Tip #891:  How to Increase Learning Success

“Best way to respect learners: Use techniques that research has proven to work. Help people reach their goals without wasting their time.”  Cathy Moore

Dr. Will Thalheimer has identified what he considers to be the twelve most important learning factors that should be incorporated into learning design. He calls them The Decisive Dozen. Thalheimer bases these factors on more than ten years of scientific research review.

The Decisive Dozen

He lists the twelve factors under four categories: Basic Enablers, Creating Engagement and Understanding, Supporting Remembering, and Enabling Future Application.

Basic Enablers are correct, true, and relevant to the learners’ future needs: (1) Content and (2) Exposure.

Creating Engagement and Understanding factors result in improved, faster, and more efficient learning and retrieval: (3) Guiding Attention, (4) Creating Correct Conceptions, (5) Repetition, (6) Feedback, and (7) Variation.

Supporting Remembering factors result in improved future memory retrieval: (8) Context Alignment, (9) Retrieval Practice, and (10) Spacing.

Enabling Future Application factors result in reinforced learning, application on the job, and goal-directed self-awareness: (11) Persuasion and (12) Perseverance.

Why I Like The Decisive Dozen

There are two main reasons why I like The Decisive Dozen. First, it isolates and emphasizes key factors that learning science has identified will increase learning and retrieval success. Second, it incorporates how to help learners apply what they’ve learned once they are back at work.

Application Practice is Missing

There are also two main reasons why I take issue with The Decisive Dozen. First, I do not see where active practice of new learning occurs. There is a lot of focus on content and retrieval, but no explicit focus on application.

Application Practice could be a new factor under Enabling Future Application: “When we provide learning activities that enable learners to practice new skills, they are much more likely to remember and apply their new learning when back on the job.”

This new factor would make a Decisive Baker’s Dozen.

Gaining Buy-In is Missing

Second, I feel that another necessary factor is missing: learner Buy-In before the learning event begins.

Gaining Buy-In could be the first factor under the Creating Engagement and Understanding category:  ”When we use an opening activity that enables learners to discover why the learning is important to them from their perspective, learners are more likely to want to learn the content and actively participate in the learning activities.”

According to my research, adding this fourteenth factor could still result in a Decisive Baker’s Dozen.

Question: Do you agree with adding”gaining buy-in” and “application practice” to The Decisive Dozen?

May your learning be sweet- and safe.


#learningdesign   #thedecisivedozen