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Most people know the feeling of being so immersed in an activity that they aren’t even aware what’s happening around them. They have lost all track of time and may not even remember where they are!
This level of engagement in an activity is often called being “in the zone,” though psychologists have a different name for it. They refer to it as “cognitive flow,” and it’s something that elearning content development companies should pay attention to. The implications of cognitive flow can shape future development choices.
Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi studied cognitive flow in the 1970’s. His experimentation resulted in the theory that when a person attempts a task that is too difficult for their skill level, they will become frustrated and anxious. If the person’s skill level is too high and the task is too easy, they will lose interest. When the difficulty of the task is relatively proportionate to the skill of the person, they enter the zone, or a state of flow.
The aim of elearning content development is to get learners to enter that state of cognitive flow during a learning activity. Achieving this will greatly increase their chances of retaining information and being able to apply it.
Csikszentmihalyi states there are four characteristics that content developers should consider when creating elearning activities to allow learners to reach that cognitive flow.
Taking a look at Csikszentmihalyi’s components can prove useful for elearning game developers.
The success of elearning content development hinges on its interactivity and engagement. Activities or programs that get learners into the zone facilitate the greatest amount of learning.