Flow Theory

The end of last week’s discussion forum finished off with a post stating that she had experienced flow during a group project where her instructor had paired students up and they worked together using their individual strengths to contribute to a whole that was greater than they could have accomplished on their own. This was suggested that maybe flow could be achieved during group work.

So, it seems that it is possible to achieve flow doing group work. This is a great example of flow and also the benefits of group work. Both students equally contributing to a challenge just beyond their level and students placed together by your instructor. Your instructor had spent time realizing the benefit of this project to both students.  After facilitating this forum, I am reconsidering assigning some group work for more of the benefits mentioned. I have not been fortunate enough to achieve flow during group work, only individually. I also have not had good experiences doing group work myself, as I prefer to work solo.

I began this week’s forum with a new discussion topic Flow Theory and Online Learning. I started with this video on Applying The Flow Theory In Online Training. This is a great video on how to use the 8 dimensions of flow in online learning. I have never really considered how flow could be achieved in online learning, but it appears it’s possible.

  1. Goal centered
  2. challenge
  3. application of knowledge
  4. concentration
  5. empowerment
  6. reduced self-consciousness
  7. losing track of time
  8. experience powered by intrinsic rewards

Then I wanted to get some participation in the discussion, so I asked this question. “Has anyone ever experienced flow while learning online?”

No responses, so then I added two more questions.

“If we can achieve flow from our intrinsic motivation to learn, how can we engage our online learners to achieve the flow?”

“Using discussion forums and blogs are excellent ways to assess our students online learning, but will they keep our students engaged to achieve this flow?”

Finally, I got a response in the discussion forum. It as posted that we have all seen flow theory achieved during video games, so it was suggested using a programmer to create a fast and competitive game to deliver electrical codes. Something that will be low stakes, deliver small rewards as it goes, allow multiple attempts and that will log scores and leader boards.

I thought these were some great ideas using gaming for your students to learn online. I think this is great, I would expect some students to achieve flow doing this, as online gaming is where many people achieve this flow. Students learning online as well as losing track of time and totally absorbed in their activity. What a great student engagement technique.

I also agree that these online discussions are not for everyone. They involve lots of time and the faster keyboarding you do, the better. However, they promote discussions such as ours, that make us think at a higher level. We start thinking about our thinking (metacognition) which has it’s benefits to self-regulated learners to research topics at a deeper level which I believe could lead us into this flow.

Here’s a great video explaining flow theory and gaming. Skills and challenges in balance, not too easy , not too difficult to keep engaged. Why not design these games for learning concepts or information? Do you think students would achieve flow?

Here’s another video on gamification and engagement. It has a few interesting points as to how today we’re having more difficulties keeping engaged in everything that we do.

It was also posted that possibly doing this PIDP course and the time spent researching and participating on the forums, that we are totally focused and lose track of time. Could we possibly be experiencing flow?

I also am totally absorbed and lose track of time researching and participating in the forums. It’s very time consuming and involves lots of thinking, but it sure seems to fall into the categories that explain what flow is. I have really enjoyed all of the online PIDP courses and find myself totally absorbed for hours on topics of interest. So, definitely flow can be achieved when taking online courses. By us becoming more self-regulated learners and participating in the forums at a level that suits each individual, I think flow can be achieved.



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