What’s the Kardashian Rating of Your Learning Content?

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post titled “`No Pain, No Gain’ Belongs in the Gym, Not in Learning and Development Departments.” This has become one of our most popular posts.  A significant number of visits to that article have been referred to by search engines. Apparently, if you Google “no pain no gain gym,” this article appears high up in the rankings, in the coveted number five spot.

To all the weightlifters and strength trainers who have been inadvertently directed to this site and found themselves reading about learning management technology: there was never an intent to deceive you and waste your valuable workout time.

To all the gyms in the world, Blatant Media is not your competitor. Really, we aren’t. We’re a software company.

Now that that’s cleared up, let’s move on to today’s post on the topic of learner engagement.

Kim Kardashian, inspiration for a new unit of attention measurement. Attribution : © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com

Most of the information related to learner engagement I’ve read in my 25+ years as a learning professional has focused on how to increase it. Popular suggestions include:

  • Keep lessons short
  • Serve bite-size chunks of learning content
  • Give learners the freedom to jump around in the content
  • Give learners a way to quickly find what they want
  • Include learning games
  • Include social learning activities
  • Etc.

Although there are many strategies to increase engagement, there’s remarkably little on the subject of measuring engagement.

Ethan Zuckerman, a Blogger and researcher at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, has proposed a solution. In his post titled “An idea worth at least 40 nanoKardashians of your attention,” Mr. Zuckerman suggests the establishment of a new unit, the Kardashian, as a measure of attention. To be clear, this is not a measure of quality, but rather…

[the] Kardashian is an exemplar of attention disconnected from merit, talent or reason. The Kardashian mentions how much attention is paid, not how much attention is deserved…

An obvious way to apply the idea of Kardashian units to learning and development would be through Kirkpatrick level 1 evaluations. Learners could be asked, for instance:

Which best describes your experience with this learning content?

  • I was totally in the zone. The rest of the world ceased to exist. I lost track of time. (High Kardashian)
  • I made it through the content but had to use willpower and the reward of eating a piece of chocolate once completed. (Mid Kardashian)
  • I checked Facebook and Twitter every two minutes. I couldn’t help myself.  (Low Kardashian)