How To Encourage Online Learner Reflection In eLearning
You've given online learners all the information they need to broaden their knowledge base and unlock professional opportunities. But are they actually committing the eLearning content to memory or merely going through the motions? Only by reflecting on the subject matter and putting it into practice can online learners truly process the information. Here are 8 ways to facilitate online learner reflection through your eLearning course design.
1. Incorporate Online Group Collaboration Projects
Break online learners into groups, assign them a real-world problem or task, and then let the knowledge sharing begin. Online group collaboration projects also help online learners see the subject matter from different viewpoints. They can discover new ways to approach challenges, which prompts them to reflect on their own personal cognitions. For example, is a current belief or opinion holding them back?
2. Post Thought-Provoking Questions
Sometimes all it takes is a carefully crafted eLearning question to trigger self-reflection. Online learners may think that they know everything about the topic, but a line of inquiry reveals otherwise. Post questions to your social media page, eLearning forum, or blog that encourage online learners to reflect. This process also helps them tie the subject matter into real-world applications. For example, how the task-based online training can help them streamline and simplify their work processes.
3. Encourage Learner-Generated eLearning Blogs
Learner-generated eLearning blogs are a great way to get online learners actively involved and reflect on a topic. They aren't limited by character counts, so they can explore every idea or concept. These eLearning blogs are also ideal sources of peer-based eLearning feedback. Ask online learners to start their own eLearning blog. Peers who are curious about the topic can visit the site and add their own insights. As a result, the online learners can improve their own understanding and gain a fresh perspective.
4. Use Mind Maps
Mind maps begin with a word, problem, or image in the middle of the screen. Then, online learners branch off in different directions to uncover new ideas or solutions. For example, unique or innovative ways to overcome a common challenge. Mind maps are also great brainstorming tools, as they allow online learners to reflect on different facets of the subject matter. One by one they are able to delve into the skills, tasks, or sub-topics associated with the core idea. This even has the potential to springboard into a group brainstorming session, with the help of online collaboration tools. For example, online learners can create their own mind maps and discuss them with their peers.
5. Include Self-Assessments
eLearning assessments give you a good indication of how online learners are progressing and what they still need to work on. However, self-assessments can draw their attention to personal areas for improvement so that they can seek out online resources on their own. They also serve another important purpose, which is to reflect on the topic they just learned and assimilate the information. The caveat is that you must provide immediate eLearning feedback. For example, an online learner answers a question incorrectly. The system highlights the error, provides the correct response, and then offers supplemental online resources.
6. Ask Online Learners To Summarize Their eLearning Experience
This tip is actually two-fold. The first step requires online learners to summarize the eLearning content in their own words. This helps them absorb the key takeaways and improve their comprehension levels. The second step is to encourage online learners to reflect on the eLearning experience, as a whole. For instance, how they felt about the eLearning course, if they connected with the topic or understood the real-world applications. This allows them to bring emotions into the mix, which improves knowledge retention and recall. It also makes the eLearning experience more relevant and relatable so that it resonates with them on a personal level.
7. Incorporate Real-World eLearning Activities
Real-world eLearning activities emphasize the practical uses of the knowledge and skills they are acquiring. These eLearning activities also immerse them in realistic situations so that they can analyze their response. For instance, how they react to disagreeable customers or handle conflicts. As a result, they are able to reflect on the topic while they put their skills into action. Here are some examples of real-world eLearning activities that facilitate online learner reflection:
- Branching scenarios that allow online learners to evaluate their thought-process and decision-making abilities.
- Interactive simulations that help them improve task proficiency or reevaluate their current strategy.
- Serious games that offer the ideal blend of entertainment and eLearning content analysis. You can also gamify your eLearning course by adding game mechanics, such as eLearning badges and rewards that fuel online learner motivation.
8. Encourage Online Learners To Challenge Their Own Assumptions
It's a good idea to reevaluate your assumptions from time to time. It allows you to identify opinions that may be hindering your progress, as well as evaluate past eLearning experiences that have shaped your current knowledge base. You can facilitate this process for your online learners through your eLearning course design by encouraging them to challenge their own assumptions. Follow up eLearning activities with a handful of targeted questions, or ask them how they can use the information in new and creative ways. You can also invite them to examine their beliefs and opinions to see if there are any roadblocks to overcome.
One of the best ways to promote online learner reflection is to cultivate an effective learning culture. This gives online learners the ongoing support they need to get the most from your eLearning courses. However, it also stresses the importance of lifelong learning and continual improvement, so that online learners are more likely to actively participate and engage with your eLearning content.
Online learner reflection also leads to long-term retention. Read the article 10 Innovative Ways To Boost Online Learner Retention to explore some innovative ways to boost online learner retention and make them remember the key takeaways of the eLearning course.