Humour in eLearning

Welcome to my new section on humour in eLearning.

woman in white tank top using macbook air on brown wooden table
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Why humour in eLearning?

Well humour has always fascinated and intrigued me. I remember making my mother laugh till she cried when I was about 4 by doing an impression of Gran and thinking ‘wow, isn’t making people laugh great?!’.

Moving into learning as both a learner and a creator, I have seen many instances of humour being used as a tool. It is especially powerful in face-to-face and live learning (which also has the added benefit that an attempt at humour that falls flat can be quickly glossed over!).

However, I live in a world of self-paced eLearning modules, designed to teach project specific guidelines to a global audience. This brings about many challenges. No-one wants dry and dull modules, and where the subject allows a humorous interjection can help the learner feel included, at ease and engaged. But, being relatively static a piece of light-hearted or humorous content can be mulled over, hit a wrong note, be a distraction or even inadvertently offensive.

Many guides on creating engaging eLearning will say ‘include humour’, ‘add a little humour’ and leave it at that as if it is a universal given, an easy skill and obvious. But, in our increasingly global world the very definition of humour can be difficult and as such many people are put of or wary of using it in an eLearning setting or at the other end of the spectrum cram it in left, right and centre with little to no learning advantages.

For my project idea for the H818 module for the Masters in Online and Distance Education, I am planning an open resource Rise artifact to be hosted on my blog that will include references, resources and reflective activities for eLearning designers to consider on the subject of humour in eLearning in the frame of making a global audience feel engaged and included. I will be making a lightening presentation on this project and its seating in the theme of inclusion and openness though perhaps in a flip, we may find ourselves considering how we should also be aware not to be exclusionary in our use of humour.

Whilst the project does not need to be fully fledged for the purpose of the module I am hoping the resource will continue after the module end and be a resource of use to new and seasoned eLearning designers. I hope it will continue to grow and perhaps be picked up elsewhere.

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