Designing Effective Learning for the Learning Economy


Designing effective learning experiences needs to shift from pushing out content to pulling learners to integrate and apply knowledge. I agree with Neville Pinto, the President of the University of Cincinnati, we are most certainly moving from a “knowledge economy to a learning economy.” In this new environment the very act of how one learns is a skill we need to understand and foster since it is vital for success. Learning can not be a passive act of receiving information and memorizing facts. His article is a call to action for higher education and a battle  cry for unleashing intellectual capital. This small excerpt from Pinto’s article defines the learning economy. With its urgent tone, it is so utterly on point and timely.

“To navigate these disruption-heavy days, you must always be learning. Always curious. Always asking. Always upgrading your thinking and doing. If knowledge is a solid, learning is a liquid. It takes any shape. Fills every crack. Flows in any and all directions. Learning is relentless in finding the next opening, the next opportunity, the next, well, next. In this way, learning is a mindset, not a major. It’s fiercely active, not passive. It’s integrative, not isolated. It’s fluid and scalable, not fixed and final. Above all, learning is a calling that never quits. In a learning economy, knowing the right answer is rarely enough. You must be able to sculpt the better question — unlocking deeper meaning, hidden patterns and breakthrough insights. In short, a learning economy demands new levels of thinking and rethinking.”

In order to harness this vision for the future of learning, moving away from pushing content, and pushing knowledge needs to evolve into a pull model where learners are active participants, included and engaged by design of the learning experience. Designing effective learning demands a commitment to understanding how learners construct knowledge.


A few basic truths about how people learn are essential to approaching learning effectively to be more prepared for the Learning Economy:

Truths On How People Learn

Being able to apply knowledge is a higher level outcome

People do not all have the same prior knowledge

People learn in different ways 

Active participation facilitates integrating new concepts with old knowledge

Active participation requires an environment that fosters participation of all learners

Power structures play a role in how inclusive a learning environment is

Creating a safe space for different perspectives fosters engaging learners


Learning Experience Design: Pull Approach

Backward Design ensures alignment between outcomes and the learning experience. If applying knowledge is the goal, we must design opportunities for learners to DO real things and obtain feedback on these attempts in a measurable way.

Differentiating Instruction allows for learners to have different starting points, and for variations in pace of integrating and applying new concepts.

Universal Design for Learning supports different learners’ needs by providing multiple means of engagement, representation and action and expression in the learning.

Student Centered Learning fosters learners to actively engage with one another, with concepts and with the instructor. Students are measured by what they are able to do with the knowledge in this model, not exclusively on what they know or recall.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are important aspects to ensure the success of all learners and should be considered in the design phase.


Ease Learning has decades of learning experience design expertise to help you pull your learners into the Learning Economy. Contact us for more information.


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