Ran across this post by Susan Smith Nash – Learning with Audio: Lessons from Television – Monk, House, MD and NCIS … and coupled with Kathy Sierra’s post Crash course in learning theory:
Use the filmaker (and novelist) principle of SHOW-don’t-TELL.
Rather than lecture about the details of how something works, let them experience how it works by walking them through a story or scenario, where they can feel the bumps along the way.
This is tied with the last post on compelling content … I’ve been thinking a lot about how to introduce content to learners …
When I say that “we gotta start doing this” I mean to challenge my colleagues into thinking about how training content is presented so that the learners are immediately and near-viscerally engaged in the material right from the start. Susan Nash brings up the point that TV shows don’t spend much time in a set-up (and they certainly don’t have exposition that tells viewers what they can expect by the end of the program). Start with a story right off the bat … and make the story itself begin with some sort of crisis.
(I’m also intrigured about giving the lead character in the story a real flaw or two).
Thinking about how good computer or video games introduce / orient a player … they plunk you right into the story. I remember playing Star Wars© KOTOR® … and the game starts with sirens blaring … with a rather rough-around-the-edges character jumping in front of me telling (shouting, really) me that I have to get out of the room because the spaceship I’m on will explode any minute! It is in this urgent context (which is made even more intriguing because my character has supposedly lost his memory) that the tutorial on the game mechanics takes place. It’s all done in a story and with a general goal (to get off the ship!) … and the smaller objectives (being able to look around the room, how to pick up objects, opening doors, fighting the bad guys, etc.) are embedded into this bit … being revealed to me one at a time. I don’t get a massive bullet-point list of “by the end of this section, you will be able to 1) blah, 2) blah blah, 3) blah blah blah, and so on. I’m shown how things work and I’m urged to solve the immediate problem … all within the context of the story.