Take Learning from Instructional to Transformational!

Learning Experience Design is, as author Clark Quinn puts it, about “the elegant integration of learning science with engagement”. While there are increasing resources available on the learning science side, the other side is somewhat neglected. Having written one of the books on the learning science side, Clark has undertaken to write the other half. The book is grounded in his early experience writing learning games, then researching cognition and engagement, and ongoing exploration and application of learning, technology, and design to creating solutions and strategies. It covers the underlying principles including surprise, story, and emotion and pulls them together to create a coherent approach. The book also covers not just the principles, but the implications for both learning elements and a design process. With concise prose and concrete examples, this book provides the framework to take your learning experience designs from instructional to transformational!

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I am really excited about Clark Quinn's new book, which supplies critical guidance on making instruction both meaningful and effective. Although learning designers often call for making instruction “fun,” simply bolting on fun as an add-on isn't enough.

A noted learning researcher, Robert Bjork, calls the challenging tactics needed for learning that leads to needed skills “desirable difficulties.” This concept means that participants need challenging tasks to learn and be able to use what they learned.

Quinn shows how the right emotional engagement tactics can be effective, desirable difficulties. The book explains why and how, with good examples. Thanks, Clark! Learning practitioners need to read and practice these principles!

Patti Shank, PhD
Author of Write Better Multiple-Choice Questions to Assess Learning

"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, while in practice, there is."

Quinn's "Make It Meaningful" helps you apply theory to make your practice more effective.

As he says, the objectives of any learning experience have to meet a real need, or there's no way to make it meaningful. One small example of how to do that is through reference examples--ones that apply a concept in a specific context, rather than resting quietly on a pedestal of abstraction.

He often illustrates major points by referring to real-world projects, including the sort of things that afterward you wish you'd done, or had at least known about.

He doesn't actually quote the idea that good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment. Still, there's truth to that. A further truth is that your good judgment can come from the experience of others, like researchers and thoughtful practitioners. I definitely recognized Quinn's discussion about that stakeholders often unable to comprehend a design document. A lot of them aren't that great with storyboards, either, first time out, and so he offers ways to overcome that.

Quinn provides a lot of ideas for moving theory into practice. If you're looking to make learning experiences more meaningful, you'll find a lot of good judgment here for you to apply.
David Ferguson
Chief Inquiring Mind, Broadcove Consulting

Learning experience design (LXD) is becoming the new instructional design and Clark’s book brilliantly leads the way. Drawing upon learning science, memorable analogies, and real-world examples, he systematically reveals the secret sauce for creating impactful learning experiences. Most importantly, this book brings to light the missing emotional design dimension that separates instructional design from LXD. Highly recommended for all learning designers!
Les Howles
Co-Author, Designing the Online Learning Experience

Clark's book reminds me of a 1997 movie, The Fifth Element. In the movie, the plot takes place in a futuristic world, where a simple "flying cab" driver engages in the pursuit of the mysterious fifth element. You may not have to fly cabs (yet) but learning experience designers nowadays are expected to create both engaging and effective learning experiences. While learning science extensively covers the latter, the notion of engagement, and its true meaning, is like the mysterious fifth element waiting to be discovered and summoned through three words in this book: Make. It. Meaningful. 

Zsolt Olah
Senior Learning Technologist, Amazon

As a fan of Clark Quinn’s books, I’m happy to announce this is another winner. Make It Meaningful closes a gaping hole in instructional design models by showing how to address the emotions in learning design.
Connie Malamed
Publisher of theelearningcoach.com


Matthias Melcher: "I like this knowledgeable and credible work very much"

Damien Michaud for eLearn Mag: "Make It Meaningful will help you do just that for yourselves and those for whom you design."

Marjan Bradesko: "very insightful and practical"