How to add human element to your eLearning for higher education course?

add the human element to your eLearning

There are different ways to add the human element to your eLearning. For example you can provide a conversational rather than lecture type tone to your learning package and also promote and utilize forums as an extension of teacher. One very effective way could be to constantly keep in touch with the learner by sending little bits that either add to the learning material or indirectly aid their learning in some way or enquire how they are doing and if they require any assistance. This can be done using the online platforms built in messaging feature or through email and telephone.

However one thing which is very important is to design your course in the way that encourages engagement with other students. This can be accomplished through group projects, activities where students are paired with one other student, peer reviewed assignments and good open ended questions that cause students to wrestle with application of material and interact in discussions.

Another way to add human element to your eLearning could be assignments where students are required to interact with someone not a part of the course such as interviewing someone in the field or shadowing someone for a day. This has been proven to be effective in some courses.

However overall this is a challenging topic because you can only assume the level of commitment from the students is at best marginal. In most cases the students are part of a fast paced, demanding organization and they are enrolled in your class as a requirement and not by choice. With time management being another area that many professionals need help with, the challenge will be the “be here now mentality”. If there is no competency testing after the class, anyone like me with little to no-time, could take your e-learning class as an excuse for other people to not interrupt my meeting so I can actually catch up on other things. We have already alluded to engagement and group activities as a tool. However you need to set the stage from the very beginning. Use people’s names at random through your introductions. This will indicate to people that they are not a student and that they are a person. Use words such as “you John will be able to identify… at the end of this section” instead of “you all” or “everyone” which allows people to try and fade in the crowd. Establish the expectation that you will be calling on people for participation else you will find yourself with anywhere from 20% -30% participation(over achievers) regardless of how much human element you attempt to inject into your presentation. There are a several things that are important to people and can vary. Money, health, sense of security, power, religion, family, whatever: if you can tie your objectives, any analogies or examples on how the information being relayed will make a positive difference in what is important to them you will find yourself at the centre of their attention especially if your information is reputable and undeniably accurate. This is under the assumption that there are no video capabilities. Most importantly- be yourself. If you are faking being personable or approachable, you may not be in the right role.

In addition you can start of your course by doing some icebreakers so your group get to know each other a little before they delve into the subject matter. You have to put effort into the early stages of online courses to help bond the group and also ask them what they’d like to get out of online discussions so they see they have opportunities themselves to influence how things progress.

However we have all above focused on how functionality might add the human element to your eLearning. But some experienced coaches to subject experts believe the greatest impact of human element is achieved by the subject expert. In their views, if subject experts don’t understand, embrace and include the need for the human element, there is little that can be effectively done ‘downstream’ and by other people.

Sources: Ankit Sharma, Dan DeHass , Azael Lopez and Hugh Burchard

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