How Does Learning Grow?

Does learning begin when we hear, see, smell, touch or taste?

In this day and age, we have the world at our fingertips. If something doesn’t interest us we have the option to swipe left, we can change the channel or surf the web. If the attention span of half of our workforce has decreased, then we as designers must find innovative ways to bridge the gaps (Dirksen, 2016) and keep our learners engaged and hopefully excited about learning (Keller, 2005). With so many options vying for their attention we must become experts at the tools available so that we can find ingenious ways to promote learning and retention.

A bridge  coming from the unknown to what is visible.
Photo by Carlos Oliva on

E-learning tools for the novice and the professional abound. Open-sourced or priced for purchase, the options are plentiful. Exploring the vast amount of resources available to instructional designers and designers in training can seem overwhelming, but taken in small chunks, anyone can learn to become proficient at designing courseware. Just like it is best to deliver training and learning materials in small chunks (Pandey, 2016) it is best to create them in small chunks as well.

Following the Dick and Carey model, or including aspects from the Keller Arc model can help a designer discover how to design the course with their learners in mind (Dick & Carey, 2015), but until the actual tools are used the course is just an intangible concept. Implementation of the design begins after gathering content from the SME, after the goals have been established. After the paperwork and criteria has been set forth, then the course begins to come to light. The outline and storyboard helps to make the picture a little bit clearer. But then the challenge of deciding what to include and how begins.

The best learning objects will be flexible, reusable, and accessible (Andriotis, 2016). If we take the time to make sure that we keep the learners, developers, and the stakeholders in mind when designing our courses we might become overwhelmed at the vast differences in needs to be addressed. However, if we focus on quality when desiging a Reusable Learning Object, we might just be able to satisfy everyone’s needs and create a learning opportunity that will bridge the gap. Learning begins when we: see, hear, taste, touch and smell. Learning isn’t just one-dimensional, learning crosses dimensions and all barriers when the right tools are made available. Attention can be grasped, when attention is paid!

Andriotis, N. (2016). 6 Features of learning objects [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Dick, W., Carey, L., & Carey, J. O. (2015). The systematic design of instruction (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Dirksen, J. (2016). Design for how people learn (2nd ed.). Berkeley, CA: New Riders, Pearson.

Hagen, R. and Golombisky, K. (2017). White space is not your enemy (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Focal Press, Taylor & Francis Group.

Keller, J. (2005). ARCS Model of Motivational Design Theories. Retrieved from Learning Theories:

Pandey, A. (2016). 10 Benefits of Microlearning-Based training. Retrieved from

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