As I read online, I bookmark resources I find interesting and useful. I share these links about once a month here on my blog. This post includes research on stories and memory, games for learning, scenario-based learning, a definition of LXD, and a few AI image tools.
I’m experimenting with AI image tools to create images for my blog posts. This was created in Playground.
Stories and memory research
A meta-analysis comparing how people remember and understand text, broadly categorized as narratives (stories) and expository texts (which they call essays). They acknowledge that the research is mixed, but overall found a “robust” result that stories were easier to understand and remember.
Based on over 75 unique samples and data from more than 33,000 participants, we found that stories were more easily understood and better recalled than essays. Moreover, this result was robust, not influenced by the inclusion of a single effect-size or single study, and not moderated by various study characteristics. This finding has implications for any domain in which acquiring and retaining information is important.-Mar RA, Li J, Nguyen ATP, Ta CP.
This second link is the full text of the meta-analysis comparing memory and understanding of stories versus expository text. The researchers are careful to note the limitations of this evidence, but overall found that narratives have an advantage over expository text and explanations. If you’re interested in all of my highlights from this paper, check out my annotated version instead.
Stories may be easier to remember and comprehend than essays because stories resemble our everyday experiences (Bruner, 1986; Graesser et al., 1991). People experience life in the real world as temporally ordered causal events, organized around personal goals, with the encountering and overcoming of obstacles to these goals resulting in emotional experiences; this parallels the structure of stories (Graesser, McNamara, & Louwerse, 2003; Graesser, Singer, & Trabasso, 1994)…
A final reason to believe that narratives may be more memorable than expository texts hinges on the ability of emotions to facilitate memory (Hamann, 2001). Affectively charged recollections have been dubbed “flash-bulb” memories, to communicate the idea that emotional events are deeply imprinted on the mind, like a flash aiding photography (Winograd & Neisser, 1992). This emotional facilitation of memory appears to result from a prioritizing of emotional material when it comes to attention and perception (Brosch, Pourtois, & Sander, 2010), with personal relevance playing a key role (Levine & Edelstein, 2009). To the extent that stories are better able to evoke strong emotions than expository texts (cf. Mar, Oatley, Djikic, & Mullin, 2011), we would expect stories to be better recalled than exposition.-Mar RA, Li J, Nguyen ATP, Ta CP.
Games for learning
Jessica Cebulka’s educational game project, which won an award at DemoFest. This includes multiple levels of games as demos of what’s possible, built in Construct.
This is a list of common mistakes to avoid in branching scenarios: letting the branches grow without control, providing explicit didactic feedback after each choice, not having plausible situations or choices, etc. I like how Clark Quinn describes the nuance of having scenarios where the choices aren’t actions–that’s a problem I’ve seen in several examples this year.
One way to go wrong is to have the choices that learners choose between to be statements, not choices of action. It’s easy to set up a scenario, particularly a mini-scenario with a story, but then ask learners to determine if something’s one of several ‘things’, such as categorizing the situation. It’s a nuance, but the choices should reflect what learners should do, e.g., with such a categorization. Do you then invoke practice X, or do action Y? Make sure you’re having learners make choices that do things, not just think things.-Clark Quinn
A case study of branching scenarios as part of a larger training program. These scenarios helped learners practice skills for working with people in emotionally challenging situations, an excellent fit with a branching scenario format. The scenarios themselves have a fairly simple structure, but using multiple scenarios allows learners broader opportunities to practice.
Niels Floor has updated his definition of learning experience design (LXD) to reflect the evolution of the field.
Focusing on the whole experience, requires a more holistic design approach. For example, emotion plays a vital part in how we experience things. We all have memories that are strong because of how they made you feel. In education there tends to be a clear emphasis on cognition while emotion is hardly part of the conversation. In LXD emotion is carefully considered. Designing for emotion and cognition is key to creating a powerful learning experience…
Learning experience design is not a science. While learning science can support your design decisions, most insights into the quality and effectiveness of your design come from developing and testing prototypes.
AI image tools
Paste the text of a blog post into this tool, and it generates banner images for you based on the title and content. Since I’ve been experimenting with AI for images for my blog already, this looks like a tool worth testing out. If you’re not a blogger, perhaps this could help you create header images for Rise courses or similar content?
A collection of AI image and video tools. I saw an example of a comic created by face swapping AI-generated images with a photo of a real person. This kind of technology might be a way to generate multiple images of a character in different poses and with varied expressions but with consistency in features.