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Julie Dirksen

18 Podcast Episodes

Latest 1 May 2021 | Updated Daily

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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Driving behavioral change through better design feat. Julie Dirksen (Part 3)

Your Brain On... by Salience Learning

In the final part of our interview with Julie Dirksen, Karen, Krista, and Julie discuss what L+D professionals should take away from new research on learning within virtual environments, and how to best communicate with stakeholders to create effective programs.


22 Feb 2021

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52 AR/VR in Learning for Behavior Change with Julie Dirksen


Listen in as I chat with Julie Dirksen about AR/VR in Learning for Behavior Change. Julie shares about her research with fellow colleagues on how we can affect behavior change through AR and VR in learning. She shares awesome insights and great use case information - and of course, I light up like a Christmas tree because its AR and VR!  --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/ifyouaskbetty/support


12 Feb 2021

Similar People

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Driving behavioral change through better design feat. Julie Dirksen (Part 2)

Your Brain On... by Salience Learning

In part 2 of our three-part series with Julie Dirksen, Karen, Krista, and Julie discuss how to provide learners with constructive feedback during complex scenarios that often lack immediate results in the form of rewards and consequences. How do we keep learners motivated when success seems far off in the future?


8 Feb 2021

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LH #33 Behaviour Points with Julie Dirksen

The Learning Hack podcast

John talks to Julie Dirksen, a leading expert in instructional design, digital learning and behaviour change. Is it a problem for learning professionals that even when they have supported learners in gaining the knowledge and skills they need to do things right, and to do the right thing, once back in the workplace they so often do the exact opposite?   This conversation dives deep into the mechanics of behaviour change, addressing the 'elephant and rider' problem in human psychology, and confronts the tricky ethical questions that effective use of behaviour change techniques inevitably brings up.   03:37 What does the ‘elephant and rider’ image mean in behaviour change? 12:26 The importance of feedback 16:48 Intent vs behaviour 18:00 Technology & behaviour change 24:28 The ethics of behaviour change 31:18 Is the ‘conspiracy of convenience’ a behaviour change problem? 39:03 Tips for overcoming resistance to being trained   Mentioned in the discussion: Jonathan Haidt, responsible for the 'elephant and rider' metaphor: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Haidt https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Damasio https://www.happinesshypothesis.com/ https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51070630_The_Behaviour_Change_Wheel_a_new_method_for_characterising_and_designing_behaviour_change_interventions http://www.behaviourchangewheel.com/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nudge_(book)   Julie's Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=design%20for%20how%20people%20learn   Contact Julie Dirksen LinkedIn: https://wwwlinkedin.com/in/juliedirksen Twitter: @usablelearning Website: usablelearning.wordpress.com   Contact John Helmer Twitter: @johnhelmer LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnhelmer/ Website: http://johnhelmerconsulting.com/ Download the new white paper from Learning Pool written by John Helmer & Ben Betts – 'Data & learning: A new common-sense approach' https://learningpool.com/data-learning-a-new-common-sense-approach/


1 Feb 2021

Most Popular

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Driving behavioral change through better design feat. Julie Dirksen (Part 1)

Your Brain On... by Salience Learning

In part 1 of our three-part series, Karen and Krista are joined by Julie Dirksen to discuss how to best encourage behavior change through structural design, and what really motivates learners.Your Brain On... was recently ranked one of the top 20 cognitive science podcasts of 2020 by Feedspot. Read more here: https://blog.feedspot.com/cognitive_science_podcasts/


25 Jan 2021

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How to Design Training for How People Learn with Julie Dirksen

Blanchard LeaderChat

Join us to hear learning strategy and design expert Julie Dirksen explain how to create a learning experience that’s effective instead of one that gets forgotten as soon as the learner completes the session. The first important steps in Dirksen’s process are to understand who your learners are, then define the behavior you want them to learn. This might seem obvious—but the trick is to identify the specific steps required to make that behavior visible and then teach them in a way that is both memorable and applicable to the learner. Dirksen understands that the goal of good learning design is to help learners emerge from the learning experience with new or improved capabilities—skills they can take back to the real world and apply immediately. With the recent shift to virtual learning, this includes using methods to keep people engaged in the session. Dirksen encourages you to use tools available on learning platforms to keep people active, such as asking participants to write on a whiteboard or put comments in the chat, or calling on them to unmute and answer a question. She also stresses the important role that repetition plays in the transfer of knowledge and offers methods to enhance memory. Dirksen’s favorite learning tip? Designers should ask themselves one question about every single thing they are trying to teach: Can I provide a real-world example that will illustrate this learning point? About Julie Dirksen: To learn more about Julie Dirksen, go to www.usablelearning.com.


4 Jan 2021

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Book Club: Julie Dirksen on Designing Learning Programs to Improve Retention

Sales Enablement PRO: Book Club

Olivia Fuller: Hi, and welcome to Book Club, a Sales Enablement PRO podcast. I’m Olivia Fuller. Sales enablement is a constantly evolving space and we’re here to help professionals stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices, so they can be more effective in their jobs. Today, I’m so excited to have Julie Dirksen, author of “Design for How People Learn”, join us. Julie, I’d love If you could just take a minute and introduce yourself to our audience. Julie Dirksen: Yeah, so, my book is “Design for How People Learn” and I identify primarily as an instructional designer. So, how do we design good learning experiences that are effective at helping people basically be better at their jobs? Almost all of what I do is geared towards kind of adult or workplace learning. “Design for How People Learn” came about because it seemed like we were sort of missing a first book in the field that explained some of the underlying principles to people in terms of how do you think about designing good learning experiences, and what are the factors that you need to take into account? We had some older ones, but there hadn’t been one in a while. And so, my whole marketing plan for the book was hopefully other people will recommend it. And, that’s worked out pretty well. I think we’re somewhere over about 50,000 copies sold at this point. It was described the target audience as, “Hey, you’re a good customer service rep” or it might be, “Hey, you’re a good salesperson, we’re going to let you train them.” They’re salespeople and then all of a sudden you have to take all of this domain knowledge that you have about your job and figure out how do you communicate it to other people. And so that’s really who the book is aimed at. And that was my origin story. I was, “Hey, you’re a good data entry person, you can teach data entry to other people.” So, I had a data entry job and I was a college student. So many people come at learning and training and sales enablement from a domain expertise point of view. The whole point was to give people some of the key ideas and background in order to be able to then figure out how do they take all this great knowledge that they haven’t communicated to other people. OF: In your book, you talk about the importance of assessing different learning gaps when designing a learning experience. What are some of the different types of learning gaps that might be present? JD: People are always looking for something, have a systematic way to think through a learning problem and to, to decide what to design for it. And that’s where things like learning styles come from like, “Oh, that’d be a way to analyze the problem.” It turns out the evidence base behind learning styles isn’t very good. There doesn’t seem to be much evidence to support that it’s an effective model. I wanted to give people sort of a different tool set and you’ll see a lot of times KSAs are knowledge, skills, attitudes, and I actually expand on that a little bit. So, I look at if it is a knowledge gap, what’s going to help people. Sometimes that is the gap between where somebody is and where they need to be. If you have a very experienced salesperson who totally knows their product line and all you’ve got are a few updates to that product line, then knowledge is all they need. They just need to know what those updates are. They’ll be able to take that knowledge and go and use it. But if you’ve got an inexperienced salesperson who doesn’t know much about the product line at all, just handing them those facts probably isn’t going to be enough to help them adequately apply those in the workplace. Sometimes it’s a knowledge gap, but sometimes it’s more than a knowledge gap and a lot of training unfortunately gets treated as we just need to tell people the thing and then they’ll do something differently. I also look at things like procedural gaps, where we have a really defined rule set. So, the procedure for filling out a sales report or the procedures for doing an order or something like that might be really specific. And we have a nice set of rules and we know exactly what correct performance looks like. But then there are also skills gaps. Skills have one really simple thing. Is it reasonable to think that somebody can be proficient without practice? And if the answer is no. They really can’t be proficient at practice. For example, could you call somebody up and explain it to him over the phone? Well, procedural stuff, maybe you could just talk them through the steps, right? But with skills, you’re never going to call somebody up and explain golf to them over the phone, and then expect them to be able to go out and play golf. So, anything where we really know that practice is going to be important in order for somebody to get good at something, that’s what I consider to be a skills gap and skills are particularly important because then the answer is sort of built right into the question of what do we need to do for these people? Well, we need to give them opportunities for practice and figure out how they’re going to get feedback on their performance. I can go as deep as you want on kind of different kinds of skills and what the issues are. A lot of times it’s seeing enough case examples. That’s a big one that shows up in skills gaps, right? Expertise is often brought about because people have seen enough examples that they start to really understand what the patterns are. But sometimes that stuff is subtle. So, like buying signs from a customer might be something that an experienced person can absolutely pinpoint. Boom, that’s a buying sign. But if it’s somebody new and they’ve only seen a few customer examples, they may not be able to kind of pinpoint those. The question is how many cases does that new person need to see in order to develop that same level of expertise that your experienced person has? I also look at gaps around habits, which are things that are it automatic or nearly automatic behaviors that occur in response to usually a trigger in the inbox. So, something you kind of do without thinking about it. You can have knowledge that flossing is a good idea. You can know how to floss adequately. You can even be really motivated the floss. You totally want to start flossing but it’s still not a habit for you. Then when we have that issue of we need that extra mile or ensure whatever the distance would be to make it a habit. Then the question is, how do we do that? Do we build it into procedure? Do we change? Do we make people much more aware of the triggers in the environment and kind of a prediction and how they’re going to handle that trigger so that the habit starts to become a little bit more automatic for people? Do we just practice it enough that they can do it without thinking about it? There’s a number of different strategies specific to that. If you identify that the gap has habit built into it, then you know there’s some other things that you can do to kind of help with that. Also motivation gaps, and I sort of referred to this as people know what to do, but they still aren’t doing it. So, people know they’re supposed to wear safety equipment, and yet, for some reason it’s not happening. And then there’s kind of a whole set of questions that you go into with motivation, because quite frankly, we typically think of motivation as people don’t care enough, but usually what the problem is with motivation is that there’s no feedback in the system to reinforce the behavior. Or there’s the other motivation problem – this system is actually set up to reinforce the wrong behavior. I was talking to some people in one of my workshops and they were talking about their company’s different attitudes towards making calls in the car when people were driving. Both companies actually had a policy against it and one had a policy against it that was followed up on very carefully. And you know, it was a serious infraction if you’re found to be making a bunch of calls while driving. At the other company, it was like, “well, yeah, technically it’s against the rules, but you know, we had to hit your numbers without doing it.” Everybody just pretends it’s okay. And I’m like, well, you know, the issue there isn’t how motivated this person is to be safe and driving, the issue is, what is it the feedback mechanisms that are in place in both of those environments? Then the last one really is environment. Sometimes it’s easier to fix the system or to fix the tools or to create supports than it is to try to fix the person. I’ve been using hand washing as an example, and obviously that’s super top of mind for everybody at the moment with pandemics and things like that. But I mean, the hand-washing compliance and health care used to be closer to about 40% and now, and I will grant you it’s been a few years since I pulled the data, but the last time I pulled the data, it was closer to 70%, but the difference was less about changing the people and more about the addition of things like alcohol-based hand rubs and changing the physical environment to make hand-washing super convenient and just part of the process of moving around the physical environments. That’s a case where we can spend a lot of time trying to persuade people to act differently, but actually fixing their environment probably has a bigger impact in that case. OF: When people have different levels of knowledge, how can you address that with the design of your learning programs? JD: Yeah, and it really depends. So, if you’re in any kind of environment where the learners are interacting with each other, then figuring out ways to sort of have respect for the people who have more knowledge and then enlist them in the efforts that you’re doing. So, whether it’s group work or having them kind of pairing them up with somebody who’s more of a new person so that they can actually use some of their knowledge and information to help some of the other people in the class. Also, it’s less tedious for them if they’re actually helping people, as opposed to just sort of being told stuff that they already know. So, this is one of the really hard problems in classroom environments. This is a tough thing, because you want to design your class experience to target the learner where they’re at and when they’re kind of all over the place, it’s hard to have multiple experiences. Especially in kind of face to face classroom and things like that, that in digital environments, I think a lot about is about layering in the environment. So, we’ve got the sort of straightforward version that should be good for everybody, and everybody should be able to understand. But then you can build in some aides and supports for somebody who’s really new. So, I didn’t understand this thing. Tell me more. And you can also build in the learn more or more advanced topics. And so, creating a good way to sort of set options in front of people so that they can adjust to the level that they want to be at, or that they need to be. I do think that if it’s a good digital learning experience, stuff that you’re asking your learners to do, and so some can access more help or some can speed through it faster, depending on their levels. So, there are ways to design some of those digital learning environments so that the learners themselves can adapt to it because our computers are still pretty stupid. And the smartest person in a learning environment is still going to be your learner. So. giving them some choices and options that they can choose to see, “yes, I need more information” or “no, I really don’t”. They’re probably the person best able to judge that at any given time. It’s not perfect, but it’s still a better solution. So, trying to figure out how do we create environments where people can adapt the environment themselves, or make choices about how much information they needed at any given point. OF: What are some strategies to command the attention of your learners? JD: And this is a hard problem. Honestly, I think this is one of the hardest problems of the big switch that we’ve had to do to virtual learning is when you are in your virtual environments, you’re not leaving your regular workplace and kind of going to a place with less distractions, which is what happens when you go to a training class. And I mean, there’s other reasons why training classes are maybe less ideal in the sense of they don’t have the context of real life. But at the same time, the fact that you’re sort of stepping out of all of these distractions is a huge benefit. And I think part of the reason that there’s continued to be as much face to face learning experiences as there have been is because it’s definitely cheaper to do digital and not fly people some place. Mostly we can’t right now, so that changes the equation. But I think that the social aspect and the aspect of being able to put yourself outside all of those distractions and things. So, I think there’s two pieces. One is ensuring that any of your virtual learning experiences are giving people a role, some reason or some active thing to do. So, even if it’s just a Zoom session, can you be asking them questions? Can you have them respond in the chat? Can you have some things that they work on? Can you use breakout groups? Can you do anything that kind of creates that sort of focus of “I have to do this thing, so that helps me pay attention.” The other piece is there’s certainly strategies that you can encourage people to do about, “Hey, remember to shut off all of your notifications and remember to turn off the ringer on your phone and put it face down.” Some of those kinds of things, because I know I’ve gotten busted a few times because you’re in a meeting and you know that this part doesn’t apply to you and then you’re checking your email and all of a sudden somebody says your name and you’re like, “I don’t know what we’re talking about.” That’s a very normal part of any kind of online learning environment is how many people are checking their email and things like that. I’m also a big believer with those kinds of things, it’s not like yelling at people or shaming them, but kind of enlisting them in the solution and the problem-solving. So, what you could do at the beginning of one of those Zoom sessions is go, “okay, what strategies are people using to help them be here and be present and be focused.” And if you even just talk about it and people volunteer strategies, now they have an investment in actually then doing that thing. So, getting people to participate in the conversation of how do we manage those distractions? And then you serve to a certain extent. You just have to accept that. But some of it’s a little bit inevitable. We’re all doing the best we can right now. OF: What’s the difference between recognizing and then recalling information? And then how can you ensure that retention actually occurs with the information that’s learned? JD: Absolutely. So, one of the biggest issues with most of the kind of self-study learning environment, so anytime you’ve done any learning course or things like that, it’s relied really heavily on recognition-based learning. So, a multiple-choice test gives you three or four answers and asks you to recognize the right answer. That’s a much easier cognitive task than being able to just recall the right answer and type it in or something like that. It’s really easy for a lot of those environments to just really rely on recognition. But unfortunately, in the real world, when you’re dealing with a client objection, nobody’s saying, which of these three choices would you like to respond to this client with? That’s not how that goes, sadly. You don’t have the Google glass thing that gives you your little choices right up there here. Which option would you like to say to this customer? We may get there eventually, but we don’t have it right now, in most cases. If people have only learned to that standard where they can pick it out of a list, which is recognition, then they may not be able to actually recall it and be able to use that answer when they go back out into the field and they’re talking to somebody. In order to get them to that recall standard, where they can actually generate the answer for somebody, they probably need to practice actually doing that. Now, one of the nice things about digital tools is there are a lot of ways for people to like record themselves or things like that. So, I know that there are a number of webcam-based sales simulation things that are out there in the world. Those can be really nice. I like the ones where people actually have to come up with their own answer as opposed to just choosing one from a set of options and choosing one from a set of options can be a great way to learn it in the first place, but it probably won’t get you to the point where you can actually then recall that answer when you’re talking to the customers. So, the question is how do we get the practice to the point where people can actually remember this answer and use it when they get out into the world, as opposed to just being able to choose it from a list. OF: How can learning design help turn skills into habits? JD: Yeah. So, one of my favorite sort of little tools or tricks is something called the implementation intentions. And what implementation intentions are, this is a researcher named Peter Gollwitzer. Who’s done a lot of work in this area. And what he’s looked at is basically just setting up a little script for yourself when X happens, I’ll do Y. And so basically, we know that we’re going to get certain responses back. So, let’s say we’re in a sales call. We know we’re going to get certain objections. I think with objections, there’s pretty good stuff around when you get this objection, here’s what your plan is. But you think about it in terms of all of these sort of little triggers that exist out in the world. So, I’ll give you an example of what an implementation intention might look like. Let’s say you want to quit smoking and you know that you’re going to get cravings to smoke at some point. So, you can create an implementation intention that says, “okay, when I feel that craving what I’m going to do, I’m going to distract myself”. And that one’s okay. But you can actually get more specific. So, you could say if I get a craving to smoke, because I’m stressed out, I’ll call my sister and my sister will talk me down. Or if I get a craving to smoke because I’m bored, I’ll play Candy Crush on my phone. Or if I get a craving to smoke because I’m around other people and it’s socializing, I’ll chew gum. I’m just going to have my plan ready because typically we run into these situations where we’re trying to formulate a new habit. We don’t really know exactly how we want to respond to it. We know we want to do it, but we don’t necessarily, they have like the little script written in the back of her head because it’s much easier to execute if you’ve already decided on what the action is when you bump into this thing. So, if I hear this objection, I’m going to ask this question. Or if I bump into this problem, I’m going to do this thing. It’s a really tiny thing, but it’s actually kind of a nice life hack for stuff. I have a standing implementation intention that when I can’t find something in my house, so let’s say I can’t find the key the garage door or something like that, when I do find it eventually, I will put it back in the first place that I looked for it when I started looking for it, because that’s apparently where my brain thinks it belongs. And so instead of putting it back where I found it, I’m going to put it back where I think it should be. And then that way, things are easier to find after the next time I need the key to the garage door lock or something like that. So, having those little things can be a really nice strategy around habits. OF: Well, Julie, thank you again for sharing your expertise here with our audience. We really enjoyed the conversation. JD: Yeah, no problem, absolutely. OF: To our audience. Thanks for listening. For more insights, tips, and expertise from sales enablement leaders, visit salesenablement.pro. If there’s something you’d like to share or a topic you’d like to learn more about, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you.


10 Aug 2020

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Learning Design + Designing for How People Learn with Julie Dirksen — DT101 E42

Design Thinking 101

Julie Dirksen is a learning strategist with more than 15 years of experience creating highly interactive e-learning experiences for clients, from Fortune 500 companies and technology startups to grant-funded research initiatives. Our conversation today is about learning design and learning in design, as well as her book, Design For How People Learn. We also talk about behavior change, practicing complex skills, and persuasive technology. Show host: Dawan Stanford. Show Summary Starting her career as an English as a Foreign Language instructor, Julie quickly became interested in finding out how technology could be used for learning. As an instructional designer for over a decade, Julie’s niche interest is in the area of behavior change. She has found that many experts have a deep body of knowledge, but lack the skills on how to teach others. Julie’s experience is that when people who do not have a teaching background try to create a curriculum or teach a class, they are merely mimicking teachers they’ve experienced, and not truly understanding the student’s learning process. What’s missing are learning strategies that a great instructor uses to help their students learn and grow. As a result, instructors are not putting essential learning elements into their learning experiences. She felt that there needed to be a good book for instructors to learn from in order to add more effective teaching strategies to their toolbox. Her goal with the book was to provide information on the components that need to be considered before a teacher designs a learning experience so instructors start with a solid foundation. Listen in to find out how : Instructor knowledge gaps that can lead to an unsuccessful curriculum Habits, motivation, and other behavior changes Julie addresses in her book Julie breaks down learning into categories, and how each affects learning Avoidable mistakes instructional designers make when designing courses Pattern recognition’s role in student learning, and how long students need to see patterns before they become experts in their field Opportunities and emerging practices for design behavior change and learning design The components of persuasive technology Our Guest Julie Dirksen is an independent consultant and instructional designer who focuses on the science of sustainable behavior change. She has helped create learning curriculum for large companies, nonprofits and foundations, and higher education institutions. She's the author of Design For How People Learn, and she's happiest whenever she gets to learn something new. You can find her online at usablelearning.com. Show Highlights  [02:32] Julie introduces herself and gives a synopsis of her background. [03:40] How Julie’s book happened and why. [05:25] Underlying principles of what makes a class a good class for learning. [07:58] The level at which Julie starts instructors out in her book and where she takes her content from that point. [09:07] Julie’s suggestions for new instructors on where they should start when designing a curriculum and curriculum creation gaps she’s found in instructors. [13:23] Avoidable mistakes people make when creating courses. [16:56] Factors determining how many repetitions students need to learn their material. [20:45] How should a student know when to look for a hypothesis, a correct answer, or to come to the conclusion there is no answer to their problem? [22:50] Opportunities and emerging practices for designing behavior change and learning design. [26:28] Behavior change design opportunities for learning designers. [28:29] What is persuasive technology? [33:15] How can professionals in the design field take on the challenge of technology change? [36:28] Effective and non-effective strategies for teaching. [38:32] How to structure learning experiences. The design recipe myth. [42:58] Books that have influenced Julie’s career. Links Design Thinking 101 Fluid Hive Design Innovation Usable Learning on Twitter Design for How People Learn on Facebook Usable Learning on the Web Design Better Learning Online Course Book Recommendation: Design for How People Learn Book Recommendation: The Headfirst Books Book Recommendation: Badass: Making Users Awesome Other Episodes You Might Like Behavioral Science + Behavior Change Design + Social Impact with Dustin DiTommaso — DT101 E28  The Evolution of Teaching and Learning Design with Bruce Hanington — DT101 E39 Behavioral Design X Service Design with Anne van Lieren — DT101 E40 ____ Thank you for listening to the show and looking at the show notes. Send your questions, suggestions, and guest ideas to Dawan and the Fluid Hive team. Cheers ~ Dawan Free Download — Design Driven Innovation: Avoid Innovation Traps with These 9 Steps Innovation Smart Start Webinar — Take your innovation projects from frantic to focused!


31 Mar 2020

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Episode 27: Julie Dirksen on Flow State and Learning

The Learning Circle

Julie Dirksen, author of the popular DESIGN FOR HOW PEOPLE LEARN visits with us to discuss the subject of Flow State as applied to Instructional Design. A Learning Circle favorite, this is Julie's third appearance on the show. It's a wide-ranging and thought-provoking talk that reaches beyond L&D to outside disciplines which can broaden our approach and tool set.


25 Oct 2019

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How to Build High Impact Courses that Get Lasting Results with Instructional Designer Julie Dirksen

LMScast with Chris Badgett

Learn how to build high impact courses that get lasting results with instructional designer Julie Dirksen in this LMScast episode with Chris Badgett of LifterLMS. Julie is the author of the book Design For How People Learn.  Chris and Julie discuss the various gaps in student’s learning, and how online course creators can optimize their programs to help their students succeed. Julie shares how she identifies what is holding her learners back and then formulates a curriculum to address that specific problem. In the case of the individual who smokes, Julie would ask, “Is this a knowledge problem or a habit problem?” In most cases, it is a matter of addressing the habits that coincide with smoking. Chris and Julie talk about the various learning gaps that are holding students back. Along with the information gap, there are procedural gaps where people don’t get something until they have practiced it enough times. There are habit gaps where you need to focus on responding to a trigger in the environment. You can also have a motivation gap where someone knows what to do, how to do it, and when to do it, but they don’t have the motivation to follow through. Julie shares how the brain is like a closet when it comes to organization. You will find that it is much easier to teach a new concept to an expert in a field, because they have a large closet that has advanced ways of organizing concepts. Students who are new to a subject matter won’t be able to organize information and processes as meticulously as an expert would. As your students learn and improve, they will assemble more shelves in their closets. It is important to have your students take action and implement the material they are absorbing in your course in order for them to retain it. By applying the material in a real world setting, your students are reinforcing the concepts and practicing. That is what changes behaviors and builds automatic processes. To learn more about Julie Dirksen you can head to UsableLearning.com. And she will have some online courses available hopefully by the end of the year at DesignBetterLearning.com, so be sure to look out for those. You can also find Julie on Twitter at @UsableLearning. Julie’s book Design For How People Learn is available on Amazon, and there are a lot of really smart people engaging with her Facebook group called Design For How People Learn. Julie and Chris talk about all this and more in this episode. You will want to watch this episode a few times to extract all of the nuggets of wisdom. Head to LifterLMS.com to find out more about how you can build your own online courses and membership sites with LifterLMS. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes here. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us! EPISODE TRANSCRIPT Chris Badgett: You’ve come to the right place if you’re a course creator looking to build more impact, income and freedom, LMScast is the number one podcast for course creators just like you. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of the most powerful tool for building, selling and protecting engaging online courses called LifterLMS. Enjoy the show. Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett, and I’m joined by a special guest Julie Dirksen. She’s the author of Design for How People Learn. It’s on the second edition. I had so much fun and so many light bulbs go off when I read this book, because as a course creator myself I’m more of an expert and a technologist who got into teaching later. I’m not an instructional designer and necessarily a teacher per se. This book has really helped me, and I highly recommend it. Julie, thanks for coming on the show. Julie Dirksen: Yeah- Chris Badgett: I wanted to start with where you started making the light bulbs go off for the education entrepreneurs out there. You talk about gaps and it’s not just about the information. When you’re designing a course or a curriculum, there’s more than just getting them the information. You talk about a skills gap, a knowledge gap, a motivation gap, a habits gap and a communication gap. Can you elaborate on the gaps and how people can … I actually have three examples for you that I prepared for the show. Feel free to use your own, but I was just thinking about our audience here. If anyone of these types of people is helpful in an example, feel free to use them or use your own. We have a lot of people building business courses where they’re helping people try to get from one level in business to another level through things like marketing or better business management or better HR, all kinds of courses in that vein. We also have health entrepreneurs who are trying to help a specific segment. Let’s say a 40-year-old stressed out dad wants to get back in shape, that kind of course. Then a lot of relationship stuff like peaceful parenting type stuff. I’m just giving you some avatars there, but if we talk about gaps, how does that fit into the online course ecosystem? Julie Dirksen: Yeah. Well, one of the biggest challenges we often have with online courses is almost all the online learning technology out there seems to imply that the basic unit of learning is a piece of information. If I can just convey this piece of information, that will change things for people, but when we start to get into certain kinds of behaviors, we find out that it’s often information is not the gap. If it was, all we would have to do is tell people that smoking can kill you and they’d stop smoking, but most people aren’t still smoking because nobody happened to mention to them that it’s a bad idea. It’s not because somebody forgot to tell them or that they don’t have the information, there’s all this stuff going on. When we look at a particular objective, some behavior that we want people to be able to apply or do in the real world. For example, in the small business realm, it might be something to do with tax accounting and that might be pretty procedural. We know exactly what performance needs to look like, we have a will to find rules that I just need to help you understand how to set up certain documentation and how to execute it correctly, how to pay your quarterly estimated taxes or something like that. That’s really nice and clear cut and we know exactly what the rules are and that’s great. That can be taken care of as a knowledge or a procedural problem pretty easily, but then we start to move into some other areas like, “Oh gosh, in parenting, reinforcing the right behaviors with kids, without getting into a fight about it every single time. Let’s say that’s a behavior that we want somebody to deal.” Well, there’s a whole bunch of stuff there, right? There’s knowing what a good method is, but then you’re also having to adjust it for the personalities involved, your personality, your child’s personality. Then there’s also some skill to it, you know good versions of that when you see it, but you can’t always say it would look exactly like this. You would say these exact six things because you’re not, that’s not how it works, you’re going to adjust. That would be something that I would classify more in the skill area. Probably habits too. I’ve added habits to the list of things that come up because somebody can know the right thing to do, they can even have the ability to do it and it can still not be a habit. When we look at trying to help people develop habits, there are some other strategies that we can employ there. Just depending on what it is, I usually do a process of analysis and I say, “Is this primarily a knowledge problem?” Honestly, it almost never is. Once in a while, but pretty rarely. Is it procedural where we know the rules and I just need to learn how to do it? Okay. Is it skill-based where I … People just don’t get at it until they’ve practiced it some number of times. Is it habit where I need you to do it automatically in response to a particular trigger in the environment? Is it motivation where you have all of the tools and yet the behavior still isn’t happening? When something is a motivation issue, then there’s a whole subset of reasons to look at that you can start to think about why would somebody be doing or not doing the right thing in those environments. Sometimes it’s a communication issue or a case where fixing the environment is easier than trying to fix the person. There might be instances where instead of trying to teach people how to use this complicated setting on their iPhone, Apple should just make the setting easier. Then people don’t really need to learn how to use it anymore. That can be a case where fixing the environment is better than trying to fix the person. Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. In a quit smoking course, having people stop going to bars or coffee shops where people smoke is probably more important than the knowledge that smoking is bad. Julie Dirksen: Yeah. Chris Badgett: I love the environmental fix. Julie Dirksen: Yeah, it is. Well, one of the best tools in the habit space is something called implementation intentions which is something … Studied by a researcher named Peter Gollwitzer. What they looked at is they’re like … If you have a plan ahead of time, when you get into a fraught situation, it’s much easier to respond. If you are trying to quit smoking, you could have a series of plans for dealing with different triggers that might cause you to smoke. If I get a craving to smoke because I’m bored, I’ll play Candy Crush on my phone and if I get a craving to smoke because I’m in a social situation, I’ll chew gum and I’ll make sure I always have gum with me. If I get a craving to smoke because I’m stressed out, I’ll call my sister. If I get a craving to smoke because it’s after lunch and I always used to smoke after lunch, I’ll take a walk around the building or something like that. One of the best tools in the habit, the toolbox or habits is this idea of creating your plan ahead of time because then when you actually bump into these situations, you don’t need to figure out what to do. You know what the plan is, you just need to execute on it. Chris Badgett: That makes a lot of sense. I was recently working on a case study of one of our really successful course creators at LifterLMS and it was a course about how to come into and out of gastric bypass surgery. Julie Dirksen: Oh. Chris Badgett: In the interview, he was talking about a very specific thing that he would teach people at a certain week after the surgery of what to do when you’re driving by some of the trigger things like fast food [crosstalk 00:08:13]. He was getting into that. That’s from somebody who was really successful and he wasn’t teaching information there. He was teaching about what to do when you’re triggered. Julie Dirksen: Yeah, yeah. Chris Badgett: That’s cool. I wanted to ask you. I as not a classically trained instructional designer, I do have a background in anthropology and sociology and communication and cultural stuff, that’s what I’m really into, but I have no formal training as a teacher. As I’m trying to help these course creators with my software, I came across a framework that I would give, teach people to help them figure out like how to structure their course and I’m hoping I can share that with you. Julie Dirksen: Yeah. Chris Badgett: Then if you could just comment it on it, potentially either add to it, make it better or present an alternative, that would be really cool. Julie Dirksen: Sure. Chris Badgett: But I call it there’s four course blueprints that people can pick from. Let’s imagine an expert who’s not a teacher. The four of those types of courses to think about which kind of course should I make, the first one is called the behavior change course which I know you can speak on. Another one is called the learner process. The third one is called a … what I call a resource course which I think is the most dangerous. That’s where we just put all this great knowledge and a library of resources. Julie Dirksen: Yeah. Chris Badgett: The fourth one which is a new one that I see emerging that I’m not sure if it’s in category or not, but is a case study course where we’re really learning by deconstructing example, implementations or just by watching really deconstructing others. The fifth one if you will will just be a hybrid that tries to blend a lot of that stuff together. What are some … How is that as a framework for the beginning course creator? What would you … How could you make it better? Am I missing a type or do you [crosstalk 00:10:11] Julie Dirksen: Yeah, no, no, no. I think it makes sense. There’s some kind of nice things. I think you’re right about the resource course because I think it’s tempting to just have that be the kitchen sink thing and that’s one of the classic issues any course creators bump into. You may or may not remember it from the book that I always use the analogy of like your brain is like a closet and one of the things that you do is that the more complex your understanding of a topic, it’s the more shelves than the bigger your closet gets. You get somebody who’s a real expert in their area and they have like the beautiful California closet, right? I will often have people in my workshops who are musicians and I’ll be like, “Okay, well, tell me you’re a guitar player, great. How many different kinds of guitars do you know of? What kinds of genres do you think about? What’s all of the equipment that you need to maintain a guitar?” All of those kind of stuff and they can tell me lots and lots and lots of information. I know nothing more about guitar playing and the average non-guitar player. Their closet is for guitars is incredibly well-developed. If you hand them any piece of information about a guitar, they’re like, “Okay, it’s over here and it’s matched up to this it’s like this.” And they can classify it right away, but then what happens is that person is going to turn around and teach a course about guitars to somebody else who’s a novice, who’s genuinely new. They love all the stuff on their shelves and they think it’s great, right? They want to take it all and give it to these people because look at all of this wonderful stuff, but then what happens is the person who’s the novice has the equivalent of one of those half-size gym lockers and maybe there’s one shelf on it. When you take everything out of this big beautiful closet and you try to dump it on that person, they can’t handle it. They don’t know what to do with all of that information. The art of figuring it out is good structured ways that this person can make sense so that they can get a few pieces, get those filed away and then they can start to expand their own closet and their own understanding and add a few shelves. Usually, the way that people do that is they do something with the information. Just handing them the information really doesn’t usually help anybody too much. Can, but generally the way that people start to really understand and build out their closets is that they actually interact with the information and they take action on it and they use it to do something and that’s what helps them start to understand it. We know that from … There’s a nice research in the science learning literature where they look at physics principles and people could memorize the physics principle. They could recite it for you, but it turns out that they really couldn’t use it to say predict the path of an object or they didn’t really understand what to do with it until they’d gone to the process of using it to build something or using it to do an experiment or something like that. Just knowing something is not the same as being able to use it to do something and you don’t really know it until you have had the opportunity to use it for something basically to the short version. Chris Badgett: No, that’s good, that’s good. I want to ask you about a related topic here and I’m inside your book. You talked about the different levels of proficiency. I’m just going to read them off here. It’s familiarization, comprehension, conscious effort, conscious action proficiency and then unconscious competence. That master musician, that is unconsciously competent. Julie Dirksen: Yup. Chris Badgett: Things are just falling away and the closet is huge. What should our goal be as course creators? Are we supposed to make courses that adapt based on a level of the learner or should we do marketing and stuff so that we get the right person in that’s at the right stage so that we’re teaching to the right level? Maybe I’m over simplifying it there, but how do you deal with the proficiency problem? Julie Dirksen: Probably the latter. You probably trying to make sure that you have the right people in the room because dealing with an audience with really [inaudible 00:14:39] proficiency is one of the hardest problems you ever deal with as a teacher or as an instructional designer. There aren’t great solutions for it. You can use your really expert people in your class a resource for newer people and that’s usually the best option or you can give people the ability to pull information when they need it rather than making everybody sit through the same information. If I give you a challenge and I give you a series of resources that you can use to answer that challenge, then you can pick how many resources you need in order to be able to answer the challenge and if you’re new, you probably need all of them, but if you’re a pretty expert, maybe you just check one real quick and keep going. That’s a way to have the same experience be more variable for different audiences. It’s a tech problem though. Your best off if you have a narrow range in the classroom and then you can tailor the experience to those people. I realized that sometimes that’s hard because sometimes your audience is all the people and you have to deal with the issue of variability and so forth in the audience. The levels there, frequently you’re dealing with … There’s a couple of different versions of that scale. I happened to like that one, but there’s the other ones, there’s the unconscious competence, conscious uncompetence, conscious competence, unconscious uncompetence. That’s another one, but I always think that one’s confusing to explain. With this one, it’s like driving. Familiarities, you just learn what the controls are in the car and then you work your way up to things like conscious effort where you’re trying to succeed, but you’re not completely there conscious. Conscious execution or when you even start to get to the point where you’re like, “Okay, now I’m getting, I got this, I think I can drive.” That was about the point where my dad let me out of the parking lot. I could actually drive around the block ones. Proficiency is about the point where you would take the driver’s test and then unconscious competence is that thing where you drive home from work and you find yourself pulling into the drive and you realize you totally don’t remember the drive home at all [crosstalk 00:16:56] Chris Badgett: But you didn’t crash? Julie Dirksen: Yeah, you didn’t crash, but you were … You totally didn’t need to pay attention to the act of driving because it was a route you know and you’ve been driving such a long time that those things could just happen without you having to pay conscious attention to it. Now, that’s not a realistic goal, that unconscious competence is not a realistic goal from most of the learning experiences we’re providing people. We’re trying to get to [crosstalk 00:17:18] Chris Badgett: Because that’s the highest level, right? Julie Dirksen: Yeah. People don’t get there until they practice so much that they can do it without thinking about it. Chris Badgett: Do you believe in the 10,000 hours theory or whatever? Julie Dirksen: It’s not 10,000 hours. The answer is it depends, so yes, but not … For certain kinds of things, it might be 2,000 hours. For other things, it might be 15. You’re going to get variability depending on the person. That idea of 10,000 hours comes from research by a researcher named Anders Ericsson who has done, looked a lot at people who really get to that level of mastery with things like music education or he’s looked at how radiologists get trained to read x-rays and things like that. One of the things we know in those instances is that people need to see a lot of examples to start to develop that expertise. For example, oh, if we go back to the parenting example. You might need to see somebody handling a difficult interaction with a child four or five or six times and see some variability around it before you start to go. Okay, I see common elements, right? I start to see some pattern recognition that allows me to pick out some things that I can do for myself. When we’re dealing with something like that, whenever I’m working with a subject matter expert and they say, “Well, it’s hard to say that you know it when you see it, right?” That kind of performance, you know that they learned it through seeing lots of examples and that that’s probably a learning experience we’re going to have to provide for our learners is how do they see lots of examples so that they start to go, “Okay, I’m starting to see the pattern. I’m starting to see what puts these things together and how it might work for my thing whatever it is.” Chris Badgett: Which is how doctors are trained with residency and everything. Just time seeing the patients and the patients is part of the school. Julie Dirksen: Yup, yup, lots and lots and lots of cases where they go through the diagnostic process. Chris Badgett: I want to go back to the little locker and the concept of getting results. I’m a big proponent of what I call results-based learning and it’s one thing to get the information, but what people who buy courses and memberships and things like that is they really want some kind of result. They don’t just … The information might help get them there, but how does a subject matter expert get better at not just providing information, but developing a curriculum that gets results along the way and ultimately delivers whatever the big results promises is? What are they doing wrong and what should they consider adding to their thought process or curriculum design? Julie Dirksen: Right. Well, the thing that I always start with when I’m working with somebody on a curriculum is what do really want people to do or be able to do? If I went and watched them in the environment and they were the doing the right thing, what would that actually look like? What actions would I see? What behaviors would I see? Because sometimes you get called in and they’re like, “We want a course on how to be really customer-focused.” I’m like, “Okay, that’s great. That’s a nice idea. Sounds terrific. My view of what being customer-focused might be different than yours so tell me what somebody actually doing if they’re being customer-focused. What does that actually look like? What actions are happening?” That is hard for some people to come up with. From there, you can say, “Okay, if that’s the action that people need to take, they need to make sure that they’re asking customers if there’s anything else they needed or something like that.” Then you can take that and go, “Okay, what information do they need to support that action? What practice do they need to support that action? Is there a motivation issue that’s going to come into play there?” All of those sorts of questions, but ultimately whenever I do learning objectives for something, I just have two criteria that I ask people to consider for those. The first one is would it happen in the real world and the second one is can you tell if they’ve done it. I will get a learning objective like programmers need to understand the limitations of JavaScript as a programming tool. Then I’m like, “Okay, well that’s great. Sure, I’m sure that that’s a true statement.” If they do understand the limitations of JavaScript as a programming tool, what do they do with that? When did they use that knowledge? Under what conditions? What are they using it to do? I’m like, “Oh, well, they would use it to evaluate whether it’s a good programming tool for a particular project.” I’m like okay. Now, I have … This is the execution in the real world. They’re going to get a project and they’re going to decide is JavaScript a good tool for it or not, maybe be able to say here’s why. Okay, great. Now, I have a visible behavior that tells me that probably I’m going to need case studies of different types of projects and one of the tasks I’m going to ask learners to do is evaluate JavaScript as a tool for those and think about why or why not and that that’s going to be an activity I’m going to want them to do in one of the lessons. Being really, really clear about the behaviors because then you can start to think about what information supports those behaviors is better than saying I have all this information, let me just tell it to you because you’ll be able to do stuff with it and that’s where things frequently go array. Chris Badgett: Yeah, that’s super good. You have to reality check what does it look like in the real world if this is true. Julie Dirksen: Yup. Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. You mentioned a topic in your book. I was hoping you could elaborate on which is the difference between real versus perceived knowledge. This sounds like a … Julie Dirksen: Oh yeah. Chris Badgett: Is this a student problem or an expert problem or both? Julie Dirksen: Everybody. Chris Badgett: Yeah, human. Julie Dirksen: Yeah, it’s a human problem, I think that’s true. Probably animals have it too, but it’s … We understand certain things at different levels and one of the conventional wisdom is this idea that we all accept that creating these classes is often a really good learning experience for the person creating the class. Chris Badgett: To teach is to learn. Julie Dirksen: Yeah, yeah, when you find out where all the holes are in your knowledge, you’re like, “I thought I understood that really, really well and it turns out that I have only about 50-50 on that.” When I was first out of college, I had a job teaching English as a foreign language and I was an English major. I thought I do English pretty well and all of the sudden I’m like, “What is a past participle again?” Huh, I’m going to have to look that up or whatever the part of speech was, but there were whole bunch of things that like I knew how to save … I knew how to speak correctly and I knew how to save certain things, but boy, when it came to teaching it, I found out that yeah, there’s a lot of stuff I’m not as clear on as I probably should be if I’m going to be the expert and I’m going to be the teacher for these students. That’s actually been born out on the research too. Karpicke and Blunt and a few other people. There’s another very good book called Make It Stick which goes through a lot of the research around learning. Some of the research that the authors of that book did was looking at what the best method for studying something was and they tested a couple of different conditions. They had traditional studying where you might review notes or something. They did the mind mapping thing and then they did retrieval practice which was that people would test themselves and foreign away retrieval practice was the most successful way to learn because you think you know topics better than you really do when you’re just reviewing stuff, but then when it actually comes to the point where you have to be able to pull it out of your head in a coherent way, you’re like, “Oh, this is a lot spottier than I thought it was.” Chris Badgett: Could you summarize what you mean by retrieval practice? Julie Dirksen: Retrieval practice. Basically, trying to … If you know all the steps for CPR, can you write down all the steps for CPR? Chris Badgett: I have to go in and pull it out? Yeah, I see. Julie Dirksen: Pull it out and they had different methods for testing it I think whether it was writing stuff down or, but just establishing that you know it. Well, you were just doing that scale from familiarity all the way up to unconscious competence and I have explained that scale probably dozens and dozens of times and I was like, “Surely I know this cold.” Then I’m like, “Nope. Nope, I don’t.” Because I usually have a slide in front of me when I’m going through this with people. I’m like, “Yup, that’s kind of appalling because I really should know that one.” I’m sure if I sat down and worked at it, I could actually come up with all the elements, but nonetheless I was like, “Whoa, I thought I knew that without any question.” It’s like, “Nope, nope, there’s some questions.” Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Julie Dirksen: We’re much more confident than we should be about certain knowledge. Chris Badgett: I often talk in this podcast about the five hats problem, but I actually have it written on the wall in front of me because sometimes I can’t retrieve it especially when I’m on the spot like in live call or whatever, I’m like expert community builder, instructional designer, technologist entrepreneur. Sometimes I can’t get one and it’s not like all the way there even though I’ve said it on half the episodes on this podcast and here we are at 200. Julie Dirksen: Yup. Chris Badgett: Another one that you talk about is social learning. What does that mean to you? Where does that fit in? Julie Dirksen: There’s a couple of different pieces that … First of all, people can learn a lot from each other and when they’re in an actual classroom and you’re doing group activities or something, there’s a lot of like, “Oh, somebody doesn’t understand some things.” Somebody who doesn’t understand it will quickly explain it to them while the activity is going on and things like that. There’s all of this wonderful value and knowledge that’s in the learners in your environment, in your classroom whether it’s virtual or instructional or something like that, but you need something, you need some ways for people to be able to take advantage of all of that knowledge that they can share for each other. Social learning is particularly great when you’re dealing with things like one-off situations where there isn’t necessarily written down right answer, but people can help them problem solve around a particular challenge that they’re dealing with or it’s really great when content, the material or the knowledge is always changing and evolving. What’s the best system for processing credit card payments? The answer to that question is different as new players come into the field and this technology changes and all of those kinds of things. That answer is sometimes the best thing you can do is to throw, go out to the community or the hive mind or whatever it is and say who’s using what right now and what do you like about it and things like that. Social media and all of these things are making it really feasible for us to learn stuff from other people in our environment, but really good learning environments have this element of community to them and this element of knowledge sharing and it’s a nice way to see a lot of examples or see what’s working for people. There’s just a lot of … There’s a lot of power there. Chris Badgett: Very cool. I want to ask you about some of this very popular in the online world that we come across and part of our tool helps people with this is coaching and just to give a classic example, let’s say whether an entrepreneur course, if I’m teaching a certain type of business, how to go to a 100k to a million dollars, that’s my promise and I have a course, that’s like let’s say a $100 and then I have a course plus a six week coaching program and that’s a $1,000. Then I have a done for you a service where I just make it happen for you that’s like the service. The way I just talk about that is the course by itself is the do-it yourself model, the course plus coaching is the done with you and then the service where the consultant comes in and just makes it happen, that’s the done for you. If we’re going to add coaching to more of a passive static course, how can people who aren’t necessarily trained as coaches do that job? What is the job of a coach? Is that any different from the job of a teacher? I’m sure you’ve seen the coaching industry exploding and it’s like, “What’s going on here?” The quality is all over the place. Julie Dirksen: One of the biggest challenges with the online is that it’s hard to get feedback on stuff that you’re doing because most online quizzes or something, it’s this recognition thing. I am given a set of choices and I choose the right answer and I find out if I’m right. That’s a much easier thing to do than to come up with the right answer on the spot, right? If you were a given a list of your five hats, you would be able to pick out the right list without any problem, but you can’t necessarily always come up with all five of them just off the top of your head. Recognizing is an easier activity than recalling or being able to generate a new answer to a particular problem or something like that. The problem with the more performance based thing even though that’s a better way to practice doing the thing, it’s hard to get feedback from a computer system. You need a live person to give you feedback. When we get into the online learning space, you’re often … Let’s say you’re doing a course on how to do a business plan or something. In the online course, you may see some examples of other people’s business plans. You might get feedback from an instructor, but it depends on how the course is structured, but if you’re coaching, you’re getting that … Hopefully, getting that feedback all the way along the path and people are helping you course correct and explaining when something is wrong and giving you options on what you can do and things like that. You get that level of guidance and feedback and that’s really important. There is an art to good coaching and it’s probably people are offering coaching as a service. It’s probably something they should invest a little bit in learning how to coach well. The best coaches don’t … Aren’t like, “Do this, do this, do this.” The best coaches help you figure out how to act in certain circumstances. Really, a good coach will ask you questions to lead you towards answers rather than just telling you the answer and there’s a lot more to it than that, but that’s where … There’s some skills associated with being a good coach as well as just having expertise and being able to provide feedback on things. Chris Badgett: Do you have any comments about the concept of the mastermind? I guess that goes into social learning a little bit, but it’s also popular like if you have these different levels of service and then let’s say one of the highest levels that you can engage with a particular expert is to go to some location, small group of people to have three day to seven day mastermind where they get together, what’s going … When learning is happening in a mastermind context, is there … Do you have any comments on that of where … Julie Dirksen: Yeah. Whether or not that’s worth it, it’s something that you can evaluate in the absence of context or something like that, but there are some really nice advantages to that. One of the interesting things that we’re dealing with with a lot of online learning is just the challenge of focus. Sometimes the fact that a retreat or class or something takes you out of your regular environment and helps separate you from your distractions is a service in and of itself that they’re providing to you is this help shutting out the noise of the daily world and actually being having clear space in order to really focus on stuff. In that instance, obviously, you get access to an expert, but you also get access to other people who are hopefully approaching this at a pretty high level and so you get that social element as well. There’s several things about it that are really appealing. Whether it’s the right answer for everybody in every context, it really depends, but it’s an … I can see why it’s appealing to people. Chris Badgett: You also mentioned that learners are different than you and that might be shelf space, shelf size and all the in closet. Julie Dirksen: Right. Chris Badgett: But you can speak to that a little more and also just to the learning styles because different people might have a different learning style than you. Julie Dirksen: Yeah. The big thing with learning styles is that most of the meta-analysis find the differentiated instruction which I realize is nerdy terms, but the idea that you would change the instruction depending on somebody’s learning style, the research has not supported that as a very good approach. It doesn’t really … It rarely is worth the cost of doing it because you have to have different paths for different people and it turns out that what you really should do is just have a mix of styles in how you deal with stuff, probably is the most … the best use of resources in that particular instance. Learning styles often go to the idea that you’re a visual learner or an auditory learner, a kinesthetic learner. The truth is unless you’ve got some kind of disability that you’re dealing with, everybody’s a visual learner and an auditory learner and a kinesthetic learner. Having a mix of approaches probably supports most of your learners. Obviously, if somebody’s hearing impaired or something like that, then that knocks that one of those channels, but for people who don’t have something like that, they’re everybody … Everybody learns from visuals. Everybody learns from interacting with material, things like that. That was the first part of that question. Sorry, I lost it. Chris Badgett: The first part just had to do with learners are different from you. Do you have any other comments besides the closet? Julie Dirksen: Yeah, yeah, no. One of the things … I would say that I’m an instructional designer because I’m happy as long as I get to learn something new and it turns out it actually doesn’t matter very much what it is literally anything, like insurance procedure. Sure, hey, that’s interesting how that works. Okay. Some topics get old faster than others, but nonetheless I will happily learn … I’ve learned about everything from how fuel, speed, density fuel injection works to cross cultural issues and healthcare to … Oh gosh. AIDS and HIV prevention to healthcare regulations. It doesn’t matter. I’m happy learning about new stuff, I just enjoy that. The first time I realized that, “Oh, not everybody feels that way. Some people view learning a new thing is a chore that you have to make yourself do. I’m like, oh, that is really useful information for me to bear in mind because I will get as nerdy and wonky about certain topics as you possibly can imagine. Not everybody feels that way. Not everybody is like, “I want to know all the random details of how that works.” Keeping some of that stuff in mind, the other big issue with that is making sure that you’re testing stuff out with your learners that you’re tucking to people who are in your target audience that you can usability testing, you can get feedback because you’re always going to be designing a little bit in the tunnel of your own knowledge. If you’re not figuring out some way to find out what’s working or what’s not working for your learners, you’re going to have blind spots. It’s just an inevitable part of designing anything. Chris Badgett: Very cool. I want to talk to you about the difference between between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic being that you’re motivated from within, extrinsic means there’s like you have to do something. Perhaps I’m not describing that well, but if I’m talking to somebody about our software for example, if they say sometimes a question will come in like, “How do I make sure that somebody can mark the lessons complete until they finish watching the video?” This is some kind of HR safety training course, mandatory something. Then the other people are like, “I’m trying to change this type of person’s life, can your software do X blah-blah-blah for social and coaching?” I can tell in a second like, “Oh, this is an intrinsic, extrinsic course.” Is it an either or proposition? I’m not saying it’s bad or good. Julie Dirksen: Yeah, no. It’s much more of a continuum. The dominant motivation theory which I have a little bit of in the second book. I don’t spend a ton of time on it, but is something called self-determination theory and the researchers are Edward Deci and Rich Ryan. What they looked at is they said there’s three big things that motivate people. Sometimes it’s the feeling of mastery will motivate people. Sometimes it’s a feeling of autonomy, this feeling that they’re under control and sometimes that they have control over their own destiny. Sometimes it’s the feeling of relatedness to other people and that those are the big motivators. When we look at extrinsic to intrinsic as a continuum, more intrinsic motivation is usually what’s considered better quality motivation. For example, if I don’t reinforce you with all that often, you’ll still do it more if your motivation is intrinsic. Even if I’m not standing there going, you have to, people will still do it if it’s more intrinsically motivated. All the way to intrinsic is people do it just because they like it. A friend of mine is a guitar player. He doesn’t care if anybody listens to him, he is just happy playing his guitar and he’ll sit at home on a Saturday afternoon on the couch and play this guitar for a couple of hours and it doesn’t matter. He’s not doing it because people like it or people watch him. It’s not about the feedback from other people, it’s just he really enjoys that activity. Somebody else might play the guitar because they really like connecting with other musicians. It’s a relatedness thing or somebody else might play the guitar because they like being a guitar player and that it has some status and people admire it or that they get applause or things like that. My friend on this couch is fully intrinsic, it’s just a satisfying activity all the way to more of an extrinsic thing all the way to the other end of the spectrum, somebody is a guitar player just because they think they can make a lot of money being a guitar player. They don’t necessary care about guitar, but it’s the path to riches or something like that. That continuum, the further over towards intrinsic is usually the more durable the motivation is. Usually, you get better quality results from it. If you try to start to use extrinsic or words around an intrinsic task, you can actually damage motivation. They didn’t experiment with kids. If you give kids markers and paper, they will draw you pictures. These pictures might be fabulous. My godsend draws these Minecraft pictures and they’re crazy elaborate that there’s huge mazes. It takes him 10 minutes to explain one of these pictures because a guy falls in the pit with the spikes and then swings across and then all the things. It’s this beautiful, elaborate colorful picture, but then when they did this experiment, if they just let the kids draw, the kids draw it was great, but then they started giving the kids money, a quarter for every picture that they drew. What happened was first of all, the kids ultimately drew less pictures because they got tired of it because it turned into work, but then also the quality, the pictures diminished quite a bit. Instead of these beautiful elaborate pictures, you’d get a circle. They’d be like, “Here, where’s my quarter?” Using extrinsic motivators which is either the reward or some kind of course or compliance, “You have to do this, we won’t let you move on until you watch the whole video.” Works, but you have to keep the pressure up the whole time, otherwise the behavior will stop. You also create resentment in your users because it really goes against their feeling of autonomy because they feel like somebody’s externally trying to control them and they’ll resist that. The self-determination theory has come up before in this podcast. Chris Badgett: Do you think it’s pretty rock solid as a motivational framework? Is there anything you’d add to it or you just find it to be … Julie Dirksen: It’s the gold standard right now in terms of motivation theory. Most of the people that I really respect in the behavior chain space are absolutely clear on it and most of the research that I’ve seen I feel pretty good about. We’re having this issue in social sciences where everything is getting beaten up now. They’re finding that lots of studies that people accepted for a long time are not holding up when they try to replicate things like that. We’ve got this whole crisis in social sciences around things we thought we understood pretty well are starting to look a little wobbly. Chris Badgett: What’s an example of that? Julie Dirksen: Oh gosh. Daniel Kahneman is a behavioral economist. He won the Nobel prize last year, the year before or something like that. He’s one of the grandfathers of behavioral economics. He printed something, this website called retractionwatch.com or retraction org. One of those, I could find it, but he … There was some research in there about priming effect. It was this research where they gave people these world problems. Some of the word problems were loaded with words about elderly people. Then they thought that those people after they had been reading these words about elderly people and they’re doing these word games, they’re not consciously … It’s not like they say, “Here, have a list about old people.” They were just hidden in the task, but the people who had gotten primed with more words about elderly people walked more slowly and things like down a hallway to turn in their sheets or things like that. It’s this idea that you could prime somebody with lots of images about the elderly and change their behavior about it. It turned out that that one didn’t hold up terribly well. Another one that’s gotten beaten up recently is the marshmallow study. It’s just the idea that if you … Chris Badgett: In front of kids? Julie Dirksen: Yeah. With the kids, right? If you can wait, you get two marshmallows, but if you can’t wait … You can have the one marshmallow now or you can wait and get two marshmallows. It’s been used as evidence of that will power and grit is a predictor of success and all of those kinds of things. The most recent thing that’s come out just in the last month or two about that one is that when they tried to replicate it, they actually found a correlation with economic status of the families. If you come from a family where there’s more money in the households, you’re more willing to wait for a reward which actually makes sense. Chris Badgett: Yeah. Julie Dirksen: Also, having more money in the household can also be a predictor of several of those things like success and economic achievement and all of those kinds of things. We don’t know if it’s really will power that A, we don’t know if it was really will power that conveyed success and B, we’ve got a conflation variable with economic status. Things we thought we understood pretty well are now like, “Yeah, maybe. Maybe not.” Chris Badgett: That’s interesting. One more question for you and this is from somebody in our community. There’s an idea that you can do a course or a coaching program or a membership or combination that creates results in the short-term and then there’s this other idea that you can do the same thing, but create a life-long transformation. If I were to use this specific example, if we look at the 40-year-old stressed out dad thing, maybe it’s something like the result would be, “I’m going to train you through my online course on how to run your first marathon.” But then let’s say after the course is over, the marathons happen, it’s awesome, but it slips back into old habits. Whereas transformation of like, “I’m going to teach you … I’m going to get you in better shape or get you on a regular exercise routine and by the way, you’re going to run a marathon along the way.” It’s a life-long transformation. What’s the difference in the curriculum design there? Julie Dirksen: Oh wow, the ladder is almost like therapy for exercise. I actually was just talking to somebody about this this morning where you’re framing of something like exercise, “Is it something you get to do or is it something that you have to do?” If it’s something you have to do, I might be able to coach you through that have to framework, but if it can be something that I actually help you learn to enjoy and like doing, that’s going to again be a much more durable way of focusing on it. People who focus on exercise for losing weight or getting in shape or something like that which are the far-flung goals, that tends to not be as durable as, “Hey, let’s find some activities that you really enjoy doing and that make you … That you get some immediate benefit for.” If I get to go for a walk in the afternoon, I’m more relaxed for the rest of my day or something like that or it’s a treat because I live right by the Mississippi and it’s beautiful there right now. If I get to go for a walk, that’s something pleasurable I get to do as opposed to I have to go exercise now. If we can change how you frame something so that you are actually now looking for opportunities to do that kind of stuff as opposed to I just dragged you kicking and screaming through it, then we’re much less likely to see that kind of … That backslide thing and things like that. Chris Badgett: That’s really interesting. I train for a marathon and I’ve run a marathon before, but I have a morning routine where I go for a morning walk or run and I enjoy it, I like being outside in nature and walking my dogs and stuff like that, but what actually motivates me to do it is I’m a podcast junkie. I get an hour of having my mind exercise [crosstalk 00:49:56] I was listening to you this morning on a health and fitness podcast, I forgot the name of it, otherwise I’d say it, it was for a podcast targeting personal trainers. Julie Dirksen: Yeah, it was Lift the Bar I think. Chris Badgett: That’s it. Julie Dirksen: Yeah. Chris Badgett: But that’s super enjoyable to me. That’s how I have … It’s interesting the way you frame that. That’s what I got the habit installed, not just the goal of running a race one time. Julie Dirksen: The sooner we get a reward, the more powerful it is. If we push rewards out into the future or consequences out in the future, we’ll discount them and that’s again the principle from behavioral economics. I see that is the common element for all of the difficult behaviors. Typically, if you start running to run a marathon, you get some positive feedback along the way and that you keep seeing your endurance build up and you keep seeing you’re making progress and run longer and longer distances, but then once it’s done, you’ve hit your goal and there’s nothing to continue to put you forward unless you become somebody who runs lots of marathons or things like that, but what you’re describing with the podcast, that pays off right away. You get something pleasurable immediately out of the experience and that’s … Chris Badgett: Cleaning and doing the dishes. That’s what gets me … I fight over doing the dishes with my wife because you know what? I’m going to pop these in and learn something. Julie Dirksen: Nice. Chris Badgett: I might even slow down a little bit and make things extra clean. Julie Dirksen: Yeah. No, a friend of mine and I have started doing a phone call clean our house together and it’s great because we can just hang out and chat with each other, but we also get our houses clean and it’s really a fantastic arrangement. Chris Badgett: That is awesome. Well, Julie Dirksen, she is the author of Design for How People Learn second edition. You’re at usablelearning.com. How else can people find out about you or connect with you? Julie Dirksen: I will have some online courses available some time later this year. Hopefully by the end of the year at designbetterlearning.com and there’ll be courses on instructional design. Then I’m also on Twitter which my Twitter handle is @usablelearning. Then I have a Facebook group for the book. There’s a Facebook group called Design for How People Learn. There’s lots and lots of really smart people engaging in social knowledge sharing on the Facebook group too. Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Julie Dirksen: I think that’s everything. Mm-hmm (affirmative). Chris Badgett: Cool. Well Julie, thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing your wisdom and expertise with us. You that’s listening, I’d encourage you to listen to this one again because there were lots of nuggets of wisdom in there. Thanks so much, I really appreciate it. Julie Dirksen: Yeah, thanks for having me. This has been fun. Chris Badgett: That’s a rap for this episode of LMScast, I’m your guide Chris Badgett. I hope you enjoyed the show. This show was brought to you by LifterLMS, the number one tool for creating, selling and protecting engaging online courses to help you get more revenue, freedom and impact in your life. Head on over to LifterLMS.com and get the best gear for your course creator journey. Let’s build the most engaging results getting courses on the internet. The post How to Build High Impact Courses that Get Lasting Results with Instructional Designer Julie Dirksen appeared first on LMScast - LifterLMS Podcast.


26 Dec 2018