5 Reasons To Spark eLearning Controversy Among Your Audience

Why healthy arguments should be part of the learning experience

Creating e-learning controversy can seem counter-intuitive if you’re aiming to bring everyone together and improve remote collaboration. However, as Ronald Reagan once said, “Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the ability to deal with conflict peacefully.” Stirring up a little controlled controversy in your virtual classroom or VILT session isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can lead to transformative e-learning experiences and valuable life lessons. Here are 5 reasons why you might want to encourage disagreement among your online learning audience to spark healthy debate and delve deeper into the topic.

5 Reasons to Encourage E-Learning Controversy in Your Online Classroom

1. Empower learners to explore the subject from a different perspective

Sometimes we people can get stuck in our own thoughts, and it’s challenging to see things from someone else’s point of view. Creating controversy in e-learning encourages people to step outside their comfort zones and evaluate topics or problems from different angles. For example, another learner makes a valid point that challenges their assumptions and encourages them to delve deeper into a subtopic or approach they had never considered. Maybe there’s an innovative way to solve the problem they haven’t considered or an interesting fact that sends them down the lifelong learning rabbit hole (in the best possible way).

2. Build conflict resolution skills

It’s one thing to have a productive debate that lets everyone dig into different viewpoints and quite another to start an all-out war in your online course. This is where conflict resolution skills enter the mix. Learners must be able to express themselves without offending others. Most importantly, they need to know how to manage and keep their emotions in check to prevent full-blown arguments. Another learner may, for example, disagree with their opinion and make an unpleasant comment. Are they able to diffuse the situation and have a healthy dialogue with the person? By doing this, they not only build interpersonal skills, but help the other learner to evaluate their own behavior and actions. Why did the person who caused the offense think it was necessary to make the comment, and are there limiting beliefs they should explore?

3. Cultivate emotional connectivity

Even a somewhat heated argument can make learners feel more connected to the content and emotionally invested in the training process. If they feel strongly about a particular point of view, they are more likely to participate in the conversation and take ownership of their opinions. For example, they have to make their case for why they hold a certain theory over another. The learning experience itself is then linked to these more extreme (hopefully positive) emotions, making the subject practically unforgettable.

4. Grab and hold learners’ attention

Most of us have taken courses that left us yawning a few minutes into the first module. In many cases, it’s because we’ve sat on the sidelines instead of diving head first into the subject. Reading manuals or watching slide shows has nothing on productive arguments that make the topic relatable and meaningful. For example, ask a question that you know may be slightly divisive or make a statement based on misinformation to stir up eLearning controversy. Then invite your learners to share their thoughts about the truths and misconceptions that surround it.

5. Cultivate empathy and authenticity

Learners who are able to evaluate the subject from every angle and see things from a different perspective are more likely to empathize with their peers. They also have the opportunity to be their authentic selves as you have created a learning environment where all opinions and ideas are valued. People may not agree with everything they say, but they still respect each other and don’t shy away from challenging assumptions in a tactful way.

get ready

It might cause controversy on a smaller and more localized scale. However, it can have a lasting impact on your learning audience if you provide them with a supportive space where everyone’s ideas and opinions are valued. You should have some ground rules in place to ensure your class debates run smoothly, such as setting a time limit for everyone to share their perspective to prevent one person from stealing the show. If you’re looking for an outsourcing partner to help you create content that engages your online learners, check out our list of the top content providers for custom eLearning.

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