Educators have come to understand the need to engage learners in all facets of education.  Even face-to-face environments need hands-on learning activities so that participants are actually getting involved in the subject matter.  When it comes to eLearning, it has been a challenge for distance educators to build activities into an online program that will force the learner to first do something and then secondly, reflect on the content.  I am lucky enough to be able to attend and speak at many conferences throughout the year, and it has been a challenge that I have faced as well.  I began to brainstorm ways in which I could engage the listeners and remove the lecture format that usually drives conference sessions.

As you may have read in my previous blog posts, I recently attended the ASAE Healthcare Associations Conference 2012 and co-presented “Professional Development Portal Triage: Planning for Distance Education Success” with a client from the Alliance for Continuing Education in Health Professions, Mary Martin Lowe, Director of Learning and Competency Development.  For this session, we developed a card game that focuses on getting the participants to think about both success factors and other components of developing an online initiative including a Learning Management System and extensive courseware.  I’ve been really excited about this concept because instead of the typical lecture format where you are basically showing a bunch of PowerPoint slides and talking to session participants who may or may not be engaged, using an active method can help with actual retention and absorption of the content.

It was interesting for me to see the results of this card game at the ASAE Healthcare Associations Conference 2012, as this was a unique “guinea pig” set of groups.  As each group tried to create the best common hand with the most success factors, it seemed at first that a table of executives who were very strategic in their planning were going to win with the most cards.  As the activity continued, though, I would introduce a new challenge to the teams, this usually forced the teams to lose a card/cards if they did not initially have the right cards in their deck.  I introduced two challenges, and then there was a recovery period (draw additional cards from deck) to mimic a road of trials.  The winning group switched from the strategic executives to the team who was actually losing at first, but made very tactical decisions for the final challenges.  It’s great when a learning activity brings energy to a session!

Managing eLearning is written by the Blog team at Web Courseworks which includes Jon Aleckson and Jillian Bichanich.  Ideas and concepts are originated and final copy reviewed by Jon Aleckson.