Part 1: Reflect on the Method of Loci in your blog. What worked? What didn’t? How could you use such a cognitive activity, mental or visible to users, to improve the acquisition of knowledge in your designs? Write a blog entry on this.
This exercise reminded me of a book I read last summer, Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer. In the book the author, after interviewing U.S. memory championship contestants, decides to try to improve his own memory and ultimately ends up competing. To train his memory, he used the method of loci to help him remember chunks and chunks of information. He ended up winning the U.S. championship the year he competed.
Unfortunately, I was not so successful with my venture. Not only did I have trouble coming up with bizarre and outrageous visualizations that accurately represented the topics but also I encountered difficulties recalling the information with the visualization that I used. I could remember bits and pieces but not the entire thing. Sometimes I could only remember the image but not what it represented, such as cookie monster with a teacup wearing a bling necklace dribbling a basketball. Obviously, my visualization was effective but I did not encode the translation well enough. When it comes to remembering Wilson’s (1998) view of Situated Instructional Design, I wonder if rote memorization would not work better.
I do see the benefit of this activity though. When it comes to memorizing concepts, this could be a useful exercise to try out with students. I could see using the method of loci when it comes to learning body parts, state capitals, and vocabulary words. I also think students would enjoy creating elaborate visualizations. Method of loci is definitely more fun than rote drill-and-practice exercises and it is an innovative method to involve students in learning material. Who knows once introduced to this concept perhaps they will employ it in other classes or instances?
Part 2: Reflect on the implementation and evaluation: What changes will you make before implementation? Why? What did you ignore in the client’s feedback? Why? What did you ignore in your peer’s feedback? Why?
Before implementing the revised Buddy-Up checklist, I made multiple changes to the job aid but I did not really change much on the actual Buddy-Up checklist. I hope to see how the current version functions in a real-life scenario, as opposed to in my head, and then assess what worked, what did not, and progress from there. I am looking forward to seeing the revised checklist in action and hope that it makes the training more efficient which should decrease the amount of time it takes to conduct. In addition, I really want the student assistants and library staff that participate to enjoy the way it looks as the overall look to document is very different.
Regarding my client’s feedback, I think that I used all of his suggestions and ideas. He had some really good thoughts and feedback that made sense, such as organizing the individual Buddy-Up checklist questions inside of their grouping based on type of question. If we did not completely see eye-to-eye on certain things, we discussed it and came to a middle ground. One example would be the addition of the question pertaining to using the projector in our multimedia studio. I wanted the question added to the document. When I broached the topic with him and explained my rationale (that our student assistants do not know how to do this and always ask a staff member), he agreed that it is a skill that the student assistants should be able to handle on their own.
Regarding my peer’s feedback, she really helped me refine my job aid. She encouraged me to create a table of contents to help organize my document and assist users in finding sections. She looked at it with an expertise and view that I do not have. My first version compared to the final version is a world of difference! The only suggestion that I ignored in her feedback was to modify an email excerpt. She wanted to place some information in a table. Since it was taken directly from an email that our library manager sends out to staff, I felt it was better to leave the format as is so that it mimics what staff can expect to see in future versions.
This whole experience has definitely opened my eyes to all the work that goes into instructional design. It is a lot of planning and analysis with some design and development added in followed by more analysis and revision. Due to all of the great feedback I received, I truly believe that the job aid and the revised Buddy-Up checklist are both useable and helpful for library staff.
Foer, J. (n. d.) Moonwalking with Einstein. Joshua Foer [Website]. Retrieved from http://joshuafoer.com/moonwalking-with-einstein/