Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Made to Stick: a book that sticks!

If you have only time to read one book in 2008 do yourself a favor and buy 'Made to Stick' from the Heath brothers. Even if it is not an e-Learning book you need the knowledge in this book to design better e-Learning. As an experienced instructional designer I thought I knew all the tricks to make my learning experiences lasting ones that will be remembered by my learners. NOT…in Made to stick I found many useful tips and practical guidelines how to create more memorable messages. Time for improvements, no matter if you are a professional copy writer or an instructional designer.

In the easy to read book, Chip and Dan Heath wrote about the reasons "why some ideas survive and others die". Dan and Chip researched famous stories, urban legends, great advertisements and successful political statements. They found out that such powerful messages all have certain aspects in common. They explained their vision and ideas very well and especially the parts with practical examples (with comparisons of well defined and poor defined versions of one idea) are very helpful for a better understanding. It makes it easy to transfer the insights and adapt them to your own working field.

A simple framework is used to explain the ingredients of a sticky idea:

1. Pay attention (come with something unexpected).
2. Understand and remember (be concrete).
3. Agree/believe (make it credible).
4. Care (use emotions to let people care about your idea).
5. Be able to act on it (use the Story format).

Before you start with these ingredients you start with Simple. Together it makes the acronym SUCCESs (Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotions, Story).

With every ingredient they come up with different approaches. E.g. for making your idea credible you can use certain sources with authority ("professor X said…") but sometimes it is better to use antiauthority to get external credibility. E.g. you could get statements from people from the target group because they will accept advise from peers.

This book offers me more innovative insights than many books that specifically target on creating learning materials. Do you want your learning experiences sticky? Buy and read this book!


Wytze Koopal said...

Hi Marcel, I am reading your blog for some months now (since August according to my Bloglines), and I like your blog very much. This last post is great! I never heard of this book before, but I might buy it soon!

Marcel de Leeuwe said...

Hi Wytze,

Thanks for you nice remarks! BTW: I found out that there is also a Dutch translation of the book.

See www.leerbeleving.nl