Digital Learning Apps: A learning language
Digital Learning Apps are as effective as the language structures they employ. All media inputs need to be readily accessible and understood, whether diagrams, audio or video; to achieve that, the language ‘signposts’ need to be consistent.
A study across 9,000 schools in the US in 2013 called ‘Project Tomorrow’ indicated that 12% of students were sending text messages to their teachers, to ask questions during the class! Whether many of these texts were answered or not, the figures show the dramatic change surging through to 2017 and beyond; tomorrow’s leaders will be hugely dependent on digital communications for all their information and learning.
Digital Apps are as effective as the language structures they employ. The language of the learning experience is critical to efficacy. All media inputs need to be readily accessible and understood, whether diagrams, audio or video; to achieve that, the language ‘signposts’ need to be consistent. Apps using external video/audio resources, for example, need to be carefully chosen to be certain that the language used is consistent and signposts with the language in the entire app. E-learners are most unlikely to spend any time searching the web to establish the semantic meanings of different terms!
Learning periods need to be short. And these learning periods must fulfill the learner-needs to comprehend, see their practical application, understand, create a practical use and successfully test. Also, each learning period needs to link with a coherent theme of learning, so the learning pathway and its relevance to the learner are both understood along the way. There are challenges in that simple statement! People think differently. They memorize and recall information differently. In app development, we tend to repeat consistent terms, but repeat the information in other linguistic forms. We also use language that appeals to different preferences, including visual language, auditory language and kinesthetic language.
The Rule of Three (attributed to Aristotle’s Poetics) is also a useful guide when structuring learning for apps. The Rule insists that you break down the information into sets of three, a beginning, middle and end. Where any deeper and broader learning-requirement is identified within those three parts (beginning, middle and end), these are similarly broken down into three. With two levels, that means no more than 9 learning points for a given learning period.
Attention to all these aspects of app-development creates the best possible standardized platform for a real population having very different learners. It also leads to higher rates of learner-persistence with any particular app. With Gnowbe, we also have the delightful real-time feedback that allows for tweaks in the learning journey, to improve learning-experiences on-the-go. In effect, we are doing what we sell, using digital-learning to adapt, learn and change. With learner certification rates up to 80% and more, the Gnowbe system continues to develop in real-time by applying the same learning technology that we sell to our clients.
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