How To Use Personal Experiences In eLearning Course Design
Chances are that you have a variety of insights and knowledge that you'd like to impart upon your learners. So, why not take full advantage of the wisdom and life experience you've earned, by applying your personal experiences in eLearning course design. Here are a few tips that will help you use your own experiences when creating memorable and powerful eLearning courses.
- Tap into the power of your real life stories.
Undoubtedly, we each have a wealth of stories tucked away inside our minds. Even if we aren't aware that they are there, in the form of memories, they can be accessed in order to provide a richer and more profound eLearning experience for our audience. The simple truth is that stories are one of the most effective tools to connect and engage with your learners.
- Using your personal experiences in eLearning course design makes it easier for learners to relate.
When you include real world examples, based upon your personal or professional experiences, challenges or situations that you have dealt with in the past, or funny and lighthearted stories that entertain and educate learners, you give your learners the opportunity to relate to the subject matter. They develop a deep connection with the eLearning course and understand how the knowledge you are offering can be applied in the real world.
- Leading by example.
In many respects, by including real life experiences, you are leading by example. You are not only making the subject real and alive, you are stressing how they can use the information outside of the eLearning environment. Just make sure that you tie your personal experiences into the subject matter in order to give it true value. Don't go too far off tangent just for the sake of entertainment, as this will distract the learners rather than draw their attention to the key ideas.
- Create characters based upon personalities you've encountered in the past.
Each of us, regardless of our personal or professional pasts, have encountered memorable or notable characters who would make great personalities in an eLearning course. For example, a mentor who offered an abundance of wisdom might be a great character in a real world example, or a not-so-effective boss you had in the past can be transformed into one of the characters in your eLearning scenario, as an example of what not to do. You can even use fictional characters, such as pop culture personalities that are recognizable, to stress an important idea in your eLearning course.
- Use detailed depictions of previously visited environments.
Our memories have the ability to recall vivid details of places we've been and sights we've seen. As such, why not use that to your advantage and create a more effective and immersive learning environment for your learners? Use the information to make your scenarios more interactive and realistic, or create a real world example that includes plenty of pertinent details that enrich the eLearning experience. Give them a glimpse into a location to make it more relatable and emotionally-gripping. Make them feel like they are really there and active participants in their own eLearning experience.
- Recall a certain emotion and tie it into the eLearning experience.
Human beings are emotional creatures. When we feel something, we remember the event that evoked that emotion, and this leads to greater knowledge absorption and retention. For example, if we recall a particular event in our lives that is tied to extreme happiness or joy, we immediately remember what we were doing, the environment we were in, who was around at the time, etc. We recall every vivid detail, because it is linked to a strong emotion. So, why not replicate that emotion for your learners? Give them a small piece of that feeling by creating a thought-provoking emotional story or simulation, so that they can more effectively remember the core ideas of the eLearning course.
- Design scenarios and simulations based upon real life experiences.
If you want to make your real world examples or stories come to life, try to create a scenario or simulation that transforms your eLearning course into a truly interactive and immersive experience. Use one key event in your life to design a complete scenario that explores real world decisions and consequences. Allow them to see, first hand, how their actions lead to real life risks and rewards.
- Give them access to your knowledge and insight.
There are a variety of ways that you can give your learners access to the wealth of information, knowledge, wisdom, and insight that's tucked away within your mind. Interact with them on social media sites to give them the chance to “pick your brain” or benefit from your expertise in the field. Post regular updates that share key bits of information that they might find useful, or links that will help them to more effectively comprehend the subject matter, using you as a sort of subject matter expert. Be available for them, so that they can feel supported and guided through the learning process, even if you aren't there to walk them through every step of the way. Rather than just sharing professional knowledge, you can connect with them on a more profound level by becoming a person rather than an online entity (when appropriate, of course).
Keep these tips on hand when integrating your personal experiences in eLearning course design in order to offer your audience an amazing educational experience that is relatable, engaging, and emotionally-centered.
Have you ever thought of using humor in your eLearning courses? Read the article Top 5 Tips To Effectively Use Humor in eLearning where you will find tips on how to use humor, so that you can successfully walk the fine line between entertaining and educational.