Creating engagement AND sustaining it is one of the most difficult tasks when we talk of training or learning of any kind. It is the most elementary and important goal of any learning program to keep learners interested, active and motivated to explore the course further. In this blog we’ll talk about ways that can keep your e-learners engaged and coming back for more:
Keep content relevant
Very obvious and very important, yet one of the most poorly implemented actions in instructional design. Whatever you do, and by whatever we literally mean anything – reading material, stories, videos, animations, games etc., it is important to stay focused about what is the core skill or knowledge that you want learners to take away. With so many rapid authoring tools and multimedia software available, it is natural for you to want to make your courseware attractive and interactive. And that’s important too. But interactivity comes after relevance. For example, if you are an engineering organization, and you embed an animation about how a cooling tower works to the non-technical staff such as the HR of your company, they are likely to lose interest because they may perceive the information as ‘irrelevant’ to their work. For content to be relevant, it is important to study the needs and behavior of your audience on the job, talk to them and then design the course to enhance their capabilities for the specific work that they do. For example, designing a game for your operations staff that helps them understand how the logistics chain works.
Make it social
Man is a social animal, right? It is a very basic human need to talk to other people. As an instructional designer, you can channel this need to your advantage by incorporating social interaction between your employees. This helps in two ways:
- One, it fosters a healthy learning culture where employees are naturally motivated to learn more and contribute actively when discussions take place. For example, you can incorporate a simple feature like ‘Star of the Month’ on your LMS wherein the home page shows a picture and brief description of the best performer on your monthly quiz. Not only does this motivate those employees who get such a recognition, it also creates a competitive spirit among others.
- Second, it promotes cross-functional learning. Imagine a social learning platform where employees from all functions are posting and discussing information. Even though (say) a finance employee may or may not click on a discussion among the marketing people, if it appears in his newsfeed, he is still exposed to what is going on. Cross functional learning is very important for all the employees to have a shared understanding of what the business is about and how the different parts function together as a whole.
Make it interactive
Courses that need users to complete certain tasks like clicking on a link or clicking ‘Next’ or learning more by hovering their mouse over a new terminology increases engagement. However, the important thing to remember is just because they’re required to use the mouse to complete an e-learning session doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll want to. Moreover, interactivity should be increased gradually, otherwise you run the risk of overloading employees with too much information too quickly.
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