Apply Persuasive Design to Your Learning Program with Video

Posted by Bethany Stachenfeld on Apr 5, 2018
Bethany Stachenfeld
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Poor design is the enemy of learning. Instead of overwhelming learners with clutter and chaos, inspire them to meet their objectives with persuasive design. 

What is Persuasive Design?

Persuasive design methodology aspires to shape the learning environment to be an active participant in the learning process.In this way, a designer can create an educational ecosystem that influences the learners’ behavior in such a way that they are motivated to learn more. Through subtle design, L&D professionals can guide their learners, removing obstacles and nudging them to learn more. Our partners, Remote Learner, popularized the 7 elements of persuasive design strategy last year at ADT.

The 7 elements of persuasive design are:

  1. Reduction: Simplify complex tasks
  2. Tunneling: Guide learners through a step-by-step process
  3. Suggestion: Place the right triggers in front of motivated learners.
  4. Tailoring: Provide options for learners to choose their own relevant tasks
  5. Self-monitoring: Enable learners to recognize their progress
  6. Conditioning: Reinforce desired behaviors.
  7. Surveillance: Confirm you are achieving your desired outcomes

To read more about persuasive design, see Dr. Page Chen’s research on designing to persuade a learning state of mind.


Persuasive Design with Video

The seven tenets of persuasive design almost seem like an obvious way to increase learning. However, the seven elements are often applied poorly in online learning. Implementing persuasive design with fidelity is a totally different matter than recognizing it's inherent logic. It requires a systematic and proactive approach, discipline, and regular testing/validation. Often, students or new employees find themselves bombarded with large folders or messy websites full of information, with little guidance on the best way to ingest the material, and how to check that they properly understand the concepts.

The ilos video platform makes it exceptionally easy for you, as an instructor or course designer, to create educational material that follow the principles of persuasive design strategy.


1. Reduction: One Video Per Concept

Reducing, or eliminating all distractions, nudge your users towards the goal. While more choices may seem more desirable at surface level, more choices also mean more clutter, more background noise, and more cognitive load on the decision user. Studies have found that more choice is more exhausting for participants, as it takes “mental work” to come to a decision. Subjects faced with a plethora of choices on your application may just opt out as a result of decision fatigue, instead of going through the cognitive effort of weighing the pros and cons of possible decisions.

When creating teaching material, it is important that you reduce your training into core concepts, instead of overwhelming your learners with *everything* at once. Making short skills-specific videos is a great way reduce concepts into digestible components. Teaching one concept at a time helps your learners focus, and really be able to grasp new information. Innovative colleges like Lake Superior College at Minnesota State have been using ilos to transition from full length course lectures to short skill-specific videos to narrow the focus and achieve greater learning outcomes.


2. Tunneling: Designate a Video Workflow

Now, if reduction suggests our lessons to be concentrated skill-specific videos, tunneling suggests that we present the lessons to our students in a logical order. The problem comes when the workflows don't (or can't) offer the appropriate prerequisites, appropriate feedback, or allocate supporting resources in a constructive manner.

Educators often use ilos to build out course workflows with video, numbering the videos in the order the students should follow. For example, at ilos we give new employees video courses that educate them on company processes and procedures.

Sequenced Employee Onboarding Videos for How to Use Hubspot

Additionally, the concept of video itself is a natural way of “tunneling” information into a logical order, as the instructor is able to present information in a time-sequenced order. Viewers will watch your video in order, and consume information when you present it to them, without confusion.


3. Suggestion: Speaker Notes at just the right time

The tradeoff of tunneling learners down a designated path is that you are directing the agency of the learner. The learner does not have the agency to choose exactly when he/she wants to watch what video because you created a course.

However, you can give some agency back to the learner by offering suggestions at the right time. Interested learners can go deeper into material, while other learners might resist.

The ilos platform empowers suggestion with time-anchored presenter notes in videos. Presenter notes allow the content creator to attach supplemental material, background information, or downloads for the watcher, so they can go deeper without straying far from the course workflow.

Presenter Notes Suggest Additional Learning Material


4. Tailoring: Make Video Relevant

The educational material you create is more effective if it seems relevant to the learner. In this way, the learners can recognize themselves and the immediate value they will get from learning. Ilos enables educators to make content relevant by recording personalized videos for learners. Creating personalized video feedback for learners can be incredibly instrumental for learner’s  progress. Compared to written feedback, live recordings of video feedback can be even faster for you to create and enable you to provide more detail than in other methods.


5. Self-Monitoring: Know Your Progress

Knowing their progress is important for the mental assurance of knowing where the student stands. How soon until they take a break, or celebrate completing their training?

As the learner is going through the workflow, video progress bars let them know how much they’ve accomplished, and how much they have left to watch. The course dashboard as a whole lets them know how many videos are left – and how long each video is. This bird’s eye view gives them insight into how much longer they will be working, down to the last second.

Less than 2 Min Left - Almost There!


6. Conditioning: Social Aspect of Video

Conditioning is a way of getting learners to like what they’re doing. If Pavlov could get a dog to salivate at the sound of a bell, you can get your students to smile while absolutely crushing new information.

A great way of doing this is to make your videos social. With ilos, you can turn on live-commenting, and let students communicate with each other, cheer each other on and answer each other’s questions. Instead of thinking of video as work, it becomes a fun interactive experience. You even can allow students “like” videos to reward you for your great work.

Students Cheer Each Other On


7. Surveillance: In-Video Quizzes

The final principle of persuasive design is surveillance – and not in the creepy way. Surveillance simply implies that both you and your learners need to be able to track their progress to ensure that they are achieving their learning objectives. How can you see that they are learning? How can they see what they have accomplished or where they need to spend their time?

With ilos, educators can put quizzes directly into their videos to make sure learners are understanding the material, all in real-time. If a student fails a quiz, they can re-watch the section of a video, and make sure that they really understand the section before moving on. In-video quizzing helps both you and the student get a feel for their progress – and empower you both to act accordingly.

On a higher level, ilos also provides behind-the-scenes analytics to let you monitor video views and common drop-off points, so you can see how well your videos are performing. You can see which students or employees viewed which videos, and how well they performed on associated quizzes. This actionable data empowers you to improve your learning material.


Video Persuasive Design for Your Organization

The ilos video platform is a great tool to bring persuasive design strategy to your organization to facilitate learning. ilos empowers educators to design their education in a way that eliminates distractions, denotes workflows, suggests pertinent material, tailors content, provides self awareness, conditions behavior, and empowers you to survey learning success for yourself. Start with a free trial today!

Tags: Online Video, Interactive, Engagement