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Saturday, January 22, 2005

What's Wrong with a Dehumanized E-Learning Space, Anyway?

Podcast. Although it might be efficient to set up a fully automated, fully functioning learning space, minded by HAL from 2001, A Space Odyssey, very few students will actually finish their courses in that charming, fully sanitized and free from human frailty utopia. Why is that? That’s a good question.

Play the podcast.

The problem boils down to boredom, self-doubt, and lack of motivation. The more human the environment, the more likely it is to engage the student’s emotions, and make them really CARE about their course.

Further, students become bored, impatient, or even angry when they believe that their time is being wasted, or that their studies are irrelevant. Connecting to a human being often means taking the time to “listen” in the highly visual, often text-centered virtual environment. It also means taking the time to design activities that will maximize the students’ points of contact with each other, seek and discover what they have in common.

By doing so, one establishes connection between course content and the outside world – the world that means something to the students. Ideally, the connections will tie to students’ interests, goals, and experience.

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