Guest blog post by Liz Sheffield. Liz Sheffield is a freelance writer with a background in training and development. She specializes in writing about everything related to the human side of business.
It’s baseball season, and when you’re the mother of a 7-year-old boy who plays baseball, you have plenty of time to think during games. During one of my son’s recent games, it occurred to me that as designers of eLearning, we can learn a few things from the game of baseball.
It’s all about the long haul. Whether it’s Little League or the Major Leagues, baseball games take longer than many other sports. But the fans don’t care. In fact, they enjoy being at the field for the long haul. It’s the same when you incorporate eLearning games into your design – people are more likely to stick around until the end because they’re having fun during the learning process.
It’s good to have an opportunity to stretch. There is debate about the origins of the 7th Inning Stretch, but any baseball fan can tell you why it’s necessary: people need a break after sitting in those seats or on those bleachers for so long! Similarly, when learners are taking in new information, and their brains are at capacity, an activity or eLearning game provides a much-needed break.
A surprise now and again keeps people interested. All it takes is one pop fly or a spectacular home run to engage the crowd. Likewise, with eLearning games, we can add some intrigue and interest to a topic just when learners might be feeling sapped.
A skilled coach makes for a successful experience. Coaches make a big difference in the Major Leagues, but I’d argue it’s even more important to have a skilled Little League coach. Without a caring and constructive coach, kids won’t learn and they won’t have fun playing the game. As the eLearning designer, you may not be coaching on the field, but you play a critical part in the learner’s experience. You’re providing experiences and offering feedback (through your design) that will help the “players” learn important skills.
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