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Lego Blocks and Bowflex Directions

The more I learn about Instructional Design and key principles that are vital for effective learning, the more I see them play out in everyday life.

For Prime Day, our family made a couple of purchases:

1) A Star Wars Lego set for my son (yes, that's a parenting win).

2) A set of Bowflex adjustable dumbbells with a stand for my office.

The directions for assembling the two could not be more different. The 147-piece Lego set had forty-two clear and succinct steps to assemble the Ahsoka Tano v. Maul duel scene from Clone Wars.

The Bowflex stand, with eighty-two pieces and far greater stakes in building correctly, had a grand total of three steps for the assembly process. Here they are:

1) Attach the rubber bumpers.

2) Assemble the stand.

3) Attach the straps.

The Segmenting Principle states that steps should be broken down into small, manageable steps and presented one at a time. Lego is an case study in doing this effectively.

Segmenting Principle: Processes should be broken down into smaller, manageable steps and presented one at a time.
Comparison between assembly directions for a Lego set and a dumbbell weight stand.

Image Description

Lego directions have a singular step showing the user how to create Ahsako Tano's light sabers by connecting two clearly-labeled pieces and repeating the process a second time. A check is shown in the upper left corner of this box to demonstrate that Lego is properly using the Segmenting Principle. The box to it's right shows the second step for the Bowflex Dumbbell Stand, which is hard to read because all of the peices are included in one diagram with no clear order. An X-mark is placed in the upper right corner of this image to demonstrate that Bowflex did not properly use the Segmenting Principle in their assembly directions.

Unfortunately, a lot of my learning experiences have felt a lot more like Step 2 of the Bowflex stand. It's doable (and yes, I was able to get the stand built correctly... I think), but it certainly could have been done in a more effective manner.

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