Training (whether traditional, e-learning, or blended learning) is intimately connected and dependent on the human cognitive system. Learning means that the cognitive system acquires information and stores it for future use. If these processes do not occur properly, then the learners will not initially acquire the information, and even if they do, then they will not be able to recall it later, or/and the information will not be utilised and behaviour modified.
It does not matter if the objective is learning new information (e.g., compliance regulations, product specifications, patient safety, etc.), acquiring new skills (e.g., operating new apparatus, customer service, time management, etc.), or knowledge sharing and transfer within or across organisations, the processes of acquiring, storing and applying the information are critical. The question is how do you achieve these cornerstones of learning? The answer is clear: The learning must fit human cognition. See specific details in scientific peer-reviewed articles, below).
For learning to be successful it must conform to the architecture of the mind. For example, this means training must take into account constraints on information processing capacity. Information during learning, need not be reduced to fit the limits of the cognitive system, rather the information must be conveyed in ways in which the system can easily acquire and store it. This can be accomplished by using the correct mental representations and engaging the cognitive system on its own terms. Doing so will not only enable quick and efficient acquisition, but the knowledge gained will be better remembered and will have an impact on behaviour.
There is a lot of research that we and others have done on these issues (see some of it below). The difficult and tricky challenge is how to translate this theoretical and academic research into practical ways to enhance learning. At Cognitive Consultants International (CCI) we are especially interested and have experience in doing just that: Bridging basic research about learning into ways that make learning efficient and effective; by doing so, we are able to create learning programs that can achieve much more learning without increasing investment. For more details, please contact us.
Dr. Dror and others at CCI have received a number of awards in recognition of our achievements in technology enhanced learning. CCI has been awarded research grants and projects (in excess of £1,500,000) to further investigate how to utilise and optimise learning technologies (these grants include an ESRC-EPSRC award on Merging Technology and Cognition, a US Air Force Research grant on skill and knowledge acquisition, and on using interactive videos; see list of projects). Dr Itiel Dror is a member of the Task Force on Lifelong Learning at Work and at Home of the Association for Psychological Science (APS), and has given numerous Keynote Presentations.
CCI offers a host of solutions, research, workshops and consultancy services relating to training. Our research projects include Training Needs Analysis (TNA) and suggesting training solutions and technologies, examining specific training modules and methods where we conduct cognitive analysis and provide cost effective ways for improvement, and field data collection where we quantify the actual benefit of the training and recommend how to further enhance it. We also design, develop and deliver a variety of learning solutions, such as interactive videos (see examples). Our workshops are tailored to the specific needs of our customers; many of our workshops provide cognitive insights into different aspects of training, such as knowledge acquisition, memory and modification of behaviour, use of technology enhanced learning, and how to create efficient and long lasting mental representations (see example). Our past and current clients include Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC), National Centre for Applied Learning Technology (NCALT), LAPD, NYPD, Army Foundation College (AFC), Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), Learn Direct, Ministry of Defense (MoD), and Prudential (see list of clients and projects).
For information or enquiries, please e-mail: info@CognitiveConsultantsInternational.com
For an overview of some of these issues, see the article Technology Enhanced Learning: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, or the article A Cognitive Perspective on Technology Enhanced Learning: Great Opportunities, Pitfalls and Challenges, or have a look at a short video on this topic.
For a specific example of how we use our understanding of human cognitive processes to design more effective and efficient learning, see the article Helping the Cognitive System Learn: Exaggerating Distinctiveness and Uniqueness, or the article A novel approach to minimize error in the medical domain: Cognitive neuroscientific insights into training.
See specific issues relating to Medical Healthcare and Decison Making.
Also we have available some illustrations of specific interactive learning technology.
New book: Technology Enhanced Learning and Cognition (2011)
Further publications and presentations on these issues (to receive copies, please write to Dr Itiel Dror Itiel@CognitiveConsultantsInternational.com):
Dror, I. E. (ed.) (2011). Technology Enhanced Learning and Cognition. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
Dror, I. E. (2011). A novel approach to minimize error in the medical domain: Cognitive neuroscientific insights into training. Medical Teacher, 33 (1), 34-38.
Cherrett, T., Wills, G., Price, J., Maynard,S ., & Dror, I.E. (2009). Making Training More Cognitively Effective: Making Videos Interactive. British Journal of Educational Technology, 40 (6), 1124-1134.
Dror, I. E. (2011). Patient care and training: Minimizing errors in medical care that result in patient harm, Medical Teacher, 33 (5), 426-427.
Dror, I.E. (2009). Using cognitive technology to enhance learing. International Conference on Computer Supported Education. Lisbon, Portugal.
Dror, I. E, Makany, T., & Kemp, J. (2011). Overcoming learning barriers through knowledge management. Dyslexia, 17, 38-47.
Dror, I.E. (2008). Fitting learning to human cognition. National Conference of Applied Learning Technologies. Coventry, UK.
Dror, I. E., Schmidt, P., and O'Connor, L. (2011). A Cognitive Perspective on Technology Enhanced Learning in Medical Training: Great Opportunities, Pitfalls and Challenges. Medical Teacher, 33 (4), 291-296.
Smith, W., Dror, I. E., & Mander, H. (2003). The effect of training specificity on performance in novel and related tasks. XX BPS Annual Cognitive Conference.
Dror, I.E. (2011). Brain friendly technology: What is it? And why do we need it? In Technology Enhanced Learning and Cognition. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
Dror, I. E., Langer, E.J., Houlette, M., & Ashworth, R.S.( 2001). Training and tasks demands that restrict and enhance performance. Psychonomic Abstracts, 6, 85.
Dror, I.E. (2008). Defence training in mirror of new technologies. Training Symposium of DCTS (Defence Centre Training Support). Buckinghamshire, UK.
Price, J., Wills, G., Dror, I. E., Cherrett, T. and Maynard, S. (2008). Risk assessment education: Utilizing interactive video for teaching health and safety. The 8th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning. Santander, Spain.
Dror, I.E. (2007). Exploiting the opportunities and avoiding the pitfalls of games technology: The cognitive perspective. Using games technology and methodology to improve training & education - the opportunities and the issues, ETSA (European Training and Simulation Association) symposium. London
Ashworth, A.R.S., & Dror, I. E. (2001). Object Identification as a Function of Discriminability and Learning Presentations: The Effect of Stimulus Similarity and Canonical Frame Alignment on Aircraft Identification. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 6 (2), 148-157.
Dror, I. E. (2007). Perception and bias in risk judgments. Metropolitan Police Seminar on Bringing Science to the Streets. London
Gates,J., Cherrett, T., Wills, G., Price,J., Dror, I. E., John, J. (2009). Making training videos interactive and adaptive. International Laser Safety Conference (ILSC). Reno, Nevada, USA
Dror, I.E. (2008). Technology’s role in learning: Possibilities and pitfalls. Rethinking the digital divide, the 15th International Conference of the Association for Learning Technology. Leeds University, Leeds.
Dror, I.E. (2011). The paradox of human expertise: Why experts get it wrong. In N. Kapur (Ed.) The Paradoxical Brain (pp. 177-188). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Dror, I.E. (2008). Designing e-learning? Don't leave your brain at home! Learning Technologies conference. London.
Engelbrecht, P. & Dror, I. E. (2009). How psychology and cognition can inform the creation of ontologies in semantic technologies. In, Information Modelling and Knowledge Bases (pp 340-347). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: IOS Press.
Makany, T., Kemp, J., & Dror, I. E. (2009). Optimising the use of note-taking as an external cognitive aid for increasing learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 40 (4), 619-635.
Dror, I. E. (2008). Technology enhanced learning: The good, the bad, and the ugly. Pragmatics & Cognition, 16 (2), 215-223.
Dror, I. E., Ashworth, R. S., Schreiner, C.S., Robbins, R.D., & Snooks, S. F. (1997). The primacy effect on identification: Initial presentations during training establish long lasting representations. Psychonomic Abstracts, 2, 628. Philadelphia, PA.
Dror, I. E. (1996). Cognitive plasticity and its implications and applications to teaching. Lilly Conferences on College Teaching (West). UCLA Conference center, CA.
Cherrett, T.,Maynard, S., Wills, G., Price, J., and Dror, I. E. (2008). Utilising Interactive Video for Teaching Health and Safely. European Information Systems (EUNIS) 14th congress on Visions for use of IT. Aarhus, Denmark.
Dror, I.E. (2007). What do the brain and e-learning have to do with one another? The E-learning Network Annual Meeting. London.
Engelbrecht, P.C., Makany, T., Meadmore, K., Dudley, R. & Dror, I.E. (2007). It is not worth learning if it is not remembered: designing e-learning to increase memory. INTED 2007. Valencia, Spain.
Dror, I. E., Stevenage, S. V., & Ashworth, A. (2008). Helping the cognitive system learn: Exaggerating distinctiveness and uniqueness. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 22 (4), 573-584.
Dror, I. E. & Young, M. J. (1996). Flexible computations underlying cognitive plasticity: Computational modification for learning to read mirror-reversed letters. Flexible Computation in Intelligent Systems, Fall Symposium, American Association of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). (pp. 33-37). MIT, Cambridge, MA.
Dror, I. E., Florer, F. L., & Gorrell, C. M. (1995). Formation of absolute and relative concepts in a visual discrimination task. Cognitive Neuroscience Society Meeting Abstracts, 61. San-Francisco, CA.
Dror, I. E., Ashworth, A.R.S., and Stevenage, S.V. (1999). Mediating aircraft identification by manipulating distinctiveness, stimulus similarity, and learning presentations. Psychonomic Abstracts, 4, 23-24.
Dror, I. E. & Burwell, K. (1999). The effects of prior knowledge on cognitive performance of older people. 6th European Congress of Psychology, 141.
Dascal, M. & Dror, I. E. (2005). The impact of cognitive technologies: Towards a pragmatic approach. Pragmatics & Cognition, 13 (3), 451-457.
Dror, I. E. (2004). The effects of screening, training, and experience of Air Force fighter pilots: The plasticity of the ability to extrapolate and track multiple objects in motion. North American Journal of Psychology, 6 (2), 239-252.
Makany, T., Engelbrecht, P.C, Meadmore, K., Dudley, R, Redhead, S., and Dror, I. E. (2007). Giving the learners control of navigation: Cognitive gains and losses. INTED 2007. Valencia, Spain.
Dror, I.E. & Treves, R. (2006). Using cognition to construct technology to enhance learning. Technology Enhanced Learning ESRC Meeting, Wolverhampton, UK.
For information or enquiries, please e-mail: info@CognitiveConsultantsInternational.com
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