Thursday, August 13, 2009

If It Works in the Classroom...

For many of my e-learning courses I like to make the content conversational. This is especially true if it is facilitated by a character. I also like to use humor, when appropriate and with great care not to offend.

I have encountered on several occasions some resistance to delivering content in a conversational style and using humor. If the resistance is from a fellow trainer, my response is, "Do you speak in a conversational tone to your classroom audience and do you ever use humor in the classroom?" The answer has always been "Yes." Then why not online. Plus, online we can proof and test the content as to assure it is still effective and professional. So, I conclude if it is done in the classroom and can be "pulled off" online, then it is perfectly acceptable.

Here are a few more things done in the classroom that should also be acceptable in online classes. They may have to be approached differently due to the medium, but can be engaging both for classroom and online audiences.

  • Games and puzzles

  • Role-playing (immersive learning sims)

  • Coaching/immediate feedback

  • Guest speakers (videos in an online, asynchronous delivery)

  • Flip-charting ideas, concepts, etc.

  • Group activities/"break-out" sessions

  • Use of Twitter

Granted, some of these are challenging in an online environment, but not impossible. Bottom line, if it is done in the classroom and works well online go ahead and use it. What can happen? You end up with an engaged audience who know you put a lot of effort and resources into being an effective trainer.

What else transfers from the traditional classroom to an online course?

And what elements from online classes would work in a traditional classroom?

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