Skip to main content


We’re back this week with a roundup of the research that you should know about. First up: thanks to Patti Shank and Marti Konstant for chatting with us recently about Learning Science Weekly! Now, on to the science-y stuff.

Gamification and InfoSec in the Workplace

What’s the weakest link when it comes to organizational IT security? Employees, despite extensive training. Researchers Silic and Lowry (2020) recognized that security training is often “not enjoyable or motivating - it is perfunctory, arcane, and outside employees’ normal practice and expertise” (p. 130). But what if security training was fun, enjoyable, AND effective? These researchers conducted a longitudinal experiment leveraging gamification techniques with promising results.

Key Takeaway: Gamified e-learning was more effective at changing learners’ behavior than informative updates sent via email and system notifications alerting users to potential phishing attacks.

Bonus: Silic and Lowry encourage future research into a gamemaster/virtual mentor, which is a relatively new concept in gamification. (This suggestion does give me Hunger Games vibes.)

Read More: Using Design-Science Based Gamification to Improve Organizational Security Training and Compliance (2020). Journal of Management Information Systems, 37(1), 129-161.‍

So Fresh, So Clean

There's nothing sweeter than a brand-new website, and we've got one, thanks to the talented guys at Intellum (we see you, Nick and Justin!). Head on over and check out our recent issues, blog posts, and more.

Blast from the Past

Have you heard that the brain can only hold 5-9 pieces of information at a time? Researcher George A. Miller introduced the concept of cognitive overload (even if he didn't call it that) way back in 1956, and this article served as a precursor to future research by Sweller, Ayres, Kirschner, and others.

Key Takeaway: The brain can receive, process, and remember only a limited amount of information at a time, so be careful not to overload your learners.

Read More: The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information (1956). Psychological Review, 63(2), 81–97. (Note that you can find the full-text paper online with a quick search.)

Online Learning: What Matters?

In a word: content. Researchers Al-Fraihat, Joy, Masa’deh, and Sinclair conducted a study that examined the factors determining e-learning success. Their findings included one salient point: information quality was a key determinant of learner satisfaction and perceived usefulness of the system. In fact, “concise and clear information, updated content, and ... attractive design of content are important to make students have an enjoyable and pleasant experience with e-learning... [and] organizing the content and information into logical and understandable components in the e-learning system allows students to accomplish their learning tasks quickly.”

Key Takeaway: Don’t junk up your LMS with outdated, disorganized content. (We're begging you!)

Read More: Evaluating E-learning Systems Success: An Empirical Study (2020). Computers in Human Behavior, 102, 67-86.

Pets of Learning Science Weekly‍

We can't get over this picture of Lola (check out that little bow!!). Thanks, Julieta C., for sending in this photo!

Send your pet pic to and you could see it featured in a future email.

We Don't Want to Miss a Thing

Let us know how you (or someone you know) is making an impact in the science of learning. Same email address: