For years I've been compiling research from preeminent refereed journals that shows, time and time again, that aligning the learning and on-the-job performance context is key in supporting long-term remembering.
Now, I continue by focusing on cultural and linguistic context.
Here are the major recommendations:
- Utilize decision-making scenarios. Consider using them not just in a minor role—for example at the end of a section—but integrated into the main narrative of your learning design.
- Figure out what the salient cues will be in the workplace situations that your learners will face in utilizing the content you are conveying. As much as possible, simulate those cues in your decision scenarios. Consider using multimedia to augment this effect, relying on excellent acting, directing, and set design to enable the context effects that will trigger remembering.
- In simulating workplace cues, consider the range of cues that your learners will pay attention to in their work, including background objects, people and their facial expressions, language cues, and cultural referents.
- Determine the most important points you want to get across AND the most important situations in which these points are critical. Then, provide extra repetitions spaced over time on these key points and situations.
- Utilize culturally-appropriate objects, backgrounds, actors, and narrators in creating your scenarios. Consider not just ethnicity, but the many aspects of culture, including such things as socio-economics, education, international experience, immersion in popular culture, age, etc.
- Pilot test new designs using valid evaluation methods to determine the most effective designs for your learners, your workplace situations, and your learning points.