Online learning experiences - a game of creativity and exploration
Learning Experience Design (LxD) can be used in different environments, including in online settings. Personally, I have the experience of using it for different training activities and seminars. It can be quite challenging due to different factors:
The attention span of participants is reduced
Not being physically present allows that participants can be doing other tasks simultaneously or even leave from the front of the computer
Communication and technical failures are expected to occur (e.g internet going down)
Physical movement is limited. Most of the time people are sitting in front of a computer.
These are just some of the challenges but certainly, they are many more. However, by identifying the challenges, we can work with them and look for creative solutions. From my experience what is important is to plan from the start how to make online learning an interactive and engaging experience.
Here are 5 tips that can help out:
Use interactive tools like Miro or Google Jamboard, which are open online canvas, where participants can write, use post-its and much more.
Diversify the activities to keep the attention span high. The balance between theoretical parts to active movement,
Create small working groups often. By being online, if the group of participants is large (above 10 people), most will be silent or passive. By working in small groups all participants will feel more comfortable contributing. Zoom for example as a feature for breakout rooms.
Whenever possible, co-facilitate with somebody that is in a different place. If there are technical problems with one facilitator, the other can take over.
Make activities that require movement, so participants can stretch often. Keep in mind that spending some hours in front of a screen can be really tiring and create body pain. It can even be as simple as streaming energetic music so all participants can dance in front of the screen.
Overall what I have noticed is that in fact, online learning is very different from physical training experiences. But it does not mean that it is not a great learning experience.
In fact, it allows us to do things that physical training doesn't. The technology and tools existing nowadays are really diverse, and most of them can be used for free or at least with a trial period. Having that in mind, it’s really a game of creativity and exploration of what exists and can be done.
Soon, virtual reality meetings will be something common and accessible to most people. Think how the internet started in the 90s and nowadays we have it on our mobile phones. Virtual reality, Augmented reality, Metaverse and many more things will become part of our daily lives and as such, online learning will be more and more accessible and used worldwide. See online learning as the natural evolution of learning complementing all other forms of learning.