A few weeks ago I postedabout how we “outsource control of behavior to the environment.” This made me think about the concept “distributed cognition.” Distributed cognition proposes that knowledge is not confined to an individual, but rather is distributed throughout an environment. That is, we use external sources including other people, materials, and other tools and supports within the environment to help us in critical thinking and decision-making.
Distributed cognition always plays into my instructional design thinking. What and who do learners have at hand to support their thinking, ergo support their performance?
Recently, I heard the term “transactive memory” which proposes that groups of people collectively encode, store, and retrieve knowledge. This term is meant to explain the processes behind “hive mind” or “group think.” It’s not really a new idea either, but to me it seemed like another phrasing of distributed cognition.
A lot has been made that we are losing our memorization capabilities due to the easy and immediate access to information. My colleague Matt wrote about “second screens”; I find myself looking up information ever more frequently on my smart phone as I watch TV, read a book, listen to music, or take a walk outdoors. What is that flower, or tree, or snake!? Continue reading →
VCA Animal Hospitals (NASDAQ:WOOF) operates over 580 small animal hospitals in 41 states and Canada, staffed with 2,600 fully qualified, dedicated, and compassionate doctors. VCA partnered with Enspire to create an 11 hour blended curriculum focused on doctor communication skills, of which high quality video is an important piece. The large video shoot supporting the program took place recently in Austin, and while days were long it was a resounding success. Here’s how your shoot can succeed, too. Continue reading →
Enspire’s media arm Houndstooth worked with RAPP and Element X Creative to produce this video. RAPP was responsible for the creative, Element X did the animation and Houndstooth handled 3d modeling of the card, music composition, sound design and mix.
The question: “What does science know about translating our resolve into actual changes in behavior?” The answer: “People, when they perform a behavior a lot, outsource the control of the behavior to the environment.”
For Vietnam veterans treated for heroin addiction, only 5% relapsed during their first year returning home from Vietnam. The serviceman beat an extremely addictive habit by treating the physical addiction and by undergoing a radical change in their environment.
In other words, our mind automatically engages behaviors based on familiar environmental cues and patterns. Continue reading →
At Enspire Learning, we pride ourselves on creating learning experiences that directly impact a specific target audience, designated by each valued client. So when we design those experiences, we take a great deal of care to investigate and understand who those end-users are.
As a timely metaphor, our best learning products are like well-wrapped presents, carefully chosen for each recipient. This holiday season, we’ve created a handy shopping list of the important questions we ask ourselves when considering what “gift” to give our clients and end-users.
1. What’s the occasion?
Gifts are rarely given without cause – they are usually intended for a recipient who is celebrating an occasion: birthday, shower, Kwanzaa, retirement, etc. You pick a gift to commemorate an important occasion.
When designing e-learning, we must have a deep understanding of the learning occasion – is it on-boarding for new hires? Does the company want its employees to better understand its security policies? Is there a need for management training? Start generally and whittle the need down until it’s a precise problem to be solved. For instance, if a client specifies a need for a new-hire orientation, investigate further to understand why the product is needed now. Maybe there’s been evidence that recent hires don’t fully understand their benefit packages. Maybe a certain group at the company plans to bring on a large number of new employees and wants uniformity in their on-boarding experience. Understand the occasion and you can better understand your intended recipient. Continue reading →
Austin’s Coats for Kids effort is the second largest effort of its kind in the country. This was the 25th year for the drive, an annual community project that this year put 30,000 coats in the hands of eligible kids. Enspire donated laptop computers for use at donation centers and Enspire VP of Business Development (below left) ran the distribution site at Del Valle Elementary School.
After reading a recent Wired article about applications aimed at users’ secondary attention, I started thinking about new ways to use mobile devices for learning: second screen apps. Second screen apps are mobile apps that are typically used to complement television viewing. Why couldn’t they be used to complement learning events, too? Couldn’t a second screen be useful during instructor-led classes, live virtual classes, and asynchronous e-learning courses?
December is our busiest time of year, but decorations are popping up all over the building, and Houndstooth designers are hard at work on the Enspire/HT 2011 holiday card. This year’s card will use stop motion, traditional, and computer animation to “bring two competitive penguin neighbors to life,” says HT’s David Crumley. “We like to use the card as a place to push boundaries and have fun. We do that in our day to day work obviously, but the card is like our end of year reward where the sky’s the limit.”
Here are some views of work on the card, and our offices. May all your holidays be bright, too.
As we enter the final month of 2011, I suspect that many of us are looking back on the year and summarizing it in one way or another. What stands out for me was a common feeling that I had while at 7 industry conferences that I either attended, exhibited or spoke at – that as an industry, we’re missing a tremendous opportunity to apply innovations from the world of learning into the design and delivery of our learning industry events.
Here are my 5 suggestions for designing and delivering what I’ll call a ‘Next-Generation’ learning conference:
1. Embrace informal learning – realize that some of your best content is in the seats, not on the stage
Emphasizing the value of the formal content of the conference – the keynote and concurrent session speakers – made a lot of sense in an era when communication, networking and collaboration were more difficult. It was an effective way to connect and convey information to hundreds of individuals in one place at one time. In today’s world however, creating an event featuring successive ‘sages on the stage’ is no longer ideal. There is nothing more distressing to me than to watch hundreds of event attendees show obvious signs of disengagement when the person on the stage isn’t sharing compelling content (and there’s no easy means of escape from the room). Continue reading →