Last week I extolled the virtues of Cathy’s Moore Action Mapping™ approach (take a look at my summary or, if you have a bit more time, Cathy’s slideshow). In his workshop at Training 2010 Rob Hubbard did the same, but he briefly commented on one point in Cathy’s explanation that he’s not completely convinced by. Cathy advises to avoid fact checks and trivia games, as they don’t happen in the real world. But I’m with Rob – I think these types of activity can have a place in e-learning (or any kind of learning, for that matter).
For instance, I’ve often used a ‘myth or reality’ type of interaction (essentially a trivia game) at the beginning of a course or section. I think that a well designed activity of this kind can offer a few important benefits. For instance, it can get the learner thinking about what they do and don’t know, thereby increasing their motivation. Carefully selected trivia, which is both relevant and surprising, can pique their interest and get them wanting to know more. I guess for me it’s a way of showing them that there is something they can learn from the course rather than just telling them what it’s going to cover. (Of course, a well crafted scenario can achieve this too, but might be more appropriate slightly further into the course.) Check out this post from the Spicy Learning Blog for more about the virtues of the myth and reality interaction.
I agree with Cathy that fact checks and trivia games after the learning rarely add value, but I think they can be used to great effect to drive (rather than recap) the learning – getting the learner thinking, testing and gauging their existing knowledge, grabbing their attention and interest and so on. They can also help to embed the learning. For example, dispelling a commonly held belief as a myth can give the learner a ‘hook’ and help to make the learning stick in their memory beyond the course itself.
What do you think? Do fact checks and trivia games have a place in e-learning, or are they superfluous activities that don’t add much value?.