Design for How People Learn with Julie Dirksen

Creating a great learning experience is more difficult than it seems. And when you add rapidly changing work environments and technology to the mix, it might even be overwhelming. Enter learning strategy and design expert Julie Dirksen with tips and tools from her book, Design for How People Learn.

Dirksen combines the fundamental concepts of instructional design with the key principles of learning and memory to explain how to create materials that help people not only learn but also retain the knowledge and skills you teach.  The first important steps in Dirksen’s process are understanding who your learners are and defining the behavior you want them to learn. This might seem obvious—but the trick is to first identify the specific steps required to make that behavior visible and then teach those steps in a way that is both memorable and applicable to the learner.

Dirksen understands the goal of good learning design is to help learners emerge from the learning experience with new or improved capabilities—skills they can take back to the real world and apply immediately. With the recent shift to virtual learning, this includes employing methods to keep people engaged in your session. Dirksen encourages you to use the tools available on learning platforms to keep people active, such as asking participants to write on a whiteboard or put comments in the chat, or calling on them to unmute and answer a question. She also stresses the important role repetition plays in the transfer of knowledge and offers methods to enhance memory.

Whether you are designing a training session, creating a presentation, or writing documentation, you’ll find the comprehensive tools and specific examples in this book invaluable.

Dirksen’s favorite learning tip? Designers should ask themselves one question about every single thing they are trying to teach: Can I provide a real-world example that will illustrate this learning point?

To hear host Chad Gordon interview Julie Dirksen, listen to the LeaderChat podcast and subscribe today. 

To learn more about Julie Dirksen, go to

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