Why online learning should be fun?
It is not overstated that fun plays a vital role in online student’s enrollment, engagement and learning outcomes. Many underestimate the potential of fun or consider it not appropriate for educational purposes. However, fun is not about letting students play around. Fun is about engaging, motivating and inspiring them to learn. It is proven that giving students a short and relaxing break during lessons will boost blood flow, send oxygen to the brain and help learners retain better information. Therefore, fun has a direct relation with learning outcomes and online courses success.
Online learning should be fun
There are millions of distractions students get on the Internet. Distraction is one of the most factors contributing to the high dropout rates of e-learning. The reasons why students lose their focus while learning online could be their own self-control, boring learning experiences and interesting temptation from the Internet.
So, let’s make learning even more tempting than those distractions!
They like watching YouTube? Show them an engaging and informative video. One minute of video equates to about 1.8 million written words. Videos have many potentials in online education. It visualizes everything and helps students understand much better.
They like video games? Make your online courses interactive! Gamified learning is not easy and requires time and effort but release much positive learning outcomes.
Don’t just throw full-of-text PDF or presentation at your students. Enrich the teaching materials with music, videos, games or external links to make it more fun. When students are entertained, they are more likely to be engaged in the courses.
It is not necessary to give students a too crisp and serious atmosphere in the class. It is true that the academic feel gives students better focus on what they are studying. However, I always believe that serious should be considered in learning attitude rather than the class environment. Therefore, creating an entertaining virtual classroom with serious learning attitude is possible.
How is this possible?
There are various tips to enlighten the class. It could be as simple as showing students an entertaining animated video or adding hilarious teacher joke in your lesson. However, it also could be as academic as dividing students into small online groups and letting them have their own fun of teamwork, discussion and even competition against other groups. Entertained students feel more engaged towards the online courses. This enhances their online experiences and encourages them to learn more.
Behavior and emotion
Online learning is all about self-management, especially MOOCs. When there is nobody to keep track of students’ attendance and homework, it relies much on one’s self-studying awareness. However, not everyone has such trait! That means our job as educators and instructional designers here is to enhance student’s willing to learn.
Make students’ interested in the subjects.
Showing them the true value of what they are learning. Many study without a specific intention of applying those knowledge and skills into the reality. They study just because they feel the need to study. Tell them how to build a garden at home with biology, or get the correct map direction with geography. Tell them how they could manage finance with math, or at least avoid being cheated out of money. And it’d be the best if you tell an inspiring story of an influencer or yourself. Is this fun? Yes, of course! This gives students goals to learn and motivation to achieve a higher level of knowledge.
Then their willingness is boosted with more specific learning intentions. This enhances their attitude towards online learning and helps them develop different sets of skills.
All lead to learning outcomes
Focus – we enhance what they learn.
Environment – we enhance where they learn.
Behavior and emotion – we enhance how they learn.
All of above leads to better learning outcomes. Then obviously, fun takes part in every aspect of e-learning. Fun means giving students something engaging to follow, like an engaging animated video or an inspiring real-life story. Fun also means letting them explore the subject themselves with enjoyment. It could be there, everywhere, in art or in science.
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