Experience Is Our Teacher
I don’t know about you, but I work with adults. Adults respond both intellectually and with their emotions to a learning moment.
This means most communication, and specifically education, has to engage adults on both a cognitive and emotional level. For now, I will assume you create learning for a variety of audiences and clients (both internal and external) using various tools and techniques.
Regardless of their age, the following rules apply to most adults:
Everybody Likes A Good Story. We learn through stories. Most people love to experience a good story and share them. For thousands of years we have passed along information by telling informational stories. As a result, this preference is hardwired into us like a pigeon’s sense of direction.
Everybody Enjoys Discovery. Kids learn quickly that the process of pulling wrapping off a box leads to a surprise. They also learn just as quickly which person’s gifts under-whelm or delight them. As adults, people still enjoy an element of discovery within learning.
Everybody Learns by Trying. Most people want to learn through experience, and in fact, most people learn best by applying knowledge immediately to job or task.
Everybody Likes to Succeed. Most individuals do not set “failure” as their primary objective, unless a perceived failure leads to a larger success. In general, we want to be seen as successful and become more like our heroes: inspiring us to greatness.
These fundamentals haven't changed over thousands of years. They won’t change anytime soon. Our approach to learning should acknowledge this fact, regardless of the tools we use, online or in the classroom.