June 05, 2009

How to Design a Fun Online Education Course For an LMS System

By Robin L. Green
Want to create a dynamic elearning course with an appeal to many different kinds of learners? Nurture the fun factor. The more exciting and interactive online education, the wider and more powerful its appeal. How can you go about bringing your learning content to life using an LMS system? According to one survey, 97% of all teenagers age 12 to 17 play video games of some sort, whether it's on a console, a computer, or a cell phone. And a recent AOL Games and the Association Press poll suggests that 38% of adults play computer or video games in some capacity. But adult gaming shouldn't necessarily be viewed in a negative light. The generation of men and women in their 30's grew up in the video game boom, and since then the industry has evolved with them. Grown adults aren't playing Pong anymore on their Ataris. Today's games are much more sophisticated and involved, and require thought, strategy, and decision making. They're more like interactive movies than just games. They're educational. They involve levels, points, and rewards. I think courseware system developers could learn something from the gaming industry. Why not design an elearning course with an appeal to the ever-expanding gamer demographic? It's not difficult to develop courseware that takes after a video or computer game. Every game follows a similar pattern that can be emulated in an elearning course. All games have an overriding goal and steps to reach it. The player's challenge is to solve a series of problems, and complete the steps quickly and efficiently. Students who are asked to conquer levels and solve problems in a game-like format will be more engaged and interested in the course. But how does one actually go about creating an LMS learning system based on a game model? Tell a story. Most video games begin with some kind of back story or situation to get the player invested in the game. Present learners with a dialogue between two people, or a series of images. Creating a narrative helps to reel the learner into your learning content. Be creative and let your learner indulge in the story. He or she is about to interact with the course, and you're setting the tone for them to get started. Use visuals and dialogue. Following the game model, guide your learners, setting clear instructions about how they are meant to interact with the course. Make the method of interaction simple and consistent. Just as all video and computer games become gradually more challenging as they go, so should your course. Begin the course with simple tasks, and work upward from there. Additionally, be sure to include rewards, feedback, and motivation for students. Most computer and video games have a system of points, lives, and boosters to provide the player with a sense of how they're doing, as well as encourage good performance. Providing positive reinforcement will also make students' learning experience within an LMS system rewarding, effective and fun. Create dynamic elearning courses that appeal to all kinds of learners on a learning management system that is easy to use, flexible, robust and costs much less. Check out http://www.coggno.com/home.

No comments: