Creating Edu Materials for Emotional Resonance

Sep 1, 2015

Emotions play a large role in the success of any educational endeavor. We all know the importance of grit—the stick-to-it gumption behind many stories of success—but why, exactly, is grit needed in the first place? The emotional landscape that a learner embarks on is less a straight trajectory towards success and more a bumpy arc of successes and shortcomings: I understand; wait, I don’t understand; this stinks that I don’t understand; I hate this lesson; I’m stupid; I hate math; wait, I think I understand!

Whew. And so it goes. But there are ways to identify these emotional responses in the learning process and design learning materials that embrace them, instead of pretending they don’t happen or trying to stop students from experiencing them.

My Six Red Marbles colleague, VP of Learning Experience Design Services Jason Gorman, and I teamed up with our friend Kim Ducharme, the Director of Design at the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) to propose a hands-on workshop titled Creating Edu Materials for Emotional Resonance.” We plan to:

  • Share research & working examples that highlight the importance of positive emotional responses and mitigating negative ones in any learning setting.
  • Guide participants through a series of activities based on real-world challenges with respect to engagement, emotions, learning, and cognition.
  • Provide participants with the tools to apply these techniques to their own curriculum development processes.

We’re hoping to present this workshop at the 2016 South by Southwest Edu (SXSWedu) conference in Austin, Texas to a broad audience of educators, administrators, and anyone interested in learning more about how to honor (and tame) the emotional roller coaster that, often, is inextricably linked to learning.

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