4 mins read

Sense-making our own Learning

ASRI, gaining internal clarity

We’ve shifted ASRI on a bit!

When Laura Watkin (Head of Learning) and I sat down in November of 2020 to pour out our thoughts on learning design we had know idea where it would head (and to some degree we still don’t), we just knew something was bubbling and we needed to go beyond the simmer.

Now 8 months on, our original thoughts are taking shape. Well more than taking shape. Our thinking is evolving, our concept is gaining internal (and external) clarity and we are about to enter in to our second contracted piece of work (with a global business) where our ‘ASRI Model for Learning Design’ is the focal point.

An organic approach

We couldn’t be prouder that we allowed this to grow organically. Yes the ‘sense-making’ may have been protracted but it has helped us to pay ‘attention’ to what matters (to us and others). We have found natural places for the model to work beyond its original identified purpose of Learning Design inc. business meetings, coaching conversations and networking, to date.

However this blog will focus on the original purpose, to help ‘design better learning’. For those who have not met our model before, shes called ASRI (pronounced Ass-ree) and is made up of:

  • Attention
  • Sense-making
  • Retention
  • Internalisation

Whats the purpose of the Model

In looking at this model we need to appreciate –All learning experiences, no matter how well they are designed, are flawed”. But we as practitioners with the right guidance can increase the likelihood of learning occurring (and with it create ‘better’ learning experiences). Our work in this space is intended to make the ‘science of learning’ more accessible by:

  • Offering guidance on a global level – about learning design grounded in trusted theory
  • Supporting practitioners – to create great experiences through evidence informed practice and
  • Prompting learners to engage – more purposefully in learning even when it’s HARD.

So our next level of ‘internal clarity’ is now in a state of readiness that we can share and evolve to gain greater ‘external clarity’….

What do we mean by ASRI

Some visuals and some words to help with your own appreciation and understanding


“Attention” – what is it and why is it important? In our design work we must consider:

  • How to maximise the attention learners give to what we need
  • How to motivate learners to want to pay attention.

The characters in our story:

  • Main Actor – Cognitive Load Theory
  • Supporting Actor – Intrinsic motivation.



“Sense-making” – what is it and why is it important? In our design work we must consider:

  • How to check for accurate understanding
  • How to create space for personal meaning making
  • The two-way process of sense-making.

The characters in our story:

  • Main Actor – Perception
  • Supporting Actor – Schemas & mental model formation



“Retention” – what is it and why is it important? In our design work we must consider:

  • How to make what you need to be retained more memorable.
  • The role of desirable difficulties

The characters in our story:

  • Main Actor – Multi-store memory model
  • Supporting Actor – Forgetting (memory decay)



“Internalisation” – What is it and why is it important? In our design work we must consider:

  • How deliberate practice works and promoting experiential learning.
  • Advocating for the conditions for effective practise.

The characters in our story:

  • Main Actor – Habit formation/Mindset
  • Supporting Actor – Neuroplasticity

The characters in our story (underpinning theories) are what we believe to be ‘Good Science’ in this space and we will be using this to build our guidance. Making life easier for designers, deliverers and learners by bringing the theory of learning closer to people in a way they can themselves internalise and use (in differing environments under varying conditions).

In Closing

We are getting the science in our story ‘more right’ each time we delve into this and share. We hope you enjoy this journey with us. We will continue to challenge ourselves, welcome challenge from others and evolve our work so it is based on ‘good science’ and above all helpful. We don’t wish to add noise to this already busy place. We want to offer clarity and smoothen the experience of learning to application. We continue to check and test, retest, experiment and evolve.

Call to Action – Join our “sense-makers”

If you would like to join our group of “sense-makers” – peers from across sectors that offer their time freely in exchange for being part of an awesome group of humans doing the testing and retesting of our thinking. Then just click on the link below and let us know. You are a fundamental part of this iterative process.

What will you get? We expect that we’ll all learn loads from being part of this, we believe it will be enriching for all involved and an opportunity to network and share stories.  If you are keen send us your desire to kurt@bemorelnd.co.uk  or use the contacts form

Thanks for reading. Check out our earlier blog on the ‘birth of ASRI’ – All learning experiences, no matter how well they are designed, are flawed

Big love all – Kurt and Laura