Daily Horoscope: You’ll make better decisions when distracted rather than when deliberating.
Maybe you’re one the many who believe, as Dr. Sheldon Cooper would put it, that Horoscopes are “Superstitious Hokum,” or maybe, just maybe, you’re more like the free-spirited (let’s knock three times before saying her same) Penny; who firmly believes in controversial theories.
All kidding aside, the buzz-worthy and highly contentious topic of Unconscious Thought Theory (UTT) has a very divided following. We’re not here to prove or to deny it’s credibility but rather show, like so many things, that it has relevance in the eLearning world.
What is Unconscious Thought Theory? And furthermore, why would you want to learn about it?
We’re going to take an elaborate theory and make you understand it in less than 3 minutes. (Just like one of the fundamentals of eLearning. How about that?)
Three test groups received the same information on a great condo:
Group 1) Received the specifications on the condo, are distracted by a trivial, unrelated task and then asked to decide on whether they want to buy.
Group 2) Are given the specs, asked to deliberate for a while, then make the decision on whether to buy.
Group 3) Are given the specs then immediately asked to make the decision to buy.
Who made the best decision? Group number 1. Why? As proposed by, Ap Dijksterhuis and Loran Nordgren in 2006, subjects unable to devote lengthy conscious thought (CT) to a task can rely on their unconscious thought (UT) to take over; which questionably makes better decisions.
So why do we find this so interesting and how does it relate to eLearning?
First, if you work in the eLearning Instructional Design (ID) field you should be a forever student. Researching and experimenting with new and improved ways of providing training should be at the top of your list every day. Maybe you read this article, go about your life – allowing your subconscious to take over – and see if the next time you write an eLearning this blog or UTT comes to mind, and you write your best course yet! As Albert Einstein described, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” If you’re using the same equation every time you create an eLearning, not only are you going to bore your students but also drive your conscious thought insane.
Secondly, depending on our client specifications, we create eLearnings that vary and include structures just like test groups 1, 2 and 3. After creating hundreds of eLearnings and evaluating the statistics, we have found that we have a higher participation rate when an activity or game is involved. We have organized activities in the middle of our eLearnings to give learners a break from the content matter. We have also included a game at the very end of the course after the quiz as a reward for maintaining a high passing score; yielding both high participation rates and recurring clients. We know that all do not accept UTT, but the theory has merit, and parts of it can be valued when demonstrated by the proper outlets.
You thought this blog was going to be one of those stereotypical monotonous psychoanalytic lectures that you had to sit through in school. BAZINGA we got you…that’s just not our eLearning style.
Quanta Magazine. (2017, January 30). Einstein’s Parable of Quantum Insanity [Magazine Article]
Retrieved from https://www.quantamagazine.org/20150910-einstein-insanity
Saje Journals. (2017, January 30). A Theory of Unconscious Thought [Research-Article]
Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1745-6916.2006.00007.x