In education, the term authenticity is often used to reference the relevance or meaning of instruction and training to learners. As part of my doctoral research, I studied how authenticity in learning was defined by instructors, designers, and learners in the context of multimedia learning, specifically with nurse practitioners. As I have been immersed in trucking for more than 10 years, I can see the overlap between my findings then and what I have learned about driver training since.
Multimedia learning includes the presentation of information through images, sounds, and interaction. In trucking, we commonly see this form of learning presented in the video format.
When I examined multimedia learning in my doctoral research, I found distinct differences between how instructors, learners, and instructional designers viewed authenticity as they interacted with video, vector animations, and interactive vector content.
My major findings of this question were:
- The instructor’s and subject matter expert’s definitions of authenticity focused on the validity and factual nature of the content.
- The learner’s definition of authenticity focused on the genuine connection to an actual nurse.
Interestingly, as long as the content was accurate, it made no difference to the instructors or subject matter experts that the format of the video was vector, animated, click-through, or an actual nurse whom the learners personally knew. The learners, on the other hand, said that it was important to them that the content was genuine or sincere—they were looking for the human connection within the content. For them, if the content felt credible, then it lent credibility to the curriculum. Even though they did not personally know the actors in the videos presented in the nursing curriculum, they could relate to them. They felt real, actual, genuine, and credible. This provided the reason to learn the content.
Based on half a million drivers in the Luma Brighter Learning platform providing feedback, our original findings are supported as to how authenticity varies between those who create and decide on curriculum and those who consume or interact with the curriculum.
When the content appears staged, drivers do not rate content as high as when it contains sincere, genuine, and factual stories of people they know. Drivers want content that is easy to access and that has value to them beyond the learning session. This was true of the nurses who were studied as well.
We talk with many instructors and subject matter experts in trucking who just “check the box” by selecting content based solely on whether it is accurate and factual, regardless of how old or disconnected to the learner it is. While drivers want the information to pertain to them as a professional driver, they also want in the learning environment to connect with the content, with each other, and with the safety professionals in their immediate environment.
How is this done?
From August 2023 to August 2024, we will release weekly tips and strategies for building authentic learning with involvement from the trucking industry. Be on the lookout for our I Love Learning! campaign.
We challenge you to try to implement authentic instruction in your teaching and learning to inspire and engage your drivers and employees and, ultimately, help them learn. You will find those tips on learnwithluma.com/blog/authentic learning strategies.