The Learning Landscape Model is a research-based model---evolved over the last decade---that can be used to guide workplace learning-and-performance designs, discussions, and explorations.
It is based on the fundamental cognitive architectures of learning, remembering, and prompting as three distinct cognitive operations, all of which are needed to maximize workplace learning-and-performance results. While previous models have often forgotten forgetting or forgotten prompting mechanisms (like job aids), the Learning Landscape is complete. Perhaps more importantly, it is actionable, for example, it can be utilized to have productive discussions between us as learning professionals and our business partners. Finally, the Learning Landscape Model can be used to improve learning measurement significantly over the 4-levels or roi models.
It is not always enough to know something. Often people must respond immediately to circumstances. Often they must respond under stress and distraction. To be able to do this, they need to develop a cognitive link between situational cues and action.
On January 9th 2009, firefighter Robert O’Neill was at the wheel of a 22-ton fire truck as it headed down a steep street in Boston. When O’Neill attempted to apply the brakes, nothing happened. As the truck gained speed heading straight for a large brick wall, O’Neill made frantic attempts to pump the brakes and shift into another gear—ultimately shifting into neutral. His efforts went to no avail and the truck crashed through the brick wall into an apartment building injuring several children in an afterschool program and killing his colleague, firefighter Lieutenant Kevin M. Kelley who was riding beside O’Neill in the truck’s passenger seat.
Photo from Boston Globe Story
After an 11-month investigation, District Attorney Daniel Conley reported that O’Neill received “limited classroom instruction and no driver training in the proper use of air brakes in downhill and emergency circumstances.” What’s really tragic is that O’Neill’s actions in that time of panic may have actually made things worse. As the Boston Globe reported:
The driver did not know to check brake pressure before he got behind the wheel that day and then, when the brakes failed, did not know how to engage secondary braking systems. Instead, he pumped the brakes, releasing any remaining air pressure from the brake system, and put the truck into neutral, preventing the secondary brakes from engaging.
Many things might have prevented this tragedy. The truck could have been better maintained. A job aid that forced drivers to do routine safety check might have been used to ensure brake pressure. Management oversight might have prompted the drivers to actually engage safety routines. Training that helped drivers understand how air brakes worked might have helped—just before the accident the driver turned the truck around in a parking lot releasing air pressure in the braking system. Finally, the driver could have been trained to spontaneously remember what do when facing such a situation.
Ideally, when someone is in an emergency situation, the cues from that situation ought to remind them of what to do. As learning professionals we want to help our learners engage in spontaneous remembering. To do this, we need to help our learners make links between situational cues and actions. It can help to teach these links, but it is even better to have learners practice these links.
Research on general context-alignment effects shows the benefits of making such links (for reviews see Bjork & Richardson-Klavehn, 1989; Smith, 1988; Smith & Vela, 2001; Eich, 1980; Roediger & Guynn, 1996; Davies, 1986). Research on retrieval practice shows us the benefits of retrieval practice in automating such responding (for reviews on retrieval practice see Roediger & Karpicke, 2006a; Pashler, Rohrer, Cepeda, & Carpenter, 2007; Bjork, 1988; Crooks, 1988). Finally, recent research on implementation intentions shows how powerful it can be to help learners link situational cues to action (for review see Gollwitzer & Sheeran, 2006).
If firefighter O’Neill had been properly trained, when he found himself careening down the street with inadequate brakes, the situation would have reminded him to apply steady pressure on the brakes and engage the secondary braking system.
What makes this situation even sadder is that firefighters typically have lots of time between emergencies to engage in training. Even if a high-fidelity simulation was too expensive, a simple e-learning program that simulated driving emergencies might have worked to create cognitive links sufficient to create spontaneous remembering.
Bjork, R. A. (1988). Retrieval practice and the maintenance of knowledge. In M. M. Gruneberg, P. E. Morris, R. N. Sykes (Eds.), Practical Aspects of Memory: Current Research and Issues, Vol. 1., Memory in Everyday Life (pp. 396-401). NY: Wiley.
Bjork, R. A., & Richardson-Klavehn, A. (1989). On the puzzling relationship between environmental context and human memory. In C. Izawa (Ed.) Current Issues in Cognitive Processes: The Tulane Floweree Symposium on Cognition (pp. 313-344). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Crooks, T. J. (1988). The impact of classroom evaluation practices on students. Review of Educational Research, 58, 438-481.
Davies, G. (1986). Context effects in episodic memory: A review. Cahiers de Psychologie Cognitive, 6, 157-174.
Eich, J. E. (1980). The cue dependent nature of state dependent retrieval. Memory and Cognition, 8, 157-173.
Gollwitzer, P. M., & Sheeran, P. (2006). Implementation intentions and goal achievement: A meta-analysis of effects and processes. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 69-119.
Pashler, H., Rohrer, D., Cepeda, N. J., & Carpenter, S. K. (2007). Enhancing learning and retarding forgetting: Choices and consequences. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 14, 187-193.
Roediger, H. L., III, & Guynn, M. J. (1996). Retrieval processes. In E. L. Bjork & R. A. Bjork (eds.), Memory (pp. 197-236). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Roediger, H.L. & Karpicke, J.D. (2006a). The power of testing memory: Basic research and implications for educational practice. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 1, 181-210.
Smith, S. M. (1988). Environmental context-dependent memory. In G. M. Davies & D. M. Thomson (eds.) Memory in Context: Context in Memory (pp. 13-34), Chichester, UK: Wiley.
Smith, S. M., & Vela, E. (2001). Environmental context-dependent memory: A review and meta-analysis. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 8, 203-220.
Story of the accident: http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2009/01/fire_engine_cra.html
Story of the accident investigation:
Photo from Massachusetts AFL-CIO website
Lieutenant Kevin M. Kelley
(Killed in Fire Truck Accident)
For years I've been compiling research from preeminent refereed journals that shows, time and time again, that aligning the learning and on-the-job performance context is key in supporting long-term remembering.
Now, I continue by focusing on cultural and linguistic context.
Here are the major recommendations:
Robert Gagne's 1st event of instruction was "Gain Attention." Michael Allen's company, Allen Interactions, has been saying for years, "No More Boring e-Learning." We've all heard the stories of how often e-learning turns learners off. And yet, there is still a whole lot of boring e-learning out there.
An article from the eLearning Guild helps us avoid the trap, specifically by helping us start our learning interventions in ways that grab attention. Paul Clothier interviews Carmen Taran, author of the book Better Beginnings.
Dan Balzer and Susan Manning offer an excellent Podcast on the topic. You can find the link to the Guild article at their web page as well.
Google has a nice blog post out on its use of eye movement research.
I remember getting a tour of Fidelity a few years ago and learning that their eye movement studies on web browsing showed that people were beginning to ignore big dark chunks of graphics because they thought they were advertisements.
My dissertation advisor, Ernie Rothkopf did a classic study (with Billington) in 1979 using eye movement data to test whether learners actually paid more attention (had more and higher-quality eye movements) toward information in the learning material that was targeted by learning objectives than to information that was not so targeted. It turned out that learning objectives worked to boost learning because they prompted learners to pay more attention to the objective-relevant material and less attention to the rest of the information.
See: Rothkopf, E. Z., & Billington, M. J. (1979). Goal-guided learning from text: Inferring a descriptive processing model from inspection times and eye movements. Journal of Educational Psychology, 71, 310-327.
To answer the question I posed above. Yes, more of us should be using eye-movement research to support us as we do e-learning design.
And by the way, as web pages change their strategies to gain our attention, our learners may change their strategies to avoid things deemed irrelevant. Moreover, as our learners see more and more of our company's e-learning, their eyes may learn where to go...In fact, a lot of them already have a well-learned capacity to find the NEXT key through a swarm of bees.
Here's a nice presentation about what makes Steve Jobs a great presenter.
Check it out, then read my comment below:
Here's my comment on this:
Okay, Steve Jobs is great at giving a product-sales presentation. No doubt about that. But let's not generalize this too far. In my field, the learning-and-performance field, many of the recommendations made here are spot on (for example, keep slides simple and relatively undecorated), BUT some are not relevant (for example, "and one more thing") and some important things are not mentioned (for example, provide people with practice opportunities, etc.).
Jobs also has a big advantage that most of the rest of us don't have. He's a celebrity. For some reason, deep in human evolution, this gives him our loving attention.
Presentation characteristics depend on the audience, purpose, etc. If you acted like Steve Jobs at a scientific convention, you would not be trusted. If you acted like Steve Jobs in training people, you would not create long-term remembering of key learning points.
Again, I'm not criticizing Job's presentation skills. He's perfect for his audience and purpose. I've even used him as an example for some of my training-and-development clients. It's just that we have to be a little discerning in deciding what we can use of Jobs' repertoire for our particular purposes.
Update: Check out The Learning Landscape Video by clicking here.
H.M. died on Tuesday. He was a severe amnesiac. At the age of 27 he underwent surgery to correct severe and debilitating seizures. When he awoke, he was unable to remember much of anything ever again--at least not anything in the declarative memory system.
He lived life as the most famous experimental subject in the history of cognitive psychology and neuroscience. I remember reading about him when I was a graduate student in the late 1980's and 1990's. What researchers learned by studying him was that there was more than one memory system. This information led to a revolution in our understanding of human cognition and learning.
After years being known only as H.M., to protect his identity, in death we learn that his name was Henry Gustav Molaison, and he lived his life in Connecticut, on the east coast of the United States.
The New York Times tells his story better than I can. It is well worth the read.
And NPR has a previous story, that you can hear. It is well worth the listen.
And here's H.M.'s wikipedia entry.