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Recently I spent the day at the beach watching people learning to surf. One of the people learning to surf was a blind girl. It was very inspiring as she learned to balance on the board. She probably fell off of the surfboard a few dozen times before she successfully stood and balanced on it. And when she finally succeeded she let out a cry of joy.
Learning is a funny thing. It’s not something that can always be neatly packaged. Real learning isn’t a one-time event (like many elearning courses) where it’s just a matter of getting new information. Instead it’s an iterative process where you do something, get feedback to evaluate, make adjustments, and do it again.
E-learning courses are an intrusion to the natural learning process. With good planning, it’s a welcome intrusion because we can compress time and create cost-effective and repeatable learning events. For example, if I was training operating room techs on setting up an operating room in the real world there’s the cost of pulling a room offline for training, coordinating staff, and maintaining a sterile environment and tools.
But in an elearning course, I have a room and equipment that is always available. If someone fails or needs more time, they have it. That’s one of the good things about elearning. The challenge though is to craft a great learning experience.
Adult Learners Don’t Like to Fail
Going back to the blind surfer, it takes a lot to fall down and continue getting up. I saw plenty of other surfers give up after a few tries. Few people like to fail and then do so publicly. This is especially true of adult learners.
Elearning presents a great opportunity to let people fail (or practice becoming successful) in private and in a safe environment. Unfortunately a lot of elearning fails to exploit this opportunity with our need to score and track everything.
As learners, our culture conditions us to avoid failure. Typically our grading systems reward successful test taking more than successful learning. Because of this, we’re motivated to pass tests and getting good scores and not always focused on the learning process.
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This video explores the cerebral cortex and the nerve cells that lie within it. Learn how these specialized cells use neurotransmitters to communicate with one another.
This video looks at the neurological basis of higher brain function. Learn how different human behaviors and functions can be isolated to specific areas of the brain, and how with the help of imaging techniques like MRI we can visualize brain activity in a way that gives insight into how the brain functions and allows scientists to develop treatment methods for various mental illnesses in the future.
2SLEEP1 is a playlist of audiovisual performances in text mode, designed to make you fall asleep. The idea is to show the music being composed in real-time along with typewriter-style animations.
Both the music interface and the graphics are built up from text symbols. This means that the (graphical) objects can work together with the (musical) instructions, on a visual level. Vank is a first rough test of this and Matsamöt makes a similar thing, without the improvisation. Finally, Echidna is a silent movie with semi-live music.