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How Can Immersive Learning Benefit the Modern Learners?

Sufficing the needs of modern learner is a tough job, and traditional pedagogies aren’t enough. Hence, it becomes crucial to incorporate technology in some way as it caters to the requirements of modern learners. Immersive learning is one way through which the process of learning becomes more interactive and engaging. Here are how immersive learning benefits modern learners.

What is Immersive Learning?

Let’s first get familiar with what immersive learning is before we go through the benefits of immersive learning. Immersive learning is a broader concept that encompasses various methods of learning.

Immersive learning is a technique that makes use of an artificial or simulated environment to provide learning to students. Immersive learning always leverages some form of technology through which the process of teaching-learning takes place. The idea is to mimic real-life experiences and let the students immerse themselves completely to better understand various subject matters. Modern technologies such as mixed reality, artificial intelligence, 3D learning, virtual reality, and augmented reality make it easier for learners to understand topics faster.

Is Immersive Learning Similar to Experiential Learning?

Some people may confuse immersive learning with experiential learning. While the main goals of immersive learning and experiential learning are quite similar, there are many differences between these two learning techniques. The first one is use of technology. Immersive learning always makes use of technology is some form or the other. The same is not valid in the case of experiential learning. The other difference is that immersive learning essentially incorporates game-based elements to make learning more fruitful and productive. On the other hand, experiential learning is not certainly game-based.

Incredible Benefits of Immersive Learning

With immersive learning in the classroom, students can get benefited in a lot of ways. Some of these are listed below.

  • No Distractions!

We live in a technological world where distractions have become more common than ever. It makes it difficult for students to concentrate in the classroom. With immersive learning, it becomes easier for students to acquire education in a much effective way. The process makes use of the latest technologies (Learning Management Software), such as virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, etc. These technologies are capable of grasping the attention of the learners instantly and keep them engaged throughout.

  • Focused Immersion

As clear from the name, immersive learning creates an artificial environment with the help of technology, letting the students get immersed in the learning process. Through stimulating visuals, the learners get fully engaged and better understand what is being taught. Virtual simulations further help students to attain practical learning. 

  • Promotes Personalized Learning

Traditional teaching methods hardly provide personalized learning to students, unless there’s a dedicated teacher for each learner. On the other hand, immersive learning lets every student learn at his/her own pace. With simulations, learners can perform various experiments without stepping out of the classroom. The whole experience is so gripping and enticing that students are motivated to learn and grow.

  • Better Memory Retention

It has been proven that one learns better by doing. The concept of immersive learning is so formulated that learners have to immerse themselves in the process thoroughly. Students attain a deeper understanding of concepts, whether it is interactive videos, simulations, or virtual 3D models. This is not possible with other methods of teaching, not with the traditional ones, at least. When learners are engrossed in learning, they understand the toughest of topics without any ado.

  • Break the Tethers of Space and Time

When used the right way, technology is a blessing! With immersive learning, students can break the tethers of space and time and learn about historical events and various locations around the world. Virtual field trips have been gaining popularity among modern learners as they allow them to travel any place across the globe. Teachers can also organize sessions that will enable learners to go back to ancient times to understand various historical topics in detail. 

  • A Great Way to Educate Specially-Abled Students

Physically-challenged students cannot take part in various activities. With the power of technologies such as virtual reality, these students can be a part of various field trips and adventure sports. They might not be able to do the same on their own, but with immersive technology, they can. Virtual reality has also proved to be effective in educating students with autism and speech defects.

Immersive learning is a need for modern learners. Traditional teaching methods are not sufficient to fulfill the requirements of the students in the current era. Blame it to the distractions, or the impact of digital stimulation, immersive learning is crucial to cater to their needs. Hence, schools and educational institutes should find out ways to incorporate immersive learning in the classroom for better learning outcomes.

The post How Can Immersive Learning Benefit the Modern Learners? appeared first on eLearning.

6 Killer Examples of Gamification in eLearning (Updated in 2020)

Gamification for learning (or, notably, serious learning) is all about using the principles and key elements of gaming to meet the required learning objectives.

The value that Gamification brings in is summarized very effectively in the following statement (as per Wikipedia):

“Gamification techniques are intended to leverage people’s natural desires for socializing, learning, mastery, competition, achievement, status, self-expression, altruism, or closure.

Gamification strategies use rewards for players who accomplish desired tasks or competition to engage players.

Types of rewards include points, achievement badges or levels, the filling of a progress bar, or providing the user with virtual currency.

Making the rewards for accomplishing tasks visible to other players or providing leader boards are ways of encouraging players to compete.”

 

What Is the Value That Gamification Provides for the Learners and Business?

As Gamification offers a learning journey to have fun as you learn, the learners welcome it. However, L&D teams who invest in it still have reservations on the value, impact, or the ROI of this spend. As we pitch for Gamification, we often come across the following questions on its value and impact:

  • Will Gamification truly help learners learn?
  • Gamification is all about having fun, but can it drive learner performance?
  • Does Gamification offer tangible gain and value to the learners and business?

However, the fact remains that the success of any learning strategy is determined by the effectiveness of its application. If you craft a Gamification concept that can capture and retain learners’ attention, challenge them, engage and ensure they complete the journey, plus teach them, you will have a high-impact training that will indeed deliver the desired impact.

As a result, well-designed Gamification based trainings provide value to both organizations and learners at many levels as shown here.

The Value from the Learners’ Perspective

Let us take a look at the following stats that re-affirm the value of Gamification based learning from the users:

  • 80% of learners claimed learning would be more productive if it were more game-oriented. (Source: eLogic Learning)
  • 67% of students reported that a gamified course was more motivating than a traditional course. (Source: Taylor & Francis Online)

The Value from the Organizational Perspective

The use of Gamification for learning provides several benefits to L&D teams:

  1. Gamification is a very engaging learning strategy and the right gamified approach will enable L&D teams to meet the learning outcomes (similar to other strategies used in traditional eLearning).
  2. As Gamification for learning offers a more engaging and immersive learning experience, this would translate to higher completion rates. The gain would also be reflected in better recall or retention.
  3. The versatility of Gamification for learning enables you to use it various levels of learning (different cognition levels). You can use it for not only learning acquisition but also for practice for performance improvement, upskilling, or application of the learning successfully at work.
  4. Bringing in a change in thinking and behavior is a tall order. Coupled with principles of spaced repetition, you can successfully leverage Gamification to influence both aspects over time.

How Can You Create the Desired Impact Through Gamification for Learning?

At EI Design, we have a very mature Gamification practice and since inception, our focus has been on using techniques that enable us to create the following value:

  1. High learner engagement.
  2. Immersive approach.
  3. High recall.
  4. Better retention (sticky learning).
  5. Improved application of the acquired learning on the job.
  6. Reinforcement.
  7. Challenges that stimulate a refresh or review of primary learning resources.
  8. Practice and proficiency gain.
  9. Trigger change in thinking.
  10. Influence behavioral change

To meet these gains, a majority of our solutions under the Gamification for learning category use the following 8 elements.

To help you understand how these 8 elements help you meet the learning goals, I highlight the value of each element by mapping it to the equivalent technique in traditional eLearning.

  1. Challenges: These map to the learning objectives or learning goals.
  2. Levels: These map to the learning journey and as the learner goes through each level, it signifies a step up in proficiency for him or her.
  3. Instant feedback: This helps learners know how they are faring against their learning goals and based on this, they can adopt the necessary measures to step up their performance.
  4. Scores: They are indicators of their performance and are closely aligned to offering gratification as well as a sense of accomplishment.
  5. Badges: As the learners go through the learning path and clear certain levels, they are given badges. These reflect affirmations for their significant achievements.
  6. Leaderboards: They are dashboards that are used to provide a pictorial view of the overall progress (including against others). The analytics keeps learners connected to the learning journey and aligned to meeting their terminal objectives.
  7. Competition: This can be leveraged effectively as it helps learners assess where they stand against other peers or competing teams.
  8. Collaboration: This feature not only facilitates team building but also enables learners to leverage the support of peers or guidance from experts to meet their goals.

 

Gamification in eLearning: 6 Killer Examples 

I have selected 6 Gamification examples from our rich repository to illustrate its value. These examples illustrate how Gamification can be used across different corporate trainings for value ranging from better recall, retention, or application on the job.

Gamification Example 1: Induction Program for a Globally Renowned Entertainment Company

The purpose of the course was to orient employees with the company’s history, policies and benefits, procedures to be followed, and career growth opportunities through a fully gamified approach.

  • A guided visual tour, relatable terms, rich and customized visuals, and details created what the organization called a ‘magical’ learning experience.

Gamification Example 1: Induction Program for a Globally Renowned Entertainment CompanyGamification Example 1: Induction Program for a Globally Renowned Entertainment Company

Gamification Example 2: An Experiential Induction Program for a Global Retail Giant

A gamified onboarding training opportunity was created for a customer care team to help them acclimatize with the culture of the organization.

  • The entire course in a 360-degree platform with Virtual Reality (VR) features, personalization through avatars, and Leaderboards and Analytics to understand the efficacy of user interactions are the highlights.

Gamification Example 2: An Experiential Induction Program for a Global Retail GiantGamification Example 2: An Experiential Induction Program for a Global Retail Giant

Gamification Example 3: Professional Skills Enhancement – Account Management Fundamentals for Project Managers and Account Managers 

 This course is a great example of a Gamification approach with multiple levels that reflect the proficiency gain as the learners move from Level 1 to Level 4.

  • The learning journey is driven by scenarios or challenges (matching real-life situations).
  • Unlike the classic approach of having to go through theory and then practice, here the learners can directly jump into taking a challenge. This helps them ascertain if they truly know the concept. They can seek support through an Expert (if they can’t clear the challenge).
  • We also added curated content that offers new content to the learners, every subsequent time they come back. This is a great way to have them refresh their learning.

Gamification Example 3: Professional Skills Enhancement - Account Management Fundamentals for Project Managers and Account Managers Gamification Example 3: Professional Skills Enhancement - Account Management Fundamentals for Project Managers and Account Managers Gamification Example 3: Professional Skills Enhancement - Account Management Fundamentals for Project Managers and Account Managers 

Gamification Example 4: Rewards and Recognition

This uses an avatar-based approach for personalization along with Gamification.

  • The learners go through a series of locations in a fictitious city and have gamified activities that map to the different aspects of the organization’s compensation program.
  • The activities simulate and reinforce the concepts the individuals must understand and remember to win. The scores lead them to gaining the reward.

Gamification Example 4: Rewards and RecognitionGamification Example 4: Rewards and RecognitionGamification Example 4: Rewards and Recognition

Gamification Example 4: Rewards and Recognition

Gamification Example 5: Partial Gamification – Features a Gamified Activity

This example illustrates how you can add punch to enhance a traditional eLearning course by implementing partial Gamification techniques. The usage of gamified activities can uplift the engagement quotient of the standard eLearning course manifold.

  • We used this approach in a course on Time Management, and the activity was for identifying time wasters. It involved rapid thinking to select a time waster activity (mapped to floating clocks that would appear from different directions). If you were not paying attention, you would miss and get a negative score!
  • Unlike a standard approach (a drag-and-drop interaction), this approach is fun and pushes learners to focus – creating a more engaging and rewarding learning experience.

Gamification Example 5: Partial Gamification - Features a Gamified Activity

Gamification Example 6: Partial Gamification – Features a Gamified Assessment Designed as a Micro-Challenge

This example features a very versatile Gamification approach. We created a bank of gamified assessments – each one in a unique format as a Micro-Challenge.

Designed in a Microlearning format that can be consumed on the go (it features a Mobile-First design), the questions can be used to support any formal training for:

  • Practice.
  • Proficiency gain.
  • Post training connect, and the feedback would help them refresh the primary training.

Gamification Example 5: Partial Gamification - Features a Gamified ActivityGamification Example 5: Partial Gamification - Features a Gamified Activity 

As you have noted in the featured examples, Gamification is a great strategy to provide an immersive learning experience. It is an extremely versatile approach and its application will help you improve learning, application on the job, and the tougher mandate of behavioral change. I hope my article helps you leverage Gamification for trainings you haven’t used it for in the past.

Meanwhile, if you have any specific queries,  leave a comment below.

The post 6 Killer Examples of Gamification in eLearning (Updated in 2020) appeared first on eLearning.

Strategies and Tips for CLOs to Measure and Maximize the Impact of Training and Development Programs

CLOs make significant investments in training and development programs year-on-year. They are essential in enhancing employee performance and, more significantly, driving business results.

Majority of the trainings get delivered as planned, and are normally tracked for registrations, completions, timely completions, and assessment scores.

However, not much data is available on the impact of these trainings on business – and if they were able to demonstrate a clear gain that was sought. The need of the hour is as follows:

  • To meet the mandate that the business seeks, you need to evaluate the effectiveness of training and development programs not just through the basic L&D metrics but by measuring their anticipated impact on business.
  • Then, the focus should shift (from measuring the impact) to how can this impact be sustained.

This is a tough mandate as the process of training evaluation from the lens of how it impacts business is complex.

To do justice to it, there is a need for resources (manpower as well as technology) at several levels, and over an extended period of time. Often, the data collation is hampered by the existing technology (for instance, the LMS may not have adequate analytics or relevant dashboards). Or, there may not be adequate resources who can collate and analyze the data and generate actionable insights for the business.

In spite of these challenges and intrinsic complexity, CLOs need to create frameworks to measure the impact of training and development programs and then identify how they to sustain this momentum. In this article, I share 5 strategies that are easy to implement as well as several tips that can help them measure the impact of training and development programs and, more significantly, sustain the impact.

Strategy #1: Laying the Foundation – Factor for both L&D Metrics and Business Metrics

The focus of L&D teams during the Training Needs Analysis (TNA) is on the learning objectives and what strategy that would help them meet them. Once the training is rolled out, they typically would have the parameters to measure its effectiveness (this is termed as the L&D Metrics).

TIPS: What more needs to be done:

  • Alongside, it is crucial to identify the gain the business is seeking. Then, you can look at the impact of training and development programs through the combined lens of the L&D Metrics and, more significantly, the Business Metrics.
  • Additionally, you need to identify the Evaluation Model that will help you measure both.

 

Strategy #2: Identifying the right Evaluation Model to measure the impact of training and development programs

Identifying the Evaluation Model is the next crucial step. This helps in getting clarity on:

  • What is being measured.
  • How will it be measured.
  • How will the evaluation outcome be processed.

TIPS: The success also rests on determining how the Evaluation Model should be adapted for:

  • Different trainings: For instance, the approach for Compliance training would be remarkably different from a Soft Skills training or a Tool training.
  • Different learning goals: For instance, the approach to measure learning acquisition is different from how you will ascertain if it was applied on the job. Similarly, the approach to validate the learning transference and behavioral change would be dramatically different.

TIPS: Also, the evaluation should not be limited just to assessments. Additionally,

  • It should include how the training and development programs are helping learners apply the acquired knowledge on the job.
  • It should also include how the training and development programs are impacting the key on-the-job indicators.

Strategy #3: Setting the stage with a holistic approach (To drive employee performance and behavioral change)

 To ensure the training and development programs can create the required impact, many enablers need to be in place.

At EI Design, we use the holistic approach of a Learning and Performance Ecosystem that has several components that can be used to:

  1. Engage and motivate the learners.
  2. Offer strategies that create sticky learning experiences.
  3. Provide practice zones to gain further proficiency.
  4. Apply the acquired learning.
  5. Reinforce learning so that “Forgetting Curve” does not set in.
  6. Influence and trigger behavioral change.
  7. Maintain ongoing connect (post the successful completion of the training).

Additionally, we recommend:

  • Avenues for Social or Collaborative Learning.
  • Nudges for Self-Directed Learning.

TIPS: From this approach, here are 4 key enablers that will help:

1. Prior to the roll-out of the training and development programs – Measures to engage the learners
The challenges of overwhelmed employees who are not motivated to invest time for training is very real. It is very important to ensure that measures to engage and motivate the learners are put in place. These could include:

  • Videos with messages from leadership on the significance of the training and development programs for the employees and the organization.
  • Teaser videos that help learners see the value that they will get if they invest time on a given training (What Is In It For Me or WIIFM).

2. A holistic approach to design and deliver training and development programs (including Performance Support intervention)
Once the significance of the training and its value proposition for the learners is established, you can now look at further value adds that will ensure that learners register and complete the training. This could include:

  • Personalized learning paths.
  • Bite-sized learning on the device of the learners’ choice (Microlearning based training delivered on Mobile devices).

3. Also, invest in a Learning and Performance Ecosystem based approach and supplement the formal training with nuggets to:

  • Reinforce.
  • Practice.
  • Apply.

4. Furthermore, invest in just-in-time learning aids or job aids that are available to the learners within their workflow and can help them when needed (these aids do not need them to go the LMS).

Strategy #4: Checkpointing periodically and showcasing the impact and the value to the business (and reconfigure/tweak the approach, as required)

Once the training is delivered and duly completed by the learners, the focus shifts to ascertaining its impact on the business. Using the Evaluation Model identified to measure the Business Metrics, the data on the impact needs to be collected and analyzed.

TIPS: It is also important to showcase this value to the business and based on the analysis, you can reconfigure or tweak the approach.

Alternatively, you could look at adding required components into the learning journey that will help you demonstrate the value or gain that the business is seeking.

Strategy #5: Sustaining the impact

Once you are able to see the impact of the training and development programs, it is time to invest in measures that will help you sustain this momentum.

TIPS: Here are couple of approaches that would help:

  • Besides formal training, factor for ongoing connects by offering learners with resources to:
    1. Reinforce.
    2. Challenge.
    3. Practice.
    4. Gain proficiency.
  • Encourage them toward the path of continuous learning through:
    1. Social Learning.
    2. Communities of practicing excellence.
    3. Self-Directed Learning .
    4. Curated content so that learners come back for more.
    5. Inclusive learning by encouraging active participation – through User Generated Content (UGC).

As I had mentioned in the beginning of my article, the task of measuring and sustaining the impact of training and development programs is tough and there is no single approach that can help you achieve this. I hope my practical insights and strategies provide practical approaches that you can use.

Meanwhile, if you have any specific queries,  leave a comment below.

The post Strategies and Tips for CLOs to Measure and Maximize the Impact of Training and Development Programs appeared first on eLearning.

ELEARNING: A COST EFFECTIVE ONLINE TRAINING TOOL FOR EMPLOYEES

Organizations and Companies are strictly following and implementing the existing laws and regulations in vogue. Once the employee joins an organization or a company, they have to follow certain rules and regulations stipulated by the organization. Here, Compliance training plays a major role.

In order to meet the training requirements of an organization, certain norms and conditions are to be followed from time to time. A designated department takes the responsibility of training employees which involves cost. All organizations cannot afford to provide the infrastructure. Hence, they hire consultants who are good at providing training. E-learning helps in reducing the cost connected with employee training by cutting the cost on infrastructure, travel, etc.

The advantages of online employee training:

Sometimes we cannot get quality output in classroom sessions unless there is an availability of highly qualified teaching professionals. More often, it becomes monotonic or boring while going through the handouts provided in volumes. The innovative technologies have changed the face of the online training in alleviating the shortcomings in classroom sessions. Further, the online examination will give an insight into individual cognitive levels.

When an element of the gamified approach is mixed with the online e-learning courses, the results will be amazing as it not only breaks the boredom but creates interest.

For more info visit blog post:

https://www.swiftelearningservices.com/elearning-a-cost-effective-online-training-tool-for-employees/

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Focus

January has (finally) passed. It’s February. It feels like a new start, so here’s a question for for:

“What do you need today to help you focus on your task?”

As part of the thinking environments training, we often use questions like this at the start of team meetings to engage everyone in the room, to encourage everyone to speak out at the start, thus giving them a voice throughout the meeting and an opportunity to be heard. The question, like this one, should not be invasive or too personal (unless the responder wants to include a personal viewpoint) but can also be informative for those around the table.

So, what do ou need today to help you focus on your ‘task’? How would you answer this today?

Photo by Elena Taranenko on Unsplash

Expert opinion: Learning trends for 2020

You remember what I said in this post about not writing any posts about ‘education/learning trends in [insert year here]’? Yeah. About that. I wrote something for a post called “10 E-learning Trends that will Dominate in 2020

The article, from Anthea Papadopoulou, calls out “so many [eLearning] ‘so-called experts’ … promising you one-week success, and opportunities that fall from the sky.” The reality, as Anthea continues, is that “it requires a lot of hard work, study, experimentation, and persistence. You need to be continuously informed about the new trends in eLearning so that you can keep up with new students.” From this position, they reached out to ten different “eLearning experts” and asked us what we believe to be trends for 2020.

“Their answers reveal exciting new trends that will change the e-learning scene given that we will do a really hard work to provide amazing learning experiences and stand out in the e-learning field.”

I’m honoured to be listed among notable and respected colleagues such as Jeff Cobb, Christopher Pappas, Panos Siozos, Poppy Hill, Phil Mayor, Craig Weiss, Ryan Tracey, Bill Brandon and Barbara Anna Zielonka.

Here’s what I wrote (spelling and grammar mistakes corrected) under the heading “Emphasis on the Instructional Designer“:

“Technology comes and goes, as do many of the providers and platforms organisations and learning professionals learn to rely on (e.g. read Audrey Watters’ ‘The 100 Worst Ed-Tech Debacles of the Decade‘ review).

What is constant, or rather what should be constant, through these changes is our attention to clarity and quality when producing the learning materials. From translating original content to the appropriate adoption and use of the technology to deliver the training. What is more important than everything in this process is the learning/ instructional/educational designer [insert your own job title here]. This individual is the unsung hero in many organisations – often the last link in the chain before the training is released, often the last one in the office, beavering away to complete the learning, often the only one who spots inconsistencies in materials and terminology. This individual, and the support and guidance they need, is going to be very important in learning and development for 2020 (and beyond) as organisations learn just what a wide variety of skill, creativity and capability is possible when their designers are properly supported.

In short, my ‘trend’ to look out for in 2020 is the person(al). Where the individual becomes the focus of the learning experience, not the technology delivering it. This includes the student too. Technology still has a part to play, but the focus is on how we support the creation of learning materials which use this technology.

Closing my contribution to the article, the people over on Learn Worlds included the following infographic (I’ve not posted one of those for over 5 years!!).

Source: So What Do You Really Mean By ‘Instructional Designer? 
https://www.edsurge.com/news/2015-10-07-so-what-do-you-really-mean-by-instructional-designer
Source: So What Do You Really Mean By ‘Instructional Designer?
First seen on the EdSurge website, October 2015.

Photo by Deepain Jindal on Unsplash

Deutliche Wachstumsdynamik im deutschen E-Learning-Markt

37 Unternehmen haben dieses Jahr am Branchenmonitor der E-Learning-Wirtschaft teilgenommen, durchgeführt vom mmb Institut. Zu verzeichnen sind: 14 Prozent Umsatzwachstum, das „Anbieten bzw. Verkaufen von digitalen Lerninhalten und E-Learning-Kursen“ als stärkstes Geschäftsfeld und eine „Verschiebung“ zugunsten von Off -the-shelf-Produkten. WBS Training, ComCave Group und SAP Education führen die Liste der umsatzstärksten Anbieter an. Wie jedes Jahr gilt: Der E-Learning-Markt ist ein offenes, dynamisches Feld, und der Branchenmonitor eine jährliche Gratwanderung. Die Teilnahme bzw. Nicht-Teilnahme eines einzigen Anbieters reicht manchmal aus, um einen Trend loszutreten.
mmb Institut, mmb-Branchenmonitor „E-Learning-Wirtschaft“ 2019, Januar 2020

What is normal?

I saw something on Twitter that made me think back to a billboard ad I saw back when I worked in Southampton, around 2001.

What made me think of it? Well, how about I tell you about the advert first. It showed, on something like a 50ft wide / 20ft tall billboard at the side of the road I cycled past everyday, a woman’s face, close up. She was attractive, wearing make-up (but not heavy) and her hair tied back, out of her face. The advert had a solid single-colour background, which didn’t detract attention from her face. On one side of her was the question “Is this face normal?”. You were meant, I think, to look at her face and think about her facial features (nose, eyes, laughter-lines, make-up, etc). Was she ‘normal’, based on your own preconceived notion of ‘normal’ (and attractive, no doubt). Most people would probably say yes, she was.

On the other side of the advert, however, were statistics about what people thought would be considered skin ‘abnormalities’, like freckles, pimples, beauty-spots, laugher-lines, visible facial birth marks, scars, etc. Statistics like “50% of women have freckles” or “20% of women have visible facial birth-marks’ or “25% of women under the age of 30 have laughter-lines”. That kind of thing – nothing out of the ordinary, nothing scary or abnormal in the slightest. But it challenged your preconceived notion of what is accepted as ‘normal’.

This advert had such resonance with me as it made me question ‘what is normal?’ It made me question my own preconceptions of normal, of accepted ‘beauty’, but also about not taking someone else’s instruction on what normal should be. You looked at the advert and thought, probably, that this face was normal, when to be without any kind of facial ‘feature’ like freckles or pimples or beauty-marks or anything meant you were (according to the sum of the statistics) among the 0.5% of the population with ‘perfect’ skin. Therefore, nowhere normal, in any meaning of the word (“Conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern”). Therefore, what you think is ‘normal’ is the total opposite. What is normal is actually abnormal, outside the norm.

This is why I don’t like it when I hear about a student profile, or any kind of ‘normal’, attributed to those we work with or work for. There isn’t a ‘normal’ profile for a student on your course. Even if you have a highly specialised course with a small group of students coming from a small specialised industry and background, I’m betting their individual experiences and backgrounds that brought them to you. They will still be varied and interesting, reading at different speeds, taking notes (or not), questioning you or accepting without question. Not one will have the same ability to be critical, or to research at the same speed, or to write. They are not the ‘normal’ you’ve prepared for.

Let’s not design for an accepted ‘normal’. Let’s embrace a new ‘normal’ which is as varied as the number of people out there. The new ‘normal’ is everyone. It’s a challenge and not one we can do in isolation, rather in collaboration with our audience.

unsplash-logoKyle Glenn