Are your online learners aware of their strengths and weaknesses? Are their cognitions standing in the way or fueling their pursuit of success? In this article, we’ll share 8 creative ways to encourage learner participation and reflection in eLearning, converting them into active learners.
How To Encourage Learner Participation And Reflection In eLearning
As eLearning professionals, we are tasked with delivering information in a way that’s easy to understand. Online learners must be able to absorb the ideas and apply them in the real world.
All of this depends on one key factor: meaning. Individuals have to assign meaning to the information in order to commit it to memory.
But what if their personal assumptions and opinions are hindering this process?What if they aren’t willing or ready to recognize their own areas for improvement?
Here are 8 creative ways that you can encourage learner participation and reflection in your eLearning course design and give online learners the opportunity to move beyond the mental roadblocks, assign meaning, and realize their true potential.
1. Turn Online Learners Into Bloggers
Sometimes blogging gets online learners to open up and share their thoughts freely, allowing them to explore their ideas, feelings, and opinions in a productive manner.
They are able to reflect on the topic and put it into perspective, thus creating a meaningful eLearning experience that ties into their personal learning goals and objectives. For example, they write a blog post that reveals how their newfound knowledge will help them overcome a work-related challenge.
Blogging also gives them the power to delve into the emotional connection they have with the eLearning content. For example, how the eLearning course made them feel, or ways that they related to the eLearning course narrator.
2. Incorporate Online Group Collaboration Projects To Explore Different Viewpoints
Certain online learners may be so focused on their own cognitions that they aren’t able to see the bigger picture. They are comfortable staying inside their “comfort zone”.
However, inviting them to collaborate with their peers can open their eyes to different perspectives. They are able to experience the subject matter from other viewpoints and reflect on opinions or assumptions that are holding them back.
For example, an online group collaboration project reveals that there are multiple ways to approach the problem, even though in the past they were told there was only one viable solution.
3. Offer Self-Reflection Breaks After Each eLearning Activity
Give online learners frequent breaks in order to reflect on the information and their experiences as a whole. Ideally, you should incorporate self-reflection breaks after each eLearning activity, module, or assessment.
Encourage them to put the information into context and consider how they might use it in their real lives, as well as analyze their performance so that they can learn from their mistakes.
4. Ask Online Learners To Create A “Mental Roadblock” Mind Map
In some cases, there may not be a clear path. Online learners aren’t able to improve their performance or recall the information. But there isn’t an obvious reason why. You can still help online learners reflect with a “mental roadblock” mind map.
Ask them to write down the main problem or challenge they are currently trying to overcome. Then add a few reasonable explanations around the central point.
Online learners can closely examine each possibility and formulate solutions. For example, their main issue is not being able to perform a specific task in a timely manner. The explanation may be that they don’t have the necessary resources or require more experience.
5. Use Real-World Activities To Highlight Strengths And Weaknesses
eLearning simulations and branching scenarios test qualitative knowledge. This means that online learners must be able to apply their skills and knowledge to show how well they know the topic and that they can use the information in a contextual setting.
These interactive eLearning activities also allow them to identify practical strengths and areas for improvement, such as skills they need to hone in order to improve related performance behaviors.
6. Host “Invitation Only” Webinars To Challenge Assumptions
Webinars give online learners the ability to ask questions and participate in lively conversations in real time. Thus, they can learn from the experiences of their peers and online instructors.
Not to mention, uncover personal traits or assumptions that are limiting their own progress. Create an outline for the event that includes thought-provoking questions and topics for online discussions.
Then invite online learners to share their unique perspectives. Follow it up with additional inquiries that challenge those cognitions. For example, ask them why they have a certain opinion on the subject, or if there are any past experiences that influence their response.
7. Start Learner-Led Social Media Groups
Social media groups are a great way to facilitate online learner reflection in synchronous learning environments. Online learners can post their comments, feedback, and ideas whenever it fits into their schedule.
It’s a closed discussion group, therefore online learners are more likely to be open about their thoughts and feelings.
Create a separate group for each eLearning course or topic so that everyone’s on the same wavelength. For example, they all share personal interests or common goals. Then post a weekly prompt or resource link to spark the online discussion.
Online learners can read about the viewpoints of others and find new meaning in the subject matter.
8. Do A Play-By-Play After The Serious Game Activity
It’s true, serious games are fun, entertaining, and immersive. But they are also great mistake-driven learning tools that facilitate online learner reflection. Ask online learners to evaluate their own game play after the serious game activity.
Break it down into different sections or levels so that they can analyze their skills, knowledge, and proficiency play-by-play. For example, it took several tries to successfully complete the third stage, which involved critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Thus, the online learner may wish to seek out supplemental online training resources to build these vital skill sets.
Reflection is part of our daily lives. Each of us must evaluate our own assumptions and behaviors in order to grow and adapt.
However, you can use these 8 tips to encourage online learner participation and reflection in your eLearning course and leave a lasting impact. Online learner reflection is just one way to enhance long-term knowledge retention.
Read the article 9 Innovative Ways To Make Online Training More Effective to discover 9 creative ideas to reinforce key concepts in your online training course.