Traditional learning paradigms rely on the organised distribution of learning content around a set time table. Information is ‘fed’ to the user weekly via training courses and lecturers that suit the needs and requirements of the teaching establishment. Many Learning Management Systems echo this delivery mechanism, releasing courses to users in a just in time basis aligned with the employers organisational needs.
But this is not natural human behaviour. The human being’s natural tendency is to binge on any new and exciting reward mechanism. Anthropological studies across the pacific islands have shown that when a new food source is readily available the population in general will binge eat, we are hunter gatherers at heart and are pre-programmed to eat as much as possible to prepare for times of famine (Christopher W. Kuzawa).
This bingeing behaviour has manifested itself in indulgent behaviour across other desires. In fact ‘binge’watching’ has entered our everyday lexicon thanks to Video on Demand services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime. Avid fans of programs such as ‘House of Cards’ will spend an entire weekend, shut away from social distractions, satiating their avarice for their favourite show.
As educational designers we can jump on this phenomenon and design systems that can take advantage of our predilection to binge. e-Learning WMB have listed several design features to follow to make your e-learning – if it is a word – “bingeable”:
1) Explorable LMS: Learning Management Systems should be designed so the learning is open and explorable like Netflix, This encourages the learner to engage with learning content that they find truly interesting.
2) Engaging e-Learning: Learning resources should be engaging and fun to use, video presenters, instructive animation and cool interactions are all tools the instructional designer can use to make the learner want to come back to the learning and complete each resource.
3) Make a Series: Link learning resources together, this encourages the user to proceed through the learning to ‘get to the end’.
4) Ease of Use: forget the old paradigms for corporate and educational learning. Binge learning should be as easy as binge watching – don’t accept anything less – the operation being carried out is very similar.
Examine your LMS and your e-learning content, is it bingeable? Judge it against these 4 steps to see of you can make any improvements in the systems and design approaches you use.