A lot of people know about the Albert Einstein famous E=MC2 formula. But here is a formula for learner engagement that I came across on my research, that I found pretty cool. E=MC5 The formula appears in an article by Gregg Collins in the Spring issue of Training Industry magazine titled How Games Drive Learning. This is what I got out of the article.

E = Education. To me, this can relate to learner “engagement”.

M = Mission. Building a learning experience around a “mission” will create learner commitment to accomplish a task or achieve a goal as the focus of the learning. It is known that games and simulations are built around missions, and the learners often compete with each other. From my point of view, competition elicits maximum effort – what we call the learner’s “A game”. And from what Dr. Collins says, effort and challenge are directly linked to learning effectiveness and retention.

C for Context. Games and simulations are effective because learners gain knowledge and build skills by “doing”. The learning context must be robust enough to allow learners to practice the skill or apply the knowledge. This is not about “telling” them, or memorization.

C for Challenge. As we all know, traditional elearning has the stigma that it is “boring”. This often means learners simply aren’t challenged. Learners build skills and apply knowledge by overcoming challenges as part of the learning. The challenges should be increasingly difficult as the training progresses, enough so learners don’t get bored, but not so much that they get frustrated.

C for Choice. Not as in multiple choice but as in decisions they must make as they learn. The best games and simulations are engaging because the learner sees the impact of their decisions immediately as the scenario plays out, and can get diagnostic feedback detailing any wrong choices they made, and why they were wrong.

C for Consequences. Games and simulations clearly show the consequences of each choice, both positive and negative. Playing out the scenario in the challenge to illustrate the impact on the mission and context is a great way to build cognitive thinking and experience in the knowledge area or skill. Therefore, increasing the likelihood learning will be leveraged effectively back on the job.

C for Competition. A few eLearning professionals are hesitant about including competition in learning, but really, they should not be. Competing is a core human thing, and the desire to do well – whether it is via leader board scores, badges, or other forms of achievement – have been with us since childhood. Especially here in Australia with the huge amounts of sport forced on us at school. Competing produces more effort, more cognitive work and more learning.

E=MC&super;5. So,maybe include these elements in training that you do not have games or simulations in place. I think it will increase your student engagement and education.

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