As I've written in this blog on numerous occasions, there is a ton of learning science already out there (e.g., the synthesis available in E-Learning and the Science of Instruction by Ruth Clark and Richard Mayer, or the very nice exposition by Daniel Willingham in Why Don't Students Like School, among many other sources). Unfortunately, much of it is only accidentally incorporated into real learning environments at scale.
What we should be doing as we evaluate new offerings or new work we're proposing to do or fund, is to compare what we're looking at against principles and features that learning science has established can make a difference.
We here at Kaplan have built a checklist for this purpose, and we thought it would be fun to release the checklist and the training course for it into the wild.
Our thinking is that the first step to training people to be able to build better learning environments is to have them practice identifying key elements in learning environments that are likely to lift learning – e.g., well-constructed objectives and assessments, good use of media to enhance, not distract, from learning, etc.
See what you think – once you get yourself registered in the (free) course, you'll be able to send e-mails and commentary about it to us. We welcome your thoughts on this first unit – and we hope to share with you in the near future some of the results that come from our own instructional designers who are now going through the full course.