It’s so, like, serindipidipitous, man…

First thing this morning, for reasons yet unclear to me, I subjected a group of very nice people to the dreaded introduction to learning objects presentation, puppet show, and dance… The talk was hosted by UBC’s cross-town rivals at Kwantlen University College. At the outset, most of the attendees admitted to scant awareness and only slightly more curiosity about this topic called learning objects.

And who could blame them? Not I. I’ve made my antipathy to the poetic abyss rotting at the core of the learning object vision clear enough in the past, and I recycled that rant today (I always enjoy delivering it, and the audience usually seems to enjoy hearing it). In doing so, I bemoaned the fact that the dreaded appellation “learning object” appears in my job title.

In this joyous spirit of self-flagellation I tirelessly wailed away in my hairshirt, time limits be damned, the seminar room my private confessional. I might have went on for a few hours, I think… I feel kind of fuzzy.

After a few digressions on subjects including (but not limited to) William James’ epistemic philosophy, how I learned that serrano peppers are hotter than jalapenos, why the Doobie Brothers were always pretty awful (especially in the Michael McDonald period), how much I like black labrador retrievers, and describing some joint pain I’ve been experiencing, I got around to talking about RSS readers.

I gave a quick demo of NetNewsWire, and walked through how one scans through the listing of subscribed feeds on the sidebar down to previewing an individual entry… More or less by chance, I happened upon this posting at George Siemens’ elearnspace, which excerpted the following in the newsreader preview window:

Seductive-Augmentation Effect: “Seductive augmentations are interesting yet unimportant words, sounds, photos, graphics, and video that are added to instructional materials. In some situations, these augmentations hurt learning. In other words, they make it less likely that learners will learn the main points of the instructional material.”

One of the audience members who had not yet left nor fallen asleep pointed out that this passage was relevant to the topic of my presentation. Once I ascertained he was referring to learning objects, I had no choice but to agree.

I would happily trade the term “seductive augmentation” for “learning objects”. It’s far more provocative, more exciting. And I would love to change my job title to “seductive augmentation expert”. It would be much easier to try and explain to my grandmother.

I suppose most people would assume I worked in the cosmetic surgery business…

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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