6 Tips To Add Psychological Flow In eLearning

The term “flow” was introduced by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, a Hungarian psychologist. It refers to the state when one is so focused and concentrated on a particular activity, that they may lose track of time. Flow is widely used in a variety of therapeutic fields, but it can also be a powerful tool in eLearning.

When your online learners are in “psychological flow”, their minds are open and ready to explore the subject matter. In this article, we’ll share 6 tips on how you can integrate a psychological flow into your eLearning experiences.

How To Add Psychological Flow In eLearning Experiences

“Flow” is a term used in positive psychology that refers to a state of total absorption. Online learners who are in the flow are able to immerse themselves into the eLearning experience without distractions or lack of focus standing in the way. They are fully involved in the eLearning process and enjoying every minute of it.

For this very reason, creating a psychological flow is the ultimate goal of any eLearning professional. It also happens to be one of the most challenging tasks to accomplish, as it deals with positive attitude towards eLearning, cognitive processes, and mental states. Fortunately, there are 6 tips to take advantage of psychological flow in eLearning.

1. Create challenging goals

Online learners who are encouraged to go beyond their comfort zone and challenge themselves are more likely to be in the flow than those who are certain that they will succeed. If there is a risk that they may not overcome a challenge or there is a distinct possibility that things will not go according to plan, then they are going to go above and beyond to ensure that they achieve the desired outcome.

If everything comes easy, on the other hand, they may not be driven enough to put in the extra effort. With that said, the goals should still be attainable and realistic, or you run the risk of making learners feel defeated. For instance, if you set a goal that they do not have the skills or resources to achieve, then no amount of hard work or determination is going to get them to the finish line.

2. Remove any distractions from your eLearning course design

Distraction is the foe of flow. An online learner must be able to completely focus on the task at hand, as well as the goals and objectives they must achieve. Chaotic graphics, irrelevant images, and other technical pitfalls or interruptions can stand in the way of full immersion. This is why it’s so essential to remove distractions from your eLearning course design whenever possible.

There are, of course, some things that you cannot control, such as a noisy learning environment. In this case, you must do your best to minimize them, like integrating background music to your eLearning course or including subtitles that stress the key takeaways.

3. Focus on intrinsic motivation

Extrinsic motivation, like rewards and praise, may drive some online learners. However, encouraging intrinsic motivation is one of the most effective ways to trigger the psychological flow. You can achieve this by emphasizing the benefits of the eLearning course so that online learners will know exactly what they’ll gain by actively participating.

Cultivating a strong learning culture is another way to bring in intrinsic motivation, as it stresses the importance of building their skills and expanding their knowledge.

4. Use colors and audio to create the right atmosphere

Individuals who feel safe, secure, and tranquil are emotionally prepared for the flow. All of their basic needs are met, so they are free to fully engage in the eLearning process. They may even lose all track of time, simply because they don’t have to worry about anything else than mastering the task or absorbing the information.

In essence, they are able to live in the moment and focus on the subject matter, which is the epitome of being in the flow. Incorporating the right colors, sound effects, and music can set the right tone for your online learners. Classical music, for example, can make them feel at ease, but heavy metal or rock might have the opposite effect.

5. Develop self-guided eLearning activities

Mastering the art of psychological flow can be challenging, as it involves relinquishing control over the outcome while having complete control of the eLearning experience. In other words, the eLearning course must be challenging enough to test their mettle, but online learners must also feel empowered and know that they are in charge of the entire process.

Create self-guided eLearning activities that allow them to explore the subject matter at their own pace, without having to keep up with their peers. Simulations, online scenarios, and serious games are all examples of self-guided eLearning activities that may give them control of the eLearning process.

6. Offer immediate, constructive feedback

Online learners who are in the flow are constantly aware of how they are performing and what they must do to achieve their next goal. For this very reason, it is essential to provide them with immediate personalized eLearning feedback that centers on their abilities and skills, instead of their traits or personalities. They shouldn’t feel as though they are being attacked on a personal level or that you are criticizing something that they cannot change or improve.

To the contrary, they need to receive constructive feedback that they can apply as soon as possible. For example, modifying a performance behavior or improving how they perform a specific task.

Use these 6 tips to integrate a psychological flow into your eLearning course and engage every member of your audience. There are very few eLearning experiences that can achieve this feat, but just imagine the possibilities if you were able to get online learners “in the zone” and fully immersed in the subject matter.

Flow is just one of the psychology principles that you can apply to your eLearning course design. Read the article 5 Psychology Principles That eLearning Professionals Should Know to discover additional ideologies that you may want to integrate into your next eLearning experience.

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