A key goal of learning is to change behaviours. To change the behaviour of how we think, respond and perform, to achieve an outcome. But the desired change in behaviours is not going to happen immediately. It is not going to happen as a result of a “one and done” learning event. It needs to happen over time as knowledge is acquired, contextualized and applied. Time is required to practice skills, to move from novice to master. It needs to happen as a series of learning events, as part of an ongoing learning campaign.
The concept of a learning campaign is borrowed from a highly successful model of behavioural change – the marketing campaign. Too often learning designers are too absorbed in the learning and development industries methods, models and trends. They fail to look beyond their field for inspiration or examples where behaviour change is implemented successfully. The marketing campaign has a long history of success in behaviour change, and the concepts can be easily compared to a learning campaign.
The purpose of the marketing campaign is to provide awareness of a product or service, and ultimately change the consumer’s buying behaviour so they purchase the product or service. The learning campaign has a similar goal, to engage learners and encourage them to change behaviours.
The marketing and learning campaigns also share other similar features.
Spaced over time
The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve hypothesises that forty percent of new information is forgotten within an hour, and more as time goes on. Marketing campaigns overcome this by spacing the message over time. A learning campaign does the same, with the content distributed over a period of time. The spacing of this content, and corresponding skills practice, allows for greater retention of knowledge and skills.