Margaret Weigel's blog

Creating Edu Materials for Emotional Resonance

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!....

Five Ways You Can Improve Learning Experience Now

Good design is good business. And Learning Experience Design practices can help organizations, administrators and other stakeholders in the education space to succeed in the highly competitive (and often lucrative) K–12, higher education and workplace development marketplaces.

Learning Experience Design vs. User Experience: Moving From “User” to “Learner”

Smashing Magazine’s 2010 overview of User Experience Design (UX) succinctly captures the spirit of the early web: “We built [user] interaction based on what we thought worked . . . with little to no thought of how the people who would use the website would feel about it.” Times have changed, thankfully, and many modern websites provide users with delightful experiences that exceed their expectations.

Why Johnny Can’t Pivot

Grit is a buzzword in educational circles right now. MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient Angela Duckworth’s research focuses on grit as an indicator of school and professional successes throughout life. Students who have lots of grit, a close cousin of self-control, will align themselves toward a goal over a long period of time.

The “Participation Gap” You Haven’t Heard About

Harvard professor and researcher Robert Putnam—renown for his ’bowling alone’ thesis of American anomie—has turned his attention in recent years to growing levels of inequality between young people. While his extensive research project on this topic continues, you can get a sense of his preliminary findings from his working paper “Growing Class Gaps in Social Connectedness among American Youth” (2012). This paper focuses on the widening gap between the experiences of middle and upper class youth and their less affluent peers since the 1990s, and how these experiences affect everything from future earnings and levels of educational attainment to social capital, civic engagement, and feelings of self-worth. Spoiler alert: lower class students are not faring so well.

Learning as Pushing Boundaries

I watched anxiously as a young boy and girl demonstrated how to make blueberry pancakes from scratch. My anxiety morphed into a mix of incredulity and terror as the boy stuck his hand into the blender’s glass jar to dislodge some bit of batter that was gumming up the works around the blade. I slunk down in my seat, cringed, and waited for the worst to happen.

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