When a business wants its staff to embrace e-learning, it is often assumed that the motivational techniques to get them to finish courses will be different from traditional training methods.

How to Motivate Employees to Complete E-Learning Courses

They aren’t, according to a major study done on motivational factors in e-learners. Researchers with Massey University in New Zealand and Athabasca University in Canada found that the context of the training had very limited impact on motivation when compared to other key factors.

Employee motivation is far more impacted by whether or not they find the subject of their e-learning interesting, and whether they have sufficient corporate support and guidance to work through their courses, according to the study entitled “Examining Motivation in Online Distance Learning Environments: Complex, Multifaceted, and Situation Dependent.” The study can be found at this link: http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1030/1954.

“Within a given context, learners were shown to be motivated in many different ways as they engaged in online learning activities around an assignment,” concluded authors Maggie Hartnett, Alison St. George and John Dron.

Here are 6 key strategies for successful e-learning based on the latest research:

1. Make sure to communicate to the e-learner why the course is relevant and of value to them. At the crux, the e-learner wants the answer to the age-old question: “what’s in it for me?” They need to know that e-learning can help them achieve their personal ambitions and interests, now and in the future. Simply announcing mandatory training is no guarantee they will do anything more than get through it as fast as they can.

2. Connect the e-learner to the content. The best learning management systems offer the ability for companies to customize courses for each department, making the material relevant and valuable to employees.

3. Establish a system of frequent communication with the e-learner. Make sure that when problems arise employees can speak openly and honestly to managers. Failure to keep management’s door open will inevitably undermine employee motivation.

4. Make it clear what is expected of the e-learner. Once you outline clearly where the employee is going with this training, they are much more likely to reach that destination.

5. Make sure that the e-learner has sufficient technical skills to complete the course. Deliver the course in as clear and simple a manner as possible.

6. Offer some kind of reward system for completion of the course. Studies have shown that most people would rather receive recognition than money for excelling at their jobs. Offering certificates of completion could motivate employees, for example.