our locations. I “hotel” which means I book a different space in one of our two offices a couple of times a week – the other days I work from home.

While this arrangement is great, and allows me freedom and the ability to balance my work and my personal life, and a recent study which suggested that over 60% of office workers believed being in the office was no longer required to be productive (Gibson), 20% of my work week is spent alone.

While at home alone, my time is spent collaborating virtually using a program called LYNC. My teammates and I can share programs, open up a white board and see what each other looks like using the video feed.

With the push to reduce our “carbon foot print” and corporations need to reduce both their carbon foot print and the costs associated with physical space; Deloitte Finland is reducing office space and investing in more sustainable ways of working. Expected benefits include a 36 percent savings in annual real estate costs and a 40 percent decrease in its carbon footprint. (Deloitte) I can only see physical workspace getting smaller and individuals becoming more isolated.

The world is getting smaller. The e-learning curriculum that I write are delivered across Canada and to our team in Hyderabad. I’ve just been told by my boss that we will need to start researching content in Spanish! In order to meet the needs of my learners and the mandate of the firm, our learners must be able to take this training at the time and place that is convenient for them. While I am sleeping, my team on the other side of the world is awake and working.

My personal situation is defined by this quote.

It would be very easy to spend five days out of the week working from home – it would save me time, money and the stress having to load my laptop and files into the car or onto the train.

Would five days at home be a good thing for my work relationships? I think that some care has to be taken to ensure that we don’t isolate ourselves from the human race. Online collaboration is great and I am a staunch supporter, I could not do my job without it, but humans are herd animals and we need humans around us; we need the social interaction that comes from physically spending time with your work colleagues or your boss. As stated by (Braccio-Hering, 2011) “Much of what takes place in companies is done through the informal social network,” Patterson says. “For instance, people solve important problems over lunch — and if you work out at a health club alone, you find yourself out of the loop.” So, if all of our interactions with our colleagues are spent in a virtual environment, would we then be “out of the loop?”

To ensure I stay “in the loop”, I make a point of spending at least three of my five working days going to one of our offices. While the electronic tools at my disposal allow me to do my job very effectively at a distance, human contact is, at times, necessary. I need to see and be seen by my co-workers and my leadership team who work in our local offices.

I think that as members of the learning community, we need to be sensitive to the human condition and try to build in, where we can, opportunities for humans to reach out to other humans. We need to ensure that our “on line” collaboration process is, in fact, collaborative.

As stated by (Markham, 2013) High-performance collaboration requires training and the development of key personal skills. How do we ensure that this is so? When creating any type of e-learning content, we need to build in opportunities for learners to share their experiences by making online collaboration tools like Yammer and Kanban Flow part of our program content.

Including these types of tools in your e-learning, gives your learners an arena to interact with each other, share ideas, successes and frustration and provide an opportunity for them to remain in contact with each other and in the loop.

While I may never get to be in the same physical space as my team members in Hyderabad, LYNC video feed gives me an opportunity to see my team member in real time, meet his new baby girl and get know him as a colleague and a friend. We have shared successes and frustrations and have been able to resolve issues much quicker by sharing a screen and explaining what the problem is.

Social isolation and online collaboration is becoming the norm – what we can do, as instructional designers, is to utilize the technology as best we can to ensure we meet the needs of the human condition.

 

References

Braccio-Hering, B. (2011, 05 27). Smart socializing with co-workers. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com: http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/05/25/smart.socializing.coworkers.cb/index.html

Deloitte. (n.d.). Retrieved from Deloitte.com: http://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/sustainability-member-firms-initiatives.html

Gibson, R. (n.d.). Generation Y. Retrieved from http://www.generationy.com/: http://www.generationy.com/agile-working-environment/

Markham, T. (2013, April 18). How to foster collaboration and team spirit. Retrieved from Mindshift: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/04/how-to-foster-collaboration-and-team-spirit/

“They understand that learning is emotional and that mental models (often called deep learning) change slowly.”

“They understand that learning is emotional and that mental models (often called deep learning) change slowly.” (p.86) Teaching Naked How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning; Bowen, Jose Antonio

Who doesn’t remember the milestones events in their life? A wedding, a death, a new baby, a new car, a new home, divorce or starting a job – each one of these events is emotionally charged and we can recall them easily. We can remember where we were, what we were wearing and who was with us. As stated by (Bohannon, 1988) (Brown & Kulik, 1977) the emotional events in one’s life tend to be remembered with great clarity and detail.

I know that any deep learning I have gained has come with an emotional tag. It has been that “ah ha” moment when the proverbial light-bulb goes off and suddenly you see with perfect clarity what the intent is. You ponder the concept, read the journals, finish the exam or write the paper and know that you have “got it”; there is an associated feeling of satisfaction and completion that comes with the task; a general feeling of well-being.

Why do we remember those moments so clearly? I believe that any moment in our life that causes an emotional reaction to occur makes a memory. Science has proven that memory and emotion are clearly aligned; either positively or negatively.

Nothing changes overnight, however, and it is only through the consistent application of the lesson that the behavior begins to change. As instructional designers, we must be able to solidify the lesson in the learners mind and provide a way for that learner to scaffold the knowledge to what they already know. As stated by (Golding, 2011) we scaffold student learning by providing guidance and support that they need to construct knowledge. We need the learner to emotionally connect to the material, to have that “ah ha” and, at that point, it then becomes easy for the learner to recall the content and begin to apply it to real life situations.

Money and emotion – those are the two big “stick” reminders – if it costs you money – you’ll remember it or if it touches you emotionally (good or bad) you’ll remember it.

How then do we evoke emotion in our learners through e-learning? We know emotion is important in education–it drives attention, which in turn drives learning and memory. (Sylwester, 1994) How do we then tap into those feelings and emotions on a consistent basis to engage the learner and make that emotional connection?

The computer, by its very nature, is non-emotional – it’s a tool – no different than a hammer or a saw. What makes you or I react emotionally on the computer or react emotionally to what was built by the hammer and the saw, can and will be completely different. What is key, is to find that commonality that transcends individualism and reaches the masses and, we need to do that in more than one way; we need to ensure maximum exposure and engagement.

One extrinsic motivator is recognition and success; we all like to be told we are doing a good job; either in the form of your supervisor “catching you doing something right”, a colleague who tells you “way to go”, or an e-learning module that says “Well done – you’ve made it to the next level!” These words of encouragement inspire us; evoke an emotion in us, and spur us on to continue to achieve and, in this continuation to achieve, the deep learning starts to root. As stated by (Shan, 2008) The sense of satisfaction comes from success and also the effort on work comes from seeking for success, which can be said to be one of the basic motivations of human beings.

Another extrinsic motivator is cash – virtual coin (incentive) can be written into our e-learning modules by employing the concepts of gamification into our design. Virtual worlds are built and managed by billions of people every day and purchases are being made in online currency like Bitcoins. Can we, as instructional designers, have our learners tend their respective “learning gardens” and be rewarded in virtual coin for a reaping a successful L&G crop? The possibilities are as endless as the code they are written in. The trick is to build the right lock, provide the learner with the right keys and give them the necessary foundation to unlock their learning potential.

References

Bohannon, J. N. (1988). Flashbulb memories of the space shuttle disaster: A tale of two theories. Cognition, 179-196.

Brown, R., & Kulik, J. (1977). Flashbulb memories:. Cognition, 73-99.

Golding, C. (2011). The Many Faces of Constructivist Discussion. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 479.

Shan, G. (2008, May). Emotional Teaching – An Effective Approach to Improve CET. International Education Studies, 142-144.

Sylwester, R. (1994). How Emotions Affect Learning. Reporting What Students are Learning, 60-65.