Emoji are a great way to add personality to a text-based conversation.
– Jeremy Burge, Founder of Emojipedia
We use emoticons in our messages to convey our thoughts and feelings with minimal words. Howcan we use them in online courses? Can they be used in the first place? Well, in e-learning courses, they can be used extensively in assessments, feedback pop ups, and when learners interact with each other, or with the trainer online.
“Emoticons convey your feelings and expressions without using tons of words.”
Emoticons in mind: An event-related potential study revealed that when you see an emoticon online, the same parts of the brain are activated as when we look at a human face. This gains the attention of learners and improves engagement in online learning.
You may think the use of emoticons is not professional in workplace communication. But things have changed in business settings over a period of time. A study by the University of Missouri-St.Louis has revealed that the use of emoticons hasn’t decreased the credibility of communication in personal and business settings.
So, let’s check how emoticons can be used effectively in online learning.
1. Improve communication
In a sense, the use of emoticons can improve communication in online learning. Unlike instructor-led training, online learning leaves scope for a gap between learners and training managers. You can fill this gap in e-learning with proper use of emoticons; through three types of facial expressions. They are positive :), negative :(, and indifferent -||. These can be used to convey the feedback in formative assessments.
2. Effective for Non-native speakers
Emoticons are effective to convey the message across in online learning when it’s developed for non-native speakers. Translation and localization helpto the maximum extent. Using emoticons enhances this process and helps training managers connect with non-native speakers better. Our languages can differ but our facial expressions don’t change much after all.
3. Enhance collaborative learning
Social presence is important in online learning to make your learners realize the learning environment is real and others are also learning along with them. Emoticons can be used to enhance this experience in the setup of online collaborative learning.
Professors Yamada and Akihori’s study found that learners’ use of emoticons has heightened their sense of social presence. A learner’s use of emoticons often led to more responses from other learners to their posts.
4. Help provide constructive feedback
Emoticons are useful in providing constructive feedback to your learners in online training. You can give personalized feedback and humanize that using emoticons. You can also soften critical feedback with the use of emoticons and paralanguage so that learners receive that positively.
However, instructional designers and training managers need to be cautious in using emoticons to enhance online courses. They should be used only when they fit the bill.
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