Elliott Masie Discusses the Future of Learning at National Registry Summit

October 2012

Elliott Masie, CEO and Founder of The MASIE Center, has his hands in many different projects, from 3D printers to Broadway shows. But he is most known for his understanding of effective learning methods, and he brought this expertise to the National Registry Summit in Nashville, TN, on September 24, where he spoke about these methods and how to adapt to the future of learning.

One of the main themes of Masie’s presentation was the variety of ways in which people learn. Masie attributed that variety to the unique diversity in this country. “Diversity is what is wonderfully unique about the United States,” he said. “The interesting thing about diversity is that we all learn differently.”

Masie then talked about the variety of ways people learn and asked attendees to discuss how their organizations are personalizing learning for employees. No matter the method, Masie believes people do not want to learn until there is a need or a pain. They want to learn what is new, important, monitored and things they are likely to use in the near future. “They don't want to learn what they already know,” he said. “The key is to map the new stuff to what they know already.”

Masie moved on to talk about the upcoming trends in delivering learning, identifying video as gaining the most momentum. He noted that there is a 62% chance that any website you visit is going to feature a video, and that the highest rising use of video is for instructional purposes.

In fact, video is just one component that is contributing to the significant increase in the social, collaborative dimensions of learning, and like it or not, instructors and learning providers must get used to this new world, because learning becomes different as people connect and share.

Masie suggested that collaborative learning comes from the fact that when people learn something new, they want to explain what they are learning, while they are learning it, to someone else. This sharing of information as it is being processed helps people understand, remember and filter it. “What I would warn you, encourage you, to think about is: Increasingly, learners are going to be socially and collaboratively connected to other sources of knowledge other than you,” he said.

In addition to the growth of the social element of learning, Masie said instructors will be dealing more with an increasing use of transactive memory. Transactive memory, which was introduced in 1985, suggests that each person in a relationship or group does not need to remember everything the group needs to know, if each person stores in memory information about who is likely to have a particular item in the future. Masie said the number one question U.S. high school students are asking their teachers today is, “Will it be on the test?” If students know that what they are being taught is online and easily accessible, they may just learn how to get to it, and not necessarily learn the information itself.

Masie closed his presentation discussing the important role mentoring plays in learning, saying that mentoring often accelerates the learning process. “A great teacher is a great storyteller,” Masie said. “Teachers can provide a more personal level of storytelling and interaction that a video can’t. We need to harness storytelling, because as a species, the most effective way we learn is through story.”

To learn more about Elliott Masie and his Learning CONSORTIUM, please visit his website.

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