top-7-tips-to-integrate-elearning-games-into-your-elearning-courseWith the emergence of new eLearning technologies, there are many ways to make eLearning more effective, engaging, and powerful for the learners. For example, eLearning games are gaining recognition because they allow engagement among the learners and provide them the motivation and opportunity to expand their skills. Games are no more a source of entertainment alone, but are a fascinating learning tool through which the learner can acquire new knowledge in a fun and engaging way. Integration of eLearning games in the courses can convert even the most ambiguous and disinteresting content into an engaging and exciting eLearning experience. It is a big challenge to create effective game-based learning so that the learners could get real value out of the eLearning experience.

Strategies to integrate eLearning Games:

    • Define goals and objectives: The learning goals and objectives should be clear because it is the top most priority for any organization. Determining a learning goal is the first step towards integrating games in any eLearning course. Every element of the game should support the primary objectives. Since, learners have a very tight schedule; they cannot build up new skills, or gather new information. Therefore, it is important to research about their preferences and expectations so that the gaming experience meets their needs.
    • Use realistic characters: eLearning games should include characters with whom the learner can connect in a significant way. If the characters are realistic and memorable, they automatically get connected with the learners. eLearning characters should portrait a real life situation, which learners can relate to with their day-today life. This will help learners increase their motivation because they will not be scared of making mistakes while on the job and will be able to enhance their knowledge through a game-based learning.
    • Use reinforcing elements in online games: In order to reinforce positive behavior in the learners, it is necessary to include elements such as ‘earn points’, ‘move to next level’, ‘get certificate of completion’, among others. However, anything in excess can be bad, so offering too many rewards can reduce the effectiveness of a game-based learning. Therefore, it should be well determined what to reinforce and to what extent.
    • eLearning Game should not be a distraction: Although games make the learning experience very engaging and effective, it is really important to be careful that the actual subject matter, and the core message is reaching out to the audience or not. game-based learning should not distract the learners from acquiring and retaining the subject matter. In principal, eLearning games should only be a supporting tool for the eLearning deliverables.
    • Feedback System: There should be a feedback system where learners can give the feedback about game-based learning so that actual effectiveness of the game can be judged. This can be done through surveys, quiz contests, feedback questionnaires, and others, where learners can fill facts about their learning experience. This makes it easy to determine whether the actual learning goals have been accomplished or not.

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An online MBA program comes with several advantages including flexibility to pursue your career and to work towards attaining your degree. They allow you to tailor the coursework so that it matches your schedule and when you have selected a good education platform, you can be sure to get the same education quality as your on-campus counterparts.

Online MBA programs are not location limited as it is the case with the traditional classroom setups hence you can earn your degree from any school of your liking no matter where it is located using the online MBA programs. But with the growing list of available online MBA programs, it can be a little of a challenge to choose the best. With something as specific as an online MBA program, you need to also get the best school to get valuable education in the end. Here are a few strategies for ensuring that you select the perfect online MBA program for you.

1. Know your purpose for the MBA

Why are you pursuing an MBA degree in the first place? It is one of the most important steps to getting on the right path. Identify what you want to specialize in, your expectations, the learning style you love and what kind of flexibility you want. By getting to understand the basics of your kind of program, you will be able to eliminate unsuitable schools fast and easy.

2. Background check the program

Before enrolling in any online MBA program, make sure that you look into the accreditation. Not all schools are accredited yet this is very important because it works as approval and assurance that you will indeed be getting the quality education that you deserve. Go for a school that has accreditation from an education body that is recognized. You can use a school directory to find out which schools in your area of study are accredited and acceptable for that matter.

3. Network

If you are not that sure about where to begin with the search for the best online MBA program, ask people around you. Undergraduate professors, professional contacts and coworkers can be some of the best people to guide you on the best programs. When you have a list of high quality schools that offer on-campus and also distance learning courses, it will be easier for you to make your decision. It can also be very helpful to use a reliable education directory to guide your search for the best. Use every resource available to you to find what you are looking for.

4. Research faculty and explore the curriculum

A web search can help you know who will be teaching for the courses. Prominent professors or those respected in the field are always better for such a program. Think about reviews and ratings from past students so you can weigh their competence. You should also ensure that the online coursework is similar to on-campus material and that the necessary technology is availed to offer you all you need in the course of the online learning.

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In recent years, professors have become more skilled and accepting of online teaching, yet, there are still a few questions and comments that continue to echo in my ear among my colleagues: What can I do to show students that I care? What do I do to make sure students feel connected to me beyond the content? How do I help students to recognize my overall concern for their learning? How do I show my emotions in an online environment?

Having pondered the above-stated concerns, I’d like to share five ways that online educators can demonstrate caring and compassion to online students.

1. In the beginning weeks of class, respond to each student individually. I find that students need the special attention as they are feeling their way in a new learning environment; moreover, I have seen clear evidence that these personal responses lay the foundation for healthy student-teacher relationships.

2. Use appropriate “feelings” phrases when students are experiencing personal issues such as death of family members, personal illness, or financial crises. Students appreciate hearing phrases like “I’m sorry for your loss”, “I’m hoping for a positive change in your situation”, or “I care about your situation”. Upon using these kinds of phrases, students always express how much the words mean to them.

3. Reach out to students you haven’t heard from with words suggesting that they are missed. Often students go “MIA” without telling their professors. Once they return, I’ve been known to say things like “we’ve missed seeing you in class”, “so happy you’re back with us”, or “it hasn’t been the same without you”. Invariably, I will get a note back expressing their appreciation.

4. When students appear to be stressed or anxious, allow yourself to become transparent. I’ve discovered that the revelation of my own stressful situations serves as a source of encouragement to students. For example, on several occasions, single mothers have shared their difficulties in balancing responsibilities related to schoolwork, children, and parents. In each case, once I reveal my story of working on my dissertation as a single parent and taking care of my mother, I notice a remarkable difference in the students’ overall willingness to move forward.

5. Mix in humor with challenging concepts and assignments. Very often, higher education students carry an overarching expectation that everything associated with learning must always be rigid and serious; however, I often take the liberty of inserting humor to soften the intensity of some of the more challenging assignments. For example, when introducing students to concepts about APA rules, I post a silly song called the APA Blues. The students find themselves singing along laughing at the lyrics, and as a result, the humor works to dismantle some of the uneasiness that may exist around the topic.

The examples described above are a few strategies I’ve used to demonstrate caring and compassion with my students over the years. As college and university professors, we must always be mindful that part of our responsibility is to ensure that students feel that we care about them not only as students, but as human beings.

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Do Lots of Research

One big mistake many college students make is not doing their due diligence before planning a trip abroad. There’s a lot you need to know about your destination that can actually help you to save money. For instance, you can look up different hotel and airline options with a simple Internet search. You can use sites like Hotwire and Trip Advisor to help find the best deals for your transportation and sleeping arrangements. You can also sign up for travel newsletters like Travelzoo and Travel-Ticker, which delivers exclusive deals to your inbox.

Look for Student Deals

You’ll find countless websites online that boast the lowest rates in town, but there are only a select few that are designed to offer deals to students. You should check out sites like Student Universe and STA Travel, which have package deals and discounts designed just for the traveling student. These are available to you as long as you’re able to prove your university enrollment. You’ll also find great money-saving tips given by other traveling students.

Consider All Forms of Transportation

There are more ways to travel than by airplane and car – you should also consider other modes of getting around, such as trains, subways and buses. The cost for these transportation options will vary depending on where you’re traveling to. If you can make it to your destination by land, then consider using the bus or train instead of an airplane. Even if you find a cheap flight ticket, airlines are known to nickel and dime you with additional fees, cutting your savings substantially. So if you have trouble finding something within your budget, consider your other options.

Travel with Your Friends

Exploring the world in groups is a lot cheaper than doing it on your own. You can split the costs of everything with everyone. If you can find three reliable buddies to travel with, you can go four ways on food, hotel rooms and transportation. The only thing you’ll have to fork up is your own plane, train or bus ticket. There are also tour and hotel discounts offered if you travel with even larger groups of 10 or more. So if you have an even bigger crowd to hang out with, consider bringing them along as well.

Apply for Scholarships

Scholarships don’t just pay for education; they sometimes also help with funding trips. You can obtain these from student-oriented travel websites like STATravel.com to find them. Some are a couple hundred and others a few thousand dollars, which can come in handy either way.

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