Few things are more frustrating than spending a lot of time and resources coming up with fantastic eLearning courses and modules only to find that people simply are utilizing them. This can be especially true when you’re dealing with mandatory trainings, but it’s a challenge in nearly all eLearning efforts.
How do you break through the resistance and really motivate people to engage in the eLearning you know will help them reach higher levels of performance? Here are some concrete tips and strategies to keep in mind:
- Emphasize the Benefits. If you’re like most learning professionals in organizations, much of your eLearning content is geared towards boosting your people’s performance through new skills or knowledge they need to succeed. Make sure people understand exactly what they’re going to get from your eLearning course or module, not only in terms of the learning objectives, but in terms of the expected impact it will have on their performance in the workplace. Of course it makes sense to present this material up-front in any eLearning course or module, but it’s so important that you also need to find ways to keep mentioning it throughout the learning experience, keeping those motivating benefits front and center as learners move through the content. They need to see how they will benefit from it in their day-to-day work.
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- Provide Progress Indicators. Nothing is more demotivating in the eLearning environment from the learner’s perspective than having no idea where they stand in terms of progress made. Make sure that as your learners move through a course or module they have instant and ongoing access to where they’re at in the process, and how well they’ve done at that point in time. This means including plenty of different ways to asses their learning along the way in the form of quizzes, tests, exams, and whatever other creative ways you can come up with for them to see what progress they’ve made.
- Establish a Learning Culture. Volumes could be written on this point alone, but suffice it to say that if the cultural norm in your organization is that people are always learning and benefiting from that learning, participation in your eLearning efforts will be that much easier. This can involve a significant cultural change on the part of your organization, but the payoff is huge.
- Incentivize Participation. You don’t want to take this one too far in terms of expending additional resources, but sometimes offering a simple incentive for participation can accomplish a lot. This can be accomplished through gamification where people achieve different levels of mastery, and can see how they’re doing relative to other learners, introducing a competitive element into the learning process. Don’t think of these approaches as primary motivators, but more like supplemental motivators when people just need an extra push to get involved.
- Go Social. The more opportunities you make available for learners to interact with each other, collaborate in groups, and engage in virtual teamwork, the more likely they’ll stay engaged in the process. Remember, humans are social creatures by nature, and social media applications have become a normal and routine way for people to interact with each other. Finding ways to put that kind of interactivity in your eLearning efforts can work wonders for sustained participation.
- Variety in Content Delivery. With eLearning, you have a unique opportunity to make use of a full range of innovative delivery methods for content. The more variety you inject into the process, the more your learners will stay engaged and eager for more. Find ways to incorporate videos, podcasts, online discussions, virtual gaming, and other techniques to keep things fresh.
You spend a lot of time and energy creating great eLearning courses and modules. Using the six strategies listed above will help you make sure people engage with those efforts.
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