Why does learning have to be fun? #minimedschool

Why does learning have to be fun? Why isn’t informative enough?

I am taking a MOOC (free massively open online course) called Mini Medical School, available on the Canvas Network (http://canvas.net), hosted by the University of Colorado at Denver.

I found the first week of video clips to be very well done and informative. The course also has a multiple choice quiz at the end of the module. I must say that they did a good job writing the questions, unlike my rants about the MedicineX ePatient course. If you want to learn how to write good multiple choice questions, there are some free eLearning modules at the National Board of Medical Examiners University website (the course just launched, it is a bit of a pain to register, but it is free once you are logged in).

So far, I am enjoying the the course. It is informative. What I don’t get is why the facilitators feel the need to say that it is fun? Watching interesting videos is informative, but it isn’t necessarily fun. Taking multiple choice quizzes – although well designed – still doesn’t make it fun.

There seems to be this need in xMOOC land to say that a course is fun – that fun needs to be part of it. I would like to argue that fun is not a necessary condition for a useful xMOOC. The course can be informative, and worth my time to take, and doesn’t need to be fun.

So, thank you University of Colorado at Denver for offering Mini Medical School, and thank you for creating a well-designed learning experience, but please, don’t feel the need to call it fun!

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