Are your training attempts falling flat? If you feel like your employees aren’t engaged, aren’t able to retain information and simply aren’t getting the most from your organization’s training and eLearning, there may be one big culprit: a lack of emotion.

One of the biggest pitfalls to the corporate and organizational training process is the inability of the materials to tap into the emotions of the learner.

Make it meaningful: Tips to evoke emotion in corporate eLearning

When someone is introduced to new concepts there are a variety of emotional barriers at play. Including the fear of failure and inadequacy, apprehension and embarrassment if they feel they’re unable to learn what’s expected of them. Download our free white paper, “How a Learning Culture Can Improve Your Organization.”

All of these emotions create a wall that makes learning difficult, but it’s up to instructional designers to not only understand the role of these emotions, but also to take control of the learner’s emotions, and instead evoke positive emotions.

Breaking Down Barriers

With eLearning, before you can begin the process of evoking positive emotions, you must first consider how to get past the learner’s potential feelings of inadequacy, shame or apprehension.

A few good ways to do this include:

  • Expectations are important in the emotional learning process, so keep your expectations clear and realistic. You may introduce eLearning and sell it to your employees as being very easy, in order to reduce apprehension, but this can have the opposite effect. If the learner feels something should be easy but they’re unable to master it, they can become more frustrated and fearful, which will reduce their ability to learn the material. Clearly lay out expectations for your learner, rather than trying to make material look easier or more difficult than what it really may be.
  • Break down emotional barriers by providing real-world, tangible ways the information is going to have a positive impact on the learner’s life. Show them at the start of an eLearning module the positive benefits that will come in terms of their job performance, as a result of what’s being presented.
  • Gamification is important because it creates a reward system than can lead to positive emotions, but it also provides ample opportunities to try again if the learner initially fails.

Instructional Design to Evoke Emotion

Once an instructional designer has put in place the tools to break down those initial negative emotions, it’s also important to design coursework that not only gets past barriers, but actually proactively evokes emotion.

Instructional Design to Evoke Emotion

Having an emotional connection to information is one of the best ways to teach an employee, and have them comprehend and retain what’s being presented.

Evoking emotion leads to improved engagement, and we all learn better when we’re engaged and care about the subject matter.

  • Storytelling is a great way to evoke emotion when you’re presenting a testimonial, a case study, or playing out various scenarios employees will face. Stories should be woven into eLearning materials because everyone tends to be more engaged when there’s a narrative to be told. For example, storytelling is a prime way to evoke emotion in customer service training.
  • With eLearning there are lots of opportunities to incorporate various multimedia components, take advantage of this and learners will feel more emotional toward the material. Utilize background music in a way that’s influential to emotions, as well as images, videos and graphics. Showing is better than telling when it comes to fostering an emotional connection. These are things that can be easily incorporated into eLearning and they turn the training and development process into one that’s inherently emotional.
  • Colors play a huge role in how we feel toward what we’re learning, and they evoke certain emotions—for example, warm colors, like orange and red, tend to evoke positive emotions such as happiness and excitement.
  • When you’re writing copy for eLearning it should be personal and use positive language. By writing copy this way, you’re going to evoke affirmative emotions and increase learning.

Corporate training, all too often, isn’t seen as an emotional experience and this is one of the primary reasons training materials and eLearning fails. Even the most boring or technical subject can be effectively taught, if instructional designers simply focus on the emotions of the learner.