Is fun a waste of time in online learning?
ID Live this week with co-hosts: Joni Dunlap (University of Colorado, Denver); Robert Squires (University of Montana); Mary Engstrom (University of Montana); Cammy Bean (Kineo)
The use of the word fun is dangerous in education – people perceive it’s about entertainment and not learning.
We can replace fun with compelling, engaging, sticky. Stories and emotional connection, the unexpected – fun is one way of getting at those things.
Especially on the corporate front – fun seen as a waste.
But fun with intent and purpose to help achieve learning objectives!
“People don’t pay attention to boring things.” (Medina (2008), Brain Rules)
Strategies for integrating relevant fun…
Joni describes some activities in her online higher ed programs:
At course intro (this is for a higher-ed online program) – need to do a bio – which is important to creating community – instead of “tell me who you are” to “What are your superhero powers. Include an explanation of how your powers are useful to you personally and/or professionally.”
These activities need to happen throughout the course – have ongoig bio activities (in a f2f classroom you get to connect in class) – Joni introduces an orienting activity every 3 weeks or so. Virtual Paper bag -- 5 images that represent that important areas of your life – share via Flickr. Let’s you see what each other is all about…
As a follow up exercise, add a soundtrack (a playlist) for each of the images…what’s the slogan – ways to extend the exercise without starting from scratch every time.
Joni doesn’t call these fun…but they’re learning to use the tools, expressing themselves.
These activities are worth points towards the overall grade – if they matter.
Twitter – a great way to stay connected
Caption this photo – get a photo and create a caption to it that is in the context of that week’s reading assignment as a way to represent understanding in a playful way.
Soundtracks – make up new lyrics to a song in a way that reflects understanding of the week’s contents..
Cloudbusting – create a word cloud of 20 words that represent who you are. Or on a particular concept – to demonstrate your understanding of a particular concept.
Story galleries -- give students a set of photos and have them tell the story based on the readings for the week that these 3 photos represent.
Fun strategies in assessment – look for alternative ways to represent what you know for assessment purposes.
Roleplaying – www.xtranormal.com – create a scenario with two characters with opposing views on a topic. Takes a lot of understanding to write a script for both sides of the topic!
Create a sense of anticipation – the unexpected is a powerful way to make it memorable. (This is important to both students and faculty who have to keep teaching the same content over and over – the fun activities keep the teacher energized!)
About Instructional Design Live:
A weekly online talk show, Instructional Design Live is based around Instructional Design related topics and is opportunity for Instructional Designers and professionals engaged in similar work to discuss effective online teaching and learning practices.