Laughter and Modlettes


Nobody on earth doesn’t like to have a good laugh.  Let’s face it, humorous laughter is a universally pleasant experience.

Modlettes can benefit greatly when a little humour is introduced into the mix.  Too often we designers take ourselves a bit too seriously, and this does not always help engage our learners who happen to be human beings.

This isn’t to say that humour is necessary all the time as some subjects are far too serious to joke about in the context of an on-line learning experience.  Here are some tips to keep you in-line, on-line with your learning design:


  • Make your humour relevant to the subject being addressed.

While a major part of humour is surprise, that doesn’t mean all jokes should come out of left field.  You don’t just use a joke for the sake of injecting a joke.  Imagine if you are describing the results of ignoring safety rules on a high speed machine and you suddenly start a story about an Irishman, a Scotsman and an Aussie meet in a bar!

Not a good time to try and inject humour into a very serious subject.  Your humour should rise out of the material covered.  Cartoons often do this very well.


  • Don’t be overbearing or excessive.

You can always have too much of a good thing.  Remember that mobile/on-line learning is not a comedy show.  Humour can and should have a presence when it’s warranted, but don’t make it the focus of the experience, because then it distracts from the material and even runs the risk of annoying the learner.  Instead, treat it like dessert.  You should never eat dessert every meal because then you’re not getting the nutrients you need and your cake becomes less special.


  • Don’t let your learner be the target of the joke

At a very early age, we all learn the important difference between laughing at someone and laughing with someone.  The learner is likely taking time out of their busy schedule in order to do your modlettes.   If you insult them, you’re telling them that you care more about being ‘the clown’ than you do about using their time productively, and in the modern world, wasting someone’s time is something we all want to avoid.