10 Quotes, Comments & Questions about Learning Experience Design

I love quotes. There is something about reflecting on a single sentence, comparing it to past experiences, conducting thought experiments about possible applications, and simply letting it help me look at familiar topics from a different perspective. In fact, over the years, I’ve challenged myself to take new ideas or lessons learned and turn each one into a single sentence, a sort of bumper sticker summary of the idea. It is a way to help me quickly remember a larger train of thought, but it is also a guide to help me further reflect upon or apply the concept. With that in mind, I offer these ten quotes about designing learning experiences. As you will see, a few of the quotes come from other people, but the others are examples of my attempt to summarize personal discoveries. Some are simple and straightforward. Of course, you’ll soon see these things for yourself. Enjoy!

  1. Could it be that pure face-to-face instruction will one day be considered educational malpractice? – paraphrase of Chris Dede at the 2007 Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning
  2. Distance education is a huge lecture hall with hundreds of students and minimal interaction. It is time for us to start measuring the quality of learning by more than labels like face-to-face, hybrid, or e-learning – paraphrase from a 2008 webinar with Darcy Hardy
  3. “In order to create an engaging learning experience, the role of instructor is optional, but the role of learner is essential.” – Bernard Bull
  4. “He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.” – Harold Wilson
  5. “…how many educators are able to keep the undivided attention of 5th graders for multiple hours straight without even a bathroom break? And yet video games manage to do it. As educators, we would be fools to ignore this phenomenon.” – Bernard Bull
  6. “All effective and engaging learning experiences provide frequent and meaningful feedback. Without feedback on whether one is getting closer to a goal, progress is unlikely.” – Bernard Bull
  7. “Give a person a six hundred page book on how to get out of a room with no doors and you’ll put them to sleep. Put a person in a room with no doors, have the walls gradually close in on them, give them the same book, and you have an engaging learning experience.” – Bernard Bull
  8. “Why do people fall asleep in class? It has nothing to do with how much sleep they got the night before, whether or not they are sick, or if they are hung over. The answer can be summed up in two words. Perceived meaninglessness. This is a key to designing engaging learning experiences.” – Bernard Bull (based upon a conversation with a student doing research on students falling asleep)
  9. “A key to the design of effective learning experiences comes from discovering the many answers to the following question. Why do students sometimes learn a ton from terrible instructors?” – Bernard Bull
  10. “When it comes to the design of effective learning experiences, one provocative question is worth a hundred proclamations.” – Bernard Bull