4 Tips for Connecting with Learners Kinesthetically in eLearning

4 Tips for Connecting with Kinesthetic Learners in eLearning

I’m wrapping up this series on different sources of learning by offering tips for connecting with learners using kinesthetic elements. Kinesthetic learning may be the most difficult way to serve learners via eLearning. Those who enjoy kinesthetic learning enjoy being physically engaged, and prefer hands-on projects, labs, and fieldwork. They may dislike sitting still for long periods of time and need frequent breaks to move around. All of these preferences create a challenge for instructional designers, but with creativity, you can mold your course to engage your learners in this way.

Passive versus Active learning

  • Don’t Show Me, Let Me Do It– Subjecting your learners to endless audio, videos, or Flash may not always be the best way to engage them in the lesson. In fact, it may be the quickest way to lose your learners’ interest. Some learners may prefer to interact with the material rather than passively watch or listen. For these learners it’s a good idea to employ scenarios, drag and drops, and interactive flow charts to engage their interest and give them opportunities to practice the skills.

Allow for Breaks

  • Break it Down– Some learners like to understand the “big picture” before focusing on the details, so crowding the page with information is a sure way to lose their attention. To keep learners interested, break information down into easily digestible sections. Don’t overload the page with text or graphics. Breaking the information down into short sections will also give learners the opportunity to take frequent breaks, allowing them to recharge and renew their focus.
  • Can I Have That To Go?– If your learners enjoy movement, you might consider using mLearning for your content. Delivering a course via mobile device means that your learners can study away from their desks, on the go, or even at the gym. With today’s increasingly busy schedules, many of your learners will appreciate the flexibility of mLearning’s portable format.

Think outside the screen

  • Think Outside the Screen– Just because an eLearning course is on a computer doesn’t mean the course has to fit within the screen. Consider incorporating pen and paper activities or assignments that involve using the learner’s surrounding environment. This is easier in ILT, but it can be done in WBT. For example, learners taking a food safety class could investigate their own kitchens for possible hazards and report back, offering real-world skill application and a hands-on activity.

 

Do you have any tips for engaging learners kinesthetically?

6 Tips for Using Visuals to Connect with your Learners in Online Courses

 

Human eye.

Learners sometimes remember what they see better than what they hear. Some learners tend to prefer reading, writing, and art to listening to lectures or music. Fortunately, eLearning is by its nature a highly visual medium. The key is maximizing your tools to create a truly effective and engaging eLearning experience.

 

  • Use Metaphoric Visuals– Using graphics may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to use “filler” images, rather than meaningful ones that augment the material. Think about visually representing concepts. For instance, you might show the parts of an essay as the various cars of a train, having the learner click on each train car for additional information. Metaphoric images like this can stick in the learners’ mind, making it easier for them to recall the concepts later.

 

  • Use Concrete Visuals– Or you might use images that directly depict the subject matter, such as showing a form and highlighting the key points as you move through it. If you can use images to forge an emotional connection with your learners, it is even better. Images that make learners laugh, feel sympathy, or stimulate their curiosity will make your course more engaging and memorable.

Using Visuals to Connect with Learners

 

  • Break Up the Text– You can also use pictures to break up text-heavy pages, which can strain the eye. Inserting images throughout can give the eyes a rest, and allow the brain to connect the images with the text. Isolate the key information on the page and use images to direct the learners’ attention to that information.

 

  • Quality is Key– Don’t use generic photos, unimaginative graphics, or poor quality images. Use images that show real people, places, or things, and that connect the learners’ prior knowledge to the new information. Make sure the images are appropriately sized and laid out in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

 

  • Think Visually– It’s easy to fall prey to the dreaded bulleted list for page after page, especially if you’re a linear thinker. Instead, try to imagine the information visually. Can you make those bullet points a chart, mind map, timeline, flow chart, or graph?

 

  • Use Videos– Videos can be a great tool, especially for showing “how-to.” Many people enjoy watching others to learn a new skill. YouTube has plenty of tutorials where you can learn everything from knitting to bricklaying, attesting to the popularity of visual learning. If your budget allows, creating your own videos can be a great way to take your course to the next level.

 

  • 508 Requirements-Just keep in mind that as with all visual elements for courses that require access for people with disabilities that there are special steps required to make sure that images and videos can be properly accessed by the various screen reading technologies. More on this topic in a later blog.

 

Do you have any tips for using visuals to connect with your learners?

Tips for Using Animation in eLearning Courses

Life Science Demo Animation

Adding animation to your eLearning courses is an excellent way to emotionally connect with learners, break down difficult concepts, and enhance the learning experience. In this post I’ll review the benefits of using animation and offer tips for creating effective animations.

 

 

Why Use Animations?

Movement and Mood– Animations give your course personality and movement. Our eyes are naturally drawn to motion, and animation offers more visual interest than a static screen. You can also use animation to set the course’s mood. Do you want learners to feel relaxed or alert? Is this course going to be light-hearted or serious? The animation you use in your introductions can impact your learners’ mindset as they approach the material.

 

Information Accessibility– Animation is also a great tool for breaking down difficult concepts or multistep processes. For example, some courses use whiteboard animation, which is a popular and engaging method of depicting complex information as hand drawings on a whiteboard in sync with audio. Showing difficult concepts as bite-sized animated chunks makes them more accessible to learners and easier to retain. You can also animate static graphics like charts and graphs, making them more engaging. Further, animation gives learners the ability to learn at their own pace. They can replay the animations as many times as they need or even slow the animation down, making the information incredibly accessible.

 

Social Context– Lastly, animation can create social context for solo learners. Most learners are accustomed to instructor-led classroom or seminar settings, which include social interactions with peers and instructors. Including a social aspect in your eLearning course can boost learner motivation and interest. You can create animated characters that act as expert instructors, peer instructors, or co-learners, simulating a classroom experience.

Dos and Don’ts

While animation can be a great tool, when used incorrectly it can demotivate or even annoy learners. Here are a few tips to keep in mind so learners get the greatest benefit from your animations.

  • DO offer a mute or skip button: Give learners the opportunity to mute animations or skip introductions, especially if every section begins with the same animation sequence. Respect your learners and give them control over their eLearning experience.
  • DO use a well-written script and high quality audio recordings: Poor quality dialogue or audio that is too loud, busy, or poorly recorded will not engage learners.
  • DON’T use animation that’s inappropriate for the audience: Remember your learners are adults. Animation, while it can be funny, cute, or entertaining, should always suit the audience, subject matter, and mood of the course. Avoid anything juvenile or inappropriate.
  • DON’T use “filler” animation: Animation should always connect with and/or augment the material. Don’t use animation to fill space or add it just for entertainment’s sake. When in doubt ask yourself, “Is this relevant to the content?”

In a later blog, I’ll discuss how to ensure that learners with disabilities have an equivalent experience (section 508 compliance) when animated elements are presented in a course.

Check out our Life Sciences animated Demo by clicking this link.

How have you used animation in your learning development?

 

 

3 Tips for Engaging Auditory Learners in eLearning

being aware and engagement in elearning

People like learning in different ways. Auditory learners, for instance, tend to think in words and can easily recall information they hear. In conventional classroom situations, auditory learners enjoy discussions, lectures, and debates. Since asynchronous eLearning courses don’t supply these experiences, here are some tips for engaging auditory learners in an eLearning environment.

 

  • Video and music– Enhance your eLearning experience with video clips and music. Be sure to choose videos that are relevant to the subject matter; don’t add videos merely to fill space. Many education professionals believe that background music can improve concentration, memory, mood, and productivity. It’s important to choose music that doesn’t have lyrics, which can be distracting. You should also give learners the option of changing the volume or turning the music off entirely, if they choose.

 

  • Mnemonic devices– Auditory learners often like using mnemonic devices for recalling information. A mnemonic device is an acronym, phrase, song, or rhyme used to recall information. “30 days hath September, April, June and November,” is a mnemonic device, as is ROY G BIV (the colors of the spectrum in order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet).
  • While mnemonics may seem silly or childish, remember that organizations use them to teach critical safety information. (Think the National Stroke Association’s FAST to remind people of stroke symptoms.) You can find more information on different types of mnemonic devices here.

 

  • Narrators– A narrator can engage auditory learners, however, the narrator shouldn’t merely read what’s printed on the screen. Use a narrator to enhance learning by offering tips or giving instruction for multi-step processes. You can use narration to explain visuals or infographics. Be sure the narrator’s tone matches the style of course. It should be conversational and friendly, yet professional.
  • When possible, you should hire professional voice-over actors to narrate. Narration should be clear, succinct, and move at a reasonable pace. If it’s too slow, you risk losing the listener’s attention. If it’s too fast, the listener won’t be able to process it. Lastly, be sure the learners can control the narration’s volume, and give them the option of skipping the narration entirely, if they desire.

 

What tips do you have for engaging auditory learners?

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Tips for Using Scenarios in eLearning

a handsome asian male call centre executive of indian origin

Sean is a Customer Support Specialist at Rapid Internet. He answers the phone to a customer who has been sitting on hold for over forty-five minutes. The customer is very unhappy. What should Sean say?

 

Scenarios like this are a great way for learners to practice and apply a course’s content in real-life situations. You could use this question as a starting point for a branching scenario, where each option opens up another series of choices, allowing learners to see the consequences of Sean’s actions.

 

Scenarios give learners the chance for trial and error in a low risk environment, allowing them to learn from their mistakes. They also offer an opportunity for you to assess the learner’s understanding without resorting to standard quizzes.

 

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you design scenarios for your eLearning courses.

 

Businessman Choosing

A Good Scenario Is…

 

 

  • A Story: At its heart a scenario is a story, which means it needs characters, setting, conflict, and plot. Spend some time outlining these elements before your start designing, to ensure you have a story that makes sense, appeals to learners, and has all of the necessary elements.

 

  • Sure of Itself: Your scenario needs a clear goal. That is, it must relate to the overall course objectives. Make sure your scenario clearly reflects the intended learning outcomes and models the problem-solving process your learners will have to use in real life. It should also build off of the skills your learners already have and reflect their level of expertise.

 

  • Realistic: Your learners won’t “buy in” to the scenario if it’s unrealistic or not relatable. Take some time to research your intended audience. Craft characters and situations that reflect your learners’ lives and work culture. Use industry-specific images and avatars to tailor the course to the audience.

 

  • Engaging: Your scenario should appeal to your learners’ emotions. Make them laugh or feel sympathetic. Use videos with actors or avatars to show, rather than tell, your story. Your scenario should be detailed, complex, and interesting. You need to keep your learners’ attention and make them care about your characters.

 

  • Straightforward: However, don’t get carried away with unnecessary details. Your learners don’t need to know the characters’ backstories, for instance. Stick to the information that learners need to make informed decisions. Lastly, make sure the information and events are presented in a logical order.

 

Do you have any tips for writing scenarios? Share in the comments below!