Think back to a teacher who had a positive influence on your life. I bet there was a relationship built on trust.
Our work relationships are arguably the most important factors in our ability to get things done. Relationships certainly factors into our success. Sales teams often practice relation sales. Networking is simply building various relationships. Why would we think learning is anything different?
Within online learning, blended learning or face to face learning experiences the relationships learners build are paramount to their success. These relationships that are built can help the learner bridge the transactional distance that can occur during an online learning experience. The learner develops many relationships through the learning experience. For our purposes, below we are discussing the learner/instructor, learner/curriculum, and learner/learner relationships.
Here are 6 ways to design from a perspective of creating an amazing learning experience through building relationships.
Use data - I don’t mean use data to bore everyone into a comatose state. Use data to get to know who your audience is and the best ways to reach them. Where are they and how can you deliver meaning.
Integrate technology - Don’t just go out and find the latest cool tool. Finding the cool tool generally doesn’t work. Take time to find the best tool for the job. Looking for the technology first is like having a solution and looking for a problem. Integrate technology in a way that is meaningful to the lesson and learner.
Create opportunities to interact - Build lessons that create opportunities to interact with the curriculum (media is often used for this). Peer to Peer collaboration is another great way to foster learning and build relationships at the same time.
Create lessons that engage - Create lessons that are engaging. It’s like buying real estate, the only thing that matters is location, location, location, or in this case engagement, engagement, engagement. Project based and problem based learning are two examples.
Make it relevant - When the learning is relevant they have a natural “buy in” or relevant stake in their learning. Not much is worse than paying to learn something that has no relevance. Have you ever gone through corporate training that missed having relevance. I imagine there have been times.
Build Meaning - Build in space and time for the learners to construct knowledge. Give them space to make mistakes and figure it out.