3-Step Recipe for Learning Design

Karen Caldwell, 23 November 2021

Learning design is a magical mix of key ingredients, portion control, proven techniques and attention to timing. When you put a chef’s hat on and think not only about the tastes of your dinner guests but also their nourishment and nutritional needs, you’re setting everyone up for the rewards of learning: memory, transfer, and lifelong learning habits.

Before we move on, ask yourself what your own recipe is for your own learning. What are the main ingredients? What recipe works for you? Now you’re ready to think about other learners.

If you’re new to learning design, start with these three steps for the perfect recipe. They’re mostly for adult learners in online courses. Once you’re comfortable and see how things go with different learners, you can free style a little.

3 Step Recipe:

  1. FOCUS: Attention, Interest
  2. DO: Activity, Mistakes, Feedback
  3. PERSONALIZE: Reflection, Meaning-making

FOCUS: Attention & Interest

Without alertness and focus, there’s just no point continuing with a learning experience. Help your learners to perk up, be attentive, and even be interested by connecting to what matters to them.

DO: Activity, Mistakes, Feedback

Build on the spark created through curiosity and emotion to get learners involved. Set up activities for them to scratch their itchy, curious brains with a task or two to check a guess or predictions or answer a question about a story.

PERSONALIZE: Reflection, Meaning-making

Learners benefit from connecting learning to themselves and what’s important to them. Extend and deepen their learning by having learners

Rinse & Repeat

You’ve gone to all the trouble of baking in the ingredients and checking how everyone’s doing (don’t forget that part). Start your next learning activity with a connection and recap – but have learners themselves do the work.

Now that everyone’s connected to earlier lessons, rinse and repeat with the no-fail recipe:

  • gain attention & interest,
  • engage in activities where mistakes & feedback go hand in hand, and
  • pause to reflect on the experience and create meaning for lifelong learning, well beyond your lesson!
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