Optimizing eLearning Experiences: 6 Human Traits To Consider

Optimizing eLearning Experiences: 6 Human Traits To Consider
Summary: Every online learner is unique. They come from different walks of life, and have different life experiences. But there are a few key similarities that they all have in common. In this article, I'll highlight 6 basic human traits for optimizing every eLearning experience.

6 Basic Human Traits For Optimizing eLearning Experiences

No two human beings are alike. However, we all share basic human traits that are ingrained into our DNA. They aren't inherited or learned over time. These characteristics are our birthright, and they impact every aspect of our lives. This includes eLearning experiences. As such, eLearning professionals should be well aware of these 6 basic human traits that play a pivotal role in optimizing eLearning experiences. Human beings are:

1. Inquisitive

Above all else, humans are curious. We ask questions to expand our understanding and raise our self-awareness. Online learners seize every opportunity to explore new topics and stretch their cognitive limitations. Thankfully, this is one of the easiest human traits to incorporate into your eLearning course design. It’s a matter of piquing their interest and giving them a problem to solve.

Break online learners into small groups and then turn them into detectives. Give each group a real world case study or mystery, minus the solution. Ask them to look at the problem from different angles and then brainstorm possible outcomes. We're also social creatures, so that takes care of that element as well. Another option is leading off with a thought provoking question and then inviting them to share their answer. This eLearning exercise allows them to reflect on the topic, form a connection with it, and see things from a fresh perspective. For example, one of their peers may have a unique response that opens their eyes to new possibilities.

2. Emotional

Some of us prefer not to be classified as "emotional". The simple truth is that humans are governed by their emotions. Sure, our minds play a pivotal role, but our hearts usually reign supreme. We are more likely to remember information when it's tied to a happy or pleasant eLearning experience. Colors also impact our emotions, as well as music and the overall layout of the eLearning course. For example, a chaotic eLearning course design will make us feel stressed or anxious.

For all of these reasons, you must put emotions first when creating your eLearning course. Include soothing music in the background to calm online learners before a test. Use relaxing colors to soothe them or bold colors to draw their attention  and create a sense of urgency. You can even incorporate emotionally compelling stories with relatable eLearning characters. The goal is to make them feel a connection with the subject matter so that they remember the key takeaways.

3. Humorous

We like to laugh. It's a simple fact of life. Humor puts us at ease and makes us feel optimistic about the eLearning experience. The mere act of laugh releases chemicals into our blood stream that reduce stress and anxiety. In other words, it allows us to set aside the negativity and focus on the task at hand. Humor breaks down the barriers, especially if it's in the form of a funny eLearning story, serious game, or branching scenario.

However, there is a caveat to tickling an online learner's funny bone. It must be used in moderation AND be culturally appropriate. Not everyone is going to think that the joke is funny. In fact, some might be offended or miss the reference altogether. Therefore, you must research your audience to find the right brand of humor and be subtle about your approach. It goes without saying that crude and offensive eLearning material is out of the question. But you can always coax out a giggle with relatable eLearning characters and animations.

4. Creative

Some of us believe that we don’t have a creative bone in our bodies. However, ALL humans are creative and innovative to a certain extent. The trick is finding our unique brand of creativity and then applying it in a practical sense. For example, artists may require visual stimuli to connect with the subject matter. While engineers and architects benefit from technical online projects and those that involve calculations. Thus, it's essential to cater to a broad range of learning preferences and incorporate creative eLearning activities into your eLearning course design. Encourage your online learners to design their own subject matter blogs and online presentations. Or invite them to design an eLearning portfolio where they showcase all their work using their unique creative spark.

5. Passionate

When we set our sights on the goal, we pursue it with passion. Our drive allows us to take on challenges that seem insurmountable. Human beings are passionate and purpose driven, which is why we need an objective to focus on, particularly when it comes to eLearning experiences. Every eLearning activity, module, and assessment should align with these objectives, and we must be able to track our progress. Passion needs a nudge from time to time, especially if the subject matter is dry or dull. Thus, creating manageable milestones provides us with the motivation we need to reach our potential.

6. Courageous

No human trait list is complete without bravery and courage. We aren't fearless, because we each have our limitations and fear keeps us in check. But we jump at every opportunity to test our mettle and try something new. Give your online learners the chance to push their mental boundaries by offering optional eLearning activities and online resources. They have the power to deepen their understanding and challenge themselves, which leads to personal growth.

These are just the basic ingredients that make up the human species. However, there are always some exceptions to the rule. Which is why you must research your target audience to identify new characteristics. This will help you create more authentic and relatable eLearning experiences that facilitate a meaningful connection.

Human traits fall into the realm of behavioral psychology. Read the article Top 10 Psychology Books That eLearning Professional Should Read to discover the top psych books that every eLearning professional should add to their must-read list.