Instructional Design For Marketing

Your sales team is much bigger than you think.

Much, much bigger.

Every single customer that purchases your product, learns how to use it, and correctly applies it to their particular situation, is now a brand advocate. Free of charge, from this point forward. The customer that understands your product—how it works, what particular benefits it creates, and the kind of buyer it’s for—will continue to share their experience with your product.

Of course, that’s only true if you attract the right customer (the one who can profit from your product) and if they leave the buying experience with the knowledge required to use that product correctly.

That’s why it’s critical that you and your entire team are skilled at imparting knowledge about the nature of your business to each and every one of your customers every chance you get.

The Brain-centric Design team excels at wrapping your product into a message that answers one particular question: “Why?” We know your customer needs to leave the interaction knowing why they are going to choose your company over something else.

Would the company be able to achieve this, if they’ve become modest about what they’re doing and decided not to inform their customers? Chances are, no. This is one way of making knowledge work for you.

We understand the power of answering why. Subway is arguably the pioneer of fast food sandwiches. When their first West Coast shop opened in Fresno in 1978, Subway dominated the sandwich market. However, as fast food gained in popularity, the team had to create a marketing solution that would elevate Subway above fast food giants like McDonald’s and Burger King.

Enter Jared Fogle to the scene. He claimed to have lost 200 pounds by eating subway sandwiches. The why? Subway will help you lose weight. Subway attributes between one-third and one-half of its growth from 1998 to 2011 to the campaign.

Would the company have achieved this if they decided not to inform their customers? Chances are, no.

This is one way of making knowledge work for you.

The Brain-centric Design team specializes in social psychology and adult learning techniques. So do our on-staff trained instructional designers. We are excited to develop your marketing campaign into a learning experience that underlines your customers’ reasons for coming back.

There are many benefits to helping your buyer get to know your why. Not only will they learn more about the role your company, services, and goods play, but they will also see you as a person who is eager to help them achieve their goals. Acts like these are what place your company above the rest.

What Is BcD? Results In 43% Less Time

Our case studies show that Brain-centric Design delivers results in 43% less time.

Industry leaders in high-stakes engineering (such as aerospace and auto), international banking organizations, large-scale medical and health facilities, global retail and manufacturing icons, K‒12 schools, and even mom-and-pop shops see a huge benefit from this methodology. We’ve even used BcD with a large manufacturer to help highly specialized and trained engineers completely relearn their jobs within months. After working with us and using BcD, both trainees and trainers end up liking their positions more.

We’ve gone into call centers and reduced attrition to zero within the first 12 months. That’s because when we present, learners retain the information. With BcD, nothing is forgotten, because learners are invited to think critically about their position, enabled to transform from a routine expert to an adaptive expert, engaged to adopt a growth mindset, and helped to understand enough to know where to find the answers they need.

BcD facilitators and Brain-centric Instructional Designers (BcIDs) have helped trainers take new hires who were just starting to meet their target performance goals in 18 months and reduced that to 12 days. That isn’t a typo. But the best news for the corporate execs who have contracted BcD teams is their improved bottom line, which often begins with BcD “self-funding” engagements—the savings in budgeted time pays for the corrective action to cognitive training. We’ve found the time spent learning and applying BcD pays for itself many times over.

The BcD method produces astounding results because it is the culmination of decades of peer-reviewed research in the areas of cognition and psychology, and aligns learning with how the human brain works and how people learn. It bridges the gap between education and neuroscience to provide a plan that works for every single learner, every single time.

These results aren’t surprising…at least not to us. Many corporations employ training that is too long, inefficient, and only partially successful. On the ground, that translates into preventable mistakes, a large number of retakes, time lost being unproductive, and high attrition rates. All these items are excruciatingly expensive, so it is no wonder that training and development departments have a bad rep.

In retrospect, it’s easy to predict that using a model of teaching that delivers information the way the brain likes to receive it would produce results. That’s because this isn’t guesswork. It’s not based on anecdotal evidence or a gut feeling.

It’s not clever…it’s science.

Chunking: Homeschooling’s Secret Weapon

Homeschoolers Are Chunkers

Education has been using the same model for far too long. It looks something like this: schedule the whole day, section it into hours, section hours into classes, fill an hour with a class, and repeat.

The problem? For lots of reasons, that old model doesn’t work so well.
To better understand why, take a look at homeschooling. Alternate models of education continue to turn out a higher-performing student even when actual “learning time” is dramatically reduced from the public school model.

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) commissioned a study drawing data for the 2007-2008 school year from multiple standardized testing services. Once again, the national average percentile scores were higher in all subject areas by at least 34 percentile points, and as high as 39 percentile points. Factors such as parental college degrees, how much parents spent on education, level of state regulation, and sex of the students made little difference in the range of scores in all areas among the homeschooled children.

This trend continues in a 2015 study, which begs the question:

How are homeschoolers so dang good at teaching?

While there are various arguments on why homeschooled students outperform their peers, from personal experience, I can attest that parents who homeschool (whether they know it or not) practice the art of “chunking.”

What Is Chunking?

Educational chunking is the process by which individual pieces of information are bound together into a meaningful whole. In other words, it’s the savvy of taking a large piece of information and breaking it down to palatable portions for the student.

Chunking isn’t a new idea. George A. Miller’s famous 1956 paper, “The Magical Number Seven, Plus Or Minus Two: Some Limits on our Capacity for Processing Information,” estimated the limit on our working memory. In that same paper, he outlined a solution, which he called chunking.

Chunking is the simple art of breaking a big item into several smaller items to increase retention.

Educational chunking requires carefully examining the manner in which students will experience new content. If you were looking for loftier words with intricate meanings, you won’t get it here. With chunking, no words are wasted.

Chunking is used in motor learning, memory training systems, expertise and skilled memory effects, short-term memory, and long-term memory structures.

The Folly Of Traditional Methods

Outdated methods of teaching continue to be put into use, even in forward-thinking industries. If you were to look at all the news that surrounds Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) you’d see an industry struggling to take advantage of available, neuro-aligned methods.

The issue at hand is not MOOCs per se, but more the manner in which they approach teaching. Far too often, “streaming lectures” are called online education.
The problem is that streaming a lecture doesn’t deliver any better retention than sitting in the classroom. Again and again, studies show that sitting in a lecture for 50 minutes, scribbling down some notes, and circling back next week with a brief review IS NOT the best way to learn.

Why We Chunk

I could point at nearly anybody, anywhere, and find them with their face firmly planted in the screen of their mobile device. Have you ever wondered how long each of them stays focused on one thing while interacting with that screen?
The answer is 8…SECONDS!

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, research from January of 2014 says the average attention span is 8 seconds. In Bull Riding that makes you money. In education that causes ulcers.

Jokes aside, our short attention spans could be getting shorter. Fascinatingly, research from Microsoft Corp. suggests this is an adaptation to a mobile internet. With so many distractions vying for our attention, it’s tricky to focus on one task without interruption for too long.

Amusingly, the average attention span of a goldfish (from the same study) is 9 seconds. A goldfish has a better attention span than you do.

Chunking In Your Business

The good news is that anyone can learn how to chunk information. The next time you’re scheduled to present information, gather your materials in advance. Try to review them as if you were learning the content for the first time.  Then, take a pair of scissors and chop of your materials so you can rearrange the content. Pair similar content and ideas together.

When it comes to chunking, less is more. You may find that you have to save some material for next time.

To figure out what to teach, ask yourself, “If my leaves with one single bit of information, what should it be?” Make that item your focus and align the rest of your content around it.

The most obvious benefit of chunking is that a laundry list of ideas becomes just a few categories.

The less obvious benefit is that when one of those topics is brought up, it activates a larger neural pathway in the learner’s brain. That’s important because the more connections, the greater the power of cognitive processing. Another benefit of chunking is that it enables an educator to convey information in a shorter amount of time.

This simple process will help you better understand how to bring deep understanding to your organization.

Growth Mindset Training

Ever forward-facing organizations want nothing to do with an outdated learning system that hasn’t changed since the time of Aristotle. Isn’t it strange that the way we teach hasn’t evolved along with our society?

We are at a bizarre time in the twenty-first century where technology has given us easy access to information, yet we aren’t learning any faster. We are constantly bombarded by information but starved for wisdom.

Why Think About Mindset? 

As a business, our most valuable players are adaptive experts, cognitive thinkers, and those with growth mindsets. These are the team members that think outside the box. They bring something new to the table.

They are not satisfied in their Industrial two-dimensional schooling (and neither are you). This schooling is black and white. It is right-wrong up-down, supply-demand, and by the book.

The result in your top team members?
Boredom, frustration, fear, stress, and stagnation.

Organizational leaders, you do not want to box in your best people.

The New Way

In the 1990s, new ideas and applications of new neural teaching methodologies were anticipated by many to contribute to meaningful inroads into learning for K-12. Surprisingly, it is in the world of corporate training that manifested the biggest gains.
Grounded in Pasteur’s Quadrant, the theoretical and practical implications of a multiplicity of breakthrough insights have delivered practices and processes that when used by organizations, dramatically decrease attrition, substantially increase retention, and according to our case studies, make the learner and the trainer enjoy the process more.

One integral step in neuro-aligned teaching methods is a change in mindset.

Change Your Mindset

A growth mindset is underlying belief people have about learning and intelligence. When students believe they can get smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. Changing one’s belief from a fixed to growth mindset leads to increased motivation and achievement.

As a leader, you are uniquely positioned to shape the mind of your team.
Researcher Aneeta Rattan and her colleagues asked math teachers to describe what they would say to encourage a student who had failed their first math test of the year. They found that the adults in a fixed mindset would usually say something like, “It’s okay, not everyone is good at math.” Teachers using a growth mindset approach would respond, “Try harder!” and then give the student practical advice so they could do better in the future.

Imagine what might happen if you applied this kind of thinking in your own organization? What if you focus on what your employees understand, instead of reprimanding them based on what they don’t?

Data from the Kahn Academy experiment indicate that all children can earn an A. Some do it immediately, some take a little time, and others take a little more time. But we do not punish them based on the snapshot of a particular day. Many studies have shown that students who entered the classroom as low achievers and were taught by an instructor with a fixed mindset ended up showing little improvement throughout the year. This is referred to as the Pygmalion Effect, and it basically confirms what the teacher believes the child will achieve, as if in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

This work has big implications within an organization.

BcD And You

Brain-centric Design™ (BcD) is the emergent catalyst in this world of task-based learning, application, and output. BcD™ translates neuro- discoveries into practical teaching systems that deliver powerful improvements in the workplace so that all individuals reach their potential. Participants immediately understand how to think about their thinking, regulate a lifetime of mental conditioning, and most importantly, do so effortlessly while sharing this method with others to achieve deep understanding.

Mental models and thinking systems that are unencumbered by regime, time, or bottom line, have liberated workers into a place of creative ignition. With BcD, output increased, sense of self and purpose improved, and above all, people engaged in the content in way that was driven by intrinsic motivation.

Mindset Metrics

BcD results are always significant and often breathtaking. We define paradigmatic shifts on three mental planes at once: 

(i)      Conceptual     (from Behaviorist to Cognitivist)
(ii)     Mindset           (from Fixed to Growth)
(iii)    Expertise         (from Routine to Adaptive)

The goal is twofold: 

(i)    Eliminate labeling and stratification in workplace practices
(ii)    Increase individual capacity in the field where neuroscience informs practices & processes. 

Brain-centric Design training enables individuals to connect to their world of four-dimensional expression.  Like many new concepts, BcD is simpler in the rearview mirror. 

  • A deep and contextual understanding of Neural Plasticity eliminates stratification and negative stereotyping of implicit bias. 
  • A comprehensive understanding of Adaptive Expertise eliminates labeling and ignites individuals to find their best selves, every time.
  • A meaningful application of knowledge about Growth Mindset illuminates every workplace setting, drives competency with intentionality, and delivers engaged and contented employees. 

It might be rocket science, but it’s definitely neuroscience.  

Growth Mindset enabled by Brain-centric Design™

To App, Or Not To App? That Is Today’s Question

In the context of learning and development, training, and other business settings, learning apps are sexy. They’re interactive and fun to use. They grab data and spit out metrics. They claim to offer easy solutions to big problems.

Apps in the workplace are tools to access a curated body of information aligning with a singular objective and agenda. For example, a sales app would not deliver the world’s knowledge of sales. Instead, it would provide a perspective from its creators for you to emulate. These would include select behaviors, situations, phrases, and tactics all assembled for you to try on your own.

Apps have their place—no argument—but for learning and development, they fall short. Apps are not the panacea for deep understanding! On the contrary, they are poor crutches for thinking and decision-making. In part, that’s because Artificial Intelligence (AI) is by definition…artificial. Apps can’t problem-solve or improvise to better suit the learner!

What can, you ask? The human brain!

Along with my colleague, Dr. Kieran O’Mahony[1], I had the immense pleasure last week to present at a tier one innovative company in Beaverton, Oregon.  For more than eight years, I’ve had the great fortune of collaborating with these creative people. As the first company to embrace Brain-centric Design™ on a global scale, they were successful at optimizing metrics that enabled them to monetize learning for both efficiency of instruction and increased consumer satisfaction.

This collaborative engagement showcases what’s happening in spaces where innovation is not based on an app.

Here, and elsewhere in our business travels, the application that we see growing each day in importance and prominence is not in the tech space.

It’s in the brain.

While many companies, and management within those companies, hear the siren’s song in a phone-based App, innovative companies are turning to the one App we all have. The focus is on its user-interface and how it can best be optimized for learning & development.

While many companies (and management within those companies) hear the siren’s song in a phone-based app, innovative companies are instead turning to the one app we all have. The focus? Its user-interface, or how we can optimize the brain for learning and development.

It is no surprise to neuroscientists that apps (which tend to be single user, single screen, distracted mind) rarely result in learning with deep understanding.

Learning with deep understanding is not a mystery. It simply requires a human interaction—one human speaking to other humans, collaborating and co-creating in a safe learning space.

As the geneticist and sociobiologist E. O. Wilson is quick to point out, today’s workers are inundated with information, but starved for wisdom.[2] The solution is within reach, as every organization has the capacity to ignite individual contributors, generators of ideas and implementers of meaningful practices.

Teach For Deep Understanding

Sounds easy enough until you realize that presenting information and having learners interact with that information is not enough to create deep understanding.

We’ve never really been taught a method where we’re allowed to think about our thinking in a cognitive way. This metacognitive stance is the essence of truly knowing a subject.

We were brought up in a school system that is two-dimensional—right answers or wrong answers, sit and listen, be passive intake units. The most common result for instructional designers and trainers was a regurgitation of that behaviorist approach (what we call the sage on the stage syndrome). Ergo, most presenters deliver new information to their learners in this way.

Be it an app, meeting, lecture, proposal, or presentation we often teach to deer in the headlights. We then evaluate based on whatever amount of information the audience was able to retain and them stratify them accordingly. If the attendees can remember even half of the information provided, we congratulate ourselves on a job well done. Especially if we were witty enough to add a game, append the word ‘Micro,’ defend our use of the color palette, add video and graphics, and a host of other buzzwords. All that flowery stuff is meant to do what? Emulate what the brain does naturally: think critically using our prefrontal cortex.

“Neuro is finally upon us,” cognitive learning neuroscientist Dr. Kieran O’Mahony stated. “Companies who place their trust in Applications and erstwhile behaviorist learning models are just moving deck chairs on the Titanic.” His audience of global learning leaders were captivated during a recent learning and development summit. “Remembering facts is not learning, it is memorization. Critical thinking, assessing situations, making decisions, and synthesizing big ideas—these cognitive skills are uppermost in the executive function of the prefrontal cortex. We all have this capacity, but sadly we too often suffer from EFI (Executive Function Impairment).”

As Dr. O’Mahony points out, cognitive learning, or learning that is constituent with how the brain works and how people learn is the new direction of training and education. It’s the buzz in the hallowed hallways of truly innovative companies. There is a reason Google’s DeepMind emulates the brain’s ability to make new neural connections.

That’s the very definition of learning.

[1] Dr. O’Mahony is a learning scientist in cognitive neurosciences from the University of Washington College of Education and National Science Foundation first Science of Learning center – LIFE (Learning in Informal and Formal Environments).

[2] American biologist, researcher, theorist, naturalist and author, E. O. Wilson is quoted from his work: Darwin’s natural heir. London, 2001

Gartner Heralds The Education Engine

In a digital ecosystem, enterprises, competitors, customers, regulators and other stakeholders form a mutually beneficial, interdependent business network that shares standardized digital platforms.  Gartner, Inc. recently spotlighted The Education Engine and implored global CIOs to learn more about what digital ecosystems are and how they can be used.

Carr Knowledge Interactive Marketing and The Education Engine have partnered to create an ecosystem that generates new sources of revenue based on the disruption of the traditional business learning, development, and compliance model. The traditional model involves renting halls, travel, lodging, time off for learners, payment of trainers, expense accounts and numerous other inefficiencies that create exorbitant cost. The traditional model also yields intangible results (understanding or comprehension) with little accountability.

The new ecosystem supports internal and external educators, presenters, lecturers, and trainers, and it introduces more accountability in the personal development and compliance needs of employees through IT Support, measurement, reporting, and neuroscience. CEO Rich Carr explains: “Business now realizes it’s possible to merge partners, drastically reduce cost and waste, and deliver learning measured with real understanding. Learners can engage content interactively from any device, on any platform. Stakeholders receive real-time measurements of comprehension at the user, facility, geography and global levels for less than the cost of a holiday coffee per user per year. Partners participate with and are measured by others in the ecosystem. The ecosystem creates more opportunities for them.”

Virtual Reality Training Has Arrived

Have you ever witnessed learners signing up for a lecture again and again and again, just because they love the information so so much? It’s possible. Have you ever heard them say that they retained 100% of the information over the next few months?

The above never happened. The below does every day.

Enter Aninoob, Instant Virtual Reality Software.

Aninoob is the brainchild nurtured by the mind of polymath genius/developer/musician Michael J. Prosser. The motivation behind Aninoob exploded from the sparks of an Englishman-come-Canadian Red Sash Chef who suddenly developed an extreme allergy to seafood that forced him out of the kitchen. He channeled that creative energy into a computer science degree that resulted in endless nights of hardcore gaming. In his spare time, he recorded several musical releases on iTunes that gained the attention of Robin Trower and Yngwie Malmsteen. His passions combined into the creation of a digital ecosystem learning management system that is globally acclaimed.

“Aninoob takes what we know as the modern web page and converts it to a 3D space putting you into the page in the first person,” said Prosser from his idyllic island studio in the wild of Canada’s Vancouver Island. “Interactions are easily added by anyone with a wide range predefined functions as well as the ability to extend the system by using the ANINOOB Javascript API.”

So, what is Instant Virtual Reality Software? According to Prosser, “The ability to broadcast a 3D relative to each eye from a single broadcast model with the click of a button and Screen Recording the VR will give you instant VR Video.”

Real world and virtual situations in online learning are nearly 100% immersive (lacking only the sense of smell). In a savvy virtual reality learning module, an attentive facilitator could add the olfactory and virtually (as in really) in an experience that is reality. Virtually.

“Yes!” said Kieran O’Mahony, PhD., FRGS when asked the question “Can VR benefit learning?” “AR and VR are the future of learning. Embodied action, realistic visualization, and immersive conceptualization all help with attention, executive function, and dopamine.”

O’Mahony’s research in adult learning, millennial behavior, and workplace learning, paired with his work on the pedagogical framework known as ‘Brain-centric Design is igniting Fortune 100 learning and development initiatives. It brings “brain” to the forefront of deep understanding in the workplace.

Added Prosser, “Aninoob is a 3D authoring environment with a built-in editor that gives you control over every aspect of the virtual space. All aspects are user interfaced making the VR builder ‘Noob friendly.’ Aninoob is also extensible using the Javascript API should you require functionality that is not already built into the system.”

To the layman, that means an online VR experience is in your future.

The classroom is now defined as whatever is front of a user, whether it’s a screen, object, or person. Virtual reality, in the right quantity and at the right time, is online learning at its most engaged opportunity.