Free eBook: Adult Learning And Levels Of Interactivity In eLearning

Every eLearning professional can define adult learning. But when it comes down to designing an eLearning course for adults, you need to have the knowledge and judgment to go deeper. When you read this eBook about adult learning and how to use interactivity to boost engagement, you'll agree it’s a must-read. This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Interactivity In Adult Learning: What You Need To Know

Adults learn differently than children and teenagers. They have certain perceptions about the learning process and special needs as learners, needs that should be taken care of while designing and developing an eLearning course. In this article, we’ll explore the concept and the use of interactivity in adult learning. This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Will Gamification Work for Everyone?

Gamification is one of the hottest topics in eLearning today. In short, Gamification involves adding elements to eLearning similar to what you would find in an online game. For example, participants are given “avatars” and compete with each other for points, badges, or access to higher levels of the “game.”

Gamification’s benefits are reported to include rapid feedback and higher levels of engagement and excitement. For as long as I’ve been involved in learning, educators have searched for ways to move beyond passive learning (e.g., classroom lecture) to more active learning, and Gamification seems to move learning in that direction.

While recently reviewing opinions on goals and competition, I began to wonder if there were situations where Gamification was not the best technique to use and could actually interfere with learning. This blog post looks at how learning objectives, individual differences and group culture could impact the effectiveness of Gamification.

Learning Objectives

Having played digital games when I was younger, I personally think that the competitive nature of Gamification sounds fun. However, could the competitive nature of Gamification interfere with the achievement of your learning objectives?

Much has been written on the impact of competitive and cooperative goals on outcomes, and I’ve included some of the foundational articles I’ve read below. In general, they all seem to agree that competitive goals can lead to less information sharing and higher negative attitudes toward others.

If you’ve seen the movie “Glengarry Glen Ross”, based on the Pulitzer winning play by David Mamet, you’ve seen a good illustration of how a group of ruthless salesmen do anything but share information and certainly develop “negative attitudes” toward each other.

If the objective of your instruction is to increase cooperation, as in encouraging participative decision making, techniques that increase competition among participants may not be the best choice.

Individual Differences

We all have a friend or acquaintance that can turn a walk in the park into a cut throat competition. If you don’t know such a person, it could be you. The point is that people have different attitudes and reactions to competition.

One of the more interesting ways people react to competition, especially if they are continuously given information they are not doing well, involves whether they believe their abilities are fixed or malleable. Learners who believe they can change their abilities tend to remain motivated even when doing poorly. In contrast, those that believe their abilities are fixed tend to disengage when they don’t do well, even if they are capable of successfully completing a task.

Since effective instruction involves high levels of engagement and motivation, being mindful of individual differences could make Gamification more effective. For example, Gamification could be used as a course or module ice breaker, instead of being used to track all lessons.

Group Culture

Its been my experience that some organizations seem to thrive on competition, particularly those involved in sales. In fact, one direct sales organization I worked with pretty much had Gamification elements incorporated in their daily work routine, including a digital leader board that tracked sales progress on an almost continuous basis.

Other organizations and departments seem to thrive more on cooperation and information sharing, especially if their work involves innovation and problem solving. For example, one organization had a new product development team whose meetings were driven by sharing ideas in order to reach a common goal.

I could see a direct sales team totally enjoying an eLearning experience driven by intense competition. A group of research engineers, on the other hand, not so much. For situations where the culture is more cooperative, Gamification could be used as an ice breaker for training or modified into a team based experience where learners cooperate as a team against a deadline, such as “saving the planet.”

Conclusion

Gamification holds promise for adding excitement to eLearning efforts. However, time will tell if it works well for every learner and every situation. In the mean time, learning professional might well consider learning objectives, the learners attitude toward their own abilities and the cultural context when using Gamification techniques. Some individuals and groups may well thrive in the Gamification environment, while others may require more encouragement or have difficulties learning if they focus too much on competition.

References

Ames, C. (1992). Classrooms: Goals, structures and student motivation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84(3), 261-271.

Deutsch, M. (2006). Cooperation and competition. In M. Deutsch, P. T. Coleman, & E. C. Marcus (Eds.), The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and practice (23–42). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Farrell, J.N. (2017). A Model of Gainsharing: Culture, Outcomes and Employee Reactions (March 12, 2017). Social Science Research Network.

Tjosvold, D., Wong, A.S.H., & Chen, N.Y.F. (2014). Constructively managing conflicts in organizations. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 1, 545-568.

Dweck, C.S. (1986). Motivational processes affecting learning. American Psychologist, 41, 1040-1048.

Media

Luis Molinero – Freepik | Man Doing a Bad Signal Over White Background

Freepik |  Smiling Worker Showing a Positive Gesture

Freepik |  Two Mimes Fighting

Jcomp – Freepik | Young Business Woman Stressed from Work Sitting Staircase

Freepk | Team Watching Phone in Office

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Is It The Carrot Or The Stick? Motivation In Adult Learning

Motivation in learning is a key. Without all the keys, doors will remain locked but suitable motivation could be helpful in breaching this doors. That’s the reason we are bending over backwards to efficiently motivate. Though, sometimes, we forget that motivation isn’t only a carrot but also a stick. This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

My WIIFM Story

One mistake that is often made by organisations who design their eLearning is with WIIFM. WIIFM stands for “what’s in it for me?” (said from the perspective of the learner). This attempts to address the motivation for the learner to proceed and ultimately complete their training. The mistake comes when the WIIFM is written from the perspective of the organisation and not truly what motivates employees.

Here is an example that I experienced when I was working at the Toronto international airport. Consulting with my stakeholder and subject matter experts the motivation for a course on safety was for the thousands of passengers that visit Toronto’s international airport and with an emphasis on the reputation of the airport as a safe place.

Upon further reflection I started to think about the employees who were going to be required to complete this course and realized that while we all want to be safe, an employees concern is not toward the reputation of the airport or to the thousands of strangers who pass through the airport daily, but instead for themselves, their families and friends (their loved ones).

It took some convincing, but my stakeholder agreed that reminding employees that their loved ones at some point will be passengers at the airport and their safety is what is ultimately important to employees. Also, concern for their own safety can be used in this instance as well. Everyone, including the families of employees, wants them to come home safe at the end of their shift. I managed to extend that even further to include their co-workers as well. Many co-workers become friends outside of work. We share in each other’s lives and their families become our families.

Try to avoid towing the corporate line when writing your course motivation section of your eLearning. It becomes far more effective when it has real meaning to the employees and not some check mark on a corporate checklist.

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How Understanding The Adult Learning Theory Helps Us Create Better eLearning

We tend to think of adults as being able to sit and absorb boring presentation after presentation. In truth, that’s just as ineffective as it would be for a toddler. Adult learning theory is a way into the minds of adults and getting there can help you create better eLearning for your employees. This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

How To Adapt Your Training To The Characteristics Of Adult Learners

Children and adults are at different development stages and have entirely unlike everyday lives and experiences. In this article, we'll teach you how you can boost your workplace training program's efficiency by understanding and catering to your adult learners' needs. This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

If you want people to know something – teach them; if you want people to learn something – give them something to do!

A training request has come in, and it’s time for you, the new Instructional Designer, to design and develop the training. So now what? What are you going to do? What approach are you going to take? It’s so easy for you to get caught up in educational theories and industry trends, that you may just sit and stare at the screen – unsure what to do next. So, I ask again – now what?

 

While lots of professional IDs will give you lots of great advice, my advice is this: if you want people to know something – teach them; if you want people to learn something – give them something to do. That’s it.

 

It’s not fancy; there’s no catchy hook. It’s just simple, and that is why it’s the sole principle that drives my design of any instructional material from “tip sheets” to Instructor Led Training, and most certainly eLearning.

 

What do you think? Does it make sense? Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know.

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