Learning experiences menu: Always choose the combo

I responded to a poll in the Collab365 community. It asked

If Microsoft release a new feature (e.g hub sites) how do you prefer to learn it?

Community polls ask informal questions. They don’t need to be perfect. They create discussion and gauge what the community is thinking. When polls ask a question that should offer multiple choices, we either make a choice from existing choices or add our own choice, and elaborate in the comments.

When your comments approach blog post length, it’s time to write a blog post.

How do you prefer to learn? This was the real question that was being asked. The Collab365 Community members are predominantly IT Pros and Power Users of technology. As I write this from my mobile, it makes me want to read some research and analysis about the learning styles preferred by IT Pros and Power Users.

Combined learning experiences are best

I’m in favour of a hybrid approach. Offer the combo on your menu.

Blog with embedded video. (Watch the movie / read the book.) This covers two learning styles. It also increases the chances of finding the video with blog text around it.

The blog and video need to include stories and scenarios for people to see a starting point they can relate to. Then they can take that story/scenario and make it their own with the fourth learning style, hands on experience.

Video is very powerful when it comes to showing actions and outcomes that involve visuals and motion. But if the output is mostly text and data, the blog post with “scenario and instructions” is more appropriate because it’s easier to follow.

Video needs to use the Goldilocks rule. Remember the sweet little cat burglar who broke into the Bear family home to try out the furniture, sample some breakfast and then take a nap? Not to hard or to soft. Not too hot or to cold. It was just right. Videos need to be just right. Not too long or too short. Not too vague or too specific. Just right. Tell your story, outline your steps, comment on the results and conclude.

If you want to pass on something you’ve learned or show people how to use something you have created, offer your audience combined learning experiences. The links between the different experiences will further embed your message or learning outcome.

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