The 3 Benefits of Using Humour for Learning by Dr Elmi Zulkarnain Osman


The use of humour in formal instruction can potentially enhance learning. Here is a short summary of benefits from a research review.

Creates a positive learning environment. Humour elicits a positive effect in learners, which in turn creates a pleasant and enjoyable learning environment. This can reduce anxiety about studying difficult subjects. It can also make learners feel more comfortable communicating in class. Yet, humour that is used too frequently or inappropriately might cause learners to think that an important topic is trivial. Therefore, humour must be accompanied by good judgement.

Increases attention and interest. Humour has been shown to increase attention and interest. Anything that disrupts expectations or surprises a person, such as humour, can result in psychological arousal. This can transform an inattentive learner into a moderately attentive learner, which facilitates performance.

Improves instructor-student relationships. Humour has the ability to reduce the psychological distance between an instructor and a learner. Humour contributes to the sense that a teacher or a classroom facilitator is approachable. The resulting increase in interactions leads to a more meaningful relationship.

About Dr Elmi Zulkarnain Osman, CEO Elemantra Consultancy (Singapore)

Dr Elmi is well known as a humorous, positive, enthusiastic motivational speaker and corporate trainer, he is highly sought-after; having motivated and conducted corporate learning programmes with major clients from a myriad of industries in both government and private sectors.

Academically, Dr Elmi Zulkarnain Osman read Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, taking his PhD in Educational Leadership from Trident University International (US), specialising in Curriculum & Instructional Leadership.

He had also received many awards and recognitions throughout his career in the public service (Ministry of Education Singapore and People’s Association) such as the Outstanding Youth in Education Award (OYEA), Arif Budiman Outstanding Teacher Award (AGAB), Lenovo Innovation Award, Outstanding Contribution Award for Staff (OCAS), Excellent Service Award (EXSA) – Star and the People’s Association (PA) Merit Award.

Feel free to contact Dr Elmi Zulkarnain Osman direct via email at