Online Learning Methods that Stimulate Engagement
Role play activities are well established in education curricula in the traditional classroom. Online role play is becoming increasingly popular as both a means of entertainment and education. The student-centered activity requires that the students control the learning process, a key criterion for self-directed learning.
Online role play simulations ‘encourage a socio-cultural approach to learning by way of collaborative learning’ where students construct personal meaning from the learning objectives (Coll-Garcia and Linser 2006). Their online role play, which relates to learning foreign languages, promotes engagement and interaction with learning material resulting in an efficient extraction of meaning.
Specifically they note ‘positive attitudes, motivation, a learning environment that favors immersion, fluency development, integration of communicative skills and culture, development of critical thinking skills, and active participation on the part of the learners’.
An Australian company, Fablusi, produces software for creating comprehensive online role play simulations in a variety of subject areas for online education that are available commercially.
Creating a Mystory is another online learning method for increasing immersion and engagement in online education. The Mystory is a personal journey and, as such, a student-centered activity where the student enters a self-directed learning path and creates a hypertextual script. Further discussion on the theory and examples of how to create a Mystory can be accessed in the article “Mystory: Educational Pedagogy for Online Learning."