We hear it all the time: “Learning should be fun!”. And we agree, it should and is, if and only, if you think like your eLearners. We all want our courses to be engaging, immersive and results oriented. So let’s share some thoughts.
What do many think is “fun”?
- “Let’s use a Jeopardy-style game for the quiz.”
- “Let’s have them explore a haunted museum, clicking on silly things to learn more.”
- “We should have a funny-looking wizard using his wand to magically create information on the learning screen.”
- “How about a talking frog?”
Is this really funny and engaging? Well maybe funny and silly but definitely not engaging. As the popular teenage phrase goes, “Not so much”. They want something really cool, fresh, attention-grabbing and challenging! So, how do you help them enjoy the process and embrace a fail without fear attitude? First, figure out what does it really mean to be engaging.
What is really engaging?
Humans process information through emotional attachments. These attachments can elicit sky high dopamine (‘I like it” hormone) levels, thus motivating them to process information and make decisions. Emotional attachments are the fuel that you must have to frame and drive a call to action. Here are some helpful tips.
First of all ask yourself “Why should they want it?” and focus on that. It’s never a bad idea to say “why” 5 times. Don’t believe it? Try it. What is your task at hand and why should they want it. Now, why are you doing it? Go ahead… Why. Why. Why. Why. Why. By the time you asked yourself why for the third time some interesting ideas might have sparked. Wayne Gretzky once said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” Isn’t that what you do on a daily basis – determining the intersection of what you want to say and what your students are interested in. So, thinking like your student is the crimp in your effectiveness hour glass.
More about Dopamine
Dopamine, also known as “I like it hormone”, helps your learners become more engaged and even possibly thrilled to succeed. Mastering a topic and accomplishing a task elicits a feeling of well being and a desire to do more. Don’t shout and talk at your students, talk with them and be their guide and concierge. A mental handshake opens the mind to expression and a willingness to learn. Everyone knows that the brain is a lot like a parachute – it doesn’t work unless it’s open. Story-build as you story-tell. A compelling story, a thought provoking statistic, a mind bending question – this can create stickiness and indelibly impression in one’s mind. Again, story- build as you story- tell
Call to action
Kinesthetic, hands-on, “Learn by doing” definitely helps. Work with them and picture yourself with your hand on their shoulder inspiring them, not talking at them with so called motivating direction. It’s an art and a science. We all know this first hand. Lastly, keep it simple. Maybe we should say the word simple 5 times too. The purity of purpose is simplicity.
What do you think?