Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Can I please take that eLearning class???

As my children ask me for the 50th time in the past 20 minutes if they can get on the computer and "play" their typing games it makes me think about the eLearning programs that I produce. Do I produce programs that people are excited and eager about taking? Probably not. Then I ask myself...Why not? Why can't I design my programs to be more entertaining and engaging so that people would be excited about taking them? To get ideas and inspiration I started to look at more eLearning programs geared towards teaching children. My kids favorite website is full of all kinds of games to teach math, science, typing, logic and other types of topics and as I look at them (and yes play some of them) I realize that the reason they are fun is because you don't realize you are learning...you are playing. The designers know their audience and design their courses to be the most effective for them. If you were to ask a child to take a page turning course on math they could care less and it would be similar to getting them to do their homework, however, ask them to play a game...and p.s. they are learning about math....and they don't want to stop. We as designers need to know our audiences well enough to figure out how to engage them with our programs...and p.s. they are learning too. Steve Pena contributed a guest post to eLearning Weekly that illustrates the difficulty we have with knowing our audience. This may be one of the bigger hurdles we have to jump when designing courses. Once we figure that out we can move on to the design and programming. So the question is, how do we know our audience?

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