The ALA Learning Blog has a great entry on how to engage learners.  Jesse James Garrett, a user expereience designer for real-time Web software, suggests thinking about the following four factors when teaching/presenting:

  • Perception (Senses):  Engaging through sight, sound, smell, etc.
  • Action (body/kinesthetic): Engaging through movement and physical action.
  • Cognition (mind): Engaging through thought, reflection, logic, imagination.
  • Emotion (heart): Engaging through emotion, feelings.
  • In a nutshell, a good user experience = a good learning experience.  This advice, of course, is related to the now familiar notion of what is considered good teaching, and that is active, engaged learning.  Most people cannot stay engaged (and therefore continue to learn from) someone who is simply lecturing and talking at them for very long.  In order for the learning to continue beyond the first 10 minutes, a teacher/presenter has to engage the learners by using visuals, emotional stories to illustrate a point, and perhaps encouraging physical movement (doing), and time for reflection.  This is not an easy task for a teacher/presenter, but I’m going to try to keep these four factors in mind during my teaching.