Monday, November 27, 2006

Getting into the flow

Today I came across an interesting post in the Moving at the Speed of Creativity blog in which there's a short description of the flow experience as described by the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. For a definition of the flow experience I suggest reading the post Flow, curiosity, and engaging education or the Wikipedia article.

The post and ideas that are presented caught my attention because I think that educators should be aware of this phenomena and consider it when preparing activities for our students. This is especially important when we're trying to present e-learning to students that have low ICT skills. In this case the chosen online learning environment and especially the human support should be simple and available enough to represent a manageable challenge for students - but on the other hand we should consider students that are "digitally native" and give them enough challenges to avoid boredom. And of course - here comes the tricky part. How can we find an equilibrium and satisfy all groups of students?

Perhaps one way to solve this problem could be to motivate students with higher skills to help students with lower skills - in this way experienced users get some challenges while newbies get the needed support and the ability to improve their "digital" skills and begin the "digital immigration" process. Also, in this way students start learning how to cooperate online, start building a positive online community, and construct knowledge and group identity. And let's not forget that this method could also be used by faculty staff - teacher and tutors after all have different attitudes and skills towards e-learning and I think that building an online support community within an organization can strengthen relationship between teachers/tutors, improve skills and attitudes toward ICT, and consequently contribute to a more effective delivery of e-learning courses. I certainly think we should be giving this idea a try in our practical work and engage more people in the flow where they'll be receptive and positive about learning new things and skills!

Note: This is just an archive post. The blog has moved to a new home at, where you will also find a copy of the entire blog.