pattern #3 - Action Cards

Activity Cards

Definition

Provide learners with a set of swappable cards that present an authentic narrative (e.g. a common day at the office) where learners are presented with new information and asked to apply it in various situations.

  • VALUE Knowledge and Skills
  • COMPLEXITY Low
  • Design Effort Medium
  • Share

Overview

Action cards are a great way to present new information in context in order to improve transfer, especially if budget is low. At the core of action cards, there is a narrative that presents information in a conversational style, which according to Mayer’s Principle of Personalization, manages to engage learners with the computers as a social conversational partner. Research on text cognitive processing shows that learners work harder when they feel they are in a conversation with an author, rather than just receiving information. Mayer’s research on social cues proves the same thing. Having social cues in a text (such as “I” or “you” and a conversation tone) will engage your learners in deeper cognitive processing.

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Moreover, each slide presents just one simple idea which is easy to grasp for new learners. This way of chunking new information in very small bits is a very effective way of avoiding memory overload, which is a very common when designing content for novice learners.
Finally, new information is put into practice through basic but authentic interaction which replicate real-world scenarios. This improves transfer and elaboration of information, which improves retention.

BASIC IMPLEMENTATION

The main components of the action cards are:
      Content Cards, which presents new information in a conversational style, with each card presenting just one basic idea, easy to grasp, which is required later in the interactive cards;
      Interactive Cards, which embed basic interactions, such as drag and drop, select of fill-in, which require learners to put into practice new information;

Activity Rating Pattern
Provide Context

As action cards require information to be presented in context, it is essential to start with a brief that places the learner in a real-life context.

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Continue with Content Cards

New knowledge needs to be presented in a conversational style, with each slide presenting just one basic idea.

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Add Interactive Cards

Ask your learners to put new information into practice through basic, yet authentic interactions.

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Provide Feedback Cards

Provide feedback at the end of each activity and guide your learners to review some of the cards if necessary.

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Close with Summary Cards

Close with a short summary that help learners refresh everything they have learned and organize the new information in a more meaningful way.


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