Teach on Mars contents authors: lesson #8 – How people think (part 2)

Teach on Mars contents authors: lesson #8 – How people think (part 2)

Hi Best Training Authors,

Remember lesson#7, sponsored by F Friedrich Nietzsche, on our thinking process?

I have recommended to you 3 attention-grabbing tips to boost learners’ progression by stimulating their thinking process:

  • Chunk and disclose contents bit by bit to ease learner’s process of information
  • Favor motor (click, press…) and visual loads (locate a screen item…) vs. energy-intensive cognitive loads when designing your application
  • Always keep learners aware of where they are in the application because their minds wander up to 30 percent of the time!

There is more to come! Our thinking process is full of surprises and rewards!

First, Our brain is fond of mental models, i.e. people assumed process for how something works. Mental models are based on incomplete facts, past experiences and intuitive perceptions and therefore subject to evolution. When suggesting a conceptual model, in the case of mobile learning an interface couple to a training path, it is important to match people’s mental representations. Most particularly, when designing a new conceptual model, let’s introduce and train people on it, to allow them shaping a new fitting mental model and welcoming your application!

Tip: Match your conceptual model with people mental model and announce it to them!

Teach on Mars illustration on matching mental models by introducing the subject:


The Mobile Learning app
Page 1


The Mobile Learning app
Page 2


The Mobile Learning app
Page 3 …


Second, it is commonly granted that we learn best from examples and that a picture speaks a thousand words! So, in order to ease your learners training understanding of rules, use pictures and screenshots to show by illustration. And even more,  use short videos as examples!

Tip: Use examples to ease learners’ training rules understanding.

Teach on Mars illustration on using examples:


The Flash game rule
Card 1


The Flash game rule
Card 2


The Flash game rule
Card 3 …


Third, time is … running out? Money? … And relative declares our brain!

Just as there are visual illusions, there are time illusions. And a heavy mental processing makes the amount of time seem longer. For example, a task will feel time consuming to learners if it has a varying length and they don’t know what duration to expect. So, helps learners by providing  progress indicators so that they know how much time an activity lasts and can adjust their expectations accordingly.

Tip: Provide progress indicators to make your training activity seem quicker … Time is money!

Teach on Mars illustration on using progress indicators: 


Global dashboard


Completion rates
Indicated by colours
And percentages.


Flash game
Progression bar


And fourth, put your learners in a flow state!

The flow state is when you have a very focused and enjoyable attention on a task. The ultimate objective for any inspired author’s readers! Bring your learners into their flow zone by applying a few rules:

  • Learners have a clear, achievable goal in mind.
  • they receive continuous feedback
  • Learners have control over their actions
  • They enjoy performing the activity!
Tip: Put your learners in a flow state by providing them with an achievable goal, continuous feedback, a sense of control over their actions and the pleasure!

Teach on Mars illustration on taking learners on their flow state: 


On activity


On activity


On activity
Success progress

I hope you have enjoyed the thought-provoking information of lesson #8 and learned a few appealing tips.

I will come back soon with further brain weirdness!

Lessons tips index page

Teach on Mars contents authors: Lesson #7  – How people think (part 1)

Teach on Mars contents authors: Lesson #7 – How people think (part 1)

Dear Authors,

In lessons #1, #2 and #3, we study how oddly our busy brain sometimes analyses what we see. In lessons #4 and #5, we attempt to turn any bird-brain into an elephant memory that never forgets! In lesson #6, we celebrate emotions and how they can positively impact the experience with your mobile application!

What’s left? Are there more tips to enhance your mobile app content?

All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher said a long time ago.

“While walking”? Or did this visionary 19th-century man actually mean “while mobile learning” :-)! Well, in addition to enabling thinking while walking and (mobile) learning, how could you best shape your contents to stimulate learners’ thinking process and therefore improve your training efficiency?

Here are a few thoughtful advices.

First, I may have mentioned it in former paper already? I insist! Learners best process information in bite-sized chunks. The brain can only process small amount of information at a time. Have you heard of the concept of progressive disclosure? It consists of showing learners what they need when they need it. You then associate links to allow learners going  levels further for more details.

Tip: Chunk and disclose contents bit by bit to ease learner’s process of information

Teach on Mars illustration on chunking contents:


Level #1


Level #2


Level #3


Have you heard of the “loads” in human understanding jargon? Loads refer to the amount of mental resources needed when completing an action. Some kinds of mental processing are more challenging than others! In design, loads are split into 3 types:

  • A cognitive load is when you think about or remember something, do a mental calculation…
  • A visual load refers to looking at something, finding something on a screen…
  • A motor load is when you press a button, click, move a mouse…

Cognitive loads use more resources than visual loads, which in turn call for more resources than motor loads. When designing an interface, the fewer mental resources i.e. loads are needed, the easier the application is to use. An interface that primarily appeals to motor then visual loads will leave more resources to the user to focus on the purpose of the application, in our case, learning. It may be better to have more clicks if they give user a sense of logic.

Tip: Favor motor and visual loads when designing your application

Teach on Mars illustration on using motor and visual loads: Quiz Drapeaux du monde. The player clicks 3 times (motor loads) on buttons (visual loads) to start a new game. 3 clicks that make the player happy, because each step is logical and takes him where expected.

Quiz Flag_Home ENG

Click – Play

Quiz Flag_Jouer ENG

Click – Solo

Quiz Flag_Difficulté ENG

Click – Easy


Let your mind wonder…. And wander! A wandering mind is said to be more creative, some researchers state. Whatever your degree of creativity, mind wandering is a very common phenomenon. During everyday activities, our mind would wander up to 30 percent of the time! Mind wandering is about doing one task and fading into thinking about something unrelated to that task. Failing to stop this natural behavior, yet we can inform learners about where they are so that if they wander, it’s easier for them to get back to the original location or go to the next.

Tip: Keep learners aware of where they are in the application. Their minds wander!

Teach on Mars illustration on integrating mind wandering:


The next activity


The agenda


There are much more things to say about the way our mind processes information. Wait for lesson #8 to get another insight!

In the meanwhile, I let you think about it!

Lessons tips index page

The adventures of analytics in Learning Land

The adventures of analytics in Learning Land

Web users surf, depending on to their wishes and needs. They click here and there, comment, buy, like … and learn! All their littlest traced movements produce a torrent of information. Welcome to the Big Data!

Marketing professionals first captured the “Big Data” to appeal and promote customer shopping. Amazon, with its recommendations algorithms, is a renowned example.

Nowadays, web data analysis is going far beyond marketing borders. Learning data from LMS (Learning Management System) and especially mobile learning platforms can also generate valuable information.

How? Which educational data should be measured? Which learner behavior may be profitably investigated? What resulting actions will be implemented?

For most, “Learning analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs” (Learning analytics definition). The time for “Big Data in Education” is now!

Digitization has brought a whole new dimension, allowing collecting and processing massive and systematic data related to the acquisition of knowledge (progression, scores…) and to users’ behavior with the training system (assiduity, connexion duration…): what’s their favorite pedagogic format? When and where do they ordinarily connect to train on their mobile device? Do learners move around while learning on their mobile? What are their preferred activities? What’s their rhythm?…

Adaptive learning, i.e. individualized training, was born form the understanding of these parameters: suggest users upcoming activities based on their level of knowledge and learning habits. And therefore increase their training efficiency.

Who benefits from learning analytics?

At the heart of the training, the learner and his progression! A data-driven approach will provide learners with trainings adapted to their real-time needs, as learning analytics will allow developing adaptive learning and large-scale customization.

Moreover, studying learners’ behaviour allows highlighting their inactivity phases and setting learners back in an appealing learning situation in such critical times. For example, let’s suppose a learner never accesses his (mobile) training in the afternoon, you might plan a daily notification around 3pm to change this habit…

Not only learners, but also trainers will take advantage of proficient learning analytics. Connexion/deployment rates, attendance reports, training activities progression rates, questionnaire scores are just a few of them. Their review will inform trainers on their training quality (example: a systematically skipped content), progression and completion (example: insufficient completion), learners’ knowledge level and motivation… And will eventually help them take corrective actions or decide on new more effective pedagogic formats (compare completion rate on desktop vs on mobile device).

More generally, compare individuals’ training impact to their boosted performance will demonstrate the training value to the organization. Stakeholders’ ultimate objective is naturally to enhance the overall organization performance; therefore they need to accurately assess the value added by their training policies.

How to measure learning analytics and benefit from them?

Among the various learning analytics methods, let’s dig inside some of them.

  • Educational data mining consists of the exploration of large amounts of educational data. Data mining refers to techniques designed for automatically extracting meaning from large repositories of data generated by people’s learning activities in educational settings. For example, LMS and Mobile Learning platforms track information such as when each learner accessed each activity, how many times they accessed it and on which device, how many minutes the activity was displayed on the user’s screen, etc. This technique allows measuring the acquisition of knowledge over time. (Bayesian Knowledge Tracing – BKT, Item Response Theory – IRT, …)
  • Clustering consists of the modelling of different learning styles. The objective of this approach is to automatically identify distinctive learners’ behaviors and so to continuously and automatically have the system to categorize these behaviors (Centroid-based clustering, Density-based clustering…).
  • Predictive analyses consist of making assumptions about future events based on observation of past events. One of its main applications is the recommendation. A recommendation mechanism, taking into account contents selected by learners can identify relevant content to put forward, and also individualize the selection of content available to a learner according to his past choices.

The Teach on Mars data center for our mobile applications already propose analytics, including progression and scores, assiduity, deployment rates, time spent … Find out more here: Teach on Mars analytics .


You will find hereafter a suggestion of three valuable websites to mine educational data!





And you, do you have a data digger soul?

Teach on Mars contents authors: Lesson #6 – In 2016, spice up your app!

Teach on Mars contents authors: Lesson #6 – In 2016, spice up your app!

“You’ve got me feeling emotions, Deeper than I’ve ever dreamed of

You’ve got me feeling emotions, Higher than the heavens above”

Could these lyrics from Mariah Carey “Emotions” apply to your mobile learning application?

Emotions are always important, particularly in times like these recent festive moments. They also impact many aspects of our day-to-day professional life and behavior.

you can indeed positively spice up your contents with emotions and make your training one to remember, baring a few rules in mind:

  • According to Paul Ekman’s work, there are seven basic universal emotions: joy, sadness, contempt, fear, disgust, surprise and anger. They are shown by facial expressions and physical gestures.
  • Use one of these emotions in your pictures to clearly communicate your sensitive message.
  • Use psychographics on top of demographic information, to identify what emotions may motivate different parts of your target audience.

Have a look at some of these basic emotions expressed in Teach on Mars mobile learning applications… and enjoy!





photo 4


photo 5




photo 1


To every one of you we send our best wishes for this new year!

Lessons tips index page

ATOL, a visionary spirit for vision … and vocational training!

ATOL, a visionary spirit for vision … and vocational training!

What could be more natural for a mobile app connected eyeglasses seller than to train on these glasses’ innovative options with a mobile learning application?

Isabelle DUMOULIN, Project Director at CAA, a consultancy firm specializing in professional learning, has taken Morgan PARMENTIER, Managing Director at Le Monde Change, a communication and business designer, and ATOL on board her mobile learning training project and collaborated with Le Monde Change and the French Optician on their first mobile learning application, dedicated to promoting the sale of their new captive glasses, Téou®.

So put on your glasses and get an insight on how Téou® Learning project came into being!