Designing Good Learning

Simply put, you can’t force anyone to learn anything. I’m sitting in a workshop at the annual meeting of an old line national membership organization, and folks, I’m dieing in here! Seriously, I try to approach every learning activity I engage in fairly and with open eyes and an open heart. Unfortunately, right now I’m largely incapable of appreciating the particular chair I’m sitting in.

A matronly hero of this organization is presenting a PowerPoint presentation with 100 slides that is supposed to last one hour. This is a brand-new PowerPoint, reduced from the previousd 160, developed with the input of literally hundreds of people and passed through federal radars to ensure compliance. It’s all very well-intended; it’s all very ineffectual, at best. At worst it’s demeaning to the viewers, and disconnecting for those who aren’t in this effort’s choir.

It’s not simply the fact that this is a stand-and-deliver slide show, although that is a substantial part of my problem. How many graphic designers and instructional design experts have to present studies to convince folks the need to reassess these approaches? The slides are terribly text-reliant with inconsequential photos peppered throughout. The presenter, who again is a kind and wise person, “birdwalks” a lot. Not terrible, but too much is too much.

Designing good learning requires a lot of attention to diverse learning styles. This post is a reminder.

— This is Adam Fletcher’s blog originally posted at For more see

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

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