There is an overload of information online; some of us may filter through the crack; however, most often struggle to digest the information out there.
It leads us to the biggest question in the learning design, how can we motivate adult learners like ourselves to learn new information?
If we pay attention to our behaviours when navigating content online and how would we like to learn effectively, we may find some helpful answers.
1. Learning with peers
We grow up conditioned to learn with others, contribute to the discussion and compete for ranks in school. When replicated in an online learning environment, it can promote collaboration in the learning community. Compared to learning alone, learning with a peer or a cohort can change the learning motivation. Not only do we feel more obligated to contribute and provide feedback, but it also creates competition. The presence of others can hold us accountable for completing our learning.
2. Adults are time-poor
As adults, we have many personal and professional responsibilities; therefore, we are time-poor. We have less time to leisure or relax in day-to-day life. There are more planning and organisation needed in actioning daily chores. Therefore, chunking content is crucial. Ensuring that the way the content is presented works for their environment, time, schedule, limitation, and needs can prepare adults to complete new learning. It's more motivating when learning is achievable.
3. Managing expectation and setting context
Are you worrying about adults not completing learning? Think about how you motivate yourself to learn. If set with the right expectations, goals, and context from the beginning, understand how the course can benefit us, we may feel more motivated to learn.
4. Bite-sized information
In the era of commercials, social media, and tv shows, our attention consumes only quick and short information. Short sections content is easily more digestible. Breaking down content into parts with spaces or separators helps learners scan them. We tend not to read content; instead, we scan. When we find content overwhelming, we skip.
5. Safe space to practice
We learn new information when we need a fix or help to get to where we want or have to be. We feel more motivated when we can apply the new learning in the real world. Relevant assessments that apply to our challenges and environment can become a safe space and opportunities for us to practice, make mistakes and learn the consequences before jumping into the real world.
6. Allow options and control
Our life schedule varies; we need to manage our own time, make our own decisions, and achieve our goals. No one size fits all; for example, asynchronous learning allows us to learn whenever we want or submitting different assignment formats will enable us to be more creative. When provided options and the ability to manage our learning, we feel more control; therefore, it feels more engaging. When restricted to a particular standard or rules, we feel stuck and uninspired.
7. Multimedia support
We feel inspired by diverse media. Watching countless videos can be tedious in one go. Still, if we learn with the support of other media such as articles, illustrations or infographics, we feel like we always learn something new. We all learn better with visual, video or sometimes audio support; the trick is to find the balance.