What does content creation have to do with getting elearners to think? If they are learning something new, doesn’t it follow that they are required to think?
Well, studying or learning something new does make you think. However, there is this thing called distractions that can keep you from thinking straight. Experts believe that improving concentration is like learning a skill. And when we learn a skill, it has to be practiced. It is not something that you can easily get from everyone who is trying to learn from the course. Sometimes, you just have to prompt them to think. At the very least, you need to give them enough motivation to use their brains to help them concentrate on the lesson.
This is where the content creation process comes in. You can use it to make sure that the learners will be thinking and be concentrating all throughout the lesson. When they are focused, their brain is more inclined to retain what is being taught.
But the big question is – how can you manipulate your content so it will encourage elearners to think?
Use their background knowledge
When you are on familiar ground, you are more or less relaxed. When this happens, your brain is more able to process the information before you. It is easier for your brain to do its work – which is to think. Apparently, our brain is more able to process new information if it is linked to something that we are already familiar with. This is why using background knowledge will help you think better. There is no need to exhaust your brains trying to grasp a concept. There is a foundation of knowledge that makes it easier to understand new ideas.
Give enough time to practice
During content creation, you have to be conscious of the breaks in between lessons. You also have to be smart about what the learners will do during these breaks. We all need this during the learning process because it keeps us from cognitive overload. But does that mean our brain should entirely be blank? No. You have to give it something to do. Make it practice what it just learned. It does not have to be something that is very challenging. But it should not be too easy that you can easily forget it. Try to use scenarios that will help learners apply the skill or knowledge that they learned – even if it involves just a question or two.
Make it social
Thinking is best done as a group. When other people are involved, the learners are more inclined to be smart about what they say or how to phrase their ideas. There are various studies that observed how people perform better and also effective when they interact with others. Of course, this does not only mean letting the learners discuss amongst themselves. Placing a mentor in the midst of the discussion will make the learning experience more valuable. Social learning is one of the best methods you can use in elearning.
Create activities to make them think
Part of the content creation process is to come up with various activities that will force the learners to think deeply. You need to give them time to reflect on what they have learned – ideally after every lesson. Do not combine everything and then have them reflect at the end of the course. This could make the retention rate lower – especially for those discussed early on in the lesson. Try to segment the course and come up with activities like citing key points or asking questions after. Remember that the deeper processing of information, the more the learners are able to retain that knowledge.
Think about these tips when you are in the midst of your content creation process. It will help make the learning experience more valuable for the learners.