Imagine yourself taking a pleasant stroll through
a thoughtfully designed and well kept park.
The paths are clear, the trees provide sheltering
relief from the sun, the cool breeze is rejuvenating,
and the birds are chirping happily to delight your
senses. The stroll you take is in fact so pleasant
that you lose yourself in the moment. You are lifted
above the distracting mundane and you begin to
see, appreciate and learn more about the nature
before you that most take for granted.
Now imagine, as an analogy, the same transplanted
to your experience of e-learning. Everything is so
well-structured that, from the moment you land
on OUM's main portal to the moment you log off,
you are positively absorbed, 'lost' in your seamless
experience of e-learning. Nothing lies in your path
to trip you up. No annoyances like 'cookie error',
missing e-tutor and the likes.
"Seamless e-learning experience is
precisely what OUM is currently
working on delivering. The
university is working on enhancing
its e-learning platform to ensure that
e-learning becomes more or less like a
metaphorical walk in the park."
Seamless e-learning experience is precisely what
OUM is currently working on delivering. The
university is working on enhancing its e-learning
platform to ensure that e-learning becomes more or
less like a metaphorical walk in the park.
OUM's investment in this area is especially crucial
at a time when more and more OUM learners are
choosing to minimise their face-to-face contact
hours due to work and life commitments, preferring
instead to follow their courses fully online on top of
That increasing numbers of OUM learners are
taking to supplementing self-managed learning
with e-learning is certainly encouraging. Not only
does it show that the university's decade-long effort
in promoting e-learning is bearing fruit, it also shows how OUM learners are getting increasingly
comfortable in embracing the global trend in
learning that leverages on information technology
in unprecedented ways.
It bears emphasising, though, that OUM's focus
in the current exercise to enhance its e-learning
platform is not simply about adding on to what is
already there. In analogous terms, it is not about
adding bushes and trees to what already exists in
Indeed, the university's existing e-learning
offerings - including i-lectures, e-resources such as
e-Gate, myVLE discussion forums, and web-based
modules - will be beefed up and integrated with
More importantly, however, OUM is working on
restructuring the metaphorical park itself in order to
promote a seamless learning experience.
OUM's emphasis on seamlessness
is underpinned by the belief that
seamlessness will induce learners
into what psychologist Mihaly
Csikszentmihalyi terms a state of flow.
OUM's emphasis on seamlessness is underpinned
by the belief that seamlessness will induce learners
into what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
terms a state of flow. As all of us have at least
minimally experienced, flow is a mental state of
deep concentration and creativity produced by uninterrupted single-minded immersion in what
one is working on. To be in a flow state is to be
pleasurably engrossed by what one is doing, so
much so that one productively loses track of time,
so to speak.
The flow theory applies equally to education as
to the use of the internet during e-learning. The
premise is simple enough: flow does not just
'happen' spontaneously, nor does one get into
it by mere willing. It only occurs when, among
other things, continuous flow opportunities and
experiences are presented to learners.
OUM seeks to promote the flow state in e-learning
by removing all navigational obstacles that
can impede flow, and by introducing suitably
challenging learning materials that allow learners
to 'lose themselves' in discovery and immersed
pleasure. It seeks to produce, in short, seamless
OUM is excited to be pursuing the task in phases.
More will be revealed in the near future. Meanwhile,
get ready to flow!