Instructional Designers vs. Scientists, A Challenge for You!

Who is better at crafting an instructional message about science, scientists or instructional designers?

I say we instructional designers SHOULD be able to do a better job, so I'm encouraging YOU, my colleagues, to give Alan Alda's Flame Challenge a try.

Here's Alda's challenge:

"We’re asking scientists to answer the question – “What is a flame?” – in a way that an 11-year-old would find intelligible and maybe even fun."

You can read the full challenge by clicking here.

The deadline is April 2nd, so you better get moving!!

To see what you're up against, consider the content, which you can find, for example, on Wikipedia, under the entry for flame.

Some thoughts on how to be successful:

  1. Consider pairing with an actual scientist (it's not really us against the SME's!)
  2. Use adult learning principles, but not in the stupid, static, uncreative way most of us use them on adults, which is pretty ineffective for adults too. SMILE.
  3. Realize that if you really want to win, you may actually have to craft your piece in a way that won't really do all the things that we'd like to do as instructional designers. For example, where we know extra spaced practice would be good, those who judge the contest may not understand all that.
  4. Utilize multimedia and visually beautiful images.
  5. Utilize language that, like a flame, (a) illuminates, (b) produces emotional heat, (c) and mesmerizes attention.

Good Luck Instructional-Design Team!!