e-Learning shouldn’t be fun #LCBQ

Learning Cirquit Big Question blogBecause it is the holiday season we decided at the LCBQ to take on a light subject for this month: “How do you make e-Learning fun”. Well I think that you shouldn’t. In the eighties I wrote a series of textbooks on bookkeeping (I know that there isn’t much fun in that). After I wrote the first book I sent it to the publisher, they corrected it, illustrated it and I got a printed draft version back. They “brightened” it up with all kinds of silly and funny cartoons. Luckily I was able to convince the publisher to remove them (the other option I gave them was to remove my name and all my text). For e-Learning goes the same. I don’t want it funny. I want e-learning to be engaging, effective, attractive, relevant, challenging, to the point but not funny. This doesn’t mean that e-Learning we must create boring e-Learning. I recently saw some e-Learning courses that used story telling I think that is a great way to make it more attractive and compelling. I love courses that have cases or game like elements that give you a more realistic view on how you can apply what you have learned. But I really don’t want to see a happy face after I answered a question correct, or a sad one when I was wrong. Just give me proper feed back!


  1. I strongly disagree! Elearning should be engaging, effective, attractive, relevant, challenging, to the point AND fun.

    Have you ever watched the YouTube videos of Carlos Kleiber conducting the Vienna Phil in the Radetsky Marsch or Beethoven’s seventh Symphony? There’s a man having *fun*!

    If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.

    Elearning should be engaging, effective, attractive, relevant, challenging, to the point AND fun.

    Why? Because, with fun, learning is broader, deeper more effective, and happens quicker.


  2. Hi Kasper,

    I’m not sure I understand your distinction between “fun” and “funny”. You can create fun elearning without it being filled w/ “silly and funny” cartoons. I think anything that is “engaging, effective, attractive, relevant, challenging, and to the point” can also have an element of “fun” in it.


    • I do think you have a good point, I might have to review or refine my stand point. Yesterday I saw some instructional videos by John Cleese and they are really funny but very effective in the learning function. So learning can be fun or funny, but it needs to have a certain quality. The conclusion is that I hate cheap humor in e-Learning.


  3. I agree with Kasper. OK, there is a distinction between fun and funny, but both are subjective. You cannot make 1 course which is fun for all your learners. I think origami is fun, 99 % of the world doesn’t. So as a course developer, I focus on what is relevant and try to engage the learner, not to amuse him or waste his time with jokes or games. There is much more fun for the learner outside the course.


  4. It is funny (not fun) that you wrote this post. I agree with nicole and A. Sceptic. I have a complete workshop I do called “Why e-learning Should Be Fun!” Basically, if it is not fun, why learn it? I talk about significan learning experiences, based on Dee Fink’s work. Fun learning is not always a significant learning experience, but it can be. So, what makes those memorable learning experiences? Emotion is attached. What about those peopke who attach happiness to a fun or funny learning experience?

    As to using games as Kris mentioned, I taught a masters level digital imaging course and we had competitions and games throughout. Students earned virtual coins (not even real ones) and the students loved getting those coins.They were not entertained, but were highly competitive, and probably amused and thus engaged. But they could choose to participate. I also included a Just for fun discussion every week and it was quite popular in the course. So rigorous as well as engaging but fun, too.


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