eLearning Design and Development

Tips To Use Learners’ Imagination in eLearning

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Learning is mainly viewed as a practical and “down-to-earth” process. Therefore, imagination, which is one key area of the brain, is often left by the wayside during the eLearning design and development process. In this article, I'll share some tips that will help you to tap into the imagination of your learners and use it to your advantage.

How to Use Learners’ Imagination in eLearning

By sparking your learners' imagination you encourage them to not just acquire new information, but to fully explore the subject matter, so that they can boost their knowledge retention and become active participants in the overall eLearning experience. Imagination in fact, can be the world of eLearning, therefore eLearning professionals should know how to use learners’ imagination to their advantage when designing their eLearning courses.

The Power Of Imagination In eLearning

eLearning professionals should never underestimate the importance of imagination when developing eLearning deliverables, as it can be an extremely powerful tool if used the right way. When learners are challenged to think and to use their creativity, insight, and experience to interact with the content, this is when the real magic happens. This is because learners are able to investigate and explore the subject matter fully, without being limited to the confines of practicality or reason. They are allowed to engage in imaginary situations that tie into real world experiences, in one way or another, which means that they can expand their comprehension without becoming bored or frustrated.

One of the most significant benefits of using learners'imagination is that they gain the ability to tackle new challenges and engage in new experiences that will help them to build their skills and expand their knowledge base. If they become active participants who are willing and ready to get excited about the eLearning process, then they can reap all of the rewards that your eLearning course has to offer.

The imagination also taps into the right side of the human brain, which also governs intuition, synthesizing, and emotional alertness. It also deals with problem solving, personal well being, and collaboration. The right part of the brain affords us the chance to seek out new opportunities and to test our limits, which are important to the success of  eLearning experiences. By using the imagination, the right part of the brain is triggered, which unlocks all of the power held within this hemisphere of a learner's mind.

4 Tips For Using Learners’ Imagination in eLearning

  1. Develop learning activities that encourage learners to reflect.
    If you can get your learners to actually think and reflect, then you have the ability to transform even the most dry and dull subject matter into a truly remarkable e Learning experience. Integrate learning activities that encourage them to reflect upon how they could use their new found information in the real world. You can create an eLearning scenario, for example, that allow them to make choices that lead to consequences. Then, ask how the skills or knowledge they've gathered can be applied outside of the virtual classroom. Let them imagine how their lives might be improved (even in some small way) by the information they have collected from the scenario. By doing this, they can learn about all of the “what if's” without any real risk involved. They can play out the various outcomes to the choices they can potentially make, which also enables them to become more confident of their own decision making process.
  2. Ask thought provoking questions.
    Asking a question that gets their imagination running, is often the best way to make your eLearning course more engaging and exciting. Include questions that prompt them to think about what they would do in a particular situation, or what they could do with the information they will be given. Get them thinking about ideas or opinions that they might not have thought about otherwise, so that they can imagine the possibilities. For example, you can provide them with a short story and then encourage them to place themselves in the shoes of the main character by asking what they would do in a similar situation or how they would handle the problem.
  3. Let them arrive at their own conclusions.
    Many mistakenly believe that providing learners with as much information as possible is always the best policy. However, in some cases, especially if you are opting for an imaginative eLearning approach, giving them a limited amount of information up front can be more beneficial. This is because it requires a great deal of critical thinking, analysis, reflection, and imagination to arrive a decision or solution with minimal assistance. You may want to develop an eLearning presentation, for instance, that includes very little upfront instruction. Put them into the thick of things, as they say, and see what they can do on their own.
  4. Allow them to design their own learning material.
    By asking your learners to create their own learning materials, such as blogs, slide shows, and modules, they can use their imagination and other skills they may have, to explore the subject matter on their own terms. They have the chance to not only boost their knowledge absorption and retention, but to engage both the right and left side of their brain, which will make the eLearning experience more engaging and powerful. If you also want to focus on their collaboration skills, so that they can benefit from the imagination and experience of their peers, then you can ask them to create learning materials in groups.

Why not use these imagination in eLearning techniques to design eLearning courses that help your learners build their critical thinking and collaboration skills, while boosting their self confidence?

In addition, there are 5 psychology principles that you should be aware of before developing your next eLearning course. Read the article 5 Psychology Principles That eLearning Professionals Should Know to take full advantage of learning behaviors.

Have you heard about the 6 Laws of Perception, also known as the Principles of Grouping (or Gestalt Laws of Grouping)? Read the article Tips On How To Use The 6 Laws of Perception in eLearning to find out how to use each one of them in your eLearning course strategy. Regardless of the subject matter, the target audience, or the eLearning objectives, these Laws of Perception can help you to design highly effective eLearning courses.

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