Humor can be an excellent tool for creating a positive learning environment. Used effectively, humor can improve learning by making the material more memorable and increasing learner motivation.
Using humor in eLearning should be done with care, however. Done poorly, humor can turn off learners and even distract them from the training material.
Here are some tips for using humor effectively in eLearning:
Use the right type of humor for your audience.
Some people are easily offended by humor that relies on stereotypes or ethnic jokes, for example. Consider the values of your target audience when selecting a humorous approach to content delivery.
You may also want to choose a type of humor that will appeal to a diverse group of learners.
Keep it simple and clean.
Do not use jokes or puns that require in-depth knowledge of current events or cultural norms to understand their full meaning. Be sure that the delivery is simple enough for anyone to understand without having to do any outside research on context or references used in the joke.
Make sure you have permission from any individuals you reference in your training materials, too!
You do not want to be the “class clown” that everyone avoids. Using humor sparingly can help to avoid this situation.
If you have to tell a joke every time you introduce a new concept, your learners will begin to associate the humor with the material rather than the other way around. Do not take yourself too seriously.
Humor can help you lighten up and become more approachable as an instructor, which in turn can help build rapport with your learners. Make sure you are not using humor at the expense of your training content, however.
Make sure your material is still valuable and useful before including it in a humorous presentation.