Making Online Learning ‘Places’ Attractive

The key point that has struck me as I have worked through course content so far is how important it is to make an online learning environment inviting, interesting, and stimulating.  I have often observed responses of frustration and limited enthusiasm from students in courses when undertaking courses that have an online component.  As I have been working through the paper, I have reflected on the thought that if this is the case, then that problem may lie largely with the way in which learning is being facilitated, not with the learners themselves.

Online facilitators have a responsibility to ensure that learning is facilitated in an enjoyable, interesting, and even highly gripping way!  Nancy White’s words in the CoP series stuck me:  “You are designing a “place” where people will learn together . . . “What attracts people to a place?  What makes it enjoyable – yes ENJOYABLE!  You are designing a place where people need to show up.”   I couldn’t agree more.  People aren’t normally attracted to physical spaces that we can’t find our way around, have mess everywhere, or things that we could trip over as we find our way through in the dark!  So when it comes to online environments, we need to design places that people want to come to.

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3 Responses to Making Online Learning ‘Places’ Attractive

  1. I think you are 100% right abiout designing places learners want to come to. But I am still left with the question about how you do this in courses that are highly constrained by learning outcomes, assessment etc…any thoughts?

    • That’s a good question Sarah. I guess I would answer that by saying that we have the same constraints in delivering a course face-to-face. But within the restrictions (such as set learning outcomes) I still see it as being my responsibility as a facilitator to make the classroom somewhere that people enjoy being and want to come to.
      Karen

  2. Lorna says:

    These words from Nancy aslo struck me.
    “Nancy White’s words in the CoP series stuck me: “You are designing a “place” where people will learn together . . . “What attracts people to a place? What makes it enjoyable – yes ENJOYABLE! You are designing a place where people need to show up.” I couldn’t agree more. People aren’t normally attracted to physical spaces that we can’t find our way around, have mess everywhere, or things that we could trip over as we find our way through in the dark! So when it comes to online environments, we need to design places that people want to come to.”
    I have been feeling slightly overwhelmed with information. Once I have read and assimilated content I like to store it for future reference. Printing is not practical or sustainable, and does not order information in a way that I want to use it.
    Designing a visual environment (place) where information is categorised and stored in “bookshelves” for easy reference would be helpful. Somewhere where everything “is” so that it is not so necessary to travel away from the room, with all the temptations of following other threads. I think that is what I find most difficult about online reading. It is hard to stay on topic with so many interesting asides to follow.

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