Earlier this year, Associations Now wrote an article asking whether “binge learning” will become the new “binge watching.” This references the growing trend among Netflix subscribers who use the on-demand television and movie steaming service to watch entire television series in one sitting. The piece brought up a good point. Technology could easily create similar changes in how learners interact with and consume online learning.
Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow model describes the concept of being so engaged in an activity, such as an online course, that you remain engaged for an extended period of time, completing modules, activities, and assessments without taking breaks. You begin to lose yourself in the activity and experience feelings of devotion, energy, and delight. Whether you know it or not, you’ve experienced learning flow. Maybe you were working on your favorite hobby and lost track of time, or perhaps you found yourself link surfing to learn more after you found something interesting online. Jane Hart refers to learning flow as “a continuous steady stream of social micro-learning activities – accessible from the web and mobile devices.” We’ve talked a lot about self-paced learners and how important it is to let them absorb information on their own time. But, have you considered how important it is for them to achieve learning flow?
Use these three conditions provided by Csíkszentmihályi Mihály, the “father of flow,” in your online education to help your members achieve learning flow:
1) Goals. Our recent blog post on learning objectives reinforces the importance of giving learners clear, action-oriented goals. Seeing the end goal and having something tangible to work towards is key to achieving learning flow and motivating your learners. This can often be achieved by utilizing a progress tracker in your LMS or by allowing learners on-demand access to their dynamically updated eTranscript.
2) Balance. Take a look at the image Csíkszentmihályi illustrated to demonstrate flow. You will see that it is all about attaining a balance between challenge and skill level. While you cannot control the skill set of a learner, you can design a learning experience that progresses and demands more and more of them over time.
3) Feedback. You can help create balance in regard to skill level by offering feedback so members can learn from their mistakes and enhance their understanding. The easiest way to do this is through “knowledge checks” and learning assessments which contain remediation. Feedback also helps the learner know how they are progressing toward their goals.
Ultimately, achieving learning flow requires the right conditions – where the learner becomes fully immersed in what he is doing. Getting to know your members is necessary for establishing the balance between challenge and skill and creating the necessary conditions to encourage flow. Most importantly, personalize the learning experience for your members or enable options for the learner to create their own learning path. Follow these tips and pretty soon Netflix won’t have anything on your association’s eLearning.
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