Video

A frog, an iPod, and misplaced skills

I love this video. It’s funny and unexpected, but it also can inspire some thought about the intersection between mobile learning, training and authentic tasks (no, really!).

Mastery Learning is Transferable

That frog is really good at that game. Is anyone surprised? That’s what frogs do.  The main knowledge transfer is from operating in 3D world to a 2D representation on a screen, but the game still exploits the frog’s rapid reflexes and tongue/eye coordination.

Platforms Change, Skills Remain the Same

The frog doesn’t care if that’s an iPhone or an HTC or a real-life fly. Its scanned the movement and the shape and wants to perform. Design for the task, not for the platform or the OS.

Without Satisfaction, Frustration Reigns

Finally the frog attacks the one 3D object that it can. It’s been denied a tasty treat multiple times when all of its experience tells it that that it should be eating a bug– not just a tidbit, but a critical part of its sustenance. As it fails to get its reward, its body language demonstrates greater urgency.

What are our lessons as designers here?

  1. Know what compels our learners — design activities that speak to their desires and strengths. 
  2. Design platform- and device-agnostically– Exploit what makes them unique– touch screens, for example, but make sure that activities are high quality.
  3. Reward with authentic returns. Virtual awards won’t satisfy everyone, or at least not frogs.
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One response to “A frog, an iPod, and misplaced skills

  1. If the video was actually a training session to teach a frog to eat, then I’d say the instructional designer went further than many other elearning or mobile training designers in offering an opportunity to practice (if only in 2-D)! A lot of the elearning I’ve seen and been exposed to would simply have provided content/text telling the frog about the theory behind catching flies, maybe some data and then perhaps a “you should” or two.

    All that said, you’re absolutely right on when you suggest that virtual rewards won’t satisfy everyone and that amazing instructional design culminates with authentic rewards.

    Thanks for sharing the video – it’s defintely a great conversation starter!

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