Welcome STATE: This afternoon’s topic is “Who says good learning can’t be fun?” As important as it is to meet learning objectives and business objectives, I wanted to give this presentation because I think we can do better. I think we can and should meet our stated objectives yet make learning fun. And in my experience this is difficult to do. Business objectives are often seen as more important that creating an engaging, fun training program for the learner. Yet the learner doesn’t care what the business unit’s concerns are, they just want to have fun and do their job. I chose this image for my talk because it’s silly and it makes me laugh. It’s photo I took of a park in downtown Chicago with two statues playing Frisbee. Two statues playing Frisbee? Why would you put statues of two people in a park playing Frisbee instead of just creating a place for actual people playing Frisbee? So I think this image captures the tension of what’s going on. As learning professionals we SAY we want to create engaging, fun learning for our audiences, but when it comes down to it, we often have to DISGUISE fun as something else. Yet our hearts are yearning for something better. We know we could do better if our clients would only let us. Fun can be a hard sell in the corporate learning environment. We might choose a theme or colorful graphics to give the appearance of a fun training program, but it’s not necessarily fun. It just looks nice. We’re pretending it’s fun because our primary responsibility is to the content, objectives, and the business need. Besides someone might come down on us if the program is too fun. People will question if the learners are actually learning anything. So my question is, “How can they learn AND have fun?”
STATE: So why are we here? My purpose today is to CHALLENGE you to look seriously at fun as part of your eLearning design. I want to ask why fun learning IS worth doing I want to ask why fun learning ISN’T appropriate We’ll talk about why IT WORKS And then I want to CHALLENGE you to do something to make your eLearning more fun in your organization to better engage learners and improve the results you’re getting, rather than just focusing on learning objectives and business drivers
ASK: So what are we talking about here? ASK: How would you define fun? [Whiteboard answers] SHOW: definition [Create a build]
ASK: So what are we talking about here? ASK: How would you define fun? [Whiteboard answers] SHOW: definition [Create a build]
ASK: So what does fun look like? STATE: For me, this discussion makes me think of Tom Hanks in the movie BIG. Tom makes a wish at a fortune teller and becomes a kid who’s transported into the body of an adult. Here’s one of my favorite scenes from the movie where he’s playing “chopsticks” on a giant keyboard with his boss. And not only is he having fun, he’s: Transferring knowledge by playing “chopsticks” from a regular piano on a giant keyboard - Practicing teamwork and collaboration with his boss Engaged kinesthetically, using his entire body Smiling
STATE: In comparison, when he’s given a corporate job in product development at a toy company, later in the movie, he struggles with being fully present and having fun when he’s shown toys like the one in his lap, a robot that turns into a building. Hanks remarks, “What’s fun about a building?” So not only is fun - - fun, but it helps us perform with ease because we’re enjoying ourselves, we lose track of time, and work doesn’t seem like work anymore. When things aren’t fun, however, they can seem painful and confusing like a robot that turns into a building.
STATE: So what are we talking about here? Fun often impacts audiences via one or more of the following: Humor Laughter Smiles Energy Pleasure Excitement Entertainment Enjoyment Engagement ASK: Anything you would add?
STATE: Before we go any further, let me ask you to do a quick self-assessment and rate how “fun” your company’s e-learning is on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being high. - Rate the current state. Then rate your desired state. You have 30 seconds. ASK What did you come up with? Current state vs. desired state? What if any gap exists?
STATE: So why should we be concerned about whether our programs are fun? F eeling We’re dealing with the affective domain here. If a program is fun, learners are excited, engaged, smiling, and feeling good about what they’re being asked to do. U nexpected Learners are often surprised and delighted when a program is not only relevant to their job but fun. They’re expecting to be trained on content and skills, but not to have an experience. There is a moment of pause when they say to themselves, “I didn’t expect it, but think I’m having fun.” And they’re hooked. N eurological benefits - When learners are having fun they forget they’re learning. Anxiety and stress melt away and learners are relaxed. The body changes.
STATE: Brain research shows that: Fun and laughter reduces stress. It actually reduces at least four key hormones associated with stress response -- epinephrine, cortisol, dopac, and growth hormone. So the body intrinsically responds to fun and makes it a better receiver of content when these chemical reactions are triggered - - elevating awareness and engagement. [Paul E. McGhee, PhD, Health, Healing and the Amuse System, 1999. www.LaughterRemedy.com]
STATE: Psychology research shows that: When we are totally engaged in an activity, in a state of “flow,” we lose ourselves, we lose track of time, we are challenged, engaged, and have fun. We’re taken to a different level and “doing is itself the reward.” So not only are our feelings and emotions elevated, our engagement to perform the task at hand is elevated. And we like it.
STATE: On the other hand, here are some of the typical arguments against making learning fun: F rivolous It’s frivolous. We need to focus on meeting our learning objectives, business objectives, and ROI, and not on having fun. There’s no ROI in fun. U nconventional - It’s not the way we do things around here. We do straight-ahead training programs that follow a template. It’s not worth making waves because it’s just going to be shot down anyway. It’s not worth stepping out to do something unique. N o - We can’t sell it to our stakeholders. It’s too risky. They wouldn’t go for it. We’re not paying you to create games. Learning about the content and skill-building, not having fun. Don’t waste my time.
STATE: Another sticky issue about integrating fun into learning is that everyone will have a different opinion of what is fun or fun-ny to them. This becomes another potential roadblock.
STATE: 150 training professionals were recently polled and asked “how much entertainment is advisable in training.” They were asked, “what is the role of humor and fun in a learning environment?” In conclusion, I think all of us learning professionals know intuitively that humor and fun are effective ID tools, but we’re just a little timid about actually using them. Why?
STATE: Let’s take a look at what some of the experts in our field have to say. Roger Schank: - This doesn’t mean he’s suggesting we create learning programs that are frivolously fun. I saw recent article in which Schank admitted that he has yet to warm up to Second Life as a learning tool because it’s more about creating “cool” stuff than “functional” stuff. Thiagi: - And I learned at a workshop from Thiagi this year that he suggested we start ID with learning activities rather than learning objectives when doing out design because it’s about engaging learners, not teaching them or entertaining them.
STATE: Now for some reason, I think there is a bias that says fun is okay in a classroom setting. We’ve all seen these techniques used in classroom training sessions. And they work. They add levity to the content, noticeably change the energy in the room. People laugh, smile, and are engaged in what’s going on.
STATE: I’ll pull out an example from my own work doing sales training for Mazda USA. As part of the training we had participants sum up all they learned in the session by performing their version of a Zoom-zoom commercial for the rest of the class. As you can see from these photos, people are smiling, laughing, and having a good time showing off what they learned.
STATE: As we move from the classroom to eLearning, however, something gets lost in the translation. We often lose physical contact with the learners, their emotions, body language, and our ability to adjust the content delivery to meet their specific needs. We can’t “see” the light bulbs go off, and we can’t “see” when they don’t.
STATE: In my experience there ARE a number of things we can do, however, to keep online learners engaged and help them have fun while being engaged with the content. These are a few examples.
STATE: Because we’re usually not in the room with eLearners, however, there are three touch points we need to take advantage of to see if the learning we’re creating is relevant, engaging and fun. If we don’t take advantage of these opportunities, and cut corners, we can’t really measure the impact we’re making on the affective domain and know how much fun our learners are having. I know that most of my clients stop listening to the audience after the Needs Assessment is finished.
STATE: So creating and selling FUN eLearning isn’t easy, but I think it’s important. We should push the envelope and give learners an experience, not just content, learning objectives, and a list of desired performance levels. We need to respect them by giving them an experience that fun and memorable whenever possible. So let me show you some examples of work I’ve done that tries to hit that mark using Personality Humor Games Stories I don’t think the programs I’ve developed are the gold standard for FUN, but I think they’ll give you a taste of what it is I’ve been talking about.
STATE: Read slide
STATE: Read slide
STATE: This is an example of the typical script you might see for the narration of a training program. This is what I received from the Subject Matter Expert I was working with. During our needs assessment I learned that the demographic for this program were men aged 20-50 who install construction equipment. Based on my research, this is the same audience that listens to sports radio and TV programs like Sports Center. So why not take advantage of that?
STATE: So here’s an example of how we elevated that same content to make it more engaging and fun to the target audience. We used two narrations who ping-ponged the content between them just like a sports radio program. And it had the impact of making the content more light and engaging. It also drew the learners into a conversation about the content rather than being lectured about it.
STATE: So here’s another example.
STATE: In leveraging storytelling to engage learners, we shared both real and simulated stories to help walk foster parents through the experience of what challenges they would face as they began the process of adopting their foster child as their very own child. This story addresses a parent’s potential anxiety about moving forward with the adoption.
STATE: Here we’re using the stories of famous people who were also at one time foster children to add another layer to the learning. This course follows a discovery learning model to engage the learner, and these particular stories were not aligned with a particular learning objective, but they help build the fabric of what the course was about - - helping move the ball forward and encourage foster parents to move ahead in the process. They appeal to our sense of humanity. Who is this room actually has a subscription to People magazine? But we all read them in the doctor’s office or in the grocery aisle. Story engages us and helps connect us to others who are going through the same thing we are and gives us confidence to move forward. The “fun” is in service to the learning.
STATE: Here’s another more concrete example of story and the sense of community it can create in eLearning. Showing your response to a question in relationship to others who have taken the same course and are moving ahead in the adoption process. It gives you a feeling of, “Wow, that’s kinda cool. I didn’t expect that. I’m not alone in this process after all.”
Who Says Good Learning Can’t Be Fun?
Who Says Good LearningCan’t Be Fun?Ed Duffy, M. Ed.
Purpose Challenge you to look seriously at fun! Ask why Ask why not See why it works Challenge you to apply it in your organization www.edduffy.net
Fun Applied Humor Laughter Smiles Energy Pleasure Excitement Entertainment Enjoyment Engagement www.edduffy.net
F.U.N. Self Assessment Rate on a scale of 1 to 5 your company’s eLearning: Current state Desired state www.edduffy.net
Argument for F.U.N.FeelingUnexpectedNeurologicalbenefits www.edduffy.net
Argument for F.U.N.Fun reduces stress and stress hormones: Epinephrine Cortisol Dopac Growth hormone*Paul E. McGhee, PhD, Healing and the Amuse System www.edduffy.net
Argument for F.U.N.Achieving a state of Flow:“It’s so enjoyable that I would do it even if I didn’t have to.”*Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, 1990 www.edduffy.net
Argument Against F.U.N. Frivolous Unconventional No www.edduffy.net
Fun to Whom? End user Stakeholder SME Instructional designer www.edduffy.net
The Survey Says … 53% humor is key, but should match content and learning outcomes 24% audience, culture, and topic are key 17% Engagement is key 3% No entertainment needed *Poll of 150 training professionals www.edduffy.net
The Experts Say …Roger Schank: "When learning isntfun, its not learning.”Thiagi: “I believe all learning must beenjoyable. It is not true that truelearning requires suffering and pain.” www.edduffy.net
Fun in the ClassroomIcebreakersGamesEnergizersVideosTeamsMusicMovement www.edduffy.net
Commercial: Automotive Client Tactic: Learners created and acted out their own commercial Impact: Challenged learners to summarize the content and use their creativity www.edduffy.net
Lost in TranslationBody languageFacial expressionMoodLive adjustmentof deliveryPeer supportJIT coaching www.edduffy.net
Fun in eLearningConversationalwriting toneUse narrators withpersonalityLots of practice andfeedbackUse musicEngaging visualsThematic approachCreate community www.edduffy.net
Fun in eLearningNeedsassessmentUsability testingPilot testingEvaluation www.edduffy.net
Fun in eLearningPersonalityHumorGamesStories www.edduffy.net
Personality: Mfg ClientThe four step process we’ll go through is: 1. Plan Use best practices to devise your installation plan 2. Prepare Get ready for the installation 3. Perform Execute the installation successfully 4. Prove out Double-check the work and make any necessary adjustments prior to the release of the vehicleThe first two steps may only take you 30 seconds each but theymay save you three hours during step three. As Abe Lincolnonce said, “If I only had an hour to chop down a tree, I wouldspend the first 45 minutes sharpening my axe.” www.edduffy.net
Personality: Mfg ClientC.J. - “To be a top performer at any game you’ve gotto know the rules of the game. To be an all starWEATHER GUARD installer you need to: (1) do yourPre-Game Prep, (2) Suit Up, (3) Put it in Play, and (4)take a second look at your work during the Post-Game Huddle.”“Once we actually start the installation, we want toorganize our list of equipment in the order that we’reactually going to install it. For instance, we want tostart with the Floor mat, then go to the Bulkheads,Shelving Units, Storage, Bed and Pack Rats, then theRoof Racks.” www.edduffy.net
Humor: Pharmaceutical ClientTactic: Used humorto poke fun atundesirable salesbehaviorsImpact: Allowedsales people tolaugh at themselvesas they learned andrefined newbehaviors www.edduffy.net
Games: Pharmaceutical client Tactic: Overlaid a game onto the day the life of a sales rep Impact: Increased engagement, fun, and competition www.edduffy.net
Stories: Non-Profit ClientTactic: Used story-telling to makecontent moreengaging andrelevantImpact: Put realmeat on the bonesof the content tomake it come to life www.edduffy.net
Recap Challenge you to look at & create fun! Ask why Ask why not See why it works Challenge you to apply it in your organization www.edduffy.net
The Challenge Think about how you’ve assessed your eLearning fun quotient Look at how you can push the needle forward Deliver to learners the fun, engaging experience they want www.edduffy.net
Walk & Sing the TalkAll I wanna to do is have some funWhen it comes to eLearning, I’m not the only oneAll I wanna do is have some fun,Until learners are laughin’, engaged, and performance is done (3x) www.edduffy.net