Information dumping: is it effective?

Are you creating an information dump or a lively place to learn?

This week I spent some time at ConVerge09 conference. I particularly admired Cathy Moore and her ideas and strategies for developing engaging elearning.

Let me ask you this:

What do people learn when you provide them with reading material?

If you answered ‘knowledge’, you are correct. Hooray (you say!).

Is knowledge what we need to learn?

What do people NEED to learn?

If you have studied ‘Blooms Taxonomy’ you will know that knowledge is at the bottom of the cognitive learning ladder.

  • We can ‘know’ things without comprehending them.
  • We can comprehend things without having the capacity to apply them.
  • We can apply things without having the capacity to evaluate, reflect and improve.


We tend to dump content onto our learners without giving them the opportunity to put the knowledge into a meaningful context or to apply it for greater understanding. We are not giving them the opportunity to develop SKILLS.

What people NEED to learn (as content) should be the only thing you add to your course content. Our job is to design an experience, not information. Basing your course on information and following it up with a test of their knowledge doesn’t empower people with skills.

By using scenario based learning, we can ‘ditch the drone’ and give students the opportunity to ‘experience’ learning in a meaningful way. Take a look at Cathy’s slideshow:

How to save the world with elearning scenarios

View more documents from Cathy Moore.

1. Firstly, let’s start by making some goals

Identify what it is that the students really need to know.  This link will help you to see how we can get confused with identifying goals:

Why you want to focus on actions and not learning objectives

2. Use questions and choice making to develop interest in a topic

Let the students make a choice and learn by success or mistakes. E-learning is a great place to make a mistake without being humiliated in front of the class!

Use more visuals than text. My next blog post is going to be on the importance of visuals… watch this space!

More on that note…

How to build more meaningful e-learning



Filed under E-learning tips, Teaching and learning tips

3 responses to “Information dumping: is it effective?

  1. Hi Jenny,

    Helen (@helenbarry1) put me on to you.

    And I’m glad she did. I like your presentation. You live and breathe your point about using more visuals than text. I’m already liking the fact that this comment box has huge font. It’s user-friendly.

    And that’s what engages. And engagement is fundamental to education. Not information dumping. Totally agree, Helen.

    Hope to read more of your insightful posts,

  2. jennywood

    @Collin Li,

  3. Pingback: Product review: Keynote for e-learning | Jen e-blogger

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