Learning Experience Leader

08 // How to Teach Anything to Anyone Online with Rebecca Frost Cuevas

November 05, 2019 Greg Williams
Learning Experience Leader
08 // How to Teach Anything to Anyone Online with Rebecca Frost Cuevas
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Learning Experience Leader
08 // How to Teach Anything to Anyone Online with Rebecca Frost Cuevas
Nov 05, 2019
Greg Williams

Rebecca Frost Cuevas has a new book coming out on November 21, 2019 titled "Course Design Formula: How to Teach Anything to Anyone Online". In this episode, we talk through some of the components of the formula and key insights that Rebecca has uncovered after years of teaching and developing learning programs for online audiences. 

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/lxleader)

Show Notes Transcript

Rebecca Frost Cuevas has a new book coming out on November 21, 2019 titled "Course Design Formula: How to Teach Anything to Anyone Online". In this episode, we talk through some of the components of the formula and key insights that Rebecca has uncovered after years of teaching and developing learning programs for online audiences. 

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/lxleader)

Greg Williams:

Today's guest is Rebecca Frost Cuevas. Rebecca grew up in New York City where she attended the town and barely schools and graduated from Harvard with honors focused on English Language and Literature. She holds two master's degrees in education with emphasis on curriculum, development and instructional technology. As education coordinator for public utilities in Southern California, she designed developed and delivered education programs that won national awards, and taught water and energy conservation to 1000s of students in 12 school districts. She's done a lot more than that. I'm cutting short all the credentials that Rebecca has, but I am very excited to have you here on the show. Thank you so much for joining us.

Dr. Rebecca Frost Cuevas:

Thank you so much for having me, Greg. I love what you're doing with the podcast. And I'm very honored to be part of it.

Greg Williams:

Yes, I'm happy to have you here. And there's a lot that we could talk about. But I wanted to focus our conversation today on a new book that Rebecca has coming out. I believe it's November 2019. Is that accurate?

Dr. Rebecca Frost Cuevas:

Yes, November 21, is the release date. It's it's available for pre sale now the ebook on Amazon. But the release date will be November 21.

Greg Williams:

Fantastic. So we're, I've had the fortune of being able to review, reviewed the copy of the book, and got some questions around there that will talk through and give folks a good preview of what's involved there. So maybe to get started, could you share a little bit about how this book came to be? And I know that there's some different ways we could talk through it. But we'd love to just start there.

Dr. Rebecca Frost Cuevas:

Sure, Greg. Well, this is the book that I really wanted to write for my master's project. But for my master's project, I did something much more specific and focused on one narrow topic. And then that was in 2014. And then in the year since I have been expanding what I learned there and applying it to different types of learning and working with over 100 experts in different fields. And I'm testing this out. And so I'm really excited to turn it into a book where I can share what I've discovered, you know, with anybody that will find it helpful. And the real origin is that I had been teaching it, as you mentioned in utilities, and designing and delivering presentations that were designed and that were highly effective face to face. And when I went to put them online, starting in around 2007, I thought it would be easy. I thought, you know, I've got a great presentation. It's fully designed, I'll just digitize it, and I'll have an online version. And what I discovered was that the online version lacked the engagement and the, you know, the interactivity that the face to face version had. So that's really what set me back to school for my second master's and, and put me into a frame of mind to research, how do you take great face to face instruction and turn it into great online instruction? And so that's really the book is designed to answer that question among others.

Greg Williams:

Yeah, I failed to name the title of the book course design formula, how to teach anything to anyone online. And I love in the book, you talk a little bit about that journey of, Hey, I'll just, you know, I'll take this awesome face to face experience. And I'll just put it, I'll just digitize it, right. But in that experience, you ran up against a few, you call them failure points. And I found those incredibly illustrative as to common pitfalls. We all fall into whether you've been in, in learning experience or instructional design for years, or whether you've never heard of the thing, right. I'm wondering if we could talk through some of those, and kind of what your learnings were, and how you've started to bake those into this course design formula?

Dr. Rebecca Frost Cuevas:

Well, Greg, I'm thrilled that you love the failure points, because I think that's really where we can learn the most is from the things that don't work. And I think that, you know, coming up against failure points. It's a term I learned from the rapid prototyping model, that, you know, when you create a prototype, you sort of keep working with it until you get to a failure point where it's clear, this isn't going to be a workable, and then just scrap it and start over using everything you learn from that process. And it took me three prototypes to get to this is for my master's project to get to a successful version. And I agree, I think the failure points are where all the energy is because it's like Okay, that doesn't work, don't go down that road. And this is something that I believe is built into unguided discovery learning, which is what you're doing when you're in uncharted territory when you're trying to do something new. So if no one's ever done it before, there's no roadmap, you're going to be the one that finds out where the swamps are with the alligators in the, you know, the quicksand and so forth. And I feel that's part of our service as learning leaders is helping, you know, pave the way and build the map that shows where those things are that don't work. So everyone else can save time. So I hope I answered your question. If not, can you help me? Get me back?

Greg Williams:

No, that's great. It's definitely it's definitely true. There's uncharted territory. And even if we have guideposts, right, whether it's theory or folks who've done something similar, it's the whole I can't remember what Greek or Roman the whole thing, you can't step in the same river twice. Like, you know, every context, whether it's very similar to a different one or not, is going to have some slight deviations. And so as learning leaders, paving the way there's there's going to be some bugs. And so with that, I mean, there were a few failure points. And we can touch on maybe some of these before we move on to some other conversation. But I really liked the very first one was that you just can't digitize a classroom based instruction and expect it to perform at the same level online. I think that was a running theme throughout the whole book. Yes. I'm wondering if you could talk a little bit about that. And maybe the concept of affordances. And, and how those fit together?

Dr. Rebecca Frost Cuevas:

Well, I'd love it that you're focusing on that, because I think that's really the central point when it comes to design, which is, you know, what is the context and the, the idea of affordances and constraints, which I learned from Don Norman's wonderful book about the design of everyday things, is that, you know, the affordances are things that a context or a medium makes it easy to do allows you to do, and constraints or the things that make are difficult or impossible to do in that context or using those materials. And so, there are things that are very easy to do face to face, or in certain settings, face to face, that are very difficult online. And an example I give in the book, I believe it's in the book is about an activity I created to teach about what is an electrical current to teach that to fourth graders. And in real life, I did it on the school playground as a movement activity. And it was fun, it was exciting. Because we had a school playground, we had all their classmates, we had hula hoops, you know, we had, it made it very exciting and engaging to learn about electrical current the way I had it set up. But when you take that activity and transfer it to online, now, instead of the learner being on their own playground, moving their own body with their own friends, you've got someone sitting in a chair, watching a video of other people that they don't know, having fun. And that is a completely not engaging perience. And what I really was focused on learning the answer to why doesn't it work to just digitize a great in person experience. And the key that I discovered through this learning process and the research process is the key lies in cognitive load theory. So I don't know if you want me to go into that or not. But that was the you know, I knew it didn't work. But I was curious to know why it didn't work to just translate. And the cognitive load theory gives us the answer and makes it very easy to see what will work and what won't work.

Greg Williams:

Yeah, I mean, you have an awesome, the book kicks off with a really great sort of analogy about that helps folks who may be new to cognitive load theory, understand really how important chunking is, and getting a sense of moving things through through your brain to the long term storage. And I love that I think that is something listeners can look forward to. And throughout the book, you talk a little bit about this, this assumption of, you know, talking heads is not not going to work for a lot of reasons. Not only is it boring, but it's just you can't grasp all of that stuff by just watching it. And so, one of the other failure points I think that emerged as you were on this journey was related to you can outline your course like a lecture, right? And that also everything has really got to be clear related to a learning goal and needs to point to a learning goal. can maybe you could talk a little bit about, about that point, the importance of the learning goal and and how that's come out. Be so critical as a part of your formula?

Dr. Rebecca Frost Cuevas:

Well, and you know, it's one of those things, Greg, that seems so clear, you know, once you've sort of figured it out and stated upfront, but in my, in my process of going through these prototypes, I noticed that every time I hit a failure point, it was related to the fact that I'd included something that wasn't directly related to the course learning goal. So with if I look at all the failure points, I can sum them up in one main success point, which is that your course must provide a clearly defined transformation, which is something that people want need and will pay for with their money, attention or time. And everything in the course must lead directly to that transformation in a sequential manner, then you might say, you know, why is that so critical in online learning? That's because online learning and there's research cited in the book that the backs this up, but the online environment, adds some extraneous cognitive load to anything that you teach, just because you know, there's that remote quality, and the learner has to be more independent. So you have to provide a lot more structure in online learning. And so something that in a physical classroom could be a fun aside, you know, or a little sidetrack or a diversion could, you know, end up with your learner's off there watching cat videos in another window in an online course and never coming back. So you have to keep it really tight, you also have to understand the type of learning that's required to achieve the transformation that your course provides. And that's where I found gunnies research on the domains of learning incredibly helpful. And then you design your course in ways that effectively promote that type of learning. So you're basically delivering sort of pre configured schemas right to your learner's brain that are optimized for that specific transformation you're trying to deliver. And it makes it so much easier for people to learn it. And then the other thing I discovered, and I even discovered this, in teaching my own pilot course, based on the course design formula, is that you can't deviate from these rules. Even you know, you might think, Oh, you know, this is an exception, I discovered you really can't, because they're not arbitrary, made up rules, like the rules of a club that you form. There are laws of nature, like the law of gravity. And that's because they're based on the nature of how our brains process information. So there's a kind of a strictness that leads to this strictness, and a tightness in design that leads to an ease and learning. So it's kind of paradoxical that way.

Greg Williams:

That's fantastic. And I think this has me thinking about a lot of things we've talked about on the show with past guests, and some folks I've got lined up is, I know, for me, as an instructional designer, I can get confused sometimes, because there are so many layers, you use the example of a house, right, you have the plans for the house, and you have the structure of the house, and then you have furniture and, and all sorts of things in there. And sometimes as a designer, I can get really married to the idea that I'm the designer, I know cognitive load theory, or whatever it is, I know the rules and the laws that can't be broken. There's probably no need to prototype this because I know it but suddenly, I'm stepping over to the wrong territory, right? I can understand the theory and how people learn things. But as you mentioned multiple times already, that doesn't mean I don't need a prototype and actually make sure are people interested in this? Are they motivated? Are they? Do they know what buttons to click in the thing? Right? So I don't have all of those answers. But there are hard and fast things we know about how the brain works and how people learn that do need to be adhered to. Is that? Is that an accurate statement? Or am I missing something on there?

Dr. Rebecca Frost Cuevas:

No, I think it's a very accurate statement. And I think it also comes down to the issue of tools, which is, you know, let's say you are building a house, right, and you've you've taken your architecture degree or your carpentry training, and you've bought your tools, you would never say Okay, I'm ready to build the house. But I don't need to use the tools because I already know everything about how to do this, we still need to rely on tools. So you know, I discovered this myself, you know, I was making the same mistake. Oh, I know all this. So now I'll just start designing. But because it's such a complex skill, and there's so many moving parts, we still need some kind of structure or template or guideline that keeps us focused on exactly what level we're designing for, you know, is it the whole course level, the the module level, the lesson level? Is it a learning object within the lesson? So there's that you know, staying focused in a sort of you are here guide, and then all the other things you mentioned about whether it's your audience or You know, the domain of learning. So, you know, I discovered that for myself and my students, if we don't use the tools that I created to actually, you know, take you through the process, we end up off in the weeds too, because it's too many pieces to keep in your own mind all at once.

Greg Williams:

Right, I think it's, it's very valuable to understand your tools to keep them keep the sauce sharp, as it were to use the Sean covey approach. And so, that makes a lot of sense. Um, you mentioned a little bit earlier about how important it is that what you're building is something that folks are willing to pay for whether that's what actual money you know, if it's an online course, they're buying, or other sort of form of currency, like attention, you know, that they're willing to give their attention to this thing. I love the story you share about your goal to learn Egyptian, Egyptian language, right? And it was really awesome course. But you weren't able to finish it. Maybe. Could you talk a little bit about that. And maybe that can bridge into discussing motivation? A little bit.

Dr. Rebecca Frost Cuevas:

Absolutely. And, you know, as I say, in the book, I was, you know, this was a lifelong goal I've had since I was a child to learn Egyptian hieroglyphics. And it was a wonderful, beautifully designed course on it by a world class expert can't fold anything about her instructional design, it was great. But for some reason, you know, I started it and discovered it was quite hard, or it was hard for me. And so I kept telling myself, I would finish it, but I actually just never got around to it. And at the same time, and this is detailed in the book. This was many years ago, I haven't had to do this since but I guess I got a speeding ticket or something, I had to go to traffic school, which, you know, was being offered. This was a long time ago, it was being offered online for the first time as opposed to in a physical environment. And, obviously, you know, I wasn't excited or interested in going to traffic school, it was a legal requirement. But I actually found that online course very interesting and very motivating. So in the book, I go into a whole example, including mathematical equation I, I made up the numbers are made up, but they make the point as to what weighs more in learner motivation, as far as internal motivation, external motivation, different types of internal motivation, so that you could actually predict if you or someone else will complete a course. And when I put the numbers in there, it was clear why I didn't finish the hieroglyphics even though I was really excited about it. Right, and why I did finish traffic school, even though I was not excited about it.

Greg Williams:

Yeah, so you touched on a few things related to motivation, because I, I totally can relate to that. And I think most folks who've seen a really interesting looking course title on Coursera, or one of those MOOCs, you know, oh, cool history, philosophy. You know, I didn't get to take that in college, and now I can and then Oh, man, I didn't ever even take the first lecture. How did that happen? Um, but for some reason, I can always finish my compliance training on time at work, right, even though I don't really like it. And so there's these other factors that impact motivation. And I mentioned earlier, Sean Covey, which is a photo of mine. And speaking of cognitive load theory, while making sure the podcast is recording, and I'm talking to you, this is Stephen Covey. And you mentioned one of Stephen Covey's grid that he really popularized around important and urgent learning goal. Can you talk a little bit about that how it fits with fits with instructional design?

Dr. Rebecca Frost Cuevas:

Sure. And I believe that's called the Eisenhower matrix. And I don't know the total origin of it. But I know that he really seemed he did really popularize it. So he talks about the four quadrants of the first one being, if you think of, you know, four quadrants, the upper left would be important and urgent. The upper right would be important but not urgent. The lower left would be help me out here.

Greg Williams:

Like not be not important, not urgent.

Dr. Rebecca Frost Cuevas:

I think that's the lower right. Yeah. Not not urgent. So the lower left must be urgent, important.

Greg Williams:

Non urgent.

Dr. Rebecca Frost Cuevas:

Well, yeah, anyway, people can look it up. It's, you know, yeah. See this. This is it's too many things for us to keep in our mindset when we're losing. You see, we lost it after after six, right. But the important point is to stay in that upper right quadrant, which is important but not urgent. That's for when you're planning your you know, your day and you want to stay in that quadrant. When it comes to online learning and being sure that someone's going to finish something, obviously important and urgent is going to have a lot more power to keep us finishing something. And you know, so the problem with the hieroglyphics was that although I was interested In it, it wasn't urgent, certainly, hieroglyphic has been around for 5000 years not going anywhere. And it wasn't, in my case, wasn't that important because I didn't, if I needed it, you know, for a college course, or an upcoming trip, or something, that would be different. But it was just, it was nice, you know, it was nice to have. And the thing about a lot of online learning, that's not, now I'm not talking about something that's in a workplace context or university context, but online learning that people sign up for, because they're interested in it. It's not tied to any specific location, and time and space. So I talk in the book about things that course designers can do, to kind of work with that work around that by creating, you know, some concrete tangible things for learners to keep in their workspace or in their home, that do create some more anchors in the physical world so that you know, if you know you've got a meeting every week at a certain time, and it becomes important to you, because you really care about the people, your classmates or your teacher, that would bring in that importance, even though it might not be urgent, and so forth.

Greg Williams:

Yeah, I love that there's many different examples that you share of, of trying to bring, bring the online experience into the physical world, and to have those physical cues. And I think just that level of thinking goes way beyond just Alright, what's the learning objective? Let's slap on the video. We're good to go. But it really takes a detailed, experiential viewpoint, to the design of who is this person? What is their day to day look like? What did they actually care about? And how can we insert these touch points throughout their experience? Even if they're not in the, in the actual online course? Or, you know, if they're doing a lot of vacuuming? Or if they have a long commute? How could we build this course in a way that they could access those materials, right, that gets into some of the media content conversation, and there's a lot of good stuff in this book about how to think about ensuring media choices accurately support the learning goals, I grabbed a quote, there's a lot of really good quotes, I can't share all here. But this one, I feel like is a good was another theme that I saw that stick out. It said the media is there to deliver the content to the learners brain not to be the flashy thing in and of itself. And I think that oftentimes, we, if we were to create a formula for designing material media's usually one of the first things right, like, Alright, let's put together a PowerPoint, or let's pull together a video or a simulation or something. So what was your learning and evolving perspective about the role of media selection and kind of when that fits in the design process?

Dr. Rebecca Frost Cuevas:

Well, I think that's a really important point. Greg, I'm really glad you're making that point. And my experience with that goes back to you know, I was an instructional designer in the offline space, before I became an instructional designer in the online space. And I also designed to my offline presentations by putting the media last. In other words, first, I'd start with, you know, what's the goal? And who's the target audience? And what are the objectives? And are there standards, we have to, you know, be sure to, you know, include and so forth. And so figuring all that out, would come first, and then the media goes on that framework at the end. And that's even in a face to face context. The thing with online learning is that no, because when we see the online space as a space to deliver content via media, so people see the media first, and then when they go to design an online course, often the first thing they think of is let's make a video, or let's make a PowerPoint. In the course design formula. That's the last step or one of the last steps. Because if you Yeah, it might be that a video isn't the right, the right format for what you're going to teach. But you can't possibly know that until you go through the whole process of getting really clear on what's the learning goal. Defining the learning goal is always the first thing whether you're at the course level, module level, lesson level, or a learning object, specifically, you know, within the lesson, you always have to start with a learning goal, then determine the domain of learning for that, whatever it is you're delivering, then use. I advocate using Guyanese research as to how people best learn in that domain. And then you know, only once then clarify the content. And once you're clear on that, then use your content as the decision making tool for Okay, it for example, if your content is fashions of the 1920s, then perhaps, it seems that some kind of visual media would be the best way to deliver that. It's probably pictures or slides. Whereas if it's how to run fast, then probably, you would eventually want some kind of video showing people running fast, effectively, and so forth. If it's learn how to say, the days of the weekend, in French, it's most effective to have a native French speaker, using their voice to recite the names of the days of the week. So you want to start with that, you know, what's the content that you're delivering, and what's the specific medium that most effectively delivers that, and you have to get all the way down to the content level, pretty much at the learning object level, in order to make those decisions. And then there's other things that you and I have touched on. And in our conversations about the end, it's also in the book, the context. For example, maybe the best way for me to learn about fashions of the 1920s is by looking at pictures. But if my only time to to take the courses when I'm driving to work, it would be more helpful to have you described them to me, it that's not optimal for looking at them. But you know, it's better given that that's the only way I can access the course. Or if I can't see at all, obviously, that would be necessary for me to hear you describe. So you think of all those different considerations. And once you've got your course built with one set of media, you know, as you go back and refine, and revise and make it even better, adding other ways to access the same information can make it more available for more learners and more contexts as well.

Greg Williams:

Yeah, I think that is, that's a really good summary, an overview of the design formula. I mean, and I think throughout the book, you're, you're hitting on all of these points in different ways from different perspective. And I think that's a good summary. There's There's quite a bit in here also around feedback, learner feedback, which I really, really appreciate. Because I think you mentioned something, there's the assumption that we have a very dangerous assumption, we can't just say, oh, because someone sat through this or saw this information. They got it. And they're good to go, or that they liked it or anything like that. And so how do you think about getting learner feedback? You've mentioned prototyping, and tweaking things to ensure Yeah, this is something folks would pay for this something they have motivation to complete. And it's doing its job.

Dr. Rebecca Frost Cuevas:

Well, you know, I think there's feedback on different levels. I think within the actual course, I like to build a survey into every 90 to every lesson, because that could get annoying, but every module, and I, for me what I found effective. And of course, there's all different ways to do this. But I like Google Forms, because they allow the learner to get a copy of their feedback. There are other instruments that were available to me that didn't provide feedback to the learner. And I didn't, I didn't find that as helpful. So I use a multimedia lesson with a, you know, a form that will deliver a copy to the learner and a copy that I can see. And I asked, I start with asking, you know, general questions, like what worked for you What could be better? And then I go into specific questions relating to the content of whatever they just learned. And then at the end, I asked them, I asked them to give a rating. And what I discovered at first was, if if I if I just said, you know, can you rate it? how helpful was this to you on a scale of one to five? That wasn't helpful information for me? I didn't, I needed to add a question, which is, why did you provide that rating? So that told me if they liked it, and it worked for them why it worked? And if it wasn't optimal? What could be better? And then I always leave an open ended question at the end. that's optional. Is there anything else you'd like to share? So that, you know, my goal is to just really convey to learners that I really want to hear what they have to say. And that if there's anything that needs to be fixed or improved, I want to hear it. And as well as if there's anything that's that's working? Well, I'd like to hear that too. And I found that worked really well. You kind of want to train your learners to constantly get used to providing feedback. And also you have to be very clear about being receptive to the feedback, trying to you know, if people have suggestions for improvement that really are you realize, oh, that really should be better or different. Try to implement that as soon as possible. Or if you can't, and there's a reason for that explain why and come up with a workaround. So that gives learners the feedback that their feedback is, is making their learning experience better. And also making it better for other people in the future. So it becomes a kind of a virtual virtuous cycle. You know, it's, it's, if you've ever taken a survey where you feel kind of pushed into saying that everything is great that, you know, it's kind of like not real feedback, it's very hard in the beginning, when you first launch something, and there are going to be a lot of things that need to be improved, to get a lot of negative feedback. So I've got a couple ideas for that. One is to teach people upfront how to give feedback in a way that's, that's helpful. And I like the the sandwich technique from Toastmasters, where you start with, you know, something, they start with something that worked for them, then something that could be improved, and then end up with something else that that's also positive. I also am going to start sort of an institution that I'm calling a glitch hunt at the beginning, where I sort of reward people for finding things that that aren't optimal. And it's a kind of go ahead, make my day and find that bug. Because I think we you know, that's just part of the process of, you know, moving from a prototype to a finished product, finding the things that still need to be improved. At some point, you have to add real people. And so whoever your first, you know, learners are, are going that's going to be kind of part of their process is helping you find those things that make it better. So I want them to have buy in and feel that they're really contributing as they do that. And thank them for that.

Greg Williams:

That's awesome. And I know this isn't coming out on we're not recording this live. But the glitch on too good theme for Halloween referring to the on Halloween. That's awesome.

Dr. Rebecca Frost Cuevas:

And speaking of Halloween, and I have a video on Vimeo called Talking Heads harbor show. And it's really kind of fun. So if anybody wants to get in the spirit of the season,

Greg Williams:

talking heads, yes. I'll be sure to include that in the notes. Yeah, there's there's very few things as scary as a talking head for a couple hours, that's for sure. so fantastic. There's so much more we could and probably should go over our time is winding down. And so wanted to cap off with some of the final questions I like to ask all of our guests and the first being in your own work and learning. What's been some of the most impactful learning experiences for you? I'm curious if we can extrapolate from that something that might be helpful for for the listeners and the work that we do? Well, you

Dr. Rebecca Frost Cuevas:

know, I've been I was reflecting on that. And thinking about my very first student teaching experience I was I was very young and, and new to teaching and design this engaging hands on activity of making fruit salad with third graders. And it was all going fine up to the point that I discovered that third graders are are often revolted by their apple slice touching their banana slice. You know, they don't like that mixed up combination of fruits. So one thing that I learned from that is know your target audience. Another thing that I learned from that experience for other aspects of that experience was the importance of structuring, learning in advance by building in the guidelines, rules and expectations to promote a harmonious learning environment. But the biggest takeaway was that, you know, we're all going to have experiences that don't go the way we hoped the first time. And far is kind of along the lines of the glitch hump, but not applying to technology, but applying to teaching. Those are the things you're going to learn the most from, you know, there, there's, you know, the sort of theory, I think it's a business theory about failing fast and failing early and failing often, you know, be grateful for the things that don't work, because they lead you to the things that will work really well. And often the things that don't work are the ones that become your biggest strong points, your your greatest strengths as you go forward. So the other was just what I learned about cognitive load theory in translation, translating from offline learning to online learning. And that that was a huge takeaway for me. So and another thing I would say is germane cognitive load, you know, the level of engagement in the learning task. That is a really fascinating, because I am very interested in creating engaging learning. And so just sort of measuring that by whether it's through feedback through observation, you know, you want your learners engaged in active to the degree that they're going to learn what you're teaching them and remember it not so much that they remember they played a fun game, but don't remember any of the content. So that's an important point that I learned in various contexts as well.

Greg Williams:

Yeah, that's those are fantastic points and There's a lot more in the book about, about those different elements as it relates. And I'm glad you mentioned that your main point. Are there a particular learning product application or tool that you're exploring or excited about right now?

Dr. Rebecca Frost Cuevas:

Well, I love flipsnack, which is a tool, a platform for making interactive digital digital books. And I absolutely love it, because it allows, it allows you to present verbal information in a really dynamic and engaging way that follows best practices for presenting verbal information, which is allow the learner to control the pace. So rather than you know, presenting a video where they can't control the pace, unless they stop and start the video, which kind of doesn't really honor the medium a video, or a PowerPoint where you know, again, you are probably the one that's that's advancing the slides. With flip sack, they've got the experience of turning the pages of a book. And, and it has that book feeling to it. And it's also very interactive, you can you can put videos inside the pages, or you can also edit on the fly so that if you make a mistake, or change, say one thing in your PowerPoint, instead of having to go all the way back to your base PowerPoint, fix it there, make a new PDF and upload the PDF, you can just fix it right on the page in your final product. So and you can embed these digital books into, you know, using an HTML embed code, or you can link to them. I love the platform. And I think it's got great use for education. It's FL ip s n AC k flipsnack. Beautiful prior.

Greg Williams:

Yeah, I've never heard of that, I'll have to check that out.

Dr. Rebecca Frost Cuevas:

I have a free mini course that teaches you in less than an hour how to how to create a digital flipbook using using flipsnack as well.

Greg Williams:

Oh, nice. Very cool. I'm now writing a book I imagine doesn't leave a ton of time for for reading other books. But I could be wrong. Are you reading anything or learning more about anything in particular right now?

Dr. Rebecca Frost Cuevas:

Well, I just finished reading, leveraged learning by Danny Annie. And that is a really fascinating, big picture perspective on sort of the global state of education today. That is a really interesting book. And some other books I read a little while ago. One is I mentioned earlier, Don Norman's the design of everyday things, which will just for anyone who's passionate about design, and I assume all of us in this community are, it's it's not specific to learning design, it's everything design. But what I love in that book is that he says, if something doesn't work, right, you know, your stove knob or your door handle or something, it's normal for us to think, oh, what's wrong with me, I can't figure out how to turn on the stove. But actually, it's often that the item is designed poorly. So I love applying that to our responsibility as learning designers. You know, if if our learning is not designed in a way that optimizes learning, people feel bad about themselves as learners. And that's a lot worse than feeling like you don't know how to turn on the stove. So that I think that book has been very eye opening for me. And then another one is, it's got a group of authors. But the first one is Al Ramadan, and it's called play bigger. And it's about being a category King, which means and I would like to add, how about a category Queen, because a lot of us are women, you know, but the idea that if you're creating something that hasn't been seen before, you are creating a new category. And an example is, you know, Henry Ford, famously Having said that, if he'd asked people what they wanted, they would have told him they wanted faster horses, because they didn't have his vision of creating a different type of transport, transportation. So if you're in that space, where you're creating something new that's never been seen before, and a lot of the people that that I work with, that's what they are doing. You kind of have to educate people about what this new thing is that you're bringing in, as well as how to use it. So I really think those are important ideas for you know, this age that we're living in, where so many new types of products and services that that have never been heard of before are coming into play. And many of us are designing the instruction that helps people understand those and use them and, and benefit from them.

Greg Williams:

I think that's such an exciting point to be in this community at this time, I think is relevant to what we've talked about today is you know, there's things on the horizon, like 5g and technology and AI and machine learning and all these These things, but at the same time, we're still human beings with human brains. And so learning about the technology and what's possible, feel like it's absolutely critical, right and changing the game. But at the same time important to always remember the basics of just how people learn stuff. And how to think about that. I think that's one thing I love about what your book emphasizes is, yeah, we can, there's all sorts of crazy, cool technology. But at the end of the day, people's brains can only fit so much information at a certain time, you can only practice a certain amount of stuff, we have those constraints that Norman talks about.

Dr. Rebecca Frost Cuevas:

Absolutely. And, you know, I always say like, the two things one is that the end product of an online course is not PDFs, and videos are the end product of an online courses learning. So the PDFs, and the videos and the technology are there to deliver learning to your learners brain. And, and we as learning designers, you know, we have that I think we're blessed and privileged to have that skill set of understanding how to make that happen. To me, it's, I think it's the best profession in the world, of course, I think so. But I'm so excited that we're all engaged in this endeavor. And the other thing I wanted to mention is that we should always design for the constraints of human intelligence, not the affordances of artificial intelligence. But you know, artificial intelligence and technology are wonderful servants to help us achieve our goals, but we cannot let them be in control of the process, we, the end result has to be human learning. And, you know, always keep that in mind.

Greg Williams:

It's so tricky. It's so easy to say, oh, here's this new tool, it's our Savior, it's going to, you know, solve everything. But yeah, at the heart of Human Centered Design is a human and, and it's really well put, I like that concept of weaving. The constraints for the human is really, we got to make sure we understand that. Fantastic. Thank you so much for your time, Rebecca, this has been a really great conversation.

Dr. Rebecca Frost Cuevas:

Oh, Greg, thank you for including me and your wonderful reading of my book and sharing with with you know, your audience. And I just want to say how honored I am to be here and how much I've enjoyed this conversation. And I look forward to continuing the dialogue.

Greg Williams:

Definitely, and I've got the links in materials where you can learn more about this upcoming book. And there's some other resources as well. So include those in in the description for this particular episode. And you can go ahead and subscribe for more episodes, we're having these conversations all about learning and leadership. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a review. And in the spirit of what we talked about earlier, if you didn't leave a review, anyway, and let me know so we can improve it. Also, go ahead and share it with a fellow learning friend. And with that, that is all for today, folks, I appreciate your time and look forward to some more conversations in the future. Until then, don't stop learning