It was late into last night, almost the hours of today, when I finally turned off the digital learning production here. I haven’t been a 9-5 type guy for years and if creativity is flowing, who am I to stop it in its tracks?
It was around 8pm, just after tea, when I settled down for the final session. The little people were in bed, rubbish was on the tele and my working day still felt quite young. I was on a roll! Here in my working space, the funky visual coloured wall lighting was on, I was kinaesthetically touching, clicking and tapping a variety of buttons and gadgets, tasting the coffee and smelling the recently re-filled room freshener. Sandalwood. I was engaged with my senses.
With sight, smell, taste and touch all accommodated for, I realised there had been a deafening silence around all day during the daylight hours. Some tunes were needed. A quick Tweet asking for recommendations of tunes to put on whilst working soon filled that audio gap and had me exploring a whole range of genres!
So there I was, fully engaged in my environment, with all senses amused. It all contributed to the work I was doing and creativity flowed nicely.
It wasn’t until later when I finished, that I stopped to think how relevant the multi-sensory environment I was in was to the work I was doing. My work to create digital learning. That’s what it’s all about. Of course in digital, we’ve just got the three senses to work with in the absence of smellovision and tastovision. We work with; audio, visual and kinaesthetic. I like to think of these as ‘channels’.
Now, I don’t agree that we as learners are one type or another and fit into just one of those particular boxes. I believe we tune into all three of those ‘channels’. Sometimes one at a time, sometimes all at the same time, all very much dependent on what we’re doing, where we are, what we’re trying to learn and how engaged we are. These channels to me are like volume sliders that digital learning producers tweak. Set any one of them too high and content is distracting. Set any one of them too low and content becomes dis-engaging.
In answer to the question that often comes up as to how we make digital content more engaging, that’s it in a nutshell. What do you need to do to turn the slider up (or down) on visuals? Is the audio deafeningly silent? Is that right for your content? Does it need narration, music or both? Or is it more relevant to have nothing? What about the touch and feel of your content? How are learners going to interact with it? Will they click or will they tap? Is it beautifully intuitively easy to do so? Or is it going to be a complete pain for them as they try to line the smallest surface area of their fingertip up with the two or three pixels that trigger the desired action?
So a question for you. Where are the sliders in your learning material, be it digital or not? Think presentations, handouts, even the learning environment? What sliders need turning on? Or off? Or up or down?