Seamless Instead of using separate screens — and dividing attention
— PSAV’s Greg Van Dyke recomnends blending images on large screens.
Rethinking Learning Styles Many common training practices are based more on fads and fables than on evidence of what works, according to Ruth Colvin Clark, a leading expert in instructional design. Here, she takes aim at what she has called the No. 1 myth about training: learning styles.
I think learning styles represent one of the more wasteful and misleading pervasive learning myths of the past 20 years. From audio learners to visual learners or from “sensors” to “intuitive,” learning styles come in many flavors. Corporations and universities alike frequently incorporate the concept of learning styles and sometimes even use learning-style assessments as part of their instructor training. For some reason, the idea of a learning style has some kind of cosmic intuitive appeal that is very compelling. Ask almost anyone whether they are a visual learner or a verbal learner and you will get an immediate commitment to a specific learning style!
The learning style myth leads to some very unproductive training approaches that are counter to modern evidence of what works. For example, many trainers believe that visuals should be described by words in text format for visual learners and narration mode for auditory learners. To accommodate visual and auditory learners, a visual on a slide is explained with text and audio narration of that text. This practice has been proved to actually depress learning.
From Evidence-Based Training Methods, by Ruth Colvin Clark, ASTD Press, 2010.
presents information, including the attention she pays to AV. “I used to be focused, like everybody else, on, let’s make sure that the quality is good, let’s make sure there are no interfering noises, let’s make sure that we have enough microphones in the room,” she said. “Now I want the screen to be right, I want there to be some music — I want it to be the right music. I want the speakers to be placed properly.” She also makes sure that the environment
will stimulate rather than dull the senses. “If I am going into a corporate training [session] and the space is white and gray — that starkly neutral thing — I will bring in flowers or I will bring in some plants,” she said. “I will bring in a little visual something for people to look at.” Sullivan’s orchestration of the presentation
at Convening Leaders didn’t just convey the principles about how AV can affect learning; it demonstrated them, with a mix of images, anima- tions, colors, recurrent music, body movement, and surprise. “If you look at my slides, they are all in alignment,” she said. “I work very hard not to overload, I chunk material — it all goes back to learning design.”
. Barbara Palmer is senior editor of Convene. +
This Convening Leaders 2013 session kicked off “The Intersection Series: Where Techology Meets Inspiration,” a partnership between PSAV Presentation Services and PCMA. Insightful videos are posted monthly at pcma.org/theintersection.
48 PCMA CONVENE MARCH 2013
ON THE WEB Find an interview with molecular biologist John Medina about brain rules and meetings in the November 2011 issue of Convene at convn.org/medina-rules.