Instructional Relevancy is More Engaging than Imagery … for Transfer & Impact

Too often I see “Cart before the Horse” kind of thinking in ISD/LXD.

From: The Glossary of Educational Reform

In education, the term relevance typically refers to learning experiences that are either directly applicable to the personal aspirations, interests, or cultural experiences of students (personal relevance) or that are connected in some way to real-world issues, problems, and contexts (life relevance).

Personal relevance occurs when learning is connected to an individual student’s interests, aspirations, and life experiences. Advocates argue that personal relevance, when effectively incorporated into instruction, can increase a student’s motivation to learn, engagement in what is being taught, and even knowledge retention and recall.

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In an Enterprise Learning Context

In my 40+ years in the business, I’ve seen way too many sets of Instructional Content that were too often focused on Topics – with Face Validity – but that turned out not to focus on “Authentic Application Back-on-the-Job” for their participants – who if they were Engaged Learners – THAT was only temporary – as they were all too soon Disengaged Forgetters – who were not necessarily going to finish their Modules.

For the relevancy just wasn’t there.

And any initial engagement, established by the “Hook of Interesting Imagery” was soon for naught.

There are many resources on Relevancy online. Here is but one:


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